Aftermath - Chapter 1

...To Hell and Back Again...

Michale stood, holding the unconscious woman up by her hair. Mizu lay on the blood-stained bed before him, her lifeless arms folded over her chest in respect and a blatant attempt to hide the sword wound. Her pale face had smudges of her own blood on it. She was, in any and every sense of the word, dead.

He uttered a few ritual words, and using the same sword that had slain his love, slit the woman's throat. Her blood spilt everywhere: down her neck, onto Michale's clothing, onto the floor. He dropped her and soaked his hands in a bowl of water on the nightstand. Approaching Mizu, he drew with his left hand a circle on the center of her forehead. Switching to his right, he drew a line coming straight down from the circle, then a horizontal one close to the center of the line. Almost an ankh, but with a different meaning. A vampire's cross. "A life for a life," uttered he.

Michale let his arms fall to his sides and waited. For some indeterminate amount of time, nothing happened. Had he failed? . . . No. Mizu's eyelids fluttered. They shot open and Mizu sat up, gasping for air. She looked around, shaking. Her eyes found Michale. Her lips groped like a fish's, trying to form words.

"M. . .Mi. . .Michale?" she stuttered. He knelt on the floor at her side and took her bitter cold hand. Gently, he kissed it. She leaned back, weak.

"You're back," he said, rubbing her palm softly.

"What happened?"

"You. . .don't remember. . ."

"I. . ." Mizu looked at the bed, looked at her body and felt a burning sensation in her torso. Her body was healing rapidly, sucking the little blood that remained in her for that purpose and that purpose only. That being the case, her mind was less than clear.

"You died."

The harsh words didn't even really penetrate Mizu's mind. She was only thinking how strange, but good, it was to be here with Michale, to hear his voice again.

"How many days?" she asked, fairly unemotional.

"What?"

"How many days have I been dead?"

"Two," he answered, his eyes drifting shamefully from her face to the floor. He knew it shouldn't have taken that long; he could have resurrected her that night. Honestly, he didn't want to admit it, but he'd spent the first day mourning for her. Michale probably would have taken his own life, distressed as he was, had it not been for the fact that vampires are incapable of committing the act of suicide, another fate bestowed upon an already damned soul.

Mizu looked around the dark room, still clutching Michale's hand tightly. Not much to see; the room had an insufficient amount of light for her tired eyes to see more than a foot in front of her face. She could just barely make out Michale's white visage, ever by her side. With the hand no seized by Michale, she reached out and touched that face. He smiled. She was solemn.

"Michale, do you want to know what happens when we die?" she asked in a beaten voice. She sat up, the sheets falling down to reveal her silk robe, sodden with blood. Michale nodded, the innocence wiped clean from his face. "Hell," she whispered harshly, "Michale, there is a Hell. And it's worse than anything you could imagine. At first, you feel sick, unclean, and all you can feel is head. Extreme heat, like being cooked. Then your other sensed come to you slowly, and you'll pray to God they hadn't. You'll smell the burning flesh before you see it; you'll hear it sizzling and blistering. You can taste it in your mouth, and it tastes like death.

"Then comes your sight. Worst yet. All around you a huge, high walls, walls like nothing here on this earth. As you look higher, you expect to see rock, or blackness, but it's neither. It's blinding white, burning like the core of the sun.

"On the floor of the place, there are burning, writhing bodies, surrounding you, encircling you. You can hear them scream, but it sounds so far away, as though the sound is being sucked away. Your own flesh, your own flesh, it's become as horrible and blistered as the decrepit souls around you, falling away and coming back just to blister and fall away again. . .that's when you start to scream. . ." Mizu's voice broke and she stopped. Tears came from her eyes.

Michale, stunned, horrified, and amazed at Mizu's plight, but also her strength, dropped her hand and stood, craning over to embrace her. She leaned into him and began to sob violently into his chest. He held her tight and, for her sake, tried not to cry.

"I am so sorry . . ." he said in a soothing, warm voice. He stroked her wavy, dark hair gently.

"Michale," her voice expelled, "Michale, you saved me from Hell. . ."

He bent down beside her and wiped away her tears, "Ma'no stiprus', trapus zie'das," he thought. "My strong, fragile flower." He kissed her, and pulling away, he felt around on the nightstand beside the bowl of water and picked up something small. He never took his eyes away from Mizu. He grasped her left hand, his right, and slid the object onto her third finger. It was a ring, but the appearance was indistinct in the dark that surrounded them both.

Without a word, Mizu knew what Michale was asking. "Yes," she uttered.

Kissing her again, Michale slid into the bed and held her to his body with strong arms.

"Good morning."

...Authoress' note: Yes, this is a slightly revised version. Though no one else seemed to notice, 5/7th of my first chapter was utterly stricken from ! le sigh But now I have replaced it!, as I am wont to do, and will continue typing the rest of the story. Oh. Did I say rest? Yes. It's done. Go me, four years later, I finally finish a stupid sequel. laugh It'll be up. I promise.

Also, "Ma'no stiprus', trapus zie'das" is actually Lithuanian for "My strong, fragile flower." No, I didn't make that up. Only, the 'z' is supposed to have that little curvy thing on the top that looks like a smile, but this doesn't support it. My bad. If you want to get REALLY technical, it's pronounced, "muh nah stihpruhs truhpuhs jhayduhs" and I didn't make that up either. laugh Anyway, I must mosey and type up yon chapter eight, now. Hope you enjoyed my revision...