The voices – haunting and dreadful – which I'd believed were gone, suddenly reappear by the time darkness falls and they remain constant throughout the night. Though no longer whispers of delirious acts but ear-splitting, discordant demon-like screeches that pierce my sore ears now and then. These voices, inscrutable and unpleasant, sometimes murmur snippets of the secrets of my family I fight tooth and nail to remain buried.
With each word, my alabaster skin slowly pales till I'm whiter than a sheet and my throat grows parched, every syllable striking hard like a punch.
Grunting in annoyance, I roll in the sheets tangled between my legs, fingers tightly gripping the fine edges of a pillow and pulling them over my head to block out the unpleasant noise. I'm on the verge of tears by the time I come to realize that my efforts are futile, sleep seems to be in a distant land as I blink rapidly, lashes fluttering like wings and hiding horror-stricken, red-rimmed eyes each time they fall.
My mind begins to wander; to Magnus and his absence in the house, to Aïdon – a mysterious yet sexy male specimen who elicits desires I thought I'd forloned a long time ago, to his recently incurred injuries. Amidst my drifting thoughts, a short recollection of what transpired in the kitchen earlier during the day plays in my head and my inner turmoil is stirred.
"... red has always suited you."
To any normal and ignorant human, the sentence could mean a handful of things, all minor and perhaps - depending on the context it's being used - even teasing.
It could mean a compliment; a fleeting murmur of appreciation for an outfit made from a fabric of a similar shade. And it could also be sexual; spoken in a seductive whisper by a master(s) whilst his greedy eyes, darkened by lust adore the vibrant red markings which decorate the expanse of a submissive's frame after indulging in a night of unspoken pleasures.
But to me, those words, no matter the simplicity it holds... refer to the dark cornerstone upon which my very existence is built.
It symbolizes a chest of dead bones buried deep underneath the earth's soil, anticipating the one who will bring them to the surface and give them life. A chance to unleash the demons of my horrid past and the impending doom I presume already hovers over my head like a dark cloud.
And it fucking scares me.
'It's impossible,' I want to assure myself, but the paranoia remains carved deep in my bones. Too consumed in my thoughts, the voices slow to an abrupt stop before I know it and I'm left to drown.
Rising to a seating position, both legs hang over the edge of the bed and leisurely swing back and forth like a pendulum. Nimble fingers fiddling with the ends of my nightgown, I feel at unease.
The sudden silence is foreign and unwelcomed. It makes me feel even worse... being left all alone in your head with your thoughts I mean. It's suffocating, like drowning and being yet able to breathe.
That's when I hear it; the softest of strums birthed by skilled fingers breaking the tense silence. Another note is struck: harsher, deeper... a tenor, as a quick succession follows suit before swiftly retreating to its original mellow progression and leaving a heaviness in my chest. In a matter of minutes, I'm swept off my feet, letting myself flow and become one with the music.
A low tune acting as an accompaniment to the melody echoes with a resounding vibrato of sorts, guiding through the tale this particular piece has to tell.
This classical piece is foreign to me, but fuck, it is art at its finest. Starting as soft and bright then gradually growing harsher and more tenebrous as it rises to its crescendo. It renders me speechless to be quite honest.
Captivated and held bound under the spell of a melody unknown yet so familiar to my heart, I feel my body sway and my head once more graces the pillows and I am slowly lulled to a deep rest with silver droplets hanging off my tired eyelids.
A new day begins at the break of dawn and I find myself clambering out of bed and to my feet, startled by the sight of a certain demon seated in my room.
Silently, he twirls his ringed index in the air in a spinning motion, what draws my attention however is what dances just mere inches over the tips of his fingers. A single flame, moving in perfect synchronization with each flick of his hand, the movement is free as it whirls like a ballerina performing a pirouette. The tip flares now and then, glowing an untamed red.
"You're healing nicely," I take the initiative to break the silence, sleep-induced eyes slowly perusing his very bared chest appreciatively.
I remember the long claw marks carved into his flesh, the blood which gushed from them like water from a leaking faucet — the wounds look nothing like they did yesterday.
He nods briskly, eyes glazing over for mere seconds before he fixates his eyes on me.
Silently, his lambent gaze roams over my frame before settling on my face and causing my skin to prickle yet I force myself to hold his stare, shadowy eyes disappearing from view when dark lashes fall, only to reappear when they rise.
Our silent staring contest is broken when I yield and blink, forcing a single tear to fall from my now watering eyes as the man begins to make himself comfortable, stretching his arms and legs with a feline-like grace.
I glare at him.
Highly disturbed by the deafening silence and the intensity of his stare, I spit out the very question that has been lingering at the tip of my tongue for hours, disregarding the part of me nagging at the back of my head that he'll snap my neck. "What happened to you?"
It emerges barely above a whisper with a meek tone, one I'd taken for fear that he will lash out at me for prying into matters that are none of my business. I don't know what I'd expected from him – probably an honest answer wherein he would tell me in detail of his whereabouts, and what had happened to lead to his gruesome state of return the day before.
At first, there's a deafening silence. And like prey before a deadly predator, I curl my arms around my middle and hunch my shoulders to make myself appear small, pursing my lips as I begin to shuffle my feet — preparing for his onslaught.
However, I am wrong.
He doesn't offer a hearty explanation (not that he owes me any) neither does he shout at me as I expected, nor he raises his hand in punishment. Rather, he chooses to brush off my inquiry, preferring silence as opposed to other options.
"I've been wondering," clenching his hand into a fist and thereby putting off the flame, Aïdon speaks, though it sounds more like low muses to himself than to me, "why did you help me yesterday?"
My lips drop open and my expression switches from inquisitive to incredulous in a matter of seconds, watching as he rises from the chair and takes leisure strides over to the windows. A gust of wind breezes in the instant he pushes the windows open, tousling his loosely curled, darkened strands.
At my silence, he continues, casually thumbing his bottom lip as he turns to face me once more. "At first, I was led to believe you simply did so to find favor in my sight. But then what good will that do you?"
"I don't know," I shrug, "spur of the moment I guess."
Tilting his head to the side, his hair swaying at the action, he looks deep in thought. He tucks both hands in the pockets of his pants, a small hole I recall to be a transportation portal slowly forming behind him, "you're a very weird human."
I call after him. "You play very well."
He doesn't move, but the slightest tilt of his head serves as an indication that he heard me and from his side profile, I see his lips curve.
He disappears, leaving me a bigger mess than I was before.
I blink, the beat of my heart is arrhythmic as it pounds against its confines. No, I brush it off as a trick of the light and repeatedly slap my cheek lightly. Get it grip!
But... I could've sworn he smiled.