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Feelings are everything known to humankind. Love, affection, fondness, warmth and much more. All I ever wanted to feel those. But, I forgot there were other feelings too. Like another part of the coin, there were hate, lies, deceit, loss, fear, anger and even sacrifices. So it probably only took one second. One second to relive all the feelings.
And, one second to take all of it away. Cause I am the unfortunate bride who they wanted to sacrifice.
I am the soul mate and beginning of darkness.
“YOU ARE LOOKING GORGEOUS, HONEY.”
I wish I was blind, oblivious to the world.
Then I didn't have to see this. Looking up, I was met with a girl who has lost the fire in her eyes. She was familiar yet farther from the girl I have always known. Someone was dressing her in a black satin floor length wedding gown. Ironic, considering indeed it was more of a sacrifice rather than a wedding. I didn't even notice my mother started to murmur again when my eyes turned away from the mirror in front of me to my mother who was crouching beside me. The distant sound of the rain was a soothing feeling in my heart, which gave me the decision to bargain my fate again.
"I am not ready, mother. And I don't think I am ever going to be."
Her brow furrowed hearing my whisper. Taking my hands in hers, she made me look at her eyes. “Look at me, hun. I know you're ready, you can do this. This is your fate, Keira. No one can change fate. Just wait until midnight, you'll see what I'm talking about. You are going to be the perfect bride this clan has ever seen, OK?” Giving me a weak smile, she handed me some flowers which I had yet to notice in her hands.
My favorite flower.
But now it feels like poison as they look as dark as I feel.
“If being sacrificed called OK then yes. I'm OK! Why? Why me? Why I’ve to marry a man, oh no wait, a dead man who has been lying in a grave for God knows how many years!? A Darkness!” My facade broke as I threw the black lilies from my hand, making all people in the room gasp. I loved white lilies, not black, which reminds me of death.
Unconsciously my eyes turned to the mirror again to see the fire in my eyes has come back. My brown hair was shoulder length which was now in a tight bun with flowers, my brown eyes were coated with black eyeliner and my lips painted red. But my soul is not ready for this bridal sacrifice.
“You have a pure soul. Think it as a gift. You are helping us. No one can find this kind of soul. You are the last one. And for your groom...you know only he can give us the power.” My mother explained smiling tightly. She did not need to tell me how important I was. Ever since I was born, everyone wanted my soul but not me.
“This is why you people gave me shelter? Am I only a stepdaughter for you, who you don't care about at all? Is that it?" I asked getting up from my seat. I could feel the anger burn my entire being as I glared at my mother's cold eyes. The clan will always come first for her, not me. Not anyone else. I wanted to scream in frustration.
Why am I the only unfortunate one left?
For a second she hesitated before starting, “Your father did, not me. I love you as my own. I care about you as I would if you were my blood. But, even I can’t save you. It’s a matter of our clan's safety. And the clan always comes first."
Huh, like I didn't know that.
Shaking my shoulder, a tear rolled down her checks while continuing what she was saying before. "We can't protect ourselves from the other clans if we don't have the power Darkness has. And as the prophecy says, without your pure soul, Darkness cannot give us his powers. And if the clan does not get the power of immortality and the teachings that have been destroyed...they will kill you anyway. You do know that, right?”
I looked away from her tearful eyes to my own reflection. It is only a matter of time before I will be gone too.
“Then I die.” I finished. My chest tightened to the point that I could hardly see all the chaos and laughter around me. So, this is it for me. That's how I will take my last breath.
By getting sacrificed.
“Bring her. It’s time.” My father’s voice echoed through the cold haunted cemetery and immediately a chill went through my bones. Thank goodness, that my whole body was supported by my mother as I could feel my knees buckled under my legs at any moment. She took my shaking hands in hers and we all stopped near to a grave.
“It’s time to break her pledge from us, from the Red clan, from our God.” My father spoke taking a knife in his hand. He made a cut on his hand and waited for my confirmation. I was going to die anyway so they wanted to break the connection I had with the clan so that no one will feel hurt by the fact that I was gone. I knew it was a cruel tradition but before our old members died, we always broke their connection so we didn’t have to feel every member’s pain and the cold feeling in our heart.
“Do you, Keira, the daughter of the clan leader, agree to break this pledge to the clan willingly?” Asked my mother, taking a place beside my father.
“Y-Yes,” I answered shuttering.
Nodding my father held the knife up and handed it to me. I wrapped the knife in my hand and made a small cut on my palm. Mixing my blood with my father’s I broke the pledge by chanting the vow.
“In birth, in life, and in death. Now I, Keira, willingly break the pledge to honor and be loyal to my afterlife.”
Just then I could feel emptiness engulfing me meaning the deed was done. After everyone nodded, confirming that the pledge was really broken, my father started in a commanding voice, “Now the prayers. The wedding will be starting soon. Priest, start.”
A man who I knew as the High Priest, came closer to me with a heavy book in his hands. I've seen him numerous times in my nineteen years of life, healing our members when they were sick. But today he was going to kill a soul just for some power they thought they all deserved. An unwanted laugh left my lips thinking back to the memories.
Everyone here was hypocrites.
When they talk about protecting each other, they also kill their own for power.
“Do you the clan’s leader’s daughter Keira, take this grave’s owner the strongest, the darkest soul, Darkness, for your lawfully wedded husband?” The priest asked me with a voice which had no emotions. No regret whatsoever. Outside I looked still strong doing whatever they threw at me but inside I was scared to death thinking what will happen when I give them my consent. Looking up to the sky, I was met with the silver rays of the full moon. Taking as much breath as I can, I looked at the scenery in front of me cherishing it and said,
They all cheered.
“Now do you, Darkness, the master of the Night, take Keira to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
Then a low hum followed as everyone started chanting. Even if I knew it was a sacrifice, I did not know how a dead man was supposed to say his wedding vows. Then it clicked. The knife in my father's hand shone in the night as everything came crushing back.
I remembered the rumors they used to spread about how the pure soul would be handed over to the Darkness. Only this time it wasn't a rumor but reality. They said that they needed to cut the pure soul's throat and if her blood mixed into the grave that means his consent of giving his powers.
By that time, I will lose so much blood leading me to the brink of death that it'll be a miracle if I survived. And not to mention, if they start taking power from my soul, which they will, my survival chance will come down to 1 or 2%. A shiver went through me as they started walking to my side.
“Shh...Just relax and let the process happen.” My father said calmly but his voice was nothing like fatherly, more like a power hungry warlock. He positioned me until I was standing so close to the grave that one small push was enough to make me stumble into the grave. Taking the offended knife, he slowly brought it to my neck. Closing my eyes, I waited for the intense pain to come.
But it never did.
Just when I was about to open my eyes in confusion, a loud buzz filled my ears. Thick red blood drops started making their way to my dress but still, there was no pain. What's happening?
My confusion didn't linger much longer as the pain exploded in me, making me scream at the intense pain. My breath came in shallow as I tried to inhale and exhale. Loud chanting filled the air around me making it worse. God, why isn't it stopping? Like a rain, the blood kept soaking me to the point, my sight blurred, my head heavy like someone threw a heavy weight on my head.
The painful realization that you can no longer breathe was something I did not want to feel. The winds went violent along with the sound of the chanting clan members. In my hazy eyes, I noticed that the entire cemetery has gone dark.
Suddenly I could hear a loud animistic snarl which startled me, making me push whoever was holding me. Immediately someone cried out near me. I didn't know what happened after that. Several cries filled the airs making me cry out in my pain and theirs. I might not be still connected to them but I could feel the pain and agony in their voices.
It was dreadful like death crawling into your body slowly wishing you were already dead.
I might have dropped on the ground in the middle of the massacre as I felt someone trying to stand me up. From my blurred vision, I saw my mother holding me and saying something. But due to the buzz in my ears, all I heard were whispers.
“Run Keira, run.” This time I heard it in my head.
Just then, I forced my feet to start running. My black satin wedding dress was torn in the process but I did not stop. But after a while, I could feel my energy leaving me, making my eyes close against my will.
Oh, how I wish I was just a human...
LIFE WAS NEVER FULL OF ROSES AND RAINBOWS. What happens at present is always the result of our past. Our own demons are to be blamed for our sins or our foolishness. When I was a child, I heard marriage was the best thing anyone can ever have. A loving husband, family, children...it’s a beautiful experience. But in my case marriage has become a joke. I have been prepared my whole life to become sacrificed. To what? A grave where someone died thousands of years ago? Who didn’t even know was being rescued by a harmless girl? But I didn’t make the choices. Society made it for me. But for what purpose? So that someone can gain intense powers? Why me? Maybe I will never get the answers. Maybe I was meant for bigger purpose or maybe it was just one of fate’s cruel games.
I woke up gasping for air. I was still pretty shaken by my self-pitied dream. My whole body shook in the cold. My throat was dry, making it hurt to take air. I could not remember lying on a ground in the middle of woods. Then it hit me. Last night...the wedding, the weird winds...but I was dying. How could I be alive? My hands immediately went to my throat and it was covered with dry blood. I took the time to look around me. I was pretty far from the town. My ankle was probably sprained; I had scratched marks on my arms and shoulder where the priest tried to grab me. My once beautiful gown was torn and barely hanging.
If I had a mirror maybe I will look like I am barely hanging too.
A loud sob left my lips even before noticing it was me that cried out. The pain in my body was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. I lied on the cold ground, crying in the misery that is my life. The pain was so unbearable that I wanted to die. After staring blankly at the morning sky for I do not know how much time, I tried to stand up only to stumble again on the ground. A small scream tore through me as my swollen ankle touched the ground. God...if only I knew how to do spells then I could easily just heal myself. But that wasn't possible so I tried to look for some bark for support. Thankfully there were some broken long ones that I could work as a crutch, so I took one and tried really hard. Slowly I stood up with the support. I can feel my foot hurt but at least for now it can walk.
I wanted to get the hell out of this town. But something kept me going back to the cemetery. I knew I was insane. Then in our culture when people were sane? I have heard people kill themselves for power. I was also a part of sacrificing. I kept limping with the crunch and when I reached the cemetery, I let out a high pitch scream. There was bloody dead body everywhere. How did they die? I was supposed to die, they did not. Then what really happened last night?
"Enjoying the view?” Someone asked me in a cold voice. I turned my head to the right where the sound was coming from only to see my mother looking at me as if I am a monster.
But I didn't do anything.
“What happened?” I asked calmly trying to keep myself warm. My dress was half torn and chilly winds were making me freeze.
“As seems you don’t know that! Run away from here, Keira. No one will want you now.” She replied in a cold voice. I did not want to yet I looked at her eyes that were sad and filled with grief.
I knew she blamed me for what happened yet I can't help but ask, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Maybe you are cursed. These people died for you, Keira. Died! You are the one to blame, no one else.” Angrily she grabbed my shoulder and immediately something jammed into me. To my surprise, the pain in my legs disappeared leaving only an uncomfortable ache. Swallowing down the knot that formed in my throat, I took a backstep from her.
What on earth was that possible!?
But my newfound surprise was in vain as my mother pointed at the mass of bodies lying on the ground burned almost to ashes that were once our clan or her clan.
“Look around you, Keira. There are at least 50 people lying here dead. You did something to them. Maybe your soul is not as pure as it should have been. Maybe deep down under this innocent facade, you’re dark, evil.” My mother screamed pulling my hair so that I could look where she was pointing her fingers. Swallowing a gulp I looked around. But, I couldn't watch any longer as she started tightening her hands around my jaw.
This is not the mother I remembered.
...I don't know this woman in front of me.
“Burn her. She killed them!”
“Don’t let her inside of your house! She's satan's child, she'll kill your children!”
“There’s a bounty on her head. Bring her to us and we’ll give you plenty money to live.”
The loud commotion startled us so much that she let me go immediately. I looked around in despair to see angry mobs everywhere. Seeing the running crowd the cold realization hit me hard in the head. By now every clan near my town knew what happened last night. And they will definitely want me to pay. I'm not safe here. Just because by some miracle I survived, they'll kill me if they find me.
I'm never going to be safe.
“I didn’t kill them. Please believe me, mother.” I begged my mother who was laughing and sobbing like a lunatic on her knees. She kept murmuring sorry to a burned body near the grave I was supposed to die.
Near the grave...
The cry after I pushed someone away from me.
Flinching at the memory I understood why she was acting like I did everything. When the massacre started, the person holding me was my father and we were really close to the grave. I pushed my father to his death.
Before I could apologize the same things happened. The winds started to blow violently, making me freeze. This time my feet thought faster than me as I realized I was already running from the cemetery. To my utter surprise, there was something following me in the wind!
“Please. Whatever you want, just let me go.” I ran screaming and begging them to leave me alone only to be stopped in front of a cliff. It was my favorite spot when I was a child. So, ironically this is also going to be the place I die.
I couldn't see my mother’s eyes see me as a monster. My kind’s people saw me as a fear. They called me satan's child. And on the top of it, I killed my father.
Not directly, but still I was the one to push him.
So if my death can get me rid of my guilt, then I’m ready. I can't live with the rest of my life watching over my back. That's not living, that's just breathing.
Wiping the stupid tears that decided to finally come, I was just about to jump then someone grabbed my arm and jerked me around only to be crashing something hard. I did not remember any stone here. I closed my eyes instantly from the fear of black shadows. When I heard harsh breaths, I opened my eyes carefully. My eyes met black ones. No, it was not a shadow
...It was a man?
“Miss me...wifey?” He smirked...
“You were going to embrace my friend also known as death. But given the consequences, I didn’t finish the marriage we should do it now, what say?" The deep, sexy voice of the man put me out of my trance and I gulped, closing and opening my eyes couple of times.
Why is this happening to me?
My confused mind was still hazy as I noticed he was full on smirking now. Have I already gone insane? But how can my insane mind create this awfully handsome and absolutely swoon-worthy man in front of me?
No, no, no...It’s can’t be happening! I looked at the man in front of me dressing in a black robe who almost looked like his height would be 6′2. I had to crane my neck up to meet his eyes. And his hair...it should be sinful to have such a hair. I almost wanted to touch his midnight black hair which had soft carls almost hiding his right eye. At first glance, he looked like a dark angel. His equally black eyes were making me think sinful things I shouldn’t be thinking about. Maybe I would've kept thinking more if not a mocking laugh came from the man in front of me.
“Oh! For devil’s sake! The first time I’ve got to marry someone who turned out to be deaf!” He fake gasped clamping his mouth with his hands in an over irritating way which looked like the girls in our clan would do.
He wasn’t there, right? How could this have happened? It does not even make sense! Is he really who I think he is?
“W-Who are you? And what do you want?” I meant to shout it out but all it came out as a shutter. In this sense, I am not even going to be surprised if I found out that I am talking to a thin air.
Lord have mercy...When did I become such a sacredly cat?
“Oh. Look at that! You can speak. And here I thought I was talking to a deaf and mute.” His clapped happily making me more confused by the time. Is he just insulting me or trying to kill me? And, unfortunately, it's hurt to look at so...Ok, I am getting off my main topic.
“You didn’t answer my question?” I hissed at him instead.
“Oh! Do I need to? Let’s finish the marriage already.”
Marriage... Why? I could not listen to him anymore. Just a ceremony has left me alone to suffer. A scar that is never going away.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. There isn’t any marriage going on.” Gulping I answered. He could only be a trick of my mind or someone from other clans. Now that is something that makes sense.
“You have forgotten it so early! Ouch! That’s hurt Keira. That’s hurt!” He deliberately took a step and I backed away. But before I could really fall off from the cliff, he grabbed my hands and brought it to him tightly embracing me.
“I-I...what are you?”
I could not take this. This is too much.
“What do I look like to you? Smart, handsome, sexy...Yes! The last one! But look at you. You don’t even want to give a chance to your future husband.” Looking at from my peripheral vision, I could see he is cocky and demanding. But why me? And why is he lying?
Darkness can't be alive, it's impossible.
So looking up at the devil in disguise, with a calm voice I stated what I thought about his claim. “Listen here whoever you are, you are not that person you are trying to call yourself. That was a dead man in a grave, God knows maybe his bones even has become ashes by now. You must be someone from our clan or another clan to kill me."
He scrunched his nose in disgust but didn't say anything when I continued. "And for your record, I was going to pay anyway. By saving me you just lost all your chance to have revenge or money, whichever case suits you.”
He kept staring at me in silence but after a few minutes, he opened his mouth frowning. "Please tell me that's not how I'm represented in the world. Grave man? That gentleman who's bones become ashes? What is this? This had to be the most disrespectful thing I've ever heard. I feel severely insulted."
Is he for real? I couldn't choose if he was being sarcastic or was truly confused.
"W-What are you talking about?"
“Deny are we? You are important. This marriage is important. I will not ask you again. It is getting on my damn nerves. I do not want you. I just want your soul. Do you get it?” He was now looking at me as if he was some kind of predator and I am his prey. Long gone that guy who just saved me from jumping and was in confusion himself. I backed up a little when his eyes darkened. His eyes are now deep black like a coil and were burning holes in my soul.
“No. It cannot happen, no. Not anymore. I am not pure. People fear me, no.” I started to mumble not caring what he thought about them. And anyway this was the truth now. I can never be the one I was. I used to be fearless, but now I can't help but flinch everytime he opens his mouth.
Unknown to me, warm tears started to flow from my eyes. But to save my dignity I forced them to hide, to not let out a sob. I did not know who was standing beside me and I did not want to break down in front of a complete stranger. Before I could say more, a voice cut me off.
"Who were you talking to? Keira you have to go. Other clans are coming." It was my best friend Gema's voice. I turned around to see her running towards me in hurry. Maybe if she was here, he will not hurt me. Happily, I turned to look at...nothing. He was not there with me anymore. But what! Where did he go? He was right here, in front of me.
Did I really hallucinate the whole incident?
“There was a man. Did you not see him?” I asked with a hope that I was not going insane. If he was really here then it was beyond impossible not to notice him.
“I didn’t see anyone. You were talking to yourself. Now you have to go.” She ushered me quickly into the back alley and without any question handed me a bag full of clothes and other stuffs. Did she mean...
I was not running away...no way!
“Did you not believe me? I did not do anything. I do not know what was wrong with the spells. I didn’t kill them.” I tried to explain but she only shook her head.
“I believe you, Keira. Trust me, I do. But if you live in my house or I let you in my house they will burn us all alive or worst banish us in the Nerulia beach. And we all know there are things worse than anything we've ever heard."
I knew what she was talking about. Any member who disrespected the clan leader or broke the rules were banished in that beach. And as we never heard from them, after finding their bodies it became clear what that place really was capable of.
"I am sorry and I know it makes me sound like a bad friend. But Keira, you are wanted by every clan so you have to leave this place. It's for your own safety. Go to forests... Cities... I don't know. Start a new life. Just go, please. They have a bounty on your head.” I gave her one last begging look but she without looking at me started to walk away from me... To my town or not mine anymore.
All was over. Everyone I have ever known wanted me gone. This was it.
My new scariest future...
My beginning of a nightmare...
I KNEW WHAT I WAS GOING to do people will think me as a maniac. But for now, it is the best decision my mind can take. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't go to cities or somewhere far from here, as I have no familiarity with it nor can I teleport like other witches. And I didn't have any passport I can use to travel like normal humans either. So I couldn't help but decided to go to the small town near mine.
Changing and showering in a small motel in the way, dressed in a black sleeved top with a washed up jeans, thankful to have some cash with me which was a courtesy to my friend, my only goal was to find someone who can help me. And thankfully, after three days it looks like I just found it.
“Hello dear, welcome to the Rune. How may I help you?” Asked a woman who looked like not more than in her late forty’s. She had beautiful ebony hair in a braid with a matching necklace around her neck. But what called her to me most was her mismatched eyes. One look at them and you'll see the hundred years of knowledge calling you in. I must've been standing there for quite a time because she drew my attention by clearing her throat, standing behind the counter looking at me impatiently.
“Oh, I'm sorry. I need a place to stay for a while. I’m from the nearest Red clan.” Giving her a somewhat awkward smile, I replied politely.
“I knew it. You are one of us. There’s this powerful aura around you is telling me that you are quite... dangerous.” She parted her lips to speak calmly but her face seemed to frown with uncertainty. Gulping I looked around the herb shop and my eyes found the reason I was here.
“I-I...am not dangerous. I don’t even know a spell.” I shuttered seeing her eyes widen. There was a small notice on the shop counter, that this shop gives learning lessons on witchcraft and I needed it badly.
If I can only learn spells...
“But how could that be possible? You are one of us. Everyone knows spells.” She seemed to be more confused by the minutes passed by. But I don't blame her. It was that confusing.
“My parents are dead. They didn't want me to learn spells. So I never did. But now I know how life is not easy when everyone around me has powers and I don't. So I really need your help. Please help me.” I blatantly lied on her face. Well...not all of them was lies. I did have problems my whole life when I had to act as a human instead of a witch as I didn't know any spells.
But I can't let her know why I needed to learn. If she knew who I was...it was game over for me. So I almost begged her to take me in. I didn't have anywhere else to go anyway. This was my last chance at survival.
“That means you don’t even know basic spells. You have to learn from the roots. But let me tell you, it will be hard. It will take a long time; will break your walls and eventually your whole personality. You have to be patient and always prepared for the worst.” She warned me as if I still had time to back off. Her eyes had a glimpse as if to challenge me to take her offer even if it will break me. But she didn’t know one thing.
...I was already broken.
So I lifted my gaze to meet hers which screams challenge accepted. “I am ready for anything you have planned.”
I think she already knew what my answer was going to be as she nodded her head in satisfaction and reached for the register book on her counter. Taking the book she asked my clan name again and wrote it on her register.
"And you would be?"
My name. She was asking my name. Oh no, I didn't even try to think of a name when I was coming here. But I had to give her something so praying it wouldn't be too obvious, I paused before answering.
"Kyra. It's Kyra Xair."
Xair was Gema's last name but I don't think she would mind if I borrow her last name for a few months. And it's not like she was here to care about it anyway.
"Kyra. Beautiful name for a beautiful girl," She stated giving me a small smile. My cheeks warmed at the compliment but I brushed it off.
Clearing my throat, I asked her the one question I was dreading to ask. “And what will be your price?”
“Yes...I-I mean you will teach me and in return, you must want something.” I shuttered when she gave me an amused look. Shaking her head at me, she gestured around the shop.
“I just want you to be my assistant, in return for my teachings. You know the herb’s names and their uses, right?” Well...that was pretty easy. Thankfully even if the members didn't let me learn spells, they taught me everything I needed to know about herbs. I even learned about how to make herbal medicine using numerous herbs.
“Yes, of course. Thank you so much, Mrs.-” I ignored the bubble of happiness that was forming in my mind and tried to thank her.
“Call me Hannah.” She answered with a smile forming in her lips. “So Kyra, what’s your goal?”
Sighing like I should know what she was talking about, she started to explain. “Every witch has a goal
Publisher: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG Sonnenstraße 23 80331 Munich Germany
Publication Date: 09-26-2017
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