There was no thing in the darkness.
No thing but himself.
How could there be, when he was that thing? How could there be, when he peered into the shadows, the shadows too afraid to stare back? How could there be, when he was the thing mothers told their children about to get them to behave?
No. There was no thing in the darkness.
No thing but himself.
His tail waved lazily over the stone, the fractured club on the end of his tail thumping on the cold, damp ground. The darkness made it nearly impossible to see, but he hadn't the strength to lift his palms to his forehead, not with the heavy, heavy chains.
He didn't need to see right now, though. Not when his father was there to keep him safe.
The man stroked his head, both numbing the headache and the fear that had come with the nightmares. It might have lulled him back to sleep, that comfort, had he not been so terrified of the demons that lay in waiting.
Every time he closed his eyes, every time he thought he might escape the pain, he found himself in the clawed hands of those beasts, seeing visions of death and destruction and torture.
A part of him called out to those visions. But a bigger part of him, the scared, horrified child he'd never had the chance to grow out of, hated them.
He hated seeing all the blood, all the gore. He hated the pain, he hated the fear, he hated the loneliness. He hated his collar, he hated his cage, he hated the man who'd put him here, and he hated the death magic that plagued his veins. Hell, the only thing he didn't hate was his father.
He'd never hurt him. He'd done all he could to make his life a little less painful, no matter if it defied that monster's orders.
His father loved him. And he loved his father.
Letting out a purr, his green gaze shifted to his father, who couldn't help but smile.
"I take it that means you're feeling better?" the male asked.
Another purr rumbled from his throat.
He didn't know what his father said. He hardly understood any words, save for the few orders that were constantly repeated, and anything in that 'old language', as that monster called it.
This father's smile softened, and he brushed his thumb over a cut on his cheek, the wound healing instantly. Slowly, the man patched up the wounds that refused to heal on their own, and he began to whisper to his son.
"There are two other wrong winged here," his father said, "They're currently with the king-,"
He let out a snarl at the mention of the man, and his father sighed.
"Buddy," his father said, his tone gentle, "Listen."
He fell silent, and he waited.
"When they leave, I want you to go with them. I want you to run, and I want you to follow them. They're going to a place called Averrok."
Differ? Why had they named a place differ?
"You'll find your sister there, and she'll help you. You go there, and you do not come back, okay?"
He blinked. Confusion slid into his green eyes, and he looked up to his father.
"Go with the wrong winged. Don't come back," his father said.
Why? That monster hated it when he left. Why would he go?
"Please," his father whispered, "You'll be safe there."
He lifted a brow.
Safe? No where was safe. Not for him, not for anyone else. Everywhere he went, people got hurt. He could go nowhere and find safety.
But... but if his father thought it was safe, then it must be.
He shook off his confusion, and he nodded. His father smiled, and he moved on from the cuts on his son's face, to the cuts on his shoulders.
He didn't get far, however, as an order rang in his head.
Don't let them escape.
He stiffened. His father froze, the scent of fear filling the air. Purring, he lifted a brow.
"That's them," his father whispered.
He blinked. Drawing away from his father, he rose to his feet. His limbs strained with the effort of standing, the weight of his chains and his useless wings pulling him down. His father stood, scrambling for the door.
"Go. Go, and get out of here," he begged.
He nodded, and his father shoved the door open. A blinding light filled the room, and he bit down his yelp of pain. He took in a deep, deep breath, cracking his eyes open, he started toward the door. He looked to his father, who held a horrible fear in his eyes, and he stalled.
"Be careful," his father whispered.
He nodded once, and he slipped out the door, heading in the direction opposite the commotion.
Or, at least, he meant to. But that voice in his head said, No. Follow the others.
Why? Why would he-
A scent hit his nose, a wonderful, beautiful, tempting scent.
"Son," his father warned.
He didn't hear it. He shot for that scent.
The voice chuckled, but he ignored it.
He had to get to that scent. He didn't know why, but he had to get to that scent.
Shoving soldiers and guards out of his way, his gaze searched for the source of that scent.
His purple eyes found a female, fleeing from the camp.
A wrong winged.
The female looked behind her, seeing him, and she tripped over her own feet. Seeing her hit the ground, he scrambled to slow down. With his blood dripping down his body, it made it difficult to find purchase in the dirt.
He managed to stop a few feet from the female, and as he finally got a clear image of the girl, the scent hit him fully.
As he found himself face to face with the source of that wonderful scent, she screamed.