The Bag, the Bullets, and the Girl
THE LIGHT OF THE FULL MOON WASHED OVER MY FACE LIKE A SEA OF SOFT FEATHERS, gently slashing the side my cheeks like a swift blade. I stared into the forest, the trees and their leaves swaying in the wind. The owls hooted like trumpets and the night breeze flew in circles around the bark of the trees, making their branches creak.
A bag of money was clenched in my right fist, a gun in the other, though it was not loaded. The bullets rested in my pocket, each one brand new and shining like a dragon’s treasure. I exhaled- a silent poof of mist flew off of my dry lips. A hood was pulled over my head, almost all the way over my chin. It masked all my emotions: hate, anger, sadness, happiness….love.
She came out of the darkness of the trees, fully coated in winter attire, a sword on her hips and a purple scarf around her neck. The grass crunched and melted under her feet, as if the ground were made of easily breakable walnuts. Her black hair which was tied in a ponytail, swayed in the breeze like a beautiful flag. A black bandana was wrapped around her mouth, up to her nose, enabling her to speak clearly.
I tensed as she approached. She drew her sword and it gleamed in the light of the moon. It was made of cold steel, able to slice through a man before he could cry “mommy.” A lion head served as the hilt; gold and bright, with fierce marble eyes. She wedged the blade into the earth, a sprinkle of dirt flying towards me as the ground broke.
The girl removed her bandana and began to speak, her moist lips opening and closing as she did.
“So you’ve made it to the destination I see,” the girl said, mist rising from her mouth as she spoke.
“Obviously,” I said.
“Don’t get smart with me,” she said. But as she said this, her expression didn’t change to that of annoyance or strictness. It remained the same; unnatural, firm, and calm.
“You’re one of them…” I said.
“If you’re implying that ‘them’ means the Alcedonians, then yes- I am one of ‘them’,” she breathed, one again her expression not moving an inch. The frosted breeze seemed to repel off of her skin, so she must’ve been warm. To boot, she was wearing five layers of winter attire.
“Alcedonians,” I said. “The Calm People….” I shivered as I said this, for I knew the tale of the Alcedonians all too well.
“Yes, that is what some call us,” the girl said.
“They told me they would send a human, someone like me,” I said.
“Mr. Sorin, right now there is no one like you.”
I sighed, mist exhaling from my nose this time. My breath sparkled in the night as it drifted off towards the moon. Of course there was no one like me. There were humans, but not like me. I had…abilities.
“That’s not what I meant,” I groaned.
“I know. But it is what I meant. You have a gift Mr. Sorin. You should take my master’s offer.”
“No. His offer is ridiculous- I wouldn’t take it in a million years. I’m just here to-“
“-In a million years the world might have already been destroyed, Mr. Sorin.”
I rolled my eyes. The world might be destroyed tomorrow for all I knew. There was too much going on in our planet….
“I’m just here to give you your money,” I groaned firmly.
The girl’s eyes moved towards the bag of money, still grasped tight in my right fist. Suddenly, I felt colder and numb. My grip on the bag began to loosen, cold sweat dripping down my palm and falling into oblivion in the grass. I knew this influence- the influence of the Alcedonians. I tightened my grip and fought my sensation to drop the bag.
“As I thought,” the girl said, staring back into my eyes. Her white pupils were polished like the blade of her sword, glossy and perfect. “You can resist our potintia de somes- our influence of the body. Mortals aren’t supposed to be able to do that. As I stated, you have a gift Mr. Sorin.”
“ENOUGH!” I barked. A blazing fire sparked within me, as if someone had lit a match in my gut. But it wasn’t your average match. It was a blazing cold match, lit with a wicked blue fire that fuelled my hate and boiled my blood. I could feel my skin warming and organs working harder to process the hate and fire that now flowed through my veins. I could feel fire beginning to heat my left hand and ice beginning to freeze my right.
The girl chuckled, but her expression didn’t change at all. “Have I ignited ‘the beast’?”
I dropped the bag and the gun. My left hand burst into a bonfire of anger. The grass around me blackened and drooped, steam rising from the burning earth. My right hand froze like an icicle, cold steam rolling across me. The grass around us dropped in temperature below subzero. My hands extended on their own. Fire and ice burst from my palms, like geysers of frozen, burning water. I hollered at the top of my lungs and my hatred mixed with this sonic scream.
The emotionless girl drew her blade in one swift motion and deflected the fire and ice. My scream repelled off of her and flew into the night, shattering the bark on the trees around us.
I fell to my knees, energy draining from me like water in a sink. I felt exhausted, as if all life had suddenly left me. My heart began to slow and beat normally. I looked up into the girls emotionless eyes.
She chuckled, expression the same, and said, “How dare you.”
Stepping forward, the girl picked up the bag of money, threw the gun in the woods and used her foot to slam me onto my back. She placed her dirt covered army boot on my throat and pressed down hard.
I choked- wind struggling to leave my throat, as if it was stuck behind bars. She pointed her sword at my forehead and I could feel the sharp tip draw the tinniest speck of blood, only a drop of my precious essence.
“Assault is punishable by execution, Mr. Sorin,” the girl sighed. “We are the law, you must obey us.”
I struggled beneath her boot, to no avail.
“Do not try to escape, death waits for you on either side of my foot.”
“What?” I said, my voice escaping my lips cracked and dry.
“This means that if you live on this beautiful night- which you cannot- it is not guaranteed that you will live to see one tomorrow.”
The girl raised her sword in a beautiful arch, bringing it only inches from my head.
“All citizens are denied rights to trial if they attack a law enforcement officer. All citizens are guilty in a court of law.”
“Un…” I began.
She brought her sword down on my head. “Fair,” she stated. And as life left me, I saw a maniacal grin appear on her face.