This story is by Holly Stack and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
He’d been fighting for at least half an hour now,when the enemy before him vanished,and the mysterious shadow of a girl appeared.
“Help! Someone help me! Please!”a girl screams as she’s tied to a chair,with a knife dangerously close to her neck,while the ruby leaves of autumn blow around him.
“Help me!” She cried again.
This time, Eric sees who the girl is. No…it couldn’t be…he prays, as he sees the person who’s about to be murdered.
He loved her since they first met in first grade. Eric hadn’t seen her in almost four months,since their last day of high school . His biggest regret was not doing something more to protect her. He’d do anything for her,he decides, facing the awful scene in front of him.
“Rose! I’m coming!” Eric shouts, determined not to let his feelings get in the way
“Hey! Let her go. Take me instead. You heard me. Free her,and fight me.”he yells,getting the women’s attention
His mask was ripped off during the fight ,revealing his face. He turned away,a last minuet attempt to hide himself,but she saw him-the real him.
“Eric? You’re Scorpion?” Her soft,angelic voice echoed into the night.
He froze,knowing that if he spoke to her,he might tell her an even bigger secret,worse than her knowing his secret identity-he loves her.
“I know it’s you.” She whispered,stepping closer “you don’t need to worry. I won’t tell.”
“Get out of here. It’s not safe. You can’t know this. They might…” he warned her,but she didn’t care.
“Is this why you wouldn’t talk to me?” She asked,Eric wondering why she had to be so perfectly persistent.
“Yes” he sighed “I had to protect you,and make sure they won’t take you…or worse. I knew what would happen if I told you,but I couldn’t let you take that risk.” He admitted
“What if I want to take that risk?” She dared.
Eric was at a loss for words. Surly,he couldn’t let her,no mater how either of them felt (although Eric always had hoped Rose saw something more between them)
“Eric,I lo..”Rose announced into the night,stepping closer to Eric.
But he was too late. Before Eric could here what she was about to say,she was swopped up,and stolen right in front of his eyes.
About twenty minuets later ,he was battling his enemy yet again,disguised as his alter ego,Scorpion. Thats when he saw her. She was captured by his nemesis,being flung into the depths of the sea below them.
“No!” He cried,agony ringing in his voice,as he took off in her direction, desperate to do anything to save her.
“You’re too late,hero!” The villain cackled, taunting him.
“Eric!” She cried,as he leapt into action.
It appeared to be happening in slow motion-Rose falling closer and closer to the sea,Eric trying to get to her, his enemy making sure he couldn’t save her, Eric being too late, and Rose finally hitting the cold water below them.
He forgot the fight,and plunged into the frigid,inky water after her.
Once he dove into the icy water,he splashed frantically,and looked around to find her. I have to save her. Eric decided,swimming deeper and deeper.
In the corner of his eye,he spotted a frail body,sinking to the dark depths of the sea.
He saw her.
He saw Rose.
He swam over as fast as he could, and grabbed her almost lifeless body and dragged her up towards the cloudy night sky,and out of the water.
As they resurfaced,he tried everything to revive her limp,freezing body.
But his enemy was right,Eric realized, as he grasped her frail hand.
He was too late.
She was gone.
She was dead
For the next three nights,he visited her grieving family,wishing that it was him instead of her in the coffin. He spent the evenings leading up to the funeral saying and doing the same things, repeating ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ while hugging her weeping sister, and embracing her emotionless mother. The day of her funeral,he hid in the back of the church,careful not to be seen,as relatives whimpered into their tissues,family and friends read eulogies,and the priest recited bible passages. But it was after he left the funeral home,and the church that was the worst. He lay in bed, cursing himself. Maybe if he’d said something different,anything at all, she would still be alive,laughing her adorable laugh, smiling her gorgeous smile. He should have protected her better. It was his fault she’s dead.
As he lay tucked into his thick blankets, he remembered the night it all happened, the night she found out who he truly is.
Each night,his memory of what happened haunted even his most delightful dreams.
Sometimes it was a dream replaying that dark evening,every moment exactly how it had happened.
Others, it would stop just before she was taken.
The worst,however,was when he was dreaming a pleasant dream, and she would be there, beautiful as ever-her perfect smile lighting up the room, and her caring,pale green eyes,bright and full of life.
He tried to hide it for so long,but it was just so hard. He wanted to tell her ages ago,but he couldn’t.
A few days after that awful autumn day,Eric went to the cemetery,alone,to say goodbye. “I still can’t believe your gone” he muttered to himself,as he fetched the bouquet of flowers,and the angel teddy bear from the trunk of his car,and trotted off towards her grave.
As he approached the newly laid headstone,he read the inscription “Life is not forever,but love is”.
“Ironic how true that is” he laughed sadly “you’re gone,but I still love you. I always will. I wish we had more time together.” He pleaded “Remember how we met in elementary school, when you moved here in first grade? For me it was love at first sight. For you…I was probably just some annoying classmate. I’d always ask you to go on the monkey bars with me. You would always refuse.
By the time we moved up to junior high, I was in a bad place-I was an arrogant, self centred, bully who made fun of you,the perfect,smart student everyone loved,and threw tape in your hair. I probably cared more about playing baseball than my grades. I would tease you at least once a day and you would always tell me to open a book. Then we were in high school, and something changed. I smartened up,focused on school,and stopped bullying you. I was actually working hard,and focusing on my studies. I didn’t even try out for the team last year,did I tell you that?
To my surprise, you started talking to me. I think we were both shocked at how easy it was to confide in each-other,and we became fast friends.
Finally, one crisp fall afternoon,I told you we couldn’t be seen together anymore. As the bright golden leaves swirled around us,you asked why I was doing this. I couldn’t tell you. I should’ve stayed away from you from the start…but I couldn’t-I loved you. I wish I could’ve asked you out. We might’ve went on dates. I wish we had the chance to fall in love together. I wish we could’ve gone to prom with each-other . I would do anything to have been able to ask you to be my date, give you a corsage,and see you in your gorgeous gown,dancing with me. You deserved so much more. It’s all my fault.” Eric wept,as his knees hit the fresh earth beneath him
“Why you? You were so good,so kind. And you were ripped away,just like that.” Eric shouted,tears streaming down his face.
A little while later,finally calming down,Eric stood up.
“I love you.” He whispered to the headstone,as he placed the bouquet and teddy bear on the ground.
“I have to go now,but I’ll visit soon,ok?” He promised to the grave below him.
As he pulled out of the graveyard,he got word of another battle that needed Scorpion.
He was going to go fight.