Distortion. The word sticks as I walk through the temple in the Dark woods. The fog was creeping in as a bright moon was flickering behind black clouds.
That’s where I look as I humour Darc and his friends.
Even as they trail me, I boldly jump up and lie down upon the alter in the bronze ruins.
I wanted answers to my lost memory and perhaps shocking them would gain me some points.
Each vampire approaches with excitement to stand around me lying down, while I look up at the silver moon that isn’t a moon.
It’s something else.
I squint at it, as it flickers and seems to disappear then reappear.
Their five heads appear around me, and I can’t ignore them any longer.
“What is that thing in the sky?” I ask in a curious whisper, glancing to Darc, who’s red dim eyes hold onto mine like he’s tethering me to him. Weird thought.
“Souls are beautiful innocent light so when they die here, they gather into what looks like a sun… or a moon… but it is a schism – a rupture if you like… a gate. Right above you,” Darc is passionate about this, they all are.
I feel the light of the Schism is holding me to this alter, like the ghosts of the dead before me.
I ask, with a dry throat, “What price do I have to pay to get my memories back?” I ask, my tone husky.
“Everything,” Darc raises his hand and shows two cherries connected by a stem, he rolls one off with his thumb and reaches over to press the berry to my lips. I take it with my tongue and chew it – it’s ripe and juicy. He watches my jaw move, suss as he pockets the second berry in his robe, “Your will, your real compliance,” Darc’s face remains pillar still, “Everything.”
“One free token – he’s had a crush on you for years,” Horace breaks the moment with a happy snarl by my feet, where his hands lie too close – but not touching.
Darc snarls but doesn’t deny it.
I look back at Darc and he’s red eyes remain neutral despite the provocation.
“You do know me, so we have a history,” I state.
“Listen,” Darc rushes me now, “I’ll tell you the truth and nothing but the truth. Just submit to me,” he lets out that demonic tone of voice and I immediately feel put off.
“What. Submit. Submit to be your girlfriend?” I’m joking – Darc is not.
“Exactly,” Darc whispers, and I look at his cohort around me.
They’re calm – not laughing.
So, he is serious.
“Why is it so important to you that you have me like that?” I ask.
“Sin is everything. What we desire is all we know,” Fane watches me with a look I feel is more comfortable with me, but it makes me more uncomfortable than ever.
Solomon along with Ash and Horace – watch me like a meal. An actual meal.
I shouldn’t have laid down on this damn alter for them to all stare at me.
But I had to find out who I was or there was no point in trying this to provoke them into telling me more details.
I look to Darc, “I submit,” I play along, “Now tell me who I am.”
I speak lightly – but in truth I am desperate to know.
They all hold their breath.
“It’s fitting you’re lying right here, as you say that,” Darc is practically drooling, “Take a pulse, brothers,” he looks right at me as he speaks to his cohort.
“Finally,” Horace sounds ravenous.
They all grab a limb.
Darc’s hand snakes around my neck and holds my head down.
“What the hell are you doing?” I hiss.
Submitting wasn’t meant to do this.
“It’s a price to pay for friends,” Darc drawls over me, “If you prefer one – you’ll give your entire body to me.”
“You said you wouldn’t abuse me,” I start to panic.
“This is me being very, very kind to you, you little shit,” Darc lets the demon out, snarling deeper over my lips as he gets even closer, “Just for questioning me incessantly – this time I’ll not wait for another word.”
As if in slow motion, Darc’s lips move past mine, straight over my chin and down to my neck, pulsing through my skin as if his fangs grow with piercing my body. Fane and Ash pierce a wrist each – while Solomon and Horace both raise my legs, bend the knees and find a spot near my calf knee and upper thigh.
Sinking into me.
The rest is history.
They all tear into my flesh to grab hold of a flow of my blood and the pain is so immense I thankfully feel nothing while the adrenaline takes hold first.
In that moment, I know they are true beasts of the night and not just a pretty picture in the woods.
Sunlight, an antiseptic hospital ward.
“Wynter? Guys she’s waking up – oh my god. Wynter!”
I’m shaken as a deep familiar voice yells over me, yet still no memories ignite.
My eyes flitter open as I whimper awake – is this, the other side?
I’m numb and yet… I’m only dreaming. Right?
Around me familiar faces with no names crowd in. A girl. Three guys. A nurse. A doctor.
“I’m only asleep,” I cry out, “I’m in Dark Academy, with five vampires,” I feel panicked to say it, as if I know my time here is minimal.
“Wynter,” the man beside me holds my cheek – he’s yellow eyes and brown messy hair smells like a wolf, “You’re with Darc?”
“They’re going to turn you against us, they’re evil Wynter,” he is urgent.
“I know,” I try to reassure him.
“You don’t get it – he’ll make you fall in love with him – that’s how they snare you, do you understand me?” this man cares for me deeply.
I hesitate as I stare at him, but I do nod as well, “ – I understand. What is your name?”
“You don’t remember me?” he looks at the others, who are shocked into silence, then he glares back at me, as if wishing to make me remember with his passionate snarl, “It’s me, Armando, your boyfriend?”
“You do remember or –?”
That was the thing. No. I didn’t. I just… felt the familiar sense. Just no knowing of anything else.
“I don’t remember anything,” I state, final.
“Then listen. You’re an angel, baby, you don’t have wings down there?”
I shake my head, “No?” I cry out – feeling disturbed by such a fact as my physical body in the Upper starts to shudder uncontrollably with grief.
“Darc is an angel killer,” Armando grabs my shoulders, “Do not be complacent, you must run –”
But then I was paralysed – being brought back Under once again.