The detective pulled away, a look of surprise crossing her face. Her eyes told me there was no way I could feel that way for her so quickly, but when I looked deeper, her soul told me something different. I couldn’t explain it, but there was something deep within her. It scraped at the surface, trying to break through as if her heart felt the same way for me. I saw how her body moved in opposition to her expression.
She looked up at me. Her gaze locked with mine, disbelief in the depths of her eyes. She clung to me, pressed so tightly against my body it was as if we were joined at the hip. I didn’t want to admit what I felt for her, but I couldn’t fight it any longer. I loved her, and I would do anything for her.
That perplexed and scared me. How could I, the God of Hate and Jealousy, be in love? Would I even recognize it as the proper emotion? That was the problem this entire time. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but my willingness to set my minions free and embrace the unknown future told me it was indeed love. It had to be.
I couldn’t love my mother. She ignored me and neglected me from as far back as I could remember. I liked my siblings, but I wouldn’t call what I felt for them love. It was more like a responsibility to support or protect them if needed. My father was a completely different situation entirely. I admired him greatly and wanted his approval so desperately that it drove me mad with hatred, which split into jealousy when I saw his affections for my brothers. It was then that my minions were born and haunted my thoughts. I said nothing to nobody because even I knew it wasn’t a good thing, even if I was a god, to see or hear things that others could not.
But what I felt for the detective was purer and stronger than anything I’d felt before. There were no limits to what I would do for her or because of her. I’d saved her twice now from a fate I didn’t want to imagine. I was more afraid of losing her and what it would do to me than I was of never seeing my family or minions again.
Things inside of me shifted, changing and morphing around in me like a chemical reaction inside of a clear test tube. It was as if a mad scientist removed my normal compound and replaced it with newer, more powerful compounds and shook it up to see how it would react. Well, my body was reacting and changing inside, but I couldn’t tell her what I was feeling. When I’d told her what I was, she’d scoffed and refused to believe me. I’d seen her understanding and acceptance for me grow after I’d saved her life, but there was a part of her that wanted to pull away from me.
She stared at me in silence. I gazed back, unable to stop the tears from falling.as the water pushed through my eyes. I watched her eyes fill with tears, leaving silvery tracks on her cheeks as they fell. She smiled at me, nodding in agreement or understanding. She leaned close, her lips hovering over mine. Our eyes never left each other’s as she paused, waiting for something to stop us from going through with the act of intimacy. With a deep breath, she pressed her lips against mine, and it felt like my heart exploded like an overfilled water balloon.
The zaps of electricity surged throughout my body as I held her, fitting her body against mine. My eyes closed as I allowed myself to drown in the new euphoric wave that crashed over me. I loved her, and I loved how I felt. It was everything I had been searching for since I’d left home. There were no more distractions, no arguments or suggestions in my head, nor were there any mortals trying to kill us. It was just her and me holding each other as we gave into our passions.
That was when it hit me. My body stiffened, and every joint locked into rigidity. I tried to open my eyes to look at her, but they felt like they were sewn shut. My breathing became rapid, whistling through my nostrils. The detective broke her touch, pulling her face away to look at my altered appearance. The sounds dwindled to a faint hum before disappearing completely. Then I was falling backward, unable to regain my balance or prevent it.
I expected to smash into the hard floor, but the impact never came. Instead, it felt like I fell into a body of water. I was conscious and aware of what was happening, but there were only dull clicks in my ears. I commanded my eyes to open, but they remained closed, too heavy to lift. I took a deep breath to prove to myself I wasn’t underwater, and that was when everything rushed back into my consciousness.
The ringing surged into my ears, forcing my eyes open. My vision blurred, and I couldn’t make out anything in my corrupted vision. I knew what I was trying to look at wasn’t the detective. The figure that stood before me was broad and strong. The dark shadow crept into focus as my eyes narrowed in on the unknown target. I thought I was in front of a mirror because who I saw was me.
It wasn’t my reflection, and I wasn’t looking in a mirror. The man before me was an image of myself, grinning in fondness. His expression was one of appreciation and what appeared to be relief. I didn’t know how to explain it, but I went from feeling like I was falling to standing, only to end up in a seated position. I sat in a chair across from the appreciative me, who sat comfortably in a chair of his own.
He smiled at me, leaning forward, resting his elbows on his thighs. My eyes darted around to find something familiar, but it was a gray room with nothing in it. There was no furniture besides the chairs we sat on. It was just the two of us, staring at ourselves.
My reflection removed a pack of cigarettes from his black jacket pocket. His undershirt was unbuttoned down to the middle of his chest. He was dressed in black from head to toe, but everything else was identical to me. He had the same hairstyle, beard, and eye color. The only difference was his all-black suit without a tie.
He plucked a cigarette from the box with his teeth before smiling at me. He wiggled the cigarette as he bared his teeth. It danced wildly, bouncing up and down before he stopped it to light the tip with his lighter. I was so focused on him that I hadn’t noticed there was a cigarette clutched between my lips. He raised his eyebrows, and I felt the match in my hand. I looked down to verify that and flicked the tip with my thumbnail before lighting the end of my cigarette.
It all felt real. I knew it was in my head, my inner subconscious, but it felt like reality. I could taste the familiar tang of tobacco as I inhaled deeply and smell the odor of the smoke that plumed between us.
“Boy, have I waited a long time for this,” he said with a snort.