Time seemed to slow down. It seemed to hover over my shoulder, breathing down my neck and causing my heart to falter before racing. The cave was eerily quiet and the darkness I instigated made it harder to distinguish my surroundings. A thought passes through my mind and I silently hoped that I hadn't murdered all the Iniquities and rest my hands on the floor. I lightly push the pads of my fingers into the cold, rocky surface. It served as a quick reminder that I am here, that there is something constant in a rapidly changing world.
I inch my fingers toward the area Phelix had been before I lost control, and slowly make my way across his rigid arms until I reach his fingers. They are cold, poised to claw at his throat, at something I still could not see. My fingers tremble as I try to move his hands away from his throat, but they only moved back.
His voice is strained as he begs. "Help me please."
"I'm tr-trying Phelix. I'm trying."
But I didn't know how to help him. I didn't know what was choking him, I didn't know what I could do for him.I'm a useless 17 year old girl in a world that has become unfamiliar. I'm afraid. Through my sobs, I hear Phelix's breathing slow and I curse myself, Jaysen, Marcin and the Gods. I might as well have killed my own brother.
And then I feel it. An almost imperceptible shift inside me. I feel the darkness slide towards my fingertips until my fingers feel heavy. Release me. I don't stop to think about the consequences or give in to my fears of possibly unleashing something that could murder everyone around me. I don't think at all. There is no remorse felt as the darkness guides me to take Phelix's hands in mine's. There is only selfishness left in my bones as I release it all into his hands. I can't lose him.
I don't know how much time passes as I remain by my brother's side. I don't know if what I've done has actually achieved anything. My knees ache from kneeling on the unforgivable ground and I start to feel lightheaded. The air around me feels dense and the darkness presses against my body until I feel as though I could snap in half. I hear startled voices, murmurs, angry shouts, scared but curious tones. I squint against the brightness that slowly edges its way across the darkness, swallowing it until the cave is discernible again. I don't look around me. I don't do anything but stare at Phelix's brown eyes as they look into my own. He blinks slowly and a smile spreads across his face.
I open my mouth to reply, to tell him I would do anything for the only family I have left. But something seizes me. Something drags me down. My head snaps back and I don't register the pain that flickers through my mind as my head meets stone. I can't hear or smell or taste anything. I try to twitch my fingers, only to realise that my body is paralysed. I try to call for the shadows to save me but nothing answers my call.
I can still see though but the darkness beckons for me. My eyelids grow heavy as I succumb to a darkness that tugs at the edges of my brain. It is not the darkness that I called for, but I let it overtake me anyway. I see Marcin's angry face and Jaysen's features tainted by something akin to fear and then the world spirals into nothing.
Cold metal, stinging skin. A rawness that coats my throat. Cries of pains, the warmness of blood sprayed on my face, a figure emerging from the shadows. Recognition and disgust. A vision of shackles, of bars caging me in, of eyes widening in fear, of pale faces and mangled limbs lying unforgotten in the corner of a dingy cell.
Panic and fear. Panic and fear and anger. Fists being formed, fingers being twitched, hands reaching out. She emerges from the shadows, a cloak of darkness wrapped around her. Impenetrable. Her dark brown hair is wild and matted with blood. She blinks and the browns and whites of her eyes turn into black. Her head tilts to the side and when she opens her mouth to speak, it is not words that escape between her lips. It is a surge of dark smoke that wraps itself around your throat and tightens its grip until you're no longer begging for air, but a swift death.
I scream and scream until my vocal chords feel as though they are about to snap. I scream and push my mind away, trying to burn the sight of her from my mind and it all disappears.
Nothing can remove the fear that lingers in my veins as I see her walk towards me, as I see myself walk towards me.
My eyes fly open to a cracked ceiling. I bite back a scream. Did I destroy everything in this room?
"The ceiling was already cracked before you came."
I turn my head to the right and find the voice's owner. I don't hold back this time as I let out a groan. Marcin shoots me a glare before directing it behind me. Relief swarms my chest as Phelix leans over and grins broadly, a dimple appearing in his left cheek.
"You're lying in your own sweat, sis," he teases and laughs when I swat my hand at him.
Marcin clears his throat and crosses his arms. I can almost hear Phelix roll his eyes as he moves my legs off the couch and drops himself on it. I slowly sit up, and curse when I feel my shirt plastered to my back. The room is almost bare, furnished by the couch, a desk and three chairs, which have all seen better days. The light from the candles situated on the desk, flicker to reveal more cracks running across the walls.
"I thought I made it clear that there were to be no distractions," Marcin snaps. "All you had to do was follow me."
My nostrils flare at his condescending tone. Beside me, Phelix stiffens, as if sensing the anger building up inside me. "I'm sure we could have caught up to you if Phelix's life was being threatened for fun. I'm not sure what you expect - "
"Losing control of your abilities in front of the Iniquities? What were you thinking?" He shouts, slamming the desk before stalking towards me until there are only a few inches separating our faces. I growl and lean towards him, making sure our eyes are levelled. Marcin's eyes flash with anger.
Phelix pulls me back towards him. "That's unfair Marcin, and you know it. We don't even know anything about our abilities and - "
"What?" My head snaps towards Phelix and he sinks into the couch. It dawns on me that I've been assuming that only I have these abilities. But then ... "Why didn't you protect yourself? You were seconds away from death!"
Phelix's cheeks redden at the implication and he doesn't hide the hurt that flickers on his face. His voice is low and underpinned by resentment when he says, "you think I didn't try? You think I don't value my own life? I'm not like you, Andrea."
I blanch at his words. The walls of the room cave in and my chest tightens. My voice is a whisper. "What am I like?"
The silence that greets my question is unnerving. I can hear the answer linger in the air, I can hear what Marcin and Phelix want to say but don't. A monster. So what if you are?
"Well don't leave the poor girl hanging."
The voice does not belong to Phelix or Marcin. It belongs to a woman with steel blue eyes that promise destruction and death.