This post is part of the August 2011 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s challenge is “The Continuing Story of a Song” and is best read in order:
Part 1 (orion_mk3)
Part 2 (orion_mk3)
Part 3 (BigWords)
Part 4 (AbielleRose)
Part 5 (Ralph Pines)
Part 6 (hillaryjacques)
Part 7 (Darkshore)
Part 8 (pyrosama)
Part 9 (Diana_Rajchel)
Part 10 (Inkstrokes)
Part 11 (soullesshuman)
Part 12 (Alyzna)
Part 13 (Cath)
Part 14 (dolores haze)
Part 15 (Alpha Echo)
Part 16 (pezie)
Part 17 (orion_mk3)
You are here.
Part 19 (orion_mk3)

Song: “The End of All Things” by Howard Shore

The finger. The emerald ring. It was humming.

A dark veil seemed to cover the world, turning all that was once bright and hopeful about the island into a perverted shadow of itself. Dimly, Chris remembered its owner’s smile. She’d never told him her name—they’d never needed names—but the promise they’d made and the honest, innocent love behind it seemed to blaze forth from the emerald.

“No!” Allison cried—if that thing could indeed be the same Allison Chris had me on his first day, the beaming single mother who’d invited him to breakfast every day until her death.

She plunged her hand into Chris’s chest, and he felt a desperate lurching sensation, a desperate tug-of-war between the warm lifeblood urging him into peaceful oblivion and the powerful island moonlight painfully recalling him to life.

“You won’t get away that easily,” Allison hissed. “He needs you. We need you.”

Trapped between two worlds, Chris held the ring aloft. It seemed to force Allison back a few paces, but the…wrongness in his chest and the world around him persisted.

“Who needs me? For what?” he cried.

“That’s what I’d like to know.”

The voice came from an older man—Chris recognized him as the resort detective, Greg Garretson, the one he’d seen chasing skirts at the bar and running by his room in a panic. Somehow, though, the presence of a man he barely knew gave Chris a wellspring of strength and the ring glowed all the brighter for it.

“I won’t let you interfere!” Allison backed away from both of them. “Not now! We’ve come too far!”

She flung her arms wide, and the floor beneath them splintered and cracked. Something deep and powerful stirred within the island below, straining to make itself heard.

Perhaps it was the island itself.

The ring flickered, and both Greg and Chris recoiled at the dark light spilling forth from beneath them.

“Let them come to the island in the shadow of the navel of the world,” Allison spat, as if reciting chapter and verse from some terrible book. “Let them spill their lifeblood as a sacrifice, and with second sacrifice be consummated!”

Greg looked over at Chris, the shy putz he’d seen slinking around the edges of the club all week. “I’m a little late to the game, I think,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s a good thing.”

“Let then a living soul be consumed, flesh of the same flesh, blood of the same blood, killed by the hand of its own!” Allison screamed. The dark tendrils from below grasped hungrily in all directions, and a noise that could only be described as an anguished man’s scream issued up with them. “Let the soul of the first take the place of the departed, to rule the seas beyond by the dictates of its heart!”

The light from the ring guttered and faded.

Greg, reaching for his revolver, found only an empty and ephemeral holster.

Both of them, faced with a foul darkness that was all-consuming, felt it begin to gnaw on their living essences. It wasn’t death, but annihilation.

And, in their last moments, each reached out for something. Something pure, something kind, something good, even if it had become a bit tarnished by the evils unleashed of late. Both the detective and the starstruck loner, in their hour of need, saw the fragile form of a young girl.

As one, they whispered her name:

Clarissa.”

In that instant, the ring shone more brightly than ever before. It radiated; it consumed; it healed. The tendrils from below withered and died; the thing that had once been Allison blew away like dandelion seeds on a breeze.

Before the darkness closed in, both Chris and Greg saw something in the distance running towards them, and felt a deep warmth.