The nights are colder now.
Maybe I should close the door,
And anyway the snow has covered all your footsteps
I can follow you no more.
The fire still burns at night,
My memories are warm and clear;
But everybody knows it's hard to be alone
At this time of year.
How coincidental that this very song should come on as I stare after you through the falling snow, obscuring you from my sight and filling in your footprints as effectively as if you hadn’t stepped there just a moment before. I know that losing you should hurt, and will, but for now there is just the spreading anaesthesia of shock. My only hope is that you never look back on our time together as a waste; I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I remember when we first met, all those years ago in high school.
X X X
“Man this Christmas party is so lame-ass, not even any hotties.”
“That being your only definition of a ‘good’ party, usually I wouldn’t agree with you but it does seem rather dull. Maybe we should get another drink.”
“I don’t know when we’re drunk you always go for the real charity cases.”
“I do not.”
“You do so, remember the last one? Eurgh…”
“Hey guys, look.” That’s one of the pros of having three heads, even with two of them arguing the third can still keep an eye out. We turned and saw her. A vision in green scales with five heads, I swear we were drooling.
“Hey, did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” Urgh, and that’s one of the reasons I hate having three heads. I could have cheerfully killed him right there, but instead I just used the foot closest to him to hold his mouth closed.
“I'm so sorry.” I began “Please just ignore him, he’s my stupid head.”
She had turned two of her heads towards us; the other three were still scanning the room and feigning indifference, and looked us up and down. Hoping she liked what she saw my third head queried shyly;
“Might I ask for your name?”
One of her other heads nudged her and she turned to look.
“Excuse me I see someone waving.” And she walked away.
“Wow.” “Indeed.” “Mmph mmm.”
“Oh sorry.” I said and released him.
“Man she’s hot. We totally have to get her name.” Going up to the nearest individual and asking them seemed to be the best plan, so we did.
“Hey, who’s the hydra?” we asked a passing dracolisk.
“Who? Oh that’s Stacey. Good luck with her mate!” he laughed “I hear that half the student population is trying to catch her eye.”
We watched her from a distance for the rest of the night.
The next year we were at the same lame party, just hoping to see her again.
“Sure, she’s hot but even I can see that this is a bit sad.”
“Shut up.” I snarled at him “Don’t even try to pretend that you don’t feel the same way about her so just shut up.”
“Guys,” whispered our third head “she’s here.”
Random Brownian movement of students had created a clear path between us. Not having seen her again since last year I realised my memory had not done her any justice. She was so beautiful our heart ached. She noticed us and smiled and I glanced down involuntarily to make sure our legs were still where they should have and we weren’t just a puddle on the floor. Oh god, she was coming towards us. I just had time to hiss quickly to the other two to try and not say anything stupid then she was in front of us.
“Hi.” She said, surprisingly shyly.
“Em, hi.” I managed to stutter.
“I was just wondering if, maybe sometime, you wanted to, you know, go out, maybe?”
I knew that all three jaws dropped open at that. Go out? What happened between last Christmas and now that changed her mind so dramatically? She wouldn’t even give us her name last year.
“Um, sure. I’d, we’d, like that.”
X X X
Of course it wasn’t till later, after we had become an established couple, that she told us she had been so startled by our first approach that her only thought had been escape. Over the rest of the year she had been kicking herself about the missed opportunity and vowed to ask us out if we were at the party again. The rest, as they say, is history. All through high school and university we were inseparable, until tonight.
X X X
“A toast!” I proposed, lifting my glass. “To a wonderful Christmas and an exciting new year!”
“The year ahead.” She echoed. Suddenly she looked a little guilty. “Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that.” She was playing with her claws, a sure sign she was nervous. “I got a job offer; it starts at the beginning of the year.”
“Really? But that’s brilliant!”
“The only thing is I'll have to relocate.”
“The Sunken Valley.”
It was as if I had just swallowed a lead ball.
“But that’s so far away.”
“I know but it’s what I want to do.”
“And that is?”
She cringed slightly, like she knew I wouldn’t like the answer. Oh god, what was it?
“A test for adventurers visiting the Oracle.”
“WHAT!?” I sprang to my feet “Are you mad? Have you taken leave of your senses? Actually putting yourself in the path of adventurers, to whom you are no more than XP I might add! Do I mean nothing to you? Also that Oracle is such a lech…”
“Where do you get off lecturing me?” she shouted back, also on her feet. “You, like you haven’t already decided to work for some evil lich as some faceless mook. Oh no, you’re bound to not meet any adventurers there. This is what I want to do, don’t deny me that.”
“I…I don’t think I can let you do this.”
“You don’t need to let me do anything, Trigak! It’s my life!” and she was gone, trudging through the snow.
X X X
Maybe monsters aren’t meant to love.