Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Suggestion Box, Vol. 3: "One Thousand Words" List #48

Suggested by: Claerie Kavanaugh

The List:
-a rural village

The Result:
                              "Adventure Comes To Tea"

In a rural village just outside of Scrabster, Scotland, Cordelia Quincy sat down in her kitchen to a freshly-brewed cup of tea. She looked forward to this midday ritual, her moment of solace in the midst of the hustle and bustle of every day.

Faith Dunmore had called. She would be visiting her friend, Darren Alexander, next Thursday, and she wondered if Cordelia might like to come out and visit them, to reminisce about old times and the adventures they had together.

The eccentric woman smiled as she sipped her black tea. She almost missed those days of keeping watch, hearing prophecies, and dreaming of the fulfillment of her family’s legacy. Now that it was over, she found it almost difficult to resume normal life in the quiet countryside, where the most exciting thing to happen was someone’s livestock getting loose and going for a jaunt two farms over—and even that did not happen often enough to keep the restless woman happy.

“Why can’t there be more dragons in the world?” she sighed. Perhaps she would accept Faith’s invitation after all.

Cordelia crossed the kitchen to the blocky white plastic telephone hanging in its cradle mounted upon the wall. As she picked up the receiver, her eyes roved over the garden outside—

And the grubby young boy disentangling himself from the wisteria.

Phone call forgotten, Cordelia charged out the garden door. The boy must have seen her coming, because he was halfway across the yard by the time she reached the threshold.

“You!” Cordelia cried, because she didn’t know how else to get his attention, “Stay! Wait!”

The boy disappeared down the dirt path leading through the forest behind her house. Cordelia stopped and winced as a sharp rock menaced her bare feet. Some part of her considered going back to the house for her shoes, but the part that won out was the part that threw caution and sensibility to the wind and took off down the forest path.

“Wait!” She called again. “I’m a friend! Why are you running?”

Where had he gone? Cordelia could see small footprints in the mud. Evidently, the boy had more practice at hiding his body than covering his trail. She soon found him, huddled in the crook of a tree, high up out of sight of most people—but Cordelia never considered herself “most people.” She stopped and watched him hold very still as if he hoped she didn’t actually see him.

“Hello,” she called.

“Go away!” he grunted.

Cordelia only smiled at him. He couldn’t have been more than twelve years old, and she rather liked his unruly mop of nut-brown hair.

“If you didn’t want me to follow you, then you shouldn’t have cut through my yard,” she noted brightly.

The boy hung his head. “Didn’t know it was yours.”

“Well, it wasn’t the forest, so it had to belong to somebody. You’re just lucky it wasn’t Mr. George’s; he probably would have shot you for trespassing.”

The eyes came up, pointed at her so keenly that she could almost make out their smoky blue color, even from this distance. He looked pained.

“Poor thing,” Cordelia said softly, “are you hurt?”

“Not me.” The blue eyes disappeared, and the boy looked like he wanted to shrink again.

“I am Cordelia,” she moved on, still standing under the tree. “What is your name?”

The eyes came out again, a bit mystified at the way she persisted in talking to him.

“David,” he murmured.

“Would you like to be my friend, David?”

The confusion ran deeper still. “I suppose.”

“Don’t you want to be friends?” Cordelia raised her eyebrows innocently.

“Been just fine without ‘em,” David said, with just a hint of sulk behind his words.

“Oh!” Cordelia’s expression widened in shock. “Don’t you have any friends at all?”

David sat up, still on his perch, but he let his feet dangle, swinging them easily in the air. “Got me one friend,” he said proudly, “and that’s plenty.”

Cordelia smiled and gestured back to the house, hoping she read him correctly. “Well, David, I was just about to have some tea. If I offered some to you, would you be friends with me?”

David wrinkled his nose and giggled. “Don’t like tea,” he said.

Cordelia smiled wider; progress was progress! “But surely you know what comes with the tea, don’t you?” she backed up a few steps.

Sure enough, David dropped down to the very lowest branch, to stay near her. “Don’t know what you mean,” he said, in a voice that told Cordelia he might be imagining that very thing right now.

“It’s never just tea,” she assured him. “Sometimes there are sandwiches, or biscuits, or cakes—or all three.” She was backing up steadily now, and he was following, step by hesitant step. She saw the way his eyes bulged and his mouth danced at the thought of food. The poor thing probably hadn’t had a decent meal in a long while—terrible shame for a growing boy!

“All three?” he repeated.

“Yes.” Slowly, Cordelia held out her hand to him. He was close enough to touch her now. “Would you like that?”

David was in the act of raising his hand when—

“My friend,” he dropped his hand and glanced back toward the forest. “He might not like it; I told him I wouldn’t leave.”

Cordelia wasn’t about to lose this boy who positively reeked of adventure. “Your friend can come too!” She promised.

David grinned at her, and the blue eyes danced under the shaggy curls. “No, he really couldn’t,” he said, snickering at some hidden joke.

“Why not?” Cordelia very much wanted to know what the joke was.

“He’s hurt, and that’s why I’ve got to stay.” David planted his feet, and he wasn’t about to budge an inch further.

Cordelia dropped the pleading demeanor and became at once more firm. “Now then, David,” she said, gesturing behind him. “We are in my yard; are you coming in or not?”

David looked around in surprise. He never realized they had moved—and she had brought him all the way out of the forest without forcing! He sighed. “Oh all right—but only for sandwiches and cakes.”

Cordelia grinned and marched toward the house. “You shall have them all, my lad!” she cried.


“That was delicious, Miss Cordelia,” David murmured, wiping the crumbs from the corners of his mouth. “Now I reckon I better get back to my friend before—“

The sound as if an entire house of glass collapsed on itself rang out through the streets. Cordelia flinched and cringed in alarm, but David bounded to his feet. Outside, people began screaming.

“Oh no,” David muttered. “I knew this was a bad idea! I knew he would come looking for me!”

“Who?” Cordelia flew to the window to see what was the matter.

“My friend!” David cried.

Cordelia stood outside her front door and surveyed the source of all this chaos. She smiled; her wish had come true, after all!

“Why, David,” she prodded the stricken young boy beside her, “all this time, you never once told me that your friend was an actual wyvern!” She couldn’t take her eyes off the magnificent creature--nor the dark-colored wound in its side.

David glanced at her with apprehension. “Will you help him, then?”

Friday, June 24, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday: "Heartsong" Part 6 of 7

Kellan did not see the siren again before the next waning of the tide. He reached up and took down the satchel of dry clothes she had delivered. He recognized the style; many sailors in his father's fleet wore the very same black trousers and plain white shirt. A bit of colored fabric nearly dropped down to the water below, but Kellan caught it in his fingertips—only to fight the urge to drop it again. He knew that pattern!
Sailors who worked on ships requiring some sort of uniform commonly wore neckerchiefs that were as unique as they were. This particular pattern had been the favorite distinguishing mark of Hans, the wise deckhand who had saved Kellan's life; to be wearing his clothes now could only mean—Kellan swallowed back the lump in his throat. He would not dwell on what might not be. Perhaps this was just a second set of clothing Hans had packed away on the voyage Kellan had been on: never worn, left behind when the ship sank. Kellan munched away on his meal, but the tack was hard, the berries were sour and even the water left a bitter taste in his mouth. He fell asleep to dreams of Hans and of sailing on the ship with all those men who drowned.

When he awoke, the tide was just coming in—and Melody was waiting for him. He could see her staring coldly at him from just beneath the surface. The water just barely touched his feet. He could see that she towed a few barrels behind her on a rope, floating on the surface of the water. Rising just above the water level, Melody gaped and panted, disused to breathing air, but she remained long enough to see that Kellan could reach the end of the rope and pull the barrels to him. She sang a song as he opened the barrel of food, one that made him feel happy with the way he looked. Kellan interpreted the song as a rather primitive way of complimenting his clothes. He shook his head, and she tilted hers sympathetically.
"It's not that I don't like the fresh, dry clothes, I am grateful; but these ones..." He let his voice trail off. "I knew the man they belonged to." He looked sharply at her. "Did you kill him?"

Melody watched him carefully, assessing his mood before opening her mouth and singing a song that immediately reminded Kellan of Hans, capturing his personality in the notes she sang. Then her song altered a bit, and Kellan relived the memory of Hans—brave, clever Hans—surviving to sail on another ship after Kellan risked his life to save him... Only to drown while Kellan sat in a cavern underwater.

The young man felt his frustration climbing. "That's not fair!" He declared. "Who made you ruler of the sea, that you can just decide that all men must die? Simply because women like you were cast overboard by wicked pirates doesn't give you leave to destroy every ship you see!"
Melody didn't seem to appreciate his tirade. She began singing a song in the midst of Kellan's words, something like the idea that even the most noble of men regularly mistreat their women, but he was too angry to care. 

"Men like me, like Hans, are every bit as innocent as you were! And yet you kill us? At least you women have achieved some strange ability to change, but you won't give men that chance? Where is the justice in—" His voice died in his throat, and he couldn't make another sound. Melody's strange song had seen to that.

The siren, seeing that there was nothing either of them could say to each other, promptly left Kellan to a lonely meal as the water climbed to its normal level.

While it did, Kellan kept himself busy. He brought out the worn-down rock he had been using against the rusty grate beside him, and worked until the metal finally separated. Now all he would have to do is slip out of the ropes and he could swim away without the siren knowing.
"And when I get free," he promised himself, "I will never sail again." If this was the way of the water, then he would not risk being drowned a second time.

Once his temper cooled a bit, Kellan began to wonder if he hadn't been a little unfair, himself, in his outburst. Perhaps not all the sirens were cruel and vindictive; after all, Melody had elected to save his life, when the rest of her kind would elect to kill him on sight. Even if she had once been human, perhaps the transformation into a siren had caused her memories of being human to fade. He recalled her conflicted reaction when he had pointed out the locket hanging around her neck; maybe all she needed was to be reminded what it was like to be human, and he could perhaps convince her to see reason from the human point of view.

With renewed purpose, Kellan awaited Melody's return. She came, bringing him a barrel of food and another one full of trinkets. He recognized a child's toy yo-yo, a pair of spectacles, some boots, a book, a comb, and a pocket watch. Melody watched him with intense fascination as he inspected the items--most of which Kellan didn't find remarkable in the least. When he moved to push the barrel aside, Melody accepted it, and began trying the items, tucking the spectacles in her hair, tossing the yo-yo up in the air and watching it strike the water and float there. The book flapped open when she grabbed it, and her eyes shot up guiltily, as if she had broken it somehow.
Kellan couldn't restrain a chuckle. "No, it's not ruined; it's supposed to do that. Haven't you seen a book before?" The question left his mouth before he thought twice about it. Melody offered him the book, twisting in inquisitive circles when her hands were free. Kellan opened and began to read.

"Since she first heard of it, the little mermaid desired nothing better than to swim to the surface and watch the humans in the great, tall ships. She wondered what it would be like to walk about on two feet--"

He stopped; obviously it was a collection of fairy tales--but far different than the one he was living now. An idea began to take shape in his mind.

"If you were once human," he said to Melody, "then why don't you speak as I do?"

Melody opened her mouth as she did when she sang, but this time, she tried to move her thin, fish-like lips in a "talking" motion. No sound came out. Melody shook her head and lowered her gaze to the water.

Kellan chuckled. "Oh, come now," he chided her. "That wasn't hardly trying; I bet you could re-learn how to speak, if you wanted to. Just think about it like your singing."

The gaze came up quickly at the mention of the song, and Melody seemed taken aback. But she straightened her head and dipped her face below the water. Kellan could see her mouth moving, but the surface muffled the sound. 
"Come on," he encouraged, "Try it above the water this time."

Slowly, Melody lifted her head. Opening her mouth, she took two quick breaths--and a series of frog-like croaks issued from her mouth. She looked mortified, but Kellan gave a supportive grin.

"There! I think that's the first non-singing sound you've made!" He applauded her performance. "More than likely you do have the capacity to speak, it's only that breathing the water as you do has affected your throat. With practice, you just might get your voice back."

A slow, blushing smile spread its way across Melody's face, but as soon as it appeared, it vanished, and she turned her back on him.

"Melody?" Kellan asked, "What is it?"
Melody dove without an answer.

The next time she visited, Kellan encouraged her to try speaking more, and also the next. He tried on the boots when the tide receded, and found them just right for his size. Those and the watch would be useful when he made his escape--which he would do, he reminded himself, very soon. For now, he distracted himself with the challenge of getting a siren to speak like a woman. The more she tried, the softer her voice became. She would not converse with him--such things were still beyond her--but she would repeat whole sentences he read from the book of fairy tales.
At last, after two tide cycles of her regular visits to try speaking with him, Kellan put down the book and looked at his captor.

"Melody is not your name, is it?" he asked.

The siren's eyes watched him, her tail flicking in alarm under the water.
"No," she answered, the first word spoken of her own volition.

Kellan pressed further. "What is your name?"

She wavered silently, eyes blinking rapidly as if a small voice in her head was telling her not to reveal her name, but then she spoke: "Ah-deh-leee-dah," the sounds came rough and stretched from her mouth, sounding more like a phrase in some exotic language than a name. She tried again, "Ah-deh... laide."
"Adelaide?" Kellan repeated smoothly.

She laughed, a sound reverberating with joy. "Adelaide!" She said again, like a sigh of immense relief. "Adelaide! I am... Adelaide." Her first sentence!

Kellan nodded his head as if bowing to a gentle lady. "Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Adelaide," he said.

"Kal'n," she muttered. Her eyes squinted in a slight frown, and she tried again. "Kel-enn."
Kellan nodded. "Yes, I am Kellan."

Adelaide placed her hands on the grate of his cage, and Kellan flinched when she suddenly pulled. The front of the grate came off with a resounding crack, and Kellan now had a way out of his cage, though he was still tied to it. His arms out to steady himself, he watched Adelaide swim closer and place something in his hand. She backed away and he looked at the thing: it was a knife with a long, sharp blade.
"Kellan may go," she said softly. "Do not return to deep waters."

Kellan felt his heart begin to race. "You're letting me free?" he confirmed in a hollow voice.

Adelaide nodded. "Kellan must not go into deep waters," she repeated.

Kellan nodded, excitement building in his mind. "All right, I won't go into any deep waters; I will stick to only shallow water."

"Promise?" she pressed.
Kellan nodded. "I promise."

With a twist and a flash of her tail, she was gone.

Kellan wasted no time in cutting the rope from around his waist. What sweet relief to be able to stretch out and swim again! He reached the rocky cliff leading to the place he had always assumed was the entrance to the cove from land. Slipping the boots on his feet, he stood (how he had missed standing on his own two feet!) and slipped the knife and the pocket watch into the belt around his waist. He took a few stumbling steps--and saw the outside world for what felt like the first time in ages!

He stood in an unfamiliar corner of the kingdom--but he saw the peak of a familiar mountain, the one he remembered being able to see from his cabin on the ship. If he could just find his way to a harbor somewhere, perhaps he could at least find some other way of getting word to his father about his continued existence. Kellan began walking.

Dark clouds rolled in shortly after his trek began, and a stiff wind blew the pouring rain against him. Kellan wrapped his arms around himself as he marched on, squinting against the pounding spray. He needed to get out of this storm, but how could he, if it was all he could do to see three steps in front of him? Kellan could barely make out the looming form of a tall tree. He could wait under its branches until the rain had passed.

He ducked through the low-hanging branches, and found it calm and relatively dry, only the odd drop or two making it through the thick canopy. He took a seat and sighed with relief.

Something struck the bank beside him with a sharp crack. Kellan looked over. It was the wooden yo-yo--the one he had seen Adelaide playing with! A low, beautiful song reached his ear, coming over the surface of the water. Kellan remembered his promise about not going into the water--but upon hearing the song, he very much wanted to at least catch a glimpse of the siren who sang it. He remained securely on land, but leaned out to see where the song came from.

Right beneath him, a large body erupted from the water and wrapped around him, dragging Kellan back into the water. His boots filled and fell away, and he felt the knife graze his skin as something yanked it out of the belt. His eyes adjusted to the water, and Kellan saw at once that the siren brandishing the knife at him was not the one he had befriended. She was older, and much more bitter. Adelaide--the one he thought he had heard--floated just a few feet away, chained and weighted just like the women cast overboard were. She could not make a sound because of the gag in her mouth, but her eyes bespoke volumes of terror at seeing him at the mercy of the three vicious sirens.

They three surrounded him, holding hands and fixing their eyes on him. The one who had grabbed him said something in the singing language, but Kellan didn't understand.

At once, from all around him came a song that made his heart beat faster. He felt his mind fading, even as his lungs screamed for air. This was a battle of willpower, and the music of the song was slowly draining his away. They wanted him to drown--he knew it, and the more he listened to their song, the more he could not resist. The pull of his heartsong--the song he never heard Adelaide sing--was too great, and Kellan began to drown....

(It's not over yet!)

Further Reading:
-"The Glow" (A 3-Part Story)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reader's Review: "Bounty" by J. D. Cunegan

Synopsis from Amazon:
Jill Andersen is one of Baltimore's best and brightest detectives, but she harbors a dark secret -- a secret that threatens to come out when the body of Dr. Trent Roberts is pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Roberts' connection to Jill reveals a past that involves a tour in Iraq, a secretive cybernetic experiment, and a conspiracy that involves a native son.

Can Jill solve the case while still keeping her secret? Will her partners at the Seventh Precinct find out what she's so desperate to hide? What was Dr. Roberts looking into that led to his murder? And perhaps the biggest question of all...

Who is Bounty?


My Review:

I went in with the understanding that Jill Andersen was largely inspired by the character Kate Beckett on the TV show Castle. I may have expected something like the outrageously-fun "Richard Castle novels", which are basically "season recaps", told through the eyes of an imaginative mystery author, with the characters basically exactly the same and the names changed. (But only slightly)
I quickly discovered within only a few pages that Jill was no Kate—and yet the two fictional characters, should they ever meet, would doubtless relate.
It is a subtle, delicate art to take a genre and a theme so popular, so dense with common tropes and lively cleverness, and turn it into something completely unique and fresh and engaging—but Cunegan nails it.
He gives us a heroine of the truest sort, one with every reason to be bitter and sulky, but who chooses instead to rise and take a stand and be the one to make her world better. 
He provides that heroine with just the support she would need: a loyal work partner, a hard but just captain, a sympathetic friend... And a family she believes is worth the difficult task of reconciliation. 
He gives that heroine an aspect that is often her greatest strength (literally) but could also become her deepest flaw: she is a cyborg, with an optical implant for an eye, and a reinforced skeleton. It's a classic recipe for the best sort of "superhero vigilante" story—but a flaw because of the need to stay hidden, which does not lend itself to letting anyone get too close, and a need that her enemies would willingly exploit if they knew.
He crafts a dire mystery with red herrings, misdirects, betrayal, and twists aplenty. And he resolves it all just enough... But not too much.

I really enjoyed Cunegan's writing style; each character had his and her own distinctive personality, and those personalities stayed true throughout the book, in each circumstance. Scenes were set up with plenty of atmosphere, and the imagery evoked just the right kind of emotion. I didn't even mind the alternative lifestyle preferences represented; the choices felt completely natural for the characters, and none of it was a big deal.

I fell in love with the characters, intrigued by the mystery, entertained all the way through, and by the end, I wanted more. I give this book *****5 STARS***** and I am definitely going to want the rest of the series! BOUNTY and the rest of the Jill Andersen mysteries promise to be perfect for avid fans of the "superhero vigilante" trope, the mystery/crime genre, and are looking for a new, fresh voice to rejuvenate the fandom!
Further Reading: (Conspiracy/Thriller/Mystery/Strong Female Lead)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Suggestion Box, Vol. 3: "One Thousand Words" List #47

Suggested By: +Christian Falde

The List:
1) Jak and eisa
2) stone age
3) europe
4) a lock of hair he gave her
*Image Prompt Included

The Result:
"Undying Love"
Stone Age

Eisa crouched low in the bushes, where she wouldn't be seen. Her eyes scanned the foliage to make sure no one had followed her. The deerskin shift brushed against her skin, making her itch as if a hundred ants crawled over her, but she dare not move a muscle. 
A hand clamped on her shoulder and she whirled around as another hand muffled her startled cry. Tender eyes stared into her own, and she melted into his embrace.
"Oh Jak," she whispered. "They will find us; the elders will know."
"Have courage, Eisa," he murmured to her, stroking the top of her head. "They cannot destroy the love we have for each other. Even if they did find out, we would never be apart for long. We could find a way."
Eisa bit her lip as terrifying visions of everything that could go wrong danced through her mind. She buried her face in Jak's chest and let the scent of him, the feel of his arms around her, carry those awful predictions away.
"I am afraid, Jak," she murmured. "Mother said that the gods brook no disobedience of any kind. Oh Jak! What if our love brings judgment on the whole camp?"
Jak gripped her hands and pulled her close. "Eisa, look into my eyes," he said. She did, and he told her, "Your love for me gives me life. My love for you makes me stronger and better each day than I was before. There can be nothing disobedient or rebellious about a love like that."
Eisa's eyes shone with gratefulness. "If only our families could understand that."
Jak nodded. "Our only hope is that they will see the goodness that our love brings, and it will aid our tribes in coming together as one tribe."
Eisa nodded. "Oh yes! If such a thing could happen, we would not have to live in such fear and secrecy any longer!"
Jak glanced over his shoulder, as if the mere mention of secrecy would bring the angry tribesmen upon them. Looking back at Eisa, seeing the trust in her eyes as she returned his gaze, the idea formed in his mind, and he resolved to act upon it.

“Eisa,” he said, “there is a way for us to be together, even when we are in separate places.” He pulled out his knife, a thin onyx blade that sparkled in the setting sun.
Eisa shrank back as he raised it. “What will you do?” she asked fearfully.
Jak smiled at her as he brought the knife close to his own head. Gripping a lock of hair between his fingers, he sliced through it, showing the shorn piece to his friend. “Now give me your hand,” he instructed.
Eisa obeyed, and Jak wrapped the lock around her finger, tying it in an impossible knot. He offered her the knife by its handle. “Now your turn.”

Eisa reached up as he had done and sliced of a lock of her hair. Jak took the long piece and wound it around his wrist. Sheathing his knife, he held his hand against hers. “There,” he announced. “Now I have some of you with me, and you have some of me. We are together as one—even though our eyes do not meet.”
Eisa felt a wholesome warmth creep over her body. “I will think of you whenever I see this ring,” she promised.
Jak nodded. “And no one will ever need to know whence came these things. We can say we made it out of the hairs of a horse’s tail, and people will believe it.”
Eisa smiled and buried her nose against the ring. “It even has a little of your scent with it,” she mused.

Jak heard the twilight horns of his village sound low and heavy across the forest. He sighed. “Eisa, we must go. Remember,” he held the hand that bore the ring. “I am always with you. This ring is round without end, so my love will always stay with you and surround you.”
“And you only will be my life-bringer,” Eisa replied. “I will pledge myself to no one else, because I have already given myself to you.”
They drew apart.
“I will come here in the morning, my love,” Jak called softly.
“I will wait for the sun to rise, and then I will come!” Eisa promised.

Such were the plans of the two lovers; but the best-laid plans go oft awry—and little did they suspect that the dawn they awaited would never come.

Eisa had just lain down upon the thick sleeping pelt when a dreadful tremor began shaking the very earth like a great big gourd. Fear gripped her as she jumped to her feet, running outside to see what the villagers were screaming about. The sky was dark, save for a thin line of sunrise at the very horizon. A billowing black cloud covered the rest of the sky, and the mountain that had overshadowed their village for as long as she could remember spewed a column of liquid fire toward the sky, higher than the height of the very tallest tree Eisa could think of. The red, burning substance seeped down the side of the mountain, destroying everything it touched—and heading right for her village.
Desperation gave Eisa’s feet wings, and she flew away from her village, out to the patch of forest that stood between her village and Jak’s village. She nearly collided with him in the dark.

“Eisa,” there was no missing the terror in his voice. “Eisa what is it?”

Eisa could not speak for the tears. “Oh Jak,” she wept, “Oh Jak! It is the gods! They are angry at us! They send fire out of the mountain, and it will drown the village and kill everyone. It is all our fault!”
Jak shook his head firmly. “Eisa, look at me,” he cradled her chin in his hand so she would hold still. “I am here, I am with you. I will protect you.”
“But the earth will surely open up and swallow us!”
Jak reached out and wrapped his arms around her. “Then it will swallow us together. We will never part again, no matter what the elders might say.”
Eisa trembled, even as the moving, cracking earth made it hard for her to stand. “I can’t, Jak!” She whimpered. “I cannot stand. I must fall.”
“Let us lay down,” Jak told her. “We will wait until it passes. It will not reach us.”
Eisa lay down on her side. Jak reached out and stroked her face, soothing her; both refused to let the other go.
Jak smiled at Eisa, even as she tried to make herself smile back.
“I love you, Eisa.”
“I love you, Jak.”
“It will be over soon,” he said, as the thick blackness descended upon them, and the liquid fire swallowed them whole…. 

Present Day

"Now," the tour guide's voice interrupted the reverent hush, cutting in rudely with far too much volume through tinny, reverberating speakers, "the story we have just witnessed is creative interpretation, but the catastrophe was very much real." He flipped through the digital images of an archaeological dig. "Evidence of a layer of ash and volcanic rock about a mile thick, below layers of dirt, have proven that, some time during the Stone Age, a volcanic eruption just like the one in Pompeii buried the city and its inhabitants where they stood." He clicked through more images. "Or, as in the case of this couple, discovered by a college student from a prominent university in Europe," he clicked again, "where they lay."
The audience stared at the two skeletons, facing each other, limbs intertwined. One last, eternal embrace for Jak and Eisa. Millennia later, and they still remained deeply in each others' arms.

"Nations rise and empires fall," the tour guide murmured. "But real love will last forever, even beyond death."

Previously In This Series:

Continuous Stories:

                              (Soul Mates Part 9/Serenity's Light Part  4)


Single Posts:

#26 "The Tides of Battle"

#19 "Story Time"

#1 "Red of Morning"