Distortion: A Short Story
By Will Clements
There he lay, in a large nook in the side of a rocky hill structure, in the middle of what was once a spectacularly beautiful forest. There was room enough for him to lay comfortably with two people on either side. Those two people were his world, his real world, outside the chaotic and hopeless one. These two were the loves of his life.
On his right was a beautiful young woman with long, red hair. Her smile alone, wrapped up in that gorgeous face of hers, was enough to lighten and brighten this world. She was perfect in every way, his dream woman. She lay with her head on his chest and her right hand resting on his stomach. Her warmth, her womanly scent, was enchanting, exotic, and aromatic.
On his left was a young man or a younger man rather for he was a young man himself at age twenty. The boy was about nine or ten; he hadn't asked. He had short, blond hair and cool, green eyes. Though small, he was a tough and strong lad with courage, chivalry, but most importantly, love to give. This man was his adopted father, and he was the man's adopted son. The boy lay with his head on the man's shoulder and his small body curled up against him.
The man loved the boy as his son, and the woman as his wife, even though there were no longer laws to regulate this nor a government to approve it. There they lay, sheltered from the ashen snow and the merciless chill of the wind, snuggled up against one, partially out of warmth but mostly out of the love of being close with one another.
You wouldn't let me give up, the woman said.
I still won't.
You told me that I was too beautiful to die.
You are. But there is more to it than that. We have to carry on because of hope, hope and love.
Is there any hope?
He felt the woman's body melt into his own and the warmth between, as if possible, increase twofold. The man tightened his grip around her, held her close. He did the same for the boy. Never finding it easy to fall asleep even when extremely exhausted, the man stared at the rocky roof of the nook and thought about nothing. He was finally content, in such a simple surrounding, and didn't worry about anything for once.
The boy spoke up. When you found me, you saved me.
You said you didn't do it because you felt sorry for me but because it was your fate.
And I stand by it.
Why did you save me?
To anyone else, you would have been a burden, another mouth to feed. But to me, you were hope. I was becoming so desperate, so lonely, that I was ready to give up. Then you came along and gave me hope. I finally had something to live for. Your hope spread from me to her and now we are all alive.
We're alive because you saved us.
Yes. But you saved me.
Content with that answer, the boy snuggled against the man's left side once again. When the boy's breathing became soft and steady, the man found himself drifting off to sleep. But before he did, he felt a weight disappear from either side of him and an emptiness flood into his mind. He clenched his eyes tightly then blinked away a few, cold tears. They streaked down his face, running away from him like the manifestations he had just interacted with.
The cold, isolation of this world weighed heavily upon him. Either side of him was empty, either arm wrapped around nothingness. He hugged his arms to his chest and wept profusely. It was cold and he was alone.