Happy Hump Day!
Brace yourself – this is a pretty long post.
So I’ve been pretty busy lately – busier than I anticipated, and it’s become harder to keep up with #TuesFlashFicTrain and my own writing (some of that is due to a lack of motivation/laziness, which I’m attempting to fix), as well as making time to just read. The current schedule for the contest is also not working, so I need to retreat into a hiatus while I figure out some ways to spread the word/make the contest more accessible to those who might want to participate.
Along with that I need to make time to really hunker down and make progress on Withered Legacy. It doesn’t help that I keep getting sidetracked with stories like Videl’s, Ari’s, and Emma’s. So, today’s post serves as something of an announcement – #TuesFlashFicTrain will be on hold until the first week of January, when it will come back full swing. In the meantime, I’ll go back to doing what I was doing before – participating in flash contests and working on Withered Legacy. I’ll try to post as often as possible, and continue to share some prompts (maybe repost some #TuesFlashFicTrain prompts that didn’t get responses).
I’ll also be attempting to at least finish up Emma and Malakai’s story – they’re close to the end so I want to take them all the way and then post the entire story somewhere to be read in a more cohesive way. Ariella the Vampire Bride will be hovering in limbo for a while – I don’t think that’s a story I want to tell in short bursts. As for Videl, she’s coming and going. I never intended for her to be a thing, but my muse has run amok with me as far as she’s concerned. I’m still feeling my way through her life, too. We’ll see where she takes me, I guess.
In the meantime, here’s another peek into her world! Today’s snippet is something of a free-write inspired by Our Write Side’s Master Class series, the “Delicate Dreaming” prompt.
I never realized what a light sleeper I am until now. The tiniest things disrupt my dreams – a sound, a breeze.
How many times have I woken up like this – chilled to the bone in cold sweat, my panicked eyes furiously searching the room for some sense of comfort? That comfort never comes, though, and I’m left feeling empty and scared, trying not to remember the nightmare my dream had become. This time isn’t any different, but the shock of knowing where I am this time, instead of struggling to remember, hits me harder than any nightmare could.
My name is Videl. I am twenty-five years old and, up until the night before my most recent birthday, I was my own. Now, my soul belongs to the devil and for the first time, I remember that detail as soon as I wake up. The room I sleep in is now familiar, though I don’t think it’ll ever be comforting. If I’m being honest, I’ve lost track of time – how long has it been since that day? A week, a month? Was I even still technically twenty-five?
“Listen – I’m not going to pretend to care, Videl.” Marcus pushed his glasses up higher on his nose, eyes like finely cut emerald. “But I do understand what you’re going through – kind of. It’ll be odd at first, difficult to adjust, but you will.”
“How long have you been like this?” He seemed so comfortable in this existence. Even if he had sold his own soul, unlike me, this couldn’t have been easy to get used to. I fiddled with the ring on my finger, knowing all I had to do was remove it and I’d be greeted with a sight of horror.
“Centuries. It’s been a very, very long time.” He wrote something down on his clip board. “We don’t age – a perk of the job, if you will, and part of the reason we have to cut ties with friends and family. Can’t have everyone knocking at the door asking for eternal youth…”
“Isn’t that what he would want, though – people selling their souls left and right to get whatever they wanted?”
“There’s a system, and it shouldn’t be abused. It’s a delicate balance, Videl. If disturbed, it would wreak havoc.”
“And that’s bad?”
“Yes – even for the boss. He thrives best under the system.”
I’ve yet to meet the boss, though I’m fairly sure I never want to. It’ll happen eventually, though, and when it does I don’t think I’ll be ready for it. Despite Marcus’ uncaring words, he did make me feel slightly better. I’ve even come to think of him as something of a comrade – maybe even a friend someday. I’m ashamed to admit he was the subject of my most recent dream, though I’m fairly sure why. He’s the first person I met after my transition, so it wasn’t a surprise that I latched onto him. At any rate, Marcus didn’t seem to mind, or he wouldn’t have let me stay at his house. Then again, he didn’t have a choice in the matter. Apparently he’d been ordered to.
We don’t technically need to sleep (I only do it to attempt normalcy), so I’m not surprised to find Marcus awake in the parlor-turned-library. His house is old and somewhat Victorian in style, with high ceilings and arches in odd places. The furniture is more on the modern side, removing any sense of old world comfort that might have come with the architecture.
“Giving up on sleep are we?” There’s a single lamp on in the room, lighting the end of the couch where he sits and reads a book open in his lap.
“No, not yet. I just can’t sleep.” I walk around the room once, looking at the hundreds of books that line the walls. A particularly old copy of Doctor Faustus catches my eye (because of course it would) and I’m careful not to damage it as I pull it out and make my way to the couch. The lamp on his end gives off enough light that I don’t need to turn on another one. “You don’t strike me as a Marlowe fan.”
He chuckles at my observation. “I’m not, but there’s something satisfying about owning that particular piece.”
At least he has a sense of humor. I feel him watching me for a second, before he switches his attention back to his own book. I take the chance to observe him, noting how easily he’s engrossed with whatever he reads. A part of me wants to ask him what he’s reading, but I’m too fascinated by his expression to interrupt him. The usual apathy is gone, replaced instead with a kind of wonder I’ve only ever seen in the eyes of a child exciting about learning something new.
If he notices me watching him, he doesn’t give any indication. I’m struck with the sudden realization that I have no idea why he sold his soul, although he knew what happened to me. I’s difficult not to just blurt out the question, but I manage, directing my attention back to my own reading material. There are a few blankets folded between us, and I reach over to grab a particularly large one, wrapping myself in it. Almost immediately, my eyes begin to droop.
When I wake up I’m still on the couch, though I slid down into a lying position at some point, curled up to Doctor Faustus. I’m tangled in blankets, and it’s a moment before I manage to get up. The room is still fairly dark, and the lamp is off, leaving it filled with gray, early morning light floating in through the window. Sunrise was only moments away – although I had a hard time remembering how long I’d been like this, my body was attuned to these kinds of changes, and I instinctually knew when the sun would rise and set. Anticipating the sight, I grabbed the blanket and draped it over my shoulders before putting the book back and making my way to the window I knew faced east. As I lean against the pain, catch movement in the reflected on the room behind me.
He doesn’t respond, and when I turn around he isn’t there, though I can feel the echo of his movement, his presence. Had he come to check if I was still there? The sun begins to peek over the horizon, and I turn my attention back to the sight outside. As it rises, it lights the countryside. In the distance I can see the nearest city – my hometown – and imagine people must be starting their day. My mom is probably getting up for work. I’m not sure why, but that’s the thought that finally unhinges me and brings tears I didn’t think I still had.
Hope you liked it! Feel free to leave any feedback (pertaining to the story or otherwise!) in the comments – I thrive on it and I’m always looking to improve 🙂 Also, be sure to check out the other Master Class prompts – they’re always pretty awesome and Our Write Side is never short on fuel for us to write!
As always, think happy thoughts!
Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on picturequotes.com