A Girl, A Sword, and a Few Drops of Blood

Creative Writing Imagination Story

Casey Snyder, Class of 2022

A girl hums quietly as she walks down an empty street, her moccasins soundless against the cool stone. The lamplight seems to cling to her, illuminating the vibrantly exotic clothes she took off a merchant? Sure merchant, it doesn’t really matter. The girl hums quietly, thinking back and trying to keep track of how many people she’s killed. For this. For them. A homeless man calls out for spare change or food, and the girl feels a moment of guilt, how many people has she killed? A number finally comes to her, fourteen… fifteen? She focuses on the world around her, taking her mind off them, and watching the ants on the road. She smiles down at them, her humming dying out to quieter than a whisper. It’s peaceful for a moment. The way they move with such purpose together is soothing, but she looks away from them at last. She doesn’t deserve this peace. Thinking of those fourteen… no wait, fifteen people, she wonders if she’s one of them, who just happens to be moving. No, she’s not like them. They had hopes, dreams, goals, she has none of that. Her humming gets louder to fill the silence. She wants to sing but doesn’t know the words. Besides, someone would hear her made up lyrics. Those fourteen people might have liked to hear her words. No, they probably didn’t care. She cared as she wrote about them in her head, making a story where they didn’t all die to her. A story where they had lives anyone would be envious of. Her pretend lyrics sung about how they lived gloriously, battling each day and dawn for the fullest life they could live. She killed them. That part always stuck with her, tearing a hole in her story. What would Monty do, or Xavier the old soldier? They were giants once. Honestly it reminded her of the Canterbury tales. She liked that book. She always likes books. They let her be someone else for a while. Where it’s just the fate of the world on your shoulders, instead of fourteen very dead people. What would the knight say, the king, the baker? She hated that she needed to ask herself that. That she hasn’t killed for herself. As she jumped up the library’s stairs, she hated most of all, that she wasn’t one of those fourteen people. Someone with goals and ideals. That’s who she aspired to be. It was kinda sad in a way that threatened to bring tears to her eyes. Her life was meaningless, but as she opened the doors, she smiled, because she got to be someone else for a while.

Annatane de Valane, that’s me. Seventh in line of my house. The lord wanted a son, but by the seventh daughter in his line, he got tired of waiting. Can’t blame him really, he was running out of wives too. My hand ghosts to the silver hilt at my waist, and I sigh. She was a present for my fifteenth birthday, I haven’t used it in a while. It gently shivers with my touch, and I get the message. Bloodforged blades are hard to maintain, especially this one, but I’ll be damned if I let it go to waste. The eastern forged blade draws silently, and I start to hear it’s whispers. They fade into inconsistent white noise as I line the blade up to a scar on my left arm. Gritting my teeth, I stab myself, and my blood runs down the length of the sword.

“Hey Annatane, got a minute?” A young voice calls from the entrance of the room.

I turn to find the energetic voice’s owner, a young girl that I’ve mistaken for a boy twice now. Her long hair gives me a start.

“Like it?” She says smiling.

The hair runs down the neck of her exotic shirt, continuing for an inch or two beyond the collar.

“How’d you do that?” I force my gritted teeth to speak.

Last I saw her, her hair was as short as a boy’s. My eyesight is fading faster than I would like. She says something that’s lost to me as I nearly pass out.

“What?” I manage to say, my vision slightly improving.

“Hair extensions, I found some at the shopping district… like em?”

I almost turn to see them better, but blood’s still dripping down my arm.

“What you looking at?” She says, stepping up to me.

She smells of alcohol just as much as I smell like blood. Quietly, I glance at her. She’s starting out the window with an expression that’s hard to place.

“Not gonna ask about the sword?” My voice sounds cool and distant.

Her reply is the opposite, warm… almost. “You’ll tell me if you want to.” “Mind grabbing me a drink? …non alcoholic.”

Ever since that wedding, I’ve kept away from alcohol, and even the smell is making me woozy right now. The girl lingers a bit at the window, eventually walking away towards the bar counter. I try to focus on the pain. Letting everything else slip by. It hurts would be an understatement, but it clears my head. By the time I open my eyes again, she’s beside me, handing me a freshly brewed cup of tea. She extends the cup to my left hand.

“I’ve got a sword in that arm doofus.”

“Right right. Forgot for a moment.” she says, laughing a bit as she presses the cup into my right hand.

As I blow on the tea, I close my eyes and think of all the good moments I’ve had with Jackobi like this. He’d always have a distilled northern brew, and I’d have honey or mint tea. That’s been our system for two years, ever since I was 20. My brain doesn’t come up with an answer for how old he is. Funny, I should ask him. I’m guessing he’s probably in his 30s. I hear the sound of a page turn. Looking towards it, I’m hit with a wave of nostalgia when the girl sits down in his spot, reading one of the books I have on my shelves.

Looking up, she asks “what’s your sword called.”

Funny, I’ve never given it a name before.

Without thinking, I say the first thing that comes to mind. “Nostalgia.”

“It definitely fits.”

I stop my reply when I notice the lack of bleeding from my arm. Guess it’s done. I turn, and my eyes linger over the kitchen counter for a moment as I sheath my sword. Jacobi would always bring checkers when he visited, guess I still have them somewhere.

Hiding a quiet smile, I say “up for a game of checkers?”

The girl smiles.