Writing: Short Story Excerpt
Word Count: 2513
This is part two of "Eyes: Green". It begins exactly where part one leaves off. Narrator Violet Kyson has just opened the pedestal-and-orb statue in the middle of a pool in the hall they are in.
For a moment all I could see was whirling water. I shielded my eyes with my arms and saw Utah shield Gillian and himself on the other side. Something shot out of the ring and flailed, but I couldn't see through the torrents of water flying around. When they settled, I turned around again and saw stretched out around the ring, a basilik.
Instantly I ducked my eyes just in time to avoid meeting its eyes and saw it flick its tongue out at me; I couldn't tell if it was trying to speak to me or was pondering the best way to eat me. Still, he was not very large or long. I whirled my fans out, spinning them open loudly to catch him attention so that the other two might have a chance of getting to safer ground.
"Don't look at its eyes, don't look at its eyes," Utah was muttering as he pushed Gillian back towards the lantern. The path was still not completely visible, but neither was it shielded anymore, so I could vaguely make out the ends of the platform. Seeing as I was scarily close to the ledge, I backed up.
"Quick, anything immune to basilisk evil eye curse?" Utah said, working his way around, head down looking at the path and careful not to look even at the reflection of the deathly eyes.
"Pixies!" Gillian said, half screeching with fear.
"PIxies! And um, some faeries, I think. Dragons! Some birds of prey and-and" she as stuttering helplessly, clutching the lantern cluelessly and staring back at the walls. She watched the basilisk's shadow lash out before we did and screamed in alert.
As my brother leapt up to avoid the tail crashing down, I ducked and skid a few paces from the face that jutted past me. I closed my eyes to avoid seeing its eyes. "What else?" Utah yelled, stabbing blindly. I backed up again before whirling and launching my fans at the beast's tail, cutting and hacking, my mind focused on a single green scale to keep myself from freaking out.
"Um-um! Pixies, faeries, dragons..."
She screamed as it lashed out towards us and a moment later I felt my feet leave the ground as basilisk launched me into the air with a swing of his tail. I heard Utah yell and Gillian screech again, her echos scaring me more than my own plight.
"Trampoline!" I called, pushing my hand out before where I determined I would land. Nothing seemed to happen, but instead of hitting the tile floor I bounced on a soft bouncy material that tossed me lightly into the air.
"Trampoline?" Utah asked as I clambered off the invisible trampoline. "That's the best thing you could think of?"
"Where's the trampoline?" Gillian asked, all over me the moment I was on solid ground again. I pointed and Gillian stretched her trembling fingers out and enveloped the invisible object in a field of dark energy. "I-I'll try--"
"He went underwater," my brother replied, walking over to us.
I picked a fan up from where I had dropped it mid-flight and noticed the pink metal-cloth material was torn. Snapping it shut I replaced it to it's usual location and twirled my good weapon around in my right hand as I walked towards the pool. I peered into its depths, confused. "But he couldn't have...just left...." I muttered, kneeling and sheathing the other fan. From the depths I saw a stir of movement and instantly shut my eyes; eyes still closed I heard the roaring of water and loud, cold breathing.
No one spoke. Not a sound was made. Finally, I peeked, saw yellow, and shut my eyes again. Then slowly, tentatively, I opened my eyes again.
Before me lay the basilisk, it's yellow and red eyes open wide and peering at me. For a moment I thought it was dead, or I was dead, for I should not have been able to look into the great snake's eyes. When nothing happened though, and I determined I was very much alive, I stared into the giant yellow eye, trying to see through it and figure out, perversely enough, why I was not dead. Then I saw it.
Reflected in the eye was myself, only twisted. My violet hair was morphed red, wild, cut short and curly and my skin was pale as stone, with no color but trickles of blood on the edge of my lips. In my hand I held a dagger--my dagger--only the three small amethysts on the blade were tiny rubies and the blade itself was jagged and chipped, with bit-marks visible on the hilt. My clothing was scarce, scarlet-colored and with long laces that flowed back in a nonexistent wind. As I stared at myself, the reflection smiled; my mouth turned up, showing sharp teeth stained with crimson. This image lasted longest, and then others flickered before me: I saw myself in my phantom-form, chewing the organs out of victims and gorging on blood and flesh with carcasses strewn around me. I eradicated entire worlds with invisible comets the inhabitants never saw coming. And there was no fire. Everything had been snuffed out by a universal iceland, so that I was all-mighty wherever I went. I saw the faces of people that had ridiculed me and called me crazy flash by, all slain, all dead.
I radiated power.
The basilisk blinked it's large eye, lazily or confusedly and I blinked as well. My vision was blurred by green ends, but I saw nothing different. The snake was still there, I was still there, and my evil reflection was still there.
"Phantoms?" came a soft voice, laced with fear and fright, with a tinge of confused realization. "…What do you see?"
I blinked again and everything became monotone and washed away in a blur of shades of gray. To the outsider my irises had just turned brown, but to me the world had altered. Gone was the gigantic hall with the pool and gone was the great lizard. I saw a small, dusty room, with heavy curtains over the only window. There were overturned boxes and papers and tools everywhere layered with dust. The only furniture was a broken chain lying discarded on its back, and a small round table in the center, covered by a dark tablecloth. On this tablecloth I saw a small white piece, somewhat of half of a yin-yang shape, with red streaks running over it like blood vessels. Confused, I stared at the colored object in the monotone world. Finally, I blinked again, and as gray color again encompassed my iris, I saw back into the huge looming eye of the basilisk, and heard the dripping of water in the hall again.
“Are you ok?”
I didn’t respond. I didn’t seem to be able to control my voice or my body, only stare into that horrid orb and watch the evil me laugh as it destroyed.
Within me, some part felt like screaming, but another, cooler side, held it back, and I remained silent. Shaking, but in one piece.
Finally the basilisk must have tired of staring at me and it backed away, thick eyelids closing and opening loudly as it turned away from me and to the other two. Still I was unable to move. I could hear the pattering of feet behind me and screams before a battle of sword and fang ensued. Some part of me wondered what was going on—the part that had wanted to scream before—but the other half knew—just knew that there was a battle going on behind me.
I whirled at the sound and suddenly my life snapped back into place. A dull headache pounded in the back of my head and my eyes hurt as if I had been staring at a digital screen for too long, but I felt my body melt back into my control and my limbs move again. The serpent was advancing on Utah now and he was fighting blindly, spinning on instinct and using sounds to tell where his adversary was.
"Violet! Answer me!" Gillian was before me now, shaking me frantically. Her eyes, normally blue-gray, looked more panicked than mine, as if she and not me had seen the basilisk's eyes. "Violet, what's happening?"
"I-I-" I stuttered, unable to speak coherently. Thoughts reeled in my head, centrifuging and picking up feelings in a hurricane within my mind. It was not unusual, since this was what I felt in any icy environment in my phantom form: the rush of everyone's thoughts and memories and knowledge stirred up in a great flurry that I would have to sift through to find what I needed."It's.."
She seemed to not even be there: I seemed to see through her to the battle, and I --perhaps it was because I had just stared death in the eye and lived-- gaped at the creature of the pool's eyes, as if I were trying to find the pupil and shoot it out. Then suddenly I saw it: it's eyes were a strange trio of colors: bright red around the pupil, and deep blue around the rim, with a band of flaring yellow between them that varied in thickness. And staring into it, I recalled seeing it close up and now noticed tiny purple vessels marking light paths over the eyeball. And in the center, where a hole for the pupil should have been, was instead an impenetrable black sphere that glowed faintly whenever the serpent hissed. "I don't know," I whispered. And there it was: three tiny words etched in white on the orb in the center of each eye.
"I don't know," I said again, more forcefully. Gillian backed away from me in shock as I unsheathed my fans from their fastenings on my forearms. They had mended themselves since and were glittering subtly with newness when I snapped them open with a deafening crack and closing them quietly. The moment the creature looked in my direction I shot them at his eyes, aiming for the small black spheres. As they bolted through the air in slow-motion, I felt a burning desire to holler some final word or phrase at it, but couldn't think of anything and watched in cold silence as the pink projectiles shattered their targets.
The strange basilisk screeched, less in pain, and surprisingly more in elation.
Freedom! I heard, as if spelled out in the air before his jaw. It turned towards my brother with a menacing hiss, but the swordsman had ducked underneath its scaly body and slashed upwards, channeling light-energy down the blade. The snake was smacked sideways before its opponent stabbed it between the scales. There was a hiss of air and the basilisk fizzed into the air, vanishing in a trail of smoke that slunk towards the pool of water, made a ring around the floating orb on top before diving into the depths of the water, back into the ring it had come out of.
We took a few tentative steps towards the glowing ring but suddenly the stone orb fell from where it had been suspended the whole time, sealing off the underwater pipe and cracking on the top. Everyone was silent. Utah caught his breath as he paced next to Gillian, who dropped the lantern in shock and relief. I walked forward and stepped next to the cracked stone globe and simply stared at it, careful not to touch.
"Well," Utah finally said, coming up behind me. I heard him sheath his sword and wring the water from his drenched shirt. "That was pointless. We didn't even find Sapphire."
I touched the edge of the fracture and the stone opening widened into a small arch. The inside seemed empty, but for some reason I blinked and altered my eye color so they were in their light-brown form.
I saw in monotone, but it was sufficient: there was no furniture in the round room except for a chair and a table, though there were boxes all around the room, with papers lying in neat stacks over them. As in the vision I saw from the snake, there was a small curved chip on the table, like half of a yin-yang sign and with red streaks running over it. The chair was no longer broken, sitting upright behind the table. And sitting on the chair was the person Gillian, Utah, and I had gone searching for: Her hair reached a ways down her back, and was untied and slightly curled at the ends. She wore a plain, white, polo shirt with a folded white skirt and stockings. Around her waist was a thin red belt--this red I saw as light gray--with matching shoes.
She stood, and dropped the tablecloth she had wrapped around her like a blanket. Beside me, GIllian and Utah gasped in surprise; I blinked and my vision returned to normal as I stepped forward. "Scarlet Lyne," I greeted with a small grin, feeling entirely more devious than I had ever before. Next to me, Utah was quick to frown.
"Aren't you Sapphire? Sapphire Lilliane?"
"An alias," I smirked and Scarlet nodded embarrasedly.
"Why-why are you here?"
"We came looking for you!" Gillian shrieked, collapsing on the bridge. "You're...ok."
"Yes." She made to step out but I stopped her with an upheld hand.
"Take it," I said, pointing to the piece on the table. She glanced back at it before turning to me, shocked. "Take it," I repeated. "You can't escape from it," I said quietly, putting a hand on her shoulder in comfort. I didn’t know half of what I was saying, but I knew that she couldn’t leave it here. If my ghost-vision had told me anything, it was that the
“It’s going to embed itself into me again,” Scarlet said fearfully.
I thought for a moment and twirled my finger around, creating a strand of invisible twine. “Just pick it up,”I said and she capitulated, taking it carefully but hatefully in two fingers. I lowered the twine to the piece, scrutinizing it for a small hole to string the twine through, and to our surprise the tip of the piece moved, curling upwards to form a loop. It was cooperating. Quickly, I made the magical piece that had been for the last few years been buried within Scarlet’s body into a necklace and hung it on her neck. It wavered lightly, contently, and Scarlet looked up at me, a real smile on her face for one.
Utah and Gillian led the way back outside, and I followed behind with Scarlet. “So you,” my brother called when we had crawled through the tunnel and was back at the dead-end area. “Running away from paradise to isolate yourself with a death-snake. Original,” he commented with a grin. “So. What’s next?”
Artist's Note: Another rough draft thus far, concluding the little short story of "Eyes." Comments and criticism still appreciated though; help me improve it! Mostly...is everything clear?
I would also like to take this moment to say that Lewis and I have created a FictionPress account for DiW, accessible from the "links" bar. Once we get to posting, we will only be posting completed stories, though--and not all of them at that--, so commenting here is still appreciated. (Brownies for everyone that has already!) And anyways, I'll tell you if we're posting something up there, edited or unedited. Meanwhile; any suggestions for posts?
Thanks for reading! Please comment! :3