To Beat the Dark

A light in the distance could only mean that the sun had finally come out. Deric ran his fingers through the grass beneath him, his time started now. It was today or never, he had to get out. His mind began jumbling everything he had planned the night before, but one thing was clear, he must be behind a closed door before the light is consumed. He had never been outside those gates, though all were allowed confirming they’d be back by dark. His soft blue eyes shifted to the empty courtyard. What idiot would be up this time in the morning anyway? I’m up aren’t I? He was unaware of his feet moving toward the gate. Could I honestly be the only one who wishes to escape? The gatekeeper yawned. Slow down fool, do you want them inquiring of your intentions? It would be easier if you weren’t the only one leaving this early… Well it’s not like I’m about to wake someone up, would you like to? His hand touched the gate. Closed. Don’t make eye contact with the guard. He waited. She’s not opening it… More waiting. Maybe just acknowledgment? He turned his head ever so slightly. Sound asleep. What am I supposed to do, wake her up? I can hear it now… “What’s your hurry?” and I melt into a pile of obvious… He became unaware of his pacing. The faint light had began to entwine with a soft blue on the horizon. Think idiot, you’re losing time. “Excuse me” A soft yet sharp female voice pierced his mind. No, no, she can’t be talking to me… Pretend you don’t hear her, yes that will work just fine. Whispers. Don’t let her catch you looking, that’s what she wants! Despite himself he turned again. A frail looking girl had awoken the gatekeeper and was asking for the gates to be open. Ahh finally someone who can think. Before long an ever so slight humming sound could be distinguished by someone insane enough to listen for it. What about the girl? Why is she out this early? He glanced at her again. Jeans, sweatshirt, straight dark hair, large messenger bag, warm brown eyes, shifting, just like his… Do you really have time for this? Her steps were quick and well judged, she seemed to be avioding eye contact with him, but slightly desiring it as well. She could be a spy you know… Slim, but not frail as he had earlier assumed. Stop it! Her stride was quickening as the gate fell behind them. Sheesh, you’d think you liked her… She seemed to be on the same path as he was. The sky was blue by now, the scenery beyond the gates was starting to fade, most don’t venture out this far in their lifetime, he never had. Deric opened his mouth slightly wider than as if to take a breath. You’re not gonna talk to her are you?! Their eyes met again. He let out something similar to a sigh. Idiot! Quit making noise! He hadn’t spoken with another human in so long, in fact he couldn’t remember the last time he had. All of a sudden an urge to speak with her overwhelmed him. Doesn’t “It’s forbidden” mean anything?!? Well, it’s also forbidden to leave without intent on returning and you’re doing that aren’t you? “Um” They sound had escaped his mouth before anything could be done about it. Fool! You couldn’t do better than “um”?!? “What brings you out this early?” Eye contact again. She eyed him suspiciously, he was sure she could hear his heart pounding. “So he speaks…” She had to know, there was no other way. “Don’t you know it is forbidden to speak?” The question of all time. Deric sputtered a bit, and then she did the unthinkable. A smile crossed her face and she extended her hand. “Veronica, and you are?” She asked my name! Fool, answer her. “Deric, my name is Deric” His hand reached out to shake hers, but she didn’t let go. You’d have been shot by now if someone saw you…. The sky was fully blue by now, who knows how much precious time was behind them, and still no village on the horizon. “I suppose there’s no reason in asking what brings you out here, huh?” She smiled, as if knowing that by talking she was defying everything she had always been taught. “I guess not..” He could barely believe talking was this easy. Don’t forget to keep looking back, if you get caught you’re as good as dead. A quick glance over his shoulder relieved his fears, the gate was well out of sight, they were making good progress, to what exactly? He glanced down, she was still holding his hand… The sun was directly above them, still no sign of a village approaching. If they didn’t find somewhere, a closed to to rest upon, they would both be dead before the morning. He was conscious of every step, he kept in rhythm with Veronica. After what seemed hours a small sign appeared on the horizon, at first sight of it they made eye contact and ran for it. Apparently there was a town by the name of Kailer 10 miles from where they stood. “Wanna run?” Her voice was the sweetest thing he had ever heard, it rang in his ears unlike anything he could ever remember. “I’m up for it” he felt inferior when words came out of his mouth, his voice wasn’t anything like hers, but forbidden words brought a forbidden smile, and that was enough for him. 10 miles later they were in a small village, but it was large enough and darkness had long began to envelope the horizon. After inquiring of a kind old man in the front of town, they found an abandoned house, shortly afterward they found themselves on the other side of a door, hand in hand, knowing they were safe. Veronica and Deric never left that town, they got married there, raised their children, and died there. The people of Kailer will tell the story of these two strangers as long as the town stands.

Live long and prosper, Tori Lynn.


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