Darkness Rising

A Once Upon a Time in Mexico story by Merrie

Disclaimer: I do not own Sheldon Jeffrey Sands (SJ) or anything that comes with him. He belongs to genius Robert Rodriguez who would be horrified to see what I'm going to do to him.

Summary: Sheldon Jeffrey Sands isn't your normal young man. In fact, there's nothing even remotely normal about him at all.

Characters: SJ, possible OC's in the future. I haven't decided yet. Who knows? Since this is my story and I can do whatever the heck I want, maybe El will make an appearance as well. *grin*

Author's Note: This takes place before the movie, before SJ was even a CIA agent, and would not have gotten written if it hadn't been for the well wishes and prodding of Miss Becky, gypsy, and Halia. This is for you guys, although you may not like what I've come up with.

Rating: R for strong violence, graphic imagery and SJ's dirty mouth. Oh wow. This is turning out to be very graphic and dark indeed. Be warned.

Chapter One: Darkness and Unexpected Occurrences

The dark abyss called to him. It nipped at his heels and like a siren it sang to him to give up his will. To give into the darkness that was surrounding him. Sheldon Jeffrey Sands had no choice but to obey; to give into the darkness and to let it consume him. The darkness, delighted that it had won the battle for his soul, engulfed him in a wave, choking his spirit until there was nothing left but black. And what black! The deepest purest darkness ever imagined.

The blackness of a star's shadow. The blackness in a mother's scream to see her child murdered in front of her eyes. The blackness in the eyes of a thousand starving children, rape victims, and war survivors. It was a blackness that clawed at the goodness of the world, ripping at it, tearing it to shreds if it could. It was what caused ordinary men to kill their families before blowing their brains out. It was what whispered the thought of suicide into the thoughts and hearts of every depressed soul that had just been about to seek help. It was what whispered to terrorists that their cause was the right cause and that it was worth dying for..worth killing for. It was what caused decent human beings to turn a cold eye to the beggars of the streets. It was what inspired the thought 'someone else will help her,' and let a young woman be beat to death in the view of hundreds, all waiting for that someone to come along. It was murder, it was greed, it was vanity, it was lust, and it was madness. It was all of these things, and it was all a part of him now. It was him now. The blackness had taken Sheldon Jeffrey Sands without a fight. How could someone fight something as powerful as that? They couldn't. There was no point but to give in. To embrace the madness.


Sands shot up in bed, panting, sweating, and short of breath. 'Dear God,' he thought, although he had stopped believing in God long ago, perhaps he had never believed in him, 'what a fucking horrible nightmare!' He wiped a hand across his face, trying to banish the darkness that surrounded him. He had two fears at the relatively young age of 26 years: one was that he would lose control of himself and of his surroundings, that he would lose himself to the darkness; it didn't have a name, only a feeling. And that feeling was a cold breath at the back of his neck. And the second was an irrational fear of the dark. He had had it as long as he could remember. He didn't know why he was afraid of the dark, and he sure as hell wasn't going to admit this fear to anyone, but he was.

Fumbling for the lamp that rested on the bedside table, he rushed to flood light into the room to assure himself that there were no monsters waiting for him in the dark. He knew that those monsters were there, he even knew what they looked like; he saw one staring back at him in the mirror every morning. When he had finally turned on the lamp, he sighed in relief and wiped at the sweat-soaked hair that stuck to his forehead, cheeks and neck. There were no monsters in the room with him tonight, only.. Holy Christ, there was someone else with him on the bed!

Startled, Sands nearly fell off of the side and onto the floor in shock. There was a woman in his bed! Not an entirely uncommon occurrence in and of itself, but this was one woman he couldn't remember taking to bed with him. He furrowed his forehead, and waited for the pain to kick in. It never did. 'Nope, no feeling of a hangover. I certainly wasn't drunk. But who the fuck is this girl?' Sands pulled back the sheets to look down at himself. His eyebrows rose at his lack of clothing. "Well golly gee, it certainly seems as if someone got lucky last night. Of course, it would have been more fun if I could remember it now, but maybe now that I'm awake and conscious, she'll want to have another---" Sands trailed off as he noticed something quite different about the black satin sheets that covered his large king- size bed. They were darker than usual. And his hands were darker as well. "Oh my Christ." Sands whispered.

Blood didn't look anything like it did in the movies. In the movies it was always bright red and thick. In real life it was more of a dark maroon or brown. Especially when it was covering your hands. Throwing back the sheets, he noticed even more. His body seemed to be covered in blood. "Ok, don't freak out, Sheldon, there has got to be a fucking explanation for this," he reassured himself. "I'm sure this is just all a bad dream or something. Yeah, it's indigestion from the bad fucking pork from that Mexican place down the street. What was it called again? 'The Yellow Chicken' or something inane like that? I knew I shouldn't have eaten there. Damn Mexicans."

As much as he would have liked to stall his mind away from the horror presented before it, he felt his eyes drift over to where the girl lay still on the bed. From this angle, he could see a pale creamy white shoulder and a long stretch of a flawless back and the just the top of a firm looking ass before the sheet covered the rest of her, enough to tell that she was naked as well, and a head of near white blonde hair that fell in curls to her shoulders. She looked beautiful in the pale light from the lamp on the bedside table. 'So far so good,' he thought. 'Maybe she's just sleeping?' While he had tried to sound hopeful even in his own mind, especially in his own mind, the words rang hollow in his ears. 'She would have woken up by now if she was sleeping. Oh God, oh God, I'm fucking freaking out,' he reached out a trembling hand on her shoulder. He pulled it away as if he had been burned. Nothing could be closer to the truth. She was as cold as ice, and it felt as if she had been that way for a very long time. It was not the feeling one associated with a living body. 'Oh God, oh God. Please, let this be a fucking nightmare.' Some part of him knew though, that he was indeed awake, that this was not a nightmare, and that part of him was screaming.

Unable to stop himself, his hand reached out to touch her once more, coming to rest on the pulse point at her neck. After a long minute, he drew his hand back again, shaking even worse than before. There had been no pulse. It had been still..lifeless..dead. "What the fuck is going on?" Sands was nearly hyperventilating now. He pressed his hands to his temples, trying to force himself to remember what had happened the previous night. 'I went to the fucking Mexican place. Did I meet the girl there?' Taking a quick look around the room to make sure he was indeed in his own apartment, his thoughts continued. "What happened to her?" He said aloud. "I don't remember even meeting her for fuck's sake!"

A sudden thought occurred to him, and his body went as still and cold as that of the girl next to him. He hadn't turned her over. He hadn't looked at her face. He hadn't found out where all the blood was coming from. "Oh, fuck." Sands said; his voice nearly a whimpering whisper. "Ohfuckohfuckohfuck." The line became a mantra as he forced himself to turn the body over and look at it. At one glance, he had to quickly lean over to the side of the bed, and retched whatever was left in his stomach onto the carpet after laying his eyes on her. Or, to be more accurate, what was *left* of her. Sure, her back and shoulders looked fine, but her front, oh God her front..

If there had been any hope in recognizing the girl and figuring out what the hell was going on, that was shattered when he set on eyes on her face. 'She has no eyes, oh God, what the fuck happened to her eyes?' Sands was beyond freaking out at this point, he was in fact nearing utter hysteria. The girls' eyes had been torn out of their sockets, replaced by gaping black pits where her eyes used to be. Blood covered her face, neck, and even her shoulders, and Sands had to fight the urge to retch again. But that wasn't all, oh God, that wasn't all; she had been what looked like stabbed as well. Stabbed at least half a dozen times from what he could make out, probably more, it was hard to tell underneath all the blood. The blood seemed to have stopped flowing, and most of it looked to be dry. A few of the wounds on her stomach and chest seemed to have broken open when he turned her over, and what extremely little blood that was left in her body flowed out sluggishly, almost not at all. It seemed that she had been bleeding, well not to death since she had been most certainly dead after all of these wounds, all night long next to him. He was near drenched in the stuff. This time, Sands couldn't hold back the urge to retch again, and he did so. Everything that was able to come up out of his stomach was already lying on the floor beneath him, so his body was wracked with aching dry heaves.

"This isn't fucking happening, this is a nightmare, a hangover, a hallucination..I don't care what it is! This is *not* happening!" Sands shouted at the top of his lungs, as if by the force of his will alone he could make the grisly scene that lay before him disappear without a trace. "That's it; I'm beyond freaking out at this point. Waking up with a girl in your bed that you can't remember is one thing. Waking up with a *dead* girl in your bed that you can't remember is.oh God. This is not happening." No matter how often he repeated that line to himself, that didn't change the image of the eyeless face staring back at him. He knew that her face, what was left of it, would haunt him for the rest of his days. "Oh God, oh God, I didn't do this. I couldn't have done this!" His own blood covered body seemed to mock him. "I don't even know this girl! Why would I kill someone I don't even know?!"

He quickly threw himself out of bed, careful to avoid the remains of his Mexican dinner and stalked back and forth across the room, not caring that he was still naked and covered in what he now knew was the girl's blood. He himself was unharmed, which made the idea that someone else had killed her even more unlikely. They wouldn't have just left him alive and unharmed. No, if someone else had done this, he would probably be lying next to her, bleeding out from numerous stab wounds, and staring eyeless up at the ceiling. "I couldn't have killed her! I'm not a killer!" He ceased his pacing as a memory presented itself to his consciousness. "Oh ok, there was that one time with the neighbor's cat, and..uh, the class's pet hamster, but I sure as hell haven't killed any people!" Sands didn't voice this thought aloud, but he couldn't ignore it. He couldn't have killed anyone, because that would be losing control. Control was everything. Balance was everything. If he lost that control, if he upset that balance, all would be lost. He would be lost.

That simply *could not* happen. It *would not* happen. He had fought too damn hard for everything to fall apart now. Some dead bitch lying on the bed next to him didn't change anything. So what if he had killed her? He wasn't admitting to himself that he had or anything, but so what if he did? He was smart, he was clever. He knew he could get away with it. He knew the streets of DC like the back of his hand. He knew all the places to put someone to forget about them. The oubliettes, as it were. 'This is not a problem, Sands, so don't freak out,' he told himself, not even daring to mention his despised first name even within the sanctity of his own mind. 'First, figure out what to do with the body. You can't just carry it down the stairs as it is, now can you?' He felt himself shaking his head, agreeing with this sudden voice of reason. 'Get something to put her in. A garment bag would be best, but not your nice one, the other one.' Sands agreed with this idea and went to search for the garment bag mentioned. He found it with little trouble hanging in his closet and brought it back into the bedroom where he unzipped it and laid it down on the side of the bed where the body lay.

Grunting under the dead weight of the woman's body, he picked her up and laid her into the open garment bag. With her now obviously small stature, she just fit. He started to zip the bag up over her feet before he remembered the blood-stained sheets still on the bed. Those would have to go. He had liked the sheets, but he certainly had the money to buy more. And his freedom was definitely more important than a set of goddamn silk sheets. Once he had reaffirmed this decision, he stripped the bed and balled up the soiled sheets and put them in with the girl. 'Damn, the mattress is soaked as well,' he thought with a frown. 'Well golly, that simply won't do. Can't have just anyone seeing that, now can I?' Kneeling down next to the body, carefully moving anything away that might impede the zipper, he zipped the bag up, taking one last look at the woman before him as if to etch her face into his memory. If you could look past the gaping holes where her eyes used to be, vaguely he wondered what color they had been, and the blood that covered most of her face and body, she really was quite beautiful. He reached out a hand to caress her cool face, and pushed a stray curl of hair back behind her ear from where it had stuck to the blood on her cheek. He also wondered briefly if he would ever find out what her real name was. Telling himself that it was probably better that he not know, he zipped the bag the rest of the way up.

Suddenly the thought of what he must look like crossed his mind. He was still naked as the day he was born, most likely as bloody as he was on that day as well, kneeling over a suspiciously body-shaped lump on the floor next to a bed with a blood-covered mattress. Pushing the image aside for now, he turned back to the task at hand. Deciding for a quick fix, he merely flipped the mattress over. It was a bit difficult all by himself, but he managed well enough, taking extra care not to make matters worse by getting even more of the dried blood on his hands on the other side of the mattress. And he did have an extra pair of sheets in the linen closet, so everything should be fine. 'That's right, good job Sands. This isn't so hard, see? Just like in the movies,' having a Master's Degree in psychology told him quite a few things about his current situation. First of all, it was never a good idea to follow the instructions of a new voice inside of your own mind, even if that voice's instructions were good ones. 'But it can't hurt, really. You need me to get through this,' the voice whispered. Sands froze.

Ok, now that definitely freaked him out a little bit more than waking up next to the corpse of a once beautiful young woman. He waited for a long moment for whatever had spoken to speak again, but whatever it was, whether it be his imagination at a very stressful point in time, or his own mind starting to splinter, it seemed to be gone. Glancing around the bedroom in a somewhat paranoid manner, he shrugged and decided he was better off thinking it was his imagination. Thinking it was something else..no, that road led to madness. And as he found himself, whistling softy to stave away the silence, cleaning up after what was no doubt a murder, perhaps preformed by him; he knew he was far enough down that particular road for one night already as it was. Deciding that everything looked suspicious but not overly so, he decided to finally take the shower that he so desperately needed. He had glanced at the clock on the bedside table next to the lamp and saw that he had a little over two hours until dawn when the housekeeper would arrive. He needed to have himself, the room, and the body cleaned up long before she even thought of coming over.


Blood was a notoriously difficult substance to clean off of one's skin, as he soon realized after standing in the shower for a good ten minutes with little to no success in getting the dried patches of blood off. Sure, most of it came off with a little hard scrubbing, but with his fair complexion it was quite easy to tell where the blood had stained his skin. "Damn it. That's going to have to do," he said to himself after a particularly violent bout of harsh scrubbing. The water in the shower was now tinted pink, and not all of the blood was the girl's any longer. Stepping out of the shower trailed by a curtain of steam, he wiped off the fogged mirror and took a long hard look at himself.

He was satisfied by the picture of the man staring back at him. His eyes were a little wild, but he put that off to stress and lack of sleep rather than homicidal mania. Because he certainly wasn't a homicidal maniac. Even if he had killed the girl, killing one person didn't make you a psycho. One little murder didn't tip the scales toward insanity, did it? No, it didn't. And even if it did, he wouldn't let himself go insane. He couldn't. He had too tight a control over himself to lose sanity now. Not when everything was going so well for him.

He had just graduated from grad school with his Master's Degree, and by golly he wasn't going to let anything screw up his chances for a good career now. Although he could have lived off of his parent's inheritance comfortably for the rest of his life, he hated it. He hated having to depend on someone else, even if it was his own parents. So what if he had more money than he could spend due to their rather timely death? He wanted to make his own way in the world. He had to make his own way, or else he really would go insane. 'But sane people don't murder strange girls, do they Sands?' He shook his head to push this thought away. He was not insane. And there was no real proof that he had killed her. None. As far as he knew, he had never even met this girl before in his life. Flashing back on the girl's eyeless face, he shuddered. And he could definitely *not* do anything like that to another human being. Even if he wanted to. So no, he wasn't insane. He couldn't be.


A/N: Ok yes, it was dark, but did you like it anyway? I really hope you did because I have absolutely no idea where this story came from and no idea where it's going from here. I am merely along for the ride. If SJ wants to show is more maniacal side, then that's fine with me. Is it fine with all of you? Please review and let me know what you think. But remember! This is my first attempt in entering the darkened abyss that is SJ's mind. He a slippery SOB, and I hope I've nailed him.