Stone Eyes

Haldisa stared at the gray, still sea. Hundreds of eyes stared back at her; she clenched her hands in her lap. She looked over her garden, devoid of flowers, and hardened her heart.

She heard metal creak, and a new figure, very much alive, moved at the back of her garden. Haldisa took an offered hand and pulled herself to her feet. She knew another hero had to come sooner or later. The distant glint of polished metal caught her eye; however, this one was smart. He wore a helmet. She could not meet his gaze.

Haldisa patted the statue beside her on the shoulder, easily avoiding the unsheathed knife in his other hand. She glanced over her shoulder and saw the hero rush behind another statue. Haldisa frowned; he was making this rather difficult, and she had never liked difficult. She pulled open large marble doors; her shoes clicked on stone tiles as she pulled the doors shut with a loud bang.

She wasted no time in taking a rusted sword from a statue and putting the sword between the handles. Haldisa backed away from the door, hearing the hero pull at the door. She glanced around, and she heard him yell. It was only fair. She said, “Leave now or you won’t leave at all.”

“And let you get away with what you’ve done?” he shouted.

Haldisa steadied her breath. She reached for the next door, and set her jaw. “Then spend your days as stone.”

There was a loud thud, like he was slamming his shoulder into the door. “At least I’ll have tried to stop a monster like you from hurting anyone else!”

Haldisa paused, letting her hand fall.

Another bang. Haldisa’s head snapped up, and she hurried into the next room, trying to figure out what to do next. She pushed a large, dusty bookcase in front of the door.

“You had to know it would catch up to you!” The hero’s voice was muffled, but loud thuds could still be heard. “Did you think you could hide forever? That you wouldn’t have to pay for the lives you’ve ruined?”

Haldisa shut her eyes and stumbled into a table. She shook her head. “Stop.”

She winced at the next bang. Haldisa bolted up a staircase. She spun around wildly, unable to come up with a plan. She had no idea how to get close enough to get his helmet off. Before Haldisa reached the staircase, everyone made a mistake, only this time, the mistake was hers.

She ran into the first room that came to mind; her heart thrashed in her chest. She locked the door and rested her head against it. She picked up a lit candle and lit the other candles around the room. There was another loud crash as the room slowly lit up. Haldisa stumbled to the darkest corner of the room after setting the candle on the dresser, careful not to catch the cloth covering the wall and dresser on fire.

She ignored the taller figure and knelt so she was at eye level with the second. Haldsia stared at a child’s face. The child’s eyes were half open, a smile on her face, posed like she had been running, and had one hand outstretched behind her. Her head turned back like she was preparing to say something. Haldisa reached out, but hesitated. She let her hand fall, wincing as she remembered her first victim.

Haldisa dropped her head. Her sister hadn’t seen it coming. Neither had. Neither knew the knot on Haldisa’s blindfold was loose, and the first look Haldisa had at her sister would be her sister’s last.

Haldisa took a shuddering breath and stood up. She rubbed her eyes before looking at the man. He, too, was smiling at her; one hand was in the air. Haldisa stepped forward and leaned her head into his hand like she had years before.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. She stared into his cold, dead eyes, trying to fill them with the warmth and love she remembered. His other hand just barely brushed hers, sending shivers down her spine. She felt something wet trail down her face.

There was a loud crash. Haldisa pulled away. “I never meant for this to happen, you know that? Right?”

The only sound was Haldisa’s breathing.

She bowed her head.

“Stop hiding, you coward!”

She agreed.

Haldisa reached for the end of the fabric on the dresser. The hero started to bang on the door. He was outside her room.

Haldisa reached behind her and took the statue’s hand in her own. With her free hand, Haldisa reached up and ripped the fabric away.

The door flew open.

Haldisa saw her face for the first time in her life. Haldisa didn’t expect her eyes to make her feel even colder and lonelier than ever.

The hero stormed into the room, but Haldisa’s heart had stilled and become fully stone.

It was over in an instant.

The hero approached the third statue, narrowing his eyes. One hand was intertwined with the statue of the man; the other reached toward the mirror. Her face was lit up by the yellow candlelight. Her eyes were wide, and mouth slightly open, several stone tears on her cheek. It was finally over. Haldisa was free from her own worst enemy. Her own stone eyes.

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