Aislamiento Part Two

He smiled at her so pleasantly, and his dark eyes glittered like mica in coal. There was no way to guess he had just offered to kill her. Offered...God above, what a term. It was an out-and-out threat.

Niva paused briefly. For the first time, a flicker of life moved inside her. Self-preservation? Fear? She didn't know...she couldn't tell. A madman, clearly a madman. Or...

Her thoughts stopped still as the last rays of sunlight caught off his face.

He had fangs.

Fangs, slender pearly knives, and his dark eyes had become shiny and sleek as polished as tiger's eye.

The world is cruel, Niva thought stupidly. So why should it surprise me that things like him exist? She knew what he was of course, knew it in that base instinctual part that took the horror stories of childhood and stored them away.

Kill you. The words sounded in her head. Niva tasted them, rolling them through her mind like rich delicacies. Yes...that would be sweet and fitting. That she should die at last, and find her peace. Wasn't that what she had wanted for so long? Hadn't she simply been wandering towards her own death?

And here it was, beautiful and deceitful and waiting. Oh yes.

"No," she said softly, hearing her voice fall flat upon the air. "I wouldn't mind."

His brow furrowed briefly, and the fixed predatory stare seemed to falter while she waited, patient as a saint.

Here I am, she urged. I am what you want. Take me, kill me, do with me as you will. You are only my road to a warmer world. This is my purpose. My feet have brought me here to you, and you will open the final path for me.

"As you will," he whispered. The whisper of death, caressing her with cold, bony hands. She saw his mouth part further, and as he looked down at her with drunken eyes, lost in a deep lust she couldn't comprehend, she gazed back serenely.

He moved so fast he was a blur.

And bit her.

The sun exploded inside her head.

That was how it felt; a fierce rush of heat and light that made Niva reel. If she hadn't been couched, safe in his murderous arms, she would surely have fallen. In that instant, his every thought was emblazoned on her senses.

You...you... she gasped, understanding that she was not speaking aloud, and gave up on words.

He was...a vampire. One who walked the night, and in its footsteps planted his own. Blood was his wine, rich and full, but he had been starving so long...so long, because—

A wash of heat, and voices swelled out of this heavenly warmth.

"Get out! Get out of my sight. Murderer, kinslayer, wastrel!" A hiss of a voice, feminine and throaty.

"I didn't—"

Him, so lost and so afraid. With a start, Niva realised he was only a little older than herself, not even a score years old and so lost, so afraid that he took refuge in darkness.

"Oh, you killed her, you filthy child," that same woman yowled, and slowly, a narrow, artful face fell into focus, with oval green eyes that dripped venom. "The blood is there, the truth is there!"

His savage cry, as he huddled back from her vicious rage. "No! She was my...my..." But the word caught, it caught in his throat and he couldn't set it free. And he was afraid, and drowning under a world of hurt because of the word that would not leave him.

She was my friend.

And as she drowned under the terror of his thoughts, she saw this strange nameless boy thrust from his home, beaten and confused. Into a world he had never seen, into a world where he was alone, and no longer a noble but mere barter for anyone who cared to use him.

Stop! His voice was a ragged gasp in her ears. Get out! I don't want you here!

The memory snapped out like a portcullis had been dropped over it, and she was left alone, within the cold stone walls of his mind to spin around and around and look for a way out. There was no door, no window, no sky above. Only bleak, thick stone.

"Why are you afraid of me?" Niva shouted, her voice returning to her. No longer in a memory, but in the hollow cavern of his very being. Her hands coiled into fists and her thin voice rolled around the hall, echoing. Afraid, afraid, afraid... "How dare you tell me to get out!" Out, out, out... "You attacked me!"

He appeared, suddenly as if she had blinked, with his face wild and furious, snarling like a caged creature. "You wanted death," he spat, advancing on her. "You invaded me. You said you weren't a witch!"

Niva's hands itched to slap him. But she could see the rippling of his eyes, dangerously close to the edge, and restrained herself. "I'm not a witch," she hissed back. "Look at me!"

The scorn in his eyes burned. The compulsion to hit him sprang up again. "Then why are you in my head?" he shouted. "Why can't you leave me alone!"

The last word was a primal howl, and it bounced through her head painfully.

It hit her.

That was what this was all about, wasn't it? This anger.

"I would," Niva said quietly, all the rage draining away from her, "but I can't. And I don't think you want me to."

Alone...oh yes, the way was so hard alone. There was only yourself to rely on, and when that failed, only the knowledge that you were a worthless failure. Your only teacher was yourself, and if your teacher was a fool, then you too were doomed.

He stopped, gasping for breath. He was an angel again briefly, but an angel who had been torn at and destroyed until there was only that terrible vulnerable look, buried under layers of hatred and cruelty.

"What the hell would you know?" he said, but his voice was calm. "What does some cheap human slut know about loneliness?"

There was a sharp tug, as if she was pulled off her feet, and the answer lay before them.

Niva closed her eyes as the bodies of her family danced before her, with their rolling eyes and mad grins. Sores on their faces, and matted hair, and voices screaming horrible things at her.

Useless, ugly, useless child ,why hadn't she saved them? Why had she let them die? Why didn't she go dance with them, dance in the fire that had charred the house? She could dance so nicely...

"Enough." The boy's voice cut across her and Niva swayed. He put out a hand to steady her, then flinched back. Human contact...scared him.

"I guess you do know," he said shortly. The pain was back in her now, like a wound reopened and bleeding anew. She stared at him. His smile must have been sweet and real once. Not so cold. Not so empty.

"I know," she managed to answer. "I don't know what this is." This link, this strange thing...the way that when she looked into his eyes, she saw his soul resting there, open to her.

"A binding," he answered shortly. His eyes seemed to deepen and darken. "God's last laugh on us both."

"There is no god." She sought for a distraction, for anything that would eradicate the memory of those rotting, dancing bodies. "Who did you kill?"

His eyes lit up from within, blazing ferociously. "No one!"

She shrugged. "Then why?"

The boy's lips skinned back very slowly. His fangs...Niva frowned. Hadn't he done this earlier? Wasn't there something she should remember?

"Why?" he breathed. Unholy fire made him blaze in this dim place, iridescent as sun striking raindrops. "Why?"

One, two, three strides and he was by her. "I'll show you," he hissed. "Maybe you won't be so damn superior then."

He kissed her savagely...her first kiss, Niva thought, stunned, as his thoughts burnt into her, fusing and melding...until she saw.

Eyes. A pair of long-lashed deep blue eyes, peering at her – no, his, she realised – face. And then drawing back, and telling him that yes...yes, she would trust him. She. She was a witch, Niva thought dimly, a beautiful witch with curling ashy hair, surely not much older than the boy.

And a voice, cool and chiming, saying, "Yes. I think I can trust you. I can tell you. It's horrible. What's been happening...what's been done." Then the stunning blue eyes fell shut, and she told the boy something terrible and dark that had shocked him to his being.

But someone had overheard this witch and the boy. Heard the words that should never have been spoken, that killed his friend of eleven years and made him outcast from his people.

He had lost everything.

But so had Niva.

"I'm not superior," she said calmly, as he drew back that copper-burnished head, and stared at her with his strange, wild eyes. "I'm like you."

"You are nothing like me," he said in a flat, dead voice. She caught the thought he didn't voice. You will never know my pain.

Her anger flared. For the first time in so long, she was thinking and feeling and living once more. But Niva barely noticed. "Don't you say that to me!" she said angrily. "You saw them!"

"Dead mortals." His lip curled. "So what? It's how you all are eventually."

She slapped him hard.

He let out a soft yelp, red flaring up on his face. "Bitch," he said fiercely.

This time, Niva kicked him as viciously as she could. He doubled over, saying words she didn't know the meaning of in a fast, brutal voice.

And as he straightened, she caught hold of him with her too-thin arms, and stood on tiptoe to look into his face evenly. "I'll show you," she murmured in a voice as cool as the rain in the world outside. "Maybe you won't be so damn superior then."

She kissed him gently, for that had been her nature once, before time and grief had made her hard. She put into her touch the tenderness she had thought long gone and heard his soft, startled intake of breath.

Images of her family, of what they had meant to her. Of her sister binding her cut knee, and trying to wash the mud from Niva's grimy, tear-stained face. The bellowing laugh of her father, and just once, the harsh impact of his hand when she had stolen bread. The timid smile of her mother, sitting by the hearth and sewing in the gloomy light. Of the bad times, and the good, and the times that were somewhere in between.

And the hot sting at the back of her eyes, itching as they fell ill. Watching their bodies shrivel while their minds decayed too, and when the last breath left her father, sitting and holding his hand for long hours until she could no longer deny that he was cold in her grasp; that they were all cold now.

Leaving.

And when the memories stopped, this boy, held her still and sent new thrills through her. Don't stop, Niva wanted to say. You make me forget. Keep me here with you, in this promise of a beginning.

She was aware somewhere, that there was something she should say to him, or tell him. But it seemed so far away and insignificant with this kiss that brought more than mere human touch; that wrapped her in his mind and kept the cold away. Make me part of you—

He had bitten her.

Her blood flowed into him, she knew now, he knew now, and she was dying.

She felt him struggle against the force that drew them closer, and closer, but it was too late. Too close now, too deeply bound to break free of this treacherously lovely web.

The magnetic, terrible force of that connection had bound them eternally together and now there was no way to release either. Her life was slipping into him, a slender trail of golden motes, subsumed in his inhuman body and inhuman blood.

That power united them fiercely, and Niva drowned under the rainbow storms of his thoughts and cried out at the sheer weight of his sudden longing. No, she couldn't leave him...no, there was something to live for now. Something to explore, questions to ask and answers to find that would stun her senseless..

But they were frozen, unable to break this overwhelming oneness...

She felt herself begin to drop away, into a dark tunnel that opened beneath her. One, splitting into two, splitting irrevocably.

No, she screamed soundlessly, don't let me go! Hold on...hold on...

For this was her soulmate, her heart's hope, yet however hard he clung, death had a stronger hold and it tore them apart unstoppably, inch by excruciating inch.

Her words turned into one formless, animal scream that echoed through both of them. Screaming for her family who would be forgotten, who would drift in the darkened abyss. For herself and for him, who were two as one, who fitted like broken halves of a steel heart.

Her voice howling her swansong to the celestial heights, and reaching the uncaring stars that spun above. One last glimpse of a rainbow world, of the future that would never be...

And there was only that boy who held this limp body of a broken girl and cried hopelessly.

X - X - X - X - X

Wherever he roamed now, there would only be the empty gulf in his eyes, with a few faint shreds of himself twisting and fluttering in a ghostly breeze.

His heart would bleed forever.

He could not die. She was gone, drowned under his greed and all her human hurt was gone with her too, all the pain that had made her burn so bright. He had not known her name, but he had felt their hearts beat together.

She had screamed to lose him.

He held her wilted body with her hair so soft against his skin, and gasped for air. The truth burned in his throat, and it was terrible.

Eternity alone, to remember what might have been.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago!

X - X - X - X - X

Hmm...well, what did you think? I would love to know – this is a bit of an odd one. All comments and criticism very welcome.