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Amber

“I hate you,”

That’s the last three words Mela said before she coaxed her to go. She was quite recluenct about it, and I watch Mela nurse her wounds more tenderly than I ever have. It prickles my skin, crawling down my spine, trickling down from my arms while I shift from side to side. She doesn’t go in the end. I smile and open my mouth for a rude remark. I can’t begin, Mela begins to glow from her eyes. She rises in our apartment, levitating off the ground, her hair floating and bobbing with her. “Viden,” Her voice is coarse, nothing from the power I was expecting, “Every action has an echo,” I feel the tremble in me before I acknowledge that fact. It starts from the soles of my feet, creeping up to my throat, and no word can come from me.

“Don’t hurt him, Mela!” Amber pleads, “He hasn’t done anything wrong,” The glow in her eyes, once stark and bright, a Sun that’s more destructive than helpful goes soft when she speaks to her. “I won’t,” She promises, but the dread clings to my skin harder. She doesn’t say anything else, but uses her body instead. She points to a corner, and from the air comes a door, that opens by itself, to nowhere good. She drifts there as I follow her, and so does Amber. We walk on dry land until my feet hit water, but I waddle across the pond. One foot steps after another, a yearning desire to follow burns a hollow hole in my chest. She ends when the water reaches my thighs. “As the verdict of the Goddess Elizabeth, the Goddess of Devotion,” She speaks. Her voice is loud, and it goes everywhere, shedding all of my mistakes in full sight, words preaching but deadly. Amber is right beside me, and she falls into the water. Her body reappears in the hands of the girl I remembered as Mela- now Elizabeth- she stays in the air, staying above Mela’s hand, above the black waters. Mela- Elizabeth, doesn’t look back at me but grows into an enormous figure, all I can see is her hands, in which hold Amber, white lines that outline them. Amber falls into a tank, hugging her favorite book, the one I slammed at her, tens of hundreds of times, I can’t believe she still has it. There’s only but darkness behind it. It close with water filling to the brim. “She’ll die in two years,” Elizabeth confirms my thoughts. This is what the dread was waiting for. It bites hold of me and doesn’t let go.

I wake up in a cold sweat. I’ve forgotten everything, haven’t touched the door since it was open, because I didn’t care. She was just another pawn in my game of girls. I could pick up another one easily without a second thought crossing my head. How long has it been? Ten months? Eleven? It never crossed my thoughts. She drowning in there, a voice in my head whispers but I chase it away. Let her drown for all I care. I pull open the curtains, and it’s snowing again. White blankets the ground, everything from head to toe, I watch white flakes float from left to right, gauging where to land. I shut the curtains with a sigh, and go looking for winter clothes, winter this year came bursting in quicker than I expected. A jacket catches my eye, but I shove it deep down inside. 

“It’s getting cold, idiot,” She smiles, “I brought you a jacket, ” She flips it onto me with a chuckle, “See? All warm now,” 

“No, no,” I mumble, “Shut up now,” I pull out another pair of clothes. If I had thrown everything she gave me away, half of my already bare room would disappear. I wasn’t one for shopping. I’m halfway to the door when a scarf catches my eyes again.

“Here,” She flashes her dimpled smile, “Doesn’t that suit you just perfectly?” 

I grab it, but shove it deep, deep down my backpack. Then, I rush out, running to my college class. I make it in there early, and Jessica’s already there. “Fashion geek,” I whisper to her and she giggles holding her hand to her mouth as I take in the seat next to her. “Player geek,” She says with a roll of her eyes. “And I stole your heart, didn’t I?” I smile and she’s blushing. Carol comes in, her glasses slipping down her nose, unable to do anything by the books in her arms. “Bye,” I wave and she waves back before talking with her friends giggling and laughing. The minute I reach Carol, her glasses fall to the floor. “Here, m’ lady,” I hand it to her with a bow, while taking the books, and she plucks her glasses. I hand her books back and she smiles at her books. “Hi,” She mumbles as a strand of hair falls out of her hair. I snatch it and move it behind her ear, “So I can see your beautiful face,” I tell her with a wink, and she almost drops her books again. I slide her chair out, she takes a seat, and I move off again. Looking at Jessica with a smile. She thinks I’m attached to her. I’m, in reality, here to flirt. This time to Melody, then Shika, and every other pretty girl in our class. Doing all sorts of things, behind their backs without them batting an eye in broad light. “Player,” Noah says quietly, and I turn to him. “I have them all, you don’t,” I smile, and he only rolls his eyes. “Attention freak,” He mumbles to himself. I slide into a chair when the professor strolls in.

“Come on,” I swing in by Jessica again, “May I accompany you, m’lady?” She picks up her bag, which I carry for her and we walk out together, Jessica doing most of the talking. We reach the front door, and she shivers suddenly. “Oh, it’s gotten colder,” She sighs to herself. She should’ve been just fine in what she was wearing, three layers of long sleeves, and thick pants, enough to keep her warm and stylish. I put the bags on the floor and shrug off my jacket. I wrap it around her, but she pushes it away. “You’ll be cold,” She insists, waiting for the words she knows she’ll hear. “I won’t if I’m next to you,” I wink and she slides in her arms in. I pick back up our bags and follow her outside. It did indeed drop, and I felt frozen in the first five seconds. Still, I grit my teeth, and I talk with Jessica as if there’s nothing wrong. We reach her building, “Keep the jacket,” I tell her, “In case you get cold,” I run to my building, but I’m still late to class.

“Viden,” The teacher growls, “We talked about being late to class,”

I sigh, “Sorry professor,” as I slide in the back row.

“Talk to me after class,” He says as he scribbles on the board. “Yes sir,” I say with a roll of my eyes. Unfortunately, I have a decent idea about what he is going to say. 

“You don’t have to follow me all of the time,” She grumbles, but I stick to her like glue, talking the most. She must’ve caught on since she stops talking. I turn left, but she heads right, in the wrong direction. It doesn’t matter what I say, she stops only at the building where my class is. “There you go,” She says, “Go in and leave me alone,” It wasn’t much of an exaggeration when I say my mouth dropped open.

“Your class is on the other side of the campus,” I say, “You’re going to miss class,” Her hair flies at me, waves of amber, “Which is why you don’t walk to class,” She grumbles and leaves me there staring after her. I find myself grinning. “Idiot,” I laugh and enter the building. 

“Viden,” The professor calls, and I came down. “Yes, sir?” I ask him.

“I’m ejecting you from class, you’ve been late every single day,” He looks at me, his blue clouded eyes staring at my soul. The news hit me, ice-cold, more freezing than the winds outside. “Sir,” I fumble, “I’m on a scholarship here, I can’t afford to lose it…”

He shakes his head, “Come here earlier then, but you’re too late now,” I clutch the edge of my backpack, “One more chance,” His face is set. No means no. I’ve asked for that too much. “Sorry kid,” He folds his hands and sighs, but I’ve gone numb, and I’m still numb when I exit from there. I trudge across, stopping at the cafeteria.

“Viden,” Jessica’s voice is ice cold, “We all need to talk to you,” Guess they all found out. We walk outside, behind the cafeteria. She throws my jacket at me, and I catch it. A group of ten, them all angry and furious. “Player,” She snarls, “I hate you!” I caught her hand as she tries to slap me. “Not there yet princess,” I tease. I feel hollow inside, but you can’t show weakness. Especially not now. “Screw you!” She yells, and they all leave in the end, some with tears stinging at their eyes. I look at the cafeteria, all appetite for food evaporated. “Screw all then,” I sigh and go back to my dorm, warm outside, empty inside. It’s a weird feeling, coming in, and crying by yourself. 

“Stop crying,” Her voice is softer now. We’ve become good friends, and she hugs me gently, “There, there, screw them all,” The last part makes me laugh, “Screw them all,” I echo. Her eyes light up with a smirk, “Exactly,” She patted me on a shoulder, “You’re going to be fine. You’re going to prove that you don’t need them to survive. You’re going to punch them mentally,” I laugh again, and my tears were forgotten so quickly, and the note from my parents distanced from my mind. 

Fast forward a year, I’m in my third year of college already, and I’ve gotten bored of her. My eyes stray to Jessica, Carol, Shika, them all. A smirk forms beneath me, and I go up to the first one. Their hearts would be in the palm of my hand soon enough. 

It only takes weeks.

“Really?” I joke with Shika, and she gives a nod. I laugh and Amber’s there, freezing me ice-cold. She’s staring at me, not with disgust but with tenderness. I finished up with Shika and run over to her. “It’s not what you think-” I don’t finish before she starts talking. “How are you doing with her? And Jessica? And Carol?” There’s no anger in her tone, “I’ll tell them you’re thinking of them,”

I blink once, “You’re not mad?”

I promised my infinite love for her.

I said she was my everything.

I even asked her to be my girlfriend, and she not mad with a shake of her head. “I don’t mind,” Is all the confirmation I need. “I love you,” She smiles, “So whatever makes you happy, I’m fine with,” She’d stay up at night helping me get girls under my hand. 

“I’m the idiot here, aren’t I?” I laugh, but it’s echoing and hollow, “I’m the stupid one here, aren’t I?” There’s no answer, I’m not sure why I wanted to hear one anyway. Nothing but the dry echo of my voice. I’ve cried more than once, and Amber was right there by my side for almost everyone.

If there is one, she wouldn’t miss it, even if it might she’d stay up until four, with me asleep at two.

She saw me through my worst moments.

My room’s scatter with things from her, though I didn’t give her nearly as much as I’ve given to people like Jessica.

Yet…

I guess that’s just life, like how I’ve given out countless presents, but nothing from anyone else.

There’s a pack of pens, or that notepad, or that jacket, or that scarf still in my backpack. She made it herself, every stitch. I open a drawer, and there’s a kit for stitching and she tried to teach, to not much avail. I take it out now, haven’t touch it in years. Slowly, carefully, I roll out yarn, the blue year trailing after me, a baby duck that’s seen its mother. It’s not much, but I know it’s enough to wrap around her neck. In case she gets cold. I hold it out, it looks imperfect, seams tearing out her, or messed up here. It makes me cringe, and I spend countless days perfecting it here, changing it here. It’s perfect, finally, a soft blue that goes with her amber hair. I touch the knob from two years ago and run up to Amber. “Hey,” I whisper, “I thought you might be cold,” I stare at the craft in my hands, so small now that I think of her mastery. “It’s not much, but I think it might look good on you,” 

Her skin’s luminescent, but pale. She floats as if she died. Her eyes are close beneath thick eyelashes. Elizabeth stares at me with pity. Dread clings to me all over again. “You’re late,” She sighs. I can barely choke back and listen to her. She sighs but continues, “At this point, I would be more than happy for her to be returned, but that’s out of the question, however, I’ll grant you one wish with that scarf of yours, but bringing her back is not with that little circle,” She points to it and the scarf glows softly, heavy but light in my arms. “I…” I don’t know what to say as I stare at her death there.

“Why would you kill her?”

“That’s in your terms. When you die, you’ll see why I took her,”

“Then, give it to her, where every she is,” I say, every word more confident. Elizabeth raises an eyebrow.

“Just in case she becomes cold, she’ll have something to warm herself,” I whisper.

Elizabeth twirls her fingers, “Really? This could make all of your sorrows go again. You could have another, a different ‘Amber’ to be faithful too,” I shake my head. “I’m sure,” She shrugs with a smile across her face. Amber disappears, so does the scarf and the book drops into my hands. It’s not the same one I criticized her for before, but inside are moving pictures of every memory I know about her. That wave of amber hair, that dimpled smile. 

I guess she sends her regards.

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