|Dancing With Shadows
Author: Burning-Ink PM
What would happen if you watched your best friend die? If he decided he blamed you? If he wanted revenge? And if everyone you know expected you to fix it? Well, it might go a little something like this.Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Supernatural - Chapters: 15 - Words: 39,030 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 11-12-12 - Published: 06-18-12 - id: 3033614
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Lexie," his voice hissed in my head. "Lexie."
"Cole," I whispered, and ran faster. No matter which way I turned, the maze kept going.
I ran into another dead end. This time I tried hacking through the hedge with my knife, but like the last four times, it was too thick. Fear shot through me when I heard a scream. Cole never showed pain, or fear. Not until now.
"Cole!" I shouted. "Cole, where are you!"
I got silence.
I turned left and ran as fast as I ever had. I had to find Cole. I had to save him.
Another scream came, louder than before. I was closer.
"Cole!" I shrieked, turning another corner. I think he may have tried to answer me, but all I got was another shout. A scared one.
I turned a few more corners and came to a dead end. I was sick of these damn dead ends. Gripping my blade in my teeth, I grabbed a branch sticking out above my head and pulled myself up. My feet stuck in the hedge and found footholds. I kept climbing, up nearly ten feet before I reached the top. What I saw nearly made me fall off.
I was near the center of the maze, the paths spiralling out and splitting for nearly half a mile in any direction. Ten feet to my right there was a clearing, a small open space about the size of a classroom. Blood slicked the ground. My friend's blood.
I pulled myself along the wall as fast as I could, my hands and arms shaking. I finally dropped into the clearing but nearly slipped on the blood.
"Cole," I whispered, spotting him lying in a corner. His clothes were torn and there were deep cuts on every inch of exposed skin. "Cole, say something!"
I ran- or really, slid, to his side and dropped to my knees. He looked up at me and tears ran down his face.
"It hurts," he breathed. "It hurts so much. Make it stop, Lexie, make it stop!"
My voice shook. "I can't, Cole, it's too bad, I can't do anything!"
"Find him," he mouthed, a trickle of blood trailing down his face. "You'll know him when you see him."
His eyes slid shut.
"Cole," I said, and shook his shoulder. He didn't move. "Cole, wake up. Open your eyes, Cole, open your eyes!"
He didn't. I started to panic. "Cole, wake up, wake up! Don't just lie there, you're not dead! Wake up!"
"Lexie!" I glanced up for a moment to see Kjersti running into the clearing, followed by Riley and a couple of guys with a stretcher.
"Cole," I whispered. Kjersti ran up to me and grabbed my arm, hauling me to my feet.
"You have to do something!" I screamed at her. She flinched back. "Heal him! You have to heal him!"
She shook her head slightly and bent down. After a moment, she stood back up and faced me, tears in her eyes. "Oh, Lexie, I can't, he's already dead, I can't heal the dead, I can't."
No. No no no. This couldn't be happening.
"No," I whispered. "No, he's not dead, he's not dead! He can't be dead!" I was screaming now. "You have to do something! You have to heal him, he's not dead! He's not dead!"
I heard someone come up from behind me. "Calm down, Lexie." I didn't recognize the voice.
I lunged forward and tried to go to Cole, but the person behind me grabbed my arms and held me still. "No!" I shouted. "Let me go! He's not dead, you idiots! He can't be dead!" I thrashed in the guy's grip and tried to get away, but fighting him was like fighting a brick wall. "Let me go! Let me go! He's not dead, he can't be dead. He's not dead, Cole's not dead…" I trailed off into tears as they loaded him up onto the stretcher and ran off with him. They would heal him. He would be okay. It would be like this terrible night never happened.
I was totally and completely wrong.
Two Years Later
The darkness consumed me. I let the shadows have me. They wouldn't hurt me, this was my dream. But they still whispered to me, telling me awful things that I learned to ignore long ago. The near silent sounds hit my ears with the force of a sledgehammer, but none of it really made an impact on me. The things I heard; I'd heard them all before.
It could have been minutes, maybe hours, but eventually the light came back to me and I was in the room again. It was green, like the maze was. The floor was slightly sloped to the center, where a tiny drain was embedded in the tile. Red streaks ran to it from all corners of the room, relics from all the other times I'd had the dream.
Right about now, you're probably saying I'm a weak fool, that this is just a dream. But no, it isn't. Things in these dreams were real. I'd woken up with the scars, screaming because of the things I'd seen. This was not just a dream.
I stood in the center of the room, right over the drain. I'd learned that it was the best place to stand if you didn't want to get blood on you. As if in sync with my thoughts, the center of the ceiling above me started to turn dark red. The colour spread until it covered the entire ceiling and started to drip down the walls. I closed my eyes. I didn't want to see it yet again.
A slight rustling sound made me open my eyes. Everything was the same, except for the blood on the walls. It was twisting in strange shapes, loops and lines and doing everything but falling to the ground normally. As I stared, the shapes twisted more and became words.
O-kay. This was scary.
Do you remember?
I never left.
I'm still here.
This dream never changed. For two years it had been the same, since the very first night. There had never before been words spelled out of blood.
I whirled around. A very familiar person slouched against the wall, his green eyes watching me carefully. "I got bored after a few nights of watching. Decided to mix it up a little. You like?"
"Cole," I said, willing myself to stay calm. "You wrote that?"
He smirked. "Funny, you always seem smart when I peek in on you. Perfect grades, witty comebacks, just like you used to be. Maybe I was wrong."
"You never left?" I whispered. "I watched you die."
"And I watched you watch me die. And I watched you after that. You were damn convinced I wasn't dead."
I shrugged. "I didn't want you to be. Nobody did."
He laughed a little, but he didn't sound happy. "Nobody helped me."
"I tried!" I took a step towards him. "I would have helped you if I was a Healer, I tried to get Kjersti to help you, but she wouldn't!"
Cole shook his head. "They took me earlier that day. Nobody found me until it was too late. I was basically dog food when you did."
I felt tears prick my eyes. I hadn't cried since that night. "We all tried! There was no hint about where you were until I Saw it!"
"No," he breathed. I could barely hear him. "You knew. You always know."
He might as well have stabbed me in my stomach. "You think I didn't try to find you? You think I wanted you to die? You know my gift is sporadic, that it sometimes works, and only when I'm calm, mostly when I'm asleep! Do you think I was calm? Do you think I would have been able to sleep with you kidnapped by a bunch of spirits that got past out charms and Listeners? And even then, nobody could be sure that I would have Seen anything!"
"You would have been sure!" he shouted, and walked right up to me. I took a few steps back. "You would have known that something like that was important enough for a Sight!"
"I couldn't!" I cried. "I was panicky and scared and I just about lost it and a piece of me died in that maze that night with you! You have no idea how hard it's been just getting up in the morning and knowing that I should have gotten there faster, that I should have been able to just find my way through those stupid paths-."
"NO!" he roared, and backed me up into the wall. I felt the blood soaking into my shirt. Cole was about a foot away but I could just feel the rage radiating off of him. "You have no idea what it's been like! I'm the one that died that night! I'm the one that has to watch all my friends go on like nothing happened! I have to watch you, my best friend, go on about your life like I never existed! You have your future still, you can go on living and make something of yourself, but now I'm one of the things that I worked so hard to destroy and all because I can't seem to let go of the past. I feel lost, here, Lexie, and there's nobody I can go to for help."
I swallowed and shook my hair out of my face. A few drops of blood spattered across my cheek. "I can try and help you again, I can see if there's a way to reverse this, but I don't know what to do right now."
He shook his head and walked away, his back to me. "I guess you don't. I guess it's kind of hard to think when someone tells you the truth for once."
I started to feel like I needed the wall to hold me up. "What are you talking about, Cole?"
He faced me again. There was something in his eyes, something that told me I should run away and run away now. "It's your fault, all of your faults. It's your fault I had to suffer the way I did, and it's your fault I died. And you're going to be sorry. I'm going to make you feel sorry."
My breathing stopped for a second. "Cole," I breathed, but he was gone. I slumped against the wall and slid down…
I shot straight up in my bed gasping for air. Tears ran from my eyes and sweat plastered my hair and pajamas to my body. Oh, God. What was that? What happened?
"Oh my God," I whispered. "Oh my God, Cole, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, please, no…" Tears ran faster and it got harder to breathe. "Oh my God, it's all my fault, I should have been there, I should have stopped them, I should have Seen it…"
Kjersti sat up slowly and reached for the light beside her bed, although I could see her perfectly. As soon as she saw my face, she gasped. "Lexie? You've got blood in your hair!"
My hand shot up and felt the back of my head. Sure enough, it came away red. "Yeah, I guess it would."
She sat up and moved to sit on the edge of my bed. "Why does it have blood? Did you dream again?"
I chuckled. "Sort of. It was different this time. I had a visitor."
She took my hand. "You're crying. I haven't seen you cry in years."
I looked at her. "It was Cole."
She gasped. "Cole's dead, Lexie. He can't come back."
"I know that. But what if he never left? What if he just hung around as a ghost and watched us? What if he blames us for his death? What if he thinks we don't feel anything and he's angry enough to kill?"
She looked scared. "No- no, he can't have. He can't feel that way. It's not like him."
I looked down at my fingers, stained red from my hair. "He did. He does. I think he wants to kill us, Kjersti. All of us."