My feet didn’t move no matter how much I urged them. As the mysterious man began to edge closer to me, I could see the moonlight glint off of a gold chain that wrapped around and connected his two horns together. The chain was radiant in the moonlight and almost seemed to blind me. The man stared at me and, as he stared at me, his eyes began to narrow until they were nothing but mere slits. I could no longer see the silver irises. Before my mind could even register what was happening, the man took a step, and suddenly appeared in front of me. It was as if that step had moved around space and time to teleport him before me.
Upon closer inspection the man was relatively tall, even though I was shorter than others of my age, looking up at him made it seem like I was looking up the tallest mountain to stare at the sky. I barely even reached his slender waist. He reached his hand out toward me, as if to touch me, I did not know. I was extremely terrified, as scared as a rabbit, but unable to run away. As his hand began to get closer, I could feel that panther within me raise its hackles. It hissed, the sound echoing throughout the field. The man stayed his hand, looking at me even more curiously than before. The panther growled and, before I knew it, the flames that had once encased me appeared once again, this time almost a bright blue color.
Even though my skin was not burning under the intense heat, I could still feel that if anyone touched it, their flesh and bones would instantly scorch. It was a terrifying feeling to know that the fire was that fierce. I wanted to reign it in, but the man before me just chuckled and opened his mouth. Once again, those flames were eaten as if they were a tasty snack.
With my body still not in my control, I felt as though the panther inside me lifted it’s paw and swiped out. As if mimicking that act, my own arm raised and my black as night hand connected on the unknown man’s forearm. His skin broke beneath my fingernails leaving blood trailing down his arm. He just looked down at his arm and raised his eyebrows, not even making a sound. He just watched me as the panther inside me hackled and hissed.
“Who are you, little boy?” His voice was like the most decadent chocolate, bringing me in until I couldn’t even realize that I was drowning in the sound. At the sound of his voice, the panther inside me actually perked up it’s ears and seemed to tilt it’s head toward him, as if it was listening as well. “Who are you?” He asked again.
But I could not answer, the panther was still in control. The unknown man reached out again and gently touched my cheek. His fingers felt cold against my skin, almost as if they were ice. I realized then, that my skin was just as hot as those blue flames. The panther shied at the touch and it made my body move several feet away from him, locking us into a stalemate.
The man sighed and then I felt as if my entire head was going to explode. My ears began ringing and my vision began to fade. A cold touch landed on my cheek once more, and I realized that the man was touching me again. The cold seeped into my skin, cooling me down until it reached the panther. It hissed at the cold and swiped out at it, but the cold continued to spread until it was surrounding the cat, making it unable to move even a single inch.
Once again, that melodic voice echoed out, reaching my ears and rattling my brain. “Who are you?”
It was as if that voice was inside my head, echoing to every corner as if trying to find me. It’s as if it knew I was still in here and that I wasn’t the panther. I felt my lips move before I even heard my own voice reply, “Keiran D’Arrow.”
My own reply left me shuddering as the cold seemed to seep further into my bones. The panther was howling at the cold, then it’s eyes flashed a brilliant blue and the blue flames erupted from the it, clashing against the cold.
The cold and the hot clashing together within me made it so that there was a raging storm within me. As the two opposite forces fought against each other, the backlash caused me to lose my balance and I fell to the ground. The ground was cold against my skin and I could feel all the blades of grass touching my palms. The storm inside me raged until another backlash hit and I began to feel completely numb. It was as if all of my nerves endings had died and I no longer had the ability to even feel the blades of grass as I had a few seconds ago.
The fight within me made it so that I couldn’t even think, I couldn’t even remember why the two forces were fighting. Why did I feel nothing but pain? Above me I could feel a presence that was constricting me, pushing me down farther into the ground. That tall mountain was something that I felt the need to break away from or else it would suffocate me. I felt as if I was dying, slowly, unable to breathe and move, not even able to think.
A light touch on the back of my neck was what brought me back. But that touch also brought back the pain and the bitterness of being unable to control my own body. Inside me, those two fighting forces became nothing but a nuisance and all I wanted was for everything to just go away.
Go away. Go away. Go away, goawaygoawaygoaway. GO AWAY!
My conscience exploded. Within me, those two powers were blown away from each other. The panther curled into itself, whimpering and crying. It’s heat began to leave my body. The cold power flew out of my system, like a kite that had it’s string cut.
With the panther cowering in a corner, I finally had the ability to control my body once again. As I opened my eyes, I was caught into a storm of gold and silver. That unknown man was now on the ground, clutching his head. His eyes stared into mine as if he was able to see into my soul. The gold chains around his horns clinked together, chiming to the sound of my heartbeat.
It was then that I noticed the blood trailing from those silver eyes like tears made of rubies. Blood also seeped from his nose, flowing until it reached his top lip. With his eyes still locked on mine, his tongue darted out and licked away that trail of blood.
Terrified at the look in his eyes, it took me a moment to realize that even his body was covered in bleeding wounds. There were multiple wounds on his chest filleting his skin open revealing ivory white skin. The worst of the injuries was actually his hand.
When my power exploded out, he must have been the one who had touched me because his entire hand was nothing but golden bones. All of his skin and muscles were missing leaving nothing but that sheen of gold that encased his bones. Even with blood still flowing from his wounds, the man brought his hand closer to himself and stared at the now skinless hand. He frowned slightly before looking back at me.
“Hellfire. Only two people in this world can control hellfire. There should not be a third…unless…” His eyes brightened and then he disappeared. His entire body was gone in an instant, leaving me alone, my body shivering as it went between hot and cold. Before I even had the chance to stand, the man was back, appearing right where he had left. It had only been a couple of seconds, but by the time the man returned, all of the blood was gone and so were the wounds, except his hand, it was the only thing still the same, still nothing but golden bones.
His eyes were extremely bright as he looked at me, he stood tall and proud in that field, the moonlight glinting through his white hair and making the red in his horns stand out more. He squatted down and reached out toward me with that golden hand, his smile calm and his eyes showing nothing but happiness.
“I know who you are, Kei mou.” His ruined hand touched my cheek, and for some reason I did not feel the need to back away as I had when the panther was in control. Instead, his presence felt soothing, as if he was a warm cup of cocoa after a long day in the snow. Even though I was a child, I still felt myself lean into his touch. This small action caused the smile on the man’s face to brighten, but when the panther within me hissed from its corner, his smile turned into a frown.
“It will escape once I leave.” The man murmured as if to himself. He looked into my eyes and looked down at my still black skin, that frown became more pronounced. His next words were whispered with a vehement passion. “The King’s child must not die.”
I could not understand what the man said next, but I could tell that with every word he spoke, the black on my skin receded with every syllable.
“Desmévo tin kardiá mou sti dikí sas. Sfragízontas tin psychí mou gia aioniótita, kratóntas sas móno. Aftí eínai i désmefsí mou.” The words flowed out of his mouth like a lullaby, slowly seeping into my skin and binding my soul. The man paused, and his eyes caught mine, a slight smile on his face as he looked at me almost tenderly before he repeated the sentence, this time in English.
“I bind my heart to yours. Sealing my soul for eternity, held by you alone. This I pledge.” With that last word, I felt as if my body had been released from the chills, the pain and the panther. It was as if those words were actually a lullaby to the panther. It closed it’s eyes and began to purr softly. I found that once the black receded, my own consciousness began to fade as well. I wanted to stay awake, but I could not hold my eyes open for a second longer. The man grabbed me, and held me tightly to his chest. The last thing I saw, was a mixture of gold and silver and the pink of the morning sunrise.
All around me I felt nothing but warmth, inside my mind a black panther was curled into a ball, sleeping. But, as if it heard a sound, it’s ears perked up and it’s head lifted from where it was settled on it paws. It’s liquid eyes seemed to stare into mine. I recognized this panther now. This time, I was no longer afraid of it and I reached out to touch it.
Under my hand, the black fur was like velvet and the cat purred as it headbutted my hand. I lifted both of my hands and caught it’s face bringing it closer until our foreheads were touching.
“I am no longer afraid of you.” I told it. It purred harder and butted me softly. “You are me,” I told it, coming to the realization, “and I am you.” It’s purrs were so loud that they rumbled through my entire being. Slowly, as if a candle was being blown out, the darkness that was the panther slowly began to seep into my skin, slowly integrating into me, until we became one, and our powers finally, after so long, settled how they were meant to be.
As I opened my eyes, the warmth of Zane’s arms around me were soothing. It wasn’t long before I noticed that my wings had unfurled. However, instead of being the pitch black night with only the tips being blue, this time, my wings were a bright blue, the color of hellfire, only the crests were still dyed with ink.
Zane must have noticed that my breathing had changed, and before I knew it, he was kissing me. Lightly, softly, before he pulled away.
“Welcome back, Kei mou. I zoí mou.”
i zoí mou : My life.