Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

Awesome description, of someone who is deeply admired

Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

"his heart yawned" I love that description.

Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

How bittersweet this paragraph is.

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Daniel Sintos Daniel Sintos
Recommendations: 16

The Hermit Empire 1 - Chapter 1

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

This is the same story I had on here before. I see no reason from keeping it from readers anymore.

Dane couldn’t believe it. He admired her oaken hair flowing down her cheeks in natural waves. She didn’t have a natural tan like he did, but her skin was far from the lifelessness of alabaster. If anything, she radiated softness and life like milk. Her lips were thin and were kissed with a layer of nothing but lip gloss; the sides of her lips curved slightly upwards in a permanent quiet smile. And to tie it all off, she had malachite eyes that called him, embracing him to stay. 1 comment

Alexis giggled, discomfort and mirth hand-in-hand. “You’re not going all gooey on me now, are you?”

He had known her for a little over seven years. They had always been good friends and that had always worked for them. When she started dating, he had always been behind the lines dusting the shoulder she eventually used. Then, he wasn’t sure exactly when, but one innocuous moment his heart yawned and immediately sought her embrace. But he was her only confidant, her sole friend who wasn’t swept by the drama and complications of late adolescence—and eventually early adulthood. He was the only one brave—or foolish—enough to give her the cold truth when she wanted it least but needed it most. Hence, through all those years, he reined in the passion surging inside him. But tonight was different. 1 comment

Dane shook his head.

Alexis rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. Don’t tell me you’re actually going to try and lie to me. I know you too well. Just dig in. Your heart attack on a platter’s getting cold.”

He chuckled as he stabbed a calamari. “I swear, sometimes I wonder if you can read minds.”

“I wish. Maybe then, this,” she gestured at the two of them with her forked lamb, “would have happened sooner. Would’ve saved me money on tissue rolls that’s for sure.”

“Plus tax,” Dane added. “It’s the Harmonized Sales Tax now, isn’t it?”

She grunted with the same disdain that most Vancouverites did at the mention of the government’s recent ingenious economic plan. He laughed inwardly; he loved watching her single dimple dip whenever she got ticked.

As he listened to her berate the Government of British Columbia, a part of him wished he could freeze time. Always the friend, never the lover. It felt weird experiencing the very counter-proof of his long-held mantra. It all just seemed surreal and yet here he was. In the silence of his heart, a steady fear crept at the corner, flashing images of the moment bursting. He was still partly convinced that this was all a daydream.

He scoffed the idea away. He was here and she was really touching his arm. For the first time, everything was going right.

Immense pain seared his chest, making him choke on his rice pilaf. He doubled over, his hands clenched in tight fists. It felt like hot metal was burning into his chest. He bit down a yelp.

“Dane?” Alexis called, her care penetrating the cloud of pain. “Dane, are you okay? Do you need a glass of water?” She half stood as she called for a waiter’s attention.

He clenched his shirt and the burning metal underneath it confirmed his suspicion. He used his shirt like a mitten and kept the metal from touching his skin. He felt the furnace-like heat subside, but he didn’t want to risk it. He touched her arm with his free hand and smiled. “It’s fine. I just need to use the washroom. Excuse me.”

As he rose to leave, he stole one last gaze into her eyes before brisk walking to the privacy of the men’s washroom. Except, it wasn’t private. Although no one was using the standing urinals, both cubicles were occupied. He couldn’t check what was going on if there was even the slightest possibility that other people would see what he was about to do. Sighing, he knew he had no choice.

He scanned the area, making sure no one was behind any corner, and took a deep breath. He felt energy, his Aether, swirl inside him as he set his mind on the cubicle doors and the lock of the washroom door. After a swift wag of his finger, he heard the soft click of the washroom door locking. He gave it a tug and when it didn’t budge, he watched the cubicle doors for a moment. Dane was sure they would never open even if the occupants would unlatch and bang them open, but old paranoid habits died hard.

He bent over as he pulled off his shirt. As soon as it cleared his head, his locket dangled inches from his chest like a gun with an itchy trigger. Normally, it was white silver but now it had the same red glow as melting glass. He raised the oval piece to eye level with his telekinesis and opened it.

Immediately, images flashed in his mind like a projector on overdrive. A monkey with long brown hair and a bright red face cowered in fear. Trees wider than tables rose at the edges of a great river.  The sound of someone’s frantic panting. Muffled footsteps closing in. A grin.

Dane shook his head as he fought to stay grounded in the washroom. The locket swayed slightly. Nothing much was inside the locket except an inscribed circle and five gems that intersected it. Of the five, the ruby caught Dane’s immediate attention. It glowed.

At first, nothing came to mind. It wasn’t the novelty of seeing one of the gems glowing that kept the flood of thoughts at bay; it was the dread of what the glow implied. He pulled himself together and made sure that the other four gems, the sapphire, the citrine, the emerald, and the pearl, remained dormant. Satisfied, he turned back to the ruby, its glow pulsing like a threatened heart.

He tested the locket with a finger and, when it felt warm enough to hold, he closed it. Releasing the cubicle doors from his psionic grip, he put his shirt back on and washed his face. As water flowed down his cheeks, tears threatened to join them.

He was a fool. Did he honestly believe all of this, this night with her, would last forever? In the end, he wasn’t like them, like her. He was Euroan, a species who were like humans in every way except for the Aether flowing inside of them. Aether was the very core that separated Euroans from humans. Among other things, it gave Euroans their Abilities. He knew many humans would kill for the chance to be born a Euroan, but he’d do away with the privilege if he could. If it meant he would have a quiet life spent at her side, he would surrender his Abilities in a heartbeat. 1 comment

He slammed his fist against the sink countertop. He wanted to shout at someone, lash his frustration at whoever was brave enough to take it. As he lifted his head and glared at himself through the mirror, he knew there was no point in blaming anyone. He wanted to run to Alexis and share everything with her. His fury, his fear, his helplessness, his secret. But he couldn’t, he knew he couldn’t. And he also knew what he had to do. With a splash of water, he reined everything in and left for his table.

As soon as he sat down, she reached for his hand with a grip that refused to let go. He placed his hand over hers and smiled as reassuringly as he could. Fear welled in her eyes. Dane knew she had a barrage of questions at the tip of her tongue, but she held them back. She always did know when to give him breathing space.

“I want you to know,” Dane began, “that I have been more alive tonight than the past twenty-three years of my life. And forgive me if I’m scaring you, but if I were to die,” Dane swallowed down tears, “this is how I want my final night to be. Here, with you.”

She gripped him tighter and it didn’t feel like she did it out of fear of impending heartache. She did it with the conviction that the end was not an option. “Shut up. Shut up right now, Dane. I don’t care if it’s some medical condition or a secret you’ve been keeping from me, I can take it. You know I can. Please, tell me.”

Dane closed his eyes. He felt his lips quiver as his thoughts rallied to burst into a confession. With a deep breath, he silenced his thoughts. Only his obligation remained. "It’s not you,” he said, opening his eyes. “It’s me.”

In an instant, he held her mind with his. Bracing himself to modify her memory, he opened it like a delicate lexicon and swam through her thoughts. As he viewed every memory she had of him, his gut twisted and his heart clenched. Just as much as he couldn’t tell her what was going on, he couldn’t bring himself to make her forget him.

He shifted gears and turned to the page of her mind that was still fresh, awaiting new memories. Then, he lowered his tone so people from the other tables wouldn’t hear. “You gave me a chance. We went on a date. But as the night went on, you realized you liked me only as a friend. You were just enamoured with the idea of falling in love with your best friend. You were in love with love and not with me. You told me all this. You don’t know how you mustered the courage, but you did. I said I understand. You’re about to leave. It’s okay. I already paid.”

Dane released her mind just as he released her hands. Alexis massaged her temples. Then, she looked up at him and a faint smile surfaced on her lips. It was her guilty smile; he had successfully given her a false memory.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m really sorry.” She gathered her things and in a moment that passed too soon, she was gone.

He gathered his things as soon as he had paid. Looking across the table at the empty seat, he told himself that it was for the best. He didn’t believe it, of course, but he was willing to take any makeshift bandage at this point.

He left the restaurant and drove as fast as he could despite the rain. There was only one other person who had to know that the world was in danger.

He cried the entire drive.

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