Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Queer: Star-Crossed (Short Story)
Let’s take a break from Enchanted and take a peek into David and Dane’s tragic story. I scribbled this story earlier this year before I even learned how to actually write one. Those who are familiar with the rules of handling narratives can spot the careless shifting of the POV. They call it “head-hopping,” something I did away with in Enchanted. I could no longer fix the head-hopping here, though, because my consciousness doesn’t live in this fictional dimension anymore.
I think at this point I’m going to have to consider this as an alternate microverse of David and Dane’s story called Queer. If anyone of you has taken a tour to my quiet WattPad corner, you probably saw The Mind Bender. That’s a short novel I’m currently writing. It’s a prequel to Queer.
The reason I’m discarding this from the actual Queer universe is because I’ve already kind of used this angle in the second book of Enchanted. I don’t like to reuse similar elements. Besides, in book 3 (Enchanted: The Chase), I will introduce David and Dane.
I hope I get enough time to do all of these things. Anyway, I’m really more comfortable writing in English than in Tagalog. Hindi naman sa expert ako sa English, pero mas mabilis yung utak ko kapag English. Mas nagnonosebleed ako sa Tagalog.
Merry Christmas in advance! I’ll post chapters 25 and 26 of Enchanted tomorrow or on the 24th.
This post contains graphic violence and is not appropriate for young audiences.
What David saw several feet from where he stood made his heart jump in fear. Dane lay sprawled on the dusty floor with his head turned to the left, revealing a cut on his right temple, from which fresh blood oozed, and a dark bruise on his right jaw right beside his lips. His clothes were heavily soiled, blood-stained, and torn all over. The tears on his clothes revealed deep cuts across his chest and on his arms, thighs, and legs. A rope tied his wrists together.
Affected by deep pity and horror, David ran towards the unconscious abductee and crouched beside him. Right away, with his shaking hands, he untied the rope that held Dane’s hands together and pressed on his skin. David gasped as he saw the brown marks on his partner’s wrists.
He shook Dane’s body and tapped his cheeks in his earnest attempt to rouse him, but Dane remained unconscious. A rush of fear suddenly sent chills down David’s spine. He started to panic and shake the unconscious body even harder. “Dane! Dane, wake up. It’s me.” The desperation in his voice was apparent. “Dane, can you hear me? I’m here. I’m already here. Please ... wake up now.” But Dane didn’t move. He was still breathing, though barely.
What happened a few moments later gave David a sliver of hope. He heard Dane in his head. Barely alive, the telepath struggled to make his thoughts heard, and David felt this struggle.
“Stay alive for me, David.”
David could feel Dane’s consciousness fading. He was slipping away, and David could feel it. He heard another whisper so soft, it was almost inaudible. The voice inside his head was fading as if the person speaking to him was drifting farther away.
“Stay alive,” echoed the soft voice.
David sat beside Dane and grabbed his body. He rested Dane’s head on his forearm, gently pulled his head close to his chest, and looked at his beautiful eyelashes and his pale, expressionless face. Stricken by fear of the obvious, he broke down. The tiny hope he held moments ago slipped out of his grasp. “No, Dane, please don’t do this. We can still make it. Please,” he pleaded, his voice breaking. “Please don’t go. Not now!”
“I love you, David...” Dane’s voice was even fainter.
Finally, David’s worst fear happened. He felt Dane’s last breath, and then Dane’s presence in David’s head ceased to exist. The stark realization that the life of the body he was holding close to him existed no longer seared his heart. David had never felt this pain and never felt so alone in his whole life until this moment. His chest burned with pain and rage, but the only thing his strength could muster was a scream of despair.
He cried violently, shaking Dane’s cold body as if hoping it would suddenly come to life. Tears flowed down his cheeks and onto Dane’s bloodied, dirt-covered forehead. David held Dane’s face close to his own and wiped his forehead with his fingers. He kissed his lover’s forehead and then his lips, the cold lips that would no longer kiss him back. Tears continued to fall.
He had never been guiltier. He thought that maybe if he had come sooner, he would have saved Dane from the sorceress. But it was too late.
Broken glass was everywhere. Only the light from an old lamp in the corner of the hall lit up this desolate place of shabby drapery, dust-coated floor, and creaking furniture. David buried himself in guilt, frustration, and pain. His groans filled the lonely hall with this deep sense of mourning and suffering, disturbed only by the occasional flapping of the curtains that danced with the breeze that tore through the open windows.
Suddenly, the hall glowed in purple light. David looked around to see what was happening. The purple glow grew stronger and it slowly gathered itself in the corner not too far from where he and Dane were. The evil, icy laugh of the sorceress greeted David, who knew he would finally see the murderess.
“Boyfriend to the rescue. But is it not too late?” The purple-clad witch appeared a few tens of feet away from where he held Dane’s cold lifelessness. She clasped her palms close to her chest, closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, and taunted the disheveled and distraught mortal. “I heard nothing but sobs from a poor man I so pity right this instance.”
“My regrets for your loss,” she continued as she stared into David’s red, leaking eyes, sniggering coldly because she knew her sorcery succeeded in breaking the force she thought was formidable until earlier today. She glanced at the surviving partner of the mind reader, the man who she saw looked like a mess. “Do you remember the first time you and your boyfriend fought me?” Lorna asked, recalling the first encounter she had with the two.
David could recall that encounter perfectly well, but he was too devastated and furious to respond to the murderess’ question. He just stared at Lorna fiercely.
“I underestimated you,” Lorna continued to speak. “You were inseparable, and that was your strength. Quite noteworthy. The love you shared made you two a dangerous opponent. You shared a special connection and amplified each other’s powers. That was my oversight that I swore shall never again be.”
“Yeah, we were inseparable. You should’ve left us alone,” David replied curtly while keeping his gaze fixed on Dane’s pallid face and clenching his fists.
“He was always part of the plan, of the grand scheme of things that I waited too long to carry out. His psychic abilities, the best, most powerful I’ve ever witnessed and felt, are crucial for my plan to work. But then I couldn’t get to him without getting to you, and that meant to get to him I had to get to you together.
“A head to head battle with the two of you proved to be useless,” the glowering witch continued, “so I had to do my little tricks and buy my time. And you were stupid and naive enough to fall for those tricks. Maybe you didn’t really love him that much, did you?”
“You think I’m interested in hearing about all your twisted ploys?” David leered at the witch. Her litany only infuriated him further.
Lorna ignored the question. “Didn’t you wonder why he couldn’t contact you telepathically for help?”
David just breathed heavily. His heart raced inside his chest. He realized all this verbose talk was meant to provoke him.
“That was the difficult part. I had to keep him asleep after I brought him here. I needed his blood for my anti-telepathy potion to work. I drank it, and voila! No more reading my mind. No more annoying telepathic attacks. Also, I needed his presence to create an incantation that would keep him from using his powers. He couldn’t tap into the minds of anyone outside the walls of this castle. Ingenious, isn’t it?
“As the days went by, your boyfriend grew weary and lonely and helpless. I never intended to enslave him. I wanted to just ensnare him to make him comply, to make him be my ally. But his mind was tough. He broke free from all the enchantments I cast on him. I was left with no other choice but to steal his powers using a very old spell and this ancient athame.” Lorna grinned and showed David a dagger, the athame, while touching its pointed tip with her finger.
“You’re one hell of a murderer! I swear I’ll make you pay for killing Dane and hurting my friends!” David shouted. The veins in his temples throbbed. His fury made the windows, furniture, and the pieces of broken glass on the floor tremble. It seemed as though the entire hall was vibrating.
“Sorry about the cut on his forehead! That was needed for the spell to work. About the other cuts on his body, I’m sorry about those too. I was just a little carried away.” Lorna chuckled and put the dagger on a small table in the corner of the hall where she stood. “Dane’s was such a sad story. If only he stopped resisting, it wouldn’t have been so difficult for him.”
“You’re insane! You killed him, and now he’s gone. Are you happy now?” David tearfully responded.
“Don’t be such a crybaby. I lost him too. I loved him. Did you know?”
“Love? What do you know about love? You’re a psychopath!”
“Believe it or not, I loved him. I lusted over him? A fine young man with gifts that could help me become the empress that the world leaders would bow down to,” she continued in a high, eerie tone, almost devoid of humanity, as she leered at the unkempt man who knelt beside a dead man across the hall and stared back sternly at her.
“But Dane refused. Oh, how I despise morals. How could he have such a fervent concern for people, for humanity, when he got nothing from them but hate and ridicule? Humanity doesn’t deserve Dane’s sympathy or yours!” Lorna feigned disappointment, looked at Dane, and shook her head. “Such a pitiful creature. Such a waste of life. Then again, I already have his powers, and they would serve me well. His death is not entirely a loss.”
The sorceress toyed with David. “You look awful. Do you want me to fix your hair or wipe your face?” She raised her hand and appeared as if she was about to recite an incantation, but then she just broke into a fit of laughter as she watched David’s glare.
“I don’t know why you’re doing all these evil things. Why couldn’t you just―”
“Evil? My intentions are never evil. Humanity needs to come together peacefully under one rule. Aren’t you sick of countries fighting each other? Of politics? Of crazy ideologies waiting to crush each other?”
“The world doesn’t need another mass murdering tyrant!”
“Oh, human sentiments! I know you still feel bad about your boyfriend’s demise. That was never my intention, but he was a recalcitrant imbecile, very much like you actually. I only give people two options,” the witch said, glowering, “yield or die!”
David breathed heavily. His rage at this point was insurmountable. “ENOUGH!” With his loud growl, he let out a telekinetic wave that heaved shards of glass away from him and Dane. The energy shattered the windows and sent pieces of furniture flying away.
Lorna’s magic shielded her from the blast. The lady in purple clapped in excitement. “Such power! The taste of it!” She closed her eyes, lifted her hands, and appeared as if she was holding something in midair. “That energy! You can be a prized possession. Be ... my servant, and help me create a new world.” Lorna bargained with pride.
“You’re out of your mind! What makes you think I would serve an egomaniacal, murderous psychopath, like you?” He firmly retorted and clenched his jaw.
Lorna rolled her eyes and replied coldly, “Fine then. Prepare”―looking at and playing with her fingers―“for your sweet demise. I wasn’t expecting anything much from you anyway.”
David let go of Dane’s lifeless body and slowly stood up. “You’re not killing two people today!”
“Let’s see.” She smirked. “Let’s see what Dane’s powers feel like.” She tried to read David’s mind. She pressed her fingertips on her temples and fixed her gaze into David’s eyes. She focused hard to invade his mind, but she couldn’t see anything. She tried again, this time harder. Nothing happened.
David felt a bit of relief and feigned a chuckle. Shaking his head, he ridiculed Lorna. “Guess your spell didn’t work, dumb witch!”
Lorna tried again. She was desperate. She waited 19 years for this―not to fail. She panicked. “This cannot be!” she exclaimed, eyeing David, her eyes wide with disgust.
David taunted the witch more. “What’s the matter? You fucked up?” He laughed at the confused sorceress who glared back at him.
“He tricked me!” yelled the outraged witch. The anger and hatred burned in her. She began to shake her body and make strange hand movements. She was casting a spell.
It was too late when David realized what she was doing. Before he could do anything, he felt the purple blast hit him and send him flying into the air. He hit the wall and fell to the floor on his right side. He felt like something snapped in his right shoulder. He whimpered in pain. But he had to endure this pain. He knew he couldn’t fail, not this time, not when his guilt kept screaming inside his head.
The lady in purple bellowed, “You, puny gifted humans, don’t mess with the sorceress supreme!” She walked closer to David, who tried to get up. Her fury covered her in purple flames. Her voice became deep and demonic. “You shall pay for your lover’s trickery!” She glanced at the lifeless body, passed by, and walked forth towards the injured warrior.
David heard the lady’s footsteps as she drew closer. His right shoulder was burning. Moving it and getting up seemed impossible, yet he must get up. But before he could press his left arm against the floor and push himself up, he felt a rush of energy engulfing and immobilizing him almost completely. Lorna had cast another spell.
“You’re not getting out of this place alive, David.” She motioned her hands, from which jets of purple energy flowed towards the man in front of her.
David couldn’t move. He felt his muscles paralyzed. His breathing, stifled. His heart, racing. “P... Please stop.” David begged for the witch to lift the spell.
But she only drew her face closer to his, squinted, clenched her jaws, and taunted him. “Does it hurt?” She laughed at the sight of David’s agony. “You look pathetic. Makes me want to end this fast.”
David could barely move. He tried as hard as he could to move even just a muscle. “Aaarggghh! Stoppp!”
Lorna just scorned at him. “Don’t fight it, young man! Em ... brace”—this time emphasizing every syllable of the word she was saying—“your ... death!”
David could feel his veins throbbing and his sweat dripping all over his body. The magic that surrounded him felt like it was about to crush him at any moment. He cried like a helpless boy. He tried very hard to move his head to look at Dane’s remains and then broke into what he thought would be his last words. “Dane, I... I’m”—gathering all the strength he could get to utter every word—“I’m sorry.”
He’s in severe pain as if all his bones were getting crushed and his flesh, burned. He could pass out at any moment, and all this torment wouldn’t matter anymore.
“What’s the matter, young man? Afraid to die? You’ll be joining your lover in a minute,” said the witch who enjoyed every moment of her sadistic fit.
David curled helpless on the floor. Maybe this was his fate. Maybe it had to end like this. The pain was unbearable, but the force of the dark magic that paralyzed him made screaming impossible.
He had succumbed to his helplessness, convinced himself resistance was in vain, and braced for his immediate fate when he heard a voice in his head. It was calling his name. He felt it was Dane. But he was dead. Yet something else was happening. The voice reverberated inside his head, but David couldn’t make anything out of the discordant symphonies that he was hearing. He felt the light of hope burning inside him. He felt Dane and at the same time dismissed the irrationality of what he was feeling at the moment. He felt his life force.
David saw vivid, familiar images that appeared before him. He saw a tall, brawny guy bumping into a slightly shorter and lean guy who was carrying a number of books. They were in a hallway. Pissed off, the tall guy told off the shorter guy around onlookers who watched with either curiosity or indifference as the latter picked up the books that earlier fell onto the floor.
The next scene was of the tall guy unlocking a door to a room and letting the shorter guy come in. The scene quickly shifted into another scene where the two guys laughed hysterically at each other’s crazy Halloween costumes, the laughter that was soon punctuated by their deep gazes into each other’s eyes.
David’s red cheeks became wet with tears.
Another scene played before him. The two guys were having a heated argument. The bigger guy shoved the shorter guy and prodded him in the forehead, telling him to stay away from him. The shorter guy just drooped his head and slumped his shoulders as he watched the other guy storm out of their room.
The next scene made David break down even harder. A guy was standing in the sand, facing the sea. The sullen guy was oblivious of the frothy waters that crawled up on the shore and drenched the bottom of his pants. He looked at the sun that hung low in the sky, almost kissing the horizon, and cast golden reflections on the sea. He was in this state of reflective melancholy and solitude when someone spoke from behind. They looked at each other, stared into each other’s then teary eyes, drew their faces close to each other, and kissed each other fervidly.
David was seeing the fond memories he had with Dane. A few more scenes flashed before him—a few more sweet moments together, the kisses they shared, the intimacy, and all the other things that he would sorely miss.
But despite the vivid recollections that aggravated his sense of loss, he suddenly and ironically felt more alive. Slowly the energy that surrounded him hurt him less and less. He was then able to move his fingers, press his left palm against the floor, and bring his right knee forward—to the witch’s bewilderment.
“Impossible!” she exclaimed in astonishment. “How can you resist it? None of my victims has ever fought back against it.” She started to get worried. Lorna watched David as he slowly got up. She must act quickly if she was to bring death.
David tried to push himself up, away from the floor. The force of the sorcery surrounding him seemed to be weakening. With his left hand and right knee on the floor, he attempted to get up on his right foot, looked up, and stared at the astounded sorceress, who he saw was awash in glowing purple smokes. “Your spell is weakening, Lorna,” he said, smirking in satisfaction. “It’s my turn!” David’s eyes glowed fiery orange. A faintly visible energy surged from all over his body. The purple magic that caged him dispersed into thin air. At last, he broke free from Lorna’s spell.
Lorna stood several feet away from David and was obviously taken aback. Glaring at the man who just broke free from her incapacitating spell, she beckoned a more powerful, a deadly incantation. “You will die, impertinent mortal!” She twisted her body and waved her hands and then unleashed an incredible force.
David just smirked, stepped his right foot backwards, raised his left hand, and opened his palm. He saw the lethal spell coursing towards him, but like a true warrior he was able to conjure his telekinetic shield just in time, saving him from a surely deadly blow. Nevertheless, the force of Lorna’s spell was incredible. It almost pierced through his shield, and the impact pushed him back and made his boots grind against the dirt-covered floor. But he couldn’t let her take the victory. He survived her onslaught for a reason. He mustered all the strength that was left of him and tried to make a step forward, keeping his hand up to feed the invisible force that protected him from the wrath of the livid, purple-clad sorceress. With each step he made, he sensed his powers getting stronger, surging out of him with even greater intensity. At the same time, Lorna watched in awe―and fear.
David smirked. “I can feel your spell weakening ... your majesty!”
He walked towards her as if the force of the spell no longer deterred him. His eyes glowed fiery. He swiftly turned his body to the left, moved his left arm backwards, opened his palm, and spread his fingers as if grabbing something in the air while still keeping his shield up. Then he quickly threw his arm back forward as though he was hurling something towards Lorna, at the same time screaming with this extraordinary exertion that made the veins in his neck and arms bulge.
Colossal amounts of energy surged out of David’s hand. For a brief moment, it seemed as though the dark magic of the sorceress was wrestling with the telekinetic surge. But soon it was obvious that even its immense momentum didn’t stand a chance. The energy that David released was too strong, it deflected the sorceress’ death spell. The dark purple and smoke-like energy coursed in midair towards its conjurer in a split second.
Unable to cast a protection spell fast enough to block the incoming death, the sorceress glanced dumbstruck and helpless. Lorna’s death spell bounced back and hit her in the chest, her eyes widened in disbelief, for she knew it was her last second to live. The force of David’s telekinetic assault sent her flying across the hall, hitting and breaking the wall, and then landing into a room. The diffusion of the energy cracked the walls and the ceiling and hurled pieces of furniture into the air.
The chandelier from about fifty feet up swung and then broke free from its attachment, sending itself down as if to greet David for his victory over the megalomaniacal magic wielder. He stopped the chandelier from speeding down on its way to the floor. It fell gracefully and then landed on the floor with a clunking noise that broke the silence of the frigid night.
David rested his hands on his knees and stooped to catch his breath. Things happened too fast. He was in disbelief. He walked to the room where he saw the sorceress fell into her death.
Lorna lay with her body twisted awfully. One of her arms was bent backwards. Her right shinbone, broken. Her eyes gazed blankly into the abyss, bloodshot. Blood oozed out of her nose and mouth. What had once been a shiny, velvety, flowing, purple dress looked badly torn all over, revealing the enormous impact of her spell that backfired and the blast from David’s assault. It was an eerie scene.
Suddenly, flames started to consume her body. The flames raged. David stood taken aback. Then the sorceress was reduced to ashes. She was gone.
The overwhelming mixture of grief and relief arrested David. But before he could process what had just happened, the doors and windows started creaking. The cracks on the walls grew bigger. Bricks, pieces of wood, and other pieces of debris started falling from the ceiling.
David hurried to grab Dane’s body. It was too heavy, but he couldn’t leave the remains of the love of his life inside the place where a force of evil snuffed his life out. Despite his burning right shoulder, he lifted him with all the might he could muster.
“I’ll take you home, my love.” He lifted Dane with the remaining strength he had and ran towards the front door and finally about a few hundred steps away from the collapsing castle. David watched from afar as the castle crumbled with a spine-chilling rumble.
He lay Dane on the grass-covered ground. It was all over. But the exhaustion was already too much. His consciousness started to drift away. He fell close to Dane’s body, crawled closer to him, and then touched and stroked his cheek. Tears fell again as he kissed Dane’s cold, dry lips.
The air bathed the sweat- and dirt-laden survivor in a cool gentle breeze that made the moonlit grass sway gracefully, peacefully. All he could hear was the rustling leaves of the nearby trees. Yet even this serenity wasn’t enough to soothe his torn soul. He was about to fall into a deep slumber when he heard voices from afar. But the exhaustion crippled him, unable to look up, unable to utter a word, unable to even care. David lay unconscious beside Dane, his hand over the latter’s cheek, his face beside his.
* * *
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