Friday, April 27, 2012

Chosen by Kelly Metz




The ethereal laughter drifted through the trees, tickling Sebastian’s mind with both curiosity and anxiety. High. Light. Definitely a girl. His feet shuffled in the detritus of the forest floor as he followed, pausing when she did. The voice faded again, its haunting melody replaced by rustling leaves and clacking branches. Sebastian stopped mid-step, his pulse pounding while he waited for her voice to break through once again.

He’d been following it for hours. Or maybe minutes? Shoving a hand through his sweat-soaked hair, Sebastian glared at the sunrays streaking through the canopy. They hadn’t changed; no lighter or darker than when he’d awoken. Moreover, the shadows hadn’t shifted. He turned a tight circle, the path behind him already swallowed by the landscape he’d pushed through following the voice that had called through his sleep.

Sunlight had warmed the back of his closed eyes, and as Sebastian stretched, banishing sleep from his mind and body, subtle aches and pains tweaked through his limbs. With a groan, he’d rolled to his feet, discovering thick forest reaching as far as he could see. Images from his dream clung heavy to his mind as he tried to remember where he’d fallen asleep. He couldn’t, only recalling that it hadn’t been on the ground with roots for a pillow and sky for a blanket.

Sebastian…”

Her voice was the night’s symphony, drawling his name into an eerie song, hypnotic and soothing like the call of a loon. He turned south, his stomach clenching.

Sebastian…”

This time north, and then west when she called again. Laughter pealed through the air, sounding from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The hair on the back of his neck pricked. As her merriment grew in volume, an opposing sound joined, dissonant and foreign to the nature surrounding him.

Tires squealing. Horns blaring.

The phantom giggle reached a fevered pitched as metal collided against metal, the sound of twisting steel loud enough to shake the trees beside him before cutting off.

Sebastian,” the voice whispered in the sudden silence. “Come.”

Where?”

Follow,” she replied, trailing that enigmatic laughter until it began to grow faint.

No, he thought. Don’t leave me.

Sebastian ran faster than he ever had on the football field, foliage blurring until tears streamed from his eyes. Long out of breath, he pushed faster and faster though he wasn’t sure if he was running towards the voice or from what he feared had happened.

The unearthly siren call wove through the last moments Sebastian could remember before waking: his mother’s voice, the annoyingly cheerful pop station, the squealing brakes…

The sounds echoed in his mind as he ran, following that mocking laughter. A root snagged his sneaker, pitching him forward into a cluster of trees. Sebastian rolled, coming to rest face down in the dirt. He could feel the sting of the scratches, the blood trickling down his temple. With a fist, he pounded the ground, squeezing his eyes against the tears.

Do not cry, Bastian,” the voice said. Close, so close.

Sebastian pushed to his knees, wiping his cheek with the back of his hand. His shoulders heaved as his lungs battled with the sudden cessation of exertion. Hands resting on his knees, he stayed that way until his breaths smoothed, his heart calmed and the sounds of the accident subsided.

There is nothing to fear,” the voice said softly.

A feather soft touch alighted on Sebastian’s shoulder. He whipped around, driving to his feet, searching.

The meadow was small, maybe the size of his living room, and perfectly round. Its perimeter was a tightly knit fence of trees so tall, Sebastian couldn’t see where the branches began, the massive trunks disappearing into that frustratingly flat light. The lush grass beneath his feet was the greenest he’d ever seen…until he looked up and saw her eyes.

They were the green of new leaves on a spring sapling, electric, haunting. Captivated by their penetrating stare, it took the space of several heartbeats to realize Sebastian was looking at a reflection. The girl knelt before a mirror, watching him in the glass. As if a pebble had fallen, the mirror’s surface rippled, distorting her elven features. When they cleared again, and those green eyes were still locked on his, he found his tongue.

You,” he breathed, half surprised, half awed and to round it out, half confused. “I know you.”
Drawn to her from the day she walked into his English homeroom a month ago as a new student, he’d been too nervous to approach. Something about her flawless features, sardonic smile, and unbelievable eyes had kept him, and the rest of his class, from befriending the girl. He couldn’t even recall her name.

And I you, Sebastian.” Those eyes brightening even more, she giggled, confirming what Sebastian had thought. She was the source, the ethereal song he’d been chasing.

Where am I?”

You are there. And I am here.” Another laugh. “But not for long.”

What do you mean?”

She hummed, trailing her finger through the mirror’s surface like water, watching him through lowered lashes. A new emotion surfaced. Anger.

Where am I?” he demanded, taking a step forward. “What is going on?”

We’ve been watching you.”

We?”

A nod. “You’ve been chosen.”

Chosen? For what?”

Another laugh.

Would you stop laughing and answer my questions?”

When the girl gigged again, a hand demurely covering her mouth, Sebastian lunged, reaching for her shoulder. Collision noises blasted his ears as he grabbed nothing but air, the girl vanishing along with the sounds, the only indication of her existence propped against the tree trunk.

Sebastian approached the mirror, cautious when the reflective surface showed only trees, though by rights, Sebastian should have filled the frame.

Glancing over his shoulder to see if he was being watched, Sebastian knelt. Still, the mirror reflected the empty meadow. He touched the surface, finding it hard and cold as ice.

Am I dreaming?” He hoped the answer was yes. He needed the answer to be yes, because he couldn’t face the alternative.

No,” came the response.

A weight settled like stone in his stomach. Sliding his finger across his missing reflection, he whispered, “Am I dead?”

The mirror turned liquid, the girl’s hand wrapping around Sebastian’s wrist.

Death,” she said pulling Sebastian through the mirror, “is only the beginning.”

***

Kelly Metz enjoys reading, writing, photography, her family and annoying her baby brother, who, while younger, is now over a foot taller than her and can punch much harder than when he was little. She spends her free time engaging in various torture activities, demon summonings, zombie raisings and spell casting. And writing when she gets bored with those. While having grown up at the Jersey Shore (yes, THAT Jersey Shore), she currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, her retired father and eleven pets (two dogs, one cat, a snake, four turtles and three step-children. Don't worry; the kids don't sleep in the cages. Often.)


Visit her at http://www.kellymetz.com/ or follow her antics on twitter: @bwlrgrl300

Photo by: Ksenia Klykova

10 comments:

  1. This short story is so descriptive that it is easy to find yourself put in the character's situation and piture vividly through the eyes of Sebastian. very well done indeed!

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  2. What a great story Kelly. Love your descriptive writing and images it conjures up. x

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  3. Wow, Kelly! Love the description in this piece especially! Excellent job! Sounds like a good beginning for something longer:D

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  4. Your imagery is amazing! Love this story and the direction you took with it. It's very unique. I'm so glad you are our first guest!! :-)

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  5. I really enjoyed that. Great writing and an excellent ending.

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  6. Thanks everyone! And a huge thank you to the girls here at Fiction Femme Fatale for allowing me to guest post!

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  7. You have a lovely vivid, fluid style of writing. Very atmospheric...

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  8. This is awesome! Love the imagery! (Love the image too) Well done!

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  9. You have a great style and your descriptions are so vivid - great work

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