The Price to Pay by cmschneider

           Carmen knelt down and embraced the large cream-colored mountain cat that stopped at her side. They sat for a moment staring ahead at the ancient warrior city nestled in the mountains. “Soon we will have all we need,” Carmen breathed her promise into his warm fur as he began to squirm and wiggle out of her arms. She smiled at his inability to sit still. She adjusted her pack and continued on their last stretch to the city, Raul at her side.

         Halfway down Raul stopped and bared his teeth, growling at what Carmen could not yet see. She pulled out her twin sais, taking a fighting stance. A war cry sounded as arrows littered the sky. Carmen ran forward falling behind Raul as he charged ahead. She dodged the arrows as best she could, using her pack as a shield for her head. She cursed as one sliced along her outstretched arm. Blood, warm and greedy fled from her body. She heard a fierce growl and whimper ahead that sent panic into her heart. I’m coming friend, she thought as she rounded the mountainside.

        Carmen sent a sai into a man sneaking up behind Raul. She hit her mark. As she ran to retrieve it, she noticed the blood that littered the beautiful mountainside, making it look grotesque. She prayed it wasn’t Raul’s blood. She turned and clashed with another warrior. Kicking him back she bumped into the back of another, she quickly ducked as the warrior sung at her head. She rolled away and got up on her feet facing the two warriors that converged on her. They clashed and twisted, a dance she knew well. A rough blow from one knocked her off her balance and she went tumbling backward. The two advanced on her as she tried to stand back up. Just as one of them was about to strike, Raul pounced and took them both down.

         Relief flowed through Carmen, till she noticed the blood. Raul was bleeding badly. She ran over to him as he clumsily plopped down a few feet from her. Closing his eyes, he whimpered. Carmen knelt by him and searched through her bag frantically to find something to help. Raul placed his head against her knee stopping her search. His breathing grew more ragged. “No, stay with me,” Carmen pleaded. Placing her forehead on his, he huffed a final breath.

         Grief unlike anything she had ever felt, wrecked her. Still. It was not a word she had ever used to describe her best friend. He had never been so still. Tears cascaded down her cheeks, making her vision blurry. She had not meant for this, had not wanted this, but she had wanted revenge.

         “All we needed was each other,” she whispered through tears. Her heart shattering for what should’ve been. She had lost sight of what really mattered in her quest for power, for vengeance. Carmen collapsed around Raul giving him one final hug.

  • : Fantasy

Comments

  1. Sophia Bonnie Wodin

    I loved your story and found it flowed smoothly, captured my attention. I enjoyed the relationship between the woman and mountain cat. I followed the beginning of the battle but soon it got overwhelming, although I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to these things.
    Still in was potent to meet a woman warrior who is also tender with her companion. How sad that he had to die. And yes, it makes sense that he did.

    Well done!

  2. Doug Liberati

    This story flowed well and I could follow the choreography of the fights, which is not always an easy thing to do, or to write. I did seem to think the two warriors coming at her at the same time might be difficult, as I pictured this happening on a narrow trail. But that might just be me. Good, engaging, and kept things moving.

  3. Athina Antoniou

    A very enjoyable story but very sad. I was very sorry that Raul had to due before Carmen realized what was really important in life. Thank you for sharing.