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

15. Amnesic

Chapter XIV

~ Amnesic ~

“I shudder as I’m thrust back into reality.”

 

 

When I open my eyes, my head is pounding. Several memories rush at me, making it impossible to figure out where I am or how I got here. My mouth is dry and my tongue has swelled to the point I can’t move it, resting in my mouth like a rock. 

“Hello there, little girl.” A man steps into my line of sight, running a hand through his thick mane of salt and pepper hair. 

“Leave me alone,” I spit out the words with venom. The man watches me with eyes red as blood, a sadistic grin splitting his face. Her could be handsome if not for the lust for pain in his eyes and the obvious weathering of age. He refuses to back away, and I pin him under the full weight of my gaze. I let my unusual appearance settle over him, so he will get an inkling of who I am. 

“I’m afraid I’ve been instructed to do otherwise.” His red eyes shift, travelling over the length of my body. “I work with a man called Ridser Vizzoin, he’s instructed me to bring you back to him.” 

“Has he now?” I scoff, barely amused by Ridser yet unable to figure out what he could want. 

“I’m after informing you he has. It’s a shame he told me not to hurt you, because you certainly seem like my type of woman.” His eyes continue to rove over my body, his gaze sticky and vile. I wonder what his Curse is. No normal human being would have eyes red like his. No one without Cursed blood running through their veins. 

“And what is your relation to Mr. Vizzoin. Henchmen? Assassin?” 

“I am his father,” the man declares. “Enise Vizzoin.” 

“When he told me about you, he spoke in past tense, which implies you are dead.” I cock my head, waiting for whatever retort he has for this.

“That’s because I am. According to the records, at least.” He once again runs his fingers through his hair, the action of a profoundly vain man. The silver and grey and black strands fall to barely below his ears, immaculately groomed despite being slightly greasy. 

“So Ridser sent his dead father to retrieve me? How charming.” I sigh, as if lost in romantic daydreams. 

“I may be dead, but I am also impatient, so could you please do me a favour and hurry up?” He eyes me, with my hands planted firmly on my hips like a stubborn toddler. What her doesn’t know is that somewhere between leaving Kissija’s and waking up here, in the midst of unfamiliar houses I procured two knives and strapped them to my hips, where they are currently hidden by the thick fabric of my pants. 

“I’m not going anywhere until you explain how a dead man is standing in front of me, alive and well.” 

“This is my Curse,” he sighs, a moment of pain crossing his snarling face. “I am Cursed to walk this life forever. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve died? I’ve seen what awaits all my loved ones, everyone I know, and I’ve been dragged back here and forbidden from telling anyone about it. So would you please just come with me, because I would find it rather appeasing to send you away to those nightmares.” 

“Fine. I’ll go with you, but whatever it is Ridser wants better be good.” I watch keenly as the man flicks his crimson gaze over my body once more. Ridser claimed he was working on a Remedy, he must use that as a bargaining chip over his father. No way this man would choose to obey orders. 

The knowledge sits with me heavily. A man who cannot die and the girl who can kill. What an odd pairing. If this man tries to kill me, I will be powerless against him. Beyond powerless. My Curse will be useless, my knives will be useless. 

But Ridser will not be useless. He claimed he had been accumulating alliances with people of wealth and social influence. People with that kind of standing could get me a free pass into Isolation, just long enough for me to free my friends and get back out. Maybe, but it would take a lot of convincing on Ridser’s behalf and a lot of manipulation on mine. 

I need to come up with a plan, but at the hurried pace I’m being dragged at we’ll be to Ridser’s secret hideout—at least I assume we’re going to a secret hideout of some sort, considering that’s where I’ve heard people are brought when they’re abducted—in a matter of minutes. I need to buy some time, think this through and figure out where in Haven I woke up, how I got there and how I got the knives. Thinking about the weapons, I become sharply aware of how they dig uncomfortably into my hips with every step. 

Suddenly, the elder Vizzoin turns around, eyeing me up and down. His hand find my shoulder, and I don’t waste a heartbeat before I slap it away and jab my elbow into his gut. My eyes burn with dark fire as I watch him recover from the blow. 

“Don’t touch me,” I hiss. “Or next time, I won’t be so gentle.” 

“Point taken,” he mumbles, rubbing his wrist where I struck him. I’m hit by the sudden memory of getting into a fight with someone, but this time the face which rises to mind is utterly foreign. Green eyes smoulder within my memory, set in a face of sharp lines and dark hair. So I fought with someone. What else happened in this blacked out section of my mind? How come I can’t remember anything that took place after leaving Kissija’s? The questions nag at me, my first indication that something isn’t quite right. 

The second is the deep frown creasing my escort’s face. His red eyes are gazing towards something in the distance, but I can’t discern what. I can’t see anything other than rows upon rows of houses made from red clay, blurring to brown in the distance with a speckling of white beyond that. 

Suddenly, I’m shoved out of the way. Hard. I stumble, crashing into the nearest house and scowling furiously. 

“When you’ve been killed so many times as I have, you start to get a good inkling for danger,” is the only explanation I’m given, as well as a furious “now get where they can’t see you.”

I creep around the edge of the building, listening acutely. There’s a scuffle of footsteps, then silence. 

“Enise. How many times do I need to put you out before you finally learn how to stay dead?” An unfamiliar voice coos, oily and snake-like. I can imagine a man with pointed featured, thick eyebrows and greasy hair. 

“Ever a delight, Banen. To what do I owe this pleasure? You certainly haven’t come all the way from the Feir District simply to have me explain being alive is not my choice.” Enise’s voice is cold and cruel, and I can easily imagine Ridser taking on the same snideness as his father. 

“Come on, you are even less intelligent than I thought you were. You haven’t figured it out?” Banen retorts sharply. “I’m here about your son.”

“What business could you possibly have with Ridser?” He replies, and the sound of shuffling feat echoes. In my imagination, I see Enise raising his fist to leap to the defence of his son. Sadly, that is not the case. “Because I’d gladly bring you to him. He’s nothing but ungrateful and selfish.” 

“Good, good. I’m going to need this Remedy he’s been bragging about. By the way, you ought to let him know to be more careful who he touts that to. You never know what someone might do to acquire it.” With that, there’s another shuffling of footsteps which fade out. They pause for a moment, Banen likely shooting one last glance at Enise. “You know where to find me.” 

I freeze for a heartbeat. Banen was demanding Ridser’s Remedy, which implies he’s completed it. The idea is hard to digest. A way to break my Curse. What would it be like, to be normal? To not be looked at with disgust and apprehension? At the same time, I’d be giving up one of my biggest advantages.

The footsteps fade away, and moments later I emerge from where I’d been shoved, bristling with fury. 

“How dare you shove me away like sort of shame you need to hide! You don’t even know me, yet you treat me like I’m a helpless child!” I exclaim indignantly. Enise slides his red eyes over me, completely still and cold. “I don’t know what that was, but you’re supposed to take me to Ridser, not shove me into buildings. 

“Shut up,” he commands, and I knee him in the gut out of spite. He wheezes for breath, but still has the audacity to break out into a smirk. “Yeah, I was repeatedly warned you would be a bit feisty.” 

“Why don’t you take your own advice and close that worthless mouth of yours?” I bite out. 

“Fiery,” He comments, infuriating me with his leering grin. Ridser’s charm and smile certainly was not passed down from his father. Nonetheless, I let the wretched man lead me away to whatever corner of Haven Ridser is currently wallowing in. 

My hands trace circles around the hilts of the knives. The question of how I had gotten them bounces around in my mind, with no answer jumping out immediately. 

I suddenly stop short, a strange sense settling over me. Something is about to happen. I glance around, but there’s nothing. Though the buildings have become ominously close together, meaning someone could easily be hiding around the corner. Slowly, a few things start to come back to me. 

I’ve been here before. I must have taken a similar root to get where I was as I am being the one I’m being lead now. The man comes back to me, his eyes like licks of green fire. However, I cannot remember who he is or how he is significant. 

I close my eyes, trying to will more memories. Nothing comes, and the strange sensation passes. 

A sigh forces it’s way through my lips, and I open my eyes. Enise is standing menacingly close, with his blood red gaze meeting my own, sending a chill down my spine. He takes a step closer, leaning in so that his teeth gleam sharply, as if he has a mouth full of knives. 

“Hurry up,” he growls, taking me by the wrist and dragging me several steps forward. His nails dig into the soft skin of the underside of me arm, his anger corroding holes in my iron shield. 

“No.” I stomp my heel down onto his toes, relishing the crunch. His brows crease and his twist from pain, but to his credit he doesn’t cry out. 

His hands are suddenly at my throat, carefully confined to the fabric of my shirt which ventured up until the base of my chin. He grins smugly, pushing me against the wall of the nearest house. I can’t breathe. Panic takes ahold of my limbs, and I thrash in vain. Nothing I can do, as I grow weaker with each second my body lacks oxygen. I go still, remembering how in Isolation I had stubbornly refused to gasp and choke when the man strangled me, even if it meant death. I fall still, allowing my obsidian gaze to rest on Enise’s crimson one. Let my eyes say everything I can no longer express in words. Let the fire in my bones smoulder equally in my stare. 

Black spots dot my vision, but I refuse to let them distract me so I break my glare. The darkness begins to creep in at the sides, my head starting to spin from dizziness. My lungs are burning, begging for air, while my neck throbs in pain and my fingertips tingle as if a thousand tiny needles of ice are being jammed in and subsequently yanked out. 

I’m about to pass out when he finally releases me. He rams a fist into my gut, driving what little air I’d managed to grab out again. I spit a glob of blood and saliva at his feet, savouring the way his face contorts to display disgust. 

I unsheathe a thin blade, hardly enough to be considered a knife. The perfect weapon for slashing and cutting, to cause pain and incapacitate without being heavy and bulky, and therefore not taking a lot of energy to maneuver. I could wield this blade for hours, but one of my knifes would strain my muscles a lot more when it came to slicing. There’s no opportunity to use it before he knocks it from my grasp and sends it flying to the ground. 

“Will this teach you do to what I say?” He bend down to retrieve my blade from where it landed near his boot, pressing it to my throat. I lean forward and let the blade slice through skin. After all, a slight scratch is nothing compared to the bruises I will soon have. He shakes the knife, widening the wound as his eyes light with manic rage. The blade had been a creation of my mother’s, immune to my Curse so I could use it to trim my hairs. “Do you not understand me!? YOU ARE TO DO AS I COMMAND!” 

“I do nothing I don’t want to,” I declare, and draw my other knives. The first one finds its way into his knee, which will severely hinder his maneuverability. When I look back up, his red eyes are no green and his features, younger softer. 

“I can play with your head,” he proclaims, reaching up to brush a strand of hair our of my face, tucking the filament of darkened silver behind my ear. His hands are gloved by a pair unliked my own. “It doesn’t matter what you want. I can make you do anything, bend you to my will. Though I will admire, you are rather stubborn.” 

“You can’t do anything to me,” I hear myself saying back, but my voice is low and soft as if I’m entranced. 

“Oh, but I can.” He grins, and I have the sensation of unsheathing one of my knives. I don’t get the chance to use it, before he leans in close and whispers in my ear, causing a stunningly bright pain to rip through my skull. “Forget. Then run until you can no longer see me, lie down and go to sleep.” 

I gasp, suddenly wrenched out of the memory by a blow to the side of my face. It takes me a moment of blinking drearily for the colours and shapes surrounding me to come back into focus.

Enise has pulled my knife from his knee and dropped in nearby, far enough away it would be impractical for me to retrieve but close enough to him so that it isn’t entirely useless. It takes far too long for my brain to pick back up to speed, so when it does I do not waste a heartbeat. 

“I don’t like it when you daydream,” Enise states, tilting his head and eyeing me with irises stained with blood. “I have a task to do, and I would like to get it done.” 

“Is that so—” I spit every word of profanity I know at him, and a few I concoct by slamming harsh vowels together— “well, I guess I should close my mouth and obey you like a good little girl, shouldn’t I?” 

How could a man like Ridser come from this twisted, vile creature in front of me now? I can see no similarities between the two beings, other than in their unusually coloured eyes—his red, Ridser’s a profound indigo— and the way their hair has subtle curls. Otherwise, I wouldn’t believe this man shares blood with someone even remotely similar to Ridser, much less is the father of the man I’d come to feel warmly about.

Enise gives no snarky retort, but grabs me and proceeds to drag me forward a few steps. Fed up, I wrench my arm away from his grip and punch him squarely in the nose. 

Something cracks and his hands instinctively fly to his face, covering up any obvious injuries. His eyes tighten as he tries to mask the pain, pitting on a grim smirk and letting the silence drag on. I’m frozen in spot, watching a slight drip of blood as it slides down his face, making a slow decent. 

There’s blood on my face. He told me to bash my head against the wall, so I did. He didn’t know it would destroy the wall so much as it harmed me. The moment my face connected with the clay was my first indication he really had the power to play with my mind like he claimed. Not like Tenjey’s, no, this was different. His words were vile and twisted as they worked their way through my brain, taking control of my body. Green eyes, reminding me of the scales of venomous snakes known to roam the edges of Haven. His entire being resonates like a coiled serpent, full of poisons and dangerous energy. 

He takes my hand in his, and I can feel his mind probing for mine. Searching for a wordless way in. 

“You should have been watching where you were going,” he snidely states, reaching up and touching the blood on my face, feeling the crimson liquid between the pads of his fingers. “And I’m certainly going to make you regret every word you said.” 

I shudder as I’m thrust back into reality, the memories still clinging to the surface of my consciousness. 

“Hey! Are you listening to me!” Enise is furious, his eyes thirsting for blood. He takes a few threatening steps forward, his hand clutched into a fist and his face stained with blood from his broken nose. I grin smugly in satisfaction, enjoying how it makes his eyes go dark with pure wrath. “What is wrong with you, filthy Pov!? How stupid are you?” 

“I’m far from the brightest citizen of this fair city,” I declare evenly. “But at least I’m twice as smart as you.” 

“I’m going to make you pay for saying that! You cannot expect to get away with acting like this! You understand me? Do you understand me? There will be punishment in store for you, just as soon as Ridser is finished with you!”

“Do you hear me, every word! I’ll make you regret every last word!” His green eyes dance with wildness, an odd fear taking root in my gut. 

“I’ll say what I want to say, and I certainly will not be punished for it.” I feign a yawn. “But this is getting rather old, don’t you think? All this bickering, it’s tiring. Why don’t you bring me to Ridser in peace, then we can both get on with our lives.” 

“You insufferable child!” He screeches, something clearly having finally snapped and the lest thread holding his sanity together fraying, everything coming loose. 

He launches forward, and I free my knife just in time to drive it through a hand grasping for my throat. He shows no pain, and rips his hand away, blade and all. I watch in horrified fascination as he pulls the knife loose, the flesh of his hand slowly knitting itself back together. His nose has healed too, whatever dark power he’d been restraining breaking free with everything else. A terrible energy pulsates around him. This man here is the only man who would not be destroyed by my touch. The only person who I cannot defeat by doing so little as letting my finger glance off their skin.

I don’t see his kick coming. It sends me flying backwards and gasping for breath, my ribs resounding from the impact. The next blow I could’ve predicted if I’ve been blindfolded, but I barely manage to evade the swinging downwards blow of the knife, my knife. It slashes my left shoulder instead of by right, the blade breaking through fabric and skin, blood welling up. 

If it had been any other knife in the world, I would by unharmed and Enise without his weapon and the advantage it gives him. But the blade is my own, one my mother had taken the time to perfect so that I could clean and sharpen it without thick gloves impairing my movement. 

For a moment, I stare at the gash. I haven’t had a wound such as this one since Isolation, where they used their copied blades to tear me apart, bit by bit. It’s a strange sensation at first, the pain. One laced with memories of torture and darkness. For the first heartbeats after it occurs, I stare aghast at the red blood running down my arm and soaking my shirt, unsure what to make of it, before suddenly it fully washes over me. Wave after wave of pain, sharp and stabbing, as if the initial blow is being played on a never-ending loop where each time it gets a slight shade worse. 

Strong, hard hands grab me and tighten around my shoulders. I’m shoved down to my knees, the knife suddenly glinting overhead. It bears frightening similarity to what happened with Kednit, watching my own blade glittering overhead. 

“Anything you have to say?” Enise asks, crimson eyes sparking with sick delight. He lowers the gleaming blade slightly. I suck in one final gulp of oxygen, tilting my head in challenge. The knife wobbles, the edge coming closer and closer, and this time I feel no fear. Nothing but a massive pit of emptiness opening up and swallowing everything inside me. 

“Stop where you are! Drop your weapon!” Three Street Patrollers suddenly burst into the scene. They all wear the same uniforms, dark helmets obscuring their facial features. The tallest one reaches for Enise, yanking hum away and shoving him away. The next one turns to me, grabbing me by the arm and hauling me to my feet. He spins me around, binding my wrists with rope made from steel filaments. As he’s securing it, an inch of space opens up between my gloves and the sleeves of my shirt. I don’t even feel the rope brush my bare skin, but the guard drops my arms and lets out a bellow of surprise, his hands stained with soot. 

He says nothing, but he and his fellow guards wrestle us away. Two hold Enise, who goes limp and numbly allows himself to be escorted. Only a single Patroller hovers behind me, no longer bothering to try and tie my wrists. In fact, he doesn’t even grab me by the arm as the others have done with Enise, we simply looms behind me like a heavy and imposing shadow. 

“Where are you taking us?” I grind to a halt, whirling around so that I’m facing the Patroller, who is inscrutable beneath his heavy uniform. His lips are the only facial feature visible, but occasionally I catch a glimpse of the tip of his nose or curls of rusted hair. 

“You have nothing to worry about, ma’am. We saw the man attacking you with the knife, and ass he is in violation of the Law both you and him are required to come with us and make a statement.” 

“Yeah alright, but where?” I cross my eyes and tilt my head, setting my jaw firmly. I’m clearly being underestimated. 

“You are being brought to the Law Office, miss.” He reaches up and unfastens the visor of his helmet, revealing ordinary blue eyes. So he isn’t Cursed. Now that his Vision impeded by the black material of his visor, he can see his full face. He can also see mine more clearly as well. He gulps, blinking a few time as if unable to believe what he is seeing. My appearance tends to arouse more discomfort in people than my actual Curse, and this case is no exception. The Patroller shifts uncomfortably. 

“And where is this Law Office?” 

“It is not far, I assure you.” He pauses, still visibly unsettled. “Now, could you give me your name? We will need to add it to our records. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble. We need to file you as a victim.” 

“Olyxe Heregale,” I could hardly hear the sentences which came after we will need to add it to our records. If they go through their records, they will see every detail of my past crimes and sentence to Isolation, and I could get sent back there simply for being involved in a fight, wether I intimidated it or not. 

“I am Patrolman Denrik. I ask you kindly to please remain calm for the rest of the way. We will have you released and returned to you’re ordinary life, unless you require medical assistance.” I sense his gaze flick over the bloody slash in my throat, a thin slice still dripping with scarlet. He chews on the inside of his cheek, clearly wondering if a Cursed girl like me is deserving of medical care. His verdict will likely not me in my favour. 

“How much farther is the Law Office?” I attempt to distract him from thinking of my Curse. 

“Not too far, as I mentioned before.” He huffs impatiently. 

“What kind of trouble is Eni— ur, my attacker— in?” Other than being an amble distraction, the question had been burning in my mind ever since the Patrollers first interrupted our fight. 

“Well, he’s broken the Law by merely being in possession of a weapon, which is for, um... your kind, usually about six months in Isolation. The usage of this weapon could have him in for three to ten years, depending on the circumstances and the level of damaged which was caused.” He stops for a moment, once again eyeing my injured neck. “In this case, he’d probably only be in for three years and maybe a few months.” 

“Gmph,” I grunt. “He deserves to be down there for a whole lot longer than a measly three years.” 

“You deserve to be in pain for the rest of your miserable life.” His green eyes are burning as he glares at me. My head once again flashes with agony. I raise the knife slightly higher, until the tip is nearly at my throat. “You’re worthless. How can you have the audacity to dare and call me those names?” 

“I’m brazen. That doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve every last word.” His angry expression is momentarily broken by a sadistic lust for my pain. The knife rises higher again, fire ripping through my skull. 

“Hello? Are you alright?” Two concerned eyes bore into me, unremarkable and blue. A building looms in front of us, made from steel and red clay oddly patched together. The sign reads Law Office. Denrik offers me a reassuring smile, gesturing to the massive metal doors looming in front of us like the steel teeth of a beastly creature. “We’re here.”

 
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