The Paint on Her Hands

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Preface: Oh Brother

Here Lies Laython Blakely

Gone too soon.

May you rest in peace and be happy once more.

A lone figure stood at the foot of Laython Blakely's final resting place. She was dressed magnificently in a monotonous black trench coat that complimented the sombrely dull day and the choice of grief stricken scenery. Somewhere nearby thunder threatened to break her trance and lightning competed for her attention, the promise of rain fall only minutes away.

Raevyn Blakely stood as still and unmoving as any one of the gravestones that surrounded her. She was even convinced that with all the layers of winter clothes encasing her body, that she would be just as cold or even colder than the buried souls beneath the earth she stood upon. The conviction had nothing to do with the slowly changing weather. She was frozen through and through, the very core of her being had become rotten and decayed as the years lingered on. She was the living dead and she knew it.

"Oh Layth." The words were supposed to sound apologetic, sincere, but they cracked fiercely in the silence of the graveyard. Her sullen voice echoed resoundingly in her ears: Oh Layth...Oh Layth... The haunting sound continued to mock her and the corners of Raevyn's usually hard set mouth turned upwards in a detached fashion. The reminiscent smile that split her lips apart was far from a pleasant one. It was twisted, wicked and contorted her beautiful features into a horrific mask of unthinkable distortion. The laughter that escaped seconds later was hollow and degage, causing her two fowl companions to extend their wings and take flight. Raevyn let the cackle die down and felt her facial expression become stoic once again, memories of Layth flooding through her troubled mind.

Dearest Laython. He'd been the only person she'd ever loved, the brother she would have done anything to protect. If only she'd been able to foresee the future or even better, had been allowed to share in his thoughts and feelings while he still drew breath – he may have lived through it all. Come out the other end a survivor like herself. Raevyn shook her head in defeat knowing that she'd failed him in some way. She wanted to blame the others, all of them – may they burn in hell – but it wasn't quite that simple. In the end, what frightened her the most – if that was even the feeling that clutched at her heart and squeezed it beyond repair – was the self accusing voice that told her in every waking hour, "It was your fault." She would neither accept it nor deny it, because both cases were abominably truthful and left her in a painful state of limbo. The fact was that Laython was well and truly dead. And in some horrific, undeserving way it presented Raevyn with a feeling of relief. Death had been a kindness, she was sure of it.

Those grey, almost blue eyes that Raevyn had shared with the deceased youth, rested on the name she was so fond of. His face, the way she wanted to remember it, floated in her vision until she shook herself out of the trance. She kissed her fingers tenderly and reached towards the marble headpiece that bore his title. Her nimble fingers traced the golden lettering, the breath hitching in her throat and making it hard for her to swallow.

"Happy Birthday," Raevyn drawled the words out and let them settle in the opposing atmosphere. "I'm so sorry."

And she was. For everything.

There came a sudden deafening crack of thunder and with it spilled down crystal shards of rain. Droplets fell upon her porcelain skin and made rivers down her sculpted cheeks, giving the illusion of tears that had not been shed since early childhood. Even the person she'd loved more than anything in this world had passed without a departing gift of grievance. It was appalling and she didn't know why, even though her heart smashed into smithereens and she had wished with all her might to be lying just as lifeless beside him.

Raevyn lowered a single white rose upon Laython's deathbed, an annual departing gift. White for purity and innocence – because that is what he was. And she wasn't. That is why she was able to turn away from him and leave and why Laython was able to rest without a care in the world. Her sins had made it so and living every day without him was her just punishment. Karma was always a stubborn bitch at the worst of times.

Her heels made shallow thuds as she descended along the pavement towards the only vehicle in plain sight. Lightening lit the afternoon sky and with it came a roar of anger from behind the miserable looking clouds. The perfect farewell.

As she neared the red Porsche it purred into a state of wakefulness and she sensed with a jolt of – pleasure maybe – that eyes had been watching her the whole time. The passenger door swung open in welcome even before she could reach for the handle.

A voice that sent multiple chills down her spine said, "You ready to get out of here?"

Raevyn slid coyly onto the tan leather seat and closed the door, shutting out everything else but her companion, "Of course."

The young man gave her a grin that made her chest constrict with something she hated herself for, "Good."

She studied his handsome, boyish face and searched those hazel eyes of his that held so much ferocity. There was no doubt she was fond of him. In fact she was sure he was very fond of her too. But despite that knowledge there was something that niggled at the back of her mind and set her on edge. Some may have said that they were evenly matched, that they even deserved each other. But Raevyn knew better. He was a part of the punishment and she would gladly take him. Terrent. Her Terrent De Prada.

He reached across desperately and cupped her drenched face in his big, rough hands. His thumbs swept artfully over her blue lips, drawing a pinkish tinge back into them. His eyes looked deeply into her grey orbs, both sides marking their territory with unspoken words. Raevyn forced her eyes shut as his mouth came crashing down on her own, the rough texture of stubble grazing her skin. Animal instinct overtook her and she felt herself responding hungrily.

And in that burst of longing and something close to – self loathing – Raevyn knew she was destined for an after life full of flames, pitchforks and endless dark pits with no end. And that would be nothing less, if not more, than what she deserved.


Please take note that this chapter takes place in the present, while the proceeding chapters will follow their story from the beginning, through to the present and beyond.