His magic brought it to life, giving it an internal red glow that grew stronger, forcing it to shudder out a single beat. Then he dropped it into my gaping chest. It immediately attached, as if grateful to be reunited with its goddess.
The person turns around, a wide grin spreading across a face identical to my own. “Well, well, well. Fancy meeting you here. I think it’s about time for you and me to have a little chat,” my dark alter drawls, causing my heart to drop into my stomach.
I don’t shift, only run. Run as fast as I can as I hold the sides of my dress. Run up the winding stairs toward her room as tears begin to fall. I know what I have to do and what I have to give up. He was right, a heartless bitch I’m not. At least not yet. I’d made enemies, so many enemies, and now they are coming for the ones I hold dear.
He would die a mortal death, and I would let him, drachma on his eyes so he would rest in peace. But the day finally came, and I’d held him in my arms as he took his final breaths. I knew we’d made the right decision, but it took everything in me to allow it to be.
My face flashed between the three aspects the mortals used for me. A beautiful young maiden, the face I wore now, and the sharp weathered angles of a crone. My body stayed the same, dressed in light robes that swayed with the building wind, gore streaking the tops of my breasts and exposed stomach. I wore a crown of human bone, chanting as I lifted a snake into the sky.
“Wait!” I hear him shout after me, but nothing can stop me. Nothing but— I suddenly slam into what feels like an invisible force field. My feet come to a grinding halt as I feel her black tentacles wrap around my subconscious. I try to scream, but it doesn’t meet my lips. Instead, laughter bubbles up from me as she pulls me under.
I was filled with more emotion than I felt comfortable showing, letting the sea churn for me instead. The waves hit the mountainside so hard it kicked spray through the broken windows. “Is there even a Nikolas?” I asked quietly.
I couldn’t let him stay here. While the realm he created was beautiful, it was lonely and cold. I knew what happened to the souls in Propalyia. Eventually, they all flung themselves over the gates, only to be impaled, and returned to their homes. They hated me for it, which was why I kept my distance, why they moaned throughout the forests. Every human desires peace, and there was no peace in Propalyia.
“You know, you’re pretty hot for a dead girl,” he continues, as if my silence is an invitation. Classy, idiot. You don’t know who you’re messing with. Don’t make her come out. Trust me, you’ll regret it.
I’d loved it, lost for a time in a world of intangible fantasy and never too deep emotions, until inevitably, I’d craved more. I’d let my guard down, enjoying him way too much, and despite my best efforts, I realized I was falling in love. So naturally, I ruined everything.
Eyes like obsidian peek from behind his Guy Fawkes mask. Its twisted grin is like the antithesis to the gaping frown of mine. And yet, the foreshadowing of anarchy feels all the same. There’s a suave air to him as he dances up alongside me, just within reach and yet so far away. The energy between us feels static, like a live wire connects us.
As she goes to dispose of her drink, she trips on her own two feet, and without thinking, I reach out and grab her, steadying her on her feet. My heart goes into my throat as I feel a smidge of my power release.