For a moment I just sat there, staring down at the red seeping between my fingers. His eyes were empty, holding none of the familiar coldness I knew so well. Slowly it began to sink in, that the body beneath me was empty, cold, lifeless. The man I knew, my /father/ was no longer there..
Trembling I pulled back, falling off of the body to the stone floor, numbness ruling my mind. Sluggish thoughts pulled across my mind, each focusing on the little details.
The sticky feeling of blood on my hands, the dagger that was somehow still clutched in my fist, crimson reflecting off the surface. That blood…wasn’t supposed to be there. It didn’t belong on my blade. He was dead. His blood was on my dagger.
With shaky hands I scrapped the blade across the stones, a sense of urgency flooding over my mind. The blood wasn’t supposed to be there. It wasn’t coming off. It had to get off. Suddenly a sob hit my throat, then another as the dagger clattered to the ground, the numb feeling starting to sink into a sense of horror.
My fault. He was dead. It was my fault. I’d killed my Dad. He was dead. The blood on my hands bothered me worse than that on my dagger. Footsteps reached my ears, barely registering as I attempted so somehow rid myself of it, scrubbing my hands against my dingy, crimson soaked shirt. The footsteps paused, a small gasp echoing from behind me, but I couldn’t pull my eyes from my hands, my blood covered hands.
The silence now seemed heavier, my hands desperately rubbing against the shirt, a useless attempt to rid myself of him. He was on me, his blood, his life, on my hands. Maybe if I got it off he’d come back, he couldn’t die, he was him. The unbreakable, the untouchable, my father. There was no way that I, the mistake, the /freak/ could kill him.
His blood was on my hands. It had to get off. He wasn’t dead.
The voice tugged at my mind this time, my hands freezing in place as the voice sunk in.
I tried to locate my own voice, to say something, anything, but any words died in my throat as my eyes continued to be glued on my hands, my blood covered hands. What this must have looked like I couldn’t imagine, what could possibly be going through her mind. The blood on me, his blood, made an obvious statement on what had happened, who was to blame. I’d killed him, our Dad. My fault.
“’ani?” Her voice sounded choked, as if something was holding it in her, perhaps it was horror at what I’d done, at what a monster she had for a sister. “’ani…a-are you hur-hurt? W-what happened?”
I blinked slowly, my mind having problems understanding as she knelt beside me, her hand settling lightly on my shoulder. The concern in her voice startled me, how could she care? I was a monster, a freak, I killed him. Managing to tear my eyes from my hands, I stared at her face, the tears welling in her eyes sending another wave of guilt though me.
Slowly the question sank in further, and I realized that I was supposed to answer. What did I say, did it matter? If I was hurt, it was the least I deserved. I killed him, the blood on my hands, if it went away he could come back. It had to go away I had to-
“Not too b-badly.” My voice whispered, barely registering in my mind as my own as the stinging wounds started to pull their ways back into my mind.
My eyes settled on my hands again, the cool horror starting to turn towards something else, a feeling I couldn’t identify, another sort of numbness, of awe even.
He was dead. Dead. That meant…..
I was free.
Without any thought to the action I slowly flexed my fists, the crimson tone seeming to turn a lighter shade, a bit of wonder sinking into my mind.
“He’s-, What are w-, he’s…” Ariel whimpered, her soft voice almost startling me out of my trance.
He was dead. No more pain, no more fear he was…
“ ’ani…” Her small hand tugged on my sleeve, drawing my dazed eyes back to her face, dizziness rolling over me.
She looked lost, fear dawning in her eyes. I tried to find that feeling again, that guilt for killing him, but I couldn’t. That sense of awe lingered, taking over everything else. My fists rested in my lap, the blood feeling different now, like safety.
“We’re free, Ariel…” I murmured, dazed amazement in my voice. “He’s dead…we..we’re free. The sun, Ariel, we can see the sun. No one will stop us, we’re free.”
Suddenly her hand was missing from my shoulder and I looked to her with startled eyes, her own eyes wide and scared.
“No! He’s not! He can’t be ‘ani, he can’t be dead!” He voice broke, I could see all the thoughts of how impossible this was mirrored in her own expression. “What happened? How? He can’t be dead..he can’t-” She broke off with a barely contained sob and I shook my head, the amazement remaining in my voice.
“He was going to kill me…” The words caught in my chest, making it hard to choke them out. “He was going to kill me…and now.. The sun, Ariel..imagine it. The sun.
“NO!” Her voice broke the following silence, anger filling the tone. “You’re lying! What happened ‘ani! Who killed him? I’ll- I’ll-”
Her words were whipped away by the wind that blasted through the room, unnatural clouds gathering on above us.
“He was going to kill me…” I repeated, pain entering my voice as it began to really set in, the dizziness growing worse. “He had a gun..one bullet. Meant for me. He was going to kill me. I-I-” I cut off, unable to continue, my eyes full of wonder and sinking to my hands again. “No more fear, Ariel, no more pain…free…we’re free…”
“SO YOU KILLED HIM?!” She almost screeched, the unnatural clouds letting out an angry rumble. “HOW COULD YOU?”
“HE DESERVED IT!” I snapped, hardness reaching into my tone. “He wasn’t a Dad, he was a monster! A creature feeding on our pain, on everyone’s pain! He was going to kill me for being born, for existing!”
“HOW COULD YOU! HE LOVED US!”
“HE LOVED YOU! He loved you.” My voice broke, the tone becoming something not quite envy. “He hated me, Ariel, you know that. He hated be because of her, because of what happened to her and what I am. He wanted me dead.” A chuckle burst from my chest, sounding far away to my ears as another wave of dizzness swept through me. “He wanted me dead..called me weak..and now he’s dead…who’s weak now…he lost…he..”
“STOP THAT!” She screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks as pain in my shoulder startled me out from the trance, the pain and dizziness making it hard to do anything buy stare up at her from where I’d been shoved to the stone floor.
“YOU KILLED HIM. WHO, WHO WILL LOVE US NOW? WHO?! YOU RUINED EVERYTHING! HE WAS OUR ONLY, HE WAS THE ONLY-”
“You don’t get it.” I cut in, trying to calm her, “We have each other, I won’t leave. We’re free, forever, no one to catch us now. We can live, outside of here, no longer having to kill or be killed, freedom, total freedom. A life without fear, without pain. With the sun always above us, its warmth, no longer having to watch everyone around us die. Without him, we’re free.”
“I DON’T WANT YOU.” She shouted, a wind whipping her hair around her head like some kind of avenging angel. “I want Daddy.. I want my daddy back..” Her voice softened, turning into some kind of whimper.
“NO. HOW COULD YOU?!” She screeched, a dark gleam coming into her eye as she bent to pick up the dagger I’d tossed aside, the crimson gleaming on the metal as lightning flashed from cloud to cloud. “HE. WAS. MINE. MINE. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. YOU’RE ONE OF THEM.”
“No, Ariel,” I whimpered, trying to pull myself back, fear seeming to freeze all my limbs in place. “Please, we-”
“SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP.” She interrupted, a wild light in her eyes as a bold of lightning flashed down, striking her and seeming to light up her entire being, the storm suddenly going silent as she raised the dagger in my direction. “YOU. KILLED. HIM.”
“The sun, Ariel,” I whispered, one last attempt. “Out of the darkness, we don’t belong here.”
“No.” She said, calm suddenly entering her voice as she took one step towards me, electricity sparking across her skin. “You do. You’ve always been one of them. And you can die with them.”
Then the sparks of electricity leaped from her to the dagger, the dagger facing me. The light grew, getting brighter and brighter until it was all I could see. I couldn’t move, frozen to place by fear and pain, knowing that one more moment and it would stop, with a sudden certainty I knew I wouldn’t live to see the end of this war.
Focusing on the light, I closed my eyes and imagined it was the sun, enveloping me and pulling me in as everything else seemed to melt away, freedom.
It was all I’d ever really wanted.