Second Chance | A Short Story

Disclaimer: This is a short story I wrote at the beginning of the year and which never got a chance to be published, so now here it is, out in the world. Enjoy!

***

His left eye burst into a river of blood.

Daan screamed. Thick red droplets fell onto his laboratory reports and experimental drawings. He stumbled away from his desk, knocking down his chair. He covered the wound with a trembling hand.

It had already begun.

He winced as he went for his desk and grabbed the little amethyst next to his pencils.

“Prepare for imminent evacuation,” he said, clutching the pebble so hard that his knuckles turned white. “I repeat, prepare for imminent planetary evacuation.”

“What?! Now?!” The voice coming through the stone was clear. It felt like Troi, his best friend and the most competent engineer of the century, was standing beside him. “I thought we’d have more time to complete the remaining flying ships…”

“Well we don’t. We need to evacuate the whole planet now. Every citizen of Homothea has to be rescued before…” He cried out as more blood gushed down his cheek. The amethyst slipped from his fingers.

“What’s going on? DAAN! Answer me!”

Daan rushed to the nearby washing basin.

“Nothing. Just do as I say.”

“Okay, but on one condition: I wanna see you among the refugees at the ship station as soon as possible, you hear me?”

He bit his lip to muffle a scream as he detached his darkened hand from his eyelid and placed it under cold running water.

“Yes.”

“I assume that you’ll still go and do something stupid before you decide to come here. At least, try not to die.”

“Our planet is dying. What do you expect?”

He cleaned his face with a towel. He could no more open his left eye. The other one was staring back at him through the wall mirror in its usual purple glow. It shone with a yearning to survive.

“I don’t care if you’re the Mastermind of Planets and depend on stars to live. You have infinite control and knowledge about the galaxies, so the death of one mere planet can’t be the cause of yours. Besides, as you say yourself, there’s our second chance.”

Daan grabbed the talking stone and put it in his pocket. Before he reached for the door, he glanced out of the window at the blue planet gleaming in the dark sky.

Earth, he wanted to call it. Soon, it would be their new home.

Unless he stopped the upcoming disaster.

“You’re right,” he said. “Now, get to work. We’ve wasted too much time already.”

He rushed out of the house. It was not too late. He could still save Homothea. All he had to do was to find her before she did the irreversible.

She was Keios, the Mastermind of Chaos… and his friend.

Daan had seen it coming. He’d once read that unrequited love was the most common feeling in the world, but the author had forgotten to mention that it led to the most destructive actions too. Homotheans were all unlucky that it had struck Keios. In the end, the existence of their world depended on the lovesick impulses of a young woman.

Who, since childhood, had not been told of the famous curse inflicted on Chaos? Chaos, an entity born to destroy, had fallen in love with her best friend and worst enemy: the Mastermind of Light, one born to create. Friend, because together they ensured the balance of all the elements of the world; enemy because Light would not reciprocate Chaos’s infatuation for him.

Daan ran as fast as his powers could allow him. The soil beneath his shoes was red and dry. Her power was going beyond limits. He had to be quick.

He found her at the top of the highest hill. Her favourite place, from where she claimed she could look after the whole world… and rule it.

Keios was engulfed in thick black smoke. Daan noticed that Light was with her. The latter looked lifeless, devoid of his usual white shine, his white clothes patched with dirt. Keios had both of her hands around his neck. She was strangling him.

Daan’s left eye suddenly reopened. His blood spattered on the ground.

“Daan? What are you doing here?”

She loosened her grip on Light for a second. The body stirred.

It was not too late.

“Keios, please, don’t do this,” Daan said.

“Why shouldn’t I?” Her pitch black eyes glowed. “Am I doomed to unhappiness? I’m tired of everyone rejecting me because I’m considered ‘evil’!” She looked around her. The sky was turned red. Everything else burst into flames. “I’m tired of all this!”

“If you kill Light, you’ll forever destabilize the order of our home. Everyone will die. Everything will be destroyed. Homothea. Our home. Is that how you don’t wanna be ‘evil’?”

“Homothea is dying. But it will be reborn. As Mars. A fitting name for a chaotic place.”

“Come on, I know you better than this. I know you have a good heart. A new world filled with destruction and war? Where everyone would live in fear and misery? You’d never do this to your people.”

Meanwhile, inside his pocket, Troi was waiting for his final command. It was either to start the evacuation to Earth or bring everyone back to the safety of their home. He could do this.

Keios laughed. While one hand was still holding on to Light, a spear appeared in the other.

“You don’t understand, do you?” she said. “The balance of the world is the cause of all problems. The symmetry of pure elements. The moon against the sun. The sea against the earth. Light against Chaos. Don’t you see? It’s the order that you cherish that’s the source of discrimination against me. To keep a world stable, there has to be labels. Good versus evil. And I’ve been thrown into the wrong side against my will.”

She held Light closer to her, in a lover’s embrace. “I never wished for any of this.”

“It’s always possible to change your label, Keios. A label becomes invalid if it no longer fits its owner. You only have to…”

“No. I’m sorry, both of you.”

The spear went directly through his heart. Daan fell to the ground and the whole world went blue.

END

An Evil Nymph.

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