Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Not Victoria

Her knife was deep in his belly. His eyes were wide. She pressed her body closer to his, twisted the blade, and his dying breath warmed her face.

She pulled out the blade and stepped back, but the body just slumped against The Tree. The others had been swallowed by the trunk as soon as she spilled their lives. “Why are you still here?” she said to the corpse.

You must open him for me, Victoria, a gleeful voice whispered into her mind.

She stared at the bloodied blade in her hand, and said, “I just did that.” She knew that letting her temper taint her tone was a mistake, but she couldn’t stop it. “What else do you want from me?”

I want his blood, his flesh and his bones, my Victoria.

Killing for The Tree was the only way she knew to hold on to her memories and save her friends. Because of it, she had learned not to dwell too much on the death of anyone who had tried to kill her first. Killing to survive felt fair; still, some lines couldn’t be crossed without losing one’s self. So, she made her choice: she would give up her old life, her home, her grandmother’s smile… but she would keep what was left of her humanity.

“My name is not Victoria,” she said to The Tree. “And I’m not your anything.”

She sheathed the blade in her boot, and dragged the man away from The Tree. “All wars suck,” she said to the body, as she covered it with leaves. “I am done.”

Moments (or maybe lifetimes) later she found herself in the woods, standing in front of a mound of dry leaves covered in wildflowers. But she couldn’t remember why. A tree, its trunk depicting faces screaming in agony, grew crooked by the side of a bright trail.

She knew nothing about the place or herself, but walking away from the tree felt right.

 


War
, by Leila Bibizadeh


 
- partly inspired by this quote, from Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment: “Perhaps that’s why men did it. You didn’t do it to save duchesses, or countries. You killed the enemy to stop him killing your mates, that they in turn might save you…”

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Weekly Scribblings #82: “War is over! If you want it.” and  Writers’ Pantry #83: It’s Spooky Time Somewhere.

19 comments:

  1. Nice and eerie! And three cheers for your protagonist.

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  2. Very deep, yet tendrils of hope creep forth from the darkness XXX

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  3. Easiest way to get me to drop my cooperation, mistake me for someone else or redefine who I am to suit someone else's purpose. Then watch me do everything in my power to remind the person who tried it (as well as remind myself) of exactly who they are dealing with.

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  4. Sooo, (tune in tomorrow?). I think she has no choice now, since seeking the second tree she has no choice, in it for life. Oh, I know, her rescuer will come just in time to save her at the end of your book.
    It sounds interesting, Magaly, best wishes for your works here.
    And thanks for the nice prompt, I think of your governor when I think of this. I hope he finishes his 14 days with a BANG!! The new governor to be sounds good to me, I liked her in Congress too.
    And, yes he stayed in that older generation way, way to long.
    ..

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  5. Very dark, very primal. I did appreciate and welcome the poetics of walking away from the tree.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog today

    Much❤love

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  6. Your prose and the Pratchett quote mesh seamlessly ... amazing write, Magaly.

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  7. This is brilliant and so powerful! I love the quote too! Big Hugs!

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  8. I dont know. I'm still thinking. I'm just glad she walked away but waking up later with no memory, who will remind her of the blood, of the killing. And why? That poor tree. Or should I say that vicious, mean tree. Or should I ponder...WHO is that tree..causing this violence.

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  9. Trees speak to me as well...but not like THAT, thank God.
    Awesome tale.

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  10. Ooh. The killing seemed intimate at first. In the end the story made me think of what Science Fiction we live in these days as the world is being turned upside down. But even looking at how we lived and what we accepted as normal was like Science Fiction. I loved being dropped down, like her, into the scene, not knowing.

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  11. WOW! Is that you, Magaly? You really took a walk on the dark side -- and the deep side as well. This one takes a lot of thinking! I'm working on it.

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  12. it reads like a dark fantasy tale, but i think it's more of a cautionary tale. walking away from evil is hard but doable.
    your tales fits in very well with Pratchett's quote.

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  13. Oh, this is deliciously dark, and the kind of story to read in autumn. Excellent write!

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  14. something very evil going on here, great story, the narration is very smooth and easy to follow. i think i've read this one before? can't wait to read what happens next

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  15. Not where I was expecting this one to go--nicely done!!!

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  16. Dark and beautifully penned.

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