The Cost of Betrayal

49+ trendy funny relationship mems comment #drawingprompts

Level of Concern — Twenty One Pilots

Nord Mead — Miracle of Sound

What Goes Around Comes Around Cover — Alesana


We sat in a room filled to the brim with nothing that mattered and I could only stare at the iridescent lights that shone off the reflection of her metallic face, washing it in hues of purple and electric blue. She didn’t look at me, fingering the bottle of Dragon’s Breath Liqueur with a human finger, the sound a softer clink that the sharp, crisp CLINK that resided and bounced off the walls as I ripped it out of her hands, metal hitting metal with with a sharp hiss that only punctuated my anger.

Once, my only concern was how Lydia only ever seemed to care about two things: drinking and killing.

I’d give everything to have that that.

I just might have to.

Lydia doesn’t even look at me, still staring outside the window of our 23rd story flat with a longing that I used to dream she’d focused in my direction.

I don’t dream at all, anymore.

Now, all I felt was concern more heightened, it had reached a level I’d never experienced before; never knew I could.

For life. For our society as we knew it. For her.

Not that she cared, anyway.

When did she ever?

Finally, I broke the silence. If taking away her first love–alcohol–wasn’t enough to sway her mind, she was more serious than I thought. “You can’t go out there, Lyd.”

Her head snapped over to look at me, black eyes unforgiving and unrelenting, windows into her soul that were blacked out by obsidian curtains. “And you can’t expect me to stay in here much longer. We’re running out of supplies.”

I scoff, not believing her lie, but choosing to run along with it. The truth is harder to swallow. “You think we’re the only ones?” I move around a table that we’d flipped over to stack against the door behind me, an extra security against looters or anything fouler trying to get in. I go between her and the window, forcing myself close to her; the closest we’ve been in a long time; close as we used to be, once.

I ignore the familiar crack within as she immediately steps back, keeping her distance.

Instead, I push on. “We’re in a lock down for a reason. Corps has raided every megacity between here and the Capital, and you think they are going to just pass us by because we compiled with their rules and asked nicely?” I snort. “You go out there, they’ll kill you, Lydia. They are just looking for the excuse.”

She surprises me by taking a step forward, close enough that I can smell the Dragon’s Breath through her barely parted lips, see the barcode printed inside her cheek glowing slowly, pulsing. My tongue brushes against my own brand on reflex, a sharp hiss of electric current shocking my mouth as I touch it.

“And who’s fault is that?” she whispers, but I hold my ground, though I wrap my metal fist tightly, trying to release my anger and shame somewhere, but not succeeding in doing either.

“That doesn’t mean you need to pay for my mistakes,” I whisper back, pleading where hers had been threatening. The tone of our entire lives for the past two months, since the Corps announced war on the Commonwealth, promising to raid, find and kill every blend of human and machine that existed until they eradicated any final shred of human flesh and memory from the almost perfect metal world.

A war they fought because of me.

My left hand–my flesh hand–becomes covered in goosebumps.

It wasn’t my intention, of course. How could it be, when such a ruling, such an order, resulted in not only Lydia’s death, but my own, as well? But Lydia didn’t see it that way. Not much gray in her vision, especially in regards to me. The only person she’d let into her life since Rack died. The only person she trusted.

The latest to betray her.

I blink and return my focus into Lydia’s gaze, force myself to see the hatred there. “Please, Lyd.”

For a moment, she doesn’t move. Then, she backs away, turning and making her way through the maze of our flat, picking up her gun by the door.

She’ll die out there.

“Lyd!”

She glanced over. “Maybe next time you decide to start a war, you’ll think about what you’re willing to pay for it. And maybe, next time, it’ll finally be you, instead of somebody else.”

Before I can beg, the door slams.

My legs suddenly feel weak and heavy, like the titanium I’d crafted them out of suddenly rusted and collapsed into dust. I slip onto the floor, my body weighted against the strain and the guilt. I know that Lydia’s excuse of running out of supplies is a lie. Without the need to sleep, eat or drink, what could we possibly need just to scrape by and survive? No, Lydia left to fight, as so many others had.

As I refuse to.

Again.

I stare up into the sky from my window, not prepared for the battering ram of emotions to crash through. But I forget them all when my body suddenly goes still and a small trickle of blood starts to slip away from my nose. My heart, one of the few organs harvested from a time before, stills.

They are here.


profile-pictureNicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. With eight completed drafts in various states of revision under her belt, she has no plans of stopping.

She really can’t wait for you to read these stories.

Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters she’s killed), wishing she was the character she’s currently reading about while trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works as an academic advisor.

You can find her personal blog here. You can read all of her Muses stories here. And you can hire her for editorial services here.


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