BLOOD POURED BETWEEN Arohini’s fingers. It gushed in great crimson waves, as if an ocean had been lit on fire; its brilliance stained the grass and the sand. The gentle murmur of the sea pulled her out of her reflections, drawing her eyes momentarily away from the man cradled in her lap.
His head was tilted sideways, so that he would not drown on the blood in his mouth. The side of Tanaru’s throat had been slashed, along with the deep gouges that covered his face and his forearms. One particularly nasty one had nearly ripped his arm off. A hunk of flesh had been severed and a fountain of red drizzled down his sleeve. It splattered the pale blue cotton like rose petals.
But these were not the worse of his wounds. That honor belonged to the one in the middle of his chest where his opponent’s sword had impaled him. Blood the color of wine gushed from the hole, while the shreds of Tanaru’s shirt were delicately becoming soaked. The midday sky was turning into a red sunset.
Arohini nuzzled his forehead, but his eyes remained close. Bending closer, she touched her cheek to his lips. His breath warmed her skin, but only faintly. She frowned, brows knitting. Lifting her left hand, she stroked his temple, breathing the syllables of his name against his soft hair. Tanaru’s one remaining eye creaked open.
“Ooo…” Leaning closer, Arohini murmured quietly, voice slurred with panic, “Stay with me, I’m here, stay with me, I’m here, I’m here…”
Tanaru forced a half smile, the right corner of his mouth twitching with the effort. His single eye shone like the sea at dusk; mahogany shadows danced beneath the water.
“You’ll be alright, I’ll take care of you, I promise you’ll be alright, I’ll take care of you, I promise…”
He croaked out Arohini’s name, raising his arm that could still move. With a gasp and muffled groan, his hand encircled her waist and Tanaru tried to sit up. Cups of wine spilled over his pants.
“No! Don’t move, this is all my fault, I’m so sorry, this wasn’t supposed to happen, this was all my fault, I never meant…”
“Quiet.” The sharp word silenced her; it hung in the air, as quick and fleeting as his breath was becoming. “Look. Sorry. Me. Happy. You.”
“But what can I do without you?!”
“I know! I know,” Arohini pleaded, pressing her nose to his. “I can never be alone, there are a thousand things to live for, there are so many people, happy people, good people, I’m not alone, no not at all, but…” Drawing away, she captured his eye with hers; the muddled shade of a forest met the watery shadows of twilight. “I have to save you, I can’t let you die.”
But she was already kissing him. A bitter metallic taste stung her tongue. Spitting, she kissed Tanaru’s forehead instead and every spot she could find that was free of blood. Her arms wrapped around his back; her fingers wiped the crimson stains from his temples and the bridge of his nose.
“I promise, I love you, I promise, I love you, I promise, I love you…”
The rhythm of her voice slowly merged with the beat of her heart. Holding herself against him, Arohini felt his heart beating along with hers, however dim, and she remembered—
Kissing Tanaru again, gentler than before, her fingertips absently strayed over his arm. Warm blood met her touch, but she continued to kiss him. As she did, Arohini would blow air into his mouth, pecking his lips then blowing again.
“Remember, can you remember, what you told me? That no matter what happened, if you were alone, if you were in trouble, remember our hearts beating together, remember I am here with you, I love you, I love you, I am here, I love you…I am here…I love you…”
Her words began to intersect with her kissing and her breathing into his mouth. Arohini felt him relax in her arms; a strange gurgling sigh escaped him. A happy burst of pleasure burned inside her, like a shining blue flower. Its fragrance was pure light and it glowed radiantly in her heart.
She had moved one of her hands to Tanaru’s neck, as if her palm could catch his blood. The swelling of his heart seemed to calm the pulsating flood of red fluid, and as the flower’s brightness infused her kisses, her fingers gently slid down his chest.
Please get better, I love you, I promise, I love you, I am here, I love you, please get better, I love you, I love you, I love you, oh, I love you
Suddenly a burst of energy, almost like lighting, startled her away from him. Tanaru tumbled onto the sand, coughing blood.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean, I didn’t…”
“Heh.” His smirk silenced her. His throat was still red but only a crimson welt remained. On his chest was a fresh looking scar, curved like a crescent moon.
“You…” Arohini gasped, crouching in the sand beside him. Her hand hovered near his cheek.
“No, you. You saved me.”
Written: 13 December 2011 | Revised: 31 July 2012
Word Count: 870
Inspired: a sudden sensation or idea in my head; I thought, near the beginning, that it was going to refer to something else, but I was surprised
A/N: I’m not sure about the names of the characters. If they are actually characters, I’m not 100% sure they’re got the right names yet. So think of it as a middle stage. It’s how I get to know my characters.