“Lisle, run! Get away!” he had shouted. For a few moments she hadn’t wanted to start running – it seemed safest to be next to Isaac rather than face the planet’s dangers alone – but he had refused to tell her who or what she should run from. The urgency in his voice had simply insisted that she go; and then she had.
Lisle ran blindly away from the first, dare she say it, friend she’d ever had, and she sprinted towards the red sky ahead of her. Still, after all this time, she didn’t know her way around this planet. She was always just moving forward; as long as her feet continued to come down one in front of the other, she felt that she had to keep on the figurative path. Branches of her darkness shot out past her to lend helpful direction.
The fingers of darkness were diminished from their earlier power, but they felt familiar to Lisle. These shadows were hers, and hers alone. Their more powerful brethren chased behind her, all at once aroused by her departure from the shadow/flame shield. The accumulation of darkness that she was distancing herself from had been the same darkness that reached up eagerly to mark the arrival of her sister. For some reason the Darkness had Alix in its grip, and now it would seem that it wanted her as well, she concluded.
Isaac had said, “There is another Darkness out there, trying to kill everyone.”
To kill, you needed weapons. What purpose as a weapon could she possibly serve? She was an Elemental of darkness, but surely the Darkness already had the power to control what was essentially the same as itself. Did her sister have some kind of power as well, leading to her possession? Then what was she? It had her twin, so the Darkness had to acquire her as well, as a sort of package deal; it was impossible to claim a complete collection without them both?
Lisle’s breaths came quicker and harder. She had never been forced to test her physical body’s endurance before.
An awful premonition overcame her, and the next time that Lisle looked back she could see that the Darkness was much closer.
Streams of dark substance arced after her, a tantalizingly miniscule second existing between the moment that her foot hit the ground, and the same moment that the Darkness touched ground also. Thin, fibrous threads sprayed at her as the Darkness further divided itself like the Hydra that Hercules had laboured so hard to kill.
Lisle flinched as the first thread hit her face with an impact that stung of a slap. Oddly enough, after the initial pain, her nerves registered the touch as more similar to a loving caress. A burst of expanding threads caught Lisle as effectively as a clever spider’s web, and the feeling of familiarity intensified. Even as she opened her mouth to scream, and scream some more, Lisle recognized the Darkness’ embrace as kin to her absent mother’s rare attempts to comfort her at night after a particularly bad dream.
“Hush, Lisle,” the Darkness crooned. No, it was Alix, her sister.
Alix materialized in a cluster of black silk that wove itself together directly in her line of sight. Lisle’s jaw dropped in dismay at the obvious display of mastery. No matter that she was an Elemental of darkness; apparently her twin could become the very darkness herself. Alix caught at Lisle’s chin in a flash of opportunity.
“You’re the last part of me, Lisle. I’ve said it before: you complete me.” Alix’s lilting girlish voice was at odds with her fearsome expression. Lisle, despite herself, began to cry at the spectacle of her sister.
“I don’t want to go back,” she whispered, scared. “I don’t want to be just your ‘half’ anymore, Alix.”
“Fair enough. You can be whole. You can be me.” Alix took her sister’s face in her palms and crushed it between her hands quite abruptly. Agonized, Lisle’s mouth contorted into another scream, and instead of using bugs the Darkness took the chance to pour a torrent of Alix down the young girl’s throat. Lisle almost choked, but the Darkness commanded her esophagus to remain open to the gush of threatening influence, and then the real Lisle was no more.
The one girl left behind blinked, and though Alix was now wholly controlled by the Darkness, she was more like her original self had been. She was the only one with a body again, and she could just see a ghostly Lisle in the corner of her eye. Now to my master, Alix thought, and the spectre of her sister had no choice but to rise into the air with her when she dissipated into their surroundings. The Darkness that held power over the twins was thinking one thought, and one thought only, and it was Kaos. Alix would soon find out who that was.