Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dangerous Lines: A Search for a Beloved Heart

Well, here we. Again, I decided to participate in another Stewart Sternberg assignment. This story came out so smooth it was scary. I've had it happen before with a few stories I've written in the past, but this was a first in a while. It was great to feel that ease as I saw what my story was trying to lead me to. To feel so free!Thanks Stewart! Thanks everyone for taking the time to look. And remember, this goes for all my work, be honest about this. I like honesty.

Dangerous Lines: A Search for a Beloved Heart

Is there a set time for a person’s death? Could it be that there is some force, some being out there that knows every person’s life span, and what they will die from? And is it this being, this force, which decides our fates? Well…

Yes, and no.

I turned to Val, my half brother, and scowled at him. He knew nothing of what it was to be human. And yet he insisted on tormenting me about all its faults. Humans die, humans get ill easily, humans can’t fly, and so on.

I was able to fly once upon a time, before my choice; I had wings. The choice to remain as I was, a creature that flew the night skies and feasted upon terror and anarchy. What was I, you ask? Well, not a vampire, if that’s what you thought. No. I…was a demon; one in a million that skimmed through this world’s shadows to literally fuck up human existence. I used to love it. Until I fell in love. Yes. I hear you scoffing right now. Demons don’t know how to love. True, but we can learn. Once I met Angela, I began to learn. We’ve been together for six years.

Val scowled back, his leathery wings folding up to hide behind his back. I needed no words of his anger. I saw his trembling fists, his cold red eyes on my new blue ones.

“You betrayed us all!” Val burst out as he stalked toward me. I held up a hand.

“Far enough, brother.” I said.

Val growled. His eyes like fiery orbs in the night. My own eyes had turned blue my second year with my dearest Angela. My dark gray skin was now a dark tan. Even my fangs have gone. I’m more human than I ever hoped to be. And I’m still changing.

Val stopped. All he’d have to do was swipe out with one claw and that would be the end of me. Yet, he remained a goodish distance away. Who said demons were all action and no talk?

He thrust one long talon capped finger at me.

“You left us for one of them! The very creatures we’re trying to kill! How could you be so fucking stupid?”

“I love her.” I said, as if that explained everything.

Val roared and rushed at me. I held up a hand again, not afraid. And he stopped. This surprised me as much as I was surprised when I found demons could learn to love. But, in the end, Val would surely kill me. He has displayed a great deal of self control, but it was fading fast.

Val sighed.

“Let her go. Come with me and the Lord might give you back your wings.”

“No.” I said and shook my head. “I can’t. If you were to love, you’d understand.”

I could tell by the way Val’s red eyes glowed hotter that that little piece of advice, or whatever it was, enraged him greatly. He stood nearly a foot away from me now, face to face. I could feel the cold radiating off him and shivered. HE must have seen this because he grinned.

“Come back and you’ll never have to feel again.”

“No!” Shouted into his face.

Val recoiled a little and then his flat, ape-like nose was pressed against mine. He was so cold that I could feel my new skin blistering. His fangs were bared. Not good. I backed away just enough to relieve my burning nose.

“Then you’ll die as you are, weak.” Val said.

“Rather that than die as you are. A monster.” I said, wanting to rub my hurt nose, but not daring to with Val so close. I didn’t want to show him just how weak I had become. But humans do have their strengths, oh yes, and I knew of one Val didn’t.

I gave him the kindest smile I could muster. He cringed back, frowning at me.

“What-“ He began, and then I said.

“I love you too, Val, my brother.”

To this, Val looked sick, he backed away from me, gagging. I stepped forward, meaning to say just how much I love him, which was false, of course, when he straightened and charged toward me, claws out, fangs snapping. He was going to kill me now.

Yet, he stopped a couple feet away from me, snarling like a rabid dog.

“Don’t you ever say that to me again! I’ll kill you if you do!” Val said.

“Go away, Val.” I said. “Go away, I’m happy now.”

“You’re fucking brain washed! How do you know if you’re happy or not? Huh? How do you know how to love?”
I smiled.

“I learned.” I said.

“Fuck you!” Val screamed into my face. His breath was like a dangerous gas. Mustard, perhaps.

Val was so angry he couldn’t stop from trembling all over. I knew what he wanted to do, so why didn’t he do it? Why not just end it all? What was holding him back?

“You’re a disgrace to what we are!” Val boomed. He pushed me, hard, but I managed to keep my balance.

The old rage bloomed in me just then. I glared at him and roared.

“You have no right to touch me! Go away!”

The creature that was my half brother, growled and we began to move in a slow circle eyes fixed on one another. Then-

“Will what’s-“

The sound of the back screen door slapping shut an her words made me freeze where I stood. Val’s eyes, those wretched eyes, flickered passed me. HE looked at me again, and grinned.

“No.” I told him, but his grin lengthened.

“Don’t you touch her.” I said.

Val leaned closer to me, his grin like a dark cut sliced ear to ear.

“You will come back to us, Will.” He said to me.

He flashed passed me so fast I didn’t have time to realize it until after it had happened. Then I heard her scream, my wife, my life. Angela. I whirled on legs that felt like stacked water balloons. My heart clenched.

Val held her in the air above our back deck. He laughed.

Then, they vanished. Just like that…gone.

“Aaannnggelaaaa!” I cried. I raced to the porch.

Gone, gone. They were gone. Suddenly I knew why my half brother did not attack me, why he restrained himself from killing me.

“Because there are other ways to kill.” I murmured.

I sent my sight to the sky. My Lords have changed since I met Angela. I now worshiped the one from the Heavens. The other, that bowel sucking serpent, was mostly to blame for taking my dear Angela.

A few minutes later I went into the house, packed some clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed all the money from Angela’s purse and the small safe we kept in our office, and left the place I have called home for six years.

The night was warm, somber. As my shoes made soft scuffing clacks on the pavement, I brought up a fresh image of my Angela. Sweet, caring, loving, perfect.

I would find them, Val and my beloved wife, even if it took me eternities to do so. I would find them.

The End


etain_lavena said...

Good Job....I enjoyed this one alot...sometime you piss me off...you know, making it so good that I wanna jump in the screen bring her back you bastard....hihihi...so it is not in a bad way....:)
have a good day my friend:)

Charles Gramlich said...

Nicely done, Lucas. The struggle to remain human in an inhuman world is a powerful theme.

Jon said...

I enjoyed the concept; the half-brothers, so different and so similar, the line that has been crossed. The story might run a bit long for its purpose. The face to face encounter could stand a bit of trimming. But over all...yes, a good story.

SQT said...

This is one of those stories that makes you want to know more. I'd like to know more about the brothers and what they are (were?). But that's the point of a good short story huh? To make you want more.

Bond said...

Hi Lucas...This was very well done...the underlying tension and even love from both sides. The demon brother wanting his blood to come back to the fold. Thank you

Stewart Sternberg said...

Interesting that we both chose brothers...I think this work shows something...I think one of the things that you can work on to improve your other work is the character interaction as it relates to theme. I know you like to drive home the stake so to speak, and let the blood fly, but as I've said before readers are horrified when they care about a character, when there is something there that they can hook onto.

This is nicely done. Keep up the good work.

Susan Miller said...

Good job, Lucas. The tension was definitely there.

Kate S said...

Nice, Lucas. I really like the idea of this - the demon brothers.

I would suggest taking out this line, though, as I think it actually takes away from the tension and slips out of point of view a bit: Val took his only love!

Overall, I liked it. I hope you keep working on it.

Lucas Pederson said...

Thanks everyone!!!
I won't say that this was hard for me, it was. There were moments when I wanted Val to just slaughter Will, but held back. The story does lack in the character interaction parts of it. As well as character development. Still, I am putting this story in a folder and will re-write it when I got the time, cut out lines that don't belong, and spruce up a bit. Also, yes, I will continue the story. Probably not on the blog, though. I've got a lot goin on right now and barely have enough time to work on the projects I'm playing with right now. However, this stroy has promise and I want to know if Will will ever see his beloved Angela again. Sooner or later, I'll find out. Probably later. Yet, this was very fun, despite it being hard. It was a great exersise and I want to thank Stewart for the assignment. As always, it was a pleasure, as it is a pleasure seeing all of you and reading you comments and golden feedback. It helps a lot. Thnaks again, to everyone and their willingness to read this my work.

Travis said...

Hey Lucas! I really liked this one.

The way you wrote Val, my first thought was that he was under orders - especially when the wife came in and he snatched her. That was logical and made sense when I finished the piece. Take the wife, take away the basis for love, and Will reverts to his demon self.

But as I thought about it, I saw a dichotomy - Val loves his brother Will. What a surprise to see that in the story. And that made sense to me too. Of course Val wants his demon brother back, and for a more compelling reason than Will's betrayal of demon-kind.

Did you mean to convey that? Or did I read more into the story?

Lucas Pederson said...

Travis, yes and no. I'm continuing the story, although not on my blog. Val did have orders, but it was to kill both Will and his wife. Instead Val chose to kidnap her, and yes, to get his brother back. Get Will to change back into a demon so Val can fly the night skies with him again. to his demonic form and demeaner.So it's a race against time to get his wife back. And yes, Val ma very well love his brother, although not in the usual manner. I'll have to finish the story to see what happens. Int eh next part Will is slowly changing back to his demon form and demeaner. We'll see.
Thanks for yourinput and it's great to see you again!

Christina said...

I missed another Stewart assignment? NOOOOO!

I like what you have posted. You're very good at the details in your stories. Can't wait to hear the day you get published.

Lucas Pederson said...

Chrisrina, I can't wait until that day either. I'm hoping, I'm praying, I'm doing Yoga....okay maybe not Yoga, ouch, but I'm being patient and I'm working my ass off to get there. Someday, perhaps. And thanks for dtopping by! Always a treat!

Fab said...

Hi, just wanted to repeat what I posted on Stewart's blog: I really liked your story. Two brothers, a different concept of life and love. Well written.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Lucas Pederson said...

Fab, thanks...and the same goes for you. I'm always happy to see new faces.