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Hero's Anthem

Estrella perched, barely breathing, on the edge of Deandre’s bed, watching intently for any signs of change.  He was resting fitfully.  His wounds had been dressed, but he had not yet regained consciousness.  Hovering over her lover’s mangled body, Estrella wept, softly, trying not to be nervous.

If he’d been in control of himself, Deandre would never have been so reckless.  She’d had no choice but to put him in a trance, though.  It was the only chance they’d had of surviving that ambush... the melee had sprung up so quickly, there was no way to back out... they’d been surrounded.  Deandre had known the risks... he’d agreed to this.

As soon as she had begun to sing, she saw the enchantment come over him.  It made his reflexes faster, stronger, and more agile.  At the same time, it had made his opponents confused and unsure of themselves, blurring their vision and muting their hearing.  Deandre had looked like something out of a video game or a movie, as though everyone around him were stuck in slow motion, and she couldn’t help but gawk in awe, secretly wishing that he could be aware of his incredible feats of strength, to be as dumbstruck as she was at the awesome power of his might in this dance of fight.  It was a beautiful and vicious ballet, with her incantation as the score.  Deandre had deftly kicked one of their assailants square in the chest, then spun around, kicking another in the head, and punched out two more.

Her amazement quickly turned to horror, though, as the combat took a dramatic turn.  With a scream of terror, she was frozen, helpless, forced to watch unfold before her an unexpected outcome she could do no more to impact.  Even a siren’s song has no effect on objects without ears.  Though she’d helped him become almost faster than life, Deandre still couldn’t outrun or sidestep a bullet.  One had barely grazed him, another had winged him, and a third, the most randomly erratic, had perhaps not found its mark, but had still landed solidly, wreaking internal damage on its course through his adrenaline charged body, she didn’t know how badly.

When the fracas was all over and the world went quiet, their foes had been taken out, but at what cost?  Deandre had met her eyes for only a moment, before collapsing to the ground, unconscious and bleeding.

What good was this “power” if it had cost her lover his life?

Estrella cursed her blood and her parents.  If only she’d been born normal, she and Deandre could have had a happy, normal life together.  Of course, without her siren song, she might never have been with him at all.  When she looked in the mirror, to her eyes, the entire overall impression she took in
could not be described as anything but pathetically average.

          “My breasts aren’t shapely, my hips are bony, I have no butt,” she quietly thought out loud, as her eyes followed the lines of the curves that taunted her from the dresser vanity, as if to mock her where she sat. 

         “It was my song that drew him to me, and my song that keeps him with me,” she sighed, resigned.

And it was that same accursed song that was to blame for his current state, her angry thoughts accused, as he lay there, silent, riddled with ricochet and very likely nearing death.

She shook away the thought.

         “You’re being melodramatic,” she told herself.  “It was just one bullet... the damage wasn’t that major... he’s going to pull through,” she encouraged out loud to no one in particular, trying to sound like she believed it.

         “He’s going to be fine,” she repeated, again, hoping it wasn’t a lie.

That’s what that back alley surgeon had told her, anyway.  It certainly wouldn’t have been her first choice to settle for a strung-out old quack set up in a ghetto hovel with the all the amenities of a third-world shanty, and no more to use for medical tools than what seemed more like medieval torture devices, some of which she dared not ask about, but they couldn’t very well go to the hospital, in their line of work.  Out here, they were too far removed from anywhere familiar, or any friendlies who knew how to handle these special cases.  In the real world, GSWs had to be reported.  Thankfully, though, most of Deandre’s had been little more than scratches.  At least her song also paid for the old sawbone’s secret services.  Not that he’d been all too aware of that fact, of course, nor much else, either, for that matter.

This was her punishment for misusing her gift, she knew it.

         “Stop it!,” she hissed at the blaming, self-loathing pity-party setting up residence in her head.

She knew this game all too well.  She saw the writing on the wall.  She was rapidly spinning into a downward spiral, and she’d have been gone with it before she knew it, if she didn’t pull out of it now.  She drew in a deep breath, and began to sing quietly to herself, a morose tale, with a lilting lullaby, and haunting undertones.  She made the song up as she went, letting the words flow through her and around her.  As the enchantment enveloped her, she became unaware of her surroundings.  Gone now was the dingy two bedroom apartment they shared; gone was the bustle of the busy cityscape that provided the constant hum of a backing soundtrack; gone were Deandre’s ragged breaths, the sound of his essence grasping to hang onto this life.

         “Wait, what?” her conscious mind bolted back.

Estrella returned to herself in an instant the moment she realizing she could no longer hear Deandre breathing.  She looked to where her lover had been laying.  He was sitting up, blinking at her.  He smiled, and whispered, somewhat hoarsely,

           “Oh, please don’t stop!  It was so beautiful!”

She threw her arms around his neck and squeezed him so tightly, for a moment he thought he would choke, and she peppered him with kisses.  Looking down at his wounds as she held him, though, she realized they had already begun to heal.  In a wave of excitement, she suddenly stopped her barrage of kisses mid-smooch, and once again burst into song, keeping her gaze tuned on the bruising around his ribcage.  It was an upbeat, joyful melody this time, and her eyes sparkled as she saw the furrows the bullets left in his skin scale back to a level even with the rest of his form, the blood dry up and evaporate, the burst capillaries release their dark hues, becoming one with his flesh once more.  As she continued to spill forth her aria, tears flowed freely down her face, and she giggled with glad-hearted glee, watching the vitality of life flowed back into the man she loved.

Yes, her song was a curse . . . but also a blessing.  With Deandre’s hopelessly devoted eyes melting into hers, her outlook brightened, and changed her tune.

. . . Maybe this life wasn’t so bad, after all.


Additional stories from this world, in chronological order:
| In The Beginning  |  Escalation  |  Project X  |  The Woodshed  |
| Meet the New Boss  |  Back To Reality   |  The Interview |
| The Turing Test  |  Ohm’s Law  |  Hero’s Anthem |


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC)
"Wept, softly, trying not to be nervous." I liked this, it was somehow so tenderly phrased. And it paints such a picture of her character.
Sep. 18th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I was hoping to convey her tenderness and affections towards Diandre.

Edited at 2014-09-19 12:13 am (UTC)
Sep. 17th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much, especially having the song heal Deandre. You also point out the problem of being a siren -- would he love her without the song?
Sep. 19th, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
Thank you, I wanted to show that her song could also be helpful,He may love her without the song, I may incorporate that into another story.

Edited at 2014-09-19 12:31 am (UTC)
Sep. 18th, 2014 05:07 am (UTC)
I like that her song can heal. It's definitely an added bonus!
Sep. 19th, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
Thank you, I wanted to add a little twist to her abilities.
Sep. 18th, 2014 11:51 am (UTC)
Really well crafted and a nice balance of the gravity and levity of the situation, something that isn't easy to do well!
Sep. 19th, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
Thank you, I didn't want to be to heavy with this story.
Sep. 18th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
I like most the ambiguity of their relationship. And I wonder if there's any way to know for sure.
Sep. 19th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
I will probably revisit these characters and answer those questions
Sep. 18th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
I really like how you did this. It's visceral; beautiful!
Sep. 19th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Sep. 18th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
It's nice getting to see other characters from this world than the ones we've become accustomed to... I'm wondering what Deandre's special "power" is, and I'd be interested to see their first meeting, so we can determine if he was naturally drawn to her without her song. I like how this came together. I feel bad for her that her song makes her self-conscious about who she is, and I hope to get to know them both better.
Sep. 19th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, There may be more to Deandre or he may just be a normal guy, we'll have to see. Hopefully I will get to write another story with them in it.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )