Like jade half moons waiting to rise, Maija's eyes smiled cruelly down upon me.
"You are quite alone, Roland. All your friends at Meilori's are otherwise occupied. And those steel cables hold you fast to my throne of blood."
She held a frosted glass of spring water to my lips, then pulled away. "Oh, no. No taste of your favorite drink."
"You've got to get out more, Maija."
Her riding crop slashed open my cheek. "My throne's name in Japanese is Kumonosu-jō!"
"I had a Latin teacher just like you once."
"She gave me my life motto : vincit qui se vincit. He conquers who conquers himself."
"I know that quote, worm."
"No, Maija. You don't. You may kill me, but you will never conquer yourself."
I was getting tired of that crop. I would have to be more like my fictional hero, Ulysses, if I was going to get out of this.
Maija wiggled without moving in her skin-tight Dragon Lady dress. "Oh, if you knew this morning that you would die this day, how different you would have lived it."
"Not really. I saved lives today delivering rare blood to the dying. What better way to spend my last day?"
"Your moral compass doesn't exactly point north, does it?"
She raised her crop, then stopped, "Do you think that this is the last scene in GLADIATOR, where the hero wins even though he dies?"
"Actually, my favorite movie is GALAXY QUEST : NEVER SURRENDER. NEVER QUIT."
My face throbbed, but I would be damned if I let her see me squirm. "You know I'm reading a book that reminds me of you : THE PSYCHOPATH TEST."
She snarled, "Are you expecting the revenant, Abigail Adams, to save you? All know in the Shadowlands how enamored of her you are."
“Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character."
She dropped her riding crop and took a strangle hold of my throat. "Why shouldn't I kill you?"
"With me dead, who will mourn you when you die, weep for you at your grave side?"
She backed up, tears welling in those suddenly hurt green eyes. "Damn you, Lakota! Why must you be this way?"
"I know of no other way to be."
I sighed, "You've already done plenty of things to regret, you just don't know what they all are. It's when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you've done, and you wish that you had it to do over, but it's too late."
"Too late," she murmured as if summing up her whole life.
I went on, "So you pick that thing up and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, that the world will spin without you, that you really don't matter in the end. Then you will gain character because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.”
I put all my heart into my words. "Why can't you do that?"
Her voice was of a little girl's, "I know of no other way to be."
She walked with a dancer's grace to the door of her throne room and said without looking back, "McCord is at the beach. He will be told of your plight. He will be here within minutes."
She walked out the door. And even though I knew it was daylight outside, it felt like night.
Here are the Platform Builder's questions from Daniel Todd Noyes
I wove in my flash fiction :
If you had one week left to live, what would you do?
What quote inspires you?
What movie scene inspires you? Why?
What comedy do you end up watching again and again as the years go by?
Do you think love can last forever?
What fictional character would you trade lives with if you could?
What historical character would you marry if you had to choose someone?
Which do you prefer, coffee, hot cocoa, soda, vegetable juice, water?
How long would it take you to drive to the beach from where you live?
What are you currently reading?
STARTING THIS SATURDAY, LET THE WIND BLOW THROUGH YOU, WILL BE MY FREE GIFT TO ALL OF MY FRIENDS, ROLAND