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It’s time (short fic)

June 26, 2021

I’ve been struggling to put pen to paper lately.

But here is a little something I wrote for a course I was doing.

It’s been ten years. Almost to the day. I forgot about it, and I kinda wish it hadn’t occurred to me, that I could have let the date pass unnoticed, unremembered. It was only as my coffee cooled inside my mug, and as I stared out at my silent, ice-covered backyard that I remembered. I became hyper-aware of the chipped ceramic beneath my fingers and the cold glass fogging in front of my face. I must have leaned forward, focusing on that one spot at the end of my yard and at the overgrown grass—so long not even the cold could kill it—and at the bushes that had taken on a life, a madness, of their own. It was understandable. I sure as hell never went down there to tidy it up.

That was when I remembered.

I nearly dropped the coffee mug. I didn’t, thankfully, coffee brought me to life on these winter mornings stuck inside. I’d have hated the mess, the clean-up and the subsequent time wasted. My brain felt stuck, like a DVD skipping over a scene, endlessly replaying the same moment. The door. Stepping through it. The blood. The sword. His smile. My laugh. A scream. I slammed my eyes shut but the pictures kept coming. My hand in a leather glove gripping the hilt of my sword. A wooden dinner table covered in half-eaten meals. Boots. Endless rows of boots with no feet inside yet I can hear them following me, tramping over slushy melting snow. I push away from the window—the glass like water against my skin.

My hands are trembling. I form two fists to still them. The tremble moves inside my body. My heartbeat judders, blood pulsing, thudding in my ears. I tell myself there is no door. I shout it. I scream it. There is no door. My yard is empty, completely normal, peaceful. There is no magic. It does not exist here. I am safe. My body rejects my words. Somehow it knows the truth. It knows what is coming. I feel it. In the tingles down my spine, in the numbness that spreads over my limbs, in the shiver that kisses my neck.

If I go out there I will see it. The door. The door has returned. It’s been ten years. Ten years to the day that I was forced to leave my home. Ten years. The length of my sentence. The length of my freedom.

No.

I don’t want to go.

I am safe here. I am free.

I am alone.

If I don’t look then I cannot see. It will not be real. I stumble back until I reach the sofa, plopping down upon the cushions and with a loud clank put my mug upon the glass top of the coffee table. I pull my knees up and wrap my arms around them. I didn’t see the door. It is not there. It can’t have been ten years already. I’m fighting a losing battle and the truth beats at the back of my frazzled mind pushing to the forefront of my consciousness. I have to go back. It’s time to return. My period of isolation is over.

The trunk is in the back room, beneath the spare bed, hidden from sight. Inside is my uniform and my weapons. I had hoped never to pull them out again.

They might not even fit.

The thought is fleeting. The leather will fit. It is magic after all. Excellent workmanship from my head magician. I expected nothing less.

With a heavy heart I lower my legs and push off the sofa. My footsteps sound a death knell as I walk to the room, my mind blissfully blank. The drag of the trunk against the carpet feels as if the very fibres are trying to stop me. A metallic snap-click and another before I lift the lid to expose my past. It takes no time at all to dress. I slow as I pull the gauntlets over my wrists and tighten the leather strap and buckles. I layer each weapon upon my body and feel my blood chill at the familiarity of the movements. I become the woman I was, the warrior I was, the leader I will be again.

My walk to the back door is slow but steady. My gaze drifts across the stone benchtop and over my mobile phone. I jerk to a stop as reality bursts through the fog in my mind like sunshine after a storm. My phone. Technology. Reality. This is my house. This is my life. I don’t have to go.

What if I don’t open it? What if, instead of tugging open the heavy door I hold it closed and add a lock. What if I run?

I close my fingers around the plastic case and lift the device that connects me to this world. Social media. A lifeline. A link to people and friends and the world outside. I have a choice.

***

The door is wooden, old, with brass hinges and a frame humming with magic. The runes on the surface flare white hot with power. I breathe in and my hand rests upon the brass handle. I make my choice.

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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4 Comments
  1. Not even social media can beat old brass 😉

  2. This is intriguing and exciting, and makes me want to read more.

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