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 In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden

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MinglerX

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Age : 24
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PostSubject: In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden   Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:06 pm

chance of our meeting
is as distant as the dark
clouded skies where the
thunder god rumbles like the
tidings that enliven love


“She’s like the swallow that flies so high...”

Raiden registered the song, but just barely. In the abyss of sleep, he began to absorb the things around him – Ariane’s singing, the warm sunlight on his bare chest, the bed sheets tangled about his legs like a strait jacket. But he was still dreaming. All he thought about was the dream and his soft, warm bed.

“She’s like the river that never runs dry...”

His eyes twitched, and the fragile thread of his sleep began to unravel. He tried to hold onto it, but it was like grabbing at a rope that had snapped.

“She’s like the sunshine on the lea shore...”

Raiden blinked groggily. His eyes adjusted to the brightness of the room. The light was accentuated by the total whiteness of the walls and the bedding and the furniture – not to mention the huge window that encompassed almost the entire wall.

“I love my love...”

He worked at getting his legs out of the sheets and then swung them over the side of the bed. He padded stiffly through the hall to the kitchen. There he saw Ariane, dressed in one of his shirts, her long tawny hair, tousled and tangled, falling down her back. She stood in front of the stove, her back to him. He could smell the morning – coffee and bacon and the sweet smell of the window garden mixing with the fresh air.

“And love is no more.”

At the last line, Ariane turned. Raiden had always appreciated her beauty. It was at once foreign and familiar, a mix of Asiatic and French and Native features. She had high cheekbones and green eyes, a small nose and skin that almost matched her hair. She smiled when she saw him, and it was innocent and sweet, like an angel or a small child.

“Good morning.”

He didn’t say anything. He didn’t smile. He walked slowly toward her, and she dropped the plate she had been filling to wrap her arms around his neck.

“How are you?”

“Wonderful,” he murmured into her ear, running his finger up and down the side of her bare leg.

She laughed lightly and quietly. It was wind flowing through trees on a dark night, it was a budding leaf in spring, it was wind chimes. “You’re in a good mood this morning.”

He smiled sardonically. “Yes...”

She kissed the side of his face and brought him closer, burrowing her face into the crook between his neck and his shoulder. A storm began brewing inside him, and thunder and lightning roared. Ariane was rootless and flighty in her naïveté, and more than anything he loved anchoring her down with him. She was a helium balloon floating through the air with no place to land, but her embraces and love and faint whispered words were the string tying her to the gritty, dirty world – and he held that string.

“Breakfast,” he reminded her.

The next half hour was silent. There was chewing, and knives scraping across toast, and the ever-reassuring sound of the spoon as it stirred cream into the coffee, but otherwise silence. Raiden preferred it. He could hear the sound of his own breath; feel his heart beating its way toward his magnum opus, toward some distant goal...

“Are you going to work today?”

Raiden stiffened. Every muscle tensed. His knuckles turned white around the coffee mug. He had to remind himself to be careful and not shatter the porcelain. He looked up at Ariane, moving only his eyes and nothing else (careful, always careful). She was playing at reading the newspaper, but her eyes didn’t move. They stared blankly at the page, and even though she wasn’t looking at him Raiden felt like she could see him.

“No,” he said, trying to sound as disinterested as possible. “No, I’m not going to work today.”

She nodded. Raiden tried to relax – she was the only one who knew nothing, the only one he had taken the time to fool completely, and was therefore the only one he could trust. She wasn’t accusing him. His knuckles turned pink again.

“I’ve never been to your work,” she said, flicking her eyes up to him.

He shrugged and took a sip of coffee. “My work is busy. Maybe you can come when things calm down a bit. Besides, I work all over the place. There’s nowhere you could go to see me work except the backseat of a car.”

She nodded and went back to the newspaper, but it wasn’t the same. Her chest seemed to be constricted, like there were words bottling up inside her. He was afraid she would explode and the words would stab him through the heart like a thousand knives. His eyes saw her sitting placidly at the other end of the table, but his mind saw her jump up and scream as her face contorted into a mask of hatred and rage, perhaps picking up a plate or a knife or a mug and throwing it at his head with her full force. Why do I know nothing about you?

The seconds ticked by. “You have class soon,” Raiden said, not bothering to look up and check the time. “How long does it take you to get there now – fifteen minutes? Twenty?”

“Sometimes twenty-five,” she answered. “You’re right, I should leave.”

She left the room. The sounds of her brushing her teeth and getting dressed and grabbing books echoed down the hall, bouncing of the walls and reverberating into his ears. He was disconnected from it. It was like there was a television in the other room playing out some drama for his entertainment, and he barely registered it.

Finally, the door slammed shut. Raiden looked up, and the neon green lights of the stove clock glared across to him. It was nine o’clock. Ariane didn’t have class for another four hours.

***


Two hours later, Raiden sat in his living room. He could barely remember how he got there. Lately it seemed as though his movements were robotic – instinctual as opposed to calculated, dictated instead of chosen. The wooden chair he sat on was stiff and uncomfortable. It pressed against his back harshly, demanding that he sit up straight, insisting that he succumb to the force of its steel will. He didn’t. He slumped against it, his arms lying lethargically in his lap, his legs spread apart, looking out the window.

It was astounding how many people could fit into a city, he mused. It was stupendous. From his high rise apartment he could see them scurry about their lives like ants in a hill, like the checkers in some random cosmic game.

He wondered whether God existed. Nobody believed in God anymore – not really, anyway. There were innumerable churches, one on every street corner, where people went to confess and left fully prepared to sin again. Raiden didn’t believe in sin. Here, now, was all a person knew, was all a person would ever know, and was therefore all that mattered. Supposed sin was merely a means of getting what you wanted. It wasn’t even selfish. Raiden had sinned for the benefit of others, for people he cared about. If God existed, how could he be judged for that?

He was thinking about the journal. He’d promised himself yesterday that he wouldn’t look at it today – that he would go a single day without opening its worn leather, without feeling the crisp, dusty paper and without smelling the ink and the memories. It was a challenge, he told himself. Raiden always enjoyed a challenge.

But the chest that held the book seemed to call to him, and his entire body prickled. He shouldn’t do it – he had made a promise. But his brain was mostly turned off by this time, and habit and instinct dictated his movements. He got up, his gait a lanky swing, and went to the chest.

His hand caressed the shining cherry wood lovingly. He opened the drawer on the top right, and there it lay – innocent and calm, old and filled with promise. It pulled his hand toward it, called to him, like a siren or a magnet. He needed to open it. Next thing he knew, he was back in the chair and the journal was open at a page that he’d read a hundred times, just like every other page in the book.

Today, she was beautiful. I saw her at the quad, sitting there beneath a willow tree by the brook. Her hair shone. I sat there, perhaps for hours, pondering how one person could be so beautiful. Her face is perfect. I measured her features on a photograph and everything is perfect, except a small scar on the right side of her nose. She was reading something – I couldn’t see what it was, but next time I see her maybe she’ll be reading the same book. I’ll try to find out what it was. A person’s literature says a lot about them –

Raiden flipped to another page. Who was that woman? His mind offered a possibility, but he rejected it quickly. He knew where his speculations could get him. He sometimes spent hours thinking about different possibilities. Little dramas played out in his mind – what the man looked like, sounded like. He spent days, weeks, analyzing a single word, how the writing slanted differently from one way to the next. He found another page. Upon recognizing it, he straightened up a little in his seat.

She is pregnant. I don’t know what we will do. She is still so beautiful, just as beautiful as she was in school, some part of me can’t take how beautiful she is. She told me in that quiet voice of hers that she’s keeping it. She’s pro-life, she said. Almost no one is pro-life anymore, and I knew she was lying to me. I don’t know why she’s keeping it. She always wanted kids, I knew that when she moved in, but I never thought she’d go behind my back, never thought she’d put her own desires before our needs. We are too young for this. She must understand.

Raiden didn’t really drop the book. His fingers just stopped holding it. It fell with a thud onto the ground. He knew the pages might be bending, and part of him panicked because of it, but another part wanted to stomp on it and tear it and burn it, destroy that little part of the man who had abandoned him.

Only when the sun began to set did he drag himself from his chair and shuffle underneath the warm, safe covers of his bed. Darkness descended upon him, and the outdoor lights shone dimly through the window as the alarms from police cars whined down the streets. He didn’t sleep all night, and Ariane never came home.
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Dark S3cret
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PostSubject: Re: In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden   Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:05 am

God. You're brilliant.
The intrigue ... is masterful.

I will have harsh crit later.
I must go to bed as of now.
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Delrez

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PostSubject: Re: In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden   Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:39 pm

Sooo...

I'm going to extrapolate on this

Raiden is some sort of special ops or secret agent or part of some special squad or something and he can't tell anyone anything about it and it involves sins such as killing people.

Amirite?
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PostSubject: Re: In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden   Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:14 pm

... HM. I was speculating along the same lines. I think you may be right, Delrez/Alex.
At least, the secrecy thing definitely hints at something like that... Or at least, some kind of past he doesn't want to reveal.

I REALLY LIKE YOUR PROSE, SERENA. It's not too cumbersome -- it's just right. Very Happy By cumbersome I mean like, overladen with literary features and page long descriptions of a door or something. =] Your characters are also very realistic. THAT IS HARD TO DO. Partly, I think because of the situation/dialogue -- normalcy. You also have an eye for little details/emotions that flesh out the scene.

SO. I'm curious -- do you base your characters off of people? 'Cause I personally find that it's a good way to keep characters realistic.
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MinglerX

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PostSubject: Re: In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden   Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:17 am

Ooh, yay! I'm so excited when people start guessing in the right direction... Well, I can't tell you yet, because that would be ruining my carefully-built-up suspense and hours of labour! But you are welcome to guess. Smile

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't... :O
You see, I'm good at suspense in my stories, but notsomuch in real life. Razz

Thank you!!! Yaaaay. Smile

I usually do base them off of someone, but it's not really happening in this story for some reason. I am basing their appearances off of people, though. I think it's because these people are older than the characters I usually write, and so using my friends as templates is out lol.
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PostSubject: Re: In Her Image; Chapter 2: Raiden   Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:27 pm

;] Yess. I suppose. Well, either way. Good job. Very Happy
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