Death of A Darling
31 Days of Writing like a Ninja Assignment #18
She was ahead more than ten yards unaware that Bruce shadowed her. He may not have been formed for her protection, but Megaera owned his scroll. He served her. She had Bruce shadow and protect Nix for centuries. He didn’t mind. Golem were desired by many, and a sculpted golem who could pass for a man was a priceless commodity. Megaera taught him, fed him, and treated him well. His last three masters had not been so kind.
The scroll under Bruce’s tongue scorched his taste buds with bitterness. Enemies were near. He could hear whispered breath and frantic heartbeats. The beach appeared empty save for himself and Nix. He was not so easily fooled. Bruce could smell the danger. He quickened his pace to catch up with her.
A wisp of a man danced across the sand singing strange, foreign words. Acrid metallic smoke billowed from his hands over the sand. A poisonous fog spread across the beach. Had Bruce been a man, he would have fallen to his knees paralyzed. The same would be Nix’s fate if he did not catch up to her or confront the scrawny mage. Desperation hurried his pace as he pushed to reach Nix.
Bruce crashed hard to the wet sand. Seaweed had snaked around his ankle. The mage’s eerie songs gave it a life of its own as it coiled around his body. Nix fell. He watched her limp form hit the sand. The mist had worked its magic and robbed her of mobility. She lay in a crumpled heap and stared at him transfixed. Bruce struggled fiercely against the increasing hold of the plants. Magic made them supernaturally strong. He could not free himself.
The mage approached Bruce slowly. Wheezing laughter erupted from his sneering lips. Bruce clenched his jaw in defiance. As long as he kept his mouth closed and his scroll safe, he would have a chance to gain the upper hand. All he needed was patience. This weasel of a man would not break him.
Nix’s eyes widened in panic. She lay frozen unable to move her body, helpless, useless. The mage struck Bruce repeatedly. The force of his blows surprisingly strong. Bruce should have sustained violent injury had he been a man. Golem do not bleed or bruise or break, but the distance between them only allowed Nix to see the brutal beating of her friend. She believed him to be human.
For almost an hour the mage bludgeoned Bruce solely for the pleasure of Nix’s rage, fear, and torment. Bruce wanted to call out to her to reassure her that he was unharmed. He remained quiet. If he opened his mouth the mage could steal his scroll and command him. Bruce would not allow that.
The mage licked his lips and withdrew a strange blade from its sheath. He chanted in a singsong voice as he pressed the blade into the soft flesh of his hand. Blood seeped from the cut over his palm and down his arm. He returned the blade and pulled a wrought iron key on a chain from around his neck.
He leered at Bruce as he coated the key in his own blood. The cool iron pressed against Bruce’s lips and forced his mouth open. The mage used his bloodied fingers to probe and explore Bruce’s mouth while he was powerless to close it. The scroll resisted the mage’s touch and tried to bury itself into Bruce’s throat. His spidery fingers pried it loose and with a swift jerk, the mage tore it from Bruce’s body.
His skin took on a deathly pallor and the light began to fade from his eyes. The mage forced Bruce’s limbs and posed him in a pantomime of grief as the life slowly drained from his form. Nix wailed silently as the mage approached. He gripped her chin in his hand and lifted her towards him. He latched his mouth over hers forcing his tongue into her mouth. She wanted to vomit, to fight, to scream, to bite his vile tongue off and spit it into the sand. Her poisoned body betrayed her. He dropped her abruptly and wiped his mouth with the back of his bloodied hand. “I expected a creature of fire and vengeance to taste better. What a disappointment.” he sneered. He placed the scroll in her hand and closed her fist within his. He muttered a spell that lit it on fire within her hand.
The mage leaned in close. His rancid breath bathed her face as he whispered in her ear “Balthazar sends his regards.”. Without a trace, he vanished and left Nix to recover. A statue of a man kneeling in the sand his head bowed into his hands was all that remained of Bruce.