Kaleidoscope

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Four

Perry and Roxanne ran as fast as their feet could carry them down the shifting corridor with Pralekai and his Vorgothian hounds right behind them. The corridor became smaller and with determined smiles on their faces they knew that they were nearing the area where Perry had once been stripped of her freedom.

But it would not happen again. She would escape or die in the effort trying to. At this point anywhere else would be better than here. She could hear the pounding claws of the Vorgothian hounds and Pralekai tried to shoot her down with fireballs whilst contorting the corridor into quick, sharp edges to slow her progress.

Perry was determined not to give up! Her quick dodging and athletic prowess proved useful to avoid the jerks of the kaleidoscope. Unfortunately, with an agonizing scream, Roxanne was impaled by the sharp pillars Pralekai conjured and was reduced to nothingness with one fiery ball at her back. Perry screamed as she witnessed this but continued running desperately, fearing that her life would end in the same manner.

Perry saw the glimmering light of the exit in the distance as she lowered herself to a fast crawl. She knew this would be her last chance; if Pralekai caught her, she would be dead. The corridor became lower and smaller as she crawled the last few meters towards her freedom. Suddenly her nightmare was over!

Finally, Perry smelled fresh air and felt a soft, tantalizing summer breeze as she breached her head and shoulders out of the Kaleidoscope, feeling the sun’s rays kissing her skin. Quickly the rest of her body joined her, and she fell out of the realm of Pralekai onto soft, green grass. She couldn’t believe she was out and just laid for a minute to take it in the wonderful earthy smells, the heat of the sun and the scent of trees carried on the wind.

But the world quickly turned dark as a black claw grabbed her foot from inside the kaleidoscope. Perry kicked at the claw with her free foot, but nothing could break its grip on her.

The claw was quickly joined by a leathery black arm and a face filled with fury and hate.

Pralekai had made his way to the real world, in his real form.

He laughed at her cries for help as he pulled her back into his realm “No one will save you now.” he sneered in a deep, unforgiving voice.

Perry gave up and let go of the grip she had on the earth. She knew he would kill her now and that it would be of no use to continue fighting. Pralekai pulled her back into the kaleidoscope and, with a loud and harsh crash, she fell on the stone floor of the corridor.

“Do you really think I would simply let you walk out of my front door? After what I told you and let you see? My dear sweet child, you have forgotten who I am!” he shouted at her. “I told you earlier that, should you ever try to escape, I would kill you!”

His Vorgothian hounds stood at the ready, waiting for his order. But Perry stood up, brave as ever. She refused to continue living in this disgusting, ever changing hellhole, waiting for the next rotation to break her body more. Perry knew what her fate was and without a second thought she shouted at him: “Kill me then!” He grabbed her chin. “With pleasure,” he grinned, his breath filled with the smell of decay. He tossed her against the wall, she fell and with one last look at him as he gave the order. Vorgothian hounds descended on her and started to rip Perry apart. Her screams of pain were music to Pralekai’s ears as he watched them tear at her flesh, devouring it in their grotesque, blood-drenched mouths.

Soon Perry’s screams could no longer be heard and Pralekai ordered the Vorgothian hounds away. Her corpse was drenched in blood with small remnants of light green crystals where her bones would have been. Pralekai picked up the mangled, bleeding corpse and carried it back to his throne room. At the back where the lifeless shell of Alison was still shackled to the wall, was an altar. The room was filled with different body parts, all with different coloured stones where the muscle and bone would be, hanging from hooks and littered across tables filled with tools of the macabre. There was a single beauty hidden in the chaos, locked in a glass cabinet where only he could touch – an elegant silver necklace adorned with white diamonds. At its centre, was an Opal, reflecting the orange light from the braziers into a beautiful silver glimmer.

Pralekai ordered his hounds away, they hissed and growled but soon after another fireball nearly decapitated one, they left. He placed her corpse on the altar stained with silver blood, remnants of the Sirathine’s volatile blood. Pralekai went to work, sorting out his collection of replacement limbs and different coloured gemstones. He opened a large chest filled with sculpting tools and started looking for the correct tools.

Pralekai stood for hours sculpting, fitting and filling Perry’s corpse until he was pleased with what he saw in front of him – a stained glass-like corpse as beautiful as ever. Silver blood coursed through the cracks of the gemstones, acting as a filler to keep them together. Her right eye filled with volatile blood and seemed to continuously cry mist.

He took the stained glass-like corpse and tossed it into the fire. He raised the heat to such a temperature the tortured creatures and shadow dwellers wailed; some soon fell dead to the floor as the searing heat burned their fragile bodies to dust. The corpse started smelling foul as the human flesh melted away under the inferno. Suddenly a beam of golden light shot from the blaze and Pralekai let go of the fire. His sculpture had come back to the undeath. Her patchwork face shimmered with colour as her silver hair with a blood red stripe flowed down her slender back. The pieces of flesh and entrails that were eaten by the hounds were filled with shattered pieces of colourful gemstones, the pieces fit so perfectly with each other as the silver blood ran through the cracks to the regenerating flesh of her new Vorgothian limbs. Pralekai reached for her, and for once they were the same temperature as death. He smiled, and she quickly followed with her raven coloured lips.

“Welcome back my dear” Pralekai said lovingly as he stared at his creation. He had created a new body to house Perry’s soul. “You killed me” she said as she stared into his eyes and quickly to her pale hand. “Why am I then breathing?”

“I made you a Thrine. You will now reside in the kaleidoscope with me as the Keeper of judgment. From now on, you decide which of the dead is pure, which not.”

“I am... like you?” she asked as he led her towards the second, smaller stone throne next to his. The world seemed foreign to her, her skin was leathery, and her eyes could see more than before. He gestured at her to sit to which she obliged. She smiled a confused grin at Pralekai as he hung a necklace around her neck. She touched it, the smooth surface kissing her dead skin. It felt warm to her, like a familiar blanket on a cold winter’s morning.

“The opal talisman. Gem of the Thrines.” he explained as he knelt beside her and kissed her cold lips. She was reluctant at first, but soon kissed her killer like no one she had kissed before.

“You have an assignment to execute” he whispered between their kisses “What is it?” she asked.

“Kill Alison” he commanded. She stopped kissing him and looked at him. She did not want to obey but the talisman spoke to her in a tongue of whispers previously unknown to her. He stood next to her and waited.

Finally, she got up from the altar and walked towards the decaying corpse of the undead Alison. She stood in front of her, planning on how to destroy her. Suddenly she breathed and her flesh started growing. Perry gasped in shock and turned to Pralekai as he stood and watched.

Alison turned into a once familiar face to Perry, and quickly started begging her to not do this and cursing Pralekai. Her ears were deaf to Alison’s pleas of mercy, her cries of them being best friends and the only reason why she was trapped here was because Perry came looking for her. She shunned all of this, although part of her wanted to believe Alison. She grabbed her by her neck and started pulling, ripping and clawing with a smile as Alison’s green eyes turned to empty sockets as she begged her not to do this, but nothing could stop Perry from doing what she was created to do. Judge.

With a loud grunt, Alison’s head sat snugly in Perry’s hands, blood flowing from her neck. Pralekai used his power to turn her body back to a corpse and finally to ash as Perry walked towards Pralekai, victorious in her quest, and threw the severed head at his feet.

“It’s done” she grinned

“Very good my pet!” Pralekai laughed; he loved the new, obedient Perry.

With a powerful, passionate kiss between the corpses he welcomed her to his little realm. Her eyes were glowing as they broke the kiss, staring at Pralekai in both hate and love, neither which she could decide on was true nor did she want to believe.

“Welcome to the undead, my Aelia”

He whispered in her ear as she smiled a black-blooded smile as the new wedded wife to darkness. She kissed him again, he laughed and caressed her cheek “See my dear, not even you could resist a Vorgoth” he said and she walked away gracefully, Vorgothian hounds by her side. Pralekai stood there, admiring her but he could not help but think Vixoniac would not approve of the newly appointed Thrine of judgement. He knew her wrath would soon come.

Pralekai walked alone to the edge of the Kaleidoscope, past the bloodied murder scene where Perry had been devoured. He felt somewhat sorrowful as he looked at the dried blood but quickly shunned the thought from his mind.

He walked towards the open door that connected his realm to the mortal realm and closed it; the door Alison had opened, the door that caused Perry’s death and locked it with his golden key.

The key allowed him one month of solitude every year in the mortal realm – the key he would’ve given Perry should she have willingly agreed to be his bride. She is dead now and he had created a wife, patched and stitched with the qualities of his previous ones he could not bear to destroy.

The devil of the damned was forever locked in his cage along with his wife, the arbiter to the Vorgoths and all other damned creations of the Ancients.

“No one escapes… No one ever will.” He muttered as he melted the key in his flaming hand

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