I watched as the green light passed over him as he crossed the doors threshold, and waited for him to turn around so I could see the recognition in his eyes... My best friend, the only one who understood me completely and was patient and listened...
Every emotion and feeling I had towards him swelled up in my throat as he kept swimming, his tail moving slower and slower as consciousness began to drift out of his grasp and his blood seeped slowly into the water. He needed treatment... but he couldn’t stay. Not with... with him still here.
All this. Because of me.
My breath hitched in my throat and I grasped at my chest, trying to breathe as I sobbed and sunk to the ground. I’d chosen the wrong guy to take care of my heart, and now... now the right guy was gone forever. Tamir wouldn’t recognize me, as Damian had said, and I will forever bear the burden of giving in to wretched fate... or destiny... All I wanted was to be loved, and... and I thought Damian would be it... I thought...
But maybe I can change him. Maybe he an choose to love me instead of hurt me, hold me instead of harm me...
The strength of that thought dissipates as my fingers brush the scar on the back of my neck, a rigid number two where I’m to be reminded I’d always be second. That Damian is the foot and I am the ground. Always and forever.
Forever and always.
His voice is like a gush of water from a geyser in a black and thickening fog. A strike of darkness within a world of light, and, suddenly, the world I tried to keep so light, the world I tried keeping sheltered from the darkness of my thoughts, the darkness of human error and it’s repercussions, is littered with darkness and paranoia as I hear him swimming up behind me, the water moving in sync with his body as my glowing takes over the light outside.
‘Leave me alone,’ I quipped quietly as my eyes stayed trained on Tamir-in. He was starting to trip over himself; he nearly fell right into a rock and split his head open. My heart pounded with worry for him. He needed help...
Don’t you dare go to him, Damian commanded. Remember what happened to you the last time you disobeyed?
I fingered the number two again, a twinge of fear rupturing through my chest. He gave me the scar when I disappeared one night. I’d reappeared, but he was too paranoid; he thought I was cheating on him. His possessiveness took over and his powers forced me to the ground and...
His words still rung in my ears. You don’t defy me—it isn’t your place. Your place is at my side with your mouth shut. I am number one. You will always be number two.
A chill ran down my spine. Tamir hit the ground and struggled to get up.
He risked his life for me, and I for him. But he... he always was there for me, even when I couldn’t see.
I felt like I owed him my life.
I sprung up and swam full-speed towards him. I knew where he slept; I kept watch of him when I found him. I thought that maybe one day I’d say hello, but the year passed and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. At least, up until the night he was alone and it was nearly morning. I was going to swim up to him... but that’s the night Damian caught me sneaking in. That’s the night he learned about Tamir and the night he had me reporting everything I saw. And then... we ambushed him.
Damian came up with this plan. It was cruel and elaborate. I spoke up only once, learning my lesson the moment afterwards. I could still feel the imprint of his hand against my jaw every time I thought about standing up for something.
I gathered Tamir into my arms. His eyes drifted toward me lazily, confusion surfacing through the haze. ‘Who are you?’ he asked. It cut my heart into two.
He passed out and I carried him into the city, taking frequent breaks. Sharks kept their distance from civilization, but I could see them not far off, daring to draw near as Tamir’s blood kept dripping from his wounds.
I broke inside, most everyone in the city asleep now, and set him on his makeshift bed.
‘I don’t know how to heal you,’ I whispered to him as I shut the door and locked it. I’d only picked the lock to get inside; it wasn’t really broken... ‘But I’ll try. If I just want it bad enough...’
I closed my eyes and focused, holding my hands out before me. I’d begun to learn about controlling these powers I acquired, but my training was kept to a minimum. Damian didn’t want anyone to be stronger than he was. And sometimes I wondered if that’s another thing he’s mad at Tamir for. Tamir was special, you could just tell. But his powers... they were the strongest I’d ever seen, what with how he completely blacks out once they’re used up. I was there that one night he took out the One-Hundreds that were bullying him. I’d never seen a light so bright. If he were any stronger, I’d consider him a One, but... his powers would have appeared while he was still on land and I would have known about it. He used to tell me everything.
I ran my hands along his wounds, hoping I could heal him. I watched Damian do it after he bit him as a snake, and I tried to mimic his motions.
It took an hour of trying before I finally closed the rips in his skin and fixed his broken jaw. I’d figured it out.
And now I’d have to leave and return to Damian.
I could just hide here; Damian would never know, I tempted myself. But I knew I couldn’t. Damian would find me one way or another, and Tamir would once again become a target. And I couldn’t do that to him, not after all he’d done for me.
I turn to go, unlocking the door and opening it. He looked peaceful as sweet dreams came to him, the pain finally gone. The best thing for him would be if I stayed away completely and focused on one thing at a time.
‘Goodbye, Tamir,’ I croaked, believing I’d never see him again. Even if I did, he wouldn’t recognize me. Damian had changed his memories, and I was growing uglier by the day. The use of my powers for the evil Damian makes me carry out was making my skin infected with scales. They’d begun to pop up on my neck and my stomach, and they hurt when my fingers brushed past them or my hair got lodged in them... But it was worth it, the pain over dying at the hands of the one I loved.
I made my way back. Damian treaded just outside the doorway, fuming as Unwea ducked in and out of the rocky building that went far beneath the ground. All of Unwea lived there, plotting, practicing, or learning about what Damian wanted them to.
My stomach churned as his eyes flashed green. His hand found my throat.
‘I told you not to go to him,’ he growled, anger radiating from his being as he choked the life from me. His fingers grew hot around my neck, and I felt them burning my flesh. I cried out, unable to get really anything free from my throat as he crushed it.
Damian threw me to the side and I collided with the wall, hearing my shoulder snap out of place. He gave me one last foreboding look before disappearing into his underground castle. It was then I decided I would do whatever it took to make him love me and to prove to him I am strong enough to stand beside him as a Queen one day.
It was then I truly took up his name and made it my own. It became a part of me. Dametria.
I made my way to the doorway and looked in, glaring at him as he turned down another hallway.
‘You will love me, and you will treat me as your equal,’ I promised as my fists clenched and I began to glow. Black modes inside the green twisted up into it and grew more numerous as everything around me dulled. ‘And you will do it soon.’
I plotted and I planned. I went into the cities and stole information about babies, looking for the most powerful of them all. Turns out Damian had been looking for it too. I found the scroll under his bed, and I saw the name. Born the same time as Tamir was. She was a One.
And she’d be the perfect target.