#Saturday Scenes: Jak & Tan

Ever heard of Saturday Scenes? I’ve seen the hashtag around, but have never participated. It turns out that this week, I just happen to have something I haven’t shared. So here it goes, a scene from a fantasy story.

reading

Jak held out his gloved hand, “Are you okay?”

Tan took it, and pulled herself up to stand against the wall of the barn. She was shaking, and sniffling.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, before his eyes trailed to their joined hands, “besides the obvious.”

She slipped her hand from his, and spread her fingers wide. It looked like she was trying to peer through her own glove, see through to the atrocity beneath it. She sniffled again, and her eyes began to water.

“Why are we doing this anymore?” Tan asked.

Jak kneeled down and grunted as he picked up his wood-cutting axe, “We’re not far from your father’s now, but we still have to watch out for…”

“No,” She said, “I mean any of it. This whole, adventure, is pointless.”

Jak shuffled his feet, but all he could do was peer around the farmland. The sun would be rising soon, and by then they would want to be gone before the owner came around.

“I told you I would,” Jak paused, took a breath through his nose, “You told me…”

“I wasn’t thinking,” Tan hissed as she held her gloved hand, “Maybe I was in denial. I didn’t want it all to be true.”

She rolled up her sleeve, pulled her fingers free from the glove. The black soot covered her arm, from nearly her elbow to her fingertips. She ran her clean hand over it, smearing the ash in her palm, but unable to find clear skin beneath it.

“It isn’t like I’ve forgotten my scriptures,” Tan said, “There will be no paradise or prison for us, only the nothing of oblivion.”

“Don’t say that,” Jak snapped.

“We are fighting for nothing,” Tan stuck her cursed arm out to him, “death is the end now, Jak, don’t you get that? There are no noble causes or virtuous acts.”

His eyes were stuck on her palm, outstretched. He brought his own hand up, still hidden behind the glove, a match for hers.

“Just, darkness,” Jak whispered, “forever.”

“No,” Tan corrected, “for there to be darkness, there needs to be something to perceive it. We will be nothing.”

Jak covered his eyes with his hand, “You don’t know.”

“Oh I know good and well, as do you,” She said.

“You don’t know,” He said, “we aren’t priests, we don’t know the truth, and we won’t until we reach your father.”

“I don’t need a priest to tell me what I can see with my own two eyes,” Tan shook her head, “Oh I would welcome the lash of that Infernal Jailer now, but that will not be for us.”

Jak dropped the axe into the dirt, and grabbed Tan’s arm, “Don’t talk like that. Death is far off, and all that awaits you is paradise. You hear me?”

Tan snatched her arm free. A tear trailed down her face, but she was grinning.

“Oh Jak,” She said, “I guess now the things you don’t know have ceased to matter.”

He puffed out his chest, and bit his bottom lip. Still, his eyes watched hers as she taunted him with secrets he should have known long ago.

“We won’t die then,” Jak said abruptly.

Tan blinked, “Huh?”

“If you’re so sure that nothing awaits us, that we can have no noble hopes or dreams, then only one option is available to us,” He said with a nervous nod, “Life, eternal.”

She looked down at her hand again, and squeezed her fingers. The excess ash built up at the edges, falling away to the ground there by the barn.

“No good man seeks to live past his time,” Tan said.

Jak retrieved his axe again, “Virtue is a waste, remember?”

“Don’t tease me,” She said.

“I’m just making a new promise,” He stood beside her, holding out his gloved hand, waiting for its match, “As long as I live, we won’t die.”

Tan wiped away a tear and let out a pitiful laugh, “That, is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

She put her hand out for his, they met, and he squeezed her tight.

“There will be worse,” He said, “we will be married a long time yet.”

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