Layer after layer of velvet darkness peeled away from me, opening into the light like an exotic flower. I felt the bed under my body but I was floating nonetheless. Moaning, I weakly grasped at the last connection to the sleepy shadows reluctantly letting me return to the waking world. Softly, my mind awoke and greeted the gray light of the morning. The sun leaked weakly into the window, pattering rain on the glass. Languidly I stretched on the mattress, feeling the kinks and stiffness pulling taut and releasing. “Mmm…mmm….” I sat up and rubbed my eyes free of morning grit, catching sight of my dress and underwear on the floor beside the bed. Chills ran up my body and down again.
It wasn’t a dream…
I wasn’t that drunk last night…
It really happened.
Bracing myself, I waited for the realization to kick in that I fucked up. That I’d made a huge mistake. Regret would come smashing in and ruin my morning as I’d similarly ruined my whole damn life in one night.
It never came. No panic, no remorse. I smiled a little, then grinned as a particularly familiar warmth melted into me. Everything was just fine. I was still as relaxed and content as when I’d fallen asleep in his arms last night. My smile wilted a little when I looked down to see the bed empty. The sheets were cool beside me.
He was gone, almost like he'd never been here.
Don’t know what I expected. Dark didn’t seem like the type to stay for breakfast. Wrinkling my nose, I kicked the covers off. Something small and dark fluttered to the carpet. The only sign that he’d been here: a single, jet black rose petal. It was softer than velvet, weightless in my hand as I picked it up and brushed it against my cheek. The scent was still strong and sweet. Pleasant ghosts of the incredible sensations of last night haunted my body and mind. "Wow..."
My head went a little fuzzy and I realized just how hungry I was. Carefully I set the petal on my night stand and got up, slipped into silky robe, and headed for the kitchen. A good breakfast and some coffee were much needed.
As I whipped up some eggs with ham and cheese, I let my mind wander back to last night. It would be so easy to make myself believe it was just a tipsy dream, but I certainly didn’t want to. It wasn’t my first time, but the sensations were so intense that it might as well have been. I’d never felt anything so deep.
It was a bit scary, though, no matter how good it felt or how fondly I looked back on it. Were things going to change now? Well, of course they would, but how? Did this mean I’d just struck some weird soul bargain? Or worse, would I be left alone now, having given him what he wanted? He said no more games, but I suddenly found myself doubting his words.
Stop that. You trusted him last night with…well, everything. Nothing’s changed. It’s fine. Nodding firmly to myself, I poured the eggs into a hot pan, the warm buttery smell wafting up in a hiss of steam. I licked my lips, hunger setting in more deeply. The doubts lingered quietly in the background. But what if…
A pair of strong arms looped around me and pulled me in close, stopping up the errant thoughts immediately. “Did you miss me?” Dark purred, his voice raising chills all over me. ALL over. He nuzzled his face into the crook of my shoulder, his scruff prickling into my skin.
“Ngh…hey, cut it out,” I grumbled, wiggling a little against him. His answering growl told me that was the wrong move to make.
“Not a chance, you temptress,” he whispered, laying a kiss on my earlobe.
I resisted the urge to abandon breakfast all together and return the kiss, but the eggs were starting to sizzle. “I’m trying…trying to make breakfast.”
“You can multitask,” he whispered and drew the soft lobe into his mouth and nibbled gently. My spine turned to jelly immediately. Damn he was good at that.
“Where did you go?” I managed to ask between sighs, running my free hand along his arm as I clumsily tried to turn the eggs with the other. It was quite a trial, staying flat on my feet while my knees were becoming less than solid.
“Mm, shade business,” he snorted with more than a little boredom, slipping my robe off one shoulder.
Shrugging his hand away, I shakily moved the pan off of the stove. “Hmph, shady business,” I snarked, still a little disappointed to have woken up alone. “To answer your question, yeah, I did miss you. Happy?”
He leaned closer and brushed his fingers through my hair. “I missed you too,” he admitted, “very much actually.”
I leaned against the counter as he pressed against my hips. My face heated up, but then my hand did too and I snatched it away from the still hot stove. He frowned and grabbed it, turning it over. I cleared my throat, still blushing. “It’s fine.” I slipped my hand from his and grabbed the pan, turning the eggs onto a plate. “Um, are you hungry?” I asked, feeling more awkward than ever.
Laughing, he smoothly traced tiny circles on my bare shoulder. “Yeah, I am.”
“Ugh, that was lame, Dark,” I groaned, rolling my eyes as I set the plate on the table.
He shrugged, still toying with the silk fabric. “Eh, you set me up. What was I supposed to do when this flimsy thing is all that stands in my way?”
I pushed his hand down and readjusted the sleeve, tightening the belt for emphasis. “Um, no. How about you let me eat breakfast first?” I sat down hard in the chair to show him I wasn’t fooling. He made me wake up by myself. Let him twist a bit.
If he was bothered by my refusal, he hid it as well as ever. “Sure, sure. Breakfast first, dessert later,” he promised darkly, taking a seat at the table opposite me.
Blush rushed up to my face again, but I tucked my chin down and started on the eggs. I was too hungry to let him distract me. He didn’t say anything else, just sat there silently watching.
After a few minutes, I’d had enough of the food and the feel of his eyes resting on me. I looked up and back down again. “Did you want any? I’m done,” I offered, silently wishing he would just so he could do something other than stare at me.
“Thank you, but no. I’ve no need for food.”
Sighing, I nodded and stood up, taking the plate to the sink. “Right. I suppose spirits don’t eat.” But they do fuck, apparently, I added to myself, biting back a snort of laughter as I scraped the leftovers into a Tupperware.
“We certainly do. And quite well, if your reaction is anything to go by.”
I choked a little, nearly dropping the empty plate in shock. Dammit, I kept forgetting he could do that. His reminder of our time together didn’t help my situation either. My hands trembled, fumbling to get the lid on the Tupperware. He got out of the chair and slid up behind me, his hands covering mine, easily snapping the lid in place. He didn’t immediately move back however, slipping his hands up my arms and shoulders. “Why are you so nervous, love? Hmm?”
Stepping backward, I dropped my arms and turned around, looking him squarely in the eye. “I don’t know, okay?” I pressed my hands to his chest, not pushing just holding him there. “I don’t regret it, what we did. But this is new, and you can’t expect me to jump in bed with you whenever you show up, not when you can leave just as easily.”
“Not my choice mind you,” he interrupted. Reaching up, he took my hands in his. “If I could simply resist the call to my host, I would.” Slowly, he shook his head. “But that’s not how it works. Remember what I am, Cassidy. I have duties, and if duty calls…well, there are consequences if they aren’t met.”
For the second time, I saw the ghost of his pain in his eyes, not as intense as last night, but it was the same pain. Biting my lip, I lowered my eyes. “S-sorry, I didn’t know.”
“Don’t apologize. You couldn’t have known.” He leaned down and pressed his forehead to mine. “And it’s not easy, seeing you worry. There are things you don’t know and I can’t tell you all at once.”
“But you will…tell me? Sometime between now and everything going to hell?” I asked, lacing our fingers together.
That got a chuckle out of him and the pain dissolved, his smile growing sly again. He nodded, his soft hair falling against my right eye. “Somewhere in between.”
The distance between us suddenly seemed too far apart and I rose up on my tiptoes, planting a firm, quick kiss on his lips. He startled a little, my move obviously taking him a bit by surprise. It didn’t take him long to respond, but alas, I was able to sidestep his grasp. “Well, I’m glad to hear that. Now, if you’ll excuse me,” I said over my shoulder, making a hasty move down the hall and into the bathroom. Closing the door, I pressed my back against it and smiled. That felt good. Left him twisting twice in one day. I was getting better at playing this game. Now, what to do? A shower would feel pretty good considering I hadn’t gotten a chance to wash up last night. I grabbed a towel and washcloth, but as I bent to turn on the water I hesitated.
He was still out there. I could feel him. Impulsive creature he was, he probably wouldn’t be able to resist the thought of me in the shower. My stomach flip-flopped at a very possible scenario, one I could barely resist myself. Seeing all that perfection wet and steamed…
Shaking my head, I gave myself a mental smack. No way was I going to let him see or hear me thinking that. I’d never live it down. “Keep it cool, Cas,” I muttered, wetting the washcloth with a little cleanser. The shower could wait, but I at least had to get this makeup off. Raccoon rings decorated my eyes, a dried streak of melted mascara trailing down my cheek. Gross. And he saw me like this. Great. I scrubbed the stubborn black stuff away and checked my reflection. Much better, except for a little streak left behind. Leaning closer, I swiped at it again with the cloth. Nothing, it stayed put.
Oh my god, not this again! I pulled one side of my robe open and gawked at the sight. The streak trailed down from my cheek to my breast in a snarl of shadowy ribbon. The same path that Dark and his rose had taken last night. “Dark! Dark, you ass! Come here right now!”
“No need to shout.”
I yelped as he materialized behind me, not bothering with the door. “Goddamn it, make some noise or something.” I gestured to the new “art” he’d made on me in frustration. “What the hell is this? It looks like you painted me with ink.”
Dark leaned back in the wall, his eyes trailing down and up approvingly. “I think you look rather fetching. I like seeing where I’ve been.”
I shivered and closed up my robe, shying away from his eyes. “W-well, it’s going to be hard to explain this to people and I’d rather not try. Just fix it.”
“Why don’t you do it?”
His abrupt question took the wind from my annoyance, replacing it with total confusion. “What? What do you mean?”
“Just what I said. If you don’t like it, you can change it.” He pushed away from the wall and turned me to the mirror. “You did changed the shadows once before, out of survival. Just think what you can do with deliberate thought put into it.” As he spoke, he reached around me and slowly undid the belt of my robe. “This is yours now, to shape and form at your will.”
“But…how? How do I-“
“Look at yourself. Look at the path,” he murmured, sliding the robe off of me, letting it fall with a whisper to my feet. I glanced at the mirror taking in my body for a moment before ducking my blushing face back down. His cool hands rested lightly on my shoulders. “You’ve got to see this if you want to change it. I can teach you how. Look up, Cassidy.”
Fighting back the urge to pick up my robe and bolt, I took a deep breath and raised my eyes to the mirror. It hung suspended in a void of blackness that stretched in every direction. There was a vague, pale light surrounding its frame, illuminating us faintly. I didn’t even notice us leaving my world. It felt…more natural somehow. Besides that, there was nothing to distract me from whatever this task was. Well besides him, but he seemed more intent on my reflection than me.
As my eyes grew stronger amid the darkness, I saw the whole path of the twisting ribbon. It started on my cheek, twirling in an elegant filigree down and around my collarbone. The spiral brand wove itself nearly seamlessly into the looping lines that travelled down my breastbone and made lovely circling patterns around each breast. Lower and softer went the brushstrokes of darkness, ending in a sublime flourish at my navel. It was a beautiful sight, and if I could think of any way to explain it, I wouldn’t change a thing. I even felt a little guilty for wanting to try.
“It’s alright,” Dark said softly, trailing his hands down my back to gently land on my hips. “Look again. Start at the beginning.” He laid one hand on my cheek where the first stroke was and began to travel the path. I watched him in the mirror, my eyes fixed on the sight of his fingers skating down my face. I heard him softly laugh when the goosebumps rose but other than that nothing slowed his progress. Stroking back and forth across my collarbone, he lingered at the swirl at my throat, reverently moving lower, caressing my breasts. Our breathing followed a steady, sensual rhythm that deepened with each inch his hands moved and my eyes followed. In my memory, I could feel the sensual touch of the rose petals skating along my skin as surely as I felt him. Brushing, twirling, fluttering…
Then I could see it happening. The dark strokes were shifting and melting, the linear pattern breaking into the shape of pure black rose petals, floating down to rest in one place. The end of their journey.
Dark moved his pale hand away from my navel. Blooming outward from the little pit was the image of a perfect, black rose. He looked into the reflection of my eyes and smiled approvingly at my choice.
I smiled back. “A memento,” I said simply and lolled my head back against his shoulder. An odd feeling of sleepiness crept over me. It felt like the first time he’d taken from the brand, my energy waning into softness.
“Beautifully done.” Strong arms scooped me up before my knees went soft and laid me down again, a clear echo of the night before. “And I do mean beautiful,” he added. My eyes flicked open, the blurry vision of him hovering over the bed lightening and darkening as I fought the tiredness. “You should get some rest,” he whispered, covering me with the sheet.
Even through the haze, I saw his eyes burning like embers.
I reached for his hand, grazing my fingers against his. “Nooo…stay here…” I slurred, pushing the sheet down. “Don’t leave…”
My eyes finally fell shut, unable to stay on his. As I slipped further into sleep, the space beside me on the bed shifted, gentle fingers stroking through my hair carrying me away on a whispered vow.
“We’re going to do great things together…
Go back to sleep…”
My bare feet slipped across the gritty floor as I made my way through the darkened room. Asshole could have at least given me a chance to put some shoes on. I bumped against something hard and cursed, rubbing the soon to be sore spot on my side. The thought crossed my mind to use the camera to see, but it ran on batteries, a precious resource and one that I could not afford to squander. Moving slowly, sweeping my hands out in front of me, I managed to make it to the door without running into anything else. I prayed it would open and I wouldn’t have to go searching through a dark room for a key.
Thankfully it swung open, the rusty creak resounding through the hallway much to my chagrin. The dim corridor was empty, but not far away I heard sobs and screams, of the killers or their victims I couldn’t tell. Moving as slowly as I dared, I began the long, terrible journey through the asylum.
For a while, the only thing stopping my progress was the occasional variant stalking out of the thick shadows. They were easy enough to evade: ducking into the shadows and watching them sporadically through the camera’s infravision until they vanished. I knew it wouldn’t last, though. They were the fodder of this world. Some of the most disturbing characters ever created made their home in this world. The giant Chris Walker, the cannibalistic Frank Manera, and Billy Hope, the Walrider spectre: all awful and terrifying, but…
A voice broke through the silence of the corridor, cultured, soft, and tremulous. “Is it…is it you? Truly?”
Oh, fuck no.
Around the corner stepped a tall man in old-fashioned dress, something straight out of a 1920s movie. Bloodstains marred his otherwise dapper appearance, and I knew little of it was actually his. “My dearest, you’re perfection!”
Give me Chris, give me Frank, even the Walrider! Anyone but this asshole: Eddie Gluskin. “The Groom”.
As I turned and sprinted away, I heard his fine shoes take off after me, slapping loudly on the tile floor. “NO! Don’t leave me! Damn you, you whore!”
I threw down boxes and leapt over strangely placed tables, trying to put some kind of distance between us. Behind me, his desperate pleas and vile abuse dogged my steps, but I could hear them fade as I ran. Vaulting over another table (or was it a gurney? Were those bloodstains?), I landed flat-footed and kept running. I’d somehow put enough distance between myself and Gluskin that I couldn’t hear him anymore. That gave me little relief. This game was all about false security, an easy trap to fall into.
I took a corner and dashed into the first open door I saw, slamming it behind me. The door had no lock, only a latch at the top that I quickly bolted. It wouldn’t hold against him, but it might slow him down long enough for me to find a different way out. I pressed my back against it and looked around, taking note of anything I could use to stay alive. I was in some sort of surgery theatre, if you could call it that. The room was a large one, poorly lit, full of overturned tables, a pair of tall lockers flanking the doors, and a very bloody gurney with straps. Various metallic items glistened in the poor light. There were two large windows—one beside the door I came in and another on the opposite side of the room that showed rows of chairs behind the glass.
Blowing out a long held breath, I went to one of the tables and searched for a battery. Nothing here but medical instruments: a few rusted scalpels, some surgical scissors, and a (brrr) syringe with a needle as long as my finger. My battery life was alright, but it wouldn’t hold out forever. The rules of the game were run, hide, or die. What would it be like to die in this place?
Well screw that. I grabbed the biggest scalpel on the tray, a meager weapon, but better than nothing. This wasn’t some pre-programmed game, this was as real as it got. And I was ready to play it MY way now. Grabbing the small metal table the instruments lay on, I launched it at the fluorescent lights. They shattered with a sad buzz and a tinkling of glass tubing, bathing the room half in shadow.
I could hear him outside, rounding the corner, crying out affection and madness. His voice was getting louder. “I hear you, lover! I’m coming to you, please wait for me!”
I ran to the darkest part of the room and crouched down, grimacing and biting down on a cry as my foot crunched onto a piece of glass. The door jumped in the frame, pounded on the other side by his shoulder. Ramming it again, and then once more until the latch popped free and the door screeched open. Even in the near darkness I saw his eyes shining like an animal’s, a ghastly smile taking his bloodied face. “Hide and seek, my love? I have other games we can plaaaaayyyy…”
Pushing my terror aside, I gripped my scalpel and rose to my feet, running at him with a scream. He turned at the sound, a look of shock on his face as I sank my weapon into his chest, my rush tackling him to the floor. As if noticing it for the first time, he roared in more rage than pain clamped his hands around mine. I rocked the scalpel in the wound, not a deep one, but it poured with blood, the razor-sharpness of the blade opening up multiple vessels. Releasing my hands, he grabbed me around the waist and managed to get me on my back, gripping the collar of my shirt in both hands, trying to tear it open. I writhed and kicked, slivers of pain shooting through my skin as we rolled about, wrestling for control. My knee sank into his gut, forcing his breath out in a painful heave. I yanked the scalpel free and stabbed at his hands, hoping he’d let go. With a growl, he backhanded me with a rock hard fist. Fiery stars exploded in my eyes. I spat blood on the floor, coughing and wheezing in pain.
“Why?! Why won’t you accept me?!” His filthy fingers latched around my throat and began to squeeze. “WHY ARE YOU ALL SUCH SLUTS?!”
Gargling and grunting, I fought on, bucking and twisting my body in a frenzied attempt to dislodge him. He lifted and slammed my head down, sending black spots swirling across my vision. My breath failed me. A strange ringing deafened my ears as I let my arms fell away, too weak to hold on.
Just before my vision went black, he let up slightly, one hand releasing my neck, the other still pinning it down. I managed a suck of thin air into my lungs when sliver of light caught my eye, thin as a spider’s silk glinting coldly in his hand. It drifted closer, a bead of greenish liquid dangling at the very end of the light. His voice burbled thickly into my ears. “Just hold still, my sweet. I’ll make you accept me…”
The very tip of the needle pricked my throat just to the side of the spiral brand, and I suddenly found a burst of laser focus. Both hands shot forward and pressed into Gluskin’s eyes with hooked thumbs, a ragged scream tearing my throat in a long explosion of terror and desperation. He shrieked in agony, the syringe falling uselessly to the floor as he tried to pry my hands away from him. My fingernails dug into the sides of his face, drawing blood. Just when I thought I would actually gouge out his eyes, he jumped off of me, burying his face in his hands, cursing and wailing. Blood coated the tips of my fingers, slipping along the cold floor as I backpedaled away, pain and fire spiking through my hands until I managed to jump to my feet. A sharp twinge deep in my thigh nearly sent me back down—I must have pulled something in the scuffle. I ran out of the room and down the hallways, ducking into a room down the corridor. Dim, empty, full of boxes: a perfect room to hide in for a bit.
I slammed the door and leaned against it, gulping cold, dusty air into my body. After I calmed down a bit, I raised the camera and scanned the room. There had to be a kit of some kind in here. These games always had those. Fatigue crept into me and I placed my hand on the wall, trying to keep myself from passing out. A sickening slice of pain shot through my hand. I pulled it back, gaping in dismay it the perfect red handprint on the wall. My hands were riddled with small cuts from crawling across the glassy floor, not to mention all the slices on the rest of me. Nausea rose up thickly in my stomach as pain seeped into my body from countess places, but I managed to keep my breakfast down.
An even sicker feeling crept through me as I remembered stepping on that chunk of lightbulb. Looking down, I saw the red betrayal on the floor: the trail of a single, bloodied foot.
The door behind me exploded open, launching me forward into a splintering pile of boxes. One or two cracked under my weight, raking my arms with woody bits. Gluskin, silhouetted against the doorframe of my compromised hiding place, barreled in with a growl. Blood dripped in crimson tears from his eyes. Drool oozed from his lips, the front of his fine old-fashioned dress shirt a mess of tattered red. Howling, he ran forward, eyes maddened, a thick lead pipe brandished high. Shutting my eyes tightly, I screamed and threw my arms across my face, hoping the blow would at least land on them rather than my skull.
A pulse of palpable energy buzzed through the room, humming gentle vibrations through the air. Everything became silent and still. Forcing my eyes open, I gaped at the sight of Gluskin hunched over me, locked in mid-swing, his weapon an inch from impact on my head. His eyes darted about in confusion and outrage. I clambered out of the smashed boxes and backed away from my would-be killer until I felt the wall behind me and slid down to sit on the dusty floor. What the hell happened? Did I win? Did I lose?
The center of the room brightened suddenly—or rather, the shadows thinned a bit. The shadows remaining coalesced and soon Darkiplier stood with his arms folded over his chest, his black eyes blazing in the gloom. He took a quick look at Gluskin, whose eyes suddenly filled with horror, his tight frozen grimace twitching subtly. Dark shook his head and looked back at me, betraying nothing, just staring in his unsettling way. We remained in our positions, staring into each other for uncounted moments. I was the first to break eye contact, shaking my head in confusion as I looked at Gluskin again, still feeling the thundering fear of my close call pounding through me. “What did-I mean-how…”
At last, a smile cracked his emotionless face. “Pause button,” he shrugged as if that explained every mystery.
My momentary wonder at my deliverance vanished at the sight of that smile. Always that damned smile! Anger filled up the spaces between my pain and fear. I pressed against the floor and tried to stand, fully intent on walking right over and throttling him. “You…fucking-“
The pain suddenly won out in a rapid rush, deep-seated fatigue setting into my bones, and I crumpled to the cold, dusty floor again. “Shit,” I hissed as I landed heavily on my aching leg. The adrenaline that pumped through me dwindled, letting pain and hysteria seep in. A few stubborn tears slipped free and I scrubbed them away, smearing my face with more blood.
Dark remained still for a bit longer, then took a leisurely step in my direction.
“GET AWAY FROM ME!” I shrieked, shrinking back at his approach. A thousand jarring shocks of pain careened through my body as I screamed. Smashing my bloodied hands over my mouth, I began crying miserably. I could taste my blood, copper-rich and salty.
Dark stood there, inhumanly still, watching my pain and fear playing out. Slowly, he lowered himself to his knees front of me. I scooted back a bit, the wall behind me unyielding. His smirk vanished and he leaned away from me tentatively, like I was a wounded animal ready to bolt. Well, I suppose I was. Could I get around him? Did I dare to try? His eyes locked on mine and I startled, fully expecting that strange darkness to take over them again. But no, they just lingered on me, calm as a lake. Squirming, I felt fluttering nerves in my stomach, awakened by that strange expression.
I didn’t realize how close he was until I felt his cool fingers brush my hand, felt them try to close around it. I managed to break the intense stare and snatched my wounded appendage out of his reach. Shaking my head vehemently, I let it fall to my chest, hiding my eyes from him. “Don’t…don’t touch me. Please, just go away.” I broke down into sniffles again, knew he must be getting some sick thrill out of my pleas, but I no longer cared. If he wanted me to beg, I’d beg. Anything for him to leave me alone.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand gesturing on the floor, drawing little bits of shadow up out of it. They looped and spiraled in the air around his fingers, reminding me of filigreed handwriting, catching my attention more fully. Watching them made the pounding fear in my gut soften a little. Cool flesh closed around my hand and I gasped, the touch of his skin a cold shock, his grip on me firm but not clenching. Bits of glass prickled inside the cuts, drawing a muffled sob from my throat. He stared at my hand for a few moments, then set his dark eyes on the frozen statue of Gluskin just beyond us. He muttered something I couldn’t understand and waved his other hand in the direction of the madman. Immediately, the human form opened and peeled away like a costume, vanishing into a black, ashy substance that blew away in a wind that I couldn’t feel. In its place, a hunched shadowy form cowered on the floor. Dark’s eyes narrowed at the thing which reached up a supplicating limb, pointing in my direction, and sank into the floor with a mild, whining whisper.
“Worm,” he muttered as the last of the creature’s darkness vanished. Turning back to me, he gave me a tiny, tight-lipped smile and smoothly turned my hand palm up in his. I’d almost forgotten he’d been holding it. Before I could say a word, he closed his eyes and brushed his fingers over the scattered wounds. The whorls of shadows twined around my hand, tingling as they touched me like the prickles in a part of your body that’s fallen asleep. My eyes flew wide with disbelief as the cuts and scrapes began to close up. It was like watching days of healing happen all at once. He released me and reached for the other hand, but I just kept staring at the edges of the sliced skin moving together seamlessly, leaving the barest hint of a scar.
Dark sat fully on the floor and reached for my left foot, not bothering to ask or care if I protested. He laid it carefully across his leg, the new position a little uncomfortable for me. His hands skimmed up over my knee and along my thigh. A cold tingle spread through my leg, the tightness of the twisted hip muscle releasing. Shadows swirled and floated all around me, each one seeking a wound to mend. Hard glittering things spangled in them like stars in the night as they pulled away from me: the glass in my wounds. When the last wisp floated away, the shadows vanished, showering the floor with tinkling crystals. As he ran his hand down my leg to lightly touch upon my bloodied foot, a tremble raced through me that I couldn’t suppress.
His sly chuckle told me he felt it as well. Black, solemn eyes raised up and rested on my puzzled face. “Not so bad now, is it?”
I could only shake my head, unable to find the words to reply. Though I still had blood all over me, there was no indication that I’d been hurt at all. My nerves felt languid, the pain dissolved completely, yet my mind was reeling. I glanced down at my hands laying in my lap, completely healed up. When I tried to lift my arms, I found them unresponsive. Even my fingers wouldn’t wiggle, not even a bit. I jerked my head up, suddenly frightened again.
“Why won’t they move?” Testing my legs, I found them just as immobile. I could move my head, my torso, but my arms and legs were jelly. “Why can’t I move? What did you do?”
With a grim smile, Dark moved quickly forward and scooped me up, ignoring my squeak of protest. Looping his arms around mine so they wouldn’t just dangle, he shot me a playful smile. “Just a precaution. Can’t have you running off after an ordeal like that, can I?” he said nonchalatly, carrying me effortlessly as he made his way through the silenced corridors.
As we moved, the scenery began to change, swaths of shadows obscuring the walls and floors. Passing through a darkened doorway, there was a strange sound, like an echoing chorus of hushing whispers as the shadows thickened. Then I realized the whispering was coming from the shadows. Nervously, I curled against him, pulling as much of myself away from the spectral darkness. A rumble vibrated through his barrel chest, a low laugh that I felt more than heard. He gazed down at me, his dark eyes smooth and placid. “You worry too much,” he murmured, his voice much softer than it had been.
Grimacing, I tossed my head away from him. If I could just get my limbs moving…it wouldn’t do a bit of good. As much as I hated to admit it, my mind was in far too much confusion and my body was completely spent. Even if I had the use of my limbs, I couldn’t hope to escape him. All I could manage was a weak wriggle, and all it accomplished was to make him tighten his arms around me. “Your fault,” I grumbled, trying to ignore the feel of his arms securely cradling me, cursing the fact that my body was being so rebellious. “Where are we going?”
"I am nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody too?"
Name! That! Poet!
Current Residence: Weimar, Texas
Favourite genre of music: ROCK!
Favourite photographer: Andres Serrano
Favourite style of art: Abstract
Operating System: PC
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Personal Quote: Though Lady Justice may place her thumb on the scales, don't be angry. She just has fat thumbs.