PLEASE NOTE: This is a ROUGH DRAFT. It is the VERY FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY.
You WILL come across numerous issues including:
- spelling mistakes;
- grammar issues;
- weak sentence structure;
- repeated words;
- unnecessary words;
- missing words;
- lack of details/descriptions;
- confusing details/descriptions;
Critiques/criticisms, while appreciated, most likely will be discarded at this stage! Thank you.
Additional Note: Doodles, Sketches, and Artwork may be added over time. These are not the story illustrations! They do feature characters and places within the story, however.
The air was extremely crisp and fresh and smelled of freshly fallen rain. Everywhere he looked, Wrist could see the glistening of rain that had just passed overhead giving all the greeny a dazzling glossy sheen that twinkled in the sunlight that was finally shining through after two days of heavy downpour.
The dampness was of no matter to Wrist though – he still rushed towards the trees and wrapped himself around it, using his feet to work his way up to the branches of these tall, wide, and sturdy trees that were quite a bit aways from the village. He quickly reached the top of the tree tops, gazing up above. While he couldn’t see the village very from there, he could certainly see all the smoke floating up from the homes.
His face darkened at the site of the two of them, despite the brightness of the sun that was just so close to setting, but still high up enough in the sky to keep it blue in color.
“Ngh.” Wrist pushed himself onto his hands and knees from where he was sitting on the tree branch and worked himself down the large branch. Just before the branch got too thin for him, he stood on his feet and carefully balanced on the branch. He looked down at the ground far beneath him. While his stomach turned a bit, he couldn’t help but smile. What if I fell and died right here? Would anyone even find me?
With that thought, he lept across onto the sturdy, large tree branch across from where he had been.
Wrist suddenly found himself tripping backwards and falling. Without a second thought, he grabbed onto the branch he had just fallen from, allowing it to bend and lower him only a short distance from the ground. He gasped for air as he let himself down, holding his chest. He supoorted himself with his other hand on his knees and glared at the young woman, only a few years older than him, who was glaring right back.
The young woman who stood in front of him wore her dark crismon hair up in a tight bun and minus a few looks hairs raining down in the front of her face was all pulled back and tucked away. Her arms and legs were well-toned. Her body was wrapped in a tunic with a large belt with the village’s usual markings upon it. Her upper arms and lower legs were wrapped tightly with strips of fabric. Overlayed on the belt shaping the tunic was a thinner belt with numerous small bags, items, and sharp objects. Slung over her shoulders and hanging by her waist were weapons. Her lilac-colored eyes bore into Wrist’s scowling face.
The young woman yanked out one of her throwing knives, pointing it right into Wrist’s face. “What do you think you’re doing again?”
Wrist clicked his tongue. “You almost got me killed!”
“You’re going to be killed if you don’t come back.”
A sacrastic smile spread across Wrist’s face. “Are you saying you’ll kindly do that for me?”
The woman twirled the throwing knife in her hand and slipped back into its designated pouch on her weapon’s belt. “Absolutely not.”
Wrist and the young woman both continued to leer at each other. The young woman balled her hand and threw her thumb over her shoulder. “The rain’s cleared and the first thing you do is run away. You’re gonna make your mother cry.”
“Don’t you dare ‘Lilac’ me.”
Wrist groaned and rolled his eyes, turning on his heel. He walked back to the tree he had just been on. He wrapped his arms around the tree, only to feel the back of his cloak being yanked on. “Seriously, Wrist, come on.”
Wrist let go and turned to Lilac. “I’m not going back right now.”
“I know you have jobs to do.”
“I do, but not while Bulb and the others are around.”
Lilac lifted up a fist, shaking it in front of Wrist’s face. “You just need to give them a good WHACK and they’ll stop bothering you.”
Wrist pushed her out of the way, walking away from her. “That’s easy for you to say! You’re a warrior! I’m just a nobody.”
Wrist squatted down to the ground, holding his head. He could feel the rain drops rolling off from the trees on the back of his neck. The cold water droplets felt calming to his nerves, but just couldn’t get rid of the deep sensataion that seemed to be boring a hole into his stomach.
“…what were they saying?”
Wrist could feel his eyes gloss over. “The…the same as usual.”
He could feel Lilac closer to him, but she wasn’t touching him at all. This wasn’t too surprising for her. In fact ,this conversation wasn’t too surprising.
“They…were calling my mother a whore again and that…I hang out here…in the forests.” Wrist hugged his legs. “They were making jokes about me getting bit and dying by a snake.”
Wrist stood up from the ground and moved over to the tree he had climbed earlier, leaning against it on his back. He covered his face with a hand, glancing over at Lilac. Lilac’s normally stern face appeared soft and her ears completely open to his words.
“It’s pretty much messed up though that I want a snake to bite me just to me out of my misery.” Wrist hung his head and chuckled. It was a low chuckle just full of melancholy. “They don’t even know how much I want that.”
“That…isn’t why you always come to the woods is it?”
Wrist sighed. “No.” He shook his head. “I come here to be alone. You know, the trees don’t judge me and it’s the only time I feel calm.” Wrist lifted himself off the tree he had been resting on, turning to place one hand upon its trunk. He raised his head, looking up at all the glistening branches. “I almost forget I’m even alive when I come here. It’s like I just melt in with everything.”
Wrist looked at Lilac. He watched her lips twitch like they often did for literally everything – she was thinking. Finally she tapped her fist into her palm and she nodded. “Okay, Wrist. I shall let you stay out here…but please don’t get bit by a snake. They really are out here: dishonest, sneaky, and posionous.” Lilac then sighed. “The last thing I need to do is inform your mother died because of something that could have been easily prevented.”
Wrist waves his hand at her. “Yeah, yeah, okay.”
With that, he began to walk away from the trees and deeper into the woods. It didn’t take too long before Lilac was out of sight. The subconscious thought wondering if Lilac had left on her own or had he really wandered far enough away to no longer have her in view surfaced, but wasn’t fully formed. His shoulders shurgged and he found himself getting close to the trees surrounded by numerous shrubs.
Wrist’s shoulders were heavy and he found himself no longer being able to stand up. His legs collapsed and he laid his back against the tree for support. He allowed his whole body to go limp, loosely gazing at the greenery all around him.
“Why did she even have to have me?”
He moved his hands into his legs and slumped forward. His whole body was heavy. He was completely enveloped in his own inner turmoil that swirled around like dark storm clouds that threatened to suffocate him.
“I don’t mind her and it just being us and all…why is it so weird to be without a dad even? Not my fault he left and never came back. I think mom really love him though.”
He sat back up, allowing the tree to support him behind him. “Would things be any different even if I had my dad around?” He paused for a moment, feeling the swirling turmoil within his body. Nothing cleared – instead, the turmoil thickened.
Wrist winced. “No…I don’t think so. Gods, they’re jerks…calling my mom a whore!” He pouted and hugged his knees. “Well, maybe they wouldn’t call her that…where do they even get off calling her that…grrrr…”
Wrist let his body fall onto the grass beside him. “I just want it to end already. I wish I could just kill myself, but that seems too hard.” He looked up to the sky, seeing the tree’s leaves shaking, almost as if they were mocking him. “No one care anyway, except maybe mom.”
“Are you shhhhure about that?”
Wrist jolted up from where he was laying with a gasped, head whipping towards the slightly deep, soft voice with a subtle hiss.
Staring up at him was a grey-green snack with accents of yellow. Wrist watched as the snake, who had been peeking its head out from the bushes, slithered out from underneath and towards him.
Wrist yelped and immeditately stood on his feet, stumbling away from the tree that had once been supporting him.
All the tension and turmoil that he had been feeling had immeditately disipitated like salt into water. It was soon replaced absolute terror at the sight of such a snake so close to him.
There are actual snakes here?!
The snake stopped several feet away from the absolutely petrified wrist. It’s eyes smiled at Wrist, only caused him further unease. Even the mouth of the snake seemed to curl up in an equally friendly smile. “I can ashuuuuure you, I am not poisonousssss…at leasht, not to large animalsss such as yourssself.”
Wrist blinked HARD. And his mouth dropped. He unconsciously leaned forward, just staring into the face of the snake. It TALKS?!
“I alsssssso have no interessst in biting you,” added the snake.
Wrist couldn’t help but scream! “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!! A TALKING SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!” WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!
“My name is Ssserpensss and yesss, indeed, I can speak.”
“You have a NAME?”
“Yesss. Don’t you?”
Wrist leaned forward, compeltely wide-eyed, his face completely facing the snake. “Yeah, but I ain’t telling you it!”
“It isss fine for now.”
Wrist took a step back and turned around. He held his head, shaking it. “A snake…a TALKING snake…oh gods, this is worse than a poisonous snake! Why can something like that even talk anyway!” I’ve never even heard anything about that before.
“I wass born with thiss ability.”
Wrist halfway turned his body to look at the snake. His mouth gapped open and his brow furrowed. “How…?”
“Mussst you really ask such a question? Sssimilar to you, no doubt.”
Wrist turned fully around, sighing. He covered half his face and shook his head. “I didn’t mean it like that.” He then put one finger into the air and continued. “I’m wondering how you even have the ability to talk in the first place. I’ve never even heard of snakes doing such a thing.”
“It indeed isss not very common, even amongssst us snakesss.”
“What kind of snake are you?” Wrist rasied an eyebrow.
Serpens paused for a moment and cocked its head. “Hmm…I sssuppose I don’t really know. I have been alone for a very long time.”
Wrist put his hands on his hips. “Alone? Just how old are you?”
Serpens slithered forward. “I am sssstill fairly young, but I have no parentsss that I know of – therefore I cannot answer such a question.”
Wrist pouted. “Hmm…”
Wrist glanced over to the tree close by him, then walked over and sat down. It was then he realized that his facial muscles and his whole body had started to relax. Wow, he thought.
He watched Serpens slither on over to him, now only about a foot away. Wrist crossed his legs, allowing the snake a bit more room to slither forward. Wrist himself leaned down, curiously looking into Serpens face. “So, you’re Serpens?”
“Yeeesss, that is correct.”
“If you have no parents, how’d you get that name?”
“I sssimply named myself once I realized how helpful it is to have a thing to be called beyond ‘ssssnake’.”
Wrist crossed his arms, closed his eyes, and began to nod. “Makes a lot of sense. There’s a lot of snakes out there.”
“Yess, indeed there are many.”
Wrist uncrossed his arms and leaned on his hands, using his knees like a tabletop to prop them up. “You are so strange. I’ve never heard anything about talking snakes before – just of being poisonous, dishonest, and overall bad.”
Serpens seemed to smile. “Asssss I sstated earlier, I am poisonousss to ssmall animalss, but not large onesss such as yourself. I am aware that usss ssnakes have a poor reputation, but I can ashure you that for many of usss, it is sssimply not the case.”
Wrist chuckled. “So the snake would say.”
Serpens cackled back. “I sssee you have a ssense of humor!”
Wrist’s eyebrows rose. No way, I’m boring.
Serpens cocked its head. “Iss there something wrong?”
Wrist turned his head slightly away, pouting. “Not really.”
“Ah…isss it worry that I perhapss am truly bad?”
Wrist gasped and shook his head. “No! Not at all! I’ve never believed in that crap anyway.”
“Ooh, that is fasssscinating. The origin of such a reputation stemss from another planet, after all, and has entered popular thought in many placesss, from what I can understand/”
A giant smile rose across Wrist’s face and he snapped his fingers. “HA! I knew it!”
Wrist watched as Serpens snapped backwards for a brief moment. Wrist scratched the back of his head, laughing. “Ah…sorry about that. I just…I’m sick of hearing about how evil snakes are from my village. It’s getting tiring. I don’t even know why they say crap like that, but it’s annoying. I didn’t think that was true.”
“Ah, ssso you are from the nearby village?”
Wrist nodded. “Yeah. I live there with my mother.”
Serpens seemed to frown. “You mentioned that sshe would be the only one to misssss you if you had died.”
Wrist suddenly felt the heaviness from other creep in over his shoulders and over his body. Wrist downcasted his gaze to the damp grass underneath him. He balled his pants into his heads.
Serpens slithered closer to Wrist, his head hovering above Wrist’s knee. Wrist pulled back a little on pure reaction. He eased himself back into place after taking a deep breath. “May I ask what is trouble you?”
“…” I can’t do that.
Wrist stayed in his downcasted, balled fist position for what felt like forever. HIs hands became all sweaty and hot, contrasting with the cold he felt inside. Serpens also seemed to be frozen in place, on periodically blinking up at Wrist.
“You sseem very troubled,” remarked Serpens, breaking through the silence. “May I offer my assssssistance?”
Wrist shook his head. “I…can’t bother you with it.”
“You are not a bother to me.”
Wrist turned to Serpens, bitting his lower lip. His eyes widened. I can actually talk to him? Will he make fun of me? Wrist glanced over to the side, briefly pouting. No, I don’t think Serpens is like that at all.
Wrist leaned forward, looking at Serpens. He opened his mouth, feeling the slightest smile on his face…and then froze. Fear hugged his lower waist. “I…I can’t do that.”
“Do you know the reason you cannot?”
Wrist frowned. “I don’t have any confidence in either one of us, so I don’t really want to talk about it.”
Serpens tongue briefly lashed out of his mouth. “I ssseee.”
Serpens’s friendly smile seemed to reappear on his face. The snake lifted its body a bit higher, almost reaching Wrist’s eye level. “If you do not mind, could I perhapss learn your name now?”
Wrist’s lips part. “Ah…yeah. I’m…Wrist.”
“It is nice to meet you, Wrisssst.”
A small smile made its way across Wrist’s lips. The tension that had hugged him earlier seemed to crack underneath the weight of such an earthshattering act against his inner turmoil.
“You can tell me more when you are ready.”
The smile on Wrist’s face grew. “Sure.”
Wrist turned his gaze back to the sky, noticing that the blue sky was tinted orange. He looked back to Serpens, who appeared to have looked up in the same direction as him.
“It mussst be time for you to be heading back to our home.”
Wrist groaned. “I don’t wanna.”
“Once night fallssss, finding your way back will be that much more difficult.”
Wrist clicks his tongue. “I’ll be fine.” He held the back of his head. “No one’s gonna miss me anyway.”
Suddenly, Serpens was in his face, hissing loudly. His large, sharp fang were beared and his tongue lashed.
Wrist yelped and find himself crawling backwards. “SHEESH!” he gasped. “I got it! I got it! I’ll head back!”
Wrist took one final look at Serpens – who suddenly appeared calm and smile one more, seemingly waving good-bye with his tail – and ran away, all the way back to the village.
“Ugh!” Dang that snake! He really gave me a scare…I don’t think he meant any harm. I don’t really want to go back, but I don’t really want to see what Serpens would do if I didn’t…
Wrist slipped in-between the darkened parts of the village’s roads, keeping his head down as to not be seen. It only took a few minutes, but he soon came to a door with a glowing light through the window and smoke curling up from the chimney. He opened the door quietly and slipped inside.
“Wrist?!” exclaimed a voice, rather sing-songy.
A forced smile popped onto his face in meer reaction to the voice. Peering out from behind an open doorframe was an older woman with rather youthful features. Her face was calm and cheerful, but there seemed to be an air of bubbling emptiness about her.
The older woman placed a hand on her cheek. “Out playing in the woods again?” She chuckled.
“I’m glad you came back in time for dinner – it’s almost ready.”
Wrist nodded and slipped into the kitchen just as his mother disappeared back into it. He watched her go back to the stove, adding a few last pinches of herbs to the stew that was boiling on the stove.
Wrist walked over to a washbasin and poured out some water, rubbing his hands and face clean with the lukewarm water. He then dried them quickly with a towel hanging above it. He looked even further up, seeing an adorably framed photo with his mother that was signed with her name, Armella. How could dad ever even leave her? She’s beautiful even now. Is he stupid?
Wrist let out a sigh. Not that it would probably matter. His eyes looked at his mother, who seemed completely oblivious to the way Wrist was pouting and mulling over everything.
Wrist slipped into the dining room table, situated in the middle of the rather large kitchen. He sat back, just looking down at the placements as his thoughts wandered. His eyes traversed the intricate designs of the faded placemat and his eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to the snake hidden in the back corner of the illustration.
His head shifted to see his mother placing down a cup of water beside him. “It should only be about a minute.”
He could see the snake illustration reflected in the water.
Armella stopped for a moment, her gentle smile like bubbles floating in the air. “Yes, Wrist?”
Wrist tapped the snake on the placement with his fingers. “How did snakes get such a bad reputation anyway?”
Wrist turned his gaze to his mother. His eyes slightly widened in surprise. His mother’s normally relaxed eyes squinted ever so slightly and her brow folded. Her smile shrunk into a loosely pursed pout. Has she made that before?
“What…a strange thing to ask!” remarked Armella. Her usual smile returned back to her face and she turned around, going back to the stove. Wrist could see her shutting off the stove and ladeling out the stew into large bowls on top of a tray that also contained bread and a small salad.
Wrist grabbed the back of his head, scratching the nap of his neck awkwardly, glancing down at the snake illustration. I think it’s just weird we’re all afraid of snakes for no reason. Is it really that strange? Wrist pouted. …Serpens is probably the strange one. Is it even worth mentioning it… “Nah…”
Wrist’s mother brought over both trays skillfully like a veteran waitress at a restaurant. “Did you say something?” she asked, placing the trays down on the table.
“Ah!” Wrist looked up at her and then to his food, then back at his mother who situated herself across from her. “Liliac. She mentioned there was snakes around when…she tried to get me to come back today. And I was wondering why everyone is so afraid of snakes.” Wrist ripped a piece of bread and dipped it within the stew. He could feel his stomach tighten. He stuffed the soaking bread into his mouth, attempting to relax his own nerves.
“Oh!” Armella laughed. “So that’s what it is! Lilac, that girl!” Armella took a spoonful of stew and blowed on it. Wrist looked like she was on the verge of humming.
Wrist hung his head. What is she thinking?
“But we’re not talking about Lilac, are we? I think I know something about why the village doesn’t like snakes.”
Wrist’s whole body perked up. Every single sound in the room seemed to amplify as if his ears had just popped and cleared. “You do?!”
Armella laughed. “Yes. I think I do, anyway.”
Wrist found himself leaning forward and his mother putting down her spoon, leaning forward herself. Both of them supported their heads with their hands and their elbows on the table.
“There was this really common story growing up about a young girl who was tricked by a talking snake into stealing an apple that she wasn’t supposed to touch at all and ended up hurting not just herself, but everyone else.”
Wrist felt himself flinch. ‘Talking snake…’
Armella suddenly burst out laughing. “I always thought that was such a silly story! A talking snake? How can such a thing even exist?”
Wrist went pail. “Heh…y-yeah…” he mumbled, although inside, his mind couldn’t help but float back to Serpens and his friendly demenaor. Maybe…he was actually trying to hurt me.
“I think it was to just help us young ones not get close to snakes. They’re poisonous, after all!”
The lightness of Armella was almost blinding.
The light bubbliness of Armella contrasted greatly with Wrist, who was drowning in a mess of confusion that knotted and twisted him in all sorts of ways he couldn’t even quite describe.
“Ah!” gasped Armella. “I forgot!” She then giggled, lifting up her hand. “I also heard there was a really bad snake infestation when my parents were growing up. They got rid of all the snakes, but it was very bad – I heard a lot of people died and homes were lost in the process of trying to get rid of them all. I’m sure everyone is still scarred from that!”
Wrist watched his mother pick up her spoon and start downing the stew quickly. He watched her smile spread from ear to ear as the whole tray started to be cleared. Every single thing about his mother was light and bubbly.
I…who is this woman and how is she my mother. She’s so happy.
“Wrist, eat your food before it turns cold.”
Wrist lifted up his fork for the salad and began to dig in. This can’t even turn cold. It’s already cold.
Wrist tossed onto his side and grumbled. Could he really have been trying to trick me? His lips twitched in thought. And that guy seemed to friendly too…
Wrist stared at his wall, only illuminated by the moonlight shining through the blinds of his window. The slight cracks in the wall reminded Wrist a lot of the movements Serpens had made as he had silthered closer to him during the day. What would he want with me though? I’m just a depressed kid who wants to kill himself. No one, except maybe my mother, wants me around and honestly, I’m so tired of all of this. He said he wasn’t poisonous to me…but maybe he was lying…?
Where’d that story of the girl and the talking snake come from anyway? What kind of fairytale was that? Well, I guess it showed a good moral…but does that apply to Serpens?
Wrist’s eyes went wide. He pulled his blanket up to his chin, continuing to stare at the moonlit wall. Whoa! What if that guy’s a demon just pretending to be a snake? There was something off about him too…rightt? …
Wrist relaxed his body with a sigh. “Nah…” he whispered into the dark. Serpens is a lot kinder…than…most people…I…know…..
And with that last thought trailing off, Wrist dozed off into a deep sleep.
Wrist hugged his bookbag close to his chest, walking through the wide-open space that lead directly to the school billing. His whole body was tight. Why couldn’t there just be another way to school? he whined to himself – something he did on an almost daily basis.
Unlike most buildings in the village, the school only had a single road leading directly to it. Wrist could have easily slipped past everyone anywhere else like he often did to get home without being seen, but the school building was just an open walkway with no alternate routes. He couldn’t help but wince.
He let out a sharp gasp as two arms hit his shoulders. Wrist’s face went pale at the deep voice he could hear beside him. “Heeey, son of a whore, you still didn’t get bit yet?” Wrist didn’t even want to look up. He could already tell the guy speaking to him was smirking. The middle of Wrist’s abdomin prickled like needles.
The other boy there cackled. “What are you waiting for?” His grip tightened on Wrist’s shoulder. “No one cares about you anyway.”
Wrist’s legs still moved forward, but his eyes were frozen and glued to the ground in front of him. His vision was blurry as his eyes glossed over.
His book back was ripped from his arms.
“HEY!” yelped Wrist, finally looking up at his bullies. Their faces were dark and their grins sharp. Wrist watched as his bookbag’s contents were poured out in the middle of the street. His lunch containers spilled open, its contents going all over the ground.
The bullies cackled.
“Oh no, the wittle son of a whore lost his lunch!”
“Maybe he should go suck a dick like his mother does!”
Wrist put up his hand, as if he was going to reach out, but completely stopped. Why do they always…
Wrist gasped, looking at both bullies. Scowling at both of them was Lilac, who had single-handedly lifted them both up by the wrist. Her lips were slightly pursed and a single eyebrow was raised. “Bulb, Ginko, stop bothering him.” She tossed them to the ground, Bud and Ginko’s hands landing smack-dab in the middle of the soup that had spread itself across the ground. The partially disgusted look on their faces only lifted Wrist’s mood ever so slightly.
Lilac leaned forward, pointing a throwing knife into their faces. The two bullies flinched. “If Wrist really goes and gets bit by a snake, I’m blaming the both of you. Stop calling his mother a whore simply because he doesn’t have a father and stop suggesting he does things that hurt him.”
A smile slowly appeared on Wrist’s face. Lilac actually showed up.
His smile dropped the moment and saw Bulb and Ginko glancing back at him. Their once petrified faces twisted upward.
“Wow, the son of the whore needs a glrl to defend him? What’d you do? Sleep with her too? You’re pathetic! Just go back to the brothels!”
Lilac proceeded to kick both bullies into the head, their heads thumping the spilled books on the floor.
I…I let Liliac defends me. I…what kind of person am I? Wrist held his head and glanced up Lilac, who eyed him back with a question in her eyes.
Wrist turned around. I can’t burdern someone with something like this! And then he dashed away, in the opposite direction of the school.
He could hear the cackling yelps of the bullies behind him. “That’s right! Run away! Go back to your brothel! Or better yet, go back into the forest and don’t come back! Whore boy!”
The faintest sound of Lilac’s feet hitting the two bullies resounded in the air, but Wrist dare not look back.
Wrist ran and ran and ran, passing through the backstreets and making his way out of the village and into the wide-open forest who seemed to have its arms open wide for him. “Stop calling her a whore, stop calling me a whore, stop it, stop it, stop it,” huffed Wrist underneath his breath over and over again as he ran.
The trees seemed to thicken wherever he was.
Wrist tripped over a large tree root and fell face first into the dirt. His nose shot up in pain.
It was just the thing to crack him.
Tears began to rain down his face. He yanked at the grass on the ground in front of him as if it were his own hair. His sobs reached the air and he drew his head back. “STOP. CALLING. MY. MOTHER. A. WHORE!”
He allowed his head to drop back to the ground. His forehead kissed the dirt. His shoulders twitched with each haggard breath. “Stop telling me I’m too sensitive. Stop telling me to suck dick. Stop assuming I’m just like my mom and stop assuming she’s something she’s not. Stop making fun of me for not knowing my dad and stop…stop it. Stop it. STOP. IT!”
Wrist drew his knees underneath his chest. “I get it, I get it. I’m not wanted, I’m not needed, and everyone would be better off without me and my stupid sensitives and existence around! I’m a terrible person who has to rely on others for help and I can’t even defend my own mother! I’m pathetic!”
“I thought I heard a familiar voice.”
Wrist’s tear-stained, dirt-caked face turned into the direction of the voice. Slithering up from behind the tree was the smiling snake, Serpens. Wrist sniffled, his bottom lip quivering. “W-what do you want?” he asked nasally…after all, his nose was stuffed from all his crying.
“You ssseem upset. Why are you crying?” inquired Serpens. Wrist watch Serpens stop only a few inches away from his face.
Serpens was smiling, but unlike the mocky smirk of the bullies, Serpens’s smile was gentle and caring. The snake’s eyes, although certainly worthy of the fright they had initially given Wrist, still seemed to be filled with kindness and light from the sun reflecting upon it.
Wrist turned away. “I’m done.”
“Done with what?”
“Everything. I’m completely done with everything. I’m done being bullied. I’m done not having a dad. I’m done having to rely on Lilac to defend me and my mom having to help me with everything. I’m done being worthless and being alive. I don’t want it anymore. I’m better not being here at all.”
“Oh, dear. This is the ssstate in which you are in?”
Wrist shoved his hand at Serpens, hitting the snake’s scaly lips. “Just poison me already.”
Serpens gently bumped Wrist’s hand away with its head. “I have already told you, my poison does not work on animalsss as large as you.”
Wrist whimpered. “I remember.”
“And even if I could, I have no such interest in poisoning you.”
Wrist got to his knees and threw his head back. At the top of his lungs and into the surrounding forest, he screamed: “I WANT TO DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!”
Birds hidden within the trees burst out as if carrying the echo of Wrist’s words. Tears stung his eyes that seemed to draw up in their saltiness. The seeping hole within his core made everything around it heavier. His heart strained. Wrist slowly looked down at Serpens, who’s gaze only slightly soothed his aching heart.
“Wrissst, may I ask what happened? You appear to be dissstraught.”
Wrist glanced away from Serpens. His lips trembled. “…don’t wanna…”
Wrist could feel the gaze of the snake piercing him. He could feel pressure building up in his throat of everything he was thinking and what he was feeling about what was there, deep inside of him.
Wrist shot furrowed brows at Serpens. “…”
The wind rustled the trees and Wrist’s hair, but that was all that seemed to move within the moment of silence. The air was thick and heavy. Wrist could clearly see Serpens’s concern written all over the snake’s face and Wrist could feel that he wanted to say something so desperately.
What is this snake doing to me?
“I can’t stand it anymore!” vomitted up Wrist. “I’m ALWAYS bullied, always having to be saved. They call my mom a ‘whore’ and tell me to go get bitten by a snake! I’m told to be like my mother and to go away. I’m made fun of for not knowing my father. My grades suck. I’m always getting in trouble even when it’s not my fault. No one cares about me, no one likes me, and all I want to do is die! Why did I have to be born in the first place? Death seems a lot more pleasant than this…why am I even here?!”
Tears flowed even heavier from Wrist’s eyes than before. “I’m sorry I’m a burden to everyone. I can’t stand anyone, not even me! I’m the worst! No wonder I’m so hated. I don’t want to bother anyone anymore…I just want to die. At least then they’ll be free of me, the biggest burden of them all.”
“Why do you conclude that you are a burden? I see that there are people whom love you,” replied Serpens.
Wrist sniffled. “D-doesn’t m-matter. Even if they love me, I’m still burdening them by existing. Why did I even have to exist in the first place…” Wrist wiped his tears with his cloak. “The least I can do is die and go away forever.”
“Do you truly want to die?”
Wrist lifted his head, stared Serpens straight in the eye, and replied “Yes.”
Serpens’s eyes narrowed slightly. Wrist felt himself flinch. The gaze felt as if Serpens himself was slithering all over Wrist. After a good moment of the uncomfortable leering from Serpens and Wrist’s sniffling, the snake cocked its head curiously. “Do you wish all of you to die or only a part of you?”
Wrist wiped his eyes, followed by a sniffle. “What the heck does that mean?”
Serpens slithered closer to Wrist, coming only a short distance away. The snake gazed right into Wrist’s face. Except, to Wrist, there was something absolutely terrifying about it in the sense of being absolutely exposed. Why…why do I feel like I’m naked everywhere?
“Not all deathsss are physical,” replied Serpens. “Not all deathsss are entirely mental either.”
Wrist buckled to his knees as his head began to pound. “I…I really don’t get it. Serpens, what are you even talking about.”
Wrist looked between his fingers, seeing Serpens close to his face.
“I can sshow you, but I will need your permisshon first.”
Wrist’s body became heavier and he collapsed on the ground. His head seemed to be spliting. “Argh! I don’t know! Just kill me now!” This headache’s gonna be the death of me.
He could hear the flickering of Serpens’s tongue. “I shall take that as permission to proceed.”
Wrist could feel Serpens’s scaly head bump gently onto his left hand and the next think he knew, the headache was gone…along with everything else. Wrist was suddenly on his feet, surrounded completely by darkness, except for his own body which was illuminated with its own mysterious light that seemed to be radiating off from his skin.
“What the…?” whispered Wrist.
He looked down to his left arm and gasped, watching as Serpens quickly slid up the left side of his body and coiled around his left arm. Wrist winced at the constrition his arm was under, although much to his surprise, there was no actual pain, just pressure.
Serpens then slid across his shoulders and around his face and his neck. He slid down the right arm and coiled it just the same as the left, causing Wrist to wince a bit more under the pressure. He then watched Serpens coil his body all the way down to his feet, dropping down into a circle.
What is he doing?
Wrist looked down at the side of Serpens face.
All of a sudden, Serpens lept up, barring his fangs. Wrist let out a gasp and looked up to stump away, but instead found Serpens hitting underneath his chin.
Wrist let out the most blood-curling scream he had ever set out in his life as Serpens seemed to shoot through him and out of from his head. And with him, everything that had threatened to kill him.
His skin and his organs felt like they were on fire. As the heat cleared, from his feet to his head in small waves, every single ill feeling that had been consuming him for years had completely disappeared.
Wrist’s eyes widened. I feel…light!
A slight heaviness suddenly dropped onto his shoulders. Wrist looked down and over, seeing Serpens drapping himself like a necklace. “What are you—?!”
Serpens slipped down into Wrist’s back. Wrist could feel the snake enter in through hole in his back – something he knew just should not have been there – and trembled. What…what is even happening?!
The light on illuminating Wrist’s body increased intensely, blindingly so. Wrist covered his eyes.
When the light faded, Wrist found himself in front of a lake in the middle of the darkness, with his own naked reflection staring back up at him. Around his neck was now a snake pendant and snake motifs covered parts of his body like tattoos. One over his heart, one around his left arm, and one on his face. He slightly turned around, noticing that there was one linging on his back and on his right leg.
Wrist gasped and blinked. When his opened, he was back in the forest, completely clothed.
“Serpens?” he called, looking around. His hands went to his neck and pulled open the top of his shirt, peering down. Around his neck was the exact snake pendant he saw in the dream…or whatever the heck he had just experienced. His eyes located the snake tattoo over his heart as he peered a bit further down.
Wrist looked at his left hand and the back of his right leg. Peeking out from underneath the fabric were the markings he had seen. “Serpens,” he whispered. “What the heck WAS that?”
Wrist reached into his shirt and pulled out the pendant, taking a good look at it.
Then, cutting through the atmosphere like a cold blade was a rather familiar voice of a young woman.
“What did you just do?”
Wrist slowly turned around, seeing Lilac’s face dark with absolute horror. Her face seemed to twist in anger.
Wrist’s eyes narrowed curiously, noticing his body seemed to be completely absent of fear or annoyance he normally felt when Lilac approached him. Wrist took in a deep breath and smiled a small smile. “I asked to die.”
“By making a deal with a SNAKE?!”
Wrist shrugged. “I don’t think I made a deal with Serpens. I just agreed to let him show me what he meant.”
Lilac took a step forward, with drawing her sword. “Do you understand that you’ve just forsaken not just yourself, but the entire village?! You were tricked by that dishonest snake! Everyone will be killed – not just you – for what you have done!”
Lilac thrust the sword into Wrist’s face.
Wrist didn’t even flinch. Instead, he looked at the shiny blade glistening in the sun, finding himself wondering what the peace he was feeling from within his body. I would’ve been scared even a few moments ago. Maybe even angry…no…I’d definitely have been angry. Wrist slightly tilted his head. Why am I so calm?
A pressure came to his throat and went to go open his mouth to speak, but something in the back of his mind protested. ‘Don’t say a thing’ it said. ‘You did something wrong! You’re getting in trouble!’ Wrist pasued for a moment. Am I really wrong though? I don’t think so. I don’t think the village is in trouble. His gaze met Lilac’s murderous one. But I don’t really want to say anything…
“Wrist, ssspeak your heart.”
“Yess, I am within you now. Sspeak the truthss in which you have uncovered.”
Wrist found himself placing both hands over his heart. He met Lilac’s muderous gaze straight on and gently pushed her sword out of the way with his hand. “Serpens isn’t like that. He’s not going to kill the whole village. He didn’t even kill me. Just…” Wrist lips twitched in thought. He found his consciousness dive deep within his body, finding the right words. His throat seemed to be lit up again as what he needed to speak surfaced. “…just the parts of me that weren’t me and I no longer needed.”
Lilac huffed. “You keep referring to this ‘serpens’. Who is this person and what do they have to do with any of this?!”
“Serpens is the name of the snake.”
Lilac’s jaw dropped, still looking absolutely filled with murderous intent. “The snake has a NAME now?!”
Wrist lifted his head. “Serpens has always had a name. I don’t like how you are accusing him of things he’s not doing. He couldn’t even kill me, even when I asked him to. He’s actually really kind.”
Lilac’s sword slowly lowered to the ground as Lilac held her head. “‘Kind’? What is next? You love him? How do you even know such things about a snake?”
Wrist found himself smiling. “Simple,” he replied, on the verge of laughter. “Serpens can talk.”
Wrist watched Lilac’s hand holding the sword tremble and her murderous gaze transform into one of pure horror.
Lilac withdrew her sword and turned on her toes. At the top of her lungs, she began to shout “WRIST IS CURSED! WRIST HAS BEEN CURSED BY THE TALKING SNAKE!”
Wrist couldn’t help but find himself chuckling. The back of his hand rubbed his eyes, noticing the smallest of tears were starting to dot his eyelids. “Serpens, what did you even do to me? I feel so light. It’s like you ripped everything out from me that had been causing me problems. I think my head is still getting used to it.”
Wrist heard Serpens chuckle himself from inside his head. “That isss indeed what hass happened. I have torn what was not yourss from your body. It may ssstill remain in your mind for a while longer, but that’sss ssomething time and experience shall heal.”
Wrist found himself smiling, despite his tears. “Wow. That’s…that’s amazing. I’m not even angry that Lilac tried to murder me or that she thinks I’m cursed. I’m pretty sure everything is about to get a lot worse, but I’m so light and at peace, I don’t care.”
“Is it that you do not care? Or is it something else?”
Wrist grasped his chin. “Hmmm…I think it’s something else. It’s more like…I know that there is something better for me.”
“And do you know what it is that you must do now?”
Wrist found his consciousness drop back down into his body.
His tears became strong as up from the depths of his being rose the answer.
“I…need to leave the village.”
“Iss that ssomething you are okay with?”
Wrist folded his hand’s over his heart. He found himself smiling despite his tears. “Yeah, it’s fine. I’ll miss my mother, but maybe I can visit her one day again. Even if I can’t, it’s okay. I just hope she will be okay without me.”
Wrist scratched the back of his head. “I should really go get something’s though before I head on out, huh?”
“If that issss what you wisssh.”
“Yeah, it is.”
Wrist swiftly made his way through the back roads, hearing Lilac’s screams and echos of many others at the announcement of his “deal” with Serpens. He stayed hidden within the shadows, only allowing himself to look like a flickering shadow in the dancing fire lanterns hanging in-between the roads as he passed through.
He slipped through the side gap near his house and leaned against the wall, listening and peering in through the window, cautiously looking for any sign of upset.
His soon-to-be-former home seemed innocent and untouched. He could see his mother cleaning the living room on the other side. She must not know yet.
Wrist made his way over to the front door and slipped inside, immeditately going to his room, with the lightest footsteps he had ever used before. He drew a satchel off his door’s hanging rack and began to fill it with what he thought he would need for his trip.
“Don’t over think it,” said Serpens. “Allow yourssself to be guided by the truthsss deep within you.”
Wrist nodded and allowed him to relax, all while placing what he could feel floating up from deep within him into the bag. After a few minutes and a full bag later, he pulled the drawstrings and buttons closed. I think I am good.
Wrist looked towards the door as he tossed the large satchel over his arm. He found himself pausing for a moment, seeing the questioning look inside of his mother’s warm eyes.
Wrist smiled softly. “Hi, mom.”
“Where are you going?”
Wrist found his feet walked right up to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. His smile grew, but it still remained soft. He watched as his mother’s eyes followed the snake marking on his face and her lips slightly part in quiet surprise.
“I have to leave.”
Armella’s hands folded over her heart. Wrist watched his mother briefly cast down her gaze before looking at him back in the eye. Her brow slightly furrowed. “When will you be back?”
Wrist closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He dove down deep into the depths of his being once more. Within the endless darkness floated up a bubble with the answer all the way to his throat. It popped and out from his mouth came “Not for a long time.”
Armella let out a quiet gasp. Her arms grabbed her son’s shoulders. Her eyes glazed over and she was looking at him up and down.
Wrist leaned forward and gave her a huge hug.
“Mom, I love you,” he whispered. “I’ll be back to see you again. Thank you for not giving up on me.”
Wrist let go and walked past Armella, just as she gasped and covered her mouth, choking back tears. Wrist felt nothing but love radiating in his heart – not anything romantic, but love is the purest sense. The kind of divine love that most humans don’t even know how to express.
Wrist slipped back out the door and into the night.
A knock came at the door and Armella finished blotting the remainder of her tears from her face. She took a moment to look into the mirror, checking her face. Oh dear, I must look terrible. She placed a hand over her heart and sighed. I am grateful the lighting is the way it is…
She waltzed over to the door as if she hadn’t been crying just a few minutes ago. “Coming~~!” she sung, reaching the door. She opened it, seeing a group of people with numerous weapons and torches in hand. Armella’s heart thumped in her chest as she forced a smile on her face.
“Hello, Salenor,” Armella greeted. She put a hand to her cheek and tilted her head, hoping her eyes were glittering in the brilliant way they normally did and not like she had been crying. “What ever brings you here?”
“Have you seen Wrist?”
Armella frowned, shaking her head. “Nooo, I haven’t seen him all day. I think he’s probably playing in the forest again, that silly son of mine!” She followed it with a giggle.
But Salenor in front of her wasn’t laughing.
“I need to speak to you,” said Salenor.
“Um, okay. Did my son do something?” inquired Armella. Her voice slightly quivered, but an innocent smile still stayed plastered on her face.
Salenor motioned to the group behind him, with two men stepping up behind him. Salenor and the two men entered into Armella’s home. Salenor gently tapped Armella’s shoulder and she followed them into her kitchen.
“You will want to sit down,” said Salenor.
Armella went over to her refridgerator. “Oh, but don’t you want something to drink?”
Salenor shook his hand and head at her. “There is no time for that.”
Armella cast her gaze down and nodded, walking to the table, sitting down. She folded her hands as she looked at Salenor. “Why are you looking for my son? What did he do?”
Salenor’s face darkened. “I was informed by Lilac that your son made a deal with the snake from the legends.”
Armella let out a scoff, followed by a chuckle. “Those stories? They’re not true.”
“I am afraid they hold truth.”
Armella’s eyes met Salenor’s.
Salenor appeared to be grim. “According to Lilac, he made a deal with a talking snake. I am sorry, Armella, but he must be killed for the sake of the village.”
Armella gasped and covered her mouth. The tears that had just finished stinging her eyes drying up fell once more and she found her body tremble. Wrist, run! Run so far! Do not let them catch you! I don’t know why you would make a deal with the snake, but please, live! Please…
“Hah, did you hear them?” asked Wrist, completely shielded in the night. The forest seemed to grow thicker and no light from the village far behind them reached them. Wrist could no longer hear the village yelling, or at least, he was pretty sure. The sound in the air just sounded like wind and maybe, if he listened hard enough, a waterfall. He smirked. “They think I’m cursed.”
“Do you think you’re cursssed?”
Wrist flicked underneath his nose. “No way.” He lifted his head up towards the starry sky peeking through the trees. “The curse isn’t me or what I did, but how the village thinks. I don’t know who placed the curse on them like that, but I hope I can undo it one day.”
“Oh, a dream?”
“Yeah, I think so!” Wrist replied, followed by a chuckle.
“How will you undo the curssse that was placed on your village?”
“Hmmm…” Wrist grasped his chin. “I’m not really sure yet, but I’m sure I’ll know when I get there.”
“What a wonderful anssswer/”
“I have a lot you need to teach me before I get there, I bet.”
“Yess, indeed. And let me teach you another lesssson: humanss often cursse themselves.”
Wrist nodded, his smile still high upon his face. “Hmm…I see…yeah…I can see that. We curse ourselves through our thoughts and the actions that follow them, yeah?”
“I believe you will learn and undo the curssse in very little time!”
Wrist laughed. “That doesn’t answer my question>”
Wrist could feel Serpens smile from within him.
Wrist placed his hands behind his head, taking a deep breath. He listened to the soft sounds of his footsteps and the occassional crushing of leaves underneath his feet, making his way even deeper through the forest. His own movements seemed snake-like as he turned corners and just walked where he was guided, managing to avoid everything that could have caused him harm.
When the wind seemed to quiet down, Wrist turned inward. “Serpens,” he called. “Why’d you show up to me on that first day?”
“I ssssimply wass near by. But it isss in my nature to help those who are like you.”
“Like how? Depressed and ready to die?”
“No,” replied Serpens. “when someone is about to be reborn.”
Wrist’s relaxed smile changed into a large green. An unrestrained laugh belted out from his mouth and bounced off every tree in the forest, echoing back an otherworld whisper that signaled Wrist was being reborn.
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© Kelly Mulry (TrainerKelly). All Rights Reserved.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, situations, and incidents are the products of my imagination OR are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.