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 [Short Story] The Scarlet Coat

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Jesonomi
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PostSubject: [Short Story] The Scarlet Coat   Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:18 pm

Note: This story was pretty much typed straight from my head. All the other stories that I wrote prior to this were first written, and then typed. In other words, this one has less editing and checks. Also, I only had the ending sorta in my mind, ergo, this story was written on the go and had no thought in it. Ergo, I hate it.

The Scarlet Coat


Finally! I’ve saved up enough money! Joseph, my neighbor of around thirty years, finishes counting and hands me a mix of iron and gold ingots. I smile and thank him. He raises an eyebrow and responds.

“You’re thanking me? You’ve been doing work all over the place. What are you planning?” I grin at him and give a hint since it won’t matter if word gets out now.

“A present for a certain someone. That’s all I’ll say.” Joseph shrugs but keeps his eyebrow up.

“Alright, whoever that is, you sure care about him or her.” I laugh.

“Yeah.” He closes his door and I bound through the paths to the market. The aroma of food, perfume, and scented assortments mix together and make a peculiar, but nice, smell that quickly enters my nose. You can find everything at the market. A usual trader of food, Ethan, comes up to me to, of course, sell things.

“Brandon! Haven’t seen you in a while! I’ve saved your favorites, dried fish! I’ll throw in some lapis too! It has a tint of green. Your favorite color!” I groan inwards, sad that I have to refuse such a great offer.

“Sorry Ethan. Not today…however, how much would I have to pay to have you keep that lapis until I can get some more money?” He grins, both as my friend, and as someone who just made a sale.

“Alright Brandon. Only because you always buy from me! You’ll have to pay me five iron coins extra!” Just a little bit more than average, but I know Ethan. A teenager like me but even more moral. Others would probably charge more.

“Thanks Ethan!” He runs back to his stall with a skip in his step and I continue through the crowd, sliding though a group of men. The stall should be right about…there it is!

The stall stands alone at the edge of the market. The owner is just as I remembered. Her face is covered in a dark blue veil and she hides her body with black cloth. I make my way across and stand in front of the stall, making sure that my soon-to-be purchase is still there.

The coat swings from side to side as a breeze rolls through. It’s almost…hypnotizing. I have no clue how much time passes before the lady speaks.

“I’m assuming that you want to buy that coat?” Her voice is raspy, bordering into being ominous. I speak, a bit freaked out by her voice. It just seems…unnatural.

“Um…yes. I believe I have the correct amount.” I bring out all of the ores and currency I earned over the past weeks. She…narrows her eyes? I can’t quite see through the veil.

“Who said this was the price?” I lower my hands a bit too quickly and frown in worry. I don’t have enough money?

“I overheard conversation between you and someone else about that coat.” The lady tilts her head to the side and gives a little laugh.

“Ah! Well anyway, the truth is that the price…varies with each customer. All you’ll need to pay is a single gold ingot.” My jaw would have dropped if I didn’t have such self-control.

“No way! A single gold ingot!? I saved up so much!” The lady chuckles.

“It is true. But if you would like a case, I’ll charge an iron ingot more.” This time, my jaw does drop.

“Are you sure? Is this a scam? How do I know you won’t be calling the authorities on me?” She chuckles yet again and I begin to question her sanity.

“You have my word. I swear it on the whole world. Every life, creeper, monster, pig, sheep, everything. I see that the Fates have plans for you.” She takes the coat off its hook, reaches under the stall counter, pulls out a black case, and in a few swift, concise movements, has the coat folded and sitting on top of it. I almost scramble to separate the two ingots from the rest and put them onto the counter. The lady takes them and I put the rest of my money into the pouch that I keep at my waist. I address her a final time while opening the case and putting the coat in.

“Well, thanks. Hope you can stay in business with such low prices.” She claps her hands together and replies with a tone of amusement.

“You’d be surprised. Now go on, I’m sure you’ll want to give that present away now.” Only when I’ve almost exited onto the streets do her words sink in. The Fates?! Present?! How- Why- WHAT?! I run back into the market and rush through the crowd. What I see just petrifies me and sends fear through my veins. The woman is nowhere to be found and her stall is on fire. I break through the trance and run over. Strangely, the counter is nearly bare of fire. Placed in the center is a strange thing. It’s a snake eating its own tail. Half of it is gold, the other half is iron.

Part 1: End


I stumble backwards and someone catches me. It’s a man that my father knows. He speaks with a tone of concern.

“You’re William’s boy, aren’t you? Is everything…Well, is everything okay besides the fire?” I can’t show anything now. They’ll think I’m crazy. I respond, trying to keep my voice calm.

“Uh…yeah. I’m fine. Just a fire. We’d better put it out.” I glance back at the counter and right before the flames close in, I see that the snake thing is gone. A chill runs down my back and my previous happiness sizzles out as people pour water onto the fire. I try to appear small and sneak away. Nobody notices me since they are all asking about the situation. I quickly find the nearest exit and start my path toward my original destination. To Emily.

Even in my nervous state, I just can’t stop recalling how we met. It was a cloudy day and I was walking home, planning out the week and how I would do each chore more efficiently. As I was rounding a corner to my neighborhood, I slammed into her. She was pretty angry.

“Watch where you’re going!”

“Well, I’m not the one who was running!”

“Shut up!”

“No, you shut up! I’m tired of people always thinking they can order others around. I hate arrogant people, I hate ignorant people, and I REALLY HATE THOSE WHO ARE BOTH!”

“I hate them too.”

“W-w-what?!”

“Er, I mean, shut up!” She ran away while blushing. I asked around for her the following week and found out that she had almost the exact same ideals as me. It seemed pretty weird at the time. Another week passed and I saw her walking along a path away from my house. I ran over to Emily and confronted her.

“Alright, I am right here, right now. We are going to talk, whether you like it or not. You can’t just walk away after saying something like that!” She stared at me for a long time before speaking.

“A man once said ‘A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.’ He was wrong. Friends cannot be determined by just that. Leave me alone.” She tried to walk past me but I blocked her path with my arms.

“And another man once said ‘A friend is one who takes me for what I am.’ I believe he was correct.” She narrowed her eyes at me and stood there. I stared back. I don’t know how much time passed but she eventually said something.

“Alright. Fine. I’ll be your friend. Jerk.” I grinned and retorted.

“Great. I think we’ll have quite the conversations.” She scowled.

“More like arguments.” I let her pass.

Our meeting doesn’t seem very realistic, or romantic, or even decent, but that’s how it happened. Funny how life works.

My thoughts wander back to the snake on the counter. It was eating itself. What did it represent? My thoughts are interrupted as a shadow passes me. I jerk my head up and sigh in relief. Just the beginning trees of the forest. The leaves rustle in the wind and the shadows follows the movement. I continue walking into the forest.

Emily lives about a mile into the forest with her village. Now, when I say village, I only mean that the population is a bit small. I by no means mean that the village is primitive. Far from it. Because the village is so small, it is often more advanced than the “city” I live in. They don’t need to mass manufacture anything.

I’ve walked half of the mile or so when I hear thumping. It’s faint at first but then gets louder and louder. My instinct screams at me to hide and I comply, diving between two giant roots next to the path. My blood runs cold as the thumping passes by. It’s incredibly loud but that’s not what makes me shake the most. As the thumping passes by, the thing casts a shadow onto the path. I don’t know if the sun’s position made it bigger, but there was no way that the actual thing could be small. The shadow stretched perhaps thirty-five meters across the ground. I wait for the thumping to fade.

As I get up, I realize I was clutching the coat’s case. It’s a bit squashed so I open it up and push the parts outward. I’m looking around wildly in the process. It’s eerily silent. Slowly, not wanted to make a single noise, in case the thing has super-hearing or something, I get up and resume my path, very slowly, always keeping near cover. The town comes into view and I look around quickly before darting in.

In my panic and fear, it takes me a little time to remember where Emily’s house is. When I manage to remember, I sprint over to the front door. She opens it merely seconds after the knock. I try to act calm and walk in. My effort was useless and she comes up to me after closing the door.

“Are you okay, Brandon? What happened?” I can’t let my fear show. Giving a smile, I try to reassure her fears.

“I’m fine. The walk was a bit long and tiring.” She still seems a bit worried. It isn’t like her. I question her situation as well.

“How about you? You don’t seem yourself at all.” Emily looks at me for a few seconds before staring at the ground and answering.

“Brandon…I think…I think something is following me.” I take a few seconds to register her words.

“Following?! Has it done anything to you?!” Everything is starting to come together into one whole piece of fear.

The lady and her stall, the snake, the giant thing, and now something is following Emily. She hugs me tightly and I hug her back. I think we both need to know that the other is there. We might not be able to overcome everything, but we can try. After we hug for a few seconds does she notice the case.

“Brandon, what’s that?” My worries aren’t washed away, but I’m distracted at the least. I put on a wide grin and get next to her, making sure she gets a good view of the contents. I slowly open the case…

And Emily goes wild with happiness.

“Oh my god! This just made my day! You got my favorite color! How much was it?! This is awesome! It’s the best!” She shows no sign of her previous worry and takes the coat out of the case. She beams with joy and puts the coat on. It looks great. She hugs me tightly.

“Wow! Brandon, you are the best!” Her lips part and clamp onto mine. I almost melt into her right there. My worries do melt though.

Then they come true.

The roof is ripped off. A giant…the giant stands with it in his hand. His belt has so many things hanging from it. Rabbits, bears, lions, monkeys, birds, and…people. They are in various stages of decomposition. Some are literally hanging from nooses.

All time slows down. The giant moves to throw the roof away. I turn my head to the left. Emily is screaming with an expression of terror on her face. I look down and see my fists are clenched. I open them, and am mildly surprised to see the snake in my left hand. As I move it around with my fingers, I see its imprint on my palm.
I look back to Emily. That scarlet coat.

My attention goes back to the giant just in time to see the roof crash against a tree that even towers over the giant. I take a step toward him. There’s tugging on my sleeve.

Emily. You be safe. I break away and start running. The giant takes a giant spiked club from his back and swings it down. The wall ahead of me explodes into dust. I continue running and jump onto the club. It is suddenly raised by him and I stumble and grab out with my hand. I almost cut off my own hand. The blood trickles down my arm. My cloak gets a few drips on it.

Come on Emily. Run while he’s distracted by me.

I continue running through the spikes. I make it to his hand. He slams his other one down in front of me. I bring out my dagger and stab him. Dark blue blood trickles out. His roar fills my ear. He swats me away and I fly through the air.

Emily. Don’t you dare catch her. Don’t you dare ta-

The silence of my fall is broken by the snapping of bones. My vision immediately starts to darken. Blood starts to soak into my cloak and it sticks onto my body. Might as well be a coat for all it’s worth. A coat tainted with my scarlet blood.

All fades to black.

End
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PostSubject: Re: [Short Story] The Scarlet Coat   Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:44 pm

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