Posted Oct 05 2012 - 10:11 AM
Written: Oct 5th
Theme: The Red Star (Ambage Flash Fiction Contest Theme #1)
It was the first thing that came to her mind when he started to cough again. She stared down at his body, spread out on the bed half covered in sheets, the other half exposed to fresh air. He was constantly either with a fever or shivering with the chills.
A face, puffed up under the eyes, red at the cheeks. Lines under the eyes brought up from all the late nights, stricken with tiredness. But that was her face, not his.
She moved the hair from her eyes and placed a cool towel on the young Toa’s head. He was breathing easily, but it was shallow. He didn’t get a coughing fit all the time, but each time he did it only reminded her of how much time he had left. He was a wielder of stone, so he was meant to be stronger than this.
At least that’s what he believed.
They were both Toa. She was one of Psionics, and he was one of Stone. Living as two of the guardians in their village wasn’t always easy. Matoran, people similar to them in every way except for their special abilities, constantly asked for requests and help. They were so different when they both discovered their power over the elements a few years back. They were almost total opposites in everything, mind and strength, humble and proud, even their skin color, white and dark brown.
But… there had been an attraction. And years later, now married and surprisingly happy, they didn’t seem so different any more.
They just seemed like one person.
And she was about to lose her other half.
“Are you okay?”
She glanced his way and smiled, standing above him next to the bed right beside the nightstand. He wasn’t even looking at her, just staring up into the night sky by the window. She had just gotten back from a dispute going on in the village. Usually she would have taken her time. Today, she simply ended the silly brawl, forcefully.
Today was not the day for pointless distractions.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” she replied, frowning.
“You know how I am,” he said, finally looking at her. He wasn’t downhearted, and he seemed comfortable.
It had struck only weeks before. He started to feel dizzy on patrol, tired often. Then he started to vomit and get headaches.
It was an ‘infection’, the local doctor had told them, a Makuta virus that could have been obtained from anything, from anywhere. Sometimes it took effect over physical bodies, or the mind, but it was usually something that could be cured.
But this one was different, he had told them. It was attacking one organ in the Toa of Stone’s body, the heart. And there was no known way to counteract it now.
“Would you mind grabbing me something…”
“Anything,” she said, quickly, quietly. There was no light in the room, because the glare made his headache worsen. Only the stars gave them a soft light.
“…I really, really want a chocolate chip cookie. A large one.”
She almost laughed aloud as tears sprang to her eyes.
“Oh yeah? The ones you like, at the bakery, right?”
When she returned he looked worse.
The local baker was well aware of her husband’s condition. The two had been friends for years since the Toa of Stone had stopped a fire at the establishment.
With a saddened look, he had given her the cookie for free. A large one, just like he liked it.
Sitting on the bed, she handed him the cookie, now unwrapped, and he started to break it apart at the edges, placing each piece in his mouth.
“I’m going to miss this the most…” he broke off a piece and gave it to her. She ate it, not hungry. As she chewed she kept her eyes on him. “The little things, see, the daily events that don’t seem important. Those are my most cherished memories with you.”
His eyes seemed a little blurry, his breathing weaker. He reached out with his fingers, slowly wrapping them around her nearest hand.
She started to choke up, so she leaned in and pressed her forehead to his. She didn’t want to keep watching him.
And then he started to whisper.
“I had a dream, of us. In Paradise, on this planet that never seemed to end…” she started to open her eyes, not knowing if he was delirious or not. “Our friends were all there, even the ones we’ve lost. Your sister was there. I was there… We’re all happy, we’re safe.”
“K-kinda like in Artahka right?” she said, smiling and whispering back. But she didn’t believe a word of what he said.
“No. This place was real. I saw it.” He stared up at her, and she forced herself to believe what he said, even though she didn’t understand.
“I’ll be back. At some time and place. And I promise I’ll see you again…”
She walked out of the house, feeling the crisp winter air biting at her skin. It was somewhat refreshing though. Cool and real. She was lost right now, her mind numb. Her husband had passed away only moments ago.
She glanced around, Matoran were watching her, their eyes all asking the same question. They all knew the answer.
Reflexively she brought a hand to her mouth, taking a big bite out of the half eaten cookie. It tasted wonderful and still a little warm.
Glancing upward as she chewed, she didn’t want to feel any emotions, for a few more minutes. Being a Toa of Psionics had advantages.
Then, she noticed something.
What he had been looking at from his window, far in the sky, high in the heavens. It glowed brightly, among millions of its brothers, but it was unique. The red star.
It felt like it was staring down at her pitiful form, asking her to notice him; glowing with a promise.
The entire story including the title all come to a total of 998 words. This is the first Bionicle story I've written where they are portrayed as humans.
Edited by Quote (Mr. Traveler), Oct 07 2012 - 10:28 AM.