So here it is! The final part in the short story exercise where three first lines were submitted and broken down into three short stories. For this I kept the same storyline. This last one did not turn out as planned to which I am happy. This story was able to write itself.
So as ever, please read and give feedback on how you found it.
If you are interested in supplying me with first lines and challenging me to complete the story, let me know and I will try my best to please.
I hope you enjoy.
Escape or Perish: Part three
I woke up in a start, and stared hard at my outstretched hand. I didn’t recognise my own body. The clothes I wore felt awkward, itchy and tight. My skin was damp and cool. My heart thumped hard against my chest as if eager to escape. A metallic taste filled my mouth and my sense of smell had been lost.
The room span making my vision blurred, but I knew something was different. My fingers were long and my hand club like. My clothes were a lighter shade than before, my hair no longer brushed against my shoulders or felt heavy. I contemplated moving into a seated position but by then I was gone.
I was no longer in the dark, clammy underground. I was in a field, on an overcast day. There were a mass of cadavers spread throughout all brought down by some evil. They were soiled in dirt and blood, their eyes open but lifeless. Some had been mortally wounded with swords and daggers through their heart, others by a force not seen by the human eye.
In the midst of the horror, a man and a child walked through surveying the carcasses. The man, early twenties in a pristine white army uniform of the highest regard, walked along with his hands clasped behind his back. The child, barely over the age of five, walked close to him, each time attempting to hold the man’s hand he was rebuffed. Immediately I knew they were father and son.
“Dead, dead, dead. They have paid for their sins, son. They are weak and feeble,” the father said to his son.
The man stopped at a body that was writhing in pain and was avoided the pleasure of being put out of his misery. The father removed his hands from behind his back and looked at the body with disgust.
“I am going to teach you son not to be afraid of death. For if you fear death, you will become consumed by it. The man said removing a dagger from a sheath on his hip. “Son, I want you to place this in the man’s heart.”
The father pointed to a spot and nodded towards the suffering body. The child was confused and scared. He went to grab the trouser leg of his father but was forced off by a shove. The child fell backwards, landing on his back next to the wounded man and began to cry. The father was disappointed and showed his contempt by spitting on him.
“You will never amount to anything with that attitude.” The man raised the dagger and completed the deed himself.
I could do nothing but watch on. As the dagger pierced the man’s chest, I am not too sure who screamed the most, the dying soldier or the child. Then-
I was no longer in the field but in a room. I didn’t have any sense of feeling but I knew the room was warm. A round table was placed in the centre with two chairs opposite. There was was no other adornments made for the room. The door swung open but I couldn’t move, I wasn’t really there. The two individuals walked into the room, closed the door and literally walked through my incorporeal state. It was the father and son, this time at an adult age. The two stood in regal attire with their backs to me. I recognised the voices but nothing else.
“How did it feel, son? Liberating? Powerful?” The older man asked with passion.
“To be honest father, I found it unnecessary,” the son answered with little interest.
“Unnecessary? Unnecessary? You just killed a man, a man that is a threat to our land,” the Father said with gesturing hands.
“He had already surrendered, there were no means necessary for you to make me slaughter him. It was not pleasant.”
The fathers mood soured. His hands were held close to the side of his body, his body tensing up and even though I could not see it, I knew his teeth were clenched together.
“If I had it my way, I would never allow you to serve as King,” the father said as he turned and spat hard in the face of his son.
My heart sank for the younger man, to live with such a cruel father. The scenario was fitting into place but I did not realise the impact it would have on me. The two men faded along with the table and chairs and were in turn replaced with flames circling the room and a large broth at the centre. Two dark cloaked beings were hunched over the broth, their hoods concealing their eyes and lips. The shorter of the two removed the hood and revealed an old woman with long grey hair, wrinkled skin and a fragile frame.
“As you can see,” the woman croaked pointing towards the broth, “they are coming.”
“All the pain and suffering he has caused the villagers, reducing their belongings to nothing but ashes and this all for the purpose to cover his failings and leave the blame on his Son. You are awkward, shy and do not own a voice. You allow yourself to be dominated by your Father. At the Grove the King’s men slaughtered innocent cattle and set it on fire, leaving a trail that led to you. They are turning everyone against you so he can hand pick his successor. He is afraid you will be twice the man he will he ever be and you have something he despises. A heart,” the old woman said with a cackle.
If I could have moved, I would have. If I could have felt my heart at that moment I knew it would hurt. The Grove was my family’s business and was destroyed as an example of disobeying the Prince’s order of not selling up. That was the confession made by the King and now doubt filled my thoughts.
“There is only one way around this. We must stop the King, by giving you powers that are unlike any other and reduce to him to nothing but a being. If he is allowed to remain at the throne, the world will be destroyed and there will be nothing but creatures left to pick apart our meats. He is raising an army to hold overall power. I warn you though, if you do accept, you will be seen as a villainous Prince turned King, as darkness will swallow the light, the soil will turn to dust and the creatures will still rise. But you, you will be able to control them in a manner that will not cause harm. You must use them in your favour, and no-one must know of this.”
The taller cloaked figure removed the hood and before it fell I knew the face it would reveal.
“I am willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the people and the land,” Prince Christmas choked as tears ran down his face.
The room faded into dust, the flames burning out and all that was left was a corridor lit up by lanterns. I knew the corridor well as it led to the Head Servants room, a place I had been on many occasions. King Christmas strode down the hallway with a whistle and a bunch of hand-picked roses in his most pristine uniform. I had never seen this side of him before, it was as if he had no care in the world. He headed to the room with determination and hope. As he placed his hand around the door knob, I knew the horror he would witness. I wanted to scream so he would turn back around, I wanted to warn him. I couldn’t and it was a futile thought as this was a flashback and this moment had already taken place.
He slowly opened the door with the flowers tucked behind his back and went to step in but stopped dead. I could not see his reaction but I could see his view. His desire, his love, his Lizzie was curved over a writing desk; her dress ripped with her breasts exposed enjoying a man that was not him. Her eyes were closed, pleasure expressed across her face, her screams increasing in pitch. If I could I would have turned away. I could see myself, standing tall behind Lizzie, a hand pulling on her hair as I thrust repeatedly deep inside her, blissfully unaware of the King’s eyes upon us.
I could feel the King’s heart break at that moment. I could sense the pain and the anguish and if it was me in his position, I would have struck the two down there and then. He was not me. King Christmas turned, closing the door silently, tears once again streaming his face. His expression turned to frustration and anger as he threw the flowers hard against the wall and clenched his fists tight. The lanterns shattered and scattered glass across the corridor carpet. That was the moment his hate for me began and never ceased.
I gasped for breath and spluttered a cough. I was back in the basement and I could move. I understood everything that had transpired for King Christmas to be the man that he was. I felt guilty as I was partly to blame for his foul attitude and anger. I seduced his love as an act of revenge, extending the truth, making her despise the man. I was just as bad as his father. He had sacrificed himself for the good of the land and would never be respected as King.
As I sat up I looked down at the strange form and realised that I was in the King’s body. When I was thrown across the room from the force the cell, something must have transpired for our minds to switch. The magic that filled the room, the hold the King placed on me and the charge from the cells all combined had adverse effects. That explained the flashbacks. They were the horrors he tried to put past him but lingered on his mind. I glanced across the basement to find the cell door open, the monsters corpse lying flat a few feet from it with the King’s sword buried deep inside the chest. I looked at the man that stood above him. It was my body, my thin form and my tattered clothing. It was not me though. The eyes and smirk disturbed me. My stomach dropped.
I looked at the glazed over eyes of the beast and a chill ran over me. The eyes were different from the monster that I saw previously. Before I knew it, my corporeal body was walking over towards me with hatred in its eyes; the sword removed from the beast’s corpse and hung high above my form. I stared over at the final resting place of King Christmas and whispered ‘I’m Sorry’. I did not bother giving old King Jered, the person now owning my body, the satisfaction of flinching. I was to pay for my actions so I did not put up a fight. The sword cut through the neck with ease and the head of King Christmas rolled off.
I felt my soul release from the dead form. I was mixed in the air and I could see everything; the blood, the dirt and the horror of the basement. My body stood tall with a smug look, blood from the murdered beings splattered across the clothing. I continued to rise and I felt the darkness take me.
My eyes opened to darkness wits the smell of death and soil present. I twitched my body and I could feel wood surrounding me. I was in a coffin like structure. My body felt weird as if it did not belong to me and inherited to serve a bigger purpose.
My story had just begun.