Jun 28, 2011

V Files: Chapter 7 - The Church Girl

by Sama Khawaja

Swerving the bike to a halt, Destiny gazed up at the tall elegant spires, smooth cold walls and beautifully stained windows of the building looming in front of her. The Church of Torch. It was once a grand building. In fact, it was the only church available in the whole of Healex. The government body didn’t want its people following a new leader of any sort. So they made sure they demolished every religious building they could find. Except the one in the city of Torch. The Church of Torch wasn’t just any church. It belonged to a very wealthy and renowned man who was also the benefactor of the Hova Project. This man supported the Church and the family who cared for it. They were a humble and respectable sort; a loving husband, a devoted wife and a lovely daughter by the name of Bianca.
Destiny’s stomach clenched as her mind forced her to remember the girl with her vermillion tresses, her laughing turquoise eyes and her petite frame that River embraced every time he saw her. She was his first and his whole life. They had been childhood friends up until River had been inducted in the army. He was reunited with her after he joined Vice but that was short-lived. The Church’s benefactor passed away, leaving the place up for grabs and vulnerable to attack.
On 1st January 1998, exactly ten months ago, the church was attacked by the Hova army. It had been a bloody massacre since it had been the start of the New Year and most of the citizens had congregated there to repent for the previous year. How ironic that the one place of peace was also the one place of the most brutal bloodbath in the history of Healex. The statistics claimed that a mere seventy had perished that day. But Destiny knew how many had died. She had been sent there along with the rest of Lethal Vice to stop the madness that day. She had never seen River so agitated, so worried and so livid. She felt so sorry for him. Sorry he had to witness his comrades killing innocents he had worked so hard to protect. Sorry he had been too late to save her. Sorry he had to watch her die as a bullet was driven through her chest.
The ancient doors creaked as she pushed them open. Nobody was permitted to enter it anymore. The government let it stand as a reminder to the people of what happened when they disobey them. Her hands balled into fists. But it was an unfair world after all.
After that day, River had changed. He preferred to be alone; to train alone; to eat alone. And yet, he would crave for her company. But Destiny jilted him. Not because she felt nothing but she feared to feel something. If she finally acknowledged his feelings, would he acknowledge hers? Or would he continue to revel in the memory of Bianca? Perhaps that’s why she jilted him. She was afraid he would expect her to be like his Bianca.
She sighed. Sometimes she wished he had never loved Bianca…
The high ceilings echoed her footsteps as she approached the pulpit. The flagstone floor had cracked in places to sprout little beds of daffodils and daisies, creating a space of solitude and beauty. Upon reaching the pulpit, she bent on her knees, clasped her hands in front of her and began in an awkward tone, ‘Hi up there; how’s it going? I guess you probably don’t know me ‘cause I never come here but, well, this is important so I decided who else can help me but the big boss himself, huh? Anyways, it’s about love. I know, I know; you’re probably going to say, ‘Just go love and be loved.’ But it’s not that easy! Hey, I don’t even know who I trust let alone love! I need a sign. Any sign that might help me know I’m doing something right! I wonder if you’re even listening to me right now…’
Destiny jumped up and instinctively placed her hands on Ebony and Ivory but relaxed when she saw River down the aisle.
‘I needed some time alone to think,’ she said hastily.
‘Oh,’ he murmured and turned around to leave. ‘Sorry.’
‘River,’ she blurted out before she could stop herself. However, it made him stop.
‘I’m sorry, Dee, I shouldn’t have come on so strongly,’ he suddenly said. ‘I just…missed having someone…’
Destiny felt a pang of jealousy as his eyes roved the church. She started forward in his direction.
‘Tell me why, Dee,’ he uttered when she was just a few feet away. ‘Why do you push me away?’
She hesitated before saying,’ I’m afraid.’
‘Of what?’ he asked as he turned around to face her.
‘That I’m going to hurt you.’
‘It’s my past,’ she said in a strained voice. ‘It keeps coming back to haunt me. So I’m afraid of what it holds. And of myself.’
Those liquid green irises suddenly mirrored confusion.
‘Why?’ he asked perplexed.
‘Because I don’t think I’m human,’ she whispered fearfully.  


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