The Neglected

I’ll write a more traditional journal post about my current life happenings later because I’m swamped with work at the moment. When I’m writing papers all the time for my classes, the last thing I want to do is type moar things, even things irrelevant to academics.

First, a filler post!

I found an archive of many of the small things I’d written in the past, including my finished short stories and lots of bad poetry written for high school English classes.

And then there are the Neglected, the drafts I had started and then left to collect spiderwebs in the deep archives of my flash drive. I suck at finishing anything. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish them, so I might as well publish them here, along with the writing prompt that went along with them if they had one. Even if these weren’t dated, the writing styles make it pretty clear to me which ones are old old old and which ones I wrote closer to the start of my college years.


1. No prompt listed

“Kent.” Madeline dares not speak above a whisper. “Kent, we shouldn’t be in here.”

Kent shows no sign that he heard his sister’s warning. He takes a giant leap off the last five stone steps, landing noisily on the ground. Madeline’s slippers muffle her footsteps down.

“We’ll get in trouble if the guards catch us,” she tries again.

A pause. Then: “Don’t get us caught.”

His easy reply floats to her from somewhere ahead. Madeline sees the top of his head peeking out behind a bush, and she hurriedly pursues him.

“Should be around here,” she hears him mutter. She catches up to him in time to see him impatiently brush aside some of the palace’s sunflowers blocking his way — and rip the head off one of them.

Madeline’s hand flies to her mouth in horror. “Kent!”

Kent stares at the fallen flower for a second, and then not only treads on it but grinds his heel into the soil, inducing a dismayed gasp from the young princess.

“Just help me look for that vial.”

-later-

“Kent, what are you doing? We have the water, so can we go now? Please?” Her fingers wrap around his wrist and pull him in the direction of the exit. Almost absentmindedly, he pries her off so he can slide the fingers of both hands over the vial. He stares at the transparent liquid with glazed eyes.

“The last of the water from the Fountain of Vitality before it was destroyed in the war,” he murmured, more to himself than to his sister. “And it’s still here, more than sixteen years later.” He runs his index finger down the side of the cool glass vial. “Just enough left to heal the sick…”

Madeline tries to get him to move. “I know that. That’s why we’re here — to help Mama get better. And that’s why we really need to get back to the palace before she gets worse.”

“Enough left to heal the sick,” Kent only repeats. As she watches him, his faraway eyes suddenly regain focus. He looks at the corked vial in his hands in a different way now. He pulls on the cork. Madeline hears the small pop it makes when he tugs it free.

“There’s just enough left to heal someone who’s ill. Or make the healthy invincible,” he says. The resolve is evident in his hazel eyes. And now, Madeline sees his intention as well.

“Kent, please, it’s Mama’s last chance. Without this, she’s sure to…” The words die on her lips, because she knows they are trying to reach ears that can’t hear, a mind already made up.

His lips slowly part as he raises his right hand. Madeline can only watch, wide-eyed, as he tilts the remaining contents of the vial into his mouth. Continue reading