Explained: A story in which sacrifice: Allegorical, metaphorical, and/or literal, is the main theme of the story in some form or fashion.
- The story is told in the form of a memory or flashback.
- The story does not involve romance.
- The story is told during a war or otherwise significant conflict.
- The story does not end with the death or injury of any character.
- The story is set in a science fiction universe.
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Components required for casual entries: 1
The arms wrapped around Grace were comforting. They filled her with a feeling of love and happiness. As she thought of who could possibly be holding her, they became light and nonexistent all together. Her mind sluggishly pulled her further from sleep, leaving her wondering what it was that could’ve made her old heart ache. Her bed balanced her weight beneath her and she pondered on it. A sleepy mind could be to blame but she couldn’t deny the fact that old age was factoring in all aspects of her life. It was a daily struggle to remember what year and day it was for Kyronite.
3025? 3021? Bah. Maybe I can find someone to ask.
She tossed possibilities around in her brain for a moment and then rubbed the stiffness from her fingers. They were wrinkled beyond recognition and pained her more every day. Or did they hurt less and less? She didn’t remember. A knock sounded on the door and a quiet woman in white entered. Grace trusted that it was a nurse to bring her the morning dose of her medicine and didn’t react to her mind’s uneasiness. She tried not to stare and took in the room instead. Crazy clocks and millions of gears ticked lazily on the walls and the metallic background stood strongly behind them.
It must be at least 3020.
“Be a dear and tell me what year it is.”
“We do not recognize years here, Miss Grace. You know that,” the woman replied sweetly.
“Where are we again?”
The woman paused and turned her back. Grace saw the woman open a medicine bottle and poor the tiny capsules into a clear cup. The clink of glass let Grace know that her drink was being poured. The woman moved carefully and handed Grace the clear cup.
“Make sure you take those, Miss Grace. I’d hate to have you unhealthy under my watch.”
Grace couldn’t remember why she shouldn’t take the medicine or why she needed it at all. She raised the tiny cup to her wrinkled face and peered inside. The tiny white pills urgently whispered to her. Grace closed her tired eyes and let the pills tumble to her tongue. Reaching for the glass in the woman’s hand, Grace then swallowed them. The woman took the glass and began exiting the room.
“You’re in Hell, Miss Grace. Sleep well.”
The door clicked leaving Grace alone once again. The room seemed to swell and shrink at the same time and the floor gaped madly at her. The walls began to fall away from their structures and heat seeped into the room. Fright returned to her heart and she knew that sleep would be her only escape from this. Staring at her hand searchingly, she remembered that the pills would prevent her from doing this. Reaching her hands to her mouth, she stuck her fingers deep inside. It was easy to make them come up again. She felt like she hadn’t eaten in years. Heaving bile and the dingy water from her stomach on to the floor, Grace then curled up on the bed. Her knees felt small and bony and her arms shook violently. What had she done to deserve this? What was she being punished for? Hell was not where she belonged. She squeezed her eyes shut and she felt herself falling away from her body.
Opening them again, she found herself in a quaint room with warm colors on the walls. Outside her window, she heard a mockingbird chirping cheerfully. His gears caught in his throat and she heard him winding to sing again. She breathed heavily and rose to walk to the hovering desk across the room. On it was a journal with her writing scrawled across the top. She slipped her fingers under the cover and lifted it to read the pages. She couldn't remember writing any of this. It was her writing, yes, but where did this come from? The paragraphs told of a deal made with the Devil and how no one would believe what she had done for her husband. Her lovely, kind husband.
No worries, Grace. You and I both know the sacrifice you have made for him. You deal with my home instead of Rick. Dementia can never be understood by the ones around you. But you understand don't you, Grace? How wise and valiant you were to propose 13 years of Hell in order for Rick to live peacefully in his lasting moments. How... Brave.
The words swirled around her and she finally understood. But how did she know what was real? How did she know this was real, she was real, or that the voice was real? Oh, the voice! It sounded deep and horrid and left singed echoes in her mind. It never went away, never began, and never ended. It always went on and on. She began screaming and pulling at her thin, white hair. What was the year? What was her name? Why was she here? Why, why, WHY?! Worried voices sounded from outside the room and the door burst open.
"Miss Grace! Are you okay? What's wrong?"
"She always does this when she wakes up. Some days she'll be normal.. But sometimes it gets really bad. I've never seen someone look so terrified."
"Such noise from someone so frail..."
A nurse checked her pulse. Another pulled a bottle with tiny white pills from her pocket. Multiple women in white came and lifted the screaming woman to her bed. They gave her the white medicine and shushed her to sleep. They told her to think of Rick and made her imagine how he used to hold her as she fell into the medicine's grasp. So much love.. So much happiness..
Perhaps sleeping would ease her from her suffering. Perhaps it would be heavenly for her. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.
Gentle fall breezes brush the loose strands of my hair onto my face. I didn't care if those strands of hair got in my face, I was experiencing most parents' rough time: Watching my 19-year old daughter Madeline go off for college. Despite the fact that I've been through this before, seeing my eldest sons part ways for their future...I felt a nerve gently tug at my heart. Along with the proud feeling to see your own child achieve what they want for their future, it was emotionally hard to let them go on the world ahead of them. Was it because I raised Madeline with the most I could give her? Was it because I would be alone now?
Those questions are critically deep into my life...but, it was dramatically hard for me to watch her go. Only because I intentionally....secretly....gave her the wish she said to me one night, 12 years ago.
As everyone else slept, I caught Madeline up in the middle of the night, watching the night sky from our living room window. I didn't want to punish her for staying up late, as I saw this as a chance to privately talk to her. That's when I saw what she saw: a shooting star. A truly fascinating sight. I could tell now why she decided to stay up late in the first place. Incidentally, the 7-year old didn't know what a shooting star was and it's resembleance. I simply told her, for the sake of her childhood knowledge, that a shooting star was generally phrased as a wish giver. After my explanation, Madeline only gazed at the shooting star again, and said the "life-changing" wish that affected both her and myself.
"I wish, that when I grow up to be like you mom, I'm going to have a great future. Not just the jobs, but I'm going to have a family like ours and have my name be remembered as my children go through the same thing." Those were the exact words she told me that night. I didn't want to break her spirits, but I gave her a light smile and took her back to bed for the night.
From then and on, I noticed that she was potentially becoming an ace student in school, which was a huge change considering that she had trouble with school before. Then after a few years ahead, she volunteered for many things the chance she got it in our community. It was hard to think that someone like her would go through all of this willingly and not seem to complain in any way. Madeline would also mention things about the night with the shooting star with me in secret, as my husband and her brothers didn't know a thing about it. Even at a time, her friends mentioned to me during Madeline's 12th birthday party that she was going for a goal in life, which Madeline spoke about when sharing to her class for an assignment. As Madeline progressed in her way towards senior year in high school, I was beginning to think that she would make to college just like her brothers. No. It was only the peak of her progress...and it was going to drift down slowly.
Halfway in her senior year, Madeline began to be teased a lot, in or out of school, as an internet rumor began to pass on rather quickly. I didn't know about it at first since I, again, did not like the idea of techonology and only sticked to my cell phone. They teased her about her "habit" of being single, and that it was abnormal for her to be without a boyfriend during this time in high school. I'm not going to blame her, but she didn't want to jump to a relationship at the time since she felt like she wasn't ready yet. Despite her reasoning for her "single" status, everyone kept this rumor up against her...including her own friends. Then, my husband was arrested a month later because on New Year's Day, he was caught drunk driving while heading back from a party. It was devastating for Madeline, as the support from her own dad helped her go through her life events and now he was taken into custody for this. It sent her into depression for a long time, and that she wasn't able to focus on her final projects to wrap up high school for her.
In addition to that, two months later I paid the bail money to get him out of prison...only to see that he truly doesn't love me or our family. He cursed me out, saying that it was my fault that I let him go to that party in the first place. I didn't want to see him after I kicked him out of the household, and requested a divorce from him. However, when I bailed him out then, Madeline requested for me to use her college fund to pay the bail. She was dead serious about it, and wanted to sacrifice her own ticket to college to get her dad out. A few weeks later, she found out about the divorce while cleaning out the house, and fell into deeper depression. I couldn't do anything about it, everything just seemed to aim towards Madeline to take her down. Though, that didn't mean I couldn't allow her to fall from her word, her wish that she told me about once we saw that shooting star.
So, since she sacrificed her college fund for the bail money, I decided it was my turn to return the favor without her knowledge of it. Knowing that my job as an office supervisor would help me achieve the money to give back to her, so I took every chance I could get for overtime and receive that extra pay. Unfortunately, I saw that the extra pay money I got wasn't enough, and I still had a lot more to sacrifice for Madeline's future. that's when I did the last and final thing to ensure her future...take most of the money in my bank account savings and into her college fund. I knew it was a risky move, but I had no other choice if she were to keep that wish in mind.
As she went through her graduation ceremony, I could tell from her face that she was afraid for the next few moments. Either way, I only gave her a smile, and I knew that she would make it from what I did to help her. Despite the lack of scholarships she had from her downfall in school from the result of my husband's arrest and the divorce, the money I put back in to her college fund was enough to qualify her into college.
So that's where I stand now, and snapped out of my memories as I heard the trunk of the car slammed shut. Madeline was all set and ready to go for college once her bags were packed inside her car.
"Hey, mom. Wish me luck," Madeline spoke up from the silence, giving a grin that I haven't seen in a long time. I could honestly feel the nostalgia that grin gave me, and felt heartfelt from it.
"Of course, do what you can," I immediately replied to her, and I sounded shaky as I held back the tears in my eyes. Madeline only chuckled a bit, and then went into the driver's seat of her car and ignited the engine. I only waved to her silently, and she waved me back. Like that, she smoothly drove off of the driveway and into the streets ahead. Don't know why, but I am surprised at both her and myself on how far everything's gone. Well...Madeline, your wish is granted....
"Why did you bring me here?"
Ellis' fingers rapped quietly on the oaken table, drumming out an impatient rhythm. His eyes track back and forth along the path of the Old Man pacing the room. Pacing. he wouldn't stop pacing and god damn it was getting irritating. He let out a long, slow breath before trying one more time. If he didn't get an answer, he'd just leave. Simple.
"Why - did - you -bring - me - here?"
The Old Man stops in his tracks. "Because I thought you would be safer here." The heavy drop of his boots resumes almost as quickly as they had stopped.
The boy began to grit his teeth together in defiance, "I would've been fine. I don't need the help of some old square like you."
The man ceased pacing once more; "You would have been hanged. I chose to 'rescue' a youth from untimely death." This time he turned back 'round. His is face warmed by the tiny flame of a candle hung from a lantern centered in the room, his calm expression keeping an almost unnerving persistence in the face of Ellis' confrontation. "What could be wrong with that?"
Ellis bit his tongue, quelling the urge to resist such an obvious invitation to fight. "And why me? You look military, you could be court martial'd for helping me get away, right?"
"I was military, yes."
Was? What does he mean by that? He is clearly in full Army attire. Hell, it was because of his military status that the Old Man was even able to intervene - The guards locked up tight the moment they saw him approaching. "What do you mean by that? You even look military." The words rose up with a disgust he could hardly keep down.
"Unfortunately for the military, my time to serve them has passed."
"Good. The fewer soldiers they have, the better." Ellis let himself slink into the back of his chair, somewhat less disgruntled knowing that the Old Man wasn't a coat.
"Fortunately for the resistance, my leave makes for two soldiers."
His head cocked sideways a little, "How do you mean?"
The Old Man's lips parted as if to answer, cut short by a loud pounding on the door. The pair turned their heads simultaneously to face what felt like an impending doom. A muffled "Imperial Police, answer at once!" was just barely audible through the thick walls. "It seems my time has come early." The Old Man turned back to Ellis, a sense of eagerness suddenly emanating from him. "Boy, how badly do you want to see the Queen fall?"
"They're the reason I'm stuck in this hellhole." His eyes held a sternness that could compete with the General himself.
The Old Man reached inside the vest of his attire, procuring a small envelope with poorly scrawled instructions written on the back. "Take this, hide in the cupboards. Follow the instructions on the back, but do not leave until these men have taken me. Do you understand?"
It seems so... Strange. So sudden. First, stopped by the Imperial Guard. Second, saved by some Old Man in a military gettup - whom he should have been avoiding from the start - and finally, asked to deliver some kind of message. Probably to another military guy, probably something secret...
"Sure, I'll do it."
Moments later, Ellis found himself hiding in the cupboards with an envelope and a job to do. He watched silently through a crack in the cupboard doors.
"Sir, it has been requested that you be brought in for a Court Martial immediately. The Guard had spotted you earlier and suggested we find you here." The soldier appeared relaxed and casual before the Old Man, talking now in almost a whisper - "They seem to think that you have murdered General Fenix. Now sir, I don't believe this to be true but-"
"It is. I will follow you promptly for the Court Martial."
The soldiers seemed only capable of staring blankly, pure shock having overcome them. The Old Man walked calmly between them, silently insisting that they guide him to his hearing.
~ ~ ~
The crowd erupted into a horrendous cacophony of glee as the procession of prisoners made their way up the steps to the gallows. Ellis' eyes sunk to the ground. He was there. He'd been declared guilty. The crowd wouldn't know it, it was "intelligence" and to them the Old Man was just another rebel that got caught. Patriots are sickening. Ellis looked up at the gallows, his eyes met by the gaze and smile of the man that saved his life.
And then he was gone.
It's been four days since he saved me from the Imperial Guard. I followed the instructions on the back of his letter... It lead me a few miles away, to a house that was in poor shape. I said the code on the back of the letter, "Save the Queen," and was invited inside by some rebels in disguise. They seemed confused at first, wondering why a kid was delivering their letter. The reading explained... Everything.
If you are reading this letter, our victory is bittersweet. I wrote this with the intention of having it delivered should I be compromised. I will likely be hanged. Fortunately, if you are reading this, I was successful in my mission.
General Fenix is dead.
And that was it. That's all the letter said.
His life's work.
Now his life.
He gave it all up. I don't know why he chose to save me. I don't know why he asked me to deliver his letter. But he did it, and he paid with his life. The resistance is short one great man now...
I think I'll join them.
Tales passed down from father to son,
Taking hurt for growth, for beauty,
For love and joy. With flowers as
Soft as silk and splendour delicate.
A tree rejoiced by the masses,
A love shared by a globe, one who
Knows the ache, the growth, the beauty.
The beauty drawn from the hurt past,
From grave events the allure taken,
Seeped from long passed casualties, up
Up towards the sun, towards the
Flowers, with beauty, for love. As
It grows, the grace, the refine. With
Each flower as pure as it is
Delicate. Yet, as the winter
Comes, its harsh reality brings
The end. Yet with hope, she vanished.
Through their time, before the chaos,
They stand alone, yet together,
A sanctuary the dark.
A peace in disorder, quiet
And calm, as if time stands still, not
Touching, nor effecting, leaving
Them to be, a love without a
Distraction, in solitude, on
Stone, in appreciation.
Their beauty and purity like
No other. No competitor
To rival their glory, splendour.
Thousands would gather to view that
Glory and magnificence, that
Beauty and purity which stands
[FONT=Verdana]Above all others. Yet
Only for a time. Such elegance
Comes with a price. Much pain
Was grieved to create
Case: Flower of Death (File: 7013-3415-1201-561) Evidence #2 XX PD
*pip* "recording begun"
It all began a year ago with the death of my father. He died a stupid death, in a car crash, which left my mother with both legs broken. With no choice I left school and took a job."I always had to sacrifice things. This is the last sacrifice in my life.
That was the first sacrifice, the sacrifice of my future. Overnight I become the financial supporter of my family and the caretaker of my mother and the two three years old twins. It was painful and hard, but after a week I got used to it, somehow. But then we learned about the mortgage and without a choice we had to sell away the house and move into a small flat. I had to find a new job or we would all die from hunger. That's was how I met him, Mitch. Mitch was a street kind, one of those which end up in gangs when they grow up. It didn't matter to me since he found me a job, to carry messages for his older brother, Kenth, the leader of a local gang.
But soon the world made me sacrifice something again. This time it was my mother's trust. I came home from one of my messaging tasks for Kenth only to get scolded by mother for having contacts with Mitch and Kenth. But I had no choice, I lied to my mother that I won't see them anymore, but to keep my family fed I had to work for them. I guess who ever is listening to this can guess what went on next. Mother found out and shouted so loud that the whole street could hear her. After that mother never trusted me again.
But that was nothing to what happened next. It was around three months from dad's death and I just finished giving my report to Kenth when Mitch came in the room. Then he whispered into my ear the words that I will never forget: "F**k and kill that incompetent foul of my younger brother. If you do so I will make you a member of the gang." I whispered back: "I don't want to be a part of the gang Kenth, I just want money." Kenth smirked and said: "Even better, how about two fifty big ones for it then?" If I knew where would that "OK" take me I would never said it. But it was all done. In a nearby abandoned garden I done what Kenth asked me to do. With my shirt red from blood I brought Kenth the head of his younger brother. After allowing me to take a shower and change my clothing he paid me out double, fifty thousands dollars and sent me away with the words: "See you again my flower of death." I run home with all my might and charged into the bathroom, where I spent the next eight hours puking under a constant shower of water. That day I sacrificed my virginity, innocence and friend. All so my family could survive.
That was a beginning of life of pain and suffering which will make most of my next nine months. From that point onward I become Kenth's assassin, killing anyone who he deemed are not worthy of living anymore. But another sacrifice was just around the corner. Her name was Victoria and she was recently promoted into Narcotics and was determinate to put Kenth and his gang in jail. Kenth give me the mission, to get close to her and kill her so it would appear as a suicide. Since I got used to do Kenth's dirty jobs I thought that this one will be easy. I could have never guessed that it turned into my greatest crisis as a paid killer of Kenth.
It took me a week to get invited to her house but I succeeded in the end. We were doing some small talk when she said something that I wish I never heard: "You know I was thinking about the situation of you family and thought about starting a charity program to rise money for your family." What followed was an awkward silence as my heart tried to stop me from what I was going to do. In an internal struggle inside my mind which seemingly lasted for years I killed of my heart and as soon as Victoria went to check on whatever she was baking I put a sleeping drug in her tea. After she fell asleep I made what I had to do. I copied her writing to write a suicide letter, put a rope and tied a knot to hang her. I put her in a position that the moment she wakes will be the moment she dies. Then I dug out a hole in the back yard and put the body of a child which was run over by a member of Kenth's gang a few days ago. After that I erased any trace of my visit and left the house.
That night I came back home late after aimlessly walking around the city and locked myself into the bathroom again. But this time I didn't puke nor cry, but without any feelings left I cut off my hair short. That was the day I sacrificed my feelings to survive in this world. As time passed I grew colder and soon even my family was almost strangers to me. But there was one event which led to today and my last sacrifice in this world.
That event happened three days ago during a short trip to a small town in the boonies where a deserter from Keith's gang went to hide. I quickly finished the job and with free time I decided to roam the town. There I meet her, the frailest creature that I ever saw. Her long dark brown hair reached to her pale white ankle. She turned towards me and smiled with astonishing elegance. For some reason I felt almost like hypnotized by her brown eyes and for some reason I ended telling her my life story. As we parted ways, she told me these words: "This ugly world is still so beautiful. Cherish the time you spent in it." With those words she walked towards a man with brown hair and blue eyes. With tears in my eyes and without a good reason for them, I rode the train home.
During the fifteen hour journey home I fell asleep and woke up just to see dawn break over white snow covered fields. Only one bird flew right next to the train for a second and disappeared in the dawning Sun with a flap of a wing. That sight got my feelings working again and I cried out the rest of the journey, for all I have seen or done, good or evil.
That was two days ago, and yesterday I started my plan and with it I will make my last sacrifice. I hereby confess the murder of Mitch K., Victoria H. L. and many others as requests form the leader of the S. gang Kenth K. May somebody find strength to forgive me. I just ask you that my family is kept safe from any people feeling resentment because of my actions. Thank you. This was Alicia Rainheld and remember,
this ugly world is still so beautiful."
"recording ended" *pip*
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