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Dulce

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Well, this is something different.

I've been going through a bit of a down period and one of the reasons was feeling like I'm a total creative failure. So I decided to try writing something.

By "something" I specifically mean original fiction.

 

I could skip all the self deprecating "this is terrible and a first draft yadda yadda" insecurity stuff, but I feel compelled to stick it in, so here it is. BLABLABLA. Can we move on now? Great

 

The story is called Dulce

PS: omygoodness i just hit 1000 gold

 

 

Edit: Will not be updating here.

Am going to try posting this on goodreads... we'll see how it goes :)

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"CONFESSING WON'T KILL YOU," his sister's latest excessively pink-and-glossy magazine had declared. "Fifteen reasons to confront your crush today!"

 

Like most things written in that particular dishrag, it had been a lie.

 

Lakely, admiring his view of the sky through the newly blasted hole in the cafe's ceiling, was slightly saddened by the thought that Relia would surely be upset if she discovered what part her magazine had played in his untimely demise.

 

Fortunately, this would never happen, because:

 

1. There was zero chance Lakely would ever admit to having so much as noticed the thing's existence

 

and

 

2. There was zero chance of Lakely admitting anything, since he was dead.

 

 

The mystery, Lakely thought, as he pulled himself up by the elbows from the gross, sticky mess that he carefully avoided looking at, was not why he was dead. This was quite adequately explained by the gaping hole in the celing, the scorch marks, and the part where his body mostly wasn't there any more, or rather was there, but in far too many pieces.

 

No, the mystery was why his crush was not.

 

The part where Lakely was dead did not appear to have made any real dent in his conviction that she was totally his type. She had this slightly rounded face and the most incredibly soft-looking short wavy hair. She was small and cute and adorable.

 

Also, in an unrelated observation, she was currently covered in Lakely's blood.

 

She looked terrified. This was a perfectly reasonable reaction, in Lakely's opinion. She had her hands clasped over her mouth, her eyes wide, and she kept repeating "Oh my god. Oh my god," in a frantic sort of whisper.

 

He felt a rush of pity for her. He, after all, was pretty much fine other than the being dead bit. She looked like she was about to have a total breakdown.

 

"Hey," he said, softly, and tapped her on the shoulder. Of course she couldn't hear him, since he was dead, and she was--

 

She whirled around, if anything looking more frightened than before. For a moment. And then, in the most disconcerting way, her face smoothed over.

 

"You're still here," she said.

 

"D-wh-I-buh," said Lakely. He paused, his brain trying to collect itself into something coherent.

 

"Er," he said. "This is going to be a stupid question, but-- Am I not dead?"

 

He hesitated.

 

"Because. You know. I was pretty sure-" At this point he made the mistake of glancing back at his body. His no longer relevant or even technically existent digestive system was apparently still insufficiently incorporeal to handle the sight. Ghostly waves of nausea lashed through him and he doubled over.

 

"Scratch that last question," he wheezed. He waited a few moments, while his not-body stopped heaving.

 

He straightened up. He smoothed out his hair.

 

"Why can you see me?" He said. He was hoping the answer would be something along the lines of "Because we're soulmates." In fact, preferably it would be "Because we're soulmates, and as a result of our love being so excessively true you are, in fact, not dead. Also you have superpowers."

 

"Because I killed you," the girl said. Her voice was still completely calm, but she folded her arms over her chest like she was hugging herself.

 

"...Oh." Lakely said.

 

"Um," he said.

 

"So," he said.

 

"...I didn't think I came across that strongly," he finally ventured.

 

"What do you mean?" The girl said.

 

What Lakely had meant was that he hadn't thought that sitting down next to her and saying, in as carefully casual a tone as he could muster, "So, um, what brings you here on this fine Tue--" was quite sufficient grounds for being dead.

 

But if she didn't know what he was talking about, he didn't feel like reminding her that his very last words in the fragile mortal fastness of still breathing had not only involved an "um", but also his voice cracking in the most humiliating way at "brings".

 

"I mean. Well. Why?" he said.

 

"It was an-- an accident," she said.

 

A beat.

 

"I'm sorry," she added.

 

"Well." he said. "You should be."

 

There was an uncomfortable pause that was uncomfortable because, well, there was absolutely nothing else it could possibly be.

 

"I'm sorry," she repeated. "I have to go."

 

"Wait-- what? Why? I mean-- What happens to me?" Lakely said.

 

"The reapers will come and take you to After," the girl said. "Since for some reason you haven't gotten there by yourself yet. Just sit patiently and wait."

 

"Oh, that is not going to happen," Lakely said.

 

The girl bit her lip. "You- you're barred from After?" she said. It seemed to him she went a bit pale.

 

'I don't even know what that means," Lakely said. "But I just died, and you just killed me. And I don't even know your name!"

 

"Why does that even matter?" she said.

 

"I don't know!" Lakely shouted. "But I just died! And you just killed me! And I think I'm entitled to be unreasonable right now!"

 

"...Cielle," she said.

 

"What?"

 

"Cielle. That's my name. Okay?"

 

"No," Lakely said.

 

"But you just said--"

 

The both turned, at the sound of voices. Sirens wailed.

 

About time, Lakely thought. Well. Not that the ambulances would be particularly helpful at this point but it was high time that they arrived, anyway.

 

"Goodbye," Cielle said. "Good luck."

 

She muttered something softly. The air around her-- shifted. Then she began to walk purposefully away.

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Lakely tried to go after her.

 

But he couldn't.

 

Not in some metaphorical sense. Not out of respect for her privacy or the sad look in her eyes or whatever. Those were all well and fine, but she had just admitted to killing him so he didn't particularly feel they were his problem.

 

No, he just. Couldn't.

 

Had she done something to him? To make him stuck in place? Because if so he was beginning to wonder if he should reevaluate his assessment of her as his absolute ideal dream girl. Absolute ideal dream girls do not erect invisible walls in front of their true loves.

 

(Well. There was also that bit where she had killed him. That was a minor obstacle as well. Not insurmountable, though, not like if she was a fan of Caris Esprerbright, which he was sure she wasn't. He somehow imagined that pink sparkles and unicorns in pyramids were not really her thing.)

 

By this point she had disappeared. The emergency crew had arrived. He didn't really understand why none of them had noticed her leaving-- seriously, where were the police? Standing over there, being useless.

 

"Hey!" He said. "A girl just walked away from here! Shouldn't you arrest her or something? Maybe investigate if she's the culprit? Because she is, you know, she just told me so!"

 

None of the policemen so much as glanced in his direction.

 

It took him a moment to remember that this was because he was dead.

 

Well, there had to be some advantages to that. He made faces at the policemen as they poked and prodded at things. After a while he started insulting them. "Hey, fatface! You wouldn't be able to convict a mosquito! You have the total eptitude of a dried frog trying to be a pumpkin!"

 

At some point this became boring too.

 

---

 

Three hours later, Lakely was going, slowly and steadily, out of his mind. Well, at first it had been slowly and steadily but by now the speed was picking up rapidly. In fact at this point he rather suspected that if you extrapolated the graph a bit further he'd be losing twice as much sanity by the minute now. Eventually there would just be small radioactive bits of his mind left, perpetually dwindling into infinitesimally smaller sizes.

 

Also, something was a bit strange. In his first few minutes of being dead he had been thoroughly distracted by the-- well, being dead, first of all, but also by the girl, and as a result he hadn't been paying much attention, but it was fairly clear that the blast zone had not been limited to him, Well, he had been the epicenter, sure, but where were all the other dead people? Shouldn' there have been more of them?

 

But there they were, talking to the police. Since this was now three hours later they were starting to be irritated, as well, although Lakely rather sourly suspected that they had no right to complain, since other people such as the polive could actually hear them, which went a long way towards preserving a man's sanity.

 

"There was a big boom! I wasn'ty really paying attention," the man in the bowtie and the bad haircut was saying. "No, I didn;t see what happened beforehand."

 

"Poor bastard," he added, carefully not looking at the pile of what had once been Lakely.

 

"But listen," he said, "I have a wife and three kids waiting for me at home, they must be worried sick, surely you could let me leave...?"

 

"No one can leave the crime scene," the policeman insisted. "The culprit could still be here."

 

"No, she isn't!" Lakely shouted, completely uselessly, into the polceman's ear. "Because you let her walk away! You incompetent buffoon!"

 

But eventually, even the police had to admit that there wasn't much more to be done. Someone gathered up the bits of Lakely and put them into some sort of container. Dusk began to fall.

 

"I'm so bored," Lakely said. "When do the reapers get here?"

 

As he said it he felt his mouth tingle.

 

Dusk, somehow, fell faster.

 

Despite himself he trembled.

 

Music played, in all directions, music that wasn't music so much as sheer sound. None of the remaining people in the cafe seemed to have noticed.

 

The edges of the world turned white.

 

"Ohdratdratdratdratdrat," Lakely said, and wished he'd had the vinegar to use a more proper curseword (childhood traumas ran deep. Lakely's mother had not been content with using mere soap).

 

The music was beautiful, in a way that the word "beautiful" didn't really capture, and it was tragic. It was the music that told Lakely that he was going to die.

 

It was odd, that he was already dead, and yet it hadn't really hit him. These past few hours he'd twitched and fidgeted and it had never really occured to him, that he was going to disappear. That he'd be gone. That it was over.

 

He was only seventeen, for Real's sake.

 

"I didn't mean that!" He said. "I don't want to die!"

 

"Really?" Someone said.

 

Today was clearly a day for general all around police incompetence. There was no way the woman standing right behind him had been authorized to enter the crime scene. She... she...

 

She just looked like a walking malfeasance, that was all. Possibly it was the hair. Or the way she stood. Or just. Just. Everything.

 

"Um." Lakely said. (He was feeling very coherent today. Positively verbal.)

 

"Are you sure?" The woman said. "Because I hear its quite nice, actually. Eternal bliss and happiness... and peaceful truthy joy, or something like that."

 

"Th-that is?" Lakely said, gesturing at the encroaching whiteness.

 

"There's no point in pointing, I can't see it," the woman said.

 

"Right. Of course. Because you're alive," Lakely said. He thought he was starting to get the hang of this tedious business. Pity, too, since it was clearly reaching an end.

 

"Don't be ridiculous, of course I'm not alive," the woman said. "How else do you think I'd be talking to you?"

 

Lakely blinked.

 

"Sorry?" He said.

 

"Oh, no need to be," she said. "I've made peace with it long ago. But let's not talk about me-- Would you really rather not die?"

 

"Um," Lakely said, again.

 

It was suddenly not an obvious answer any more.

 

"W-what would I end up losing as a result?" he said.

 

"You wouldn't die."

 

Right, I get that, but-- look, I just had a fairly traumatic once in a lifetime experience and now you've suddenly appeared and I don't see any reason to trust you and my point is-- is this one of those things where you con me into selling you my soul or something?"

 

"Not in the slightest," the woman said, cheerfully.

 

"Good." Lakely said. "Because I'm not entirely sure I have one, but if I do, it's mine. Okay? Right?"

 

"If you can keep claim over it, sure," the woman said. "But I think the more pressing question now is whether you would really rather not die. Because you don't necessarily get to decide again."

 

"I." Lakely said.

 

The white pressed in on the corners of his vision.

 

He was, he realized, starting to cry. Not really from sadness, just a sort of steady leaking, from ghostly eyes. Because apparently ghosts could cry, too.

 

"I'd really-" he said.

 

He was seventeen.

 

The greatest achievement of his life had been winning the largest drizzball competition in fourth grade.

 

Somewhere the world was beautiful. Everything would be okay. Wouldn't rest be lovely. Life was so long. There was lightness all around. It was going to be okay.

 

He'd never be a spiremage. He'd never visit Kalatea.

 

He hadn't even been able to make a proper confession to a girl.

 

The world sounded like warm cinnamon swirls.

 

"I don't want to die," he whispered, but he couldn't hear himself. There was white choking up his lungs.

 

"I don't want to die!" He shrieked, in a sudden panic, and he was flailing, and--

 

Too late, too late, he thought, fighting the dizzy whirling softness--

 

Someone grabbed his hand.

 

"Run," said the woman, and they did.

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