“I told you about me,” Adryan complains, “it is just fair that you tell me about yourself. Maybe after comparing our pasts we will find we are not as different as we think.”
I close my eyes and allow the night air to cool my fiery spirit. Nothing I feel about Adryan would ever be real because he is a just a temporal reality. Nothing can hurt if it isn’t there. He will never be there. “Seven years ago, before meeting Astra and Elena, I decided to run away from my abusive home. My father was a gambler who spent most of his time in the streets wasting his money with fortune. My mother left two months before I did; the months following her departure were a living hell for me. I was forced to work two jobs to maintain us both and his gambling and drinking habits. He never touched me, but he brought his friends home and they were the ones who suggested I should do something better with my life, to be something to entertain their morbid minds.”
I glance at Adryan and see his face contorted slightly with anger and shock. “Don’t worry; I never did use my body to meet their demands. I was far too shy to comply with his orders and he wasn’t a very patient or tolerant man, whenever I cried after being beaten he would stop and locked me in a closet. The fear of darkness intensified whenever I was locked inside the closet.” I stifle a laugh at how foolish I might sound, so casual and unperturbed. “The next day he would free me only because he needed the money my job offered.”
“How could you put up with that?” Adryan asks, with a sliver of contempt in his voice.
“I had no choice, if I ran I wouldn’t know where to. Many times I decided to take my life, but I was very scared of the pain,” I reply softly. The wind caresses my face creating consolation, I want to stop right there because those memories are better off left untouched, but something tugs at my heart and urges me to continue. “Three months later, he became violent and provoked the beast inside me,” my lips quaver as it did when I told my past to Astra five years ago. “He lost all his money within an hour, the money I saved for many years for me to escape the pit I was born into, he came back to the house in a tantrum and started destroying it. I was no exception to his wrath; he thrust me around as if I was a rag doll that feels no pain. He tried to rip my dress apart but my hand closed around the handle of the kitchen knife first.
“I heard his deafening scream in my ears as his body collapsed over me, spilling his blood on me,” a tear runs down my cheek, “it was the end of his life. I ran away from the house, never intending to look back. For two years I was wandering from town to town looking to start a new life away from the bindings of my past. It was a futile search; nobody needed a woman for any chores other than to satisfy their mundane hunger.
“The night when I came across Astra’s town, I was escaping from a landlord whom I had robbed some gold coins. While on the run, I was thrown rocks at. I dropped the bag of gold coins but they still galloped after me, I felt my end coming soon and the only one who would bless me in my death was the partially covered moon and the few stars in the sky. I sought the forest as my last resort and, as if an answer to my silent prayers, I found the village.” I move my head sideways to meet his intense gaze; the tear is already gone from my face. “That is my story.”
Adryan averts his eyes from mine and looks at our dwindling shadows, an effect obtained by the passing of thick sheets of clouds in front of the moon. “We’ve know pain in our past,” he says softly, “and we have worked our way out of its repetitive cycle.”
I laugh and tease him, “Who is the sage now?”
Adryan joins me in the mirth and joy, it feels so good to let the pain transform into words and witness them fly away from my heart. I experience stronger feelings toward Adryan, feelings of unspoken affection and confidence. I wish that I could speak of these thoughts with more freedom. Without noticing it, our steps have slow down and we are gently strolling toward the house. The plaza is coming into view, assuring us we are just some houses away. Everything seems to slow down in the vortex of time, but one thing isn’t going slow and that is my fluttering heart.
My eyes are now directed to the plaza before us, a new stack of firewood has been piled up for the burning tomorrow. A bitter taste settles in my mouth and gnaws in the pit of my stomach at the thought of it. “Hey Adryan, what were you telling me about the woman…” my sentence is cut short with the appearance of a creature blocking our way. It isn’t the form of a normal demon, this creature is hunched over and standing in four limbs, her head is slightly twisted to her right and her black hair hangs loosely on her head. Despite the differences it had in comparison with the other demons, this one exhaled the distinct stench of death.
She darts towards us and leaps at Adryan with an incredible speed, both of them tumble to the ground and I hear Adryan’s body scraping the ground. When the wall of dust dissipates, I see them both struggling on the ground to overpower each other. Adryan is holding off the demon’s fangs from biting his neck with his forearms, her rows of fangs piercing his arm ax blood trickles down from it. I run to aid him but something wraps around my right ankle and pulls of it to unbalance me.
I fall on the ground and the rope begins to tug at my ankle, pulling my whole body toward my captor. I shriek as I try to hold my body from the moving force by digging my fingers in the fissures of the ground but to no avail. Tired, I turn around to face my captor. Dread fills my heart as I see his gaunt face and a wicked smile stretching across his sallow face. I can still hear are the grazing and scuffing of Adryan’s battle and the moans and howls of the demon. The last thing I see before being enveloped in darkness are his eyes gleaming with desire and lust. Everything goes black and I feel I am once again in the closet.