Chapter 42: Trust, Part III

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 452


Zidane seemed a little surprised. "Because I need to go," he said without thinking.

"Why?" she asked again, a little more forceful.

Zidane put his palms against his eyes, massaging them. "It's long, long story, Zooka. I just need to go away for a while."

"I'll come with you." No happiness came to her except a marginal amount; she only became a dab more anxious and in turn, more forceful.

"You can't." Zidane's hands pressed inwards, more up towards his eyebrows. "There's very dangerous stuff there..."

Every part of Zooka softened—somehow calming while becoming denser. "But you'll be there..." she said.

Lance felt the shockwave of Zidane's pain; a high-speed burst ramming into him.

"I know," Zidane replied quietly. He lowered his hands, letting them fall back to his sides before bringing one hand up, head bowed and ridge of his pointer finger along his eyebrows. "I just need to do this..."

"I don't get it!" Zooka cried, hugging the rubber ball to her chest. "Why are you going? Why're you leaving me here?"

"I'm... not..." Zidane reached a hand out halfway.

"Don't say you're not!" she said. Tears streamed down her face. "You're leaving me. You don't want me."

"Zooka..." Zidane's voice fell away from him, his eyes looking away and his hand rising to his forehead. He'd made a mistake; he shouldn't have talked to her... Especially not like this.

Lance knew Zooka had crumbled to her knees before he had the strength to look back. He could feel her pain taking up the space where his stomach used to be, and he hated that feeling. He wished he could do something, but knew there was nothing to be done.

That's the worst thing about this, he thought. I can't make anyone feel better. There's so much pain here... It's nearly constant.

He looked over Zidane. The crossbreed only stared at Zooka, pitch black eyes never blinking as his hand remained on his forehead. He was frozen, paralyzed by all of the hurt she was releasing with every sob, every aching sound that curled her body tighter. Wrapping her around the ball now pressed between her legs and her stomach. Lance remembered the girl Zooka was with when he first saw her; the girl with short hair and a scab on her chin. She had curled herself into a similar position, crying, because nobody was listening.

Lance wanted to take a step forward—he could feel the muscles in his foot and leg aching at the thought—but he couldn't. Something was holding him back like an anchor was dropped beside him and he was tied to it. He could only watch Zooka, sensing the constant and steady drop of Zidane's emotions, and wonder why things happen the way they do. He couldn't come up with a sensible answer.


The caregiver that had come and tended to Zooka had given a hazy, one-sided conversation that Lance barely listened to. Something that did stick in his mind was Zidane watching them walk off, his eyes miraculously getting even darker when Zooka's shoulders hunched inwards. She never turned to look back.

And then Lance was on the sidewalk again, walking up instead of down with Zidane beside him. Lance remained in his own empty mind for a moment, and then spoke in a distant voice.

"I thought you said your life gets better."

"It does."


Zidane stayed silent, and finally, he spoke.

"Give me three memories," he said, and Lance found himself standing alone across the street.

He was now in a different part of town, one with red brick buildings behind him and across the street. A few people faded in and a car drove past, but Lance instantly spotted Zidane across the street. His demeanor had changed since they had spoken; posture straightened, hands in his jacket pockets, eyes almost completely settling in to that cold glare. Guarded. Like he was when Arzo had him.

Guess he still does, Lance thought. Does he even know Zidane's doing this?

When they were almost directly across from one another, Zidane's eyes met Lance's and brightened, a knowing smile on his face. Then, he turned left into an alleyway, stopping at the edge between shadow and sun. Lance barely felt the fear in his gut; most of his attention was on the faint outline of Ezyta and the smile he sensed on her face. In the next moment, swirling fire rose up to consume them both, a third mass of fire appearing for the shorter Razalek who stood beside Ezyta. Once again, Lance was left alone, watching as something new overtook the streets surrounding him.

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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