Scene 1.15 - No Escape...
The Kindred Fortress:
Huddled against the wall, Eve sat shivering uncontrollably. It was not the chill of the room that caused her body to shake so violently, however. It was the vision lying on the bed in the distance that left her so rattled. She could feel her mind unhinging piece by piece with every passing second. Her eyes turned to stare at the door just a few feet away and her composure slipped, falling away to expose the frightened woman she was just beneath the surface.
Her eyes closed and she swallowed convulsively as she remembered the name that had somehow burnt itself in her mind. God! She did not want to be alone right now. A slight whimper escaped her throat as she allowed herself the comfort of envisioning him standing there. Tears blurred her vision as the enormity of the situation began to engulf her heart.
She'd slept fitfully through the night after his abrupt departure. When she could stand it no more, she found herself awakening, still nude beneath the covers. He had not returned to bring her clothing and her patience was at an end. With no other choice, she found the will to finally rise in spite of the humiliation that had held her prisoner in the bed. That had all transpired hours ago.
Forced to find provisions herself, she'd successfully detached herself from the emotions that held her captive throughout the night. Visions of the events in that room played out over and over in her mind and the longer she lay there the more confused and frustrated she felt.
She had no idea what Arik was, but he was not the first otherworldly being to ever darken her path. He was some sort of a shape-shifter, that much she realized. The Anaak who held her captive possessed similar abilities, so it wasn't that much of a shock to see him morph into another form before her eyes.
He had revealed his name within his very own thoughts, but she'd heard it again several times throughout the night in the midst of unsettling dreams. In sleep, she found herself panic-stricken before him. He had lost complete control of his emotions, unleashing his hold on the raging temper that burnt within him. She had no idea what made him so furious, but his anger wilted her in a way she couldn't begin to comprehend. She'd cried his name out loud, begging him for leniency—at which point she awoke in a fit of hysteria. She simply couldn't fathom it. No man had ever brought about such feelings of despair in her before and she despised it, even if it was only in the hidden depths of her subconscious thoughts.
His image was something she could not seem to cast from her mind's eye. Was he some sort of a demon? The repulsive swirl of violent energy that coursed throughout every crack and crevice of his body told her that he might be. She could literally feel the heat of his emotions roiling just beneath the surface of his skin. It was incredibly frightening, but no... A coward, she was not! She refused to let fear penetrate the thick emotional wall she'd erected around herself so long ago. Fear was not going to win.
No, Arik was merely a player in one of their games. He had to be one of the Anaak in disguise. She was sure of it. He had to be. Why they would go to such lengths to try and frighten her now, she had no idea. They were master manipulators though. Every last one of them. They'd been trying to break her will with their never-ending barrage of twisted experiments and this was no different. They would not succeed.
He was certainly an impressive sight to behold though. That fact was not lost on her. He imbued the purest form of male perfection despite the deformation of his body. The length of his dark, wild hair crested the broad curves of his muscular shoulders which professed the strength his body must possess. And, those eyes! They were a shade of deep blue such as she had never seen, suddenly changing to glow intensely red as he'd hastily backed away from her.
That strength… Those eyes… God! Despite the objectionable emotions she'd felt at the time, she would give anything to see him standing in the doorway with her right now!
Her face dropped to hide behind her bent knees as her body felt awash in stark terror. All of her former bravado had died away as if it had never been there at all. What she saw lying upon the bed in this last room had broken her spirit in a way that nothing else ever had.
At the end of her patience waiting, she'd finally risen from the bed and found nothing more than a thin sheet sitting in a closet on a shelf. Wrapping it around herself, she decided it was time to try and leave the room. She thought the iron latch might be locked, but it gave way and the door opened easily. With timid steps, she ventured out into the hallway and listened cautiously. Not a peep could be heard in any direction.
What an enormous structure this building must be, she thought to herself. The ceilings rose nearly twelve feet high and the entire length of the hall spanned over one hundred feet to her left. She'd allowed her senses to expand outward, taking in each of the rooms that were spread out at regular intervals, but there was no sign of life anywhere in the area.
It surprised her that every door stood unlocked, but then she realized why and it puzzled her. Everything within each of the rooms was covered in layers of dust. This place must have once housed a great number of people, but now it sat empty and abandoned to time. The occupants must have left in a hurry to leave so much behind, but that had obviously occurred a very long time ago.
Upon opening the third door, she smiled pleasantly. This one must have belonged to a woman. There was no doubt about it. Without remorse, she stepped inside the room and immediately moved to investigate the closet. Her heart literally stopped when she spied the clothes inside. Strange, beautiful and amazing dresses hung on metal racks and she plucked them greedily off the hooks. She freely traded one for another until she found herself holding a comfortable wrap-around. It was soft and warm, and the fabric moved with her as she twirled about. She loved how it felt against her skin as the skirt swished from side to side.
Her spirits lifted just to be dressed in something that was not sterile and starched. Even so, the thought lingered in the back of her mind that this was probably just another part of some emotional test the lab was running—with her as the guinea pig. They would all have a good laugh at her expense in the long run over it.
That notion darkened her mood several degrees before she managed to suppress the emotion. She wouldn't give them the satisfaction. She swore it to herself even as she pressed the skirt of the dress down to move her legs once more against the fabric.
She traveled from one room to the next, fascinated by so many things she saw. Everything piqued her curiosity. Art, crafts, toys, musical instruments… It all looked as if it had been left there by mistake, still awaiting the return of whomever it belonged to. She could hardly believe anyone would just walk away from all these beautiful possessions.
What if it hadn't been by choice though? The blood in her veins ran cold at the thought, but she knew it couldn't be true. This was all some sort of an elaborate hoax. It had to be.
Her emotions ranged from those of elation one minute to irritation the next as she explored the entire hallway. At times, she fingered items with the most delicate touch, yet there were other moments when she allowed the energy to burst forth from the palm of her hand, disintegrating and shattering objects at will as ugly suspicions flared to life in her mind.
The satisfaction of hearing ceramic shatter was hilarious and entertaining, yet she grew progressively frustrated as the day wore on. Her mind betrayed her time and again, straying back to thoughts of Arik, wondering when he would present himself again. If he ever intended to at all…
How long had it been? How long would it be until he returned?
She hugged her knees tightly to her chest as she sat on the floor, feeling more alone and lost than she ever had before. It was within this last bedroom that she'd been brought to her lowest point. The reality of her situation had come crashing down around her before she'd been able to prepare herself for the torturous emotional onslaught. She'd been struck immobile, unable to find the strength or will to move.
The room that lay before her—it had been the most lived in of them all. No doubt about that.
From the instant she'd opened the door, she wished she never had. It was a tomb, scorched beyond all recognition. Every inch of it had been annihilated by some powerful force that had incinerated everything lying within it—all except the bed in the very center of the room. Only that single object had remained untouched and undisturbed. In the wake of so many vibrant and colorful rooms, this one was charred with black ash, in complete contrast to everything else she had seen until that moment. The destruction of it left her heart pounding uncontrollably, seeing how it had been upended in a spectacular display of violent fury.
There on the bed, lying peaceful and undisturbed, was a vision she knew she would never be able to wipe from her mind. It was the mummified remains of what appeared to be a woman lying under a heavy quilt. On either side of her, two small children lay huddled against her in silent repose.
It couldn't possibly be real, she assumed at first. Her mind simply couldn't comprehend the reality of it to any degree. It absolutely had to be fake!
Her jaw had dropped as she moved closer to examine it further, but then she caught sight of a window against the far wall. It was exposed by the tattered remains of dark, shredded drapes. Beyond it, she saw the barrier. Its presence was something she'd felt in the room where she'd encountered the second demon. The one she'd tried to kill.
It was water! Outside the window, beyond the barrier, a dark and foreboding world filled the void. No matter how far she allowed her senses to extend, she could feel it in every direction. It was a black, swirling torrent that was held at bay by the thinnest veil of energy.
Arik's words rang out deafeningly in her mind then. They were trapped in this place. This was a prison from which there could be no escape. She would die here right along with them!
That realization washed over her as she backed up slowly, finding her back hitting the wall behind her. She sank down to the floor, unable to breathe. She looked upon the bed, envisioning that would be her future. They lay there, having died there—all alone in this prison, to remain here for all time.
She couldn't bring herself to look away from her fate. Just as these pitiful souls had been trapped and died in this place, so too would she…