Monday, December 7, 2015

City of Curses: Nike the Younger (Flash Fiction)

Here is a bit of #Flashfiction from #Crux.  The City of Curses, told from the point of view of a cursed Ghostwalker.  Nike Pandoretzi, a Ghostwalker reaching the end of her years, makes a mistake.  It might cost her, in ways one might not think of as a cost.  

Glad to get some fiction out of my head for this sort of thing.  Hope you enjoy!  :D  Remember, Demonwalk is but around the corner!  

Please share if you enjoy, always looking for eyeballs for this sort of thing.

My legs didn't want to work.  The stumbling didn't help.  Then the floor gave out.

"Ouch."  My long salish white hair tumbled from the knot it had been around my waist.  "I'm getting too old for this drek."

"Thou dare!"  The antlers of the spirit appeared from above me.  Her long green hair complemented the beings blue skin.  She stood barely five feet tall.  A youthful beauty.  I had never seen a ghostly spirit like this before.  She'd resisted my attempts to ward her.  The spirit looked like the she must've died at the age of eleven, not much more.

"Yeah.  All I did was ask you to release the child."  I looked up at through the hole in the floor above me.  We still were on the third floor of a building.  "Spirit, you're the one who won't listen to me."

"Thee dare speak to me that way?!"  The antlered spirit's eyes glowed with a incandescent green light.  "I am one of the ladies of the ancient fold.  Thee dare speak to me like I'm some sort of lost child?  Whilst I am upon the hunt?"

The spirit leaped down from the floor above, floating down to hover over me.

"Hey."  I winced as I moved to get back on my feet.  "I can help you.  Why were you taking that child?  There is no need for any sort of tantrum, just explain yourself."

"I need not explain myself to thee, mortal."  The spirit looked me up and down.  "Thou art body is frail from age.  Thy senses betray thee.  Thee think me some ghost child.  Thou art wrong."

I paused.  Her hurdling me had shattered my glasses.  I'd just entered my fiftieth year as a Ghostwalker.  The fear I'd gotten too old for the job shot through me once again.  I blinked at the woman.

"No.  You're supposed to be..."  I shivered.  "Oh no."

"Thee dared to interfere, mortal sow."  The antlered woman shook her head.  Then her real, corporeal feet touched the floor in front of me.  My chest started to burn.  Her eyes narrowed.  "Thee art an old sow, but even then, a drop in the ocean compared to me.  Thee dared to interfere, seer of ghosts."

"That's my job.  I am a Ghostwalker, you brat."  I shook my head.  "Even then, I won't let you terrorize the people here.  I serve them, dead or alive, creature.  I don't care what title you've got, you sound like a immature child regardless of how old you say you are."

Her eyes grew red in color.

"A lesson should be in order for thee.  Ghostwalker."  The antlered woman spoke my title slow, as if chewing on each word.  "I give thee one last chance.  Apologize, and I shall restrain myself.  I will grant thee mercy for your mistake, mortal."

The storm passed overheard.  Forty years later, and I still could feel the regrets pounding in my chest.  Under it all, my body felt squeezed.  Strained too far.  Under skin far forty years younger, my mind still felt old.

"Miss?"  The man in the velvet waistcoat held the door open for me.  He spoke the word easily.  He just saw the young body, aging backwards.  Not the ancient woman trapped in it.  "They told me that I am to meet a Ghostwalker here.  One of the veterans.  One of the oldest Ghostwalkers in the city of Crux."

"Ma'am."  I corrected.

He blinked at me.

"I'm her, boy."  Even though he looked a year or two older than my body, I could see the green behind his ears.  "You're the upstart the guild wants trained to be a Ghostwalker?  You even know your basic wards yet?"

"Oh.  Uh- I'm Jeshu Bloodcaller.  Ma'am."  The young, darkhaired man saluted me.  His blue eyes looked too young.  But I could see in them the same thing that made me a Ghostwalker.  The sight.  The ability to see the dead.  "And- er.  I'm glad to have the opportunity to learn from you."

"Nike Pandoretzi."  I moved to a nearby window.  I drew back the curtain, letting the daylight in.  "Despite how I look, rookie, I'm four times your age.  If you're wondering, they sent you to me because I know what happens when you screw up in our line of work.  I see it every day I look in the mirror.  This is a city of curses."

"Eternal youth doesn't look too bad to me."  He said.

The stupid words made me want to slap the stupid out of him.  I didn't.  I shook my head.

"In time, maybe you'll see how wrong those words are."  I pointed at my chest.  "I'm cursed.  Now, you want to learn?  Or run your mouth?"