Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

To care too much

In Writing on January 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I held my breath as Jovi stared into his open palm.  My stomach dipped and rolled in time with his.  Our symbiotic nexus allowed me to take most of his emotions as my own.  He would only be dimly aware of the distraction. 

I stood apart from the others around him.  If the Decca learned of our joining, they would banish us from the Guild.  But why should I move on when he might fail?  We were in this together, he and I.

“Please Aeryn,” he begged.  “I need your help.”  He grasped my shoulders, squeezing.  “You know I can do it.  You’ve seen me do it.  But I get so nervous around others; I’ll need your help.”

He said all the right words.  Kissed me at the right time.  How could I say no to this man?  I spelled our link to degrade just after sunset.

I drew the circle around him, then drew my own, leaving a gap so I could cross back inside.  I connected them with the complex design that would join us together.  The formations complete, I concentrated and recited the formula.

For an instant lightning struck between us, connecting our minds.  I gritted my teeth at the pain jarring through me.  As soon as it begun, it was over.  I could feel his emotions, his elation, joy, and…  Triumph?  Confused I opened my eyes and his feelings fled my mind.  I saw Jovi sitting within his circle meditating, collecting his thoughts, and banishing his emotions.

Walking beside him to the Trials, I could feel nothing from him.  He was doing good, and my heart swelled with pride.  He could do this all on his own.  But when we separated, and as I walked to the side of the Decca, his emotions burst from behind his shields.  But he wasn’t affected.  I took the roiling conflagration of his torment into me.  Joy, fear, and yes, triumph poured forth masking my own fears for a moment.  But why would he be feeling contempt now?  Then he looked at me.  My breath caught in my throat, and my heart shattered within my breast; his contempt was for me.

Sparks appeared out on nowhere; jumping and skittering across his open palm, bouncing off his fingers and joining together above his hand.  They grew and brightened, casting his face in shadows as the light of the sun failed.  Smoke gathered in wisps and floated into the sky.  I gathered my wits and the remains of my heart, and walked away, severing our link.

Jovi’s emotions left me to flood back into him.  The growing night fled the fireball as his concentration failed him.  The concussion whipped my robes around my legs, but I never looked back.


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