Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Five

I’m all tied up — flat on a medical bed, fit for an asylum.

Everything is in black and grey. Void of any vibrant colours.

The floor is made up of black dust and we were inside a half sunken old ruin.

No other soul in sight.

At arrival here in the void, the old man had dragged me onto a contraption that instantly came alive, straps wrapping around my torso, arms and legs.

‘Fascinating, does it not hurt?’

I shake my head, stunned.

He takes out an odd looking thread needle and pokes me. I feel nothing. He tries to slice me with an ancient dagger and again, I feel nothing.

Everything he takes out of his many pockets slid over my skin like it was made of glass.

He couldn’t draw blood if he wanted to and if I had a drop of blood in me.

He said I was a Golem? I barely knew what a Golem was. In the video games, I played those were the giant zombies. I’m pretty sure I still looked like a boy or else Kera would have said something.

Looking down at my body, it showed me everything was normal, my familiar long skinny legs and bony chest, but somehow I wasn’t ordinary anymore.

I remember being human; I’m pretty sure I was human before I died. I’ve had all kinds of vaccinations to protect me since I was a child. No help if you ask me, considering I died, but the needles definitely pierced my skin then.

‘What are you going to do with me?’ the straps holding me down moved along with me. The more I struggled, the tighter they became.

‘ A curious question, yes, but I’m more interested in what you are. Do you think if I drop a boulder ten times your size on you, would you break?’

I begin struggling, but the straps tighten, becoming like a second skin.

‘Don’t worry, I won’t do it, Benny boy, you’re special now, and I would say indestructible.’ He loosens the straps and sets me free and begins walking, leaving his strange contraption behind and into the dark.

As he walks, the only source of light followed; slowly ebbing away from me, leaving me in the shadows.

‘You seem to be made up of a resilient but malleable essence. Once molded into a form, it becomes unbreakable. I’ve never seen it before. I can sense old magic, quite ancient mind you. Primordial. Wherever you came from, it’s not from any world I’ve been to, but maybe it is where I will find the solution to my problem.’ the old man mumbling with himself.

‘Who are you?’

‘Who am I. I have many names, but I was once Baldemar Wayland, a blacksmith.’

We walk and walk as he tells his tale. He is lost in its telling and me in listening.

‘I had a beautiful wife and daughter, but everything changed when a divinity came into our lives, Gods and their magic.’ he grumbled.

Not too far away I could see a short three-story building with its own source of light. It looked so lonely and abandoned in this place.

‘The God had the whole of creation dripping from his hands. He created creatures at whim, made my daughter a creature of her imagination! Something I could not give her or create in my smithy.’

As we draw closer, in front of a grey three-floor house, there was a female automaton that closely resembled a young woman but made out of gold plated metal. She had dark hair loosely tied in a bun, wearing a long black dress with an apron. She was plucking grey roses from a grey garden. She looked angelic, like a young maid painted in the old painting.

‘Hello, Ava, I see you’ve grown bored with your machines again.’ Baldemar remarks before pecking her on the cheek and entering the house.

‘Not bored, I’m simply seeking inspiration. If you took me with you in your adventures, I could be less inclined to become uninterested.’ Ava smiles at me and beckons me to enter the house.

‘I am Ava, Baldemar’s only companion; you would think he’d be more accommodating. So who may you be? An enemy or a guest?’

I didn’t know what to say. Firstly, Ava was an amazing creation. Whoever had created her made her look and move like a human. Her thoughts and way of speaking, it was like talking to a real live human.

Ava sighs, ‘He looks a little dimwitted to me, Baldy.’ She pokes me in the middle of my forehead. I feel nothing.

‘I’m Ben. Whoever created you must be bloody brilliant.’ I follow her through a metal swing door.

Inside was a cozy living room next to a dining room by an open kitchen that looked half like a witches laboratory.

Ava moves close and scans me from top to bottom and smirks, it blows my mind. It had all the right wrinkles, and dimples and her eyes had crinkles, eyeballs to looks so lifelike.

‘Baldy made me, although he treats me like his daughter. I get punishments, studies, house rules, and chores while at the same time, he tells me stories of places he’s been. He likes to talk a lot.’

‘Ava, can you please go upstairs and finish the project we’ve been working on. I’m sure you’ve dallied enough. I’ll need it on my next trip. I’ve found the god child.’

‘Can’t I do it later; I want to talk to our guest. I’ve never met anyone my age before.’

Baldemar’s face darkens; at the sight of it, Ava frowns and leaves without a word. She heads to the far end of the living room and turns to a staircase on the right, heading up she stomps like a child. I’m not sure if she was doing it purposely or she was just heavy. She is partially made up of intricate machinery.

‘She is my daughter you know. My real daughter. She is older than the discovery of the moon. Older than the oldest ruin in any world, she lived hundreds of years ago, during a time when Gods roamed the earth and before they hid in their realm afraid of us.’

Baldemar hands me a cup filled with a thick fluid that smelled foul.

‘Drink it, it will be your only source of sustenance here,’ I take the cup and sip, it tastes like a blend of bitter gourd, fish oil and something harshly sweet. I try not to hurl.

‘I placed her soul in that body myself. Her body I made by hand, piece by piece. I killed the God and stole his magic to do so. Metal tainted with godly magic. It was only fair, why couldn’t we have powers of our own? Why could I not keep my child alive forever?’

‘Is that what this place is? Your creation?’ The concoction was disgusting. I could feel it oozing down my oesophagus.

Baldemar snorts, ‘No, I was exiled here, given the title of God Killer.

However, I was not the only one who killed a God. Other mortals realized the divinity could be killed, so they hunted. Soon the Gods fought, ran and barred the other worlds from their realm.’ He pours himself a cup of the horrid mixture gulping it down like water.

‘But it was too late, with all the dead gods, magic surged through all the worlds and mortals and I later discovered that the killer like I, could not absorb all the magic; I could not become a God.’ Baldemar grew pensive, lost in thought.

I wasn’t sure to be afraid of this man or want to become his friend. I could understand his situation. In a way, it isn’t so different from the rich kids in school who got away with anything just because they had powerful connections or their parents were working in high places.

However, I am stuck in this godforsaken place, literally, and stuck with a killer who killed a God to boot. How could I possibly get out of here and find Luna?

‘Did you know, the moment a God dies, their essence disperses. It doesn’t cease to exist but moves into the particles around us. The air, the sand, in the tiny particles that make us what we are. Finding a new and capable host. No mortal is capable of holding so much magic but they can have a part of it if they are worthy.’

‘Then why do you stay here? It’s dark, gloomy, and colorless when you have so much power.’ I pass him back the cup empty.

‘I have control here. No one can enter the void, and no one can leave it but me, so don’t bother to try.’

I wouldn’t know what to do first even if I tried.

There was something off about this place.

A deadness to it.

Or was I feeling my lifelessness?

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fantasy, Short Story

Forever a Twinkle

The wheels of the plane screech as it bounces against the ground. Voices grow hushed while some reach higher pitches. The fight against gravity becomes intense. There I sit by the window feeling my heart leap at each bound. While fear or nonchalance spreads through the passengers, I grow excited. I was on my way home.

The plane takes its final leap and rises high. Below, the city lights are a cobweb of glowing orbs all holding different secrets, stories and dreams. Mine no longer theirs to find.

On the ground, a few look up and see a rising plane soaring through the sky. A single window blinking brightly.

Looking away from the openness outside my window I move my attention to the human, her name was Kara. She had an abusive husband, but as she walks down the plane’s aisle, she beams at everyone but hiding under powder was a bruise on her chin.

She was about to perform the manoeuvres that remind the humans in case of an emergency.  I take no heed. However, I think of how I would love for a final taste of a cup of coffee.

With some help from Tabitha, a human I befriended from down on earth I was able to purchase this ticket after working a few months at a café. That was when I had the first taste of the coffee.

They came in many different styles and flavours. I loved my coffee black with a few tablespoons of cream and sugar. Deliciously sweet, although Tabitha found it disgusting. It was best consumed with a cake of a sort off course.

I had been introduced to many different types of delicacies, but my favourite was a chewy square block of soft brownie. It was divine, and I had sneaked one aboard. The last piece baked by Tabitha. She had laughed and called me cute at my first bite. She was a colourful soul. One I enjoyed the company of.

She had found me walking the streets in barely any clothes, she had just finished work and had no energy to be taking in a “Drunk psycho” as she had called me. However, her heart was full of guilt so taking me under her wing was her way to make herself feel better.

It was all-new for me, the strange sounds, the way humans spoke but I learnt enough to adapt quickly. Tabitha happened to have lost a roommate and helped me find a job which helped her pay the rent.

Being with humans is very different on earth compared to my usual viewpoint. It was painful but beautiful. I shudder as I recall my time below.

It was hard to be human but…every moment was magic. Every second we laughed the bond solidified. When she cried, I found myself crying randomly a mile away at work dripping tears in someone else’s coffee. When she got her dream promotion, the joy in her was brimming in me. Bursting out by sending me skipping home although my feet were weary.

I soon learnt with every scent of light; there was a shadow. A balance in the universe.

In her oblivious joy and many years of hard work she soon discovers too late that she has a sickness that was beyond healing. Her time had come.

Looking back out the window, the clouds drift past, I could begin to see the other stars sparkling in reach. My heart leaps, and tears slip down my cheeks.

“Excuse me, would you like anything to drink?” says the stewardess politely.

I quickly wipe the tears away and turn to smile at her.

“Yes please, I would love a cup of coffee Kara.”

“Sure, no problem,” says Kara looking at me oddly, “How did you know my name?” she asks. I laugh and scratch my head forgetting again about my bad habit of saying people’s names when not introduced. Then I see her name tag.

“Nametag!” I say, and Kara laughs as she hands me the cup of coffee. “Yes, of course, any sugar and cream?”

I nod my head. As she places the cup of cream and a packet of sugar on my table, I could see outside through the window the world beginning to change.

The sky turns from light pastel blue to a dark midnight hue, and the stars come alive. They begin to form a ring, and as the massive metal bird flies through it, passengers halt in the middle of their actions. Time has frozen.

Passengers with cups halfway up to their lips, couples secretly kissing in the shadows frozen in their embrace, while some frozen in time digging their nose.

Symbols begin to form on every forehead, each symbol glowing, representing a part of them that was part of my home. A piece of the skies and stars the remnant of them that was always searching for something.

Each symbol, if I touched it, would render them to speak their deepest secret, and with each utter of their secret they would be free, but it was not their time.

I took the last sip of my coffee and spoke my secret.

“I of the midnight blue sky, the star in the corner of the universe between earth and sky, protector of wishes and dreams. Fallen but now risen.”

Light begins to seep out my skin, and I explode into a vortex of light, free from my restraints and willingly fall into the embrace of the night.

On the seat beside me, Tabitha’s figure wakes from a dream. She calls out my name as I turn into a bright silhouette.

She stares at me amazed, but I could sense her fear.

“Are you sure you want to know your secret Tabitha?” I ask her barely a murmur in the silence between time and space.

Tabitha sits up and nods, “I want to be free.”

I gently touch the symbol on her forehead.

“I Tabitha Dawn Green, the soul of a hundred and thirty-two lives has reached her end of returns. To become the guardian of the star in the corner of the universe between earth and sky, protector of wishes and dreams.”

Tabitha disintegrates into a cloud of shimmering dust. Swirling around me, giving me an embrace.

The plane flies on, two passengers less and no one to know. Forgotten but never lost and forever a twinkle.

 

Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash

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