Fight For Your Bond
so... there aren't any chapters in this; it's just one, REALLY short story. please let me know, but be nice about it!
My eyes fluttered open slowly. As soon as I raised my head, pain knocked the breath from my lungs. I looked down at my wrist where waves of pain were emanating from. On my wrist where my watch used to be was now a strange bracelet. An amethyst dominated the piece, rimmed by silver strands braided together. The strap was made of some kind of black metal, but I couldn’t find the latch. When I tried to pull on it, black spots danced in front of my eyes and I curled up in a ball until the pain subsided. The bracelet seemed to be fused with my skin. My stomach turned and I was sure I was going to be sick.
To distract myself, I gazed at my surroundings. I was in a steel cage about six feet by six feet. If I stood up, my five feet, four inches would give me plenty of room in this weird cage. It reminded me of the shark cages you see massive Great Whites banging up against while the diver inside flailed like crazy, trying to keep all their precious limbs inside the cage. I hoped nothing like that would happen here. Outside the cage was a pathway with large ivy walls on either side, like a labyrinth. I could see about four feet in front of me thanks to the gas lamps that hung on the outside of my cage. The gloom pressed in on me as if an invisible hand was gripping my throat.
Where was I?
I doubled over in shock as emotions hit me. Fear, pain, surprise, curiosity, distrust. But the thing was, they weren’t my own. The emotions belonged to someone else . I sensed somebody else’s consciousness. There was a veil was between us, but it was there, like a new book waiting to be explored. A shiver quaked through me; I rose on shaky legs and peered through the bars.
A voice crackling over an intercom made me jump out of my skin. “Welcome to the Labyrinth. You all might be wondering what is on your wrists.” All? So I wasn’t the only one. “It is called a Micro Infusion Device, or the MID. It connects you to your bonds. Have you heard of the Greek legend of people that had four legs, and two heads? They were two separate souls in one body. They were destined to be together, they matched in every single way. Soul mates, is the term. But then the great god Zeus became jealous of their joy and separated them, dooming them to scour the earth in search of their soul mate. The MID connects you to your soul mate, or your bond as I like to call it.” Bonds? Infusion? What on earth is this guy talking about? “The MID will let you know what your bond is feeling. And, on rare occasions if you and your bond become close enough, you will be able to read their minds.”
“You’re probably wondering why we went to all this trouble. The reason we made the MID’s is to create a better society. People kill themselves searching for ‘the one’. This makes things so much easier. Your mission is to find your bond before it is too late. This proves to us if you and your bond truely care for each other. We don’t want an unstable relationship in our society. If you find each other, you may leave the labyrinth and live a wonderful life together. If not, you will be trapped here forever.”
My mind was reeling. Was this true? Was I somehow connected with somebody that was supposed to be my soulmate? I needed time to think, to sort things out. This obviously was some kind of mistake. But before I could even mull over my situation, my cage began to shake. The top folded down and I dropped to my knees so I wouldn’t be crushed by the folding metal. The bars shrank and disappeared leaving only the steel bottom.
I stood and cautiously stepped off the base and trotted carefully down the path in front of me, eyes darting back and forth. An emotion hit me like a tidal wave: pain. Unbearable pain. I fell to my knees and cried out from the sheer force of it. My bond. They were in pain.
Pushing down my doubts of if this whole thing was legit or not, I sent out concern, and a desperate need to find them, hoping to get a reply. My bond acknowledged my concern and that they too felt a similar desire to find me. A wave of gratitude gently washed over me. It soothed my wrist and cleared my head. With one emotion, my bond had calmed me in a way no one else I knew could. Not even my mother, with her angelic voice and gentle touch. Somehow he, my bond, had known exactly how to ease me. We hadn’t even met face-to-face, but he already knew me in a way that went deeper than my bond with my family, my own flesh and blood.
Determination flared in my chest, and I knew it wasn’t just me feeling it. We would find each other. No matter the cost.
I stood again and raced around the corner, only to be faced with an ivy wall. Turning around, I traced my steps and discovered an opening that hadn’t been there before. The labyrinth was moving. I growled and pushed forward, determined not to let this place get to me.
After about an hour of running, stopping, and turning back around, desperation began to press upon me like a dead weight, dragging me down into a fetal position of half pants, half sobs. I was dehydrated; the sun had risen over the labyrinth. It beat down on me with burning force, turning my arms, face, and neck a scalding red.
My bond felt my pain, but he wasn’t being burned by the sun. An image flashed in my mind.
A crystal fountain in a large, shaded courtyard. Clear water gushing out of the mouths of four dolphins that rose from the center, then it was gone.
Where had that come from? His satisfaction answered my question. It was him. Somehow, he’d sent me an image of where he was.
Well if he could do it, then I could too. I closed my eyes and brought up the picture of where I was lying. There were three paths branching out in front of me. The one to the left was overgrown and dark, fog seemed to hang over the pathway. The air felt cool and soothing. The one on the far right was sunny and hot, the ground cracked and dry. Dead flowers and grass lay limp in the dust. The middle path was misty and still, bright green grass covered the path. I couldn’t see farther than a few inches into the gloom.
I brought it into focus as if my mind was a camera. With all my might, I shoved it towards his consciousness. The veil between us ripped with the sheer force of my image.
It was as if a whole different world was open to me. Doors leading into different life times snapped into focus in my mind, and I could just walk through them. All of his experiences, his fears, dreams, anything that had ever happened to him, and I could just open that door and understand how, when, and why it had happened.
Wow, I thought - though that didn’t even convey the depth of my emotion. We were one now, my bond and I. I realized that I didn’t even know his name. I knew that I could communicate with him now that I’d torn the barrier between our minds. What’s your name? I sent the thought through to him. Immediately, he responded.
Liam Carter, 19 years old. How about you? I felt a shiver run through my spine as the words filled my mind. I couldn’t help grinning despite my chapped lips. This was super cool.
Cassia Youngblood, same age. An awkward silence dragged between us. My insecurities reared their ugly heads; I was afraid that I’d screwed it up. That he’d hate me, think that the people who did this to us had gotten it wrong. That I wasn’t his soul mate.
I know where you are, and how you can reach me. Take the middle pathway and walk straight and you’ll reach me. Hurry though, the labyrinth moves. And don’t worry, I don’t hate you.
I almost laughed in relief that he’d spoken to me instead of dooming me to silence.
I quickly rose to my feet, ignoring my burning skin. My throat felt dryer than the Sahara, but I followed Liam’s instructions and raced down the middle pathway.
Immediately the mist eased the pain in my arms and throat. “I should just stay here forever.” I sighed as I sank into the soft grass dreamily. Someone was calling my name, but the sound was muted like the volume in my head had been turned down. I was so happy in this place, so I decided to ignore it. Vines began to sprout from the walls and wrap around my waist, legs, and arms, dragging me towards the ivy wall. I smiled. “Hello, how nice! The plants are giving me a hug! Thank you plants!” I was almost sucked into the walls, until Liam shouted CASSIA - RUN!
My mind cleared and I sat up abruptly, snapping the vines that were dragging me to my death. I would’ve screamed and scooted away from the deadly plants, but what was happening behind me was much more frightening.
The pathway behind me was quickly closing in. I choked on my scream and bolted to my feet. I sprinted down the path, faster than I’d ever run in track. I heard the rushing leaves behind me but I didn’t turn in fear that I’d trip.
I burst through the archway and collapsed to my hands and knees, chest heaving. Behind me was a solid wall. If I hadn’t made it in time, I would’ve been sucked into the ivy and lost forever. I tasted salt and realized I was crying. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I sat there, head resting on my drawn-up knees until my ugly sobs had subsided into hoarse gasps.
A hand on my shoulder startled me. I yelped and scooted back on my hands like a crab. A boy about my age crouched in front of me with his hands raised, like I was a cornered animal. I felt like an animal. My hair was tangled mess from my run, and there was about an inch of dirt under my nails. My face was wet with tears and my eyes were puffy. I probably looked like a mess.
The boy was tall with dark blonde hair and emerald eyes. A watch similar to my own was on his wrist, except that he had a fiery red stone and it was rimmed in gold instead of silver. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, a lopsided smirk that was mischievous. His skin was tan and a gash tore across his leg with a sloppy bandage thrown on haphazardly. I flashed back to when I was lost and alone in the maze. I’d felt a stab of pain that had come from my bond. Could this be…
“Hey” He said with an easy smile. “I’m Liam.”
“L-liam?” I whispered. I couldn’t believe it. He was here, really here in front of me.
“Hey.” He whispered, his eyes scanning my face. Normally I would’ve been embarrassed, but I felt completely at ease around him. I stood and offered my hand to him. He took it and rose with a wince. The pain that he felt was skull-splitting. We both fell over gasping. When I lifted my head, Liam was lying on his side, breathing heavily.
I scrambled over to him and carefully pulled apart the rip on his jeans and studied the cut. It was deep, and blood was seeping out at a steady pace. “Okay.” I whispered. “You’re gonna be just fine.” I tore the hem of my shirt into long strips and bound his cut, but it was quickly soaked in blood.
“I’ve barely met you and I know you’re lying.” Liam coughed. I cradled his head in my lap.
“You know me better than anybody else in the world.” I whispered. He smiled. A tear rolled down my cheek. His eyes began to close.
“No, no, no.” I yelled, grabbing his hand. “No, I just found you! Don’t leave me!” I wailed, my other hand cupping his cheek. “Don’t you dare die on me.” I growled.
I’d been a lifeguard over the summer and I’d learned CPR. Never knew I’d have to actually use this skill. I pinched his nose and pressed my mouth to his, blowing twice into his open mouth. No response. Undaunted, I laid my right hand, face down on top of my left and laced my fingers. After pressing my hands on his chest and forced down five times, I checked for a pulse. No response. I copied the motion two more times, tears streaking down my cheeks as I did. The last time instead of breathing, I kissed him softly.
“Ughhhhhhh!” Liam took a deep breath, eyes fluttering. I gasped and pressed my fingers to his neck. There was a pulse. I broke into hysterical laughter, finally breaking under the stress of the past few minutes. What an amazing, horrible day it had been.
I laid my head against his chest, listening to the most wonderful sound in the world: his heartbeat. Shuddery gasps escaped from my chapped lips like I was the one who had just stopped breathing.
“Oh my god - don’t you EVER do that to me again!” I gasped, cupping his cheek as relieved tears trickled down my cheeks.
He smiled weakly and whispered “Will do.”
I tore more from my shirt, turning it into a crude crop-top, adding another layer to his leg. I would’ve felt awkward about it at any other time, but Liam’s life was more important than how much skin I was showing. After binding several layers on his gash, I eased him to his feet, taking most of his weight so he wouldn’t stress his leg.
“Congratulations Liam and Cassia, you have found each other! You may now join the world once more!” The announcer’s voice rang through the courtyard. The wall that I just fought to save myself from melted away, revealing sunshine; I could hear birds chirping in the distance. Liam stood straight and grabbed my hand, entwining our fingers. Whatever happened next, we could get through it together.We’d found each other.
lame little popcorn story, i know, but sometimes we need a little popcorn to make ourselves feel better about our lives.