All The Right Things
In All The Wrong Places
By: Carlos Luckie Cristobal
Copyright © Carlos Luckie Cristobal, 2017
All Rights Reserved.
First Shakespir Edition.
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
After a Long Day
About the Author
Claire sat on a bed with a phone between her head and her left shoulder. She flipped through the pages of the magazine on her lap as she spoke with someone on the phone. “Can you imagine having to try and lose all that weight? I couldn’t do it. Could you, Claire?” the woman on the phone asked.
“Depends.” Claire carefully tore out a page from the magazine. She placed the page on a stack of other pages she had torn out before flipping through the magazine once more. “Anyway, it shouldn’t matter how she looks, right? I mean, the baby turned out healthy and everything,” Claire said.
“Yeah, but think about what everyone else is going to be saying! People are mean nowadays, yanno?” the woman on the phone said. Claire heard a sigh, which had Claire shake her head. “Anyway, free this Saturday? There’s a surprise congratulatory party for her and her baby.”
“I think I’m free.” Claire responded.
“Great! Don’t forget your present. June already prepared everything, so we don’t have to lift a finger. Just show up and look happy!” Claire heard a laugh, which had Claire shake her head again.
“Doesn’t sound bad. Anyway, gotta go. See you tomorrow?” Claire asked.
“Yep! Bye-eeeee-” The woman’s voice cut off as the sound of a click could be heard. With a chuckle, Claire put her cellphone down before stretching. She leaned her head to the right for a few seconds before closing the magazine.
“Where to,” Claire mumbled as she looked around her room. She paused as she spotted the blank space right above her bed’s headboard. She collected the stacked pages while moving closer to her bedside table. Opening the drawer of the table, Claire took out a small gift box and set it on top of the headboard before taking the lid off of it.
Claire pressed one of the pages against the wall, adjusting its position a few times. She reached into the box and took out a thumbtack before piercing both paper and wall. She repeated this process until each page was hanging in a way that was aesthetically pleasing. Stepping onto the floor, Claire moved to the foot of the bed before looking up at her hard work. While grinning, Claire put her hands on her waist.
She frowned. Her eyes trailed from one picture to the other as she focused in on what each woman had in common: they were all happy, fashionably dressed, and skinny. Claire put a hand to her stomach. With hesitance, Claire turned her head to the full body mirror to her left.
She stared at her stomach as she rubbed it before looking back up at the pictures on her wall. Her free hand shook slightly as her head turned towards the ground. Claire formed a fist with her free hand as she shut her eyes tightly. “It doesn’t matter, right?” Claire whispered.
Without hesitation, Claire moved to the vanity in the corner. She sat on the stool and stared at herself. Her eyebrows furrowed as she moved closer. “Your forehead is too big, your cheeks are too plump,” Claire said as she immediately brushed everything off of the vanity.
Claire leaned back as she opened the vanity drawer. Claire’s eyes honed in on the small bottle that had fallen over. Snatching the bottle, she took the lid off of the bottle. Turning the bottle over, she allowed pills inside to spill onto her awaiting palm.
Tossing the bottle to the side, Claire stared at the pills in her hand as she began to shake. Closing her eyes tightly, she began to raise her hand before stopping. She grit her teeth as her hand tightened around the pills. The pills then spilled out of her hand as she stood up. Claire slapped her forehead a few times while moving over to her bed. Getting on her bed, she began to take the pictures down. “I can do this,” Claire mumbled over and over again.
She tossed the pictures into the trashcan as she ran a hand through her hair. Getting off of the bed, Claire pat her cheeks a few times before moving over to the window. Opening the window, she took in a deep breath before smiling. “It’s my choice, not theirs.”
Living at this apartment complex wasn’t exactly the most ideal lifestyle one could choose. There were cracks every now and then that threatened to cause the whole building to crumble into rubble, but somehow, the building continues to fight back the threat to keep itself and its inhabitants from time’s clutches. That was more than enough to convince a man and his child to live in a place like this.
Stepping onto that elevator took some risks, but with the mindset of a parent protecting its children from nature running its course, accepting this rickety metal contraption as an uncle or aunt of sorts should be reasonable enough. Looking down at his child, the man could see the fog of dreams attempting to do its work. A day filled with chores to an adult and adventures to a child will most certainly tire out a person eventually.
Even a king needs their rest.
As the elevator began its ascension, the cramp metal space, big enough only able to fit five fully grown Labrador retrievers standing on their hind legs, began to make its familiar rickety orchestra. The metal creaked and hissed all around them as the sound of the machinery echoed through the hollow shaft. The instability of the contraption may have brought worry to some people, but for the children of this complex, the tune orchestrated a peaceful aura that simply knocked away any silence that may attempt to try and penetrate the room. Once everything came to a stop, the symphony ceased and the bells in the man’s head alerted him of their arrival.
They found themselves drifting off into a land of make believe, feet of both occupants began to trudge through the hallways on their last ounce of strength, just so the comfort of plush marshmallows would no longer be neglected.
A group of soldiers ran toward a rock formation overlooking a cliff. Demons chased them, but the group made it to the formation. The woman that led the group quickly spotted a cavern entrance. She led the group into the cave and as soon as everyone was inside, she raised her hand, which quickly engulfed the entrance with a light blue light.
Deep within the cave, they came to a stop. The woman looked at the remaining soldiers. She pointed at each one before shaking her head.
“What do we do, Raine?” one of the soldiers asked.
“We find an exit,” the woman identified as Raine responded.
One of the soldiers, who were smaller in build, frowned. He fiddled with his fingers but remained quiet. Footsteps and clanking armor echoed throughout the cavern as the group traversed. The only source of light came from the armor that the soldiers wore.
“Why’d I ever become a Templar? We’re going to die!” a Templar asked.
“Regret later!” Raine said.
A mumble could be heard, but after that, no one spoke. The smaller guard moved closer to Raine. Noticing this, Raine sighed as she nudged the smaller guard.
“You’re gifted, but you’re young. Why’d you join the Templars, Emil?” Raine asked.
Emil grinned as he said, “I wanted to show my brother that I could do it.”
“You’re still young,” Raine responded.
Emil opened his mouth to say something, but Raine laughed as she playfully pushed Emil and said, “Regardless, you’re here now.”
As Emil nodded, a shriek echoed through the cave. The Templars all raised their hands to cover their ears, but their helmets denied them. Stumbling forward, Raine looked to the others as she motioned forward.
“Run!” Raine said.
As they ran, Raine cursed as she pulled her sword out. She raised her sword as the blade glowed. A light ran forward from the blade, lighting the open space. The light hit a wall across from them, revealing a crossroad.
“Which way?” one of the Templar’s asked.
Raine’s gaze shifted from one tunnel to the other. Reaching the crossroad, Raine turned towards the right. While the Templar who was complaining ran into the left tunnel, the other two followed Raine. It wasn’t long before a scream from the Templar echoed through the cavern.
Raine stopped in front of an archway as she held her hand up to signal the other two to stay put. She stepped through and illuminated the majority of the area, revealing a large cavern with a lake. The light traveled forward, but it seemed to come to an abrupt end halfway through the cavern.
Stepping into the area, Raine motioned for the other two to enter. Once they entered, Raine, Emil, and the other Templar set up another barrier, covering the archway. Emil spoke, though he found it difficult to keep a steady breath.
“Around the water. We don’t know what’s in there, so stay on guard,” Raine said.
They each gave a nod before they began walking. The body of water next to them remained still. The light reflecting off of it made it impossible to peer past the dark veil the water possessed. Emil swallowed the lump in his throat before letting his mouth hang, his eyes never looking away from the water’s surface. He inched closer, but the other Templar quickly took hold of his wrist. He looked at her as she shook her head.
“Don’t. Could be acidic,” she said.
“But, Aveli,” Emil said.
“What are you two going on about?” Raine asked.
As Raine turned around, moving water echoed through the cavern. While Aveli stood at the edge, Emil stepped into the water and crouched low with his hands cupped. Raine tried to say something, but Emil had brought the water to his lips.
“Stop that!” Raine said.
Raine walked up to Emil. As she grabbed onto the collar of Emil’s armor, Emil slumped forward. Raine put her sword away as she tried to pull Emil toward the shore.
“Snap out of it, Emil!” Raine said.
Instead of moving towards the shore, Emil’s body began moving deeper, pulling Raine with him. Aveli got into the water and tried to pull Emil as well, but all three of them were being pulled deeper into the water’s depths.
“What’s going on?” Aveli asked.
“Something’s pulling Emil!” Raine said.
As the water got to waist height, a clank from Emil’s armor made Raine look down. A transparent, black tendril had wrapped itself around Emil’s waist. Pulling her sword out, Raine moved forward to see the tendril coming from the depths before them. With a grunt, Raine brought her sword down, cutting the tendril. Emil and Aveli nearly fell backward into the water, but Aveli managed to catch herself and Emil.
“Out of the water! Quickly!” Raine said.
Both women grabbed either of Emil’s arms as they made their way to land. Raine looked over her shoulder, forcing her to stop as she held her ground. Several transparent black tendrils rocked back and forth as they inched closer.
“Raine! He’s out!” Aveli said.
Raine looked back, but she suddenly felt limp. She felt like a ragdoll, her arms and feet hanging as her eyes looked around.
“Hold on!” Aveli said.
She pulled out her sword and ran. The tendrils surged forward and while she cut down two tendrils successfully, another tendril wrapped around her waist and lifted her into the air. She couldn’t move anymore.
Back on land, Emil groaned. He put a hand to his waist as he struggled to push himself up. He shook his head and blinked a few times before looking up. His eyes widened as he moved back suddenly, his hands firmly on the ground behind him.
“Raine! Aveli!” Emil said.
They didn’t say anything nor could he see whether they were alive or not. Getting to his feet, he took a deep breath. Emil closed his eyes and stretched his arm forward. He kept his pinkie and ring finger folded with the rest of his fingers stretched upwards. His body shook, but he kept his eyes closed as an aura appeared below him. The aura swirled around him before coalescing just above the tips of his outstretched fingers. As the tendrils receded into the darkness, the light shot forth.
It sliced through the tendrils, causing both Raine and Aveli to fall into the water and for the remaining tendrils to recede. Emil stumbled backward as he held his head. Water splashed, but Emil kept his eyes closed.
“Emil! Are you okay?” Raine asked.
Raine put a hand on Emil’s shoulder. He nodded as he stood up and sighed.
“You did it, but let’s not stick around,” Aveli said.
As they walked forward, Raine pulled her sword out and shined its light. As they reached the end of the light, Raine furrowed her eyebrows as she touched the end with the tip of her sword. A ripple ran along the wall from where her sword touched.
“What is it?” Emil asked.
“Magic,” Raine said.
Raine frowned as she lowered her sword. Aveli moved closer to the wall as she raised her hand. As her hand began to glow, ripples began to build. She smiled as she looked at the other two.
Aveli asked, “We can manipulate it, right?”
“We can give it a try,” Raine said.
Raine and Emil stood beside Aveli as they raised their hands. The ripples grew as a hole began to expand and light began to shine through it. It grew big enough for all three of them to fit.
“We move slowly,” Raine said.
The other two nodded and they each moved forward. Little by little, they maintained their focus until all three of them were safely through the hole. Once through, they looked over one another before noticing the view before them. They stood on a cliff with a pathway that led down into the valley below. Emil smiled as he walked up to the edge.
“It’s Aristo! We made it!” Emil said.
“Let’s get going. We have to warn everyone,” Raine said.
With a nod from each, the trio made their descent down the mountain and back to the safety of the Kingdom walls.
Carlos Luckie Cristobal is a game writing student in the Creative Writing for Entertainment BFA program at Full sail University. Some stories he writes are of fantasy-adventure or through romances in a realistic setting. Aside from building worlds and writing quests for games, he has drawing up “writing specs” for asianfanfics.com such as Rewound Time, Tell Me You Exist, and I Believe in Your Existence. When not writing, Carlos is supporting his teammates by healing the wounded and bringing them back to life in order to continue the battle.
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With this book, Cristobal has given the readers three stories. The first, titled “My Choice”, is about a woman named Claire who seems to be living a normal life. However, Claire soon shows her struggles with the ideal image the media feeds the public. The second, titled “After a Long Day”, is about a father and their child heading home after running some errands. Through this story, descriptions quickly take control as it displays what may be running along in the father’s sleep-deprived mind. The third, “The Escape”, is about a group of soldiers trying to escape from a group of demons determined to take their lives. Their abilities and determination are put to a test, however, as they venture through an unknown cave with the hopes of making it back to the safety of their Kingdom.