What Lies Beyond: Chapter 30

She sat there quietly, listening for a time. Only once she was sure he was truly not coming back did the weight of what she had said begin to set in, and she felt overwhelmed with conflicting emotions of sadness and anger. “I'm such a fool”, she cried, burying her face in her pillow. “What was I thinking?”
Eventually, she picked herself up and slunk over to her desk. From there she removed the little book from her drawer and tearfully leafed through the collection of romantic phrases she'd collected over time. As she repeated the hollow statements in her mind, she found that the words that had once set her heart aflutter held no meaning for her now.
“I wouldn't want to go back to how things were if it meant giving this up. I never imagined I could feel like that. I was so wrong about you, Lay.”
She slammed her paw on the table with a terrible growl and barred her claws. She was just about to tear all the pages out when the full weight of what she had lost overcame her and she broke down crying. The book fell to the floor as she sobbed pathetically into her paws, lamenting the loss of love.

The walk through the corridors of her ship had never seemed longer. Lay kept her head down, looking at her feet as she crossed the halls, avoiding eye contact with her crew. She heard the sounds of laughter and passion from behind closed doors, but there was no merriment in her heart tonight, only pain, self-loathing, and a desperate longing for someone who cared. Eventually, she found herself in the same place she always did. She knocked on the door and softly called the name of the one who was always there for her.
There was no reply. The door was barred shut and would not open.
“I know you're in there”, she said, weakly. “Please. I need you.”
“I'm not stupid”, replied a small voice. “I know what's going on.”
She was so surprised that she snapped out of her despair for a moment. “What are you talking about?” she demanded.
“I heard you.” His voice was hoarse, she could tell he had been crying. “'Don't try to change me, because I won't change. Maybe you should just find someone else. You don't deserve me.'” he repeated, coldly.
“No...” she pleaded, in disbelief. “Not you, Petal. I could never say that about you.”
“Your heart's not in it anymore, I can tell. You don't hold me like you used to. You don't kiss me like you used to. Now I know what you meant... when you said those things.”
“Please, you've got the wrong idea”, she said, banging on the door with her paw. “Open that door and let me show you how wrong you are.”
“I never asked you to be exclusive to me, but I loved you. I loved you more than anything. I can't just be a stand-in when you can't have anyone better, it hurts me too much. I... I can't do this anymore.” He paused, his suffering clear to all. “Please, just go.”
“Fine.” she said bitterly, too hurt to even cry. “Don't forget it was you who came to me in the first place. At first I was just being nice to you, because I felt sorry for you. I don't know why I let it grow into more than that. Clearly it was a mistake.”
She could hear him sobbing inside his room, but she didn't care. She left him that way, just as they had all left her.

She stared out over the railing of her ship, idly gazing out over the ocean. Everything she had was gone now, faded into nothingness like the waves as they went out to sea. She wondered how cold the water was, and whether anyone would miss her.
“My queen!” called a nauseatingly cheerful voice. “Surely you are not alone on a beautiful night like tonight.” She made no reply, so he poured it on thicker: “If the other men on this ship truly are such fools as to neglect you on a night like this, I would be honoured to keep you company.” Sonnet puffed out his chest: “I do not wish to brag, but every lady I have met has praised my technique and stamina, and none of them are even one thousandth as lovely as you. With you, I will create my masterpiece, a lovemaking session of such passion the ocean has never seen.”
She glared at him with blood-red eyes that could have pierced stone: “You had BETTER be as good as you say you are”, she growled, digging her claws into his arm and dragging him back towards her cabin. Sonnet swallowed nervously, his expression changing instantly from arrogant confidence to pure terror, but there was no escape for him now.

Back on Corsair's ship, Sabre was feeling restless. She picked up a sword from the rack and posed with it, thrusting back and forth across the deck to duel with her shadow, but her form was off, and there was no energy to her movements. Disparate thoughts kept creeping into her mind, and she couldn't concentrate on her training. She put the sword back and walked over to the edge of the ship, resting her paws on the railing.
“Who am I?” she asked, of no one in particular. “What role am I supposed to play?”
She had always hated it when others told her what to do, but for once she found herself wishing for some guidance. She stared down at her reflection in the still water, but the ship tilted and it faded away. In its place, she saw the top of the ship, set strikingly against the twinkling stars.

She climbed up to the crow's nest, where she found him gazing out into space, his head in his paws. Her heart went out to him, and her confusion faded instantly.
“Corsair...” she started, placing a paw on his shoulder.
“Why has the world gone crazy?” he lamented, his head flopping back to the railing behind him. “For once, I was happy, but it can never be.”
“Did something happen between you and Lay?”
All of the life drained out of his voice, leaving only a cold monotone: “It's me, isn't it?” He turned to face her and flopped into her waiting arms. She had never seen him look this bad, his eyes were completely red, and if she didn't hold him up he would surely fall to the floor. “I'm... incomplete. I never know what to say, or what to do. There's something missing inside of me.”
She closed her eyes and squeezed him. “Hey, don't say stuff like that. You're you. Don't let other people tell you that's not good enough.”
“But it isn't good enough.” He swallowed audibly, his voice hoarse and barely audible. “I should be more than this. When we were with Steven, we caught a glimpse of what it would be like to be complete. The strangers... they know everything. There's something else beyond the world that we know, and that's where the answers lie.”
She lifted him to his feet and embraced him tightly. “No, please, don't talk like that. I'm here. We're all here. This is where we belong.”
“Not me.” he said, lifting her paws away. “Not anymore. As long as I stay here, I'm only going to make you unhappy.” He had already started down the rungs to the deck, so she could only call after him.
“Corsair, please... don't... for me...”
He didn't stop climbing down, not for her or anyone else. His mind was made up now.


It was getting late, and Sister was starting to feel apprehensive again. She glanced out the window, where the sun was not yet visible in the sky, but she thought she saw the first traces of light peeking over the horizon. In a short while the sun would take them away, and tonight could be the night where she would never see him again. She tried to close her eyes and think about something else, but just then the door to the cabin opened with a quiet creak.
“Corsair?” she asked hopefully, raising her head, but it was not.
“Please.” Sabre pleaded. “You've got to help him. I think he's going to get himself lost.”

No comments:

Post a Comment