Friday, October 22, 2010

For Her Mother's Sake (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the wonderful Karlene "KJ'" Jacobsen @ her blog, Homespun Expressions. Click here to read and share more great fiction.

Author's Ramblings: This is a snippet from one of my current WIP's, I was aiming for an allegorical slant on it. I'm trying to distract myself from NaNoWriMo and was working on the first instance where two characters finalize a contract. It's a meeting of a spherical guardian and her new "holder". I was experimenting with how long I could write without using names (I hadn't decided on any yet) and working on creating some backstory for them. This scene is taken directly after Nicole has realized there is nothing left in her life. She has seen her father murdered for trying to protect her and understands that her mother was killed in the line of duty. Her mother was something of a government spy, but within realms, rather than governments. Her history had simply grown large enough that they deemed her a threat and thus removed her. They didn't expect to encounter resistance--the husband--and are trying to find Nicole. Merona is a rouge spherical guardian, who has roamed free for quite some time and has quite a reputation behind her. I'll let you read the rest of her backstory, but just so you understand some of it. A spherical guardian in my world/realm, is a being of intense power and ability, who bonds with a human in contract form, to help them fulfill a specific goal. They usually appear to folk in need and when the 'heart' is repaired, they absorb the negative energy and convert it into something useful. Anyway, happy NaNo-approaching and happy reading. Enjoy your weekend and please leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

A similar street view from where Merona was keeping watch.


The woman watched her from the opposite side of the street, noting the shadows beneath her eyes and the sideways tilt of her head. Her lips twitched as the young girl inched further out into the sunlight gracing the sidewalk to fully converse with the mailman standing at the apartment door.

Her head was bowed and she gave the occasional nod as the man continued to rant on about undeliverable mail. He ended with words that made the girl take several steps backward in fright. Her reaction was noted by the irate man who stopped with his wild arm gestures and leaned closer in to get a better look at her.


The child’s reaction was immediate, as she backtracked all the way up the crumbling stone stairs and into the dark confines of the apartment. A thick metal door was slammed in the face of the newly apologetic civil servant, who, after a few minutes, soon returned to the sidewalk and his usual route.

From across the street, the tall woman smiled. A wisp of red-blonde hair teased across her face as she pushed away from the shadowed red-brick wall of the rundown building. Her hiding place was nice for the vantage point and lousy for the comfort factor. Brushing off a few flecks of dust and ash, she smoothed her black leather jacket and then the matching pair of pants that accented it. Her buckled boots reached about mid-thigh as she ran one finger absently over the folded edge, where a black and gold-handled knife rested comfortably. Her eyes flickered up and down the street in their cautious, routine appraisal of her surroundings as she began to trek across the street.

“Ma Cherie.” She murmured softly. “You shouldna be alone.”

Climbing the steps, she stood at the front door, staring at it for nearly a full minute, before she twitched her shoulders and vanished.

There was a soft sucking sound until she reappeared on the other side, her body solidifying as she rocked backwards on her heels. The entryway was empty, while the rest of the apartment was rather dull and dark.

Her steps were deliberate and echoing as she moved further down the hallway, pausing to stick her head in various doors and then to examine the contents of each room. When she first heard the whimper, her head snapped around at once.

A smirk appeared on her face as she exited the room and paused at the foot of a narrow staircase. The apartment’s upper floor seemed even darker than the rooms below it. With a creak accompanying each footstep, the woman cocked her head to the side, listening for the sniffles until she found the right room.
In the midst of a twisted bundle of blankets, the young girl huddled beneath for warmth, her body shaking with the sobs that were now freely leaving her mouth.

She hadn’t even heard her intruder.

A snatch of curiosity came over the woman as she simply stood inside the doorway and watched. Something akin to fascination was painted across her pert features as she studied the sorrowful specimen bawling on the bed.

For awhile, the sounds of hiccups and wails filled the room.

The woman made no attempt to interrupt or introduce herself. She simply watched and waited.

When the hiccups began to turn into longer, gasping fits, a sliver of concern finally registered and the woman moved forward.

The steady click of her boot heels immediately announced her presence and by the time the girl realized what they meant, she was caught up in a pair of strong arms and carried down the rickety stairs.

Her hiccups came out in full-force as the woman set her down on top of the shaky kitchen table and turned her attention to the cupboards. She rummaged through one and then through another, before returning to the girl’s side with a steaming, liquid-filled, ceramic mug. Tiny, pale fingers wrapped around the white mug as the girl accepted the gesture.

Fear was swiftly overridden by need when the strange woman produced a tasty-looking bowl of macaroni and cheese.

Plaintive cornflower-blue eyes stared up at her, rimmed in red and swollen from abuse, they begged the questions her mouth could not yet form.

The woman responded by scooping up a spoonful of the macaroni and blowing softly on it, before offering the mouthful.

Trembling, pink lips parted, admitting the morsel of food.

The ritual continued until the bowl was empty.

“You didn’t go to school today.” The woman whispered, nudging the mug higher up to the girl’s mouth. “Drink this, it will help you feel better.”

“Dinna want to go.” The girl managed.

“Your mother wouldn’t like that.”

“Mommy’s dead.” Her swollen eyes squeezed shut. “Dead. All dead. Everyone.” Her tiny hands tightened around the lukewarm mug.

“Then why are you still here?”

A second helping of tears threatened to spill out. “Don’t want to leave.” The words were barely audible as a brilliant smile came through the mini waterfall.

The woman straightened and smiled. “That’s good, Nicole.” She cooed. “That’s very good.”

“W-who are you?”

“So it is working.” The woman took the cup back. “I was starting to wonder. We can’t stay here, love. It isn’t safe.”

“What’s going on?”

“We’ll deal with that later.” The woman threw the cup towards the sink and turned her back to the girl, holding up her hands. “Piggyback, c’mon. Can’t stay here much longer. We’ve wasted too much time.”

“Time?” Cold, small hands slowly slid around the woman’s neck. “Bad wrong?”

“Mmm, yes. Something’s bad wrong.” The woman growled, a low sound in her throat directed over her shoulder towards the hallway. “Hold on tight.”

There was no answer from the girl.

In a blur of reality and insanity, the woman stood atop the roof of the building where she’d watched the apartment across the street. The little girl was now sitting at her feet, her cold arms wrapped around one leg, her mind not yet comprehending the circumstances.

A darkened glare deepened on the woman’s face as she watched several men in black uniforms storm the apartment complex. She sighed and sat down, carefully drawing the girl into her lap. Unzipping her coat, the woman leaned forward, wrapping what she could around the shivering girl.

“Now is a bad time for one of those.” She murmured, fingering the few strands of mouse-brown hair from the girl’s face. “You know what I am?”

“My name is Nicole.” The girl swallowed hard. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Nicole. Do you know what I am?”

“Are you going to help me?”

“Maybe.”

“Did you belong to my mom?”

“I belong to no one.”

“You were her friend?”

“From a distance, yes.”

“Why didn’t you help her?”

“I could not.”

“Why!”

“My master’s orders were more compelling.”

“You said you didn’t belong!” The angry girl jerked around in the warm arms surrounding her. Anger was scripted across her features in a ripple of red-rimmed eyes, flushed red cheeks and a pucker at the corner of her forehead to accompany fisted hands. “I hate you!”

“I do not belong anymore.” The woman sighed as the tiny fists were pounded on her chest. “Please don’t do that. It’s annoying.”

The pounds stopped, a half-hiccup emerged. “Why?” Nicole tried again. “How could you just-?”

“I can do much, but I am still a guardian.” The woman sighed. “And I am still bound on pain of death to adhere to the confines of my contract.”

“Why are you here?”

“I loved your mother.” The woman sighed. “She was everything I wished I could be, if I were to ever be a normal human.”

Nicole sniffled.

“She had a man who loved her and a precious little girl.” Solemn violet eyes stared down at Nicole’s blue ones watching her. “I could not save your mother or your father, but I can save you for all that she was to me.”

“Why?”

The woman shrugged. “Because I can, I suppose.” She tossed her head, her hair rippling out behind her. “And because I hate to see an injustice go unpunished.”

“But-”

“You know what I am, yes?” The woman yawned. “Then answer me this. I will do what needs to be done, upon my honor or death is mine. I will use everything I have to my name to right what has been wronged of you. By this pledge, I would be your spherical guardian, if you were to have me. I will gladly serve you with every breath in my body, do you accept?”

Nicole scrambled out of her lap as the woman shifted from sitting cross-legged to sitting back on her heels, head bowed before her.

“M-me?”

“You are in your correct senses, child. Yes, you.”

“I’m only-”

“Ten years old. I know. I have had younger masters.”

“Y-you would help me?”

“For your mother’s sake, yes.”

“You would do anything?”

“Within reason.”

“Huh?”

“If you abuse me, ignore me or attempt to control me, as is my right by rank, I will punish you and take back my freedom if necessary. I am not a bound guardian. It does not suit me.”

“W-would you kill me?”

“I would hope it never came to that.” The head remained bowed. “Is my contract accepted?”

Nicole clasped her hands behind her back. “What’s your name?”

“Merona.” The head lifted, violet eyes flickering with hidden energy. “Merona of Viswell.”

Pure shock registered in the young girl. Her eyes grew wide, the redness in her cheeks fading away to bland color as Nicole took a half step backwards and the leg buckled beneath her. She sat down, hard, on the concrete roof and stared openly at the feminine creature before her with a mixture of horror and disbelief. “Me-me…” She tried.

“You prefer a different name?” Merona shifted slightly, folding her hands in her lap. “I suppose I could allow a-”

“Er, no! No, that one’s fine.” Nicole hurriedly slapped her cheeks, scrubbing at her face with one sleeve when some feeling had returned to her. “I-I-”

“If you do not give me an answer, I shall take my leave.” Merona yawned. “And I would suggest that you remove yourself from here on account of those boorish humans over there.” She gave a slight jerk of her head. “It seems your mother’s enemies still live.”

The earlier spark of anger seemed to revive. Nicole scrambled to her feet, hands fisted at her side. “I accept! I accept the terms of your contract and I will abide by them if you would get them all.”

“All? Them?” Merona questioned, a smirk appearing on her dark-lined lips.

“All of the ones who hurt my mother.” Nicole began to tremble. “All of the ones that did this to me! The ones who killed Daddy, the ones who killed Mommy and-”

“You still call her Mommy.” Merona half-smiled, the smirk fading away.

“Because I loved her!” Nicole cried. “I loved her!”

“Then it appears we have a deal.” Merona extended a hand. “One stipulation I would add to this contract, I do not wish for you to turn into one of them. Your mother would never forgive either of us, I would think, if you were to turn into a monster of sorts. I request that you keep up your human life in all forms and appearances. When your contract is fulfilled, then we shall see what we shall see, until then, I am at your disposal if this is suitable for you.”

Nicole silently took the proffered hand and cupped it to her cheek, then she turned her face to the side and kissed Merona’s palm.

The spherical guardian returned the gesture and a flicker of purple energy left her body, traveling over to the young girl’s. “You will be marked.” She murmured, as the energy hovered, waiting.

Nicole squeezed her eyes shut.

The purple energy latched on around her neck and a thin, collar was formed, fading away as it sunk into the white skin. Merona held up her hand, where a glowing lip print was still visible in the hollow of her palm.

“Will you stop them?” Nicole gasped out, her fingers tearing at the soft flesh ‘round her neck. Merona cast a glance of disgust to the empty street below, rising to her full height and brushing the tiny flecks of gravel from her clothes.

“No.” She turned back, catching the girl’s hands in one of her own. “Do not do that. The pain will fade, eventually.” She reached down again, swooping the girl up in her arms. “Today is not the day, but their day will come, I promise you that.”

“But they’re tearing up my house.” Nicole tried to protest as tears began to struggle down her face once more. The sounds of smashing, banging and breaking were now echoing in the streets.

“Let them.” Merona held her close. “You have a new home now. You are in my care and a home already exists, a home they cannot destroy.” There was a soft snap, followed by a swishing sound. Nicole jumped, but the arms holding her only tightened in response. “There is nothing to worry about.”

“But they’re down there now!”

“My first priority is you, mistress.” Merona chuckled. “And you are in a less than stellar condition. I would be a guardian of poor caliber if I were to stand and fight while my master suffered.”

“But I’m okay! I am, really, I-”

“They’ve had you on that medicine for weeks.” Merona took a deep breath and her eye became half-closed as the air began to rush around them. Nicole chanced to look to the side and a squeak of surprise left her lips.

They were airborn.

“Wings?” She asked, faintly.

Merona chuckled. “Something like that.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“There now, Loormia-love.” Mimi plopped down on the fluffy bed beside her best friend. “It’s all going to be taken care of, absolutely nothing for you to worry about.”

Loormia tried to smile, but the light didn’t even touch her face. “I worry when you meddle in things that ought not to be-”

“Don’t worry! I sent the very best this time.”

“Who?”

“Merona.”

Loormia jerked upright. “You sent her? Merona?”

Mimi shrugged. “You said you wanted to do the best that you-”

“She hasn’t accepted a contract in years and she killed her previous holder over a contract discrepancy.” Loormia glared at her friend. “And you sent her to a child? How could you!”

Her petite friend mirrored another shrug, a touch of solemnity appearing amidst her bubbly appearance. “I thought it best. She’s been alone for awhile, that was time enough. Besides, she is the most powerful guardian among us. She’s had that much.”

“She hates children!”

“Ah, but she likes this one.”

“Mimi!”

“The mother, Loormia, the mother.” Mimi sighed. “This is all because you weren’t paying attention. You’re lucky that you’re not in worse trouble than you are now.”

“I don’t want to hear that from you.”

“That’s not my problem. I’m telling you anyway.” Mimi snorted. “Your failure is the reason that little girl doesn’t have a life anymore. She doesn’t have a family, she has absolutely nothing. You’re lucky you still have a realm to return to.” Rolling off the bed, Mimi stood as tall as she could, hands on her hips. “I’ve had enough of your whining, guardian. Whether you are my friend or not, I am first and foremost your Eloken. I did not follow the required law because I expected you to make up for it. I know you are capable of showing that sparing your existence was not in vain. There was nothing to be gained from your death, so it did not happen. However, that little girl, her life requires the same saving and fixing that yours does! I asked Merona to do me a favor because that little girl deserves better. I’m sorry if you do not approve of my choice or my methods, but they will work. You will see.”

“I’ll see what? Proof of how-”

“Mind your tongue!” Mimi snapped. “I’ve had enough of you. I truly have. Merona knew Sophie, that’s why I assigned her. She wanted your assignment from the very moment it was official. Sophie would still be alive, if she’d been Merona’s objective. I can’t say that you’ll be safe if your paths ever cross, but I would suggest that you readjust your attitude beforehand. What is done, is done.”

With a toss of her head, Mimi turned on her heel and exited the room. She stepped out of the light, amber bauble and into a gloomy, stone hallway. The entry code for the cell retracted as the barriers went up.

She sighed and continued down the hall. It took some time to make her way to the library and when she stepped inside the room, the question came at once.

“Is it taken care of?”

“Yes. Nicole will be fine.”

“Ah. I knew I could count on you.”

“Of course, my lord.” Mimi dropped to one knee, offering the cursory sign of respect.

“Who did you send?” The young man inquired.

“Merona.”

“Really? And she went, of her own accord?”

“Aye.”

“Wonderful.”

“Your Excellency?”

The young man chuckled. “I said wonderful, Colonel.” His attention returned to the book in hand. “And Loormia?”

“She is being—handled.”

“Very good. You may take your leave.”

“Of course.” Mimi stood stiffly, offering a bow as she turned to face the door. “Your Excellency?”

“Yes?”

“Is it really wonderful?”

“A woman whose heart was torn, attempting to repair a child whose life is broken. They see themselves in each other. They will be fine. It will be one of the best pairings in history.” There was a quiet chuckle. “It is wonderful, Mimi. Goodbye.”

© Sara Harricharan

1 comments:

Debra Ann Elliott said...

I can't wait to read it!