Author’s Note: This one might be very familiar to some since these drabbles will be adapted from a story I wrote last summer. There will be new stuff, though, don’t worry! This is only a shorter, refined version. APM is shortened from “a perpetuam memoria”
Since his father’s departure eight years ago, it was custom for Artemis to follow a rigid schedule. As the roots of Atlantis Complex began to set in, this sacred ritual become nigh impossible to maintain.
Artemis’ nights were sleepless or else a collection of fleeting nightmares. In the mornings, he would rise from bed, heart beating wildly, his pillows torn, and scattered across a wrinkly landscape of Egyptian cotton sheets.
He sank deeper and deeper into an abyss of loathing and pity as the complex progressed. After a trip to the past, Artemis began to have a recurring dream.
Artemis found himself on the bow of a great oaken battleship, looking down into the water. As he looked down, he saw that he wore his St. Bartleby uniform which was soaked with blood, with the left sleeve cut and the jacket shredded beyond repair.
Holly stood above him leaning on the railing and gazing across the water at a light a few hundred yards away. The hanging mist pressed in on all sides, obscuring the source, but the woman was watching intently. Butler was there as well, hunkered down so he could be on eye level with the Major. Although disoriented and somewhat lost, Artemis swallowed his words and watched silently.
As Artemis looked, the light source dimmed and turned. All of a sudden everything was clear. The bold, red print on the flank of the sinking boat was fading, but it was easy enough to read.
“A perpetuam memoria,” Artemis mouthed the words, and then, “Away from perpetual memory.”
The meaning was clear to him. He glanced back at Holly, and then to Butler. The pair was already receding into the darkness. As if experiencing this for the first time, Artemis began a panicked plea for help, for forgiveness, for anybody to come to his side. The ghostly smirk on the Major’s lips and the hateful gleam in her eyes was all that was needed to ensure Artemis that he was beyond hope. In a last attempt to free himself, Artemis called out to Butler.
“Butler, friend! Free me from these bonds! I beg you, one last chance.” Artemis screamed desperately. “Domovoi, please. If this is the last thing I ask of you, so be it.”
A begging tone began to seep into Artemis’s vain voice, but even that came to a choked stop when Butler’s deep chuckle echoed across the water followed by Holly’s razor sharp, sub-zero tones.
The Major’s cold voice froze Artemis’s heart. “One last chance, Mud Boy?”
“Are you hearing this Butler?” Holly laughed coldly. Butler chuckled again. “That would be just another too many. Goodbye, Artemis. For good.”
And then there was silence. Artemis slumped against the bow, head bowed, defeated. He took no notice as pieces of wood floated by, or even when the bloated bodies of the Fowl family surfaced. Three children and their father, all raven-haired, and the soft colors of their mother were present. The two smaller bodies were children of no more than four and the other was nearly a man.
Hours passed, but the mist did not lift, night did not pass unto day, there was no life in the ocean. There was only misery for past regrets, for lost love. The water began to turn pink, and then red but Artemis took no notice, for it did not seem to matter. A broken soul had no care for such petty burdens.
Days passed, but the boy did not stir.
Months passed, the ocean froze and Artemis was trapped.
Years passed, seasons changed, uncaring, and yet the darkness did not lift.
Artemis’s face changed slowly from a boy’s to a man’s and that was when he met another wreck, another forgotten person. Neither reacted for the longest time. They took comfort only in each other’s embrace and their broken souls fed from each other as they healed. It was the strangest, and so the most powerful, of matches. The tiny, pale hand of a beautiful woman lay in the shattered hand of a dying dark-haired man.
The two hearts, healed of injury, beat in unison as fairy and human looked into each other’s eyes. A mismatched pair of ice-cold and soft-hazel gazed into a pair of deep, smoldering gold. An unmistakable passion blossomed and grew to a baneful inferno. And yet, forlorn eyes continued to search for an end.
As the mist lifted, the moon revealed itself. All was silent except for the indistinct sound of a ship cutting through water. Still, Artemis took no notice. Nothing mattered but the soft sounds of water and the sad look reflected in those eyes of molten gold.
The woman’s eyes widened and died. The silent gilded flame was no more. Looking down, Artemis realized his mistake. A knife was plunged deep into the woman’s chest and Artemis’s hand rested on the ornate ebony hilt. And then there was blackness, dark choking darkness.
Each morning, Artemis would wake with haunted, ageless expression in his eyes.
Each morning, there would be somebody beside him. Every time, there would be a tear in their eye as they repeated over and over the same message.
“You will never be alone, Artemis. Never, never, never.”
“She has only golden eyes.” Artemis would reply in a raspy voice, “Who is she?”
Frozen in fear and devoid of any energy, Artemis could never do anything but rest, defeated, until the sun rose to warm him in a passionate embrace. When the radiance failed to appear at sunrise, he would be bedridden, sometimes for the rest of the day.
Even as Artemis worked, he would be distracted. All he could really think about was the sad golden eyes looking into his own mismatched ones. The condition continued to deteriorate like this until one day; Holly called and spoke to him of love. Artemis thought he was saved, but he would soon learn of his mistake. Those golden eyes did not belong to Holly. He had truly forgotten her blue and hazel gaze.