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The Unwanted Battle

This story was written as a prompt for my university writing class. I debated doing an edited version with the suggestions my classmates gave me, but instead I'm going to share the original version. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on what you think I should do differently to make this story better. Then, when I write the edited version I will add your opinions in and see what you all think! In the meantime, enjoy.

- Turan

 

Hunching over on my hands and knees, I clench my stomach with a sharp hiss. Several blurry blotches of blood sprinkle the gravel below my face. It’s hard to focus with the stinging pangs from where the knife connected. Shakily, I pull my hand away to look through my tear-swollen eyes. Drenched fingers glinting red is enough to tell me it's terrible. How did it come to this?

Lifting my head weakly, I look at the man responsible with pleading eyes. I don't want to fight him; I never wanted to fight in the first place. Had I known a week ago that this was our fate when I first met him, I would have let him die instead.

I was walking home from my night shift when sickening thuds of flesh against flesh echoed against the tall apartment buildings. Peeking from around the corner, I spotted the man on the ground, his assailant pulling at his shirt collar and repeatedly pounding his fist into him—every fiber of my being tingled with a warning that I should stay far from the danger. I didn't listen.

At the time, all I could think about was saving an innocent life. Without thought, I reacted. Releasing the dark tendrils of power stirring within, I focused the surprise bolt right at the attacker's chest. It was a clean hit. The body jerked violently, falling back to the ground.

I dashed to the man on the ground, his face bruised and bloodied. It took little effort to grab his arm and drag him away. I pulled him to his feet, lent him my shoulder, and rushed him back to my place. I didn't stop, didn't look back. For the first time in my life, I killed someone. No, not just someone. I killed my kind. However, I didn't know then.

When I got the man home, I cared for him. Cleaned his wounds, patched him up, and then left him resting on the couch. He wasn't coherent enough to know where he was. It must have been from the several blows to the head. I sat in the chair across from him, nervously watching until he fell into a deep sleep.

I stood up and began to pace. How stupid was I? Using my power after hiding it for so long and bringing a stranger to my shitty apartment. What if someone saw it? Never mind that. What will happen when they find the body? Would it be traced back to me? It wasn't uncommon for our kind to attack and kill for fun. It was said to be in our very nature. Though, I wouldn't know since I was abandoned at an orphanage and left to fend for myself. I only learned the truth when I turned 18 and accidentally released a bolt at my only friend, Cass. It was a small wound, but the damage was irreversible.

Shortly after, magical enforcers stormed the orphanage dedicated to removing all dark magic from the world. I escaped through the compassion of the orphanage mother, who showed me a hidden tunnel. She was known for protecting many creatures and helping them to survive. I found out years later that she was dragged out into the streets and slaughtered publicly as a warning.

I did well to hide my power, only using it when necessary. Stopping in my kitchen to look back at the man on my couch, I chewed my fingernails. It would all be ok, right? I thought it was honestly going to be. Instead, I'm faced with the truth. No matter how kind I was to him, feeding him and helping him get back on his feet, I thought I could trust him enough to tell the truth.

Crunching steps bring me back to the present. I blink a few times to clear my vision. Get up, Fight! But I can't. I drop my head hopelessly instead and close my eyes.

"Get up, Filth."

I stay unmoving.

"GET UP!" A swift kick knocks the wind out of me in a wail, "Fight me!"

I crumple to the ground, shaking. There’s nothing left of my sad, pathetic life. Hiding, living in constant fear, never feeling safe; it was all a waste.

"What's the point? Just do it already."

I stare at his boots, empty, waiting for sweet solace to come. A metal click of a gun cocking prepares me, but nothing follows. Suddenly, I lurch off the ground and am inches from his face. His fists are full of my shirt and the gun presses against my cheek.

"Why?" He shakes me with each word, furious and unsure of how to release his rage. "Why are you making this so difficult? Why can't you fight me and give me a reason to hate you? You're supposed to be evil! How are you like this?"

His eyes grow desperate while his questions are left unanswered. I feel his pain, and yet all I can do is smile. Not with mockery or malice. I reach my hand out and lightly brush his cheek.

"You don't think I'm evil."

I understand his struggle, the fluctuation of his moral compass questioning what is right and just. His eyes flick across my face, bouncing from one eye to another as if the answers would appear from its depths like a fortune-telling toy ball. Removing my hand from his face, I tenderly hold his fist.

"You have two choices: Complete your duty, return to your organization and be praised for killing two demons. Or stay with me."

His eyes widen, blinking at the thought. Is this a possibility? I'm not even sure of what I was saying. It's crazy, unbelievable! However, it is possible.

"I wasn’t living my life before I met you. I spent all my time confused and alone. We could learn from each other; teach each other. So please, stay."

I hold my breath for a while, and just when my lungs scream for release, he says yes.

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