When you’ve saved the parallel world you were born to but were stolen out of as a baby half dozen times before your eighteenth birthday, you’d think you’d be entitled to a restful retirement and fun and stress-free entry into your 20s and the start of your Real Life.
That’s the echoes of Fate’s laughter. I could hear them loud and clear when Rayner materialized on the sidewalk in front of me, unfolded out of the air like he was being let out at the end of a straw, bringing with him a faint pop and a waft of honeysuckle.
My old comrade in arms had gained several inches and more than a few pounds of muscle since I’d seen him last. The Great Hall at Della Run flashed from the depths of my memories like a coin in a riverbed caught in the sunlight. The phantom weight of the Dellan Medal of Honorable Service settled around my neck.
Four years was enough of a vacation, apparently. Fuck you, Fate.
“No,” I said, before Rayner opened his mouth. “Whatever it is–the answer is no.”
He didn’t twitch. I didn’t expect him to. His face was just as impenetrable as the thick, black leather armor he wore and just as hard as the short sword strapped to his back.
“Maybe we’re dying,” he said, in Dellan.
“Maybe that’s your problem.” Despite the years, the language came back as if I’d only just come from the market at High River. I hitched my backpack higher on my shoulder. “Find someone else.”
“You’re the one Fate sent me to. You’re the one Fallon needs.”
Now if he’d told me that before I left the last time… No. This was bound to happen either way. This was where my life was, where my brother’s life was.
“I can’t go back,” I said. “That place is Neverland. You’re Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up, and I’m Wendy, who goes home and every time you come back I’m just a little bit older–”
I was glad he cut me off. I didn’t like the comparison I was making. “No.”
I walked past him, but he grabbed my arm when I tried. I turned and deflected his hand, shifting it away from his center so I could slam the heel of my hand into his solar plexus.
It didn’t move him far but I hadn’t expected it to. Just to stun him a moment and loosen his grip on me enough to pull my arm from his hand.
He raised his eyebrows. “You’ve kept up with your training.”
I knew the slant of those eyebrows. Smug, like he’d caught me at something. I repositioned my bag again. “It’s muscle memory. Don’t get excited.”
A few blocks over, someone’s car horn went off and Ray stiffened. All at once, the sounds of my sleepy urban neighborhood flooded me–and Ray standing in the middle of it, with his black leather armor and short sword and ridiculous manly muscles.
“Fine. Stay here and Fallon will just die,” he said.
There’s the melodramatic Ray I once knew. I glanced around me. It was still empty, the world winding down for the night.
“Fallon will evolve,” I said, “like all worlds. Get your head out of your ass. I’m not the savior of Fallon, I’m not a unique key to fixing your problem–”
“It’s not just my problem. You were born Fallonian, half of you belongs there, is of Fallon.”
My gut reels like a punch in the stomach. I step back. “And there are others more qualified than me, so stop acting like I alone can save the day. I’m not a superhero.”
That awkward moment when you wrote up your response and forgot to post it and only remembered days later when you find it in your drafts folder *cringe* so you backdate it so you don’t look AS lame
Today’s prompt was perfume / honeysuckle / pop
Today’s prompt response developed in two phases. First, the dialogue. I came up with the dialogue completely out of context of any description. So my main task was to build up prose around it.
Building prose around dialogue doesn’t always work out for me. In a story with characters I know well, it’s my preferred method of scene sketching before drafting. Developing the two independently of each other is difficult and comes out awkwardly to me. So this piece feels all over the place. Definitely not my best work. But it’s one of those scenes that I’d like to redo one day.
Happy writing, y’all!