Bwahahaha....Welcome to Mid Week Halloween Tease, where my author friends and I post a little something from a WIP, flash fiction piece or from some of our published work for you, the readers. As always, a HUGE thanks to fellow author Sandra Bunino for creating this weekly event.
In the spirit of something spooky how about demons, angels, and a psychic who sees what others can't? That's what you'll find in my story, Crimson Sin part of the Midnight Seduction anthology by Evernight Publishing.
Godless. Deceiver. Minion. Charlatan. Sinner.
Some say that I am such. Others believe I’m a conjurer, medium, a seer. A few believe me to be a prophet, a godsent, a way to find that which has been lost to them. I say I’m a slave, cursed and caught within a gossamer web that holds me somewhere between two worlds. In one world, I’m a devout follower, caught within the heady embrace. It’s my lover who calls to me night after night, beckoning that I should come, wishing me to see what he has done. While in the other world, I’m flesh and blood just as any other.
The woman who sets in front of me has come for my help. Quietly she cries. Her tears fall until they find a resting place on her silky covered knee. I watch her, dressed in her mint green dress suit, meticulous hair pulled up in a harsh, tight roll. Her nails were perfectly groomed and a three karat diamond shimmering on her left hand. Perched upon her delicate lobes are small pearl earrings.
She reaches into her bag, clasps something shiny within her palm, then hands me a silver necklace adorned with a delicate cross. I know it belongs to her daughter, she need not tell me such. I reached out, took the cross, linked my fingers around the necklace, gripped the cross between my fingers, and slipped beneath the veil.
This coming together is always a blending, a copulation of mind, body, spirit, senses, and liquid vision. Yet I’m in two places when I move between light and shadow. Those around me who only walk within the physical world, and who believe, seek me out. Asking for my help. The devoted come from all walks of life. They urge me to tell them of my sight. Heartfelt, please, they implore, hoping for a flicker of news, of light. I experience the ache and need to know of their sons, their daughters, their lovers, their friends, their husbands, their wives.
Those who reside on the other side seem to seek me out in order to tell their story, how they came to be. But somehow when I’m beneath the veil, the lover I seek pulls me into the darkness. He will take me beyond all I know.
“Can you tell me? Can you see what has happened to my Grace?” the woman asked.
The chill upon my skin begins to subside, replaced by a familiar burn. Blood courses through my veins, pumps through my heart. I cannot fully see him, but I breathe in the fire from his glinting skin.
“Yes…” The word falls from my lips in a smoky whisper.
My thoughts race. It takes me a moment to focus, orientate myself to my new surroundings. My breathing is now erratic. My life force flows faster through my veins and the beating rhythm increases as though my thumping heart will leap wildly from my chest. The blood rushes to my cheeks. Heat envelopes me.
A clock. The sound is strange. The clock begins to strike the hour one, two…echoing the dull clanging tones down the barren halls of the ancient home I find myself in. I lift my chin, narrow my vision, and witness eyes staring back at me from within the broken shards of the mirror that hangs on the wall. Those eyes are aligned with dark bruise-like circles beneath them, more familiar to a corpse than to me.
Outside, the wind whooshes across the high roofline in a low whine. It’s as if the wind knows of my dark lover’s arrival and bemoans his coming. The howling of the wind rushes forth, writhing, moaning in exquisite pain, searching for release, whirling down the chimney where it leaves blackened ash scattered at my bare feet.
I can feel him. Static electricity ebbs and flows through the air I breathe. I inhale deeply. Each breath draws me closer to the edge of my own existence until we are interlocked together within the confines of his world, and tormented within the hell of mine.
I float, suspended somewhere between the liquid of my vision and the hazy realization of this life, waiting for his caress. It won't be long. His touch alone sustains me, calls to me, steals my very breath, and flows within my veins like tongues of fire lapping, laving, allowing my skin to burn.
“Paris? Ms. Hutchison?” Mrs. Byron sounds worried about me. I don't know what it looks like when I cross the veil, but I can only imagine.
The corners of my mouth turn up in delight when I see eyes the color of ruby ringed in a deep shade of crimson. They move forward from the mirrored shards that hold my reflection. As always, I’m captivated by their inhuman, perfect beauty. The wickedness within me wages war with the light, for he is my true desire, my temptation, my burning damnation, and he has found me, as I knew he would.
“Grace, do you know of her?” I asked him.
I watch a sinful smirk cross over the perfect features of his angelic face.
“Of course, little one,” he replies.
“Has she crossed over into the light?” I inquire.
“Grace walks within your realm, surely you must know this?”
“She is still within the earthly veil?”
His quiet laughter dances over my hand that hold's the silver cross, heating my skin.
“Yes, Paris, Grace is still within the earthly veil.”
“Where?” I ask, all the while watching wings of black arc over my body and Zion’s, enclosing us.
“Where her lover lies.”
I see the front of this ancient home, the numbers once shinny are rusted and obscured by vines that flow up the front wall, reminiscent of webs.
“Now,” he says, brushing his large palm down my right cheek, “give the woman the answer she seeks.”
I move back from Zion’s seven-foot muscular frame, break the connection, the vision. I cross back, over the thin veil that had surrounded me, and open my eyes to the physical world, only to see Mrs. Byron watching me, bright blue eyes rounded in fear, anticipation, hope.
Steam flows from my hand, reminding me of the necklace I hold. I open my grip, releasing the cross. I place it onto the mahogany table to my right.
“Well?” Mrs. Byron asked. She has moved forward onto the edge of her seat, grasping her Prada bag for dear life.
“Grace is with her boyfriend, Mrs. Byron. I am unclear as to why Grace has left her apartment, her job, why her car was abandoned, but you will find Grace and Jimmy located in an abandoned home on Dennison Drive. Four-ten Dennison Drive.”
“Oh, thank God!” A torrent of tears freefall down her pale face. She wipes them quickly with her hand. “Thank God!” she repeats, grabbing up the necklace from my side table, clutching it. “I don't know how you do what you do, Ms. Hutchison, but thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
“You are welcome, Mrs. Byron. I'm glad to give you good news,” I answer, wearily.
It’s sunset, the time of day in which my lover is free from his spiritual bonds. Unbound to walk within the physical realm as a mortal, only like no other, with glinting skin, fiery to the touch, but as close to a man as one can be who has fallen.
I have come to understand that angels, heaven, and hell do exist. There is a battle which wages daily for the souls of mankind. There was not only a war in heaven, but there is an ongoing war in hell. Only those who have the sight and those who cross over know of this truth, and I, being cursed with sight, have seen firsthand the war that wages. I’ve been caught within the crossfire, marked by some who wish to use me, exploit my so-called gifts, targeted by others who seek to destroy me for my knowledge, and loved by one who protects me.
I found my way over to my little desk that’s shoved up against the far wall of my tiny bedroom. I grabbed a book from the overhead shelf and placed it beneath the small desk light. I had just opened the pages of the worn book when a strange and eerie cold sensation filled the room. I turned toward the direction of the radiator and it was working, its vibration evident through the pipes.
My attention was drawn away from the shuddering of the radiator and toward my bedroom door. Deliberate rapping on the tiles, footsteps, coming down the hallway echoed out in rhythmical taps. Each footstep reverberated loudly within my walls and seemed to be getting closer and closer. All too soon, the sound stopped, followed by a distinctly hard knock at my door. In the next instant there was a mechanical drumming of fingers on the hard wood surface. I paused for one moment, got up from the old desk chair, and slowly walked to the door. My breath was now visible as I exhaled. From beneath the door six or seven large, black cockroaches scurried across my floor, scattering in numerous directions.
“Oh!” I blurted out, startled then quickly placed my hand over my mouth to stop from screaming.
The black bugs continued to scurry, then multiplied into hundreds. They were crawling up the walls and across my ceiling. Soon, the walls became a black mass of swirling bugs before they vanished into thin air, exposing once again the familiar white of the walls and ceiling.
Every hair on the back of my neck stood on end. A sick feeling flipped and twisted within my stomach. I backed away from the door, not making a sound, hesitating to breathe. Whoever had come for me was not of the physical world.
My door swung free. Before me, half obscured in the dim lit hallway stood… “Sarif?” I muttered in disbelief. The last time I saw Sarif, he had been chained on the other side. Punishment for going against orders.
He smiled wickedly and moved forward with little effort, crossing the threshold with one foot and then the other. He entered my room. Three others followed behind him.
“Paris,” he greeted. His voice was tinted with an accent I can never quite pinpoint. “I am very pleased to see you once again. It has been far too long.”
I continued to back away from him. To say I distrusted him would be an understatement. Moving slowly, I never removed my eyes from his angular face. My head was full of differing scenarios, trying to come up with a plan of escape, but I knew there would be no escape from this evil one.
Sarif sniffed the air like a canine. Akin to the others of his kind, he could smell my fear.
“You are frightened, my child.”
His voice sent a shiver through me. It was sweet like honey and flowed in a singsong manner over his all too venomous lips.
“Get out!” I exclaimed.
This emotional outburst pleased Sarif greatly. His smile widened. I experienced his sense of evil pleasure as it rolled through the room reminiscent of a fog. Unlike my ability to sense human feelings, he was allowing me to taste his emotion. It was thickly flavored, heady, and tickled down my spine as if it seeped into my body like acid.
Sarif turned to acknowledge the others who were standing beside him. I could only guess that my anger was but an amusement to them. They laughed devilishly. Then they too allowed me into their thoughts, emotions. Compared to them, I was nothing but a frail, angry, mortal woman, shaking in fear before them, and my fear fed them.
To Sarif’s right stood a tall, pale, silver-haired being with brooding grey eyes. The color was freighting against the white of his skin. He was dressed in black from his shirt to his shoes and wore a ring on his pinky finger of a lion’s head. This indicated he was once part of the elite guard. Sentinels placed upon earth to keep watch on heavenly artifacts, make sure they were never found. I had never met this being before but knew he, like Sarif, would be skilled and vicious.
To the left of Sarif were two shorter more bulky beings. One stood straight in his posture, but he was swaying anxiously from the right ball of his foot to his left. His hair was brown and tied back from his face in a long ponytail. His face was nondescript except for his eyes. They were different from the tall, pale, silver-haired being. His eyes were coal black with just an outline of crimson.
The third being had shaved his head. His dark black skin matched the black color of his eyes. He had a long jagged scar that ran from the top of his bald head down over his right eye and came to a stop in the middle of his square jaw. Both he and the anxious one were dressed in black from head to toe with no markings to indicate their rank or past affiliations.
Sarif turned his gaze back to me, still grinning. He gestured to his right with his long thin hand.
“Paris, this is Malic.” Sarif paused. He turned to look at Malic. “Paris is the one I spoke of.”
Malic was the tall silver-haired being. His mouth turned up with a wicked grin. I had obviously been the topic of conversation.
“I am very pleased to meet you,” he acknowledged as if this were a social occasion and etiquette was required.
Sarif continue, waving his hand to his left. “This is Kael and Balen.”
They too gave evil grins. The white of their teeth pronounced. Both Kale and Balen tilted their head to one side in unison, scanning me.
“Why are you here, Sarif?” I asked.
“I am here to give you what you want, my child,” Sarif replied.
The three beings moved, coming closer, but never maneuvering ahead of Sarif. Balen turned his hand and made a quick gesture toward the door. In one fluid movement, and without touching it, the door shut behind him. This indicated he was a conjuror.
“Sarif, I don’t—” Sarif placed one bony finger to my lips. “Stop!” I yelled. I jerked my face from his icy touch. He was freezing.
“Hush, my child. I know what it is you desire. I am only here to give you what you seek,” Sarif assured me. He studied my surroundings before continuing. “So it would seem your Zion is not present tonight,” he whispered into my ear, sending frost down my skin. “I wonder how well you will fair without Zion here to save you?”
He seemed to ponder his own words.
“You seem sure he won’t,” I said smugly.
“No, he will not.” He paused, allowing his words to sink into my mind. “You know Zion does not love you. He cannot love such a frail pathetic creature.” The evil ones face was close, far too close to mine. “There is a way to be with him, to stay with Zion. You would no longer be frail, weak, pathetic.”
“I cannot stay with him, I know this,” I said.
“You do not know much, child. It is possible to live within the same world, to be as powerful as Zion. It is easy, really. It would mean giving up your world, your weaknesses which binds you here to this place.”
“You mean my soul, don’t you?”
“Yes, your soul would be part of the bargain.”
“Zion already has my soul!”
“He is too weak to take it.” Sarif’s voice was taunting. “Maybe it is not weakness.” He paused and pondered that, working his jaw with his hand. “No, not weakness. We both know Zion is not weak, however, I think we both know if he loved you, if he truly wanted you, he would keep you.”
“You are nothing to Zion, a play toy, something to take his attention.”
“I want you to leave!” I insisted.
“So soon, my child?”
“You should know firsthand what Zion will do to you,” I said, trying to fight back the only way I could.
“Yes, but where is he now? Why has he not come to your rescue? Can you not see he does not care for you?”
I wanted to lash out, to rebuke him, to banish him, to tear the evil one apart with my words and send him back into the pits of hell where he belonged, but I couldn’t move my lips. I felt intense cold. It burned like fire upon my cheek. Sarif was running his fingers down the side of my face. My body shook intently. The others moved, mimicking his movement, positioning themselves to his side.
Sarif continued to move forward, backing me against the far wall of the room. I was trapped with nowhere to go. He leaned into my neck, placing his nose to the base of my throat. I froze. He took in deep breaths. “Um...” he muttered in a deep almost growl. “I understand his pull, his desire.”
“Take her, Sarif!” Malic shouted.
“Yes,” Kale murmured, “take her!”
Malic, Kael, and Balen watched intently while the evil one pressed himself firmly against me. They became eager in their movements, waiting to leap in behind their leader. A vibration rumbled from Sarif’s body, hitting me. The power surge was intense, sending shockwaves through my frame. Once again, he allowed me to taste his emotion. The rage bounced off my body, whipped around me, then smashed back into my flesh as though he were going to rip me apart. His breath became labored. I could feel his hand come down from above my head. He began to grope at my waist.
“Stop!” I blurted out then found I was unable to speak further.
It was his icy cold lips. They completely covered my mouth. A ripping sound came from my body followed by shooting fiery pain that shot through the top of my leg. He tore the front pocket from my jeans, exposing my upper thigh. His razor sharp fingernail marked my skin. The cut burned.
Don’t scream, Paris. Do not scream. Do not give him the pleasure of your fear, I kept telling myself. I tried in vain to pull my body from his, but it was pointless.
Sarif placed one cold hand to my throat. He crouched down, and flicked his tongue to the cut on my upper thigh. The tip of his tongue elongated before he licked the crimson blood from my flesh. Guttural sounds emanated from his body. He shook. Slowly his fingers began to wrap around my throat, cutting off my air. I gasped.
Thunder filled the room. The icy air whipped around me, shooting my long hair around my face and neck. A deep penetrating growl echoed off the walls. It was bone chilling. Sarif’s fingers loosened from my throat. I closed my eyes, welded them shut.
“This is it,” I said under my breath, bracing myself for the impending attack.
“Take her, now!” Malic exclaimed.
Thunder reverberated from the walls, causing them to shake as if we were experiencing some sort of earthquake, bouncing the books off my shelf. They hit the floor with numerous thuds. Sarif’s body shifted slightly. I opened my eyes to see the desk lamp as it fell from the desk. It hit the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces. Glass flew wildly, scattering everywhere. My desk chair fell over. It bounced up and down several times and came to rest, less one wooden leg.
The icy cold within the room was replaced by a scorching hot sensation. Heat waves seemed to rise from the back of Sarif’s body, causing a distortion within my vision. At that moment, the evil one was ripped from me, thrown back. He smacked the floor with force and slid across the floor like a rag doll, hitting the entry door, making a large jagged crack in the doorframe. Dark red blood ran down the back of Sarif’s head, around his neck, and trickled down his chest.
Malic, Kael, and Balen hissed from between their clenched teeth and moved quickly, backing away from me. Zion stood in front of me in a cat like stance of protection with his arms spread wide, as if to shield me from the vile being’s view. Zion’s teeth were bared and his eyes flashed with fire and wicked fury.
“Sarif, you dare challenge me and threaten what is mine?” Zion’s voice was deep, booming, and resounded harshly off the walls. The mirror hanging to my right cracked.
“Zion,” Malic acknowledge.
Malic, Kael, and Balen crouched down and bowed their heads in submission to Zion. Sarif sat against the wall, smiling an evil toothy grin. He wiped the blood from his neck before tasting it.
“Welcome, Zion, my brother.” The evil ones voice was mocking.
“You have made a dire mistake,” Zion replied in a velvety smooth voice.
Sarif spoke slowly as he rose to his feet. “I only seek to fulfill her desire. She has willingly offered herself to you, yet you have refused to take what she has given of her own free will.”
“Paris is mine!”
“Yes, Zion, but are you too weak to take what is yours?”
“Sarif, you dare to challenge me?”
“No,” Malic muttered.
Sarif’s voice was eerie, calm.” I do not challenge, brother. I merely speak the truth. The seer has given herself, why have you not taken her, used her sight?”
Zion adjusted his stance.
“Sarif, you were dead to this earthly host the moment you touched her pristine flesh. I will rip you from your mortal coil!”
“No!” Malic yelled.
Zion turned his head in a methodical cat-like motion. He stared with hate and venom at Malic, Kael, and Balen. He snarled. Growled. The sound was like a large jungle cat. Balen visibly trembled. “Do you dare to challenge me as well?”
“No, Zion,” Balen mumbled.
“Then leave this place and know my mercy on this night, but if you dare bother what is rightfully mine again, you shall meet your end, I assure you.”
Malic nodded. He, Kael, and Balen stood up slowly then backed away from Zion. They never turned their bodies or removed their eyes from Zion as they left the room.
“So, Sarif, it would seem your underlings have left you to me,” Zion stated with no emotion.
“Zion, I have no malice toward you.”
Sarif shifted his weight. He looked at me with pure hate. He took a step back toward the door.
“No, do not go,” Zion said calmly.
His velvet smooth voice seemed to echo within the confines of my mind even while he spoke to Sarif. Paris, do not watch this.
Zion lunged toward Sarif, teeth bared, knocking him against the far wall. The attack was quick, so fast I could hardly process the movements. Zion’s teeth ripped through the supple flesh of Sarif’s throat. Deep crimson blood flowed from the wound like water flowing freely from a cascading fountain. As horrible as this moment was, I found no will to look away from the brutality. A part of me was unsure if I was really witnessing this bloodbath.
Zion growled deeply and threw back his head, swallowing the large hunk of Sarif’s flesh that was clinched between his teeth. In another burst of fury, Zion smashed his powerful fist though the evil ones chest, removing Sarif’s heart in a swift moment before he pulverized it between his fingers. It was in this moment that Zion’s mouth turned up in pure pleasure. He smiled wickedly, shaking his head from right to left. He was the predator, victorious. He looked at the lifeless body then licked the bloody remains of Sarif’s heart from his powerful hand.
In that flash of a second, Sarif’s body slumped, hit the floor. A high-pitched ear-piercing screech filled the air. A dark black shadow left the body. It flew up from the mortal remains of Sarif in a snarl. The black shadow swirled and twisted around the room, emanating a putrid rotten smell, an odor of death. The blackness gave one last agonized groan then disappeared into a mist.
During the gory scene, Sarif’s blood had found its way to me. It hit my face and chest, ran down my arms, dripping from my fingertips, and began to stain the floor beneath my feet. I shook in fear and disbelief. I hadn’t moved. I was still standing against the back wall of the room. When I realized it was over, my body went limp, and slid down the wall onto the hard floor beneath me. I became aware of a shooting fiery pain in my leg. I grabbed at my thigh, applying pressure, trying to get the burn to stop.
Zion seemed to stiffen before becoming fully erect. He turned to see me covered in blood, shaking, and slumped on the floor. He leapt in one swift movement to my side.
“Are you hurt?”
Zion scooped me up, softly cradling my body in his arms, then placed me on the bed. He began to wipe the blood away, inspecting my face, neck, chest, and arms, searching for wounds until he found the scratch upon my upper thigh.
“You are injured!”
“Burned,” I muttered, trying to find the words that seemed to be scattered incoherently within my mind. “My leg—”
“The host’s death was too quick; I should have made him suffer for touching you.”
“Is gone,” he said, answering my unspoken, unfinished question.
“But he’ll be back, won’t he? Sarif will find a way back. He wants me for his own.”
“He cannot have you,” he said softly. “I will never allow it.”
Happy Halloween! May you all have a spooktacular night.
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