Smoke and Mirrors Series
Smoke and Mirrors
As a child, I was often told of stories where princesses and princes ride off into the sunset, arms wrapped in an eternal embrace. Many of my sisters and brothers started to believe those stories and hoped that one day their very own prince or princess would sweep them off their feet... I was foolish like them once.
For twentytwo years I was told my prince would come, that the one who was made to be my other half would ride in on a white horse to carry me off to live a life that was finally ‘complete’. That was what my people believed.
My people are lycanthropes or werewolves in simpler terms. We are the beasts that humans fear, the reason they lock their doors and hide their children when the full moon rises. However, in reality, it does very little to save them as we could steal their children away even during the day if we wanted to, but many of us are not the monsters they believe us to be. They believe that we are heartless and not capable of loving anything other than ourselves… but that is far from the truth. We do believe in soulmates. We believe that the Moon Goddess made us a life partner that we could lean on for support no matter what...at least that is what we were told.
We were never told of what happens to us when that person who is supposed to be our soulmate is cruel and emotionless. Those tales were put to silence, their characters shamed for what they could not control. We were told that we should not interfere with what fate had laid out for us, that we were bound to the chains of destiny.
Well then, it looks like it’s a good thing that chains could never hold me for long.
The wails of sirens pierced the night sky, but did little to mask the screams of the people who had their lives snatched from them. The air which was once filled with the soft scent of wild flowers now reeked with the stale scent of blood, the metallic scent burning its way through your lungs each time you had to take a breath.
With each breath that made its way into your respiratory system the heavier your heart sank, as you knew the blood you smelt belonged to the people you called family, the people who either watched you grow or grew up with you. These people fought beside you and trained with you. Their bodies now littered the wet earth, broken and battered, and instead of dying amongst friends and family, many took their final breaths laying down next to their enemies.
Most people would think that would be the worst thing a person could experience, but they were so wrong.
The visual embodiment of chaos could drive a person to insanity, but its voice was in a league of its own.
The sound of chaos was a melody that filled the air with the screams of the helpless being its amplifier. It roared in crescendo with the pleas of parents as they begged that their life be taken instead of their children's, but alas, even in chaos there is kindness. Their plea was granted with the cries of children as they watched life fade from their parent's eyes, their innocence forcefully stripped from them. However, the worst sound was not these screams, although they shook you straight to the core, the worst sound was laughter.
This laughter was not the one you hear in the presence of people you love, it was not the laughter that warmed your heart and made you feel safe. This was the laughter that sent chills up your spine and made your hair stand on end because you knew that once this laugh fell upon your ears, your life would soon come to an end. This laughter was made by the maniacs that painted their silver daggers scarlet with the blood of my people. They dripped with so much blood that the daggers no longer glinted under the moonlight, these sadists laughed as they saw the helplessness and vulnerability that painted the faces of their victims. Their laughter drowned out the useless pleas of their victims before they ended it with one swift movement.
Amid this chaos, a child's scream made its way through the orchestra of chaos. His small frame shook as he knelt next to a beautiful woman who looked as if she were sleeping if not for the ruby necklace draped across her neck with small rubies falling to the neckline of her dress, turning the white into red. The child begs her to stand, oblivious to the chaos surrounding him.
"Mother please wake up!"
This phrase is repeated, each time with more force as if he could bring her out of her eternal slumber. He paid no attention to the many who fell trying to protect him, surrounding him with their bodies. The golden armband that once gleamed brightly on his arm was now marred with streaks of red.
Oblivious to his surroundings, the child failed to sense the towering figure slowly creeping behind him.
The figure smiled to himself, the boy was nothing if not an easy kill. Blood dripped from his elongated canines as the thought twisted his lips into a cruel grin, his yellowed teeth glinting under the moonlight. He looked at his dagger, he smiled as it dripped rubies similar to the necklace that adorned the woman's neck. He thought himself merciful as he raised his dagger, he was ending the boy's suffering, after all, he was allowing the boy to join his mother in eternal slumber.
His brown eyes met blue and his grin widened as the boy finally realized his fate, his scream was like music to his ears, the boy's scream made him contemplate his choice of this mercy killing and he decided that perhaps he should not kill the boy right now. The thought of bringing him back and torturing him slowly just so he could hear those screams that filled his heart with joy. He threw his dagger to the side and advanced to the boy with his arms outstretched and claws lengthened, his hysterical laughter mixed with the boy's screams.
That was the only thought that crossed his mind, he ran his tongue over his teeth relishing the metallic tang he tasted, he savoured it as he imagined just what the boy's blood would taste like. His overconfidence in his abilities blindsided him as he was oblivious to the pair of dark eyes that followed his every movement. He cackled as he reached for the boy when a gleam of silver whizzed through the air and sliced through one of his outstretched hands like butter, his howls mixed with the howls of many. He could do nothing but stare and cradle the bloody stump of where his right hand used to be, he looked down at the boy's face who too was frozen in shock, his round face splattered with the man's blood.
The man snarled at the direction from where the blade was thrown, however, the vision he saw almost made him cower in fear. He saw nothing but the reincarnation of death herself walking through the sea of chaos towards him. He heard stories of her but never believed them, dismissing them as just something mothers told their children to scare them but here she was, the living proof of the legend.
Her raven hair whipped in the wind with the wildness of obsidian fire, giving her the illusion of a dark angel here to drag him to the fiery depths of hell. As she advanced towards him he could see the hard steel in her eyes. He could do nothing but watch as she cut down all who challenged her, filled with utter determination to get to him and there was no one who was going to stand in her way. He looked down at the boy only to be met with a grin.
"She is going to hurt you so bad."
And hurt him she did, with each punch to the chest he felt his ribs slowly caving in. He watched as one of his own comrades came up behind her only to have their neck snapped and thrown to the side like a ragdoll. The avenging angel glanced at the boy and the woman that laid in front of him and he watched as the fire in her eyes blazed like a furnace. He noticed the bronze circlet on her head and saw the reason behind the fire. He coughed up blood as she aimed another kick at his ribs, struggling to speak as blood kept pouring into his mouth.
"If you are g...g...going to kill me, d...do it!"
He felt his blood go cold as he heard her laugh, which sounded like a peal of bells that only made the situation at hand even more twisted.
"Kill you? Why should I grant you this mercy? You were going to kill a child without a second thought and not just any child, the child of our Alpha and most importantly, my nephew. You of all people should know how we wolves take to people who threaten our families.”
The gravel bit against his skin as she dragged his body away from the child, signalling to one of her pack to take the child away. He winced as he felt a bootclad foot dig into his back just at the curve of his spine, screaming in agony as a blade drew a path across his skin from the small of his back to the side of his head. Helplessness was a feeling that he was not used to experiencing, he enjoyed seeing it on the faces of his victims but truly feeling the control you have being stripped away was something that he never experienced till now.
"What happens when a wolf can no longer stand on its own?"
The open question sent him into a panic as he started to thrash around like a wild animal but could do nothing as the force she applied ensured that he would not escape her clutches so quickly.
"I want to hurt you, I want you to feel the pain you caused me countless times over, I want you to feel how it is like to have your heart slowly ripped out of your body..."
He watched her body still as she heard the countless howls pierce through the air signalling the second wave of death to befall her pack, a small laugh escaped her lips as she slowly bent down to whisper to his ear.
"You really are lucky, it seems that time is on your side so I have to make this quick."
He did not even have time to react before she grabbed his hair to bare his neck and the flash of silver made its mark on his neck, falling face down into the gravel the gurgling in his throat became more prominent as he began to choke on his own blood. With increasingly blurred vision he saw the silhouette of his killer begin to change, she looked back at him with her other face before running off... leaving him to depart from this world alone.