Monday, April 27, 2015

City of Curses: Flash Fic: Rylah's Ghost

My lungs hurt.  I couldn't stop coughing.

"Twins-damn it.  You little fiend-blooded bastard."  Mistress Rylah.  I tried to get up before she turned on me.  But I couldn't.  I hacked.  I wheezed.

I felt her arm drag me up to the ground.  I tried to stop.  Rylah owned my papers.  I was supposed to be her apprentice, but as far as I had learned, Rylah focused on stealing from people.  She seemed to always have to point out my failures.  Like how my lungs never seemed to work quite right.

"Get up."  Rylah hissed.  "People are staring because of you."

"Sorry-"  I tried to speak, but after saying the single word, I broke out in more fits of coughing.

"I said get up, Kam."  She dragged me into a nearby building.  "You stupid boy.  I put up with your worthless dreck every day."

The building was one of the ramshackle husks on the edge of Ghost Street.  I felt Rylah let my body hit the ground.  I wiped at mouth.  I closed my eyes, bracing for the blow.

"Get up, you useless dreck."  Rylah chided.  "We don't got time for me to beat sense into you.  Give me whatcha got.  C'mon, hand it over."

I did as I told.  Rylah started to count over the money I'd pickpocketed.  I wish I could've learned a real trade.  But little tieflings like me never get to learn anything other than crime.  This abandoned house frightened me.

"Rylah... we shouldn't be here, should we?"

She glared up at me from the banknotes.  "Shuddup, dreckhead.  I'm trying to count."

"But-"

Rylah's hands curled into fists.  "Twins-damn it, Kamlo.  Do I need to beat some quiet into you?"

I closed my eyes.  I done it again.  Why couldn't I learn?

"Don't touch the boy."  A dark voice echoed.  My bones quivered.  Rylah's beating didn't come.  Instead, I opened my eyes.

A translucent woman stood over Rylah's body.  Her hands gripped Rylah's throat.  They slipped into it, inside the flesh of her throat.

"This house will not stand for this!"  The ghost woman glowed a bright green.  "It will not stand!"

Rylah gagged.  Her hands tried to grab onto something.  But nothing.  She just passed through the ghost woman.

I stumbled back away from it.  A window.  I needed to find a window or something that would let me get out of here.

"One does not strike a child in this house!"  The ghost woman was screeching.  Her gown looked tattered and old to me.  The screeching made my ears sting.  "Not in this house!"

I threw myself at the window.  Glass shattered as I tumbled out threw it.  And I ran as fast I could, coughing and hacking as I tried to get away from that ghost-ridden abode.