Forever Young

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  • Published: 22 Dec 2015
  • Updated: 27 Jul 2016
  • Status: Complete
Darla is most definitely not a human.

She's one of the Ashki, an immortal race who have lived alongside humans from the very beginning. But friendships don't survive that long, and her contacts with her fellow Ashkine people are practically non existent, humans just tiny little pieces in the jigsaw of time. And an old enemy is back, proposing changes to the way their society has run and developed, and destroying the Ashki in the process.

Now Darla must gather her friends together to save themselves and their souls. But after so many millennia, is time finally running out for the Ashki?

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13. Dance, Dance

 

The girl's lips were painted a garish colour of bright, neon blue. Her long, sleek hair fell down around her shoulders, dyed a brilliant shade of purple that swayed with her hips in time to the music. Lights of all colours pulsated above her head - red, orange, blue, green, pink - over and over and over until it made my eyes hurt. The three of us stared at her, at the way the folds of her black dress shimmered with each movement, at the way that a smile transformed her face every few seconds, and the way that almost every male - and not too few females, either - swarmed around her, begging for her attention that she was incapable of giving to anyone but the ethereal beauty in the air around her.

 

 

"I'll get us drinks," Adrien whispered, keeping his eyes on the girl. "You two don't let her out of your sight, and don't let her go off with anybody."

 

We nodded as he left to join the line at the bar, which must have been at least a mile long. The girl was smiling, the sound of her laugh almost visible in the harsh strobe of the lights. I peeled my eyes off of her and turned to Lara, whose lips hadn't moved an inch from their tight line. "We should get closer," I suggested. "It'll be easier, and I'm sure Adrien'll still be able to find us."

 

"Okay," Lara agreed monotonously, and we advanced.

 

It amazed me that the girl hadn't already been bored to death. All the other mortals had crowded around her now, all of them vying for her holily beautiful attention like lions fighting for the last little scrap of meat. It could have been mildly entertaining, I think, if it hadn't been for the fact that she still seemed to be oblivious to the danger around her, to the figures next to her with the glowing eyes and the twisted smiles like coiling snakes on the lips.  

 

See, it sounds incredibly rude, and hypocritical considering I am now limited in my life just as they are, too, but I find all humans to fit into one of three categories: boring, psychopathic, or dead. Nearly all those humans were the first, boring, so dispensable, like little more than simple puppets on black and white strings. I locked my focus onto one of the other ones, the ones who looked like they should be in the second category. This specific one that I was watching had these dark, coal black eyes that seemed to gnaw at the girl like a pair of mosquitoes, draining her of blood she didn't know she was losing. Exactly like every other one would, if she wasn't just that tiny bit different. Important, even.  

I clicked my tongue absentmindedly, before I realised that Lara was no longer next to me, and that instead there was a boy there, and that more than just being there he was also asking me questions about myself,  and that for some reason he was seeming to expect something of someone he had never met before. Looping a few strands of my hair around my finger, I assumed the pretence that I had paid attention to him, smiling probably far too cheerfully. I was sure he'd asked my name.

"Katie," I said quietly. "That's my name. What's yours?"   "William," he replied, too quickly. William stuck his tanned hands in his pockets, rocking back and forwards on his heels. His ashen blonde hair hung down from his forehead, covering one half of his face. 

I looked up from beneath my lashes, from where I hadn't even realised I had begun to hide. A quick scan of him told me what I needed to know - second category. Psychopathic. One that I had to protect that other girl from, and myself.  "Do you know that girl's name?" I asked William, gesturing to the girl still caught in her bubble of feeling alive.     

The response came from a different pair of lips than I had expected. These lips were starkly coloured like a London post box filled to the brim with equally scarlet letters, each oozing with a lingering darkness which tainted the pages of the girl's closing book. The ink in those letters, too, should be red, but of a different shade. Blood red.  

Her words seemed to mesmerise the boy, even me for a moment. It was a harsh mix of colours, red, pink, orange, an entire spectrum in just one word, something so simple. "Angel."


"Angel," I repeated. "That makes sense, don't you think?" I was smiling, envisioning the girl with white wings to contrast her dress, or perhaps to match, for her to make her fall from grace.   

 

"It does," the woman said, tucking a loose hair behind her ear. "You can give Arran your thanks."     The boy - who I assumed was Arran - smiled at me so madly, it twisted his face into one of those modern art pieces, an ugly sculpture painted to look a tad bit like beauty. I could see his fingers itching to touch me, to run over my spine and send shivers like waves around my body, to excite us both, to make me scream in exquisite joy before I was cast away like a child's old toy.  

 

William took a step closer, and I thanked him with a punch to the face.   "How about something other than that for a thank you," I laughed in the most seductively innocent way that I could. "Let's take this outside."   To look back on it now, I know it was stupid of me. I should have kept an eye on Angel, made sure I knew where Lara and Adrien were, hell, I just shouldn't have left the dance floor at all. But William was being really annoying.


I led William outside to a small wooden bench. He sat down beside me and I lifted a hand to his shoulder, wrapping my arm around him, breathing a heavy sigh that even I thought lasted for too long. "So, Angel?" I purred in a silky voice. "Do you know her, or do you just know her name?"   

 

"Depends what you mean by knowing her, I suppose," he chuckles.  "We've talked a couple of times, I came here with her and a few of our friends, but we're not incredibly close."     

 

He's a liar. I can see it in his eyes, one  psychopath to one girl who's seen it all before. He probably followed Angel here with his 'friends', came to track her down and take them over to Keda. This is what we've been doing for the last couple of months, since Death let us go. We've been finding out what Keda's doing - recruiting the mortals to recruit other mortals - and we've been stopped her as much as we can, the blood of many still soaked into our skin. Sick as it is, mortals are mortal, and none of them have had as much experience as we have.   

 

"Oh. That's cool, I guess. Sorry, I was just wondering because my brother, Arthur, he quite liked the looks of her, wants to know if he can get closer, if you know what I mean."  

 

"No!" he snapped. "I mean," he continued in a much calmer tone, "she's not available. My mate, Josh, he's got dibs on her, he just couldn't make it tonight. Tell your brother to back off. Only we're allowed close to her tonight."  

"Oh, that's a shame." I tried not to laugh. "I think he has already gotten close to her. I should probably let him know."  

William's fist slammed into the wall behind us.

"No!" he bellowed. "He's not allowed to!"     He sprinted away from me, pushing open the heavy doors in an effortless manoeuvre. I heard screams from inside the club, and pulled my manic thoughts together to leap up from the bench. Running back inside, I scraped my hair up into a ponytail and scoured the room for any sight of Adrien or Lara or Angel. None of them were in sight.  

 

The boy William was also looking for them, an ugly glare in his eyes, like a fire leaping from broken wall to broken wall. A snarl convulsed his face, and a crowd of people were all staring at him, panic on their faces. The woman he appeared to be friends with was leaning against a wall next to two others, grinning. The bar workers were no where to be seen, and I suspected they were hiding somewhere. "Where is she?" he growled, curling his fists. "Angel? Has anybody seen Angel?"  

 

Confusion rippled through the room. He appeared to take it as a no.  

 

"This is your fault!" he screamed at me. "You distracted me and now she's gone! You bitch!"   

 

His fist flew towards my face and I grabbed it, twisting my elbow up to collide with his nose. William stumbled backwards, flailing, screaming words I couldn't hear, but probably involved the likes of bitch, shit and crap. Poor boy.  

"I'm very sorry," I hissed, not meaning it at all. "But you can't be allowed to do this to her, or to anyone anymore." I pulled a pen knife from my jean pocket, and flicked the blade up. "My apologies."     

 

Plunging the knife into his chest, I heard a scream and smiled. I jumped up from the floor and pulled the knife out, flicking my hand towards him to remove the traces o me that I may have left behind. Too easy.   

 

His friends were gone now, probably run away, maybe to Keda, maybe to nowhere.    Now I just had to find my friends. And Angel. That is, if she hadn't already been taken by William's colleagues.   

 

I sprinted along the length of the room, spying a door on the right. I pushed it open and ran along a corridor, heart pounding at what I had just done. Panic was seizing me now, as the corridor seemed to stretch out indefinitely, never ending, just a steady fade into the darkness. There were voices behind me, but I couldn't hear them, couldn't hear anything but the pounding of my blood in my ears. I'd be lying if I told myself that I wasn't scared.  

 

Stumbling blindly, I opened a door at the side of me, nearly falling over the threshold of the room. There were three figures in the room, each bound by invisible ropes, electricity crackling around them. A gasp escaped my lips, as another figure emerged from the darkness.  

 

"Oh, hi, Darla," Keda laughed. "I'm so glad you could make it here today, truly. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun without someone else to fight - these three are just so boring, you know?" The sound of her voice made me nauseous.


She looked me up and down, from the chipped, broken colours that tipped my elegant fingers, to the dark purple of my lips, and her face split like a tight ladder along the seams of her fabricated mask.    "What are you trying to achieve, Keda?" I asked, my voice falling flat.

She shrugged, picking at her nails, even though they were pristine, much unlike mine. Keda looked up from below her lashes, sweeping hair from her face. It was like a show she liked to put on for the mortals, full of cinnamon scents and fireworks and podiums and music which lifted the soul to the false hope of Heaven and screamed to every ounce of the body that this was it, that this was the night that you needed to be alive for, that nobody could take this away from you. The finale, the final screech of the violin, of course, was her fingernails raking along an unsuspecting mortal's cheeks. 

"I suppose I should tell you that, actually." She grinned. "And I do want to, of course, don't get me wrong here." She paused for a minute, as something like a curious smile crossed over here otherwise angelic face. "It's just, I highly, highly doubt that you would believe me. I mean, you're you, I'm me, you don't trust a single word that comes from these lips, do you? You wouldn't dare."    

I rolled my charcoal lined eyes. "Just tell me, Keda, my friends look about on their death beds and I don't have the time to spare for your silly little theatrics."    

 

"As you wish," Keda laughed. "What I want, more than any thing else in the world right now, is one thing. Just one thing."    

 

"Which is?"   A faint laugh danced with her words.

"Your help, of course. Why else do you think I've been leading you in this result for the silly mortals, I don't care about what they do, they're not even useful for anything except from bait.  I have to admit, it does surprise me that you didn't see this coming."    

 

Now it was my turn to laugh. "Of course I saw it coming, you dingbat," I lied. "Which is why I came here prepared." Adrien's head jerked up from where it was hanging over his chest. His eyes were bright and fiery, screaming my name.  

 

"No you didn't," Keda laugh, right as I my foot collided with her mouth. I bet it tasted disgusting, but I didn't have much time to dwell on it at that moment, mostly because she looked ready to kill me, and now that was actually all too possible. 

All the more reason to go for this right now, and not care about blowing this club apart.

All the more reason to give Death an immortal that wasn't me.

I wanted to draw a painting on a wall in the smoke I was about to create. I wanted to draw and paint and make the world come to life like I could step outside the room's grimy window and suddenly everything would just be a haze, a wonderful, beitiful haze that would choke me painlessly, that would slowly erode my body, but I wouldn't care because it would be beautiful, my very first masterpiece.   

 

"Oops," I giggled. "Hope that didn't hurt you, Keda. I really would hate for that to happen."


"No, I'm sure you wouldn't," she whispered, and I thought I caught a faint scrap of emotion in her voice. Then I screamed and Adrien screamed and Lara screamed and Angel screamed and Keda laugh, laughed like a manic, crazy rock tumbling down a mountain side. I fell backwards, my head thudding against the wall.

And then, the blinding light of a murder.

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