The Writer - Chapter 36

The Writer - Chapter 36

A Chapter by A.L.

The Lost


Chapter 36 - The Silent Lost

Forrest didn’t know how to describe himself anymore. He wasn’t silent - he could talk. He wasn’t alone - his friends were there too. He was a warrior and yet he’d failed to spare Coral. He wasn’t the Beast. He wasn’t Cursed anymore. He wasn’t his father. 

“Forrest, where is Coral?” Morgan repeated for the millionth time. 

Night had fallen upon them and Forrest had yet to utter a single word. He was afraid that his voice would betray him. 

And he was afraid of what the others would think of him if they knew what he did. 

But he couldn’t be silent forever. You’re the bravest person I know. He could do this - he’d done it once before. 

“She moved on,” he managed. 

His friends stopped. They obviously hadn’t been expecting him to speak so soon - maybe not ever. 

They were so surprised that it took a while before the shock sank in. 

He didn’t want them to talk. He didn’t want them to apologize because sorry wouldn’t bring her back. Sorry didn’t mean anything

“Forrest,” Calli whispered, her voice soft and so different from Coral’s. “I just want to say I … I love the sound of your voice.” 

He hesitated. He had been so sure that they were going to say sorry. 

He was crying. Calli was crying. Everyone was crying. Someone’s warm arm was wrapped around his shoulders. 

Forrest flinched away, but his friends surrounded him. 

They didn’t say they were sorry, but the actions spoke louder than words. The warmth surrounded him, warming him to the bone. 

It wasn’t quite the coolness of Coral’s touch, but Forrest was sure that a tiny part of him was healing. Even if she was gone, Forrest wasn’t alone. His friends were at his side, supportive of him through everything. 

When they finally pulled away, Forrest decided it was time to come clean. 

Time was fluid as he spoke, his voice taking over him without thought. It was a bit husky from disuse, but Forrest didn’t care. He told them everything - his Curse, his past, and the mysterious voice. He told them what had happened with Uris a few months prior. He explained his experiences in the temple, and when it came to Coral’s death, he powered through it. 

In the end, Forrest didn’t need their acceptance of him. He wasn’t worried about what others thought about him. 

But his friends didn’t seem to care. They understood what had happened and for some reason they didn’t blame him. Rae even went as far as blaming the goddesses - although she quickly took back her statement when a wolf howled eerily in the distance. 

It was near midnight when all the questions had been asked. 

“You look tired,” Morgan noted. “You should get some sleep, Forrest. It’s been a long day.” 

Forrest gave a nod, but he had no intention of sleeping. “I’m fine.” 

“No, you’re not,” Bethany interrupted before Forrest could protest. She crossed her arms, a small smile forming on her lips. “Don’t even try to argue. You are sleeping and you don’t get a choice - even if it means I freeze your blood in your veins until you sleep.” 

“You can do that?” Margot gasped. 

“I dunno, I’ve never tried it before.” 

Margot shoved her sister and the two giggled as Morgan rolled his eyes. “Beth is right though, Forrest. You’re going to sleep whether you want to or not.” 

“Fine,” Forrest sighed. I guess some sleep wouldn’t be terrible. His body seemed to agree. 

“Before you fall asleep though, where are we going next?” Calli asked quietly. “I can start plotting a course once I know where we’re headed.” 

Forrest wasn’t quite sure where he wanted to go. It felt weird to have all eyes turned to him, especially now that Coral wasn’t there to advise him either. What would Coral do? What would she say? 

Emmeline’s last letter had hinted that they were going to the Temple of Purity, but that had been a while ago. Forrest hadn’t heard from Clara for weeks now. 

“I suppose we head back east,” he began. “We’ll see if we can meet up with Emmeline and Newt and find out if they have anything planned.” He paused, an idea coming to life in his head. “First, though, I have somewhere I’d like to visit.” 

“Seriously, you thought this was going to be a good idea?” Calli groaned. 

Forrest gave a small shrug, but his heart was racing in his chest. “It sounded better at the time. I just want to make sure she made it.” 

Calli frowned, but she didn’t say anything else. 

The water of the river of death rushed in front of them, sounds like whispers flooding from the rapid current. 

Forrest didn’t know why he was there. He felt called to it, but he knew it was too late to see Coral again. Unless she decided to become a ghost - something which Forrest seriously doubted - or returned as a Guide - which was near impossible for a human - he wouldn’t see her until he died too. 

That didn’t mean he couldn’t check in on her. 

Calli had elected to be his chaperone for this trip, which Forrest was fine with. On the scale of leniency, Calli was pretty far up there. He’d also saved her from the same river, and therefore she owed him a debt. 

“So you want me to hold you under,” Calli clarified for the tenth time. 

“Yes, how hard is that to understand?” Forrest asked, pulling off his boots and his sword scabbards. He placed them on the bank of the river and began to peel off his shirt. Calli looked away uncomfortably. 

“Pretty hard,” she replied, still facing the other direction. “What if you drown?” 

“I won’t,” Forrest retaliated, folding his shirt into a neat pile. “As I explained before, if you hold your magic, I’ll be fine. If I start dying, pull me out.” 

Calli nodded, steeling herself as she prepared to use her magic. She turned to face him, blushing slightly as she took in his bare chest. Forrest ignored her and stepped into the river slightly. 

He felt a slight presence around his waist, like a rope. Although he knew it was just Calli’s magic, it made him feel a bit like he was back in the temple, restrained by magic. 

“I’m going in,” he said, taking in a huge lungful of air before jumping into the river. 

This time, Forrest was prepared for the rapids that tore at his skin and hair. He wasn’t sure that his plan would work, but he wanted to at least try. 

With the flow of the water came the torrent of memories. 

He saw the last look his father had given him. He felt the pain of his heart being destroyed again and again as everything he cared for was torn away from him. 

Forrest pushed through everything, forcing himself through the wall of memories and sounds and smells and noises. He knew this was the hardest part - getting as close to the world of death as possible without dying. 

The more memories he pushed through, the harsher they were. 

He saw himself helpless as Uris stood over him. He felt the Beast taking over him, his father whispering in his ears. 

You are stronger than they are, he told himself. 

Forrest pretended that the memories weren’t real, pretended they were just nightmares. The method worked and finally Forrest saw only darkness. 

He couldn’t feel his actual body in the water, though he did feel strangely cold. 

Then, in the shadows, he could barely make out a hint of light forming in the distance. It was taking shape in front of him, making a picture…

Forrest. The name was in his head, not aloud. Forrest, you do not belong here

He ignored the voice, pressing deeper into the shadows. The light grew bigger, and for a second, Forrest saw Coral’s face. 

Her eyes met his and her mouth opened in surprise. 

Forrest! The picture of Coral snapped in and less than a second he lost her again. Instead, the vision was replaced by a picture of a certain goddess, her arms crossed and her lips pulled into a frown. You don’t belong here

Her lips didn’t move but it was definitely her voice. The death goddess was talking to him directly.

Forrest suppressed a snarl. “I just wanted to see her - how hard is that to understand?” He bit back a comment about goddesses never feeling love, as it wouldn’t help his case at all. 

It’s not that I understand, it’s that I can’t allow it, Dixral argued. The laws of nature dictate that you cannot see her unless you are dead. 

Forrest stuck out his tongue. He knew it was petulant, but he hated her more than anyone at that moment. He wanted to shout and yell at her, but he knew it was too late to save Coral and angering the goddess of death didn’t sound like a good idea. 

Finally, he pleaded, “Please let me see her one more time.” 

Dixral gave a sigh. I’m so sorry, Forrest, but I can’t. I assure you that Coral is safe, I escorted her personally to the world of the dead - just as I will do with you when you die. Now, please leave before I have to force you to. 

“It’s not fair,” Forrest sighed. He knew he shouldn’t be complaining. The goddess of death had just announced that she was personally going to escort him after he died. But was a visit really that hard to arrange? 

Life isn’t fair, and neither is death, Dixral said. 

Forrest couldn’t say anything else. He had no idea how to respond - or how he was going to tell Calli and the others he had failed. 

“Can you … can you pass on a message then?” 

I suppose I could, as long as the conversation is one sided. What do you want me to tell her - and make it quick.  

“Tell her …” Forrest’s voice trailed off and Dixral made an impatient noise. There was so much he wanted to say to her - especially now that he had his voice back. It was so wrong that he could talk again only to have the one person he wanted to say things to be torn away. “Tell her I’m sorry and I … I love her. And tell her that even if the barriers between life and death keep us separate for now, I will see her again one day.” 

Dixral nodded, and if she found any of this sappy she didn’t say anything. 

I will pass along your message, Forrest. Now, get back to the land of the living before I actually have to walk you down to the depths of the dead. You have a big job ahead of you. 

Forrest was suddenly yanked upwards, his head surfacing above the water as he sucked in lungfuls of air gratefully. The cold bit into his skin, and Forrest began swimming to shore where Calli was waiting. 

She handed him a blanket to dry off with, and as Forrest was finally pulling on his boots, she worked up the courage to talk. 

“Did you see her?” 

Forrest bit back a reply as tears welled in his eyes. He was so close and yet so far. He’d seen her for only a moment, and then she was gone again. 

“I … I don’t want to talk about it,” Forrest stuttered through chattering teeth. 

Calli didn’t reply, but Forrest knew she was smart enough to understand what had happened. Hopefully she would share the news with the rest of the group so he could brood alone. 

Except Calli didn’t leave. She stayed by his side, never speaking but never leaving either. It was oddly comforting. 

“Forrest,” Calli said after a few minutes of sitting beside him on the shore of the river. “You don’t have to tell me what happened. You don’t have to talk to me. I just want you to know that you aren’t alone.” 

Forrest didn’t say anything. His failure was still fresh in his mind, and he was too focused on trying to come up with a way to fix it. 

Calli continued. “Look at me when I’m talking to you.” She grabbed his head in her hands and spun him to face her. There was no harshness in her expression, only genuine concern. 

“I’m listening,” Forrest said meekly. 

“Listen, Forrest, I understand that this is hard on you. It’s okay to be upset - you have every right to be feeling those emotions. But you can’t dwell on the guilt forever or it will shatter you. I don’t want to see that happen. 

“We’re here for you, whether you want us to be by your side or not. This story isn’t over yet, not even the slightest. And we can’t give it a happy ending without you.” She was quiet for a moment. “We all lost something over the past few days, but that doesn’t mean we stop fighting.” 

“She was a part of me,” Forrest protested, his voice cracking. 

“I know,” Calli said. “Coral was our friend as well, but so are you. Right now, you’re lost in the emotion and sorrow. You may think you’re alone, but you’re not. We’re all here, fighting alongside you. So please stop focusing on the past and trying to change what can’t be altered. Focus on the now and the future - and what you can do not to fix the past but to make the future better.” 

Forrest nodded, his voice caught in his throat. “I’m sorry.” 

“You have nothing to be sorry for. Just please come back to us, Forrest, because we need you.” 

He nodded again, tears creeping into his eyes. He didn’t try to hide them anymore. 

Forrest let himself cry again. Calli didn’t hug him or assure him in any way, and he soon heard the footsteps signaling the approach of his other friends. 

Forrest had saved Calli from drowning in the river not that long ago. 

Now she had saved him from drowning in guilt, pity, and sorrow over something that was beyond his power. 

The story isn’t over yet. 

“I’m sorry,” he whispered again. Calli was about to speak, but Forrest interrupted. “Stop. I don’t want to hear anymore of your lengthy pep talks. You said you needed me, so I’m here.” 

“We do need you,” Morgan assured him, but Forrest wasn’t having it. 

“You’re right,” Forrest decided. “You do need him - but not as much as I need you. Starting tomorrow, the past is past. We’re going to find Baelle and make her pay for every single person she’s destroyed. And we’re going to do it together.” 

He looked up, meeting Calli’s eyes. A smile had taken form on her lips, and tears were in her eyes. He saw Morgan’s grim determination, Margo’s excitement. He saw Rae grinning from ear to ear, and Bethany nearly on the verge of tears as well. He saw more than that too, more than random people. 

He saw his friends. 

“Together,” Rae echoed softly. 

“Together.” “Together.” “Together.” The others passed around the word until finally it came back to Forrest. 

“To happy endings,” he cheered. 

The others joined him, and Forrest felt peace at last, settling inside his chest like warm honey. No longer would he be tormented by the Beast or his father. Nor would he ever worry about his Curse again. 

“Now,” Forrest mumbled. “Does anyone know if Layene has good biscuits? I’m starving.”

© 2021 A.L.

Author's Note

Wow. I can't believe I just finished that (and that both of the endings to this series end with thoughts of food - which should tell you a bit about me). Thank you for all the support, and if you have any comments, questions, or anything else please contact me. This is by far my longest story at roughly 114000 words, which I'm super excited about. This series is also not over - I plan to finish it as a trilogy with the third book probably being titled The Emerald-Opal Heir sometime over the 2021 summer. Again, I hope you enjoyed and happy Reading.

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on February 1, 2021
Last Updated on February 1, 2021
Tags: adventure, fantasy, blessed, cursed, fiction, mythology, death, love, friendship, kingdom, prince, princess, queen, king, youngadult, ya, goddess, sword



I'm a teen, I'm just looking for advice on how to improve my stories. Any advice is appreciated. I hope to publish one of my stories for real in the near future. more..