Tidbits and Tales: Too Soon

Looks tasty, but it might kill you if you eat it. Just let it finish.

I know it’s been a berserker barrage of musing on MoD lately, but it’s for a good cause, honest! A lot of the development I’ve been working on the novel has been utilitarian.   Challenging myself to write is one thing, but it’s another to improve myself from a marketing standpoint.

Synopses  and blurbs take a great deal of talent to polish and refine.   Those of you might have noticed on the lonely ‘What is Dimanagul’ page that I have been tinkering.   If you haven’t feel free to take a look and comment.  I like comments.

That aside today marks a very common and real error that we as people do.   It’s opposite of procrastination.   Timing is everything in tense moments, and we as human beings are inherently bad at it.

Today I wrote a continuation of Finrick’s story for this subject as it fit and reflected my dilemma as a writer.  When we are disturbed or excited we tend to blurt things out or act before we should.

In my writing ventures it surfaces in the importance of biding your time when it comes to marketing myself as a writer.   I’ve spent some quality time looking over common errors of my peers and those before me, it’s very eye opening.  Sometimes it’s best to write something, walk away and revisit it after some time.   Just like baking.

So with that, I hope you enjoy today’s story.

The Monkey, Part 2

Finrick’s best friend was dead.  Mattis’ body had not even grown cold, but they had to move.   He knew they had to get away from the camp.  Tillie grew somber while he dug through his friend’s effects.  Finnrick took a necklace, a coin pouch, a knight badge, and his sword.  Mattis blade felt foreign at his hip but he couldn’t let the weapon fall into the hands of the enemy.  The other items he knew well, the necklace matched the twin around his own neck, the knight badge he gave to Tillie and assured her Mattis would protect them even in death.

Mattis wasn’t really a knight of course, he just thought himself one.   Fine armor was hard to come by, especially made of metal.   Finnrick could barely scrape together enough metal for his bullets.   Most times he relied on polished stones.

Tillie chocked back hushed sobs as they hurried through the forest, tugging at his heart.   He caused her great pain in his failure to protect Mattis.  It also sparked the selfish fear that she really did loved his friend more than him.

Why?   Mattis was a moron.  Even if he hadn’t stopped that arrow, why was it exclusively his fault for his death?   Mattis should have been able to protect himself.   If he couldn’t stop arrows he should have worn a helmet to cover his fat head.   Fin’s hand tightened around Tillie’s.

“Finrick,” Tillie said in a whisper, “You’re hurting me.”

“Sorry.”  Fin relaxed his hand, but tension remained in his shoulders.

“Are you angry at me?”

“No, of course not,” Fin said without a second thought.   But in truth, he lied.   Anger clouded everything, including his idealized image of Tillie.

She said nothing else, her expression made it clear she knew he was lying.   Tillie always read him like an open book.

“Tillie,” Fin said, “Did you love Mattis?”

She looked away and blushed, an answer it itself.  “I don’t know what you mean. I love you both.  How could I not considering you–”

Finnrick gritted his teeth.  It wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear.   He wanted to hear her say ‘No’.  Mattis never saved them time and time again, it was him.   He was the one that did everything of worth.   All Mattis did was stand in front and get himself beat up.  Outside of fights he carried heavy things Finnrick could not.

Tillie watched Finnrick with a cautious expression.  When he didn’t answer she slipped her hand free and slowed to a stop.

 “What are you doing?  We need to keep moving.” Fin turned on her sharply.

 “Why are you asking me that?   You realize Mattis is dead right?   He’s not coming back.   And it’s my fault.” Tillie’s eyes looked puffty and pink from fighting back tears.

He froze.   She thought it was her fault?   That was ridiculous.  “Tillie, don’t beat yourself up over it.   It wasn’t either of our faults.   Terrible things happen.  We’ll all die someday.”

“Even you…?” she said.

 “Even me,” Fin said without thinking.   He winced.  “Look, I’m not going to let anything happen to you as long as I live.   I’m sorry about Mattis, but I can’t protect people that well.   But I can protect you, now that it’s just you and me now.”

“I don’t want you to die, ever.” Tillie said.

 “I don’t plan on it.” Fin reached out and put his hands in hers.   “I can’t promise you anything other than keeping you safe as long as I live.   I love you, Tillie.”

She looked up at him and stared, easily the most painfully awkward moment in Finnrick’s life.   He could see it in her eyes.   She was not ready to say the same.  Instead of elation, he faced a haunted look he would have never wanted to see on her face.

Tillie didn’t blush, she didn’t react, and she didn’t blink.   She only stared like a statue.   Finally, she glanced away.   “Thank you, we should keep moving.”

Finnrick’s chest tightened.  Did she blame him now?  Did she think that he had let Mattis die to have her?   Did she hate him now?

 “Stupid Monkey.”  Mattis’ voice echoed through his head.   “She’s mine, even in death.”

Finnrick brought a hand to his head.   A throbbing pain erupted right underneath his eyes.  That bastard mocked him, even now.  “Right.   We should keep moving.””

Tillie slipped one hand free and looked back up at him.  “It’s not safe here.”

He nodded and pushed forward.   Tillie’s face was somber and dry, finally managing to contain her tears, but Finnrick felt like he wanted to start.   Of course she reacted like that.   Too soon, he had told her too soon.  Now she thought he was a monster.   Surely she would want to part ways with him at the first chance.

She squeezed his hand.  “Finrick, don’t ever leave me.”

A blush washed over him.  The simple act, along with her words, dispelled his doubts.  Now it was just a matter of being patient.

Mattis’ voice didn’t return to him.   Though he almost wanted it to.   He wanted to rub it in his face that Tillie held his hand.   It would only be a matter of time before they were laughing together again, and without Mattis there to ruin everything.

“Never, I’ll do everything to make sure you’re safe, no matter what.” He smiled back at her.  She didn’t return it.

That was fine though.   Finnrick knew she hurt, and he was expected to smile for both of them.  She didn’t fault him for that, surely.

The sensation of his sling at one hip and Mattis’ sword at the other struck him as odd.   He really felt like he was Tillie’s protector now.   He never thought much of it beyond the desire to kiss her, or hold her, but now he was all she had in this terrible world.

They had to avoid cities, and a fire was out of the question.   They would have to curl up in natural caves like they had when the Usurper’s pursuers were afoot.  Now it would just be him and Tillie in the dark instead of three backs sharing a blanket in a cool prison of stone.  Once it had been Mattis and Finnrick doing the same, as a pair.

They came across a small cave, perfect for hiding.   When they ducked inside, memories overwhelmed him.  Tillie came to them, a young Paladin in the Order of Lye, one that served the gods and healed the sick.   She saved both of them, but did so by taking the wounds into herself, beseeching the gods to heal her body instead.   Finnrick didn’t sleep for three days waiting for her to come to, easily the most terrible moments of his life.   Mattis was there too, acting as twin guardians on either side of her bed in a hastily built cabin home.

Fin had cheated at a simple game to ensure he was the one that stayed by her side the whole time.   He had first aid experience anyway and Mattis could carry more water.   Despite all that, Mattis was the first one she saw when she woke.  He was also the first one she healed.

Granted, his friend’s wounds were more severe, but Fin remembered watching in awe as his friend’s body knitted with the touch of light.   He also remembered seeing how hurt Tillie looked when she came over to him.  No matter how delicate and beautiful she was, it was clear then she was stronger than either of them.  Fin couldn’t even imagine taking pain from someone else, only to endure it.

When she woke, Mattis had wrapped his meaty hands around hers and talked non-stop about how amazing she was.   All Fin could do was sit back in quiet awe of her.   Tillie looked absolutely radiant from a distance, but up close she looked nothing short of an angel.

Tillie laid out their packs and gathered stones for a fireplace, should the need arise.  She turned towards him with an inquisitive look, feeling Finnrick’s eyes on her.   He smiled.  Tille was his angel; he didn’t have to share her anymore.

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