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Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Sense of Duty

This was the story I wrote for the state writing test, with a few edits. I received 57/60, so it can't be too bad. Please tell me what you think.
A Sense of Duty

A fire burned in her deep brown eyes. Her whispered promises softly enticed him, and slowly she leaned in for a kiss. Her tongue quickly found his with a ferocity that surprised him. He pulled away. The gypsy laughed at his startled look. “You act like you’ve never been kissed before, Kale,” she said with a grin.

Kale blushed and looked away into the green woods. What was he doing here? A soldier of the king had no business traipsing around with a gypsy girl. Calia didn’t love him; she just wanted the thing between his legs and the coin in his purse.  “Not like that,” he said after a moment.

She laughed again, as she pulled him closer to her. “Well, it’s about time,” she whispered into his ear. Her voice sent shivers down Kale’s spine. “Forget about duty for once.”

He could feel himself surrendering to her warm touch, truly forgetting all about duty. Then the night call came. Captain Lerris summoned all the soldiers back to the city barracks. The woods held no safety after dark. The Damned were walking. Even Calia’s people would camp as close as they could to the city wall. Disentangling himself from Calia’s embrace, Kale stood up from the cool meadow grass. Her deft finger had already unlaced his breeches. He quickly laced them back up.

Calia still lay on the ground, one arm supporting her head. “You’re leaving me again,” she stated coldly. A scowl lay on her lips, and, strangely, it made her more beautiful. The last rays of sunlight tickled her scantily clothed body. She was his idol, his mistress, and Kale had no idea what he was to her. She would seem to care, and then the next day he would see her with one of the other soldiers, acting like she did with him. He was the only one she was seen with more than once, he remembered.

I’ll try to see you tomorrow night,” Kale said as he put on his boots. The night call sounded once again.
Calia turned away for a second, and when she turned back Kale could see that tears threatened to fall from her eyes. I’m not sure I believe you,” she said in an uncaring tone. “It seems that duty is more important to you than I am.”

Not knowing what to say in return, he just turned to in the direction of the walled city. “Good night, Calia,” he said softly. She didn’t answer, so Kale made his way in the direction of the city. It was still too early for the Damned to arise. Calia would be safe once she returned to her people. A short walk on a dirt road was all that lay between Kale and the city. The sword hanging at his hip reassured him of his safety, so he walked slowly and deep in thought.

Late last spring, Kale and the rest of his company arrived at the walled city, Aevus. The attacks of the Damned grew more constant, and the king kept sending soldiers to the border cities to help defend the kingdom. Every night after the sun set the Damned would rule the woods. Once they even tried to scale the walls.

Kale clearly remembered the captain’s barked orders, and the determined stances of his comrades, but what he remembered the most was the features the features of the Damned. Most of they had horns growing from their skulls, and a few flew on batlike wings. The walking dead scared Kale the most. It was said that when the southern kingdoms had fallen the Damned raised many of the dead as walking corpses, ready to do the bidding of their demonic masters.

A quick movement caught Kale’s attention. “Who’s there?” he said in an attempt at bravery. He drew his sword in the process. Only silence answered his question. Kale turned full circle in a panic. He swore that he heard something.

Kale slashed out at the darkness before him. His sword whistled as it cut through the empty air. Something cold lightly touched his shoulder. He turned around. Before him stood one of the Damned. It’s skin hung from its body, shriveled and dry, but it still appeared vaguely human. A hard cunning could be seen in its eyes. “Isn’t it a bit too late for you humans to be out?” the creature said with a cold laugh. “I thought you liked to hide as soon as the sun started setting.”

From behind him Kale heard a scream. “We found her walking towards the gypsy camp,” another one of the Damned said in a guttural voice that contrasted with the soft, sharp voice of the first one. With a thump a dark form landed next to Kale’s feet. It was Calia.

“Two humans wandering the woods after dark?” the first creature said. “What a treat. It has been so long since I feasted on human.”

“Please let the gypsy go,” Kale begged.

The monster studied them. “So you two were meeting each other,” it said. “One of my many masters once said that the souls of lovers were the most delectable."

Kale leapt at the monster with his sword outstretched. His blade entered the monster’s flesh, but the creature only watched him. It pointed its finger at Kale and spoke three words in a harsh language. Kale lost his hold on life. His sense of duty was gone. The love he felt for Calia was a bare glimmer. Death swallowed him.

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