And here we are at another Wednesday. I'm saying that way too often :) Can you believe we're in March already. I used the prompt 'Damn Fucking Cold' but I have to share another one just because it's so bloody cute.
Emma had no idea what she was doing. She was cold; damn fucking cold. Her heart was like a block of ice in her chest and every beat hurt.
It occurred to her that Catherine had transferred her attack from Ash to her and she wasn’t being very effective fighting it off. Fear flooded her and Ash must have felt it because he jerked and squeezed her hand tighter. He might have said something, but she didn’t hear.
The world had faded out. Only Catherine was clear As if surrounded by an invisible wind, her dress and hair flew around her, making her appear even madder than before. Her face was stretched into an awful facsimile of a smile and her eyes blazed with an unholy light. Emma felt her hand reach into her chest and close around her heart.
Emma would have screamed if she could have, but the ice froze her voice. She was dying and there was nothing she could do about it.
Then warmth suffused her hand and began to move up her arm. Shocked, she broke Catherine’s gaze and looked down, to find Tristan’s hand in hers. On the other side, Ash’s hand, too was warm and, whilst not infusing her with the same heat, it had begun to thaw the ice.
Emma closed her eyes and centred herself. Catherine screamed in anger, but she ignored it. Drawing on the warmth of the two men, she concentrated on her frozen heart and it began to thaw.
Suddenly, the room was rent with a blood-curdling scream, and Tristan’s hand was wrenched from hers.
“Traitor,” Catherine screamed. “You would rather save her than me – me the one you love; the one you were to marry? How dare you turn away from me? You do not deserve my love and you never did. I will destroy you. I will burn you with the ice in my heart, the ice you have driven into it like a dagger.”
Emma watched in frozen horror, as Catherine knocked Tristan to the floor and locked her hands around his throat. Tristan was no match for Catherine’s insane strength.
“Help him,” Ash cried, and it shattered the last of the ice.
Welcoming the opportunity for physical action, Emma threw her arms around Catherine’s neck. She was surprised to find it was solid. Catherine threw back her head, catching Emma in the nose. She yelled but held on.
Letting go of Tristan, Catherine clawed at her face and hair but still Emma held on squeezing with all her might.
Tristan managed to scramble to his feet. For a moment, he disappeared, leaving Emma struggling to hold on to Catherine, and protect her face and head from Catherine’s clawed hands.
Then, suddenly, Tristan was there, like an avenging angel. Emma gasped as she looked up at him. It seemed as if he was surrounded by a glowing golden light.
“You stupid, evil bitch,” Tristan hissed. “You have damned yourself and for what? Revenge? What did I ever do that justified that? I died, Catherine. I was on my way to our wedding and I died. My last thoughts were of you. I loved you with all my heart. And how did you repay that love? The love that suffused the last moments of my life? You twisted it, and turned it into hate; into madness.
“For hundreds of years you have punished me for loving you, by murdering one innocent after another. And what satisfaction has it brought you?”
“You betrayed me,” Catherine wailed. “You left me at the altar. Do you have any idea how much that hurt?”
“I was dead.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“You could have waited.”
“You left me. On our wedding day, you left me.”
“You will not hear me, Catherine, because you do not wish to; you never did. I did not betray you. I was not faithless. I would have lived and died for you. But that is all gone. I have no love in my heart for you now, no forgiveness. My time in this place comes to an end and I feel myself growing thin. Before I leave there is one thing I must do. I must finish what I began.”
Before anyone could move a finger, Tristan produced a dagger from somewhere in his clothing and, without hesitation, plunged it into Catherine’s breast.
Catherine screamed, and twisted in Emma’s grip. Emma let go and scrabbled backward as Catherine writhed and screamed. Cracks appeared in her skin, and an evil, black smoke seeped out of them. Like crazy paving the cracks spread, making Catherine look like a broken china doll. Then, with a flash of light so bright Emma couldn’t look at it, Catherine soundlessly exploded.
For a moment there was absolute silence. Everyone stared at the place Catherine had been. It was empty space now. Then the sounds of reality filtered back through her dazed brain. The steady beep of the hospital equipment – not so steady right then, footsteps outside, voices.
“Is it over?” Emma asked, but Tristan did not respond. When she raised her eyes, Emma gasped. Tristan was fading. Already she could see the wall behind him, right through his body. “No. Don’t go.”
Tristan smiled. “It’s over,” he said, his voice a whisper in the breeze. “I have no place here now.”
“Yes you do. You have a place with me.”
“I’m sorry, Emma. In another place, another world, I could have loved you.”
“I… Please stay.”
“I cannot. My place is not here, not in this world. I can move on now. I can be at peace.”
“Let him go, Em.”
Emma turned to Ash. His eyes were very bright, and very real. “Will I ever see you again?”
“Perhaps. In another time; another place.”
“How will I know you?”
“You will know Emma Loughbridge. You will know.”
Then he was gone and nothing remained but a brief puff of wind that blew across her lips.
Okay, Now as an added bonus here is the Epilogue. It's too short to take a week of its own so I'll put it in here as an added bonus then, next week start a new flash.
Emma placed the last book on the shelf and straightened up with a sigh. Life was good. She loved her new job in the book shop and her first novel was about to be released. Soon, she’d be having a signing right here and her excitement at her dream come true was boundless. One day, very soon, one of the displays in the front of the shop would have her book, with her name, on it. How truly amazing was that?
The events of six months ago had almost faded from her memory. The house had been sold and they now lived in a super modern flat in the city. Ash had gone back to school and she was doing classes in creative writing and IT that worked around her job at the book shop. Adam, of course, was painting. He had his own studio; a tiny place a few blocks from the flat, just across from Ash’s new place.
After what happened, Emma had been distraught when Ash moved out, but he needed his space and had a new girlfriend Emma hated. If she were being honest she’d have admitted that Laura was a lovely girl, and good for Ash, but their experiences with Catherine had brought them closer than ever and she hated that another woman was taking care of him now. Not that Ash needed taking care of. He’d bounced back better than she had, and had returned to his bouncy, carefree self. Except that he called her every night – just to make sure she was okay. Emma smiled. Yeah right.
It was almost closing time, and Emma was looking forward to going out with friends that night. Her mind was full of plans for what she was going to wear, and dreams about whether the hot guy from Ash’s class at college was going to pay her any attention. She practically skipped around the shelves into the main section of the shop – and ran straight into someone who’d been carefully examining a book on one of the display stands. The book fell to the floor with a loud bang, drawing the attention of everyone in the room.
“Are you okay, Em?” Sue, her boss and friend called, from behind the counter. Emma didn’t answer. She
was frozen by a pair of the bluest eyes she had ever seen – well, that she’d seen only once before.
“Are you alright?” a voice echoed, and she blinked, realizing the boy was talking to her.
“Um…Yes, yes I am. I think.”
“Did you hurt yourself?”
“No, I’m fine.” Emma bent to pick up the book, trying to gather her scattered thoughts. This couldn’t be happening. She could barely breathe and her hand, putting the book back on the stand, shook. She was scared to look into those eyes again, but straightened her shoulders and faced them with a smile. All thoughts of the hot boy were gone now.
“I-I haven’t seen you around before,” she stammered lamely. The boy laughed.
“No, I’ve just moved here. I’m a bit of a book nut, so you’ll probably be seeing a lot of me.”
“Good. I mean…um…it’s good to meet another book nut.” Emma could have kicked herself. She was being utterly lame and acting like a silly schoolgirl with her crush. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Emma.”
“Hello, Emma,” the boy said, his blue eyes twinkling over a dazzling smile. “I’m pleased to meet you. It’s not often I meet someone who knocks me off my feet.”
Emma coloured and gave him a coy smile, kicking herself as she did so. She didn’t usually act like this with a boy. She was being a complete idiot, but she couldn’t help it. How could she help it? How could she not…? Dammit, this couldn’t be happening. But, apparently it was, so she might as well roll with it. She gave the boy a beaming smile that came from the very heart of her. The boy looked a little shocked. His eyes widened, then he his face fell into a familiar smile.
“I’m Tristan by the way,” he said.
Now, go ahead and check out the other awesome flashers at our website Wednesday Briefs where you can see the first 100 words of each story so you can pick your favourites.