At the 1964 Summer Olympics, 19 year old Wyomia Tyus won gold in the 100m sprint and silver in the 4x100m relay. In 1968, she successfully defended her 100m title with a new world record, becoming the first athlete, male or female, to retain the Olympic 100m title. Tyus also won gold and set another world record with the 4x100m relay team. Tyus would go on to become one of founding members of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
A dark-haired female locks herself up in her room and wipes away her tears, and bites down on her cracked lips, ire and bitterness darkening her dulled, brown eyes. She starts to write, back hunched over a wrinkled piece of lined paper, and there began her ascent.
“the world you see becomes who you are”
Nesta stared at her reflection in the mirror.
An artist perhaps would have painted her face as a moon’s pale surface, clouded and distorted with crater-like indents, her cheeks sunken in. Never had her skin touched the sun’s rays, her missions in the dead night. Mornings she slept, planned, and dreamt.
Tomas injected her with poisons so that she’d fall asleep and build her immunity.
Tomas had her concoct her next murder for a person who had dared meddle with hiss plans
Tomas allowed her nightmares, flashes of visions of tightened shackles, cold metal, and rusted bones.
She rubbed her arms, feeling the markings of where IV tubes had pumped chemical enhancements and other liquids for nourishment. The daily injections served to numb her so that the only emotion that dared to seep in was pain.
She blew a piece of hair that had fallen across her nose.
Once her hair boasted of golden brown hues, time reducing each strand to a dull, lifeless brown. Faint streaks of dirty blond and black from dye still hadn’t washed away, another part of her identity shaped from undercover missions.
She scraped her nail along the dirty glass. Watching the grime listlessly fall into the sink, Nesta scrubbed harder until a section of the mirror was clean. So much dirtiness, filthiness, and nastiness—
Her nail cracked.
She ripped it off, ignoring the sharp pain.
Pain was her friend, her lover she could count on.
Her skin prickled.
Droplets plinked against the cold floor, the hole in the ceiling breezing in drafts of cold air.
She stared at herself, watching those drab gray eyes follow every movement. The past beauty of sparkling, deep blue hints vanished from her orbs, replaced by cold malice.
Nesta washed her hands furiously, allowing the water to run over her palms. She drenched them in soap, violently scrubbing until the cuts reopened. She didn’t see the blood pouring from her skin, but the sea of blood from passing faces, bodies hitting the cold pavement, the gurgling of red and belch out of the corners of mouths.
Tomas’s leer, the triumphant smile, the whip—
“I am Nesta Archeron,” she hissed. “And I will not submit.”
Tomas was dead.
She shrugged on the simple clothes she had bought and pulled a drawstring sweater over her head.
Nesta stalked outside of the motel, her hood flipped over her face. Pedestrians steered clear of the dark-lined figure, a creation of the night. Her gait invited a challenge that saw the streak of death incarnate.
The soft notes of melody to the driving rhythm escaping from the walls of clubs no longer appealed to her.
The misted clouds curtained the dimly lit stars, polluted by the hands of greed, a parasite worming in every male she knew.
A little rain had begun to fall, umbrellas snapping into the air. A tall man emerged from one of the colorless buildings, a woman holding his hand. Smiles painted their faces, the man pulling of his coat and gently wrapping it around her frame.
Nesta looked away, and pushed open the door to the diner, where fuzzy lights surrounded her. Settling herself onto a booth in the farthest corner, she skimmed over the menu and all the listings she hadn’t heard of.
A little smile worked her way on her mouth as she recognized a few items. Cheeseburger, fries, salad…she could taste the sweetness of strawberries at the roughness of her tongue.
The barbecues she’d participated in when she was little, the smoky smell and cheers of laughter, perhaps a game of tag or hide and sneek—
She clenched her fists as she tried to remember the blurry faces of her childhood, the ones she hid and chased, the ones she smiled freely with. Even then, Elain’s and Feyre’s outlines were far away, never quite reachable. There was another face, masculine, a voice deep and rich, that memory shielded from her, a warmth as arms cradled her surely.
Nesta remembered laughter.
But remembering was a dangerous thing.
A voice cleared its throat, and Nesta slid a dagger into her hand.
The waiter backed away as Nesta expertly wielded the blade.
“Yes?” she asked, arching a brow.
The waiter sweated, rubbing his palms along his pants. “Your order, miss?”
A presence slid into the booth across from her, and Nesta swore lowly under her breath.
The male smirked back at her.
“Nice to see you here, sweetheart.” Cassian grinned.
Her first missed shot. The first time an emotion other than pain seared through her. The way he prowled resembled a true predator’s, full of danger and threat.
The male continued to stare at her while he beckoned towards the waiter. “She doesn’t like meat, so we’ll go with the salmon and a plate of asparagus. Two strawberry smoothies for us.” Cassian reached over the table and flipped the menu closed.
The waiter hesitantly took the menu, scribbling down the order. “And you, sir?”
The waiter scurried away.
She stared down the male, who merely shrugged off his jacket. Nesta caught the glimpse of hilts peeking out from the inside of the material. By the flares of red that flashed, he was more than the spy’s friend. Perhaps a bodyguard.
Perhaps just had as much blood on his hands as she.
“If you just wanted to eat dinner alone, then you should have said so.”
“Didn’t want to hurt your delicate ego.”
“Everything about us males are delicate, Nesta,” Cassian chided.
She arched her other brow. “What business do you have here.” A command.
An easy smile. “A man can’t eat?”
He leaned forward, a string of tension in the air. They stared at each other, neither breaking the silence. The clatter of plates and utensils faded in the backgrounded, and she swore she could have melted in those hazel eyes.
A stirring opened within her, and flashes of a once sanctuary shot down her.
“You don’t remember me?” he murmured lowly, almost huskily. Cassian slowly reached out to cradle her hand, running a thumb down her palm.
Nesta shivered as he cupped her hand.
“Who taught you how to throw your first punch?” he whispered.
A burst of memories flooded her, and Nesta jerked her hand back.
Sprinting through the teeming forest—a male pinning a tiger lily to her hair, pulling her up as she tripped over a tree root, leaning down to peck her cheek, saying she was beautifully clumsy, Nesta rubbing off the sloppy kiss, and lunging forward with her fist—
“You didn’t teach me,” Nesta blurted. “I learned how to myself.” She pressed a thumb against her forehead as if she would wash away the intruding memories.
“Oh really? Over a simple kiss?”
“Delicate,” she hissed out.
“I’m not the one who didn’t tuck in my thumb,” he retorted, and reached for her hand again. Cassian tapped the joint bone on her thumb, staring at her, daring her to break the glare. “I’m not the one who continues to run away.”
Nesta winced as the images continued to cram into every crevice of her brain.
The hazel-eyed male had gently kissed her, touching her cheek, so softly as if she were a newborn fawn, learning the beginnings of carefree caresses. She’d ripped herself from his grasp, his orbs turning into molten gold, and she’d sprinted away from the forest and its music, away from the male who saw past her walls and dared to find her when she didn’t want to see herself.
By the way Cassian was gazing at her, eyes darkening, he was remembering as well.
If Tomas had taught her anything, it was that remembering was dangerous.
Just like this male.
“You’re going to run again, aren’t you?” Cassian challenged, eyes watching her withdraw her hands and slip gloves over them.
Tomas may be dead, but that didn’t mean the scars had vanished as well.
The waiter came over, a wary look shadowing his face.
Nesta didn’t blame him. By the way she and the other male—Cassian—was armed, they could bring down this building within a mere minutes.
Setting the plate of fries in front of Cassian, the waiter quickly placed the other items in the middle of the table. Her tongue dried at the sight of the strawberry smoothies topped with swirls of whip cream, her stomach growling at the sight of seasoned food.
Then she sided with the coward’s decision, one that carried within every voice of her reason.
When Cassian reached for a fry, the waiter blocking his exit in the booth, Nesta dashed off out of the diner and into the streets, where the clouds remained heavy.
She ignored the bark of protest and the coldness seeping through her as the rain pelted against her face. Snagging her hood up again, Nesta wandered through an alley, watching the line of water stream through the cracks in the ground and slip through the gutters.
Even the rain was not free, bound to follow the laws of nature.
Nesta grabbed one of the pipe rails, and pulled herself up, skimming the side of the building. With a grunt, she kicked herself off the wall and onto the roof. Her hood fell back, the rain welcoming her by pelting her eyelashes.
She rubbed a hand across her face, and peered down at the streets. Only the tops of umbrellas greeted her, save for the quick darting shapes scurrying under the covers of shelter.
Tomorrow she’d resume her search for Elain and Feyre, but watch from afar. Her sisters and her had branched from two different worlds. Tomas had stolen her heart and replaced the hole with ice.
She’d caused too much damage, and once a hole had been carved, no amount of filling could ease the carved out blotches.
Her skin shivered, eyes dully staring at the droplets pelting and plowing down windowpanes.
She’d been snuggled into her blankets, pulling the sheets over her head. A yank had snatched her blissfulness, and he’d gathered her body into his arms. She’d punched his chest to no avail, and screeched when he raced into the night, water slithering down their skin. Despite the wind and night, she’d felt warmer than ever, even before being nestled in her bed.
Nesta flinched. Never before had she truly recoiled from pulling the trigger and slashing the blade, but her memories had changed the game. For once, an occurrence concerned her personally without the sinking of numbness.
No longer did the IV injections and mind games suppress her past.
Her memories had warmed her with fantasy inserted into reality, but also tore her apart. Who was she, with blood on her hands? She could not retreat to the past.
“You know, there’s these things called stairs. Wondrously more convenient than shimmying up poles.”
She lost how many times she cursed today, and rather continued to stare out into the night’s darkness and slanted slopes.
“You wouldn’t be a pole dancer, would you, Nesta?”
When she didn’t answer, the voice returned, closer than before.
“You’d be the star of the of the show. Once the curtains closed, you’d dance again, blistered and all, to the ghost of the music.”
“Seems like you’ve thought this thoroughly.”
“I didn’t have to. You were.”
Nesta turned around and stared at that roughly-shaven face that bred familiarity. The warmth of her childhood—she refused to accept that it could be this nuisance. Yet…his voice held comfort and kindness, a sorely lacking facet in her new life.
“Not stripping,” he corrected quickly, holding his palms out. “A dancer. You were a beautiful ballerina.”
She stared at him.
“I was raised an orphan,” Cassian said slowly. “I thought I was alone, but you were home. You saw me and felt my pain. Shared it with me.”
Memories flooded her. Tears, rage, and violence.
Things she knew all too well. Too long she’d been homeless.
She refused for home to belong to a person.
“Don’t you remember?” he ground out. “I was your everything, Nesta sweetheart.”
Those words carved into her.
“How dare you,” Nesta seethed. “Claim to know me.”
She moved first, a crashing of waves upon the sand, lashing out with the stormy rage of a hurricane. Cassian met her first strike to his knee, managing to block the blow to his face. Nesta twirled, lowering her center of gravity as he lunged forward.
“I’m not the person you knew,” she gritted out, slamming a fist into his stomach, reminiscing the familiar inhalation of chemicals. The drugs had consumed her, had snatched her mind with deformed and dried darkness.
Seeing an opening, she drove an elbow to his neck.
“I’m a monster,” she growled out, glowering as Cassian managed to grab her wrists with a vice-like grip. He snarled into her face—demanding that she calm down—but she was far from calm.
“I’m alone,” she hissed. “Cursed.” Her first punch cracked her knuckles as the force of the blow hit his jaw. A swear pierced the air, and she moved around his form, a shadow, a viper she was taught to be.
This was a fight of strength and will, not of the blades and steel. She quelled the urge to sink her daggers into flesh, a finale to all that resisted. Nesta had a feeling this male would be back on his feet in no time even if she drove him to rock bottom.
Perhaps it was his persistence that had her appreciating him.
Cassian smirked at her before mirroring her movements, and then began their dance of sheer ferocity. A kick and a miss, a lunge and a dodge, a strike and a hold.
“Are you?” Cassian whispered, tucking the blade against her throat and kissing her collarbone. “A monster?”
Nesta drove her body backward, allowing the momentum to have her fall back. At a split-second, she twisted her body around so that Cassian’s body hit the floor. When his gasp slackened, she jabbed his pressure points, watching his head fall against the roof, water sloshing around them both.
Nesta stared at the heart-broken face, and locked away the memories. Only the puddles remained.
“Yes,” she whispered. “I am.”
She left the boy of her childhood in the cold, the rain sliding down his clothes and over his skin, and walked away.
Simple, but needed. I don’t know about you, but tears slipped from my eyes writing this. Too many writers focus purely on higher emotions, choosing to stray from the little building blocks. Too many writers focus on the height of happiness or the crashing low points. Too many writers believe that simple scenes are boring, but to me, they are everything.
Other names: ‘hatter’ Age: 22 Gender: male Sexuality: straight / heterosexual Origin: toronto, ontario Current location: seoul, south korea Nationality: canadian Ethnicity: korean Spoken languages: english (1st), korean (2nd) Religion: none Height: 5′11ft / 180.3cm Body type: slim, toned muscle Eyes: brown Tattoos: none Piercings: both ear lobes Scars: none Educational background: highschool + dropped out of Seoul Institution of the Arts Social media: not a fan but has accounts on instagram and twitter Smoking: sometimes Drinking: yes Drugs: no Athletics: yes (track and field specifically - gold medalist for 100m sprint during highschool years) Hobbies: dancing, drinking (all kinds of teas & alcohol), sitting at cafes, visiting clubs/bars Virgin: no Favorite drink: disarrono on the rocks Favorite food: buldak (fire chicken) Favorite music: r&b, pop, hip-hop Clothing style: varies depending on mood (can be seen wearing sweats and a baggy plain tee to wearing dress pants paired with a nice quarter-sleeved button up to sporting ripped skinny jeans with a long sleeved shirt and beanie on his head)
Today’s opening ceremonies kick off the Olympics, and we’ve got some predictions for who might win…well, if the games had been held a couple hundred million years ago.
Olympic Gold Medal, 100m Sprint: Velociraptor
When it comes to sprinting, competitors may want to clear the track for this dinosaur. Velociraptor was a fierce predator, and chased its prey on two legs. This behavior is bird-like: most birds spend more time walking than flying, and only a few catch prey on the wing.
I competed in some Gold Sprint races tonight at the opening night of Rowerowa Szkola (translated from Polish it means “Bike School”) at Ben’s Cycle. Gold Sprints are basically races on stationary bikes. Riders race for a certain “distance” on the rollers and whomever is the fastest wins (duh). I handily won my first race coming in at a time of 16.6X seconds which was fast enough to place me as the second slowest racer.
The second race I started with the same pace, but one of the guys on the sidelines was telling me, “Go faster. Go faster. Dude, you got this. Go faster,” in my ear. Apparently I came back from the dead only to lose the second race by .02 seconds, but improving my time to fifth place overall.
I think I could do something awesome with the right amount of time and the right kind of coaching, but…meh.