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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2248874-THE-FIELD
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Fantasy · #2248874
My favourite chapter of a novel I'm writing. Enjoy!


ESME

We met in the fields behind Samantha's family farm. We had done so for months now, because we knew it was safe. We would meet there every Sunday after Sam got away from lunch after church and we would talk. Talk about the big things and the small things, the important and the mundane, secrets and events from our daily lives. It was my place to escape from being Lord Fieldswick's daughter, and to be just Esme. I told Sam everything: my anger, my depression, my fear... But there was one thing I could never tell Sam, I could never tell her I was the leader of the Resistance or her family would split us up more than they already had. We wouldn't be able to meet in the fields, that was for sure. Stupid family politics... Our generation shouldn't have to make up for the mistakes of the past. There was another thing I couldn't tell Sam (why am I keeping so much from her? She doesn't deserve it) and her family doesn't come into it. I love her. I really do. And loving a girl presents a whole new set of problems, let me tell you. You begin to doubt whether you actually love her (because come on, she's a girl!) and your stupid brain, which is convinced you're straight, turns against you. If you do manage to defeat your inner straight demons, you dont even know if she's gay, let alone if she likes you! And what would her family say? It's better to be straight in my opinion, but you can't change what you are. Samantha arrived, and my heart sped up like a motor.

"Hey."

"Hey."

Samantha was beautiful, with thick, wavy, corn blonde hair (with a yellow streak obviously), rosy cheeks and ocean blue eyes. Her hair fell in a perfect parting and flowed down her back, her eyes sparkled when she was happy, her mouth- shit, I've thought too much about this.

"How are you this week? Any more nightmares?" she joked, elbowing me softly in the ribs.

"The usual," I said quietly.

"Oh," she said, and her face fell. "didn't you ask your dad for that spell I heard Gwen talking about?" Gwen was Sam's older sister who was on the MEB (Magical Enforcement Board) so she heard a lot of news about my dad, not all good.

"I did, but he told me that I shouldn't know anything about it. He's quite mad at me, actually."

"Oh, I'm sorry!" Sam said and wrapped her arms around me. I was glad Sam's head was on my shoulder for a number of reasons; if she saw me going bright red with my nervous eye tic going haywire, she'd think I was weirder than she already thinks I am. She held me there for a few seconds (I could feel her heart beating) and then she let go, shuffled next to me and slipped her arm around my shoulders. By then my face had gone from magenta to a more reasonable shade.

"What did he do to you?" she whispered as if fearing the answer.

"No magic for a week-"

"No!"

"I know, it's been torture doing things by hand, and I'm not allowed out the house."

"But you're-"

"I told them I was going to church. They didn't mind that, thank magic, but they made me bring Christopher to be with his friends. I bribed him with sweets, and if I know Chris he'll keep it to himself." I smirked. I was proud of this plan, there wasn't any room for mistakes. "I put in a strand of my hair- the streak, obviously- in the bag, so he couldn't snitch even if he wanted to." I saw by the look on Sam's face that I had gone too far. Her eyes (cobalt blue, and oh so beautiful!) were opened wide and her mouth (opened slightly, I could've kissed her right there and then) formed an 'o' of shock.

"Esme... You..." I felt the grin slide off my face. Taking a strand of your streak not only considerably weakened your magic but made the person who touched it obey you until you set them free. (hence why magical people don't have hairdressers). It's one of the cruellest forms of magic, and I knew it was a waste to use it on Christopher. He didn't even know I'd possessed him, poor thing, and the look on his face when he'd try to tell my dad what I'd done- I couldn't bear to think about it. "I'm sorry... I-"

"No. I don't want your puny excuses. If you do this kind of thing now, what person will you become, Esmerelda Fieldswick?" Nobody ever used my full name, not even at home, so that came like a slap to the face. Sam got up and started walking towards the farm.

"Sam wait-" I grabbed her arm. My inner straight demons were hissing and clawing at my stomach, and I knew that I was going to kiss her. Kiss her, or she would never talk to me again. kiss her, to make up for all the times I'd kissed her in my head, all that and more. I was going to kiss her, And I dont fucking care if she's not going to kiss me back.

"No," she said firmly. She snatched her arm back. "Take the curse off of him!" I twirled my blue streak in my fingers without realizing it, then closed my eyes and concentrated. I felt the magic shooting from the roots of my hair to the tips of my fingers and toes, going through every vein and cell, in the blood and the bone. I tilted my head back and snapped my eyes open. There was a grey tint around everything, as though the world had been drained of colour. This was new. Maybe from touching my hair...? I didn't know. I looked to Sam- and gasped at what I saw. She was bloodless, with a thick black oily liquid running from her eyes. She was all in ghostly white and treacherous black, apart from her yellow streak, which glowed so bright it hurt to look at it. Sam was saying something to me, but I couldn't hear. All I could hear was a deafening roar, growing louder with each breath I took- and then I remembered Chris. I pictured his face, a streak of orange in his black hair, always smiling with a face full of freckles- and then I was there, at the church. Everywhere I looked, in all the pews, there were ghost-like white figures, with black pouring from their eyes as if they were weeping, some with clinging colours of hairstreaks, others, the non-magical people, just a faint aura. Then I saw a flash of orange. There was Chris- or the ghost of him. I saw the bag of sweets he was holding- and saw something shining through the bag, electric blue and pulsing with magic, I saw ghost-Chris reach for a sweet from the bag-

"Stop!" I yelled. Chris froze, his half halfway to the bag. I looked around and saw that everyone else had stopped moving as well. I waved my hand in front of Chris's face. He didn't move. Had I just stopped time?

Focusing on the task at hand, I reached into the bag and pulled out the hair. It flickered in my hand for a few seconds, then the colour died and it went black like everything in this monochrome world.

"Er... Carry on, please?" Chris shivered, then popped a sweet in his mouth. I thought of Sam, and I was back in the field, with Sam shaking my shoulders, tears in her eyes.

"Esme?!" she was shouting, and a tiny part of me wondered if Sam's parents could hear this. "Esme, please wake up! Please!"

"Wha- I'm back..."

"No, Esme... Your eyes..." I touched my eyes and felt what I thought was tears running down my face but when I looked at my fingers, the black liquid was in my eyes! I was one of the ghosts! Then I looked up at sam. I saw her magic, sensed it, felt it, pouring out of her in great waves. She was so full of magic, so alive- and I was cold, dead, empty.

I tried to rub the black liquid out and my eyes and off my face, but it kept coming, blurring my field of vision, nearly blinding me. I opened my mouth to sob, but the black liquid poured into my open mouth and down my throat. It tasted bitter, like salt and regrets. The black tears filled my eyes, and I felt my consciousness slip away as I fell into the black hole of my mind.

SAM

Esme looked like a ghost, and I didn't know what I could do. She was shaking, and from her eyes came ghastly black liquid. I had never seen her- or anyone for that matter- like this before.

"Esme, can I do anything to help?" Esme sat bolt upright, but when she spoke, her voice was not her own.

"Foolish child... this is not your battle, but hers. She must fight her demons, or they will overtake her! You must not intervene!"

"No. I need my friend back!"

"If you interfere, the consequences could be worse than you could imagine!"

"I. Don't. Care."

Esme, or whoever was possessing Esme, sighed.

"Fine, but don't say I didn't warn you."

The world... changed.

I was still in the field, but the colour was gone. I brushed against a plant, and it disintegrated at my touch. Everything in this world was dead or dying. Was this what went on in Esme's head all the time? Then I heard shouting, and gunshots.

"Get down!"

I ducked, then looked around to see who shouted. It was a soldier, a soldier who was almost gone. He wore a torn olive green uniform, stained with blood and dirt, and his right arm was bleeding.

"Well, at least I managed to save someone," he said, more to himself than to anyone else. I saw him- saw his injured arm hold a gun, and- and bring it to his head, and- and with his hand shaking, eyes squeezed shut as he- he pulled the trigger, and fell to the ground.

I ran to him, but before I got there, he was already disintegrating like everything else in this world. He closed his eyes as if he was relieved by the pain, and faded into dust that blew into my face. It scratched into my eyes, making them water. I felt my tears run down my cheek and hit the ground I walked on, looking for Esme... I almost walked into a hole. I screeched and jumped back. I looked around. The holes were everywhere, gnawing at the earth, consuming everything in sight. Some were small, others enormous, stretching out towards the horizon. I tried to navigate between the holes, spreading my arms out wide like an acrobat, breathing in sharply every time I wobbled or lost my footing... And then the holes caught up with me. The ground beneath me crumbled. My legs flailed wildly; I looked for a handhold to grab onto but there were none, I screamed as the sky above me became smaller, smaller, smaller until it was barely there at all. I felt the wind whistling in my ears and I heard a rushing sound and looked down- and then I hit the water. This was no ordinary water, this was the black liquid, the tears Esme was crying- and I sank like a stone.

It was in my mouth, my eyes, my nose, my lungs, suffocating me, dragging me down- but I didn't fight back. What was the point? I could never win, never win anything, never roll any sixes in this horrible game called Life. Why resist? sooner or later the graveyards are filled with everybody. I was going to die, and all for nothing...

No. I do it for Esme. Everything for Esme. More than she could ever know. More than she could understand. In a different way than she would ever consider. I needed her to be alright, or I could never live with myself. I kicked my legs and pushed myself upwards, though my depression weighed me down. My head broke the surface of the water and I gasped for air. Over the roar of the dark waves, I heard someone crying. A low sob of despair, like that of a child. It shook me to the very bone. Could it be Esme? But Esme would never cry... Who else could it be? It had to be Esme. I followed the sound, moving much better now that I had a goal.

I finally reached an underground shore. It was as black as pitch. I tried to follow the sound of the crying, but it was growing faint. I saw the entrance to some caves off from the shore, and somehow the inside of those caves looked darker than it already was. I walked into the first cave, but it was a dead end a few feet in. I turned back to the shore- but the entrance was gone. I spun around, looking for a way out, and saw a smaller cave to the left. I crouched down and walked in. I had been going for a few minutes when the tunnel opened up into an enormous cavern, with hundreds of tunnels and pathways. How was I going to find Esme in all this? Her voice sounded loudest in a tunnel a bit smaller than I was. I bent my knees slightly and walked in. It was cramped. No, cramped was an understatement. Every few feet the tunnel shrink slightly, like a funnel, so after a few minutes, I was nearly on my stomach. I felt trapped. What if this wasn't the right way at all? what if I couldn't get out? How would I find Esme? Could I still hear her now? I checked. I could hear her, but her voice was hardly there at all. I began to panic, and my breath came out short and sharp. Was this how I was going to die? Alone, in a cave, dead of starvation? I cried out. the sobbing stopped.

"Sam?"

I heard Esme calling me, and my breathing flowed easier.

"Esme? I'm coming!"

I clambered forwards to her voice, just a few more feet... The tunnel opened up into another cavern and there, huddled in a corner, was Esme. She was curled up in a fetal position, legs drawn into her stomach, arms around her legs, head in her lap, letting out great shuddering sobs. They broke my heart a little, each one.

"Esme...?"

"Get away from me!"

a streak of blue fire circled Esme like a barrier. It stung my fingers, and they were so cold they burned. I shrieked and jumped back, sucking my fingers, but the flames died as suddenly as they had come.

"No... Stay away... Don't hurt me... Please!"

Esme flailed wildly, as if fighting off invisible enemies.

"Esme, it's me, Sam," I said. "I'm not going to hurt you."

Who had done something this bad to Esme that she was acting like this? Whoever it was, I would find them and make them answer to what they had done.

"No- Sam- this place- it'll kill you! Get away!"

"Where is this? Is this your mind?"

"Things... The things I saw... No! Don't hurt me! Please!" she begged, "Don't hurt her!"

Esme was twitching violently, jerking and lashing out at empty space. I held her hands to calm her down but she kicked her legs and gnashed her teeth, not giving up the internal fight.

"Esme, please... Let me help you. What can I do?"

Something was happening to Esme. She was still there, but she was... changing. She flashed and flickered and faded before my eyes. And she was glowing. Not much at first, but then brighter, brighter, the most brilliant white light so blinding I had to cover my eyes- and then two figures walked out of the light. One of them was Esme, but larger than light and beautiful, a version of Esme without any flaws. The other figure had wavy blonde hair flowing down her back, with a dimple in one cheek- is that me? I gaped at the two of us- the two of them as they walked towards the real Esme, bending down and whispering to her with malicious grins. The one who looked like me was holding Esme's trembling chin in her hands and saying:

"You? Why would I ever love you?"

"Sam... Don't..." she stuttered but the other Esme put her hands on the real Esme's shoulders

"Come on Esme, you know that nobody takes you seriously," she crooned, while the other me nodded and started pacing around the cave. "Alyssa and Theo don't care about anyone but each other, and your father..." she sucked in air through her teeth, "well, enough said about him."

The other me bent down to Esme and put her hand on her chest.

"I will never love you."

ESME

No.

Sam will always love me.

Always.

SAM

Esme screamed and punched the other me in the chest. The other me gasped and exploded into dust that blew away. The other Esme ran to the dust of her partner, but I was behind her and struck her in the back and she burst into dust. The walls began to tremble and I wrapped my arms around Esme to shield her from the collapse, saving another's life before my own, like the soldier, being there for Esme like I always would be, until the end. As the walls of the cave came crashing down, the black sea broke through and engulfed us both.

ESME

We were back, back in the field. I hoped I didn't look like a ghost now.

"Esme..."

I kissed her. I kissed her, putting every doubt I'd ever had, every kiss I'd ever given her in my head, every gay thought that had ever crossed my mind, into that kiss.

Come on, sam. Push me away, slap my face, tell me to stop- because nothing in the world could stop me kissing you right now except for you. I'd do anything for you.

But you didn't stop, Sam. You took the back of my neck and pushed your mouth against mine. I could feel your heartbeat in my throat, your breath, your hand on my neck and your other hand on my back, your mouth, soft and open against mine, everything. I just sat back and let you kiss me, and kiss me again. My mouth, my neck, my cheeks, my nose, and I kissed you back and you laughed.




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