Short Stories

Kill Me

A short story from World 2 to pass the time. I forgot what a headache Anita could be. But perhaps that’s because I’m a headache….

It’s interesting what half-immortality can do to a person’s perception of death. Or even what little it can do to that particular point.

For the record, I’m half-immortal, if you didn’t get that already. I can be (violence warning) stabbed, gutted, torn apart to bits, liquefied, and I’ll just re-form and not die. Kind of a like a cockroach but less frightening.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty long while since I’ve actually been afraid of death… I mean, sure I’m a little frustrated I can’t die by the natural means except old age, but I’ve come to accept it and take advantage of my abilities as the Symbol of Time.

Also, that tidbit up there has very little to do with my narrative but I can pretend it’s a good segue (and here I thought it was spelled segway…) into “now.” Inside my beautiful black backpack, near its mini library, with my team (I guess that’s what they are) as we do a little training.

I wasn’t taking this event well, by the way. I was actually pretty irritated that the other Symbols had finally caught me and forcibly inserted themselves into my life. But I didn’t have much choice, despite trying to avoid them, because one of the Symbols was my sister—Yuna. And her two roommates—Elaine and Gwendolyn—were also Symbols. And these two ladies had brothers—Marcus and Alexander, respectively—that were also also Symbols.

We’d fought together back in November…in our little school event gone wrong, an event craftily stationed by certain people to get us together and then kill five out of six of us (cause I couldn’t die, of course) and that’s when they found out they were, as I have called it, Symbols.

It was now December, and obviously, we were alive because those five had stepped up and become heroes and blah blah blah…you know, I really should just be telling you to read the document “When We Unite,” which actually details why I’m writing this.

Anyway, the five Symbols had decided to corner me—because of course—and basically asked me to help teach them to fulfill their destiny – aka, combat skills.

Honestly, they only knew basic combat—even though Marcus was actually a grade older than me—and now they were asking me to teach them how to wield their Symbol weapon? What kind of teenagers are so eager to fulfill their destiny?? Do they even know what that means?? I thought, crabby, yes, but also very fascinatedly/impressedly (they can be words) confused.

“Anita…you’ve been glaring at us for the past ten minutes, are you going to start teaching us?” Yuna sighed, breaking me out of my irritated recap of how I’d gotten into this situation.

I rolled my eyes and smirked. “Fine, fine…sorry. You do know that I’m not a teacher, right?”

Alex raised his blond eyebrows. “We know…you’ve mentioned it several times already.”

Crossing my arms, I walked around our makeshift arena in my backpack and sighed. “All right…fine. Then, first…answer a question.” I looked at Elaine first. “Why?”

The brunette raised her eyebrows. “Why…?”

“Yes. You three ladies are aware you’re fourteen,” I told my sister and her roommates. And it was rhetorical because I didn’t bother waiting for an answer. “I’m asking why you want to know about your duties as a Symbol now. I was planning to wait until you guys had graduated to tell you, but…”

Alex, the only other one my age, stared at me. I blinked at him owlishly and he scoffed. “Excuse me if I’m being rude by pointing this out, Anita…but we nearly died several times in the Turn Over.”

Death. What an interesting word. I nodded, totally understanding. “So?”

My sister isn’t prone to violence. But she was prone to looking like a fiend from the depths of the underworld. “So?” Yuna sputtered, adjusting her glasses almost violently as she glared. “Anita, I said I’d wait for you to tell the others back when we were little and you told me about the Symbols. But now that we all know about it, I think we have a right to defend ourselves and learn to use what we have whether we want to or not!”

I sighed. “But do you want to use those weapons,” I pointed out, kicking my foot towards the five weapons scattered in the center out of little circle.

They were, in case you forgot, the weapons of the Symbols, attuned specifically to the area they symbolized (that’s why we’re called Symbols. It’s not that complicated.)

“They feel right…and the sooner we learn to use them for the things that are after us, the better,” Lyn pointed out, bending to pick her scepter Inef. Resurrection and Healing wanted to fight…hilarious.

But, the tall blonde had more in her than most gave credit, so I didn’t laugh at that. I just laughed in general because this whole situation was ridiculous and grinned.

“Fine…but I will restate again that once you pick up those weapons, there really is no turning back from your duty as a Symbol, right? Guys…we’re the third batch of Symbols in centuries, created to fight against…”

I hesitated to tell them what we were up against. Because to be fair, the thing we’d defeated in the Turn Over had been the thing we were made to defeat. But that really had only been the start…because that “thing” had a LOT of aftereffects after its defeat: disease, creatures, monsters, terrible hurricanes and such. I’d actually fought its pre-effects (and bonuses) by myself for a few years (yes, I am 16…I was fully aware that was young but I honestly did not care) and they weren’t things for fragile people who could die to handle.

“We know…it’s dangerous…but we don’t want to sit and be ignorant of our calling and of our own lives,” Elaine said, picking up on my hesitation and lifting Byestra (Lance of the Stars). “We’re not ready but we’ll work to be…”

So optimistic…it reminded me of myself when I was ten before all the murder and blood and fighting set in. How could I say not to those faces that clearly wanted to be traumatized?

“I’m touched,” I told them, sniffing. I unearthed my scissors Eterna from my pocket, where (once out) it grew into a sword as I smiled stupidly, “Fine, fine…let’s train, then. Pick up your weapons.”

“And it only took you twenty minutes to start,” Yuna reminded me.

I wrinkled my nose at her. “Ah, be quiet,” I muttered back, stepping a little away so they could all face me.

They looked expectant, which was very pressurizing. Like…a car tire being put pressure so it could be a functional wheel, except I wasn’t a very functional wheel so why were they expecting me to make them functional wheels?!

Yuna and Alex both had the look that they didn’t want to get involved but that they would for the sake of duty and their own lives. Lyn and Elaine looked more…determined. I don’t think they wanted to be Symbols or carry such responsibilities either, but they were more ready and willing—more emotionally connected to the role, I guess. As for Marcus? He looked resigned. Neither willing nor unwilling, but he was still here so that was something.

“Heh,” I grinned. “You all look like such adorable wheels.”

They couldn’t question that, as I tossed aside my sword and spread my arms. “Kill me.”

Okay, to be fair, I didn’t mean for that to be shocking. But it was…apparently, cause four out of the five went with versions of “Excuse you” and “What?!?!”

Only my sister glowered. “Anita…I know you can survive us killing you but why do you want us to do that?”

I squinted at her. “To get you guys used to murder, of course…you wanna get desensitized to killing for when you go out to the battlefield, duh.”

Again. I didn’t mean for it to be shocking. But in hindsight, I should have worded that better…especially seeing the shocked silence.

The first who broke it was Elaine. “No,” she stated, gripping her lance. “I’m not killing anyone with a soul. You can’t just…justify murder, no matter how evil the person is.”

“What is wrong with you, anyway? You can’t just tell us to get desensitized to murder?!” Alex looked pretty enraged. He took a step closer to me to glare. “We want to defend ourselves and learn what it means to be a Symbol. If that means murder—”

Yeah, I’m pretty terrible with words, and I realized it right then that telling young teens to stab a sixteen-year-old Korean girl was probably not the best way to say what I’d wanted to say. Which were…words?

“Whaaaat?? No, noooo,” I sputtered, shaking my head vigorously. Better be dramatic now so they can believe my repentance. “I said you have to get desensitized for killing! I’m not asking you to kill…”

That calmed them down a little. But even so, Yuna shook her head. “You’re so tactless, Anita,” she sighed.

I stuck out my tongue at her. “Your fault for not understanding.” But I waved it off and shook my head, smiling again at the team. “So come on…kill me.”

I won’t bore you with all the arguing we did about killing. But in the end, I caved and just took them through some normal drills. And to be honest, I think the others thought I was half-joking about it all…which I guess is fair considering I looked amused and mischievous rather than serious (but that’s just my normal face when talking about death!).

But…as I thought about the training session earlier that day, it really just…confirmed my suspicions that none of them were ready to do the work required for a Symbol. Fine by me if they didn’t want to murder, I mean, but their skills weren’t going to be ready for the battlefield for a long time.

What that had to do with stabbing me in normally lethal ways? Well, I mean…they had to get used to the sound and feel of piercing or shooting flesh. It was a violent way to go about it but better get accustomed to it in a safe space than in the battlefield like I had (stabbing someone is kind of weird, I won’t lie. I learned that the hard way when I witnessed an eight year old being traumatized after hurting someone trying to assault him).

Or maybe that was the excuse I used so I could keep them out of the battlefield. Like…come on…who sends fourteen year olds, a sixteen-year-old, and a seventeen-year-old into a brutal world of fights like that? I knew I was pretty abnormal in my relish of battle but I was always pretty aware of other people’s aversion to it—I’d seen these guys’ panic every time we had to put down a monster.

So yep. It was fine by me to use stabbing me as an excuse to keep them training and out of the fights (but it’s also a semi-reasonable rite of passage for adventuring, anyway, because it’s cool). I’ve been fighting as the only Symbol for a long time…what was a few years more to the Symbol of Time? (Now wasn’t THAT a good ending line?)

As I said in my intro blurb, Anita is a headache…..both to read and write. It’s been a while so I don’t know if I nailed her voice as easily as I did when I was 17. But again, it’s maybe because I’m a headache, too (The Symbols are loosely based off my friend group when I was still in high school, and Anita is me). XD

You can see in this snippet that she just does not care about much. Narrative voice, teammates, coherency of thought, social norms, logic, etc. etc….but this IS from the beginning of her arc (do NOT give her any slack, though. She is a plague).

Also, this is also the world where I needed a huge disease or sickness to spread and I was not amused by 2020’s events. Either way, it’s fine…I hope Anita wasn’t too much….but it’s always fun to write from her chaotic, all-knowing but little-revealing perspective. So yes, I’ll say I hope you enjoyed this character honestly made as a self-indulgent thing for myself. XD

See you in September…or maybe August, y’all!

©Lemon Duck, 2021. All rights reserved.

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