The water rippled as the stone borke its glass-like surface. The ripples started out small, and grew larger and larger until finally, they were gone. The water returned to its state of equilibrium, unmoving and cold. I imagined what that icy world would feel like, rushing around my skin. I imagined that vicious, cold water freezing my lungs, my muscles. I imagined myself sinking to the bottom. I imagined that I never came back up.
I shook my head violently. Dark thoughts seemed to invade my head at every opportunity, and it was slightly unnerving. The sound of gently rolling waves met my ears, a sound that seemed to be a lullaby to me. Heat seemed to wrap around me. I swore I could feel each individual ray of sunshine pressing on my body. The almost tangible smell of salt tingled in my nose. While it wasn’t silent–the waves saw to that–the extreme lack of noise was disturbing, eerie.
I turned around and I was no longer on a beach, but standing on the edge of a gray outcropping, looking down. The sea was beating on the rock, slapping and crashing. Sea foam and a cold, bitter wind hit me, chilling me to the bone, but strangely, it wasn’t unpleasant. t he sky was dark, daunting without the glimmer of distant stars and the luminescent moon. There was no ebb and flow of waves. No howling of the wind, or the gentle rustling of disturbed leaves. It was as if someone had taken the sound from the world and had put it in a box for safekeeping.
And then, as if the thought itself had hit me on the head, I knew exactly where I was. I was in the fabled dream realms.
A small thrill of fear ran through me like a flame. I had only thought them to be legend, something to scare children into doing everything they were told. But, now, my thoughts were proved wrong and I was afraid. I was suddenly cold, the fear seizing me with its strong, twisted fingers. It was almost impossible to get out of the dream realms, and now I was stuck with no idea how to pull myself out of this problem.
A dark, dense forest lined the world behind me, a barrier hiding something the world didn’t want me to see. I turned from that forest to stare down at the water below me. When I turned back to that dark, natural fortress, he stood there, and fear coursed through me. He looked at me, as if he had never seen me before. Lucius took a step towards me, but there was no crunch of the rocks beneath his feet. He came ever closer, silent and fluid. He stopped just in front of me and slowly started to raise his hand. Panic constricted my chest and I almost stepped back. I didn’t want to feel his touch, that warm thrill that ran through my body. I didn’t want him to touch me.
His fingers were nearly brushing my cheek. This time I did step back. I stepped back, falling over the edge, seeing Lucius’ figure grow smaller until he launched himself after me. He reached for me just as I hit the ground. But it didn’t hurt. As my back touched the rough beach, rocks digging into my skin mercilessly, the sound rushed back to the world, deafening. I could hear the hiss of the sea, the whisper of the wind disrupting the trees, Lucius’ pants for air. Rocks shifted under me, almost echoing because my ears were so unused to sound.
Lucius’ honey gold eyes met mine, and I was almost entranced by the sunflower pattern of his iris. No, I told myself. You don’t love him anymore. I stood up and started walking. “Haven!” I ignored Lucius and kept walking. He grabbed my arm and turned me around so I had no choice but to face him. I glared up at him, up at his beautiful, defined face, and glanced at the ring of black metal that pierced the left corner of his lower lip glint in the dull sunlight.
“Why are you here?” I asked him coldly. I shrugged off his hand and he just looked at me for a moment, either at a loss for words of holding back words that wouldn’t be prudent to say to me. I was betting on the latter.
“I have been here for a few weeks, caught between the dream realms and the normal realm. I was trying to bring someone here to help me,” Lucius said, staring out over the sea that was in a violent turmoil.
Fury built in my stomach. We were inside Lucius’ nightmare. There was no other explanation for it. The dream realm called on your fears, from which it gained power, slowly becoming something you could no longer overpower. “You brought me here?” I asked heatedly, ready to attack him when he confessed. But that opportunity did not come.
Lucius shook his head and I deflated slightly; I may have been disappointed. “I would never bring you here.” The meaning of those words were not lost on me and I decided to ignore them, although they made my chest ache at memories long past. “I was trying to bring Gerard here, but I wasn’t successful.”
I turned around. “How do we leave?” I questioned, trying not to look at him too closely, lest I give into the memories that were persistently trying to bring themselves to the front of my mind.
Lucius raised his brows. “If I knew how to do that, I wouldn’t be here, would I?” I had nothing to say to that smart retor, so I settled for a cold look. He spoke again. “There is something in this world that is keeping us here,” Lusius explained. “I think if we find it, we can leave.”
I let his words soak in and knew that unless we knew what we were looking for, we were not leaving anytime soon, and I was not took keen on the idea of wandering around aimlessly. The scent of morning dew, clean and pure, flooded my sense and I jerked back, the sensation of my pupils dilating startling me. Lucius was looking at me, his own pupils slightly dilated. My mind was telling me to run, but I knew that Lucius could smell me, and he wasn’t about to hunt me.
There was a high pitched keening noise that raised goose bumps on my arms and the hair on the back of my neck. I turned to find the noise, but all I saw was more beach, more trees. When I pivoted to ask Lucius what is was, he was gone. My heart was thundering, beating a tattoo on my ribs. A cry from overhead startled me, and I stumbled. I threw out my hands to catch myself. A rock sliced my hand jaggedly, making me gasp as rivers of unforgiving pain ran up my arms. I closed my eyes, waiting for that momentary pain that was associated with healing. But it didn’t happen. Confused and hurt, I slowly started to walk toward the forest.
The unmistakable stench of death made me blink. A movement behind me sent me running towards the forest. I ran so fast I feared that I would fall. Being a werewolf didn’t amke it any easier to run over sand. I kept slipping and stumbling as time went on; I could feel the frustration mounting, and I tried to stuff it down because I knew it wouldnt’ really help me move any faster. It took a moment more to reach the forest. I fell once I was inside, my breathing labored. I took huge gulping breaths of air, trying to help my oxygen deficient lungs.
A tiny speck of blue caught my eye. It was a blue bird. My brow furrowed. I didn’t believe that blue birds lived in this bizarre…region. Then, I remembered where I was and wouldn’t have been surprised to find a polar bear running around in here somewhere. The bird landed in my hand, fuzzy and small, its voice musical as it sang. Then it hovered over my head and dashed away. I stood, my legs trembling, and followed it, instinct telling me that the bird wanted me to trail it. As I followed the bird through the trees, weaving a clear path, I grew more and more tired. I had never dealt with fatigue–werewolves have more stamina.
I looked at the bleeding cut on my hand and considered my fatigue. Pulling a silver blade from my boot, I sliced my arm carefully. I hissed, and waited. Nothing. The silver didn’t hurt me. With increasing suspicion, I closed my eyes and tried to shift forms.
Not even the shudder of skin you get when you are distressed and unable to change. I was human. The nightmare was now my own, not just Lucius’. It was mine. Human. My body started to shake. Fear was taking over and I–
“Don’t let it consume you,” he said. I turned to see Lucius standing there, hands in his pockets, his gaze on the ground as if there was nothing in the world that was wrong.
“This dream land is more of a nightmare land,” I said, my voice annoyed.
“Terminology is the least of our problems,” he growled in a voice that was not his own, not even in the slightest.
“Lucius, what’s going on?” I almost yelled. “Why am I here?”
Lucius wouldn’t look up at me, and now, he said nothing. His body was shaking, I noticed. His muscles were taut, and the pulse on his neck was jumping so fast and so hard that I could see it with my human senses. He looked up at me, and I saw his nightmare in his eyes. His eyes were completely liquid honey, the pupil swallowed in hunger and rage. I knew now that Lucius was no longer scenting me. He was hunting me.
My mouth went dry. He lunged at me and I fell back, hitting the ground. He soared over me and I scrambled to my feet.
I ran through the forest, avoiding branches and roots. I emerged in a gold field. Unconciously, I stopped running, stopped all movement to observe the beauty around me. Golden grass up to my knees swayed to a pleasant, invisible breeze. Above me, the sky was a tranquil blue with a golden sun. Trees of autumn with their gold and yellow leaves surrounded the plain, a natural fortress. It was beautiful. LUcius was on the other side, looking more beautiful than I had ever seen him. His snow white hair fell into his eyes, reflecting the sunlight. His honey gold eyes glowed, and his black clothing seemed to accentuate everything, just as his black lip piercing did.
As my breath caught in my chest, the gold began to fade. The golden grass curled up and turned black, dead. The leaves fell from the trees, brown and hard. They crunched beneath my feet as I turned and watched my surroundings die for some mysterious reason. A cold sensation of ice running over my skin made me stop. Evil. Pure, unadulterated evil can kill anything pure, anything natural. I searched for the source, but there was no one. No one but Lucius and myself.
The sky darkened and raw thunder shattered the silence, as if someone had dropped a mirror, and the thunder was the resulting sound. Rain poured fromt he sky, soaking me to the bone. I knew that there was no other evil. There was only Lucius, and I was here to destroy my pain, to destroy my fear, to destroy my sadness, all of which lived inside Lucius. Images of my daughter swam up to my ind, having been oppressed to the back of my mind for three painful years. I had forced myself to forget, but now Lucius had brought everything back and I remembered it all.
I remembered the night my daughter died. I remembered the night of conception. I remembered the morning when I woke up to find the other side of the bed was empty, no trace of warmth or the smell of morning dew on the sheets. I remembered the day I buried my daughter. And I remembered that he had caused it all.
I remembered the love that had once flowed through my veins every time Lucius smiled, or Emma laughed. Now, I stared into Luicus’ blank, glowing eyes, and knew it wasn’t Lucius that was staring back at me. It was my own demons, the ones I couldn’t fight for fear of dredging up the painful and unpleasant memories that I worked so hard to block from my mind. I pulled the knife from my boot, the rain slowly rolling off my skin as I moved, and pulled my arm back.
The knife flew across the meadow and pierced Lucius’ chest. A noise unlike any I had heard before ripped through the world, like the scream of a thousan banshees, of a thousand gulls. The golden pasture was gone, and we were in a forest that I recognized. A shock rippled through my chest and I was breathless. Gasping, I fell to the ground. I felt my irises swallowing my pupils, felt my skin shudder and my bones break. I shifted from one form to the other, screaming in pain as I changed again and again.
A warm hand touched my human face and I looked up. I stared into Lucius’ honey gold eyes, and then looked at his completely whole chest. There was no wound. Lucius’ face was the last thing I saw.