Running on Shuffle

Abel’s eyes grew heavy. He could feel the blood pump rhythmically through the tender skin of his eyelids, every beat adding a pound of weight. He wanted nothing more than to give in to the weight, let those tiny doors shut him into the darkness, and have them be locked tight by long tangled lashes. He was so very tired.

Bang.

Abel lifted his head and looked at the gate in front of him. The Demon and the Monster snarled and snapped in frustration from the other side. He knew it would not be long before they broke through. They wanted to eat Abel, to consume him completely. Then take his leftover shell and make it into a beast like them. Live in a realm of shadows consuming and destroying everything. Abel refused to become one of them. But he was so very tired.

Bang.

“Be gone!”Abel cursed them behind the loosening gate, shouting as loud as he could. But his roar was cracked and winded, his strength sapped, slumping down onto the floor. Next to him, the princess was sleeping. Her face blank of expression but her skin still fair as the day he met her. Abel knew he shouldn’t have waked her, her own strength near its limit, but they needed to escape. He would not let them be consumed by the Demon and the Monster.

Bang.

Abel ignored the Demon’s snaps and the Monster’s wails. He held her gently in her arms. “We have to go now.” Her face lit up and looked at him gently.

He let her wrap her snowy white arms around him and whispered in his ears her love and affection, “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.” Able felt as her words lead him down a small dark corridor he had failed to see before. Carrying her gently, Abel began to run. He led her to safety. And although the corridor was dark it held within it nothing to fear, only to discover. There was hope of creation, of finding something more. The Demon and the Monster had burned through every place Abel had known, making sure no one could escape to freedom.

Bang.

Abel skidded to a halt. The corridor had made a full circle and returned him to the weakening gate. Abel looked on, wondering if he was about to take his last stand. But she whispered to him with confidence, “Race for the morning. You can hide in the sun ’till you see the light. Oh we will pray it’s all right. Gotta get away, get away.

Abel listened, and drank in new courage. Taking control, he gazed in the darkness for a way out and found a trap door of glass that gone unnoticed in the dark. They slipped through it, and as his eyes adjusted Abel found himself landing upon the edge of an expanding plain. Abel held her tightly and seeing the open fields before them, she laughed and began to sing, “Take me away, a secret place. A sweet escape, take me away.

Abel walked out into the field as her voice carried across the grasses. With every beautiful note that she sang Abel lengthened and quickened his stride. He was soon sprinting and rushed quickly over the hills. The pale sun warmed their faces and finally Abel could feel his mind, heart, and soul, relax. He even laughed with her and ran on. Around him birds chirped and flew this way and that. And as they sang so did she, “I want to feel sunlight on my face. I see the dust cloud disappear without a trace. I want to take shelter from the poison rain.” 

Horses neighed and galloped with them and dogs barked happily at their heels. Nature itself was cheering Abel on as he led her away from danger. It urged him on, away from the death and gloom.

BANG!

Abel dug his feet into the ground and he quickly came to a stop. Out of nowhere the gate came slamming down in front of Abel. He sneered at the evil image in front of him and saw the Demon and Monster riding a dragon in the sky, raining down huge gates and doors to crush them from above.

“Leave us alone!” He yelled and ran off. In terror her voice had changed and storm clouds filled the sky, “I’m broken like a promise . I’m shattered like a dream. I’m broken with all my pieces scattered ’round for you to see.

Trees shot out from within the earth with rhythmic precision providing cover from the bombardment of gates. Abel moved to avoid them and was soon running through a dark forest in a storm. Wolves then caught onto their scent and chased after them. Abel had no weapon to defend them and so he continued to run. But the wolves were swift and closed in around him. Looking, he could see their sneering faces, their wild hair, and howls of terrible laughter. They snickered and mocked him for his futile attempt to escape. They circled around him and began their choruses of mockery and hatred. Sounds so familiar they could almost be human. But Able did not listen. In his arms the princess’s voice had grown louder and quickened, “I got a brand new attitude and I’m gonna wear it tonight. I’m gonna get in trouble, I wanna start a fight.” Her words filled his soul and with it, Abel’s blood pumped harder and faster. He charged forward and brought down his bare fists onto the beasts. The wolves lay dead around him, their voices silenced. Tired he slumped down unto the ground. She lay next to him, her voice diminishing in exhaustion. They lay together as she whispered a lullaby to send them off to sleep, “There’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more.” 

He could feel the rain stop and watched as the stars shined through the treetops. He wished he could take her there. A place no one would be able to follow. There among the infinite, they could live, never worrying again of the evils that would consume them. The peaceful slumber was short, and soon they continued on. The trees faded away as she told him lovely stories. As they walked Abel found himself leading her to a familiar place. He envisioned the small cottage on an island in the middle of an expanding lake. They would be safe there. No one would disturb them.

Abel looked back. A chilling wind rushed past as he stared into the distance. Fear crept through Abel’s mind but she held him closely and encouraged him. Abel held her, her touch supporting him as much as he was supporting her. And yet.

bang…

Abel did not turn again but quickened his pace. The lake and island were close. If he could just get her there, they would be safe.

bang

“No.” Abel mumbled on repeat. “Just listen to her. Shut them out.” He told himself. She held him closely, her cool touch doing little to relieve the heat on his face. Up ahead Abel could see the lake, and at its center, the island. She spoke to him, “He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse, He’s going the distance.” And Abel listened. He ran for his life.

Bang.

Abel looked in terror as the ground beneath him crumbled and fell, as if consumed by the Demon and Monster themselves. As he sprinted on, the dirt, grass, weeds, and rocks ripped away to reveal smooth and uncomfortable wood. The Lake drew nearer, and trees collapsed, burned and hacked apart, into new shapes with sharp corners. Abel could feel the path narrowed and he could see the sky being forced into one terrible sheet of blue being pressed down upon him as she sang, “He’s haunted by something he cannot define, bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse.” 

BANG.

The bombardment of gates began tall painted gates began again, and Able ran passed it toward the lake. They were almost there.

BANG.

Another gate shot down in front of them. Again…

BANG.

Again…

BANG.

And Again. The handle shook and twisted. The Demon snapped and snarled. But Abel was almost to the lake. Her voice was blasting in his mind urging him to go faster, to escape. He raced towards the beach of the lake. A small wooden raft drifted by the shore that would take them to safety. He sprinted toward it, his hand holding on to her tightly. Abel cared about nothing else but her. She was the only one who knew exactly what he needed. He could always find in her comforting words and could forget the things that troubled him. She sung to him every morning and every night. She loved him even though he would use up everything she had. In her, he found a way to continue to fight on, a reason to hope. They climbed aboard the raft, ready to embark.

CRASH!

The Demon and Monster rushed through the door. Abel looked at them in fury. And within one moment he knew he would not be able to escape with her. Their fantasy had disappeared. He was to be consumed into their world.

“How dare you!” the Demon yelled, “You are my son and will be a part of this family!”

“You need to spend less time shut off in your dreams.” the Monster wailed, “Come with us, and actually live your life.”

Abel was backed against the wall. He looked at his parents looming over him. He never understood why they dragged him into their fights, but he knew what the outcome of each one would be, perfectly. Dad yelled and Mom just cried. Abel blinked.

Bang.

His eyelids crashed upon down on one another. And in the moment of darkness he saw the island in the distance. Opening them again he watched his father grab his wrist and led him out of his room. The grip was incredibly tight and strong, fueled by the fury and anger pulsing in the father’s blood.

Bang.

He had blinked again. And in the darkness he could see the shackle around his wrist as he was led down a spiraling staircase leading into the dungeon, the Demon in front and the Monster behind. They sat him on the living room couch. Abel’s father paced back and forth. And like clockwork his mother recited her speech on how hard she and his father worked for him.

Bang.

The monster recited her spell, full of hisses and cries. It was meant to break his will. But Able persevered and prepared for the demons turn. Abel’s father yelled louder in than ever before.

Bang.

Abel looked into the eyes of his demonic father. And in them he saw himself and what he could possibly be. He didn’t want his father’s harsh horns and cruel claws. But as he looked at his own hands he knew one day they would grow tough and deadly. And touching his head he knew it would be filled with rules and demands that would grow into sharp horns. Able knew the only way to survive was to comply. Dropping his head Abel said slowly, “I’m sorry.”

Bang.

Behind his closed eyes, Abel could see the demon smile with satisfaction and the Monster wipe her thick ugly tears. The demon walked up to the prostrated Able and patted his shoulder. “Hey, let’s all go for dinner tonight.”

Abel forced a smile. The cycle begins again, with their blood thirst quenched the Demon and Monster can slumber, until Able will be called once again to pay his homage. But every time he does Abel never gives in completely. He resists, hoping one day to be entirely free. As he walks outside and get into the back of the SUV, he looked up into the window of his room. In the evening sky it lit up with a faint glow.

Bang.

He could see his princess trapped at the highest tower of the castle. Soon he would return for her and plan their escape together. The ipod with its snowy white earphones glowed with a fair and faint glow as it lay peacefully on the smooth wooden desk.

It sang out one final song whose lyrics blasted out, “Just because I’m losing, doesn’t mean I’m lost, doesn’t mean I’ll stop, doesn’t mean I’m in a cross. Just because I’m hurting, doesn’t mean I’m hurt, doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I deserved, No better and no worse. I just got lost, every river that I’ve tried to cross and every door I ever tried was locked. And I’m just waiting till the shine wears off” And with that the battery ran out and she died.




This story was inspired by my original inspiration, music. May the sounds of melody and lyrics bring you swords and shields in your time of need.

“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.” All You Need is Love – The Beatles

 

“Race for the morning. You can hide in the sun ’till you see the light. Oh we will pray it’s all right. Gotta get away, get away.” Holy Diver – Dio

 

“Take me away, a secret place. A sweet escape, take me away.” Pocketful of Sunshine – Natasha Bedingfield

 

“I want to feel sunlight on my face. I see the dust cloud disappear without a trace. I want to take shelter from the poison rain.” Where the Streets have No Name – U2

 

“I’m broken like a promise . I’m shattered like a dream. I’m broken with all my pieces scattered ’round for you to see.” Broken – Everlast

 

“I got a brand new attitude and I’m gonna wear it tonight. I’m gonna get in trouble, I wanna start a fight.” So What – Pink

 

“There’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more.” Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas

 

“He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse, He’s going the distance.” The Distance – Cake

 

“He’s haunted by something he cannot define, bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse.” The Distance – Cake

 

“Just because I’m losing, doesn’t mean I’m lost, doesn’t mean I’ll stop, doesn’t mean I’m in a cross. Just because I’m hurting, doesn’t mean I’m hurt, doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I deserved, No better and no worse. I just got lost, every river that I’ve tried to cross and every door I ever tried was locked. And I’m just waiting till the shine wears off” Lost! – Coldplay

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