The Last Light
During the darkest night of the year, a splatter of red decorated the wall while a flurry of crimson liquid bathed the floor. The red liquid made its way to the chalk drawing of a perfect circle with a triangle inside and complex Latin written in it. Black smoke slowly seeped out from the lines and almost filled the room.
Whispers. Sweet seductive whispers.
The unknown individual with blackened feathery wings stabbed repeatedly into a person with almost the same wings except for its size. This unknown individual had been stabbing the victim for a long time now until her hands caked with blood and flesh. Even the blade had become dull due to so much excess fat lingered on it.
Still, she could not stop herself due to her unbridled rage and the heightened longing. To finally took his life made her felt as if she became one with him.
The whisper called out to her, it encouraged her. It was promising her a wish only it can grant her. All she needs to do was to embrace her greed.
And she did so. Unfortunately, she had to stop eventually and needed to move the plan along. She needed to be with him forever and ever. She pulled out a gold coin and dipped it with her victim’s blood, then swallowed it whole.***
The city of Orléans possessed several breathtaking sights. From its waterfront to its bustling city. Every piece of architecture included the style from a bygone Victorian era. Despite most having been integrated into a modern setting, some still stood against the test of time. A few examples were the building and house that still has wood in the foundation.
At the edge of the city was a national forest. Its beauty consisted of tall trees that had aged without any disturbance from the outside world. Its wildlife frolicked happily without the concern of being hunted down to extinction.
It was a foggy night like any other. Yet, it was different for some reason. Perhaps the fog had become thicker without anyone noticing it. A person could barely manage to see past two-meter ahead of him if it got any thicker.
A young man carrying a large backpack strode down the side of the road. He was mostly unbothered by the fog. Even though it was late, he seemed happier and enjoyed the chattering forest. Taking a sip of a steaming tea from his thermos warmed his belly and rejuvenated his mind.
To say this young man is a fool to travel during a time like this was true for the most part. However, to call him inexperienced was untrue. He had prepared for the cold nights, for the rain, and even for any challenge a person might face traveling during this kind of hour.
The acoustic guitar attached to his backpack swayed after he shifted the straps into a more comfortable position. His backpack has anything he needs and everything he owns. This was his life. It was a life he loved. Out here with nothing but himself and the vast world.
The chilling breeze was useless against his thick jacket and cotton glove.
For every breath he took, hot steams would come out from his lips and dispersed into the cold air.
Suddenly, his shoes stepped into something different from the tar road. Every step he took, a crunching noise followed. That was odd. He was pretty sure he didn’t take any turns. Upon a closer look, he realized he was on a dirt path.
He flashed his light around him to no avail. The thick fog overwhelmed his torch, barely giving him the sight he needed. To wander around right now was dangerous, so the only thing he could do now is to set up camp and wait for the fog to disperse in the morning.
The strangest thing unfolded before his eyes, an orb of golden light appeared in the distance. A sense of familiarity was coming from it. However, it could be the streetlights. Nevertheless, his lucky star has finally arrived, now he can get out of this fog and get back on the road. He began walking toward it, keeping his focus on it. He doesn’t want to get lost any more than he already did.
Weird enough, the closer he got, the further it became. He found it even weirder when it suddenly got quieter around him. There’s not even a single cricket noise that can be heard. The hair on the back of his neck stood when he noticed a soft murmur coming from the bushes near him.
He took a step back when he saw a red pointed hat appear out from the bushes. His eyes widened in disbelief when he saw it. The hat was similar to what a garden gnome would wear, but only longer.
“What are you, little buddy?”
A short creature stepped out, answering his question. He would be fine if it was a garden gnome. Weird out of it at first, sure, but eventually good with it. However, the creature that came out of it was something truly horrifying. Green moss covered its wrinkling skin. It was as if the creature was like an old man combined with the appearance of a child. Absolutely disgusting to look at. However, a tattered cloak covered its body and hid its nasty torso.
Its red, beady eyes glared at him and mumbled something. The young man couldn’t understand what it was, but he knew it wasn’t good. The second time it asked, the young man still couldn’t understand.
He took a step back when it started brandishing a small scythe. For a moment, he thought he could at least handle the creature, but another one appeared. Then another one appeared and another. More of them started to pop out from the fog. Each one of them held a scythe in their hands.
“Do you guys want to hear a joke?” None of them responded to his question. “What do you call an animal you keep in your car? A carpet.” He let out a nervous laugh. “Get it? Car-pet?”
It growled and he took that as a warning. Without a second doubt, he ran toward the light as fast as he could. A dozen, probably more, chased after him in a feat of rage. He didn’t even know what he did, but those creatures are mad as hell.
“It was just a joke!”
More light orbs appeared as if it was guiding him toward somewhere. With no direction in mind, he trusted those orbs. Not because it was his only choice, but something about them felt like home. That feeling grew inside him, pulsing and getting warmer by the second.
It got even hotter when he found himself at the border of a clearing. After looking around, he realized an unknown force was controlling the fog because it couldn’t enter this area. It became like a wall, all around this particular area with nothing except for a large stone in the middle with a moss-covered spear sticking out of it.
The light orbs gathered around it, and he found himself drawn toward it.
He turned back and saw an army of goblins like creatures with red hats coming toward him while brandishing a scythe.
The young man climbed up the stone and took hold of the spear. He expected it would be hard to pull out, but instead, it came out easy. Like a knife through butter.
With the spear in his hands, he felt another heartbeat. A few words kept whispering into his mind. The spear compelled him to say it, and he did: “L'éternel… lumière.”
As if the god itself cut the night sky open, allowing a bright light to cast upon where the young man stood. A golden spear banished the moss that had grown on it and became brand new. Then, it transformed itself into a banner. A flag of light fluttered in the wind. A pair of golden wings grew from his back. His brown eyes beamed with light as if it was the sun itself. His short brunette hair had become golden and grew tenfold. He hovered above the stone as a deity had just graced the earth.
The creature looked in awe and wonder, dropping their weapons and kneeling before him. Lowering their sights as if they were praying to him and repeating the same word over; and over again. “Saint.”
With a single hand raised, he banished the fog entirely without any effort.
When the young man came back to himself, he was stunned at the power coursing through his vein. He never felt this warm before. Never felt this rejuvenated before. Never felt this powerful before. However, that power only lasted for a few seconds and everything dispersed. His wings, his golden locks, his glowing eyes, the spear pulled everything back into it. The light from the sky disappeared, and lastly, a pulse of light escaped him.
He dropped to the ground with the spear beside him and fell unconscious from the extreme fatigue that came out of nowhere.
A woman. Not quite a human woman, but shaped like a woman with blue skin and donned a formal black and white suit. Even though the suit had hidden her true body, one could tell she had the body of a warrior. A gentle breeze brushed against her medium-length hair that was tied into a ponytail. Despite her blue skin and the gills on her neck, her crimson eyes were the most striking part about her.
She was traveling through the sky on top of a silver trident. Before it crashed into the ground, she jumped and landed softly. The trident cracked the earth upon impact and flew back into her hands.
Her eyes wandered to the creatures and back to the unconscious young man. She walked to the creature and somehow was able to speak its language. However, no matter what she asked, the creatures only replied with the word: “Saint.”
The woman turned to the human once more. Her forehead furrowed.***
“I warned you, Jonathan. To stop talking about her. For god’s sake, she’s not real, Jonathan!” An ill-tempered woman held a young boy by the arm, her grips tightened to the point of hurting him. “Why can’t you just be normal like the other kids?”
“I’m sorry. Please… Please. I won’t do it again.”
She brought the young boy down to the basement. Where she stored a collection of antique furniture and the lost memories of her youth. One particular closet caused the boy to panic.
“Don’t put me in there, please.” He begged for his mother’s mercy. “Mom, please… It wasn’t my fault. The priest asked me. I didn’t want to lie.”
“Well, you should have.” She seethed with rage. “Now everyone is going to know that I have a deranged son.”
“I promise I’ll be good. I won’t tell people about her anymore.” He sobbed against her feet, begging for her mom to let him go.
She crouched down and held her son by the cheeks. “Oh, my boy… my sweet boy.”
“Mom…” Relief washed over him as his mom caressed his head with love. “I-I promise I won’t do it again.”
“Jonathan. Jonathan. My sweet precious boy.” She cooed his name. “Begging won’t help you now.”
“Mom, please…” The young boy felt despair from the few words that escaped her mom’s mouth.
“You need tough love, my child. And I know how to do it.”
She tossed the boy inside the closet. The young boy recoiled back when his body hit the back of the closet. Without giving him a chance to say anything back, she slammed the doors shut and tied the handles together with a rope.
Poor young Jonathan wailed against the wooden gate, pleading for forgiveness at every breath. There was no mercy. No chance for the wicked. He was deemed insane by his mother.
Darkness crept over him, choking him of hope and freedom. His body shivered in dread that he might never see the sun again. The only thing he can do now is to pull his knees closer to his chest and hug himself. Counting from one to ten and repeating the same thing over and over again.
1… 2… 3… 4…
5… 6… 7… 8…
9… 10… 1… 2…
3… 4… 5… 6…
He didn’t know for how long he had stayed in that closest. But, it felt like an eternity. His lips chapped from lack of water, and his stomach growled and shrunk over time. He wanted to puke, but he knew it was a bad idea. It will only anger his mom if he does so. Every time his throat would clog out from his vomit, he would gulp it back down.
This was the longest she had put him in here. He couldn’t even count to ten using his voice. However, he still does it in his mind. He leaned his side against the cold hardwood, staring at the nail protruded in front of him.
The young boy doesn’t know whether he could withstand it anymore. That nail might be his only choice to end this because what’s good is freedom if his mother is going to throw him back in here. The option to end the cycle of despair was alluring as a sip of water.
Who would even care if he was gone? He had no friends. No other relatives. His father hated his guts as much as his mother. The neighbor and his schoolmates thought he was crazy. He blamed it all on himself. It’s true. If only he was born with a normal brain that can’t see things a normal human shouldn't.
It was his fault. He is a burden to everyone, and the only way to fix it is to end it. Right here. Right now.
In his deepest despair, a sudden warmth enveloped him. As if he was embraced from behind by a woman made from nothing but warm light and soft clouds. He turned his head to see who it was. It was the same woman he had seen from the first he was born.
The woman who nobody could see but him. She has always been there, in the corner, in every room, in every dream he had. Not once in his life, this woman would come near him and every time he would go to her, she would disappear.
However, for an unknown reason, she had come to him and embraced his body. A single tear of light ran down her cheek. The young boy wondered if that tear was for him. Seeing that very tear broke his heart, he thought no one would care for him. Let alone shed a tear for him, but here she was.
Does she feel sadness for him? Does she feel pity for him? Did she feel guilty? What was that tear for? He may never know, but he knows one thing, he wouldn’t cause this woman who shed a tear for him to shed another tear. That was his promise to her.
Everything fades to black, returning old memories to where they belong.
Jonathan woke up with a tear running down his cheek. His breathing was heavy at first but slowly returned to its pace after his heart began to calm down. He tried to move his hands but failed to do so. Instead, it only caused the cuff around his hands to rattle.
He glanced around him. Seeing a room made from metal walls, metal ceilings, and metal floor. A mirror of sorts faced him. It reminded him of one of those one-way mirrors they would use in a cop show. After looking down, he realized the cuff was chained to the metal table, and the table had been bolted down to the floors along with the chair underneath him.
“Bonjour?” After a few seconds, it seemed no one had heard him or was willing to respond.
He turned to the chain. “I got a good joke about chains. You guys want to hear it?” And again, no response. “Do you know why dolphins are vital to the food chain? Because there can be no life without a porpoise.”
A snort of laughter came from behind him, followed by an intentional cough. Jonathan couldn’t see who was behind him, and the mirror didn't reflect the person.
“I know you’re there.” Jonathan cooed. “Come on. If you’re real, why don’t you show yourself or at least give me a sign that I’m not crazy?”
Another cough came from behind, it was a rough one, but he could tell it was a male from that alone.
“I’m Jonathan. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He didn't respond. “If you are ordered to not talk to me, then I understand, but can you do me a favor?” I rattled the chains. “I think this is a bit overdone. I won’t try to escape, I promise.”
“Please, … chains make me uncomfortable.” Jonathan’s hands can be seen visibly trembling. It was true, he never likes things that restrict his movement. It reminded him of the tight closet his mother used to lock him into.
Still, no response.
“Please…” He rested his forehead against his hands as sweat started to appear.
A sign of hope as the man behind him shifted and moved closer to him. He reached for his cuff. Jonathan widened his eyes when he saw the man had blue skin. What was weirder, the man unlocked his cuff with a single wave of his hand.
The cuff fell to the table with a loud clunk.
“Thank you.” Jonathan was finally able to feel calm again. “Hey, I want you to know that I appreciate what you did for me. If there is anything I could do to pay you back, just tell me.”
“It’s nothing, my saint, but please keep your head forward.”
“Weird request, but sure. Why did you call me a saint?” The man didn’t respond. He must have slipped it out because he wouldn’t answer Jonathan’s question. “That aside, I refuse to accept your kindness without paying back. Do you have my backpack there?”
“It’s beside me.”
“Do you see a thermos there?”
“Can you bring it to me?”
He didn’t respond, but eventually, he would move again. The guard placed the thermos right in front of Jonathan. The same blue skin, so it confirmed that Jonathan wasn’t seeing things.
“I got this tea from one of my trips. It’s strawberry flavored and good for people who have high blood pressure.” Jonathan poured two cups for him and his guard. “Have some. I promise you, it’s delicious.”
Jonathan took a sip of his cup in case the man behind him had suspicions about whether it was poison or not. Not that it was. A subtle gulp can be heard coming from the man behind him.
“I hope it’s not too sweet for you.”
“No, it’s not. I like it.”
“You can have more if you like.” A small smile appeared on Jonathan’s face. He stared at the thermos, taking a moment to enjoy his tea. “You know what? There is a pouch in my bag. If you open it, there are a few packets of strawberry tea inside. I want you to have it.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t accept your gift.”
“Take it. I meant it.” There’s a moment of silence between the two of them. “Come on. It’s just tea. Take it.”
There’s hesitation in the man's voice, but he eventually accepts it. “I’m grateful for your gift, my saint.”
“You can call me Jonathan or John if you like. Why won't you show your face to me?”
“I was told that my appearance might alarm you.”
“I bet it’s not that bad.” Jonathan stroked his chin. “Besides, I think I saw… a bunch of gnomes with scythes before I was knocked out. Huh, is that the reason I’m here?”
“They are called Redcap.”
“I see, goblins… Okay, goblins exist now, I guess. I think they don’t like my jokes very much. All of them started chasing me for a reason I have no clue of.”
“They don’t speak your common tongue, sir.”
“I guess that made sense.” Jonathan took a long breath before taking another sip of his tea. “You know? Judging from your voice, I picture you as this rugged gentleman of sorts. Quite handsome by the way with a cool but mysterious vibe.”
“I disagree, sir. A girl I knew once told me I had an average face.”
Jonathan let out an exaggerated gasp. “What? Screw her. She has no idea what she’s talking about.”
“How do you know if you never saw my face, sir?”
“Well. There’s only one way to find out.” He quickly turned around and was astounded by what he saw: a blue-skinned human with a formal black and white suit. Even though a spartan helmet covered his face, Jonathan could still see the crimson eyes underneath it. There are even gills on his neck.
The man held a blue trident by his side. He stood upright in a way that reminded Jonathan of a military officer. He tried to cover his face with his hand. It was a useless attempt because Jonathan could see the man’s face underneath despite it all.
It was surprising, it wasn’t at all what Jonathan had expected, his eyes widened. The man before him doesn’t have a rugged look at all. Jonathan would describe him as an androgynous beauty with a pair of striking crimson eyes.
Jonathan almost couldn’t tell whether he was a man or a woman if he didn’t take another closer look. This man could even be considered beautiful by Jonathan’s standard. However, Jonathan still hasn’t gone through the fact that this man isn’t human.
“You’re beautiful…” Those very words slipped out of Jonathan’s mouth. It seems what he said caused the man to turn bluer than he did. Jonathan couldn’t believe it. The man is blushing from cheeks to ears, which made him even cuter than before.
“I-I’m sorry, my saint, but you are making my job even harder than it is.” He averted his gaze while biting his bottom lip.
“Oh, sorry. It wasn’t my attention to invade your personal space.” Jonathan retreated to his seat, trying to laugh it off. In truth, his heart just skipped a beat.
“Do you mean it?” He looked at Jonathan with his lost puppy eyes.
Jonathan covered his smile because he refused to admit that this man just became even more adorable than before. “I mean there’s no point in lying, right?” He took a sip of the tea to clear his throat. “Well, anyway, I’m glad I finally got to see your face. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Handsome.”
“My name is Bor Pacifica.”
“Oh, unusual name, but simple. I love it. I hope this is the start of a lasting friendship, Bor.” Jonathan raised his cup toward him while donning a bright smile. Bor finally smiled, nodding his head before tapping his cup against Jonathan’s. However, something was bothering Jonathan, it was behind his eyes. He doesn't know the cause, but he knew what it was. “Please don’t do it.”
“Excuse me?” Bor tilted his head.
“Please don’t do it. We just got to know each other. It would be awful If we can’t see each other anymore.”
“How did?” The words that came out from Jonathan’s mouth completely stunned the undine. It is as if Jonathan read what was inside Bor’s head. Bor let out a chuckle, not without covering his mouth. He doesn’t know why he laughed, but it’s the only response he could come out with.
“Anyway, do you know what’s going to happen to me?”
“From what I heard, they just want to talk to you.”
Jonathan donned a less confident smile and stared into his cup with worry. Bor noticed his friend’s uneasiness and caused his heart to drop. He took a knee before Jonathan, placing down his trident on the floor while pressing his fist against above his heart.
“Under the eyes of my ancestors, I, Bor Pacifica, swear no harm shall come upon you till you depart from this academy.”