Is it True?

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Bonnie Shelby
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Is it True?

Post by Bonnie Shelby » 08 Jul 2018, 11:30

(This could potentially be read after my other piece titled, "Don't Get Up". Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :) )

“Is it true,” he begins, “that her hair is as black as her soul and her eyes as blue as the hottest part of a flame?” There is only one girl he could be talking about. One girl who now has the undivided attention of the entire camp.

I have trouble keeping a straight face and not rolling my eyes or smacking him upside the head for believing the rumors circulating the camp. I continue walking, trying to ignore his eager gaze as he keeps pace beside me.

“Is it true,” he goes on, obviously unfazed by my silence, “that she’s as cold as ice until her temper’s provoked and she turns into a fiery dragon capable of wreaking havoc and unimaginable destruction?”

This time I can’t keep my eyes from rolling. Before I can reply, he comes up with another one, better than the last.

“Is it true that she’s had dealings with the devil? That she is the devil?” My god, where are they getting this stuff?

“Is it true-” Before he can ask another ridiculous question, I stop and spin in front of the smaller boy so fast he almost runs straight into my chest. I can’t take it anymore. I stare down into his wide, surprised eyes for a long moment. When he begins to fidget uncomfortably, I ask quietly, “Would you like to meet her?”

After the death of one of our own, I’ve been the only one allowed within spitting distance of the girl. The general trusts no one else, and believes me capable of handling myself. It also doesn't hurt that the girl harbors very harsh and particular feelings of hatred toward me. In fact, it’s like an added bonus.

It's not necessarily that he doesn’t think an entire retinue of guards can restrain one small girl; it’s that one small girl has already done enough damage, and another similar incident would cause the rumors to run wildly out of control. Word would get out that the general can’t even control one lowly prisoner, and rumors associating words like ‘weakness’ with ‘the general’ are unacceptable. He’s had the girl on lockdown ever since. And the less people know about her, the better, although it obviously doesn’t stop them from speculating.

The boy looks up at me, hesitating. “You can do that?” The words come out small and shaky, but a moment later he puffs out his chest, attempting a brave and tough front. “Yeah, I wanna meet her. I’m not afraid of a girl - I’ll show her a piece of my mind if she tries anything.”

I can’t help the smirk that settles across my face. All right tough guy, I think, let’s go see what kind of mood she’s in today.

I start walking in the opposite direction, leading him toward who knows what. He struggles to keep up with my long stride, and it’s not long before his breathing becomes slightly out of control. I expect him to continue with his barrage of questions, but he stays silent. Maybe reevaluating the entire thing, or just trying to catch his breath?

I’m not actually allowed to do this, but I’m tired of the guards following me around, begging for a scrap of information on the girl. Let this talkative idiot see her for himself, and come up with something to share. Maybe it’ll actually help stop the ridiculous talk and curiosity that’s run rampant among the camp.

Or perhaps it would be best to allow the terrifying rumors to run their course, building up until the girl becomes some feared monster no one ever wants to meet face to face. She’d be safer that way. But before I can rethink it, we arrive at her cell. I unlock the door and push it open, sweeping my arm out in a grand behold gesture.

He sucks in a deep breath, squares his shoulders and steps into the room, prepared for anything. His eyes dart around the tiny stone cell, taking everything in before finally landing on the girl. After expecting a monster, the resulting scene is a tad anticlimactic, and I can tell when it hits him - it’s in the fall of his shoulders and the exhale of breath.

The ‘monster’ lies in the form of a slim girl on her cot, curled up in a ball, facing away from us. Her hair’s a tangled mass of black curls around her head, and her shoulders rise and fall in soft breaths. She looks small and vulnerable, peaceful and young, and the longer you stare at her, the more ridiculous the rumors seem. Until she opens her mouth.

“Your prized exhibit is resting. Come back later and I’ll turn into the devil you were expecting.” The boy beside me lets out a shaky laugh, the fear in his eyes returning. I can tell that the whispered words and hushed stories are swirling around in his head until it’s all he’s thinking about. He sends me a quick glance. I lean against the wall just inside the door, fold my arms across my chest and grin before turning back to the girl. She hasn’t moved, hasn’t even opened her eyes, but lies completely motionless on the cot - an image of relaxation, though she’s not fooling me. I see what the boy doesn’t see: a girl drowning in a sea of pain, but ready to fight for her life, to survive at all costs.

“Don't you have another escape plot to devise?" I finally ask. "I wouldn't have thought resting would be part of the plan."

“I wouldn’t have thought one lowly guard such as yourself capable of destroying an entire village either, but here we are,” she fires back.

I ignore the jab, even though it sends a bolt of pain shooting through my chest. “All I’m saying is, resting seems beneath you. Don’t you have a reputation to uphold?”

“Don’t you have another town to burn to the ground?”

Before I can open my mouth to respond, the boy beside me - the boy I’d forgotten about for a moment - interrupts. “Is it true,” he blurts out, “that you can freeze people in place with just your touch?”

Slowly, like a snake uncoiling after a long nap in the sun, the girl sits up and lifts her lashes, drilling us with her cold stare. Nobody moves for a long, uncomfortable moment. I’d say that’s a yes on the freezing thing, although apparently, she doesn’t require skin to skin contact - just a glance from her steely eyes.

Suddenly, she bares her teeth in a replication of a grin and leans forward slightly. The fading bruises and dried blood on her face make the action seem all the more menacing. “Why don’t you come here and find out?”

The boy practically wets his pants at that, taking an involuntary step back before catching himself. He tries puffing out his chest again, attempting to look tough but failing miserably. “I’m not afraid of you,” he replies. His voice shakes only slightly.

“Interesting.” For a moment, her lips tip up even higher before her face falls back to a harsh mask. “That’s not what I see.” She lies back down. “Now get the hell out of my cell. Viewing hour is over.” The boy doesn’t need to be told twice. He practically trips over his own feet as he rushes from the room. I remain where I am.

“I was talking to you too. Get out.”

“You don’t get to order me around, Angel.”

She sends me a blandly curious look. “Oh, now I’m an angel? What happened to being the devil?”

“I never said you were the devil.”

“Then what the hell was that little viewing expedition for?”

“The boy was curious.”

“Because you told him I was the devil.” The cold stare from before is gone. Her glare could now melt glaciers.

I huff out a short laugh. “Trust me, that was all your doing. Those rumors didn’t originate from me.”

She rolls over on the thin mattress, turning away from me as if she can no longer stand the sight of my face. As though I’ve been dismissed. “Not in a million years would I trust you,” she says. “Don’t bring any more curious idiots to my cell. I’m not a freakin’ monkey in a zoo.”

“Again, you don’t get to order me around, Angel.”

“I can do what I want. Now get out.”

I push off from the wall. “No.”

Now she sits up and faces me again, her eyes narrowed, dancing with flames. “No? What do you mean no? Get out!” If someone were to ask me right now if I liked playing with fire, the answer would be yes.

“I mean no, I’m not going anywhere.” I take a step closer. “What’re you going to do about it?”

I’m not exactly sure what I hope to accomplish from this; all I know is that I like seeing the fire in her eyes. It means she’s alive, that we haven’t broken her yet, that her defiance hasn’t fled with her moral code. She also has no right to be ordering guards around, and I have my own reputation to keep, my own level of dominance and control to maintain. I am captain of the guard after all, and she is my prisoner.

Her hands curl into fists, and I can tell she’s ready for a fight. Good.

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Post by ccranston » 08 Jul 2018, 21:49

Wow, this is really good! The girl kind of reminds me of Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. I'm curious to know why she has such a fearful reputation. I'm also curious why the captain of the guard wants her alive and ready to fight. I'm thoroughly hooked!
“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." –Paul Sweeney

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Bonnie Shelby
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Post by Bonnie Shelby » 09 Jul 2018, 10:10

ccranston wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 21:49
Wow, this is really good! The girl kind of reminds me of Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. I'm curious to know why she has such a fearful reputation. I'm also curious why the captain of the guard wants her alive and ready to fight. I'm thoroughly hooked!

Thank you for the feedback! I have some ideas on how to answer the questions you mentioned, but I'm not sure I know how to write it yet. Thanks for reading even with the information gaps - I really appreciate it :D

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Post by LASERRR__371 » 28 Jul 2018, 12:51

This is actually good. Is there gonna be a love story between her and the guard, I am curious.

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