Nightmare Memories

Who Holds These Memories?

 

There was never a clear view, he had no desire to move, so from where he sat in the damp cold mud there was never a clear view. Low leaves obscured his vision, the thick bark of the tree, which serves as his shelter were details that were firmly imprinted in his mind. A small bug ambled past, blue yet purple yet gold, the wing casing shimmered in the bright sunlight.

Voices… He looked up, his attention distracted away from the tiny critter. He knew the male voice and grinned, burying himself deeper into his bolt hole. An expert in this game, he could remain concealed for hours, stubborn and determined to win.

The second voice, he did not know, was also male and spoke with a thick accent, his words foreign to the child. He frowned and pulled away a few leaves of his camouflage curious, but still unable to glimpse the scene distinctly.

“Xunus dos talinth dos gumash veldri pholor l’shinduago mal’rak?”

The words haunted his memories.

What followed happened so swiftly, that it was over in just a few heartbeats, but would remain imprinted upon his mind forever.

A young woman entered the clearing carrying a crop of apples in her arms, her golden hair caught the sunlight, her voice softly singing, her step light, the shift she wore clung to her long legs as a cool breeze whipped through the trees.

The two men, near identical men, save for their garments turned to regard her arrival. The stranger growled angry words, with a tone of accusation. A sword leapt to his right hand so swiftly, the hidden one had to clasp a hand over his own mouth to prevent his gasp escaping.

“No One.” Came the reply to the foreigners’ harsh demands.

The stranger simply raised his left hand towards the woman, keeping the point of his sword aimed directly at the speaker.

All the apples tumbled freely across the soft grass, falling from her slack grip, though the woman still stood still on her feet. Before the last apple dropped to the ground, the foreigner had crossed the short distance to where she was rooted to the spot. He appeared to move impossibly fast. Sword re-sheathed as he stalked around her immobile form.

That all took just a few moments and there was never a clear view. The two, near identical men left together shortly afterwards, both chattering in the same alien tongue, neither glanced back to the maiden in the sunlight, captured immobile by a wicked spell.

It was dark by the time he crept from his favourite bolt hole, he was not sure if he had fell asleep or not, but tears stained his young cheeks, his clothes, muddy, wet and cold. His bare feet padded softly over the damp grass to where the woman stood still. He didn’t understand her motionlessness, he wrapped his tiny arms around her legs, burying his face into her thighs as he had countless times.

Her shift was drenched in cold, dark, sticky blood that pooled around her toes, it stained the child’s face as he clung to her, begged to her to move, to answer him, to cuddle him.

The vile spell exhausted its hold on the dead woman and she crumpled to the ground, her head slid away, released from the magical hold, discharging more gloopy gore. The child blanched as the head rolled away, a maliciously sharp barbed garrotte wire still entangled in her flesh and blood matted hair.

 

He woke up… The dream was always the same… There was never a clear view.

 

 

Anne Harrison.

Originally written December 17, 2015 – Added to the blog 18.05.17

Part 41

Wrongful Accusation…

There was no deployment for Kane,  no patrol, no promotion. Just a stinging blow to the back of his skull and a beating that rendered him unconscious for three days.

It was raining when he stirred, large drops fell on his upturned face, dripping through a heavy  iron grate that he was chained too…

“Ahh… you’re awake.” A foreign voice,  somewhere in the dark.

“I’m not dead?” He tasted blood in his mouth.

“How do you feel?” A face drew closer out of the gloom, narrow features, wicked eyes.

“Everything hurts.” Kane pulled against the chains, halfheartedly.

“Then you’re not dead.”

Kane gave up moving and hung limp.

“Neither do you face a death sentence, someone wants you alive boy, they also want you to suffer. Tell me, do you have any idea what we do to rapists down here?”

The question caught Kane off guard… “What do you mean? I’m not a rapist! I never hurt Alleia!  I didn’t force her… I’m not a fucking rapist!” Fury gave him strength and he tugged harder against the unyielding chains.

“That’s what it says here, you are charged with rape and found guilty by the woman’s husband, Lord Pepe Montoto signed the sentence papers himself.” The thin character poured through the paperwork ignoring Kane’s desperate protests… ” Says here you got her pregnant, what sort of scum rapes a Royal Princess,  leaves her with child then flees the city?!”

Kane felt the cold keen point of a very sharp blade right against the base of his penis and ceased his wriggling, holding himself very still and biting his bottom lip as the blade dug in… just enough to draw blood.

“Silence boy… harken to my words, I am a master of my art and I know truth from lie. I fish for secrets from the most expert of spies and they sing to me. If you are guilty, you will spend years begging me for death.” The blade traced a bloody line up his body, until the point rested poised over his heart, the speaker applied just a fraction of pressure,  the blade wicked enough to slice between ribs effortlessly, it would take no strength at all to find its mark… Kane held his breath,  feeling its cold sting, warm blood raised to the surface where the point had scratched his flesh…

“I did not rape Alleia.” He spoke calmly, “I loved her, no…I mean… I love her… and I’m going to be a Father… We’re having a son… and I would do anything, anything to be with them both.”

“How compelling.” The knife flashed taking the tip off his ear.

Kane winced “I did not rape Alleia, I love her!” Hot blood poured down his face.

“Most compelling.” The knife vanished,  secluded into a tool belt around the interrogators waist. “You said you would do anything to be with her? Yes?”

Kane nodded

“Would you die for her?” The blade reappeared in a swift blur to bite into his throat…

“Yes.” Kane replied swallowing hard. “But then what kind of father would I be?”

The man blinked several times, then chuckled to himself. “You’re no rapist and you make a dreadful hopeless romantic. I think you are honorable and would stand by and support a family, out of duty more than love… I’m not sure you know how to love… You’re a conscript Kane, taken from your family at an early age, raised to fight, raised to kill on command. Soldiers like you don’t love, you have whores who service the barracks, you live and die in uniform. You’re not father material, you’re not a family man. You’re a trained cold blooded killer Kane, but you are no rapist.”

“Can I go?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, you pissed off the wrong people Kane, my orders are to make your stay here most… … …unpleasant.”

 

Anne Harrison 05.03.17

Part 40

A convenient partnership.

Pepe sat with Fendor sharing a bottle of rich spiced wine. The hall felt vast and silent after the revolution, a low fire glowed in the hearth providing little warmth. Their meeting was washed in candle light. Beyond the tall windows, even in the dead of night people were still flooding into the city seeking hope and salvation.

Neither men cared, could not fake an interest in events developing outside the palace walls. One tyrant was dead but his family was vast, this act of rebellion had ultimately triggered a war that had yet to be declared between the traitors and nations still loyal to the King through bloodlines.

Pepe slid the document across the table as Fendor replenished their glasses. “She signed.” They raised their drinks in a silent toast. “Not that she had much of a choice.”

“You know the child will not grant you any claim to the throne?” Fendor carefully read through the tangled legal terminology.

“Nor do I desire any claim.” Pepe sipped his wine, little finger outstretched.

Fendor exchanged the document with deeds. “Is this really all you want? A mansion, a baby and an orchard?” He said with mild amusement. “For the entire Northern Clan Territories, land that the King lusted over for years and you’re practically giving it away for something you could easily buy with your lose change.”

“Ooh I shall require staff and guards for my property too.”

“It’s still a small price Pepe, what’s the catch?”

“And stables, I like to hunt.”

“Why Pepe?”

“I’m bored Fendor, bored with the constant demands from an overzealous King, bored with keeping the Clans in order, bored of pretending I was something I’m not, completely… Bored with the whole game, bored of a whore of a wife, bored of rent boys and whining villagers. Bored of watching greed destroy the entire nation, bored of being on the brink of war and, until yesterday, nothing was forthcoming. Bored of riches, bored of meetings, negotiating and silks… I longed for Alleia, but I also knew as soon as I planted my seed in her, her father could claim my land through bloodlines, as he had done with all his other six daughters. In a way, by fucking that guard, she protected my land from the King. No bastard could take the Clan Territories.”

Fendor nodded, unable to fault his words…

“I would sooner give away all I own, for a pittance, to retire and watch the whole world burn around me. Sooner you than me Fendor, you have a desperately horrible mess before you and it will get tremendously worse before there is any form of peace that Novana longs for. You have a long bloody war on your hands my old friend and I am giving up my lands, my men, my armies and navy to support you, in exchange I want a simple life. Is that too hard to understand?”

“I actually envy you.”

“You could join me?” Pepe smiled absently tracing his fingers down Fendor’s face, shoulder, arm…

“I thought that was all an act?”

“Not completely, but I already know you desire Novana, I just tease.” Pepe laughed, a rich sound which filled the hall. He drained his glass and collected the deeds to depart. “I wish you well in your venture.”

Fendor watched him leave and for a split second, Pepe’s offer was actually tempting…

Anne Harrison 05.03.17

Part 39

Stones and Bones

Hera dug with her bare hands through thick clay ridden mud. The stench of stagnant water made her gag, yet Hera persisted clawing her way down. Her finger nails broke and bled, the stench became far worse than soured water alone and fear gripped her heart as her hands pulled free a bone and stone necklace. She had seen this before and she knew who it had belonged too and although Hera had personally considered The Shaman a fraud, a showman adopting an actors tricks to sell himself as something he was not. That was still no reason for murder.

His act had cost him his life and the well had become his grave.

There was no crystal, no gem of prophecy. Just the decaying remains of The Kings favorite soothsayer, hacked apart and dumped carelessly.

Fendor had claimed he had buried the crystal with his shirt, he called her Beryl and was deeply saddened by the King’s command to bury her. Hera found his shirt among the filth and body parts, she gasped, feeling a hard lump wrapped carefully within the stained material… She dared to hope, holding her breath in her chest as she carefully unwrapped the bundle…

Just a stone, nothing more, a plain humble stone.

Hera screamed in frustration and grief, causing more than a few sheep who grazed nearby to bolt and scatter in fear. She screamed in rage, she screamed with utter hopelessness… Clutching the stone to her chest, cheated and destroyed…

Brynn lightly touched her shoulder and noticed the body, “Hera?”
Her screams subsided to a strangled sob.

“Hera, we should offer him a proper burial.” The shepherdess suggested… “Somewhere more beautiful, so his spirit may rest free from the torment of his murder.”

Hera nodded.

“…and don’t frighten my sheep so!”

Anne Harrison 05.03.17

Part 38

A pretty cage is still a cage

The room had been laid out nicely enough,  a small bed made up with warm blankets,  a table set with a jug and bowl for bathing. A stool, books, a selection of warm clothes and a hairbrush. All simple humble items, everything and nothing at all… The windows were barred and high up the wall, impossible to see any view from, yet the wind howled around the tall ceiling. At times crows would caw at the bars, dancing across the rafters, to fly free again with their mocking cry taunting the Princess prisoner curled up on the rickety bed, wrapped in a military jacket. Her tears had dried upon her cheeks and she felt like there were no more tears to shed. Alleia trembled, cold and afraid. Watching the crows with envy.

The bolt slid back upon the heavy iron door, Alleia flinched, sinking deeper into the jacket as two heavily armed barbarians bustled in with Pepe. “You have ten minutes.” The taller brute barked gruffly. Leaving Pepe alone with his wife, the two thugs waited beyond the door.

“Are you here to gloat?” Alleia sniffed.

Pepe sat on the bed with a creak, gone was his immaculate golden curls, his fine silks, exotic satins and lace he favored. His hair was clipped and styled more masculine, clad instead in a smart suit. “No Alleia, I’m not here to gloat.” He had dropped his former camp tone and sighed heavily. “Your have no idea how badly I desired you and how much it  pained me to learn about your affair.” He ran his fingers absently through her hair.

“Was our entire marriage a lie?”

“Yes, of course. A lie built on greed, a hunger for power, for land. Land your father wanted to control, my land. You were a sweet bargaining tool, nothing more and I had different plans for you, rest assured. Then you went and got yourself pregnant by a soldier,  a common guard.” Pepe spat.

“It wasn’t an affair.” Her words felt hollow.

Pepe grabbed her face by her chin. “Do not waste your breath on bitter lies.”

“You planned this all along?”

“No, Fendor planned this all along. When you got pregnant, I didn’t want you anymore, you were tainted, touched by another man… I had waited so long to possess you, to claim your body as my own, to drop the whole act, I was waiting for… hummmmm… I’ve said too much, you don’t need to know…” Pepe released her face and reached into his suit pocket to draw out a carefully folded document.

Alleia felt her baby kick.

“I can not save your life, precious, but I can save your unborn.”

“Why?”

“I have my reasons and I have no reason to explain myself to you.” Pepe handed her the document. “I need you to sign this.”

Alleia unfolded the parchment, reading through the legal document. It relinquished any rights the child might have to the throne and named Pepe as guardian.

“You expect me to sign this? To sign my child away as your property?” More tears fell then.

“Yes, Alleia.” He placed a fountain pen into her hand.

“Sign and I shall protect the baby. Refuse and you both die, the guards outside the door have orders to behead you should I leave this room with this paper unsigned. Therefore, if you have any passion for your child, you will sign.”

Alleia sobbed, the pen trembling in her hand. “I hate you.”

She signed her name, broken hearted and torn.

 

Anne Harrison 04.03.17

Has My Writing Changed?

Mindless Ponderings…

By writing far more frequently, especially by following the lingering thread of an ongoing tale. I find that my writing has taken on a voice of it’s own, by casually disregarding possibly everything I ever learned at University about creative writing, by freely allowing influences I adore slipping into my words, the silken literature of Michael Moorcock, the flamboyant style of Lovecraft creep into my typing, because I let them, I don’t agonise over every single word I add to the screen, I am guilty of over using words, I actually deliberately include more than I should… Because I can, I am not policing my tale for any editor, I no longer hold any desire to be published, I write because I love writing, I adore the freedom of expression and the way my silly little tale is taking on a life of its own. It might never grace any printing press, but that’s not the issue, I write to give my characters breath.

Curiously I found an old tale I wrote at the beginning of my creative writing course. At a point in time where I wanted every word to be perfect, I wanted to prove myself as a potential author. I was a very different writer, for I felt restricted by the rules of writing and this need for perfection and it just doesn’t read right, I actually don’t like it, but I’m going to share it with you, because I might just be adding these characters to my story.

 

*Insert evil laughter*

 

Sibling Rivalry

1297 DR: Year of the Singing Skull

Pain registered quickly as he reeled backwards from the sudden swift attack, he put his left leg back a step to balance himself and acting purely on an internal instinct he spun around and kicked back with his leading leg. Striking his brother hard in his ribs with his boot, even before he had recoiled from the unexpected punch to the jaw, which had abruptly ended the argument with violence.

From somewhere behind the stars blurring his vision he heard his third brother chuckling at this discord, this only inflamed his rage even more and he turned to face his youngest sibling, hatred seething in his eyes as he wiped fresh blood from his chin, his lip split and stung. The fog lifted in his mind and he promptly glanced over his shoulder, to where his elder brother had recovered already from the blow to his ribs and regaining his breath.

So far none of them had reached for any of the weapons they carried upon their persons, but the frustration between the three siblings was ignited and after the first blows and it only took a split second to erupt into chaos. Aston tackled his middle brother, Bane, launching towards his mid-drift and tackling him to the floor, Cassius hesitated, but he knew he couldn’t avoid the conflict. He saw an advantage to side with Aston and as the two older men fell to the dust he kicked Bane in this side of his head, it was a cowardly attack, seeing as they wrestled and exchanged punches in the dirt. But Cassius’s action gave Aston the instant he needed to disable Bane with a violent chop with the edge of his hand right into his throat.

Bane gagged and coughed violently retching as Aston regained his footing and stood over him. “I suppose you believe I owe you for your help?” Aston spoke without turning to face Cassius; it wasn’t a question as much as a warning and Cassius felt a cold dread wave through him, aware that his skills could never outmatch Aston. Swallowing hard against the angry lump in his throat, he fought back his fear of his eldest brother. “I want the knife!” He demanded, finding courage in his own words, even though there was a slight tremor to his voice. “You have nothing I want!” Aston snapped back without hesitation, stealing some of the lads’ bravado, “Unlike this ‘Shebali’!” Aston spat to the ground near Bane’s head insulting him with a vile term in their language for ‘outcast’.

Bane fought to push down his rising fear as he struggled to regain his breath and hold onto the edge of consciousness, stunned by the betraying kick to his skull. He was in trouble and he knew it, Aston wanted ‘The Mirror’ and Bane felt as though the fight was fast slipping from him, yet he was unwilling to give up his prize so easily.

“I know where the ‘Sceptre’ is!” Bane tried to shout, but his voice was a broken croak. Though his words were enough to gain the attention of Cassius who raised an eyebrow and turned to regard his fallen sibling, Aston observed the simple change in facial expression and clenched his fists by his side. Cassius failed to notice this action else he would have expected the following attack.

However, Aston was unwilling to be embarrassed, by either his younger brothers and from the few words which had been expressed throughout this most recent violent encounter between the three brothers, he was starting to see a position where he could gain all three items of rare quality and possess them all to gain the strength and power it would take to over throw their father for the ownership of the guild. His mind swiftly followed this line of thought  and almost without thinking he reached around behind his back to where a knife was concealed in a sheath between his shoulder blades, in one fluid motion he launched the deadly blade through the air, aimed directly at the unsuspecting Cassius.

Cassius’s eyes went wide with shock as he noticed the sudden flash of razor sharp steel, he sidestepped issuing forth a sudden cry in his surprise, the wicked blade drew a deep line across his ribs, he felt the searing pain rip through his torso and reached instinctively to the long gash across his belly, as blood poured freely, wet and warm over his trembling hands.

“ENOUGH!” It was a single direct order, from a voice which demanded respect. Simultaneously all three brothers turned to regard the source of the commandment, all of them aware that their father stood witness to this conflict.

Storm stepped from the shadows, like an oppressive force to be reckoned with, the shadows appeared to cling to the folds of his dark black cloak, giving him the impression that he was half surreal ethereal presence.

The brothers swallowed hard, near in unison. By now, Bane had regained his feet and stood together with Aston and Cassius.

“From what I can gather…” Storm spoke in his native language “…Between you three ‘boys’…” He deliberately emphasised, the word ‘boys’ to knock his sons back into their place “… You have gained possession of ‘The Knife’, ‘The Mirror’ and ‘The Sceptre’.  He stepped closer, stroking his chin, amused.

Aston, Bane and Cassius watched their father cautious; Bane still comforted his bruised throat with one hand, his other curled around the hilt of his sword. Cassius blanched, both his hands were slick with blood, holding his streaming wound. Only Aston appeared strong enough to confront their father, should the cause arise.

Yet Storm silenced any conflict with words. He breathed in deeply savoring success, “At least you ‘used’ to own these items!” He smirked exaggerating the past tense. “They’re mine now.” Storm said simply, allowing his sons to finally see the error of their ways, that they had fought and lost not only their items, but also their trust in each other.

From: December 17th 2015

***

 

Anne Harrison 03.03.17

 

Part 34

Half Truths and Twisted Lies

“General?!” Alleia gasped… The Prince by her side dare not look up.

“Why?” That accursed word escaped her lips and Fendor launched himself at her with a shocking stinging backhand that caused her to tumble into her brother…

“Why?” Fendor seethed, his words hushed, yet he was in her face. “I will tell you why precious doll… Why, is spending six years of your life seeking a ‘powerful magical threat’ that turns out to be a frightened little girl… Why, is watching this obnoxious fool…” He poked The Prince in his chest, “…pluck the crystal from her body and destroy her without thinking… Why, is watching Kane kill her loyal Guardian without hesitation… Why, is watching a power hungry King destroy his people, murder society, poison the earth and corrupt his children, so he could get fatter, richer, more powerful, own more yet squeeze the life from society… Why, is because I have ‘watched’ enough, I have seen too much horror in the name of your father, too many people have died Alleia. Do you not see? Something had to be done, someone had to stop your father before he learnt what you were carrying in your womb…” His tone of voice had risen as he ranted. Tears ran freely down Alleia’s face, her brother trembled and the woman seated on the throne stood and simply placed a hand upon Fendor’s shoulder.

He stood and turned away from them, pacing behind the throne, agitated.

“Do you have any idea of the power which grows within you?” The woman clutched Alleia’s chin hard, tilting her head back.

“No, but..but.. but.. I think it might be a boy…” Alleia struggled to control the tremor in her voice, she looked to The General, trying to understand why someone so loyal, so close to the King would betray him so coldly. He looked alien without his uniform, his hair gone, harder, darker, older… “What happened to Kane?” She dared to ask, even though her own emotions were still cloudy regarding the soldier, Alleia feared Kane too was in on the conspiracy.

“That is none of your concern.” The Woman replied and pulled Alleia to her feet. “You will live out the rest of your term locked and bolted in the tower, but rest assured sweet Princess, the day your child draws breath shall be your last.” Guards closed in to restrain Alleia.

“As for you, little Prince…” The Woman dragged the coward to his feet. “For stupidly destroying the most magical creature without a care, there can be only one fate…”

Fendor had circled around behind the throne as they spoke, stalking around the prone Prince, Alleia noticed his actions just too late to warn her brother and Fendor’s wickedly sharp sword severed the young Princes head…

Anne Harrison 24.02.17