I woke suddenly, to see myself lying on the bed of silk, my eyes wide as I stared at my own reflection. The room was shrouded in a veil of darkness, and I pulled the sheets around me as I shivered.
‘Are you cold?’ I heard a voice say from the corner of the room as I tried to focus to no avail.
‘Who’s there?’ I tried to demand, but it came out feeble. An orange light flickered as though a match was struck, but there were only flames, no matchstick in sight. I saw a cigarette being lit as an unseeing mouth sucked on the end, causing orange to burn into ash before dimming again. I heard the exhale of breath, saw the smoke puff despite the darkness before the smoking stranger rose from the chair they were sat on. The moonlight poured in from the window and onto the man as he stood at the foot of my bed.
His dark eyes were as black as the night, his skin as white as snow. He was thin, yet beautiful. His dark hair curled around his shoulders as he studied me, his blood red lips curling into a wicked smile. I saw he wore a shirt that was open, showing his ivory skin that seemed to shine in the moonlight, a belt around his waist holding up his silky black trousers.
‘My apologies, I am Reign. You must be Jewel. Welcome to Lleh. Azer has left you the potion, she had other business to attend to.’ His hand waved in the direction of the window where I saw the glass jar floating in midair, twirling slowly.
‘I must say I am intrigued, what does it feel like to be a human?’ He walked around the bed slowly, before sitting before me. He lifted a finger to my face, black claws where his nail bed should have been. I moved back, afraid, and he seemed to inhale my fear.
‘Your heart beats, the blood warm in your veins. I wonder what you would taste like? Would you mind if I had a sip?’ I pressed myself against the head of the bed as he leant forward, the smell of decay filling my nostrils.
‘Reign.’ said a low voice from the doorway.
Reign span around so quickly I gasped with the slap of wind it caused.
‘My Lord.’ He bowed, standing.
‘If you ever speak to Jewel again, I will personally feed you to the Albor. Get out.’ He hissed, and I lifted my eyes to see the Dark Lords piercing green eyes boring into Reign, who nodded, apologising as he darted into the darkness behind him.
‘I apologise Jewel. Reign has an insatiable thirst, I am afraid, and you are untouched. Quite the delicacy around these parts.’ He walked in, his wings brushing the floor as he did so. I realised he was entirely naked and I found myself averting my eyes.
He stood by the window and gazed at me over his shoulder, his wings covering his back like a feathered cloak.
‘The potion remains untouched. Are you afraid of what you truly are?’ His words danced through the air as I finally spoke.
‘I will drink the potion. I do not want to be mortal anymore.’
He plucked the potion out of the air and placed it in my open hand. I unplugged the cork, hearing a satisfying pop as I brought the bottle to my nose. I was disappointed to find it was odourless, so without further ado I knocked it back, as the liquid burned my throat on its journey into my body. I felt immense calm, before I heard wind rushing at my ears, causing me to lose my vision. I gasped as I felt an arm around me, a voice in my ear telling me to hold on, that it wouldn’t last. My skin felt like it was alight with flames, my blood boiling in my veins. I tried to call out but no sound would come, and then I gave up fighting, my body becoming weak before everything was still.
I felt a hand in mine, and my name being uttered.
The voice was familiar, and I slowly opened my eyes. The brightness in the room burned, causing me to hiss and use my arms as a shield. I felt hands prying my arms apart, a face close to mine.
‘You need to face your reality. You have been away long enough.’
I knew the voice was wise, and I knew I had to do as he said. I slowly moved my arms, the pain in my eyes burning into my skull. The black wings touched my leg gently, and my fingers stroked them softly, letting them calm me.
I focused on the wings, the darkness a welcome comfort to my vision. My eyes trailed up the wings to the face of a man I knew.
His head snapped towards me then, as his eyes searched mine.
‘So now you remember.’ He whispered softly as I nodded my head.
I remembered everything.