❝Can’t you see that I’m lost in a sea of you? I’d rather drown in your shadows than swim in someone else’s light.❞
The night was silent and dead. The house eerily silent as I walked through the door with caution steps.
“Mom?” I call out, looking around.
The house was a mess, things scattered across the floor in a disarray and objects broken to pieces.
My voice now took on a quivering tone the further I walked inside, the winter night following me inside like a hovering ghost. An unknown feeling overcame me, something nudging at me that this was all familiar. A noise from the kitchen snapped my attention in that direction, deep inside me something was screaming at me to not take that step forward, but my feet had a mind of their own and I was already walking to the entrance of the kitchen.
The kitchen was in the same state as the living room and the entry to the house, everything was scattered and broken, liquid and debris all over the floor. Trembles racked my body, up and down my nerves as I move into the kitchen, the darkness and atmosphere swallowing me, my feet squash and noisily make a sound in something liquid and sticky.
I glance down, the light from the moon shines down on the wooden flooring, a sense of horror rocks me to the core as the color of the liquid fills my vision; it was blood. It had to be, there was no other as the blood trailed around the island counter of the room. My limbs begin to quake, I take tentative steps forward, nausea looking inside me as the sounds of my feet moving through the bloodied floor.
That was soon forgotten as my gaze flits down to the body that lays still, and cold on the floor where the blood trail ends and connects to a puddle beneath it. Everything within me freezes as I gaze down at my mother’s face, her hair was fanned out around her, drenched in the blood that surrounds her upper body, the blood oozing from the claw-like markings on her neck.
Her eyes stared up above at the ceiling, those once bright brown eyes now dull and lifeless.
I dive down toward her, my heard lurching just as my body does, my heart thudding repeatedly with fear and anxiousness that she was alright: just as I kneeled down beside her, the world darkened and disappeared. I was left on my knees in a blacked void with nothing I sight, I whipped around searching for something that wasn’t there.
My voice echoed all around me, the emptiness of this place closing in on me like the cage around my heard, a sudden chill runs down my spine with the presence of something dark that shifts the atmosphere. I slowly stand to my feet, clenching my hands together in an attempt to remind myself that this wasn’t real, it was adornment it was a figment of my imagination.
“Who’s there?!” I call out, turning from left to right in a full circle.
That dark energy presses further onto me and the shivers intensify down my spine and my scalp tingles with the feel of something watching over me.
“You should know. . .”
The voice was deep and baritone, the tint of darkness seeping through, the brush of air over my ear causes my heart to drop as I scramble away from the spot.
“Who’s there? What do you want?!”
A chuckle traveled through the air, causing havoc with my nerves as the temperature in the void drops.
“What do I want?” the voice repeats, the tone coming from around me, in all directions.
The voice laughs again, this time louder and closer than before, I turn to look for the disembodied figure but I wasn’t able to move, my legs were frozen in place. My eyes widen as something begins to form in front of me, taking in the element of smoke as it wisps at my feet and grazes my face as the size of it grows larger until I’m craning my neck.
“What do I want, you ask?” It mocks, the dark voice coming from directly in front of me.
From the top of the mass of smoke, eyes so red and bright glare down at me with a vicious aura and intent in its eyes, the trembling in my body returns with vengeance. White of fangs appear beneath the eyes as they continue to stare down at me.
“I want you dead,” it begins, its grinning stretching impossibly farther.
The figure suddenly bares its fangs and soars down toward me at the speed of light, those glowing red eyes haunting me as darkness falls over.
I startle awake with a sharp cry. My heart was in my throat, pounding a rhythm through my body and veins, my breaths come out in short pants. My wide eyes flicker about to my surroundings; everything slowly comes back to mind. Something grazes against my arm, producing me to scream and jerk away from the contact, I come face to face with hazel eyes that stare intensely into my own, a sense of calmness washing over me at the connection.
Slowly, my heart rate decreases and my eyes begin to burn with the presence of tears the longer I stare into those hazel eyes that make me realize that it was all a dream. A lone tear rolls down the side of my face, the burn of it drawing out its brother and sisters that quickly follow its lead, my lip quivers like a toddler being scolded. Soon, I drop my face in my hands and begin to release shuddering sobs that shake my whole being.
My heart squeezes at the feel of Arsen's body heat shifting closer to me, his rough hand running down my hair and curving around my back as I cry. I accept his gesture and these tiny warmth-filled tingles that unknowingly leaves me wanting more, my tears seep through the spaces in my hands, full of my emotions as they drop and trail down my wrist then to my elbows. I cry for the time I didn't get a chance to, mourning for the loss of my parents and the life that I once hated but should have enjoyed more.
Arsen lets me lean against him, his huge body somehow pushed me aside to give him enough space so that he could sit next to me, eventually, my tears slow to little sniffles. I keep my face in my hands, the feeling of embarrassment gradually rising in my body as I calm down, a palm grasps my wrist and pulls one of my hands away from my face. In result, my eyes flicker up to those soul-searching hazels again that glare down at me with concern and a question.
I shake my head, looking away, "It was nothing. Just a bad dream," I tell him softly.
His hand gently connects with my face, turning me back to look at him. He was closer this time, our foreheads practically touching as he leans a little closer, emphasizing his point that he didn't buy it was just all a bad dream. I tried to pull back but his fingers tighten around my jaw, causing my lips to pucker out, a small flicker of amusement showcases in his eyes for a second before it was gone.
I sigh, tapping his forearm, he lets me go and I sit there beside him silently, working the courage to finally speak about it.
"The day you found me was a little while after I found my house trashed and my mother lying on the floor in the kitchen, dead," I whisper, my fingers twisting the sheets. "An animal— no, monster, slit her throat and left her there as if knowing the state I would find her would lead him to find me."
I glance up to stare deeply into his eyes, "He did," my hand wraps around the base of my neck, "he tried to kill me, strangle me against the counter just inches away from my dead mother's body."
Arsen's eyes were taking on a darker shade than his beautiful light ones, I could feel the small tremors of growls at the base of his chest that quickly rose out of his parted lips. My teeth sink into my bottom lip as my eyes glaze over with the memory of staring the man in his eyes as he had his hands around my throat, his eyes dead and blank as he squeezed.
I clear my throat, shaking my head a bit, "There was something off about the man, he didn't seem human, I couldn't put my finger on it but the way my body tensed and locked up with the ever growing need to get away made me realize that I did know what he was but my mind wouldn't let me figure it out."
I stop speaking for a moment, shifting on my back to stare up at the ceiling.
"You're going to pay for that, little girl"
"By some miracle," I start again, "I was able to break free and get away while doing the hardest thing in my life. I had to leave my mother behind, knowing I wasn't going to be able to bury her like she deserved. I don't know where my father is or if he's alive looking for me or has long found my mother in the state she was in."
Shutting my eyes, I shake my head and close off from the story. I wonder what made me open my mouth in the first place, I know nothing about Arsen besides the fact he can't speak but a few words and that he can shift into a beast, maybe it was the way he was looking at me—the way his eyes were glittering down at me when I woke up, or that fact that there's a sort of connection between the both of us that makes me want to reveal my deepest secrets and worries to him.
I open my eyes again to find him gazing down at me with a look, his eyes move away from my face and dart to my eyes, the second we collide a warm sensation passes through me. Yeah, that's what it was, a connection, had to be.