Near or Far
By: Hanna Pasterski
"This is for us!" bellows Avery. "This is for a better us!"
I watch him ride back and forth on the charge line. His prancing white horse makes his shining armor reflect the burning surroundings. He looks as though he is on fire. Diverting my eyes away from him, I stretch my back and ride my own horse closer to the army. The pride is seeping through my body as I watch the soldier’s admiration for Avery. They will die for him. "Elaine?" calls Avery as he rides closer. "I'm charging on foot with the people." Without hesitation I swing of my horse. As I hand her off to a young man, I look at our army one last time. Their brave faces stare back at me and my heart cracks a little. This war is so unnecessary. They shouldn’t have to fight, kill or be killed. Avery's hands wrap around my waist snapping my thoughts away from our army to him. I whisper, "Avery..." as I turn around to face him. His sparkling blue eyes stare into mine and I try as hard as I can to memorize his face: perfect eyes, smooth light skin, striking cheekbones and the bow of his lips. His eyes gaze into mine with a cold fierceness and I shiver. His hands slid up my back and cradle my face, "What are you doing," he asks as he attempts to smooth out the creases on my forehead with his thumbs. "You look like your trying to figure something out." "No. I'm trying to never forget you." I try to say but it comes out as quite with a breath and my knees buckle from the wave of emotion that crashes upon me. Avery leans in and I can see his light eyes darkening. "Don't bother," he whispers against my lips, “You wont ever have to forget. I'll be here with you, forever." My breath catches and I take another moment to gawk at his beauty then lean onto my toes, closing the gap, and memorize the feel of his lips as well. A nearby explosion breaks us apart and sets the army on edge. Avery says, "We have to go soon," as he grabs my hand and walks farther out. I can’t look back at our soldiers. I can’t look into their faces, and then once again have to look at them dead. I let go of Avery's hand and pray it won’t be for the last time. Feeling his eyes on my face, I swing my sword and clench my jaw, trying to look brave. My world slows until it pauses and I tense, ready for flight. "Charge!"
I pounce. In a short distance, my sword is hitting flesh of the dark creatures. I stab, and rip my way through their defense, always keeping an eye on Avery. He is mesmerizing. The sharpness of his face is enchanting yet daunting due to the fact he is covered in dripping blood. Something growls in my ear and my eyes whip to the right just in time to see a bloody axe swing for my head. I duck but hear the ring of metal slamming together. Looking up, I see Avery standing above me with his sword in some creature’s belly. "Formation!" he hollers, as he grabs the back of my leather armor to haul me up. I know what that means. I sprint following him and the closest 50 soldiers. We form a circle, our back touching. I stand there as swarms of things, awful, evil things, come at us and wrench my sword into the stomachs and necks of every one of them. Feeling the lives drain out of my own soldiers as they are killed makes my stomach drop to my toes. Men and Women keep falling to the soiled field. I can’t help but remember when this field was covered in tall trees and filled with so much life. There used to be an orchard of peach trees and grape vines sprawling for miles. And the grass was green, so green. At night lighting bugs would dance over the flowers. There were so many I wouldn’t be able to tell them and the stars apart. I used to walk through the gardens to the fountain with Avery… A sword flashes across my vision and snaps me back to reality. Reflex and adrenaline kicks in and I get angry. I kill. I kill a lot, but, too soon it’s just Avery and I. "Avery," I cry "I love you." If this is the end,...
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