Monday, May 4, 2015

Short Story: Loved, Part 14 of 15

It's almost done! Just like winter's almost done!
Well...I mean, I'm writing this on Easter, and it SNOWED today. :( Lame.
But yeah, by now, it should probably be sunny.
And you only have one part left to read after this! Unless of course you missed the beginning and need to be redirected there. You can easily do so by clicking here.

At his words, Charlie’s self pity left him, and the urge to protect the fragile woman beside him replaced it. The lack of respect this man showed for the woman filled Charlie with a fiery rage. His lips curled at the beast.
            “She does not belong to anyone,” Charlie asserted through clenched teeth.
            The painted man looked amused. “Are you going to try to fight me for her?” he laughed. “Please, be my guest.”
            Charlie lunged forward, and the painted man stepped easily aside, sending Charlie sailing into the short man behind him. The two fell out the door and landed in a puddle. The painted man chuckled amusedly while he waited for Charlie to pick himself up.
            “Would you like to try again?” he taunted him.
            “You have no idea what she is worth,” Charlie spoke forcefully to him. “That woman is a flower. A beautiful, delicate flower. She is gorgeous, and she is going to fill the world with hope and light. Anyone who sees her, anyone who spends time with her, will be encouraged, will be given strength to keep on living. Because her spirit is kind and uplifting. But you cannot appreciate that. You are trying to trample the light out of her.”
            “Oh, is that what I’m doing? How about I trample the light out of you first!” The painted man aimed a fist at Charlie, who ducked. The blow landed square in the face of the short man, who seemed to be taking quite a lot of the hits in this argument.
            “You killed the light in yourself!” Charlie screamed at the man. “You killed it with your pride and with your jealousy. And so you try to suck it out from anyone else you can get it from. But you don’t have to suck it out! Light spreads! Light can be given to you, if you just let somebody give it to you!”
            “And who is going to offer their light to me?” The painted man screamed. “Who is going to want to help someone like me? I’m too deep in this charade to be anything other than what I’ve become.”
            “No,” Charlie shook his head. “There is never too much darkness that light cannot overcome it. Light makes what is dark visible.”
            “I don’t want to be visible!” The painted man shouted back. “I don’t want people to see me! To see what I’ve done!
            “I have made a mess of my life,” he continued. “But so has she! She is just as dark as I am. She will never amount to anything. So let me take her back with me. Let me hide her in shrouds of beauty and turn her into an object of desire. She will feel valuable, and I will feel fulfilled. Do not deny us that pleasure, little man. Do not deprive us of the satisfaction our darkness brings with your sermons of light. Light is harsh and blinding, and I want nothing to do with it.”
            “Guys! Stop talking about her like she’s not right next to you!” Lucas suddenly shouted at the two grown men. “Rebekah is right there! Rebekah is the only one who has the right to decide her fate.”
            Rebekah stood behind them, tears running down her face. No matter how encouraged she had been after talking with the children and planning her return, the painted man’s words sliced through her confidence as if it were nothing but a net of flowers, fading beneath his glance.
            “You cannot make her believe something she does not want to believe,” the little gremlin appeared in the center of them all.
            “You!” the painted man cried. “You gave me this pathetic flower!” He pulled a crumpled rose bud from his pocket. The crimson petals had shriveled into the tiniest ball in order to protect the center of its life. There was no hope for that flower. Charlie thought of his flower, at home. He could not get to it right now, and he felt so helpless. But he had done everything he could for it. It was time for the flower to open up on her own.
            “I told you to keep it safe, boy,” the gremlin scolded the painted man. “But you did not know how to care for it.” He turned toward Rebekah.       
            “Girl,” he said. “Look into the mirror. Look into the mirror and decide who you must go with.”

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