“She plays beautifully, doesn’t she?” the man whispered to me.
“If you say so.” I half paid attention to the girl forcing the notes out of her violin. Sure she was good, but I’d heard, and clearly seen, better.
Sitting in my dads’ studio, I was bored out of my mind, itching to get out of here and go see my girlfriend. This stuffy girl’s “performance” made me want to call Ella and make her show them all the way she could make those notes sound 10 times better with her eyes closed. Literally.
My girl not only played better than this, she did so with passion and such raw emotion that you couldn’t help but to stare at her in awe. I’d been the only one to ever hear her play, so if I tried to brag about her, no one would believe me, but I didn’t care. She was much better than this.
“Thank you, Ms. Davis. We’ll call you back and let you know our decision,” my dad said.
The girl smiled and nodded, and her agent got up from his seat next to me, following her out the door.
“That was torture,” my other dad groaned, rubbing his head. “You’d think she was strangling a cat.”
“It wasn’t that bad, Blake,” my dad said.
“It wasn’t that good, either,” I muttered.
“See, even DJ agrees!”
“Stop yelling. I already have a headache, no thanks to you.”
I watched my dads continue to argue as I slipped on my headphones. I needed to hear some real music and I had just the song. I hit play and closed my eyes. It started in the most perfect way ever. With her laugh.
“Are you serious? You want to record me playing one of your songs?”
“Yes, now play, beautiful.”
“Fine, but you owe me another song.”
“Whatever you want.”
Her first cords made me smile every single time. She’d never played this song herself and still hadn’t managed to read sheet music, so she was trying to remember how I played it. Listening to her fumble through the first few lines as she tried to get a feel for the fingering was always cute. Then about a minute in, she played with more confidence, eventually losing herself in the music by the 3 minute mark.
She always wore the most blissful look on her face when she played, and that’s what I wanted to capture the most. That beautiful moment when she was completely at peace. It felt good to know I could do that for her. That I could make her happy.
She deserved to be happy. She deserved to never be hurt again. She deserved to be herself and live her own life. I wanted her to feel that way with me all the time. She felt the same way about me, but I was only happy when she was. It was cute the way she fussed over me, though. She was amazing all the time, but I liked it best when we were alone. She’d really be herself at those times and she just made me smile so much.
“What are you listening to?” my dad asked, pulling my headphones off.
“Nothing,” I said, taking them back.
“Leave him alone, Blake.”
“Aren’t you the least bit curious of the stupid grin on his face, Jamie?”
“Not as much as you are.”
He took my headphones from me and put them on. “Now this is music,” he said a bit loudly.
He took my phone from me and plugged it up to the speakers. In a second, the room was flooded with the pure sounds of my song being played by my girl.
My dad looked up from his desk at me. “Who is this?”
“Someone I found online,” I lied.
“This is really good,” he nodded.
“If only that girl sounded like this. We should recruit whoever this is instead,” my other dad said.
He shrugged. “I wish. I can actually feel something when I hear this. That girl just lacked heart.”
I kept my smile to myself hearing my dads rave about Ella. I would have to tell her this later. The look on her face will be the most adorable thing ever.
“So, DJ,” my dad said, handing me back my headphones, “when did you write this?”
“How do you possibly know that DJ wrote this?” the other interjected.
“Look at his eyes. They’re practically sparkling,” he smirked. “Who’s playing, DJ?”
I put my headphones around my neck and stood, unplugging my phone from the speakers. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Demetrius Jaylen Grayson. You can’t lie to me.”
I shrugged, picking up my backpack. “I’ll see you later.” I walked out the studio and headed down to the lobby. I hummed waiting in the elevator, tapping my fingers to the song still ringing in my head.
I walked out the front door, and stopped letting my eyes adjust to the sun. I looked up and smiled, seeing her. She looked so beautiful, the wind blowing through her light blue hair as she leaned against the hood of her car.
“Hey, beautiful,” I called, as I got closer.
She looked up from her phone and smiled. “Hey, handsome. How was work?”
“Not too bad. My dads heard you play and basically called it awesome.”
“One of them stole my phone while I was listening to you. They don’t know it was you, though.”
“Oh.” She tucked her hair behind her ear and retreated to her thoughts.
“What’s on your mind, beautiful?” I asked, kissing her cheek.
“T-they really liked it?” she asked, blushing a little.
“I believe their exact words were ‘This is really good. I can actually feel something when I hear this.’ And they wanted to hire you right away.”
“Wow.” She smiled, her eyes lighting up at the praise.
“See, it’s not just me. You are truly amazing.”
“But your opinion is the only one that matters,” she said, wrapping her arms around my neck and kissing me.
I held her waist and kissed her back, biting her lip in the process.
“Watch it,” she hissed.
“I’d watch you anytime,” I smirked.
She pushed me away and walked around to the passenger’s side. “Get in the damn car,” she said before getting in. I tossed my bag in the back and got in the driver’s seat and took the keys from her outstretched fingers.
“Where to today?” I asked.
“Surprise me,” she answered, stretching out next to me.
If only people would practice what they preach, then maybe this world would be a better place, far from what it is right now, far from what we have become. We sermonize the ways of mankind according to our level of importance, we all think we are better than everybody, or that we are too special to be mocked or derogated. We patronize ourselves too much by climbing desperately on our own pedestal of honor and supremacy. We pry on the failures of the unfortunate and weak. We covet what we don’t have. We resent our deficiencies by treating the prosaic and sane with malice. We are selfish. We are nocuous by nature, finding new ways of hurting people is what we are good at.
Yes. There are some who claims to be a manifestation of decency, of virtue or of probity, yet they can’t seem to validate their purpose…
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All that we fought for was gone in a matter of seconds, swept away by the torrent of water.
“No! NO!” Kelsea yelled.
I grabbed her as she tried to jump into the raging river. “Kelsea, it’s gone.”
“It can’t be! Without it, our friends, our families, everyone will die!” She began to cry. “They were all counting on me…and I failed them.”
I held her tightly, careful not to crush her delicate, fluttering wings. “We did all we could. Something obviously doesn’t want us to figure this out. Maybe this was supposed to happen.”
She looked up at me, her bright purple eyes full of tears. “Why would anyone want our entire colony to die? Who would wish for something so vulgar?”
I felt a sharp twinge in my chest as I saw the look of a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. I opened my mouth to speak, staring into her expectant eyes, but nothing came out. She buried her face in my jacket and I simply stroked her soft blonde hair.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’d knocked the small wooden box into the water on purpose. Kelsea didn’t know what I knew and I wouldn’t let her.
The ones that she thought were relying on her sent her out into a world that she knew nothing about, hoping that she’d die alone and scared. I shielded her from the nasty comments from her followers. She was one of the best queens we’d ever had, but just because she chose to fight The Darkness rather than run from it, everyone wanted to kill her.
“I tried so hard and I have nothing to show for it,” she sobbed.
“You did more than enough,” I said, inwardly cursing myself for what I was doing to her.
“We won’t even make it back in time to apologize.”
“I know.” I looked up and watched as the last glance of our hot air balloon slipped above the clouds. I untied it to distract her while I tossed the box. “We should look for somewhere new to live.”
“Felix,” she whispered, clenching a handful of my jacket.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I feel horrible.”
“I know, but this isn’t your fault.”
She shook her head and quietly laughed. “When you mentioned us living together, I felt my heart skip a beat.” She looked at me, her bright eyes growing dim. “I’m happy I failed.”
“Kelsea, what are you talking about?” Seeing her wings start to morph, I instantly regretted my decision.
My hold on her loosened as she stood. Her beautiful golden hair turned black as night, and the moon shone on her newly tattered wings now coated with shadowed shimmer. “Who cares if those ungrateful pricks die?” she grinned. “I finally have all I ever wanted.”
I stared in horror at the mysterious dark figure looming before me that had consumed the girl who I’d risked my life for countless times.
“It’s just you and me from now on, King Felix,” she hissed with a smile that chilled me to my core.
What had I done?
Recently, I’ve been having fun with writing prompts and challenges from Dragonition. It’s an awesome blog that y’all should check out. Channeling the spirit of Writing Challenge #1 by Dragonition, the month of February, starting the 3rd, I’ll start a new poem series that I’d like to call A-to-Z: The Emotional Alphabet. I hope y’all will stick around and enjoy it. Also, feel free to comment and/or join in. I’d love to hear from you guys.
“Who could ever believe that she could be mine, such a strange and beautiful creature?” I heard him say on the phone.
His grizzly voice sent shivers through me. I never saw his face. It always was covered when he came in to see me. He kept me chained to my bed. He never let me see the sun.
I was left in a cold, dark cell, just big enough for a bed and a bucket. He kept me gagged so I wouldn’t scream, even if could. My throat was so dry I couldn’t even let out a whimper. It was torture. I barely had room to spread my wings, which at this point were too delicate and frail to even lift. They just dragged behind me now.
“I heard it’s good luck to have an angel feather. How about the whole angel? I must have the best luck possible!”
He was a tall, grotesque man, always reeking of bourbon and cigarette smoke. Somehow, he’d found out where I was hiding and set a trap to capture me. I don’t know how he did it. I was always careful. I’d been since my mother was captured.
“You want how her for how much? 5 million? Hell yeah, I’ll take the deal!”
I heard the cloth bag he used to cover his head rustle as he put it on. The heavy metal door screeched open and he walked with the weighted thumping of his feet. I looked up at him, the bright light from the outside room outlining his built frame and blinding me.
He grabbed my face and squeezed as he spoke. The strong onion smell of his breath oozed through the bag and violated my nose.
“Looks like tonight’s our last night together. How about we have a nice going away ceremony for you, girly.”
He grabbed my bound hands and pulled them up, lifting me to my feet. He forced me to turn around giving him full access to my drooping wings. He pushed me against the wall and laughed as I tried keep my legs steady.
“You’re the best pet I’ve ever had. Even better than the last one. She didn’t last more than a day. She couldn’t handle my kind of love and she just broke.”
He put his rough hands on my exposed torso and leaned over to whisper in my ear.
“You’re a lot more fun.”
Tears fell from my eyes as I imagined him doing the same things he did to me to my mother, and how she probably cried like this hoping I’d never have to feel the same pain she did.
He brushed the hair off my cheek so that he could see my face.
“Now now, sweetheart. I’ll miss you too, but don’t cry. You know when you cry it just makes me want to hurt you more.”
I tried to stop, but at that point I no longer had any control over my own body.
“You must want me bad for you to be crying like that. I’ll make sure you never forget me,” he growled as he grabbed hold of my wings.
I clenched my eyes shut as I prepared myself for the excruciating pain I knew was coming.
“This one’s for you,” he said, ripping off a handful of my feathers.
For the first time in a long time, I heard my own voice as the foreign sound tore through my throat in the form of a bloodcurdling scream.
I felt the deep chuckle in his chest pressed against my shoulder.
“My favorite sound.”
“Do you remember the first time we met?” he asked. I watched as he paced back and forth. “I heard you laugh and it sounded like an angel. Then I saw you and noticed you looked like one too.” He stopped and faced me. I thought he was going to sit down, but instead he leaned against the wall. His strong arms crossed his chest, pulling his t-shirt taunt over his muscles. “I walked over and introduced myself, but you gave me the cold shoulder faster than I could ask for your name. Eventually I pried it out of you and we hit it off.” He stared me down with his bold, green eyes. “We were great together. What happened to us, Vicky?”
I looked away. I didn’t like it when he looked at me like that. It made me feel small. It was odd enough that Christopher Jacobs, the star soccer player of the Arrowwood University Falcons, had decided to show any kind of interest in me. His strong physique paired with his handsome looks made everyone wonder what he saw in someone who was his complete opposite: a small girl known as the weirdo photographer, with short, frizzy, dark brown hair and dull brown eyes.
Chris may have been the one to approach me, but I was drawn to him months before that. I was wandering around campus taking pictures. I stumbled across him practicing by himself on the school’s old field. There was something about seeing him breathless and giving it his all. The passion that I saw in his eyes that day made me fall for him. Hard. It is still one of my favorite photos, but I’d never let him see it.
“Vicky!” he yelled. “Are you even listening?”
I jumped at his voice. I’d heard him yell at his teammates before, but I never thought he’d use that tone of voice at me.
“I-I’m sorry,” I squeaked.
“I don’t want a damn apology. I want to know what the hell is going on with you?”
I still couldn’t look him in the eye. I had always been a quiet person. I never liked much attention, but being with Chris meant going by unnoticed was no longer an option. There was also something about him that made me feel bolder. With him, I would find myself doing things I would never normally do, like getting angry and arguing with someone like him.
“You disappear for 2 days, not bothering to call or text anyone, then I find you sitting in front of my apartment door like nothing happened. What’s up with that?”
“I just needed a break, okay?” I huffed, trying not to yell.
I heard the astonishment in Chris’s voice. “A break? Like from us?”
I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the inevitable breakdown I was destined to suffer. “My parents are getting a divorce. My brother died from a drug overdose. My best friend is sleeping with my therapist. My application for the Tewller Photography Program was rejected. My idol called my work junk. My roommate kicked me out of our apartment for being ‘too boring’. And my boyfriend has been so caught up in his chance at going pro that he hasn’t even noticed that I’ve needed a whole crapload of pills just to get out of bed before noon! So, excuse me for needing to disappear for a couple of days without everyone on my case!”
I sat still on his bed, out of breath, waiting to hear any response from him. When I heard nothing, I hazarded a glance in his direction.
He was no longer staring at me, but at his feet. I could see his jaw working under his skin; a habit of his that presented itself whenever he was thinking. I knew he was trying to think of something to say, a way to make me feel better, but knowing that there was nothing he could do, I stood and gathered my coat, bag, and camera.
Noticing my movement, Chris lifted his head. “Vicky,” he started. When I looked at him, his mouth stayed open as he tried to find his next words. I waited for a moment, but when he didn’t continue, I walked to the door.
“Wait,” he said, covering my hand. I felt as his warm hand pressed mine against the cold knob of the door.
My breath caught as he stood close enough for me to feel him against my back. He leaned his head on my shoulder and wrapped his other arm around my waist. “Please don’t go, Vicky. Not again,” he begged.
“I need to leave,” I answered. I knew if I pulled away he wouldn’t stop me, but a part of me didn’t want to believe he would let me go.
I closed my eyes as I felt his breath on my neck. “Victoria Graham, you drive me crazy and I love you so much. I didn’t notice you were hurting. Please let me make it up to you.”
“There’s nothing you can do, Chris,” I whimpered.
“Let me try.” He pulled me back toward his bed and took my things from me. Sitting me down, he turned on my camera.
“What are you doing?” I asked. I didn’t like other people touching my camera, even if it was Chris.
“Smile,” was his only response.
He took my picture without another word.
“What are you doing?” I asked again.
He moved closer and forced me to fall on my back. I had heard the rumors about Chris being a playboy, but he had never acted this way around me. He knew about my past and he never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to, but this time he was different.
He kissed my cheek, and then down to my neck. My breathing quickened as his free hand moved from my knee to my waist. I bit my lip to keep myself from giving him the satisfaction of breaking me down. If he wanted to hear me say I forgave him, I was going to make him work for it and really mean it.
His attention turned to my face. His hand caressed my cheek as he hungrily pressed his lips to mine. His tongue slipped pass my lips and intertwined with mine, both dancing around in my mouth. When he pulled away, a sigh escaped me and I saw him smile. My face turned red as he raised my camera and took another unwanted photo.
“What’s wrong with you?” I asked, both embarrassed and frustrated.
“You don’t get it, do you?” Chris replied. “You are always stuck behind the camera. I want you to see you as I see you. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
For the second time that night he had me afraid to say anything.
He sat my camera on his desk and laid down next to me. “I can’t make you forgive me for not being there for you, but I can make sure you know how much I love you.” He pulled me to his chest and held me in silence in that dimly lit room. I listened to his heartbeat as he kissed my forehead and ran his fingers through my hair.
I tightly gripped his shirt and buried my face deeper into it. “I am so scared without you, Chris.”
“I don’t care if I get to play anymore,” he whispered, “I’m never leaving you alone again.”
I closed my eyes and decided to give in. “I love you.”
Chris tilted my head back so that he could see my face, lit up by the pale moonlight streaking through the window. “I love you, too.”