Author's Note: Okay, okay, so I have two other projects on the go... so sue me, lol! I just couldn't resist writing this. The imagery in my head was too powerful, and my Muses were jabbing my with pointed sticks, and... and... those things hurt! Long story short... temptation! I know Graymoon74 won't be complaining anyway, hehehehe, hopefully ~_^
Welcome... to 'Ghosts of Old'...
Wind tore mercilessly over the frozen fields of the Mongolian wastelands, lifting light snowflakes from the ground and swirling them about before letting them settle once again to join the ice below. Everything was still save for the gentle blizzard, and the eerie howl it brought with it as it ripped through the broken carcass of the building that had once been a formidable fortress. Its cracks and holes were attacked by the wind and the snow, the surfaces engulfed by the whiteness and the frost until the rooms inside the crevices could no longer be recognised as hospitable. It clung to furniture, blew tapestries from the walls, settled on the ground and ruined anything that had once been useable.
But it was in a room to the rear of the gloomy dead building that the real spectacle was about to take place. To a casual onlooker, the most obvious thing about the room was the lack of damage it had sustained from whatever blast had wracked its form. A number of portraits had toppled from the walls, a lamp or a vase fallen to break against the carpeting, but... nothing too ghastly.
That was, if one overlooked the rotten corpse pinned to the wall, falling apart and ashen with decay. The bones were visible through the putrefied skin, as thin as paper, and the clothes hanging from it seemed wasted. A fine, steel blade as if from a slim sheath pinned it through its chest to the wall, a killing blow if ever one had been made. No man could have survived the strike. Of course... there was no evidence as to the man's real demise.
The wind eerily tore into the room, lifting a grey-blue bowler hat from its lodging and blowing it across the floor where it rolled for a moment and then lay still. A curtain fluttered. The decaying corpse was disturbed by the breeze, and seemed on the verge of falling into itself with utter decomposition. That was, until it shifted slightly, and the wind tore through it, even from its place pinned to the wall.
The elements wrapped around the corpse, thrashing against exposed bone, ashy flesh hanging from the skeleton, attacked hollow cavities where organs had long ago resided. It ripped at the lifeless strands of once-luscious hair, and threatened to tear it free.
Then something truly spectacular and altogether terrifying started to happen. The crumbled remains from the floor were lifted by the somehow otherworldly wind, and returned to their place within the corpse, coating it, and the bones shuddered as if frightened. A deep rattling and a shiver trembled from within the body, and it began to twist, as if suffering. There was a sigh, like the wind was weary, and a new wave of the blizzard struck the corpse ruthlessly with the force of a hurricane.
It was completely engulfed by the supernatural elements that ate away at it - seemingly - and a bloodcurdling shriek emanated from within the cloud of fog that had rolled in with the flakes of snow and the terrible wind. It was enough of a deathly sound to freeze the heart of any man, regardless of claims of bravery and nonchalance. It was truly horrifying.
And then... almost as suddenly as the awesome exhibition had started... it stopped, died away and receded into the realm from whence it came. It drew back, and dissipated, leaving an odd and chilling silence hanging like a veil over the room, now truly demolished by the queer elements that had ravaged it unexpectedly.
But something had changed. The corpse... it was no longer decayed, rotting and near complete disintegration... not anymore. Now it looked whole again, save for the vicious blade piercing the man's chest just below the ribcage, right through to the wall behind him. The head was lowered, as if lifeless, until, with a mighty choked gasp, it shot up and back, almost slamming into the wall.
The dark brown eyes were wide with confusion and quite possibly pain, as he took in the surroundings, and he breathed heavy, rasping breaths that shook his entire frame. His hair had returned, though... oddly enough, the shade had altered from the black of coal seen before the abnormal event. It was no longer the pitch black of a starless night... it had lightened considerably, inexplicably. The raven darkness had receded, and an oddly calming shade of chestnut brown had stolen precedence, the delicate locks playing on the man's fine brow. His facial hair was gone, lost in his resurrection perhaps, though the casual onlooker would never have known of its existence. The eyes blinked once, twice, and flew down to the sword in his chest.
He uttered a slight whimper, and then, seeming to recall a pride he had once revelled in, stifled the sound entirely. He rose up a flawless hand, and gripped the wooden hilt, polished and smooth to the touch under his fingertips, unused for so long. He relished in the sensation for a moment, as if he had forgotten the simple pleasures, and then gripped it firmly, cruelly, taking it upon himself to do so with the other hand, and ripping at it with all the strength he could muster.
With a crack and a sickening squelch, the blade tore free from his chest, and the weapon clattered to the floor, even as the man dropped to his knees in silent anguish. He did not cry out, did not scream or yelp... he was perfectly still in his suffering... no, there was no distress in his eyes now. It seemed it did not pain him. Touching a hand to the rip in his fine attire, where the dust flaked from where the wound had been, he smiled crookedly, before it became a full on grin.
Before long, he started to chuckle, and then broke into a heartfelt laugh of true mirth, though there was a darkness and almost a kind of sorrow to its tone as it reverberated around the walls of the room he knelt in.
After a moment of giving in to his apparent humour, he gathered himself to his feet, taking the blade with him, holding it gently - almost affectionately - by the hilt. He admired the blade for a moment as it shone in the wan light, turning it this way and that, and then running his finger down the sharpened edge. It sliced the skin effortlessly, but even as he watched, transfixed it seemed, the wound practically fell away as if ashamed to touch or mar his perfect skin.
He smiled, showing his white teeth, and sighed lightly, eyeing the apparent scabbard for the sword he seemed to be in awe of so much. He picked it up, and regarded it.
A cane, the man thought, and slotted the blade away, hearing the affirming click as the sword was locked away in perfect concealment. How useful... and extremely familiar.
Suddenly, flashes of images tore into his subconscious, and he reeled, gripping the foot of the chair near to him for stability as he watched internally whilst two immortals were locked in an eternal battle for supremacy and justice. One a vampire, the other... a man who had exchanged his soul for eternal youth and life. A beautiful woman... a handsome man... some would say a perfect match.
Letting a humourless smile touch his lips, drawing them into a thin line lacking in mirth, he whispered a word, a name, "Mina..."
He touched a hand to his own face, and then furrowed his delicate brow, before casting his eyes about for the mirror he so - vainly enough - desired all of a sudden. He found one laying on its front on the dresser, and took it in his grasp, lifting it into view. He let a small gasp of disbelief cross his lips as he stared at the face that seemed to have changed so much, though it had only altered subtlely.
He was the man from the memories, but... his black hair was gone, the colour changed to a light mahogany brown, the curled waves ever the same, but perhaps thinner, lacking in the life they had had before.
We shall see about that, he thought wryly, touching a hand to his chin and upper lip. The fine facial hair was gone. Perhaps an improvement.
Smiling, he tossed the mirror without a care back onto its place of being, hearing the glass crack, shrugging it off as none of his concern. So his appearance had changed, if only slightly... it mattered little to him. He still carried the same face he had paid dearly for, still walked in the same body and thought with the same brain. A change in mane and trimmings was a trivial issue. He cast it aside as a less than essential thought, and halted at his clothing.
This won't do, he mused, plucking at the hole once more, before laying his eyes upon a suitcase and brightening with a muttered, "Aha." He crossed to it, and threw it open with a flourish, suddenly cheery without reason.
His brain was working in overdrive to categorise everything that he was starting to remember, and he hummed a light operatic tune as he changed his attire. Flashes of images and the frequent blaring of recollected sound or speech did not deter him from his task, as he drew a brush from the case and took to tidying his curls.
He smiled at the rather - in his own opinion - fetching reflection, clad now in flawless fabrics and the finest of suits only worn by gentlemen of high stature. He looked quite the sight for sore eyes... if one were to ask the man himself.
"Perfect," he muttered, tugging experimentally on the sarcenet and smiling with a satisfied sigh. He scooped up the cane-sword, and twirled it in his hand. It seemed he certainly knew how to use it.
Before crossing out of the room, his mind made up, everything back in clear, sharp focus, he halted where he had been 'destroyed'... some would say killed. He bent down gracefully with an almost feline elegance, and took the dropped ring in his hand, rising to his full height once more, tossing it carefully into the air. Afterwards, he slipped it smoothly onto the middle finger of his left hand, comforted by the weight of the jewellery.
Of course, curiousity taking over, he stopped at one of the cracks in the wall of the building, and peered out with a frown. Sighing, he realised he would need some sort of insulating clothing if he was going to traipse about in that abysmal weather.
Trying to find his way to a suitable ground level exit, and some sort of useful clothing, such as a coat or a cloak preferably, he whistled jauntily to himself. An onlooker would have perceived him as extremely strange to be so optimistic when just returning from the dead.
But, a casual onlooker would not be able to see into the mind of the man and comprehend the already formulating plan concocting itself there, twisting and forming into something - in the man's humble opinion - beautiful.
Dorian Gray's mind was made up... he would take back what was his... oh yes...
A/N2: Okay, yes... so love me/hate me for altering dear Dorian so, but it needed to be done! For a pic of him in his dashing new form, please do check out my and swoon your little hearts out. Either that, or just think whether or not you like it. You might recognise it straight away, and yes... it is still Stuart Townsend. Well, please do let me know what you think, something you fellow LXG fans have a boisterous talent for indeed. Let me know whether you like it or not, and I shall get around to writing the next part pronto... meaning as soon as I can, lol. Ciao for now!