A sinister bell chime wakes me up violently. It’s so loud, as if the bell is above me, or over my head.
As I lie with eyes now wide open, the chime of the bell vibrates through my skin as it rings again – I think it is in a tower above this dorm, the north wing of Dark Academy. I wait for the horrible and deep vibrations to fade, and then I breathe a bit easier. It chimed like it was signalling the release of a ghost.
I’m under a webbed veil around a grey sheet bed I had been laid upon.
I’m still dressed in the formal tattered silver dress, and I’ve been placed in someone’s empty dorm. The place smells of stale air, and feels cold. There is not a hint of warmth in here.
The walls are stone grey. The dresser is grey wood. The double bed is black iron. The sheets are dusty as if they’ve never been used. The net around me, to ward off mosquitos, seems to be more a fancy feature. To my right, probably the nicest thing I see, is an arc shaped window. However, it’s edged open a few inches, and a breeze of menacing fog floats in and out, as if the air itself has lungs and breathes.
I sit up, and I might be in complete silence aside from the forest of the mountain outside my window, but I am not alone entirely. A note has been left for me, at the end of the bed near my grey and weary feet. I pick it up, noticing a slight blush in my hands slowly coming back – but it’s very slow indeed.
Wynter, as your body heals from death, you will need to rest. Stay down until I return from my classes. In the meantime, think of a talent or interest you had from your previous life. I want to know if you remember anything about that. – Darc.
Hmm - I slowly lie myself back down, and strangely I don’t mind the chill so much as I thought I might.
Simply because he’s made me curious, I try to remember – anything.
It should be easy, with no noise, no threat and only my mind.
But even as the hour passes? I can’t remember a single detail about my previous life.
I think I’ll have much longer to ponder this – but with very dramatic energy, and no echo of approaching footsteps, the door suddenly slams right open!
I launch up again, sitting, gasping – prepared to fight off Gorg if it’s that green ugly orc!
But no, oh thank goodness - it’s just the vampire. My ‘saviour’ Darc. He’s finished classes already – I must have slept most of the day away.
I timidly fold my hands in my lap, while Darc walks over to grab the veil and pull it aside, to take a better look at me. He doesn’t smile or frown, but he does seem… intensely curious.
“So?” Darc drawls, it’s strangely sexy for a single word. I let out a shaky large exhale and then lie back on the pillow once more, exhausted by my fading rush of adrenaline. My hands are now curled together on my stomach as I stare up at the ceiling, instead of him. I wished this fog in my brain would lift – “…Wynter, tell me what do you know… if anything… what do you remember?”
Without looking at him, his voice feels distant… but also so close. I feel a cheeky tickle along my sensitive toe and I jerk my leg away from Darc’s sleight fingers – he tickled my right big toe to get my attention back on his midnight red evil eyes.
I stare at him and he confuses me, but I ignore his touch and I answer him instead.
I whisper as I feel the sorrow for memories I can’t draw on, “Only that you look familiar. But nothing about me.”
“Familiar,” Darc chooses to focus on that word, something in him stills, “I certainly don’t remember you. I don’t traverse the Upper realm often,” he smiles because it is a bold lie I cannot challenge, even though Darc doesn’t even bother to hide his mysterious cheek in showing me his easy tendency to manipulate. Rather, he wants me to be distressed by his lazy answer, something I can’t fight. Because I know nothing, and he knows that all too well.
Sucking in a frustrated breath, I ask instead, “Why can’t you go into the ‘Upper’?”
Darc is surprised by my choice in question, but he replies anyway, “It’s expensive to cross and the sun is deadly – only the moon accepts our kind. Do you really not remember anything, Wynter?” here we go again.
He seems to taunt me with it.
“I don’t even remember what it means to be human, exactly,” I answer dryly, without much emotion myself.
“Humans are like… cows, to us demons,” Darc shrugs, “We drain them… we sometimes possess them.”
“Is Gorg looking for me?” I ask, sensitively.
He told me not to worry twice, but I do worry that I am meant to serve that green giant who wants to eat me after the day’s up.
I witness my saviour’s rising brow, a perfect arc – too perfectly graceful. No accidental twitch, no lines on his skin. Darc is unreal. He is also hell bent on not telling me a third time.
So Darc tells me instead, in that secret horrible snarl he can do, sounding akin to a straight up monster with no sense of patience when said patience is tested, “I. Am looking at you,” I stay silent at that, then he seems to swiftly shake off his arrogance and attempts to hide his small slip of kind ‘friend’.
“So… Darc, what do you do then… besides practice demonic magic here, I assume?” I ask, carefully.
“Oh,” Darc is happy to answer his, “I dream, demons love to dream, but we don’t sleep necessarily,” Darc quickly corrects himself, while deciding to suddenly sit on the edge of the bed, rather than just hanging under the veil. He gets comfortable closing the distance, soon leaning boldly over the covers into my space, then turning and lying right next to me, fluffing a spare pillow, punching it back and then twisting to recline… up a bit high, but slipping low… and lower… until his shoulder meets my cheek – and I have to shuffle over myself to give him some extra space – even though he purposefully chose to approach like so.
“Oh, so you daydream?” I ask, trying not to show him I’m flustered by his… well… the fact he’s quite handsome and up this close he drips a smell I quite… enjoy. It’s distracting. A cologne of sexy demon? What else to call it? Oh, that was such a dumb, silly thought. But I couldn’t help it, he was alluring.
Darc answers me, while looking down his nose at me, “Demons… know their purpose – which is to drain, and conquer Earth,” he reaches an arm over to me, making me freeze in fright, but he only pinches my chin again, between his thumb and finger, as if liking the dimple there. As the touch only lasts a second, I try to ignore that pinch of my skin, as he adds, “We’ll make all the humans our slaves and put them into farms… when we rule.”
It’s hard to look at him when he says that. I stare up at the ceiling and the veil instead.
“…you’re… that’s evil…” I state, monotone, “I wonder what chance humans stand when you decide to rise?”
“Glad you’ve been paying attention,” Darc goes off topic to compliment me, his red night eyes, glowing with cheeky energy as I can’t help but look up at him – and he’s pleased I fall for the sweet moment, “They don’t stand a chance,” he’s so sinister then, but naturally.
“So why do you train for thousands of years… if it’s so easy to conquer…” I have an extremely inquisitive mind, I want to unravel the answers, I guess I remember that – because it’s me. I like to learn. Perhaps I was a student before I came into this Academy. I was 21, young enough to be in college, so that made sense logically speaking.
“Well, with crossing realms there’s always a catch…” but Darc clearly doesn’t want to elaborate, as he seems to glare out the window, and at the fog briefly.
“Okay. Anyway then. What am I meant to do now?” I ask him, “As a human stuck in Dark Academy?”
Darc slowly looks back to me, poor ole me, still looking and sounding so confused. He slyly snakes out his hand to pick up my arm by the elbow, checking out the remaining swamp grime, as he casually drawls, “You, Wynter…you don’t really have to do anything… except one thing…”
“What’s that?” I whisper, truly intrigued, while I also simultaneously pull my elbow out of his cool hand, where his fingers had started to trace some of my blue visible veins intimately.
I didn’t like it. But Darc also doesn’t seem to like that I don’t accept his way.
He observes me with a challenge in his red dark eyes, he’s clearly annoyed I’m being defiant, “No matter what you choose here, Wynter – you can’t choose otherwise… with me.”
No. I bite back as I sit up, “That’s just a fancy way of saying you want total obedience –”
Darc almost smiles, delighted by my sudden fury. He does all he can to keep fuelling it now, “Oh no, I just want you to struggle and then submit to my awesome power,” he bites it off so quick, wanting more of my fiery reaction with his stupid words.
“More like awesome age gap,” I snap, leaning up on my elbows, “You’re ancient. Although you look like a baby.”
“Blood of dead virgins will do that to you,” Darc licks his upper lip, after swirling it around his sharp as hell fang.
“I don’t like that,” I whisper in fright, referring to the dead virgins and his razor tipped fang, made for slicing necks and piercing human flesh. Painfully. To kill.
“The dead always taste better,” Darc drawls, while purposefully glancing to my neck, trying to scare me.
“I’m not dead.”
“You’re more dead than alive.”
“I’m Revived,” I retort, knowing this now.
“You cute human,” Darc still speaks without emotion, “The Revived are always stuck in the state they died in – virgins are the usual choice – for taste. But we never usually pick humans, as I told you before,” Darc’s eyes dart to the blue veins in my elbow, “Because humans taste… euphoric almost…. we frenzy to it,” I gulp. I don’t want to know what that means. Frenzy. Noting my silence, Darc adds, fake-friendly, “I won’t abuse you for being weaker than me, Wynter… I just want your company, up until we sacrifice you to go to war. Sound okay?” he watches me as I roll off my side of the bed to stand away from him. I clench both my fists in denial.
“What if you end up liking me too much?” I challenge him.
“Oh, no, that won’t happen,” Darc chuckles, truly amused, “The only thing I feel is sin. All the darkness. Nothing light.”
I blink – that word is also familiar.
I try to hide my own feeling of shock, as I ask, while swatting aside the webbed veil and holding my hand to the sparse room, “Is this your bedroom?”
“No,” Darc is disgusted, shaking his head as he also stands off the bed, “My bedroom is far finer than your hovel,” ha, hovel… such an ancient tongue he had.
“Well prove to me it’s so bloody fine then,” I challenge him with an accidental vampire pun, finding a cheeky side within me, as I smirk… just a little.
“No,” Darc looks at me, as if I’m insane, “Vampire bedrooms are totally off limits – you must be invited,” I shrug a shoulder, not caring for that, “…are you hungry, maybe…?” Darc couldn’t sound anymore untrustworthy, as he soundlessly rounds the iron bed, to look at me from the end of it, as I stand by the side of it, away from him.
I nod, slightly, “Maybe a little bit.”
“Then come with us and we’ll pick you some berries in the forest,” Darc gives away his friends are close by, while also barely hiding his smirk, which just tugs up one tiny corner of his lush mouth.
“I like berries,” I try to answer, neutrally.
“Good, follow me.”