Post by Deleted on Nov 6, 2013 23:39:25 GMT
HomeIt was cold the night I died. I could almost feel the chill of memory as the rain sounded tiny drums against the leather of my armor. It had been raining then as well. I shut my eyes partway, letting the drips of water roll onto my lashes and down my face as I listened to the perpetual darkness. Nothing.
Darkshire - Night
Darkshire - Night
I should move on. The lake was still save for the ripples caused by every tiny raindrop as it smacked into its surface. Instead I stepped closer, a certain eerie calm enveloping me as I crouched down to touch the frigid water which had claimed my life just a few weeks prior. This was unneeded. Useless. Nostalgia.
A sound. I froze, my fingers hovering just over the frosted-glass of the lake. A rustling. Footsteps. Squelching soft, the sound of boots through the rain-soaked fallen leaves. My hands moved towards the dark metal daggers at my hips. Silent.
“Calliope?” The voice sounded surprised, a faint smile hovering behind it.
“Jaysen,” I said, a smile forced on my pale lips. My brother rushed forward and stopped. His green eyes were suddenly guarded.
“Ca-Callie? Are you okay?” He took another wary step. I nodded, tucking a tentacle strand of sodden hair behind my ear.
“Just cold,” I answered. “It’s raining.” Silly. Certainly he knew that fact already. Still, it managed to cause him to relax just the faintest bit. He looked at me a moment, quiet, and I knew what he was trying so very hard not to see. I would help the best I could.
“We’ve been looking everywhere for you, Callie. Where have you even been?” He moved closer. “I thought you were. . . “ a pause, “dead.”
“You shouldn’t worry, Jay, I made it.” The half-pained look I gave him was genuine. “Why are you even out here? You’ll catch your death." I thought I might cry.
Jaysen had always been my favourite brother of the three. He was the only one who understood just how ridiculous our families obsessions could become. True, he had his own ideas, but he had always been the most reasonable. When he’d announced that he wished to become a priest instead of fighting, I had been so glad for him.
“I’m fine,” he said. “Just worried about you.” A hand reached towards me and it took all I had not to recoil and run. “You look sick.”
“I’ll be okay,” I told him.
I never promised not to lie.
She would not be okay. Jaysen could see that clear as day. The others might not have noticed, but they had never taken the time to pay attention to the youngest Everett. The priest knew how to read his sister.
“I was just on my way home to see Mother."
He nodded, green eyes scanning Calliope’s face. He could almost hear the ice in her voice when she mentioned the woman. At least some things had not changed. But so much had.
She was too pale. That was the first thing - and her eyes. There was something wrong about them. It was dark. The dim light of his lantern cast strange shadows. But there was something wrong. He knew that much.
“I’ll go with you,” he said after a long silence. “She’s in Darkshire for the evening.” The worried look the girl gave was not lost on him.
“No, no, Jay. You go home. Don’t worry about this.”
“About what?” he asked, trying to mask the question best he could behind calm nonchalance.
“Nothing. Just. . . Go home.”
He stared at her a long moment, trying to pick out just where the wrongness lay. Something screamed to him that he simply didn’t want to know. Not really. To just leave it. To listen to his sister and go home and be none the wiser. But he knew. He knew that something had happened, and he knew that it was something terrible.
“Calliope,” he said softly. She had turned away from him, her form in profile. Too pale. He reached out, catching her arm, turning her towards him. That arm felt too thin beneath the leather. Not illness then. “Look at me.”
“I’m so sorry, Jay,” the corpse whispered. Her voice was so soft that he could almost believe it. There was real pain in those milky green eyes.
“I am too,” he said, his own words echoing the quiet of the rainy night. “This should never have happened to you.”
Light. Painful. Bright. A scream. I could not tell if it was my own or his. There was blood though. I could smell it, along with the smell of burning. The scents mingled, sickening, bringing saliva to my mouth. Hunger.
He was dead. I’d killed him. I looked down at the body, trying to feel something other than the hunger that gripped at my stomach, the need to sink my teeth into the dead thing’s flesh. The need to consume.
Sense returned to me in fragments. Colour, sound, feeling. Pain. I hurt all over. Burned but not. It felt as if someone had set the underside of my skin aflame and let it smolder and die out on its own. The Light. The blasted Holy Light. My own brother had set it on me. A shaky breath.
I looked down at my dagger. Deep crimson dripped, nearly black in the light of the fallen lantern. I barely remembered drawing it, let alone driving it up into my brother’s left lung. Which of us was at fault for this? And the smell of blood. The need. It clutched at my very being, willing me to devour the warm flesh before me.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered to him. My voice sounded alien, masked by the cacophony of gnawing hunger. Warmth. Blood. Meat. Consume.
I took a breath. This must be done properly. . . delicately. If I did not maintain control I could become little more than the mindless ones, the dead who roamed with nothing but a need to eat and destroy. Scourge. Empty. I forced myself to look at him. My brother.
It is much easier to remove someone else’s heart rather than one’s own. One incision beneath the ribs, cut through skin, fascia, muscle. I reached into the gaping wound my hand slipping past organs until the fingers grasped that still muscle. Then I pulled, tore, cut the arteries, the veins, until I was holding my brother’s warm and bloody heart in my hand.
I bit into it, savoring the taste of the still-hot blood as it poured over my tongue. Life. That was what I was tasting. Life and being. Energy. I chewed and swallowed and bit again. Devouring, consuming all that had once made Jaysen Everett alive.
I would that I could say I stopped at that. That I left then, tearful and full of remorse at the death of my brother. I have never been one to leave things unfinished though. I had a job to do, and I would see it through to the end. My brother had attacked me first. I was not foolish enough to think otherwise. I was not foolish enough to think that my mother would be any kinder.
I could be silent. I could move unseen. And the windows at the inn in Darkshire were sorely lacking in the efficacy of their locks. Mother must have known that this would happen. She did not cry or panic, simply spoke to me in even tones, telling me what she knew - what little it was. She was quiet even when I relieved her of her fingers. Silent when she tried to stab me with the letter opener. The only time she raised her voice was to call me a monster.
Really, I had expected more. To feel something like a connection to my family, to the places I’d once frequented in life. But it all seemed so remote now, like a dream I’d finally woken from. I looked down at the bloody thing that had been my mother and wiped gummy black blood from a wound on my cheek with the back of my glove. Nothing.
I was something new now. Someone else. Forsaken. I felt my lips curl into the faintest bit of a blood-caked smile. I slipped out the window as quietly as I’d appeared, moving through the darkness and rain and cold. A ghost but not. I felt. . . alive. And I was going home.