“Mike, hey Mike, where are you?” Matt’s voice resonated through the apartment making me try to hide further into Michael’s chest. “Michael, are you here?”
When Matt’s voice started coming towards the bedroom Michael carefully slide out from under me. I snuggled into the pillow knowing that I was safe from the outside world here in Michael’s apartment. He was my sanctuary. There were several reasons why he would never tell anyone that I was here, but it was my trust in him that kept me safe.
I looked up just as Michael smiled back in the room. He laid one finger over his lips hushing me, as if I was going to make any noise to alert Matt of my presence here. Very softly he shut the door and I could hear them talking just outside. As much as I wished to tune their voices out something inside of me said to listen.
“You know you people are driving me nuts just popping in here like this. I do have company over right now, so if you don’t mind could you just get out.” Michael’s voice sounded as if he was joking at first, but then turned serious. “I want to have my fun tonight because tomorrow I have to work.”
“Have you seen Ashley?” Matt’s voice started trailing off. I assumed that Michael was leading him away from the bedroom. So I carefully amped their voices, “Mike, have you seen Ash? She disappeared a few days ago.”
“What makes you believe that she would come here?” Michael questioned nearly making me giggle.
I could hear Matt throwing himself in the chair in the living room. “I don’t know we’ve checked everywhere else. I just thought she might have come here asking for help or something. I mean she didn’t take anything with her. No money, no clothes, nothing.”
“Dude, get out.” I could picture Michael pulling Matt out of the chair. “If I see her I’ll let you know, but for right now I have a beautiful woman in my bed waiting for my return.”
“Michael, she’s done this before and do you remember how we found her?” Matt grew severe in his words. He knew what Michael’s answer would be, but he was forcing him to remember. I surely didn’t want to.
“Dead,” Michael voice started coming back towards the bedroom leaving Matt.
Matt’s voice was right next to Michael’s again closer than I would have liked. “Yes, she was dead and once was because of your bullet. Do you understand why I am here now?”
There was a growl in Michael’s voice as he turned around halting Matt from coming any nearer to the bedroom, “Yes, because you love her and you don’t want to see any more harm come to her. Mathieu, she is a grown woman capable of making her own choices. The one I see most evident right now is she doesn’t want you to find her.”
Silence fell outside of the door as Michael appeared just inside the door. “You need to go home.”
“What?” I nearly jumped out of the bed as I sat up. “Why?”
“Why?” Michael mocked me, but then he pointed towards the door, “Because Ash, that man right there loves you. I’ve killed you once in his eyes, and I won’t become the man his father was or is in your eyes. You must go back home.”
I collapsed back into the bed feeling quite peaceful from my rest, and everything inside of me wanted to keep it that way. Michael was pushing me into a wall that I didn’t want to back into. I didn’t want any stress or fighting at this moment, but he was making it hard not to want to get angry. “Michael, I won’t love you, and I definitely don’t love Blyth.”
“Now that you’ve got your rest and peace of mind back, I suggest that you go back.” Michael tossed my clothes on the edge of the bed as he walked around the room finding them scattered about. “I’m going to forever be the bad guy in his eyes because he thinks that I pulled the trigger. And why haven’t you mentioned yet that I did not shoot you?”
“So that is why you want me to leave. Not because you don’t want to come between us. It is because I haven’t told them what happened all those years ago with your impeccable timing.” Instead of allowing him to pull the rest of my clothes from the rest of the room I quickly dressed myself, and pinned him up against the wall. “Forgive me if I’m just not ready for them to discover how deep I was back then. Forgive me if I don’t want my son knowing that part of my life.”
“You mean how deep you are Ash. All you’ve done since then is traded one addiction for another.” Michael held up a prescription bottle filled with new medication. “What’s the sense of keeping up with the charade when you haven’t changed?”
I had thought about taking the prescription and just leaving since that was my initial reason for coming here. Instead I stared at it lying there complacently in his hand. “It’s not an addiction. You know exactly why I need it.”
Michael took in a deep breath as he placed the bottle in the palm of my hand. He wrapped my fingers around it and pushed me back away from him. “I know exactly why you need these, but I think it is time that you mention something to Mathieu. You should know the exact reason why Blyth is haunting your dreams.”
Even as Michael stepped past me I remained still. My eyes stayed fixed on the wall behind where he was standing. Nothing that he had just said made any sense to me. “What does Matt have anything to do with my dreams? Did he curse me or something for my choices?”
“He didn’t curse you, but he’s rather cursed himself.”Michael’s lips caressed my neck making me melt into his arms as they came around me. “And you might want to clear up your little lie with him. You must know that you didn’t fool him one bit about your allergies.”
“I know I didn’t.” Once Michael released me I had just realized what he had done. Quickly I turned to face him, but my words found an empty room. “You have to stay out of my memories.”
Of course he would leave me here alone. He knew that if he left that I would eventually go home like he wished. After checking my watch I realized that everyone would be out for the day, and it would be the best time to sneak back in. Matt and Anthony would be at school. I imagined Matt came here just before he left. And Marcus would have left almost an hour ago to Bradford. The house would be completely empty and a perfect environment for me to give Michael’s new medicine a try. I’m sure that I had slept for nearly three days straight, but after a month of sleepless nights eight more hours seemed like a great idea for having to deal with everyone once they came back home.
My jaw dropped as soon as I entered back into my bedroom. The scene around me was not what I thought it would be. I had expected to come back and everything would be just as I had left it. Instead everything was ripped apart and gone through. I would have thought that I had been robbed, except I knew better.
I was sending everything back into its proper place as I opened the bottle and dumped two pills into my palm. Opening my other hand to welcome a full glass of water just as the directions had advised. ‘Take one to two pills as needed with eight ounces of water’. I hoped that these wouldn’t take too long before they started working.
Just as I was bringing the pills to my lips something caught my wrist jerking it back away from me. There was nothing that I could do in my worn out state to catch them or the glass of water tumbled towards the floor. The shock of what happened threw my mind away from everything that I had been doing. Everything that had putting itself back dropped suddenly as well.
I truly wasn’t surprised when the glass stopped in mid air and then rested gently on my nightstand with every drop of water still contained inside. I knew who it was before he even spoke, and he was the one I feared facing the most. His words cut through me as though they were knives themselves. “Did you enjoy your time away? Were you finally free like you wished to be?”
“It’s not what you think.” I ripped my wrist out of his grasp and dropped to my knees in search of the pills that he caused me to drop.
“What’s not what I think? Shouldn’t I be wondering if it will be his bastard child you’ll be carrying next or,” Matt’s voice seemed tormented, but he paused as I heard the pills that I had been searching for crushing beneath his foot. “Or are you just whoring around to get your next fix?”
My first initial reaction was to give in and to let him have all the answers he was searching for. My shoulders dropped and I was so close to giving up. Instead my body reacted hesitantly against my mind. Slowly I rose up off the floor and started laughing at him. With each word that came out of my mouth I forced him back to the door, “So what if it is what you think? What are you going to do about it? Tell me, Matt, what would you do if I was carrying his child. Oh wait, I guess the fact that I can’t age anymore or the fact that I can no long bare any other child because Anthony ripped my uterus to shreds as he was growing inside of me hasn’t crossed your mind.
And if I was just ‘whoring around’ to get my next fix don’t you think I would have been back just a few hours after I left instead of what a whole three days? I don’t have a drug problem and no, as I said, it is not what you think?”
“What’s not what who thinks?” Anthony’s voice startled me once I had Matt backed up to the hallway outside of my room. I held Matt in his place as I turned to look at Anthony ready to question why he wasn’t at school when I had seen that Trinity was right beside him. They were both still dressed as though they had just gotten out of bed. “Um, I take it you found her and she’s still just as ornery as she was a week ago.”
I released Matt from my power and he had told Anthony to take Trinity back to bed. I watched them both look at each other quite confused, but they listened regardless. My eyes wondered back up to Matt’s questioning, “A week?”
Never before had I slept that long. It was an occasional three days here and there after I had visited Michael. Had I really been that exhausted? The worst part was the thought that I didn’t know how long I would have actually slept if Matt hadn’t shown up this morning. I vaguely remember that Michael had wakened me up briefly sometime. He had pushed food into my sight forcing me to eat, but I could hardly remember actually eating any of it.
Matt had turned me back around so that we could talk quietly in my bedroom. We were almost through the door when Anthony had stopped in front of his. Before I knew it I was inside of his embrace. “I’m glad your back.”
Just as quickly as he had arrived he was back walking into his door. Matt continued guiding me back into the room. “He’s been worried about you. Then again what child wouldn’t be when their mother just disappears?”
My head twisted and glared through Matt. I knew exactly what it felt like to have my mother leave and never return. Unlike that situation I had every intention of returning to my child. “I’m home now.”
“Yes and now that you are we have a slight problem.” After Matt had gotten me into my room he continued pushing me towards the bathroom. “You look like you, and horrendous to boot.”
Once we were directly in front of the mirror he began pulling down the beautiful scene that I had painted over top of it. Matt jumped nearly a foot from me as I watched the glass pouring down in pieces into the sink. Most of them had made it in the sink, but some still fell over the side and unto the floor. “I know what I must look like, but I don’t care to see at the moment.”
“Well, you should care slightly what you look like because I’m sure in the next room Trinity is questioning Anthony why you look like you do. Not to mention that she’s had quite a few questions about why he was so distraught that his cousin took off for a few days. Tell me Ash, how was I supposed to deal with those questions.” Matt kept his voice low and composed even though I could tell that he wanted to explode on me. “I sure hope that you had fun on your sex and drug binge.”
The pull of gravity started bearing down on me, and I stumble back to my bed as Matt followed closely behind. “It was not a sex and drug binge. How many times to I have to tell you that?”
“Well, at least these are prescribed by a doctor and not the cocaine that you were snorting a couple of years ago.” I had thought Matt was going to sit next to me on the bed, but he continued towards the door. After he shut it he turned around and leaned against it. “Oh yes, when the coroner’s report came back they weren’t quite sure first whether you had died from the gun shot or the amount of cocaine that was in your system. Now Ash, you have to tell me something that I can believe.”
All of a sudden I felt the emptiness in my stomach being filtered through my entire being. My chest ached from the fluttering of my heart. Each nerve in my system started twitching causing me to shake all over. “You didn’t say anything to Anthony did you?”
“No, I haven’t. I don’t plan on saying anything unless you start telling me what is going on with you.” Matt kicked himself off the door and started coming over as I assumed he was going to do to begin with. He stopped just in front of me to let his hands run down over my cheeks bringing my eyes to his. “Ash, I haven’t seen you truly smile or laugh for a year if it hasn’t been longer. Every time I look at you, you seem as if you are so deep in thought that I’m nearly afraid to interrupt. There are many nights when I wake up to find you down stairs by yourself sitting in the dark. More often than not lately you look as if you are on the brink of falling apart quite literally. One might assume that is what happened last Thursday night.”
Every word that Matt said had sifted through my mind, but it was his eyes that remained there long after he had stopped talking. Mine followed his as he knelt down in front of me. His hands left my cheeks to fall down over my arms into my hands. The steady hands that held mine did not ease the tension within me at all.
Blue sky started melting through Matt’s deep brown eyes. Without delay after seeing the first hint of sapphire I dropped the first tear of the day. I could feel my bottom lip beginning to quiver which sent despair through my entire body. More tears were forced out as I closed my eyes removing the vision of Blyth through Matt in front of me. “I need you to go. Please just go.”
“No.” Matt’s voice carried through my heart removing the cerulean eyes that had seemed to embed themselves there.
“Matt,” His name burnt in my throat as it came out. “What did Michael mean by you are cursed yourself?”
Matt dropped my hands immediately after I had spoken. I almost opened my eyes for fear that I had literally scared him off, but his words came utterly ignoring my inquiry. “You have to tell me something or I’m going to continue imagining the worst.”
“Whatever is wrong with me is because of you according to what Michael told me this morning. ‘He didn’t curse you, but he’s rather cursed himself.’ Those were his words exactly.” I sniffed back even more tears as I pulled my legs back into my chest. I truly didn’t want to let Matt in, but if we could each get a sense of peace between us then maybe life could become bearable again.
“No, that’s impossible.”
My eyes finally opened and glared into the blue eyes that I had just created within him. “Do you know how many impossible things I’ve seen in my life? You have to tell me what this curse is and why it is affecting me.”
“Ash, it is impossible because Marcus and I broke it nearly three hundred years ago when Michael and, and,” Matt’s eyes thankfully started drowning out the blue with the deep brown that started exploding from the black in the center. As he dove relentlessly into my eyes all of my love for any warlock I had came boiling to the surface. It wasn’t enough for Matt as he strayed further into me. Fear of loving all of them engulfed me. Surrounding each fear was an enormous amount of pain that I didn’t know was there. Unlike Blyth, Matt didn’t touch it or change it in anyway. He seemed to study every emotion that had flowed through me within the past.
Never settling on one emotion he sorted through them each in their own sense. That was until he had found what he was searching for inside of me. A throbbing torment beginning in my heart radiated into my eyes and straight into Mathieu. It was not like the pain from being injured. This feeling began with anguish continuing into regret, distress, sorrow, heartache, and it finally ended in the most vicious agony in the world.
I knew that feeling quite well. I tried to hide it away from the world, and still as Matt searched for it. Burying it deep inside of me in hopes to keep it from him was useless. Every moment of my life since I took his soul I had it there right beneath the surface. When Matt had finally released me I fell back into the bed completely motionless. What knowledge he would gain from that feeling I wasn’t sure, but it is what he explored my body for.
“I don’t understand any of this. How could you fall so quickly in love with him after only two weeks?” I could hear Matt’s voice pacing through my room, “Michael has good reason to believe it would have been the curse, but that was broken. Whether or not in your fate had you been mine it still doesn’t make any sense because after me the next person you cared for was Marcus and then Michael.
You know I thought that you felt so horrible about this whole thing because you actually took his life, not because you really loved him. You felt for him before you even knew about Anthony so I know he’s not what brought you two together like that. Ash, why do you love him so deeply?”
Instantaneous rage simmered just above the pain that he brought back to the surface. “How could you ask me something like that? You just felt everything inside of me. There is nothing left for him inside of me except that of hatred.”
Matt collapsed onto the bed next to me. “No, there is no hatred inside of your soul. Ash, what you feel inside of you is the absolute agony of being in love. I honestly don’t know how you could have done it though. Intentionally take his life like that. It must have broken you a thousand times over.”
“Nothing compares to watching the life leave his eyes.” I finally turned my head to see Matt staring aimlessly at the ceiling. “Guess you know that feeling now.”
“That feeling is nothing new to me, except that I’ve never felt it through another person before. So do you want to explain to me how exactly you fell in love with him so quickly?” Matt lifted my hand and held it up in front of his face. “I mean it literally took you, what was it, three months to finally hold my hand and another three before you kissed me?
I remember when my eyes first fell into yours I knew all the magic in me had already died, but my heart had cried out for you as it had only once before. A blight upon my soul screamed out to be heard even though it had broken months before my own death. Fear drove through me as your soul poured through your eyes, but an overwhelming sense of life took over. I wanted you for the rest of my life in that moment, and ever since then.
My father was blessed with a sense of love just like his father before him, and I was also given a chance to feel love more passionately than any other man. His father was lucky enough to find his one true love and no others. He grew old with his wife and died happily. My father on the other hand has fallen in love more than one normal person could count, but he could tell you each other their names, the color of their eyes, and every intimate detail about them.
He first fell in love when he was thirteen. She was only ten at the time so he watched her and with each day his love grew stronger and stronger. Every day for three years he carefully laid a flower where only she would find it. Then the day that she had turned thirteen he showed up with the flower himself. When she finally turned sixteen they married and left their small town. It was both of their dreams to leave and start new somewhere else without their families.
Tragedy fell upon both of their hearts when my father had fallen just the same for another woman. It wasn’t that he was looking for love, but we see woman differently than other men. When we look at women it is like seeing her soul rather than her form. He loved them both the same, but he could see the heartbreak attacking his wife. As much as he wanted to leave just one to spend the rest of his life with the other it never sat right in his heart. Instead his wife said she would rather have him love both of them than lose him or send that same pain to the other woman.
He was never clear on how everything turned out between all of them, but I know that for some reason or another he fell in love with a very spiteful woman that laid a curse upon him.
‘May you continue to love all those you will love. Love their lips, love their souls, but loving their body heartbreak will fall. No longer will it fall upon those poor souls that you mislead, instead your heart will feel the burden of losing each one.’
Little had that woman known; nearly every woman that my father had loved had already passed away. The curse however did put a kind of spin on it. Instead of my father having to watch the woman he loved die and he had to suffer as they would start falling in love with other men something he never thought would happen. He said it was the worst pain that he has ever felt, and he told me all of this in hopes that it would spare me that same pain.
Time went on and when I had turned fifteen my father had thought that the trait had not been passed down. After spending a month in the company of my mother, my father and I went back home, and that is when I saw her, my Sylvanna. My father had seen it as well. He warned me that I should stay as far from her that was possible. He even offered to let me live with my mother during Sylvanna’s stay which was something for him since we had never left each other’s company for more than a fortnight. I refused so that I could hopefully just love her from a distance.
At night I would hear her tears through the bedroom door, and it nearly killed me not to help her. I had no idea what her burden was then, and she never knew that each night I bore it with her. Finally one night, a secret wish of mine, she came out of her room to find me sitting there beside her doorway. Her eyes reminded me of the deep blue of the ocean as I was at last granted a chance to look into them. One look was all it took and I was hers. Her tears instantly vanished as a smile graced her face for the first time since her parents were taken from her.
My father was not happy, but he knew it was pointless to order us apart. He insisted that under no circumstance that I was never to bed with her. I wish that I had as much self control that he possesses. I took his helpful hints, but she grew impatient with me. It wasn’t long before I grew impatient with myself so one night we took off into the country.
It was less than a week later and I lost her. Each morning, from the night that she had caught me outside of her door, I dutifully took her breakfast, but the morning that she wasn’t there I knew it was happening. Pain encircled my heart, and I vowed that I would not lose her love to any other man. I knew every man on my father’s land and I would do anything to keep her. With each step that I took to find her I grew more anxious.
Nothing could stop the crippling agony that tore through my heart once I had found her. The pain of having to die a thousand times over could no compare with the torment of finding her running her fingers aimlessly over my father’s shoulders while he sat eating his own breakfast. All he could do was point the fork in his hand at me and say, ‘I told you so.’
My world ended in that moment. The only person that I had to blame was me, and it was with me that I took out my anger upon. Out of spite because he was the one who stole her love from me whether it was his own doing or not I lit the entire house on fire. I remember walking back to my room while everyone in the house rushed to the doors in hopes to get out before the flames consumed them. I fell back carelessly into my chair and waited for flames to tear the pain from my flesh. The heat never graced my skin before my Mike pulled me out of the house.
The first person that I had seen outside of the house was my father. Mike had tried everything within him to keep me away from my father, but I broke through every barrier that he had made. Just before I could grasp my father her voice sent the blood in my body rushing in another direction.
I had made it halfway up the stairs before both Mike and my father caught me. My voice, my heart, every inch of me cried out to save her, but they refused to let me go. With everything I tried to get to her nothing worked and I fell to my knees giving into myself as I realized that she was crying out for my father, not me.
I would give my own life for her still to this day. Making love to my Sylvanna killed everything in my life. It was far worse than my father had explained it. Not only did I lose her love to another, I killed her, and tore my whole family apart. One simple glance killed everything I loved.
It was within the next few weeks, I honestly don’t remember how many, that I had turned again. Life was hard enough to deal with just after losing Sylvanna, but the damage that I caused unable to control my powers was making everything worse. Mike and my father left in order to find a way to ease my pain by removing the power, and Marc stayed by my side. Without having any power himself we both contemplated on a way to ease my other pain.
Marc had come up with the source and I used my immeasurable power to complete it. After traveling to every city that my father had ever taken me and staring at every woman that I could see I was sure that it had been broken. Months had passed and I had turned three more times. Well, you can guess the rest of the story.”
I had laid there listening to his entire story, but my mind encircled only one idea that he had brought up. In my drowsy state I was shocked to find that my thought had come out in audible words. “I am not your reason to live, but what I think you felt inside of you when we first met that I was your means to live. After time of thinking that you were in love with me only allowed you to actually feel it. Just as any normal person would care for someone that has been in their life as long as we’ve been in each others.”
Matt’s arms wrapped around the blanket that I had made into a cocoon around myself. “You seemed to be getting a bit wiser in your old age or is it because you are ready to fall asleep. So with this new wisdom that you have, why are you so in love…?”
“In love? No, Matt, I am in hell. He said he would be my heaven, but I’m in hell.”
“You don’t love me?” I could feel his presence before his words began echoing off the empty walls of this prison. “Please, tell me, that it is not true.”
I used everything that I had within me to push him from the room. Unlike Matt, I didn’t want to gently get him away from me. Here in this realm, this place inside of my mind, my powers were useless against him. The only thing that I could control I did with ease. There was no way that I would allow myself to turn around to find him. “It is true. I don’t love you. I hate you.”
“But I love you.” Blyth’s hands landed firmly against my shoulders, and his words hit my ears directly. “Plus, it is not within you to hate me.”
Quickly I yanked myself out of his reach and began walking away with hopes that this dream would fade into something else. “I think you should leave.”
“Leave, but where would I go? No, Ash, I think you should stay.” I was sure that I had taken at least ten steps away from him, but his voice was directly beside me. “That is until we straighten out your feelings toward me.”
Suddenly I stopped, turned and started in the opposite direction from where Blyth was standing beside me. “I can assure you that I am quite happy in hating you at this point in my life.”
“Happy?” Blyth laughed as he followed closely behind, but this time he didn’t dare come as close as he was before. “My dear, you are far from anything resembling happiness. Do you know why I think you are tortured so each day?”
The black ceiling above us turned and opened up to reveal the night sky. Stars shined down upon us and the moon lit the road that I wasn’t walking in complete darkness. An ounce of security found its way into my soul knowing that I was safe here. On this road I knew each danger and felt every pain that it could offer, and of that I was thankful. This road reminded me that there were worse things than speaking with Blyth at the moment. “I don’t really care what you think. Do you know why? Because I don’t really care about you.”
“Oh, if you didn’t care then you wouldn’t be here. Ash, if you didn’t love me,” Blyth’s voice was cut off from the scene changing quickly. The free space around us became enclose by four walls. Beautiful carved statues surrounded us and the windows were perfectly positioned stained glass. Lifting my hand I watched the colors bounce back. Turning, I finally found myself trying to see if he had followed me into this holy place. If he were as Matt said then it would be impossible or at least that is what one would believe.
He was there though with each piece of wonder that he was. My eyes dropped instantly to the floor to avoid anything that I didn’t wish to happen. “Why can’t you just let me be?”
“Ash, if you wish me away, I’d be gone. Just will me away and be done with it.” Blyth was now standing directly in front of me. His boots had taken place where my sight was on the floor. His words continued, but he hadn’t touched me as I had hoped he wouldn’t. “It is the same as the pain. If you wanted the suffering to end, all you would have to do is just will it all away. You have the power to do anything you wish in the world. Still though, you endure each day with the same pain.
I need you to wake up and start anew. Put me in the past, as well as everyone else. Anthony will only be a thought away, but as for the rest you don’t need them. Matt will survive the pain that you will inflict by leaving. Marcus will just assume that you will come back, and as for Michael I feel that the next time that you two might meet he will do as he said. He will pull the trigger this time for himself.
My love, you must wake up.”
“Wake up?” My eyes shifted towards the ceiling, which had turned back into my own bedroom. “I was just here. How did I fall asleep? I didn’t want this. Dreamless sleep. I want you out of my dreams, out of me, and mostly out of my soul.”
I remained staring at my ceiling, but I could hear his boots hitting the floor with each step. Each thud sounded through me as though it were real. “You can’t just will me away?”
“Never and each thought of you kills me.”
“Then perhaps I am not who you think. Perhaps I am you.” Blyth’s eyes now were diving into me. Brilliant blue eyes were overwhelming my mind. “Then it is not me that you hate, but yourself. Think about it Ash, and for God’s sake, wake up.”