I hope you all enjoy my story of the week!
Thanks for reading!
The wind crept across the earth bringing with it loose, vibrant, red and orange leaves. The crossed the stone path until they stopped at a young woman’s feet. They shone bright against her black mid-calf boots. The red leaves she noticed matched her dress. The wind picked up slightly as it blew upon her causing the dress to dance slightly into the air. A chill crept between her boots and the opening of the dress at mid-thigh as the back lifted into the air just enough to keep the dress from touching the boots. Her bare arms felt the breeze and welcomed it more than her legs. Sitting on her olive skin was a scar burning bright red. Every time her black hair brushed against it, the scar, stung just a little more. The young woman’s hazel eyes begged the scar to stop hurting. When she looked up she finally realized that she was lost. She recognized the place, but she did not know how she had gotten there or where, precisely, here was.
In front of her stood two worn stone pillars that were wrapped in vines. They were dark and dead looking vines until they began to brighten. They grew brighter and brighter until she watched beautiful flowers of blue and black creep their way outinto the daylight and bloom. She followed their growth up to the beautiful old iron arch that only strengthened the pillars intensity. One large light was hanging directly in the middle. It seemed as if to be lit with a flame. The closer she got, the brighter it glowed. As the fire grew brighter in the light the fire like pain lessened in her scar. What the young woman didn’t notice as she neared the entryway, to nowhere in particular, was that as she got closer the veins that connected underneath the scar grew bright and they traced every inch of her arm and up her neck.
“It’s okay. I’ve been here before.” She was trying to explain why she felt safe inching closer. Her feet stopped moving directly in the middle of the arch. She put her hand up to touch one and stared at the veins glowing brightly down her armto her elbow. Her hazel eyes didn’t pop open like one would expect. They closed a little in satisfaction as her scar radiated a soothing hum. She took one step through the arch leaving the other behind her rooted to the ground.
“What is this?” The world she was coming from was a beautiful and bright fall day. The world she had stepped into was dark, and yet the sky was dusted with stars. What the stars didn’t touch the moon gave life to.
“Welcome back.” The deep voice pulled her from her thoughts. Her head snapped to where it had come from. As good and soothing as stepping into this world felt the young woman still wasn’t sure that stepping any further in was the right choice.
“Welcome back to where, exactly?” The deep chuckle sent chills up her spine as she assessed the size of the shadow speaking to her.
“Step in and see.” She hesitated before realizing that she didn’t feel pain in her arm anymore. To be truthful she didn’t feel pain anywhere anymore. “I’m right here.”
“I don’t even know who you are.” Her left brow raisedslightly and she smirked as if it was a familiar and normal interaction with the man. Her left foot that had trailed behind was sliding forward. Arms crossing her chest she shifted just to her right to lean on one of the pillars.
“A friend.” She wasn’t sure when she took the step in, but she had. The man in front of her didn’t seem like he was a simple man at all. As he walked out of the shadows he stood taller than most normal men. He was perfect in every way, too perfect. His eyes almost glowing a blue light and looking into them seemed to drain her apprehension about where she was. “There isn’t anything for you to fear here. I promised you last time.” Her whole body stilled for a second before she turned to run, but his hand caught her.
“What do you mean promised me last time?” He moved closer and she could almost feel his breath on her cheek as he leaned in to kiss it. He leaned his forehead against her temple.The interaction between them seemed familiar, yet off.
“After that happened when you came here last time,” He paused pointing out the scar on her arm, “I told you that nothing here in the dark would ever hurt you again.” He released her and she felt her brow crease in irritation.
“I have never been here before. This darkness, this night, it is darker than any other night I have seen before. I would remember.” He turned to walk away from her before stalling to let her catch up to him. “Where are we going?” He let out an aggravated sigh.
“We are going to the house.” She stopped in her tracks.
“Who’s house? Your house?” His shoulders moved which told her he was laughing at her quietly. “I don’t know you, so no. Not happening.” The man turned approached her quickly and picked her up and throwing her over his shoulder as if they had somewhere important to be. “Put me down.” She tried sounding demanding but truthfully, she was exhausted. “Fine. I guess if I don’t have to walk whatever.”
“We are almost there.” She shrugged and held her head up to see everything in the field behind her. She didn’t stop to admire it before and wished she had. Then she realized as dark as it seemed before wherever he was leading her was darker still.The field had faded and all she could see was the path they were on. The movements came to a halt and he set her down. She turned only to realize this wasn’t just a house, it was the size a mansion. “Welcome home,” he said as he opened two beautiful dark wooden doors.
“This is not my home.” The man had a trace of exasperation written across his handsome features. When they reached the low white lights in the entryway she noticed the scar peaking out of his shirt on his neck. It reached up to underneath his chin.
“It is. Whenever you want it to be. You’ve been here a few times lately. You decided you liked it here before. I told you what’s mine is yours.” He shrugged and tossed what looked to be a small knife in the box near the door. He saw the fear begin to stretch across her face. “Never know what could get you out there.”
“Like… a bear?” Her arms wrapped around herself.
“Sure. A bear.” He moved out of the entry through a doorway and she took her time admiring the black marble floor and portraits on each side of the main area. The one on the right next to the room he went in looked just like him. There was a name below it that she couldn’t quite make out it looked like Caelum. When she looked to the left her eyes went wide. The portrait was her, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t her name that was right below it. “Amaris Nyx” is who the portrait belonged to. She didn’t know what her portrait was doing here but all that was left after seeing it was more questions. She moved quickly into the room and found him pouring himself a dark drink.
“That’s the wrong name.” His movements stilled and he didn’t turn to face her.
“No, it isn’t.” Her feet carried her in front of him.
“Oh, yes, it is. My name isn’t Amaris Nyx. My name is Aiyana.” He smiled at her a little.
“Eternal flower this time. Fitting.” He turned to walk away from her with drink in hand but she grabbed his large muscular bicep with a lot of force. He spilled his drink down his arm which caused him to close his eyes, tilt his head to the right, and take a deep breath in.
“What the hell does that even mean this time? I haven’t been here before!” Caelum stepped closer to her.
“It will come back to you be patient.” As he raised the glass to take a sip she slapped it out of his hand and it shattered on the floor. “That wasn’t patience.”
“I’ve never been one for restraint. Spill.”
“I just did. I had help. Remember that.” He gave a nod to the drink on the floor.
“I meant tell me what I want to know.” He dropped to the large leather chair and it almost looked as if he was sitting on a throne.
“You have been here before. Many times. In many ways. It’s never the same thing that sends you here. ‘The darkness’ is what you always call it.” She moved to sit on the smaller chair opposite him. Her arms resting on each arm of the chair. She crossed her right leg over her left in front of him and he smiled at her as if a memory whispered in his ear. “For me we do this dance for a few days until you make yourself a home here. You usually call it ‘taking control of the darkness’. I call it ‘a queen on her throne.’” Aiyana stared at him waiting for something to make sense to her.
“Is this some sick game to you?” Caelum looked up at her with an anger that she was sure flashed in a quick glow of red across his eyes.
“This has never been a game to me. This is what you make it. You are the one who plays a game here in the darkness. Then you leave like it was just another part of your life. I live here in it every single day.” Aiyana sank back into her chair. She wondered if she had lied to him before about who she was. She wondered if she had done this man wrong, made promises, and left him behind. He was waiting for her as if ritualistically.
“I can tell. You have a lovely home and all, but I don’t belong here. I can’t belong here.”
“Don’t you feel better here? Is the pain gone?” She looked down at her arm which was now lit aglow to her hand now with no pain wondering if its because she was in the darkness.
“Why don’t I feel it here?” Caelum sank back into the chair.
“You got it here. When you get hurt in the darkness it calls to you. It reminds you of what you’ve left behind.” Aiyana looked at him intently. “I need to get some air.” He nodded and pointed back at the front door. She made her way to the door and stalled for a second before grabbing the knife out of the box.
Once she was on the front step she stepped down onto the path and ran. She moved as fast as her legs could carry her on the same route she came from. “This isn’t right. I can find my way out. I don’t need him to take me back.” She reached the edge of the field and it was oddly quiet. In fact there was no sound at all. She turned to see a shadow slowly walking the path. Her feet began to move again and she could just make out the pillars from before. The fear was setting in.
“Aiyana, come back!” His feet almost thundered as he got closer. “Aiyana!” She reached the pillars and looked back to see where he was. He was still halfway between her and the path behind him. She went to walk through the pillars, but it was like hitting a wall. There was nothing in front of her yet she couldn’t walk through. “It needs you to leave a mark. You know that.” She looked down at the knife and then back up at him. “Don’t do this again. It will just leave another scar.”
“I don’t know you. I don’t belong here. I can’t stay here. You have to know that.” She pressed the knife into her palm feeling the sting of the blade and the blood pooling. “You enjoy the darkness. It’s not for me. I belong in the light, and I can live with another scar” Aiyana slapped her hand to the pillar, and it lit up sending with a light a cool breeze from behind her. She stepped through backwards keeping her eyes on the man. He moved to grab her, but he was too late. When she looked down at her hand the knife was gone, her hand had a new scar across the palm. It looked just as old as the scar on her shoulder.
She looked around to make sure she was back to the world she knew. The beautiful and real world. Her mind was trying to process what had just happened, but she felt like it was a dream. She backed away and felt the two scars stinging until she turned around letting the warm sunlight hit her face making her smileand drowning out the darkness.