Sarah sat cocooned by the silence; the kind of silence can only be attained through noise so loud it choked everything else out. Many people would not have understood or even agreed with her method of surrounding herself with silence by wrapping herself with noise, but it was the only way in which she could drown out her thoughts - drown out the screaming in her mind.
Her long dark hair floated around her face, casting eerie shadows over her alabaster skin and causing the hollows and curves of her skin to appear more elaborate and angular in the darkened room. Her azure eyes were hidden behind her long dark lashes as she sat reclined on her dresser chair, remaining so still and silent that one could be forgiven for mistaking her for an obscure statue. The pale skinned girl exhaled loudly, letting the music flow around her as though it was a living being; permitting the melodies to slip through her mind and silence the screaming voices and tortuous cries that she endured day in and day out. The harmony surged to a peak and she allowed her eyes to drift open. Slowly, she focused on the cracked ceiling above her and cautiously she straightened in her chair and gazed at the ethereal face that was reflected back at her in the antique mirror.
Tentatively, as though afraid of shattering a dream and waking, she reached out a shapely long-fingered hand and let her finger tips caress the cool glass of the mirror, tracing the outline or her face as the music died away and true silence returned, bringing with it the clamour of her thoughts.
"Sarah!" A shrill voice shattered the moment and Sarah blinked, tearing her gaze away from the ghostly face in the mirror and letting her hand drop back into her lap. She straightened in her seat, the tip of her tongue coming out to moisten her lips as she listened. "Come on, damn you! We're going to be late!" Jen's uncultured voice floated up the stairs and through her bedroom door. With a grimace of distaste Sarah looked briefly back into the ornate mirror before standing up with something less then her usual amount of grace. Balancing unsteadily on her trembling legs, Sarah ran a brush through her lengthy dark hair then tossed the brush aside and made her way to her bedroom door, pausing only to seize her small handbag that lay forlornly on the dressing table.
Sarah flicked the light off in the doorway and turned back for one last look around her room. For the briefest of seconds it seemed as though the moonlight filtering in through the bedroom window was framing the silhouette of a man, then as Sarah wheeled back in alarm she blinked and the figure was gone. She swallowed the scream that was threatening to worm its way out of her throat and determinedly closed her bedroom door, walking away with a rigid back as she fought to ignore the prickling sensation that tingled up and down her spine - the sensation of being watched.
Taking slow, deep breaths of air, Sarah calmed her racing heart and shook her head in annoyance as she focused on slowing her breathing down to an acceptable level. It was foolish indeed for her to start imagining things again. It wasn't him. It couldn't be. She had left him behind an age ago and he hadn't tried to contact her since. It was nothing but the wild imaginings of a lonely young woman that she was seeing. It certainly wasn't him.
She padded softly down the dim hallway, berating herself mentally for being brainless enough to be thinking about him yet again, and darted down the stairs, her boot heels making muted thumping noises as she nimbly picked her way down, barely avoiding the clusters of clothing and other household items which seemed to congregate on the stairs. Often Sarah imagined that the inanimate items in the household held meetings on the stairs, plotting ways in which they could slay the humans who lived within their dwelling.
Smiling faintly at her thoughts, Sarah bounded down the final stair and skidded to a halt by the hatstand. She could hear Jen impatiently tapping her high-heel clad foot near the front door and she grinned to herself yet again, her teeth a faint glimmer in the darkness as she deliberately took her time making her way down the corridor. Jen was standing by the front door, an extremely annoyed look plastered on her heavily made up face as she twisted her handbag strap in her hands, shifting her weight from foot to foot as she glared daggers at Sarah. Her curly red hair was contained in a sparling clasp and pinned to the back of her head; several stray strands had been left out and fell strategically around her face. As usual, the ardent redhead was clad in a vibrant red outfit that screamed sex and showed her luscious figure to its full advantage.
"It's just a party." Sarah drawled at Jen's look, her eyes shadowed as she opened the front door and spilt out into the night, ignoring the pitying looks of superiority that Jen continued to throw at her as she hurried to the car. The night air was crisp and fresh around them; Sarah drew in a lungful and caught the scent of sickly sweet roses on the night air. Wrinkling her nose at the pungent odour she let her hair fall protectively around her face in a curtain and hurried after Jen.
"There's no such thing as 'just a party', sweetie." Jen stated firmly, rolling her eyes and shaking her head as her perfect lips formed a pout. "You can be so naïve some times. Sometimes I think you don't even care about finding a man for yourself." Jens voice dripped with scorn and Sarah ignored her with practised ease. She had moved in with her sister almost a month ago and had regretted it ever since. Not only was her sister the apple of their father's eye - she also had a successful career and had her sights set on marrying a rich husband.
Which, Sarah reflected truthfully, she probably would.
Jen was the perfect daughter, while Sarah was anything but.
"I don't want to find myself a man. I want to find someone special." Sarah muttered to more to herself then to Jen. Something inside of her twisted cruelly at her words and Sarah fought with every fibre of her being not to clutch at her chest as she felt the aching of loneliness intensify inside of her. It felt as though she had some sort of black hole inside of her, a hole to which she lost more of herself with each passing day. Sarah ignored the familiar pain in her chest and looked up at the magnificent glowing midnight blue sky. The stars stretched endlessly out across the velvet blackness like city lights reflected in water, their beauty both lost and magnified by the sheer number of glowing orbs that hung suspended in the sky.
A million stars, Sarah mused, each as blurred as the next.
She glanced back at her sister, hesitant to say what was really on her mind. Her sister had a habit of shooting her down in flames if her views on life differentiated in any way from what she considered 'normal'. Jen had given one too many speeches on how the perfect man didn't exist. According to her brilliant and all-knowing sister, there was no such thing as love and no such thing as a soul mate. It was a speech that Sarah always dreaded to hear and, unfortunately, it appeared that Jen was about to give it tonight.
"Sarah, honey." She began, her tone dipping to blatant condescension as usual as she reached for the car door. "Please, don't start that nonsense about soul mates again. All you need in life is a man who is rich, good in bed and who had an even richer father waiting to die and leave all his money to his son." Jen poured herself into the car and fastened her seatbelt, waiting impatiently as Sarah opened her door and slid onto the leather seat gracelessly, slumping down as though afraid to be seen.
"He does exist somewhere Jen." Sarah closed her eyes as she clicked her seatbelt in place, sighing quietly as her sister turned the engine on and accelerated out of their driveway with a distinct lack of care. It was useless to argue with her sister, somehow Jen was always right – even when she was wrong.
"Rubbish." Jen insisted as she flicked on the radio with her highly varnished red talons. "Don't you ever want to have fun, Sarah? Why do you have to be so serious all the time?" Jen braked hard at an intersection and then accelerated again when a car full of squalling teens had passed them.
"Fun doesn't always end up being fun, Jen. I learnt that the hard way." Sarah pushed stray strands of her hair out of her eyes and opened her purse, taking out some dark red lipstick and applying it to her lips, watching her face in the rear-view mirror. She put her lipstick away and looked back at herself in the mirror. She wasn't that boring was she? She certain still looked good. Her dark hair was long and shiny. Her blue eyes, although slightly empty looking, were a beautiful blue colour and her skin was as smooth and flawless as ever. Sure, she may have lost a little weight lately, but she certain wasn't all skin and bones like Jen always claimed she was.
"You know, Sarah, just because you got involved with some bad kids in collage doesn't mean that you should let that experience scar you for the rest of your life." Jen slipped her a look that was almost sisterly and loving. Sarah merely sent her an icy blast from her own eyes, determined not to let her sister win this bout.
"That's just it Jen.' She said softly. "I am scarred for life." Sarah closed her eyes and lent back into her seat, allowing the leather seat to envelope her like a glove as they drove the rest of the way in silence.
She somehow managed to ignore the screaming in her head as she cast her mind back to her college years. Two years ago, during her freshman year at college, she had become involved with some people who had been caught up in the occult. They had lived and breathed a life that had revolved around self-benefit and pleasure. In the beginning, some of the ceremonies they had performed had been fun, but soon they had become caught up in the thirst for power and one of them had attempted to raise a daemon.
No, not attempted. Sarah corrected herself. He had raised a daemon.
Sarah swallowed convulsively at the memories and opened her eyes, forcing herself to forget the horrors she had seen on that night. That part of her life was over now. Those other individuals and the thing they had raised wouldn't find her. She had run too far and too fast for them to ever find her.
She was safe.
Sarah closed her eyes and soaked in the throbbing music as, all around her, people danced with wild abandon. She could almost feel the heat rippling from the dancers as they let go of whatever stresses were in their lives and just danced, and, without understanding why, Sarah found herself being drawn closer and closer to the mob; drawn by the warmth of their humanity. Framing the dancers was an assortment of people lolling around and drinking, some of them laughed and joked and others sat around making out or feeling up those around them. It was distasteful and reminded Sarah of high school. Feeling smothered by the stench of the people around her Sarah drew back from the gyrating mass.
It was so noisy…
Sarah wiped a hand across the front of her chest, realising with a small shudder that this night was reminded her of another night; the night they had called him up. Maybe he was still with her.
Still watching her.
Sarah gasped as the thought hit her. Shaking her head in denial she wheeled around and searched wildly for an exit. The music thundering around her and the swirling colourful dancers clouding her senses as she backed wildly away from them. She had to go outside and get some air - obviously she wasn't thinking straight. Sarah unsteadily wove her way through the crowd to the side door, her blue eyes darting left and right as she searched fearfully for him, part of her certain that he was watching her. With an audible gasp of relief Sarah flung open the door and slipped outside into the cool night air. She closed the door softly behind her and lent against it with a sigh, feeling the tickling vibrations of the bass though the wood. She stayed still for several minutes sucking in great gulps of oxygen, only opening her eyes when somebody coughed to gain her attention.
"Want some company?"
Sarah glanced at the man who was leaning casually against the wall of the house, watching her with a glint in his dark and unreadable eyes. With a shock that struck right to the core, Sarah recognised him as one of her old college 'friends' and she began to back away from him, her entire body tingling as her instincts kicked in and urged her to run. The man blinked at her in apparent confusion as she continued to back away from him, her eyes wide and fearful.
"Sarah, come on…you do remember me don't you? It's me, Bob? We're friends." Bob, took a small step towards her, one hand held towards her palm up. He seemed concerned and smiled at her in an attempt to put her at ease. Sarah blinked, willing him to go away before shaking her head in denial. He sounded so normal. Surely he hadn't forgotten what they had done? Maybe he had though. Maybe he had put all the horror and the blood behind him.
Like she should have done.
"I remember you." Sarah agreed, her voice shaky. She ceased backing away and straightened to her full height, determined not to show any outwards fear of unease. She was only too aware that she had sounded shaken before and her pride stung as he smiled patronizingly. She felt Bob's eyes lingering on her leather-clad legs as she slowly turned around and walked into the tangled garden surrounding the house, willing him not to follow her.
Funny how I just don't see guys the same way anymore. They all look the same, so weak and fickle. None of them have the qualities that Damian had; none of them would ever make her feel like he did.
Sarah shivered as she remembered the icy coldness of his touch and abruptly her eyes sprung open. What was she thinking? Sarah snapped herself out of her thoughts and realised she trembling. She mentally slapped herself as she heard a twig snap behind her, and she whirled around, sighing slightly as she saw Bob emerging from the bushes looking tussled. He gave her wicked a grin that made her skin crawl, but moments later he began to babble in his usual way and Sarah soon forgot the look he had slipped her.
"I've been meaning to catch you alone for a while now Sarah, but it took me a long time to track you down after you left us so…unexpectedly." Bob began, his voice sounding normal enough despite the obvious deeper meaning of his words. Sarah felt herself tense and she swallowed convulsively as her stomach lurched and she was left feeling as though the ground had been taken out form under her.
"W-what do you mean?" Sarah squeaked, taking a step back and raking her fingers through her hair nervously as she watched him through wide eyes. Once she would have stood her ground against Bob, once she wouldn't have been frightened by words alone. But she had seen things that had shown her that words, even spoken unintentionally, could have more power then any weapon on earth.
Bob chuckled and gave her a grin that was intended to put her at ease. "You know what I mean, Sarah. He was angry when you ran away. You were his special one, his chosen one. He made us search for you, but he always knew I would find you first." He looked at her assessingly before continuing. "You and I had the closest bond out of our little group." Bob took a step closer to her and held out his hand again. "Come back with me, Sarah. It can be the way it was before. He needs you, the group needs you." His voice was gently persuasive and Sarah felt that hole inside of her quiver at his tone. In his word Sarah could hear Damien's voice and it took everything she had to ignore the tug in her chest that was trying to pull her towards Bob.
"I'll never go back. Never." Sarah bit out viciously, her eyes flashing as she tasted Damien's power on her tongue. Bob growled under his breath and she jerked back, stumbling a few steps as she lurched off balance. The pull abruptly stopped and Sarah felt all traces of Damien's magic melt away. Swallowing a hysterical scream she backed away under a low hanging tree branch and slipped the innocent schoolgirl look onto her face that she had worn most of her life. "We got a girl killed Bobby, I had to wash her blood off me. It was out fault she died." She willed him with her eyes to understand, but Bobby shook his head and looked at the space in front of him as though he could see things in the darkness that were hidden form her eyes.
"We didn't kill anyone, it wasn't out fault she died. She killed herself in the name of the cause; she died to bring him to life." Bob sidled closer and Sarah swallowed the obscene urge to laugh. Bob was good, a real smooth talker, but she'd seen what he was capable of when he was working in the name of Him. She's seen Bob slaughter innocent people in the name of the daemon.
"We did get her killed." Sarah insisted, forcing herself to turn and walk away, her back prickling once again as imagined Bob grabbing her behind and forcing her to stay. "I'll never be his special one again, you can tell him that." Sarah disappeared into the shadows of the garden, needing to escape form Bob's presence and the incessant smell of Damien's dark magic that he wore around him like a cloak.
Bob stared sightlessly after her and then shrugged. It wasn't his fault that she hadn't listened to him and it wouldn't matter in the long run, Damien had told him that Sarah would return with them, and he knew it would be so. A content smile on his face, Bob looked up into the inky black sky and saw a faint silvery shadow flit pass overhead. He looked back in the direction that Sarah had gone and smiled.
"Tell him yourself." He whispered into the darkness that had swallowed Sarah up.
The snowy white owl fluttered onto a tree branch and hooked it's talons into the bark as it cocked it's head slightly to one side and it watched Sarah stumble though the dark garden with eerie yellow eyes. An icy wind blew past and ruffled the bird's feathers. Irritated, the bird let out an irate cry, as though commanding the wind to stop, and amazingly it did. Silence and stillness descended upon the garden as the animal continued to gaze at Sarah, the look in it's eyes almost longing.…Sarah, if only you knew your dream man is only a stones throw away…
The bird flapped its wings and abruptly soared down from the tree, swooping over Sarah who let out a straggled cry and flung one arm up as though to protect herself as she dropped to the ground. The white owl soared into the night sky and wheeled around, flapping noisily as it gained height and flew over the house filled with people, it's predatory yellow eyes singling out a victim who was stumbling drunkenly from the house.
Sarah was his. She might not know it yet but she was his body and soul. They had a bond that went deeper then lust or love; they had a bond that would bind them together for all eternity. She belonged to him in so many ways that it was causing him pain to be without her. Now matter how far she ran he would always be drawn to her, he had followed her to the ends of the earth to bring her back to him. And when he returned home again he would bring his chosen one with him.
Nothing in heaven or hell would stop him.
Sarah drew in a deep breath of the night air and smiled pleasantly at the faint scent of earth that hung around her. This was what she liked. Not the smell of sweet roses or the smell of pungent herbs, she liked the deep earthy smell of nature. A wraithlike snow-white owl manifested from the shadows over her and swooped so low that it's wing tips brushed her face. Startled, Sarah fell to the ground and flung out an arm to protect herself as the owl screeched eerily and disappeared into the darkness, leaving her alone with the echoes of its wing beats ringing in her ears.
Her heart hammering wildly in her chest, Sarah drew her shaking arms to her chest and hugged herself, trying to warm some life back into her empty body. She could taste Damien on the air again, his scent was that of a predator and it was so thick around her that it was becoming hard to breath. Shaking her head to dispel the fear and she climbed gingerly to her feet and brushed off the dirt which clung to her clothing. Once again she was imagining things – oh god, she had to be. It was unthinkable to even imagine for a moment that Damien had found her.
"It's not fair." Sarah whispered dispassionately onto the night air. Every shadow around her seemed to curl sensually and take on a sinister appearance at her words, it was as though the very night itself was an agent for the daemon and was watching her for him, keeping her safe. Sarah crept deeper into the darkness of the twisted garden, away from the faint sounds of the party. The garden was wild and tangled with overgrown shrubs and trees - more like a jungle then a garden really.
As the gloom pressed in around her Sarah reached a clearing and gratefully sank down onto the earth, half listening in case Bob had followed her. She rested her back against a tree rubbed her temples gingerly, feeling the familiar twinge of a migraine beginning behind her eyes. She longed to sleep but it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to sink into the oblivion of sleep as each day passed. Not only did the noise in her head keep her awake, but the dreams had started again. She had always dreamt of Damien. Even before they had summoned him she had known he existed on another plane. She had felt his presence in the same way that mediums can feel the presence of spirits.
He had been like a faint pressure in her mind, a pressure that had been released when they had summoned him to this plane. But the dreams, the dreams had never stepped. After she had fled from Damien she had dreamt about him almost every night. In some dreams he would try to seduce her, in others he would lash out at her angrily and would try to hurt her. The dreams had prevented her for sleeping days on end, but they had eventually stopped. It was as if the longer she had stayed away from Damien the weaker his power had grown over her until one day she had even stopped feeling his presence in her mind.
Oddly though, the loneliness of missing him never faded. It was obscene to miss someone who had hurt her so badly, someone who had used her up and fed from her humanity until she had become a shell of her former self.
But she did miss him.
Sarah gulped in a breath of night air and held her breath, enjoying the feeling of the freezing cold air creeping down into her lungs. The dreams of Damien had been getting worse again lately. It was frightening how real they were and it was distracting how vivid they were. At first they had just been dreams of Damien appearing before her like mist or dreams of Sarah being back in the college again. But the dreams had changed and had somehow morphed into a nightly vision in which she watched them raise him again and then watched him kill…
The dark haired beauty shivered and hugged her tightly. It was terrifying to be having these dreams again, to be reliving the memories that she had fought so long and hard to bury. If Damien was back and he was giving her these dreams she didn't think he would dare to come near her again. She hoped. Oh God, if he tracked her down then there would be no escape for her this time. He'd create some elaborate lie or trick to force her to stay with him, she'd never be strong enough to free herself form him a second time. He knew she was powerless to resist him; her weakness for him was her greatest flaw.
Damien. Even his name rang with power when she summoned it in her mind, and for good reason. He had the power to take her away form this reality, this world that bored her so much. Damien had the key to her dreams - he knew what she wanted and would give it to her. For a price. Everything had its price when you were dealing with a daemon, and Damien was no different to any other of his kind despite his apparent normality.
"Nothing comes cheap when you deal with the devil." Sarah murmured to herself, snuggling closer to the tree and letting the darkness enfold her, somehow feeling more at home in the shadows then she felt in a room full of people. Relaxing she let her thoughts drift back to her college years and the people she had once called friends.
Sarah had always been close to Bob while they were in college. They had been roommates and had grown up together in the small town of Mapleton. At university they had met Marcus, David and Sylvie and had quickly become friends with them. They had been a close group and had done everything together…or so Sarah had thought. When Marcus had first told her and Bob that 'they' were into the occult, she had been surprised but curious. He told them stories of magic and how he had learnt to use the black arts to his own advantage. He made it sound fun; he made it sound almost innocent.
It was no wonder that Sarah and Bob had quickly gotten involved in it too; it had been fun for a while…until Marcus had the idea of summoning a daemon to work for them. He had been convinced that they could control the demon, he had insisted on it.
He had been wrong.
Marcus successfully summoned the daemon and contained it within a blood circle. The demon had only been visible as a formless rippling shadow on the night air, but his voice had been clear. Sarah shuddered as she remembered the first time Damien had spoken to them, demanding a human sacrifice. Marcus hadn't told them that they would need a sacrifice, but he had known. He had planned everything out to the smallest detail without consulting any of the others. He had pushed Sarah into the circle before she had had time to realise what he was doing, and none of her so called friends had made the slightest move to stop him - not even Bob. They had watched with morbid fascination as the darkness had swirled around her and through her.
But Damien hadn't killed her; instead he had whispered in her mind thoughts about revenge on the others for trying to harm her. He had whispered how they had used her and had taken advantage of her. He had enfolded her in his shadow and had promised to take care of her if she freed him, promised to hurt the others for daring to injure someone as special as her. So she had let him out of the circle and had stood by as he had attacked Sylvie, ripping her limb from limb, coating everything in blood and gore as he had feasted on her. Devouring her even as she screamed and thrashed around in death throes.
And then Damien had taken his human form.
He had concentrated his shadow until the most beautiful being Sarah had ever seen had stood in front of them. His hair was fine and a bright white blonde and hung around his face in a shaggy mane, his eyes were an animalistic yellow, his lips were bright red and his skin was ivory coloured. He had been built lightly like a predator and the very stance he had taken on was that of someone supremely confident in their superiority.
The moment she had seen him Sarah had fallen for him; they all had.
Bob, Marcus and David had worshipped the ground he walked on without question. Instead of Damien working for them, everything had become twisted and they worked as his slaves. But it was Sarah who Damien had focused on. Perhaps he had sensed their bond before she had, perhaps he knew that because she was the first being he touched in this world that they would become anchored to one another. All she had known was that he had been obsessed with her from the very beginning.