Every so often I get an urge to write up some fiction. This one is fairly short for me (the original idea was for something a bit longer, and I shifted the venue to help reduce the length) and was inspired from a couple of comments on the Footloose tagboard and from this sketch Emily drew a bit back. Please note, I have no idea what the ending of Footloose will be, so don’t expect this sort of thing to happen in the comic.
Anyway, enjoy! I’ll be wrapping up the Meta-review hopefully in a day or two.
By Robert A. Howard
A light breeze played with the blades of grass growing from the grave. Keti glanced up at the sun, feeling its warmth on her skin. It almost seemed wrong somehow that it was warm and sunny here. Keti took a deep breath and stepped away from An, kneeling by the grave. She could feel tears tumble from her eyes and her throat tightened as a sob threatened to escape; Keti struggled to keep it in.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and glanced up gratefully at An. An had been there for her, letting Keti cry on her shoulder, and supporting her. An had promised him she’d stay by Keti’s side, and Keti felt guilt mingled with gladness that she wouldn’t be losing An at least. He’d made her promise not to drive An off, not to let her guilt destroy her. But it was hard. It was very hard.
“It’s my fault.” Keti blinked on hearing her own voice, so soft that the rustle of grass almost suppressed it. An heard, though.
“He’d not think so.”
Keti shook her head, looking at the gravestone. “How can you say that? It’s my fault… I should have listened to Flibbage, instead of following you guys like some folking idiot…”
An sighed and was quiet for a moment. Keti glanced up at her; An was staring at the grave, her eyes shining. “If you hadn’t followed… well, we might not have gotten the Sword back. My sister might have defeated us. Who can tell? Besides… if you weren’t with us… you wouldn’t have fallen in love with him,” she said and smiled, “though he was attracted to you back at the Dojo, you know.”
The wind picked up, blowing Keti’s hair in her face, and she turned back to the grave. Her heart constricted, and Keti clenched her fists into the grass. It hadn’t been there yesterday. Flibbage must have grown it with her magic. But there were limits to what even Flibbage could do. “Your sister didn’t drive the Sword through his chest. It was me. My fault.”
An knelt beside her and turned Keti toward her, hugging Keti’s face to her shoulder. “That wasn’t you. It was Kaeti. And you… finished her. None of us could have done what you did.”
Keti laughed through her tears and said, “Cherry beat her, with his magic. And Daniel got the Sword away from her. She almost killed him too! All I did was drive it through that bitch’s chest.” She closed her eyes and whispered, “Sometimes I think she’s the lucky one.”
An pulled away from her and gave her a small shake. “Don’t say that. I should have stopped her. I… I hesitated,” An said, and Keti heard the suppressed grief in An’s voice. “If you’re to blame, then so am I.”
Keti opened her eyes and saw her pain reflected in An’s eyes. She understood. She really did. An stood and held out a hand for Keti. She took it and let An pull her up; Keti put a hand on her belly as she stood and glanced back at the grave. She was barely showing, and the t-shirt hid that. For now.
“You know, he’ll live on in you, through your child,” An said, her voice barely heard above the rustling of grass. Keti sniffled and smiled hesitantly back while blinking away tears.
“Twins. Least, Jin thinks so, though I have to wonder if that’s wishful thinking so she can be an ‘auntie’ to two babies,” Keti said. She glanced down at the gravestone and added, “Mom says he died on purpose so she couldn’t kill him.”
“No he didn’t. Iordan was no coward,” An said. Keti glanced over at her and saw An’s eyes were narrow. Anger shone in them. Yes, An understood, even if Keti’s mother didn’t. She gave An a grateful hug and turned away from Iordan’s grave.
An was right. He’d been the bravest man she’d ever known.