Archive for May, 2014

The air around me was light, and I was weightless, free. Each and every beat of my heart felt surreal, it bubbled beneath my lips, and thundered in my ears, like a brilliant storm, raining down at the end of summer, soaking through my dry and aching veins, while stealing away the vicious heat.

5.17

“Tell me a story.” I breathe out in a quiet whisper, watching the halos shimmer around every light that cast a shadow in the room. The world was so still, so peaceful, and everything that I was running from seemed to be a thousand miles away. My body is somewhat paralytic, tingling on echoes and vibrations, and his skin, his skin is so soft, and smooth. His lips, tantalizing. “You worked for Azazel, you must know hundreds of stories.”

“It’s not like I ever met him, besides even if I had, what makes you so sure that he would be the first to suggest story time?’ Gabriel muses quietly, his fingers tapping against his rib cage in time to some unknown beat. Bright colours swirl around him, engulfing him in fantastical shades and a vibrancy that I never knew existed. “Since when did you care about that dribble…? Well about anything that came out of my mouth?”

“I happen to like what you can do with that mouth.” I giggle softly, my eyes rolling, and glazed over. The blood haze is all powerful, and all consuming, and for the moment, I might believe that I am invincible. That I am all powerful. “Besides, I don’t think I’m quite ready to face the outside world just yet.”

5.17 (2)

He sighs, running a finger down my sternum, his finger grazing the soft curves, and outlines of my breasts before meeting my eyes. There is a softness, in that harsh glow. “There are a lot of stories, and myths, that even the vampire heralds as law, and legend. In the dark ages, when the pyramids were being built, and the emperors ruled over China with an iron hand. Long before man set his sights on the earth as his ultimate possession, they say that demons ruled the world, and the humans, worshiped a thousand gods in the hopes of salvation. And in that age the natural enemy to the immortals was born.”

“A history lesson, how exciting.” I sigh, watching him closely, but still glad that I had an excuse to stay and forget about the world for just a while longer.

“They say that these beings took away fertility from the vampires, and cursed them by the sun’s glare. They say that they cursed lycans with the terror of mortality, and forced them to depend on their packs for survival. And the witches, they cursed the humans too, in their own ignorance, with their supposed intelligence.” His voice mirrored that of a student, forced to read aloud, and inexplicably bored. “And they say, that centuries after they were first punished for their misdeeds, the witches rose again, to punish the world for it’s cowardice to fight back.”

5.17 (3)

“And what do you say?” I interrupt him again. Watching him roll away from me, as he lights up, and breathes the smoke into the bright air of the room.

“I say that it’s just a story.” He rolls his eyes, passing me the smoke and smirking again. His fangs seemed to be so foreign, so violent, despite the smile gracing his lips. He had tasted me a dozen times before, and I had begged him too, yet lying beside me, he was still a stranger, and a killer. “A lot of our stories coincide with the humans, and then again with the lycans, not in the same formats, mostly because the humans have always been arrogant enough to make it all about them. Like Chinese whispers, except vampires are the only immortal ones.”

“So, what, the vampires are all knowin-“

5.17 (4)

“- And most of those vampires are dead. Which is why it’s just a story.” There is a strange amusement alight in his eyes, despite the strained irritation of his voice. “Do you know the seven deadly sins, or whatever the humans are calling them these days?”

“What? That’s a vampire story?” I giggle loudly, my eyes rolling in disbelief.

“Depends on who you ask.” He winks at me before continuing. “It happened sometime after the first curse was lay, the immortals had already been punished, and forgotten, and we’ve always been arrogant enough to defy the gods. But the humans, they were allowing these crimes to go unpunished, you see, they had been gifted the power to fight back, but they were cowards.

There was a king who ruled over the north, over the snow, and cold, and his impenetrable heart was ice. And his queen’s heart was hellfire. She wanted his terrible power, and all that he had laid claim to. Her greed was immeasurable, but the king had a son who’s very life could risk everything she had worked so hard for. She hated him, she tried to turn his own father against him, and that anger burnt a hole in his young heart. When the king sailed off to war, he attacked her, held a blade made of pure silver above her heart and threatened to pierce it.

5.17 (5)

And then the witches came, with an anger that could tear down nations, but they didn’t. There were seven in that keep that day, seven who claimed sin against grace and humanity, and the witches cursed them all. The boy with the knife was forced to live with rage burning on each and every fiber of his being, but they did not stop there, they cast him into the body of a wolf for eternity, his true form. And the queen, they took the one facet that could take as much as her greed demanded of it, and locked it away under the ocean. The other five were cursed with the sin that they most embodied, including the Queen’s own son, barely an infant, but already with a dangerous thirst for blood.”

“And what did they take from the queen? What did they lock away?” Giving him a serious look, it’s only a few seconds before the laughter begins once again.

“Her king.” He blinks twice at me before looking away again with a quiet sigh.

“Apart from the kid, and the king, maybe even the queen, I don’t see how the other’s were cursed.” I moan at him with a sarcastic voice, and a roll of my eyes. Growing up I never particularly liked history, and if the army didn’t require some sort of academic effort, then I would have never seen the inside of a history book. Never would have wanted to either.

“You don’t think a lot do you? It was never really a curse on the immortals. They might have been a catalyst, but it certainly was not a curse on them, no, it was a curse on the society that let them sin their lives aw-“

5.17 (6)

“Lame! You should be an English teacher though. For real.” Smirking at him, I roll to the edge of the bed. Taking a final long drag of the cigarette, I breathe out almost peacefully. I was beginning to come down, and those anxieties were starting to eat away at me again. If I didn’t get these breaks, even a short relief, then I was sure it would eat a hole right through me. “Oh, and remind me to never ask you to tell me a story again.”

“Remind me to never let you ask.” Gabriel counters before narrowing his eyes in on me dangerously. “I’ll be out of town for a couple of weeks on a mission, so I’ll leave some vials here for you. You got the cash?”

I mumble something incoherently under my breath as I riffle through my drawers to find the wad of cash I’d saved for a moment like this. “Two and a half grand cash.” Counting it quietly I smirk at him. 

‘I don’t know how you can still afford it, after spending this last month in a drunken haze, not that I’m complaining.” Is that how long it’s been? A whole month since.. Since that day? The feeling of bile in my stomach is almost instant as I drop down into that dark abyss. Like someone has punched me under the ribs, in the soft flesh of my stomach, and kicked the air out from underneath me. A whole month…

“My ma has had a college fund open for me since before I was born-“

5.17 (7)

“I take it no college then?” His toothy smirk makes me recoil slightly, as I try to fight the urge to run. A whole month since we’d meet, since Ravenwood… I couldn’t deny that things were beginning to fall apart fast. That the people who would go out on missions, go out to the front lines, to assist, and then never return. But they were different, somehow, perhaps because I had known them. That I had needed them.

“Can I ask you another question, not a story, just a question?” Sighing, he motions for me to continue. “When Arkin rose, why did you join the rebels, and not Asmodeus?”

“It’s was all about survival.” He states, his brows furrowing slightly. And I stare back at him half heartedly, trying to focus on moving forward, and on forgetting, but I can’t forget. God. I can’t forget them! “Asmodeus didn’t want to fight a war, he wanted a thousand pretty girls with their veins split open. If it came down to it, I think he could take down the queen, but not Arkin. So I picked the side where his sympathies lay. Whether you win or lose, I don’t suppose it really matters, the vampire is over and what we are, is gone. Arkin will tear our throats out, but the humans… History is a grave reminder of what they’re capable of. And I just want to ride out the storm.”

“We’re all filthy animals at the end of the day, no better than each other.” Sighing deeply, I pour out a tiny droplet of blood on my finger and taste it, savouring the high, and it’s metallic taste. Things were better when I was high, I could cope, I could forget. As the numbness spreads throughout my core, I smirk weakly at him. “Money’s all there, try not to get yourself killed.”

5.17 (8)

I walk on shadows, my fingers graze the walls around me and push. How do you escape the confines of our oppression? Forced to fight with no real objective or possibility. I barely soak in the delusional freedom as I stand by the graveside, taking a long drag of possibly my sixth smoke that hour. 

If smoking was bad, then I was going straight to the grave. 

I didn’t want to think about where they went, or why. Sure enough, their presence was like a faded memory, almost nonexistent and coated with the dust of age. They were gone, and that was enough for it to hurt. It wasn’t what I would call sadness, but actual pain. Guilt that burrowed in so deep it felt like my stomach was full of rusty nails and shattered glass.

I take a swig of the cheap whiskey, feeling it burn it’s way down my throat. I was no good to anyone here, getting pissed and sleeping the day away. I wanted my gun back, I wanted to hear the loud crash of the bullet, and smell the burning metal, and gunpowder in the air. But I already knew that staying sober was a hopeless endeavor. 

5.17 (9)

But what were they going to do?

Fire me?

Kill me?

Ha! I laugh to myself as I flick the cigarette onto the soil and crush the embers into the wet dirt. It hurt to laugh, but the grim facts begin to play on my lips as I force a hard grin. “See ya later, guys.” I whisper to wind…

“You smell like a brewery, have you been drinking..? Already..?” Grandfather comments as I let myself into his office. His eyes never leave the computer in front of him, to which he furiously types away. I suppose it was one of the better things that he could comment on. Yesterdays shirt, this morning’s bedhair, even the hazy glow of my eyes could have been an easy pick for him too.

5.17 (10)

“Just a sip or two.” I mumble back, scratching my arm with sudden nervousness. Being here meant trusting in someone, trusting in my grandfather’s freakish memory for old lore, and shit that could only get you killed, or worse yet, start a war. “So, this medium thing, and getting stronger? How exactly do I do it?”

He pauses briefly, and I can see his eyes flicker back and forth underneath his tangled mop of hair. His fingers stop dancing across the keyboard, as he pushes his chair away, standing up to meet me. He stood just a few inches taller than me, barely any difference, and yet the way his eyes seemed to study me, I felt like a child again, small and insignificant. He was smart, and accomplished, he had dealt with torture that I can’t even imagine, and yet it seemed to be both tearing through his skull and a world a way, at the same time.

I always wondered how he held himself together through it all, but his life was a testament to it. He didn’t exactly have the time to mourn, and throw a pity party, no, he threw himself into his laboratories, and into war zones with reckless abandon. And then of course the apathy that seemed to line his face despite the fire in his eyes.

5.17 (11)

“Tulpa, Larka, is one of the basic premises of magic.” My grandfather begins. My eyes gladly search the confines of the room, of his handsome lab assistant with a tight line across his face, and the clock that was three minutes fast.  “With three core bindings involved. The first being, a separation, and manifestation of consciousness. This first entity is most widely recognised, and used by witches-“

“Witc-“

“Quiet, child.” He scolds, not listening to my interruptions. But to be fair, magic didn’t seem to call out to me as strongly as he tried to yell. It was just that, an old tale told to kids to keep them from roaming the streets at night. Although, that’s probably what they said about us too. All those years ago. “The second, and third, are both medium practices. Manifestation, and lastly, channeling. The manifestation is already circulating the air around you, with no aid to its power but your own spiritual pressure. There are obvious uses to this skill, which you might use as you see fit when you learn to control it. The dead can talk, and sometimes they know exactly what you need to know.”

5.17 (12)

“And the third?” I ask with a slight sigh, once again watching Cassiel. 

“Channeling requires great power, a lot more than you have right now. I have been trying to teach you the foundation skill of memory channeling, and you don’t exactly have a knack for it at all. I’m not sure whether you would be channeling the dead, or the ghosts in someone’s eyes, perhaps it all comes down to power which entity you raise. Although right now-“

“Grandfather-“

“Think of it like a muscle, girl.” He breathes close to me. His face seeming more intent than usual. He motions for me to sit down and I feel a deep yawn fighting the still curves of my face. “The more that you train, and the more that you flex it, the stronger it will get, and the more those gates will open for you. Now I am not asking for you to get powerful enough to kill the enemies at our gates, no, but I’m praying that you will get strong enough, that when they break down those walls, that you can get out alive. Now go ahead and try it. Pick a memory, and focus on, til that’s all that you can see, and then show me it.”

5.17 (13)

I pout, trying to focus on something that, A) I wouldn’t mind him seeing, and B) that I cared about enough to think about for more than a passing second. Time seems to pass as I try to even decide on a memory. It can’t be hard, but all there is, is a blank. And shitty memories that aren’t worth the time. 

I call him over and place my hand over his, trying desperately to make something happen. But nothing, I don’t even know if I’ll know that I’ve done it. But grandfathers deadpanned face is a pretty good sign that it is working. That I don’t even know how. Maybe he had it wrong after all. 

Focus… Try harder.., you’re not even trying… He doesn’t stop, every so often he snaps me out of my deliberate daydreaming to keep trying. But after the first hour I’ve almost forgotten why I’ve come. I shut my eyes again and focus on something simple, a memory from school, I clocked some bitchy kid right in the face. It was awesome.

I smirk with my eyes shut, reliving that punch, over and over. Course, he probably wouldn’t approve, but if it got the job done. Besides, even now it’s one of my prouder moments. You don’t take crap from no one, and if they try, you show them who’s boss. I also met Aiden that day… 


5.17 (14)

There’s a loud crash and I force my eyes open. A few books lay scattered across the floor, and Cassiel’s face seems almost apathetic, crestfallen. He bites into his lower lip slightly. Until he sighs, and his signature grin paints his lips again. I sigh too, reaching down to pick up the books for him. That memory wasn’t the best choice, I didn’t want to think about him, much less try to remember every single minor detail about him that day, and I don’t know if I could think about it, without him there. That wound was barely healing, I couldn’t afford to tear it open.

With my eyes still shut, I reach out for the last books but only touch warm skin. My eyes shoot open, and Cas grins at me, like some kind of idiot. “I’m sor-” 

5.17 (15)

I can feel that memory, somehow pass through us. It’s only a few seconds before the tension is his muscles are relieved, and he seems to look at me again, not through me. “That was… That was.. Uh… Beautiful.”

“Shut up.” Is all I can say. I flinch away from him, and move back to the chair. “Don’t even.” His grin widens, as he motions his hands, palms out from his chest, that he was going to back away.

Grandfather stares at me, and he knows that I can do it. I’m going to have to do it again. Although, it’s power, isn’t it? Being a medium sounds like a crock of shit, but there were some obvious things that I couldn’t deny. I’d seen the dead, and their memories. And the cold abyss that I was going to be sent when I died. But power?

5.17 (16)

You could do a lot with power.

Advertisements

Waking up was the hardest part.

5.16 (2)

Part of me didn’t want to, part of me knew the hopelessness of waking up again, of hospital rooms and anxious glances. Of being told to sit and wait on the side lines, because what I was, and what I was doing was far to much for my poor little soul to bear. You’re not strong enough… You’re weak… But I was stronger than they thought, than she’s ever give me credit for, and I would have to get stronger.

If not for me then for them… Seth, Aiden… What was the point of power if you can’t do anything to save anyone at all? Perhaps we’re all to busy trying to save ourselves.

Save me. Someone.

Please.

5.16

“You should get some rest, darling.”

“I can’t. I have to be here when she wakes up… Do you remember when she was little? She might not have even been five at the time, but I remember, it was a night, just like tonight, we couldn’t have known if she was ever going to wake up. She’d been gone for so long, and the first thing that she said when she opened her eyes was that she missed us. And she didn’t think she’d see us again. I don’t think we could pry it out of her, even now, but where could she be going. Who has our baby girl?”

“Vivian, I know that you’re scared, I know. But I would never let anything have her. If she wakes up, then I will find a way to make her st-“

5.16 (3)

“What do you mean if?”

“Viv, you know that’s not what I… You know that’s not what I meant. But maybe we need to start being more real-“

As I breath the air into my lungs, a piece of me stays behind. In the realm where only the dead could talk. Perhaps it was better this way. There was still far too much that I didn’t understand. Too much that I didn’t know. But why would they punish the good, and let demons walk the earth, inherited with flesh and blood as strong as steel.

5.16 (4)

“Oh my god, Lark, can you hear me? Lark?” Their voices meld together in perfect harmony, anxious, and relieved. Surely I hadn’t been gone for so long that they would think to miss me. Oh no, of course she would, mother never needed an excuse at all. But dad, he always somehow managed to keep it together for her sake.

“How long has it been?” I manage to cough out, my throat felt like I had swallowed razors, and my muscles trembled wildly under my own weight. The room seemed to swirl, and dance before my sand filled eyes.

“Almost two full days.” Dad responds, under his eyes dark bags seem to swallow up his sanity. He even seemed paler in comparison to his usual self, more scruffy, worn out. Just exhausted looking. Had he been here when I had fallen? Or had he left his post just to find me? “Just rest for a bit, okay, are you hungry? Do you want anything?”

5.16 (5)

“Thank the heavens that you’re awake. I thought…. I thought I’d lost you.” Mother slumps forward in her chair, tears spilling from her anxious eyes. Her voice is a shrill too loud, and my sensitive ears ache with it’s intensity.

“I’m fine.” I breathe, gazing up and into the cracked ceiling, with paint beginning to peal, and chip. I hated that world. I hated the snow, and I hated it’s ghostly silence. I hated vampires too. It was just a war of what I hated the most, and right now, I just wanted Gabriel’s veins, open and vulnerable at my request. “I have to go.”

“I don’t think that you’re ready yet. You just woke up, what could be so damn importan-“

“Believe it not, mom, my world doesn’t revolve around you.” Slowly, my limbs begin to move, painfully, and with the weight of a hundred bricks. It was swimming in concrete after having just run a marathon. And there’s at least a thousand places that I would rather be than here.

5.16 (6)

“When did you grow to hate me so much?” I’m not even sure that she managed to say the words, her voice is a quiet whisper. And dad is at her side, trying to still her racing heart, trying to mend the dam before the floodgates could really start spilling over. “It’s like no matter what I say, you’ll fight it to your last breath, just to spite me. I wasn’t going to bring this up right now, because of what’s been happening, but do you know what Sora said that he found on you?”

“I don’t know mother, maybe the scars, or the blood, or the number of that cute guy at the bar-“

“Don’t play around, Lark, this isn’t a game.” Of course this was happening now. Right now. I sigh, glaring in her general direction. The strength in my body was slowly beginning to trickle back in, but right now, I didn’t even think I could stand up without falling face forward back down. She had me trapped. “It’s dangerous. And the decisions that you’re making right now, and all the things that you’re doing, it’s not right, but because of that blood, you think it’s oka-“

5.16 (7)

“You think I’ve made bad decisions?” I stumble as I find my feet, pausing inches from her face. Red burns in my vision, tearing apart my chest, just trying to find relief. If it weren’t for the anger circulating through my blood, I’m not sure if I would have even been able to stand. “I never worked for the man who killed my mother, I never loved a man who bea-“

“Larka!” I pause as my father’s eyes fall on mine dangerously. “We need to talk about what you’re doing. You may think you’re all grown up, and that you don’t need us, but just look at the choices that you’re making right now. The drinking, and the sleeping around, and then the V? And treating your mother like dirt?” It was the first time in a long time that I had seen the mask of apathy being lifted from his sleep deprived face. The heavy shadows beneath his eyes seemed to scream at me, dull, and anxious, and all to loud. I grab my boots off of the floor, shakily trying to fit them on. “It’s gone too far, so sit down, and listen to your father.”

“No.” I growl defiantly, clumsily trying to tie the laces of my boots. But I just. I can’t. And it’s too loud. No one is talking now, but it’s so loud I could curl up and cry, nursing my broken wings. My brain was too full, to fragile, and it felt like it could burst at the sudden prospect of rain.

5.16 (8)

“Larka, two days, you were gone two days.” His voice is weak, it resembles a tired child who has tried to stay awake all night to see their mother come home from the night shift, just to say goodnight, but has slowly faded out. But, he had never been the weak one, the one to crack and show it.

“I just had some stuff to figure out-“

“Stuff to figure out? So you chose to just give up on us, Larka? For two days? We didn’t know if you were even going to wake up!” His anger permeates his body, and taints the air around us. The slightest, smallest chemical changes in his body, the all consuming rage trembling within his muscles, and the adrenaline in his veins, I could detect.

“You wouldn’t get it.” I state coldly, my eyes finding his, and tearing apart his soul with just with finite glare. “Grandfather suggested that I explor-“

“Your father suggested this? That she recklessly throw her life aw-“

“No, of course he wouldn’t.” Mother barely manages to speak, and her eyes reflect the prison of fear in which she lives, and by my father’s rage she’s silenced. “H.. He loves the kids. Honey, what are you talking about?”

5.16 (9)

“Shows what you know.” My eyes could cut her, tear her apart and serve her up to the gods. Or the devil’s, whoever was listening. “Anyway, you’ve heard the latest reports, the world is goin’ to hell, so I better join in this end of the world party.”

“Larka!” My dad yells, as I reach the door. “Don’t you dare leave this room, we’re not done.”

“I have a war to prepare for, now why don’t you and mother just talk it out, cause we all know that’ll change the world.” I grimace on the last word, my face pulling up into a sick, half smirk. More forced teeth than genuine believability. I struggle with the light of my smoke, my fingers frozen, and trembling.

Hell was coming.

I follow shadows, and my own frozen desires, first to find strength in a warm meal, and cold beer, and then to my grandfather’s laboratory. I had no promises for him, no deals, or obligations, only questions, and dark, cold apathy. What use was talking to the dead when they didn’t know a thing? Or much at all? My mother, and my grandfather, were both on crash courses to the lonely realm, just as I was. Cursed to an eternity together, or perhaps til some final judgement passed upon our graves.

5.16 (10)

They had looked into that clear water, and seen the things that I had. Of war, and death, but what did the dead have to do with dying? And fighting? And raising our swords, and guns, and hearts to our oppressors. But right now, we were struggling with the embarrassment, and the consequence of our chains put on us by the purebloods. Our strength in no way matched their own, and our men, and woman, our soldiers, left to die by their hand.

We were all the baby lambs left out to the wolves, with nothing but the good intentions of our superiors to fuel our blind hopes that we would survive the night.

Foolish, every last one of us.

I take in the long drag of the cigarette, and watch the smoke rise to the ceiling. The dark, smoldering clouds, and the embers burning in the tip. The faces that pass me are empty, and void, judgmental flighty creatures. And their eyes cut too deep. I wish I was the lightning, the thunder and the storm. Powerful, and untouchable, I wish I was anyone but me.

I reach the plain door, and the guard is breathing down my neck. His eyes seem as black as coal, and before I can react, he swipes the smoke from my very lips.

5.16 (12)

“What the hell are you do-“

“Could say the same about you.” Nickolai’s voice is rough, and dark, and his eyes tell the same desperate story. “You’re awake and still tryna rebel I see-“

“Who says that’s what I’m doing-“

“You can’t really be that stupid, although I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here.” His smile seems to scream eat shit. And I want to see him on the floor, with blood dripping from his nose, disorientated. It wasn’t a huge ask, and surely it wouldn’t be that difficult, I could just reach across now, clip him in the nose and run. “V, Lark, that’s weak.”

“You heard the news, brother, a-ranking officers need to surpass their own strength somehow.” I respond, watching him intently. Perhaps I was looking for an opening, or watching him in case he was waiting for the exact same thing. Of course he wouldn’t, would he? He was the favourite child, the poster child, the prodigy.

5.16 (11)

“Your not a-ranked, Larka. You’re not even an officer.” He scoffs coolly, running a hand through hid head of jagged spikes.

“Neither are you-“

“No. I’m an a-ranked captain. I must of forgotten, and Lark -” I swing at him, I barely even think through the plan, of where to hit, and what comes next, but I swing, full force, and he barely catches my fist before the impact. “-You’ll never even reach lieutenant, especially with the shit you’re taking.” My eyes bore into his, as I swing again, forcing my knee up. Nick was always faster, and always stronger, god how I hated him at times. And then he does the unthinkable, he cuts into the palm of his hand, and I can’t seem to look away. “It cripples you, Larka, makes you weaker than you are.”

“That’s why I need it, to get stronger.” I whisper as he steps past me, collecting me into a tight sleeper hold. His forearm sits across my neck, and I’m paralyzed with hatred.

5.16 (13)

“And yet, you’ll still never catch me.” He whispers into my ear before letting me go.

As I’m released, so to does the door squeal open on its hinges. “Need I ask?” My grandfather meets my eyes with sudden impatience, and confusion. Not that he’d ever push it.

“No sir, it is all under control.” Nick responds like a scolded puppy caught red handed. He bows his head low in a sign of respect and I barely move an inch beyond my ragged breath, and then my eyes fall on him. 

“What the hell are you doing here?” I ask confused, and much too loudly than the situation required. 

5.16 (14)

“I could say the same about you, but you soldiers are all the same.” And then he smiles, despite the infliction of his words, he actually smiles. The dark, dirty blonde framing his face, lighting up those amber eyes danced in the blinding lights of the white washed walls. “Besides, I’m his secret project.”

I can feel my grandfather tense up at his words, and I already know why. Cassiel had cured that vampire, albeit killed her, but was now meeting with the forefather of the cure. “Nickolai, can you please escort our guest to the west wing, where he will have a safe house already arranged-“

“I don’t need a guard, okay, I’m fine. I’m a big boy, I think I can’t figure it out.” Cassiel begins to argue, protest like a small child pretending he was five years older. He hadn’t changed a bit, except the anger at where he was, it hadn’t followed him here, to the den of his enemies.

“What do you mean secre-“

“These old buildings can get a bit confusing, and all of this, it must be a lot to take in. Especially asking you to be here, with all of our quirks and-“

5.16 (15)

“You’re a demon who can walk in the sun, I think your quirks are a little different than mine. I talk in my sleep sometimes, and I absolutely despise wet socks. So you know. We’re even now. So can I go?” Cassiel smiles again, so easily, and believable, like he might actually mean it. And there’s something in those eyes of his too, and that all too easy grin, that might make me think he’s an honest man. And then I think about how he might react if I tangled my fingers through his hair and explored that mouth of his. That pretty little mouth of his.

“Not entirely, come on, I’ll show you round.” Nick holds his hand out, beckoning Cassiel to leave, and take my imaginings with him.

“So, did I miss anything before?” My grandfather turns to me, his eyes betraying him, showing a greater understanding than he portrayed. “I’m glad that you’re awake, you definitely had your parents worried, now what exactly did you want me for?”

“Why did Arkin go mad?” He watches me, his face falling into an old memory, one that might’ve hurt like hell. “I’m just, exploring my powers, okay? Just… Tryna get some answers. That’s all.”

5.16 (16)

“And you’re starting with him?” He sighs hesitantly, leading me into his office. I had been in here many times before, and yet each time it surprised me of the constant disarray of the rooms. Books scattered across various desks, vials littered, and scribbles on the walls. “Well, he was without a doubt, the greatest, and best man I ever knew.  But the Arkin that I knew, and the Arkin that you know now. They’re entirely different beings, just as the one of his birth is, and I think he might get a little crazier, each and every time.”

“So it’s not like he was crazy with, or without her..” I respond half heartedly, watching the big black dog at my grandfather’s side. It’s eyes spoke of a golden age of secrecy and an intelligence that it kept hidden. It wasn’t just some dog, I could feel it’s energy burning within those fiery depths, that had surely seen too much. “Baltezhar was always careful never to mention his affiliations with him, or the time they had spent together, but who do you believe holds the most power over him. His mother, or Rosalyn?”

“How do you know that name?” His eyes crinkle, and his brows push forward in confusion, furrowing in the middle. Rosalyn the woman who had taken his sanity to her lovely grave, or the woman who still tormented him. While I wasn’t sure of the power that this dark art gave me, I knew the fastest way to derail a man was with the ghost of what he holds dear to him. “I suppose I shouldn’t really be so surprised, it means that you’re learning, though. I haven’t seen him properly in fifty years, but before then, when I did know him, Rosalyn was the only thing that swayed his mind. Arkin was the greatest killer in vampire history, but wouldn’t take a human life. But now, that silence, and control has been dissolved.”

5.16 (17)

Sitting down, I cross my ankles, and think. Coldly, while trying to allow everything to soak in. Not just the blood, and fighting, but all the little details I was yet to learn. But at the end of the day, who was I hoping to save? Myself, maybe? But even then, I don’t suppose it really mattered. “I think that he knew more than he ever let on, I mean, somehow you’re still alive, even if he did release vampires onto the human world.”

“I’ve never had the proof, but I do believe that. I doubt he accounted for the fact that the council would disintegrate and fall into ruin with his actions, but he tried.” His pale face seems still, and content, but I can feel the memories dancing within his eyes. Of the torture, and sadistic punishments they had cut into his body, the scars were still too fresh, and bleeding from the pores. And then he does something that I can’t even comprehend, he cuts into his palm, and then my own as he takes it into his hand.

And the memories intensify, a beautiful girl with the moonlight on her skin, and eyes unnaturally bright. Her giggles are soft, and radiate against the curves of her sweet face. And then there’s Arkin, with crimson eyes cutting through the darkness of his memories. But the scent of blood is dulling the clarity of the images, and I can’t seem to hear the words, or feel the gentleness of those blood coloured eyes.

5.16 (18)

“Why is this important anyway?” I reply weakly, barely able to look him in the eyes. I felt weak, and dizzy, and my throat seemed to protest loudly in desire of that blood. “Vampires can explore mem-“

“Explore memories, yes, but not amplify them. Besides, it’s a tough trick, even for us, and it’s not something we can control entirely. Blood memories, memories etched into the surface of the skin, fresh, strong, but it’s used more for breaking compulsion than anything else.” To be honest, Grandfather seemed entirely breakable in that moment. His age reflected in those pools of green, and those memories seemed to have a harsher effect than he’d ever let on. “Larka, it doesn’t take war, or tragedy to derail a man, only a memory. You see historians, and wealthy men decide who be the villains, and who the kings at the end of a terrible loss of life, but memories, it’s the shrapnel in bomb that you will alight in their cold, dead hearts. When you’ve lived a thousand lives, it only takes one to tear you apart from the inside, and leave you in pieces.”

“So you want me to kill a pureblood with a memo-“

5.16 (19)

“I’m not an idiot, Larka, no.” Grandfather stands up with a loud sigh. “You’re not anywhere near strong enough to even be in the same room as a pure blood, let alone try to fight one. But since you are exhibiting weak medium powers, I thought it might be better for you to try to train and unlock those gifts, starting with something that you’re already capable of doing. I’m not sure what potential of power you have, and I all but thought that the necromancer lined had all but died off. Also, Captain Sora mentioned another… Anomaly. Before you fell into that… Coma, of sorts, you touched him. And speaking to him about it, you might have thought a ghost had walked over his grave. Now that, Larka, is going to be a whole lot more useful on what is already dead, but of course to practice something like that, you will have to be mission approved, which isn’t likely to happen if your on V, it’s too much of a liability.”

“You too, what a surprise.” I roll my eyes at him, and smirk. “Let me guess, the decisions that I’m making are hurting me-“

“And everyone around you.” His voice is somewhat amused by the rebellious glint in my eyes. “Your mother has already lost someone because of that vile thing, because even if you feel stronger, and are stronger, it’ll keep pulling you in deeper and deeper until you’re cornered.”

“That won’t happen to me.” My jaw tightens as he watches me carefully. I wasn’t an idiot, I knew who he was talking about. Her brother, or I suppose my uncle if he had of lived long enough to meet me.

“That’s what they all say.”

My head hangs in my hands as a rough looking lieutenant speaks in the center of the room. If someone had of asked me how I’d like to spend my Thursday night, my answer would not have been discussing the rising death rate in our soldiers. I knew, and everyone around me already knew it, we were losing, horribly, or perhaps the vampires had decided to fight after all, but we didn’t need to be told. To be gathered together, and told that it was over, that we… Were over.

5.15

“Larka…?” I hear a whisper, call to me, and my head turns ever so slightly. Judd watches me cautiously, trying to catch my eye, and I’m already bored. Ever since I had returned home alone, and ever since they had died, he had been trying to catch my eye, to hear my voice, to get some sort of response. But it’s too late.

A dark shadow moves into the room, and I’m caught within the confines of his empty face.

5.15 (2)

And his eyes, one look and I’m trapped within the icy depths of his entire being and soul. They were beautiful, and captivating, as one might describe the cold, and lonely winters of the frozen north. The violence he encompassed, unforgiving, and unrelenting, I have to wonder, when exactly did those eyes turn so cold. Perhaps it was at his progeny’s death, or perhaps when my great grandmother left this world, maybe it was when he became a vampire. Or, had it always been present? Like a wild animal caged inside it’s human cell.

Looking at them, the sparkling brilliance that matched my own, it was hard to believe that this was the man that Constance had written about, that she had given herself to so completely. Even now, he didn’t seem to fit inside the room that he commanded, how could she have stood beside him, have looked him in the eyes without feeling like she was glass, and his very movement could shatter her into a thousand pieces.

5.15 (3)

“- Have retreated forces from within all D, and C class missions. Please consult to your lieutenants, and captains to be assigned your new squads at the duration of this meeting.” Finally breaking away, and back into reality, I watch the man with the scarred face speak. All of them, everyone in this room was pretending that they weren’t terrified of what they were discussing. I could see it on their faces, hear it with every dry mouthed swallow, and anxious eyes.

“Now the following of which I am to say, I do say so with the most grievous of hesitance, and regret.” Baltezhar speaks, his voice is low, and dominating, but his eyes never leave the floor, and neither do his feet. The curves of his face remain still, almost statuesque. “Over the past few months, a pattern has been emerging, from within the reports of causalities, and the various… Interrogations by my team, it seems that the pure bloods are finally out for blood. While I am not sure whether we are direct targets, or merely caught within the crossfires, I’m sure you can all appreciate the magnitude of the situation.”

5.15 (4)

Silence falls across the crowed room, and I can hear the blood pumping through my ears. A viscous beat that I can’t get rid of. The more I try, the faster, and harder it seems to pound against the walls of my chest. “Baltezhar, that is not all, would you please continue.” It’s not even a question, it’s an order to move his lips, to force his vocal chords into submission.

“Yes, lieutenant, I suppose you’re quite right.” His voice is below a whisper. “Three purebloods have been sighted on the battlefront. Asmodeus Dragomir, a known brute, not renowned for his intelligence, however his sheer number of men will make it hard to overcome. Morrigan, and Arkin Corvinus. The Corvinus clan are marked by their unnatural red eyes, pale skin and violence. Who have ruled over vampire society for well over two thousand years. Arkin is suspected to be the killer of former pureblood Azazel. In my opinion, even when fighting separately, each entity is… In my opinion-“

“Captain-“

5.15 (5)

“In my opinion, lieutenant, even an A-ranked squad would be no match, if at all. Arkin Corvinus, despite being the youngest is quite easily the most violent, and lethal of the three.” The room smells of fear. The cold spreads to all my limbs, and I’m paralyzed. “He kills without warrant, or need, just pure desire, and blood lust. Arkin could easily overpower the other two, and then turn on the rest of us.” Everything else fades away, and once again, I’m trapped inside this crowed room, alone, with only him and I. “However, his mother, Morrigan’s hold over him seems eternal. She is calling the shots, and like a wild dog, he has been beaten, and forced into submission to comply to his master’s command. But how long until she either orders our destruction, or until he realizes the strength of his bite.”

Weakly, I drop my head down, focusing on the cheap fibers of the carpet beneath my feet. My eyes droop, and sag heavily, like a thousand tonnes being held up by a strand of hair. This couldn’t be happening now. I can’t focus on my breathing, because with each anxious breath I take, my heart skips a beat. And I’m walking on a tightrope now. “His mind is weak, and fragile, even now, it seems he is at war against himself, and we’re just all in his way. Perhaps the Arkin that was fighting for a cure is still in there, but, the prince we have now, he’ll slaughter an entire city in the space of a few hours  just because he hates Thursday.”

5.15 (6)

“Now everyone in here will be undertaking a stricter regime and training schedul-“

“If you handle c-grade missions, by the end of this year you will be working b-grade. So tough luck for you a-ranking officers, who will have to find time in your otherwise busy schedules to learn how to fight, again, and better.” His toothy grin is almost to painful to bear. But it serves as a reminder to the only cure that I have. Fuck training, and meetings, fuck being told that there was no hope in hell to fight, fuck Judd whispering across the room at me, fuck everything. I just want to lose myself in the moment.

I force all of my strength into unsteadily finding my feet, into forcing them to move, and to comply. Too many eyes paint the walls around me, judging, and mocking me. They don’t matter, none of this matters, not until another day. Another day that just seems so far away. I just want to see the colours fall around me, breaking through the darkness of the hell that was falling around us. If death was coming then I wanted to breathe it in with the dew.

5.15 (7)

I fall against the wall outside, I can hear the courageous whispers about how we might stand half a chance if we only get stronger. I desperately pull a vial of V out of my pocket, and hold it, trembling terribly. But I’m so cold, so broken, it never reaches my lips, and I’m on the ground before I can even brace myself.

5.15 (8)

God, I must look so pathetic, dripping in sweat, and curled up on the floor. I can’t make out the length of my arm and I’m almost sure the blood is soaking into the fibers of the floor. And if I was going to die, I’d rather go down high. I’d rather not see the black hole that this world was, leaving a terrible taste in the mouths of all who left.

 “Hey, Larka, that meeting is actually imp- Larka? Hey, what’s wrong?” His voice was familiar but it was already slipping away. Everything was. I grab him, tightly, my fingers around his throat as his skin touches mine. for a moment, I think he might be dead, and I’ve stolen his heart beat. “Lark… What’s going on? What have you taken. This is… V-“

“My grandfather sanctioned it for training pu-” Even if it ended up to be important, Aleksi was to busy to deny it, at least he was right now. But something was clenching my heart. Sitting on my chest and breathing the air from my lungs.

5.15 (9)

“Shh, it’s okay.” How much ice could force itself into my concrete limbs? My head spins, desperately clutching at strings for life. “Can I get some help over here?!” It’s black, I can’t even tell if my eyes are even open anymore. My body shudders, the muscles tightening and releasing. Control is not my own. Everything feels like it is shattering under the force of my strength, under each tightening blow. “You, do something.”

“She’s dead, what do you expect me to do? I’m a vampire, we take life, not give it… Take her to the infirmary, maybe she’ll wake up? And that blood, I know for certain that my son did not sanction that filth, get rid of it.”

*

I don’t need to open my eyes to know where I am. It’s too cold, and too quiet to be back home. And to be honest, I never liked either very much. Especially silence. It was overwhelming, shattering my eardrums with each pound of my forceful heart, reminding me that I am awake, that I am alive. Somewhere.

5.15 (10)

A medium? If this is what I was, and this is what we could do, then I’m surely underwhelmed. And I want my money back.

I swing my feet over the edge of the stone slab, and sigh. Somehow, I’d lost the will to fight, the will to find the light of day. Everything died one day anyway, or multiple times a day, over and over again. And the war, and the death. At least here it was quiet. God I hated it.

At least when it was loud you knew that you were alive, and that you weren’t alone. As my eyes take in the anxious sights of the graveyard, I’m not even sure either is true. Mine is not the only grave, but in the end, if these were ghosts that I could not see, then what would be the difference? What could possibly be buried in here that I needed.

5.15 (11)

My hand grazes the rough edges of the stone slabs as I begin to walk, pondering why we had been laid to rest here. In the cold, dark loneliness that was hell. Demons already walked the earth, I think brushing the vines, and dust from atop the old carving. Constance Godwinn…

“You should have let your husband go, he’s not the type to be alone.” I breathe, watching the fog from my lips. Somehow, I suppose she belonged here, she lied about who she was, she married a vampire, and she killed on too. Having a kid out of wedlock is supposedly a sin to, isn’t it? Perhaps I needed to go to church, I almost laugh, that wasn’t going to save me now. “He doesn’t like to lose, and trust me, he’s lost it all.”

5.15 (12)

Elizabeth Godwinn... I smirk coldly, gritting my teeth together in harsh unison. One sharp nail tears through the skin on my hand as I force blood to the surface of my skin. The blood stains the ancient words on the rock as I run a hand along the headstone. “So, I guess I have a few questions to ask.”