A Trampled Rose Chapter 2


Slipping through an endless dream. Water surrounds me, cold and biting at my skin like daggers. . . I’m drowning. Drowning for hours. . .and yet I never die. Thats what my dreams feel like, and it’s not much better than what I face in my waking hours. I’d rather not wake at all, because. . . at least in my dreams, my pain in numbed by the icy cold water that engulfs my memories. I can forget.

But again, I’m awake. Like every other day, the soft sway of the ship rouses me from my dream and casts me into the sunlight where I try and live like everyone else. Even if I don’t feel like anything but a hollow shell.

My eyes remain closed, I try to drown out the lull of waves crashing against the wooden hull of the ship, the sounds of the crew shuffling about, leading us towards our next destination. I don’t want to wake up, I don’t want to start this routine over anymore, I just want to sleep.

But something’s different. A warm hand rests against my cheek, strong but gentle caressing my skin with a delicate touch of calloused fingers. A soft voice whispers my name, “Nikki.”

That voice is so familiar. . . but why? Why does his voice hold such care and gentleness in it’s tone. Why does it sound so. . . genuine? Truthful with so much more meaning than Miki’s emotionless words of comfort.

Why does it make my heart pound within my chest? Why do I open my eyes just for him? Just to see his face, to see those deep crimson hues staring back at me, so much concern flicking in their depths. His plush lips quirk into a relieved smile. . .smiling at me. “You passed out.” he said to me.

I don’t remember falling unconscious, but I remember falling into his arms hugging him so tightly. But I don’t remember him hugging me back.

I can’t manage to find the words to say. I stare at him blankly, not even able to move. His hand left my cheek to brush back a strand of hair. God his hands were so warm against my cold skin.

“Nikki?” His smile faded and his touch ceased.

I could only moan a “Hnn. . .” A protest that I don’t think he understood.

I heard the sounds of soft silk rustling, the grind of a chair being moved towards the bed.

“We’ll be in Guldove soon. . .”

“I know.” And I did. I could tell from the cool air and freshness of salty air, the calmer waves and the life. . .the birds that flew over the sea, preying on what they could find.I could tell by simply laying there, breathing, listening and feeling the world around me. One of the only skill that I inherited from my father.

“Right. . . I forget you have pirate blood in your veins.” Karsh mumbled, and I could help but chuckle. . . I laughed. Laughter of sarcasm, but. . . laughter nonetheless. It had been so long since I last dared to laugh. It felt strange.

“I never though of it that way.” I told him. “Probably should have though. . .”

Karsh only nodded, threading his slender fingers through his lavender shaded hair. He was watching me. I knew he wanted to ask me again.

Am I okay? I already gave him that answer.


I was far from okay.

He managed to stay away from that question however. Instead, he asked me “Why?”

“. . . Why?. . .” A took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. God, that question could have been referring to a million things, but I knew exactly what he was referring to. A scowl formed on my lips, I flipped over on my stomach and buried my face in the softness of my pillow. “Why. . .?” I mumbled again into the fabric. . .What could I say? Why did he even need to know? He hadn’t had the decency to ever contact me after. . . after everything. I fought beside him, but after it was all over, I never saw him again. What rite did he have to know why? Or know anything about me at all? Anger flared inside of me.

I lifted my head. Mascara and faded black lipstick was smudged against my white pillow, ruined. I cast my glare at Karsh. “Do I look like a pirate to you?”

I took him by surprise. I hadn’t answered his real question. “. . .What?”

“I told you I never thought of pirate blood being in my veins. You asked why, and I told you.”

“Oh. . .”

Yeah. . .thats right. You abandon me once, you abandon me forever Karsh. Better luck next time.

“Why are you here, Karsh?” I asked. His turn now. My mind could not figure out a single reason why Karsh would be here.

He looked at me strangely, noting the hostile tone in my voice.

“I managed to bribe your captain for cheap passage to Guldove. There were no other ships heading that way except yours.”

“Why didn’t you just swim there?”


“The reefs. They line a clear path to Guldove. You could have swam there, or better yet, walk if there was a low tide. Don’t you know big ships have to take the long way around to Guldove?” How could Karsh have lived in Vipor Manor and never known that?

He didn’t say anything. I noticed he was avoiding my eyes. Why was he doing that? . . . Unless. . . “You didn’t want to get your hair wet did you?”

My answer was a mischievous grin on his lips. I was right.

“You’re a warrior, a Deva and yet you’re afraid to get your hair wet? Thats pathetic.” How could someone in such high honors as him ever be afraid to get a little sea salt in his hair? And yet it didn’t shatter the image of him. I always knew he prided his hair more than anything. Even if he didn’t outright show it. I could see it from far away though. They he’d flick it over his shoulder before a fight, the way he constantly ran his fingers through it when we traveled, or how he’d always face the wind just so he could ‘Feel the wind in his hair.’ He could never account for any ordinary knight in chunky armor and gruff features. He was anything but that. . .

His arms crossed over the smooth expanse of his chest, nearly bare save for the unbutton shirt he wore. His eyes narrowed in on me. “Nikki. . . you’re not much better. A pirate rockstar? Who dresses in women cloths wears make up? I don’t think you’re one to talk at all.”

I flinched. Those words went meant to hurt, but they did. Karsh was like everyone else. He only saw me as a freak. . .something he could never possibly understand, or want to. I was just. . . something in he eyes. Something that he could tease and get away with. Did he ever even see me? Didn’t he know that I wasn’t like this once? He didn’t. “Get out.”


“I said get out!” I cried, my fingers clenched my smudged pillow and threw it at him. “Get out!” Tears stung my eyes and pain swelled up in my chest. I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. Why did I care so much?

“Nikki, wait!” He tried to protest, stand, trying to touch my shoulder. He was doing the same thing Miki did. I pushed his hand away, I pushed him away, shoving my fists against his chest, driving him out of my room.

“Just leave me alone Karsh!” I pushed again, out of the door way, out onto the deck where my crew watched with confused gazes. Hot tears were streaming down my face, trailing little lines of mascara with them. But I didn’t care. I pushed once more. Karsh never saw the side of the ship. One final shove and he went toppling over. I saw fear in his eyes before he slipped beneath the waves.

Your hair is wet Karsh. . . What does that make you now?

I turned and walked away, nothing left to say. Nothing left to do.

Man overboard. . .

I locked my door and wept.

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