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Old 11-29-2008, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Whispers in the Dark

PROLOGUE
"I Remember"


The dead apple falls from his hand,
gliding through the air,
and he can’t help but watch its blurring,
graceful arc
even as it falls silently to the floor
It rolls until it brushes against a pale hand, glowing crimson in the dark room

Cold eyes watched as the flames rose. Everything, everything burned, turned to ash by the heat of the inferno. By morning the village would be dead and nothing would remain but dust and charred stone. The wanderer watched in contempt as the hell-sent blaze tore through all he had ever known, spiraling through houses and trees in graceful, undulating arcs of light and color; crackling in a rushing, overpowering deluge of sound and force.

Someone had once told him that he had a heart of snow–something so cold and icy that it tore away the flesh of all who tried to touch it. They were wrong, though. His heart was fire, a skillful dancer who changed tempo on accordance to the fuel given; it fed off of fear and anguish and turned them into little more than another step in its elegant waltz. Those who touched it didn’t freeze–they burned.

He continued to watch the world below him as it burned away into the night; he could hear the tolling of church bells calling out to him from across the abyss, shrieking with shattered memories and brittle promises. Those bells could never drown out the howling; they merely accompanied it in a hellish cacophony. The first time he heard the peals, he had thought them beautiful, but perhaps… perhaps even that had been a lie, another broken promise.

They had promised him that one day he would be normal; swore to him he would be able to feel, to love, to be… happy. They had promised to take him away from the shadows in the nightmares and draw him into their own personal Eden, but the light was not bright enough to blind him from what he was meant to be; nor was the darkness deep enough to swallow the shards of hope that still clung to his heart, cutting the dancer’s feet with its hollow words and empty offerings.

The wanderer looked to the sky, watching as white flakes began to fall from the sky. He breathed deeply. Seven years ago he had stood on this very hill, back when his heart had been as cold and pure as the ice that fell from the stars. How long had it been since his heart had melted away inside his chest, freeing the dancer from its frozen chains? Tedium, empathy, satisfaction; all had fallen away with the death of each bride and the pealing of every bell, gradually replaced with horror–the horror of an innocent child confronted with (at that time, to him) a monster worse than death.

Terror.

It had kept him locked in that place. A dark shadow had haunted him for the past seven years; the fear that one day the thin, bony fingers would wrap around his own neck and steal his soul. He still feared it, during the night, in the absence of the stars; he could practically hear the angel scribbling away, hunched over his work in concentration. He could still feel that cold, dead gaze linger upon him as it decided whether or not he was too bothersome to keep.

“Is Raito-kun afraid of the dark?”

Yes, he was afraid; of course he was. Who wouldn’t be afraid of him, the angel of death with skin empty as snow and eyes of colorless crystal; the pale angel with shadows of wings whose smile chilled him to the core and hands destroyed everything they touched; an otherworldly being from a world where color no longer existed? In the darkened realms only black and white remained, and like the angel, he was expected to see the world in that way. He needed to be completely color blind, but he didn’t want it–not anymore.

He would see the rainbow spectrum again; all would be as it was. He had to fix the brokenness—prevent the earth from returning to its original state.

After all, no one else could.

He doesn’t breathe
He doesn’t think
He doesn’t feel,
but around him the world collapses

He stared at the various candelabras, each one lit with a small flame that shimmered slowly, illuminating the vast cavern. Some of them rose like cat tails out of the misting lake, playing tricks on his perceptions and dangling a veil behind his eyes. For the first time in three years, Light experienced a vague sense of homecoming–shuddering images of stone walls, rainbow-hued windows and flickering candles pushed through his concentration, but he stalled his thoughts and continued to wade through the waste deep water, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the dimly lit path in front of him. A chorus of voices drifted down into the labyrinth, swelling and floating around him; he tuned each of them out as he crept along with a silence born off need.

All he needed was a name, a simple name, and it would be done.

He knew that, just like humans, these bastards could die, and, he knew, just like every human, they were afraid to. Every one of them had begged on their knees the moment they had seen the intent in his eyes–they had promised him riches, power… “anything his heart desired”. When his expression remained firm and his hands steady, they had begun to curse him with vulgar profanities meant to goad him into slipping up. He didn’t make mistakes, the dead Darkangels had discovered, because every weakness he had would be used against him.

As he drew nearer to the source of light, the drifting tempest of the gasping clangs of an organ assaulted his ears. Again, there was the odd sense of being home–there had been an organ there, too, for as long as he could remember. That organ had often made the same incoherent noises of rage and pain; he never had been able to make it sing.

This, though… this wasn’t like the stumbling fingers he remembered playing with; no, this was horrifying; this was beautiful. It was everything that the world was made of written into a simple melody that wove through the air with a complexity that, despite his intelligence, he could not follow.

He stopped. It was beautiful, it was terrifying, and it was like looking in a mirror.

He saw himself sitting at the organ, sloppily throwing chords together, jamming down on the keys; anything. Anything to drown out the screaming. He saw himself crying, weeping; betrayed by his na´ve faith in justice and righteousness and innocence. There was no such thing as evil in this world, they had said–it was a remote concept, irrelevant and incomprehensible to all, he had thought. There was no wrong and, by default, no right, they had said, but it had all been little more than a fabrication composed by ignorance and inexperience.

Finally, he had learned, and had tried to bury the knowledge in a progression of angry, stumbling first chords from a child’s small hands. They hadn’t had the capacity to contain it all.

He didn’t want to move closer, but he had to; he had to see that small weeping child. He had to make him see the jagged world built of broken shards of truth, and so he stepped closer again, inching his way towards the source of the music and the light.

When he stood on the stone steps of the music’s lair, he was a part of the music–the crying, pounding music so heavenly and earthly that it was heartbreaking to listen to. When he reached the organ, the music stopped; the fingers came to a halt and rested upon the ivory keys.

They were not the fingers of a child but the fingers of a skeleton; pale, jagged, bony fingers. The being that owned them was not a child; he was tall and lean and like a starving man, he hunched over his music in search of life. His clothes hung limply from his bone-white skin in a sickly manner; twelve dark wings sprang from his back, deforming the shadow cast by the candle’s softly steady glow. Before him, papers filled with empty lines and crossed-out stanzas sat in calculated disarray.
Slowly, he began to laugh in a hoarse, dark chuckle that even in its beauty sounded pained and tortured. The melodious sound filled the silence, sharpening and refining it into a razor point.

He didn’t turn when he began to speak, but simply sat with a stillness that mirrored that of a wind-worn, twisted gargoyle. “Erik wondered when you would come.” He spoke with a weary patience of a man who has seen too much and lived too long,

“You remember your name.” Light didn’t say it with anger or aggression as he had intended; it emerged from his lips as an emotionless statement of fact.

The vampyre laughed again with a cold, demeaning chuckle that bordered on hysterical giggles. “Oh, yes, Erik remembers many things, now. He remembers everything; everything he had ever forgotten….” The Darkangel trailed off slowly. His shoulders straightened and his head tilted to the side, causing his shoulder-length, pure-white hair to shift in tandem. “That’s what Erik does now. He remembers… he remembers what others have forgotten in their haste. After all, what does he have left but memories? Memories and dust. One day, those will abandon him, too.

“She was very beautiful–so beautiful–when he first saw her. What a wondrous voice–it was beautiful, yes… all it needed was someone to help it grow, and Erik knew that he was the only one who could teach her. That’s why–that’s why he took her.” The great wings rose, concealing his pale profile from Light’s view; they shuddered as sobbing laughter filled the room.

“You killed her, Manasseh,” said Light slowly, remembering the wasted bodies, the broken and withered, mindless creatures. It was from those days that he had learned what hatred truly was–betrayal, abandonment.

“No, Erik never… he never touched her. Not once.” The angel continued to snigger at whatever promise those words were supposed to represent. He seemed to almost be choking on the giggles as they rose from his lungs.

“Do you really believe that?” Light asked, the hatred boiling inside him, inflaming his senses and catching his world on fire.

The Darkangel turned, but where Light normally saw clear eyes devoid of life, twin pits of molten gold stared. “Don’t you know, Boy? She’s the reason the music died.”

He wants to die
He wants to lie down and die, shove a stake into his still heart and force it into oblivion, to stop his pale hands from touching, from destroying another life
To stop himself from taking her life
the only life that ever mattered

“’What am I?’ I am an Icarus, a member of the proud race of Darkangels, black gods from the deepest pits of hell come to enact divine judgment on the human race; a monstrous beast that steals the souls of maidens and drinks their blood as a toast to mortality. As for ‘Who am I?’…. The world calls me Judah, but to those few who know me I am known as L.” The pale figure smiled, his face beaming in childish delight at his speech.

Once again, he was struck by how pale the creature was–his pale skin seemed to be almost carved from marble and looked almost jagged to the touch; his bones seemed to jut out from his skin in exaggeration, like those a starving child. His bony shoulders were constantly rolled forward, decreasing the creature’s height by several inches and his back was surrounded by a dozen dusky wings. Oddest of all was the creature’s colorless, thin face–vacant eyes framed by a mop of chaotic silver hair that made him wonder if the angel spent his time hanging from the ceiling.

“L?” The boy’s tongue tripped over the foreign syllable as he watched the Icarus’s wings twitch irately.

“You may call me Ryuzaki, because frankly, your mispronunciation of my name will drive me mad. We can’t have that, can we?” The Darkangel shook his head and began to pace in front of the boy, looking him up and down with shrewd, blank eyes.

“You aren’t a muscle man, but then again I don’t need you for heavy lifting.” He tugged on the boy’s thin shirt sleeve, lifting up his arm and clicking his tongue softly. The icy chill of the creature’s skin seeped through the cloth with ease, freezing the boy to the core. “Still, you should probably attempt to build muscle. Your arms look like toothpicks! What do they feed you kids these days?” The Icarus breathed out and dropped the child’s arm, then stepped back. “Ah, well,” came a sigh tinged with self-pitying mourning. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

He sees them, all the faces of his past
gathered around him,
each face masked with a trail of flowing tears…
all crying over him,
for him,
beside him

She was so pale–so deathly pale and thin, like a glass doll on the verge of breaking into pieces with cracks that were all too obvious in her transparent state, hunched over in the corner, her arms clutching her legs desperately as she tried to control her shivering. A thin trail of dried blood made its way from her forehead down to her cheek and her ebony hair had been pulled back roughly into a hastily-made ponytail, leaving several strands to frizz across her face. Surrounding her were the dark shadows that even the candle light couldn’t wash away.

A poor girl whose life had been torn apart by his own lifeless hands was all she was.

He didn’t try to speak even as he set down the tray of carefully prepared food in front of her bare feet. She shifted away from his gloved hand and farther into the corner as if the mere proximity burned. He paused before taking his hands away and standing up; she didn’t relax, remaining tightly curled into a ball in an attempt to protect herself from the wrath she thought he would inflict upon her. She didn’t look up at him when he stood, preferring to keep her eyes on the stony floor rather than see her death–eyes empty as death–staring down at her.

“It hurts, doesn’t it?” he said softly, the words leaving a bitter taste on his lips. The dark-haired girl looked up, betrayal etched into the black depths of her eyes. Her arms tightened around her knees and her mouth set into in a frown. “To know that everything you’ve ever been told… everything you believe in is a lie?”

Still she remained stubbornly silent, refusing to so much as move in his presence. It was only when he left that she would take a moment to scream and curse the day he had stolen her from the family that she no doubt believed missed her and to damn the gods to hell, all the while unaware exactly what it was that had spirited her away. But deep down, she must have realized that she would never leave this place again; that after sunset it would no longer matter which relatives missed her or what dreams she had left waiting at home. Eventually they would forget her or mourn her passing, all-the-while blissfully ignorant of the curse placed upon her.

Ignorant, just as his own family had been when he had returned home. Even then, they had refused to accept the truth.

With that, he turned from the human and proceeded to walk down the stairs, ignoring the sound of breaking dishes behind him and the wretched sobbing that would haunt his past and present… the sobbing of a dying human whose fate was inescapable.

The pain
All he can see is the pain etched out before him
He cries but hears only silence
he watches the world with eyes tightly closed
he hears the voices that do not speak
They whisper to him of things he cannot understand,
of things he will not understand

Last edited by Scourge of Amaranth; 11-30-2008 at 12:56 AM.
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