Today’s Daily Prompt: Cowardice
So here’s the thing, this word, I don’t like it.
He looks at me with those piercing blue eyes and I sigh heavily. “Alex, it’s just a word, we can make it work.”
He shakes his head, scowls at me.
Remember where you left me? In the desert, searching. All full of determination. Doing it for her. Remember? Now I’m going to be a coward?
“No, of course not,” I assure. “Cowardice is, lack of courage to face something. We can um …” I admit to myself I’m struggling with this but he doesn’t need to know that.
We can what babe?
“Don’t call me babe,” I say absently, automatically as I’m trying to think of a way to make it work.
He gives me that look, his eyes full of challenge. Write me bad, it says, let me say filthy things. I shake my head at him, this is really not the time. He scowls and grumbles at me.
It’s a stupid word anyway. Here’s a sentence for you: Alex despised the writer for her cowardice.
“Charming,” I roll my eyes at Mr Snarkypants. “I was thinking more along the lines of…”
It was my lucky day, Mr Stern was back.
“Ready for another game Alex?” he looked at me with eyes devoid of life, inky black pools of nothing.
I’ve never been accused of cowardice so I shrug. “Sure thing.”
Another game? Really?
Alex does not look convinced. “Or not,” I shrug. “But see what I did with the word, you are explicitly not a coward.”
I can be as fucking explicit as you want me to be babe, just say the word.
“Let’s try to stay focused on the story Alex,” I warn us both. “You need to get out of the desert, contact the girl, save yourself.” I tick of the very loose and basic plot points.
I’m talking to you aren’t I?
His looks up at me with a little smirk and I wonder why I’m letting him control this conversation at all. He is mine, my character, a figment of my imagination. I’m in charge. Right?
Of course you are babe, totally in charge.
“Of course I am,” I agree. Wait, what? I didn’t say that out loud.
You don’t have to babe, I’m in your head, I heard every word.
I’m in so much trouble. He knows it, I know it and he knows I know it.
“How about we try again tomorrow?” I suggest hopefully.
I’ve got you babe, relax …
I walk through the desert, the endless expanse of sand somehow soothing. I give up singing after a while and start trying to think of movies with deserts in them. My lack of culture is damning, all I can think about is ‘Space Balls’. I laugh out loud as I picture that scene where they comb the desert.
I switch to any movie at all that I can remember the plot of, anything to fill the time, fill my mind. Stop me wondering why I was still wandering. I didn’t want to think about that, about the fact that maybe I was trapped in this fucking desert, just me and my thoughts. Was it cowardice to not want to face those fears? Fuck that, I have nothing to fear. I can do this.
I turn my thoughts to … her. I convince myself I just need to focus … she said that to me once. Let’s stay focused Alex. So I’ll focus babe. I think about things she wont let me mention. It’s working, in the distance I can see something. Looks like I might be getting out of the desert after all.
“Okay, stop,” I sigh as I interrupt. It was going so well. He tries to look innocently at me. Not buying it babe. I stare him down.
What? Okay fine. Scratch the last paragraph, put this instead…
He gives in not so graciously, I give him an encouraging look, wait patiently.
The sand is hot under my feet and I have no idea how long I’ve been walking but I know I have to keep going. I have to beat the Blands and Mr Stern, I have to get to Skye.
As I think her name I drop to my knees, the pain unbearable and endless. Except it’s not. And when it stops and I open my eyes she is standing there, just a few feet away.
“Skye?” it takes me two tries to say her name out loud. She spins to face me and I wonder if I look as shocked as she does.
“Alex! I’ve been waiting.”
I’m scared I’m hallucinating, I need to touch her. My fingers brush down her arm, catch her fingers. Her hand is warm as she clasps my hand, real.
“Skye, I need your help,” I tell her and I step back, shove my hands into my pockets.
“Alex, shouldn’t you be holding her?” I frown in confusion and he scowls at me.
Bossy much? Take it or leave it.
He shrugs and turns his back on me.
“But – ”
I’m done for the night babe.
He looks over his shoulder at me and he doesn’t look happy as he fades from sight.
“So much trouble,” I mutter to myself as I hit the ‘Publish’ button.