Sequel to Dark Angel
Shadows swirled in the cool darkness that blanketed his room. His limbs twisted, throwing blankets off his clammy body as the visions held him tight in their grasp, visions of things to come, visions of things that have already come to pass. The shadows covered the sounds of his protest and watched over him as they had since his birth. They were the reason he wasn't dead…yet. There were many who not only wanted him gone, but needed him gone. Those beings were the reason he was locked in by his own mind for hours at a time.
Suddenly, the visions released their prey as he shot to a sitting position, drawing in large gasps of cool air, trying to calm himself after yet another night of hell. In one gulp, he emptied the glass of water he always had at hand to soothe his dry throat and lips. The shadows crept to him, sliding around him like a warm blanket and he accepted the familiarity of their phantom touch. It wouldn't do for him to die of cold. Though he knew the shadows had muted his cries, misty green eyes still shot to the door, his ears straining to hear if his caretaker had heard anything, but nothing moved, and he fell back weakly against the headboard. If she had heard he was up, she might take away even his privacy at night, a privacy he lived for.
The shadows commiserated with him. Soon, hopefully, he would be able to leave and share with those he had left behind those things he had learned, dreamed, and dreaded. They all thought him dead, though. Suddenly, the mist consumed his sight once more and the visions became demanding, ripping through his mind, begging to be released. Blindly, he climbed off the bed and counted five steps to his closet as he had done every night for the past six years. He stopped as the number crossed his mind.
It had been six years since he had found himself here in this place with a dark-haired woman who thought he was her late boyfriend's younger brother. Unable to tell her who he really was, he kept up the ruse, even when he started regaining his strength. Still too weak to be on his own, he counted on her for protection from his enemies, though she didn't know that. He wanted to laugh but instead a choked sob wrenched itself from his throat. Six years he had been unable to do anything because the visions left him crippled and weak.
His hand felt the familiar smooth wood of his closet door and the shadows encouraged him to continue. If not for them, he knew he would have forgotten who he was, what he was, and he would have forgotten what sanity was. They were his companions and his secrets, a reminder of the life he used to know, and now they were his eyes as he felt for the back of the closet, where he knew a small latch hid his most precious secret. The shadows guided his hand to lift the latch and pull out the heavy box the small door had hid. It was the shadows that had shown him the hiding place and they who guarded it. He turned and walked back to his bed, exactly five steps.
By memory, he took out six paintbrushes of various thicknesses and then the tubes of paint that were almost empty. Somehow, he would have to find a way to get more soon, but there was enough for tonight. Then, he lifted a small wooden bowl, plain and easily overlooked, but serviceable. That which he needed to paint needed something more than his paints could provide, though. The shadows split themselves between his side and the door to make sure he would remain undisturbed.
He felt the visions straining against the temporary barrier he had put up to keep them at bay until he was ready. Silver flashed in the dark and he held his wrist over the bowl as the familiar coppery-smelling liquid poured into the bowl. The shadows bound themselves to the wound, now tangible at his need, halting the bleeding when enough for the vision had spilled, because the mist made it impossible for him to judge an amount himself. However, it was useless to curse his lot in life. The fates could always make his way worse.
Carefully, he lifted the small foldable easel from the box and securely attached a thick sheet of paper. Then, he picked up his thinnest brush, dipped it into the blood, and began to bring his visions to life.
The sky was dark and the city below strangely quiet; no lonely cars meandered down the dim streets. Clouds prevented anyone from seeing the figure hurtling through the sky or the two figures that followed him. Desperate, the first figure flew straight up, using the cover of the thickening clouds to cover his maneuver. His pulse beat wildly, so loud it was impossible his pursuers couldn't track him by that alone. However, the fates were in his favor tonight as his followers split to search for him.
As one of them flew north, he dove down and attacked the mindless enemy, forcing him to the ground. A dagger appeared in his hand and he dropped the now-lifeless body as the other vampire turned to see him. He flew up higher, but the creature followed him, not fooled by the trick anymore. Finally, he turned to meet it and waited for it to make the first move. He wasn't disappointed and had his dagger once again ready, but was sent tumbling ten feet down before he could free his grey wings from the creature's death embrace. Stinging on his shoulders told him of the raw wound he had just acquired, but he was better off then the vampire who had just joined his partner in death.
He flew in a wounded zigzagged pattern, weary now that the battle had been won, and he began to have trouble staying at a steady elevation. Seeing a thick bunch of trees near an apartment complex, he switched into a headfirst dive, praying no one would see him before he got to his destination, still far from the safety he longed for. The night was still young, but he was feeling older with every beat as his wings strained to hold him aloft.
Landing awkwardly, he clutched at his side, panting heavily. The sticky substance that promptly covered his hand made it evident he was still bleeding heavily as he limped to a small gardeners' shack, yearning for privacy and shelter to tend to his wound. The longer he was out in the open, the more likely danger would find him and the smell of his blood could attract any manner of predator. At least he was still conscious. Thank the good Lord for small favors.
A rustling sound from his left stopped him and he froze, waiting to judge the intruder friend or enemy. "The world is dark," he whispered, hating that he sounded weak. He slowly stepped in the direction of the disturbance, though he was in no shape for another fight, should it be a foe. "The world is dark," he said louder, angered at his fear, gritting his teeth against the pain.
"But the Heavens are forever bright," an answering voice whispered back. The wounded figure sank to the ground in relief.
"Oh, thank God it's just you, Powler. If I didn't know better, I'd claim you were an angel." The figure leaned his head against the shack and calmed his breathing as a fiery-haired, red-winged man moved from the dark to his side. Red-tipped fingers pried his arm from his side and Blean surveyed the damage, having smelled blood before his friend had touched ground.
"What happened, Fornin?" Quickly, he tore a large strip of red silk from his shirt and staunched the wound.
Fornin gasped at the sudden pain, but otherwise held himself perfectly still, not wanting the wound to bleed more. "Vampires, in the city." He watched as Blean efficiently tied the makeshift bandage and helped him to his feet. "They ambushed me, Candreen, and Birs." He named two of the Northeastern American Coven members, both excellent fighters. "Birs is dead. Candreen was carried away, alive but barely to the nearest safe place. I led them away, but they managed to get in one hit." Blean opened the door to his apartment and made Fornin sit on the couch, one of the few pieces of furniture that decorated the place.
He quickly washed the blood off his hands and took in Fornin's pallor, which was far too pale to be healthy. "Are the vampires still following you?" He didn't want trouble in his district. He went to the freezer and took out a container of human blood and put it to warm on the stove.
"No, I managed to kill them." Fornin felt his limbs relax. "I'm sure it's just shock right now. Birs was standing there healthy one moment and then he was being fed on by one of those creatures and he was dead!" He shook away the tears that started to form.
Blean poured the thick blood into a mug and held it out to his friend. "Drink up. You'll need your strength if you're reporting back to Hindon."
Fornin shook his head, but took the cup, draining it quickly. "It was all planned. They led us into a small alley and then instead of one, there were six of them."
"It wasn't coincidence?"
"Hell no!" A weak laugh escaped his throat. "Somehow it would be easier if it was." Blean knew the symptoms of shock when he saw it. He grabbed a blanket and threw it over Fornin, whose eyes stared blankly ahead now. One of the youngest of the Coven, he probably hadn't been numbed to death. Blean nodded as the young angel kept talking. "We saw the one vampire and knew that we had to kill it and I knew it was acting strangely, like it wanted us to follow it, but vampires don't have the ability to come up with a plan. Then, there were six and we were trapped. If I hadn't taken off like I did, Candreen would have died too."
"You were brave," Blean murmured, knowing that Fornin needed to talk it out.
"I was scared to death. We had killed three of them, so it was three that followed me. I lost one of them. I surprised the other two and killed them. But how had they learned to gang together?" He watched as Blean took the cup from his trembling hand. "You can look into it, can't you?" Blean heard the awe in the young man's voice. He had become a bit of a legend to the young members of his home Coven.
He shook his head, turning down the light. "I can't look into it, I'm afraid. I have other responsibilities." He watched with regret as the death Fornin had witnessed but a cold determination in his eyes, chasing away the innocence that had previously twinkled there. It couldn't be avoided, however. Death was a risk they all took. "Please give my condolences to Birs' fiancée."
"You're here in the city!" An accusatory tone replaced Fornin's lost look. "You could still look into it. They planned the attack, Blean. It was no coincidence."
"I believe you, but I can not work on it, not yet. I've been called to this city and I have to answer that duty first and foremost. If vampires are a part of it, then I'll be able to help you with your case. Meanwhile, it's Sin's jurisdiction." He looked out the window where the clouds were parting to reveal a reddened moon.
"But if Hindon orders it?"
"He won't. He knows I don't answer to him, but to Sinlon." Blean smiled slowly. "I would answer to my own responsibilities first. You may stay here tonight, Fornin. I must go complete my rounds." He saluted his friend, shrugged into a long black jacket and left his friend behind to succumb to the sleeping pill he had slipped into the pill.
What do you think of my new prologue...much more action, much faster immersion in the story...you waiting for more??
Thank you for reading!! Hope this doesn't put Dark Angel to shame.
Lunisa K. Moon