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.


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.

7. Rivals

Chapter VI

~ Rivals ~

“White faces. Bones, skeletons. Gleaming in torchlight.”




When I find Ridser again, it’s not how I’d expect. His back is turned to me, a slim-fingered hand resting at the base of his neck and another knitted in his dark hair. A spike of anger—and strangely, jealousy—spears my heart. Of all the ways I imagined running into him after the moment that passed between us earlier, I didn’t dream up this one. He spins the girl around, dipping her so low that waves of burnished gold hair sweep against the floor. The girl he’s with is made of gold, golden hair and golden skin, I even get a glimpse of golden eyes. The only break in the monotony is her black and crimson dress, rippling dramatically as Ridser spins her around. 

I bite down sharp on my tongue to keep from cussing loud enough to draw attention to myself. Drawing a deep breath, I steady myself. I reign in the uncontrollable fury, letting it reshape into a low and consistent hum of power instead of a quick flash. There’ll be no chance of this ever burning out. 

A bulky man and his bulkier woman suddenly block my view, and I force myself to look away from where I remember them standing. This is what I get for putting my trust in a man I met not long ago. 

Sourly disappointed, I wander over to a table laid with food. I haven’t eaten in forever, my stomach growls at my first glance upon the fantastic spread. Some sights are familiar, while other platters are decked out with completely alien delicacies. I delicately pluck at a few of the sugary treats. Sweet mushrooms roasted and caramelized, making me salivate at the mere thought. Dried roots from unknown plants, harvested from so close to the Topside they require special treatment to remove toxins. Roasted rockbeetles tossed in sweet, sugary syrup. Mushroom cakes dusted with the phosphorescent eggs of firebugs, delicate wings from moths dried and crusted with sugar.  

With marvellous restraint, I chew the food slowly and only take small, dainty bites. This lasts for about a minute, before I give in and finally devour a plateful of rich and decadent delights. Only after I’ve stuffed my face do I think of looking up and rejoining the people around me. 

There. To my immediate right, Miss Golden Girl. There’s a flash of red across my vision, my surroundings taking on a blood-hued haze. She smiles at me, the most superficial smile I’ve ever witnessed. Even if I had no idea who she was, I know I’d promptly dislike her for being so fake. 

“Hey,” she says sweetly, pouring herself a glass of Fru. I reach for the bottle in turn, filling a delicate cup with the murky indigo liquid, slightly darker and bluer than Ridser’s eyes. She delicately sips, while I down my cup’s contents without second thought. 

“Hello,” I answer, out of habit rather than politeness. I can’t hold back the bite to my voice, not that I tried. 

“I love this song!” She suddenly exclaims, the music rising several decibels as a more upbeat tune begins to pound out of the speakers. I’m sharply reminded of Ridser’s roll in our scheme. “I ought to go find my partner and ask him to dance.” 

“Oh?” I cram a truffle cake into my mouth, licking the sticky glaze off my fingers with the elegance of a starving woman. “Who are you here with?” 

“His name is Enise,” she gazes dreamily at her Fru. “He has the most gorgeous eyes, almost the same colour as this wine.” 

“Yeah, I know.” I blurt, the words flying out before I can think. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’d saw her with Ridser, regardless of what she thinks his name is. The bitter tang of his betrayal fills my mouth. Spiteful anger tingles in my fingers, begging me to curl them into fists and knock some sense into Golden Girl. “Who you’re talking about, I mean.”

“You know him? You’ve met him before?” Her eyes go wide in surprise, pretty face suddenly thrown off balance from the look of disdain crossing it. “What’d you think of him?”

“Oh, you know.” I sigh, putting on my best lovelorn face. I’m starting to get the feeling Golden Girl and I are going to be rivals. “He was nice and all, but nothing special. In the end, he left me for some other girl. It’s his thing, apparently. He’s a filthy, careless liar.” 

“What a shame,” she pouts. I feel a surge of satisfaction at how she glumly gulps down her Fru, daintiness forgotten. “I’m Camisa, by the way.” 

“Nice to meet you, Camisa.” I smile brightly, my face taught from the effort. It’s all I can do not to grab something hard and bash in Camisa’s head, which only makes me angrier because I hate being jealous. Being jealous means I felt something for Ridser, which I don’t. This is all irrational. “I’m Ol—Nia. Olnia.” 

“Nicer too meet you, too.” She pours herself another glass of Fru and I pop a sticky, roasted rockbeetle in my mouth. “I best be going now, though.” 

“You best,” I growl through clenched teeth. I turn away once she’s gone. “Good riddance.” 

“What were you saying?” Ridser is suddenly besides me, pinning me sharply beneath his stare. He glances at Camisa’s retreating form, lingering a fraction too long on her bottom. “I can read you, you know. It’s no trouble for me to see you were talking about me. The only question is, what were you saying.” 

“I wonder, Enise.” I swear, meeting his challenging purple glare with my own angry black one. “Tell me, who were you lying to, me or her? Or both?” 

“Olyxe, give me a chance to explain before you condemn me—”

“Too late,” I spit, spluttering off out into the crowd. He follows, his fingers glancing against my arm. I freeze, looking back. He’s no longer demanding and full of challenge, his shoulders sag and his eyes droop. He’s desperate, defeated. His eyes plead with me, and without realizing it I let my shield get knocked slightly askew. 

“You hardly know me, Olyxe.” He pauses to straighten our his hair, I watch the gears in his brain spin as he carefully arranges his sentences. “You can’t possibly imagine you have me figured out, there’s no way you can jump to solid conclusions about what I was doing with Camisa.”

“You’re right, Ridser. Or Enise, or whatever your name is. I don’t know you.” I snatch my arm free from his grasp, half-wishing I wasn’t clothed from head to toe. Without another word or so little as a sidelong glance, I storm off into the crowd. I can sense him watching me, feel his eyes glued to my back. Bodies jostle around me, and suddenly my chest feels tight. I’m not used to being in crowds of the his many people. There must be a hundred people crammed into the gallery, every citizen of Haven who’s anyone having found their way to the home of Brile Farh. 

“Hey there,” someone sings, and I jump. A man’s hands, calloused and cold as ice chips, grasp my waist. There’s a section there where the material is thinner, a sudden jolt of fear slashing through me when I realize my Curse might leak through the feeble fabric. I break from his grip, jabbing and elbow into his face and forcing my way into a tight thicket of people to get away. 

“Did you see how she was stuffing her face!?” A shrill voice shrieks, as if the very building is crumbling. “Nothing ladylike about her!” 

There’s a chorus of obligatory giggle, but I hear no more. I’m on to the next cluster. 

“Those filthy Povs—” an older man scowls, using an informal term for the people who live in poverty. “The lot of ‘em are worthless. All either dirty, crazed or Cursed. Sometime all three.” 

The other older men laugh, this time a real, wheezing laugh from deep in the lungs. Equally as obligatory with the same contempt and sinisterness. 

I push through, seeing white faces. Bones, skeletons. Gleaming in torchlight. A phantom pain graces my neck, panic beginning to set in. I’m trapped again, surrounded by pale skeletons of people with empty eyes and twisted minds. 

Squeezing my eyes tightly shut, I will myself away. The panic has started to crush me, and I’ve no choice but to get out of the confines of the gallery. 

My eyes snap open, fury spiralling outward. There’s no trigger other than desperate need, and I make the most of the sudden burst of strength to get away from the chaos. With every ounce of strength I have, I push myself. Each hammer of my foot against the white floor is in rhythm to the pounding of my heart. Escape is tantalizingly close, I push myself until I’m out the arching doorway. 

I slow to a walk, still eager to escape the ever-tightening surroundings. I cuss at myself for being so stupid. Unlike Tenjey, I’ve no desire to live like the rich. This whole evening was setting me up for failure and humiliation. 

Using the familiar pressure of the knife at my thigh as an anchor, I ground myself. I reel in my racing thoughts, taking deep breaths to steady my beating heart. 

Once rationality returns—well, marginally—I begin to creep through the sprawling hallways. Everyone within the outer walls of Brile’s house are condensed into the gallery, giving me plenty of space to clear my head. An instinct of self-preservation tells me I should at least try to hide, so I search for a dark corner to sink into. Instead, I find a massive winding staircase unlit from above, algal waters sloshing in glass containers stacked on top of each other leading upwards. When my foot meets the first step, the algae flares to life in a blaze of vibrant cerulean. 

I carefully make my way up the stares, mesmerized by each flaring of light. The house is oddly silent, my footsteps echoing sharply, the voices from the gallery distant and indistinguishable. No more than a low hum. 

Confident I won’t be seen or even missed from the party, I slip into the darkness of the upstairs hallway. There’s doors on either side, massive slabs of stone using intricate systems of pulleys to open and close. I pass by each one, scowling when they don’t open. Every single door is locked shut, and my frustration mounts. There isn’t much light to see by, other than a handful of firebugs that have taken to following me around. 

The hallways abruptly ends, at a door slightly away. I mentally whoop with victory, taking a moment to appreciate this lucky break. The door itself isn’t as interesting as the other doors, with no carvings or bejewelling except for an emblem in the shape of a dagger I’ve noticed several time throughout the house. 

I lay a hand on the stone, surprised by how cold it is. The air around me is relatively warm, but the stone buzzes with a frosty chill. I snatch my hand away, scowling at the rock. 

Working up my nerve, I slip inside. I don’t make it any farther than two feet. The room is massive, with a bed made from glass and a mattress thicker than my arm is long, draped with a silky black bedsheet. The floor is made from panels of onyx and iron, the walls tempered white glass. The furnishings are all made from jet, except for the bed and an armoire crafted from transparent glass. 

Inside the armoire are gowns of all shapes and shades, mostly black and dark crimson with the occasional splash of silver or rich, blackish amethyst. Inside their gloves, my fingers itch to touch them. My brain screams not to, and for once I listen to reason. 

Come on, just feel one! I use every ounce of my willpower to ignore that nagging voice, sweeping my gaze over the rest of the room instead. Every surface exudes wealth and power, right down to the dagger emblem carved on the far wall, above glass doors leading out to a balcony through which I can see the blue speckling of Haven’s roof. The realization doesn’t take long to hit. 

This is Brile’s bedroom. I startle, looking around with new eyes. The firebugs buzz close to my head, a couple even landing in my hair which predictably has worked its way lose of the bun. 

Even more reason to take off those gloves. 

This time, when rage sparks, it’s directed at the annoying voice in my head. I swat it away, but every time it keeps bouncing back. A nuisance, an inconvenience really. 

Suddenly there’s a massive groan. I catch a glimpse of Miss Golden Girl, Camisa, my newfound rival. She grins at me through the open gap in the door, wagging her fingers. The firebugs zip away, landing on her palm. My brain doesn’t have enough the time to process how she did it, the door suddenly begins to move. Slowly at first, but steadily getting faster until it slams shut. 

I gasp incredulously, unable to understand what just happened. Camisa somehow closed the door, but why? What did I ever do to her? She was friendly enough, I even got the impression that she liked me. Goes to show how good I am at reading people. 

Maybe Ridser put her up to this. The voice could be right. He could’ve saw you leave and sent her to follow you! 

But why lock me in here? I can’t figure out her reasoning. What was she thinking when she shut the door?

Panic hits. It slams into my chest and knocks the air from my lungs. I race for the door, falling to my knees and pulling. Fingers trembling wildly, I tug at my gloves. They’re on tight, nearly impossible to get off without a steady hand and even steadier patience, two of which I’m utterly lacking in at the moment. 

I pull and pull and pull, desperation making me crazed. I finally manage to loose one of the gloves, but before I can yank it off and free my Cursed skin I’m reminded of the last time I was locked away. They made sure every surface was protected against my touch. 

The memories pull me into their dark pits, all the walls a built to keep them back crumbling down. 

This. I think absentmindedly as I spiral into the abyss. This is what it feels like to fall apart. 

The tide is too strong, and no matter how hard I fight, I’m pulled down. It’s terrifying, teetering at the precipice between gruesome reality and my darkest memories. 

My head goes under the surface, I start to drown. 


Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...