Down with the Sickness
The light enveloped her, bright and blinding that boiled the already-inflamed rage. Wherever this feeling came from it had been buried deep in the back of the mind for years. What began at her neck had coursed thru her veins and reached her heart. It felt like someone was tearing at it, bit by bit with a sharp blade. She almost wanted to die, the pain made her body feel as though it was on fire and breathing in this suffocation was a dream at best. Despite this pain she knew she was alive and would not die, but this light, glorious to any human proved to be her worst enemy.
Why couldn’t all the lights just go out? Thirsty... So dry, like she hasn’t had a drop of water in weeks—water? Kira squinted her eyes to slivers in an attempt to see beyond the plain. Now there was a strong desire, an insensible lust for a person, but Kira does not know who. These aren’t mine... Her hands wrap around her head and hide between her legs; this could not possible what she is feeling! A voice called from the light—familiar yet not, she knew this faint call, but could place neither name nor face to it. She tripped when running, but regardless of how slow she felt there was a want, a ‘need’, to reach the other side of that light.
With every step it was further away, the outline of a woman someone she felt she knew, but darkness that was an ally to none quickly broke from the back of the outline. Though this person was somehow darker than all around her, Kira held no difficultly in seeing her. The darkness bared its fangs toward the human, wanting to ensnare her and yet they held no evil intent—Kira was not fearful of them, but rather of the light that stood behind the human. She did not want to meet whoever or whatever stood in that light. It was bright and painful and there was no safety or comfort to be found within it. Come with me. Said the shadow, offering her hand to be taken. I am here to help you. She did not move because the light was upon her, she placed her hand over Kira’s eyes blinding her to all in the darkness. Kira fought back. As the light slowly went to consume and possess her, Kira pulled against its influence reaching blindly for the one who extended her hand in the shadows.
Her hand was taken, the darkness comforted her, blowing away the blinding light. Kira was able to breathe easier, catching the lost breath she leaned over her knees and inhaled deep and loud. The shadow that held her hand was warm and comforting, a feeling she has often associated with the maids of the house as they cared for her when she was young. That feeling…Kira often thought that was the feeling a ‘mother’ would give. The shadow placed its free hand on her back, rubbing it gently as the human worked to recover to senses. To dive the depths of such a realm—such a quest is unfit of those of light heart. Kira looked up to the shadow whose voice spoke in mind and in this black, this nothingness, of a place at the same time. She did not understand the shadow’s meaning, she spoke in the language of immortals, but the tones and variation of words were not those she was familiar with. It seemed a dialectical variation, one thick in a formality not even Eona had spoken with.
The shadow observed the confusion in the human’s face and adjusted her vocabulary to a level the visitor would understand. You are only the second person to have made it to my realm. Kira’s catch of surprise allowed for the shadow to know her words were now understood. She allowed the human to straighten, releasing her hand and removing the other to give the needed space and to allow for the young woman to take in her surroundings and situation. Kira was quiet for a time, she looked around into the nothingness and the shadow found herself curious for the lack of fear the human displayed in being here. The shadow had seen this young woman when she was younger, watching from the eyes of another as she was returned to her ‘family’. It was then, that the shadow recognized what ‘family’ the human belonged to.
“Who are you?” Kira asked, her attention now on the shadow.
A shadow of Im and of those who took the name Nightraven. The shadow explained, receiving and eye of suspicion from the human before her. She circled the youngest, taking in her appearance and feeling the unusual aura this ‘human’ exhibited. If a human is what this person was. The only other one who has made it this far is a fellow immortal, but he is one who is bonded to the shadow, this girl…has had no such bond made. You, you are the one called Kira Nightraven. A human raised by vampires? Kira nodded cautiously once, never allowing the shadow to leave her sight, even though she herself was under observation. The shadow came closer, she reached her hand and touched the tattoo on Kira’s neck which was met with no resistance. This mark… The shadow lifted her hand, showing the back as the black was enlightened by a crimson outline of the same marking that stained the human’s own flesh. That brought surprise to Kira. You and I were meant to meet. Though one could not see, the tone of her words was enough to see the shadow was smiling.
Kira’s eyes narrowed, “What do you know about my Stigma?”
Kira recalled the conversation between her and Emily. The explanation of her stigma being that to repress the venom that would have changed her into an immortal vampire. She had assumed that the doctor had created the stigma herself once but seeing it upon a stranger she has never met, in a strange dream that seems too real to be such. Kira tried to remember where she had been before here, what she had been doing—she had been attacked and passed out from being anemic. That must be the reason: blood loss has caused her to lose reason and she is hallucinating. Nonetheless, Kira watched the shadow, thinking that this was quite the detailed hallucination. I am very real. The shadow assured her, lower her hand to her side, I am real enough to know that mark was once embowed with my power. A power I passed onto my most trusted comrades as a means to protect them from harm.
“Its protecting me from turning.” Kira explained without reason.
Yes, I noticed it has been tampered with. The shadow said blankly as she kept her hand on the tattoo. Kira went to speak and suddenly cringed as pain outlined the tattoo’s ink with her shadow. Forgive me for the pain, but you seem to have been misinformed as to what it is doing to you. Kira’s knees came out from under her, but the shadow held her up against her and continued to inject her shadow into the stigma. Kira tried to fight back, but her body did not respond to command and remained limp in the shadow’s arms. When you wake up, you will not remember any of this. The shadow gently set a weary Kira on the ground as the last of her shadow pulled away from the human’s neck. Nonetheless I will tell you now for one-day you may remember this encounter: that mark was tampered with in a way that it was not to protect you, but to change you.
Kira awoke in cold sweat. She sat erect desperate to regain control and awareness—clenching the cloth of her shirt, it was all that is done to avoid clawing into her flesh again. She had not recalled the panic she felt that caused her to wake. Now she felt an uneasiness, a tightness in her chest and a pulsing in her neck that caused pain at the touch. A deep breath of air filled her lungs to their limits and then she exhales the same. This repeated a few more times before she calmed enough to grasp her surroundings. Much of the pain vanished, but an irritating dryness remained in the back of her throat. Beside her Lady Eona slept—despite this being Kira’s room. Not that it was cramped, Kira had a queen-sized bed to herself and Eon.
It was day now, but sleep was refused—it was too frightening to shut her eyes again. An obtained skill, Kira managed to remove herself from the bed, but nearly fell out. It was nearly dawn it seemed, a horrible time to wake, but she had to get out; getting away from the queen was for some reason a want—Kira could no longer think when she was around. Using a house line, a single person was called, the one person that could be called.
When Emily received the call she was surprised, not only that Kira called, but also what had been asked. The school did not mind her ‘emergency leave’ which would make it easier to care for her patient. It was nearly seven and the sun had yet to come forth fully, but just enough to make her nauseous. When the corvette drove in Kira sat outside in nothing more than pajamas and a small blanket. Emily got out and moved in front of the person who was in such a daze she couldn’t even acknowledge the person before her.
‘You look terrible.’
Kira gave a half-smile, ‘Not the best night.’
Her sentence trailed off and nearly she passed out, but quickly the jerk to her head woke her up. Emily helped Kira to the car and they left. She hadn’t been to Emily’s house before; a glass condo outside of the town, it sat on a ridge overlooking the entire valley. It was very spacious for someone living alone. The sun broke over the mountains just as they entered the house--to Kira’s glee the windows were tinted.
“You know you’ve been unconscious for three days, right? When the Main House called you had already been out for about eight hours; we were all worried.”
Kira apologized and began to cry without probable reason. Emily frowned, wrapping her arms around to comfort. No matter her vast knowledge of human and vampire bodies the irony was of her inability to help Kira. Hot chocolate was brought (with little else to offer a ‘human’ guest) and quietly Kira wiped away her tears and felt the heat of the mug warm her iced hands.
“You’re not hot at all?” Emily watched how the beverage was consumed with ease.
It was strange because when Kira was unconscious she had a horrible fever—among other concerns. Tests were conducted, but no mortal test brought an answer to the fever--the reason the crossed seal glowed red nor how she single-handedly killed a vampire. The tiny girl shook, in spite of her burning temperature.
“I told her you suffered a heat stroke—I knew you would be angry with me if I said it was her fault.”
“Thank you...” Kira dropped her head on the doctor’s shoulder, imminently her irregular heartbeat returned to normality.
“You really are hopeless.” Emily rolled her eyes with a sigh.
Kira chuckled, “Sorry, I’m always depending on you—”
“If you’re implying I think you’re a bother then you would be wrong.”
Emily scruffs her guest’s head, “The fact you need to depend on someone isn’t weakness—it’s an outlet, after all you always have to hide your feelings, don’t you?”
Emily lifted Kira into her arms and carried her to the bedroom. I don’t want to sleep. She hates herself for being weak...being a burden to those around her and not even because she’s human, but because she is powerless. The servant could not bear to be beside the queen because of her inability to serve in this state. Emily was the only ex-human she knew and the only person she could be herself around: dishonest, irritable, and submissive. Emily wanted to be depended on, by Kira, by this girl alone.
Even if she was to act as a replacement it would be just fine because the feelings are still real. Kira was still very sick, despite putting up a front (one easily seen thru by the doctor). Laid to rest in the bed Kira continued to fight the heaviness of her eye-lids. Emily went to retrieve medicine but found the edge of her shirt tugged by the bed’s occupant.
“No more.” Kira groaned after the fourth medication.
Emily grinned when sitting on the bed’s edge. Kira mumbled into her pillow shyly—that would not do. Annoyed with this coy girl, Emily takes the initiative and presses down on the bed, casting her shadow over Kira.
“That’s not what you said to Eona, I’m sure.”
Emily is pulled to the bed, meeting eyes with Kira. The human snuggles closer, becoming a ball to be enveloped against the vampire. Here she felt safe, here she felt cool and calm with no fears or worries. Kira fell silent and gradually as day became night, her fever went down.