Monday, January 28, 2013

Fire Lily, Issue Two - Chapter Four


“Muary...” It was a voice so distant, Lily wondered if it was real.

“Muary...” Like hearing something through the water. Her ears felt clogged. She reached up to clear them, but her arms wouldn't move. Panic whirled through her aching skull.

“Muary...” Something cold bumped her face. She tried to breathe and call out, but her lips wouldn't open. She struggled to move, to breathe, to call back. Her eyes felt glued shut. Briefly she considered that this was death.

Then there was color. And light. Vague at first, splashes of white crossed through by brilliant beams of red, blue, and purple. “Muary...” A shadow appeared in the pool of shimmering lights. It loomed over her. There came another cold bump to her face. “Muary... Mwily... Lily!”

She snapped awake, sitting straight up and nearly headbutting Sierrah, who leaped back in surprise. There was a moment of deep breathing from them both. Sighs for Sierrah, and deep, grateful gulps of air for Lily. Cold sweat spilled off her body, and there was a fresh burning feeling in her cheek. She realized the cold bumping had been Sierrah attempting to slap her awake. The burning quickly dulled as her skin became ice, and the coldness swept through her naked body.

“Finally,” Sierrah muttered, slumping against a wall and pulling her knees beneath her chin. “I thought I lost you.”

“Me too,” Lily replied coldly. A few split moments of her battle with the stone-man flashed through her mind. Her gut twisted at the memory of being punched, she remembered watching the van fall away as she flew through the air. Scrambling up the muddy hillside. Blood on the pavement. Vomit. Nothing. The punch. The goliath golem in the night. Pain. Pain on the road. The crack of her skull on pavement. Red spilling from her mouth. Iron. The beast looming, foot ready. Her head being crushed, bursting into pieces.

No, that didn't happen.

But it could have.

A chill crawled over her shoulder and she curled tightly for warmth. Her teeth chattered uncontrollably as the frigid chill took hold. Tears welled in her eyes. She could have died. It was all she could imagine. A quick glance at her stomach showed her a bruise the size of a basketball. Her organs felt unsteady, shifty. Nausea flew over her. Death. Skulls, blood, blackness. A gravestone with her name chiseled across the face.

And she was powerless to stop it. She gave it her best, but even that was too weak. Even then, covered head to toe in golden flames, she was useless. Pathetic.

“I'm not a h-hero,” she said darkly.

“Huh?” Sierrah crawled forward. “What?”

“I'm not a hero!” The scream echoed bounced around the van so loudly it even made Lily jump. “I'm not a hero. I'm just a freak. I could have died. He could have crushed me. Dead. I'd be. Dead. Dead. Dead.”

Sierrah sat quietly, frowning as Lily fell apart. Without a word she reached through the darkness and found a heavy blanket, which she tossed over Lily's shoulders and wrapped around her front, folding the edges together so it wouldn't open apart. Almost instantly Lily snatched at the insides of her blanket cocoon and pulled it tighter to her body. The fabric doubled as a useful tissue, but even it couldn't dry off all the tears.

Tiredness overcame Lily. Frowning deeply, still sniffling and chugging sorrow, she placed salt-soaked cheeks on Sierrah's lap and fell asleep.


The next day almost slipped by unnoticed as the girls slept uneasily in the back of Sierrah's van. The sky was purple when they awoke.

“I'm goin-ing to be in t-trouble,” Lily moaned as she sat up. “And I'm naked.”

“Yeah, that could be a problem.” Sierrah picked stubborn crust from her eye and flicked it over the seats. “'Hey Mom, I'm home!' 'Where are your clothes?' 'Oh, well, I spent the night in a big white van with some strange woman, so y'know.'”

Lily's cheeks turned up but her lips stayed down. She looked sadly around, hoping to find something to wear.

“I have some extra clothes in a bag, since I do so much traveling,” Sierrah offered. “But I think they're probably too big for you. I'm like, a whole foot taller.”

“Yeah,” Lily said glumly.

“I guess we'll have to make a short trip, then!” Sierrah pounded one fist into her hand, clapping them decidedly. “I get to pick out your next wardrobe!”

“Wh-what?”

“Oh, don't worry kiddo. You'll look great!”

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