The Glowing One
when a savior gets their purpose, they burn
I felt overwhelmed, like I was screaming
I found myself surrounded by water. I heard a cackle.
He smirked at my from behind glass,"Hello Tiamat. How wonderful to see you so......dead."
I screamed as I saw my reflection. My skin a light purple frosted skin, blood seeping out of my chest, and my eyes dull with exhaustion.
Marduk laughed,"Goodbye Tiamat, Send my love to Abzu."
I felt water enter my lungs all at once, and saw myself sink to the bottom in death.
A ringing screeched throughout the watery grave.
I shot up in a cold sweat. I closed my eyes, reminding myself it was all over. I wasn't in that place anymore. That moment was pierced with an incessant beeping I knew far too well.
The fire alarm was going off. In a house as old as ours it was almost a guarantee that it would be hyper sensitive and wrong constantly. Unfortunately, Koios refused to get rid of them because “we’d all die in our sleep” and other dangers. Honestly it sounded kinda nice with my lack of an actual life.
I groaned and rolled over, preparing to go back to sleep, hoping for something other than that re-occurring nightmare. Until I smelt the smoke. I practically retched from that horrible smell of sulfur and burnt grilled cheese. I burst out of bed, the covers hit the floor. Scanning my room to make sure the fire wasn’t in here, I made my way to the door, carefully feeling the wood to make sure the fire wasn’t right outside it. When I went for the handle, I was interrupted by my brother, Koios. He burst into the room and locked the door, shoving my desk chair underneath the handle.
Having been pushed from his barging entrance, I watched from the floor.
"Koios James!” I yelled, “you just shoved me! Apologize."
He rolled his eyes, but the snark was missing, replaced by an emotion I hated to label as fear. "Oh, don't be juvenile. I didn't know you were there," He nudged me aside in favor of checking to make sure the window was locked.
I glared, following him as he paced my room, shoving things into a backpack that he shoved at me when I stood up. "Why are you in my room KoKo?" I asked, favoring the least important and most obvious question.
Although momentarily conflicted about whether to call me out on the childhood nickname. He chose to be the mature one that he is and address the more pressing issue. “Bia the house is being burnt to the ground right now."
"Not the first time." I retorted, trying to feign ignorance. Who was I pretending for? Myself. We both knew what was happening. Who was here.
"Bia, it smells like sulfur and burnt grilled cheese." The somewhat hilarity of his sentence was matched by the seriousness of his tone. Slinging the backpack across my shoulders atop my dad's old university sweatshirt, I looked at him with as much maturity as I could muster. "What are we going to do?"
My idiotic overprotective brother told me, "I'm going to hold him off, while you run to the Aegis."
Protest! My mind screamed. Ko is your older brother! You’ll never make it to the Aegis without him! You can’t lose anyone else! I opened my mouth, ready to let loose the arguments my mind had conjured, until he reminded me, "Run, Bia. Through the back door. It's him."
Who's him, you ask. Well, I like to call him Ruiner of my life, Scarface, Embodiment of Sin, Destroyer of Peace, The Devil's Prodigy, or otherwise known as Caine.
He's the bad guy. We don’t like him at all. Just so you are aware, dear reader.
"Where do I go?" I was stalling; we knew where the Aegis was and had been trained to run to it as kids. We had to run there before. It's a safe house for our kind. Only in emergency situations did we ever there.
I remember the day we had to take up that offer of protection. I was 10, Michael at the ripe age of 14. The same meadow, the same problem. Caine, he came for us the next generation of Areté.
I screamed as my father caught me running and put me in my brother's arms. My amma yelled at my dad,"Ramses, don't you dare go without me."
The roaring fire flared creating a blast ash into the air,"No. I won't let you go. We can fight him together." I screeched throwing a typical child warrior tantrum. My amma gently touched my face. I smiled reaching to hug them. They whispered, kissing my face,"Be good for Koios. I love you Bia. Remember you are the hero of your own story. Write a beautiful one."
I nodded, my ash black eyes sparking with confidence. My lips pursed with absolute determination to make my amma proud.
Amma kissed Koios' forehead, "Take care of your sister, baba. Bia is your responsibility now. Promise me you'll honor our legacy well. I love you both so very much."
Dad came around Amma's shoulder,"I love you both. Be valiant the both of you. Remember who you are. Now go. Stay together and run to the Aegis."
Then they ran off to their deaths, fighting for our chance to live. We ran towards the barricade. We climbed through a small hole under the fence. Looking at the castle, my hand clutching onto his, we started forward. Surviving with only our wits and our fear for our lives, to urge us forward away from the danger and the people we cared about most.
I was pulled out of my memories as I felt a hand on my shoulders. Koios looked into my eyes,"You know where it is. I made a promise. I intend to keep it."
I whispered, desperation leaking into my voice,"Koios," in an attempt to get him to come with me.
He pushed me towards the back door not falling for my attempts to stay with him a second longer," The Aegis, GO Bia, run! I'll hold him off!"
"I’m not leaving you, I'm 20 not 10 anymore. We go together" I argued with my older brother, subtlety abandoned.
"I don't care how old you are B. I have to protect you. Now go." He shoved me closer to the exit. I changed tactics, going for physical, clutching him.
"NO! We have to stick together that’s what they made us promise," I tried convincing him. I was panicking. He was my only brother, the one who I trust and who I can confide in. He wanted me to leave but I wasn't sure how I could. My feet wouldn't move and my head went in these circles, attempting to make time that we didn't have. All the while, someone who wouldn't hesitate to kill us both was approaching us.
"Please, come with me!" I managed to stumble through the panic.
Clasping my shoulders again in reassurance. As a brother always does. Leaning down and looked me dead in the eyes.
"Bia, this is the only way." Holding his gaze the way I would hold him in a last hug, I took two deep breaths and stoned my face. I stood up, walked backwards towards the door, turning only to rush out the screen door. Only then a sob wracked my chest.
"I'll be right behind you!" he called after me, though the pessimism in my head thought otherwise. A banging resounded through the house as Caine attempted to break in.
He shouted to me as the door gave way, "Run Bia! Run as fast as fire!"
My sock covered feet leaped over the last step on the porch coinciding with a furious burst of flame from my former house. The force of the explosion knocked me to the ground in a tangle of limbs. The air, outside even, reeked of burning bread, spoiling dairy and rot. Hacking as I came to my knees, I didn't notice the figure coming towards me. Callused fingers clawed my throat, lifting me from the soil, as I labored for breath.
Small brown hands clawed at his as he began to speak. A rough brogue voice, filled with malice, split through the roar of fire, "You take away the oxygen from a flame and it will burn out, just like you." As he spoke those words I knew it was him, Caine. He was back and just as sadistically theatrical as before.
He tightened his hands over my neck in a vice-like grip. Under his paws, my mouth opened and closed, making my head spin with visions of a salmon in a bear’s jaw. In the delirium, I thought of Koios. I had to get out of this. I had to live for him.
I flung my body around trying to get out this thing's hands. Blood pounding in my ears, I started kicking. My flailing legs must’ve caught him somewhere sensitive. With a gasp of pain, his grip tightened contrary to my efforts. Spots littered my vision as I lost oxygen. Then, by the grace of the gods- Koios arrived. He ripped Caine's fingers off my throat and pulled him into a fight. I flung myself away from his nasty hands and rasped the burning sensation out of my throat, pulling in air that gave me as many problems as its lack did.
Using his strengths by moving in close to an enemy that fought using long blades, Koios engaged with Caine in a fight, strategically hitting him in nerve endings. I could see Koko's black brow scrunching in concentration. His skills of analysis helping him predict Caine's movements, ducking before punches could hit. Jumping as kicks were put to action. Dodging slices by standing still as the double swords scraped both his sides. I went to walk away when he dodged an almost decapitation. I smiled looking back at him. Koios looked at me, startled and grinned, his dimples showing. Then Caine came at him in his split second distraction slicing through the flesh of his chest. I screamed, Ko fell back almost as if in slow motion. His face was not fearful, as I expected it, but more worried.
Nearly, so nearly I ran toward him. The beast that was still busy reveling in its maiming reminded me of what was guarding him. I gave a second of grief for him, and then shot off like a bullet to the edge of the meadow. In my head, a constant force and effort was required not to look back. You’ll just see him, and you could trip and fall and Caine will catch up and kill you. Don’t let your bro- Surprise caught me again and I turned to see if he was dead- Mistake. I glanced back, not believing my eyes. I saw my dad running to Koios. I faltered a bit in my confusion. I shook my head, refocusing on the path in front of me. Sprinting trying to recover the long distance between me and Caine, I got to the barricade.
As I scrambled up the back wall, I settled into a mantra to keep my mind from focusing on my- on recent events- Please don't let him catch me. Please don't let him catch me. Can't Die. Can't Die. Can’t Die. I fell onto the other side and started running. Sharp pains ran up my ankle as I ran, probably landed wrong at the fence. Damn it! I didn’t have time for delays like this! Despite the pain, I pushed harder, made use of the adrenaline.
In minutes that felt like hours I could see it, the Aegis. My legs felt like jello. My brain only focusing on my brother's words, 'Run Bia! Run as fast as fire!' In normal circumstances I would’ve yelled at him but he was trying to make me run. But run as fast as fire. What the hell does that even mean, run faster than fire. fire catches. Can fire even run? A thought crossed my mind, fire is at the essence of the world, make it work for you.
I felt everything click into place. All the training made sense. Unfortunately my body was not in tune with my mental clarity. I felt the fatigue wash over me in a tidal wave. My breathing became haggard and worn as I tried to run faster, still weary from strangulation. But only succeeded for two steps. I needed to do this. I needed to do this for Koios. For my parents, for Him. I needed to get there.
'Keep Going' they cheered me on from the side of my mind, 'Move Faster don’t let them catch you,' they shouted at me as I stepped forward.
My legs become numb as I stumbled down that crumbled gravel driveway. I thought I could do it, trying to harness the power of the little engine that could. Then halfway down, my legs fell out from beneath me. I lifted my head up and pulling myself closer to the Aegis. My knees scraping as they dragged behind me in the gravel. I looked at the Aegis praying that someone would find me.
"Please, I’m almost there." I thought I said it, but I couldn’t be sure.
I felt all my energy leave me as my head hit the ground. Black closed like curtains at a theater as my muscles strained in a fruitless attempt to get further. My muscles relaxed as I threw myself onto the front door step. As I felt everything slip away I heard.
"It's her, ma'am."
A figure sounded from over me. I could only hope they were on my side. "Get a banquet ready, tonight we welcome our champion."
My brain shut down as those words entered my mind.