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     Peace, absolute. And then the fall through darkness eternal.

     Aneskia lifted her head slowly, staring round at the breathing darkness encircling her. Pulses coursed through the air, like water undulating wildly along well-tended riverbeds. Like words in a story, of which she perceived the flow. She looked ahead, and saw a tiny speck of light fast approaching, until its brilliance blinded and absorbed her.

     When she awoke, the blackness had made way for shades of grey upon a world she knew to have been colourful once. Shapes and figures appeared, as well as sensations and the smell of wet wood. She felt herself being held, a small bundle amid tight, cold arms. Above her loomed an unfamiliar face, a woman’s frozen in time. No life resided behind those narrowed eyes, yet she had the feeling something still lurked, deep beneath their murky surface. She let out a small infant’s cry and stretched out a tiny hand, which glowed vividly against the stillness of the grey world. The air constricted and shifted; it was but a short moment later that the woman’s eyes opened wide and she screamed hysterically as though abruptly woken from a terrible nightmare, her voice but a terrible silence. One cold hand pressed itself against Aneskia’s eyes.

   As she closed them, she felt herself standing again on her feet, cold shivers of dread running down her spine. She wrapped her arms about herself and coughed. The feeling of dread accentuated, spiraled violently and consumed her heart. When she opened her eyes, the woman glowered down at her. Aneskia felt her heart clench with fear of the expected: some form of pain, to be inflicted for no clear reason at all. The woman’s despicable gaze bore into her own, hints of purple glinting through the greyness. The woman spoke, but the words were lost to a heavy silence. Yet, Aneskia suddenly felt tears rolling down her cheeks, as she somehow understood what had been said: a demand for obedience, that no defiance would be tolerated. The woman’s rage increased at the sight of her tears, and she yelled. Aneskia understood that tears would not be tolerated, either, nor any form of weakness. As she lunged forward, the woman faded from Aneskia’s sight. She was relieved not to experience what might have happened next.

     Muffled tones came from behind her, and Aneskia turned around – just in time to feel a cold hand slap her face with such force that she was thrown into a newly formed wall. Tears immediately ran as the pain throbbed through her cheek, which she covered with her hand in a vain attempt to attenuate the hurt. She felt the woman’s words reaching her heart: anger, rage towards disobedience, and a need to inflict pain until the lesson was learned. When Aneskia opened her eyes as she lay trembling on the floor, her heart skipped a beat: before her lay a familiar face, a small young boy who held a hand at his cheek and tried in vain to suppress his tears. Without thinking, Aneskia reached out a hand towards the trembling boy. He disappeared abruptly behind a curtain of darkness, the woman’s steps echoing as she approached him. Grief as well as resentment filled Aneskia’s heart. She pushed herself up on her hands and realized, all of a sudden, whose feelings truly ached within her heaving chest.

     The darkness made way beneath her and she fell, screaming. The sorrow and resentment within her heart amplified, filled her every thought and emotion and exploded into unbridled rage and hatred when she crashed into the soft bottom of blackness. She pushed herself up on her hands and discovered the new scene with terrified bewilderment.

     The boy now ressembled the one she’d seen at Kris’ house – in fact, she was certain they were the same person. But the horrible expression on his face disgusted her profoundly. His eyes were aglow with deeprooted hatred towards the woman who awkwardly sat at the other end of the small dark room, too panicked to even blink. The boy’s hand stretched out towards the wall above the woman, and Aneskia saw there was a gaping hole in the darkness there.

     Aneskia held a hand at her chest, the boy’s hatred pounding in her heart with all the destructive force she knew the woman to possess. But beneath the hatred, she felt the oceans of repressed despair, of love unreturned; of hope, of denial, of suffering, feeling all alone in his own dark little world she’d help build. And Aneskia understood, her own tears flowing at last, that this woman was in fact the boy’s mother. She felt so sorry for him, so overwhelmingly sorry, and couldn’t help but to relate, remembering her own mother’s hatred of the world. The scene blinked out of sight, but Aneskia was already looking away, behind her, at a scene from her own memory.

     She saw herself, standing at the closed vines towards her mother’s room, and still heard Niskania howl in pain as she did most nights. Still felt the suffering, the hatred, which consumed her mother’s heart as surely as fire destroys the most magnificent of forests with time.

     Aneskia had never known anything else. Never experienced much more than a semblance of fondness from her mother’s heart, or an attempt at care. But the hatred, omnipresent, distorted even her more genuine attempts at being a better mother. Malia, Aneskia whispered longingly to the darkness, which replied with a kick to her stomach, then another to her side that rolled her onto her back. Aneskia’s eyes went wide; her heart drowned in blind fear. The boy’s mother straddled her, deep purple eyes filled to the brim with cruelty and promising agony. Then came the sting of cold metal plunged deep inside her chest, and the understanding of death.

     A screech like rusted metal echoed from within Aneskia’s own heart, louder and louder until it eradicated any and all thought. Her vision went red. Feelings of rage, boiling through her veins, demanded blood for blood. Aneskia coughed and choked on the chaotic emotions, on the bloodlust and desire for death that were not her own, could never be hers. Her body quaked as she struggled against the madness, against every sensation embodied by the power which emerged from a twisted sense of reality.

     She screamed and fell through the darkness, fell for a long time, and behind her trailed every undigested emotion she’d suffered through, fading back into the embracing darkness following her descent. Aneskia covered her eyes and let her heart hollow out, until but one emotion remained. Strong arms collected her and she opened her eyes, understanding.


to be continued…

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‘The Denumbra’s Curse’, originally ‘The Aberviohn’s Gift, The Denumbra’s Curse’, title and tale, is (c) 2016 to Isabelle ‘Nocturnaliss’ Apel. You may share my work if you credit me and link back to this website, but you may not claim it as your own or otherwise appropriate the creation of Aeyuu or any of its characters. You may, however, write fanfiction, as long as you also share it with me so I can read it.