Tag Archives: stories

A Doomed Fate

25 Apr

I’ve been trying to do some writing prompts but none of them are working you guys – oy to the VAY. So I decided instead to dust off a portion of a little story I’ve been working off and on the past year. Because, you know, sometimes shiny new ideas call to you and you absolutely have to run with them for a little bit.  Just keep in mind that this is still a very rough draft, all right?

doomedfate

 

 

Photo by Greg Panagiotoglou on Unsplash

Kalick raged.

He could feel the presence, but he couldn’t see it. And he couldn’t fight what he couldn’t see. He threw his cup across the room in frustration,

“It’s there, Tallo and it’s closer than it’s been these twenty years. I can feel it. It’s calling to me, urging me on for its own purpose. But how do I fight it?”

A spindly man dressed in a monk’s robes, Tallo sat beside Kalick and stared into his cup of mead. Finally, he spoke, as if still considering what he said, “Perhaps, you don’t have to fight it. You say it’s coming closer now than it’s been. You could use that to your advantage.”

“Welcome it, you mean? Shall I bloody invite it in for supper?” His lips twisted in mocking grimace; he swung his arm wide to showcase the room. Once it had been grand, fine enough even for royals to stay and dine. And they had, once. But now the shine had faded from the candlesticks, the rug had been nearly worn through and only a few had occasion to sit around the long table. Those few were hardly noteworthy characters, even in these, the worst of times. They were the few that were searching for a way to change the fate they had been left to. The rest of the people either staunchly denied that their protector had abandoned them or meekly accepted their fate. Certain that they’d brought it on themselves somehow. But Kalick had gathered together a handful of men who couldn’t sit idly by and watch their families die.  They would fight, to the last of them.

Kalick shifted his shoulder, unease trickling down his spine again. That presence had been with him like a mangy dog that won’t leave your heels. Ever present, never wanted. Never acknowledged outright either. Until tonight. As he thought about it, the trickle grew, filling his mind. A pull, a tug, came from his right, like a string joined at the other end to….what? Turning quickly, he followed it, ignoring his companion calling his name. He would learn just what this presence was. He would learn just who had been dogging his steps, interrupting his peace and thinking they could get away with trying to lead him around like a child. They didn’t know just who they were dealing with. But they would. Just as soon as he had his hands around their neck.

~~

Tallo sat down heavily, deciding he wasn’t in the mood to follow after the erratic man.  He’d known Kalick for years now, but he had. . . changed. But then, they both had, he supposed. Tallo knew he wasn’t the best man for the job he’d been given, but he had been the readiest, and the closest at hand. Counting up the lost at the end of each day took a stomach far stronger than his. He’d turned to spirits to diminish the pain of counting wee lasses and lads’ lifeless bodies; to forget the sight of his own sweet wife succumbing to…but no. Better to think on how to help Kalick now that it seemed he’d reached another low point. The man had the worst luck, it seemed. But outright saying that he felt a presence? An invisible presence? The man had clearly gone out of his depth. Tallo hadn’t meant to send the man running out of the room with his suggestion. He’d merely been placating, pretending he believed that. . .a low moan reached his ears.

“Dash it all!” Tallo swore, tossing his empty cup to the table. He’d never forgive himself if something happened to Kalick, not after sweating and shifting by his side these past miserable years. If he had to live through this, so did Kalick.

Tallo rushed through the room, paused to listen for another sound, rushed through more of the empty house. For long moments, he couldn’t hear anything. Panting, he leaned against a door jamb, wondering if he’d heard the death rattle in his memory, instead of in reality. Feeling his heartbeat slow, Tallo fingered the chain at his neck. Perhaps he…There it was again. A weeping, pleading sound from above him. Taking the stairs two at a time, he wondered who could have made their way past him and Kalick to reach these rooms.  And he hoped Kalick wasn’t releasing all his pent-up anger on them. The man had a way with his fists that could terrify the strongest man. But when Tallo reached the top, breathing heavily again, he couldn’t fathom what he saw.

Kalick lay curled on his side, fists to his eyes, weeping. Above him stood a man wider and taller than any Tallo had ever seen, his face hidden by a hood, his clothes stranger than the sight of Kalick on the floor. Neither seemed to notice Tallo’s entrance.

“You will do this, Kalick, son of Perta, son of Hown. I have been waiting entirely too long. You know the cost if you refuse.” The man’s voice was hard, deadly. Tallo knew in that instant, whatever he wanted from Kalick, was a terrible thing indeed. And that he, Tallo himself, a worn-out monk, would be right beside his friend. No matter what it was. For it was one thing to choose a fate. But far another to be doomed to it.

 

“Answer me, Kalick.” His voice was like a whip.

“Yes. Yes, I will- will do as you say.” Kalick’s words came haltingly from his lips. He tried to keep them back but they formed of their own will. The consequences were too great to refuse. But the actions themselves were just as vile. His choice having been made for him, Kalick lay where he was, hoping against hope that the stranger would leave without another demonstration of his strength.

 

 

 

 

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