Sundown, a novel by Anna Marcelli Palmer
~Sundown is those mangy minutes the moon meets with the sun; two exact opposites cursed to never be, but try to touch the magic of love as they kiss every morning, until they are forcefully ripped apart by the daylight. Such is the desire for the forbidden that the two involved usually defy the worst hardships; pain, loss, remorse, hurting people who selflessly care about them, nothing seems to matter in front of their enormous sacrifice. They fade away the very moment they embrace. Night and day; Each of them, far away.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all. -quoted by A. Tennyson
The traffic lights were nothing but an indefinite bunch of impressionistic touches ahead, as they sparkled green and the obsolete car, an old-fashioned crock that had, apparently, seen better days, jigged forward with a horrendous screech. Plump raindrops tumbled across the windshield, small watery streams rendering the horizon a fancy blur; Chaotic neon signs, lamps shoddily cast across the sidewalk-all were mixed together to form what was his view through tear-seeped amethyst.
A smooth voice came from the portable radio resting next to the male, morbidly muffled by the intense plopping sound. Therefore, he paid no mind; his senses wandered somewhere else, balancing with uncertainty between the present and what had transpired just hours ago.
"And now, for our listeners who are in love, an all time classic ballad from a much worshiped artist. Listed fifth in the US billboard chart, this song is a real tribute to all of you who-
The mind pleaded for oxygen, lips parted to take a deep inhale. Click.
"It's Christmas eve, the ideal time to pander and take care of those you love. So, especially for you who are tuned to our station, the love hit you've grown to adore-
A grunt escaped his throat, as trembling fingers headed for the black device. Click.
"...brings people together tonight, at nine o' clock. Don't forget to be there!-
Like a lover selflessly sacrificing himself, as he dies the moment he kisses his betrothed, the small box made its vertiginous way out of the gaping window to scatter its sad remnants over the wet asphalt. In sheer madness, those violet eyeballs followed them as they danced for the last time, bouncing awkwardly on the sturdy surface.
He had paid this specific radio countless fucking dollars.
Soon he found himself screaming at the dead radio like a madman, cursing it as if it were at fault for all his current troubles. All his despair, and hatred, were put into those primeval, incoherent screams, whilst the old vehicle jumped uncertainly from side to side.
And then, it happened, in a flash; the car veered abruptly to avoid an incoming bus, and then repeated the process with a small flock of pedestrians. The world was spinning its chaotic dance to his mind, all the echidna could discern was a jumbled mess of colors, and yet he would still cry out his complaint to the defunct device, I Hate you! I Hate you...!
Shrieks of sheer dread and the loud patter of people running for dear life came to his ears muffled, but never made it to surpass the potential of his own increasing octaves, the solo slowly reaching a grandiose crescendo, I Hate you!
Having no conscious contact with the brain, his foot stepped on the gas. The Universe accelerated, moving faster, twirling and hopping like a cheerful toddler. Tires formed steaming circles on the road, and then died with a moribund squeal. The collision was now unavoidable, albeit the pattern would yet again be the same, I hate you!
The noise that followed was the one that would probably back musically the day of Apocalypse; the last thing to cross his tired mind wasn't that he would die, but that he was already dead, as the side of the vehicle collided into an impudent tree that had dared germinate in the man's way. Spectacularly ending the breathtaking sequence of special effects, the small Chevrolet was crumpled up like a tin of coca cola, the fact being an epilogue to its life rather sad.
As for the renowned guardian, desperate, body full of nasty cuts, he was peacefully leaning against the steering wheel, cries having abated to give their place to a silent whimper.
What did I do...?Why did you leave like this, for the Master Emerald's sake?
I hate you...Amy.
"I am sorry...but we just can't be"
"...B-but this way we are both hurting people we love..."
"You matter much more"
It was one more lonely night spent at home. Ludicrous soap operas droned on aimlessly behind the screen, and the plastic container next to the couch was now empty, long forgotten, traces of chocolate still attached to its sides. Next to it, lying motionless, was a young woman; eyes red from crying, look vacant, one couldn't say whether she was awake or had already entered the world of dreams.
"So, why are you leaving? I'd thought you felt..."
"You are so naive at times...But life always goes on, and I cannot turn back"
Fadeout in black. A melancholic sequence of notes filled the air gracefully, accompanying the countless names appearing on the screen; yet another fake, mass-aimed romance had ended, giving its place to the next artistic masterpiece. Nevertheless, the pink-furred female couldn't care less about the calibre of what she watched. All she needed was a stupid thing to occupy her mind, to just drag it from where it had been wandering off to for the last two weeks.
Idly, competing with the time record of a limping slug, a delicate arm fumbled its way through the ghastly mess that, apparently, comprised the appartment floor, in desperate search of the ice cream. Determined texture sensors, fingers convulsed up and down, scrutinizing the surface, pleading for what they wanted.
Come on, come on, come on....
The alarm finally gave positive signals. Something smooth and plastic brushed slightly against her thumb. She stretched her body a little more, Come on!
With a little further effort, fingertips dragged the obect toward the girl, irises gleaming in hope. Already able to feel the consoling sensation of filenthilamine overwhelming her mouth, Amy Rose brought the tube before her, eagerly positioning it on her lap.
In a matter of seconds, the key to her sweet escape vanished in front of the monstrous reality of the empty box.
There is no God.
The characteristic screech echoed in the nocturnal silence, as arms held tightly on the side to reluctantly force the whole body to stand up. After having remained in that specific position for what had seemed like ages, she'd thought it would be impossible to ever move again. Palms made their way to the back, softly rubbing it. Grunt. And then a loud yawn.
Her feet were freezing cold with every lurch forward, as they met with the sturdy marble of the floor. Amy's destination was the small room that, out of rich imagination, she liked to call a kitchen; cartons of milk, rotten food remains and a gigantic pile of dirty dishes rendered the place virtually harmful to someone's personal hygiene. Sonic would ask what was going on with her, remembering the good ol' days when she lived up to her reputation of being tidy and an awesome cook. The only answer he always got was that his fiancee` was just through a bad patch.
"Yeah", the young woman hissed ironically to herself as she remembered those words, "a horrendous one"
Emeralds roamed the surroundings for an elusive instant, only to grind their pace to a halt at the familiar sight of the old fridge; it was on the blink for many weeks, yet she had sworn to never throw it away. As if delusional, Amy strided towards the electric device, eyes gazing at but not really seeing it. She stopped right before it, almost in awe.
...Then, almost magically, optics could make out two faint shadows slowly taking their final form. The figures seemed to wrestle and kiss at the same time, bodies pleading for affection, minds screaming it was nothing but wrong. Red and pink all over. Amethyst entwined with emerald. Overwhelming feelings entwined with remorse.
Gloved palms reached for her shivering torso, then she let herself bend like a broken doll. An invisible fist was clenched around her neck, rendering it impossible to breathe, to think, to cry. Paranoia took over, and the hurt female, tired, unable to care about what was real and what not, hands outstretched, reached for the metallic box.
The couple had now knelt right beside her. Muscular, powerful, the man's arms detained the weaker one, her wrists being immobilized by his firm grip. Sounds, whispers.
Amy found herself leaning against the frigid surface, snuggling closer, senses filled with the memory of the warmth of his body against hers...
...And all the pain, betrayal and lies the previously mentioned entailed.
Set on fire, the two now seemed intoxicated, exploring a new universe of their own nothing was likely to deprive them of. Souls engaged, mouths trying to pull apart from each other before an unwanted power brought them together yet another time, angel and demon battled, as if for dear life; love, hate, pain, regret were all savagely stuffed into that primeval, desperate war of trial and retreat. There was no winner; both of them would eventually be defeated.
"Amethyst and Emerald...? Has it ever happened to read about how awfully those two clash?"
Pupils shrank, eyelids being shot wide open in crude terror.
"Nope", the memory cooed carefreely beneath the skull, "After all, I like the way your hot-headed demeanor tickles my nerves-Hay! What was that for?!?"
Logic evaporated, vocal cords struggling to suppress a shriek.
"That, m' lady, was for you to never forget that I am stronger and you are the ticklish one..."
"Whoa, never seen the cute side of a fearless guardian..."
"Wha-I am not cute!", the echidna winced in slight protest.
Eyes remained stubbornly dry, as the illusion moved on showing no mercy, scorching her very entrails, shattering the heart.
"Sure you aren't, Mr. Grumpy!"
"Wait, I'm not grumpy!"
"Yes, you are!"
"Call your blue hero that, I am-"
"Yes, YOU ARE!"
"Oooooh, FINE!", the crimson guardian grimaced in vexation. Rose gave him a wide smile, tilting her head so as to feel his warm breath on her face.
"C'mon, tell me the story now!"
Orbs had frozen in a morbid embrace with the abyss, as the ghosts gradually faded away. Amy Rose wrapped her arms around herself, for the room was suddenly cold, and her silk camisole didn't seem to help much. Eyelids closed shut, a slight whisper faltered in the air, calm and sad like a midnight ballad.
"No, Knuckles...I want no more stories...I am too old to believe in them anymore..."
(((Are you alright, Sir...?)))
An excruciating pain welcomed him into the world of the awake, throbbing inside the head. Eyelashes fluttered for an instant, then eyes were automatically forced shut by an impudent glimmer of sunlight passing through the hospital curtains.
(((Oh, sweet Jesus! He's hurt his head! Sir! Sir!)))
(((Call an ambulance, for God's sake! Quick!)))
Lips parted to form a single word, Amy, albeit the male's throat felt dry and somewhat sore. No voice made it out of the mouth; slight motions of the muscles thereof indicated what the animal had atttempted to utter.
Where was he? And what had happened last night? Was the Master Emerald okay? Questions wandered in his brain, indefinite and unsure.
The deep, hoarse voice that had spoken those mere three letters was not a part of his imagination,
now it was clear. It had echoed from somewhere near, and Knuckles turned his head to define the identity of the speaker. The echidna's unprepared face met with an aged, oval one, a thick moustache belying his benign expression of reserved interest. A dark, blue uniform complemented the stranger's appearance; it was more than obvious that his unknown visitor was a cop.
All the newborn jumbled mess that currently danced in his mind was summarised in a concise statement.
"What did I do?"
The older one tried to keep a straight face and not to smile, a gesture Knuckles didn't make it to decipher. What's funny, you living fossil?
The clock resting on the wall above the uncomfortable bed sent unwanted shudders with every single tick. After what had seemed like ages of suffocating silence, the officer stretched his right hand toward the injured young man.
"Officer Mark Andrews, nice to meet you", he chirped, and then the affable expression turned into a stringent one, "My reckless friend"
"I am not your friend", snarled the star of the scene beneath clenched teeth, violet pools glaring at his interlocutor, "And I think I just asked what I have done"
An awkward minute followed, during which the old man fumbled deep in the pockets of his jacket, the enigmatic smirk still being frozen on his face. From time to time, the process would stop for a tiny moment, when he would roll his eyeballs up to meet Knuckles'. The latter could not but just patiently wait for the outcome, which, apparently, was not likely to be pleasant; he was sleepless, exhausted, and a pulsating migraine was currently residing his head.
No; bandying around was not a good option.
Officer Andrews' thick hand interrupted his train of thought, stretched before the male in silent offer of a cigarette. Look moved from the small pack to the wrinkle-filled face and then back to the pack, only to repeat the process afterwards.
Knuckles quickly gestured "no", eliciting a friendly chuckle from the cop, who made himself comfortable on the metallic chair, eyes wandering into the room distractedly.
"Let's see", he murmured, bringing a yellow lighter to the cylindrical object between his lips. Soon after, the aged one was hidden behind a cloud of smoke.
"Let's see what?"
Laugh. The guardian would swear there was nothing more hair-triggering than the feeling that sound gave; Should there be a way to interpret the meaning of such exclamations, this one would certainly be like, I can see right through your mind. Deal with it.
"Well, irritable young man, here's what we've got: Dangerous Driving, including violation of the speed limit, overconsumption of alcohol, ignoring the traffic lights and", at that point the speaker raised an eyebrow, in an attempt to keep a straight face, "Throwing a radio out of the window. Needless to say, you have already intrigued me"
The Irritable Young Man rolled his violet eyes, utterly annoyed. Suddently, staying for twenty four hours in a cell listening to nothing but ridiculous Christmas love songs seemed like a relieving oasis in a world of unspeakable torment.
All I need at this point is your patronizing. As if those damned cops are taught how to say all that bullshit.
Oh, God. I will never curse again. Just lemme go to my nice lonely island.
Arms were crossed before the chest, a clear hint of sheer irritation.
"It wasn't your radio I flung across the Highway after all, was it?"
A nonchalant shrug followed the mocking.
"Then knock it off!"
The thunderous snigger gradually died down. Peace was finally restored, leaving only smoldering embers under the stifling heat of that deadly glare; If a single look had the power to kill, all the facilities within two kilometers would have been transformed into a deplorable heap of ashes. Sharp needls, Knuckles' eyes mentally pinned the human, showing no mercy.
...On the other hand, the victim of the blatant attack didn't seem to bother. Exhaling deeply was all he did in reaction to the confrontation.
"As you wish" the declaration was such an impersonal one, that it sounded like the overaged curmudgeon was reciting a funny poem he didn't really like. With a last peek at the patient, Mark Andrews lied back to the rigid piece of furniture that was, he thought afterwards, likely to aggravate his back later, and found refuge behind the fierce smoke.
Quiet stroke back, leaking around them to form streams. Frozen in the inauspicious way people in a photograph gaze forever into Nothingness, Crime and Law exchanged swift glances of both curiosity and incompleteness. There was something that hadn't been told. Confessions bubbled beneath the ribcage, desperately seeking someone to share them with. Who that specific "someone" was going to be, it didn't matter at all; All the bleeding soul prayed for was a listener, be it a policeman, a nurse, or a darn object.
I am not pathetic.
Knuckles' consciousness never consented, albeit the body itself insisted on doing, literally, whatever it wished to. Therefore, no sooner had the existential question popped into his head than the guardian felt the upper side of a gloved hand sweeping an uninvited tear.
The male froze in his tracks, overtly alarmed.
The gloved hand was his.
At the motion, smart, grey pools rolled to rest on his face, the triumphant thrill of victory glaring in their very depths.
Andrews had won, and he knew it.
"Ever since...", Knuckles finally blurted out, and it felt no different from a murmur, eliciting sudden interest from the priorly nonchalant officer. The speaker tested the words between the lips, as if trying to make out whether they sounded good together; suddently, he was ambivalent, and didn't want to show to a complete stranger, let alone such a zany one, how weak the robust, powerful hero actually was.
Yet, the mask was becoming so heavy to wear! His real self, raw, bald, deprived of the fancy wrapper, along with every flaw, ugliness, and devastating fears, begged to be unveiled, just for that once.
"Ever since I remember myself, I have been living for a promise to my tribe. My life was not mine; having not seen how it really was out there, it didn't seem to matter much, back then...."
The narrator could hardly swallow.
"Ya know. You grow up as a loner, years pass like days and you don't remember how. And then -boom!- something happens, and for the very first time you find yourself within reach of everything you were void of."
Knucles chuckled bitterly. His eyes were abstractly fixated on the worn covers of the bed, looking at but not really seeing them.
"What a stupid thought"
"Stupid" a slight movement of the head introduced the interjection, "or greedy?"
An indefinite gesture answered, yes.
"How couldn't I've become greedy with those new riches to feed the feeling? Bah, let's not be dramatic. I had a hell of a time with my friends, and loved them. Sure, we sort-of-but-not-quite bickered, but that made it all the more fun"
Memories. Big and small, important and petty. What daunting a power did they have, to bring tears to his eyes.
"But yeah, I wanted more"
It was getting difficult to inhale, poignant to think, impossible not to break. Fingers trembled against the sheets.
"And lost it all"
Deep in thought, the old cop probed his moustache before leaning forward in consolation.
"And what for?"
Tingling turned into convulsing shivers. Fists clutched savagely the fabric underneath, as the three letters bulged under his tongue, ready to explode.
Red, gold, pink, and violet were all mixed together dexterously into what comprised the sunrise, as God happily showed off His skills at paintbrushing. Touches of azure and a warm orange gradually dominated the canvas, as the fiery solar disk, flamboyant and proud, marched his way up to his celestial throne. Light showered the vast chaos of the city, rolling vivaciously along its many streets, watching its face being reverberated on the pristine, icy surface. Sounds, and the surpassing music of nature itself welcomed the world to purity yet another time.
And, like this, a new morning began, and Station Square was brought to life.
Playful gleams of sunlight penetrated the small window above the sink, particles of dust frolicking carefreely under their shine. Maybe it was plain fate, maybe deliberately -who knows?- that one of those had chosen to rest on the refridgerator, against which, freezing cold and scruffy, had snuggled a rosy girl, breathing peacefully between light sobs. Her face, still untouched by the cosmic ugliness, had gloomed a deadly white, dirty and sticky by the tear layers that had dried on it, hour after hour.
Rude beam! How did it lay on the sleeping female, blindening and eerie, causing clozed eyes to instictively twitch! Its warmth slipped gently across her exposed limbs and all the way up to long, untamed hair, creating the hallucination of being loved and cared for.
"Knuckles...?" it was more of a waning hope, huskily expressed by a pair of parted lips.
No answer came. Amy's voice echoed like a complaining bewail in the little world of the empty apartment, and felt like a stab in the heart. A youthful pair of jades was forced open in the realization; it was reminiscent of those times when, like the hero of some ancient drama, you are called to comply with painful, new facts, and yet you will still stick to the life you know, for it is easier that way... And then paranoia takes over, sweet and paralyzing like an effective poison, to devour your insides until the onlookers burst into enthusiastic applause.
Unwrapping her arms off the device, she soon stood on her feet. Thoughts prowled around the mind patiently, waiting to get form and a meaning. Why was she letting herself be like that? How had she ended up being like that? What to do? How the hell could she pick up the pieces...once more...?
Obviously, the easiest perspective was to go for the third one, which she immediately did. Pulling the handle of the last night's bed fellow, the hedgehog stretched herself distractedly, eyes examining the rotten content. Smell was immediately emanated to meet her nose, twirling and hopping toward its ultimate destination.
Amy flinched. Sweet Jesus, did she have to clean up.
She run a gloved palm through her messy quills, in a sad excuse of an attempt to tidy them up. Then, the young woman decidedly grabbed a bottle of orange juice and headed for the table, slamming the door behind her.
The glass was now long empty, abandoned on the rim of the table, keeping company to the odd array of paper sheets and pencils not far away from it. A chaotic ocean of crumpled letters was lying ahead, hungry to engulf the next failure.
The kitchen was rather silent; the noise of pencil running against the notebook was monotonous, calm, negligible. Other than that, solely aloof voices from outside made it to the ears, as the pink female was engrossed in watching the characters flow on the white material, as if from an unknown power motivating her hand. She didn't know why she was doing this, and nor did she care; it felt so right, although it, in fact, was nothing more than a poor substitute to actually talking to him, being in his arms, hearing his voice.
Jolting her head back in the air, Amy took a deep breath before starting to read over the things she had written until that moment. They weren't much; rough scribble all over the page, her letters filled shoddily every line, overflowing with irrepressible emotions.
So much for yet another vain romance.
Life used to be so simple before I met you. I mean, before I met the real you. Back then, you were just a hot-headed friend we liked to poke fun at, and my wants were defined and clear.
Amy laughed at the nostalgic memories overcoming her; those days seemed to be so far away...
But relationships, as well as feelings, do die, you know. They just perish, and you usually are loath to admit it, but you can feel it overcast your happiness with every single tick of the clock. And it hurts more than anything. Because I know I failed him. We failed them. And now I failed you.
Now what, you tell me. I don't know. I don't know how I will ever face him again, basing our relationship on a pile of lies. I don't know what our friends will think, when they see that cheerful, kind-hearted Amy, the Amy they knew, has betrayed two of her most loved persons in the world and is now slowly going insane. Heck, it doesn't matter. It was for you.
Yeah, it is nice to feel as if I'm talking to you. Right now, I can bring your face in front of my eyes. You're smiling. Oh, I remember how you loved stories...! Your first life was so much in need of them, and you wanted to live as much as you could from what you'd lost.
I am sorry I didn't stand by you, on your personal querry.
Thumb brushed affectionately over the letters, the true madness of Loss gleaming in emerald pools.
And she wrote...
But this is yet another narration, right? Every story has a beginning. For this one...it was Christmas, and Emerald, without knowing it, was to collide into the world of Amethyst. It would only take a fateful moment to turn everything the upside down, before they fell apart.
And this was to become my story.
A/N: Knuxamy???? (SonAmyKnux, to be precise) Lol, what happened to me? Geez, I dunno. Lately, I am into the pairing, the idea was good, the results on my poll called for it...so here it is!
I hope you liked it and enjoyed as much as I did, for this was for all of you fanfic lovers!
~This was a small prelude to the actual story, which begins with an unwanted visitor and chapter 1. Stay tuned!
~For those who love other pairings, I inform you that I am writing a serious shadamy story which, hopefully, I will publish in a few weeks or so. AND, don't forget my Sonamy "Vertigo".
Review, s' il vous plait!
~Anna Marcelli Palmer