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Prologue

(B4 reading understand that this is only the rough draft and will have MANY errors.)
 
 
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them-Matthew

 




I lived in a world of pain, darkness, and fear. Hatred was the foundations of the new world.
Things like marriage, honor, trust and faith, were nothing but faded memories from the past.
Some say our world was never pure. They believe that before the solar flare destroyed over half the planet, the world was still evil. But I deny their beliefs. When I was young my mother taught me how to read, which was a rare thing in that day’s society. I learned from the hundreds of books I had collected over the years, that though the world was still plagued by war, it was once built upon faith.
Every bible throughout the remaining parts of the world was supposed to be destroyed. When the the solar flare came about the human race blamed God and forsaken him, turning to a much darker god. A god that promised more power and no rules. One that offered sweet sympathy and suggests.
The Devil.
Even though it was punishable by death if caught reading a bible, when I was only seven years of age, Mama had snuck me an old “unholy” bible. I kept it secret, and read every night with mother. I drank in every word thirsty for more, until the bitter sweet writing was written into my mind. The bible taught me how to act and be kind. How to live with love instead of hatred. It had taught me how to be human, instead of the wicked animal ways the people around me seemed to be living.
I believe there is still hope for the corrupt world. Why else would only half the planet be destroyed? I believe God was giving the human race one last chance for redemption. A chance I will fight for until my soul leaves the flesh, and maybe even after that.

:Yram



Wake me up gently, or I will wake up on the wrong side of the bed-Proverbs 27:14

 



I woke up sprawled on my old moth munched mattress with my long legs and arms thrown about awkwardly. The blistering evening sun shone through my murky window and beat down on my flesh, making perspiration pool between my breasts where my hulk necklace lay, and the dip above my upper lip. Licking the salty sweat off of my lip I arched my back and stretched like a cat would, that is if there were anymore cats left alive. The last cat I saw was when I was ten years old, after that the villagers food supply began to decrease, thus the absence of cats, aka, shish catbobs.
In mid stretch I realized my old beat up comic book was stuck to my thigh. I had fallen asleep reading it, again. It was an addiction really, my reading problem. I had a sickness, though I was sure there were much worse addictions I could have. I was relieved that mine was only a comic book indulgence and not a human sacrifice lust which seemed to plague most my village.
I peeled the comic book off of my sweaty thigh and let out a moan. All that was left of hulk was a large green ink blob, both on the thin paper and my leg. Hmm, It looked as though I turning into the green hulk myself, though I always imagined I would either be pink or red. I did that a lot. Imagined myself being someone else, anyone else. I pictured myself in another world with different problems and trials. Dealing with imaginary evil was much easier than handling my own demons in the flesh. Anything was better than looking how I did and living where I was.
I shook my head banishing the melodramatic thoughts. Don't be such a whiner, I chided myself. It could be worse, you could be the shish kabob...
Yes, it could always get a lot worse in the village of Semper nox.
I groaned at my bitter humor. “So it is going to be one of those days, huh?”
“You know, i've heard that talking to yourself is one of the first signs of insanity.” came a flute like voice from the corner of my room. I gasped, surprised to see my Mama's small frame balled up in my chair.
“Says the woman who's constantly trying to turn my horse into stake.” I shot back, groggily crossing my arms over my chest.
“It’s only because your sweet little kitty cat tasted so darn good.” Mama chirped.
I shot out of bed. “Mother! You said he ran away!”
“No sweetie, I said he was gone, you simply assumed. Didn’t you ever wonder where those delicious meat pies came from?”
Sadly, my mother was insane. I'm not saying that because she, on occasion, chopped up my pets. But, oh, I loved my Mama. It did not matter to me that she was crazy, though 17 years of her preaching to me about the creatures that came about from the solar flare, became tedious. She believed that there were creatures that were once human but now were mutated beasts from the radiation of the flare. Not to mention the fact that she was always telling me that I was supposedly the spon of a demon. I may strike fear into people with the abnormal way I looked, but demons did not roam the earth. Ah, mother, my best friend and most eccentric story teller.
I began quickly pulling on my brown leather pants and comfy tank top. With most human beings going extinct, and an old strip mall about five miles away, clothing and books were a surplus.
As I heard my mother's footsteps clicking out of my bedroom where she was snooping, I began pulling on the rest of my outfit. Tall lace up boots and a large hot, black cloak to cover my body and a hood to cover the most noticeable features, my hair and face.
The usual temperature in Colorado was 110 and I was still condemned to wear a cloak. Well, it was either that or start a town riot.


Shoulders hunched, head down, hood drawn, I slipped down the road, seen by none. The bucket in my hand clanked against my leg as I scurried to the local well.
I had just made it to the watering hole when I heard snickering and whistling behind me.
“Hey, hey! Look who finally decided to crawl out of her den! The freak flare girl!” Laughing followed the taunt. I felt sick. No doubt was the cruel words meant towards me. I ignored the group behind me and quickly began filling up the water bucket. My hands shook, sloshing the murky water on the ground. Too many times had I been assaulted by the villagers.
“Oh, look boys, shes scared! Her poor hands are shaking, do you want your mommy to come protect you, huh? Oh wait, she's a crazy old hag! Can't even tie her own shoes!”
I felt a harsh shove on my back and I stumbled but quickly regained my footing.
I brought my free hand up to my chest and tangled it around my old hulk necklace. Through that I drew strength and my anger faded. I too was quick to anger like my favorite comic book villain/hero, but had never done anything about my anger. I was always in control. Partly because the intensity of my anger scared me. No, I would not grow ten feet and turn green, but I felt a madness in me that had never been awakened. Who knows, maybe I was just insane like my mother?
I spun around to meet my attackers though I already knew who it was. The town's youngest gang, or cult I should say, as they did practice the death rituals. They were no older than me, bloodthirsty, and blocking my path.
My lips drew downward. I did not know what it was but If there was a rattlesnake within a mile of me, i'd step on it.
“P-please move.” I mumbled, looking hard to the ground. Making eye contact with them was like putting fire to gasoline.
“And what will ya give us in return, freak girl?” sneered the bald leader of the gang. “I might like to try a freak. These other girls they're getting a little boring ya see...”
Would these men, no, boys, really do to me the corrupt desires they had in mind? My stomach turned at the thought. What had happened to their innocence, their very being that willed them to believe that rape was okay? In what world could such sickness pollute their hearts? Acid boiled in my gut.
This world.
My hands began to shake even more. With helpless sorrow for these boys more than anger. I could almost feel my heart twist in agony for them.
I had no time to react when the leader of the cult grasped my arm and brushed off my hood. Though I was still looking down I could see them all flinch as if it hurt to look at me. I was unnatural. I was a freak.
“Uh, you don't want her man. You could do better, any other girl in the village. Uh, lets just go, she's too weird man. Lets, um, go.” said a acne sacred guy to the right of the bald leeder. I could hear the fear in his voice.
“I’ll be back for you, freak! Just wait. You'll see.” Said the leader, nervously trying to regain his pride. I knew he would be back, they always did return, but then would leave again in fear the second my face was revealed.
Looking down into the bucket of water I saw the girl looking back at me. I did not know who this demonic faced girl was, she was only a mask I was born with. Forced to wear. I should have been thankful of this face, it was her that had protected me for years, but I feared the girl, maybe even more then the villagers did.
Eyes the color of fire, burned down into the water. Hair even more ferocious and burning like the depths of hell. Beauty so profound and shocking, it was terible.
I closed my eyes and dremt I was someone else.

:Yram


Nation will rise against nation and Kingdom against kingdom -Mark 13:8

 




A vicious black and purple cloud rolled across the valley, obliterating the blazing white sun. It cast my village into almost complete inky darkness.
I shivered despite the always hot air. Something about the dark storm gave me a feeling of dread. I fearfully gazed up at the sky again, It looked as though the very sun had turned as black as the devil's heart.
As I made my way cautiously through the beaten down village, horses whinnied at me and pranced around their pens nervously. They seemed to sense the danger lurking within the depths of the storm
I quickened my pace as I felt the ground shake and rumble under me, as if it was enraged. Was It just another earthquake? I dismissed the thought. It did not feel of natural causes, but something more sinister.
That was when I saw it. A billowing dust storm rolling and crawling closer to our village, I heard the sounds of thousands of voices, captured within the dust cloud, as if it was bringing with it an army of ghosts.
My heart dropped with an realization. An army!
I sprung into action, storming down the dusty street to my house leaving the bucket of warm water overturned on the ground. Catching my breath I stopped in front of a faded house with small oval windows that lined most of the walls. The yards dry grass rustled about with the storm and a dead tree stood tall and strong in the middle of it.
My home.
Even though most people were either in a cult at my age or got kicked out of their home at ten years old, I planned on staying with my mother until I died.
The villagers loved to gossip about my odd ways. They thought it was strange how I would take in an animal if it was wounded. They shunned me for not taking place in their sacrifice rituals, and contemplated using me for sacrifice. The only reason I was not murdered by now was because they were afraid of me. Their fear caused them to forbid me to speak with anyone in the village except my mother, for fear my unholy ways would pollute others. I did not care what they thought. Though I was often lonely.
I made my way quickly up the stone path to the large black door of my beloved house. Before I could even reach for the doorknob the door flung open revealing Mama with her wild graying hair and her fearful eyes, as black as night.
“It has begun. Hurry, come inside before they see you!” shrieked Mama while wildly grabbing my arm and yanking me inside the old house.
So she knew about the the army marching towards our desolate village. I was not surprised. Mother often had “visions”.
The strong smell of sage tea floated around the room as I cautiously followed mother through the kitchen and into the living courtiers. She desperately pulled me down beside her on the overly stuffed couch. I felt like I was sinking into the center of freshly baked bread. Just thinking about it made my mouth water. It had been so long since we had a proper meal! The villagers were reduced to eating their horses and there had been scattered rumors about people going missing throughout the village. I have heard human flesh was better than horse, though I would starve before I laid a hand on any human or even my trusting stallion.
I was not the least bit surprised when Mama yanked my neck down to her level and whispered with great sorrow in her eyes, “The heavens have fallen silent.”
Thunder roared out side almost shaking my bones and I started to hear the faint pitter patter of rain on the roof.
“It doesn't sound very silent to me.” I said matter of factly.
Mama ignored my comment and continued, acting as if her life depended on it.
“The heavens have fallen silent! The gateway to heaven has closed! The lord God has finally given up on us! Oh, my innocent, Yram! My sweet, sweet child! What have I done? I am sorry for what I have brought upon you.” she moaned.
Mother pulled her legs to her chest and wrapped her arms around herself as a child would. She looked so young and afraid like that. My heart swelled for her, she obviously believed the insanity she was speaking.
“It's all my fault! I am so, so sorry. So sorry. Sooory!” Mother frantically sobbed without meeting my eyes. She was now in hysterics rocking back and forth repeatedly. I wrapped my arms around her emaciated frame and murmured soothingly, “It’s not your fault. You don't have to be sorry Mama. You did not do anything. The army could not possibly be your fault.”
Mamas rocking stilled and her head slowly turned to me. A rare look of clarity melted into her withered features.
“I was once a wicked young girl.” Mama confessed. “I did bad, bad things in the eyes of God. I-I fell in love with your..father. Your demon father, Yram. Demon!”
I took in a shaky breath, terrified. “Mama, w-what are you saying? You're scaring me, please calm down.”
Not hearing me, Mama lifted up my shirt and placed her ice cold hand on my stomach. I jumped away at first but then realized what she was doing, though I did not understand why. Mama had placed her hand across the center of my belly where I knew there was a odd pink birthmark .The mark started at my navel and flared out around my stomach making a much despised five pointed star. The sign of the devil, a inner voice whispered to me. I always told myself it was just a coincidence. Though, deep down I knew it was not. It was something much, much more.
“This is the mark of the chosen one.” she she whispered. The way Mama said it made it obvious I was not chosen by the God I prayed to.
“Katheryn,” I said dead serious. “What are you talking about? I am chosen for what?”
Mama gave me a look of pain that corrupted her sharp features.
I had never seen Mama like this before. So lucid yet so sorrowful. She was terrifying me, because for some reason, I believed her.
“Right after the demon gave me you, he left saying he would return for you when the heavens have fallen silent... He left me, young and afraid to raise a child until the devil had need of it. The mark on your stomach is no birthmark as I told you, it is the mark of the devil. Now that he is almost winning the battle against God, he needs you to tip the balance of the war to their favor. I am not sorry that I have given birth to you and raised you. You are the best thing that ever happened to me and he can NEVER take that away! But what have I done? I am so sorry, Yram. They are coming for you.”
I remembered the odd storm outside. It was so dark it obliterated the sun. The storm reminded me eerily of a bible passage about the end of the world.
“The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood.”
I was in shock. This could not be happening! I didn't even believe that demons roamed the earth! Much less that I was promised to the devil himself! Yet, I believed her.
“Promised for what?” I asked again. Fear was slowly eating me alive.
Mamas eyes turned glassy as she recited a type of poem in a monotone voice,

“Made of demon and of flesh.
Something so pure,
to be put to the test.
Corrupted by evil
and the mark of hell
bear the womb of darkness
she shall.
Through corruption and hatred,
dark salvation will come,
by the blood and the power
of the chosen one”

As Mama spoke the last sentence she came out of the trance.
“You must run to the City of God! There you will find safety!” urgently shouted Mama.
“I am NOT leaving you, Mama!” I yelled back. “Come with me! Lets leave together!”
Mother pushed me up off the couch trying to force me away as she frantically shrieked, “It is you they want! Not me! My old body will not travel well . I fear I will not make the journey. Go now! Take Hosanna! Zion is his home and he will remember the road we traveled long ago.”
“I. Am. Not. Leaving. You.” I told her heatedly.
“Than stay here and watch me die. They will come for you. Just know it will be your fault when the world will fall to Lucifer and the street will run with innocent blood.” Mama said fiercely, ignoring the tears that were streaming down her face and soaking the front of her dress.
I did not know what to do. What could I do?
Mama seemed to see the chink in my armor.
“You need to run. I am serious, you are going to be the mother of hell if you don't.” Mama had fire in her eyes as she said that.
“Promise me you will be okay.” I choked out. I could barely speak with my heart in my throat.
Just then, I heard screaming and growling outside the house.
“Where is the girl?!” A smooth voice demanded. “Where is Yram?! My child!”
I heard a thick, wet, thump as steal met flesh.
Father was here.
“GO!” Mama demanded her eyes wide with terror. “And may God see your light in all of this darkness.”

:Yram


You need to run. I am serious, you are going to be the mother of hell, if you don't-Christian,Straw

 


I ran. Leaving my home, my Mother, and the only place I had ever known behind me. Leaving myself, it felt like.
I wanted to cry, but knew it would only blur my vision, so instead, I hardened myself and ran out the back door to the two horse stable mother owned.
The storm howled above my head, as if it was coming for me.
I ran even faster.
When finally, I made It out of the rain and into the warm stables, I grabbed my withered bridle and flung open Hosanna’s stall door.
Hosanna took my breath away every time I laid eyes on him. Even now when I could barely see him in the darkness, he was the most magnificent horse I had ever seen. His soft coat of fur was crystal white and his eyes were as black as coal. Not only was he beautiful but the very way he stood portrayed power and honor.
Hosanna perked up his ears and looked intently into my eyes as if he knew exactly what was going on. I stepped inside the stall and slip on his bridle.
“I need you to take me to your home, boy.” I told him while shakily stroking his long smooth face. Hosanna nickered a low calming sound, and I knew It was going to be okay.
I swung my leg over his back and hopped up on his familiar, warm body. Hosanna and I were so in tuned to each other's rhythm that all I had to do was think about what I wanted Hosanna to do and he would sense it through my body.
“Let's soar.” I whispered. Hosanna, who felt the urgency, reared up striking his hooves in the air before he galloped out of the stable and through the dark town full of cries and whimpers.
Don't look back. Don't look back. I demanded to myself. Ignore the cries of terror and the bellows of sick laughter. Don't look back. Do not look back!
Once we were finally out of the town Hosanna ran even faster than before. He glided across the priory towards the vast purple and black mountains.
He seemed to know exactly where we were headed.

:Katheryn


In the end, we must pay the price for all sins, No matter the cost- Unknown

 




I awaited the demon, fulfilled with peace and contentment. Yram was safe, and that was all that mattered. It was my fault the terrible curse was upon her, so it was my job to fix it. And fix it I shall.
But, Oh! I prayed she would never find out just what the curse was!
I thought back to a time when Yram was conceived. The demon would have forced himself upon me even if I was not willing. They needed my daughter, and mine alone, to win this Godforsaken war. They needed a girl so pure and yet with the power for darkness. A child that would not be corrupted by the world. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t have raised Yram to be so pure, but in the end I am glad that I did. because if anyone was going to heaven, I knew It would be my sweet Yram. She may be the last shining star in this very dark night.
I was soon brought out of my thoughts by the front door of my house being broken open. Splinters of black wood flew across my kitchen floor where I was calmly sipping my tea.
Oh my, I really did love that door. A dark thought came upon me; I really do love my life as well, yet that was going to be taken away.
Now I was angry. Superbus shouldn't have touched my door.
Without looking up from my steaming tea I asked annoyed, “Did you really have to break open my door?! You could have just knocked like a normal human being. Though, I guess that is the problem. You are not human.”
I took a sip of my sage tea.
That was when I heard his laugh, it was as smooth as honey on glass. After all, he was once an angel. Though I knew he was a monster I still could not help the flutter of my heart at his lush laugh.
“Your personality has not changed, Kathryn.” Said the demons seductive voice behind me. “Though the years have aged you roughly.” I could feel him pick up a strand of my hair, examining the gray color of it.
Slowly, I turned around and admired his ageless beauty. I could clearly see Yram's loveliness in him. The golden skin, the elegant tall body, the exotic high cheekbones, but most of all, the crimson eyes. Though unlike Yram's kind eyes his held bloodlust.
“Yes,” I said smirking. “and you haven't changed at all. Still a prideful lying demon I see.”
Rage flared in his eyes.
“Where is Yram?!” demanded Superbus.
“Oh that girl ran away about a month ago. Haven't seen her since.” I lied causally.
“Do not lie to me, human!” He said and slapped me across the face. “Where are you hiding her?!”
I straightened up. Rubbing my jaw I said, “Oh honey, don't go and be mad. You will screw up your pretty face, and I know how much you love your looks.”
Hatred burned like the sun in him.
I smirked.
“Tell me where she is. Now.” His voice was deadly quiet and he wore a slightly crazed side smile, which could only mean one thing. The demon was beyond rage. I was shocked he had not killed me yet.
Suddenly, men burst into my home, crawling up behind the demon. Well, I shouldn't say men. They were Creatures of the Flame. Once human but now more monster. Radiation does strange things to the body and mind.
A young boy to the right of the demon had sickly yellow skin that sagged off of his bones. He twitched his head spastically and licked his already red swollen lips like a snake. He was the most human looking of them all.
There were two other men behind Superbus. One had bloodshot eyes and veins that were pitch black and trailed along his skin like inky spider webs. He also had a grotesque abscess growing out of the side of his face. The pulsating abscess looked painful, and I could tell it was infected because of the steady, drip, drip, drip of pus onto my floor. Really? He couldn’t wipe up his mess? Men never change. Demon, monster, human, all the same.
The other guy was almost normal except for his shark-like teeth that he must have filed and his blistered skin that looked as though he spread oil all over it, making the skin glisten with slime.
“Now,” Said Superbus sneering. “are you going to tell me where my daughter is or are you going to make me let my friends here show you what living hell is really like. Though, I could show you the real thing if you would prefer.”
I did what was natural for a girl being threatened by a creep.
I kicked him in the groin. His eyes widened in shock as he let out a girlish scream.
I then did what any mother would do if her child was threatened. I took a knife out of the folds of my dress and stabbed the demon in his once, pretty eye.
It only took a couple seconds for the creatures of the flame to recover from their shock.
They giggled hissed and roared at me. I tried to be brave and not show fear as the slimy guy ran at me with cat like quickness. He grabbed a handful of my hair and slammed my face into the kitchen sink. He smashed in my face so hard I was positive death had swallowed me whole.

:Yram


Love is like a brick. It can build a house or sink a dead body- Stefani, Germanotta

 




After running relentlessly for miles, Hosanna slid to a stop on the outskirts of the dead wood forest.
As I tried to relax my death grip on Hosannas mane he pawed the ground madly, stirring up ash from the burnt trees. I could tell by his actions that the City of Zion was somewhere on the other side of the dead forest.
I looked right, then left, trying to see if there was a way around it. The forest was so long it stretches for miles and miles, and, like the ocean, I could not decipher where it begun or ended.
“Come on, boy,” I pleaded to Hosanna. “We are going to have to go through it.” I tapped him with my heels to urge him forward, but Hosanna refused to go forward, backing away from it instead.
Something was holding Hosanna back. Fear maybe? I did not blame him. The forest was completely silent, with no sign of plant nor animal life. Not that we had life anywhere else in this forsaken world. The flare completely dried out the lands. Since most plants were dead, almost all herbivores went extinct to. The rare animals that survived were mostly carnivores, because they fed on the flesh of humans. The only way humans survived was off of the flesh of carnivores and occasionally their own kind. It was rare to find many herbivores besides horses, and that was only because people needed the transportation.
Humans were a sick, demented race. It was no shock to me the Lord stopped fighting for us. There came a time when enough was enough.Though, even through the darkness of this world, I had seen signs of light. Mothers who looked at their children with such compassion I knew love was not forever diminished. Children who secretly snuck me food when I was banned from trading for it. Even though it was small glimpses of hope, it did not matter the size. One small star in the vast darkness of the night sky, was enough to fight for.
Honestly, I did not even want to go into the forest. The black scorched trees reached up to the heavens in black and white charcoal curls. Some trees even resembled the withered bodies of humans. I shuddered in defeat. But then, a memory came to me. I remembered a lullaby mother had sang to me as a child, to ease my fear when I was woken from a nightmare. Lord please let this work, I silently pleaded to God. Please.
I sang.
I could feel Hosannas tense muscles loosen and my own fear fade away as I sang and Hosanna walked on.
Thick ash loosened as Hosanna trudged into the dark forest. It swirled around his legs and fluttered from the trees onto our backs. It was exotic and beautiful, the way I imagined snow would be like. Only drier.
Despite the fact that the dusty ash was starting to find its way into my mouth, soaking up all my moisture, I sang on.
“In a dark world,
With no light
a young girl was shining,
shining too bright.
She was beautiful,
innocent and pure,
the darkness wanted
to take her sweet soul.
The girl kept on running
from the evil,
Trying to hide
from the corrupted people.
Saving herself,
protecting her heart
she wouldn’t let anything
tear her apart.
In a dark world,
with no light
a young girl was shining,
shining too bright.”
I now understood the song, and why mother would try to hide her tears every time she sang it to me.
I wept too.
Hot, salty tears rolled down my ash stained face and dripped into my opened mouth. The salt and ash tasted like hopelessness.
But still, I sang on.

Pheonix

Fires all go out eventually”-anonymous

  A Voice, melodic, musical, wavering. A face, alien, delicate, beautiful. Her lips moved apart from the faltering song, but a voice that beautiful must be hers. She beckoned to me, her delicate hand extended. Suddenly she turned and walked away into the darkness, but her voice continued on. Finally she faded away, I wanted to follow her but I was unable.

  A tickle in my nose woke me up, the singing still floated through the skeletons of trees. I stood up, ash clinging to my arms and legs. I looked down to see long, dragging footprints pulled through the ash that covered the fire-hardened earth like a carpet. I followed the trail, but didn’t need to look at the prints, a magnetic attraction pulled me towards the epicenter of its power.

  I finally stopped when I reached a small clearing in the skeletal forms, a veritable break in the spine of the forest. She was sitting on the back of a vast animal, a horse , I guessed. She tried to calm the creature by stroking its mane. Her hair was gray, as was the animal, but it might have been the ash. A mighty shake of the horses’ large head sent ash and dust everywhere, showing a small amount of the creature’s true perle color. I walked around the edge of the clearing a little, my skin had been changed to the color of the surrounding trees and ground. I saw her face as she raised it from the dust and sweat of the horse's’ neck, a tear running through the grey pallor on her face. She hopped down from her perch, kicking up a cloud of fine powder. In that instant I knew that she needed help, a protector, and I might be the person to save her.

Yram

 

I felt someone's eyes on my back. Watching me, stalking me. Slowly eating away at my sanity. All I knew was that whomever was following me, wanted to waist my blood upon the ash.

        Despite the fact that me and Hosanna had been riding throughout half the day and into the red moon night, I urged him into a fast jog. I knew it must have been hell for him, trudging through the dry ash that continued to flutter around us and finds its way into our orifices and other places that I would rather not think about. The white ash had long since stopped being beautiful and eloquent. It was now only itchy and dry. Think on the bright side! I urged myself, knowing that a dimmed mood would only bring me more despair. The only bright thought I could conjure up was, at least I am alive, and even that was not at the moment, a happy thought.

        Without food nor water for more than half the day, and the ash drinking in any leftover moisture I had, my mouth felt like cotton and I could barely open my eyes because they had almost no moisture in them. It hurt me to think what Hosanna was going through, him being closest to the ash and running for so long. I wanted to let him rest for the night but feared we would be slaughtered if we stopped for too long.

        A couple of minutes later Hosanna started to wheeze and try unsuccessfully to snort the hated ash out of his nostrils. We had to stop. There was no choice, unless I could figure out a way to stop the ash from being inhaled into his lungs...

        I flung myself off of Hosanna, angry at myself for being so stupid as to not have thought of it earlier.

        Hosanna stopped gratefully beside me. I grabbed a handful of my ash stained shirt and ripped it in half. My entire stomach was completely revealed, showing off the satanic star that cursed and mocked me. I would have never dressed like this in my village, though most women wore less. I did not want man to get any more ideas than they already had about me. If people were not so afraid of me, I would have been taken into a cult because of my looks, though it was because of my looks that people were afraid. What a mad world.

        I took the ragged strip of my shirt and tied it tightly around Hosanna soft and prickly muzzle. At first Hosanna tossed his head around humorously, but then he seemed to realize it was keeping the ash from his lungs and settled down.

        Shockingly, I heard a branch snap behind me.

        I was so terrified that with a burst of adrenalin I ran at Hosanna as fast as I could and tried to leap up on him.

        Apparently, the adrenalin gave me an extra burst of strength because I hurtled over Hosanna and landed with a puff of ash on my already sore butt.

       I would have laughed at myself if I hadn't been so terrified.

       Fearfully, I peaked around Hosanna leg to see my attacker.

     My terrifying attacker was no larger than my foot and seemed to be just as afraid as I was.

Its entire gray body shook with fright and its long ears were pointed straight upward listening for sign of movement.

        I relaxed with a great big sigh when I saw it did not have pointed carnivore teeth but two large and flat buck teeth.

     But, if not a carnivore then a-

       I could not believe my eyes! A herbivore! The animal seemed to decide I was not a threat and went about digging under the ash fall to find random sprouts of grass.

        There must be water nearby or this animal surely wouldn't survive. The thought gave me hope. We might survive after all in this never ending forest!

        Then again, maybe we won't.

       I saw their yellow eyes reflecting in the red moon light before I saw the actual beasts themselves.

        A pack of wolves jumped forth from the brush and attacked the poor little animal. The massive wolves tore at the herbivores week flesh, mercilessly hungry for blood.

        The animal squealed and shirked at first but then the savagery wolf growls overwhelmed its delicate sound and soon there was no sound at all. Blood was sprayed in crimson droplets across the powdery ash and soaked the wolves mussels.

        Eyes blurry with tears for the lifeless animal, I slowly stood up and stepped toward Hosanna who was frozen in shock.

          A huge white wolf with a missing ear and claw marks across his face, spotted us first. He let out a low, deadly growl that seemed to get the other three wolves attention. They all turned toward us, hackles raised and bloodied teeth revealed.

        I knew there was no way Hosanna could outrun them with me weighing him down. I would kill us both if I rode him. The only way for him to survive was if I distracted the wolf’s as he ran. Maybe it was better off if I died. After all I was chosen to bring hell upon the earth.

        With unrealistic quickness I brought my hand down on Hosannas rump, startling him into a full out run. I watched sadly as his white fur disappeared into the dark forest.

       To my relief the wolves did not even try to go after Hosanna. They could sense I was the weakest and the easiest prey.

        Their canines flashed even wider as they smelled my fear leaking off of me in waves. With their lips pulled back revealing all the glistening teeth, it looked as if they were smiling at me. Mocking the gruesome death I was about to face.

        The copper smell of blood filled my nose and I steeled myself, not willing to run for it. There was no way I was going to give them the satisfaction of a chase. I was going to fight for my life if it was the last thing I did. Wrong choice of words, I noted grimly.

         I diminished my fear like putting water to flame and held my hands out in front of me in what I hoped was a threatening gesture.

        “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil,” I said fearlessly looking the white Alfa wolf directly in his yellowed eyes. It was odd for me, looking something in the eyes, even if it was not human.

       To my astonishment the wolf backed up a couple of steps and acted as though he was hesitant about eating me alive. I gasped in astonishment and talked on. “For you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” As I spoke I strolled toward the wolf, getting more

confident with each step.

        He coward and rolled over onto his back showing my dominance. The other wolves backed away from me as if I was the more terrifying predator. They then circled me and started howling a melodic tune. The song they sang was somehow eerie but eloquent. In all of this horror there was still beauty.

        Three things were going through my mind at that moment.

        Thank. You. God.

        “Lucifer! Come 'er, ya damned animal! Stupid mutt... ” Came a gruff voice from somewhere in the forest.

        Suddenly, a group of around nine people pushed their way into the small ashen clearing. With dread I noticed four of the peoples hands were tied behind them, and what looked like various bruises were spread across their frail bodies. They were all girls to, the oldest at least in her mid twenties.

        My “Thank. You. God.” quickly turned into a “Help. Me.Please.” It seemed as though I had gotten out of one life threatening experience just so I could find another.

        “Lucifer.” said a big mean looking lady calling the white wolf to her. “What a fine present ya have got me. This ‘ere filly will fetch us a fine trade.” The lady licked her greasy lips with her sluggish tongue. Her eyes ran up and down my body, seeing only what she wanted to. My hood obscuring my devilish features.

        “Now, be a darling li’l girl and come to Mama.” said the insane lady motioning her grubby hands towards me.

    I prepared myself to run but then I met the big brown eyes of a girl with beautiful midnight skin. She looked to be the oldest of the group and the most severely abused with a swollen eye and discoloration of bruises around her body. It looked as though she had been beaten repeatedly for God knows how long. Despite all that, I saw a small glimpse of hope, shining definitely in her crazed eyes.

        Just run. Do it. Run! My instinct urged me. But, oh!I could not leave all the enslaved girls! I considered running away and hiding and then coming back for them, but the thought was quickly diminished. The wolves would hunt me down. Though, if we all ran at the same time then there would be a better chance of survival.

        Survival? That was what my life had come to. Trying to stay alive.

        Two huge ash covered men came at me and roughly grabbed me by the arms. I whimpered and my legs collapse underneath me.

     “Oh! Oh, p-please let me gooo! Do not hurt m-meee!” I sobbed.

        “That's a good girl.” said a toothless man behind me as he tied my wrists.“Ya just cry now and don't fight back and we won't hurt ya, sweets.” I could feel his decaying breath on the back of my neck and I shuddered. He ran a meaty hand down my arm and told me greedily, “I'm gunna’ have fun with ya.” I suppressed the urge to smash the back of my head into his fat nose. It would have given away my week appearance, but most of all, violence went against everything I believed in. I was shocked at the urge to hurt him. I had never been violent before. But then, these were desperate times.

        “No ya' ain’t.” the big woman who seemed to be the leader told the man. “This girl is gunna' fetch us a great trade and I don't want ya to put a single grubby hand on 'er.”

    

   I could have hugged the ghastly woman at that moment.

        “But Mama...” whined the disgusting man.

        The lady slapped her son across his face. That shut Toothless up.

         The dark skinned girl looked at me with her hope diminished. She believed the act that I was weak and afraid. Though I was afraid, I was anything but weak. A smile pulled at the corner of my lips and I winked at the girl through the shadow of my hood. Once again hope flamed in her charcoal eyes and a smile formed upon her lips. Her smile was corrupted and awkward as if she wasn't use to making that motion but it was still a smile and that was beautiful in itself.

   

                                                                     

       The night was cold. I had only read about the cold in books and was not use to the sheer bitterness of it. I was not the only one fazed by the cold though. My captors were spooned together with me and the captives were in a clump across from us. Though I did not like my smelly captures, they were very warm and seemed to have taken a special liking to me. Never the less I was still was watching and waiting. My heart pounding in my ears and adrenaline coursing through my veins as the booze my captors had been drinking and the long days walk slowly started to drag them into the much anticipated sleep.

        When finally their gravely snoring rung out among the trees like multiple growls of a bear, I decided it was time to act upon my plan of escape.

        Since Toothless thought I was weak and obedient he hadn't bothered to tie my wrists or ankle bondage’s very tight .

     The skin on my hands ripped and bunched up awkwardly as I tugged them through my restraints. The hard part was not the getting out of my restraints, however, but trying not to wake anyone up as I wiggled free of my bonds, especially the wolves.

        I was relieved when we had found a small almost dried up water whole or else I knew I could not have the endurance to even contemplate escaping.

        Silent as a fox, I snaked my way around the drunken people and stepped over the sleeping wolves.

        I found what I was looking for sticking out of Toothless's pocket. I held my breath and  reached for the knife.

       “ARRG! Get away!” bellowed the smelly man. I froze with my hand still in his pocket clasped around the cold metal knife.

        I was as good as dead.

        Relief flooded through me as I realized he was sleep talking. I suppressed the urge to let out a sigh of gratitude.

     Thank you, God!

        If there was one thing I liked about the ash it was the fact that it silenced my footsteps as I walked toward the tied up girls.

       All the prisoners were awake watching me with wide eyed awe. I walked to the young girl closest to me and started to cut her bonds. She looked no older than ten. As soon as I cut the last string of rope she took off running without a second glance back. As I came upon the second girl, a blue eyed blond haired beauty, I heard a low warning growl behind me. Dread

sunk into the pit of my stomach like a rock in water.

        I swung around to see the white wolf so close to me I could smell blood on his breath. I wanted to run away, but my conscience nor my heart would allow it.        

        Grasping the last ounce of courage I had,  I bared my teeth back at the wolf and tried to imitate his growl. The wolf seemed confused at the noise I made, as if he was deciding how to respond to a human speaking in his own tongue. I growled again and this time he made a “humph” noise and laid his head back down to sleep.

        Its was as if I had bad and good luck at the same time. I kept getting myself into trouble but I also kept getting out of it... At least that's what I was telling myself. I can get out of this!

       After the third girl took off as fast as her weak legs could take her, I stepped, almost doing the splits, over the large lead lady and walked towards the midnight girl. In my village I had never seen someone with such dark skin, it was beautiful.

        “What the hell?!” roared my captor. I tried not to be afraid. She was only sleep talking.

       That's when I noticed the captive girls eyes were wide with urgency. They were the only feature of her I could see in the dark but still I knew I was in for trouble.

        “Lucifer! Attack!” demanded the lady behind me. I could have ran just then and maybe would have made it out alive, but I did not. I wasn't going to leave this girl in the presence of the wicked people.

        I ran to the girl and frantically slashed the rope off of her legs.

        “Run!” I shrieked at her as I felt someone's meaty hands wrap around my waist. She looked at me helplessly as I was being dragged backwards, her arm was outstretched towards me as if she wanted to grab me and take me away with her, but we both knew there was nothing she nor I could do. There was nothing.

       She ran. As fast as lightning strikes, through the woods. The last thing I saw before toothless clubbed me over the head, was the white of her eyes peeking out from behind a large dead tree. I wanted to tell her to leave me, but then unconsciousness took its dark hold on me and I slumped down into open arms of the enemy.

Phoenix

 

“All say, ‘how hard it is that we have to die’- a strange complaint coming from the mouths of people who had to live”-Mark Twain

  I saw everything from my little niche in the trees. The attack, the struggle, the retaliation, and the eventual capture of the girl. I’m not quite sure what happened while it was happening but, in retrospect everything made about as much sense as bumblebees. When the wolves came, they darted out from the trees around me, but they did not notice me. Even their loathsome owners didn’t notice me, they must have been a thick as a wall of bricks. After they left the clearing the only signs of alteration were seen in the ash. It floated lazily in the air, completely ignoring the mood of what had just happened. After a few minutes the floating ash either landed on my shoulders, came to rest in the trees, or

was blown away by the warm, southerly winds.

  It only took a few seconds, but my mind was made up; I would try to follow her. The sudden surge of power that had happened in this clearing scared me, but then again everything scared me... I took a few tentative steps into the clearing, small clouds of ash appearing around my feet with each step. I took a slow breath in, releasing it with the knowledge of the start of my epic quest.

  One thing that I realized quickly; the forest was quite large. It stretched on, footstep after footstep. I had started counting a little after I left the clearing, as I drew farther and farther away it felt as though a great weight were lifting off my chest. I turned and looked back, my footprints had disappeared, insignificant, and gone all too soon. A little like life, I suppose. I released a sigh, knowing that this was no time to philosophise. A path lay before me and behind, and the only thing I knew was that one of them led to the strange girl.

Yram

The sacrifice of personal existence is necessary to secure the preservation of the species- Adolph, Hitler

       

         A sack of meat. That was how they treated me. Toothless had stripped away my last ounce of dignity when he through me over his shoulder as if I weighed no more than a small child. I refused to degrade myself further by fighting and trying to get away so instead I rested my elbow on his muscled back and put my cheek on the palm of my hand, enjoying the ride. Or, enjoying it the most I could with a throbbing headache.

        Distantly, I heard the muffled voices of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. I could also hear the occasional snort of a pig and the almost constant moaning of tortured voices. We must be close to their destination, probably some sort of village. The thought sickened me. Whatever horrid reason they captured me for, I would soon find out.

        We had been walking in the dark for at least a couple of hours. Despite the dimmed light, I knew it was the morning because I could no longer see the bloody moon. The sun was as dark as tar, making it so that the night was brighter than the day.

        I shuddered.The world was now without light. Only darkness was our guidance.

        As we got closer to the village the muffled sounds and voices became louder and louder until the noises turned into a steady roar.        

        Right before my capturers and I stepped past the last lifeless tree of the God forsaken forest, I noticed a white blur of fur that dashed behind a massive tree trunk. Hosanna, I realized, was waiting for me to come back to him so that we could continue our journey. I will

be back soon, boy! I silently promised, I will escape!

        I knew Toothless must have been able to see the village from here, but I, however, could not. All I could see was the dead wood forest and the wolves pack that cowered in it. Afraid of the village.                       

      Abruptly, I was flung off of Toothless's back onto the hard ground. My jaw dropped as I twisted my body around and gazed upon the massive torch lit city.

        The destination was no village as I had thought. No, it was not as meek nor as small as that.

        The city was grotesque and magnificent at the same time. Massive towers thousands of feet up, stood tall and strong gazing down upon us. Though most of the buildings had crumbled to runes that were turned into parts of houses on the ground, there were still a few remaining house like structures. The houses built from the ruins were not so much houses as they were shabby huts. The windows were patched over with either scraps of wood or tarp and little chimneys were protruding from the tops of the huts, with a lazy stream of smoke curling out of them.

        I realized then, just how cold it had gotten. I shivered, only part from the chilly air. It was almost never, if ever, cold here in the burnt remaining parts of the world. Even though the people in the city seemed to be coping well with the new cold snap, with fires burning randomly on the streets and lighting up houses, I was sure their openness for the cold would not last long.

        For years our bodies and lifestyles had been adapting to the desert condition, but now we had to learn to live in an entire different life style. I knew most most people would die. I prayed I would not be one of them.

        “Get up child and stop lookin’ so damn sad, or I'll slap that look right off yer perdy face!” demanded the big woman while ripping me to my feet by my cloak.

        I resisted the urge to bite her.

     The homeless moaned and cried out all around me begging for something to fill their emaciated stomachs. Some were huddled around fires soaking up the warmth, most were not.         Toothless had his hand on the back of my neck continually pushing me forward, farther and farther into the dark City Of Ruins.

        I also heard the barking and snorting of pigs though I saw none of the beasts. They must be on the outskirts of the city so that they do not rot the city with the stench of feces, though it already stunk of human waste and death.

        The farther into the city we pushed I started to notice an odd recurrence. Most, if not all the homeless where missing arms, legs, fingers and almost anything else you could decapitate without killing yourself. I also saw that the people I passed on the cracked asphalt road, had various shaped and sized scars carved ruthlessly into their bodies. It seemed like every person homeless or not, had cuts up and down the inside or their wrists. Even the children had the obscene scars, though any seen children were far and few in between.

        I passed a homeless woman cradling a young emaciated child in one of her beefy arms, for she did not have the other appendage. Actually, I realized, she did not have any legs either.

        Insanely, the woman grabbed my leg with a claw like hand and screeched in desperation,

“Food for the child!”  

        I did not know what to do! I couldn’t help her! All she wanted was to feed her baby and I couldn’t even give her that. It sickened me how helpless I was. I looked down at her and she looked up, her eyes sadly filling with undeserved hope. I had to do something!

        “Give me some food! I know you have some meat cakes in your bag!” I demanded to Toothless. He looked bewildered that I would have the gall to speak up to him.

        “No! What do ya think I am?! A fuckin’ priest?!”  Bellowed Toothless spitting down my back and digging his fingers so deep in my neck that they rolled against bone. Actually, I was surprised he even knew what a priest was, though I did not tell him so.

     With my heart beating so intently my whole body throbbed with trepidation, I lifted my face  to meet his and while shaking my hood off of me. I laid the full power of my crimson eyes on him. Never before had I met a mans eyes.

      Abruptly my heart steadied and the world seemed to still. “Give me some food now or I will fight the whole way there and never stop trying to get away. Heed my words, human, I will make this hell for you.”

        I noticed a shudder go through him as my eyes seemed to pierce his flesh and my voice rang with power and authority. I did not know why I be back soon, boy! I silently promised, I will escape!

        I knew Toothless must have been able to see the village from here, but I, however, could not. All I could see was the dead wood forest and the wolves pack that cowered in it. Afraid of the village.                       

      Abruptly, I was flung off of Toothless's back onto the hard ground. My jaw dropped as I twisted my body around and gazed upon the massive torch lit city.

        The destination was no village as I had thought. No, it was not as meek nor as small as that.

        The city was grotesque and magnificent at the same time. Massive towers thousands of feet up, stood tall and strong gazing down upon us. Though most of the buildings had crumbled to runes that were turned into parts of houses on the ground, there were still a few remaining house like structures. The houses built from the ruins were not so much houses as they were shabby huts. The windows were patched over with either scraps of wood or tarp and little chimneys were protruding from the tops of the huts, with a lazy stream of smoke curling out of them.

        I realized then, just how cold it had gotten. I shivered, only part from the chilly air. It was almost never, if ever, cold here in the burnt remaining parts of the world. Even though the people in the city seemed to be coping well with the new cold snap, with fires burning randomly on the streets and lighting up houses, I was sure their openness for the cold would not last long.

        For years our bodies and lifestyles had been adapting to the desert condition, but now we had to learn to live in an entire different life style. I knew most most people would die. I prayed I would not be one of them.

        “Get up child and stop lookin’ so damn sad, or I'll slap that look right off yer perdy face!” demanded the big woman while ripping me to my feet by my cloak.

        I resisted the urge to bite her.

The homeless moaned and cried out all around me begging for something to fill their emaciated stomachs. Some were huddled around fires soaking up the warmth, most were not.         Toothless had his hand on the back of my neck continually pushing me forward, farther and farther into the dark City Of Ruins.

        I also heard the barking and snorting of pigs though I saw none of the beasts. They must be on the outskirts of the city so that they do not rot the city with the stench of feces, though it already stunk of human waste and death.

        The farther into the city we pushed I started to notice an odd recurrence. Most, if not all the homeless where missing arms, legs, fingers and almost anything else you could decapitate without killing yourself. I also saw that the people I passed on the cracked asphalt road, had various shaped and sized scars carved ruthlessly into their bodies. It seemed like every person homeless or not, had cuts up and down the inside or their wrists. Even the children had the obscene scars, though any seen children were far and few in between.

        I passed a homeless woman cradling a young emaciated child in one of her beefy arms, for she did not have the other appendage. Actually, I realized, she did not have any legs either.

        Insanely, the woman grabbed my leg with a claw like hand and screeched in desperation, decided to call him human, as if he was below me, but it worked and that was all that mattered. I tried not to feel the greed and hunger of the power I felt rushing wildly throughout my veins. Toothless's hands shook as he grabbed a meat cake from his shoulder pack and handed it to me fearfully. His submission heated my blood even more so. No. I decided, I did not feel the hunger for power. But I knew I was lying to myself. I had stumbled on incredible power, and I loved it! Why had I not used my face to force my will upon someone before?

     I shook my head at the strange rambled of thoughts and brought myself back to present.

        “Here you go miss.” I said to the poor woman, handing her the food. “Food for your child.”

        Oddly enough, she greedily grabbed the food from my hands and crammed it into her own mouth. I was even more confused when she proceeded to thrust the the cold, skinny child into my tied up arms.

        I held the child awkwardly and glanced down at the sunken in face. The young boy looked up at me with such large fearful eyes that I could do nothing but stare back him. The child quickly looked away and began crying, afraid of me. It did not bother me. I was use to fear.

        That was when it hit me. The woman did not want food for her child, as in to give food to him, but instead, she wanted food for herself, in trade ofher child.

        I felt sick. Acid rolled in my stomach as horror overpowered me.

        It now all made sense. The missing body parts, the lack of children, the strange scars all over their bodies and the wounds on their wrists.

        It was all apart of sacrifice. The devil had somehow deceived all theses people into thinking that they needed to sacrifice blood and pain in order to follow him. The worst part of it all was, that these people would trade their very flesh and blood to follow a god so wicked that he craved their pain.

        Oh, God. Please help these sick people. They need to be well again. And Lord, please help me to. I do not know if I want to continue living in a world so wicked as this.

I fell to my knees dry heaves racking my body. The child slowly pulled himself from my arms and snuggled back into his mother's murderous one. His mother seemed shocked and a little disappointed that I would not sacrifice her child.

        I was pulled upwards from the filthy ground. I did not struggle nor even blink as the woman who had captured me roughly pushed me forward into a trance like walk. She scolded and beat her son who gave me the food and she yelled and slapped me to. None of which I felt nor even heard. I was hollow and empty. Like a grave that had been dug, but left alone. Never to be fulfilled with a body. Never to know its purpose.

        I was so far gone that I could barely hear the cruel lady tell her son, “Now get ’er cleaned up in that stream, then will take ‘er to the auction. People ‘ere lika the freak type o’ girls. She will be da’ best price in da’ biddin’. Make a nice breeder this girl.”

                                                               

I was brought out of my trance when I felt the dreadful feeling come upon me once again. The feeling of ever impending doom.

      Someone was watching me. Waiting for the right moment to take my life.

        I gazed across the crowd of hundreds, trying to find the deadly eyes of my stalker. It was impossible to single anyone out though. They all wore the same scars and the same hungry expressions, wanting greedily to possess me, and have me as their own. They wanted to enslave me, a curse worse than death.     

        The building I was in was magnificent and horrific, just like every other part of the city. It was a huge rounded stage with hundreds and hundreds of rotting velvet seats lining the stone walls. The ceiling I could not see. It was nothing but a dark abyss. The room in general was dark. Only a few torches flickered about the room. Most the lights was directed around the stage so that the bidders could gaze upon the prize. Besides the magnificent room, the most dominant feature of the place was the thick, eye watering stench of ammonia. My gaze faltered and I averted my eyes when I noticed all the dark urine stains across the wooden floor. This must be where they bring all the people they catch to sell. Like an animal when backed into a corner, horror overrides your logical thinking leaving only fear.

          My hands shook and my chin began to wobble as the men's teeth flashed hungrily, like the wolves in the dead forest. That must make me the week rabbit, whose flesh would be torn until there was nothing left but the stench of death.

        The bidders continually cat called and mocked me as I stumbled across the stage. Finally I could not bare the weight of their stairs any longer and collapsed to the wooden floor and settled down into it. The safety of my cloak had been stolen from me, so instead I used my hair as a stringy shield to hide my from their piercing eyes. The chains on my hands and ankles clanged together like bells and weighed me down so that I could barely move.

        A man with a missing leg and a crutch thumped onto the stage next to me with a greedy rotting tooth smile. I could smell his raw stench from four feet away.

        “This red girl here will start off at three pounds!” bellowed the smelly man, his voice carrying across the whole crowd. All hands flew up at once. They were not used to hair the color of blood, but more accustomed to the malnourished mass most of their sickly woman

had.

          “One at a time, gentlemen!” demanded the legless man. After that, he started talking so fast I could hear nothing but random number of pounds spitting out of his mouth. What did he mean pounds? Pounds of what? Most likely meat, and I did hear pigs snorting about the town. I knew pigs were one of the few creatures that survived the flare, because like humans, they would eat anything, even their own kind.

        The bidding wore on until my price was raised to ten pounds, then abruptly a large man walked into the dark stadium-like room. The man had more scars than anyone I had seen yet and also had what I thought was latin writing tattooed from head to toe. The man made me shiver. He had a presence of evil so strong I could feel it radiating in icy waves flooding the air. Everyone bowed down and dropped to their knees so quickly I knew they feared the person more than the devil himself.

        I sat up and glared at the evil man, knowing in my heart that he was the one who started the sacrificing and murder. A cat like smile curled up his scared inky skin revealing pointed white teeth, as he noticed my glare. He must file his to look more intimidating, but he did not need any help.

        “We heard you finally had a girl worth bidding for. We came to see if the rumor was true... We see that it is!” He said nodding towards me. “We will pay ten pounds, a loaf of bread and a old relic of the before time in trade for her.” His voice was like thousands voices speaking at once. I could not decipher whether it was low or high child or adult or even if it was loud or quiet.

        His voice made others around him whimper and cry out in terror. No one dared to bid against him.

        “Y-Yes my lord! I am sure the slaves previous owner will be just fine with your price!” squeaked the legless man. The woman that captured me stepped forward onto the stage and mumbled wide eyed into her chest, “Yah, that’ll do your most graciousness. I am much honored that ya’d buy my slave!”

        The man waved them off and they quickly scurried from the stage, leaving me alone.

        The evil man walked closer to the stage so that he was directly below me. His pupiless black eyes gleamed with mirth.

        “Stand up fire girl! We want to have a look at our prize!” said the evil man acting as though he owned me. Rage boiled my insides and it was nothing as meek as the bad temper I was accustomed too. A red haze fell over my eyes.

        “Futue te ipsum!” I spat at him. I quickly realized that what I had spoken in Latin, however, I did not know how speak it. Latin was the ancient language of the Devil.       

        I clasped my hand over my mouth, my eyes going wide. What I said to him was so obscene that I was in shock with myself. It was so awful that I even said a silent plea to God to forgive me for saying such words.The shock I felt was much the same as the wide eyed people around me. 

    I did not regret standing up for myself for one of the first times, but I was still ashamed for saying such things. If mother was here she would have given me a good talking to.  I squeezed  

my eyes shut and diminished all thought of her. I mustn't think of mother. I needed to stay strong for the ordeal that I knew was ahead of me.

        The evil man's face was flushed red with anger and his teeth were bared revealing their carnivorous tips.

        Be brave Yram. Mother would have wanted you to be brave.

        “Stand. Up. Now.” growled the man of a thousand voices.

       I felt my monster rise. For too long I  had hung my head low and let people walk all over me. For too long I had submitted. A new powerful side of myself kept surfacing, as if it had been patiently waiting until I was at my weakest. Either way, his words heated my blood, making it so that I could not control what I said next.

        "Discedere ad inferos!" (Go to hell!)

        “Oh crimson girl,” said the man, “you are already here with us.” I did not realize until just then he had been speaking, like me, in Latin the whole time.

        With a shock, a veil fell over me. The veil tightened its grip and wrapped itself around me, suffocating me. It then, burst into flames.

        While fire licked my skin and melted it off my body, I arched my back in pain and let out a animistic, blood curdling scream. I had just enough sanity left in me to realize there was no inflamed blanket on me. He was playing with my mind. A man was making me burn alive, though doing me no harm physically. A man wasn't suppose to be able to do that. Though the thought terrified me that he was not human and that mother had been right about demons all along, but it also gave me strength. I was not actually burning alive. I was safe from all but my mind, and I had the power to control that.

        Once I understood the burning sensation was only that, a burning sensation, I could think around it.

      If my mothers preachings were correct, the man of a thousand voices was possessed by multiple week demons. Demons that were not strong enough to make form so instead used someone else's body as a shell, or hide for them to live in.

        “Stand up!” said the possessed man confidently.

        I did. I would let him think he won, for now.

        A huge toothy smile was wide upon his face as he told me, “Now come to us, little crimson girl. You are ours now.”

        Oh, if only he knew just how wrong he was.

        I suppressed a dark smile of my own.

        What had I become?

Phoenix

 

Leadership ... the ability to see what no one else sees, to listen when others talk and the ability to be optimistic when others are pessimistic. -- George W. Cummings

  Darkness, that’s all I could see. Everything around me was dark, except for a small pinprick of flickering light that lay at, what I could only assume was, the end of the road. I’m still not quite sure why I kept walking, what possessed me to go the last mile. My body was so tired that I could have curled up and fallen asleep on the dead grass that lined the dirt path. But my spirit and mind were fresh and new, and ready to keep fighting, despite the protest from my aching limbs.

   After what seemed like forever I reached the flickering light. A tear rolled silently down my cheek. It was not the smoke, the smell, or the look that made me cry, it was the people. Children with just enough flesh to keep their bones from piercing through their skin. Mothers dead in the streets, beaten, starved, raped, it didn’t matter to the people here. They had no emotions of fidelity, or love, only hatred. In a place where the makings of pity, empathy, and love could be kindled into a spark, there was nothing but rage and hate. Hate that had burned the homes of thousands, hate that left the ruffled bodies in the street to be eaten by whatever craven beast was hungry enough. It made me sick, and so I gave over to my instincts and became sick. Shortly after I relieved myself of nothing my vision blurred. “Good”, I thought to myself,” I won’t have to look at this distorted world through a clear glass anymore.” And with that last sentiment I succumbed to unconsciousness, swirling aimlessly in the bliss of ignorance.

Yram

 

However long the night, the dawn will break-English proverbs

        Fear? No. I did not feel it.

        Rage? Yes. It boiled inside me like a pit of lava.

        Anger? I followed it blindly. It was my only guidance.

        Sorrow? I was drowning in it.

        My chains were thankfully removed, only to be replaced with a scratchy rope tied tightly around my wrists. The rope was attached to a saddle on top of a tall midnight colored horse. Riding the horse was none other than the man of a thousand voices.

        I stumbled and wheezed to keep up with the horses fast gate. It felt as though I had been running for hours, though I knew it could have only been more than twenty minutes. Without any food for days and walking relentlessly through the dead forest, I was drained.

        I could not run much longer. My chest felt constricted as if a large rock was laying on top of it and my whole body ached and shook in exertion.

        Abruptly my knees gave way and I fell to the wet, cold, asphalt.The sun could no longer absorb the dew of the morning, leaving a muddled film of water across the land.

  The man on the horses did not seem to notice or care that he was dragging me through the filth covered street.

        I was too weak to get back up so instead I tightened my body and let the horse pull me over rough rocks, through the ash of old fire pits and some new ones. The hot coals singed my flesh, the asphalt tore at my raw skin and the rocks continued to bruise my body, but I would not give in. I refused to succumb to the pain and cry out for God to save me or even take me away from this agony. I felt as though God would not so much as look down upon this city. As if he turned his back on it.

        As the horse quickened her pace we came upon a group of people which I tried to dodge to no avail. I smashed roughly into a man and woman who were locked in a passionate embrace of naked flesh. I shouted out a “Sorry!”  But sorry was only a broken word that held no feeling or meaning. A word of no use. It was funny, I thought. That was how I felt.

        Broken, with no feeling nor meaning. No, I realized with a disgusted smile. I had a meaning.

       Finally, I slid to a stop on the outskirts of the city. Distantly, I heard pigs snorting and children whimpering and people moaning as starvation ate away at their flesh.

         My face was raw and torn, with bits of gravel stuck into it. I did not notice. I had only one thing on my mind.

   To kill.

     I heard a thunk as the man of a thousand voices jumped off his horse. I peeled my eyes open to see his slick, black leather boots crunching in the gravel road towards me. I noticed odd rust colored blotches that sprinkled his shoes. My vision went red with rage as I realized it was the stains of blood. I saw another pair of feet appear within my vision. They wore no shoes and were covered in filth. The feet then walked towards the black horse and led it away. A servant, I realised.

    “Get up child.” the evil man told me, his voice slithering under my bloodied skin.

        I tried to obey him, but only made it halfway up before I collapsed back down. The man made a disgusted noise in the back of his throat and grabbed the ropes on my wrists and yanked me to my sore feet.

     I looked around me and realized we must have been at his home. It was a huge mansion with Latin writing carved into the sides of it. Satanic symbols and blood soaked the doorway and the path leading to his house. A small ditch that snaked around the mansion reeking of fermented blood. I realized he was trying to protect himself from anything “unholy” or Godly. He had set up wards around the house.

    Horse footsteps clicked on the road behind me. I slowly, painfully, turned to see the woman who had originally captured me, sitting on a scruffy pony. Bile arose in my throat as I saw various bloodied whip lashes on the small ponies rump. I should have been immune to the cruelty of this world by now, however, I was not. It relentlessly sickened me.

        “Slaves!” Bellowed the man of a thousand voices. “Bring me ten pounds of meat, a small chunk of bread and the lighting device!”

        I heard scurrying around inside the house then a emaciated middle aged man ran out of the door towards us, carrying the bag of things he asked for.

The man of a thousand voices gave the bag to the big woman, and pulled a small rectangular object out of it. He then proceeded to flick a switch on the side of it. Flames burst forth from the tip, blinding me for a few short moments. Me and the woman on the pony, gasped in awe. It was unlike anything I had seen before. Like magic!

        “Now leave me, woman.” said the demon after he had shown her how to work the device. She quickly took it, hopped on her pony, and kicked the poor creator into a run.

As I watched the woman leave, I noticed just how dark the day was. How lifeless and without color. Without the sun warming the day and brightening the land, it looked as though the color was sucked out of the world, leaving only a dark gray haze.

        When I use to be afraid of the dark, Mama would always hold me close in her arms, warmed against her beating heart and say, “However long the night, the dawn will always brake.”

        Tears wept down the sides of my face and stung my cuts as I said to know one, “Not this time Mama. There is no dawn to save me from this never ending darkness.”

       

                                                                   

        The man of thousand voices jerked me alone behind him up to the paths of his house. The bloody ropes were cutting into my flesh, making me lose feeling in my tingly hands. Everything hurt. My whole body was a throbbing agony.

        Sorrowfully, I caught the brown eyes of a man. His eyes were sunken in and staring lifelessly into nothingness. I then move my eyes to the rest of his face. His cheekbones were jutting out, his skin was a pale blue gray color and his lips- Oh his lips- were sown together with black string. Blood was caked around the uneven stitch holes. The man was dead I realized while trying to control my breathing. He was hanging from his hands, crucified to a tree in the front yard. He was unclothed with Latin script carved on his chest. It read, “Ave Satanas.” (Hail Satan.)

        “We see you have met our little friend!” said the satanic man smiling proudly.

        “Oh-oh-no-no-no-no-.” I staggered and fell to my still bleeding knees. I placed my hand over my mouth trying to hold back bile. I could not look away. My eyes were locked in his dead, unblinking, gaze.

        “Oh, don’t worry crimson girl, he deserved what he got. He was a bad man! A very bad man indeed. You see, he was found practicing the UN-holy arts of Christianity.” the evil man spat. “So we chose to end him the way his savior was ended.”

        While I was on the ground I felt underneath the waistband of my pants where I hid Toothless's knife. The warmed metal against my flesh brought me hope.

       Once again I was pulled to my feet and drug towards the dreaded house. Most likely the defences he had up to keep any Godliness out, would kill me. Most likely, I would not even live long enough to reach the threshold of the satanic house.

        Most likely, I would soon be dead.

        A calm came over me then. A peace with death one might say. Death was only a part of life, without death there would be no worth in living in the first place. I shook my head. I had always been quite melodramatic. I blame it on my insane mother and my demonic father.

       As I came upon the blood stained door, my heart rate doubled in speed. Maybe I was not okay with death. Not yet, anyway.

  I did not, however, have a say in the matter of my death. I guess no one has a say in death. No one can speak to her nor persuade her. When she is hungry, she feeds.

        Without even a last breath, I was jerked into the house.

       Lucky for me, death was not hungry at the moment.

       Instead of the pain and horror I thought I would feel, I felt a warmth soak my skin and a sense of home calm my heart. I also smelt a soothing smell that rolled over my senses in pure bliss. The satanic man must have smelt it to because he tipped his head back and breathed in deeply. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and said groaning, “Mmmh. Breath this in crimson girl. It is the smell of hell. Of sulphur. A smell I am sure you long for, as do all demons.” 

        I gasped in shock, blood draining from my face.

        “Now Crimson, did you really believe that we, the most powerful being in the city, wanted you for a breeder like the rest of the lustful men? No! We do not crave the fleshly desires of men, nor do we care about beauty.” said the demon licking his lips as if thinking about what he actually desired.

        “Then what? What do you want from me?! And how do you know what I am?” I demanded desperately.

        The demon sucked in a deep breath through his nose and shuddered. “We can sense your power. We sensed it the second you stepped foot in this city. Oh, so much power! The second we felt you we knew you were the one we had been waiting for. The chosen one. Oh, your father is going to bless us greatly for finding you!”

        I believed my mother when she told me all the horrendous things, but I still held some remaining doubt. What the demon said, removed all of it.

           “Oh, do not look so sad Crimson girl! Your daddy will be here soon! He has been waiting a long, long time to see you..”

      

The Man Of A Thousand Voices

 

God is a, vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic racist, an infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully-Richard Dawkins

   

        Humans call me The Man of Thousand Voices. Though it is not I who have been in control of my body’s bloodthirsty, murderous, ways.

     Was I demon? Human? It was hard to tell anymore. Each year my existence became smaller and smaller. Soon, I would be reduced to nothingness. Oh, how I longed for that day to come! I longed for the release of non-existence. For the freedom of not feeling any longer. But until that fateful day, I will be stuck here in this shell of a body, along with the bloodthirsty

demons and the souls of thousands of children. Even now, I could feel the presence of the children. Whimpering and locked inside this jail with me. In a body that was no longer my own but the hide of demons. I had been living as a donor for many years longer than any human being should.

        I was there, two hundred years ago, at the time of the flare. Only certain people, necessary for the survival of the human race, were chosen to go under ground and survive the flare in the safe cove. Even though it was near two hundred years ago, I am still in my prime.

        I was not, however, one of the few people chosen to hold out in the safe cove, instead I had found a subway tunnel to await my death in and hope on the slim chance that death might spare me. 

       I remembered hiding in the subway tunnels, thousands of others crammed in with me. The stench of perspiration and piss assaulted my nose, giving me a throbbing headache.

       I stepped over many people who lay bloodied and crumpled on the floor. They withered beneath my feet, trampled by the frantic crowd.

        Mothers cried out for their lost children and a roar of voices continued to swirl around me in chaos. I heard a few people around me praying uselessly. I did not. This whole mess was god's fault. The people around me did not seem to realize that, yet. Oh, I hated the lord god with a passion and I guess that was what drew the demons to me. It was all my fault in the end. Or I guess you could say it was my parents fault for beating me mercilessly as a child, but then again, who hurt them so bad that they wanted to beat me?

        “Do you wish to live?” boomed a voice seemingly in my head. I looked around trying to find the person whom spoke to me. I soon realized the voice was too loud and clear to be found in this roaring crowd. The voice was in my mind. I was not near as surprised as I would have been before the flare came about. The news had reported strange happenings, of what looked like possession and demonic activity. Cults, at that time, had been all the rage.

        “Y-yes.” I stuttered weekly. I could sense the power flowing off the unseen being, and I knew if anyone could, this thing might be able to save me. Frankly, I did not care if the creature was satanic, I just wanted to live! I knew the subway cave was too close to the surface of the earth and would save no one.

        “Then let us inside you. We will guide you.” slithered the voices.

       “Okay, do whatever you want!” I said desperately. “Just save me!”

        And just like that, I was no more. I was no longer the one in control of my body, I was merely an annoyance swatted aside like a buzzing fly. I did not know why they chose me at the time, but I soon found out. I had a far, far off gene inside of me that still held a ounce of power. A demon gene. Demons had slowly been leaking their way into the world for generations, breeding with the woman, possessing the week. Why had we, the strongest and wisest species on this planet, not realized that our invaders were not green with big eyes, but dark creatures of the underworld that use us to fulfil their own selfish desires? We had been standing back watching the news and wondering, how could a mother kill her child? How could racism drive people to murder? How could a man find enjoyment in raping woman? The answer is, we alone cannot. But humans can easily be used, possessed, persuaded, controlled, to do, be, and become whatever the devil wills. We are not the strongest species, by far.

The demons inside me did save me though. We drove through the silent town to a cliff. I climbed the cliff with my muscles shaking and my hair matted with sweat, but they did not care about my discomfort. I continued on crawling into a small dark hole in the side of the cliff. The whole reminded me of a mouth, opening its jaws and taking me into the dark depths of its stomach. I blindly climbed deeper and deeper into the cave, away from the fiery death I would have faced.

      Little did I no at the time, my death would have been gratefully accepted compared to the life they had in store for me.        I came back to the dreadful present and noticing that the demons were so focused on the poor girl that they did not take notice at me. I took the opportunity to expand my conscience and look through their evil eyes and hear their voices.

       We could tell the girl was afraid by the desperate pounding of her heart. We did not

understand why.

       Our house should feel like home to her-

        The sulphur! That is why her heart is frantic-

       The sulphur heats her blood-

       We want her-

       Yes, yes, lets take her-

        Make us stronger, live longer-

       Oh, so hungry-

       Must feed-

        SILENCE! Bellowed the lead demon quieting all the others demon voices. LET US FEED SO WE WILL NOT HUNGER FOR THIS GIRL!

       I felt all the children shudder inside of me, knowing a new addition to our jail was coming.

        “Servants!” Called the demons out loud. “Bring us a child!”

        The crimson girl looked up at us, her eyes wild with fear.

        “A-a child?” she shuttered. Her innocent voice drenched our body with sweet ecstasy, sending rolling shivers down our spine. Oh, we wanted her so bad! It was near impossible to resist such sweet innocents with a spice of twisted evil growing within the core of her.

        Let us have her-

        Take her-

        So hungry-

        But her master-

       Would send us-

        Back to hell-

        Never going back there-

        So much pain-

        We smelt the child before we saw him. His innocent fear and the smell of fices clung to his garments.

       The young boy was dragged, screaming, towards us by our servants. The white of his eyes flashed with terror.

        Oh, he smelt so delicious! But not near as good as the crimson girl...

        Surprisingly the blood soaked, crimson girl, ripped the boy from our servants arms and made a run for the doorway. With a snap of our fingers the door slammed shut in her face.

She tried to run the opposite direction but five of our servants grabbed a hold of her and pinned her to the floor.

        The young boy clung to the girl with useless tears dripping down his face onto hers.

      For a demon, the girl felt a strong amount of compassion! How odd...

       We strode over to the child and plucked it off the girl. The girls eyes flashed with anger and she bared her teeth at us devilishly. We gave her a knowing smile. That was more like it! We could see her father in her now! Oh, such magnificent bloodlust! We have never known a demon of her father's power...not even us.

        “I will kill you.” She spat at our face.

        We simply ignored her and proceed with our much needed feed. Grabbing the boy by his throat we pulled him easily up to meet our fearsome eyes. The boy desperately kicked his feet and scratched at us but it did no good. What idiocy the child possessed! Did he honestly believe he can fight his way free of his own death?! He did show much courage. What a useless thing that is! Beings with courage do not live long in this world.

        Licking our lips we dislocated our lower jaw and opened it wide, like a snake would. Making a wet sucking noise we breathed in greedily, absorbing the boy into us, so that we might replenish our weary skin. We should soon find a new body. This old one is causing us much trouble. We had been reduced to absorbing a human a day! Where we had no problem with killing, it was a nuisance having to feed so much!

        The boys eyes went wide with terror as he felt his useless life being sucked out of him. We felt a smile creep up our mouth. With each second the boys life drained we grew stronger and our hunger began to recede, though our hunger was never truly quenched.

        The boys eyes rolled back into his head and spittle slithered down the corner of his mouth.

        “No! Stop! You're killing him! Stop! Take me!” screeched the crimson girl. A animistic note rang in her voice. The girl thrashed and struggled but she could not fight her way free of our five male slaves.

     The boys body went limp in death and we dropped him to the ground, discarding him. Ah, we felt the boy become apart of us, we shuddered excepting him inside.

         The girl seemed to noticed his abrupt death because pleads turned into threats.

       “I will kill you! You hear me?! Your blood will be shed, and I will send you back to the hell you came from!”

         We cocked our head to the side and looked down upon her. We ran our tongue along the line of our moist lips, savoring the mouth watering taste of the child’s death.

       “Why?” asked the crimson girl. She had stopped struggling and just laid on the floor acting as though her life had been sucked out of her as well.

        “Because!” we told her smiling. “Don't you know? Evil always craves innocence. We lust for it like a starving man does food.” We could feel her heating our blood now. She had so much purity that we felt a never ending need to corrupt it! To take it away from her! 

        We feared if her father did not come soon, there would be no innocents left in this girl. Only the leftovers of what we had taken.       

        We licked our lips. Oh, how sweet she would taste!

Phoenix

 

Do not fear death. Fear never having lived in the first place- Unknown

“Hey bitch, get off my lawn!” I blinked my eyes open, an angry man with a few fingers missing stood impressively over my head. The light was streaming dully through the thickened atmosphere. He wore jeans with huge holes and tears in almost every square inch, so that his jeans were more fraying collections of strings rather than a solid piece of denim. His face was lined with scars which made the shape of a pentagram, if only just. A sharp pain came from my back as the man kicked me swiftly, “Get out of my yard you filthy scumbag!”

      I leapt to my feet, the pain sharpening as the cracked pavement connected with my feet. I felt every pebble and crack through the pads of my bare feet. Every person on the street looked at me with hatred, contempt, and disgust, I don’t even know why. One man saw me walking in the street and started running. He rammed me at full speed knocking me to the ground. “Whatcha gonna do, ya feak!”

 

I picked myself up off of the dusty ground, I couldn’t walk three yards without getting knocked over, spit on, or yelled at. I kept walking despite the abuse flying at me, both physical and verbal. Suddenly a wave of nausea hit me like a ton of bricks, sending me reeling to the ground. It took a second for my vision to clear before I saw the large stone house that stood derelict at the end of the street.

  Despite my deep feeling of dread that increased with each step I continued on towards the foreboding building. The deep, blackness that surrounded the house was like a vortex, pulling everything to its center with no mercy, and no prisoners. I walked to the side of the house where the doors stood open like a mouth, waiting for some, poor animal to wander into it. I reached towards the door, as if to test the air temperature inside the house. I drew back my hand and squealed, something in the air had burned the tips of my fingers as though I had put my hand in molten metal.

  As if I had set off some alarm two men ran out of the house, angry looks on their faces, and weapons in their hands. “Please!” I shouted, “I just want to get into the house!”

The first man's eyes widened like he had seen a ghost while he turned to his partner. He mumbled something inaudible and plunged his knife hard into the other man’s bare chest. His blood emptied onto the cracked pavement and soaked into the craven ground beneath. While all this happened I simply stood there in shock, flecks of the man’s spoiled blood trickled down my face. The man raised his knife one last time and brought it down swiftly. He dropped the knife, his bloody hands reached deeply into the other man’s unceremoniously split chest. He withdrew and turned to me, his eyes still wide as dinner plates, I must have looked a little like that.

  He handed me a bloody mass of heart, no emotion registering on his face. He opened his lips, but did not speak. After a minute or so he finally spoke,”only the heart of the wicked can enter the house of Satan.” After he finished he pointed one trembling, bloodied finger at the house. I looked and saw a pentagram above the house, burning with black, un-holy flames. I looked on, the symbol swirled above the roof like a swarm of ugly, black vultures just waiting for their prey to drop dead.

  I nodded the smallest sign of thanks, the shock still taking its time to wear off. I walked to the door of the house, I could feel its energy resisting me. I pushed into the doorway, like someone pushing their way into a lake’s icy depths. I moved through the house as if the air were made of jell-o, it was a great pressure just to breathe. I heard a shout from behind me, and I spun around; a burly man with a missing eye charged at me with animal ferocity. I closed my eyes, I could feel the sheer existence of the other human life forces. The energy of their bodies hurling through empty space towards me I saw every possibility, and every possible reaction. My muscles tightened as I prepared for a bone jarring mass crash into me. But it didn’t come. I winked one eye open and saw the man laying sprawled on the floor. His eyes were milky white, and his fingers spasmed with every creak of the God forsaken house.

  A shriek. It was swift and it was shrill, but it was human. I turned to the door at the far end of the room, an aura swirled around it like a river. And in the same way a river does, it drew me downward, nothing can escape gravity. I walked on dumbly, despite the fact that whatever was on the other side of that door would probably kill me.

Yram

How much has to be explored and discarded before reaching the naked flesh of feeling-Claude Debussy

At that moment something inside me snapped. Or should I say, was unleashed?

   The small boys face appeared again like an apparition in my mind. His large eyes wide with terror as he gasped for breath while the demon took it away from him. My blood lust was like a burning coal in the pit of my stomach. My rage stocked the flame until it burning brighter and brighter so that my whole body was inflamed. I was so crazed with wrath that I could barely feel the sensation of ever impending doom. But the feeling kept nudging me and playing with me until I could do nothing but notice its unwelcome presence.

     I could sense the being that brought about the feeling of doom, outside the demons house. Through the anger I strained my ears and heard scuffling outside and then a thunk as something hit the ground heavily.

     I stared at the door in pure horror and rage. The feelings mixing together in insanity. I no longer feared the man of a thousand voices, but instead, I feared the unknown being outside of the house.

        The demon paid no heed to the odd sounds. He simply stepped over the lifeless child and started walking towards me with a strange expression upon his face. I pulled the warm metal from my pants, it slid under the delicate flesh of my lower stomach as I comprehended the meaning of the demons expression. His face was molded into a mask of loss of control, and hunger. A demented expression like that could only mean one thing.

      My death.

                                                                       

Blood oozed through the waistband of my pants but I didn't feel the pain. No, I could only feel the knife clutched in my hand.

   The demon grabbed a hold of my hair and pulled me to my feet the same moment that the front door was forced open.

   To my sock, not a monster, but a man awaited me at the entrance.

     Time seemed to still as he held me locked in his icy gaze. It was as if the whole world became silent around us.

     I noticed with horror that the man held a bodiless heart, clasped in his hand.

     There was something so pure and child like in the man that I had never seen in anyone before. So pure. His childlike expression and large blue eyes held great contrast to the blood splattered across his face and the demented heart held in his hand.

        I could not shake a strange realization that was blossoming within me. The way  the man stood with his muscled chest heaving in fear, his brow furrowed in confusion, and a look in his eyes that promised protection... Was this man was here to save me?

        It was as if I was the dreaded damsel in distress, and he, was my knight in shining armor. Though he wore no shining armor. Actually, I realized, he wore nothing at all.

        The strange man was completely unclothed from head to toe and covered in ash. How was one supposed to respond to this? I wondered incredulously. A naked ash cover man with a bloodied heart in hand? I had no clue.

        With fury awakening again in my blood, I laid eyes upon the dead boy lying discarded on the floor.

    The demon let go of me in shock and the servants flead. If I would ever get the chance to kill the demon, now was the time.

  I tackled the demon to the ground and screamed at the top of my lungs, “I rebuke you demons, in the name of Jesus christ, the lord God, my father!”

    I had read the bible and listened to Mama’s stories enough to know how to kill a demon.

        The demon bellowed. It was the pained yell of thousands voices screaming in agony all at once. It was so loud I felt my ears pop and a trickle of blood began to tickle the insides of them. The demon then convulse on the ground having a type of sizer. His skin bunched and pushed away from his body as if something was trying to push its way out.

     Even speaking the name of God to a demon as evil as himself, would send pain coursing through his body, thus giving me enough time to end him.

     “PATER noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.     

     My responsibility rang as clear as a bell inside of me. With a passionate shudder I lifted the knife above my head and finished, “Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris! Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo! Amen!!!”

     “No! Do not kill him! Please, do not murder! This world has seen enough bloodshed!” came a angelic voice behind me. The voice was as smooth and sweet as honey but as masculine and deep as thunder.

        As the demon convulsed underneath me, I turned my head to gaze upon the naked man who had spoken to me. His body was as majestic as his voice. His skin was shimmering with perspiration and ash clung to his muscular, lean build, like sludge. His golden hair was tousled and played with by the wind and his deep blue eyes were so piercing it was terrifying. The rest of his body, I leave to your imagination. I blushed at his immodesty and diverted my eyes back to the demon under me.

        Then, in a moment of overwhelming realization, I knew that I could not kill the demon. If I did, I would be just as sadistic and wretched as he was. I was not a monster. Even though the world may try to mold me into one, I would never succumb to its selfish demands. 

        If the strange man would not have said anything, the deed would have been done. The demons entity would have been sent back to hell and I would have fully been possessed with the very thing I feared the most. The demon I could be.

        I looked to the man and tried to smiled a thank you. His brow furrowed at my expression as if he was wondering what it meant. Then he pulled his lips away from his gums, like a dog, and he bared his teeth at me humorously. I could not help but stare at his childlike expression. He just stared back at me and beamed.

        Sadly, I was brought back to reality by the demon who had began to gasp underneath me. I looked down at him to see a mutation take place. His eyes strangely started to look human. Instead of the full black eyes I was accustomed to seeing, brown eyes formed. A desperate human look was wide in his eyes instead of the hungry, demonic gaze.

        “Kill it!” gasped the demon possessed man, looking as though he was being burned alive. “Kill me! Please! Before they gain control again!” Abruptly his eyes rolled back into his head and he started thrashing around. A  inner war was taking place.The eyes turned black once again and he stared savagely into me. Without warning his mouth opened and started to absorb my life into him. I felt my consciousness fading and my muscles weakening. It felt like

everything I was, was being pulled from me.

        I gasped in relief as the demon's mouth snapped shut and his eyes changed again, human this time.

        “Set us free! I cannot control my body much longer! Save us! NOW!” demanded the human voice. The man started sobbing, tears of helplessness pouring from his eyes.

        I looked helplessly back at the naked man wanting to know what to do, needing help. The man looked as distressed as I felt. His hands were in his hair pulling at it in distress. He stared at the demon\man with a look of so much pain, you would have thought he was the one fighting the demon. Unashamed tears were rolling down his face.

        In my distracted state, gently, the knife was removed from my hand. I looked down in horror to see the man, not demon, plunge the blade into his heart. One last demonic scream tore from his throat before his body stilled.

       I watched in horrified awe as the man's body began to age. All the years he missed flowed through him, until he was left a withered old man. I had never seen someone of that age before. In this world most die in their fifties. I placed my hand softly on his withered face. The old man lifted his shaking hand to mine and grasps it firmly. Ragged wet breaths pulled from his lips and then all was silent. A peaceful smile creased his face as his hand fell from mine and mother death, indulged. She was hungry after all.

    I was horrified as the dead man under me began to rot. A thick sweet scent leaked off of him as his skin swelled and became the color of a bruise. His eyes shriveled until there was nothing but goo filled eye sockets. Then his skin and muscle receded and hugged his bones and his lips curled back revealing his pointed teeth. Fear clenched my heart when the skeleton form opened its mouth and smiled. The shriveled bits of skin ripped on its mouth as it did so. In a weising nasty voice the demons whispered, “Partus sequitur ventrem.” (The offspring follows the mother.) Their voice slithered slippery under my skin and wrapped my body in agony.

    I could not help the whimper that escaped my lips as their voices buzzed and stabbed inside my mind like bees.

    All of the sudden the naked man ran at the demon and placed his palm upon the rotting demons brow. Smoke swirled from the demons head as the mans hand stayed firmly upon him.

    The man had a distant, fierce look on his face and he leaned into the demons rotted body, whispering incoherently. The demon under me burst into white flames. The flames, to my surprise, did nothing but tingle my skin. They did not, however, have the same effect to the demon who crumbled to the ground in ash. One last sentence was spoken in shock by the demons spirits as they left the earth. “Angelus Mortis!” I did not pay heed to what they said then. I was still wondering about what they meant when they told me, “The offspring follows the mother.” I would be proud if I could ever be half the woman that mother was! So why did they mean it as a threat?

        I felt a hand rest on my shoulder, sending a feeling like crackling lightning through my body.

    The man's breath on my neck made me shudder as he whispered, “You saved them.”

     I bowed my head and cried. It felt as though the life was drained out of me. A warm hand

trailed up my neck, cupped my chin and lifted my face up. The whole while lighting and a tingling sensation followed in the wake of his hand. I gasped and pulled away from the man, the feeling was increasingly painful. The man on the other hand seemed to like the feeling, he looked down at his palm in awe. Shaking his head, as if vanquishing a thought, he told me, “Look. Listen.” His voice was full of wonder.

        I withdrew from the ashen man and looked through blurry eyes around me.

        “Oh!” I gasped, putting a shaking hand over my mouth.

        There were hundreds of children all around me. Their eyes were haunted, their skin gray. Red fingerprints wrapped around their neck where the demon had grasped them befor he sucked their being out and discarded their shell. They were spirits I realized. They were all the children the demons had taken but now set free.

        The children's hands were all outstretched towards me. Some hands resting on top of me, though I could not feel them. I noticed their lips moving, a rhythmic mummer.

        I listened.

                                         “Made of demon and of flesh.

                                                 Something so pure,

                                                 to be put to the test.

                                                     Corrupted by evil

                                                and the mark of hell

                                            bear the womb of darkness

                                                        she shall.

                                              Through corruption and hatred,

                                              dark salvation will come,

                                              By the blood and the power

                                                of the chosen one.”

      The children repeated the verse over and over again, as if trying to make me understand. I however, did not.Their voices repeatedly buzzed like  hundreds of flies in my mind as there chant continued on compulsively.

        “I don’t know what you are trying to tell me! I don’t understand! The prophecy makes no sense!” I shouted while placing my head between my legs and covering my ears with my hands. Their childish voices did not relent. They were speaking inside of me.

        The pure insanity of life and the horror the children must have went through, made me weep. Again.

        I gasped, my eyes going wide.With a unreal burst of flashing energy, the children came at me all at once. I was coated in their warm, bright blue light. I could feel them inside me, outside of me, everywhere! Their pure feelings and thoughts enveloped me in happiness. I could feel their love and thankfulness in every pore of my body.

        I faintly felt them lifting me off my feet but I was not focused on that for long. I was soon brought back to their chaotic and beautiful thoughts.

        The children had gained all the knowledge of The Man of a Thousand Voices. They knew more than most could ever dream of. They taught me that the l prophecy, and how there was no hope to change it, but maybe I could alter it. Them telling me this gave me faith that I had a

purpose other than following the desires of the devil. Despite what fate had me believe, I could choose my path! I could deny Lucifer his wishes. I believed in a God much more powerful than Lucifer could ever be and that made me a liable enemy as much as I was a powerful weapon.

        “Thank you.” I told them. I could feel their childish excitement at my thankfulness. I had not felt this complete and happy in a very long time. Maybe I never had.

        Suddenly, all the children left, one lasting whisper echoing deep in my mind. But they did not completely leave, they left a piece of their happiness deep inside me. Warming my heart.

        I fell back down to reality and into the arms of the strange, naked man. A goofy smile, this time, on my face. I was at peace.

        I looked up at the angelic man and him down at me. Us both smiling like fools. Then realization came into place along with the tingling fire where his body caressed mine. I was in the arms of a strange naked man whom I did not know. Even through all the “Out of this world” weird experiences that had been happening to me, this was by far the strangest.That says a lot coming from a red eyed, demon child, destined to bring hell upon the face of the earth. I could not help the hysteric laugh that escaped my lips.

       The fire heating my flesh had just started to take on an almost pleasant feeling when, relentlessly, the feeling came back. It seeped from the man like poison. Like a never ending rhythm that did not stop its beat until the day I die. The feeling of doom. All I knew was, I needed to get as far away from this person as possible.

        I leaped from the man's arms rapidly. My quick movements seemed to startle him. He was quite like a child I noted not for the first time.

        “Thank you for, uh, killing the demons, but I need to go.” I told him without further explanation and walked out of the demons house.

    Did I want to know who the man was? Of course! Did I want to find out why he decided to help me? Obviously! Was I really freaking curious about why he was naked? Dreadfully so! But there was something in me that was much stronger then my curiosity that demanded I run from the man.

    Outside the night air nipped and bit at my skin. I saw in disgust that there was a smear of blood across the ground leading up to a dead man. His lifeless expression forever molded into one of fear. His eyes were wide and his mouth agape. A meaty whole through his body where his heart should have been. I thought back to the naked man, with the heart in his hand. All the signs led to him being the murderer of the heartless man, but somehow I could not believe that he would kill someone, though I did not even know him. I was beginning to think nothing in this mad world made sense.

      My shabby clothing offered no warmth as I gazed up at the inky sky and beheld the bloodied moon. It looked like a heart that was torn out out a living body and suspended within the depths of a dark soul, or a eye watching knowingly over the lands. Oh, but it was beautiful! It held a great contrast to the dark sky and the washed out, gray earth. It was hard not to stare at it like a moth to a flame.

    I whistled. A bright clear sound that rang throughout the city. Faintly, I heard Hosanna nay in answer to my call.

     That was when I noticed I was not feeling any of the agony that I should have been from being dragged throughout town. Actually, I felt no pain at all. I looked down at my body in awe.

Where my leather pants were ripped and crusted with my own blood, my skin was not. It was as smooth as a newborn child's. I held my arm before me and examined my wrist. Even the long white scar that I had gotten as a child, had vanished. The ghost children must have healed me!

    Out of the blue, the naked man appeared silently beside me. I shrieked, startled, and wondered how long he had been there without me knowing.

    I noticed with heated cheeks that his skin was too without blemishes. Tearing my gaze from his unclothed body I pulled my eyes to his face. Moist tears on his cheeks were not yet dry, he did not bother to wipe them away. He bore them without shame.

     “Did you kill him?” I asked without emotion, looking down at the blood soaked man.

     “No.” he said. A pained and sickened look crossed his face.

     He still clutched the heart, not minding that the blood was dripping through his fingers.

    “I am going with you.” he told me bluntly while looking without falter into my eyes. No one had ever held my eyes for so long! Not even my own mother. I had eyes like the devil. Ever since I was a child, people would quickly divert their eyes from mine and act as though I was not even there. But not this man. He saw me without fear nor anger. I was the one who diverted my eyes to the ground, but then realized I could see his naked body in my peripheral vision and looked quickly back to his eyes that held me captured. Well, almost captured... Don't look down. Do not look down. Don't look down. I chided myself. What could I say? I had never seen a naked man before.

     Ahem, until now.

     “N-no you are not. Trust me you do not want to tag along. I am most likely going to be hunted down by a demon.” I paused then added, “And I don’t know you. You're just some strange naked man who randomly saved me.” I let out a short humorless laugh as I lied to him and myself. Though, he was strange and naked, I did know him. Somehow, something deep inside of me, knew him well.

   I just need to get away from him. I reminded myself. Far, far away.

    “That is why I am coming with you. To protect you. I do not understand anything in this world. Nor do I know who I am! but I do know that you are my purpose and I am meant to save you.” he insisted.This man kept getting stranger and stranger by the moment. What was next? Was he going to sprout wings and fly? I would not have been surprised in the slightest. A thought came to me.

    “Wait. What do you mean you don’t know who you are?” I asked incredulous.

    “I mean,” he told me. “that I do not know whom I am. I do not understand what part of this statement that you are confused about.”        

    Curiosity overpowered me.

     “Okay then, what is your name?” I wondered.

     He seemed to ponder my question before he replied, “I have been called a great many of things since I woke up in the ash forest.”

    I knew it! He had been following me in the forest! That is where the feeling of dread came from!

    “Well,” I asked. “what have you been called?”

     “Bastard! Insane man! Get out of my yard you filthy scumbag! Hey, watch where you’re

stepping ass whole.Take your pick because those are the names I have been called.” he said humorously mocking the voices of the people whom called him the profound names. I could not tell if he was being serious or not. He just stood there, naked, looking expectantly at me.

     “I am not sure how to respond to that.” I told him honestly. I did not know how to respond to anything about this man. He looked confused as he asked, “You do not like my names?”  Either he was very good at being sarcastic, or he actually did not know his name or that people were using profanity at him.

    “Well, then.” he said a little grumpily. “What would you wish to call me?”

    Instantly, I knew what I would call him. I remembered a folklore that mother had told me. She was great at story telling. The story was about a bird that was born out of ash. It was a strange unique bird that could make fire appear instantly. I remembered how the naked man told me the last thing he remembered was waking up in the ashen forest. He was quite strange and unique and I could still feel the fire he brought to my face, heating my cheeks.

    “Phoenix.” I told him automatically. I then remembered that It was no use to help him pick a name when I would probably never see him again.

    “Phoenix.” he repeated testing the name on his tongue. “Yes, it definitely sounds better then bastard.”

    “I don’t know. I kind of think insane man fit you best.” I told him suppressing a smile. He cocked his head to the side eyeing me. His brow furrowed and a curious smile formed on his lips as if he sensed my sarcasm but did not understand it.

    “What is it you are called?” he asked me abruptly. I did not want to tell my name to a stranger, but I guessed it would be rude not to.

    “Yram.”

     “Yram, where are we headed?”

     How could I make this man understand?! “There is no we. I am going to-” I broke off mid sentence. I did not want him knowing my destination.

       Unexpectedly the ma-Phoenix- gasped and started to run towards the house. I looked around trying to see what started him off. Without warning I met the desperate eyes of a child. Her face was pushed up against the glass of the basement window, watching me.

    I ran into the house with Phoenix. As we sprinted through the threshold of the house I noticed that his muscles tensed and his eyes squinted as if he was pained.

    “What’s the matter?” I asked while coming to a stop. He stopped beside me.

    “This house. It feels as though bugs are crawling over my skin and the smell gives me a headache.” he looked over at me then asked, “Do not you smell the sulfur?”

    The smell was exquisite and continued to make my mouth water.

    “Yes.” I mumbled in disgust. “I smell it.”

    I watched Phoenix as he made his way through the house looking for a passage that led to the basement. He still held the heart in his hand, like he was attached to the grotesque thing. When my eyes pulled away from the heart, I noticed how his muscles flexed as he walked and how the torch light played majestically with his pale skin. My eyes sneaked a heated look at his buttocks, I forced my gaze away from him. I was much, much too aware that he was unclothed. My eyes betrayed me again by sneaking another glance. He caught me looking at him and I blushed fiercely.

With a smile pulling at his lips he walked over to me. I ducked my head sheepishly.    

      Ashamed at myself, I felt his warm hand touch my cheek sending a spark flying through my body.

    “I do not understand. Is something wrong?” he asked curiously.

    “N-no. I’m perfectly fine, thank you.” I mumbled flustered. I definitely needed to get away from him.

    “Do not lie. Your face keeps turning as red as your hair. Why does it do that?”

    The fact that he noticed me blushing made me go even more red.

    “Why are you carrying a heart?!” I shouted because I did not want to explain to him why I was blushing and the hearts was seriously starting to freak me out. He looked down at the heart then, a dark shadow falling across his face.

     “Only the heart of the wicked can enter the house of the Devil.” Phoenix told me. I was too stunned to react.

    Abruptly, I notice a dark hall in the corner of the room that looked as though it was slanting downward.

    Grateful at the excuse to get away from him, I walked through the house and down the slanting hall. I could faintly hear Phoenix following too close behind me. I stopped in front of a large metal door with a bolted lock. It looked like a jail cell. I did not want to see what was behind the door, but Phoenix was already fumbling with the lock.

    “Here.” I said pulling his hand from the clasp. “Let me try.” I easily opened the lock.

    “I do not know why I cannot do the simplest of things.” he told me desperately. “I know that these are your lips.” he lifted his hand and brushed my lips as he said so, “But I do not know how I know the word. I know that your smile was the first I had seen. That your sweet laugh was the first I had heard. That you in my arms, was the first body I had felt against me, but I do not know how I know that. I know that that is a lock, but I do not understand how to work it.”

    I blushed and my heart stuttered as Phoenix spoke so honestly while looking into my eyes.

    This man had no modesty in his body nor words. But now I understood why. He had never been taught to be ashamed of his body. To not speak his mind so fluently. He was a child in almost every aspect. Almost.

    The first thing I noticed when I opened the door was the freezing basement air seeping into my bones.Then I noticed the horrendous rank smell of feces. Last but definitely not least, I saw a pile of about five small children curled together, trying to soak up as much warmth as they could on the cold cement floor. The oldest child could be no older than seven and the youngest at least two. The girl I had seen through the window was cradling the youngest child in her arms, slowly rocking him back and forth. The child in her arms was pasty white and unmoving.

    The only reason I could even see the children was because the moons red ray of light that shone crimson through the window.

    The children stared up at me in shock. It was so silent in the room that I could hear the steady dripping of the water leak in the corner of the room. Drip. Drip. Drip.

    I followed my first instinct blindly and ran towards the children, my arms outstretched wanting to embrace them.

        All the kids scurried backwards in fright. The blond girl with the young boy held against

her, shouted at me, “You cannot have him! Here, take me instead!” She gave the child to some other kid and stumbled to me.

    I felt like I was going to throw up and I would have to, if I had anything in my stomach. So instead, dry heaves wracked my body, not for the first nor the last time, I new.

     As I was on the ground I saw a watering boll and a heap of what looked like rotting meat. They were treated like animals. Below that even. They were merely food for the demon.

    “We are not here to harm you. We have came to save you from the evil man.” Phoenix told them, while extending his arms with his palms outstretched. The children slowly started to uncoil out of the cowering positions and stumble feebly toward Phoenix. The blond girl grabbed the young boys limp body again and followed the rest of the kids towards Phoenix. They trusted him. I had always known that children had a type of sixth sense, allowing them to feel the good and bad in people. They must have sensed my demonic background. That meant that they sensed something pure and good in Phoenix. If the children trusted him, I knew I could. Something in the back of my mind was screaming at me to not to trust him at all. That he was bad, but for once in my life, I ignored my intuition and followed my heart.

Yram

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest-Psalms 55:6

 

    “Come on, follow me. Lets get you free of this place.” I told the children. They looked hesitantly up at me. Not sure if I could be trusted. I did not blame them, though their fear hurt me a little. I myself, did not know if I could be trusted. The kids all looked to Phoenix, asking him with their eyes, if I was safe. He smiled and urged them forward.

    They all followed me, at a safe distance, up the dark hall and into the living room.

    With the torch lights flickering eerily around me, I scooped up a handful of the gray and black ash. I then brought the palm of my hand to my lips and blew the remains of the man's scorched flesh across the room. The ash fluttered from my hand lazily before settling like a thin blanket on the wood floor. I looked into the palm of my hand and gazed at  the sharp knife that sparkled and glinted at me, as if it was begging for my attention.  I would have need of it again so I shoved the murderous thing into my pocket. That act alone proved I had changed since I left my home. In a few short days my personality had been drastically altered. Who was I? What had I become? I hoped the lord knew, because I sure did not.

    At first when we all stepped out of the house, the children gazed in shock and awe up at the moon. Then suddenly the children ran into the darktown leaving nothing but small trails of the ash they had stepped in. They were free, and they would not waste a second of it thanking the man who saved them. I did not blame them. I left the very person who gave life to me. I left her because I was afraid, despite what I told myself. I was so afraid.

    “They are going home.” whispered a small sweet voice behind me. I looked back startled to

see the blond girl with one hand curled around Phoenix's finger and the other holding the dead boy. 

    “And what about you?” wondered Phoenix while falling to his knees so that he would be at her height. “Why are you not going home too?”

    “‘Cuz I don’t have one. I was raised to be a feeder.” she told him simply, acting as though she said she liked coloring instead of saying that she was raised to be fed to a demon. I did not want to think about what she had said much longer, so instead I changed the subject .

    “What's your name, sweetie?” I asked, trying to sound motherly but my voice came out strained. Her eyes went wide and she flinched at the sound of my voice.

    “I don’t have one of those either.” she said while regaining her confidence and staring me defiantly for a few moments. It was as if she was saying, “Go ahead and think low of me, I don’t care.”

      I saw myself in the girl. I remembered a time when I would walk through my village as others would spit at me and whisper behind my back.

    “Well lucky for you,” Phoenix was telling the girl kindly. “Yram happens to be great at helping people find names. In fact, just a couple minutes ago, she helped me find a name.” (I really had to stop asking people their names.)

    I glared over at Phoenix. He just smiled back at me awaiting my answer. Maybe he just did not know what a glare meant, like he did not know how to smile... I quickly diminished the thought. If he didn’t know what a glare was after walking naked throughout the evil city, he would be quite dim. And I had a feeling he was anything but.

     I shot him one last glare, which he promptly ignored.

    “Well, what is your favorite thing to do or something you love?” I asked to stall her while I wracked my brain for names.

     “I don’t know of anything I like to do.” she said and glanced down at the motionless boy. “But um, I do love my brother very much...and I love that I am here to protect him.” as she said so she stroked his forehead lovingly.

    “Custa.” I told her instantly. “It means protector. Like how you protect your brother.”

    The girl looked sad as she told me, “B-but miss? Custa is in Latin. I know it is the holy language, but to me it is evil, because the demon who spoke it, well, he killed my friend.” her lower lip started to wobble and I wanted to take her up in a hug, but new I would only scare her.

    “You see, that is the beauty of your name. Latin is supposed to be a evil language but we can turn it into something good, by giving you a Latin name we prove that even evil has a glimpse of hope. You, Custa, are hope.” I told her trying to make a point that there is still good in the world. At first I was not sure if I could tell a child so young all that, but then I realised if anyone deserved the truth, she did.

    Custa got a serious look on her face as she nodded, accepting her name.

    “But miss? If evil has a glimpse of good, doesn’t that mean that good also has a glimpse of evil?”

     I had no words for her then. What she said disturbed me immensely.

    In the distance I heard Hosannas hoofs clicking on the road and shouting of people following that. I looked down at the unmoving child in Custa’s arms, praying that on the rare chance that he was alive.

    “Can I see your brother?” I asked the young girl, holding my arms out to her. “I just want to see if he is okay.”

    Custa did not want to hand over her brother I could tell. The girls big blue eyes looked to Phoenix.

     “Go ahead. She just wants to see if he is okay.” Phoenix urged her, brows lifted in sincerity.

    “But she is like the demon.” I heard her whisper to him.

    “No she is not.” Phoenix told her firmly. “She is nothing like him.”

     But how would Pheonix know? How would he know I wasn't just a psychedelic as the demon?

     Unsurprisingly, Custa trusted him and took a hesitant step towards me. She slowly, delicately, handed me her brother.

       The feel of the child's cold body against mine made bile rise in my throat. I would happily take the little boys place, if he was dead. My pain and death would be much easier to handle than the child's in my arms. What if he was dead? What would I tell Custa?! Just the thought of telling her that her brother was dead would break me.

     Taking in a prolonged breath I placed my hand above the child's mouth. Though his body was as cold as ice, his skin pale and lips blue, I could slightly feel the exhale of cold breath on my palm.

     He was alive! Relief flooded through me in waves. Thank you Father! Thank you.

    I looked down at the shabby clothing that barely cover the boy, just like the girls cloths.

  “He has hypothermia. He needs a blanket or warm clothes, quickly.” I told Custa and Phoenix.

   I looked down at my attire. I definitely had no clothes to spear nor did Custa. I gazed at Phoenix. He certainly did not.

    With relief I heard loud clunking of hoofs trotting up the road behind me. Custa’s eyes grew as wide as meat pies as she stared in awe over my shoulder.

      I smiled. A warm puff of breath ruffle my hair.

     Handing the child to Custa I spun around and wrapped my arms around Hosannas large, warm neck.

   “You made it, boy!” I cried, almost in tears. My boy came back for me! Hosanna snorted in response.

    I was so wrapped in the comforting silky feel of Hosanna in my arms, that I almost didn't hear someone demand, “Ey! Grab that there animal for me, woman!” I looked around Hosanna's large frame to see a hairy man running at us, followed by a huge crowd of hungry eyed people with a variety of sharp objects in their hands.

    In a starved town like this, I should have known that Hosanna would be followed by hungry admirers.

     Noticing that the ripped half of my shirt was still tied around Hosanna's face, I slipped it off and handed it to Custa. Maybe that would keep her brother warm enough, for now.

     “Here that will keep him warm! Now go! Hurry before the people are upon us!” I told the girl hurriedly.A young girl was not safe in a riot of people. Who knew what horrid things they would do to her? I felt unstable at the thought.

     Custa must have been thinking along the same lines because with a fearful glance at the crowd, she hugged Phoenixand wrapped the shabby piece of cloth around her brother in a motherly sort of way. She then started to run away from us. At the outskirt of the city she hesitated and looked to me.

    “Don't die.” she said making amends with her obvious dislike of of my person.

     “Wouldn’t dream of it.”

     And with that, she left. Disappearing into the depths of the shadowed city.

    I could have taken her with me, but with all the horrific things that had been happening around me, she would be better off in this starved city. I was a magnet for chaos and evil. Or maybe I just brought it upon myself.

     Shouting, rage and profanity filled my ears as the lunatic people surrounded us hungrily.

     “Leave! Now!” I demanded to Phoenix. He simply looked down at me with a slightly confused look on his face.

   “I am not leaving you.” he told me stubbornly. His words and anger were familiar to me. That was exactly how I felt when mother made me leave. I searched Phoenix's honest eyes, looking for any sign of weakness. Unlike me, he had none.

    Annoyed, I grabbed hold of Hosannas mane and swung myself up onto his back. Instantly, I felt peace spread within my body. Just being with him gave a feeling of comfort. Though I was still flabbergasted at Phoenix's sudden attachment to me.

     “This is not like the books I read!” I wanted to yell at him. “There is no such thing as love at first sight...Or attachment at first sight...”  Whatever his weird obsession with me was. Somebody needed to teach him that in thisnew world, you needed to earn trust, strive for love, then maybe you would not fear the person. Maybe.

     “Hey, woman! Get off the horse or will eat ya alive too!” someone threatened.

    “That animal is mine!” said another unknown voice. The wild crowd started to move in on us, most people holding ropes and weapons.

     I felt Hosanna starting to get nervous under me. His body tightened up, waiting for my command. His hoofs pawed the ground in agitation.

     Glancing around us I soon realized that we were circled. There was no way out of their angry faces and hungry eyes. Most limped, tipped and staggered slowly closer and closer to us, hesitant and afraid of Hosanna and the death stares I was shooting at anyone who dared take a step closer to my horse.

     The nights shadows fell eerily across their bony bodies, making them look as if they were already dead. A woman to the right of us showed no fear of Hosanna, she only wore a detached starved look that hinted toward insanity. I noticed in horror that her arm was decapitated at the elbow and the wound was so raw that it was barely scabbed over. It was swollen and red with blood and pus oozing out of it. Her decapitated arm was outstretched toward us as she continued to stumbled closer. It was as if she forgot that it wasn't there.

   Though I was afraid, I felt sorrow too. A sorrow much greater than the nagging fear. How sick was this City of Ruins? It was infected with evil. I looked down at Phoenix and saw that he too was feeling the same way. He looked from face to face his expression contorted in a mask of pain and horror.

      A bitter mood mixed in with my sorrow and fear. This could not get any worse.

     That was when the heavens rumbled and a black cloud rolled across the sky, obliterated

the red moon light and tuning the riot of people into a dark purple glow.

   Ha. Ha. Very funny God, I thought dryly as rain started to trickle down on us. Hosanna shuddered under me, almost tossing me to the muddy ground. We were doomed.

     I could not contain all the stress and chaotic emotions anymore. Wildly, I through my head back and laughed at the irony of life. I knew I looked insane with my wild red hair dripping around me like blood and my crimson eyes flashing in the purple glow, but I could not help myself. I was learning more and more that my reaction to stress was both insanity and sarcasm. The thought was humorous. I was so much like my mother.

      Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Phoenix giving me an odd look. As if judging me for my hysterical laugh. Like he was one to judge! At least I was not naked!

    Out of nowhere a black horse broke through the crowd of people, knocking them over and trampling them into the mud. I instantly recognized the horse as the demons black stead.

    All stilled at that moment. The crowd went silent. All I could here was the puffing breath of        Hosanna and the steady beat of his heart under me. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. Thump thump. The beat was rheumatic and hypnotic.

   Tearing myself away from the rhythm of Hosannas heart, I saw that the black horse made a small opening that was just enough room so that we could escape. The horses black fur held a majestic blood tint to it as the moon shone a singly crimson ray down on the horse and its rider.

   Suddenly, I was brought out of my blissful trance like state by someone jumping on Hosanna behind me. As I felt his burning thighs cup the back of my legs I stiffened like a board. I instantly knew whom it was. Not because I saw him, I did not, but because of the feeling of dread that settled into my gut and also another feeling came upon me with its unwelcome presences. A stirring inside me I had not felt before.

    “What're ya waiting for?! Lets go!” shrieked the person riding the black horse. I tightened my legs around Hosanna and Phoenix wrapped his arms around my waist as Hosanna reared in the air, his hoofs making a cracking sound as they made contact with someone's skull. Hosanna then trampled mercilessly through the people. Blood mixed with mud swelled underneath us and sprayed our bodies as we followed blindly behind the midnight horse.

      I saw, as we galloped through the city, a few demented looking animals held in houses or shabby pens. The animals had abscesses and extra body parts. Some could not even walk because of an extra appendage. A couple even had more than one head. I realized in shock that they were the pigs I had heard but they were mutated from the flare. They must have captured them from the northern side of the world, where the flare was the worst but the food was most plentiful.

                                                                   

As we ran farther and farther from the starved desecrated place, the city’s torch light flickered smaller and smaller until I could see nothing at all.

     When the adrenalin sadly decreased from my veins, I became increasingly aware of a fact.

    There was a naked man riding behind me, laceing my body with agony. And I mean right behind me. Touching me.

    Phoenixes chest heated my back and his hot breath steamed on the side of my neck.            Sensually, I felt a shiver rolled down my spine and goose bumps formed on my arms. It was not from the freezing wind that howled in my ears nor the icy rain that pelted my skin like a thousand little needles. No, the cold weather did not affect me near as much as Phoenix did.

     From unmentionable reasons, I could confirm that I was not the only one who was quite aware of the person of the opposite sex riding with me.

    Poor Hosanna. I thought.After a pause I realized, poor Phoenix too. It must have been very uncomfortable to be riding a horse naked! Though he seemed to be enjoying himself just fine.

   My face heated.

Yram

 

In the long run we are all dead-John keynes

    

     I could not tell how long Hosanna had been trudging through the mud that swelled higher and thicker around his legs. Each time his foot would pull itself free of the sludge it would make a sickening slurping sound as if the ground was trying to envelop him into its dark depths.

     I could not feel the cold anymore. My body was tingly, fiery and frozen in numbing bliss, at least thats what I thought I was feeling, for I had never experienced cold of this extent before. I knew it was not a good thing for my body to stop feeling the pain, but I could not help but be thankful of its absence. Even Phoenix’s hand around me and his chest pressed against my back, no longer provided any warmth. Phoenix was, like me, drastically losing body heat.

     Hosanna quickly passed the smaller black horse. His body was much more powerful and his speed quicker, though I guessed the black horse was much younger then Hosannas older age of seventeen.

     From the black horse behind me I heard a woman's rustic voice yell, “My damned horse can't run much longer and she needs water! We also need ta find shelter or I'll freeze meh ass white!”

     Freeze her rear white? Great. Now I had two odd strangers tagging along with me. The thought made me smile. I am a magnet for all things peculiar.

      Almost ironically, a bright burst of light struck the ground in front of Hosannas feet making a loud bionic cackling sound. Hot mud splattered across my face and heat exploded over my body, blasting my hair backwards as the smell of burnt hair assaulted my nose. The lightning startled Hosanna and he reared over backwards, slamming me and Phoenix into the mud, his body ground us deeper into the thick abyss as he struggled to get up.

     I could not see anything in the never ending mud. I could not breath. Could not scream or mud would fill my lungs and diminished the short supply of air I had. I could not even think of anything besides, I hope Hosanna was okay.

     I thrashed and reached around for something, someone, to help me, but found nothing besides the all consuming mud. I knew I needed to breath soon, my lungs must have been aching for air, but I could not feel it. All I could feel was the quiet emptiness around me, killing me, in a peaceful sort of way.

     This could not be the end, could it? After all the fear, rage, and sorrow? There had to be a purpose to my struggles. Surly, death was not yet to take me, was it? My life could not end! The prophecy had not been fulfilled!

     With my last ounce of strength I thrust my hand out in a direction I prayed was up.

     Nothing. No hand grasped mine. Nothing solid made contact. Nothing at all.

     I realised my breath, then could do nothing but inhale the mud. My body contracted in desperation, trying to dislodge the unwanted foe but also starving for air.

     Thick mud clogged my throat.

     My heartbeat was throbbing through my body.

     Death was whispering in my ear, convincing me to stop fighting for life.

     As my body began to still, darkness was all around me, consuming my mind. I was lost in the blissful state of memories.

     I remembered a time when life was easy. When sorrow was having to clean the house. When pain was hitting my funny bone. A time when death did not stalk me.

     I grabbed a handful of Hosannas mane and swung myself up onto him. His tall, muscular body flexed as he walked, his glossy fur glistened as the warm glow of the sun hit it and and his milky mane whipped freely with the wind. I knew it was dangerous, riding without a bridle or saddle but I could not find it in me to care. I just smiled in pure happiness and watched the tall golden grass whirl with the wind and smelt the spicy fragrance of sage bush, so strong I could almost taste it.

     As Hosanna walked farther and farther away from the wooden fence that curled around the field, I turned him around and pulled him to a stop. I gazed up at the towering mountains, the blazing sun was just starting to rise above it casting beautiful pink and red rays across the morning sky.

     My knuckles whitened as I gripped Hosannas mane. His muscles tighten in anticipation of the run.

     I barely tapped him with my heels when abruptly he leaped foreword . I held onto his mane even tighter and leaned into him, pressing my face against his warm coat. He waved his head and whinnied in delight, then flew even faster. He was going so fast that I could barely hear his thunderous hooves, thumping against the earth.

     We were flying across the field, our body's moving as though we were one.

     “Ha!” I bellowed over my pounding heart, demanding that he go faster. Hosannas ears flickered back in acknowledgement then he flew faster than ever.

     I closed my eyes and through my head back in a joyous laugh. The golden sun was kissing my skin and my long fiery hair was whipping around my face. At that moment I knew there was nothing in the world that could make me feel as free as I did then. I felt as though nothing and no one could harm us when we were flying, we were free.

    I was free.

    And then, I was pulled back to the agonizing present and away from the blissful memory. Someone's arms clasped tightly around my waist sending a shock wave through my body as they  pulled me upward. Leave me be! I wanted to shout, but I still could not breath, my body felt thick and heavy and my mind was in a fog.

     I could feel someone's hands in my mouth, digging the mud out, but I could not see at all. The mud had caressed my body entirely in a thick layer.

     I could hear muffled voices shouting desperately, but I could not make out the words.

     Shockingly, I felt scorching lips, press against mine, spreading my mouth open.      Thankfulness consumed me as my lungs inflated with air.

     In the moment of the agonizing confusion and the lack of oxygen, my mind became completely clear.

      Was it possible for death to have a death wish for me? Because I think she did. I could feel her now, latched onto my back like a leach. Drinking me in hungrily, never letting go until she had had her full share. But for a reason unknown she has not been able to fully dine on my soul. I would like to think the reason for my seemingly everlasting life was because there was a higher power protecting me, but then, I thought, which higher power was protecting me? God or Lucifer? Maybe both. Maybe neither. Though the lightning did strike from the heavens, and the mud of the earth did try to consume me.

       Lips pressed against mine again, giving me another burst of breath. My body started contracting in heaves and I spewed mud out of my mouth, then gasped in starved breaths of air. I could feel someone's hands gently smoothing the dirt from my eyes so that I could see.

     A mud enveloped Phoenix was looking desperately down at me, his chest heaving in exertion. He held me close against him, cradled in his arms as shook in fright. His raw emotion disturbed me and I tried to pull away from him but he continued to hold me close.

     I felt movement under me and noticed with thankfulness that we were riding Hosanna, a new brown Hosanna with mud coating his fur and his eyes flashing wildly, but he was okay and that was all that mattered.

      I reached a muddy hand outward and stroked Hosannas neck, trying to comfort him. He shuddered with relief under my touch.

     “It's okay boy. Its going to be okay.” I told him soothingly, trying to convince myself as much as him. Hosanna reached his head around and nudged my leg, checking if I was not hurt.

     I heard hoofs squashing in the mud behind me. I turned my head to see the black horse which was almost completely hidden in the dark except the white of its eyes and same with its rider.

     “Ya dead?” the woman asked me. I shook my head no.

     “Well if ya two lovers are done getin’ friendly wit eachother, I think it's best we find shelter, before we all get fried crispy.” she informed us and flashed a white, slightly demented smile that reminded me of someone, but it was too dark to tell.

     I pushed at Phoenixes chest and this time he released me. I climbed around and grasped Hosannas slippery mane, and we assumed our earlier position as if I had not almost died. As if Phoenix was not completely naked.

     I wanted the other rider to take Phoenix so that I could get away from him, but she did not offer and it would have been rude to ask.

      I sighed. It was going to be a long night.

Superbus

 

Pain, without love.

Pain, I can't get enough.

Pain, I like it rough,

‘Cause I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all-Three days grace

I grasped his neck in my powerfully hands and squeezed, slowly, full of the insanity that consumed my mind. Murder meant nothing to me anymore. If anything it excited me! I had no moral instincts. Being an angel I had never needed a conscience. I was simply created without one. Angels had not a need for something so human as feelings. We had a strong sense of good and Justice naturally. But once I renounced my father, and was vanquished to hell, the good felt like it was ripped from my very being, along with justice.

     In hell, where I was sent with some of my other brothers and sisters, new feelings consumed me entirely. Without the ability for remorse, I was left with rage, lust, and insanity. New human feelings that were completely raw and overpowering. I had no choice but to obey sin.

     The worthless human in my arms tried to stab me repeatedly with the knife in his hand, but it did not wound me. A woman shrieked  in horror and tried desperately to stop me from killing her lover. In fact, cries of agony, bellows of rage and whimpers of fear drowned the city in sweet chaos. Being a demon I drank in the cries thirstily.

     I through my head back and bellowed a insane laugh as my submissive army of thousands continued to slaughter and devour women and children, leaving only the men behind so that they could join our army of hell. 

      I had to feed the creatures of the flame somehow. They were powerful warriors but they needed so much food! Especially meat. Oh, how my creatures loved meat! 

     Despite the creatures obvious blood lust, I was a obeyed and respected leader. The creatures feared me beyond all else, except for the lord Lucifer, may he rule the heavens and earth.

      I was the strongest most powerful being on this world, and yet, I wish I was not so weak. If only I was stronger than my all knowing master, then maybe I would not be here. Taking many lives, creating one, and always under control of Lucifer.

     The man in my hands went limp in our embrace. It was quite like an embrace lovers would share, the thought excited me. Though this was an embrace of death. The woman continued to beat on me. It always shocked me how the human need for preservation was so strong. They were all going to die anyway, so why fight it?

     I laughed again at the pain death all around me. At the woman's useless pursuit to save her dying lover. Though deep, deep down, in the dark abyss of my heart, I new. Oh how I new! All this blood lust and rage I was feeling, was merely a cover up for the simmering misery and hatred I was feeling for myself. All because of my master!

     I was not only a bloodthirsty demon wanting to bring hell upon the earth, a monster who left his sweet love to burn in hell but I was also willing to sacrifice my own daughter for the cause of my evil master.    

    What kind of animal would  sacrifice his own daughter? I smiled. I would.

     But better to live in the insanity of earth, then the other place... Better here, than there.   

     The second I thought it the flashback attacked me mercilessly.

     My flesh ripping from my muscle.

     “AHHHHH!” A animalistic scream of agony. It did not even sound of this world.

     Acid enveloping me in its raw depths of pain.

     “God of the Heavens! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!?!?!?!” A cry of sorrow.

     Lava slithering through my veins.

     “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO YOUR OWN CHILD?!” A lifeless shriek blaming the creator for the betrayal of the forsaken angel flesh.

     I faintly realized, through the pain, that I was the one shouting. I knew the cries were useless. The creator did not care about my suffering anymore. He loved me, but did not care. Thats why I chose to serve my brother Lucifer. He cared and sympathized. Or so I thought. Little did I no I would be sent to the depths of hell with the rest of the fallen.

     DEAD SILENCE. It was almost worse then the yelling.

     Thousands of maggots, eating me alive, crawling under my skin.

     That was not even close to the worst part of hell. By far the most agonizing, horrid thing was having to witness, without the ability to look away nor even blink, the fallen angel I loved going through the same thing I was.

     Fire melting him inside out. His flesh slithering off his bones. His bloodied mouth stretched open as far as it could go in a silent scream. No words, no yell, could describe the agony of hell.

     Coming back to the present I squeezed the humans throat even tighter in loss of control and despair.

     Now, I was blissfully on earth when my love, Avaritus, was still in the fiery depths of hell where the all powerful Creatorvanquished us. Only the master Lucifer himself could send us to earth to do his bidding.

     I felt the man's throat contracting and flexing in my hand, trying to fight for air.

     I remembered the promise I made with my Master when I was burning in hell. I promised that if he realised my dear Avaritus I would do whatever he wished of me. Anything.

     Lucifer knew I was the most powerful fallen angel and had great need of me.

     So the deceitful lord sent me instead of Avaritus to earth. He promised he would set him free only when he became the one true king. Until I free my love, I will be forever Lucifer's abiding slave.

     Oh, Avaritus! I will save you! I only pray you will forgive me for what I have become, and the horrid things I have done...

     It was my fault he was trapped in agony. I was the one who convinced him to follow Lucifer with me. I wanted more power than the Creator would allow. It was my greed. My fault. Lucifer's fault!

     The man in my hands was now soulless. Dead as humans would say. I threw him to the ground. He was useless to me, only giving me the bland pleasure of his pain. What would I do when murder gave me no pleasure at all? The thought worried me immensely.

     My vision going red in the demon rage and craving more pain, I grabbed the woman next to me. She cried out as I ripped her off her feet by her hair. I could feel the pain leaking off of her in lush waves as the roots of her hair tore from her scalp making a popping sound.

     “Hmmm...” I said trying to scare her further. “What would be the most painful way to die?”

      Her eyes went wide and she whimpered. Her emotions were now mixed between terror and awe at my all consuming beauty.

     “Would it be burning alive? You would like that, no?” I asked wickedly.

     “N-n-noooo.” she sobbed, a love struck look glazed her ugly eyes.

     “Oh? Well, lets see....I know! I could rip your heart out, while you are still alive! I am much obliged that you decided against fire. It is a bit over done, is it not?” I asked.

     Now she was shaking in pure terror. Her fear was so strong I could taste it. It tasted like yellow one might say. That is the only way to describe it. Fear is a sickly, delicious, yellow.

     I dropped her and held her to the ground with my foot. I bent over her ready to plunge through her chest cavity and grasp her beating heart in my hand. I knew she was just taking in the beauty of me as I did so, all fleshlings of the earth did.

     Shockingly, I felt a stone thunk against my head. I turned slowly, wanting my attacker to feel my rage for a long while. Wanting to gut whomever disrespected me so!

     I small fleshling child was standing before me, her large blue eye narrowed in the same rage that I was feeling. Her fists were balled in tiny clumps. I realized with delight that she was holding a younger boy child in her arms. Two victims! Various ways of killing them rolled around in my mind deliciously. I could make her watch the death of the younger boy!

     “Leave. Her. Alone.” the girl demanded humorously.

     I ground my foot into the gut of the woman under me, and she cried out in pain.

     The child through another rock that I caught easily in the palm of my hand.

     I tilted my head to the side and crushed the rock into dust as I asked playfully, “Want to play?”

     She ran.

     I smiled.

     Nothing was as thrilling as a good chase!

Whiskey

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the former-Albert Einstein

 

  The red haired girl was as stiff as pregnant woman's nipples. She chewed her lower lip continuously, sending a single crimson droplet dripping, like a tear, down her chin and she gripped her horse's mane like she was holding herself onto the face of the damned earth.

     I knew she was not in a state of distress because of her near death experience, in fact she handled that oddly calm. No, she was acting so strange because of the mouthwateringly delicious naked man whom was pretty much groping her with his eyes. I could not help but to chuckle at the man's blatant display of mental groping and the woman's stiff prudity. In my old tribe woman of all ages would be uncrossing their ankles with great a hurry, if they saw a man of his outstanding looks. But my tribe is no more. I reminded myself. Sometimes it felt like I was no more. It felt like I died with my father and our tribe. But I would find peace once again, I knew. Being the Alpha males daughter, I had a sworn duty to uphold. To avenge my people’s murder. I pictured myself thrusting my knife up into the guts of the demented man who killed my father. Then, and only then, I would finally be at peace.

     So why had I saved these two mindless pups, when I had a different quest to fulfill? I told myself I was simply repaying a debt, but I knew that was not the reason entirely. There was a strong aura of power coming from the girl. Something that demanded attention and promised freedom. There was something much more lurking behind her pretty face, and I meant to find out just what it was.

     If there was anything I had learned from father, it was to follow my gut.  Right now, my gut was telling me she was the path to my inner peace, as dopey as that sounded.

     Yes, I decided. I would stay with her and hope that she would lead me to the man's death, and my peace. 

     The people on the horse continued to follow me like stray wolf pups. I could tell just by their facial expressions that they were complete virgin to the damned ways of the world. Well, the man mostly. The girl seemed to have a hardness around her strange eyes that hinted towards deep embedded sorrow and rage. They were emotion I knew all too well. I wondered how awful it must be to be so openly readable. Like a child I guessed. I could see every emotion flash across her face.

     Looking back at the girl I instantly knew I liked her. We were connected somehow by our past sorrows. The man on the other hand... he sat about as right with me as a cactus under the saddle.

     The cold rain had stopped hours ago. We were left trudging through the mush trying to find a dry place to rest. I was so exhausted that I was almost ready to stop my horse and just curl up in the mud when I caught eye of a small clump of trees about a mile away.

    Praise the merciful lord Lucifer! I touched the scars on both my wrists with my two fingers then twisted my hand over my heart. It was a praise ritual that my tribe had practiced. It was a way of wording of the wicked good, and saying thank you to the Dark Master without words.       Thank you oh merciful one.

Superbus

 

     I held the demons ash in my hand, cupping it delicately as I brought it to my lips and licked the dry taste of death. I was feeling a fatherly sense of pride at the demons scorched flesh in my mouth. Sure, he was a needed asset to the war, but my daughter, my very flesh and blood, had vanquished him! A slave told me she was the one who destroyed the demon, before I smashed the slaves head in that is. I smiled at the fresh memory of his fear.

     Coming back to thoughts of my daughter I realized she must be becoming very powerful! Yram was the first halfling born in generations, her power would be unstoppable! I knew parts of her demon would soon be awakening. The delicious demon battle rage that had served me in many a battle, the uncontrollable desire to do wicked things, the sensuous seven deadly sins, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust and gluttony, all swelling inside her! But her power only would fully come on her eighteenth birthday. When she was born I performed a ritually over her, blocking her demon until Lucifer had need of it. Pride flowed throughout my veins. My child would be great!

     “Meh lord,” a creature said coming up behind me, “ we ‘ound a pairr of ‘oof print headed out da city. We have ‘ound duh girrl trackk, it is only a matterh of time be’oreh we i’nd herrr.”

     I pushed the disgusting creature away from me. Slim that the creatures smear on their bodies to ease their sores, collected on my hand as I did so. I wiped my hand of my pants as I walked out of the house and onto the streets. Blood was frozen red in thick layers across the road and splattered in frozen teardrops on the buildings. Dead humans, some half eaten, lay in mangled positions crusted to the ground by their own blood.

      The cries of sorrow and the thick smell of terror had given way to sweet aroma of death and the animalistic wails of my creatures.

     I saw the back of a moist creature bent over something, its head jerking up and down with its shoulder blades flexing as if it was ripping something apart. Hearing me, the creature turned around. Its eyes bulged unnaturally, pupils dilated. Its  face was dripping with fresh blood and its hands held a stringy piece of meat towards me. The meat still had flesh hanging in pieces on it.  As the creature continued to show me its kill it giggled wildly and began to tear at its own face, making claw marks where her own yellow tinted blood flowed downward, mixing with the dead humans blood. Most creatures, like this one, were more animal than human. Less than animal, even.

     I turned to the huge creature beside me, who was smiling crazily at all the blood around us. I chose him as my second in command because he was ruthless and evil. Those qualities, I knew, would make a powerful leader and furthermore, easy to control.

     “Tell some of the creatures to pack as much meat as they can carry and get a search party to follow her tracks.”

     “Yut meh materrr.” said the lead creature in a low wet voice. It’s voice was so strange and guttural I could hardly understand what it was saying. It annoyed me and I wanted to kill the thing, but needed it.

     “Oh, and Ursus?” I said using its name for the first time. “We leave tonight.”

Yram

Maybe this world is another planet's hell-Aldous Huxley

After drinking deeply from a puddle with the horses and scrubbing myself pink, I went to join the rest of the group at camp. Camp happened to be a small cluster of trees that were packed so tight they made a type of ceiling above us and wall around us. The horses could not squeeze their way in so they had to wait outside. I was not in the slightest comfortable with leaving Hosanna alone but my body ached for sleep and I was just so cold and wet. I hoped Hosanna would understand.

    I made my way through the brush and found a small flickering fire awaiting me. Phoenix looked up as I came upon the fire but the mysterious girl was hiding in the darkness of the treese.

     As I sat down next to the fire I started to feel my frozen limbs. They stung and burned so bad my eye watered and my body was so cold I could not help shake uncontrollably. It was agony of such as I had never experienced before. It made me ache for the blistering heat that use to consume the lands.

     Once the pain had left me, I become aware of an uncomfortable silence that drifted throughout the trees.

     “So...” I said speaking the first word spoken in at least twenty minutes, “Who are you?” I still could not see the woman clearly. She kept herself masked in the shadows.

     Shockingly, she moved forward into the dwindling fire, startling Phoenix.

     As the fire flicked exotically across her dark features, I suddenly recognized her. She was the girl I had freed from the slave traders!

     “You!” I gasped, shocked.

     “Me.” she agreed calmly.

     “She is black!” Phoenix exclaimed wide eyed to me, as if that was the logical thing to say next.

     The woman looked bewildered at first but then recovered and shot Phoenix a glare, which he ignored. I decided it was my job to explain Phoenixes bluntness.

     “He’s kind of -” I tapped my head, trying to explained.

     “I do not even know who I am.” Phoenix agreed.

     The girl eyed Phoenixes nakedness and agreed with me. Then there was another awkward pause. Me, only ever talking to my mother thus being socially inexperienced. Phoenix, being a man child, and the girl, just not wanting to talk to us.

     “Well, thanks for saving us.” I told her. It seemed like I had been saying that a lot lately. “My name is Yram and the naked guy here, is Phoenix.”

     She nodded and replied. “My names Whiskey.”

     “Whiskey as in the drink?” I wondered trying not so smile. She rolled her eyes and replied, “Whiskey as in my parents were alcoholics.”

     I considered that, then replied, “Well my fathers hunting me down as we speak, so I understand your parental issues.” I was trying to lighten the mood. It did not help, she gave me an odd look. Okay, first step to making new friends: Don't tell them your father is hunting you down.

     “And I do not have a dad.” Phoenix informed us smiling, “At least I think I do not...”

     Whiskey looked from me to Phoenix and back again. Her expression unreadable.

     “Ya’ll are weirder den meh aunt Erna after six shots o’ moonshine.” she said just staring at us.

     Phoenix looked offended as he shot back, “Says the black girl named Whiskey.” he crossed his arms over his chest.

     That was when Whiskey jumped across the fire and attacked Phoenix like a wild woman. I was too shocked to intervene. For one, I was just surprised that Phoenix knew how to use sarcasm. I had a hunch who he picked it up from. I was also bewildered at Whiskeys abrupt change in emotion. Her wild display of rage only increased as Phoenix refused to fight back.

     “You...Little...Mutant...Pigged, headed...Racist...Insane, man!” In between words Whiskey punched him mercilessly. I had to agree with her about the insane man part, but Whiskey did not seem very sane herself.

     I was just coming out of my shock to help Phoenix whom was lying there taking the hits, when suddenly he grabbed her wrists easily with one hand. She tried to fight free but it was a useless pursuit. Phoenix was surprisingly strong.

     “I did not mean to offend you, Whiskey.” Phoenix told her honestly. “I only meant to show you that we are not the only unusual ones here. From what I know about myself, I do not like mean people, or angry words meant to hurt. So please, try to control yourself.”

     That was the wrong thing to say. If there was anything I knew, You did not tell a girl to control herself.

     Expectedly, Whiskey broke free of Phoenix’s hold and kneed him in the crotch, a insane smile lighting her face the whole time. Phoenix rolled over on his side holding himself and groaning in agony.

     Whiskey got to her feet, looked down at him and smirked, “Lesson one: Don’t tell me what to do, Pretty boy, or next time I will take my knife and remove yer little-”

      “That's enough!” I bellowed hurriedly. This had gone to far. Whiskey looked over her shoulder and glared at me. Phoenix was too preoccupied to acknowledge me.

      “Stop fighting, that won't get us anywhere. Right now we just need to get to sleep before we all rip each others heads off. Okay?” I finished with a sigh. It had been a long day.

     “Don’t ya get me started on yo too Lil’ red.” Whiskey glared my way. “Since I met ya nothin’ but trouble has happened! An where are ya dragging us anyways?!”

     I wanted to point out that I was not dragging them anywhere. It was her who decided to follow me, but instead I said, “Honestly, I have no clue, but my horse will lead us there.”

      Whiskey looked bewildered, “Well dat's comforting! I was afraid I was taggin’ along with a nutcase, but no, not at all. Yer horse is just leading us to a place ya dont know bout. I feel so much better now.”

     I could taste her sarcasm.

     “Then leave me.” I told her, my pride wounded. But I was actually thinking, Please don't leave me alone with Phoenix! The thought terrified me.

     Whiskey studied me for a moment before deciding, “Well, I ain't got nowhere else ta go.”

     Relief flooded through me as Whiskey grumbled and moved about as far away from Phoenix as she could before settling down to sleep.

     I followed Whiskey lead and settled down into the cold, but thankfully dry, ground. I was dozing off when my stomach started growling at me. Tomorrow I will find food and eat, I promised my stomach. But right now I need to sleep.

     To my dread I heard Phoenix behind me, scooting closer. My skin prickled with his nearness.

     “I do not like her.” Phoenix whispered to me, his warm breath steaming on my neck. “She is mean.”

     “Well, you weren't so nice your self.” I shot back. Frankly, I liked the girl. She had spunk and honestly she reminded me of mother.

     Phoenix gave me a look of betrayal which I promptly ignored and rolled over faking sleep. I tried to steady my breathing so I would seem more asleep but Phoenix was no fool. Well, he was not a total fool anyway.

     “Yram?” Phoenix whispered, his voice deepening with a serious note. “Why do you hate me?”

     I focused on my breathing, trying to remain calm. Why did I not like him? He saved my life, he was gorgeous pure and Innocent, but something did not feel right about him. Something was off.. Wrong.

     “Yram?...”

      Giving up my useless pursuit to ignore him I turned around. We were so startlingly close that our noses brushed together. I blushed, flustered. I didn’t know what to say.

     I was close enough that I smelt a calming smell coming off of him, like sage, salt, and honey. The smell comforted me, reminding me of home. So naturally I jumped back, pulling away from him.

     I could not think about my home. Or Mama. How I left her.

     “Do not.” Phoenix muttered. He looked wounded.

     “Do not, what?” I asked breathlessly, trying to speak through the heart in my throat.

     “Fear me.”

     I had nothing to say to that. I did fear him. Very much so.

     “Why do you stay with me?” I wondered abruptly.

     “I told you. To protect you...I think.” He said honestly.

     “But, um, why? You don't even know me, so how is it you want to protect me?” Without realizing it my voice had been getting steadily louder. I glanced over at Whiskey, but she was in a coma like sleep, snoring loudly.

     “I cannot explain it.” said Phoenix.

    I snorted. “Try me.” At this point in my life, I would believe anything.

     Phoenix hesitated before speaking, not sure if he could confide in me.

     “I feel this...pull inside me, leading me to you. It feels as if, even if I walked away I would be steadily pulled backwards. Back to you. Whatever reason I am here, whatever purpose I will serve, you are a part of it...Whatever it is.” Phoenix finished, desperately trying to make me understand.

     I should not have asked. I knew it would be a mistake to dig deeper into Phoenixe’s revealing yet confused mind, but I could not help myself. I was drawn towards him as much as I was repelled. His honesty and openness disturbed me to no end, but at the same time, I was intrigued.

     “I know how you feel, Phoenix.” I admitted reluctantly. “Somehow, in a weird twisted way, I feel the same as you.”

     It least I thought I did...

     But the fear I felt because of him...

     The strange way he made my body feel whenever he was near...

     Phoenix looked both shocked and relieved at my admittance. His deep blue eyes looked into mine, making my heart skip a beat. His expression told me what his words did not.

     Hope and thankfulness was what he clearly felt. He was no longer lost in this dark abyss that people called a world.

     This was how we drifted to sleep. Face to face. Taking comfort in each others closeness. Sharing silent whispers. Speaking, yet not saying anything.

                                                                    *

  

Fire drenched my body in its burning depths. So much pain that is was almost pleasure. I knew I was burning alive, my skin melting off my body, but I could not help the moan that escaped from my lips at the tingling pain that consumed me entirely.

     A large bird flew at me, the color of fire. It was a phoenix I realized in awe, the bird of legends...

     The bird became closer, I could feel heat radiating off of it, yet I had no fear. The great phoenix changed. It’s feathers darkened, becoming black as night, its eyes shone hungrily, its long curved beak had red hair hanging from it. My hair. The bird was now a raven, the scavenger of death.

      I woke up reluctantly to Whiskey standing above us. I was curled up against Phoenixes chest his arms wrapped around me, his face peaceful and childlike. He was the cause of my burning body, sweating and restless with pain.

     “Wake up ladies!” Whiskey demanded while kicking Phoenix in the back for good measure. “We’ve got company.” 

     Her words instantly awoke me. A fierce clarity washed throughout my mind as if ice cold water had been dumped on me.

     I quickly pried Phoenixes fingers off of me in disgust and sprang to my feet.

     “Waaa?” Phoenix slurred incoherently.

     “Who's our company?” I asked cutting to the case, in no mood to make small talk. If it was my “father” I would march right up to him and demand answers. After not eating and being on the run for days, whoever our company was, they were good as dead. I was, least to say, not in the brightest of moods. I wasn't even a morning person when I was not starving and running for my life.

     Phoenix, however, sat up from the cold, hard, ground with a mile wide lazy smile on his face, acting as though he had the best nights sleep ever.

     When Phoenix looked up at us with the fool smile, two pairs of eyes looked down at him glaring.

     Phoenix cringed. So he knew what a glare was after all.

     “I will, uh, just go back to sleep then.” he said hesitantly and started to lay back down.

     “Oh no you don’t, Pretty boy! We gotta get our asses out of here!” Whiskey ordered and pulled him roughly to his feet.

     I was instantly aware of his chiseled nakedness. I felt a shock wave go through my body and I had to take a deep breath before gaining control of my wandering mind.

     I made a mental note to find him some clothes as soon as possible.

     “Who’s our company?” I asked again, trying to take my mind off of Phoenixes exposed flesh.

     “I’ll show ya.” Whiskey said shortly and started walking out of the tiny forest. 

     Did I even want to know?

     The second I stepped out of the cluster of trees a white horse head was thrust into my gut, knocking the wind out of my and sending me to my butt. Hosanna looked down at me, I swear, with a look of betrayal. I tried to get back up but with a flick of Hosannas head he nudged me back down.

     “Okay, I’m sorry boy.” I told him while scratching behind his ear, bribing him to forgive me.

     “Looks as tho’ yo horse don't like bein’ left alone.” Whiskey snickered. Still laughing she walked towards the black mare whom she untied from a tree. She grabbed a hand full of lush black main and swung on. Or tried to swing on. Before she even wrapped her leg around the mare's back, the horse turned her head around and bit Whiskey on her rump.

     “Looks like your horse doesn't like to be touched.” I teased back. Whiskey rubbed her butt and glared at me.

     “Damned mare!” Whiskey spat. “You ‘bout as dumb as Phoenix! Know one messes wit meh!” and with that she backed up then ran at the horse and jumped on be for the mare could bite her again.

     Whiskey smiled triumphantly. The mare hung her head low with ears flat on her head in defeat and annoyance.

     “Next time” Whiskey informed the black mare,“I’ll bite ya back.”

     “I really do not enjoy her company.” Phoenix whispered behind me. I whispered back rolling my eyes, “Well, if it helps, I don't think she likes you much either.”

     I then wrapped my arms around Hosannas neck and this time he forgave me and helped lift me upwards.

      I notice smiling, Hosannas ears were still pinned back in annoyance though.

     “You're not in the brightest of moods are you boy?” I asked and kissed his soft mussel. Hosanna snorted in response and bumped me in the face with bony head.

     “Bad boy, Hosanna!” I reprimanded, feeling a headache coming on. “You’d better watch it buddy because I’m not in the brightest of moods either!”

     I glared at my ornery horse and he flattened his ears back even further.

     “You better be good Hosanna, she was not teasing about being in a sour mood.” Phoenix told Hosanna rubbing his face, a slight smirk playing on his lips.

    A sudden urge to hit Phoenix flared in my veins but I quickly subsided it. I had never physically abused anyone and I did not want to start now. My anger was not easily conquered though, so instead I contemplated a new plan. I thought about how crazy Hosanna could be when riding him when he was grumpy.

     “Hey, Phoenix?” I asked wickedly. “How about you get on him first and ride in front this time.”

     Phoenix looked delighted about this and I felt a little pang of regret. A very little pang. Like tiny. Ant sized, really.

     Phoenix jumped up on Hosanna like he was born riding horses, Hosanna didn't even bite him.

     I wondered how uncomfortable it must have felt to ride in the nude...

     Grumbling to myself I hopped on behind Phoenix.

     Abruptly, Hosanna started wildly bucking, sending me flying off. Phoenix, however, had the better advantage and stayed on because he had both hands wrapped in Hosannas mane.

     “Betrayer!” I shouted heatedly at Hosanna while getting up off the slimy ground.

     Hosanna whinnied in a high pitched squeal that I swear was a laugh.

     Phoenix and Whiskey were both laughing hysterically as I jumped back on Hosanna whom was now acting like a angel.

     “Wolf food.” I threatened Hosanna. “If you do one more thing I’m feeding you to the wolves.”

     Hosanna gave a little jump, forcing me to hold onto Phoenixes waist. A burst of heat flared where our bodies met.

     Betrayer.

     At that moment I did not know who I disliked more. Hosanna who forced me to grab Phoenix or Phoenix who set my body aflame.

     After a couple minutes of riding, when my anger was cooling, I started to feel guilty. I am a rotten person in the morning.

     I was stroking Hosannas side, silently telling him I was sorry when I felt Phoenix pat my thigh, getting my attention.

     “What is i-” I broke off mid sentence and gazed across the valley in the direction of the City of Ruins. I was divided between two emotions. Building terror and stunned awe.

     There was a vast army of thousands moving towards us through the mud. They were far enough away so that I could not make out any details. The only reason I could see them was because of their unbelievable numbers.

     I knew in my heart that the army was driven by evil. It was not because of the way the gray sun fell across the great mass of bodies in a dead looking shadow, giving them the appearance of being blood stained. It was not the inhuman way they crawled, nor the smell of decay that wafted from them with the breeze. It was a gut instinct. A feeling that called to me, drawing me towards its dark power.

     That was how I knew the army was wicked. Because somewhere not that deep down, I wanted to join them.

Whiskey

 

Don’t jump on a man unless he's down-Finley Peter Dunne

Gazing upon the vast army again made my rage boil over until I was left as jumpy as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. They were the creatures that devoured my tribe! I wanted to run at them and slaughter as many as I could, but I was a logical thinker and knew I would be dead before I even killed one. And plus, there was only one I really wanted to kill. The beautiful black haired man with eyes as red as blood and a soul even more wicked than my own. The man who murdered my father and mother. I had to control my blood lust and wait for the right time to strike.

     “That,” I said to Yram. “Is our company.”

     The blood in Yram’s face drained and she was chewing her lip again. A nervous habit I suppose.

     “We’d best be off. Unless o’ couse you’d like to invite them for a nice cup o’tea?” I asked humoring her.

     “Where do you think they are going?” Phoenix wondered in awe, ignoring my sarcasm.

     “Well, no place I’d like to be dat’s for sure!” I said. But I honestly had no clue. They were probably going to wipe out a christian colony, but that was a lot of creatures and I didn't believe there were that many Christians left, was there? With an army that great they had to have a large sum of people going up against them.

     “I know where they are going.” Yram said shockingly. “I should have known all along, but I guess it just seemed impossible.”

     “Where?” Phoenix urged, believing her completely. I on the other had was suspicious of her new found knowledge.

     Yram took a slow breath. “They are going to Zion, a type of christian colony...and we are leading them to it.”

      Ah, so now knew where we were heading. What Yram told me did make since. It was what I was thinking all along. Though I hated the the God of creation with a passion, I had a hatred even stronger then my deep embedded despise for him. I hated the savage beasts that killed my tribe. If we were leading the army to a colony, that meant war against the creatures, a perfect opportunity to kill them. Frankly, I did not care if it was a colony of lesbian nudists we were going to, I would fight by their side all the same.

     “Then what’r’ we waitin’ for?” I asked Yram. “Lead the way, Li’ll Red! Lets start this war!”

     Yram looked agasp as she said, “No! What are you talking about?! Let's hide so they can’t follow us! We can’t lead them straight towards the Christians so that they could just slaughter them! Are you insane?”

     “Maybe.” I informed her. “I may be insane, but dis is somethin’ much bigger den my mental state! We can finally get revenge on all the cruel things dey have done to us! Dis is the final chance we have ta fight for what we believe in! To take revenge on the people dey have taken from us! They are goin’ to find out where it is whether or not you lead them to it. All we are doin’ is putting an end to the battle that has been ragin’ for generations... Plus, look at dat army. They must be very afraid of this “Zion” to have that great of numbers.” Most of what I said was a lie. I was simply good at manipulating people. It was obvious to me that she was a damned christian, and I used that against her.

     When I looked back at Yram’s face I knew my speech had worked. She had a type of wildness dancing in her eyes and a snarled on her lips that reminded me of myself.

     I could tell by the look of anger she shot at the army, they had indeed taken someone from her. Good. I needed an advantage over the girl.

     “She is lying.” said Phoenix glaring at me. “But we do need to go. The army is not good.” 

     I wondered how much Yram would mind if I killed him. Probably not that much but I decided not to take any chances. I needed Yram to take me to this Zion so it was best not to be on her bad side. I had a feeling her bad side was very, very dangerous. Yram had this aura of dangerous power flowing around her and it gave me a slight feeling of fear and something else to...

     She reminded me of someone. But who?

Phoenix

 

Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die-Unknown

    Into the desert. As we continued into the wasteland, with every foot, meter, mile, I dreaded what we might find, or more likely, not find. For once, I was actually doubting the mission. But I can’t. I need to get to Zion. I sighed, I felt that I might never find need my way out once I entered, my internal compass had long since ceased operations. The belligerent energy from the following army was really the only thing that was keeping me from stopping where I was and sitting on the wet sand. The further into the cold desert the less and less vegetation invaded the blazing earth. As I found out, this earth was constantly moving. The ground in the desert was constantly shifting, like a living thing, never stopping to rest.

  “It’s an interesting concept”, I murmured, thinking out loud.

  “What’s interesting?” Yram asked. She did not turn to look at me, but I could feel her intense, red eyes glaring into the darkness. She really did have a strange beauty about her. Even though  she still had small chunks of mud in her hair, it waved in an ethereal way. “You okay back there?” she asked again. Then I realised that I had to answer her.

  “A-a-ah, nothing... just thinking to myself.” I answered hurriedly. My cheeks felt hot, and I was glad to be sitting where she could only see the back of my head. I looked up, the stars barely shining through the bloody red atmosphere.

  “Hey, I’m starvin. I hope ya can find us some food, miracle man!” Whiskey shouted from somewhere behind them. I closed my eyes, a slight feeling of annoyance rising in my skull.  aid nothing, but reined the horse to a halt.  “Wheeel, any suggestions?” Came the boisterous call.

  I dismounted, Yram scooted forward onto the horse’s shoulders. I took a quick look around, nothing but red sand and Tall, spined cacti. “Yram”, I said calmly,”give me the sharp thing in your pocket.” I extended my hand to her, waiting in a awkward silence. After a long silence I felt the cold blade fall into my hand . A searing burning, a magnetic repulsion, surged up my arm through the weapon. I was about ready to fling it as far as I could, but only came across as an over exaggerated shudder.

  “What, what is it?” Yram asked, seeing my jump. I could also sense her suspicion and curiosity at how I knew the blade was in her pocket, but I myself, had no clue.

  “Yeah, it’s nothing, really,” I said, ignoring the fact that my hand could no longer feel anything save for the invisible pins and needles.  I walked to one of the cacti, they stood as tall and imposing as stone pillars. I dragged the blade across the smooth skin of the cactus, not seeing the sharp needles the jutted out like knives. The cactus head fell into the unforgiving sand with a small thud. I pulled some of the spines off and dragged the oozing plant to the girls to eat.

  Whiskey craned her head to see what I had brought for her with a look of distaste on her face. As we all fed on the slimy insides of the cacti, Whiskeys eyes darted to my hand. “Hey, what’s dat der’ stardust?” she asked with her eyebrow raised as only she could. I looked down at my hand, a shimmering gold dripped down my fingers. I stared at it, half in shock, and half indecisively.

Yram

When liberty comes with blood dabbled on her hands it is hard to shake hands with her- Oscar Wildes

     A shimmering gold substrates was on Phoenixes finger. I licked my thumb and slid it over the gold liquid. It came off as I rubbed it but then flowed back through a small hole the way blood would when someone was wounded.

      Blood. Gold blood.

          Honestly, I should not have been shocked. But I was. I wanted to scream, slap, maybe even cry. How could everything in my world flip upside down in less than a week? How could a beautiful boy bleed gold blood? How could I be the daughter of a demon? How could my mother have been taken away from me?! This chaotic mystery was becoming a normal thing in my life.

        I did none of the things I wanted to, however. Instead, a motherly influence came upon me. A side of me longed to be sweet and kind. A side of me craved to be with Phoenix in a way more then just fearing and shunning him. The overwhelming feeling stunned me but still I could do nothing but succumb to its desires.

      Phoenix was just standing there, with a dumbstruck look on his face. I saw the devilish gleam in Whiskey’s eyes and leaped to action. “Phoenix,” I started, “you’re bleeding, here let me help you.” As I said this I held his hand gently and slipped his finger tip, that was swelling with the glistening liquid, into my mouth . Mama  told me saliva would work as a natural disinfectant.

      I was quite aware as to what blood tasted like from sticking a pricked finger in my mouth innumerable times, but this was different.

     My eyes grew wide, my mouth was filled with the taste of wild honey and the feeling of summer sun on your skin, at least, how it would feel in a perfect world. It was pure ecstasy, then it was the taste of a long-lost memory, bitter sweet and far since gone. It tasted like a lazy summer afternoon, sipping sweet tea with Mama. A tear welled in my eyes as I remembered my dear mother, dead, just like any chance of escaping the army that followed close on our heels.

    My joy was cut short by intense pain. Pain such as I had never felt before. My throat burned, my breathing was restricted, my tears of sadness turned to tears of pain. I spat out the blood, it fizzled on the ground and fused the sand into a kind of glass. I coughed, soon mingling the blood glass with my own, burgundy colored blood. The pain seemed to fray at my very sanity. The pain came in waves, eventually enveloping my entire body while I savagely attacked the pain’s center with my claws as it worked its way around my body.

     Phoenix held onto me as I dropped to the sand, he said something, but I couldn’t hear it over the ringing in my ears and the fire in my blood.

     I lost myself in agony and ecstasy.

Phoenix

 

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

- Walter Bagehot

   Yram had quite given up on trying to ride Hosanna and instead had me lead him out in front. It was not as luxurious as riding on the horse, but Yram had seemed very wary of me since the incident last night. Somehow, the sand managed to scorch the bottoms of my feet, until I dug my toes into the sand. I was about ready to fall over in exhaustion when I heard a whoop from behind me. I barely had enough time to move before Whiskey came barreling by me. She urged her mount over the desert, kicking up sand in their wake. She disappeared over the rise and all that I knew of her existence was the fading shout. Suddenly the sounds of splashing came from behind the dune. I trotted my way up the hill, Hosanna far ahead of me.

  When I reached the hilltop I could’ve cried with joy. There, surrounded by dunes, was an oasis. A small pod, a bundle of scraggly trees, and some half wilted grass, the veritable picture of Heaven. I dropped to my knees, ignoring the now scorching sand. Suddenly I was knocked over by a sudden rush of movement.

  I looked up, Yram was dashing towards the oasis, a crazed smile stretching on her face. As she and the mare came alongside the pond Yram leapt and landed in the water, joining Whisky with a laugh. For the first time on this journey Yram seemed genuinely happy. Somehow, this made me smile while I picked myself up out of the sand. I stumbled down the dune and wandered to the pool. I stuck my hand into the pool, the water was warm, but not uncomfortable. It had been heated by the sun for years, but still bubbled fresh from an underground source.

  There was no greater relief I could think of at the moment. The water cleaned the dust, mud, and blood from my skin, the taste was fresh, it hadn’t been touched for years, and it refreshed my mind. For the first long while I could relax, and relax I did. The bubbling noise seemed to clean my mind, just as it had my physical body.

  “Phoenix, GET OUT!” Yram shouted while she turned her head back to me. Our moment  of quick relief was over and suddenly everyone, with the exception of Whiskey, was a lot more serious. I left the water, abandoning its cool serenity for a sand smoothed rock. In the not so distance air space I heard the call of a bird. The call was strange, almost archaic, a long gone happy memory. I let my eyes wander to the small grove of weedy, desert trees. The bird was plain, the colors were nothing special but the it still stood out. The difference must have been the bird’s attitude, it possessed the demeanor of  a lion.

  A lion? Where did I get that from. Surely I knew what a lion was, they were great beasts large in stature and great in courage, maybe. Trying to remember a lion was like seeing a skeleton, the general outline, no real form behind it. I wasn’t really focused on my surroundings and my vision returned to the pool. Yram and Whiskey were swimming together, Yram’s sun tanned skin was almost clean, unblemished and smooth.

  An unnatural warmth rose in my cheeks, I could tell I was blushing, she was radiant. Her pure glee made it look like she was glowing. A sharp inhale, her cheeks were filled with air had been pushed out in a ridiculous manner. In a blink she was gone, all I could see of her was a plume of hair. It looked like a moving cloud of blood. She surfaced after what seemed like a supernatural amount of time, her hair was plastered to her head, shoulders, and back. She was sopping wet, her white shirt had become completely transparent and the water rolled off of her leather pants in large rivulets.

  My heart rate jumped, it felt as though I was running through the satan house again. My face burned bright, but was drowned out by an intense, wondrous feeling from beneath my stomach. It was a weird, yet pleasurable, sensation. The feeling only intensified as Yram pulled her shirt up to wring it free of water, revealing the lower half of her dripping breasts. 

  Her eyes darted to me, then down my body. She blushed, a red almost as intense as her hair, a bewildered look on her face. She stumbled back just a little, then ran her hand over the sand, raking her fingers through the grit. Eventually she pulled her hand back and whipped it forward in an overhand motion. Suddenly, pain. This was probably the most excruciating kind of pain imaginable, an unholy torture form possibly. Not a thing went through my mind, it was all I could do to double over and fall hard to the sand.

  Through a sideways world I could see Yram giggle uncontrollably then fall, crawling her way to the water...her leather pants were stretched tight over her thighs and bottom from this angle too...I tried to push the thought from my mind.

Yram


 

It is a thin line between light and dark,

between pain and pleasure,

between heat and cold,

between love and hate,

between life and death,

between this word and the next-Cate Jienan

 

Eventually I could no longer stand the fluid way Phoenixes body rolled against mine with Hosannas rhythmic steps. The sinnamony fires that seemed to ignite on my skin because of him were going to drive me mad, in more ways than one, I must admit. With Phoenix it was a very thin line between pain and pleasure.

     That was why I made Phoenix get off and walk on the boiling sand.

     It seemed that the further away from the army we got, the warmer the weather became and the brighter the sun blazed. The army not only brought with it darkness, but it was darkness itself.

     With each flinching sep Phoenix took, I silently pleaded for his forgiveness.

     My cruelty knows no bounds. I peeled my lip back from my dry teeth, father would be proud.

     I was about to let Phoenix ride and I walk on the tretours sand when Whiskey came hollering by, startling my horse into a galloup.

     I was allowing Hosanna to follow Whiskeys horse over yet another roll of the sand, when I saw it.

     Water!

     My painfully dry throat and mouth contacted in a sticky raw gulp. My thirst did not leave any room for logical thinking. No, I did not think about the fact that I lacked the closure of a bra, nor the fact that my shirt was thin and white. All I could think was, water.

     Diving off of Hosanna I was enveloped in sun warmed, murky, water.

    It was heaven.

    I swam through the lush water the same time I gulped in huge mouthfuls, forgetting to breath. Who needed air anyway?

     The water was delicious. It tasted like a cloud. Musty and fresh.

  The water was like liquid silk. It combed through my hair and fingers, removing all the sticky sweat and sand that had been collecting on my various parts.

     Oh, yeah.

     I burst above the surface of the water, splashing droplets everywhere and laughing in exhilaration. Phoenix was gliding besides me with a huge goofy grin on his face. He looked at me with those fire blue eyes, making me melt from the inside. Water collected in the hollow of his throat and dripped down his wide sunburnt chest-

      “Phoenix, GET OUT!” I frantically yelled, heat forming in my belly. I dove under the water, not wanting to see the hurt on his face.

     How is it I was both horrified and enraged by some goofy grinned, man child, with a hero complex?

     Many minutes later when my body was cooled along with my mind, I resurface and began to crawl to dry ground.

    Phoenixes face was tilted up toward the sun, a shadow of golden hair glazed his face, his lean neck exposed, that was when I noticed his eyes locked on my flesh. I did not care, my eyes were otherwise preoccupied, roaming his body.

     He looked like a sun God. His once pale skin now deeply tanned with a hint of red burn. His golden hair was ruffled and had fallen over one eye in an attractive way. He quickly smoothed it back, giving me a glimpse of his muscled arm.

     My eyes drunk in the way his sculpted chest was flexing with each quick breath.

     A shock wave went through my body and I felt a tingling and out of control. I could not stop the path of my eyes any more than I could the beat of my heart.

     My eyes lowered to the strong curve of his hips, where golden brown hair began collecting at his navel then sloped lower- My eyes widened, my breath caught in my throat, my jaw dropped. I snapped it shut, tore my eyes away and began looking around me.

     Where was it?! I wondered, I was sure my brain was around here somewhere...

     All this happen in a couple seconds, and a couple seconds was all it took for my brain to fall out and become terrified at the same time.

     I had never felt this way before! I never thought I would feel anything for a man. I never wanted to, but here I was with this...desire?... I had only read about in books, and no idea what to do with it.

    I heard cackling behind me.

     Whiskey floated in the middle of the pound, her humored eyes locked on Phoenix's exposure. She was laughing so hard she began to drown.

     Whiskey sank below the water, bubbles bursting from her lips. She pushed above the surface, gasping, coughing and sputtering water as she started to doggie paddle/drown her way back to shore.

    “Im.. changing’ yer... name!” Whiskey gasped laughing at her joke. A slow puddle dripped around her. “No longer are ya Pretty boy, I now call ya, Lover boy!”

      In complete embarrassment I tried to get Phoenix to stop-uh- just to stop doing that, so I picked up a pebbled and threw it at him. I gasped startled at where it hit.

     Laughing at myself I fell backwards into the water. Thank God my desire did not show itself so “largely” like Phoenixes. I did not care to be the butt of Whiskey jokes.

     Phoenix moaned.

     Whiskey laughed.

     I blushed.

     Thank the merciful Lord I was a woman!

   

That night on a large flat rock by the moonlit pool, Whiskey magically started another fire. It was pointless really, without any food to cook. The only thing the fire did was give us more light, of which, I really did not want. The light revealed all too much of Phoenix, not that I didn't want to see him. No, that was the problem, I did want to see him. Which was probably why Whiskey started the fire in the first place! She may have despised Phoenix, but nobody, and I mean, NOBODY, could despise the way he looked.

     I seriously needed to find Phoenix some cloths or we'd all go raving mad! Sadly there was no cloths to spare.Whiskey certainly had none to spare, her outfit was all strappy leather that barely concealed anything.

     I looked over to find Whiskey and Phoenix glaring at each other while simultaneously munching on something green. I prayed it was a leaf.

     Ugh.

     Before they could offer me some “greens” I silently removed myself from the fire to go reminisce over my deliciously terrible thoughts.

     I made my way through the scraggly grass of the oases, heading towards even more scraggly trees. I would have happily hidden in a cati bush if it was to get away from Phoenix! No, I mustn't think of him...

     I pushed branches away from my hair and I felt a painful jab in my palm. I looked down to see onyx colored blood dripping to the ground. My blood use to be crimson like normal people. Yesterday it was a purple color, but now, it was coal black. Was I sick? Is that why my blood was as black as death?

     I hoped so, but doubted it. It was most likely just another side effect of being half demon. No, I mustn't think of that...

    Mother would have found my sour mood very funny, she would have teased me mercilessly for it! No, I mustn't think of her either...

     Oh, Mama!

     My blood boiled. My vision went red and I felt my monster, my rage, my insanity, my demon, burst forth.

     Even grasping my hulk necklace, which usually helped me suppress my anger, did nothing.     I looked up at the bloodmoon and screamed, a yell more animal than human. I was so angry and confused but mostly terrified. I was so afraid. I was not brave, not a hero, just a whimpering, insane fool.

    Not able to control my rage I struck the unsuspecting tree closest to me and felt slight relief. I struck it again and again. The skin on my knuckles tore off and stuck to the tree. I did not relent.

     I howled again at the heavens, blaming my anger at God. Though I knew it was not him I was angry at, but myself. It was not God, but I who had left my mother to die.     

     I had left the poor little girl in the City of Ruins, and it seemed as though I had left myself somewhere along the way. I had constantly been running from my fear, my anger, my desire, my emotions...my father.

     Run!

     Run whimpering child!

     Run!

     Run away from the only person who had truly loved you! From your mother, run! Leave her to rot with the devil!

     RUN!

     Leave the young girl, Custa, to be abused and eating by the wickedness of the city!

     Run!

     Run from Phoenix because you are afraid!

     Run little girl! Run away from fear, from evil....from yourself.

     Then, suddenly, heat was all around me and my mind cleared.

       Firm hands grasped my wrists, removing them from my hair which they had been clutching at.

     Phoenix.

     No longer shall I run.

     “What's wrong, Yram?! Your bleeding!”

     I felt the dreaded heat of his chest on my back and his hands shook as they held mine, binding them to my chest.

     “I’m afraid of you.” I whispered into the night air not answering his question, my brain felt loose and drowsy.

     Phoenix took in a long breath. “I know.”

     Inky blood slithered down my arm then dribbled of my elbow, splatting on Phoenixes bare feet.

     “I don't want to be afraid anymore, Phoenix.”

     “I know.” His arms tightened around me sending a shiver down my spine. I shook my head trying to clear my foggy thoughts and became angry at his nearness. He did not know, anything!

     “Get away from me! You don't want me! I’m all messed up inside.” I choked out trying to wiggle free. Here I was again, trying to run away. “I left my mother to die, Phoenix. I’m worse than my father even, least he isn't a coward!”

     He said nothing.

     I laughed in bitter humor. Maybe now he’d see me for what I was.

     “I bet you didn’t know that.”

     “I do not care.” Phoenix breathed.

     I ripped my arms free and spun around to I was looking into his liquid blue eyes.

     What was wrong with this man?!

     Placing both my aching hands on his chest I pushed him roughly up against a tree.

     “But you should!” I spat. “I’m evil!”

     A look flashed in Phoenixes eyes. At first I did not recognized what it was. I had never seen that emotion on his face before.

     Anger. Phoenix was enraged.

     I gasped as he stepped closer to me and grasped my shoulders.

    Phoenix shook me. “What has happened to you to make you so...so... so stupid! No you are not evil!”

     “Aren't I though? Then please tell me why not, Phoenix, sense you seem to know me so well! What makes me different than any other murderer out there? Please, do tel-”

     I was cut off as Phoenix pressed his lips into mine.

     Fire and ice.

     I tried to fight him off but he wrapped one arm around my waist, molding me into him while the other hand was holding the back of my neck. I could no longer bring myself to pull away. Even though I had never done anything like this before, and I hardly knew what I was doing, all worry faded away and what happened next came natural to me.

     I bit his bottom lip and curled my hands in his soft hair, tasting his sugar sweet blood.

     My head began to spin and my heart beat wildly against his.

     Stop fighting him, whispered a sweet voice in my head, you want this...

     Run! Run away! Far away! shrieked my fear.

     No longer shall I run.

     SoI stopped running. Stopped fighting him. I stopped pulling away from the flames that licked my skin with his every touch.

     And the second I gave into him something happened. Something delicious.The pain turned to pleasure.

     My fear dissolved and all I knew was that I needed him closer to me. I pushed him back up against the tree and fit my body into the curves of his. I suddenly understood how two pieces of a puzzle could fit together.

     He stilled for a moment in shock, then returned the gesture gathering my body in his arms and pulled me tighter against him. I ran my hand from his neck down his back and he kissed me again.

     His entrancing lips moved to my throat, as if he could not get enough of me and I gasped with pleasure.

     Phoenix broke away first, his breath coming quickly. I could feel his heart beating frantically against me as he grasped my hips to ground himself.

     “That is what makes you different.” breathed Phoenix into my hair, his voice gruff and raw.

     “And wh- what is that?” My voice came out shaky.

     “Love.”

     I punched him, and ran away.

Pheonix

Beauty is power; a smile is its sword-John Ray

  This was a feeling of pure ecstasy, nothing around us, just pure pleasure. Was this Lust, Love, or the fine line between? I could feel the pleasure rising in my chest, any doubt of my actions were gone and I just.Wanted.More. Her skin was smooth and warm, almost like she was a part of me. The contours of her body matched mine and it just felt so... right... I broke the contact, however unwillingly and breathed in the cold air that had not yet penetrated my body. I moved along her neck, drinking her warmth like the water of life. My need became insatiable, I just needed so much more. All I knew was that I needed her, needed her to be mine.

  My heart was beating faster, the heat rose into my face even more and  I knew that  I needed to breathe again. I pushed my face into her hair, that beautiful, red hair, and I told her why she was different. She pulled away, with a nasty right hook to the arm before running off towards where the oasis was.

  I don’t understand, I could feel how much she enjoyed it, but she still ran from me. What wrong had I done to her? I brought my fingers to my lip, the golden blood dripping, but there seemed to be no pain. But there was pain... I glanced down at my feet and saw the black liquid that came pouring out of Yram’s hand covering them. Blisters were rising and bubbling in the skin and my heart was now pounding with fear.

  The pain was crippling, I fell to the ground, clawing at my burning flesh, hoping for a chance at relief. It would not come. I could feel the blood permeating every layer of skin, and my fingernails pursued, tearing the burnt and blistered flesh from my feet. My mind was hazed, it was too much to bear...just too much. I could feel my pulse increase, the fear in my mind instinctive and primal with no form of reason and I couldn’t think about anything else.

Yram


 

Ah, love! A dreadful bond- Davey Jones

I felt light puffy breaths on my face that smelt of salt and grass. I woke up at the edge of the water, with Hosanna nibbling at my hair. I pushed him away but he snorted on my face and nudged me.

     I sat up realizing my clothes were crunchy against my skin and still slightly wet from my night swim. My mind was strangely blurred and I couldn't remember much of the night before.

     I stretched and smiled.

     Hmmm, how odd. I was in a good mood this morning.

     Being in good spirits I decided to go look for something to bring the others to eat. I felt bad about throwing the stone at Phoenix and hoped he would forgive me. My stomach moaned in agreement. Heck, a bug would be a delicacy at the moment!

     Hosanna began pawing at the ground trying to get me to move faster. I realized he looked slightly distressed.

     “What is it, boy?” I wondered and began to walk towards the small forest. Hosanna came up behind me shoving my back quicker into the trees. How odd. It was as if he was afraid of the water...

     Dry twigs snapped under my feet and a slight breeze stirred the trees so that their leaves shimmered like the ocean... or how the ocean was described in my many books back home. Oh, how I missed my books!

         Once I was deeper into the forest my eyes were drawn to small cluster of branches where I saw a large cream colored egg with brown speckles, just barely noticeable over the top of the nest.

     Eggs! Glorious eggs! I could smell it frying on a pan already!

     Thanking God, I lead Hosanna to the tree that held the egg and motioned him to stop just beneath it.

     Grabbing Hosannas mane I climbed up and stood up on his back, putting my arms out to balance myself. Hosanna just snorted in annoyance as if he was saying, “Silly child!”

     I scooped the egg from the basket and felt its warmth. My mouth watered but my conscience stopped me from eating it right then and there as I felt something inside the eggs shift.

     Come on, Yram! You need the food! You don't want to starve to death do you?! Just get Whiskey to kill it, she'll do it.

     A small peeping sound came from the thin shell and my heart melted.

     I shakily set the egg back in its feathered home and hopped down to sit on Hosanna. If I starved, so be it. I could not steal another life, even one so small.

     Hosanna lead me back to camp where Whiskey was just waking up and Phoenix was nowhere to be seen.

     Whiskey looked up at my groggily, her eyes making slits as she glared. “Yuh and Lover boy better have not been shakin’ da’ bushes last nite without inviting meh.”

     That’s when I remembered.

     Oddly, I realized that I was suddenly looking up at the dark gray sky.

    Hmmm, I seem to have fallen off my horse...

     Whiskey gave me a knowing look. “Yuh know, Aunt Erna always says, ‘If ya’ll regret it in the mornin’ sleep till noon!”

     I just laid there, dayzed.

     “Wheeeell, I’ll leave ya to your dirty thoughts...Gotta go’n take a piss anyways...”

     I heard Whiskeys footsteps crunch away in the leaves and I started to feel hot, sick and doomed. Phoenix must have been close by.

     True to my predictions I heard him shuffle up behind me. I closed my eyes tight.

     Stupid, stupid, stupid! Bad,Yram! What's wrong with you?! Bad, bad! You've never even touched a man before then the first man that comes along (that you barely know,) you melt  in his arms like some type of clay?! Not to mention the mental lapse you had last night!

     I sighed and threw my arm over my face.

     “Yram-” Phoenix began stiffy.

     I interrupted him. “Please, lets not talk about it.”      

     “Hmm...” noted Phoenix with his brow furrowed and lower lip pouted in concentration. Slowly a smile spread across his face making me want desperately to know what he was thinking.

     “That is besides the point.” he said at last. I gulped not wanting him to get to the point. “I am sorry for being so crude last night. I don't know what got into me or what that even was...”

     I sighed.

     “It never happened, okay?” I told him. “Problem solved.”

     He shuffled his feet looking hesitant and hurt at the same time. “But I am glad it happened...It felt...right, good. Did you not feel the same? Whatever happened last night, I cannot stop thinking about it! It’s driving me insane! You drive me insane...”

     Yeah, he drove me insane to. Literally.

      Phoenix sat down besides me and waited for my reply.

     Ground? Now is a good time to swallow me whole.

     After many long moments of which I was contemplating banging my head against the ground, Phoenix couldn't stand to wait in my silence much longer.

     “Yram?..” he asked again.

     “I’m gonna go pray.”

         Ignoring Phoenix entirely, I walked away from him and settled down near the waters edge getting ready to have a serious one sided conversation with my creator and trying to compose my thoughts. However, my thoughts did not, in fact, want to compose themselves.

     Lord I try so hard to be good, to do the right thing. To do right by your eyes, and my hearts. But Lord I'm finding out more and more how confused and wicked my heart really is. It makes me sick! I feel so wrong inside, and messed up... I've always despised the way I looked and thought it did nothing to show who I really was, but now I am not so sure...I do not know what I am becoming or even what I am. All I know Is I need you to help me through this. I cannot do it alone. This journey has stripped me down and left me raw like a sore. It was easy being good when I had no challenges. But now, my true self is unveiled and it terrifies me.

     I put my face in my dirty hands. Please, help me find anything good remaining in myself. Anything.

     Forgive me for my sins and know that I love you so much, and will not lose my faith in you again.

     Help me to be good bye you.

         I reluctantly open my eyes feeling weak and exhausted. That was when I saw through my fingers, Whiskey’s black horse laying dead.

       A black bubbling substance was oozing out of all of its oufaces. Its tongue was thick and swollen as if it had been poisoned.

      Across the pond was also an eagle, oozing blackish tar that reminded me of my blood.

     The water must have been poisoned!

     I looked to the pound water and found it to be perfectly clean and not showing any signs of poison. In fact it was too clean. Sparkling valiantly, even...

     Curiously, I through a stone in. Nothing happened, it merely sank to the bottom. I noticed my hand as it was extended. My knuckles were almost all the way healed showing only the slightest signs of last nights trauma.

      I began to shake. I remembered jumping in it last night to wash off the tar black blood that now flowed through my veins. Had the water healed me?!

     A realization of a darker kind hit me and I became sick. Had my blood poisoned the water? Had my demon flesh healed itself?

     “Phoenix!” I cried out in dread. In answer of my call he came limping down to the bank.

       “Yes?” he was looking at me so intently that he didn't even notice the dead animals.

       I meekly pointed in the direction of the death.

     Phoenix let out a long somewhat calm breath. I looked to his face and saw that he was deeply worried and not looking at the dead animals but down at his own self.

       I followed the path of his eyes and felt as though I was going to pass out. What I saw was horrifying.

       Shakily, I brushed my hands over his chest which was bubbly with blisters. Goosebumps rose on his flesh as my hand trailed over him. I looked to his hands and there were also two oozing, swollen, bumps. Then to his feet. His feet were by far the worst. They were oozing clear liquid and the skin was raw white and torn to shreds.

     I had done this to him. Just as his blood had done to me. Where my blood had touched his flesh it had seared and boiled it as if my blood were acid. As if my blood was poison.

     As if I was a demon.

     I ripped my hand from his skin and backed away, but he caught my wrist.

     “No, do not stop.” he said.

     “I did this to you!” I striked bewildered. I did this to him. I was poison.

     He shrugged and told me casually, “I know.”

     I was speechless. For once in my life I had nothing to say.

          Phoenix stood waiting for my reply. Then he stood still some more. Almost a minute went by without him so much as blinking.

     It quickly became apparent to that something was wrong. The natural sounds of nature had gone silent in my ears. I silence of which I had never experienced before. All I could hear was the ringing in my own ears. I waved my hand in front of Phoenixes face and he didn't so much as twitch.

     I noticed a fly caught in mid air as if it was a puppet suspended from the heavens. I spun around, not even a leaf stirred in the breeze, because there was no moving air.

     All was frozen but me.

      Before I could even understand what was going on, Phoenixes eyes become the color of liquid gold. His lips parted and said to me in a voice that made me want to leap for joy and cry all at the same time, “‘Through struggles and trials, only then will you have the strength to do good by ME. You cannot suddenly be perfect and without sin, though that would be easier. You will learn and become more like Me, through time and trials.’”

     The voced thrummed through my body with gold silk and pure emotion. I could forever listen to that voice and never grow bored.

   Had I been spoken to by the voice of God?

     Suddenly sound rushed back into me and life began to move around me.

     In autopilot I lunged as Phoenix fainted and I was forced to catch him, but I crumpled under his weight, for I was weak and starved.

     God had spoken through Phoenix, to me.

     “Waahappen?” I slurred as I peeled my eyes open to find Phoenix standing above me, holding me.

     He smoothed my hair with a hand as hot as the sun. “You fainted as you saw the burns on me-but they are not bad at all!” he hurriedly added. “I cannot even feel a thing!”

     ‘Through struggles and trials, only then will you have the strength to do good by Me. You cannot suddenly be perfect and without sin, though that would be much easier. You will learn and become more like me, through time and trials.’

    I was frantic.“No-no! You said something! God spoke through you!”

     He gave me a odd look.     I knew what happened to me was real, though it was useless trying to convince anyone else of it. So I remained silent about my experience, and happier than I had felt in a long time. It was going to be okay, I just had to trust God, that was all.

     I pulled myself from Phoenixes arms (somehow I always ended up there), and looked him in his usual blue eyes.

     “I am sorry for how I've been treating you and how I have behaved. Its was cruel and naive of me.You just make my emotions scatter and I’m always angry or scared around you, for some reason.” I could think of a few other things I was around him but I wasn't about to tell him that.

     Phoenix seemed as if he was reading my thoughts when he grinned at me like a wolf pup who just got his tummy scratched. I rolled my eyes not fighting off a smile of my own.

      I grimaced. “Oh, and the water is poison by my demonic blood and Whiskeys horse is dead.”- just a side note. A little tag along really. No big deal. I was trying to mentally communicate that with him but it seemed not to work.

     “Your a-a Demon?”

     “Half.” I corrected. It was funny. Nothing seemed to bad anymore after my talk with God.

     “Half demon...” he whispered to himself. He looked down at his burnt skin. I instantly felt remorse.

     “As soon as we got away from here, I promise, I will find a way to heal you. I am so sorry Phoenix, if I would have known what my blood would do-”

     “That’s enough.” Phoenix silenced me. “It is not your fault...well it is, but you did not mean me harm, so it is okay... What happened is in the past, what we need to be concerned about is the army on our heels, I can feel them drawing closer. We need to go. Now.”

     Yes, I could feel them too. A constant draw like a magnet, or a beautiful tune, singing sweetly, drawing me towards it.

     “Whaaaaat dah heeeell did ya’ll do ta meh damned horse!?” Whiskeys drawl was even worse with rage as she stormed down the hill towards us. “If yah’ put one lily livered hand on er’ Lover boy, I’m guna beat ya with a small child an-”

     “There is not children around us, Whiskey.” Phoenix reminded her calmly with a bit of annoyance. “The water was poisoned.”

     “By who?” Whiskey demanded.

     Uh, oh.

     “Your Aunt Erna.” smoothly replied Phoenix to my astonishment.

     Was that sarcasm?

     Whiskey glared at Phoenix for a few moments then shrugged. “Never liked da black bitch anyways.”

Yram


 

Do not mistake lust for love, it is like mistaking a tiger for a butterfly, the tiger being love-unknown

     “We should leave as soon as possible.” I told Whiskey. “We need to find a new water source, since this one is, uh, contaminated. Not to mention the army following us.”

     “Are ya kidin’ meh? It's drier den a popcorn fart out der! Yo solution to not dryin’ up like a pair of meh sweaty socks is ta go further inta the bakin’ hot desert? Brilliant.” Whiskey remarked.

    Phoenix looked hopeful. “You can stay here, if you like?”

     “Nah, Ya’d miss meh too bad, Lover boy.”

     Before they got too heated in their discussion I grabbed Whiskeys arm and pulled her with me into the bundle of trees.

     As we got farther in she raised her eyebrow and gave me a look. “Yah be’er not be thinkin’ bout shakin’ da bushes wit meh too.”

     She really knew how to make me blush. “N- nooo, I was not.”

     “I can’t say I’m not disappointed...” Whiskey smirked.

     “Um, I actually wanted to talk to you about Phoenix.”

     “Ah, so you finally realized we need ta kill em, eh?”

     I opened my mouth but was too shocked to say anything. Whiskey took the liberty to speak for me.

     “So I’ll go an take em out wit a large stick, but I’ll need ya for back up. So once I knock em over, yo can jump on em and just start bitin’ em. Den he’ll bleed to death, between meh stickin’ em an ya bitin! Den we cook em over da fire an eat-”

     I put my hand over her mouth cutting her off.

     “Actually, I was just going to ask you to help me make clothes for him outa these big leafs...but now that I know how you feel about eating people, um, walk in front of me, okay? I don't want ya eyeing my ham chops.” I was only half kidding.

     Whiskey grumbled but other then that she suspiciously agreed to help me make Phoenix something to cover, er, his body parts.

    I stopped under the tree with large leaves and before I could even tell Whiskey, these are the leafs I want, she came at me. I instantly regretted asking her for help as she started climbing up my body. I was left bracing my legs against her emaciated weight as one of her bare stinking feet landed straight on my face, squashing it awkwardly. The other foot rested on my head.

     “Emmhch.” I mumbled under her odorous, dirty foot.

     She only smiled wickedly and ignored me. How is it I can have her foot practically down my throat and my anger doesn't even simmer but if Phoenix so much as says the wrong thing...

     To my relief Whiskey plucked a multitude of leaves and hopped off of me.

     “Dese will do, now give meh yo pants.”

     “...Um, no?” was my reply.

     “I’m not tryin to seduce yeh,” said Whiskey looking at me suggestively. “I just need a few strands of dat leather. Me Aunt Erna taught meh how ta make a nice kilt an I ain't guna’ let meh skills go ta waist. Now hand ‘em over!”

     It was bad enough that my cloak was gone, worse that half my shirt was torn off, and now here I was, giving away my pants.

     I stripped them off while shamefully thanking God that I had the decency to wear underwear.

     Whiskey raised her eyebrow once again. “Ponies? You got purple ponies on yo spankies?”

     Then again maybe it would have been best if I was in the nude.

      I bit my lip nervously. “I didn't think anyone would be looking at me half naked!”

     She now raised her eyebrow so far up it reminded me of a caterpillar. I watched it suspiciously, thinking if she raise it any farther it would crawl of into her hairline.

     “Are you tellin’ meh You’ve never hid the snake in the bush?!”

     I was confused. “Hide the snake in the what?..”

    “Yah know! Did da nasty!”

     “Wha-”

     “Or slapped da monkey!”

     “The monke-”

     “Don't tell meh, girl, you've never even flicked da bean?!”

      I was now completely lost.

      “Never even parked da pig in da back alley?!”

      Oh, oh! That was a term I had heard round my village.

     “D-do you mean ‘making love?’” I whispered, almost choking.

    “What’er you? Like sixteen?! Oldest virgin I’ve ever known! Ya sure ya havent even-”

     I through my pants at her face, my cheeks no doubt flaring bright red. “Oh, just make the covering already!”

  

     We worked on the covering for I dont no how long. Ripping my pant parts into small strings and weaving them through the leaves tell we had a fine little skirt.

     I found the more I was with Whiskey the more I liked her spunk. I knew she liked me back because her teasing turned nice and she began to smile and laugh more.

     “So why are you here, staying with Phoenix and I? I know its not for your profound love of Phoenix.” I asked abruptly. She was so uncomplicated to be around. You didn't have to wonder if she was thinking bad thoughts behind your back because she would tell you if she was, and she didn't seem to be afraid of me...most the time. I did noticed the strange look that came over her face whenever I lost it.

     “Oh, I thought ya knew! I’m in lust with you, Yram!”

     I rolled my eyes, blushing. “No, be serious.”

     She pondered this for so long I thought she wasn't going to tell me.

     “Well, I have a good gut. A good sense of things. An meh gut was tellin’ meh ta follow ya. Lucifer nos why! But anywho, den I found out bout da army dat been fallowin’ us...”

     “And?” I prompted.

     “An dat army, slaughtered and used my tribe for meat.”

     My heart stuttered. Why must I alway go digging into things that shouldn't be dug into?

     “I’m goin’ ta kill da wicked man who drives on da army, I am.” she stated with a curl to her lips.

     Then, I realized the wicked man she was talking about, was my father.

     “Wills ya elp meh?” she asked startling me. She searched my face hoping for the answer I didn't want to give.

     I needed to tell her the truth about my father. “Whiskey, I-”

     “So yo not guna elp meh, den. I knews ya wouldn't. I’ll do it alone ya’ll see-”

     “I-I will. I will help you kill him.” I whispered shocked at myself. I liked the way the words tasted on my lips.

     Sitting cross legged, knees touching, we looked into each other's red and brown eyes. Skin white and black, yet the same. We understood each other and were alike. Through the shared fear and hatred we had, grew a type of boned.

     As we walked back to camp this time with me in lead, I walked with a skip in my step, so much of a skip in fact, that I skipped right into a bush still wet with dew. Only the desert never had this much dew.

     Whiskey was laughing so hard she was on the ground almost wetting herself, except she already did that I new. From the smell of it, right here inthis bush.

     “Of..all da bushed...you cuda falls..inta... dis..one ya find!” Whiskey gasped, holding her gut.

     Though immensely grossed out,  I wasn't the least bit surprised. Bad luck seemed to stalk me.

     I crawled out of the bush and Whiskey wrinkled her nose.

     “Ya smells like meh piss.”

     I grabbed her, through her in the rank bush, and ran.

     “Yooohoo! Phoenix! Looks at wut we made yah!” holored Whiskey as we came trampling and laughing out of the trees like children. “Yu’ll look like a perfect li’ll princes, yah will!”

      I caught whiff of a delicious aroma wafting from the fire where Phoenix sat. He proudly beckoned us over.

       On a rock, sizzling by the fire, was a heap of bugs.

     Is this a type of sick joke, God? Is it because of all the eating bugs jokes I’ve made that now you wanted to see me follow through with it?

     Whiskey looked delighted and took a sizzling, meaty handful and plopped the gooey mush into her mouth.

     She made a face, spat it back out into her hand and exclaimed, “Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot!”

     Whiskey fanned her mouth then bloo on the saliva and bug mash and finally plopped it back into her chops.

     A sickening slurping sound radiated from her mouth before finally swallowed it. When she was done a smile was on her lips so wide it looked painful.

     “Oh, Lover boy it tastes like God gave birth in meh mouth!” Roared Whiskey.

     To my shock Whisky took Phoenixes face in her hands and gave him a huge, wet, bug gut smooch. When she pulled away a smear of green was left on Phoenixes full lips.

      Phoenix just sat there. His face frozen in the same expression it was before the kiss. 

       Whiskey shrugged. “Food makes meh happy.”

     I almost choked on my own saliva. I was slightly upset at her for kissing him but I didn't understand why.

     “......” Said Phoenix.

     Slowly Phoenixes glazed eyes seemed to focus on my face. He lifted his hand to wipe away the green smear then said, “I made us some food.” He seemed to be pretending the kiss never happened, much to my relief.

     Was Whiskeys kiss anything like the one we shared?Was he too thinking about what happened between us? I wondered annoyingly.

     No, I argued with myself. That did not count as my first kiss. I was at my weakest and in a mental lapse, temporarily. It all seemed like a dream now.

     I always dreamed my first kiss would be simple and sweet, with the guy I loved, (not that I'd ever fall in love). No, that crazed desire was nothing like what it should have been. I refuse to believe that that was my first kiss! I decided alas. The thought made me smile. My demons desire could not take that away from me, like it did my sanity at times.

    Before I had time to react I felt something soft smoosh against my lips. My heart leaped, it reminded me of Phoenixes lips.

     But no, I realized. It was not lips but dripping grub. Phoenix took it upon himself to try to shove the hot bugs down my throat.

     I swatted it away frantically and fell backwards on my rear from the effort. I was getting light headed and weak in the kneese. I wanted to eat so bad!

     “You must eat.” Phoenix informed me, demonstrating as he scooped a pile into his own mouth.

     I shuddered. “I’d rather have catus.”

     “Open yo damn chops an eat da grub or I’lls make ya eat it myself!” Whiskey threatened.

     I began scooting away from the fire as Whiskey came at me with a determined look that scared me.

     Next thing I knew Whiskey was ontop of me, pinning my arms and smearing a handful of grub against my lips.

     “Dis is fo yo own good!” she yelled while wrestling me.

     I bit her hand and as I did she took the opportunity to shove it down my throat. I gagged but it was far too late. The sticky mess slithered down my throat like a hot, wet serpent.

     “Der, der, child. Ya’ll tank meh later.” Whiskey said as she jumped off of me before I could do her harm.

     I got up grumbling to myself and noticed Phoenix smirking at me.

     “You’ve got a little-” he said motioning to the bug parts, no doubt, all over my face.

     I wiped the grime off me and rubbed my hand all over his face.

     He looked at me stunned.

     “You’ve got a little-” I shot back, motioning to the slimy bug guts now on him.

     After a long silence, Phoenix began to laugh. And I mean a belly rolling, on the ground, in hysterics, laugh.

     I had never heard Phoenix laugh before. His laughing was so outlandish it got me all giggling then pretty soon Whiskey was snorting along with us, and once we started, it was like we couldn't stop.

     It was such a relief to laugh! It felt like all my worries were fading away. It was just us on the ground, hiccuping and giggling like fools. Just us and nothing else could stand in the way of that.  

     Friendship.

     I was really starting to like these odd people, which was strange considering they forced me to eat bugs.

     After I was done relieving myself in the shabby treese, and frankly just happy that this time I had leafs to help with the process, I came upon the small camp once again and noticed Phoenix staring at me with a distressed look on his face. I instantly saw why.

     A pretty little leaf skirt was swinging around him with the breeze.

     “I would prefer to be unclothed.” Phoenix stated, his face drawn.

     Whiskey spanked his butt, startling him. “Yeah, meh to Lover boy, but Mrs. Prude over here was getin’ distracted, er.. I mean, uncomfortable.”

     Phoenix looked at me desperately, his eyes communicating, you did this to me?

     Well atleast now I understood why Whiskey was so enthusiastic about helping me make Phoenix cloths. He looked ridiculous!

Whiskey

 

Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn't work very well for the rabbit-R.E. Shay

The red mooned sky was the color of wolf crap. Well, wolf crap after being on a steady diet of rotting meat of course.

     How delightful.

     I looked to the pups spooned in front me, Lover boy behind and Yram in the front. Yram was in a type of intense daze, her head bobbing back and forth with the horses movements as her eyes stared at something unseen. Lover boy had his head tilted up, gazing at the sky in an expression that could only be interpreted as awe and wonder.

     “It is beautiful.” Lover boy whispered.

     What could he see that I could not? Or maybe we saw the exact same thing, only I saw the clear cold facts of life, where he was looking at the world through a obscured bottle of alcohol. Yup, I decided. That would definitely make things appear a lot more warm and fuzzy.

     Oh Lucifer, I needed a drink!

     We had been riding almost all day and the weather was windy, hot and dry, with spastic burst of coldness. There was a black storm rumbling behind us, yet no rain or lightning. The weather had turned into a chaotic frenzy.

     The flat plane had given way to mountains, canyons, hills, tall brush and dry grass with some sporadic dead trees.

     The only thing that kept me from drooling with boredom was watching how Lover boy and Yram interacted...or didn't interact. Yram was still blushing with embarrassment while Lover boy just gazed at her like she was the sun that lit the world, or the moon that guided us at night. After Lover boy’s run in with her bathing, or whatever deed they did in the bushes at night, he couldn't keep his eyes from roaming her body.

     I noticed, suppressing a wicked smile, that Lover boy’s hand began to slowly creep around Yram’s waist then wrap around her stomach as if he was merely holding on so that he would not slid off the horse. I knew he had other motives than just holding on. The flat of his palm started to do circles around her exposed navel.

     Yram bared her teeth at his touch in a grimace that was both feral and pained. With a disgusted look she plucked his hands off of her as if they were poisonous snakes.

     A few more minutes into the ride and Lover boy was at it again. He slowly, as if afraid, began so scoot closer to Yram so that his body was pressed against hers. Lover boy then lifted his hand and hesitantly stroked down Yram’s crimson hair. I started to laugh but quickly hid it with a cough.

     “PHOENIX, stop touching me!” growled Yram who was now so far up on her white horse that she was practically riding his neck. She spun her head around and stared Lover boy dead in the eyes. A warning look that would make an Alpha wolf tuck his tail and run, or even curdle breast milk.

     Lover boy gave Yram a look that reminded me of a kicked wolf pup.

     “I-I am not sorry.” proclaim Mr. Say-what-he-thinks. Sometime, I’m going to teach that kid how to lie.

     They just looked at each other. Lover boy with a mix of apologetic and fierceness. Yram with pain and anger.

     To my utter shock Phoenix came at Yram as if he was going to give her a big wet one!

     Yram pushed his face away roughly. Her hands began to shake and her eyes flashed the color of blood and whiskey. I could almost see the snap in her brain. As if the inner battle that she had been fighting for long, had come to an end.

     The insanity radiating off of her reminded me..no, I mustn't think of that! But it was too late. The flashback took me up into its dark depths.

   All was silent. I could no longer hear the whimpers and cries of my tribe people. From my thighs down were dripping in the blood of my friends and family, the people I was supposed to protect. My people. The army had left, leaving nothing but blood and the scent of death.

       I was crouched behind a bush when I saw him. The monster, the leader, the death of the people I loved. I saw him laugh and look gleeful at the slaughter he led.

     If only I wouldn't have gone on a hunting trip, then maybe I wouldn't have come back home to find the Creatures of the flame, the Scars of the earth, packing up the bloody meat, the  broken bodies of everyone I loved.

   I was mercifully ripped from my flashback by Yram’s rage.

     Though I could still see Yram struggling to contain her anger, I knew which side would win. Always the darker side.

     “We cannot be like that! It hurts! It hurts when you touch me.” Yram’s voice broke. “Like fire melting my skin and kindling my anger! Don't, please. Don't touch me anymore!” her voice was shaky, choked and not in control. Lover boy seemed invoke her anger like wood to fire. Her whole body shook and she whimpered holding herself.

     Phoenixed was in shock, his hands still on her. His mouth opened and shut trying to form words, like a fish out of water.

     The unhinged look in Yram’s eyes only increases as he didn't remove his hands, it sent my heart a fluttering and made acid pool in my gut. I was shocked, I had never been afraid of someone before! Her lip bled, her eyes shone the color of the new moon and her facial muscles twitched not knowing what expression to take.

     Yram did not look human.

     I knew this could not end well so I silently dismounted, the others did not notice. Yram turned her upper body around and grabbed Lover boy by his throat. I was certain Yram was going to kill the boy, but instead she threw him far from the horse with strength she shouldn't have possessed.

     Yram got a funny look then. She stared at her hand like it was a terrifying creature instead of a part of her body.

     I saw anger quickly slip from her face and horror took its place.

     So faintly I may not of heard it, she whimpered, “God, what is happening to me?”

     Without warning, Yram hurriedly kicked her horse into a full out run, spraying Lover boy with a layer of dust. Yram and her mount stormed across the desert, rushing from us as if we were the ones with blood red eyes and inhuman strength. Only then did I realized, she must have been touched by the flair. Did that explain her hot and cold personality? I had never in all my travels come across someone so bipolar! She must be riding the white sheep or something!

     “I hurt her.” Lover boy whispered.

     This man/child seriously needed to get a grip on himself.

     “Damn right ya did! Nice goin’ Lover boy. You scared off or only hope to survive this damn desert!” 

     “I hurt her.”

     I looked down at Lover boy’s dust covered face, he looked so grave it startled me into trying to make him feel better.

     “Eh...but don'tcha worry bout it. She’s probably jus on da wrag. She be back!” I rewarded, stating my previous thought.

     Lover boy seemed relieved but confused. “What does that mean? ‘On the wrag’?”

     I laughed. “Datsa question to ask yer mama! Now get yer white arse up off dat dirt an lets go see wat got de red fillys panites in a wad, eh?”

Yram

 

Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?”- Proverbs 20:9

I ran. Fast. Flying!

     Running from my monster that was invoked by Phoenix. Maybe that is what I had to do to flee from my demon. Run from Phoenix. My whole insanity and multiple personality, all started when he came into the picture...no, that would be stupidity to blame my own demon on someone else, but still...

     Why had my flesh felt as though it was melting of my body, when he touched me as we road Hosanna? That night when we were together it was anything but pain, though I’m not willing to give in, to...surrender like that again. I felt exposed and raw, and I’m afraid that I liked it.

     Sweat soaked my skin and dust clung to me, dripping down my face in muddy drops and burning my eyes. I kept them closed. I did not need to see where Hosanna was leading me as long as it was away.

     Fight it. Fight it! I demanded of myself. Fight the red haze that clouded my vision and consumed my mind, but all I could think about was racing back to Phoenix, wrapping my hands around his throat and squeezing until-

     Fight it!

     I began to feel the trickle of tears streak down the dirt on my face along with my sweat.

    Lord, I thought my demon was gone?

     I buried my face in Hosannas sweaty neck and laid my body across his. I was soothed by the rhythmic motion of Hosannas galup as my hips rolled with him.

     It could have been mere hours or days that we ran, but finally, the anger burned out inside of me, leaving shame and regret in its wake.

     We were surrounded on all sides by great canyon walls, so tall they blurred with the heavens. Sage bush so overpowering I did not know how Hosanna had found his way through it. We were lost in a ocean of strong smelling sage and red sand. Which direction did I come? Where was Phoenix and Whiskey? Oh God, I left them in the desert without a ride! I hope they find me, because I cannot find them when I don't even know where I am.

     “Woah, boy.” I said to Hosanna leaning backwards to motion him to stop. Hosanna obeyed thankfully. His sides were heaving with each breath and he was slathered in foamy sweat.

     I slipped off of him and my legs collapsed beneath me. I looked down at my thighs seeing that they were rubbed raw and oozing clear fluid, some white hair stuck in my flesh. Hosanna mekly lowered his neck to help me up. He was in much worse state than I.

     “Oh, my poor boy, what have I done?.. God, oh God.”

     Hosanna was now shaking. Without water and me running him so hard for God knows how long, things could easily end badly.

      A shudder passed through Hosanna and he collapsed to the ground, his head laying across my feet. His eyes rolled up at me in fear, wanting my comfort.

     I fell to the ground. Ignoring the salted dirt that ground its way into my thighs, I held Hosannas head in my lap and stroked the flat plane of his head all the way to his velvet muzzle.

     Water. I realized. He needs water. But where in this desert, was I going to find any?

     “Once again, Hosanna, here we are. Without water, without food and without an inkling of an idea where the hell we are.”

     But I wasn't one to just give up. No, for some reason I treasured my life too much for that. And I especially treasured Hosannas. Giving up was not an option.

     Gritting my teeth I slid out from under Hosanna and went in search for the tallest tree in sight.

     It was easy to find it, there being only two trees in my line of vision.

     I silently pleaded a small prayer up to God, wanting him to give me any strength he had to spare. My legs shook, threatening to collapse beneath me again.

     “This is for you, Hosanna.” and with that I jumped up in the air and easily grabbed the trees stout lowest branch. I began to climb the crusty bark and scaled the tree. Fastly even. Faster than I had thought possible. The tree was tall but it seemed the more I climbed the better my stamina and soon I reached the bendy top that swayed with my weight. I had no fear, If God wanted me dead I think I’d be there already, or so I told myself.

     Looking around me I quickly became depressed. A never ending abyss of canyon walls and -Wait. What was that? I slight glimmer appeared in a small grove of shade along the wall of red stone. I rubbed my eyes with one hand. Maybe it was a trick of this heat? I blinked the blurr out of my eyes and gazed upon the shimmering ground again. But no, It was not ground but water! A small stream was snaking its way along the line of canyon wall. What were the odds of me finding not one but two springs of water in this flair dried land? It was rare enough to find a mere spring a settlement had taken over in someone's lifetime! But this was Impossible! Yet I managed to wander my way towards two of them. No, I realized abruptly, Hosanna had wandered his way towards both of them. Maybe he wasn't so much wondering as leading me here. That brought me much peace. I had a guardian angel after all.

     I denied my thirst and went to bring Hosanna to the water first, only It became apparent that he was much too exhausted to move. I thought about this, trying to come up with many different ways to transport water. The more likable options would all clearly end in failure. I sighed and stripped of what was left of my leather shorts.

  By the end of this trip I’m going to end up as buck nude as Phoenix!

   

    

Darkness had again drawn its vail over the land and I felt creeping feeling as though I was being watched.

     It had been a strangely cozzy day with Hosanna. After I tied each pant leg as tight as possible, and lugged over the sopping sack of water, Hosanna drank deeply and happily, then promptly demanded more. The hog! After we had our full share and I tried to clean my raw legs as best as I could, Hosanna and I lay curled on the ground with each other all that day, talking in the way horses and humans often do. Not saying anything but sharing everything.

     We were now sprawled on the ground looking up at the purple clouded sky with our bellies full to pregnancy with water. My pants were still sopping wet and discarded over some bush.

     I know I should have been terrified, it being dark and the hair amy arms and back of my neck on end, and I was partly, but I couldn't help but think, Why didn't I take the time to put on some more mature underwear? It was silly and girlish I knew, but the thought still lingered all the same.

      Hosannas heart began to quicken under his belly where I lay and a sinking feeling swallowed my gut.

       “Let’s sleep now, boy. Being afraid isn't going to help us out any, what's coming for us will come no matter if we're awake and grumpy or peaceful and sleeping.” My logic wasn't very sound, but I wasn't very sound minded either so I figured I might as well just go with it and get good nights sleep.

    

    Sometime late at night, I awoke to strange animal calls. There was owl, wolf, bear, horse, lion, calling birds, and many more, only they were off beat. The calls sounded more cryptic and wild. More corrupt.

     Hosanna stumbled to his feet, whining frantically. I too jumped to my feet as my heart startled into a flurry and adrenalin pounded in my veins. What was going on this time? What new trial would I now face?

     A slight red haze began to float over my vision. No,no,no,no! Not this again!

     I could almost feel my demons hackles raised beneath my skin, anticipating the danger to come. The animal calls were louder now and surrounding us. I spun in circles not wanting my back to be exposed, only there was nowhere to hide.

      I cried out back at the wild calls, the sound that came out of my mouth should have shocked and terrified me, but I was to crazed at the moment to feel anything. The sound was mixed with a woman's cry of anguish and a predators warning grawl. The intruders sounds stopped abruptly at that. I could almost feel their shocked buzzing somewhere unseen.

     Crackling of bushes behind me alerted my senses and a spun around and lunged.

     “Aw! Lemego! Damnit, it’s meh ya bonehead!”

     I was clutching at a mass of curly hair, Whiskey’s curly hair I noted. The abrupt realization that she was not a predator shocked me out of my red haze. I instantly dropped her.To my surprie she came up swinging and clocked me a good one on the side of the head.

     “Aw! Hey, watch yourself! I didn't mean to hurt you!” I shrieked dodging another one of her fists.

     She was beyond angry. Her nostrils flared and her eyebrows were slanted to low they covered her eyes.

     “Ya don't mess with a black woman's fro!” Whiskey spat.

    I put my palms up in the air. “I didn't know it was you! I swear! I’m sorry!”

    “Then who the hell’d ya think I was?!”

     “A-a monster? I don't know!”

     Whiskey patted her hair down and looked offended. “Well, I can't look perfect when I’m livin’ out in da bush like this! But I wouldn't say I look like a monster...”

    I grinned at her glad I was forgiven and limped forward throwing my arms around her in a bear hug. I felt her stiffen but I was just so glad she wasn't’dead!

    “It was just all those strange animal calls you were making that got me riled up.” I tried to explain.

     She gave me a strange look. “But weren't dose calls comin’ from ya? We dought ya were jus makin’ a racket so we cud’ find yo sorry ass..?”

     Uh,oh.

    Just then Phoenix bursts through the bushes.

     First I noticed his skirt and how it's missing some pieces, then I noticed how he wouldn't meet my eyes and locked his jaw stubbornly. That was fine by me, I could barely look him in the face for all my guilt.

     “You should put some pants on.” he said stiffly still not looking at me. “We have got company.”

     A barbaric wolf howl was called out, then shadowed shapes creeped from the bushes and surround us.

Yram

 

Thank you, Middle finger, for sticking up for me-Unknown

So, they turned out not to be creepy shapes or monsters, but men, (so I assumed), dressed from head to toe in black, not a inch of their skin showing with turbans wrapped around their heads and gloved hands. They also walked with a type of slither in their movements. That scared me because they did not move as a human would, and also they held spears pointed towards us, which did not help in the slightest with my discomfort.

     “Have ya ever noticed dat ya got da luck of a baby covered in blood in a hungry wolf pen?” asked Whiskey casually.

     “Whiskey,” I whispered. “I am a half demon who is being hunted down by the devil and had been captured by slave traders and sold to another demon who wanted to absorb the life out of me.” I sucked in a huge breath. “I've been struck by lightning, I'm a woman that struggles with just about every sin and now I am now captured by terrorists. If I didn't know I had bad luck by now, I would be quite dim.”

    Whiskey choked out a laugh at that but soon shut up when a spear point was jabbed at her throat.

     Phoenix and I stood as still as possible, waiting for someone to make the first move. I realized the terrorists seemed to be keeping their attention mostly on me.

     “Flare child.” they whispered.

     “Look at the eyes, shes a Scar.” Their voices were smooth yet guttural as they talked about me as if I couldn't hear them.

     “The others are Human, though, and shes NOT like us.” growled a nice masculine sounding voice, he was clearly the leader by the way he held himself. “Kill them, it is not a coincidence that they have found their way directly to our clan. It must be another hunting party sent to murder more of our people!”

     “We do not kill!” slithered a voice from one of the masked men, I couldn't tell who. They all were obviously hesitant about killing. No one even shifted a spear slightly closer to us and they held their weapons awkwardly like they were afraid of them. What a strange bunch of people.

    I decided it was time to speak up before we all became spear shish kabobs. “If it makes you feel any better, we are not, in fact, trying to kill you, as you can see we are unarmed. Actually, we are quite lost and it would be kind of you to point us the way so we can, um, leave you in peace...”

     For some reason our captures all jumped back and gasped as I spoke.Well, all but the leader who wanted to kill us. He stepped closer to me, peering at my face from under his shadow mask. My heart went still and ice shot through my veins as I glimpsed his eyes. They reflected from the moonlight like an animals eyes would.

     “You can understand us?” He spoke slow and deliberately.

     It became apparent that they were all a bunch of loonies.

     I tried to speak slowly and soothingly as if speaking to an upset child. “Yes, I can understand you. Now, if you could just let us g-”

     “You speak our language.” he stated in awe, interrupting me.

     “What are dey saying?” whispered Whiskey, wide eyed. “How do ya know ta speak like dat?”

    It was official. Everyone had gone nuts.

     “Well, we're just going to be on our way then...” I told them and subtly started to walk backwards. Whiskey noticed and followed in my lead. Phoenix just stood there with an unreadable expression.

     “Run!” I yelled, slapping Hosannas rump and took off. Only Hosanna didn't go anywhere. He just stood there licking his lips happily, same as Phoenix. As it turned out me and Whiskey were the only ones who ran and limped away but only made it about as far as the closest bush when hands were gripping me and pulling me back.  I kicked out in agony and shrieked and wiggled to get away. Looking over to Whiskey I found her to be in the same predicament as I, only she was faring much better, biting like a rabid dog. I followed in her lead and bit my captures hand. He howled in pain. Yes, I mean howled. Like a wolf.

     Well, then.

     “Phoenix, HELP!” I called. He looked over at me and met my eyes in a blank expression. Oh, I was going to kill him!

     I slammed the back of my head into the face of the man holding me.

     “HELP!” my capture gasped. About five men trotted over and helped him pin my  appendages down to my body.

     Why did the red haze only come upon me at the most inconvenient times? Where was it when I needed a little demon?

     I glared at Phoenix, wishing looks could kill. Whiskey looked over and winked at me. “Nice one, red filly! Sure gave em a run for der money ya did!”

     “We will bring them to Chief Qaletaqa. He will know what do with these Pinkskins!” spat the man holding me from behind. I now recognized him as the leader.

     “What’s goin’ on? Wha’d he say?!” Whiskey whispered to me.

     “You mean you really can't understand them?” I wondered incredulously.

     She barked out a laugh. “All it sounds like to meh is ‘Bar bar hukju bar grumble baar!’ Ha! That’s what I’lls call em! Barbarians!”

     I tried to hold back a laugh.. “I think they are taking us to their leader... and, uh, i’m pretty sure they aren't human...but I’m hoping they are just crazy.”

     Whiskey raised her eyebrow. “Filly, I’m crazy. Nope, der monster! Barbarian scum! Whadya got to hide under dose ugly outfits?!” she spat on one of their turbans. They all flinched away from her, terrified.

     “Now, come with us willingly or we’ll drag you there. Tell the others.” my captor demand.

     I rolled my eyes. This guy was all bark and no bite. I obeyed anyway and translated his message. Now that I was paying attention, I could tell the difference between the two languages I was speaking. They both came perfectly natural to me, but left different tastes in my mouth.

     My original language was more smooth and bubbly, like a stream. The new one, rough guttural and and wild, like a crackling fire, a bear growling, and gravel crunching under my boots. This new language exited me. Maybe being demon wasn't all bad?

     I was thankful that I was not dragged or thrown over his shoulder, instead I was simply urged forward, him still holding my wrists together almost gently. The same was done with Whiskey and Phoenix. These people, I could already tell, were as soft as Hosannas fur and not at all the fearsome warriors they appeared to be. That comforted me.

     But even the gentlest of people had to eat.

      “What about my horse?” I asked stopping abruptly, my captor stumbling into me.

     “We’ve got plans for him.” he said regaining his footing and taking a step back.

     My heart started racing. “If you so much as touch him i’m going to-”

    I was pushed forward. “Were not going to harm your horse, woman. Calm yourself.”

    I was relieved but I did not appreciate the way he spoke to me. “Oh, yes, thats what I will do! Stay calm as the man who tried to kill me, takes me into his lair!”

     I heard him laugh behind me.

    He wasn't going to think I was so funny when I played ‘hide my boot.’ with him... I wonder if my mother would be ashamed of my now corrupt thoughts and ways. Sorry, Mama. I can't be your ‘little angel’ in this world.    

      “And my names Yram, boy.”

     He didn't miss a beat. “Nice to meet you, Yram. I’m Ahote, and I can't help but notice, you're not wearing any pants.”

Yram

 

I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man-Che Guevara

          

We were led inside the red rock mountain!

     Walking painfully further and further into the stone walls, I tried to remember the route just in case we needed to escape. After the tenth turn I gave up on it all together and decided to try and fight them instead, which lead to even more disappointment. After all, they were armed men and me only a hurt unarmed girl. Hmm, an unarmed, captive girl..there were some things a girl could do to get her way with men. I kept that in mind for later.

     Soon, oh too soon, we came upon a massive, ancient, wooden door. It was dark and oily with age and smelt of mildew and rot..but then again the entire cave stunk like mildew. Ahote stepped up and banged on the door. I small flap was lifted and two large black eyes peered out. The creepy eyes reminded me of a reptile or a bat.

     My stomach dropped and the massive door swung inward revealing the most horrific scene I had dreamt of in my worst of nightmares. Besides me, Whiskey scratched and began flinging terrified profanity at the captures. Our inhuman captures. Phoenix just stared, his lip parted, looking more entranced then anything. And me, the brave Yram, what did I do? I coward and whimpered, trying to make myself appear as small as possible, not that it helped me disappear. Every hundreds of large gleaming eyes stared upon us in shock. All was quiet but the pounding of my panicked heart.

     We were trapped in a dark underground world, with creatures of the flair. The blood thirsty monsters of Mamas stories.

     Never before had I been so certain of my death.

Phoenix

 

Faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing- Victor Hugo

  A Canyon, ingenious... I thought to myself, I look to the head of the procession as we came into the mountain, Yram in the arms of all the men around her. She was struggling, I’m quite surprised she hadn’t escaped by now. She was constantly releasing frustrated screams which rang off the canyon walls like a harpie’s cry. She gave a look back at me, the hurt and disappointment very clear in her stare. I could feel the daggers from her eyes, I looked away, trying to appear interested in the water formed canyon walls.

  Honestly it was hard, impossible, to ignore Yram, her being mostly unclothed, but it’s all for her benefit. I turn my attention to the men wrapped in cloth standing around me, I don’t see why she was struggling, they may have seemed menacing at first glance but they were completely incapable of so much as a scratch.

  Maybe if she’d take the time to stop fighting and actually look she’d notice they have a hard time even restraining her. Oh well, this is just the way that Yram is I suppose. Suddenly we deviated from the clean worn river bed and into a dark opening in the canyon wall. The cave opened up like a horrible, dark maw before us. As we were swallowed by the darkness my eyes adjusted to the light; a huge cavern built into the cavern walls crawling with people who were hardly people. They were small, like the parade of men who had apprehended us, but they lacked the covering of clothes, their skin was obviously scarred to the point of atrocity and covered in a shimmering, black oil. They mostly wore clothes with neutral, earthy tones and they wore no shoes. The walls of the underground cliffs were covered with ladders, ridges, steps, ropes, pulleys, baskets of...who knows what being hauled up and down to their intended recipients.

I felt a sense of awe at these incredible beings and the society they had created for themselves. From the deepest part of me I knew that these people were good. Pure, even. They wouldn't harm us. For the the first time in my remembered life, I felt myself relax.

Yram

 

Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else-Galatians 6:4

    

     I always knew I was not going to be one of those rare people who lived long, but still, I never would have thought my death would be so soon, so horrific. Even Whiskey, whos respond to fear and danger was anger, was now trembling with me. I reached one of my fingers out and wrapped it around hers, drawing strength as much as wanting comfort.

    At least I will not die alone. A selfish thought, I know.

      The creatures around us began to scramble and cry out. All their calls were animalistic and twisted, some just tilted their heads back and screamed. The monster children carried in packs on the adults bodies cried in fright, like I wanted to, and before I could make out just what was going on, everyone had disappeared. No, flead. The had all hidden from us as if we were the ones with skin so pale it was blueish and veiny, as if we moved in slithering motions and crawled on the cave walls like animals, as if we had eyes so large and gleaming and ears that resembled a bat, as if we were the ones with oiled sores and twisted bodies. We weren't the monsters!  

      “My people are not use to seeing pinkskins such as yourself, unless they're here to kill us.” Ahote growled from behind me.

      “No! It is the Creatures of the flair who try to kill us!” I pleaded but my voice was weak. I did not know if I believed it myself. I had seen what humans could do.. but then again, I would know what his kind did too. My father was leading an army of them, after all

      Ahote looked at me confused than angry. “We are called Scars, not creatures!” Ahote spat. “And don't you dare try to fool me of your innocence! I know what your kind does to my people! I have seen it.”

     I was astounded. “W-what my kind does?” What did my kind do to him? Did I want to know? These dark thoughts emptied me, and being already weaken by no food, I hung my head and limped, dragging feet forward step by step. I just wanted to lay down and let this world slip away from me.

     “They cannot harm you.” said Ahote to his hiding people. His voice was no longer so angry, but more sad.

     As Ahote lead us farther into the home of the cave dwellers, heads appeared from holes in the cave wall, then more and more of their body parts protruded until many of them were walking hesitantly towards us.

     Still more came until a monstrous crowd surrounded us on either side. At first they all spoke in hushed voices and kept their distance but that did not last long. Soon they were whooping and hollering in their animalistic ways and poking me and grabbing at my hair. A female creature with a floppy hair doo stroked a hand down my own matted hair. I  looked up hesitantly and made eye contact with her. To my shock she hissed at me, her teeth exposed. I recoiled backwards and in reaction only, I growled back at her. To my curiosity the female got a confused look on her face and then smiled at me!

     “Flair sister.” she said in a sweet rough voice. Ah, it made more sense to me now. They saw my strange looks and assumed I was, like them, affected by the radiation of the flair. If they knew what I really was, then they would be treating me so fairly. I promise you that.

     The creatures of the flair were not so generous with Whiskey and Phoenix. They mostly kept a distance from them and the ones that were brave enough to get close usually abused them in some form or another.

    By the time most the creatures had stopped following us, I had darkish slime on my arms, clothing and hair from all of them touching me, Whiskey was thrashing around like a maniac crying, “Murderers!” and many other words I would rather not mention. Phoenix was looking around amazed at the village in the mountain. It was incredible. Like an ant farm, only these ‘beings’ were almost reptilian or buggish. They reminded me of those goofy grasshoppers bounding around excitedly. Only these goofy people, may kill us. I reminded myself.

     “Whiskey... Whiskey!” came Phoenixes whispering voice. I looked back to see him shoulder to shoulder with Whiskey trying to calm her down. “Please, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. If you want to make it out of this alive you're going to have to calm down and pretend to be civil.”

   Whiskey studied him for awhile, her chest heaving.

     “Okay, Phoenix. Okay.” came Whiskeys shaky voice. Did she just call him Phoenix?

     “I won't let anything happen to you, do not worry.” Phoenix whispered to her with a sad smile.

      My fingers dug into my palms and my bottom lip stung as I bit it. I shook my head startled at my reaction. What was this feeling I had? My my lips turned down at the corners. I didn't like it, whatever it was.

     They brought us into a large circular room decorated with beads, pottery and beautifully colored cloth. Sitting in the middle of the room, on a red and purple cushion, was a small old man.

     He did not see us at first. His head was bent while he mumbled nonsense, rocking back and forth.

     Thick exotic incense curled around the room, along with another smell that reminded me of skunk.

     After a while of waiting for the peculiar man to notice us, my body started to get tingly and I was feeling lightheaded. Hmm. What was in the smoke?

     When the old man finally came from his trance and looked up, blood drained from his blueish faced, making the sores and deformities on his body stand out.

     “What. Have.You. Done.” The old man asked, looking at Ahote. I may have never seen someone look as angry as this old man did.

     Ahote’s hand slightly shook on my wrists.

     “I-I found them outside our cave, they could be here trying to find our clan and kill it?” said Ahote, his voice weak. He no longer believed what he said.

     The old mans black eyes flashed in rage.

     “WHAT WERE YOU DOING OUTSIDE THE CAVE?!”

      “We-I- wanted t-to explore?”

     “To EXPLORE?! You have done many things wrong by our clan, but this? THIS, is the worst! Now we must toss these girls down the devils maw! Did you really just want to kill them? Is that why you brought them here?!”

     I could almost  feel Ahote’s distress. Did he want to kill us?

     “No! I just, didn't want anyone else in our clan to be killed! I-I thought maybe we could study them, see what the pinkskins are really like! Maybe we could defend ourselves better than-”

     “GO! Leave me to think! Put them in our holds for now!” bellowethe old man, crazed with anger.

     I took in a deep breath, steeling myself. Looks like you are going to have to get yourself out of this one, girl. No one is here to save you this time

     “I-I’m scared. Please, don't k-kill us! We’re nothing but starving travers, I p-promise!” I whimpered and sobbed turning my face into Ahote’s chest. I looking up at him, my eyes wide and misty. He stopped, startled by my act of weakness and let his grip on my wrists slip. I took the opportunity to face him completely and wrap my arms around his waist. His body stiffened against mine in shock. It was like hugging a bored. But then, I feel his arms slide around my back and he hugged me to him. Hmm. I peaked over his shoulder at Phoenix whose blue eyes were burning into Ahote’s back. Take that, Phoenix!

     “Ahem. I’m sorry, I will, ahem, let you free..If I can.” muttered Ahote truly sounding ashamed and flustered with my nearness. “I-I thought you were here to kill more of my people, but now I see that-”

     “AHOTE! Do not speak to the prisoners! Knowing you, you will make this mess worse than it already is!!! It is YOUR fault we must TOSS them, fool! You, son, have brought disgrace upon the clan!” Shouted the Chief, spit flying before he broke down into a fit of coughing.

       I was shocked. So this horrid monster was his father. I shook my head, like I was one to talk!

     “Yes, father.” muttered Ahote, gently pushing me back towards yet another long snakelike tunnel. A few minutes into the darkness, Phoenix and Whiskey were steered off in different directions and I was left blind and terrified.

     I slowed my pace in front of Ahote until I felt the heat of him on my back the slight brush of his body against mine. I was not a fan of dark creepy tunnels and an impending death sentences. It seemed my only ally here was the one who capture me in the first place.

      “Are you going to let them kill me, Ahote?” I asked letting feminine fear leak its way into my voice. I had no doubt he heard it as he stepped closer to me, almost protective. He didn't reassure me though, and that scared me.

     I took in a deep breath. “I dont no what my people did to you, but if you kill us you’ll be just as bad as them.”

     He said nothing to that, still ushering me forward.

     Icey fear shot through my veins as I laid eyes upon the dark maw he was leading me into.

     “No, no, no, no!” I moaned, backpedaling, but I was very weak and could do nothing to stop my descent into the dark cave.

     “You will only be here for a while, until I found out what to do with you.” said Ahote sounding sad.

     “But-but it's so cold!” I cried desperately. “And I’m barely clothed!”

    Ahote grunted and steered me away from the horrid cave. I almost cried with relief.

     After a while I asked, “Where are you taking me?”

     “To get you something to, ah, cover yourself.” he said. I bit my lip. At least he wasn't heartless.

     There was no sense of time in the cave, just endless tunnels and darkness. After a while the numbing adrenalin began to recede, leaving me raw, feeling all the pain of my sore muscles and torn flesh. I didn't want to tell him how much I hurt, how week I was, how pants would only chafe the stinging skin of my thighs.

    A thought worse than my selfish pain hit me.

     “What about my friends? They must be cold to!”

      Ahote said nothing.

     “Please, help my friends.” I begged.

     “No.”

     Yes!

      In stubbornness, I sat down. The cool dusty rock almost soothed my skin. Well, it would have if my scabbed up thighs didn't crack open with the movement. I had to bite my lip hard to not cry out.

     “Get up.” he said exasperated.

      “Help my friends.” I breathed.

     “Fine.” he grumbled. “After I get you clothed, I will send someone to help your friends.”

     Thank God!

     Ahote reached a hand down to help me up and I took it, but soon realized my legs weren't cooperating.

     “I-I can't get up.” I confessed gasping at the pain.

     He looked confused, tilting his head to the side.

     “I hurt my legs.” I moaned. I hated sounding so weak, but it hurt! Oh, it hurt!

     He fell to his knees next to me and reached out for my leg. Umm. I scooted away from him. Maybe he wasn't evil, but I didn't want him touching my bare legs.

     “Let me see.” he said holding out his gloved hands. How could he even see in this darkness?

     “N-no.” I gasped.

     “Your imposible!”

     “You're the one holding me hostage!”

     He didn't say anything to that but instead grabbed me around the waist and the crease of my legs and began carrying me down the hall. It was painful but not so bad as walking. At least this might help with my act of damsel in distress, even if I was being manhandled. Men alway had a soft spot for damsels in distress, and I figured if I couldn’t help myself I might as well gain a handsome prince to save me. Or in this case, some rude boy dressed all in black. But hey, a girl couldn't be picky in situations like this.

    He took me into a large hollowed out room with rich colors of red and brown, then he walked down a short hall into a room with light colors like yellows and pinks. A small mattress with fuzzy blankets lay in the center of the room where a creature sat. It was the female that I had seen earlier with floppy hair.

     The creature looked shocked. “Brother! What are you doing here!? With her! Fathers going to be furious!”

     “Shes hurt and barely clothed. I, eh, thought you could help her?” Said Ahote cringing.

     “Can you please put me down?” I asked, getting light headed with the swaying movements.

     “You-You didn't hurt her did you?” gasped the female.

     “No! I would never!” he shoot back madly.

     Ahote’s sister sighed. “Let's have a look at the girl, then.”

     “My names, Yram.” I breathed as Ahote laid me down on the females bed. I didn't want her talking about me as if I wasn't there. I had enough of that in my old village.

     “I’m Kaiah, Ahote’s sister, but I’m not as rude as him, don't worry.” she said in a giggly voice.

     “Ummh.” I muttered, eyes drifting close. The females bed was feeling so nice against my back.

     Someone put their cool hand on my forehead.

     “Leave, Ahote. Yram needs her rest.”

     “But-”

     “Out!”

     And then, nothing.

Yram

 

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all- Oscer Wilde

Mmm. I was so warm. So happy. So comfy. Ahh.

     Wait-

    I snapped open my eyes and uncurled my hands from the soft blanket that was wrapped around me.

     A monster looked down at me with gleaming black eyes and white-blue skin.

     “Ahh!” I shrieked.

     “Ahhg!” bellowed the monster back at me as it jumped backwards and tripped over itself.

     I whimpered and pulled the covers over my head. I felt much safer under the yellow blanket.

     “Ahem, um, you're finally awake...” said a voice outside the warm blanket. A voice I recognised.

     “Ahote?” I asked, peeking my head over the covers. The monster looked back at me, its teeth bared in a snarl..or could it be, a guilty smile?

     “Ahote?” I wondered again, wide eyed.

    “Yes.” the monster said in Ahote’s voice.

     I look at the creature then. I took in its large creepy eyes and massive pupils that almost consumed the foggy colored iris. The monster blinked slowly, its head tilted curiously to the side, a mop of black hair in a mohawk down the center of its forehead, It’s bare chest, leen and breathing quickly. A creature obviously only half human. I took in a peculiar wooden carved necklaces of a wolf along with a familiar green necklace, that it wore.  My hand flew to my chest but my necklace wasn't there. I didn't dare ask the creature for it back.

     The monster, Ahote, began to reach his pale hand towards my face. I shrunk away from him, but he ignored me.

     His cold hand touched my cheek.

     “What? Do I scare you now that you see me for what I am?” Ahote asked with a bitter smile. “Am I the terrifying monster of your nightmares?”

     Yes.

     “N-no.” I whimpered.

     “You lie.”

     Yes.

     Ahote’s eyes blinked slowly, calculating my response to him.

     Did he see my fear? My disgust? I had seen the other grotesque creatures, and they were awful too, but somehow it was worse seeing Ahote like this. Maybe because I had started to trust him.

     “Ahote! What're you doing in here?!” said the freakish girl named Kaiah as she stepped into the room. “Out! Out, Out, OUT!”  

     “She needs to go back to the holding place befor father gets home!” defended Ahote.

    Kaiah’s eyes flashed. “Not before she's healed, she isn't!”

     I wiggled furth under the covers till my eyes were just peeking over the blanket. I watched the monsters as they fought, their ams flying around wildly, the girls floppy hair bouncing around. I noticed that neither Ahote nor the girl was slathered in the oil most of the older members had on.

     “Okay.” Kaiah gave in after a while. “Let me check her bandages first.”

   I let out squeal as Kaiah ripped the blankets from ontop of me and cold air flooded around my body. Furthermore, I had no choice in the matter as she sat on the bed between my legs and started removing the cloth bandages that I just realized were there.

     Kaiah gasped as she peeled both cloths off my skin.

      “Ahote, come take a look at this!”

     I was too scared to react as Ahote looked at my bare legs while I was only in my underwear. Ahote’s face was flushed, but then all color drained from it. What was it they were looking at? I sat up a little bit, gazed down at my thighs, and gasped.

     My legs were healed! Only light pink scaring remained.

     Ahote’s eyes looked as if they were about to bulge out of his face as he asked me, “What are you?”

     I could not lie to them and say I was affected by the flair, but surely I could not tell them I was demon either!

     I looked at Ahote in fear and he looked back at me with the same expression I wore. Silence was thick and dangerous around us.

      “AHOTE!!!” Bellowed a vigorous voice, echoing into the room. I knew that obnoxious wheezy voice from anywhere. Ahote’s father.

    “The basket!” Whispered Kaiah hurriedly. I was taken by both my arms and dragged towards a woven basket. Then I was promptly crammed into it. I was too weak to protest. I couldn't muster up anymore strength. To my shock, another cold body was crammed in next to me. My body shifted into the contours of his as he slid in next to me, I had no choice. Ahote pulled the baskets lid overtop of us. But why was Ahote hiding from his own father?

     “Ahote!” hissed Kaiah. “Get OUT of there you gwana brain!”

     Ahote’s rough voice rumbled incoherently all around me. I tried to shift away from him but it was hard when I couldn't tell where my body began and his ended.

     “Who are you talking to, Kaiah snake?” came the somewhat softened voice of Ahote’s father.

     Kaiah’s voice was high and strained. “Oh, uh, me? Well, you know me daddy, always goofing off and talking nonsense...”

     Ahote snuggled deeper into our stuffed den until he seemed to be all around me.

     “Have you seen your brother? I need to speak with him. He has done a terrible dead.” The chief's voice was now more of a squak...in fact, I believe he did squak.

     “I don't know father, he's probably off hiding like the coward he is...” Said Kaiah in a very directed voice.

   Ahote’s heart beat quickly against me..or as that my own heart? After all I was pressed against the monster of my worst nightmares. I wanted to spring from our woven cage but feared my fate would be worse if I did so.

     “Well, if you find him tell him to come see me IMMEDIATELY.” Rumbled the chief.

     “Yes, father.” Kaiah chirped.

     The chief sighed. “Why couldn’t my son be obedient like you?”

     “Because he is curious and rebellious, just like someone else I know...”

     Another sigh from chief. “Yes, but when I was young I wasn't so bold about my rebellion! Imagine, sneaking off to the OUTSIDE world, and dragging his foolish friends with him! The boy is only sixteen and already he is causing havoc!”

    “Yes, yes. But don't be too harsh with him. Hes only foolish and young.” pleaded Kaiah.

     The chief exploded. “Don't be HARSH?! My son brought humans two FEMALE humans, to be killed! He is going to lead the clan someday, Kaiah, is he going to be a murderous, foolish leader?!”

     My head began to spin in a sickly manner, and I sucked in a deep breath, realizing I could not remember the last time I breathed.

     Being so close to Ahote the murderer, I  couldn't help but noticed that he smelt of cool water, earth, and reptile. I probably smelt of unwashed, dirty girl.

     “I do not believe murder is his intentions, father.” Kaiah whispered.

      I realized I was starting to hyperventilate when Ahote’s hand slipped over my lips, quieting me.  His hands were cool and silken soft with slight padded fingers. I wanted to bite him or maybe run hands over his peculiar skin.

     “Our clan is that of peace and happiness, not of death.” Came the chiefs voice before he fell into a fit of coughing.

   After what felt like an eternity, the chief left. Kaiah opened the top of the basket, letting fresh air flooded in. She glared down at the two of us.

     “Coward.” she sneered at Ahote. Ahote seemed to take longer than usual to regain his wits and he looked sickly. He did not removing himself from our cocoon.

     Kaiah looked piercingly down at her brother. “You OUT! Remove yourself from her so you can regain your thoughts, you gwana for brains! And YOU!” she directed her finger to me as Ahote untangled himself. “You, need to get some clothing on else my brother here is going to-”

     “Kaiah!” spat Ahote, his face beet red and upset. Kaiah waved her hand dismissively and pulled me from the basket like I was as light as a doll, and I guess I was. I looked down at myself, my stomach shrunk in, you could count every bone on my body. I was a skeleton covered in flesh.

     I shuddered in relief when Ahote’s skin was no longer touching me, but Kaiah mistook my disgust as being cold saying, “There, there, let me get your some clothing. You must be freezing, being half naked and all...”

     I wonder how many more times in my life could I blush without my blood getting to lazy to migrate upward?

    With one last glance at me Ahote left the room and Kaiah began to rummage through her clothing. Finally, she picked out a long rust colored dress, much like the pink one she wore.

     “Take off those filthy underclothes, and wear this.” Kaiah chirped, turning around. I was thankful she spared my modesty as I pulled my knife from between my, eh, chest where I had hidden it. I slid the dress over my naked flesh and gasped, amazed at the soft lush texture of it. Warmth instantly seeped into my skin. Discreetly, I slipped the knife underneath the dress and secured it where the dress bunched tightly at my waist.

     Kaiah turned around and smiled warmly at me. “Me and you, were going to be friends, I just know it!”

     I was going to ask how a dead girl could be friends with a monster, but decided against it.

     “Now, here, take this for extra warmth!” Kaiah said shoving her fuzzy blanket into my arms.

     It seemed like my world was turning upside down. With people of my own kind, I had been ostracized, hated, spat on, but here with these wicked monsters that I had been warned against, they were showing me the first kindness I had been shown in a very long time.

     My throat felt thick and painful and I kept blinking repeatedly. But they were still monsters and I couldn't let myself forget that.

Yram

 

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin-Andre Berthiaume

I sat in the clutches of darkness. It was not cold with the blanket wrapped around me but I still shuddered. The darkness seeped into the depths of me, freezing me from the inside. I moaned, my head rolling against the stone floor. I had not been fed even a mere morsel of food and starvation seemed to gnaw at my insides.

     It was easier in my mistery to remember how wicked these creatures really were.

     After I was done being dressed Ahote had led me back into the depths of this small cave and rolled a bolder in front of the opening, blocking any light I had. Where was Phoenix and Whiskey? Were they faring as bad as I?

     How long had I been down here? At the least a day and a half, with only water to nourish me.

     I moaned again and ran my hands over my gnarled hair, noticing that it was falling out from lack of nourishment.

     “It cannot be all that bad.” came the first voice I’ve heard in a long while..well, besides my own moaning.

     My heart beat wildly despite my depleted energy.

     “Where..are my friends?.. Are they.. okay? And my h-orse?” My voice was raw and weezy. It took up so much of my energy just speaking.

     I think I’ll just go to sleep again...   

     “Are, uh, you okay? You don't sound so well...” remarked Ahote.

     “No, I’m fine...I enjoy..starving to death.” I almost smiled at my at my joke.

     I had been on the verge of starvation my entire life, but now this? This was really starving to death. No food in the dead wood forest, The City of Ruins, the endless desert and now in the monsters den.

     Why was death taking so long? She must enjoy toying with me like a cat does a mouse.

     “What do you mean, starving to death?” growled Ahote. I notice faintly that he sounded outraged. That was funny. Didn't he want me to die?

     “They have not been feeding you?!” he bellowed his voice echoing into my den.

     “No.” I whispered. They have not.

     “Oh, I’m going to KILL them! I have been stuck with my father for only a day and already they have neglected their duties!” Ahote’s ranting became fainter and fainter as he left the outside of my cave. That was fine with me. Being alone was better than being comforted by a monster.

     Right?

After a while of dozing in and out of sleep, I heard footsteps echoing closer. An awful grinding sound rang out as the bolder was pushed away from my cave entrance. With all the strength I could muster, I scurried as far away from the ray of light at the entrance as I could.

     “Wh-who’s there?” I croaked.

     “It’s Ahote. I’ve brought you some food.”

     I almost whimpered at the memory of something filling my painful stomach.

     Ahote hesitantly crawled into my den and an almost painful smell followed him. My whole body shook.

     “Soup.” Said Ahote holding the bowl out to me. I had no time for manners. I grabbed it from him, ignoring the scorching heat and I tipped my head back gulping it down. When I was finished my stomached cramped but I still wanted more.

     “More?” I pleaded breathlessly.

     Ahote studied me me for a while then handed me a lump of bread.

     I tore into it ravenously and soon the bread was gone too.

     “More?” I asked yet again, feeling like I was going to be sick.

     “You have not eaten in a long while have you?” Asked Ahote.

     I shook my head, agreeing with him.

     I felt more comfortable with Ahote now when all I could see of him was his outline.

     Ahote chuckled. “You're not near as tough as you appear to be.”

     I glared at him, I couldn't help it. “You're wrong.”

     “Am I?” He asked. Then suddenly bile began to boil up my throat and I spewed my wondrous meal into the corner of the den. I felt a cool hand lift my hair up from my neck, and I flinched from it even though It felt nice to be comforted.

     I looked at all the wasted food on the floor and, God help me, I contemplated eating it.

     “Are my friends fed?” I asked after wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.

     “I thought you would asked that.” Said Ahote, dropping my hair. “So I made sure they were fed first.”

     Ah, sweet relief.

     “Can I see my friends?” I risked.

     “No. Not to day. Tomorrow at your trail, you will see them.”

     My death trial. Ahote did not say it, but I heard the implications all the same.

     My death trial.

    

     “Ahem...What was that star marking on your stomach?” Ahote asked abruptly. I was glad it was too dark to see my face.

     I gulped. “A-a birthmark.”

     Ahote had long since led me from the soiled cave and into another one with a single strike on light shining down some somewhere far away. I was shocked when he didn't leave me again but instead plopped down right in front of me and began asking questions.

     “Hmm.. and are you here to kill my clan?” Wondered Ahote in a serious tone.

     “No! I’ve never killed anyone!” but I have come close. Very close.

     “Then I am sorry I brought you here. I just wanted to study your kind..but then again you are not human are you?”

     “I am more then you are!” I defended. My hand flew over my mouth. I shouldn't have been so rude to my captor. It was so easy to forget he wasn't human when I couldn’t see him. All I could rely on was his lush, very human, voice.

     Ahote shrugged, moving on. “Is the green beast necklace you have, your totem?”

     You mean the one you stole? I thought.

     “My totem?” I asked.

     “You know, your spirit animal.” he explained.

     What?

     “Ah, so humans don't have them then.”

     I scratched my head. “Um, not that I know of. What are they?”

     “Well, when each member of my clan is born my father and other elders, anoints them with their spirit animal. Each one represents different personalities and qualities. Different duties, in a way. That is how we keep the clan going smoothly.”

     Now I was getting intrigued. I remembered the necklace he wore. “So is your totem a wolf?”

     Ahote laughed. “You don't miss a thing do you? Yes, it is.”

     So much made sense now! “And that is why everyone makes weird animal noises!”

     “I wouldn't call them weird but yes. We were trained from a young age to embody our animal. It is as much a part of us as our Scar side.” I could hear the smile in his voice.

     “Can older members get their spirit animal? How can you tell what animal the baby is?” I questioned, just as curious as he was about my kind.

     “Well, an older member can get a new spirit animal if the elders allow. Like if they were chosen to hall the baskets but became lame..so the answer is yes, they...” Abruptly Ahote trailed off, his eyes shining with an idea. To my shock Ahote got up, left the room, and replaced the boulder. He didn't even spare a glance back.

    Well, then. 

Hours went by in mind numbing boredom and loneliness. Why did Ahote have to leave so abruptly? What was he up to anyway? Would he bring me back some more food? I was starving!

     I sat with my back to the cave wall, arms crossed over my chest. I glared at the boulder in front of the entrance.

     I got up frustrated, put my hands on the rough cold bolder, and pushed. The bolder groaned, wanting to comply with my demands. The huge stone lifted just a little bit, enough for a little shimmer of light to escape around the edges.

    In shock I let the bolder go. I did not expect it to actually move! Hesitantly I pushed on the bolder once again and got the same results. I pushed harder and it ground against rock but still lifted farther upward. I gasped and dropped it, falling to the floor.

     I went to the corner of the room and wrapped my arms around myself, trying to vanish thought of what just happened.

    There was only one way a starving girl could lift a massive boulder like that. I was once again confronted with a sickening observation.

     I wasn't human.

Hour after hour passed, or so I assumed by the faint light shining far above me. After a while the light disappeared altogether, confirming that it was night.

     Food was brought to me, to my relief. Sadly by some sullen stranger who didn't speak a word to me. This time when I ate my food, I did so slowly not wanting to waste it again.

     As the hour dragged by I began to entertained myself by singing, though I would have prefered eating again. I sang all the songs Mama had taught me, challenging myself by making up my own the lyrics when I didn't remember them.

      Mama would sing every time she needed to lift her spirit. I didn't know how much lifting one could do in the dark abyss of this cave but it was worth a try.

     Strangely, it did work. By the third song I was standing up and swaying to the beat, imagining myself with my mother. I did a little spin, pretending Mama was dancing with me. My voice echoed all around me. I sounded like Mama. Funny how empty promises could make me feel so good.

     Laughing, almost crying, I threw my head back sang my heart out on the last world, then collapse to the floor.

    A annoyingly familiar voice cleared it throat from outside my den.

      “Well, that was, ahem, unique...” said Ahote.

     I sat up, my face instantly flooding with heat. The boulder had been rolled over slightly and Ahote squatted in the opening watching me, no doubt with that annoying little smirk.

    My humiliation made me defensive.

     “Well, what would you have me do to pass the time then? You have me stuck down in this awful little hole in the dark, unable to see anything! Would you rather me die of boredom?”

     Ahote chuckled again. “I never say I didn't like your little, ah, performance. Only that it was unique.” he shrugged. “And you can see perfectly fine down here.”

     “No! I cannot even see my hand in front of my face!” I held my hand up to prove it.

     “Really?” asked Ahote curiously. He began to descend into my little cage.  “You mean you can't see anything?” 

     I glared in his general direction. 

    “Well, that would explain a lot...” Ahote concluded.

     “Like what?”

     “For instance how your eyes seem to wander all around. I thought you were half blind!” Ahote paused and then continued. “How you don't flinch when you look at me down here, and how you are more honest and angry with me now that you can't see how I... look.”

     He was unsettlingly observant.

     “You know it is not my fault how I look.” Ahote stated, suddenly angry.

     “It is not just how you look, Ahote! It is what you're kind, the creatures of the flair, do!” I snapped.

     “We are call Scars, not creatures!” he spat. “And what do you mean what my kind does?! It is the humans that kill us!”

     “Yes, so you’ve been telling me.” I said bitterly. “But you're kind is the real monsters! Do you not find it wicked to murder?!”

     I could sense Ahote was shocked. It took him awhile to speak. But when he did he was enraged.

     “MURDER?! That’s what you think we do? WE DO NOT MURDER! This clan thrives solely on happiness and peace! We are vegetarian for gwanos sake! You mistake us for our bloodthirsty cousens, woman! We were made from the same thing, radiation, but we are as far from them as water is fire!”

     Ahote breathing was heavy and ragged, mine was shallow.

     “Aren't we both so mixed up about each other, then.” I breathed. “You mistake me for other humans, when I, as you, am not the same.”

     The silence between us then had every nerve in my body buzzing. So these Scas were not the monsters I had been warned against, or so Ahote said.

     “So you do not kill?” Ahote aske, still doubtful.

    I was exasperated with him. “No!”

     “Okay.” Ahote said at last.

     “Okay.” I agreed grudgingly. Not really sure what we were agreeing on.

     Time went by with more that dreadful silence. To break the tension that had settled over us, I asked, “Why did you leave so suddenly earlier?”

     Ahote sighed. “I had an idea. You will see what it is tomorrow.”

     “Why not tonight?” I demanded.

     “Why not tomorrow?” he countered and then left my den.

     Grr.

  

Whiskey

 

I would help you, but unfortunately, I’ve misplaced my wand-Unknown

Oh, I was going to kill them. I didn't care if they gave me soup, these lizard brain barbarians were as good as dead. Hell, bring me a whole horse and I’d still chop them up! Well, after I made them cook and salt the meat of course.

    But remember what Phoenix said, I chided myself. At least act sain or you’ll never make it out of this smelly hell hole. Well, he didn't say it in those exact words, but still.

     I heard someone rolling the boulder away from my cave. I wanted to scream and rant but instead I took a deep breath and plastered a nervous smile on my face, and hopefully a innocent look in my eyes. I was trying to imitate Yram’s act of weakness. Damn manipulative girl. She wasn't near as inocentes as she liked people to believe.

      Before the barbarian could come further down, I quickly situated my breasts so they were almost toppling out of my leather shirt. When the barbarian came into the den bringing soup, I saw him do a double take. Can't get good color and shape like this from any of your other scrawny blue girls, eh?

     A smile pulled at my lips. I could get into this. I could play this game. I could act like the weakness I’ve always feared, if it was only acting right?

     Ha! I could be a good girl.

     Game on, barbarian scum!

Pheonix

 

When the only thing to fear is fear itself, you end up fearing a lot of things-unknown

These reptilian beings were oddly kind. They provided me with a neat little den and soft bedding to sleep on. Better yet, they fed me at least two times a day. And the food?  Ah, the food! It was the most exquisite thing that had ever passed my lips! Well, that is, apart from Yram’s tong-

I quickly busied my mind with other matters that did not involve any of Yram’s appendages. Whiskey, I thought. Think of her. Her dark skin and wild eyes with that crazed little smile. How she irritated me to no end, but in an endearing sort of way. However, my mind could not be held captive by her for long and wandered back to Yram. What was it about her that held me so.. captivated? Thick brained? Distracted? I did not know, and I wished these desires would leave...maybe.

I put my head in my hands. I still felt this magnetic draw to her. A sickening compulsion that would not leave me unless I was with her, only I was trapped here with no way out. Do not be a fool, she doesn't want you!She hates you! I told myself, but it did not matter. The need was still there.

Where was Yram? How long could I be away from her without my need driving me insane? The problem was complicate but the answer simple. I. Had. To. Find. Her.

Yram

 

Death is our nature and living our curse-Unknown

In the heart of my dream, I was again in my village of simper nox. I did not want to be there, in the middle of town, the villagers in a mobe around me making fun of and spitting on me. I felt naked and exposed without my cloak.

     “Freak!”

     “Monster!”

     “Flair scum!”

     Their insults flew at my like daggers. Their spittle cling to my skin and hair, it was all I could do not to curl up in a ball and cry. No, no! This couldn't be happening to me again! I left here! It’s not real!

     Suddenly, everything grew silent. Slowly, I raised my head and looked into a mirror. I sat there looking at myself, only something was wrong with the girl in the mirror. She smiled when I did not. An evil sneer curled up her red lips. I tore my eyes away from the cruel face when I felt as though my skin was crawling and shivering. Looking down, I saw my tanned skin fade of color and turn gray. I raised my hand to my face and felt my eyes widen and bulge, my ears grew large and pointed, my hair thinned. I screamed.

     I had become a creature of the flair.

     The girl in the mirror, me, shrieked and spat at me, in both fear and disgust.

     “Monster!”

      “Freak!”

      “You disgust me!” she shouted. I shouted.

     The dream changed again. I was with Phoenix in the dark cave. I couldn't see him but I could feel him, sense him, smell him. My senses were so alive.

     “Yram.” he whispered against my lips, leaning into me. “Run away from me, for I cannot bring myself leave you.”

     Leave? Why would I want him to leave when all I could think about was having him closer to me?

     I ran my hands up his chest and intertwined them in his soft hair. I felt no pain or fire. Only skin on skin, the warm feel of his hands on me-

     “Yram, wake up. Wake up!.. YRAM!” demanded a voice. I snapped my eyes open, seeing the animalistic glint of Ahote’s eyes.

     My face flushed, remembering my dream. I had to stop treating Phoenix so badly, stop running so far away. I could not feel my demon any longer, maybe now I would be okay to be with him? That decided it. No longer shall I run! I meant it this time.

     The faint glint of sunlight shone from above allowing me to see Ahote fully. And I did, see him fully, I mean. For once I did not see the monster or the beast, but the young boy who was concerned for me. Was I really such a hypocrite that I was judging these people for how they look, when I was so cruelly judged not long ago?

     “You were having a nightmare.” Said Ahote.

     Well, I wouldn't exactly say that...

     I rubbed my eyes groggily and a thought came to me. “Were you watching me sleep? Again?”

     “NO! Eh, ahem. I mean, no. Of course not.” said Ahote flustered.

     “I should probably be more concerned about that.” I smiled, stretching my arms. “But I happen to be in a forgiving mood.”

     “Oh, yeah?”

     “Yeah. Now if only you could get me a toothbrush and a bath, then I’d be in a really good mood...”

     Ahote cocked his head to the side studying me. “You seem...different.”

     I smiled. “Well, it turns I’m starting to like this whole captive damsel in distress thing. Will they kill me, will they not?.. It’s been setting my priorities straight. Clearing my head of all the nonsense, so it seems.”

     “I don't think I’ve met someone who’s mood swings so drastically.” Ahote stated bluntly.

     “And I’ve never met a blue man befor.”

     Ahote now glared at me. Touchy.

     “Oh, sorry.” I laughed. “I thought we were stating the obvious.”

    “I think I liked you better solemn and fearful.” Ahote grumbled, trying not to smile.

     “You're the one who captured me!” I pointed out.

    “Oh, and how I regret it more every day.”

    The rogue!

   I rolled my eyes. “Well, what do you want?”

     Ahote became serious. “It is time for your trial.”

     Uh, oh.

     “I’m going to have to tie your wrists.” said Ahote, holding a rope out to me. I remembered all the times I had been tied up, defenses against the whims of my captors. I started to panic.

     Ahote seemed to sense my fear. “Our tribe is very peaceful. We would not want to hurt someone unless we had no choice. And anyways, I have a plan.”

     I held my wrists out to him and he tied them. I did not mention that he was supposed to tie them behind my back so that I couldn't use the rope as a wepon.

     “What is your plan. After all you are the one who captured me in the first place.” I pointed out, feeling calmed that my hands were tied in front of me. I should still be afraid of Ahote even though I refused to judge him for his looks. He held me captive after all. But, I couldn't bring myself to fear him so much anymore. How strange was that? I could trust some boy who looked like a monster and held me captive. Yet a beautiful man who saved me on multiple occasions, I was terrified of.

     “How many times do I have to tell you I’m sorry? It was naive of me, I know. Honestly I was just curious about your kind.”

     I noted how he didn't tell me his plan.

     “You could have just asked me what we are like.” I told him, not believing his answer. 

     “Okay!” Ahote growled. “I was scared! Is that what you want to hear? I didn't know what to do.”

      With that Ahote began to pushed my forward out of the den. My, my, the big bad wolf wasn't so tough after all. I muffled a laugh as my red hair drooping in my face. That makes me little red riding hood.

        Ahote growled, offended at my laughing, but that only made my laugh harder.

    “S-stop growling Ahote! You sound ridiculous...Like the big ..bad wolf.” I gasped, holding my stomach. I knew he wouldn't get the reference, but I couldn't contain the humor of this situation.

     I saw the gleam of Ahote’s teeth as he smiled. “Does that make you and your friends the three little pigs?”

    I stopped dead in my tracks. My hysterical laugh replaced with shock. “How-how do you know that?” My mother told me those stories. How could Ahote know?

     Ahote’s face darkened and he pushes me forward, not saying a word. Something I said clearly bothered him.

      Before long, we came upon a harsh room, filled with the creatures of the f- Scars. To my relief I spotted Phoenix and Whiskey huddled in the corner. Whiskey strangely looked innocent and fearful and Phoenix- I didn't realize how much I felt for him until I me his eyes. His eyes seemed to pierce my flesh, making me shiver. It hit me like a powerful blow to my gut. I didn't know precisely what I felt for him, but it was overwhelming. Phoenix suddenly looked away, allowing me to drop my gaze.

     I swallowed and tried to settle my heart. I noticed sneaking another glance, that the Scars had at least gotten him some cloth pants.

      Ahote lead me over to Whiskey and Phoenix. Whiskey smiled at me, a cruel glint in her eyes proving that she want all innocent. Phoenix acted as though I wasn't even there, despite the fact that he stepped closer to me. 

     Old, demented, oil coated Scars stood on flat mound of rock in the middle of the room. All the other Scars who were clearly of lower status were huddled around the entrance,staring at us like we had a third eye.

    Ahote left us, walking up a row of steps to where his father was. Three guards were left to watch over us though they looked just as frightened of us as Whiskey acted to be of them. Remembering my damsel facade, I clung to her and acted afraid too. I was quite scared though, so it didn't involve much acting.

 

(will write more as soon as I can)

Impressum

Texte: Jakota straw
Bildmaterialien: not imprtant
Lektorat/Korrektorat: Nobody yet
Übersetzung: nobody
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 07.06.2013

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Widmung:
To those who also dream of danger

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