Sunday, May 29, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
As Talia (no, Nyx) walked towards the theatre, she thought about…well, everything! It was a lot to absorb, and even though she had felt calm in the dream –or coma- it was as if it had just hit her when she had woken up. She sighed, and quickened her pace.
Dusk was waiting for her with the man who had been behind him when she had met him, and a slim woman with auburn hair that reached her shoulders. They all looked both extremely beautiful and dangerous. Dusk turned around and smiled. It sent shivers down her spine. She reminded herself that he had offered her this new life, and she wasn’t about to take it down, or be ungrateful about it.
The woman muttered something to him, and he raised an eyebrow. “So, you’ve already chosen a name,” he murmured. “Very impressive, Nyx.” His cold smiled broadened when Nyx’s eyes widened. “Yes, my friend’s talent here is that she knows if the person has a taken name, and what it is.”
“And what’s your talent?” She asked, unable to hide the wonder and excitement in her eyes. “Ah, that’s a very good question…well, I don’t have one.” She raised an eyebrow and he leaned in closer. “Do you believe in monsters, Nyx?”
“As much as I believe in fate. Which was until I was nine,” she replied coolly.
“Then you’re going to have to start over. You’ll have to leave Talia’s life behind, forget everything you knew before.” His dead eyes were lighting up feverishly. “We’ll look after you, we’ll teach you everything. But others will want you dead. We have to kill them before they kill us,” she stared straight into his eyes.
“I’m ready,” is all she said.
A light flickered in front of Nyx’s eyes. She groaned and tried to sit up, but she couldn’t move anything except for her head. Once her eyes grew accustomed to the dim lighting, she noticed the faces around her. They were all there, and even a few more that she didn’t recognise. “She’s awake,” Kallista murmured and a figure stepped forward. It was the man who had shot that damned ball of lighting at her. Israel, if she remembered correctly. Even with pure anger running through her, she smiled at him. His face stayed grim. “You know, all those binding spells aren’t necessary,”
“Maybe,” he said slowly, as if choosing his words carefully. “But you might break through ropes, and if we didn’t bind you, you’d put up a fight.” He was right of course, but they couldn’t know much about who she really was. Then again, Kallista had found her, and seemed to know what she did. “What’s your name?” Came a question from a young girl in a Union Jack top behind Israel. “Holly Black,” Nyx said reluctantly, hoping they’d believe her. It was the name she had put the hotel room under, before Dragona, Bridget and Kallista had broken in. “So, Holly,” Israel continued without glancing at the girl. “Who are you after? And don’t pretend that you weren’t sent to kill one of us,”
“Funnily enough,” she replied wryly. “I was sent to kill all of you!” Her eyes flitted over to the Union Jack girl. “Except for her. I’ve never seen that one,” the girl scowled hatefully and she smiled back.
“And how would you have managed that?”
“Well, maybe if you all stayed very still, and didn’t do anything, it would make the job a lot easier…”
“Seriously,” Israel said evenly. “How did you expect to kill us all?”
“Maybe I’d pick you all of, one by one, the others knowing that they’d be next, but not being able to stop it.” A fly buzzed by her face, brushing the charcoal fringe irritably. She tried to brush it away, before realising that her hands were magically bound. She groaned, and then the fly made a high-pitched villainous laugh. She paled as it buzzed by again, still laughing. Israel raised an eyebrow before talking, maintaining the calm tone. “Mar, please leave Miss Black alone.” The fly buzzed, protesting, before flying over to the others who were chuckling. And then the fly started rippling, multiplying and changing, until a young girl stood in front of Nyx. “Ah yes,” she murmured. “You can transform.” The girl smiled wryly and shifted from foot to foot, as if she couldn’t stay still for even a minute.
Israel cleared his throat, and Nyx looked back to him. “You have been accused of murdering innocent people,” she raised an eyebrow, wondering who had seen her.
“I hardly killed any of those people!” She protested. “They just fell onto my knife!”
Israel paused for a minute, studying her. “You aren’t going to tell us much, are you Miss Black?” She shook her head, and started planning how to escape. “Can you tell us what this means, then?” He asked, throwing a crumpled piece of paper in her face. She peered at the neat cursive writing. “I can’t see with you holding it,” she complained. Israel glanced over at the others uneasily. He obviously didn’t trust her. Not that he should have. “Release the bonds on her arms,” Kallista chirped, stepping forward. “If she tries to escape, there are more of us than her. We’ll overwhelm her.” She looked at Nyx as she said it, as if trying to send her a message. Israel sighed heavily, and muttered some words, tapping the symbols on the chair she was sitting on. A moment later, Nyx’s arms tensed up and then relaxed, as if freed from a great weight. He handed her the page, and she started reading the script.
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire.
And your children are all gone.
All except one,
And that’s Ann,
For she has crept under
The frying pan.”
Nyx’s frown turned abruptly into a broad grin. “This is a nursery rhyme!” She cried, waving the paper in the air. “My parents…used to read this to me when I was little…” She trailed off, not wanting to discuss her family. “We all know that, Miss Black,” Israel murmured politely. “But this was sent to us from a good friend of ours. He thinks that there is a hidden message in the text, about the whole world’s future.” She chuckled as he spoke. “How could this be a prophecy? This is a children’s rhyme! I think your friend has lost his mind.” Kallista’s eyes flashed with fire for a second, then turned back to the cool aquamarine colour. “He’s not mad,” she said stubbornly. “He’s my friend.” Nyx pitied the girl. Not because she was standing up for her friend, but because she had friends. Nyx had stopped having friends a long time ago. Anyone close to you would crush and destroy you. She had been taught that, disobeyed her lessons, and then payed for it.
She folded the paper and placed it in the pocket that held her dagger too. She’d almost forgotten it. “Well, I’ve had a really fun time, but could you guys kindly release me now?”
Israel started to say something, when the wall in front of Nyx crumbled. The mages yelped, and whirled around. A bulldozer smashed into the room, driven by a nervous-looking man. Another was laughing madly on top of the truck. “FEAR THE MIGHTY SCAPEGRACE!” He bellowed.
Dragona lifted an eyebrow. “Pardon?”
Scapegrace looked down his nose at them and sniffed. “Hmmm…they would make good sidekicks, wouldn’t they, Thrasher?” The man driving the vehicle nodded eagerly. Nyx wrinkled her nose. There was something wrong with those men. Or maybe they just really stunk. “Why did you just smash into my HOME?!” Israel roared uncontrollably. The men looked at him blankly, then turned back to the crushed wall. “Oh, uh. Yeah…sorry about that.” The man said awkwardly, and then shook himself. “But soon, your home will not matter. I will turn you into my own zombie minions, and you will follow ME!” The companions looked at one another –no wonder they smelt so bad- and Nyx used the distraction to her advantage. Her hands slid down to the place where the symbols should be for binding her legs and body. They started tapping lightly, remembering her studies of basic symbols and charms. Meanwhile, Scapegrace was starting to realise that he was out numbered with a roomful of agitated mages. “Uh, how about we all forget about this ever happening. What do you say, fr- OUCH!” He was cut off as Dragona lazily tossed a fireball at his chest. He started to smother the flames by flapping his arms wildly around his chest. March stifled a laugh and Thrasher glared at her, as if his eyes could bore through her head. “You will pay for wounding my master!” He growled.
“I’m not wounded, you moron, I just don’t want to turn into a human inferno!” Scapegrace snapped. Thrasher nodded thoughtfully. “Hmmm…yeah, I can see your point…”
“Enough, let’s leave!” Scapegrace said as majestically as a zombie can be. Which was quite minimal. “This isn’t over!” He narrowed his eyes at the companions. He then tipped his head back and laughed evilly. Thrasher blinked and smiled, and Scapegrace frowned down at him. “Drive away, you moron!”
“We rehearsed this, Thrasher! If something goes wrong, we drive back!”
“Oh, right…” Thrasher looked back at the dashboard of the truck. “I uh…seem to have forgotten how to drive again, master…” Scapegrace groaned and slid into the driver’s seat, knocking Thrasher over to the passenger seat roughly. “Stupid zombie…” Scapegrace muttered as they backed out and sped away from Elysium Asylum, leaving a group of confused mages. “Well, anyway…back to something a bit less random that the author added in because she was running out of ideas for the plot!” Mar chirped, turning around to where Nyx had been. Only, she wasn’t in the chair anymore. She heard curses behind her, and Israel stepped forward again. “She must have tapped the symbols to free herself and run out the hole,” he murmured.
“Well, obviously!” Mar snapped, making him flinch. The frustration in her face died down a bit. “I’m sorry, Israel.” He responded by patting her gently on her shoulder. All the companions turned back to the gaping hole. “Well,” Aquila sighed, breaking the heavy silence. “I guess we better fix this wall, now!”
Nyx sprinted back to Rosella’s warehouse. She avoided everything; she knew even animals weren’t safe, now that there was a group of shape shifters after her. She wondered how they had known about her, and why Dusk wanted them all dead.And how was she supposed to kill all of them?
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Octaboona Ambrosius looked out over the city of Dublin. The people were rushing around, getting on with their ordinary lives, and the lights were shining as brightly as the stars back in Italy. God, how he missed it. His piercing green eyes flittered over to the crumpled pieces of paper that lay on, or next to, the fine wooden table. He’d been having bad dreams for the past few nights, and every time he had jotted down what had happened. Sometimes they were of him falling down…down… But other times, he was watching the world, the people screaming and burning.
His emerald eyes flashed a brilliant steely colour when he thought of those dreams. Those eyes were the replicas of his younger, deceased brother’s- Kenspeckle Grouse. The open window let a soft breeze in, lifting his silky silver hair and robes of the deepest violet. His eyes stayed that cold metallic colour as he descended onto his writing, trying to make sense of it all.
He sat heavily in the matching wooden chair, and read one of the ramblings he had written:
I’m flying now, flying over the city.
The lights here are so bright, and so pretty.
But something’s wrong, something’s not right.
It’s hovering in the air, flittering, just out of reach.
I can’t touch it, yet it’s all around me; smothering me. Suffocating me.
Now I can hear the screams. People are dying in there.
But I can’t move. I can’t help them.
The buildings are blazing with fire.
It might be beautiful if it wasn’t so horrible, so terrible.
A young girl staggers out of one of the infernos.
She scarred and singed all over. She doesn’t have long to live.
I look closer now. I’m just above her. I can hear her ragged breaths.
She has dark hair, black like a ravens wing. She’s familiar, I know her…
No, no it can’t be! It’s her. It’s Elocin. But she’s dead! I…I killed her.
But I can’t pull away. I’m fixed to the spot, watching my sister die again. Watching a part of me die again…
Octaboona tore his eyes from the paper and scrunched it into a tiny ball. He couldn’t finish it. The memories…the memories and sensations were flooding back to him now. He’d tried everything in his power to forget. He’d even tried killing himself on several occasions. But nothing ever worked. He knew his brother would have been able to find a way to help him. But he never had. He’d wanted him to live with the guilt, the knowledge that he had murdered their dear sister.
And now even he was dead.
The words swam in front of his eyes. He blinked a couple of times and headed to the bedroom. He was growing weary, even though he’d probably face another terrible dream tonight. His foot hit another crumpled piece of paper. He frowned and picked it up, out of curiosity. The words flooded into his mind, and the memories hit him again. He gasped as he realised the meaning. He had to let someone know…someone who could be trusted.
He picked up his tiny black phone, a newly acquired piece of equipment, and called the safest person he could think of.
“Hello? Octa?” The chirpy voice made Octa smile. It gave him fond memories, when he had first met the girl when she was only 12.
“Kallista. Listen to me carefully, now. Ireland is in grave danger. Maybe even the whole world… The magic world is becoming restless. Shadows are growing; people’s heads are rising. They are going to terminate the mortal world,”
“I’m listening,” Kallista responded, her voice hardening.
So Octaboona told her everything he knew about it, his nightmares, his writing, and his understanding of it all.
“So do you know how they’re going to do this all?” Kallista asked after listening patiently.
“Yes, they’re going to do it through a mage. A young, but powerful one. A teleporter.”
“Who? Who Octa?” The sudden desperate note to Kallista’s usually upbeat, lively voice astonished him.
“Lunar…” He whispered. “Lunar Tears…”
Nyx was following the sleek, black Porsche that was holding Kallista, Aquila, Dragona and March. They were driving slowly and precise, as if they were getting used to the whereabouts of this place. She moved from tree to tree, a few feet behind them, making sure that she in turn was not being followed. The car took a sharp turn to the right, and she dived under a dense pine, the needles brushing roughly against her skin. Up ahead, she could see a grand building rising from the gravel: Elysium Asylum. Its windows were gleaming even in the dim light, and its door was opened warmly. The car parked, and the sorceress clambered out after being crammed in the tiny seats. Aquila led the mini parade, jumping up the steps two at a time. Dragona backed them up, scanning their backs cautiously. His eyes hovered over Nyx’s spot for a couple of seconds, and then travelled around the rest of the way. The moment the door closed, she leapt in the open and scouted around the grand building. There were a couple of tall windows, but they would all be locked or make a massive sound if she broke them. She walked carefully around the back, crossing a row of lush hedges. Nothing. She was about to turn back, when she picked up a sudden sound; a door opening. She jumped into the hedges just before a woman emerged from inside. She had charcoal hair, with streaks of deep purple and black clothes adorned with violet scarves. Her amazing green eyes scouted the area, as if she was expecting someone. Could it be that she was expecting her? Nyx shook the question that was prodding her mind. It was impossible that they were expecting her, how could they? There was no one to tell them, only Dusk and herself knew!
The girl gave up after a few minutes and turned, swinging the door behind her. Before it could close, Nyx sprinted towards it, and hooked the toe of her boot in front of it. I protested against the barricade, and then went quiet. She opened the door only as much as it would allow her to slip through. She closed it silently behind her. She turned around to face the grand hallway, just in time to see Bridget step out of another corridor and swing to face her. “Oh,” she said, slightly started, her eyes widening. “Hello!” Nyx ran at her, sweeping past her right to try and turn down the corridor that she had come from. But Bridget was better then she gave her credit for. She caught Nyx in the stomach with her fist, and then flipped her over her hip onto the well-polished floor. She swung a kick, and jumped back up, but was knocked back down by another fist. “I’m 1405 years old. I’m older and stronger than you,” she murmured, stepping over Nyx. “I normally kill people who attack me. I have to, not just to stop them from hurting me, but also to survive. I get thirsty you see.” She smiled hungrily, showing off a set of fangs protruding from her perfect gums. Everything about her was perfect, unnaturally perfect. “Bridget?” Kallista came bounding down the corridor, and Bridget snapped her head around. Nyx kicked and caught her in the knee, knocking her over and taking her by surprise. She jumped up, and sent a wave of shadows flying at Bridget, who ducked under and rolled towards her. She dodged a fireball that Kallista sent her way, and then cocooned herself inside the shadows. She heard more footsteps, and a tapping. Then, she sent the shadows lashing out, leaving her in the open again. Dragona was there, along with a man with dark brown hair and eyes a swirling mess of green-gold. Israel. Before she could move, a blue ball of energy shot through the air and hit her in the chest. The next thing she remembered was darkness.
Talia was in a midnight garden. Soft, lush grass gently tickled her feet, and yellow roses climbed over her head, resting next to the crescent moon. A statue of a beautiful woman dressed in swirling silks stood in front of her. She read the plaque underneath. “Nyx: Greek mythology, Night personified.” But she wasn’t alone. She turned around, to face a pale man, with another olive skinned boy behind him. They were both looking at her calmly. “Talia,” the man in front said smoothly. His voice was like water, running coolly and gentle. His eyes held nothing in them. There was nothing there to read, to know. He smiled, but it only made her spine tremble. “Who are you? What do you want?” Talia demanded, surprised to hear her own voice so sanguine. He spread his hands out in a show of peace. “Nothing, but you!” She raised an eyebrow.
“Indeed. You see, I am a teacher. A collector of sorts. I collect young, skilled people, and then I teach them so that their skill strengthens.”
“Skilled people? Like, in singing, or dancing?” She didn’t think she was any good at performing. He smirked, along with the boy behind him. “Not quite. You see, some people have special, um…talents. And that talent separates them away from normal people. For instance, you might have a particular skill at conducting fire, earth, air and water.” He motioned to the boy. “This young man here is creating the dream you are having right now.”
“Can they control shadows?” She had to ask. She could never forget that time in the attic, the dagger that was in her jeans pocket right now… “Ah, I see you found my gift.” The man said, pleased. Her eyes widened. “That was you?!” He nodded.
“It was a test, to see if you really were talented. Now, will you join me, Talia?” She felt a slight tug, a sudden urge to join him, and stumbled closer. The boy chuckled. “Ah, that’s right. You’re name. You’ll need a new one. One that you can stick with for the rest of your life. Do you think you can manage that?” She nodded slowly. “I am sorry, it must be a lot to take in. But, I must warn you, that if you join us, there is no turning back. Everything will be new, and you’ll have to be fast on your feet. Your whole life will change, and you’ll have to let go of everything –everyone- in your old life. Including Talia. So, are you willing?” He didn’t use her name this time. He didn’t have to.
“Yes, sir,” she whispered. “Definitely.” All her life, she had wanted something more. Now, she had gotten the chance. She was not going to let this go. The beautiful garden started to fade, the two men along with it. He glanced up. “Dawn is breaking…
“Meet me at the corner of the old cinema. I’ll be waiting.”
“Wait! What’s your name?” She called desperately, over the wind that had just picked up, sweeping away the image of the garden. “Dusk,” he said calmly over the gale.
And then she was back in reality, lying on a stiff hospital bed. Through her cracked eyes, she spied Kristy next to her, with her head bowed. Suddenly, she felt weak and helpless in the bed. She had to get out; she had to meet Dusk at the old cinema. And then the whole dream came back to her. The night garden…the statue of Nyx…Dusk raising his head, whispering…”Dawn is breaking”… And then a new power rushed through her, the power of her new name. She leapt out of the bed, swiping the covers away and tearing several needles stuck into her wrists quite painfully. She stormed over to the window (thankful that the nurses had kept her old clothes on, instead of exchanging them for a hospital gown), barely acknowledging the shocked expression of her old friend. She was on the first floor. “Talia! But…but…you were hit! And then…and then…what happened? Where are you going?” She opened the window as far as it would go, and turned around to face Kristen. She gasped. “Y-your eyes! What happened? They’re…they’re changing colour every second! What happened Talia?”
“Nothing happened. I’m going now, Kristen. I’m probably never coming back.” She might as well state the truth. For herself, rather then for Kristen. “And I’m not Talia. Talia is dead. I’m Nyx Dawn.” And then she jumped out the window.