The young woman leaned against the brick wall of the dilapidated building, her breathing raspy as she inhaled the pungent mixture of asphalt, rain, and the metallic odor of blood. Bending over, she took a deep breathe and wretched out the remaining of her flimsy dinner: thin soup and bread.
"Not so tough being a Patcher, now is it, laddybuck?" guffawed her companion. He handed her his canteen.
The woman grimaced, arching an eyebrow at him before taking a swill of water. “Don’t call me that, Pier. But I’ll admit I underestimated the power of Breakers…Halves. Whatever. Since when did they get so strong?”
"I’d like to know that myself. #PATCH has reported recently that there’s been an influx of ‘em running loose," Pier muttered, rubbing the ginger stubble on his chin. Sighing, he patted his young companion. "Don’t worry about it too much—focus on recovering from this for now. I don’t want to be carrying you around because you get watery-legs at the sight of blood. But I’ll give you this: you are pretty good for a newbie."
Alice smirked, wiping her stained rapier with a handkerchief and sheathing it back in her belt. “I better be. You trained me.”
"Tsk, tsk. Flattery won’t get you anywhere!"
"Really? Then why give me that compliment if you knew the answer?"
Exhausting. Tedious. Draining. Burdensome.
Let it all falter. Let the cracks turn into fissures. Let the glass shatter into twinkling shards. Let it fall — cascade into abyss and the realm of nevermore.
Too tired for the upkeep. Let someone else tidy the mess.
I sit down by the window, shifting the cup that held my lukewarm coffee, and sigh. On the other side of the glass stood a small group of people, chatting so happily. Oh, another boring and unproductive day of this break. As I sit here, debating whether to start ahead on reading or go back to my apartment and take a nap, the crowd moved and I blinked rapidly, shielding my eyes from the sudden burst of sunlight that was previously blocked by the group.
And then, my eyes met yours and time froze. And when those dark-brown captivating pools entrapped me, I almost cursed aloud as you turned and broke the connection to cross the street, the little bird chirping our separation, and when my hand clumsily dropped the cup of coffee on the smooth, wooden table.
Devil’s Advocate. Savior. Hero. Betrayer.
We are called a great many things. Ranging from abusive curses to trivial pleasantries. But, I must tell you that it does not matter what is thought of us. We have been modified to not only destroy the “Breakers,” but to survive.
And with that, it is our job that ensures us survival and acceptance from the general public, despite the fact that it was they who demanded that fighters be created to combat the Halves, and that it was they who gave up their young to this pledge. But, ah, what can you do? Greed spawns surprising actions.
We are Project #PATCH.Here to save your butts.
(I wanna start writing fiction again….)
It was so easy, so simple to talk to you yet at times, I just did not know what to answer.
"I have a half-brother too—"
"A half-brother? How does that feel?"
"What do you mean? It feels…normal?"
"I mean, don’t you hate your dad? That means he…"
"Oh…I guess sometimes I have asked that myself. But I guess I can’t hate him so easily, right? He’s my dad…I mean there was this one time my siblings were asking me who I would choose to go with if they filed for divorce but…I mean, I just never really thought about it?"
And you just looked at me, head tilted and eyes locked with mine. All I could do was look away and shrug.
It’s not that the question was difficult. I suppose I was just caught off-guard because no one ever asked me that. And I was grateful. I never once thought about it so much—maybe it was because I was scared to know what I really felt like. Cowering in fear of vile and horrid thoughts. But, thanks though. You didn’t give me a look of pity, an “I’m sorry…” or anything. I mean, not that I don’t appreciate those things. But the way you framed it, it just opened my eyes a tiny bit more. So thanks.
There are times when my mind is troubled. Not just a trouble that can be brushed away with the flick of a hand, but the mind-boggling, frustrating, eye-brow scrunching, I-want-to-cry kind of trouble.
When I have this horrible feeling, I just WANT to take a long walk. But not alone. I want someone to walk with me. Someone who will just LISTEN to me, and hold my hand or loop our elbows together as we walk beneath the foliage of fall trees down some winding, paved path. Someone who will stop me before I crush myself with the weight of accusing and demeaning words.
I want someone who will sit down with me, perhaps for hours on end. We’ll look up at the sky together, and maybe drink cups of hot chocolate as the cold wind snaps on our faces, creating a creeping, red blush of warmth as we laugh. In fact, we’ll do more than laugh. We’ll cry, talk, gossip, argue and tease…
Just someone who will be there for me.
Sometimes, I wish the fear of failure did not exist. It’s a good motivator, I won’t deny it. But it also blinds us from the enjoyment and beauty of things.
Her hands trembled and enclosed around the small vial, but just barely enough not to crush it. A curse, she knew it was, and regretted the deal she accepted with that traitor. Slowly she walked to his bedside, looking upon his turned back as he slept from the dreambloom that she had slipped into his evening tea.
If I kill him, then I will go back to my world a hero. And yet, what will I have withered to? Good bye. And thus, she tilted the opened bottle upon those pair of lips.
In the morning, the young man sat up and stretched, only to find his love so pale and looking only as if she gently slept, head resting on the covers as she lay still and kneeling by his bedside. The vial had rolled underneath his bed, empty but full of a hidden secret: her forbidden affections.
"Surely you’re joking."
"I wish I was ma’am, but it looks like that ol’ blind lady justice is smilin’ upon yah today." The Jester’s mouth pulled into a sympathetic smile of amusement. "Ya see…she seems to be decidin’ ya’ll fate on a coin toss." He reached into his trousers and flipped up a single coin into the air. Reaching down to pick it up as the coin fell with a delicate clang, the boy stood with a grimace.
Both sides of the coin were heads.
"Guess my destiny is decided no matter which way."
(Don’t we feel this way sometimes…)
If only I could drink up all of it and quench the thirst of the heart. If only I could snatch it all away and bury it in a chest, locked and stored into the depths of my memory. And when in a harsh time of need—when I have lost myself in this abysmal darkness—I hope that I will be able to retrieve that box and open it to find you there guarding my soul.
Standing by my reprieve—unconditional, accepting, and caring.
[I’m sure there’s that one person who never fails to make us happy, and we wish that they would always be there for us.]