Shadowland

Aug. 28th, 2012 12:16 am
vetanda_noir: cat eyes (cat eyes)

     Darkness. There are so many forms--the soft kind that enfolds and beckons rest; the rich, textured dark of a velvet summer sky studded with stars, and the dreamless net of exhaustion that catches us right before sleep. This darkness, however, was of an entirely different type. It slid over her skin like fine sand, too coarse to be comforting and yet despite this, strangely seductive. She felt it as an alien presence, watching her, measuring and judging…

     Her limbs feeling heavy and leaden, Gia stirred and willed her eyes to open.

     A fluttering of her eyelids admitted a small, wavering circle of light, and it seemed like ten suns after an eternity of night. A shape was silhouetted in the circle: a tall, cloaked man. The light and the man appeared to be floating at first, and she thought perhaps she was seeing an apparition—a ghostly presence of some sort—until he set the candle down.

     That fledgling light seemed to grow and surge. Soon her eyes adjusted enough so that she could keep them open without flinching, and for the first time she looked around. She was in a massive bed, the velvet coverlet stretching for eons, an island of old-world opulence that was alarmingly unfamiliar. Where am I? Why am I here?

     Her eyes drifted back to the figure, the man who had brought with him the light. As he stepped forward, his face was illuminated and she saw that he was inhumanely beautiful. His face seemed chiseled of marble, lacking the warmth and texture of human skin, but his lips were sculpted with infinite pleasures in mind: full and lush and red. When he spoke, it was in a low voice that sent a riot of tingles up her spine, to explode in her brain like fireworks.

     “My perfect little Gia—and how are we feeling tonight?" Though the question left his lips, he did not seem to expect an answer—nor could she could it if he did. “Still not talking are we? Ah, well—more’s the better. Chatty women can be such a bore.”

     He removed his floor-length coat and settled it smoothly over the back of a nearby chair. His shirt was a shade between eggplant and burgundy, with silver thread edging intricate designs around the cuffs and collar. When he settled himself in the chair, the thread caught the light and spun patterns in the dark.

     “Now, then—where were we?" 

     There was something about his voice that sent off a tiny muffled alarm in her head. Like a living entity, it sought entry into her secret places…stealing down her throat to wrap satin shadows around her lungs. She tried to sit up, struggling against the invasion, but could not. Her muscles would not obey—the only part of her body that would move were her eyelashes, and these fluttered with the desperate motions of a broken wing.

     He leaned close to the bed, causing a mad galloping of her pulse so that the throbbing of suffused heat nearly suffocated her. She pictured myself running from him, with the madness of a hunted animal in her eyes, running until all the world was on fire, until the danger dissipated. But as she looked up at him, into those eyes that seemed to house boundless cruelties and fathomless sensualities, she knew a terror never before experienced in her life. Her voice seemed the only defense against that which demanded entry; and so she opened her mouth, tried to force the sounds to come out.

     Sadly, no sound issued forth from her lips. Is my voice gone then? From long disuse? How long have I been here? Licking her lips, she tried again. It came out as a course whisper, rough and rasping, but it came. “Please…”

     “Ah, so,” he said, an odd fire lighting in his eyes, “The little angel has a voice! That’s a good start, come on now.” 

     Though encouragement from him seemed incredibly ridiculous, she managed a few more words. “Wh…where am I?”

     “You don’t remember? Well, that is perfectly natural, considering the nature of your accident, and all that has happened since. Such traumatic events might have put too much strain on that beautiful head of yours.”

     He stretched forth a hand to brush back the hair covering her forehead. One elegant finger traced a large, semi-healed gash by her temple, lightly caressing as it went. The touch sent an electric shock careening through skin and nerve endings, right through to her core. Instinct made Gia flinch away, made a fine trembling begin in all her limbs.

     The shock of it made her lips numb; still she forced the words past them. “Accident…what—” As soon as she turned her mind in that direction, images somersaulted through at blinding speed: a blue-black sky with lightning arcing across it; her own hand wiping the inside of the windshield as she tried to peer past the slashing rain. She was in her car, a gorgeous new Lexus, and on the phone, brow furrowing, voice strained.

     “Morgan, I will be there. Yes, well—they’ve closed the bridge because of the rain. Don’t worry, okay. It should be soon. I haven’t disappointed you yet, have I? Fine then—20 minutes at most. Yes; see you soon.”

     She saw the bleary red brake lights as explosions of color in a world washed with gray, though the image of a well-manicured finger stabbing at the radio buttons, changing the stations rapidly, was crystal clear.

     “Shit. This always happens to me. Why can’t the weather just cooperate for once?” Had she always been this impatient? Gia wondered as she watched her other self, hovering lightly inside the car, remembering with brutal clarity the smooth texture of leather that still smelled new, the heat soaking through her thighs from the seat heater (by far her favorite feature), and the rich floral scent of her shampoo.

     Her other self looked up, saw that the line of cars was moving, and a police officer in a yellow rain slicker was slowly waving them through.

     “Yes! Finally!”  She straightened in her seat, checking her lipstick in the mirror surreptitiously before throwing the car into drive. As it moved forward, visibility reduced even further until all that she could see was silver rain pelting the windshield. Her car was now on the bridge, but the line of vehicles had stopped moving.

     “What is the hold up? Come on—“ Gia watched her other self frown and crane her neck to see; at the same time she heard an explosion of thunder and the dangerous creaking of cables as the wind picked up to a near-scream and the bridge began to sway.

     Her vision instantaneously ballooned outward, outside of the car, and she found herself instantly soaked through, standing on the bridge, watching the steel cords of one cable in particular unravel one by one. The tension snapped them as easily as dry twigs; soon there was a lurch as the final cord gave way and one corner of the bridge fell drunkenly sideways.  Not one second later, a crash reverberated into the wet air as the car behind hers smashed into her bumper, sending it sailing over the edge.

     She remembered hitting the water. Such a sickening sound, that. She heard herself scream…the hoarse, panicked shriek of someone hurtling headlong towards a sure and painful death. She watched in terror as the water level inched up the window. Her trembling fingers found the unlock button and she shoved the door open, plunging into the swollen river. Immediately, it took her downstream and she threw a wild look over her shoulder to try to see the bridge—

     The one thing she did not see was the overhanging tree branch racing toward her. Just as she started to turn around, it slammed into her head, knocking her unconscious. A dark cloud of blood jetted into the water as her body went under. Gia did not remember any of that, only the half-cocked view of the bridge swarming with those misty red lights and shouting people; and then nothing, only darkness. Was he feeding her memories then? But no, a shaking hand went up to the gash on her head, and she knew it was all very real.

     “No—oh, no.”

     He arched a perfect black eyebrow. “Oh, yes. That was quite an accident. Are you dead? In the way that humans perceive death. . . Yes.  As for your earlier question, you are in what others have called the Otherworld, the cold beyond, the afterlife, and—hell.”

     Gia’s eyes took on the dull sheen of shock. If people have called where she was hell…

     “Am I the devil?” He laughed softly. “No. Though that little mythological gem has afforded me much pleasure in the past. The fear it instills is really quite useful. No, my dear Gia, you are merely in one of the planes of existence where souls go after a part of your life comes to a close. Even I have had my share of incarnations on earth. But as of late, I do not see the need, as most of the pleasure of life has been leeched from it by all the restrictions placed there by thought-tyrants and the cradles of despotism.

     “W-what?" 
     
     “Religion, my dear, religion. As you will see, there is no hell or heaven, ultimate sin or ultimate redemption, only existence and choice, and the realization that death, as you know it, does not exist. Merely choices and how they define you. Do you see?" 

     His hand came up again, capitalizing on her confusion, to stroke her hair as if he was the most tender, the most ardent of lovers. She shrank away from him, pupils dilating hugely as if trying to suck in information from the air around her. “Who are you?"

     The barest smile played on his lips. “Now there’s my girl; that is a respectable question. I am not human, that much is obvious. There is not much that has changed in humans since my last visit to earth: still brutal, animalistic creatures with the tendency towards self-destruction. The warmongering has not ceased, only the stakes have gotten higher.”

     His laugh would have been sexuality incarnate, had it not been equally as sinister.

     “I find it delightful that the skirmishes of man have risen to the point of cataclysmic proportions,” he continued, his gaze never once wavering from her face. “Should there be another world war, there wouldn’t be much of an earth left afterward, would there? Now, I care nothing for violence. Oh, it has its uses—once in a while when it is necessary to reach someone on a primitive level, I am not above employing a little force. But more often, I am a champion of truth, and such truth that forces a being to face who and what they are: the bare bones of it.”

     When his hand came down to cup her jaw, Gia was helpless this time to pull away. There was a mad pulse, a warm careening energy between his palm and her skin, causing something to coil in her stomach—something very much like desire, but also very much like terror.

     His voice dropped the velvet quality it had, the false glimmer of softness; now there was only steel, which brooked no refusal.

     “Your truth, Gia, is that you will be my mate, my consort and queen. And you will give your consent freely.” 

     And with that, he brought his face close to hers, so that their lips almost touched. Her nostrils flared as she breathed in his scent; he smelled like a thunderstorm, with the same barely contained fury and power. She could not stop the tears from gathering in her eyes and spilling down her cheeks.

     Upon seeing her tears, his fingers tightened upon her jaw, and his voice dropped to a growl. "Defy me, Sweet Gia, and you will find my wrath most unpleasant."

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vetanda_noir: cat eyes (Default)
Vetanda_Noir

August 2012

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