Fade to White

Fade to White Chapter 14

Fade to White

Chapter Fourteen

“Are we leaving now?”

Tryne stopped and straightened up so fast she nearly bent herself over backwards. “I forgot to mention that to Ken.”

“So we’re going to have to wait until you remember to tell him that you’re going away and never coming back?” Jerek asked sarcastically, lying on his bed with his elbow propping him up.

“No, I think I’ll just leave him a note or something.” Tryne sighed, slopping some of the jam she was spreading onto a slice of bread. “Is there anything else you would like to eat?”

“I’m fine. When do you think you’ll be ready to leave?”

“I don’t know, really.” Tryne laughed slightly. “I have to pack, clean some more, and make sure that everything is all set before I’d feel comfortable leaving, and don’t you dare make fun of me!”

Jerek growled. “I’ll be outside.”

After all of the events that had transpired over the last couple of days, his white shirt was stained almost black, to the point where he doubted he could ever get it clean again, and it left him with a grimy feeling. Walking a way with a bucket full of water, Jerek sat down on the grass with the sun hitting his back, and as he took off his shirt he realized that he had forgotten to grab another one to wear. Because he was already feeling comfortably settled, he decided that it didn’t matter much. Dumping the shirt into the bucket, Jerek reached in and began swirling it around.

He knew that he sounded suspicious with how much he was urging Tryne to leave, and perhaps that was why she kept delaying. Jerek couldn’t help himself though. Every moment longer that Tryne stayed, the more he worried about her safety. Nosaj knew about the place and his soldiers had obviously been there already. They could be back at any moment, and they would recognize Jerek, exposing who he was. Then Tryne would be killed, or worse . . . Jerek winced, feeling sick at the thought of Nosaj brushing his boney fingers against her smooth face, or clamping his thin yellow lips over her soft pink mouth. Leaving was the only way he could protect her from Nosaj. Keeping Tryne safe and happy was all he cared about, seeing her smile was all he lived for . . .

Jerek stopped that train of thoughts. He was getting too sappy. Suddenly, he realized that he had been doing it all wrong. Instead of waiting for Tryne to decide she was ready to leave, he should have swept her up onto his horse and ridden off with her. Eventually she would go along with it, and even thank him for stopping her from wasting valuable time, though she was probably going to be angry at him at first for doing something like that. Maybe that was what he should do, put down his washing and burst into the cottage, picking Tryne up and throwing her over his shoulder, then carry her to his horse. Jerek almost laughed at the thought.

A soft thud sounded faintly behind him, and Jerek looked over his shoulder to see Tryne, a cloth bundle at her feet and a strange, alarming expression on her face. Slowly Jerek stood up to face her, wondering what it was that caused her to react like that. In a flash he remembered, and the black rose tattoo burned into the back of his shoulder, shamefully marking him for what he really was. She had seen it.

“Tryne, I . . .”

“You work for him.”

“Tryne . . .”

“You lied to me! You said you had nothing to do with him!”

“Listen to me!” Jerek shouted, getting angry at the fact that she didn’t seem to hear him at all.

“You really are evil!”

“I never said that I wasn’t,” Jerek retorted.

“I can’t believe you’ve been working for him all this time.”

“Yeah, I have been. And you know what? I’m Nosaj’s heir. I’m the future ruler of this God-awful land. I’m his right-hand man.”

Tryne stood stunned, then shook her head. “I’m so stupid! Ken even told me I couldn’t trust you, but I didn’t listen because I . . . How could you be so manipulative?”

“I didn’t manipulate you into anything. Everything you did, you did on your own,” Jerek answered coldly. “And that was stupid of you.”

“Get out! Get away from me!” Tryne screamed, droplets forming in her eyes. “I never want to see you again!”

A pang went through Jerek’s heart, and he found himself lost for a second, unsure of how he should act, fighting against the desire to hold her. “Tryne, I . . .”

“Leave now.” She squeezed her eyes shut, turning her head away.

Silently Jerek moved past her, walking to the cottage and hastily grabbing his things, first putting on a new shirt to cover up the offending tattoo that he now loathed more than anything else in the world. Tryne was standing outside when he left, going inside and slamming the door shut as soon as he was out. Getting up on his horse, Jerek kicked its sides hard and the horse bolted forward.

Inside the cottage in the dim light that came through the window, Tryne knelt down at the side of her bed, and clasping her hands together she began to cry. In her heart she was still attached to him, she still loved him deeply, and she knew that it was wrong for her to feel that way.

On FictionPress



Fade to White

Fade to White chapter 13

Fade to White

Chapter Thirteen

Morning light spilled into the room and onto the unpleasant task that Jerek stood looking down on, the task that only he could do. Tryne was outside far away from the cottage door, and he had gotten her solid promise that she wouldn’t try to come inside. It smelled atrocious, of burnt flesh and hair, stale and overwhelming. Jerek hesitated, holding the burlap sack in his hands as he blanched slightly. The detached head looked up at him, its eyes more like melted gobs that ran down its cheeks and into its blackened lips. Crimson and black splotches were all that was left of the skin, and a few strands of red hair came from the skull. Slowly Jerek bent down and placed the bag next to the head, feeling even more sick as he got closer to it. Pushing it slightly with the toe of his boot, it stuck to his foot and jumped slightly when Jerek quickly pulled his foot away, turning and rolling along the wooden floor.

Jerek’s head went fuzzy and he became extremely aware of the nauseating smell that choked his nose and mouth. He lurched, fumbling to get outside, tasting the vomit in his mouth before it came up. Hunched over with his face in the grass just by the cottage, Jerek breathed heavily, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Are you all right?” Tryne called from where she was standing, pushing her shovel into the dirt and taking a few steps toward him.

“I’m fine!” he shouted back, standing up. The outside air was already clearing his head, and although he felt weaker he also felt like he could accomplish anything he needed to do.

“I think I could help you, instead of just standing out here doing nothing.”

Jerek didn’t even respond, turning his back and walking inside again. She wasn’t going to dirty her hands with this kind of work, not if he could protect her from it. Quickly, without thinking, Jerek held open the sack and kicked the head into it, immediately carrying it outside and dumping it into the hole that Tryne had dug. Both of them stood staring at it for a full minute, before Jerek started taking a few steps away.

“I’ll leave you to say goodbye . . .”

“No, wait.” Tryne grabbed the shovel and began piling dirt into the hole. “We weren’t even supposed to have anything to bury. I’ve already said my goodbyes to her.” Dropping the shovel haphazardly, Tryne flung herself at Jerek’s back, wrapping her arms around him.

Touching one of Tryne’s hands, Jerek lowered his head and softly said, “I’ll stay then.”

Tryne didn’t answer, crying quietly into the back of Jerek’s shirt.

“Run away with me,” Jerek said after a moment.

There was a pause before Tryne’s voice came quietly, “I’ve always wanted to see the Ruby Village.”

“No, outside of the Twelve Villages, far away.”

“I’m not even sure if a world does exist outside of the Twelve Villages.”

“Apparently Nosaj has a stronger grip on you than you thought.”

“Shut up! Nosaj doesn’t have any hold on me.”

“What were you saying just now?”

“Nothing” Tryne pushed Jerek away from her. “Go heat up some water to help me clean up.”

“I thought you intended to leave with me.”

“Not until after I make contact with Ken. I just can’t pick up and leave without telling him. That would be irresponsible.”

“Running away in and of itself is irresponsible.”

Pausing, Tryne sighed. “Okay, so maybe it’s not about responsibility, but I still want to tell Ken goodbye.”

“It’s unsafe for us to stay here.”

“I have confidence that you can protect me. Go on now, get the water and put it on the stove. I’ll light the fire and get the scrub brushes.” Stepping inside the cottage, Tryne wrinkled her nose. “Whew, it stinks in here. I would’ve thrown up too.”

“Don’t remind me,” Jerek grumbled.

“Are you embarrassed by it?”

“Shut up.” Jerek disappeared, coming back a few minutes later with a bucket full of water, which he poured into the kettle sitting on the cast iron stove. “Do you think we can get the smell out?”

“I don’t know, it’s worse than I ever imagined. I’m sure if we keep the window and door open for several days, and maybe steam up the room, the smell will die down.” Tryne laughed. “Or we’ll just get used to the smell and not notice it anymore.”

Jerek shook his head. “You’re a strange girl. I can’t understand why anyone would want to get used to a horrible smell.” Putting his arm to his forehead, Jerek leaned against the wall near the stove, looking down into the water in the kettle. “How hot are we getting the water?”

“I want it to at least start boiling.” Tryne paused and placed a finger against her lips, also looking at the water. “We have some time to wait.”

“You mean to say we’re going to use scalding hot water to wash your floor with? I don’t know if I want any part of this.”

“Of course you do. You may want to pull off your shoes and roll up your pants and sleeves though.”


“Because it’s more fun that way.”

“Hold on one second.” Kneeling down on the ground next to his bed, Jerek pulled out his sword and clothes from underneath and carefully laid them on top. “Just in case you get carried away.”

“If I get carried away, it won’t matter where you put your things. Don’t worry though, I’ll restrain myself.” Laughing, Tryne wrapped her arms around herself as if she was holding herself back.

Sitting down on the bed, Jerek narrowed his eyes at Tryne. “Are you taking your shoes off too?”

“Yes. Like I said, it’s more fun that way.” Bending over, Tryne pulled off her shoes and socks one by one, also bundling up the bottom of her skirt, tying it in a knot and exposing her legs. Keeping his eyes fixed on her, Jerek unlaced his boots, showing his bare feet as well. Tryne smiled coyly, dancing a little bit as she moved over to the stove. “Water’s ready!” she called, taking rags and using them to protect her hands as she pulled the kettle off the stove. “Watch your feet!” Then, splashing water all over, Tryne poured the contents onto the floor, steam filling the air. Picking up two scrub brushes, she tossed one to Jerek, then got down on her hands and knees.

“I’m not too sure about this,” Jerek said, watching her distrustfully.

“Come on, you’ll be fine. Besides, I think some hard work will do you some good.”

Cautiously, Jerek put one foot on the wet floor, then got down and began scrubbing. The first area he went over was where the head and been, and he soon found that if he quickly pushed the brush through a puddle that water would spray forward, traveling quite a distance. Looking over his shoulder, Jerek saw that Tryne was facing toward him with her head down, intent on cleaning. Twisting slightly, Jerek put his brush down and shoved it through a puddle.

Tryne yelped and fell back, completely caught off guard as the water went over her. Glaring at Jerek, who was smirking, Tryne took her brush and threw it at him, but Jerek dodged it, then slowly began crawling toward her. Tryne tried to move backwards, but she slipped and fell down, and with triumph Jerek planted his hands on either side of her head, leaning over her. Their eyes met, and Jerek moved one of his hands to brush a few strands of Tryne’s hair out of her face, her eyes closing at his touch. Leaning down, he kissed her lips softly and tenderly, then sitting back he pulled her up and kissed her again.

Putting her arms around Jerek’s waist, Tryne rested her head against his chest and murmured, “So this is for real. I was afraid last night was a one time thing.” Pausing, Tryne asked, “Why did you suddenly pull away?”

“I was afraid,” Jerek grunted.

“Afraid of what?”

“I’ve never felt this way before.” Jerek hesitated. Should he tell her the truth? He considered opening up, spilling out his heart to her and confessing who he really was. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were in love, they would be enemies. If she knew who he was, they would be enemies. He couldn’t tell her the truth, and it didn’t matter anyway because soon they would leave all of this behind them. It wasn’t necessary for her to know, it was a secret he was going to keep locked up inside him forever.

A shadow darkened the doorway and Jerek convulsively tightened his arms around Tryne. That was the only thing that stopped her from quickly pushing away and standing up. There was almost a guilty air around her as she stood facing Ken, clutching her hands together, not daring to make a move. It was Ken who spoke first, his voice dark, “Tryne, we need to talk, alone.”

“Yes, of course.” Tryne forced a nervous laugh. “Jerek, could you please finish cleaning the floor?”

He didn’t answer, simply watching as Tryne and Ken left, closing the door behind them. Then slowly Jerek picked up a scrub brush and began pushing it back and forth across the floor.

“Tryne, what the heck are you doing?” Ken said, fuming when they stopped a distance away from the cottage.

“What are you doing? I could’ve sworn you said . . .”

“I know what I said! This is what I’m saying now, and it would be in your best interest to listen to me. Don’t trust that guy! You should kick him out then disappear so he can’t find you, or better yet let me take care of him!” Ken suddenly stopped, then pleadingly added, “Please listen to me on this one.”

“Why are you saying this? What reasons are there on why I shouldn’t trust him?” Tryne asked, defiantly placing her hands on her hips.

“Because the orphans we recently took in said that a man with white hair took their big sister away, and in exchange let them all live. How many men with white hair do you think there are?”

“No, Jerek would never do anything like that!” Tryne shook her head.

“How well do you really know him? I tell you that he’s working for Nosaj!”

“You’re lying!” Tryne burst out.

“I would never lie!” Ken wrinkled his brow, his eyes looking hurt. “I care about you too much.”

“Ken, please.”

“Our village was attacked yesterday . . .”

“I know.”

“. . . but they didn’t kill that very many people. It seems that they were just rounding people up to transport to Opal. Apparently Nosaj wants to split our forces so we’ll fall apart. He knows about our group, he knows it’s organized and that our town has some of the most active members. Any moment now they’ll be attacking your home as well.”

“They already have,” Tryne answered to be snarky, then suddenly stopped. They knew about her mother and where she lived.

“What did you just say?” Ken’s eyes widened in alarm. “They attacked your cottage? Where were you? What happened?”

“I wasn’t there.” Tryne faltered. “I was down by the stream. It could have been anyone, because the place wasn’t destroyed, just ransacked. I highly doubt anyone did it on Nosaj’s orders.”

Ken looked at her strangely for a second, then grabbed her wrist and started pulling her. “C’mon, we’re leaving right now.”

“No Ken!” Tryne tried to pull away. “Let go of me, I’m not going anywhere!”

“We don’t have time to waste, we’re in danger . . .” Ken didn’t finish his sentence, looking stunned and touching his face where Tryne had slapped him.

“I’m staying here, and I’ll be perfectly safe!” Tryne shouted, turning around and running. When she reached her cottage, she flung open the door then slammed it shut behind her. “If Ken tries to come in, grab your sword and stop him,” she ordered to Jerek who was sitting on his knees in a mild and curious confusion that was only enhanced by her words.

“What happened?”

Tryne breathed deeply, then threw her arms around Jerek’s neck. “You’re not evil, are you?”

Jerek didn’t know how to answer. Instead he returned Tryne’s embrace, holding her tightly against him.

Also on FictionPress


Fade to White

Fade to White chapter 3

Fade to White

Chapter Three

A freshly lit cigaret burned slowly in Jerek’s hand as he raised it to his mouth, gazing out at the trees below his window. That girl. After he had finished chopping wood, she had asked him to stay for dinner with the explanation that it was in payment of all that he had helped her with. He had refused. She had been more insistent, however, that he should borrow her horse to get back home, and he would have never gotten away without agreeing to ride the thing. It was an old brown stallion, evident from the fact that the slump in its back was deep, yet despite that the girl seemed to love the horse and was very adamant in obtaining his promise that he would bring it back as soon as he could.

Yet there was something that irked Jerek. How could a farm exist so close to Nosaj’s castle, and he not even know about it? Breathing in deeply and sucking on his cigaret, Jerek then exhaled and watched as the smoke floated in front of his eyes. If he had known, the place would have been ransacked and burned a long time ago, but for some reason that thought bothered him even more.


Sharply bringing his hand down, Jerek hung it out the window to hide the cigaret as a loud bang of the door being slammed against the wall announced Nosaj entering the room. They stared at each other for a moment, both of their faces betraying no emotion, before Nosaj’s lips curled and he started to grin.

“Don’t bother Jerek,” Nosaj said laughing, “Everyone knows, and nobody cares.” Walking up to Jerek, he held out his hand. “Mind if I have one?”

“This is my last one,” Jerek replied, keeping his hand down and the cigaret hidden.

“Oh.” Nosaj seemed thoroughly disappointed. “I’ll have more sent to you. I came to ask you something. Your horse returned some hours ago alone. Why?”

Jerek pointed to the cut in the side of his head. “I was attacked by a bandit. If he’s not dead already, he will be soon.”

“Why of course, those fools will do anything for a scrap of bread or a few coins, but what about the horse you came in on?” Tapping his lips with a long crooked finger, Nosaj looked down at Jerek.

“Belonged to the man, I suppose,” Jerek replied calmly, turning his attention back to looking out the window.

Failing to get the hint, Nosaj continued, “I imagine you’ve had a busy day. That girl you brought in earlier, perhaps you would like to have her first?” Jerek remained silent, so Nosaj added, “Should I have her sent in then?”


“Ah, perhaps you’d prefer Ramo then.” Nosaj chuckled.

Spinning around, Jerek flung the only thing he had in his hand at the quickly retreating figure of Nosaj, but the cigaret fell harmlessly on the floor short of its target. Stomping angrily, Jerek marched up to and slammed his bedroom door shut, locking it. Walking over to his bed, he got down on his hands and knees to retrieve a small box from underneath, pulling out a new cigaret and match.


Irritated, Jerek yelled “What?” in reply to the bubbly voice.

“Jerek! Unlock your door and let me in,” Ramo called, his voice muffled through the wood.

“Ever consider that doors are locked for a reason?” Jerek muttered to himself.

“Nosaj asked me to talk to you. Let me in.”

“Oh all right.” Tossing the cigaret out the window, Jerek unlocked the door. In a blur of black shiny leather, Ramo had his arms around Jerek’s neck and his cheek pressed against Jerek’s chest.

“I’m so glad that you’re alive! I was worried about you.” Ramo looked up at Jerek with a glistening light in his eye and touched the cut on the side of Jerek’s head. “This looks awful!”

Taking Ramo’s hand quite forcefully in his own, Jerek thrust it way from him, but Ramo’s arm snapped right back around Jerek and he clung even more tightly.

“Get off me,” Jerek growled.

“No,” Ramo replied.

Losing his temper, Jerek shoved Ramo away from him and hit Ramo across the face with the back of his hand.

Ramo touched his stinging cheek gently and with a hurt expression looked at Jerek. “I’m sorry . . .” he whispered, turning his face away while Jerek grunted and shifted uncomfortably, looking over Ramo’s head at the door. “As I said before,” Ramo’s voice shook, but as he talked it stabilized, “Nosaj asked me to speak with you. He’s worried – and so am I – about your sexuality.” Blinking in surprise, Jerek took a step back. “The problem is, you haven’t ever done it once, and that’s just not healthy. If you want, I could . . .”

“Woah, woah, woah!” Jerek sputtered, then yelled, “I most certainly will not! Get out!”

“But Jerek –”

“GET OUT!” Moving forward, Jerek physically shoved Ramo out of his bedroom, shutting and locking the door with the resolve to never open it for anyone ever again.

Sitting down on the window seat, Jerek once again turned his head to the outside, but this time he didn’t see the forest. They would be back later, and more insistent than before. He had to . . . suddenly Jerek’s eyes came into focus as an escape planted itself in his mind. Deciding to wait for now, Jerek retrieved another cigaret to pass the time. He would finish this one before leaving.


Fade to White, Muse

Fade to White origins

My best friend in high school had a boyfriend named Jason.

Jason cheated on her then bragged about it online.

On my own profile, I wrote something vague about how people disappoint me.

All hell broke loose.

Jason and his friends began an online assault against me, attacking me at every turn. Before long, it spilled over into the real world and Jason started following me to work and my hang out places. He even threatened to rape me.

Luckily, telling him that I was getting the police involved was enough to make him back off, and it died shortly afterwards.

When I told my Creative Writing teacher about what had happened, her advice was “Write it out.”

So I wrote Fade to White.

About Writing

Emotional Equivalent


I used to feel that way.

At this point, I suppose that I’ve been writing for long enough that I tend to feel a bit of relief when I chop up and rewrite entire chapters during the editing process. I don’t have the same emotional attachment to words that I used to have when I was younger. I don’t think about the time and energy that was initially invested in writing them anymore — it’s all part of the process.

Instead, I care more about telling the story the way it wants to be told.

But I sure remember the angst I used to feel.