For as long as I can remember, I've always harboured an unexplainable fear of the dark.
The fear of the deadly unknown creatures hidden behind the slithering shadows, threatening to snuff out the light in all I've ever known. The monsters lay still in deep slumber, awaiting the appointed time of its awakening to unleash its evil powers and dig those gnarly claws deep into my skin till I bleed crimson and feed to it my terror filled screams served on a silver platter accompanied with a side dish of saline tears.
So it doesn't come as a surprise when a shrill scream rips through the silent air the very instant I lose my footing, the ground disappearing from beneath me. My lungs burn as light fades from my vision, darkness instead firmly taking its place and sucking what is left of the light.
It clouds my senses, consumes every inch of me till I'm drowning and my throat clogs.
Arms spread wide in the air, eyes clenched tightly all the while feeling the heat of the wind blow over my neck, I fall. A loud thump following the echo of a sickening crack announces my landing as my body rolls in the dirt, dust rising in the air and some particles falling into my eyes and nose. With each bump a corresponding cry is voiced until gradually, I slow to a stop.
The mass of earth beneath me is covered in sand, it's coarse surface digs into the pads of my fingers and elbows, sticking to my sweaty skin. For some moments I lay frozen on the ground, both palms pressed into the sand. Gathering my wills, I try to assure myself.
Trick my mind into believing.
My hands clench into fists, nails scrapping and digging into the darkened earth. My lids flutter like that of a winged butterfly, up and down, up and down until I force them open only to have them snapping back in place like metal battle shields at the lack of the familiar hazy light I expect to flood my vision. A sort of foreign protection cast over my irises to keep them from being taken under siege by the suffocating darkness.
A chill runs down my spine that has the nest of butterflies buried deep in my gut emerging in a catastrophic flutter of wings, however not the good kind sadly.
As my brain registers the reality of the darkness and imaginary hands moving swiftly to etch their imprints over my skin, my breathing turns into an erratic dance which results to the spinning motion in my head and my face contorting to an odd rouge shade. Thoughts running amuck, the uncanny feeling of despair slithering across the entirety of my skin and chest heaving as sharp airy gasps are voiced from my vocal cords.
I begin to count to three in my head, simultaneously doing the same with my fingers, unclenching them from a fist as I mumble the numbers under my breath.
"One drop, two drops, three drops. One drop..."
The process takes a while, shudders continuously wrack through my bones. My frail frame shivering as my lips wobble, rivulets of tears streaming down my cheeks endlessly and forming a messy puddle being a mix of dirt and saline liquid on the ground. But slowly, the tears begin to slow. Reducing to little sniffles like that of a mere pup, yet my eyes remain close.
The urge to move grows far too strong though, just as I begin to notice the unmistakable raging heat dancing across the expanse of my knees, thighs and arms, as well as the discomforting feeling of rough sand digging into and leaving tiny red indents on my skin. It doesn't help that I'm naked, the absence of fabric to protect me further provides the flames with an advantage over me.
As this unexplainable burning sensation blooms, my skin prickles and sizzles in the heat.
My reaction is seemingly predictable.
It forces my grappling fear of the dark to relent it's hold on me for a brief second. The claws digging into the sides of my neck disappear momentarily as I jump to my feet, eyes still shut intently in a weak attempt to lock out the darkness.
Behind the darkness I envision it as a blazing force, red edges cackling at a wild intensity set on consuming me body, spirit and soul before it calms down to a low sizzle. It dances on the rough pads of my feet, scalding as it maneuvers through my insides, setting ablaze everything and anything it comes in contact with in its path till I burn from the inside out.
My feet move like those of a frenzied, crazed yet skilled dancer, twisting and turning, arms running over my curves in hopes of setting off the flames and hips twirling in beat to a non existent tune... to its own psychopathic rhythm. The steps tell a tale of a deranged psychopath, laced with an undecipherable complexity and bearing a certain forbidden beauty invisible to a mere mortal yet clear under the all-seeing gaze of a master of arts.
Sometime amidst all the craziness happening around me, my eyelids flutter open and helplessly welcomes the darkness which bleeds into the outskirts of my mind and into my core. I see walls, closing me in a circle.
Caging me in like some kind of pet.
This dance goes on for minutes, hours, perhaps for a bit longer than I fear, the pattern changing the more the flames intensify. They don't relent, not even for a second do they go off. Instead, the very instant any thought of relief flickers in the entangled mess called my mind, they burn brighter and harder than ever. Yet oddly enough, they do not burn my flesh... no marks, no scabs. Nothing.
Soon adrenaline wanes, paving way for weakness and undescribable pain to shape and settle in it's place.
The pace of my dance falters, slowing as a dull throb makes its appearance on both my pinky toes as well as the entirety of my feet. Yet the fire burns bright.
Legs wobbling as jelly would, it proves a hard feat to hold myself upright as my hands weakly slap at my thighs, feeling them burn just as every other part of me does.
There is no fighting exhaustion which falls upon me for I slump to the floor beneath me barely a minute later.
Beads of sweat find home in the deepened creases between my brows and roll down my flushed face and neck, some slipping into the parted cavern of my mouth. There's not an ounce of hesitation in me as I roll my bottom lip in my mouth and lick the drops caught on the plump flesh, the saltiness lingering on my tongue for a few.
There's a heaviness in my tongue as I roll it and swallow saliva, smacking my lips together. My throat burns needing a cool relief from the heat and scratchy from my consistent screams.
Just when I think it can't get worse, the full force of the effects of hunger hits.
My once pale skin is now branded with dark red marks, lips chapped and dry despite my attempt at soothing the ache by sliding my tongue over them.
The pain is unbearable and as much as I chant in my head... to convince myself that it'll come to an end eventually, the flames eating my entire being from the inside out serve as a constant reminder of my far fetched fantasy.
I am a mere human... powerless, weak and worse of all, trapped with a supposed demon who doesn't fancy my presence even in the slightest.
I'm as good as dead.
Time seems non-existent in this place I find myself; faded.
A memory flashes in my head, the image is a blurred mess of colors and distorted figures but the words ring clearly in my head. “Those flames are everlasting, you will beg endlessly for relief but will find none.” There is, however, no time to dwell on it as it disintegrates into nothingness when heat blooms in my chest.
Fatigue courses through my veins and even as I attempt to lift myself up, pain strikes me once more. So I collapse to the ground in a messy heap of tears and shattered hopes.
"Shit." A whimper forces it's way from my lips when a cramp bites at my stomach. More tears fall, I decide not to fight it, letting my head meet the floor, my red hair forming a distorted kind of halo around me.
I've felt pain... but it's nothing like this. This one is worse than death itself, it's playing a game with me. Slowly, at it's own leisure pace, it is coaxing me into begging.
Not for freedom.
And it won't stop even if I do, for death will never answer to me no matter what sacrifice or forbidden prayer I offer.
Taking an unplanned nap does nothing to ease my suffering, even as I drift in and out of consciousness.
It seems like an eternity before I feel the air shift, growing tense and suffocating as it usually does whenever he comes.
Painstakingly slow my eyes peel open, my vision blurs - unfocused - before everything starts to fit back together like pieces of a puzzle.
He's dressed in dark attire I presume, it's exceptionally hard to decipher the exact color especially seeing how well he blends in with the darkness like they are one. A perfect fit to the puzzle.
Several emotions evade my senses all at once but I'm too weak to express myself. Save for the single voiced notes being pained whimpers and groans, I possess not even an ounce of strength in the slightest.
Tired, my gaze falls back to the soil, suddenly finding it interesting despite the fact the darkness keeps me from visibly seeing anything but shadows which mold and shift constantly, imprinting their presence in my mind.
He says nothing as he circles me, his domineering presence suffocates me as the shadows follow him about. His movements are slow and lithe. Fluid and graceful like moving water, yet possessing the power to pull down mountains if need be.
"It seems you've calmed down a bit." A low murmur more to himself but not low enough so I don't catch it.
His boots crunch lowly against the sand, coming to a stop directly in front of me and my body instinctively freezes over.
"Do you promise to behave?" His tone is clipped, revealing nothing of his thoughts as he pinches his lips together into a firm line.
"Will I have my freedom back?" The subcounsious question being birthed from the remainder of the part of me which houses my stubborn nature hangs off the tip of my tongue.
But then cramps bite at the insides of my stomach and another wave of dizziness hits me, the pain causing me to wrap an arm over me as though to cast a shield. A false sense of security.
Starved, body aching and burned quite literally, the answer to his question comes in form of a dull nods of my head, bobbing as my red locks sway at the action which takes more strength than it normally should.
"Words." I don't miss the command laced in the words he spits out harshly.
My jaws clench weakly, teeth gritting together as I stare up at him behind the shadows with dull anger sizzling in my eyes. But submission is sure. He know this. "Yes."