Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pass the Plot #1, Scene 6--End

What could she say? She was here because ever since she could walk she’d been told it was her duty, her privilege, to wear the necklace, to come to the lake, to meet her fate face to face.

She’d been lied to.

“Why Grammy?” Rhea-Anne whispered. When the time comes, be brave and do what you must, her Grammy had always said. Be the sacrificial-idiot was more like it.

Lucas gazed into the dark water above him. “It’s time,” he said.

Rhea-Anne flailed against the weeds holding her. “Wait! I—I”

“I can’t wait anymore!” He cut through the water, stirring up sediment.

Miranda fidgeted with the silver spike, allowing it to float between her hands. “I still don’t think she understands—”

Lucas grabbed the spike. It arched through the water, and Rhea-Anne squeezed her eyes closed. This was it—how could this be it?

The spike sliced through the weeds binding her wrist. Her eyes flew open.

They were releasing her? Dark shapes swarmed around her, glowing gazes watching, waiting. Maybe she had a chance. If she could reach the surface… She swallowed a mouthful of thick swamp sludge. Running was probably exactly what they wanted.

As Lucas sliced through the last weed, Rhea-Anne let herself float into an upright position. She wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of a chase.

“I’m ready,” she whispered, her voice coming out stronger than she felt.

Lucas’s jaw clenched, his eyes cold, but he nodded. Grabbing her arm, he pressed the handle of the spike against her fingers.

“Take your blood-debt, princess,” he said, throwing his arms wide to bare his pale chest.

Rhea-Anne gaped, but Lucas didn’t move. She looked down at the weeds that had held her. “You tied me down…I was…”

Miranda swam forward, bowing at the waist. “You were fighting the swamp, princess, and clutching your throat. We were afraid you would rip off the locket and break the water-breathing spell. We meant no offence.”

“But—”

“Enough.” The water vibrated with Lucas’s voice, and his clawed fingers pressed against her cheek, forcing her too look into his drawn face. “End this princess. Free my people.”

Rhea-Anne glanced at the silver spike, and then back up at his exposed chest. “I—I can’t.”

Lucas dropped his arms, his cold eyes imploring her. No, not cold. Terrified. Rhea-Anne gulped. She’d probably had that same look moments ago.

“Please, princess. Make it fast. Take your blood, your revenge.”

She shook her head and kicked her feet to swim out of his reach. Lucas’s expression twisted, and he charged through the water, invading her space.

He grabbed her arms, his claws digging into the skin but not breaking it. “We have faithfully met you for the blood-pact for the last 400 years. You will not deny us now, when we are about to be free.” He shook her. “Do it.”

Rhea-Anne’s fingers tightened around the hilt of the spike. Be brave, her Grammy had said. How many others had been in her shoes over the last 400 years? She looked at all of those gathered around her. No wonder they hate me.

“Do it,” Lucas commanded again, but then his voice broke. “Please. Make it quick.”

Closing her eyes, she nodded and gripped the spike tighter. Be brave. Do what you must. Her eyes flew open, and she swung out. The spike cut cleanly through the water, but when it encountered flesh, shock ran up her fingers.

A white slit appeared on Lucas’s bicep and then filled slowly with darker liquid. A tremble shook him, crawling into her arms.

“You would draw it out?” he asked, his voice a low rasp.

Rhea-Anne shook her head and dropped the spike. It floated down into the weeds below her feet.

Thin tendrils of blood drifted out of the shallow wound in his arm, twisting in the sedentary water. As the first thin strand reached her, the Brantley locket glowed lightly.

“I have taken my blood,” she said. “Your debt is paid in full.”

Rhea-Anne saw the shock cross Lucas’s face, but the glowing locket soon blinded her. No, it was more than the locket, light was bursting from the shadows around her.

A wave of dizziness hit her, and she fell to her knees, pebbles bruising her skin. Her lungs were heavy, wrong. She coughed up water and it splashed against the ground.

She blinked. That wasn’t right. There couldn’t be splashes underwater, unless—-she wasn’t underwater.

All around her, men and women pushed themselves off the ground. A handful of children took cautious steps on wobbly legs before finding the stride it took to jump, to run. At her side, something warm moved, and Rhea-Anne whirled around to see a man studying his fingertips.

Lucas looked at her and smiled, his flat teeth reflecting the moonlight. “Thank you, princess.”


END

2 comments:

Kalayna-Nicole Price said...

Okay, I admit it. I went for the cheese.

Hope you like!

Darlene C. Goodman said...

I don't think it's cheese. I mean, at least she didn't wake up from a dream or something.... Now that would have been cheese.