Saturday, October 14, 2017

Empath - Chapter One - Darkness Sharpens

It's the same dreams again. Clouds dancing across the sky like smoke against a cerulean blanket of night. Unyielding winds pushing them between the moon and earth, blocking its pastel radiance. Darkness falling over the garden.
            Surrounded by the woods that reach up seemingly touching the sky, she's silent, thinking of him. Thinking of home. Her hair, short and raven black, is peppered with pedals from the rose and lilac bushes encircling her in Dale’s sanctuary by the sea.
            Her skin is like a pale canvas framed by straight ebony bangs. She has her mother’s complexion; soft and creamy to look at; often like stone to the touch. Her Caribbean green colored eyes are like pebbles polished by the ocean and placed within the silky curtain of her flesh. Her cheekbones seem accented by a hint of blush, but it's the night air that's bringing color to them.
            Lips, red, just like the roses in bloom all around her, part to draw in the taste of the garden.
            A thin satin, snow white, negligee embraces her form, tracing even her slightest movements.  The combination of night air and humidity create a barrier that separate flesh and fabric.
            She, is still the vision of a girl trapped in youth. She is ancient.
            She takes a deep breath, and listens to the crackle of her lungs filling with the freshness of the garden’s perfume. In an attempt to feel the chills of the frost and memories of the evening she wishes it could consume her.
            “Nia,” he hisses.
            Caught by surprise, the girl sits up quickly to view his approach from the shadowed wood. His wavy, jet-black hair glistens under the moonlight as he dissects the darkness, finding her nestled in the garden.
            She stands and carefully walks to the short stone settee that surrounds the largest of the rose bushes. Sitting down, she watches him come closer. His steps are carefully chosen to maneuver around the roses, as if even their fragrance is toxic... acidic.
             “You promised, Nia.”  His brooding body is nearly upon her. His voice, deep and masculine, rattling her mind and body.
            She growls back at him. The disappointment in his eyes is all too apparent as she rests against the roses. It is clear to him now that It was a promise made by a girl who mourned the death of her child.
            “I’ve given you everything. Resurrected this place for you.” He is breathless with conviction waving his hand toward the path that had led him to the garden. The faint glow of lamps in the mansion windows can be seen through the ridge of spruces.
            Nicolette frowns.
            His words are all wrong. He is struggling to be rational, but he has lost her. It’s clear to both of them now. It is in his eyes.  She walks to him, peering into the stormy blackness of them. In them, she struggles to find a trace of the emotions that had brought her back to this place. Back to his home, his arms, and his bed. When she cannot – she turns away.
            “You don’t believe that I love you?” he asks, reaching up and cupping her chin in his palm. “Nia?” he pleads from what he believes to be his soul.
            “I don’t know if you can love, Bryant.”                                                                    
            Her words seem to nick him, his coarse fingers slip across her jaw line as she pulls away from him.
            “I’ve made my decision.” Nicolette pauses a moment to prepare for his reaction.
            “What about the child?” Bryant questions, remaining still, the slur of saliva coating his tongue.
            Turning, Nicolette walks back to the comfort and safety of the roses. “You will be permitted to see him, of course, but...” She stops to listen to his transformation. The twisting of flesh and breaking of bone making an undeniable and all too familiar sound. Granted, one she has not heard in what seems like a lifetime.
            Bryant stammers to speak with his most stern voice. If possible, he would roar. “How dare you?”
            “Bryant?” Nicolette reaches out to the rose petals, clutches and gathers them between her fingers. Casey’s words ring in her head ‘prepare yourself, Nia’. She isn't going to ignore them again.
            When Bryant turns, Nicolette gasps. His forehead is flooded with sweat. His cheekbones pulled to fit a hideous grin and stretched lips, red with his blood, overlapping protruding fangs.
            Nicolette stumbles back. Bryant has inadvertently slit his own tongue during the transformation. The blood and its contaminated history frighten her. She's seen the effects of the Coloplian’s blood mixed with that of her kind.
            He moves forward.
            “Bryant!” She shouts, scolds him as though he were a rabid dog.
            “You selfish, impertinent.” he slurs in rage.
            Nicolette moves deeper into the folds of the rose branches.
            Bryant moves steadily onward. “Did you truly believe that I’d allow you safe passage?” He shakes his head. “Did you think that I’d let you take my only child from me?” No answer is needed or desired. He is prepared to take what he believes is rightfully his even if it means holding her against her will.
            “I won’t allow our child to become a pawn for you and what you have planned!” Nicolette grits her teeth. She hoped to escape without revealing any of the secrets she'd uncovered. It is too late for that now.
            Bryant can't hear her though. The time for listening ended months ago with the discovery of Nicolette’s journal, and her plans to escape the home he has built for her. Around her. Bryant jumps over the seven-foot-tall rose branches, bringing a heavy, ground-trembling thud. She's rattled. He grabs her by the shoulders. A struggle ensues. The sharpness of his fingers digs beyond the barrier of Nicolette’s flesh, drawing blood that drips down the sleeve of the nightdress. She winces, refrains from a scream, knowing that it will go unheard. She doesn't fear him. The fear of death may have been daunting ten thousand, even five thousand years ago, but not now. But for the survival of her child – she is at peace with the end.
            With what seems little effort, Bryant picks her up from the ground until her eyes are level with his own. He begins to try and hypnotize, to press the vision from his mind into hers. It's a process so natural, so common, he doesn't fully realize his mistake until it is too late.
            Nicolette presses the rose pedals in her hand up and against his face. Close to his contorted mouth and nose.
            Bryant, eyes wide with panic, releases her, sending her back into the bush.
            “Your reality is skewed, Dear.” With her free hand Nicolette wipes the sweat from her face and neck. “I’m not something to be kept on a mantle, displayed like one of your collection.”
            His face starts to bend back to a more suitable state.
            “I can change my ways. I can become whatever you want.” Tears run from Bryant’s eyes.  “Whatever you need.” Once again, he is just a man. Even with his transformation, Nicolette knows better than to trust him. In any form, Bryant is capable of deception and inflicting immeasurable pain.
            “It’s best for all of us, Bryant. Please let us go.” She reaches for him trying to diminish his remaining anger.
            He shrugs off her touch and turns back to the forest.

            “If you leave, you leave forever.”  Bryant steps into the darkness, disappearing from her view. His last comment echoes in her mind as she paces the garden and thinks of the journey ahead.

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