To Sacrifice is To Love
by Tara Ann Stridh
Darla and Connor
Darla comforts her son (not in a sex way) Sequel to Tomorrow
spoilers - Rain of Fire
feedback - DarlaAnn400@aol.com
*Characters do not belong to me:(
The beast closed its claws around Cordelia’s throat and her bones snapped. Connor watched her body fall to the ground. He wanted to run towards it with the stake, wishing for a weapon with more force, but his legs wouldn’t move. His blue eyes began to tear-up as the beast stalked towards him.
Without warning its hand slammed into Connor’s face, breaking his jaw and sending him soaring against the wall. His slim petite body crunched against the thick concrete.
The beast’s teeth glistened down at him, its massive figure and horns towering over him. Connor couldn’t move without causing himself pain; both his ribs were broken.
The beast glared directly at him and ground its sharp teeth . . .
. . . Connor sat straight up in bed without gasping.
“Shhh,” said Darla, stroking his face and wiping away the tears.
“She’s dead,” he said weakly, “I let him kill her. I didn’t stop him.”
“Shhh, sweetpea. It was just a bad dream. Just a nasty little dream.”
Connor looked at his mother and she smiled at him. Her face seemed to glow softly.
“Mom? What are you doing here?”
“My baby was having a bad dream,” she said, still petting his cheek.
“Mom, I’m so scared. Of the end. What if we can’t stop it? I tried and I couldn’t. I’m not strong enough. I’m-“
“I wish you wouldn’t have to worry about such heavy things,” Darla said, taking his hand in her own.
She wore a red v-neck shirt and her hair was a radiant blonde.
Connor looked into her violet-hazel eyes for a moment. Then he looked away.
“I wish I could be some place far away from it, that beast. I wish I didn’t have to fight. I wish-“
He looked at her again.
“Everything seems a little better when you’re here. I wish you were here.”
“I am,” she said, her voice sweet like buttermilk. “My little darling prince . . . I remember when you were little, holding you in my arms . . .”
“But you didn’t.”
“I did. In my dreams. In yours. I held you and I breastfed you-“
“I remember that I think. The dreams I had in Quor-toth. Holtz said you were evil, but I looked forward to those dreams. I never told him.”
“I touched your little nose. What a perfect little nose you have. I wanted to eat it all up. Still do. You used to wrinkle your nose and you’d make tiny squeaking noises. I loved you so much. It was just you and me. In our own perfect world with the sun and jasmine . . . Now you’re all grown up, making your own decisions, making mistakes, learning from them, but you’re still my baby boy, my son . . .”
She squeezed his hand gently.
“You are going to get through this and you’re going to win. You’re special Connor.”
“How do you know everything’s gonna be all right? It doesn’t feel that way. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I’m strong enough. I don’t want to disappoint him.”
“You won’t disappoint anyone, especially not your father.”
“I already have.”
“No,” said Darla, shaking her head, “you were just misguided. We’ve all been misguided once or twice. I was misguided for four hundred years until you came along.
“I’m very proud of you. Before you were born I told your father that you were a good thing. Connor, you’re the one good thing I ever did with my life. The only good thing and I love you so much. I know it’s hard and things seem hopeless but you have to try to be strong. Do it for yourself. Do it for me.”
“I can only try. I’m not good enough. I’m not-“
“Don’t say that! You are brave and true, honest. And you have a big heart. You just have to stop being so angry at everyone and learn to let people in.”
“Well, I’m not too fond of what she’s done to you but if you think you love her-“
“I just want to keep you safe. I wish I could put you back inside my womb and keep you all to myself, but that wouldn’t be very fair to you.”
“I am safe. I’m a good fighter. In Quor-toth I was called The Destroyer.”
“You’re not safe, though. Not really. You’re still so very young.”
“Mom, I keep thinking it’s my fault. That thing, it came from the place where I was born.”
“No, Connor, honey, it’s not your fault. Don’t ever think that. None of what happens is your fault.”
“I wish I could believe you.”
“You can. I’m your mother.”
“Okay,” said Connor, smiling for once.
“You have a beautiful smile. It lights up your whole face. I bet your father would like to see you smile more.”
“Who cares what he wants.”
“I know you don’t mean that.”
Connor looked away from her. Then he said, “Do you have to go?”
“Yes,” she said. “I have to go but I’ll be back to see you. Then you can tell me what kind of music you like, what your favorite color is, what you like to eat.”
“I like Eminem and Gwen Stefani is hot. My favorite color is blue and I like bologna without tomatoes. Also, I’m afraid of spiders even though I killed a giant one in Quor-toth.”
“Wow, how’d you do it?”
“It was simple,” Connor said with a shrug. “I like video games, too.”
Darla smiled. “I bet you always win.”
“Yeah, I do.”
She smiled again.
“What do you like?” said Connor.
“Hats. I love hats and ice cream - raspberry chocolate swirl. I love champagne and chocolate and warm jasmine-milk baths. I used to keep a jasmine garden when I was living in Virginia, back in the days. I like rabbits. When I was a girl I had a stuffed toy bunny. That’s what you need. A stuffed animal. You grew up without one. I’m sorry. I bet your father still has your baby toys. You should ask him for the rainbow teddy bear. It was your favorite when you were a baby. You used to reach out your little arms for it, your tiny fingers wiggling.”
Darla smiled at the pleasant memories. Then she became serious.
“Connor, I love you. Remember that always.”
“I love you, too.”
Darla leaned forward and kissed his cheek. She smelled like soft jasmine.
In her hand she held a white glass polar bear; she gave it to her son.
“Here,” she said. “I know you like that polar bear downstairs.”
He looked down at it, his slender fingers tracing its smoothness.
“You died . . . for me. I’m sorry.”
“No, sweetie, no. Don’t blame yourself. I did what I had to do to share you with the big wide world. You showed me true love for the first time in my life. Complete love. Thank you.”
This time Connor leaned forward, embracing her tightly in his arms, as if by holding her close enough she would never leave. He kissed her cheek.
“Remember, I love you . . .” she whispered.
Connor opened his eyes. The room was dark and Darla was gone. He could still feel the warmth of her body against his and in his hand he held the glass polar bear.
He closed his eyes again and thought of everything she had said. He could still hear her soothing chime-like voice in his head. He could still smell her jasmine.