He caressed her soft, pale skin as she lay sleeping. She did not stir when he leaned over and kissed her; nothing he could do would wake her. He shook his head and went back to caressing her hand as he waited to hear the results from the doctor who had been called in. He worried for his friend and lover, but there was nothing he could do to help her in this state. She had been like this ever since the beginning of the week and now it was almost Friday. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he pulled out his pocket watch to clarify it was only nine at night. Someone entered the room while he yawned. He did not hear the person until he felt the weight shift on the bed. Turning to see the mother of his dear friend, the look on her face told him more than he wanted to know. She held one of her daughter’s cold hands almost in tears as he looked down at his lover’s peaceful face.
“They said there are people all over the world with the same problem as us. No cure has been found at this point, but the world’s greatest doctors are looking in to it,” her mother said as her eyes dropped slightly from exhaustion.
“I’ll watch over her. Get some rest,” he said, smiling gently to her and back at his lover.
“I could not possibly leave you alone here with her. If she wakes up I want to be the first face she sees,” her mother yawned as she spoke.
“Then I will send for a cot to take turns resting. Does that satisfy you?” he asked, getting up slowly as his bones creaked from sitting too long.
“If you do not mind,” he smiled and headed out the door to get a cot brought over. When he stepped out the door rain had settled on the small town along with a slight fog.
Calling one of the carriages nearby, he briskly walked towards it. While he stretched inside he told the driver where he intended to go. The horse whined at the crack of the whip, but did not protest any further, instead the carriage jolted forward. After resting his head on the door frame, he thought about his love who still slept. The day before she went unconscious, he had brought her to a dinner party. In the middle of the party, she wanted to tell him something important. Yet, he could not be bothered to listen to her for the time being since there were important people there, expecting him to pay attention to them. With each passing moment she sleeps on, regret fills his heart.
A sudden stop managed to make him hit his head on the spot he was resting on, jolting him out of his thoughts. Rubbing the part of his head he hit, he blinked his eyes focusing on what was outside the window instead of his thoughts. He noticed the driver had stopped to talk to a friend of his, or so it seemed at first until the friend approached him.
“If you will kindly step out of the carriage,” he was shorter than the average person, but his height did not make the man who was in the carriage become more attentive; it was the knife. It glistened in the pale street lights as he grinned.
“If I refuse?” the man in the carriage asked, glaring at the knife with disgust.
“I’ll have to make you go to sleep, just like the others,” he grinned wider, revealing a few teeth missing.
“What do you know about that?” the man in the carriage leaned forward ready to grab the knife away. He only wanted the information about how to save those who were sleeping.
“Why would I tell you? What if I said I was the one who put your little lady friend in her deep slumber? I wonder how long she’ll last,” he opened the door. “Come on out now.”
The man in the carriage stepped out glaring with narrowed brown eyes, looking for a way to get information. Closing his eyes, a plan came to mind, but would it work? He would have to take a chance and hope it did. He lunged forward trying to grab the knife out the short man’s hands, but it did no good. He was not fast enough. The short man moved out of the way letting the man use his own body weight to pull him down to the ground.
“There is no need to be violent,” the shorter man said watching him spit out dirt as he tried to get up.
“Shall I?” the coachman asked looking at the shorter man with a club in his hand.
“If you must,” the shorter man shrugged with a small scoff.
Clenching his fists, the man on the ground tried to struggle on his feet when clear, silver eyes came into his view. Two children were hiding in the alley, he had to protect them even if it meant he had to be killed since he doubted the other two would allow for witnesses. He turned to face his attacker head on, but it was too late. A ringing filled his ears as pain burst from the back of his head; bringing his hand up to where he had been hit, he felt something wet and sticky. While he tried to focus his vision, thoughts about the children behind him penetrated his mind.
“What shall we do with him, boss?” the coachman asked, resting the club he used on one of his shoulders.
“I suppose we could try the new poison. I heard there was a nasty after effect. It‘s supposed to keep the person alive as long as possible until the poison has worked itself all the way through the body. Then after several long, painful hours, the person can finally die,” the shorter man grinned while he took out a small box. The pill he pulled out was not something the man on the ground had seen before, but if it did what the shorter man said it does, there would be trouble.
“Shall we leave him here then?” the coachman asked hoping he had asked the right question; he knew how much the shorter man hated idiotic questions.
“Yes, if anything, people will smell his dead body days from now and there will be nothing to connect us,” the shorter man reached for the head of the man on the ground, who could do nothing. “There you go, pretty boy. We cannot send you to where your girlfriend is because we already made the mistake of sending on ray of hope.”
“Ray of hope?” the man on the ground asked closing his eyes as the poison set in.
“Something about a legend and a girl bringing hope, but it does not concern you,” the shorter man smiled once before he got into the carriage. The coachman was not fair behind, hopping into his place he cracked the whip for the horse to move.
The shifting of feet behind the man on the ground told him, the children were coming out of their hiding place. He did not want them to see him die so he rolled over to try and tell them to back away from him. He did not even bother. The moment he saw the girl with silver eyes approach him, her white hair shone in the darkness of the alley. The boy who was with her only walked a few steps before stopping.
“Leave him be, they gave him a poison,” he said turning his head away. When the girl did not start moving again he said, “You cannot help everyone you meet you know.”
“I know this, but he is needed for later,” her voice sounded like chimes blowing in the wind.
“Alura,” the man on the ground muttered to himself. “I have to save her.”
“You do, but not now. Just rest, I will heal you,” she smiled down at him as he looked at her for a moment before drifting off into a deep sleep. “Moto, you need to help move him when I’m done.”
“Alright,” he replied sighing.
- Title: Distance
- Artist: Xiate
- Description: This is a revised form of an older story.
- Date: 12/25/2011
- Tags: distance