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‘Idle Chaos: Part 12’ (Kahina) [Original Series]

Kahina opened her eyes and took a laboured breath in of the dry, stale air.

The chipped stone that had been her bed for the last few days left her body aching, but she pushed herself up into a sitting position, pressing her lips tightly together to suppress any cries of pain. It took her a moment to come back into her body and understand where she was.

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She looked down at her wrists. The manacles marred the soft skin, and her fingernails were chipped and bloody from her desperate attempts to get free. That has been back when she has had the energy to fight.

Back before, she had watched them murder her brother.

It wouldn’t be long before they killed her too. She let herself glanced over at a small barred window on the wall behind her. She knew that her cell was somewhere within the city’s outer wall. If Kahina were to put in the energy to get her face near that window, she would see the never-ending desert outside.

She hadn’t bothered to stand up and days.

She wanted to believe that none of it mattered anymore. The sensation of pain in her legs’ muscles if she stretched them to stand. The spike of pain from her cracked lips when she moved them. She wanted to believe that her inescapable death was something she wanted.

And yet, she still got light-headed whenever she heard someone enter her cellblock.

Most likely, it would be a very public and slow death. Much like her brothers have been. People didn’t get to decide if they were born with magic, but they did get to determine if they would help a magic-user escape.

She was surprised by the feeling of a tear running down her face. She thought that she had already used up the water in her body.

There was still a sliver of hope within her. She was a stupid girl for believing in it.

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However, she couldn’t help but listen to the guards as they discussed this mysterious magic-user who destroyed part of the city. She wanted to find something that would prove it had been Seti. It was too much of a coincidence that something would happen moments after they have been together. After Kahina had seen that desperate look in his eyes right before he did run away.

Kahina chastised herself. How could she believe that he hadn’t wanted to leave her at that moment? He must have known what he was about to do was desperate. He had been so terrified that he had blindly released his magic and hurt a lot of people in return. Some hero he turned out to be. 

But who had been the strange women who had caused that chasm in the floor of the Temple? Seti seemed like he knew who he was looking for when he would run into that Temple, and it didn’t make sense for someone to put their life on the line to help a magic-user.

Not that she had any idea who her fiance had been. It was because she had no idea who he was that she was drawn to him in the first place. In a city where everyone important knew everyone else, it seemed unlikely to run into someone new. Someone who had been so different from anyone she had met before.

Too different in the end.

She was alarmed when a laugh bubbled up in her throat. She was finally developing a cynical sense of humour. Or maybe she was going insane. At this point, it didn’t matter either way.

She heard footsteps outside of her cell. At this point, she had stopped trying to keep track of guards coming to bring her food. But these footsteps are different. There’s a lightness to them and agility that made her suspect that this was someone other than an ordinary city guard.

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The face that appeared before the bars made her wonder if she really was going insane.

It was Seti’s face.

Though their eyes were the same colour, this man’s didn’t have the inherent laughter she was used to. There was a sullenness to the face that has never made its way to Seti’s and something far more masculine in the squareness of his jaw. This man was an echo of Seti, distorted but undoubtedly recognizable.

Seti had been open and playfulness but never been intimidating. He had walked with a kind of calm grace as if he knew of some joke that everyone else was oblivious to.

This man was watchful and careful. A deliberateness to everything he did, and he held himself as if he were completely aware of everything in his immediate surroundings. He was alert and focused, and his focus was burying itself into her.

When he spoke, it was in precise, clipped tones. None of the raspy warmth Kahina’s fiance had mastered. “I want to know about the man you saw in the temple.”

There was a long moment of suspended silence. Kahina didn’t dare to look up at him again–fearing she would give in to those frozen eyes. She didn’t need to protect Seti; in fact, it would probably be better for her if she told him what he wanted, but everything in her brain was telling her to stay quiet.

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“Does my face unsettle you?” he said. Somehow he sounded closer than he had before, but Kahina kept her eyes on the stone floor. “I’ve been told the resemblance is obvious, but our natures make it disconcerting.”

She looked up. She couldn’t help herself.

He gazed down his nose at her–a look of distaste on his stern features. “He won’t come for you. Rayan has a soft spot for pretty things, but he’ll put himself before others. He always does.”

Rayan? Was that who he thought she was thinking about?

He was toying with her, and she knew it. But something pulled at her–anger. She had trusted Seti in the end. She could never get the image of her brother dying in front of her out of her head. A selfish impulse wanted her to tell him everything and let him find his own way. She was dead anyway.

Something must have shown in her eyes because the man cocked his head. “Perhaps you’ll be more useful alive after all.”

By Sarah Carswell

After spending 5 years studying language and writing, Sarah spends most of her time thinking critically about popular works of fiction, and after a lifetime love of music they have made themselves a place where they can analyze music and interview musicians. To learn about their struggle with learning to read and write please check out the About page. You can send a message to Sarah by going to the contact page and sending an email with your feedback and suggestions for new content.

2 replies on “‘Idle Chaos: Part 12’ (Kahina) [Original Series]”

“She was alarmed when a laugh bubbled up in her throat. She was finally developing a cynical sense of humour. Or maybe she was going insane. At this point, it didn’t matter either way.”

Haha, I liked this, made me chuckle. You should do more of these contemporary writings! Breaks up the pace – I’ve been wanting to get ideas to do the same!

Liked by 1 person

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