Status: its in lowercase bc #aesthetic

A Life in Intervals


you were thirty-six when you received two gifts from remina.

you and her were sitting on the rocks on a beach. the moons were almost at their peak. the waves crashed onto the sand. it was peaceful. it was hard to believe you both could be dead in less than twenty four hours.

i've been to this planet before. it was...damn, when i was twenty-five? twenty-four?

so around the time when rycil died.

this beach exactly, i think. there's one way to find out.

you asked how.

i hid something. some precious gems. jewelry. nothing much compared to my loot at my prime, but... she shrugged. it's something.

you asked her if she wanted to look for it. you already knew the answer. of course she wanted to look, otherwise she wouldn't have brought it up.

damn right i do. she laughed. come on, let's look. together, you and her pushed the rocks to the side, searching for her stash.

when you did, a grin split her face. you asked her if this was the reason she'd asked you to come to the beach in first place. you remember she looked at you slyly. maybe.

she shifted through the valuables. i don't even remember why i did this. maybe to make myself feel like an old-school pirate. she paused awkwardly. i mean. i was a kid.

you told her that you know.

she snorted, rolling her eyes. of course you do. there was a beat.

here’s something. i think you’ll like it. her words were stiff and awkward.

she shoved something into your hands. it was a small box. you cracked it open. inside was a was a silver ring, inlaid with a bright red gem, the color of blood before one is seventeen.

you told her that you weren't really a jewelry person.

fine, i'll take it back! she huffed, and you remembered she leaned forward to take it from between your fingers, so you snapped the box shut and jerked it away, sending her sprawling over your lap. you told her that you were never going to take it off.

she sat up and snorted, folding her arms in mock upset.

you carefully reopened the box and delicately picked out the ring from its soft bedding. you remember you first tried to put it on your non-swordfighting hand's ring finger, but it was too big, so you switched it to the middle.

there's something else, remina said, uncharacteristically and suddenly solemn. you tipped your head questioningly.

she opened her jacket and pulled something small from it. there's a code amongst freebooters, if one was ever captured, their partner would...kill them.

you swallowed. you know what they'd do to rebels like us. you closed your eyes. you've sentenced enough of them to know.

and so, yes, i want you to kill me if the situation calls for it tomorrow.

you asked what about you? were you just going to be captured and unspeakably tortured? something hot and dry built in your throat. you're the sixth caste, and you don't have the biology to go into a high caste rage, but if you could, you're sure it would feel like how it felt that night on the beach.

no, no, of course not. that's where this comes in. she handed you the small box, and you remember your hands shook so you could barely open it. inside was a small perfect white sphere. if you didn't know better, you'd say it was a pearl.

but of course, you did know better.

it's poison.

you knew.

that's enough to kill someone twice my size.

tears began to sting the back of your eyes, and you threw the box back at her. you told her to go fuck herself. you told her that she was asking you to do something horrible, awful, something that went again your every instinct.

no, it's kindness. once we know we're past winning, kiss me goodbye and shoot me or stab me, whatever's handy. it's mercy.

you thought of the innocent cardinal blood whose throat was slit meaninglessly as you watched. you thought of the red bloody mess at your feet when you were thirteen. you told her not to speak to you of mercy. why did you have to it? would it be easier for you, somehow? you asked.

you've got the guts to do it! she shouted. i don't!

you called bullshit and stood up, picking your way down the rocks. you were tempted to hit her, but then she might hit her head on the stones.

she followed you. of course she did.

you walked toward the sea, stopping when the waves started to lap over your ankles.

there was silence. the two pale moons of the planet hung in the dark sky.

you tell her that you're glad you met her. you tell her that you loved your job, even though you've been scorned by it for five years. you would've done your job for the rest of your life you could've, and yet...

you told her it was worth it. (that she was worth it.)

you remember she was still quiet. you remember you didn't care, you just had to tell her that.

later, you slipped the pill tablet into the inside of your jacket pocket.