The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Cruelty

(Parker)

I’m inside the lake the water is murky. The deeper I try to swim the darker it gets and the less I see. But she keeps going swimming further in and I have to follow, I have to save her. I can once again feel the drumming in my ears

*Bump ba-bump, ba-bump*

Over and over my heart continues to thump wildly. I keep squinting my eyes trying to look for her but the water is too dark. I reach my hand out when I think I see her swimming by trying to catch her but she’s already too far gone. I try to swim toward her once more but my arms and feet feel too heavy, like a ton of bricks are weighing me down. There’s no need to breathe for me because that pain in my chest seems to only grow more until I’m numb and no longer feel anything inside.

“Lyric,” I try to call out but there is no answer. Instead, she faces me, her body a sickly pale and the words Unworthy written on her right arm. Her lips are so blue and her flowing chocolate brown hair floats around her, spread across the water. She’s no longer wearing that ugly green sweater but a pale yellow dress as she looks at me. Her eyes contain no depth to them. Her expression is blank and yet I can tell the pain I have caused her simply by the damage to her body.

“You did this to me,” She says and I know I have, but I shake my head anyways. The pressure inside my chest increasing a thousand times more until I feel I can no longer breathe and I gasp out for air.

“You broke me,” She whispers, her voice repeating that phrase over and over inside my head until I feel like I’ve gone mad.

“Parker we’re going to be late for the funeral!” Spencer calls out. Sitting up in bed I run my hands through my hair, sweat making the sides of it stick to my face.

“Parker. Dad’s waiting with the guards hurry up,” Spencer says once again.

“I’m coming,” I manage to say before I hear Spencer’s fading footsteps.

It takes a few minutes for me to collect myself and get ready. The past few days really seemed to shake me up. There was so much that I had learned and so much growing that I did these past few days as a human being. How is it possible to mature so much in a matter of days because on one single person? Had I been so caught up in my own life that I forgot that human part of myself and only used that animalistic instinct inside me?...

When we arrive at the town square where the Funeral was to be held there is nothing but silence when we pull in. There’s a large podium on stage guarded by our finest Nova warriors as my father makes his way on to the stage. There is a large picture of the girl on stage next to the casket. Her eyes are an olive green color and her hair a soft chestnut color that looks to be the softest of browns.

Her name was Angel. In that picture, she is not smiling but looking up at the camera and even then I can tell her expression is of sadness. Everywhere I can see hundreds of Nova residents. The what stands out to me the most aside from my friends is their expressions of agony and I can tell that they too have grown because of this. The weeping is unbearable. I find it hard to look at the woman who is clinging to her husband, unable to bear the pain of her child being dead. The father filled with grief as he hugs his wife, his eyes filled with anger and pain trying to calm his mate and fighting his own turmoil.

“Today. We say goodbye to a young life that ended far too soon,” My father speaks. My eyes wander to the picture in front of me on stage and the closed casket right beside that picture while my father continues to give his speech.

Angel was so much like Lyric, quiet and a good student. Angel didn’t have many friends and was often picked on at school. She attended school a couple cities away from ours where she was ridiculed and bullied by everyone. A few girls of her school thought it would be funny to take pictures of the girl while she was changing for P. E in the locker rooms. They posted the pictures online and made sure it circled the school. The girls then got their boyfriends to follow her into the girl’s bathroom where they proceeded to scare her into believing they’d rape her. They took her into their car. Blindfolded her, tied her up, and gagged her driving her around town for hours until setting her free inside the woods in our town.

Lost she wandered around for hours crying, cold, and afraid. Somehow she was able to get out and found herself at Devils Creek. The bruises and cuts on her body all coming from her struggle to fight the boys off and making it down to Devils Creek. What she thought of in those last moments is something that no one other than she knows. Still, it makes you wonder how much wrong the world still carries. People like Angel whore are fragile feel so much pain, and reckless people like me, who only cause pain, never thinking of the consequences. They might not have held that knife in their hands but they did guide it toward her heart.

“We are people of unity. And we must stand together as one. When one of us falls we all do. When one of us suffers we all cry. Today we have lost an innocent soul. I can only pray that she’s set free from the confines of her oppression and finally find some peace,” My father ends before our warriors begin to growl. The sounds of lions, bears, wolves sounding off, echoing out throughout Nova Square. Sending off that lost soul into the heavens. Offering her a kind farewell and wishing her peace before the casket is carried away by them and sent into the wall of sacred souls. It’s not often that we bury people here. Father thought someone who has suffered so much deserves the highest honor and guaranteed peace. Only the purest of souls and the bravest of our warriors make it into that wall. Everyone remains silent watching the casket go inside the wall and as soon as it does a beautiful pink flame lights up. Angel’s mother begins to weep once the flame releases itself up into the sky a soft glimmer sparkling above everyone and then disappearing, vanishing forever.

Once everyone began to walk away, I could feel someone glaring at me only to find Crystals’ cold eyes looking back at me.

“She’ll come around as soon as they find Lyric,” Spencer whispered. With my brothers’ comforting words, I know he’s no longer mad at me though if I were him I still would be. Crystal seems to have come around and forgiven Spencer knowing he had nothing to do with what happened that day.

Lyric. Where was she? After so long I feared for the worst. Her mother was too ill with grief to speak to anyone, including Nova officers. Father had search parties in all our cities trying to find a trace of her. But there was none. Nothing that could indicate she was alright. Even if she was found alive, the bitter taste of the previous days would still remain. Someone innocent still died and there would always be someone out there without their mate. Every time I think about it I realize that whoever Angel’s soulmate is will never know who she is. All they’ll receive is a picture of who she was and the age that she died. Then they’ll be placed with the other unfortunate people who are never to meet their soul mate. They’ll find someone to start a life with though they’ll never be happy because the love of their life has died.

From a distance, I can hear my father talking to Angel’s parents. Once again he offers them condolences for their loss and I can see the grief in his wise eyes. When mother left us he was already dead. His mate had died years before. Although he was filled with grief, he was still the future king. As the king, there were duties such as having children and marriage that he needed to fulfill. He was arranged to my mother Annabelle and had Spencer and I. There was no doubt our father cared for us and liked our mother. However, there was always that look in his eyes that told us he was not happy. After a while mother left and met someone else, her real soulmate. Had she been my father’s soulmate, and she had left him he would have died like most soulmates do once they’ve met and are separated. In the end, it all circles back to the same thing. Being a Nova is a mysterious thing…

***

By the time we’ve arrived home my body feels tired and exhausted. I want to drop on the bed and sleep for days, but my thoughts prevent me from doing so. My mind is still racing a mile a minute, the way it always does at night since Lyric has gone missing. There’s not much I can do but wait for sleep if I can get any and when I do the nightmares only become worse. I can feel it just before sleep tries to succumb me; pulling me in. My eyes begin to feel heavy I can hear my heart thumping calmly *Bump, ba-bump, bump* All while my mind seems to be chanting her name. *Lyric…. Lyric… Lyric. * Her name and my heart chanting together in sync while her face flashes before my eyes.

I can smell it before I can see it. My heart is racing and I can feel the dirt in my paws as I run through the forest that is slowly being eaten up by flames. The colors of red and yellow dancing in my eyes.

“I have to find her.!”

“Find her!” My mind screams. Giant torches of trees begin to fall at my feet as I leap across the burning forest trying to dodge the flames.

“Lyric!” I yell out to her but my voice is unheard and only a howl of desperation comes out. The flames begin to consume the forest around me faster and I can’t seem to find a way out.

“Parker!” I hear her scream out.

“Parker help me!” She shouts and I know it’s her though I’ve never heard her speak my heart and instinct tell me this. My paws tread faster trying to reach her but I can’t see her.

“Lyric!” I call out to her again. It’s almost a flash as I blink, and then, I am no longer in the woods. No. Instead, I am standing in Devils Creek. At the top of the high cliff where I can see the forest being consumed by flames. Swallowed whole by it, watching everything collapse around the flames. The trees turning to nothing. Like a ticking bomb, it burst until there is nothing but ash left.

“No!” I yell

“Parker!”

“Parker! You have to get up man!” Waking up startled I find Spencer looking up at me. His eyes are filled with concern and something else that I can’t really understand.

“What’s going on?” I ask him.

“It’s Lyric,” He says and for a second, I think my ears are playing tricks on me but his next words stop me cold.

“We found her. She’s in trouble.”

(Lyric)

How long have I been here? Under this cold night filled with darkness. Maybe a few days, weeks, months, even years. I can’t help but think that I might be going crazy stuck inside of this small room. He has me trapped here. I don’t understand why? And yet… He hates me. How could my own father hate me? How could he look at me and feel disgrace?

I can hear the soft breeze pick up from outside. The small window that was once in my basement is now gone. Sealed shut by a large piece of wood and metal bars. All I can do is hug my knees close to myself trying to give me some warmth. My body is covered in bruises. Not that it isn’t normal for it not to be. However, this time my face is no longer left alone. He has me in here trapped now. He can hit me anywhere he wants as hard as he wants because no one will see me. No one will ever see me again. I’m afraid to look at my own reflection. To see what’s been done to my face. I can hardly open my eyes and my mouth is covered in dry blood. I can’t scream, I can’t cry. What’s the point if no one can hear me? So I write.

Happiness is nothing but a myth.

The world is cold and dark.

The light seems to fade with each day that goes on.

Her soul begins to die letting her insides fester.

Slowly the world around becomes numb.

She walks around with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Hugging herself tightly trying to find warmth.

She lingers her gaze forever on the ground.

For her, there is no heaven only hell.

There is no light only darkness.

Her world begins to decay.

Her life begins to slowly close up.

The walls inside begin to crumble.

The life inside her losing its light.

She lives her life among the living.

But she is already dead inside.

The world around her brings no happiness.

To her river of death.

The tears never fall.

There is no release to grieve.

Her life is but a dark canvas.

There’s nothing left to see.

Her body is frail as she walks on this earth.

There’s no one to turn to in this dark shallow world.

The people around they stop and they stare.

Never once do they stop to ask if she’s well.

They point and they whisper about the broken girl.

Never once reaching out to her.

The world is cruel and lonely.

The world is frivolous and vain.

Caring only of themselves and ignoring others pain.

So she walks alone once more

Hoping, praying for someone anyone

To give her some hope.

I can hear the door opening like a screeching whisper that hurts my ears. My heart begins to thump harder in my chest. As much as I try to shut my eyes as tightly as I can, hoping that this is all just a nightmare. It isn’t. It will never be. I can hear his drunken footsteps as he makes his way down and I know he’s coming to get me. At that moment all I can think about is why this is happening. Even before I was born fate had so cruelly decided this path for me. This is what happens to Novas who lose their mates long before they ever find them. This is the pain they carry deep inside. The self-loathing they have for themselves, and the poison they spill out to their families. This is what he’s brought to my mother, to me. Hell. He doesn’t come in this time merely seems to be passing by and then I hear it.

Those tortured screams of my mother that shake my every core. She begs, and she cries pleading for him to stop. I can already feel tears in my eyes and all I can do is cover my ears to try to shake her screams out of my head. These screams haunt my nightmares every single night. His voice and his evil penetrating eyes seem to torture me and I can’t help but feel like the walls cave in pulling me further into the darkness.

“Please stop! Please!” I can hear her scream and before I know it I’m sobbing along with her pleading as well. Knowing that he can’t hear me.

“Somebody please!” I beg.

I think of Crystal knowing how strong she is and how weak I am. I want to break out of this place, take my mother with me and never look back. I think of Spencer who’s always beside Crystal. I want them to save me. I want someone to help me. But I know deep in my heart that no one will come. No one will rescue me because it’s pointless and I’m worth nothing to anyone.

Hours go by but they feel like days until I can no longer hear her scream. My stomach drops in agony knowing now that he’s done with her it’s only a matter of time until he comes for me. I no longer feel so much pain. I feel weak and I’ve been starved since I’ve been here getting fed only scraps once a week maybe even less. Surviving only on tap water from my small sink. My body feels heavy, and it’s hard to move though I constantly seem to be shaking from lack of everything. Although my body seems to have given up I have to keep clinging on to the small string of hope that I have. Inside my mind keeps screaming to give up. “No one will find you.” “No one cares about you,” but my heart is the only thing that tells me to continue.

It’s pitch black in here there is no light whatsoever. Nothing that can light up this room. Nothing that can give me hope because I know my chances of surviving this are little to none. He said he was tired of me, of my mother. Of this life with us. We were the wrong people to be with. I know my mother regrets choosing him after she was told her soulmate died. But she wanted children. She wanted a family. She wanted love.

“Love…”

There was that word again. Something that everyone wanted. In my world where most people were lucky to find it. Was I worthy of it? Did I feel like it was possible for someone to love a girl like me? No. My tears kept flowing the more I thought about love. If I were to die tonight would anyone miss me? Would he think of me? Would he care? Or would I leave behind nothing? I needed to know. I needed an answer.

“Please,” I begged.

“Anything.”

Bells. Soft shimmering bells. I could hear then softly almost as if there was magic surrounding them. Wiping my tears away I saw it. It was glowing a soft small little glowing pink orb. It was beautiful. Lighting up the room filling it with light and pushing the darkness away from me. I could feel more tears in my eyes because I knew what this was. Not only was this a sign from the Nova heavens. But this was my proof. Nova spirits don’t come down to help unless they have a purpose for doing so.

“Who sent you?” I wanted to ask but the small pink Nova orb simply stayed by my side.

“It’s going to be okay,” I whispered to myself as the orb landed in my open hands. It was like having air. There was nothing. I couldn’t feel it. I could only see it. Could this person hear me? I didn’t know.

“Thank you,” I whispered before the door burst open and just like that it was gone.

His eyes were menacing. Filled with rage. I knew there was nothing but hate in those evil eyes. That’s when I saw it. In his hand, he had a gallon of gasoline. And I knew what he was going to do.

“Tonight we’re going to die,” He said to me causing my heart to stop for a moment before it began to thump wildly. It felt as though my heart would jump out of my chest while my stomach dropped.

“We’re going to see how long you can survive.” He said to me. It was then that he began to drop gasoline all around the room; dropping it on my mattress on the floor. My heart raced as I tried to scurry away in a panic, only for him to grab me by my hair.

“How interesting would it be to see you burn,” He said, before letting go forcibly throwing me across the room. I can feel my knees sting from hitting the hard concrete of the basement floor but I can’t manage to get up.

He throws gasoline on the walls surrounding me with it in a circle while I struggled to get up.

“Your mother didn’t last long. Not after what I did,” He says smiling, his words slurring as he speaks.

“Let’s make sure you can’t escape either,” He says. I feel a harsh punch to my head that makes my head bounce back so hard there was a ricocheting sound in my ears. I can feel the sting of his fist instantly and the blood inside my mouth as well. I try to stand up but my body feels too heavy, and he laughs. I manage to sit up weakly my body shaking and head spinning as I crawl away from him.

“Let’s begin shall we?” He says taking a lighter out of his pocket. He grips it tightly in his hand as it comes to life with a flame.

He doesn’t say anymore then, instead, he tosses the lighter into the gasoline. Like a quick gust of wind, it begins to light a fire. Spreading across the room while his laughter echoes across the darkness.

“Please don’t let his voice be the last thing I hear,” I plead in my head. I try to move away to back away from the growing angry flames that are now behind me as well. I can see it. He’s gone so mad his eyes are no longer of any color except pitch black. There is no depth in them only darkness.

He begins to shake and I can see it. The transformation from human to Nova wolf. He jumps landing on his four paws. A large black old wolf is growling at me. Its mouth foaming and its eyes dark with rage. He seems to be saying something but I can’t tell unable to hear him. He tries to swipe his paw at me in a rage. I only just avoid it by backing away hastily, only for my right shoulder to hit the flames sending a pain throughout my entire arm. My only reaction is to scream while the wolf howls back at me. I move away trying to avoid the flames that are now circling around me just like my father is now. Awaiting to capture me trapping me like a prey. He pounces as do the flames and I close my eyes waiting for the pain. Not knowing which death would be less painful but wishing for it. I don’t hear the door burst open nor do I see someone barge in, I only hear a harsh smash that interrupts my panic. When I finally do open my eyes my father is trying to get up. He’s been smashed against the wall at the front where the stairs once were, the flames still burning while I lay there unable to move. I hear a feral growl and I turn my head. He’s standing there a large chocolate brown wolf. Tall, large but young. They both growl as my father gets up shaking off the attack.

He’s much taller than the other wolf and for a second I wonder if they’re going to kill me together. But then the smaller wolf turns to look at me and I can’t help but feel unafraid of his eyes. They keep growling and somehow I can hear facets of phrases that fade in an out my still spinning head. The loud ring in my head making it useless for me to try to hear clearly. They circle around each other growling before they attack. There’s so much going on that I can’t help but feel lightheaded. I can no longer breathe my tired body finally gives out and I fall. I hear a painful howl before darkness consumes me.

I’m floating. Deep within the beautiful sky. It’s waiting for me. I want to reach it. I’m so close to it. So close to peace. So close to happiness. I outstretch my hand trying to reach it only to feel life kick back in and I fall. I scream flailing around trying to grasp a string of hope to keep me here. But there’s nothing here for me.

“You’re going to be okay I promise.” His voice is soft. I can feel a body pressed against mine. It’s warm and comfortable. I can smell the rusted smoke on his skin. My eyes feel heavy but I open them. Penetrating hazel eyes. Dark hair. Parker.

“No. Please.”

“Please don’t hurt me.”

“Please. Don’t say anything.”

“Please.”

There he was. Parker Archer. The guy that could see past all my walls. The one that knew how ugly I was inside and out. How unworthy of anything I felt. I couldn’t move. As much as I tried my body was far too weak.

All along he had been right. He had known the truth about how worthless I truly was. And now he had seen this. Seen all of me. Seen through my eyes everything that I had hidden. I had to look away from him. I couldn’t do it anymore. He knew everything now. He knew what I was. He knew all of it. Why was fate so cruel to me?

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