Hi folks. This has been a really fun challenge and fest! But all good things must come to an end. Here is the finale of my short story: The Awakening
Part one is here.
Part two is here.
Part three is here.
“Kanda medicine, it’ll combat the contagion.” His grandfather says wrapping Kahalee’s hands. “I’m sorry, Kahalee, I should have told you sooner.”
The front door chimes. Kahalee’s grandfather ascends the stairs to the shop.
“Yes, you should have. I would have never touched it.”
Kahalee hears a frantic conversation.
“She’s coming. I couldn’t stop her,” a woman says.
“She can’t see Kahalee this way; they’ll exile him to Assart,” his grandfather says pounding the counter. “I can cure him, I just need time.”
Kahalee struggles up the stairs. But his grandfather is alone.
“You shouldn’t be up here,” he says pushing Kahalee out of sight. But it’s too late; Xenatha walks in. The color drains from his face. She smiles sweetly at Kahalee, too sweet. The old man frowns. Kahalee smiles; relieved to see her again.
“Oh Kahalee,” she says, “I was so worried. What happened?”
A hint of pretence passes her lips but Kahalee doesn’t hear it. Xenatha reaches for his arm but Kahalee’s grandfather stops her. Xenatha scowls.
“Leave us,” she says, “I will speak to my fiancé alone.”
Kahalee gives a weak nod to his grandfather who then leaves, eyeing Xenatha.
Kahalee watches Xenatha pace back and forth. She’d taken the news of his illness far better than he’d expected. But something isn’t right. He can’t put his finger on it. She continues rambling about a way to “fix it.” The medicine finally kicks in. The tingling sensation ceases, his breathing eases and his head becomes clear.
“The Assart?” he says realizing her plan. “You want me to go back there again. Have you forgotten I nearly died in that forest?”
“You have to Kahalee, it’s my… our only hope of survival” she pleads. He searches her eyes for the woman he loved. He catches a glimpse of her and nods.
“Kahalee?” his grandfather calls out. Bena steps out from her hiding place with a grave expression. “He’s gone. Xenatha sent him to Assart.”
Kahalee finds the Taki mushrooms. His knife and satchel ready, he removes his bandages and gets to work. A dark form steps out from behind a tree that protects the oldest living Taki. Its roots nourish the others. More figures emerge from the darkness.
“Our payment has finally arrived,” a hoarse voice hisses.
Kahalee turns and faces Tobias.
“You!” he growls, “that treacherous female! Go and bring her,” Tobias yells to the nearest figure.
“No,” Kahalee demands, knowing whom Tobias is referring to.
They stop, looking at Tobias and Kahalee.
Tobias glares at him. In the eerie silence, Kahalee remembers; his origins, his father Faydal, the black box and the old man who spared him as a child.
“You will protect her, brother? She sent you to your death.”
“You left her no choice.” Kahalee grips his knife. “There will be no awakening.”
He swipes his wrist, allowing the blood to fall onto the large Taki. Tobias knocks Kahalee down.
“What have you done?” Tobias shouts.
“The blood of the Taki may nourish our kind, but our blood destroys it and its curse on the humans who breathe its spores.”
The Taki begin to whither and die but one is spared, pulled up before Kahalee’s blood can kill it. Weak, Tobias orders the others back down into the earth. But he has one final act. He finds Xenatha in her garden gazing at her flawless skin while his withers away. He grabs and drags her away kicking and screaming.
In a forgotten cavern, far below Renaissance, population 333, they wait until the day the Taki flourish and the awakening releases them from the darkness.
The end ........ for now!
Word Count: 600
Prompt: the misfortune is resolved/accepted, the final event becomes another secret for generations to come, relationships are torn asunder/mend.