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I suffer from insomnia and chronic nighmares, but this particular nightmare was more interesting than the rest.
I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just walking. The gentle breeze tickles the back of my neck, signaling that the Spring season was creeping up behind Winter. The snow still covers the ground, and the flowers have yet to bloom. I sigh and my breath expels that white puff of smoke from my chapped lips. I love staying outside in the cold, the air pressed against my bleached colored skin doesn’t seem to bother me, even though my bare arms and legs have gone numb. I let the sudden gush of wind seep into my every pore, it exhilarates my sense of touch and puts an immaculate grin upon my face. It’s not until now that I notice where I am, and what I’m walking on. I’m in my neighborhood, my bare feet are slapping against the rugged sidewalk full of cracks and rifts. I look to my left and see my house, with the flower pot still sitting in that one window. I can't seem to stop my legs, or seem to be able to turn and enter my house. I look down at my legs in frustration, their stride is steady, and longer than normal. I want to stop walking, but I can’t, my legs have their own set path and don't seem to want to veer from their course. I try to pull at my legs, just to try to do anything to get them to stop. I close my eyes and tug at my own legs, gritting and clenching my teeth and hands as I dig my fingernails into my legs. I don’t see where I step next, and I trip over a protruding edge of the sidewalk.
I fall face first to the ground, letting out a slight gasp as I put my hands out to catch myself. I hit my head on the sidewalk as I go down, I can feel the cut gushing blood from the surface of my forehead. I close my eyes, and my vision goes blurry for a second. I open them after a minute or two, and I can see all the tiny parcels of rock crammed together to make the sidewalk. So many pieces, forcibly stuck together for all eternity. I go to push myself up off the sidewalk and wince in pain. I sit up and go to look at my hands, they’re covered in cuts and scrapes. I go to touch my throbbing head, the cut had already turned to a scab. My hands still bleed from the multitude of small cuts, and to me, its smell is intoxicating. I just continue to gaze at them, and I hold my left hand up to my mouth, and to my own surprise, I start to lick it clean. It tastes so familiar, and so delicious it makes my mouth water. But all of a sudden, I hear footsteps approaching behind me, and they stop right behind my back.
“Are you alright?” I hear this person ask. I can clearly tell it’s a boy, but what bothers me is that this voice sounds so familiar to me, and I can’t pin point where I’ve heard it before. I slowly rise up from the sidewalk, noticing the blood stains I had left, and turn around to face this boy. The sun blinds my eyes for a moment, and I’m blinded for an instant, but when my vision clears, I freeze. This boy, looks exactly like me. The same, lengthy torso and thin bony, gentle hands. His eyes, the same deep deathly black as mine. His hair, so dark it could haunt the nightmares of children, and is cropped close around his face. And his skin, that same pallid pigment as mine. I can’t say another word, and the smile on his face does nothing more but impair my movement and speech. “Let me see your hand,” he says. I obey his command and hold up my right hand, the one I hadn’t bothered to lick clean earlier. He takes my hand in his, his fingers are just like mine, thin and bony, or sickly in a sense. He holds my palm up to his mouth, and as he does all these things, he never takes his gaze off me, and I stare right back at him. A sudden pleasant burning sensation flows through my hand and up my arm. He’s sucking on my hand, sucking out its blood. My expression goes from surprise, to pure horror. His face, it was changing. His left side of his face, started to be enveloped by this blackness, and these tendril like vines seemed to wrap and pull around his face. His entire left half of his face was now covered in this morbid shadow. His gaze was unwavering from mine and for the first time, I was able to utter out a sound. I screamed.
My eyesight starts to go black, and I can tell I’m falling again. Due to either blood loss, or shock of the situation, I’m not entirely sure. I hear the air wizz past my one ear, the other covered with the swoop that covers half my face. He catches me, and leans down, whispers in my ear, “I’m glad you stopped me, or else I would have been fully blighted and died.” I want to ask him what this all means, but the next thing he did, made my head even more out of sorts than it already was. He pressed his lips against mine, staring into my widened eyes. As he continued to kiss me, the black aura that had once encapsulated the left side of his face, slowly dissipated, and his face was back to normal, looking like the masculine form of mine. My eyes had widened even more, and my vision flickered right before my eyes, and then it all went black.
“I’m taking you somewhere safe, don’t worry Grace,” I hear quietly whispered in my ear, the sound almost kissing my ear drums. Then a chuckle, “Your legs wouldn’t move any other way because they were leading you to me, we are each other’s destiny.”
I could hear the sounds of leaves crunching and rustling underneath what could only be feet. I was still fading in and out of unconsciousness, and couldn’t fully grasp waking up. I could sense he was carrying me, I could feel his chest against my side. He was so cold, but I couldn’t help loving his cool touch against my skin. I had so many questions running through my head, but the one question pressing the hardest, I thought to myself:
“H-how does he know my name?”
I suddenly wake up gasping for air, sweat seeping from all my pores, and my clothes are drenched. I sit up in the bed I was placed in, frantically surveying the room, trying to figure out where I am. I look down at my hands, the scrapes and cuts were completely gone, and no sight of injury was present and I notice that my clothes had been changed. I look to the door at my right as it slowly opens and the boy peers in. His eyes looked shocked for a moment, and he moves so fast I wasn’t able to see him arrive at my bedside. “I was so worried about you,” he says as he reached up and moved a lock of air out of my face. I wince at him doing this, and I notice how hard I’m breathing, and I can’t seem to get a full breath. He sighs, and I look up at him confused. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small switchblade knife. My face goes more pale than it already is. I speak to him for the first time, my voice quivering I ask, “W-what are y-you going to do with t-that?” He smirks and moves so fast that I don’t have time to respond and he’s less than a centimeter from my face. “I’m going to help you,” he says. Before I can ask or say anything else, he takes the knife and slices it across his palm. The smell hits my nose in an instant and I lunge at his hand. I suck on his palm and feel a searing pain come across my face as I drink. He doesn’t shiver or tremble, but remains stagnant and only reaches down to once again move my hair out of my face. I continue to drink, my throat is on fire, but the taste is so intoxicating that I can’t stop myself. He lets out a slight chuckle, and with brute force, pries me from his hand. I can feel the blood dribble down my skin, stinging as it does so. I fall back to the bed, exhausted for whatever reason, but I look at him, a smile slowly disappearing from his lips. He walks over to the dresser in the room, opens a drawer, and pulls out a small mirror. He brings it over to me, and with a slight hesitation, holds the mirror up for me to see myself. I look at him, confused at why he has a mirror, until I see my reflection, and I scream.
I lash out at the mirror, knocking it out of his hand and sending myself flying off the bed and falling to the floor. The mirror shatters against the ground, shards go flying everywhere. I yell at him, “Why the hell is my face like yours!” My face was almost entirely black. My eyes no longer had whites and my once pale skin was now anything but white. I start to cry and look at his hand, it no longer had a cut on it. I crawl to the corner of the room and sit with my face towards the wall, bawling. I still feel the searing pain linger on my face. I hear his footsteps as he walks towards, and he puts a hand on my shoulder. I quiver under his touch and gasp as he yanks me around so I’m face to face with him. My eyes widen, tears still rolling down my cheeks, causing the black mass to singe against my skin even more. He raises his hand, and I half expect him to slap me, but he’s slowly lowers it to my face and strokes against my blackened cheek. I scream, the pain is so immense and I can’t stop screaming. The single bulb hanging from the ceiling busts, and sends glass everywhere. He stops touching my face and leans in close and whispers in my ear, “I’m sorry.” The pain on my face had subsided, and he looked at me still with a desperate and concerned look on his face. I was exhausted, my throat was raw, and I was drenched in my own tears and sweat. It still hurts, I know the black vines are still clinging to my face, and I can feel them pulling at my skin. I look up at him, my eyes pleading. He leans in closer, and I brace myself for him to touch my face with his hand again, but he starts kissing my face. My forehead, my cheeks, my lips, and the pain subsides. It seems as though with each tender kiss he places on my face, the pain has soothed into pleasure. He cups my face in his hands, and wipes away my tears, and smiles at me. He walks over to the broken mirror and brings a shard of the mirror over to me. He holds up a shard of the mirror and I look up to see my face is no longer black. I look at him and finally speak, " What am I?" He chuckles, "I haven't the slightest idea what WE are, but I know we need each other." I stare at his eyes, eyes exactly like mine. I realize we must be the same, whatever the hell we are. He smiles at me, knowing that I'm scared. He tells me, "I know you like the taste of it, but it comes with a price, and we can fix each other when we pay the price."
I understood what he meant, I had put the pieces together. He stared at me once again, as though he could tell what I was thinking. "You want more don't you?" I looked up startled because he had read my mind. He chuckled. "Come with me," he said taking me by the hand once again. He took me outside the room I had awoken in, and outside into a forest. The moon was full above our heads and gave off a luminescent glow that helped us see through the darkness. He started running, dragging me at first, but once I started running with him, I regained a sense of energy, and could keep up with him. I started to giggle, and then full blown laughing. He looked back at me and smiled. We ran and ran, moving so fast that there was no sound as we ran over the forest floor of leaves. We arrived back in my neighborhood, my chest hurt at the sight of my house. I now realized how much anguish my family must be in after I disappeared. How long have I actually been gone? It was midnight now, everyone was asleep, not a noise was heard except the chirps of insects. He let go of my hand and walked up to the door to a house, and simply pushed it with one finger and it opened with ease. He waved a hand for me to come, but I was weary. He glared at me, reminding me of myself. I hurried over to him and we quietly went into the house.
He snuck around the rooms of the house and I followed him, until we came to a bedroom. It was obviously a girls room due to the decoration, and not to mention the girl sound asleep on the bed. He seemed to have floated over to the bed and was now leaning over her. He took out a knife and picked up her hand and made a large gash. She woke up, but he put his hand over her mouth to stop her screams. I couldn't see her face because he was in the way. He beckoned me to come over, I could smell the blood. I wanted it. As soon as I walked over and saw her face, I froze. It was my best friend, Elizabeth. I couldn't move. She was struggling, and had knocked her lamp off her nightstand, but the boy who looked like me had her pinned down and had her hand twisted upwards where he was licking it. He stared at me, one eye already gone black, and mouthed "Don't you want it?". I did, so badly, but it was Elizabeth.
I slowly walked closer, I had tears running down my face. As I came closer, Elizabeth finally noticed me and began to cry. I said, "I'm sorry Lizzy", and took her hand out of his. I drank and drank and drank, while Elizabeth struggled and I heard her muffled screams, tears rolled down my face and the searing pain started once again. I kept drinking and he kept running his hand through my hair while he kept her pinned down with his other hand. I kept drinking and I didn't hear him yell "Grace stop!" But it was too late, I had killed her, sucked her dry, she was as lifeless as she'd ever been. I froze, the pain still there. I almost fainted and fell to the floor, but he caught me. He kissed me and I could feel the pain vanish. When he let go of me and I opened my eyes, he had tears in his eyes. He said, "If you had continued, you would have gotten fully blighted, and killed y-" He was interrupted by a loud bang and a pool of blood spilling from his shoulder.
Elizabeth’s father stood in the doorway, holding a gun as the boy he just shot fell to the ground. “Get the f*** away from my daughter!” he yelled. “You son of a b****!” I screamed. I rushed at him before he could get another shot out and bit into his neck, the pain and black blight returning instantly. I stifled his screams by slashing his throat with my bare hands. He fell to the ground, dead, blood slowly oozing out of him. I huffed and puffed, finally realizing I had just killed two people. I shook my head frantically and went over to the shot boy. He was coughing, blood spattered out. I stroked his cheeked, my own tears falling off my cheeks and onto his. He reached up, once again, moving the hair out of my face. “N-n-never c-cover up your b-b-beautiful eyes, even w-w-when c-c-covered in blight,” he managed to choke out. I pitifully laughed, and held his hand to my cheek, the pain hurting so intensely, but I ignored it, “Never again.” He smiled, “I l-l-love you Grace.” My tears flooded even more, “I love you too.” His eyes lit up, and he smiled even more, “My n-name’s G-Graham by the way,” he coughed out. I desperately laughed, tears still rolling down my face, stinging against the blight, “I love you Graham.” “Then y-you’re the first,” he said with a chuckle, and then he went still.
I screamed and shouted at him, “Graham! Wake up! Graham please!” He didn’t move, I hugged his body to me, “Graham please,” I whispered in his ear, “don’t leave me alone.” His eyes remained closed, I had lost him, he was gone, forever. I knew what I had to do if I wanted to see him again. I looked at his face, and leaned down to kiss him. His always supple lips, now were chapped and dry. “This is for you, I love you.” I tilted his neck so now his neck was exposed, I leaned down, and bit into his flesh. My previous blight burned once again and now my entire body was covered in blight. I didn’t care anymore. The pain meant nothing to me. I just kept drinking and drinking and drinking, and it all went as black as the blight.
I was blinded by a white light, and couldn’t see anything. I was lying on the ground, and as I went to shield my eyes, I could hear the rustling of leaves. My eyes stung a little and I was surprised at the sudden grasp of my arm that pulled it away from my eyes and lifted me to my feet, and embraced me in a hug. “Grace,” Graham whispered.