I talk about writing a lot, but I haven’t actually posted any of my own, have I? So, here is something (very short) that I wrote this week. It’s part of a larger universe that I started a VERY long time ago with a friend, a universe we entitled “Nettle Cypress.” I had stopped writing in that universe in my early twenties, but returned to it this year after discovering an old manuscript my friend had started back when we were head over heels for our characters. So, just a small thing. You don’t need to know the world to appreciate it.
“A First Meeting” by Joan Sartori
Wyn Amaranth entered the hospital room early, the morning sun’s rays filtered through white blinds and thin cotton curtains. It was a small room, but private, and his cerulean blue eyes scanned the room behind his wire-rimmed glasses. They settled on a small figure on a bed and he took long strides towards the girl, pulling a chair from the side as he sat down at her bedside, crossing one leg over the other at the knee as he ran his fingers through his chestnut brown hair. The little thing slept, her mass of raven hair like a dark halo against her pale face, her small chest rising up and down with her breathing. He studied her face for a long moment: long eyelashes and cheeks the color of pale pink roses, her lips a sweet red, as if painted on by an artist. A strand of her hair had fallen over her eyes and he brushed his fingers across her petal soft cheek to tuck it behind her ear.
His assistant had written him a report about the girl late last night. Her name was Sylvie Black, seven years old, and the youngest child of a certain Sutton and Olivia Black. Wyn had found the girl the night previous, having been in search of her brother, Ian. The boy had been a member of the Kintala, a criminal organization that Wyn and Wyn’s father had long been hunting. Wyn had intended to “persuade” Ian to give him information on the organization, but found the boy dead alongside his mother, having shot himself after murdering Olivia (or so Wyn assumed). Wyn would’ve left the scene at that, if he had not heard a little girl crying, shuddering under the weight of her own mother. Wyn had picked the girl up then, she soon collapsing in his arms, and brought her to the hospital.
The question then became what to do with her. In a meeting with his superiors earlier that morning, the idea was brought up that she should be placed in foster care. However, in a sudden move, Wyn had offered to take her in himself. Even Wyn had been surprised at his decision, made as it was on the spot. Still, as he sat in the hospital, gazing at the small creature, he grew more and more fond of the idea.
He had no desire for children really–he was much too young at twenty years old–but this girl wasn’t to be his daughter. He would raise her, sure, but she would never be HIS child. Wyn turned to the girl again, taking her small hand in his. It was warm to the touch, soft as silk. There was no denying she was a pretty little girl, a small cherub in the white sheets. He decided his servant, Myrrha, would raise her for the most part, teach her all the manners and etiquette that the prestigious (and wealthy) Amaranth family would require of her. Beyond that, he hoped it would be a thorn in the Kintala’s side, her father having been related (by marriage) to a certain Lucian Meredith, a man Wyn had long considered at least one part of the masterminds behind the organization.
Ah, Sutton. Wyn remembered Sutton. Weeks ago, he had been hunting the man on a warrant for his arrest. He had linked the man to a certain drug ring through a raid and hoped that Sutton would give him the information he needed to put Lucian in his custody. Of course, Sutton had tried to run away from Wyn, tried to escape him. He nearly would have gotten away too if it was not for the man’s idiocy.
It was a cold night, the precipice between winter and spring, where the ice had melted but the night was frigid. Wyn had been agitated, annoyed that he had trekked through two apartment buildings on his hunt and had run out of bullets due to the no name lackeys that had gotten in the way. Out of impulse, he had grabbed a pair of scissors from a rundown apartment. The blades were blunt to the touch as Wyn ran his fingers down them, but that didn’t matter. It was in the woods behind the second complex that he found Sutton, stumbling over himself in the mud as Wyn stalked him, a prowling predator finding prey.
Sniveling, the man begged for his life and Wyn decided then and there that he didn’t need him anymore, that obviously he knew nothing that would help him. And so, he had taken hold of the man, picking him up by the collar before throwing him down again. He plunged the blunt blades then into the man’s throat. It took some force, but he pushed through the larynx, the screaming dying into gurgles of blood. Sutton Black was long dead before the other two agents arrived on the scene. It was easy enough to claim that Wyn had acted on self-defense.
Two weeks and now Wyn sat besides Sutton’s daughter. She looked nothing like the man (or her mother, for that matter). Gently, he placed the girl’s hand back on the bed. He wondered if she would be anything like her parents or if his raising would create a whole different creature. The great nature versus nurture debate. Then again, he knew nothing of the girl aside from a few facts about her circumstances.
He looked to the file at the end of her bed. It was the medical report. Flipping through it, he found that there had been some trauma to her head and that there was a chance it had caused some damage. Wyn looked back at the sleeping girl. She fidgeted in the sheets, little gasps as her little brows scrunched up in her dreaming. She must’ve been having a nightmare and Wyn returned the medical file back to its place to return to her side. She began to thrash in her sleep and a certain swell of emotions took hold of Wyn, a rush of adrenaline he had not felt in a long time. Instinctively, he picked the girl up, cradling her in his arms.
She woke up then, brown eyes wide as they looked up to him and little tears at their corners. A flash of memory caught his inner vision and he remembered his mother gazing at him with worry when he had scraped his arm against the thorns of the rose bushes in their garden, her brown eyes concerned and her black hair mussed from rushing to his side. It was gone just as soon as he remembered it and Wyn found himself staring at little Sylvie’s face, her plump cheeks ruddy with emotion. With a soft touch, he brushed the tears from her eyes.
“It’s okay, little one. I’m here to protect you.”
“Who… Who are you?” came her soft, child voice. “Where.. Where am I?”
“You’ve had an accident,” Wyn replied. There was something all too innocent in her face and his usually cold heart melted at the sight. “I’m afraid you are the only one of your family left. But I’m here to take you home. You’re going to be staying with me from now on.”
“I’m… I’m scared.”
“You don’t have to be afraid,” he cooed, lifting her up in his arms fully. “My name is Wyn and I’m going to be taking care of you. Do you remember anything?”
“N-no,” she shook her head, a cute little gesture. “But I had a bad dream…”
Wyn pressed her cheek to him with a soft touch, cradling her so that his breath was in her hair. “There, there. It’s just a bad dream. I’m going to protect you from now on, so you don’t have to be scared of anything.”
“You… You promise?” she hiccuped.
“Of course, darling. You’ll always be safe with me. I promise.”
He kissed the crown of her head then and he felt the flutter of her eyes closing, her breathing against his. She fell asleep in his arms and he sighed, patting her back as she dozed. Perhaps this would be more complicated than he thought. He let her rest, then, continuing to hold her until he was sure she could sleep on her own. For the whole morning, he never left her and took her home soon after breakfast. He would file his report later.