The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Shame

(Parker)

*Beep, Beep, Beep*

She was so weak... so fragile. The girl I had wanted to break so bad was now laying in front of me. Her hair is gently sticking to her sides. Her face looks so pale. There are so many bruises on her face, arms, and legs. Her entire body bears the tortures that life has hit her with. I shut my eyes to prevent tears from falling, wondering just how broken her soul was. I don’t need to wonder how much of that pain I have caused her because I know the truth about it. I want to touch her. I want to hold her hand and make her feel better but every time I try to reach out to her that bandage on her right shoulder stops me.

“I’ve cursed her. Everything that’s happened to her has all been my fault.”

I know it’s irrational of me to think that way but I know that whatever hell she’s going through I’ve only added to it.

“What are you doing here Parker?”

Before I know it Crystal has slammed me against the wall, something she shouldn’t be able to do but somehow my strength has been drained. She’s screaming at me but none of that matters at the moment. I can only focus on Lyric and the guilt I’m feeling. I won’t forget that look. The way she looked at me….

“She’s in trouble.”

Those had been the only words needed for me to run out of my room and out the front door of the mansion. Instincts taking over. Everything in my body telling me I needed to rescue her. I didn’t know where I was going only that my heart was racing and I felt a surge of protection with each leap I took. It was like my head and my heart were in sync both chanting her name over and over.

“Lyric, Lyric, Lyric.”

The streets were filled with people, some screamed and moved out of the way afraid to be trampled, but I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was save her. I don’t know which direction to go along the streets but my heart tells me to go left so I do. It’s almost like in my dream, I can smell it. Gasoline burning and then I can see a small tattered house slowly being consumed by flames.

“Somebody please” I hear someone plead. When I look up where the voice is coming from I can see a woman banging on the second-floor window a terrorized look in her eyes. Though I want nothing more than to find Lyric first, I also know I need to help this woman. With a harsh leap, I manage to jump through the second story window smashing it to bits hardly giving the woman any time to move away. Somehow she manages to move in time falling to the floor shaking.

Her face is completely covered in bruises. Both eyes to the point of being completely shut from how swollen they are, black and purple covering her eyes and her hair completely matted. Her clothes torn and bruises covering every inch of her. Reminding me of someone who had been mangled by a wild beast. Still, there’s something about this woman that tells me this is Lyrics mother.

“Please,” She speaks up, her voice shaky with fear and worry. She struggles up, stumbling slightly as the flames beginning to increase around us moving toward her. I help steady her as best I can and she takes hold of my fur for support.

“Please. You have to help her. My daughter. She’s downstairs. Please,” The woman struggles to say, and it’s all it takes to make my instinct kick into overdrive. Leaping back out of the burning house the way I came in I turn back to the woman my mind screaming at me to find her.

“Where? Where is she?” I want to say but I know she can’t hear me. Though somehow she manages to understand when she looks me.

“The basement. Please. Save her,” The woman pleads and I don’t think twice before going back into the burning house.

The house is dirty and reeking of alcohol. The empty bottles around me begin to pop from the heat. But it’s that blood-curdling scream that awakens me to the reality of that nightmare. I can see the flames already swallowing the door but I don’t care. Instead, I burst through it ignoring the pain that I should feel from the fire burning at my fur quickly, only concentrating on the Lyric. When I finally do see her I don’t have time to take her in only to act. There’s a much larger older black wolf in front of her. He doesn’t seem to notice me and neither does she but I can hear him.

“Worthless people like you deserve to die. Even if you are my daughter.” He says before he gets ready to pounce on her. His voice and his words angering me. I don’t have time to yell at him much less speak what I think of it because I know I only have one chance to take him out. Hopefully for good. With a leap I collide on to the much larger wolf, smashing against the left side wall causing it to collapse. Parts of the wall fall on to us. Even though a large pillar hits my head and right side, I try not to wince and shake it off trying to concentrate on her.

“Who are you?” The much larger black wolf growls out, the impact of the crash not affecting him at all. I want to reply with something, anything, to make him know he’s going to die today for doing this to her but I don’t have time.

In that moment Lyric opens her eyes. I know she can’t understand me but I want her to know it will be okay. Her eyes meet mine for the first time but I don’t have time to think about it. Not now. Instead, I turn my attention back to him. He’s much older and stronger than I am, that much I’m aware of.

“I can hold my own in a fight,” I tell myself trying to size him up. The old wolf seems to be seizing me up to getting ready to attack. We circle around each other growling and I hope I can find a way to take him down as fast as I can. The walls are almost completely being swallowed by the flames.

“If I die today and you live, I’ll feel a lot better,” I say to myself. Thinking of Lyric and knowing she won’t be able to hold on much longer unless I can save her.

We pounce at the same time and I find myself letting instincts take in. There’s a strong urge deep inside that tells me I have to win. Telling me that I have to protect her. He strikes with his large paw breaking my right shoulder. I cry out in pain as I fall feeling weak and stupidly young.

“Did you honestly think a pup like you could beat me?” The older wolf gloats.

“I’ll just kill you first. The flames will take care of her,” He says, and that’s when I turn to look at her.

Lyric. She’s no longer conscious and the flames are about to take her in.

“No,” I think as I close my eyes. She can’t die this way. Not after all she’s gone through. I can feel him close to me ready to attack and all I can do is close my eyes.

“Goodbye pup,” He says, and that’s when I attack striking him down with my left paw. He falls down, the wall caving in on him and the fire swallowing him whole

“Lyric.”

I don’t have much time. I know this house is going to fall soon. Somehow I manage to carry her on my back. The flames now surrounding us with no way out. The walls now caving in. It’s boiling hot and I know there’s nowhere to turn.

“I’m not letting you die like this,” I tell her before I leap forward, jumping past the flames and back out from where I came from.

Everything inside the house is now falling. Searching for an exit all I can find is a window. I don’t think about it too much and I jump. The wind from outside finally causing the house to explode and it collapses in a large blast.

Outside everyone seems to be waiting for us. Spencer is looking at me with worry as he takes Lyric off my back and places her in his arms.

“Thank you! Thank you!” Her mother cries as she rushes toward us.

“Paramedics will be here soon,” Spencer says to Lyrics’ mother before I shift back to my human form, Spencer is quick to toss me a pair of shorts. From a distance, I can hear the sirens and I simply take Lyric out of Spencer’s hands.

She feels so light, she looks so weak.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper to her.

It doesn’t take long for the ambulance to arrive and though the paramedics insist on taking her off my hands I refuse. Somehow I can’t help but want her to myself at a moment like this.

“You’re going to be okay. I promise,” I say to her trying to offer her some comfort. Lost in my own thoughts I don’t realize that she’s opened her eyes until I’m gazing back at her chocolate orbs. I smile at her for comfort but she doesn’t smile back. Her body begins to shake in my arms and terror screams out in her eyes. It’s like watching a dozen thoughts running through her mind. Her eyes in that moment were like an open book. “No. Please.”

“Please don’t hurt me.”

“Please. Don’t say anything.”

“Please.”

In that moment I felt my own heart clench. I was ashamed of myself. She was terrified of me. She hated me, I knew it. Though it was soft, I could feel a small pressure on my chest where her hands were.

“Get away from me,” Her eyes screamed out in horror.

I didn’t realize that my knees had given out until the paramedics had taken her out of my arms.

“Parker! Parker! Are you alright?”

“What have I done…?”

“I asked you what you’re doing here!” Crystal shouts again not letting go of her grip on my shirt.

“Crystal! What are you doing?” Spencer says pulling her away from me. Though her fiery blue eyes glare at him she says nothing.

“He saved her,” Spencer says quietly, and for a moment Crystal turns back to me and I’m shocked to see tears in her eyes.

“Don’t you think I know that?” She says to Spencer.

“Don’t you think I hate the fact that my best friend was going through so much on her own and she never said anything,” Crystal says. Her voice cracks before a sob escapes her lips. In a flash, Spencer is already at her side trying to comfort her. For a second my chest twist and I feel I envy for them, wishing that I could have been a better person towards Lyric.

“I know what I did to her was wrong,” I hear myself say, but somehow my voice sounds too rough from lack of sleep these past few days.

“I know that I can never take anything I said back, and I’ll have to live with what I did. Please, just let me stay here with her,“, I tell her. For a second Crystal is quiet her eyes bloodshot from crying.

“Okay,” She says after a moment.

“I can’t stay here because of school. And. Her mom’s still in surgery,” Crystal says, her eyes sad.

“Just. Don’t leave her alone,” She manages to say.

“I won’t,” I tell her.

“I’ll take you home,” Spencer tells her gently before leading her away and once again I am left alone with her.

The room once again silent except for the beeping of the heart monitor. I don’t know what’ll happen when she wakes up but I know I can’t stay here. Not if she’s afraid of me. I’m selfish enough to admit that I don’t ever want to stay away from her. But I’ve done too much already for her to hate me that I know nothing will ever fix this.

“I’m sorry,” I tell her again only this time her heart monitor does a small little beep. For a moment, I wonder if that was for me but I quickly forget that notion knowing that she would never feel anything but fear and hate towards me.

(Lyric)

There was no one to help, no one to save me. The fire kept getting bigger and bigger, swallowing everything up in its path. I could hear him laughing at me telling me how unworthy I was. How utterly useless I am. He’s going to kill me I know it. Those dark cold dead eyes have looked at me for years but tonight, tonight I know I would die. He shifts into his wolf form and I back away only to scream in pain when my right shoulder burns. Like a flash, I can feel how fast my skin burns. He leaps up to attack me but I can’t move, I can’t scream. I can’t do anything other than close my eyes and wait for the impact. Would I feel much pain? Or would I be gone in a flash and feel nothing but darkness and emptiness? I wait for a few minutes but nothing comes so I open my eyes. He’s gone. There’s no one here. The walls are caving in around me and I know the fire is going to take me, Let my entire flesh burn while I scream.

“Somebody, please! Somebody!”

“Somebody, please! Somebody!”

I can feel the fire burning me, hands are grabbing my arms and I don’t dare open my eyes. Was I in hell? Was I still trapped inside that horrible place?

“Lyric! Lyric calm down!”

It’s Crystals’ voice that finally makes me open my eyes, her own eyes are filled with concern when she looks at me and I know she’s been crying.

“Just calm down okay,” Spencer says gently, and it’s the first time I notice him. He’s standing there his curly hair usually styled neatly is disheveled, his dark emerald eyes showing concern, and his jaw tight. Two nurses come in at that moment a redhead and a blond they have a small cart and my heart begins to race.

“Hold her down please,” One of them says and at the look of pity that both Spencer and Crystal give me makes my stomach drop. Flashes of the fire, of my father, and of Parker cloud my mind as a needle is inserted into my arm.

“They know. Everyone knows.”

It’s blurry. I’m not sure if I’m awake or if I’m asleep only that I might be in and out. My eyes feel too heavy to open. I can feel someone holding my hand caressing my hair, my cheek. Their touch is so warm, so gentle I don’t want this person to stop.

“You care about her too,” I hear someone say.

“She’ll never trust me,” I hear someone else say but somehow his voice is comforting to me as I fade into the darkness again.

“Everything’s going to be okay I promise.”

This time I know this voice. I can recognize it because I’ve heard it my entire life. When I open my eyes my mother’s looking at me. Her kind eyes showing concern for me; pity. I feel my throat closing up as I look back at her, the air begins to lack in my lungs. My heart races a mile a minute, as do my thoughts.

“Pitiful,” I thought to myself. That’s what I’ll become to everyone. I will no longer be the weird girl, the quiet one. Had Parker told everyone about who I was? Had he so viciously been the one to spill my secrets out to everyone? I’d rather be hated than pitied. Hate I could deal with, I’d been hated my entire life by everyone. But pity? Pity was the only thing I never wanted to see in anyone’s eyes, not for me. Silently I feel a tear falling down my cheek and that’s when I know, that’s when I realize everything had finally crumbled. The last shards of my heart, of my soul, had finally vanished.

I was broken far beyond repair. I could hear my mother talking to me trying to comfort me. I could see her hand on my arm but I couldn’t feel it anymore. I couldn’t feel anything. I was wrapped by artificial warmth given to me by the sheets I was wrapped in but I felt so cold. The light seemed to minimize inside my heart the soft flame finally flickering off. I could no longer hear anything spoken to me, not a sound, not anything. Time had frozen over and hell had consumed me burying me alive. There was nothing. I was nothing. I could hear my father’s voice inside my head surrounding me. Screaming at me once more. All I could think of at the moment was how right he had been.

***

Being broken was like being in a dream. I was in an out of a constant emptiness, constant fog. I preferred it, the darkness. Every time I was outside of it I learned more things about what everyone knew now. What would become of me? My father was dead. I felt nothing, no sadness, no anger, not a shred of regret. Did that make me a monster? Was I like him? Maybe. After all, I was his daughter. I could see the concern in my mother’s eyes, the concern in Crystal and Spencer’s eyes but I no longer cared. I no longer wanted to keep putting on that mask. Why bother when everyone knew? When everyone finally saw through it. Then there was that mark. It no longer hurt.

I had been in the hospital for 2 weeks that much I was aware of. It was still healing. A burn like that, a mark like that would never go away. It would always be a constant reminder of that horrible day. A reminder of what my life was, what my father was, what I would always be. It seemed like all the ugly, all the failure, everything that was ever wrong about me finally bubbled to the surface and it was that mark.

“Lyric. It’s time to go,” My mother says gently taking me by the hand and leading me out. I can see Crystal and Spencer waiting for us a few paces away. Their eyes show concern but I don’t understand why it is or why they’ve stuck around for so long. They know the truth and yet they’re still here?

“My father’s arranged for you to stay at a new house.” I hear Spencer say but it’s the last thing I hear before my world once again goes black and I am stuck inside my mind once more...

The nightmares won’t stop. Every night I wake up screaming. Everything that clouds my mind, all the negative, all those hateful words. They all bubble to the surface when night begins to consume me. I don’t sleep. Not anymore. I’ve been away from school for so long but I don’t regret it. King Thomas arranged counseling for me. I won’t speak. I refuse to speak to anyone about it. Not Crystal, Spencer, my mother, especially not a stranger. They’ve given me medication for anxiety but I don’t take it. I’ve thought about it, killing myself. The thought feels so tempting. I’ve gathered so many pills that I could take them and just go to sleep. Forever. I’ve hidden them under my mattress in a small bag. Every night that I don’t sleep I concentrate on them. Thinking if this should be the night? If this could be the moment? But the thought of leaving my mother alone stops me.

Crystal and Spencer come to visit me every single day. I don’t speak at all, but they do. They tell me about their day sometimes and when I do listen, I imagine that I’m her, Crystal. Sometimes I dream about having someone like Spencer with me. Someone who cares about me so deeply, so profoundly that they’d do anything for me. Someone to love me. Then I realize my life has nothing and I wake up from those dreams. I know somewhere out there he’s waiting for me, my soul mate but I can’t live like this anymore. I’m far too afraid of rejection, far too afraid to face the love of my life only for him to realize I’m not what he expected or deserves. Thinking of him makes my heart ache. How could he ever love someone so broken and frail as I am?...

Going back to school was the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far. I was so afraid of the whispers, the gossip, and the hate. What would people say about me? However, none of that horrified me more than seeing him again. Parker. I hadn’t seen him since the fire and I was far too afraid to face him now more than I had ever been. He had seen through my mask, seen past my walls, and discovered the truth hidden deep under my soul. He knew exactly who I was. How truly hateful, and utterly worthless I am. On that first day back Spencer and Crystal were both at my side. If I still felt anything maybe I would have felt warmth, but I felt cold, alone and empty. I couldn’t look up anymore, I did not dare look at everyone. Their silence spoke volumes to me about what they thought, what they felt, pity.

It was like walking on eggshells. Each step I took seemed to sound off and echo throughout the halls disrupting the silence. I could feel their eyes on me. Judging me, pitying me. I wanted to close my eyes and somehow wind up back in my room. Instead of feeling safe I was stuck here.

*Bump, Ba-bump, Ba-bump*

My racing heart was all it took to know he was near me. Parker. I didn’t want to see him. I couldn’t face him yet. Not today, maybe not ever.

*Bump, Ba-bump, Ba-bump*

The closer to my locker the faster my heart sped. I felt as though my heart would jump out of my chest any second or at most explode inside me from the tension.

“Please,” I wanted to say to Crystal.

“Please don’t make me see him,” I wanted to plead. But as always, I could never find my voice, not that I had spoken since the accident. Crystal must have somehow seen the tension or at least felt it by my body language because I felt a hand on my back run up and down.

“It’s okay,” She spoke in concern.

“You can use my locker Spencer will get your books out of yours,” She says gently.

*Bump, Ba-bump, Ba-bump*

*Bump, Ba-bump, Ba-bump*

Faster and faster my heart races and I can feel our paths crossing. I don’t dare look up at him now more than ever. I silently plead with God not to let him see me, not to let him stop me. Not to say anything. My feet can’t seem to move faster and I feel like a snail slowly walking past him. When it’s over and we’ve passed several lockers, I can’t seem to breathe. I don’t realize it but I’m gasping out for air.

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. Just breathe,” Crystal says concerned.

For the most part, people ignore me. They don’t bother me. No longer do I hear anyone say or whisper anything about me. The halls have gone silent, he’s gone silent. The teachers no longer ask anything of me. They don’t expect me to turn things in on time, to participate in class or to even do homework. Not that I do it either way. I no longer feel the need to do anything. What’s the point of striving?... of wanting to better myself if in the end there is nothing?... There will never be anything...

Lost in my own thoughts I don’t notice Scott Miller. It’s only when I feel myself falling and my books flying everywhere that I snap out of my own thoughts.

“Watch where the hell you’re going you stupid mute!” He yells his screams echoing out through the hallway.

“Didn’t you hear me?” He yells grabbing my arm harshly and pulling me up only to push me back down on to the ground. I can feel the sting on my hands as I land but still, I don’t dare say a word.

“Parker was right! People like you shouldn’t exist,” He says before he spits at me and walks away. The hallway that is silent now seems all the more silent if that were possible.

“Come on Lyric,” Crystal says suddenly at my side but I can’t seem to get up or move.

“He’s right. I shouldn’t exist,” I say to myself.

Crystal and Spencer take me home early. Crystal cleans me up and spends the day with me trying to comfort me, take care of me. But it’s far too late for that. I keep checking the clock waiting for her to leave and she does when my mom arrives. For a few moments, I contemplate what to do. I check my mattress to make sure that the pills are there.

“It has to be tonight,” I tell myself, before going over to my desk and taking out a piece of paper and a pen.

There I write my letter. Something that would hopefully give my mother closure.

“Lyric come downstairs for dinner,” She calls out and I simply put the note away under my mattress before going downstairs. I don’t make conversation with my mother. I just pretend to listen. My eyes keep shifting to the clock on the wall counting down the moments for what I am about to do. I don’t regret what I’m about to do.

“I just want to be at peace,” I whisper to myself though my mother does not hear me.

“Lyric honey you have to eat something. You have to get better,” She pleads. I can see the sadness in her eyes but I don’t let it faze me, not anymore. “I have to do this for me,” I think to myself.

“Just a few bites. At least eat your vegetable. Please, honey. Just try,” She begs again. Slowly I reach for a steamed carrot on my plate and I take a small bite.

Every night it’s like this. She’ll plead with me to eat. The most I do is take a few bites of this or that. When I think about the irony, I want to laugh. Months ago I would have killed for food but now, now I wouldn’t care if I starved to death or not. Not that I was hungry now. She doesn’t say anything to me when I push the plate of food away like every single night. She doesn’t try to hug me anymore or tell me that things are going to be okay. I think deep down she knows it’ll never be okay. I can see the hurt in her eyes when I move to walk away and the longing she has to just hold me.

Somehow I find myself not needing it. Not wanting anyone’s touch. The first thing I do when I head to my room and lock the door. I don’t want my mom to come in. Not until tomorrow. I make my way to my bed and move the mattress aside.

My heart seems to stop and I feel myself shake. The pills are gone. The note is gone. My hands seem to search endlessly for them making the mattress fall on to the floor with a loud thump. I don’t hear my mother running up the stairs nor do I hear the pounding on the door as she calls my name.

“It’s all gone,” I think to myself.

“No.”

I don’t realize it then but I am screaming. My body is shaking as tears run down my face. This was my way out. This was the only thing I could do.

“Something. Anything” I think to myself going over to my desk and trying to find anything at all. Something to end it. My mothers’ cries are void to my ears.

“No!”

I can’t find anything at all. Nothing that will help accomplish what I so desperately want. When my eyes land on the frame on my nightstand, I take it in my hands and I smash it on to the ground in desperation. There’s a shattering sound that is heard when the frame hits the ground, shattering the glass to pieces. My hands shake as I pick up the biggest shard of glass I can find and I clutch it in my hands.

“I have to end it,” I think to myself as I raise the shard of glass to my left wrist. I’m not aware of anything else except observing as the shard of glass is descending toward my wrist. I don’t hear someone come in through my window only reacting when his hand is on my neck and suddenly. Nothing.

“I’m so sorry,” I hear that same comforting voice whisper before I’ve fully succumbed to the darkness once more.

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