To Keep From Shattering
Written by Five
This work was last updated November 15, 2016
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A series of snapshots from "Shatter Me", part of my Leecher/Bleeder universe.
Theirs was not an easy world to live in. Those born poor, in some lonely border town were doomed to eke out a miserable existence farming barren land and living day to day. Even those born rich had to watch their step, lest they fall from grace – a lesson Lotte and Dom learned the hard way.
The world of Valia Faulkner touched both extremes, though she fell somewhere near perfectly in the middle. Sometime between her birth and now, a haze that perhaps would never dissipate had fallen over her life. It was a smog that rarely receded, but sometimes it would thin out just a little, allowing the real Val to seep back from the cracks through which she’d fallen.
She wonders if the sky will ever be blue again. It’s only then she realizes that those like her were never meant to be happy. And when the fire come, burning flames in their hundreds, thousands, lighting up the darkness, she does nothing but stand there as her skin melts and she is twisted into a creature of hell. What atrocities did she commit to deserve this half life? Caught between one world and the next, hanging in the nook separating Heaven and Hell, she’s almost relieved when the latter claims her for its own. She begs for the forgiveness that she deserves but does not want.
Even in the monochrome of Persephone’s underground kingdom, her world is never colourless. It’s a world of deep shadow and candlelight, deep crimsons, waxy yellows, and more shades of night that could ever have existed. It was a painful existence. A deep ache in the heart that no longer beat, so strong that it was physically tangible. Chasing something which will never be.
The milky gazes of those who died her death stare back into her own blind eyes. Guilt gripped her with its sticky black fingers. She had died a thousand deaths, none of them permanent, but these poor wretches would be doomed to an eternity of this torture.
Lotte and Dom Winter were the two bravest souls Val had known. For his heart to shatter but his resolve to remain strong was the most exquisite pain he had ever felt, and he prayed to whoever might listen that no other boy would have to hold his twin and watch her die in his arms. And when the monster’s hot breath blew against his ear, he knew he would see justice for his mother, for his sister, for himself, and for every last human their wicked, wicked world had wronged.
Once upon a time, he thinks could have loved her, the delicate little thing spun from crystal and moonlight.
She knew what he thought of her. A girl of glass. A china doll. A window pane, already shattered with cracks running all through. As if the slightest touch could send her into pieces. And maybe it could. He was harsh and rough and not at all the prince she’d always dreamed of. But she also knew he was struggling to care. He was trying to make himself feel something, but wasn’t quite sure if it was worth the effort. Because sometimes he did still feel something, and that something was alike a door opening in his mind. The pearly gates opening into a wasteland of nothing but grey ash and billowing sand. He wasn’t a shell of a man. No, he was so much worse and she told herself she didn’t know why she stayed with him. But she did know, she just tried not to think of it because if she did, then maybe that hope would just prove itself a lie. Even so, she hoped. She hoped like hell that there was something she could do to bring back the boy that was, because every time she saw that smirk, she saw the boy she once knew, the same boy his mother had showed her in photos, just crueller and careless. He was still beautiful, the way a hurricane was. Only destruction lay in his wake, but she couldn’t help but to be amazed by that god-like power that ran through human veins, filling that mortal frame with steel and ichor.