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Fata Morgana

May Your Soul Find its Way Back to Me

By Bradley RamseyPublished 9 months ago 7 min read
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Image: John Towner via Unsplash

The battering ram crashed once more into the gates of the church. A deafening crash shook the walls around Serena and Baldur, who both clambered to complete their work.

“The door won’t hold much longer, my love. What is left?” Baldur asked.

“We’re nearly there; I just need to add a drop of blood from each of us,” Serena replied.

Baldur gladly brandished his hand. Dust cascaded onto his open palm as the battering ram shook the foundations of the building once more.

Serena took a knife from her belt and gingerly slid it across Baldur’s skin. Blood pooled in the center of his hand as she cut into her own.

“In the center, just a few drops each,” she said.

The two lovers held their hands aloft, hovering over a painstakingly drawn symbol of intricate runes and weaving lines. Surrounding it were various herbs and spices meant to strengthen the ritual’s purpose.

“How will we know it worked?” Baldur asked.

Serena turned to him, a warm kindness reflected in her eyes. She silently leaned in and pressed her lips to his, holding the kiss long enough for one last crash of the battering ram.

“We’ll know it worked when we meet again, my love.”

Baldur smiled through tear-filled eyes. He reached into his tunic and pulled out a scroll of parchment. Serena took it and unfurled it. She held back tears as well while she read the words inscribed upon it. In particular, the ending was bittersweet:

*

Though this life is at an end,

On your magic I shall depend,

Fata morgana or truth? We shall see,

May your soul find its way back to me

*

Serena rolled the parchment up and laid it down in the center of the symbol.

“It’s perfect,” she said, wiping her eyes.

The church door splintered apart with a final impact from the battering ram. Baldur leaped to his feet, grabbing a rusted sword from one of the nearby pews.

“I’ll hold them off. Finish the spell!” he shouted—a trio of knights charged in through the shattered doorway, wielding polished swords and pikes. Baldur danced between their blows, moving with the poise and grace of a seasoned warrior.

One of the knights tried to rush past him, but Baldur would not allow it. He swung his meager blade to the side, deftly sliding the tip through a gap in the knight’s armor.

It stuck inside of him; the knight howled in pain. Baldur kicked him to wrench the sword free, sending the knight fumbling into a row of pews as blood seeped from the seam in his armor.

The other two knights sought to stab Baldur in the back, but he ducked beneath their simple attacks, spinning around with the sword tightly gripped.

“Is it done?” Baldur asked, parrying an assault from one of the knight’s pikes.

“I don’t know! Hold them off a little longer!”

Baldur threw his sword towards the over-eager knight with the pike. It clashed with his helmet, sending him stumbling backward. Baldur grasped the weapon's shaft and wrenched it from the knight’s hands.

He spun it around and drove it into the disarmed knight’s chest. The polished blade cut through the thin metal armor like it was cloth. Baldur held the knight to the ground as he struggled and screamed.

“Only one rema—” Baldur’s last words were cut short. He tasted copper in his mouth as his eyes wandered down. The previous knight’s blade glistened with Baldur’s blood. His eyes danced across the room to his love, catching a glimpse of her auburn hair one last time before everything went dark.

Present Day…

Riley took a drag from his cigar, letting the flavor simmer on his tongue before exhaling smoke into the night.

“I don’t know, man, there’s just something about her that I can’t quite put my finger on,” he said.

Riley’s best friend, Jeremy, sat across from him in the backyard, smoking his own cigar. It was a tradition they honored every time they were able to meet, which had been less and less over the years.

“I mean, hey, you’ve been through the shit, so I’m happy for you.”

Riley nodded. “I appreciate that.”

Silence reigned over the backyard. Riley kept thinking about the swirling words in his head since he met Wila only days earlier. A chance encounter, just two writers sharing each other’s work in an online forum. Her work spoke to him, and his to her. He sent her a message to that effect, she answered.

“It’s so weird, man. When she sent me that photo of her, I felt like I’d met her before. That’s crazy, though. Right?” Riley asked.

Jeremy shrugged. “Anything’s possible. You’re supposed to meet her in person tomorrow, right?”

Riley nodded. “Yeah, and I can’t get this idea out. It’s stupid, though. I can’t just show up with a poem I wrote. That’s some high school shit.”

“She’s a writer too, she’ll get it. You’ve been talking about this idea since you met her. Just write it down. Otherwise, you’re going to drive yourself insane.”

Jeremy was right. “Okay, let me grab my laptop.”

Pieces of it had been leaping into his conscious thoughts for several days. It all started when he saw her picture. It was like something had woken up deep inside of him. Riley was hurting, though. He hoped it was just the hopeless romantic in him talking.

It didn’t matter; he had to write it down. Riley opened a document on his laptop and went to work. He already knew the title: Fata Morgana.

From stardust and back again,

For eons, this story will span,

A tale that holds truth to all who breathe,

A blade that all desperately wishes to unsheathe.

*

The tale of love, of two souls bound,

Destined to be lost and surely to be found,

A blade that cuts both in equal measure,

The price to be paid for so great a treasure.

*

A story whose end is always in sight,

Appeal to your gods; they will not hear your plight

How I wish this time I could make it go awry,

Change the ending so we don’t have to say goodbye.

*

Though this life is at an end,

On your magic, I shall depend,

Fata morgana or truth? We shall see,

May your soul find its way back to me

Riley felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders as he finished the poem's last stanza. It was one of his best, but it didn’t feel like something he wrote. Even so, he printed the finished piece and stowed it away the following day, heading out for his date with the enigmatic Wila.

As he parked outside the bookstore, Riley felt his heart galloping inside his chest. It had been so long since he had been on a date. He had played out every scenario and convinced himself he would somehow mess it up. Despite this, the poem he brought along gave him some semblance of confidence.

He walked inside the bookstore and saw her standing by the counter, ordering coffee from the barista. Riley’s mouth went dry. He reached into his pocket and grabbed the poem, neatly folded into a square.

Wila was even more captivating in person. The evening sunlight that came in through the windows behind him danced upon her auburn hair. She took her coffee from the barista and turned to face him. Her eyes reflected a warmth and kindness that somehow felt familiar. Her smile was genuine, full of life.

“Oh hey! Sorry, if I had known you would be here so soon, I would have ordered one for you,” she said.

Riley had run through so many opening lines that he did himself the disservice of forgetting all of them entirely. He couldn’t even muster a simple “hello.” As the silence dragged on, he decided to lead with the part he knew she would like, based on their conversations.

“I wrote you this,” he said, handing her the poem.

“Oh wow, thank you! Want to sit down?” She asked.

Riley nodded, mentally beating himself as they approached one of the tables between the bookshelves. Wila unfolded the poem and started reading. Riley could see something spark in her eyes, but a part of him wondered if he had imagined it.

“Riley, this is amazing. There’s something about it, though. I’m not sure what it is.”

“You feel like you’ve read it before?”

Wila nodded. “Yeah, I’m getting a strong feeling of Déjà vu. It’s weird!”

Riley laughed. “Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one. Sorry, I just felt this need to write it. I hope that wasn’t too forthcoming.”

Wila shook her head. “No, I’m glad you did.”

Their date went on as usual. Riley left afterward and climbed into his car. He sat in the quiet for a long while, his mind captivated by Wila, but on a level deeper than anything he had ever expected. He wanted to see her again but wondered how long to wait before texting her.

His phone vibrated in the seat next to him. He picked it up and saw a message from Wila:

I had a lot of fun! I loved your poem. Do you want to grab lunch next week?

Riley silently pumped his fist in the air before composing a thoughtful message:

Yes, I would love that!

He sent the message and started the car. Riley would write many more poems throughout his career, but the one he wrote for that first date was one he would never forget.

FantasyShort StoryLove
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About the Creator

Bradley Ramsey

Lover of dogs, gaming, and long walks on the beach. Content Marketing Manager by day, aspiring writer by night. Long time ghostwriter, finally stepping into the light. Alone, we cannot change this world, but we can create better ones.

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