Co written by Breanna Vincent
The fine hairs on the back of my neck rise. My cheeks are flushed as the blood rushes swift and hot to give me away. I can feel them all staring at me, unable to pry their eyes away, even just for a second. I focus on putting one foot in front of another to keep myself moving towards my salvation. Just a few more seconds of torment and I can be free.
The pain lances through my back, white and hot, like lightening. My mouth drops open as I scream at the surprise, at the shock and my knees threaten to buckle. Stay up, I tell myself, stay up or stay here. I grit my teeth, breathing heavily as I force myself forward. Almost there, I think. More pain in my shoulder, followed by a second taser shock and I slam into the door, knocking it open and rolling through the opening, panting as I struggle to stand. The stairs go down, down, down and I can here them drawing closer as I move as quickly as possible down, reaching back and pulling a dart from my back as I go. I hated those damn things.
I try to quicken my pace, to end my agony sooner but even knowing I’m about to be free I can’t summon energy that isn’t there. I’ve lost so much blood at this point it’s a miracle I thank the lord for that I’ve carried myself this far. I finish descending the stairs and push my way outside where I stumble, nearly fainting. It’s only thinking of her, Aitolia Mihalik that straightens my body again. Miraculously my body finds energy, energy it must have somehow pulled through thoughts of seeing her again and I run, thank god I run. I find a hiding place and allow my weary body to rest, to heal from all it’s been through.
I close my eyes and focus, concentrating on every sound of movement around me. I can hear the heavy footsteps of my betrayer, my Judas. After a moment the leaves and twigs stop their barrage of noise under the weighted threat and dissipate into the woods. I move slowly to examine the wounds that should be all but healed by now, but even as I turn pain jolts through me. My vision blurrs as white hot pain rolls through every inch of my body. Something isn’t right, my body should’ve healed itself by now. I look with desperation but the wounds are still there, healed ever so slightly. These weren’t the normal array of darts, it felt as if they had exploded throughout my body setting every nerve on fire. I have to get to her, I cannot fathom anymore pain without her.
The second I could force my body to move again without prodigious amounts of pain I did. I didn’t know how much my bodies ability to heal had been compromised so I wasn’t willing to wait around for the wounds to close. I could move normally now and that was all I really needed. “I’m coming Aitolia” I whispered, wondering how often she had thought of me, if she still missed me, if she’d be angry or understanding when I came upon her again. She was a wonderful woman who was forgiving to a fault but I still worried. She meant the world to me, more than she could possibly understand. I had covered about two hours worth of ground when I could suddenly hear her humming. That was impossible so I knew I must be hallucinating but why?
I checked himself again, I had long since quit bleeding so it wasn’t for lack of blood that my mind was playing tricks on me. If it was that I should have been hallucinating before now. Though I knew it couldn’t be real it was a welcome sound that warmed me, almost made me want to cry but I wouldn’t waste precious energy on that. I could still be caught again, have to suffer endless amounts of pain and humiliation. I had come too far to let silly things like hallucinations and tears to be my downfall.
As my adrenaline waned so did my strength. I couldn’t hear anyone behind me, not the sounds of dogs or footsteps, no yells or threats. I stopped, flopping down on the ground to catch my breath. My entire body shook, my legs and lungs screamed at me to just give them a moment. I examined my wounds again, letting my fingers trace over them. They would scar unlike before. I took a deep breath, I had to keep moving and find a road so maybe I could hitchhike to the closest town. I wasn’t even sure I would be picked up, I’m sure I looked crazy, but I had to get as far away from them as I could. My thoughts drifted to the man who had stabbed me in the back, who had put me in that place. He was the worst of them, had been the most cruel as he tried to break me.
I silently prayed that I had the strength to eclipse my distraught appearance. I closed my eyes, fighting the powerful urge to let the night carry me away. I focused on my strength and searched my mind for the right symbols and words that would be my survival. I grasped the very amulet given to me by Aitolia to protect me by any means necessary. We were to be together for all of eternity, which very well couldn’t happen if I was dead. I felt the power blanket my body but it was weak in mirror to my trauma. The only way to discern if the glamour had manipulated my form was to try my luck. I pushed myself to stand upright as I approached the nearest road, praying to the Gods to see my love again.
There were no cars at first and I couldn’t say I was surprised, this was the middle of nowhere or at least somewhere near it. I decided to walk a little ways, keeping my pace slow and trying not to show any signs of pain. I wasn’t sure how long it was when the first set of headlights bloomed ahead of me and I quickly threw out my arm, hoping they would stop for me. I would have jumped for joy when they did if it wasn’t for the aching in my body. The driver was a sweet looking elderly woman, one of those that reminds you of your own grandmother and I almost felt guilty for the lie I was about to tell her.
“Young man,” she said, “what on earth are you doing out here all alone?”
I smiled, hoping that I managed to look embarrassed and lost. “I was out hiking and I got turned around. I only just managed to find the road and I’m so exhausted I think I could die. Could I trouble you for a ride to the nearest town?”
“Of course,” she replied, looking horrified at the idea I had been out in the woods alone, “please get in.”
“Thank you so much, I’m really sorry to trouble you.”
“It’s no trouble at all dear. I’m glad I was happening by. Normally I don’t like to go out at night by myself but I just had one of those cravings you can’t ignore.”
“If you give me a way to contact you I will repay the kindness when I can”
“I wont hear of that. I’ll take you to the Inn my granddaughter stays in when she comes to see me. She’s allergic to my cats and though she takes medications for it she sleeps better there”
“for a second I was wondering why she wouldn’t just stay with you” My body attempted to chuckle but I stiffled it, knowing it would hurt if I did. We arrived at the Inn and she insisted on giving me money. I didn’t want to take it but she was as stubborn as they come. I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check in. If they had an area to do laundry this place would have me looking a lot better soon.
I could feel the power of the amulet fading quickly so I hurriedly checked in and sought refuge behind closed doors. Before I even had time to realize what I was doing I could already hear Aitolia’s soft voice but the words she spoke sent my heart to the soles of my feet. As her answering machine clicked I found myself at a loss for words. Every scenario my mind had gripped to, furthering my drive to survive, was imperative to our prompt reunion. My heart bled as I imagined her now. How angry she must be, not knowing the truth behind my absence. How long had she stood there, waiting to hear my footsteps, waiting to hear my voice? How many tears have been shed, cursing my name?
I wake before sunrise rested with a determination burning fierce and complete. By noon I am half way home, half way to her. I close my eyes feeling safe as the bus continues onward. By nightfall I find myself running the last half mile to her home, unable to wait any longer. If she will just let me explain my attempted demise she will understand that abandoning her is the last thing I would ever do. Leaving her would be ripping out the last shreds of humanity that I have left. Forever and always, always and forever. Her lights are on, my heart skips and I feel lightheadedness as joys threatens to take my rapid breath from my chest. I can’t wait any longer so I burst through the door ready to sweep her in my arms and profess my undying love. The next moments were imperceptible. The chaos was absolute as I undertook the comprehension of my loss. Debris was everywhere, glass shattered under every step, every picture of us unrecognizable. I ran upstairs afraid of the horrors that I would cross, I didn’t even hear myself shouting her name. Where was she? My sweet Aitolia! What have I done?
Her room was the worst, bed sheets torn apart, the stuffing from her pillows covered the room, there were even cuts in her mattress. There was a splatter of red across the ground and I bent down to examine it. Blood. My heart nearly stopped. I tried to calm myself. It wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was still shocking to see and I wondered what had happened here. I turned, taking in everything and I noticed something pinned to the closet door by a knife. I swallowed, my body feeling suddenly heavy as I approached it, my fingers gripping it and pulling it free. My eyes scanned the page, read and re-read: Did you really think you would get here first, Duckie. I felt a chill move through my body. Only he had ever called me Duckie, it had been an endearment at one time, a nickname given by my brother.
My breaths shook with rage and I crumpled up the letter in my hand. I was angry at him and at myself. Why hadn’t I thought he’d be cruel enough to hurt her. She had nothing to do with any of this. Was he really that much of a monster? “Fuck” I knew I had screamed that but it didn’t sound like me. I didn’t know where to go but an educated guess told me back to where I had just escaped. She was there now and she needed me. I would waste no time at all. I ran out of her house and into her back yard where I knew she had a spare key to her car burried. I dug it up in no time and used her car to high tail it out of there. It was one that worked well off road so I could use it for the full journey
I come to my final stop a little short of a mile out and silently jog closer, through the dense forest. I slow as the lights grow brighter and the place of my torment grows larger. I crouch, listening for footsteps or voices, careful not to alert anyone of my presence. I can see the outline of men standing guard around the perimeter. I close my eyes and pray, not only for myself but for Aitolia. I clutch Aitolia’s amulet and focus on my protection, feeling it’s competency tighten over my skin. It may not save my life but it should at least help me until I can free her. She shouldn’t even be in this mess. My rage bounds back at full force and my determination for victory is immense, even more, my lust for revenge roars in my ears and is deafening. I wait for the men to become distracted to make my move. I sneak hurriedly past them, undetected, and come across a cellar door. He was foolish to bring her here, I know this house like the back of my hand, why wouldn’t I? We grew up here, he and I. I break the lock easily with my bare hands, twisting it like clay. I walk down into the cellar, straining too see, listening for any sign of danger. I look desperately, hoping she is being kept down here and we could escape easily, but knowing I would find no such luck. I fight the fear down like bile, thick like acid in my throat. There’s only one way into the house and it was bound to deliver me straight into the hands of my betrayer. I have to find another way in, there was a tree close enough to lower my to an upper window. It was my only other chance of a silent attack. My heart is pounding, daring to give me away. I turn to go back the way I came and am halfway through devising my next plan, and am stopped dead in my tracks. Panic turns instantly into rage as I stare into the eyes of the man who was once my confidant, my best friend. The smirk on his face makes everything go red, it’s deafening as if it were screaming at me. I hear them before I see them, white hot pain races through my veins, this time they met their mark. I hate those damn darts. I barely hear his words as I fall into the black.
” Hello, Brother”.
I felt myself drifting into consciousness, my body slowly regaining feeling. I slowly opened my eyes, blinking and instantly recognizing the dimly lit glass cell. I tried to move, wanting off the cold concrete floor, but my limbs refused to respond. I wondered how much electricity they had given me. The light flares to life above me, causing dots of color to fill my vision and I quickly squeezed my eyes shut as pain shot through my skull. I groaned and heard a little chuckle. “How surprising to see you awake.”
My eyes flew open and I glared at him, at the backstabbing bastard who had dared pretend he cared for me. “Y…you.” I managed.
“Why are you surprised?” The bastard grinned. “You shouldn’t have tried to escape.”
“Since it won’t matter if I tell you, she’s down in the lab.”
“wh..why would you take her”
“Because you love her. It was the easiest way to get you back. I even had the advantage of her not knowing what’s going on.” He was now laughing too much to speak but it didn’t last long “She’s stuck here just like you now and it’s completely your fault.” I wanted to scream at him but I didn’t have the strength. Immense frustration and sorrow surged through me. I had accomplished nothing in my escape except hurting the woman I loved. I was back at square one and any future escape would be much harder. There was more at stake now though to fuel my efforts. It wasn’t just me in pain, It wasn’t just me terrified and suffering at his hands. Aitolia was here and there wasn’t anyway he’d allow her to be here for long.
~ Aitolia ~
I wake up alone in utter darkness. My head is pounding from whatever hard object was slammed against it to knock me out. I feel where the pain is coming from, it’s bandaged. Why would someone hurt me then tend the wound? She wondered if slavers had gotten her. Even if it wasn’t someone who desired to sell me for sex I knew I was in a dangerous situation. As I tried to figure a way out my mind worked with possibilities until a good one crossed my thoughts. Maybe these were the same people who had taken Flynn, maybe I would finally see him again.
I knew he’d never just abandon me without a word. He wasn’t a coward and that was the cowards way out of a relationship. I had suspected since day one he had been kidnapped. I hoped it since I’d prefer him not be laying dead somewhere or eaten by some animal. New drive burned in my soul, accelerated my thoughts and cleared my mind. I would get out of this cell, there was no question of that and when I did I would search every inch of this place for Flynn.
~ Flynn ~
I’m losing consciousness again but I swear I hear the words “she’s awake” before fading. I want to scream, to beg him for the first time. I’d grovel to his heart content, endure any pain to keep her for harm. When I wake again I am alone and my head is much more clear. I look around to see where he’s put me this time. He switched rooms on me and I knew why. There were no windows or secrets ways in or out of here. It was also the room farthest in this place. I’d have a long way to my true escape even if I managed to get myself out of my glass prison.
With regained strength I close my eyes and reach out to Aitolia. I grasp her amulet and search my mind, calling out to her presence. My despair grows as I reach into nothingness. Suddenly I feel a faint presence, I focus with all of my newly retrieved strength and try to connect. The presence grows more clear and I know that it is her. She is ok, thank God she is ok. I know that she would have felt my search, being so much stronger in the gift than I. If it wasn’t for the amulet I would be weak, defenseless, it was the only thing that gave me any since of power. If he knew it would surely be the death of me. The protection spell I cast before entering me was the only thing that kept me from being beaten and utterly useless after my capture. I search my cell, eager for a way out, for an escape, but see nothing that could lead to my freedom.
“Damn it!” My desperate cry bellowing through the room. They can’t keep me locked up forever, they have to let me out, even if it is to lead me to my own demise. I bang on the glass, knowing very well that it was useless. He knew my secret, at least part of it. After the experiment he saw first hand my strength and ability to heal. But there was one part of me, one hidden dark secret that I refused to let anyone see. Anyone except Aitolia, she had witness my horrors and loved me still. How could I loose that? With the power from my amulet and my obscure addition I maintained hope still.
I could hear a door open and muffled footsteps grew louder. Shadowed figures turned to resentful faces as they looked upon me with malice. I wondered what lies my brother had told them to view me in such a way. His snake tongue and ways of twisting and malforming even the slightest shred of truth was worthy of awe. He stepped out from behind them to face me, just inches away, yet I could not snatch his throat and seek my retribution.
” Now that you have had some time to cool down and consider your options, or lack there of of course, we can talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you, free Aitolia and I just might let you live!” “How could you do this to your own flesh, I AM YOUR BROTHER!”
“Screaming will get you nowhere Flynn, you think you would have learned some manners along the way”.
His malformed grin showed no signs of remorse at the grotesque actions performed. What was once a mirror to my own self was now a contorted and scarred demon that I could hardly recognize. What had gone so wrong that my own brother, my own twin would turn out to resent me so, to loath my very existence. Horrors flashed in front of my eyes as I was suddenly sucked in to the night he stole my soul.
“I laid my head down, exhausted from my day, I closed my eyes fighting the images of their graves out of my mind. We were only lucky they had left us the house, we were in no position to move to the city right now. I worried about Dimitri, I may only be a minute older but I always felt responsible for him. I closed my eyes and decided to worry another day. I dream heavily, everything feels so real. I’m mortified as I realize I can feel the pain, never have I ever dreamed so real. I suddenly feel water all around me, it’s frigid waves lapping at my chest. I fight to wake but cannot, I am stuck in fear as I feel my chest cave, my breath being ripped from my lungs. I scream but nothing comes out, I scream harder but am deafened by the heavy silence. Pain, real pain, starts to ascend from my toes, escalating throughout my body. I must be dying, this must be what death feels like. My fear sends me over the top and everything goes black. When I wake I find myself in some sort of glass prison. I must still be in my dream. I suddenly see Dimitri’s face, so full of promise.
“You’re awake brother, I was frightened something had gone wrong.”
“What are you talking about, why won’t this dream end!”
“You’re not dreaming brother, I have made you whole. I have saved you so you can be safe. How do you feel?
“What are you talking about? What have you done Dimitri? Has our parents death driven you mad?”
He opens the glass door and embraces me.
“I have saved you Flynn. Now tell me, how do you feel? I have to know if the experiment worked!”
All of a sudden I double over, I can taste the bile as it erupts from my body. I must have hit my head as I fell since heated pain cascades through me. My body starts to shake as every veins feels like they are splitting apart, eroding.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE BROTHER?!”
I blink the flashbacks away, but my focus wavers. “You told me all of those years ago that you had saved me, but look at me now Dimitri. You have me locked up like an animal, holding the woman I love. You seek vengeance for actions that are your own. I never asked for any of this, you brought it upon yourself. Please, I beg of you, let Aitolia go, she is innocent.” I plea although I already know they fall upon deaf ears. The look on his face confirms my fears.
“But Ducky, we are the same.” He presses a palm against the glass where mine rests and I swear I can feel him there, his life force. “Same skin, same blood, same face, even our souls. There is not one without the other. Your misbehavior is my failing. She is the problem, a problem I should have taken care of.”
“No, Dimitri, we are not.” I drop my hand and take a step back. “Let her go, don’t make me hurt you. I beg you, if you have even a shred of love for me left, release her.”
“Why do you think I do this, Flynn? I have an always will love you. Think on your own betrayal brother, on the promise you broke. Forever, remember?” He turned his back on me like he had done so many times before when I was locked in this place.
I slammed my hands against the glass, angry. “Alright, Dimitri, alright.” I sat down on the cold floor, amulet clasped between my hands, my eyes closed as I focused on that dark entity living within me.
I rested my hands against the wall, studying the texture. It was cold and smooth and I knew it must be glass. Glass was easy, it could be easily manipulated. I closed my eyes, focusing my energy there, pushing a little harder. I was not surprised when it gave way, when I was able to move through it. It was a slow process, but it was worth not leaving any piece of me behind.
I was out now and I cautiously walked forward, being careful not to bump into anything or make much noise. I knew the longer I could go undetected the better. I needed to find Flynn, I needed him to tell me what was going on. Furthermore I needed him to explain to me why he had never talked to me about whatever he hadn’t talked to me about. I took a deep breath in then blew it out before trying the door. I willed it to be silent, to be well oiled so it wouldn’t give my escape away. I could always use magic again to go through it but while my magic was powerful it wasn’t limitless and I didn’t want to use it on things I didn’t need to.
Relief comforted my soul as it gave no sound and it wasn’t locked. My relief didn’t last long though as I saw him coming. Mere moments I thought it my Flynn but I knew him, every inch of him, this man looked remarkably like Flynn but he wasn’t. “How are you out?” He asked me angrily. The eyes that were soft and caring in my lover were cold and stormy in this man. I stared into them, refusing to be afraid, refusing to back down or apologize for escaping. I even refused to tell him how I got out. “speak” This word held more venom but I didn’t answer. Instead I had questions for him. “where is Flynn, tell me now” His face contorted in wrath and he attempted to strike me but I dodged.
I wasn’t the damsel he was expecting. He had only managed to get me here at all because I was so lost in sadness, so worried about Flynn. I was going to kick this guys ass and whomever else needed to be put in their place until I found Flynn and finally took him home and gave him a good chewing out. I hear him scream in rage. Next thing I know he hits me in the gut but I return the blow with electricity. I know I shouldn’t let anger dictate my thoughts but I hoped he chipped his teeth as the surge flowed through him.
He knelt, stunned from the shock. He stared at me with revelation, I could have sworn I saw awe. I steadied myself, awaiting the next throw. I concentrated on the energy around me, gathering it for my defense. I knew the dark horrors that my Flynn carried within him but knew nought of what this bastard withheld. The concrete beneath my feet shuddered but I wasn’t convinced I hadn’t imagined it in my weariness. Dimitri suddenly turned, raising his head so that his eyes could meet mine. When I looked upon his face and saw the malicious atrocity that it had become, revulsion grasped my every bone. Fear turned to dismay as I felt weighted under my chances.
” I will not take you, I will not fight you. It is not your time Aitolia, but I must thank you for bringing your gifts to light. I underestimated your power and it will not happen again. Please darling, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
Even in his new form his arrogance prevailed. I lash out, sparks shatter, igniting in the air, whipping across his form. He cries out but quickly regains control. Suddenly, it’s as if everything is in slow motion and I have not control over my body. I watch myself surge backwards as the very essence of space around me is rippled in time. He must be able to slow down time itself and control the energy around him, not unlike the powers of my own. Everything speeds up as I collapse against the adjacent enclosure. I express all of my anger, all of my rage into a singular momentous scream as every fragment of glass fractures into minute arsenals intent on annihilation. For a moment it is as if the very air surrounding me is made up of glistening crystal, a decadent room of mirrors for me to gaze into and image another time. I gather my thoughts and pull the power from the energies around me. I ready myself to defend against the seething backlash of Dimitri. His hatred will plunge him into a darkness that no one can save him from. Images dance around my eyes faster eyes of a first kiss, nervous and hopeful, family laughing and gathered around a table, of Flynn vulnerable on one knee with eyes begging for acceptance. This may very be my last moment. I can feel the intense power that I have gathered around me, ready to counter Dimitri’s rage. A tear slips from my eyes and I focus that power on one last task…to tell Flynn farewell. “Goodbye my love, you are the only truth that I have every known and I will forever smile down on you from wherever it is that I now go”.
~ Flynn ~
I could suddenly hear her speaking “Goodbye my love, you are the only truth that I have every known and I will forever smile down on you from wherever it is that I now go” my heart almost comes to a complete stop it slows so much. “Aitolia, no!” I yell despite there being nobody but me still in this room. My fear for her, my rage at my brother fueled the demon inside, the demon Dimitri forced to become one with me. I wasn’t me anymore now, that demon had taken over and it was hell bent on saving Aitolia for me. The beast and I, we’re one and as afraid as I am of it in this moment I know it’s only aiding me. I may be a monster but right now one was needed to combat the monster my brother was.
I destroyed all that bound me, even the door that I already knew he hadn’t locked. I was just so angry and while this demon was for me the rage was hard to control. The demon inside had a mind of it’s own and it was extremely destructive. I’m not one hundred percent sure how I know where to go but I can only assume it’s animal like instinct is guiding me. All I truly know is I’m running and I know without a shadow of a doubt I’m heading for Aitolia “don’t die on me, please Aitolia! I’m coming” I plead in my head. I want to scream it down these halls but I don’t need any more attention on me.
When she came into view Aitolia was drenched in blood. For the first time in my life I saw red, felt pure, boiling rage to my core. I had come to feel so much anger but it didn’t compare to what I was feeling now. My brother stood and my voice came out as a deep bellow. “How fucking dare you do this to her! To My Aitolia!” My brother dared laugh and with all the strength I had I punched him. I felt bone shift beneath my knuckles and I swung again. This thing was my brother but I only cared about Aitolia. My brother was long gone and I accepted that. He’d never be who I grew up with again so there was no point in holding back. I was going to protect her and I was going to pummel him into these stone cold floors if he forced me.
My pain blinded by rage and I struck, pursuing the need to make him pay back his dues. I always protected him and I am still protecting him now, protecting him from death at his own hands. I couldn’t bare to watch him curse himself ever so slowly. He was my brother and I knew without a doubt that there was some good left there within him. I could feel it in every awakened bone in my body . He was my other half, I felt every move he ever took. I felt the pull into darkness as he drifted away.
“Brother please, you must think about what you are doing, look at the lives we have in front of us. This is not the life I would have chosen for you brother, I want happiness, not pain for the other. What have you become brother, has the death of our parents taken you so far back, so far back that you would denounce the feelings that are connected between us? Tell me that you cannot feel my pain and I will believe you. Look into my eyes and tell me that you cannot see the reality before us, and I will believe you.Look around us. We are lost Dimitiri, won’t you accept it? Let Aitolia go, she doesn’t deserve our misery. I don’t want to fight you, mustn’t you force my hand!”
“I am not lost brother, you are! You don’t need her! You need to embrace what I’ve made you. You and I, if we work on our abilities can be all powerful. I just want you to see that. You’d be dead brother if I didn’t want you to see my ways and embrace them. Aitolia, she’ll never see life the way I do. She’ll always pull you away from me”
“Do you think mother and father would want this?”
“They died by their ideals. What they would choose is meaningless. If they were more like I am now they’d still be here!”
“Please Dimitri, she’s bleeding, badly. I either beat you unconscious to save her life or you just let me help her” I wanted to keep talking, the side that wanted to cling to that minuscule amount of hope I had for my brother always wanted to try but I couldn’t let Aitolia bleed to death, especially since we had had similar conversations in the past that didn’t get me anywhere. He growled “I’ll let my medical staff tend to her, I’ll even have them take her to an Inn and check her in there but you have to stay here and you have to actually listen Flynn”
“Have them tend to her but she stays here. I don’t trust you not to pull something”
“As you wish” In mere moments more men ran in and began tending to Aitoilia. It was a relief but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what I had just agreed to with my brother. I watched the men closely to make sure they weren’t doing anything out of the way to her. Only when she was completely stitched and bandaged up did I look at Dimitri who was incredibly close to me. Much closer and I probably could feel his breaths.
“Now that you have agreed to listen we can finally get somewhere.” The look of satisfaction on his face disgusted me further. I would continue this facade only to save Aitolia. If all I had to do was listen, then where was the harm?
“Look at who we are now Flynn, can’t you feel the power? It is not a curse that I have put upon you but a blessing. You need to embrace it, accept it as a part of you. Only then can you reach your full potential, only then can you be safe.”
I never realized how far gone he was, when did it happen? At what point was he beyond saving? This was not a gift but a plague. I will never embrace this monstrosity!
“Close your eyes brother, feel the beast within, anticipating it’s freedom”, he paused and proceeded slowly, “If you want Aitolia to live, you must embrace who you have become”.
“You’re mad! You have no idea the hell that is unleashed when my darkness is revealed!”
“Oh I do Flynn, I know very well, this pretty little scar on my face had to have come from somewhere.”
Suddenly his face turned, contorted, into an unrecognizable mess. His eyes grew dark, pain spread, he flung his body before me.
“Join me brother!
My desperation was drowning out any and all thoughts of comprehension I had left. I looked at Aitolia, pleading with my eyes, knowing she couldn’t save me but wishing it was so. I closed my eyes, afraid of what was to come next. I knew I had no other choice, if I wanted Aitolia’s life to be spared, than to follow Dimitri’s instruction.
I closed my eyes and felt the darkness cling onto me, tendrils wrapped around my heart and soul and I found myself in a place of shadows. “So he finally comes.” I turn at the words and see him standing there.
“Who are you?” I ask.
He chuckles. “Don’t play dumb, you know me as I know you, you feel me as I feel you, we are one.”
I feel more fear creeping in, tingling over my skin and gripping my chest. “I have to let you out. I don’t want to, but…”
“He has her.”
“You want to save her, want me to save her.”
“Yes, but if I let you out then you’ll…and I…”
“Think that I would take your body.” He chuckles. “You don’t get it do you, Flynn, you and I are one and the same.” I blinked and he was suddenly in my face. “She is light and life, acceptance and safety. Your affection for her has rubbed off on me, I see her through your eyes, her beauty, her warmth.”
“You wont control me?”
“No, Let me help you get her to safety. Once you two are far away from these horrible people I’ll rest within you again. We are one Flynn, one for eternity thanks to Dimitri. If I am to always be stuck as part of a human I would at least like to be able to help. I didn’t choose this any more than you do but life moves on and you make the best of it”
“Okay, lets just hurry, please. I want her out of here.” The demon smiled at me and in that same moment I felt almost overwhelming power rush through my body. Not caring for anything more my brother had to say I rushed to Aitolia and scooped her up in my arms. I hear him yell “Flynn!” I take off and I know he and some of his men are giving chase. How am I running so fast? I have to ask myself even though I know it’s the demons aide. I run non stop all the way back to the inn since the home I share with her is in ruins. It’s amazing to me that I’m not even slightly fatigued after all of this.
Although she has seen this side of me briefly in a horrifying moment in our past, she gazes at me in shock. I feel shame rush through me as I lower my head and turn away from her. I suddenly feel the warmth of her grasp as she turns me and faces me towards her. I stare into her eyes, searching for acceptance. The very next thing I know she is wrapped around me weeping.
“I was so afraid Flynn”
“I know, I am so sorry you had to see that demon inside me surface”
She looks up at me silently, puzzled.
“It was not you I was afraid of my love, it was fear for your life at the hands of your brother.”
My heart softened.
“You have nothing to be ashamed of, you are a kind and gentle person, no part of you would ever hurt me, I love every side of you. Your demons are now my own.”
I grabbed her into an embrace and my body sighed as her lips touched mine. I loved this woman and how she could ever love me so much I will never know.
“We must keep moving Aitolia, he will come looking for us. I promised him I would stay and listen and that is what I must do. I have to get you to safety first, and then I must return.”
“Are you out of your mind! You cannot return Flynn, he may kill you! I won’t let you leave, please do not leave me again. I couldn’t bare the thought of loosing you.”
Sadness overwhelmed my soul, the last thing I intended was to hurt the woman that I love the most.
“I must go, he is my brother Aitolia, I have to save him from himself. He is still in there, just wounded and afraid. He isn’t this monster that he presents before us. You must believe me. I will never leave you but I mustn’t leave him either.”
We ran for two days, only stopping at random inn’s for rest and to feed. I watched my back everyday, always jumping at the slightest movement and fearing every person that looked our way. We finally arrived at my safe house that I had set up years ago. There was no way that Dimitri could find her here, no one knew about this hole, not even Aitolia until this very moment.
“You will be safe here, I would never let anything happen to you. I must go, do not leave this place until my return, do you understand?”
“I understand, please, take the amulet. I have recharged it’s power to keep you safe. Whenever you need me just call out, I will be here. I will wait for you until the end of time. Always and forever.”
“Forever and Always,” and with that, I left her.
With her so far away from harm, I was less afraid and even the demon hummed a tune in my head, seeming unworried. He had a confidence that I myself could never dream of possessing. “You need to fear human, not with me here.” His voice filled my head, sounding almost amused. I don’t think I would ever come to fully understand him and I believed he wished it that way.
“Don’t get cocky.” I say out loud. “I will make it back to her.”
He laughed. “You should be more trusting, human, I have no reason to ruin this for either of us.”
He went back to humming and I put all of my focus on the journey, on what I would say to my brother. What did he truly expect to gain from me? I loved him just as much now as I did then, but I would not follow him completely into the darkness. Even the demon in me seemed uninterested in whatever my brother had to offer. Aitolia was all that mattered to either of us.
When I finally got back to where my brother should have been I found an abandoned building. Had he truly just up and left when I ran off with Aitolia? I searched every inch, my stomach knotting at times when memories would come flooding back. There were so many unpleasant memories here at this point. When I was sure he had truly left I said “it can’t be this easy”
“I doubt it is either” the demon suddenly said and I sighed “I can’t just leave Aitolia in that safe place while I hunt my brother. Who knows how long that would take” I was a little surprised he continued talking to me “You can’t, return to her”
“and just wait for him to strike?”
“He took everything as you see. No doubt he has safe, hidden places like yours. Go back to your mate and when he comes back next time, use me from the start and this wont be such a problem”
“He could hurt someone else”
“A lot of things should happen. Aitolia is our concern” We bickered back and forth for a while before I finally decided he was right. I was going to ask Aitolia to move somewhere new with me, start life over and if my brother came at me again we’d deal with it then. For now I would just tend to things with her. We had about a weeks worth of things to talk about and she more than deserved some explanations. When I returned she had obviously expected me to be away longer but her embrace told me of how much she missed me and worried.
I talked to her about moving and she agreed. We went home only to grab clothes and our money before heading out. We decided to go to the town her sisters lived in. If we were going to move anyway she deserved to be closer to them. They had such an amazing relationship and I had always felt bad she had moved away from them for my sake way back when.
“What are we going to do now?” She asked as we unpacked boxes.
I sighed. “We wait I guess. The demon seems to think it’s a good plan.”
“It’s the only plan.” I hear the demon say.
“He’s talking to you isn’t he?” Aitolia asks.
“Yes and he’s incredibly bossy.”
She smiles as she puts down what she’s holding and moves closer, taking my face in her hands and looking into my eyes. “Listen demon, you take care of him, do you understand? I can feel you are not a danger to us so please watch over him. If anything happens to him, I’m holding you personally responsible.”
I hear the demon chuckle. “This is another reason I like her, she speaks her mind without fear. She can count on me, on my honor I will not fail her.”
“He says okay.” I reply and she gives me a gentle kiss that warms and calms me. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her.
I go to our apartments alone, if Dimitri is waiting for us I will keep Aitolia out of danger. All is quiet though and I get out without alarm. There was one last stop to make. Call it silly but with everything we have been through and the devotion she has shown I find it only fitting. I park my car and sit there a while, afraid to go in. I didn’t even know where to start. I take a couple of deep breaths and go inside. I am greeting instantly with smiles and promises of happy endings. It’s such a stark contrast to the dungeon and the fear for my life just days ago. I leave satisfied but with my anxiety hightened even more, this time not from Dimitri. I head to get Aitolia and to get on the road. A couple of hours later we start our journey to a new life but worry of my brother plagues my happiness. We will stay under the radar and keep Dimitri from finding us, we have to. I keep one hand on the wheel and one in my pocket, unable to let go of the box i’m holding in my hand. I look over at Aitolia as she sleeps soundly. God I love her.
I drove Aitolia to where we had met for the first time. I know a lot of people do that and she deserved something creative but this place had such tremendous meaning to the both of us that I couldn’t resist being cliche. I wake her up and she understandably looks confused “Flynn?” her voice inquisitive. I get out of the car and run around to let her out. She exits and follows me to the precise spot we were standing when we first exchanged hellos. I remember the day perfectly, down to the earrings she wore. She still had them and the pair would send butterflies fluttering through me every time I saw them in her. They made me feel like I was seeing her for the first time again.
I get down on one knee and I can see the instant recognition, she knew what I was doing “Oh Flynn” she said, her eyes already growing wet. I propose and to my jubilance she says yes and kisses me. Everything with my brother had been such a horror and I knew it wasn’t over but I was glad on this new light in my life and I would give it all my focus. My brother would come one day but until then I was going to live. It would be under the radar but Dimitri be damned it would be an amazing life for myself and the woman of my dreams.
~ The End