I lied. And cheated. And totally messed myself up. Really, I added the bodyguard option so that she would think I still wanted her. I had really thought she would go for being a human again. I mean, I made the offer as attractive as I could. A house, a job, and the ability to get away from the bad connotations of being a dark light. Heck, I would have jumped at it if I were she.
Maybe I didn’t explain how people would treat a known dark light. Maybe I should have told her that she was banished from the land of eternal darkness. Maybe I should have made it clear that I didn’t want her.
Or, I could have told her the truth. I did not only want her body, I wanted all of her. I wanted her to be my wife. I loved her sweet temperament, and don’t even get me started on her sarcasm. I was enamored. Naturally, the question arises, why did I not ask her to marry me, then? Why did I not cast my responsibility to the throne millions of miles away, as I so wanted to do? Sunshine was worth it. She was worth seeing my kids grow gold tinted black wings. She was worth the sneers and disdain from my father. She was worth giving my heart to, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.
Meeting my father opened my eyes to a few things about myself. Every now and then, my mother would have a random bruise that she explained away with wild activity. I always wondered how she would get a bruise on her neck. Now, I knew. My father would at least threaten her the same way I did Sunshine. With that parallel uncovered, I wondered just how many traits of his I had.
He was unpredictable, angry one minute and laughing the next. He had to control everything. He didn’t trust anyone. He was selfish, self-centered, and arrogant. If I was even half of what he was, my heart wasn’t worth her.
At least, that was what I told myself.
The trip to the Atlantic was fun... I had to back off from the new habit of hitting on her at every turn. I had to respect her space and treat her like a bodyguard. I flew at night, rested in the day, and she kept even weirder hours. She would sleep while I flew sometimes, and sometimes she would sleep at the same time as me. It was wintertime, almost the human holiday of Christmas. Sunshine seemed not to be bothered by the cold, but I had to bundle up when I wasn’t moving. To add to the cold, I flew north so as to make the trip across the Atlantic shorter. For once, having Sunshine on my back was actually helpful. She kept me warm.
We were going over a town while still in America, and I saw a ton of lights. I smiled and spiraled down to it. Sunshine moved on my back in the way that made me think she was waking up.
“Why are we stopping?” She asked.
“I want to look at Christmas lights,” I answered.
“Okay,” she mumbled.
On an impulse, I said, “We should pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend.”
She was quiet for a minute. “Why can’t we be siblings?”
Because I’m deathly pale and you’re a dark beauty? “Are you kidding me?”
“I didn’t even make a point.”
“Yes you did.”
“Okay, I made a point.”
I spiraled down to a very dark alley and shrugged her off. I took off my shirt and closed my eyes to bring in my wings. I grit my teeth but made no audible noise to broadcast my discomfort. I then quickly put on some layers of non-winged shirts. Sunshine had her back to me when I turned back to her. I briefly melted over her modesty and cuteness before I hardened my gaze and walked past her. She couldn’t see me like that.
I offered her my arm, and she slipped hers in like a good girlfriend. It felt so good, having her with me. I wished I could always have her, but then I dispelled the thought from my mind.
“We are not kissing, Dirg.”
I acted offended. “I would never!”
“You have, ya perv.”
“I am not a perv. Ok, I was last week, but that was an act.”
She went as far from me as she could while still holding my arm. “That was not an act. I saw the lust in your eyes. If I had relented, you would have done exactly as you said.”
Inwardly, I cringed, knowing she was right. She was so right. I would have, and then I would have beaten myself up over it for the rest of my life.
“Yup,” I said cheerily.
“So, really, when you are not hitting on me, you are acting,” she accused.
“I suppose so.” I smirked. “But I was brought up in a theater, so to speak. I have to act for everybody.”
She remained silent as we approached the park covered in lights. I smiled as I thought to myself that most other Darkies could not enjoy this fantastic spectacle. I was actually feeling giddy, so I walked faster, dragging her along with me.
We went in the entrance and I looked around in wonder. The little lights twinkled and danced, defying the infinite darkness around them. These lights didn’t physically drain me, like sunlight. They felt like my lights.
“Can I tell you a secret?” I asked as I gazed at a tree wrapped in alternating green and red.
I saw her smile slightly. “Nope. I will so go and tell some random person your secret.”
I shook my head at her sarcasm. “Then I guess I will stay silent.”
And I did. We walked around in companionable silence, gazing at the lights. Some dripped from tree branches. Some were shaped like children on a playground. Some were Christmas themed, and others were religion based. I just took it all in with a growing smile on my face.
“Want some cocoa?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said.
We stood in a long line among other light gazers, all chatting. Everything seemed hushed and sacred. It felt peaceful.
She suddenly spoke. “I know your secret.”
I looked to her and raised an eyebrow. “Oh really? And what is it?”
She smiled sweetly. Maybe she meant it to be a smirk, but she was terrible at it.
“You like light and wish that you could do this yourself.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “How do you know?”
“These people are harmless, so I’ve been watching you. You’re happy. I’ve never seen you this happy.”
I shrugged and looked up the line. “I don’t like light.”
“Yes you do. That’s what being a lightheart means, isn’t it? You’re more like me than you let on.”
Oh no. She was digging. Trying to figure me out. I didn’t need that. I already had my plan in my mind, and if she figured it out, it wouldn’t work.
“Okay, I do like light. I love light, just not sunlight. Sunlight drains me, but this...” I shook my head. “This is amazing.”
She leaned her head on my arm. I breathed in, enjoying the simple gesture. I cussed silently. This was going to hurt.
“Can you make different colored lights?”
I hesitated. “I do not practice with my gift much. I know how to threaten and kill with it, but decorating like this is just a dream I’ve had. It will never happen.”
Oops. I didn’t mean to say that much. She didn’t need to know that. She was looking at me with those soft brown eyes. I cursed profusely in my head. I was supposed to be pushing her away, not drawing her closer. I bought our hot cocoa, and we sat on a bench next to a small pond with little ducks floating on it.
She leaned on me, so I obliged and put my arm around her shoulders. We sipped the piping hot Cocoa in silence.
“I like your light. Your family may not, but I do.”
I tilted my head back and closed my eyes. “Yeah, but you’re a freak. It doesn’t help.”
She tensed and sipped her cocoa. It hurt to hurt her, but I needed to. I needed to.
“I don’t look like a freak.”
I squeezed her shoulders. “No, you don’t.”
“What future did you want me to pick?”
I sighed and looked at her again. “I wanted you to choose to be a human. I wanted to get rid of you.”
“But you are respecting my choice,” she said with just a hint of awe.
No I wasn’t. “Yes. You’re free to choose your own path.”
She shook her head, mesmerizing me with her hair. The lights twinkled and reflected off of it, just adding to her ethereal beauty.
“I’m not free, Dirg.”
“What?” That confused me. She said over and over that she belonged to herself. I thought that settled it.
“You said it yourself at that burger joint. I need you. Even though you don’t need me, even though you’ve never really cared about me, even though you’ve hurt me more than you’ve helped me, I need you. And it sucks. I can’t decide to leave you. I can’t- I need you.”
She put her head in a hand and sighed. Stop it, Sunshine! You are not making things any better! That just gave me proof that I needed to follow through with my plan. I ran a hand though her hair and hummed a little bit.
“It’s okay, Lucy. I get it. I took everything from you and then made myself everything to you. It’s hard for you to grasp that there could be more beyond me. That’s my fault. Who do you belong to?”
“I don’t know,” she answered truthfully.
I touched her head, where she still had a small knot from the concussion I gave her. I poked her ribs in the places she still tended to protect. I assumed I had broken those ribs.
She groaned in pain and pulled away from me. “That hurts.”
“Exactly. All I do is hurt you. Maybe you should leave me.”
“Do you want me to leave?”
No, don’t leave me. “Yes.”
Because you’re beautiful and I am a scumbag. “Because you hurt my back. Because when I am on the move, your job is meaningless.”
She looked down at her cocoa and took a big swig. There was a tiny explosion of light on the side of her face I could not see.
“But I at least need you for this trip across the Atlantic. Know this, you can decide at any point that you want to be a human and I will get rid of you like that.”
I snapped and stood.
“Now, come. We are almost there. No more wasting time.”
I was a fool to stop at that light place. The only thing I did right that night was tell her that I wanted to be rid of her. Everything else exploded in my face.
The most difficult stretch was flying from Iceland to England. I rested for a bit at Iceland, but I had no idea how big the ocean was. It seemed endless. I knew which direction to go and did go that direction, but 1200 miles is much further over water than land. My wings were dead; I could barely feel them anymore. My abs were throbbing from holding my weight and Sunshine’s. She was being as helpful as she could, but it did not lesson my pain. I was slowing down, I could feel it.
It was daytime, and my eyes were giving me a headache. Everything was wrong and I was grumpy.
Suddenly, Sunshine yelled at me.
“What?” I asked.
“Don’t be mad at me.”
Then, energy flowed from between my wings and I felt better. I smiled slightly.
“Do that again!” I called.
Again, a surge of energy shot through me, and I went faster.
“I’ll do it when you start to slow!” She called.
I grinned and nodded, feeling renewed. She did that twice more before I finally caught sight of land and exhaustedly landed on a pebbly beach. A few humans saw us and gaped openly. I imagined light swirling around me, and some of the humans took off running. Sunshine came behind me and put her hands on my shoulders.
“What are you-” I cut myself off with a curse as her fingers dug into my sore shoulders.
“Relax,” she ordered. “You’re super tense and are going to pull something.”
I groaned as she continued massaging my shoulders.
“That hurts,” I complained.
“Well, it’s good for you, so stop complaining.”
After she had me relaxed, I brought in my wings and rented us a hotel room, where I crashed. I slept for a good twelve hours before I awoke to the smell of something burning. My nose wrinkled in disgust as I sat up.
Sunshine grinned at me from over a plate she was handing me. A grilled cheese, cooked to browning. I sniffed it suspiciously.
“Oh, mine burnt, but I haven’t eaten it yet because you’ve been asleep. I initiated a fire drill that had the rest of the tenants freaking out. You should probably write that report.”
I took it and cautiously bit it. It wasn’t great, but it was edible; hers, on the other hand, I almost choked on when I took the first bite. I told her to make herself another one and not burn it. I chewed on mine as I wrote the report, making sure to add as much excruciating detail as possible. I was sore all over and had to bite my tongue to keep myself from cussing under my breath every other second, so that helped with writing the report.
We left shortly after I finished. Sunshine wasn’t very talkative, which I was grateful for. Talking to her might have weakened my resolve. I followed an inward compass and sighed when I saw my destination: the land of eternal light. It was where Sunshine’s father lived. I could not force her to be human, but I could force her past the barrier and then she would be so dizzy that I could make a clean getaway. She gasped when she saw it.
“Why are we going there?” She asked.
I let my anger at myself seep into my words. “You will see.”
I landed just outside of it and positioned myself so she was between the barrier and me. She looked perplexed and curious, but she seemed to trust me.
“Go in,” I told her, crossing my arms and glaring at her.
She looked at me with eyes wide. “Why?”
“Because I don’t want you, Lucille.”
The look of shock on her face was so cute. “But Dirg-”
“Did you not hear me!” I yelled. “I don’t want you! You’re a filthy dark light with no business near me or my kin.”
Her voice shook. “You’re lying.”
“No, I am not. Do you want to know why I picked you? Why I picked a female pet? I wanted to make everyone mad. I wanted to split my ties to Mira, and now I have, and your usefulness has passed.”
Her jaw dropped. “But you said-”
“I lied. I only chose you because you are pretty. You were just a means to an end. After all, what plot on my life have you stopped? What have you told me that I didn’t already know? I no longer need or want you; I guess I didn’t make that clear enough in the desert.”
Her visage reflected the betrayal that writhed in my chest. I took a step towards her and began to spin my web of lies that would hopefully separate her heart from mine.
“You are useless. You are difficult. I don’t want you. I hate you; in fact, I have always hated you. You didn’t bend fast enough. You betrayed me to protect yourself. You resisted any advance of mine. You’re a stupid lightsy, so go be with them!”
I gestured behind her. A tear slipped down her cheek and exploded on the ground.
“You don’t mean that.”
“I mean every word. Remember I said that I act? Everything up until this moment has been an act.” I let my anger and self loathing shine though, hoping she would think they were directed at her. “You killed one of the last purelines. You insulted my father. I despise you, Lucille Diana Amora.”
Another tear fell. I stepped even closer, towering over her. I was holding back my own tears. She had to think this was real and true and that I meant every word.
“You want to know the real Dirg? The real me hates everyone. The real me would like to see your head on a stake. The real me knows that you will be my undoing.”
I put my hand on her neck. “Maybe I should kill you now.”
Her eyes widened in fear. She choked on a sob as she tried to speak.
“Dirg, please. You aren’t in your right mind, or you’re acting now. You don’t mean what you say.”
I bared my teeth in her face and growled. “You don’t know me. You think you do, but I can see it in your eyes. You doubt your own words.”
I pushed her by the neck and walked until the barrier was right behind her.
“Dirg, please,” She begged pathetically.
A tear slid across my hand, and I cussed profusely, yanking away from her. I shook my hand to exaggerate for her the pain I was in.
“I don’t love you. I don’t even pity you. You were a tool, and you have been played. My only regret is that I have not had the pleasure of laying with you yet.”
She whimpered and ducked her head. I had to convince her I meant it. I had to undo all the knots that I had tied her to me with.
“I’ve always hated Diana’s children, and you are no exception, you bastard dark light. I bet your father was a coward who didn’t want to claim you. No one has ever loved or cared for you, Lucille. Your mother abandoned you. Your father doesn’t care if you exist. Miss Sparnage was going to kick you out. I used you for my own purposes.”
I snorted and looked her over. “You’re pathetic. You stand there as if when I am done ranting of your inadequacies, I’ll take you back. I won’t. You’re on your own now. Maybe someone in there could love a piece of trash like you.”
She was sobbing, pleading with her eyes. I steeled myself and quickly kicked her, sending her flying into the land of eternal light. She landed awkwardly and just lay there, sobbing.
“If I ever see you again, I will kill you! Do you hear me? I will kill you, Lucy!”
I turned my back to her and snapped my wings open, I ran a few yards before I took off. I flew far and fast, putting as much distance between myself and my Sunshine as possible. Eventually, I landed and the tears came. I severed our hearts. I could feel it, and I assumed she did too.
Hopefully, she would move on. Hopefully, her father would find her and shower her in the love and kindness he was known for. She would be happy. She would have a real life, get her wings, learn to fly. Maybe she would find a man worth her heart and they would fall in love and get married and have loads of children. I had to hurt her to help her. If she thought there was any chance with me, she would not be able to move on.
Most importantly, she would be safe. She belonged with the lightsies. I already knew they wouldn’t kill her. They were too compassionate. She was safe from me and my temper. She was safe from my desires. She was safe from my hands, the ones that had only brought her pain and misery. I vividly remembered her on her knees with glowing stripes on her back, her eyes void of all but pain. I had done that. She would be better off without me.
I was happy for her, but I knew that there was no light for me. I would have a wife eventually. I would not love her as much as I did Sunshine; I knew that. I cried myself to sleep that night, knowing that freeing Sunshine meant sentencing myself to a life of misery.
I loved her, but I didn’t even know what love was.