Chapter 88: Haunted

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

Reads: 469

Zidane waited for a long time. He continued to lean back against a tree, the shade immersing him. He closed his eyes, head bowing. Honoring that darkness.

His surroundings became clearer, and for a few minutes he watched the river. The splashes of water gently crashing against the sides, the fish weaving beneath the clear surface.

His foot pushed off the tree, giving him the momentum to begin walking. He moved in the opposite direction of the current, facing forward. Standing tall, despite the pressure against his back.

Why had he come?

What was he waiting for?

Fish hopped into view. One with long whiskers and a scythe-like tail, the other a large red fish, a cross between a koi and catfish. Both looked to him. Studying, judging as if human.

They disappeared as his name was called.


He turned, feet slowing to a stop. Eyes darkening as they met Adelah's. She smiled; he didn't return it.

She stayed standing underneath the tree, and for a long moment Zidane felt a desperation to join her, relax from all the time he'd spend waiting. But then she spoke again, still smiling, her head slightly tilted to one side.

"Why did you come?"

Zidane hesitated.

"Because you wanted me to."

Adelah smiled again, taking a step forward. Zidane slid one foot back.

"I wanted to see you again," he said. "I needed to."

Her eyes narrowed, gently slitting. Becoming a deep, familiar blue.

"By whose standards?"

Another pause.

"It doesn't matter."

Adelah laughed, her hand moving away from her smiling mouth. The sound sent a river of chills down Zidane's back, reminding him far too much of Ezyta.

"Why try to fix something so broken? It's not like you deserve a family."

Anger ticked into Zidane. "She's all the family I need."

"Hm." Adelah crossed her arms, a smirk on her face. Almost a mirror of the Razalek empress. She turned away elegantly, one arm outstretched. Her finger flicked out, and Zidane was flung back into the river.

He hit the water hard, immediately surrounded and swept up by the current. He tried to hold his breath, but found that his mouth couldn't remain closed against the pressure. His lips parted, welcoming in the water flooding his lungs. As the surface's light began to grow dimmer, the weight began to set in. Zidane's eyes closed, vision reduced to nothing but darkness. Burning met his lungs still trying to inflate, still trying to pull in air.

His eyes were open again, staring into a familiar face. He spoke, the word expanding into a bubble as it exited his mouth.


Kyrene's golden eyes smiled. She extended her hands, cupping the sides of his face. Gently holding him with the same softness he hadn't felt in so long. The same comforting warmth. Her eyes grew brighter, almost becoming pale. Her thumbs moved, gently traveling along the sides of his face.

"My Nachi..."

Her fingers curled, nails clawing into his skin. Blood erupted, traveling up past the side of his face as Zidane screamed. The sound of his pain was completely silent, not even the thrashing of his hands trying to pull hers away reached his ears. Her nails just continued to dig, continued to tear into his skin as he felt tears slip out of his eyes, mixing and blending with the endlessly deep river.

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

His hands found her wrists, his grip tightening as if he could stop himself from trembling. He opened his eyes to Kyrene's face again, seeing the hatred. Seeing the screaming shapes of her mouth. Her words rang loud and clear, forcing his attention to their booming volume echoing across the river.

"You did it! You killed me! You let me die!"

Zidane couldn't breathe. His sight was darkening, consciousness slipping. But even still, he could see Kyrene. He could feel the nails that had worked their way deep into the muscles of his face.

The weight of the water fell away. Zidane was standing upright, still soaked from the river. The flames collapsing the small homes around him gave off no heat, doing nothing, but brighten the night sky and illuminate the path of corpses paving the way to a large wooden cross.

There was a figure hanging from the cross, the sight of them reduced to nothing but blurs. Zidane's feet began moving, feeling the crunch of hands beneath his steps. Quiet, voiceless pleas for him to help. He didn't look down to the corpses; he could only focus directly in front of him, feeling the absolute horror try and pull him back the closer he got to this cross.

As soon as he stepped into arm's length, the figure came into focus. He looked at her, thin body covered by nothing but a single strip of cloth wrapping around and hiding the most intimate parts.

Her feet were crossed, a single knife driven through to hold them both down. Knives were through each of her wrists, transparent cords hanging from the hilt. Tiny nails embedded each broken finger into the wood.

Zidane took another step forward, feeling something like pride.

Her head began rising, long hood hiding her face. The tip of her chin came into view, nicked with cuts and soaked with blood. A moan creaked from her, and Zidane could only move forward. Reaching out to lower her hood.

Before he could, she knocked it back with a twitch of the head. Revealing the blood-soaked wind chime that had been spiked through her forehead. Revealing the non-existent mouth.

Jade green eyes fixed onto his dark ones.

Her chin stretched away, ripping her mouth into existence. Zidane tried to step back, but the sound of her words froze his feet.

"You..." The voice was like death all on its own, overpowering the sound of the flames. "Lied to me."

"I..." He shook his head, feeling scared. Helpless. "Zooka, I didn't—"

"You lied to me!" she screamed, bowing forward from the force. A sob choked out of her, rocking her thin body. "You lied to me..."



The cuts from Kyrene's nails suddenly ignited, sending Zidane's hands to his face and hunching his body. Zooka continued on.

"Stop lying!"

I can't... The words shook inside his mind. It's the only thing I know how to do right.

"After everything I've done for you!" Zooka screamed. "This is how you repay me?"

Zidane opened his mouth, watching his tongue roll out. The organ shredded, skin hanging off, and swinging in the air.

I'm sorry. He couldn't speak, couldn't say these words. The sound of his heartbeat grew louder, and the flames matched the rhythm of his existence.

He woke up when the water splashed against him. Pulling his mouth open in a gasp.

Lance fell back, the small bucket landing beside him. He stared at the ground, his breath coming out in ragged gasps.

"That's... That's why you don't sleep, huh?"

Zidane didn't answer. He could only turn, spraying the water out of his mouth like a fountain would. Because that's all he was; just a weighted statue.

Just a waste of space.


Zidane looked towards him, eyes feeling heavier than ever.

Lance repeated the question.

"You want me to make you a fire? You look pretty soaked."

Zidane shook his head, two fingers pushing off the ground as he stood. "I got it."

His hand slipped into a pocket, flicking a small bead into the fire pit with his thumb. Embers ignited instantly, and Zidane unzipped his jacket. Pulled his shirt over his head, felt chills run along his back. The trays they were using to eat had food and water that was spawned from the user's thoughts... Couldn't Lance have manifested lukewarm water, at the very least?

He dropped the clothes in a pile beside him, and sat down. Staring into the flames, he felt the first tug on his consciousness. A tap, like someone was trying to contact him.

Yittek? But the energy was much too potent, much too forceful.

Flames surrounded him, familiar gravity pulling him somewhere else. 

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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