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Black Wings - Part I

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Given all the plausible possibilities that could happen to me at this moment (death, being stepped on by a colossal foot, being cut in half with a giant axe, etc.), I choose to… well… I’m not really in the position to be calling the shots.

Currently, I’m in a chokehold by Astaroth, a colossal Frankenstein creation with pale, decaying skin wrapped around nearly 300lbs worth of solid artificial muscle and an incandescent green heart.

His bulging arm, extending from my chin to below my breasts, threatened to crush my core. The fetor of his filthy gray skin crept into my nostrils and struck me with a wooziness and nauseation stronger then any I’d felt in my entire twenty-one years of living. I could feel my senses begin to dim. It might be the last thing I smell… before… I…


My submission into unconsciousness was gratefully eluded when I hit the cave floor and gulped as much polluted oxygen as my lungs could hold. I realized,


‘I’m alive! But how?’

I heard his breathing pace increase and turned to find why he let me go.


I could see a figure standing between me and my hulking adversary. Someone had rescued me. My vision’s still blurred so I can’t make out whom it is. I notice flickers of light reflect off his person while he makes his way towards Astaroth, and I can tell by the circular shape covering his left arm that he wielded a shield.

A knight in shining armor maybe? I thought with a smile

A protuberance was protruding from Astaroth’s bicep that hadn’t previously been there. As my vision gradually begins to clear, I catch sight of long golden curls bouncing as he runs and leaps towards the monster. Simultaneously, A sharp clang and a juicy slash occur as his blue and white shield makes contact with the unknown shining protuberance in Astaroth’s bicep and projects it into the humid, cavern air, sparkling and glistening a flawless white through dark blood splotches, causing a grunt to escape from Astaroth’s wretched lips. Gaining even more of my vision back, as he caught his sword with his right hand, I noticed that his breast plate made his chest look very large, and I clearly distinguished the displacement of a typical Roman fauld with a ruffled, linen skirt. My heart began to sink when I recognized the silver omega symbol printed on his blue shield, an exclusive weapon granted by Hephaestus to only one person in the entire world.

‘This definitely wasn’t the knight I wanted.’

With failure clouding my jolly thoughts of finally doing something by myself for once, I can’t help but bemoan,


“Again?”

My unwanted savior, sword in hand, pointed at Astaroth’s ugly mug.


“If you want my little sister, you’ll have to defeat me first!” announced my older sister, Sophitia Alexander.


Astaroth tightened his grip on his axe and flexed his bulging, veiny muscles, ignoring the splitting wound in his bicep, and growled,

“Gladly.”
He rushed at her and swung his axe, aiming to decapitate her. She ducked and rolled away from his immense swing. While the axe’s momentum kept him occupied, Sophitia yelled,
“Cassandra! Get up!”
I had been so enthralled in their fight; I didn’t realize I had been sitting on my ass the whole time. I scrambled to retrieve my sword and shield, and then faced our opponent.

Sophitia ran to my side and nagged,


“What are you doing in a place like this?!”


“I was about to kill that monster,” I replied defensively, “But you had to come and ruin everything!”

Astaroth steadied himself from his folly and started walking menacingly towards
us.


“I ruined everything?!” Sophitia questioned, “I just saved your life!”

Astaroth’s menacing steps turned into menacing strides as he continued towards
us.


“What do you think would’ve happened if I hadn’t shown up when I did?”


“That was just a minor setback.” I replied.

Here he comes.

“A minor setback that could’ve gotten you killed--duck!”

His axe flew over our heads as we crouched to the ground.


“Rising jab!” Sophitia commanded.

As Astaroth’s momentum held his rotation, we rose and stabbed him in his back. Anticipating our attack, he flexed his back muscles, barely allowing the tips of our swords to penetrate. He came back around and struck us both with his arm and sent us flying onto our backs, knocking the wind out of me.
He ran towards us, leapt into the air and dropped like a ton of bricks, giving me the full impact of his hefty thighs.

The breath rocketed out of my body. The mass of unmoving, monster man lay still as stone, as if he had fallen asleep. I can hear Sophitia’s voice from across the cavern, but she’s right next to me. It looks likes she’s fading away into a black mist. She yelled my name again, but this time her voice is barely audible, and as I fall into a purgatory of blackness, I begin to think,


‘Why is it that every time I go on my own, I fail? Am I not good enough?
Will I always be in my sister’s shadow?’

An image of Sophitia came into my mind. I could see her so perfectly. Her beautiful hair whipped across her face as she slashed confidently with her sword. Her pearl white tunic shimmered and shook with each movement. She fought with purpose. She’s always so sure of herself. There’s a sublime aura that revolves around her.


‘Why don’t I have that? Why can’t I speak to the gods? And why can’t I be everything I am in my dreams?


“Cassandra…”, a voice beckoned ominously. It came out of Sophitia’s mouth, but it definitely wasn’t Sophitia.


“Do you want your dreams to come true?” The voice asked alluringly.

It was definitely a female voice, but it was in no way smooth or genial, as the usual female voices I grew up with have been. This voice was deliberately hoarsened, as if meant to evoke fear from its listeners through intimidation, and it carried a dark under tone that kept my trust at a distance.


‘Can you make that happen?’ I tried to say, but my mouth didn’t utter a sound. ‘What’s going on?’


“I can,” the voice replied “but you have to give me something in return. Some… collateral equal to the new life I’ll give you.” An eerie enthusiasm jumped from her voice when she said ‘collateral’.


‘What did you have in mind?’ I thought apprehensively.

Sophitia smiled furtively. I gazed into her eyes, her gorgeous emerald eyes, and as I began to drown in these luscious green pools, I was suddenly jerked out of this lovely trance by two demonic abysses of flared crimson luminescence. I focused my vision on her eyes, but after I blinked, her eyes were back to gorgeous green.


‘If you’re gonna ask for my soul,’ I interjected ‘you can forget it!’


“Don’t worry,” the voice assuaged “I don’t want your soul. All I want is your old body in exchange for the new life I’ll give you.” The darkness around us grew deeper, obscuring my vision. Sophitia’s eyes beamed at me, not her natural green, but a red so intense, it gleamed.


‘New life? Like the one I want?’ I asked.


“Yes. You’ll be your own woman. You won’t need anyone for anything.
You won’t be in anyone’s shadow and you won’t need anyone to rescue you.”
Cold voices echoed her words from the black abyss.


‘That’s everything I’ve ever wanted’, I thought to myself, ‘Can she really make that happen? And what does she mean by my ‘old life’?’

I thought aloud and asked her



‘What do you mean by-’

“Cassandra!”, a white light broke through the darkness as the voice interrupted. Wait, that’s not the voice. It’s Sophitia, and she sounds like she’s in pain.


“I need you to stay with me!” The eerie mist dispersed, but lingered, only revealing Sophitia’s face, tears now pouring down her cheeks.


“Please don’t go!”



What is she talking about? Does she not want me to have a new life?

The white light flashed and consumed the darkness, stealing me from this dream-like cosmos to fly me to a Sophitia kneeling, bawling beating the ground, pleading, “Please Hades! Don’t take her yet!” My eyes focused to the brightness and I recognized I was back at our home in Athens, lying on my now blood stained bed.


“Sophitia…”, I murmured weakly. My consciousness soon gave out, and Sophitia again passed from my vision.



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