Cressida

United States

she/her | mixed
aspiring scientist and writer | musician

status: constantly eating cheetos

joined: late april, 2020

Message to Readers

There’s probably some typos in here, but I’m too tired to search them out as of now. I hope you enjoy this? Check the footnotes if you want to read the prior installment of this series thing? Miniseries? I don’t even know

ii. ice, death, and necromancy

May 24, 2020

FREE WRITING

7
Summer passes silently in a torrid rage, and Winter eats her succulent trees and lofty breezes. Death never seemed like such a gift until you were crouched in an alleyway, grim-coated and shivering, trying to live off of rancid berries and affluence's trash heaps. Crops had died when Winter grabbed her bony hands around Summer's gleaming throat, and famine devours your city whole. You used to think your city of sinners deserved it- the heretics love their blasphemy so, and the hypocrites dine on bigotry- but that was before you lost your job as a crop picker, lost your apartment too, and gambling dens and dealing hallucinogens became the only honest living left in this city.
You used to have pictures of them- Vanja, your mother- but your picture frames grew dirty like caskets in the ground and this city loves to swallow and steal anything that might mean something to someone. Now, worn-down memories float in your mind: laughing on the piers with Vanja, helping your father plant flowers outside your brick house, your mother's creased face when she told you that your father passed (passed, never died, never murdered, because murdered implies there was someone to blame, and they could never blame the gods), moving into your moldy, rat-infested apartment, discovering Vanja's frozen body, fingers gone cobalt, crying alone in your apartment when your shock fragmented like the mirrors you broke in your rage and you were left, alone, no family, no anything.
And the gods? You used to think you’d make them pay- torture them, run them to the ground- but now you just want to survive, day by day. You can wallow in your self-pity in another lifetime, but surviving is for this one. (And still, when the sun rests his head on the warm, bloody pavements and the moon tilts her gleaming face up into the stars, you indulge in your revenge fantasies. Imagine their golden blood running dry and cold from their aristocratic brows, forming gold icicle crowns). And Death never seemed so bittersweet (like rotting corpses or decaying flesh), and you wait for the gods to come and solidify your veins, turn your heart cold and icy, too (because you don't seek out revenge now- revenge is a twilight fantasy- you seek out Death’s dark cloak).
But tonight, Death comes, finally, to collect what is due, and death is a girl who blends and glides beneath the shadows, approaching your dark-alley abode with slick footsteps and a chilling stare. You crouch beside the dumpster of the gambling den, but she seeks you out anyway, following your shifting movements with her eyes. It’s not until she steps out into the harsh lamppost lighting that you see them, and you flinch back under their gaze. Death’s eyes are stained gray and vacuous- corpse eyes, Gunda’s own stare burnishing your heart (and you never fathomed before how deeply, how desperately you wanted death to hold you in her arms and carry you to Gunda’s lands until she is right in front of you, prickling goose bumps on your skin).
“Take me with you,” you blurt out, pleading. Your breath turns pale in the chilled air, “I am ready”
Death raises a pallid brow, “But I have yet to make my offer” she waves a gloved hand around in a wild, uncontainable gesture, night’s shadows concealing half her face. A ring imprinted with icy peaks and rose thorns rests on her finger, “I could easily scam you out of a good deal”
Death doesn’t make deals, and only certain people wear rings like that. Your heart drops, a smile vanishing, “Oh, you’re a higher family” you avert your eyes disappointedly, “I’ll leave your alley, don’t worry. I’m... sorry” You push yourself off the ground, a blush creeping up your neck at the fact that this higher family girl is watching you dust the dirt off your shirt and just saw your sleeping in her family’s alleyway. You need to be more careful about the dens you sleep near.
But, Death- this higher family girl- snatches your wrist with bony fingers, and you flinch away from her cold touch (dry ice scorching your skin). Surprisingly, she flinches too, “I’m not here to evict you, I’m here to offer you some... much needed help,” she adjusts her gloves, eyes scanning a nearby wall, “I heard about your family. What the gods did to them-”
“I don’t need your pity, too. Please” you interrupt, sick of the way people look at you now, but now you hate the way you’re begging even more.
“I’m not here to offer pity” the girl snaps. She closes her eyes, shakes her head, and responds more softly “I can bring you to Gunda’s lands. I can help you burn her on a stake, help you kill all of those gods. We can smear their blood across this city, watch it weep gold. I only ask a small favor in return” 
A cackle weaves up your throat, spills out of your mouth, and for the first time in months you’re laughing (sardonically, but at least it’s laughter), “You? Helping me?” You shake your head. The very thought is ridiculous, “You and your... people, they don’t touch us. The lower families. And, they do not meddle with the gods. Are you crazy? Are you willing to throw their reverence away? And besides- you are still weak compared to them. They’ll kill us in seconds” The gods adore the higher families- they gave them gifts and a fraction of their own power, made their blood run golden like the immortal ones themselves. The higher families gained affluence and god-touched abilities, while the lower families were left to scrounge and fight for the left overs. 
The girl laughs back and clenches her fists. The temperature drops, and inky darkness crawls up around her arms and morphs into cloaked spirits with skull heads and spiny backs. Your arms shiver and shake, ice forming on your skin, as you back away from the spirits, but they corner you, caressing your cheek, pulling back your hair. One of the spirits pulls back it’s hooded cloak, and it’s Vanja, staring back at you with full ebony eyes, ink dripping like Death’s tears from her lids and lips. You gasp, reach out towards her, but the girl snaps her fingers. Vanja screams as she is dragged back into whatever realm she came from.
 You stare at where she used to stand, mouth ajar, “What- what are you?” you look up at her, but she glances away, pale hair obscuring her face like a mortician’s sheet.
“I’m someone who can exact revenge. I’m someone who can bring down the gods, break their shoulders, make them fall to their knees” she extends her slender, leather-clad hand, “I’m Kajsa, and you’d be a fool to reject my deal. Are you in?”
You grab her hand.
Word Count: 1149. This is double the length of the first one. Oops. I’m sorry (I actually wanted this one to be shorter, but alas).
- I think I'll continue to make installments because I'm kind of jiving with this?
- Check here for the first installment: i. oracles, oceans, and gods

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4 Comments
  • black_and_red_ink

    Omg I'm fangirling over this. I love it so much and I really hope you continue this because you really left on a cliffhanger here.


    6 months ago
  • joella

    this is incredible! your use of 2nd person and personification bring this piece to life. you should definitely make this a miniseries!!


    6 months ago
  • sunny.v

    i’m a simple girl, i see the word necromancy, i click. gorgeous, gorgeous writing. usually second person pov i only tend to read a lot of in poetry, but you did it so wonderfully even in a narrative story. amazing amazing work!!


    6 months ago
  • muirann

    I love this. Your use of second person point of view is incredibly creative and well done. I also admire your use of metaphors-- the entirety of the text gives off a vibe of a deeper meaning as if every character and object symbolizes something but I can't put together exactly what. My favorite line is "You used to think your city of sinners deserved it-- the heretics love their blasphemy ." And that used in comparison to how the character/reader feels now-- beautiful character arc. Amazing!


    6 months ago