Once Upon a Time – Chap. 60.1

I mentioned a wee while ago that we were approaching the end of our story snippets and looks like next week’s post may be the last one as we truly are in the wrap up stage of things. Does that mean no more blog posts after they’re done? Oh no, no, noooooo! The dry erase board portion of this blog may see a little more use but there will still be stories (hopefully animated ones in the very near future), random thought sharing, and a plethora of other wonderful things to come!

For those who celebrate Easter tomorrow, happy early chocolate bunny and dyed egg day! For those who do not, don’t worry – the takeover of pastel everything and little plastic eggs hanging from trees will soon be over. As a Christian, I sometimes find myself a little envious of friends who’s faith holidays haven’t been taken over by commercialization and marketing. There was no red-nosed reindeer flying Santa’s sleigh when Jesus was born and the disciples never had an Easter egg hunt (though I’m pretty sure Matthew would have won).

Not quite on that note, some readers may feel a correlation of sorts with our lady Serena’s predicament in this snippet and the view of sin in general. To be clear, the zombies in this story really are just zombies, the vampires are vampires, and yada yada. That being said, I do write from a somewhat particular perspective. While the story itself is not “Christian Fiction” (though there are some good ones out there, even in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy), that correlation is not an accident. Since I, the author, do see sin as a real and daily threat that we all battle with, it’s not something I can keep from including in anything involving good versus evil. We want to be good but, alas, we are inherently not (and as a result, inherently monsters).

But enough of my yapping (can you call it yapping when you’re really just typing?), let’s get on with the nearly last snippet!

Feather_on_perch

A few days later, Kirkaronus made his hundredth heavy sigh as he stood in front of the man-sized cage where a scaly monster named Serena now resided. The monster occasionally lunged toward him or anyone else that came too close, its razor sharp claws fortunately halted by the cage’s thick iron bars. Always in a perpetual state of hunger, he somewhat looked forward to feeding the monster for it at least provided temporary relief to its groaning for food. Except for this morning. The raw meat he threw through the bars barely touched the cage floor before Serena slurped it up and frantically looked around for her next piece before he’d even had time to toss it.

“Slow down already!” Kirkaronus found himself groaning in unison with the monster this time as he reached his hand into the sack he held for one last remaining sliver. “You’re not getting anymore until noon, you might as well take a few seconds to chew.”

“Being a little hasty with breakfast today is she?” Seth’s voice from the doorway made Kirkaronus jump. As he turned around to speak to him, the zombie’s appearance made him jump even higher for there was something new about this monster today as well; Seth had no nose.

Kirkaronus gulped as Seth shuffled into the room. He lifted a finger to his own nose but couldn’t quite make himself say or do anything else except stare at the grotesque gaping hole coming closer to him.

Seth stopped to stand in front of him and mimicked the horrified pointing gesture, acting surprised for a moment as his finger had no nose to point to. The zombie let his hand back down. “Fell off about an hour ago. Was just walking down the stairs and heard something drop down on the steps. It took me a second to realize it was my nose and not just some loose pebble.” He gave a nonchalant shrug as he turned to the cage. “Needless to say, I’m not having a great morning either.”

“It doesn’t matter how much she eats,” complained Kirkaronus, finally recovering from Seth’s appearance enough to gaze back at the cage as well. “She just stays hungry all the time now it seems, I don’t understand why.” As if on cue, Serena let out a snarling growl and tried to stretch her claws toward the sack in his hand. He shook his head and threw the last piece of meat into the cage. “I don’t think I told anyone this yet, but she’s actually my sister. We were the last remaining family members of those magicians who ruled over the land and we saw it as our rightful place to reclaim that power.” He sighed. “Now instead of being a powerful queen, my sister is in a cage and eating raw meat like some animal.”

Seth watched Serena as she made a desperate and fruitless search for another morsel to devour. “Your sister is a vile and gluttonous beast.” He gave another shrug at the glare he received from Kirkaronus. “You said you didn’t understand why she was getting more ravenous and I was trying to offer an explanation. She’s just doing what all you living things do, letting her greed, selfishness, and all that other ugly mess take over.”

“And I suppose you think you’re better?” scoffed Kirkaronus.

“No, I’m obviously a monster too. I just have stronger willpower.” Seth gave him a side-glance. “Otherwise I’d be chasing after you instead of having this little chat.” He took a step back and examined the cage, stopping his eyes on the one area Serena avoided in her humble abode: a wooden perch with the bird feather that could change her back fastened on the end by a ribbon. “She hasn’t even tried to touch that feather, has she?”

“Avoids it like the plague.” Kirkaronus rolled his eyes. “I even tried throwing food near it and she actually did come close a few times but no luck. Then again, Gwendoloena said she has to choose to touch the feather on her own accord so I guess just brushing up against it wouldn’t help anyway.” He looked back at Seth. “Gwendoloena and Raynerus are the only ones who come in this room to visit her besides me. Why did you stop by?”

“I came to say goodbye.” Seth gave a sheepish smile at the look of confusion on Kirkaronus’ face. “I know odd, isn’t it? You and your sister were the ones everyone had to go to war against and now here I am saying farewell like we’re old friends.”

“It’s not that but,” Kirkaronus shook his head, “where are you going?”

Seth circled his face with his only hand and then turned the hand itself back and forth as if putting the decaying flesh on display. “I’m a different monster from your sister for another reason. She’s still living, still has a choice of whether to touch the feather or not. I on the other hand, died a while ago and there’s no magical cure or antidote for that.” He nodded as if Kirkaronus had offered more than just complete silence in response. “I know the vampires, most of them anyway, are all slowly turning back into their normal selves again now but they were put under that curse while still alive. I was killed a while ago and my body knows it despite its present uncanny ability to remain standing.” He pointed at one of the splotches of dried blood that adorned his jacket. “This wound right here, that’s when my life ended. And there’s not a second chance, no simply reaching out and touching a feather to change things. There is such a thing as too late and I am far past that point. And I have no place remaining among the living anymore. So, I’m going,” he paused and shrugged, “away.”

“What about Albert?” asked Kirkaronus. “Is he going away too?”

“Yeah, he’s saying his goodbyes and getting things wrapped up right now too actually. I don’t think he’s told Sylvia that he’s leaving yet though.” Seth sighed. “And I somehow don’t think she’s going to take saying goodbye very well.”

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