Our Dark Lies

Olyxe “Ash” Heregale is not to be messed with. She lives for violence, laughs in the face of danger. She’s driven by a rage so bright and fierce, it’s not wonder she does so many stupid things.

Freeing the prisoners of Isolation, a place haunted by living and dead alike, perhaps the most stupid of all.

With a handful of people like her, Cursed and misfits, she will either change Haven forever or bring the demise of all her kind.

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Author's note

I don’t really know what genre this fits in. It’s a bit sci-fi, with a good dose of dystopia and apocalyptic, and intermingled fantasy and supernatural. Also, a healthy amount of violence and strong women beating up bad people.
AA

9. Tireless

Chapter VIII

~ Tireless ~

“Each step is a feud between disgust and desire.”

 

 

When I come back to reality, there’s tears in my eyes. Shivers wrack my body, regardless of the sweat dampening the base of my spine. I suck in deep, steadying breaths until I regain a marginal sense of balance. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I realize my hands are bare. The gloves I’ve worn faithfully for the majority of my life are discarded on the floor. 

Horrid memories from moments before come flooding in, mingling with the leftover images of Isolation. 

Camisa locked me in here. The way she wagged her fingers and the firebugs that’d been following me zipped over to her... there’s only one explanation. She’s Cursed. I’d heard of someone a while back who could see through the eyes of others, maybe the self-absorbed Camisa could do something similar. Only with animals. The firebugs had been following me, acting as her little spies so she could trap me in here. One question remains, though. Why?

I push myself to my feet, brushing dust off my legs. How long had I been sitting there, trapped inside my own head as much as this room? 

The door looms in front of me, unmovable and intimidating. All it will take is a touch, the slightest brush of my fingers, and the monstrosity would crumble. Then I could hunt down Ridser, maybe even Camisa.

Heaving a massive gulp of air, I raise my hand. Who’s to say it’ll even work. I’ve never tried anything this big before, I’ve always assumed my Curse applied to everything regardless of size. 

I reach out and place my hand to the door. Veins of deep black snake out from where I touch, spreading through the door like a plague. It starts to rain down fine, powdery ashes, a grey dust that settles itself into a fine mist across my hair, the waves of dark platinum standing out sharply against their white-grey. In seconds, the magnificent door is nothing but a dune of dust on the polished floor. 

Squaring my shoulders, I squint into the distance. My anger is as strong as ever, a tireless energy providing my fuel. The muscles in my shoulders and legs tense up, as I prepare for an enemy to spring from any corner. 

As if I’d seen into the future, Camisa steps out of the distant gloom. Brightly glowing firebugs dance around her head, the smug smirk she’d been carrying fading the instant she sees me. I know I’m a sight to behold, a stone-cold mask of rage covering my face, black eyes burning, ash dusting my hair and smudged at my fingertips. On top of it all, I break out in a grin like a maniac. 

“Oh, Camisa. What did you really know about me before you decided to shut that door?” The knife I’d been carrying suddenly finds its way free, silver blade glittering wickedly in the dim glow of the firebugs. 

“I-uhh...” She gulps, and I relish her fear. It helps satiate my anger’s ravenous hunger, making my smile grow bigger. 

“I did not like that,” I hiss, drawing closer. The feeling of air against my fingertips is invigorating, the feel of the knife’s leather hilt tantalizing. The weapon had been a gift from my mother, so I would be better equipped to defend myself. Like all her gifts, it’s made from her resistant fabric. 

“Please,” she gasps, golden eyes wide with fear. “It was only meant to scare you. I saw you with Enise and thought about what you said, and felt certain he was cheating on me with you. I was the other woman all along.” 

“So you trap me!? How did you even know I’d be in there?” I grit my teeth, trying to hold back some of the biting words desperately trying to leap out at her. 

“I didn’t. Trust me, it was all unfortunate coincidence.” Her voice is whiny and pleading, and I can’t help but find it annoying. “I’ve had more than a healthy amount of Fru, and I decided to send my firebugs after you. I’m pretty much certain you’re also Cursed, so I’m going to go and assume you’ll keep my secret and I’ll keep yours. Anyways, I saw you sneaking off and figured Enise most be with you, so I followed you up. I couldn’t see into the room, but I was certain he must be there. It seemed like a really great idea at the time to shut the door.”

 “Grmpgh.” I grunt, still holding back a slew of nasty cusses and snarky remarks. 

“I saw Enise when I got back to the party and realized you were alone. I felt really terrible, especially since you’re equally as much a victim to Enise as I am, so I came back up to let you out. Please let me go, I’m really a decent person.”

“In my opinion, your selfish and petty. But whatever, just get out of my sights and consider yourself lucky.” I snarl. Something animalistic has found its way into my mind. 

“Thank you,” Camisa gasps, scurrying away. I can’t help but be ticked off at her stupidity. Maybe I should have been harder on her, taught her a lesson or two. 

I wait until she’s gone before making my own way back. I need to find Tenjey and get us out of here, so I can come up with a plan to get back at Ridser. His betrayal stings, even though I’ve barely a fraction of the facts. All I know is the moment we shared was meaningless to him, or else he wouldn’t be dancing with someone else only minutes after. 

When Camisa’s out of sight, I pull my gloves back on. As good as it feels to be free, I can’t risk it. The tireless pulsing of dark energy beneath my skin quiets, retreating deeper inside before finally quieting to a steady pulsing deep in the marrow of my bones. 

Seconds drawl on, before I finally take my first shaking steps forward. Down those stairs are Ridser and his lies, Tenjey dancing on obliviously and Camisa, likely scared out of her mind. I will confront Ridser, without a doubt. I’m not one to keep quiet. I never was the passive type, to let people walk all over me. It’s why Tenjey and I get along so well, she needs someone to pick up for her. Someone aggressive and confrontational. 

Ridser won’t know what hit him. 

A grim smile works its way into the set of my lips. This is going to be the most fun part of the night. 

I reach the end of the hallway surprisingly fast, taking the stairs down two at a time. The sounds of the party have grown louder, rowdier, as bottle upon bottle of Fru finds itself empty and other mind-altering party favours find their way out. 

The crowd repulses me as much as it beckons. Each step is a feud between disgust and desire. Within the throng of people lie the two I search for. One, my friend. The other having found himself suddenly on my enemies list. A battle between saving Tenjey and getting back at Ridser. 

I plunge into the mass. Faces surround me, blurring into a monochrome set of features. Cold eyes, phoney smiles. Nothing distinct, all I see is the basics. Eyes, mouth, hair. Find Ridser, find Tenjey. 

The latter proves to be easier than I anticipated. Tenjey weaves through the crowd, looking lost and forlorn. Her eyes slip over each person, seeing but not seeing. Then they land on me, and flood with relief. We fight through the tangled crowd until we find each other, and she pulls me into a quick hug. When we break apart, her brown eyes search mine. Whatever she finds, it immediately topples her pretty face into an expression of concern and worry.

“Olyxe, what happened?” She whispers. I can tell there’s something she saw that worried her. She’s always been intuitive, better at reading me than I am at reading myself. Now is clearly no exception. “Don’t make me force an answer out of you. Your eyes have the dark tint to them.” 

“What do you mean by that?” I frown, trying to play dumb. She’s mentioned it a couple times before, that my eyes get darker every time I think of revenge. I have to pretend everything is normal, or else I’ll have a whole lot of explaining to do. “I’m perfectly fine.”

“Don’t lie to me, Ash. Who did what?” She scowls, displeased by my unwillingness to share. I scowl right back at her, but recognize the concern beneath the sourness. It puts a fracture in my resolve, and I end up cracking. 

“Ridser. He danced with another woman, seconds after we had a...” I stop myself abruptly. Exactly what I’d been trying to avoid, explaining details of an intimate interaction to Tenjey is equivalent to pulling teeth. Not pleasant. Nonetheless, she catches on to what I’d been about to say and presses. 

“A what? A kiss?” A faint smile lights up her eyes, only for them to dull when she realizes what I’d said. Another woman. 

“No, just a moment.” Forgetting myself, I sigh wistfully. “Then I go and find him tangled up with this girl, and now I’m mad. I never thought I was the jealous type, and I’m not. I’m just angry at him, because obviously he lied to me somewhere along the way. According to the girl, his name’s Enise. I don’t know what to believe.” 

“Look at you, having romantic troubles.” Tenjey laughs, flashing me an over-exaggerated wink. 

“Hardly romantic what I’m thinking about doing to him right now.” I laugh in turn, imagining how could it felt to feel the door crumble beneath my hand. It satiated something inside of me, some hunger I didn’t know I had. A hunger that will eventually rise up again. There’s a new temptation growing, to use what I have instead of suppressing it. I wield my anger like a weapon, why not this, too? 

“Where is he, anyways?” Tenjey flicks her gaze around the room, once again seeing but not seeing. She knows where each person stands, but no details. She couldn’t say what the nearest people to us look like, not even what colour they wear.

“I don’t know, but she should try and find out.” I run my own gaze through the crowd, sorting the faces. Some are stern and harsh, others easy and free. Some are uppity and condescending while others are here for nothing more than a good time and heartily laugh. The diversity of expressions is shocking, but none of them have the same spark as Ridser. The unique flare that sets him apart from the crowd, makes him intriguing. 

I find Camisa, a fresh batch of hate for her brewing. Not only is she the one Ridser was with, she was the one who trapped me and the reason I was swept into reliving those horrid memories. Thankfully, my walls are firmly back in place leaving me with plenty of room for a passionate loathing. 

Ridser proves to be elusive. After painstaking minutes of forcing my way through the crowd, I’m about to give up. Then I see him. 

He’s distracted, but I don’t care enough to wonder by what. There’s a harsh set to his jaw, a deep discontentment shining in his azure eyes. Satisfaction seizes me, and I begin to force my way through the clumps of people with renewed vigour. I make little headway, everyone too stubborn and selfish to let me through. This fuels my determination, and I force them aside with merciless jabs from my sharp elbows. Several people take the time to sneer and toss angry cusses my way, but I’m too caught up in making sure I don’t lose track of Ridser that I don’t bother to stop and fire something angry back. Several times bodies shift and I lose sight of those purple eyes, however I manage each time to find them again with minimal difficulty. 

It takes longer than I’d anticipated to come face-to-face with Ridser, yet I’m still unprepared. I’ve no dramatic spiel prepared, and logic proves to be insufficient as I raise my fist and slam it hard as I can into his cheek. 

He gasps in pain, and I grin sadistically. The pale skin along his cheekbone is already ruddying. 

He deserves it. The voice assures me. He deserves what you just felt him and so, so much more. 

“Who are you?” I growl, realizing several heads have snapped our way. This doesn’t bother me in the least, in fact it only adds to my sick sense of satisfaction. Good! Let them watch! Ridser supplies no answer. I begin to tug off my gloves. “Who are you, really?” 

“Oh, Olyxe, I’m so sorry.” He shakes his head, eyes falling to my now-bare hands. He blanches, but says nothing about the exposed skin. “There’s so much I ought to explain to you, I don’t know where to begin.”

“Here’s an unusual idea,” I hiss, searching his gaze for any hint of fear. He shows nothing, other than regret. “Why don’t you begin at the start?” 

“My name is not Enise, it’s Ridser. Enise was my father’s name, I use it from time to time.” He looses an impressive sigh, lowering his eyes to his feet. “It’s a business alias. Remember how I said I’m a fungi farmer? Well, that’s not exactly true...” 

“What is the truth?” I exclaim, carelessly throwing my hands up. He recoils sharply, carefully avoiding even the slightest of touches. “What does Camisa mean to you?” 

“What I do is important, Olyxe. You wouldn’t understand, you’ve no ambition whatsoever. I can believe I ever thought I could feel something for you when you’re nothing more than an apathetic pessimist motivated by nothing but anger. Camisa is a strategically chosen associate. I don’t expect you to understand my world, not like you’d even try.”

“You don’t know anything about me.” I snarl. “You have no idea what kind of life I’ve had.”

“Actually,” his eyes flutter shut, a contemplative expression crossing his face. “I know a great deal about you. More than you could imagine, really. I believe I mentioned I got stronger readings off you than anyone else before, well, I don’t think you realized exactly how deep I can see.” 

“So what,” I spit, baring my teeth in a feral display of my rage. “Your cryptic spiel about ‘doing something important’ means nothing to me. And what’s the use of having ambition anyways, when you don’t have the money or social status to do anything with it?” 

“What I am doing could potentially revolutionize Haven. Imagine, no divide between the normal and the Cursed.” A lustful gleam takes to his eyes. “Imagine, not having to cover yourself. A way for you to touch another person. Olyxe, I’m working to create a way to break our Curses.” 

“Impossible.” 

“Why yes, it is. When I was nothing more than a humble fungi farmer, I came across a fungi that mitigated my Curse upon consumption. I began to study it, and was able to create a concentrate potent enough to completely block the effects of my Curse. The only problem is, it makes me sick. I’ve been infiltrating functions like this for a while now, trying to seduce a rich woman like Camisa so I can acquire more money to farther develop the Remedy.” 

“Remedy?” I flash him with a look of pure revolt. “Is that what you’re calling it? What complaints could you possibly have that you’d need a ‘remedy’”

“I don’t like to know people’s secrets. The horrible things I’ve seen, you wouldn’t believe.” 

“Ah, yes. Things you’ve seen, but tell me Ridser, what horrible things have your Curse made you do? Huh, Ridser? Tell me about how you’ve got it so hard, because you can see other people’s deepest darkest secrets.” I shake my head, thoroughly disappointed in the man I thought I felt something for. The pleasant, gentle warmth is all but a distant memory now, replaced by a familiar harshness. 

“You wouldn’t understand.” He sighs massively. “You can’t.”

“Oh, but I do.” 

“You don’t. I’m doing something bigger than myself, Olyxe. How could you possibly understand someone seeing past themselves.”

“I can see this is some attempt to make up for your sister being sent to Isolation for your crimes,” the jab is low. The words taste vile as they roll off my tongue, filling me with a sense of wrongness. 

“Go away.” He sneers. “I made a mistake, I never want to see you again.”

“The feeling’s mutual.”

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