Some Nights

Some Nights

A Chapter by A.C. Lei
"

The broken warrior who found her...

"

​​​​​​​​​Journal

​​​​​​​​​July 31

 

"Empty Dreams"

                                                             

  People say when you dream, you tread softly high above the heavens. It's where you live out those moments when everything is in a constant state of happiness. They regard them as those unforgettable and the most cherished. But not me. For me, whenever I dream it's like my own endless pit of terrifying hell. It's like falling instead of flying especially once you've tasted - once you've seen  what I've seen - the real hopelessness of the cold and immoral breath of the living. And for me, it's been engraved deeply into my life like a scar that reminds me and haunts me of what I've been, what I've done and what I've become.

 

   I can still remember it then. It was winter, the night of the first snowfall of that year - midnight to be precise. Haunting cries of anguish, terror and pain echoed and reigned until they were all buried over. A new revolution started that night. What glory and grandeur that once had been of our great society was brought down in just a matter of hours. All the knowledge, the history and legacy of a well-beloved society was burned down along with those who had tried to rebel. Family wasn't the basic unit of government anymore. Men turned against men. There was no longer trust but fear. What legacy that was left of our forefathers who had dreamt of this land to prosper was forgotten and considered in vain. The people were now merely subjects and considered as a liability for a better society. They were now the government. So far then, one realm was taken by them and soon the rest of the world will yet to be ready for what the militia had planned for it.

 

My name is Reine, a night stalker. 10 years ago, my village had been ravaged by the war made by the men who declared themselves as our gods. My parents, as councilmen, were murdered and hanged for being members of the Resistance. I can still recall how they kicked down the door, thrown an explosive inside our home. The ringing in my ears as my brain tries to repair itself never seemed to end. Even my 5-year old brother suffered bleeding ears that night. Our parents sacrificed themselves in order to protect us. But their sacrifice died in vain anyway. We were found - known of our status - by the same man who ordered to terrorize our land. He took us in and raised us to become his perfect soldiers after he lost his own sons - killed by his own hands for treachery. We were regarded as his sons - and me as his favorite and prodigy - although I never acknowledged him as nothing more but a killer who killed my parents. Of course he never knew of my hate, I was too good to hide it. Our parents would've killed themselves before their murderers could do the job if they knew what I'm doing now.

 

I consider myself lucky. As long as I'm of use, I was allowed to live - and be broken bit by bit - or at least before the time comes when night stalkers like me, too, would become obsolete.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the dark shadows of the night, I signaled to an unseen object in the abyss. As planned, a slant of light crept in, a silent creak of rusted metal and the stench of rotting wood overwhelmed my highly-tuned senses. Quiet footsteps ran inside and into the source of the light. Once inside, I led my men against the corners of the room. No harm in being careful or in being prepared. No matter how the word ‘abandoned’ was mentioned by my men.

 

The building used to be an institution for the mentally deranged - and so my superiors had said. It was shut off during the war. Its patients and staff had been unfortunately late to avoid the fire and thus died - honorably, they say. I knew better. Though the new government marshal declared that a stray fire had burned down the building, although there were no traces of burns in the autopsy reports of the patients. It was as I had known a hoax. I knew deep within my guts that they were murdered just like any institutions that foster the elderly, the infants, the women, the disabled and the unfortunate. It was one of the plans of the militia. To strike fear into the people’s hearts. To gain the compliance of the people. In order to take the land, they must win over the trepidation of the people.

 

I leaned my back against the cool surface of the wall. I could feel the heavy weight at the pit of my stomach. A drop of sweat trickled down my forehead. I gave a low grunt as I tried to resist the pain in my head. I can’t back out now. I can’t risk it.

 

Mist crawled under them from out of nowhere. I watched my breath form visibly before me. It wasn’t winter yet. In fact, it was the middle of summer. And only I can see it. After all, this level-of-consciousness was the reason me and my brother were made night stalkers. Balls of fire emerged from the concrete walls. One had appeared just mere inches from my right shoulder. Fortunately. I narrowed my eyes at the close call.

 

“Bloody hell! What are they?” An incredulous voice asked behind me, a slight tremor in his voice. 

 

A rookie, I guessed. The first-timers where always the loudest.

 

Just then one of the balls swooped past me. I reflexively pushed the rookie down to the ground. The ball went on its fixed direction and faded as it floated through the wall.

 

“What’s the big idea?!” The rookie complained, obviously not seeing the balls of fire that passed through. He uttered something like ‘personal space’ as he began to wheeze. I was only then aware to loosen my firm grip at the man’s throat. I motioned a finger to my mouth to stay quiet. The rookie ignored me and made struggling noises.

 

I glanced at the rookie’s dirt-smudged face. 

 

Twenty-three or so, I estimated of the man’s age. Hardly four or five more years older than me. I couldn’t blame the man for thinking I was a beginner just like him. Yet, insubordination was intolerable.

 

 I would’ve to discharge the man once the work was done.

 

“Look, if you want to be toasted and burned on your first night, then fine. But don’t you dare drag the others down with you. Do you understand?” I muttered in a low nonetheless instigative voice.

 

 I dropped him on his feet and began to walk forward to join the rest of the group.

 

The man regained his footing - and apparently his stupid tenacity. I felt his muscles tense in anger from his recent embarrassment.

 

“Whatever. I still don’t see why we’re here or what we’re even hiding from in this dump. It’s obvious nothing’s here.” He grunted and shouldered past me.

 

I caught him murmur, “Ordered by a young punk.”

 

 I sighed. 

 

Just then, an eerie sound echoed near. A gust of wind breezed through our heads. The temperature dropped even lower.

 

I felt the others stare at me with uncertainty. I could read in their eyes the confusion of the unknown. 

 

Obviously, not much of them have the amount of experience that I had.

 

“They’re called St Elmo’s fire - wraiths in common knowledge.” I told them gradually, waiting for the term to sink in. It didn’t.

 

“They’re spirits who never crossed over,” one of the others replied shyly, breaking the silence. He shifted his wide nervous eyes to the others around him. He looked barely fifteen with baby fat slightly molding his face. He looked too young. I nodded and urged him to go on. “They are made with semi-nuclear infused energy that the slightest touch would send the person into a burst of flames. They were said to be responsible for the death of a hundred villages centuries ago.”

 

“Right.” I bobbed my head in approval. “Apparently, they’re basically confused thus they think we’re responsible for their death. Take note, they’re very sensitive and vengeful creatures, perhaps a hundred-more dangerous than what the hand book says. They weren't called the Ancient Purge for nothing.” I nodded at the boy’s direction, indicating the accursed name for the accursed creatures. “Stay put and avoid them �" at all costs. When I give the signal that I’m in - make sure to adjust the wires and get out as fast as you can. Understand?”

 

They acquiesced and lowered themselves, their guns poised close to their chests.

 

I dived and did a roll on the ground. So far, not a thing moved. I climbed through flights of stairs and a series of rooms. I stopped. There at the end of the hallway was what I was looking for. The vault. It was the reason of this mission: to recover what was inside it. I figured it was probably just a folder containing all the lost documents about the institution’s secretly-hidden failed experiments. It didn’t make sense at first and it still didn’t. As far as I was concerned, the order was executed from way, way, way up.

 

 

I touched the metal with my hands. I had to hand it over to the engineer. It was still new and smooth - without any traces of rust or wear. I pressed my ear to the lock while I turned the knob to its proper code. There were six digits to unlock. I stared at the inscriptions. They looked odd. It was until I noticed that they were letters. It had been so long since I had seen trail of this writing. They were a part of our kind’s history - initially preserved and handed down to be read only by the chosen few. Like my parents. The same ones who passed the sight to me.

 

“P...I...S?” I spelled. It took me three tries which was a first. Ten seconds was usually my best time. But then again, this used an old writing system for codes. I tried harder to listen at the slight flicks of the lock:

 

SOPHIA

 

“Sophia.” I whispered the name from the translation.

  

Finally, the vault opened. I went in, taking in mind the weird choice for a password. It could’ve been nothing. I took cautious steps, lighting the area with my torch.

 

SQUEAK, I heard a scuffle at the near corner. I shifted the light to the sound. A mouse. Hardly dangerous, I mused.

 

I carried on, stopping at what seemed to be a foot of a bed. I moved closer, noticing that the bed was bent in a bad shape as if carrying something heavy on it. It was impossible to believe that somebody slept there leave alone, lived there. It was hardly a room. The air was too thin and dank to breathe in. No human being would abandon moral ethics to torment a person into slowly succumbing to death.

 

I stepped on what looked to be a child’s teddy bear. My hand swept on a dusty dresser and traced the contours of a ballerina figurine. A music box. It turned on, the ballerina spinning and playing a gentle lullaby. I conjured an image of a little girl with her elbows on the dresser, her chin on her short plump arms while her eyelids droop at the sound. It just felt cruel and heartless to trap a child there. Still, wasn’t my 'father', too?

 

I angled my torch from the corroded metal legs of the bed and paused at the minor fraction of light reflected by what turned out to be glass. The rest of the body of the glass was covered with cobwebs and dust. All in all, it formed like an old coffin as mentioned in one of those animated movies I had watched as a child. It said of a coffin made of ice. Now all I needed now was a princess inside waiting peacefully for her prince to wake her up. As I wiped off the dirt, peeking at the inside did I find her. My princess.

 

There were no other hidden compartments inside the vault as my sensors indicated. The dresser, I guessed, contained only clothes - outdated in fashion. This best left me with the girl. Who was she and what was so important about her that he personally ordered me to get her?

 

I easily pried off the edges of the coffin until it rolled off to the other side and landed with a loud thump and still the girl didn’t move. Of course, she was dead - wasn’t she? Yet now that I can see her so clearly, I felt regret. Pity? I harshly absconded from the thought.

 

For a person who hadn’t lived a day without the stench of blood and death sticking to him, I felt sadness for her - a person I never even met in my whole life. She wasn’t even the little girl I pictured either. Judging from her looks if you could overlook her height, she could easily pass off within my age. With long auburn hair, long thick lashes, high cheekbones and a full mouth on her delicately oval-shaped face, she looked awfully pretty.

 

I wonder what she'd look like with her eyes opened - especially when she already had this effect on me. But what caught my eyes was her chest. It wasn’t exactly in a perverse way - although she had a nice view - but in pain. Her pain. Her shirt was soaked with dried blood - a lot of it. It might’ve just been the reason of her death.

 

What happened to her?

 

I absentmindedly traced a finger on one cold cheek. She looked to be resting lightly - not deeply. I wished her sweet dreams when a slight shiver worked down my spine. I groaned. It seemed I had only led the fire to the grass.

 

I glanced at the door, noticing the golden chimes with strange markings attached on it. Wards. No wonder the girl wasn’t burned down a long time ago. As impure spirits by law, they were warded off away by the tingling sounds of the chimes. Quickly, I pulled at the handle and took the chimes, ringing it once. The cold died down. She must be someone of importance to be the object of wrath by the spirits. But why?

 

I slipped my arms under the girl’s corpse, carrying her limp body close to me. With an intake of breath, I went out of the room, ringing the chimes a few times before proceeding through the rooms. Finally, when it all seemed still, I accidentally let my bare finger bite into the girl’s soft skin. I faintly remembered the removal of my leather glove as I pried the vault’s door. I felt myself stiffen at the contact and consequently dropping the chimes as well.

 

The mist was back again. This time, sinister flames emerged from nowhere towards us. I broke into a run, signaling to my men in the shadows to activate the blast. I barely got out of the building before a big ball of fire came from the explosives, swallowing the haunting blue flames in a spiraling direction. It resembled hell - like my personal hell - swallowing the life it comes near to.

 

I observed the fire, entranced. The way it danced was very alluring. It was usually the cadence of life. Sometimes, I wished to be lost in its beauty.  To be purged.

 

A tiny murmur and a soft cough came around us. Not from me. I thought it to be a figment of my imagination. I pulled the body from me, scrutinizing with tensed brows the slow flutter of pulse at her throat. Oxygen moved within her. Her chest heaved with ease. Her nose twitched which I found cute despite our circumstances.

 

“Sir, is she?” The boy earlier stood beside me, a bewildered look on his face.

 

 I knew that he, too, assumed the girl as good as dead from the sight of her bloodied clothing. He broke off as the girl gave a moan. “Who is she?”

 

“I don’t know.” I replied absentmindedly. Breathlessly.

 

 For the first time, I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure.

 

The rest of the group gathered a little farther from the three of us. A vehicle had arrived full of medics to look after and tend their wounds. As if I wasn’t the one carrying burns, abrasions and cuts on me. Sure enough, I knew how to care for myself just fine. Thanks to good genes, I was a fast healer.

 

But that was the last thing in my mind.

 

I returned my attention to the girl. Her fingers gripped at my coat. With a sharp breath as if consumed by a nightmare, she forced herself to wake up. Her eyes. Like emeralds full of wisdom and sharp intensity with golden flecks to soften them. They were eyes who have seen grief, hurt, pain, suffering and even darkness. Looking so deeply, I marveled at what kind of life she must’ve been through. Her gaze pulled mine closer. They beckon me as if to share an intimate secret.

 

Stunned. That was what I was. Not by the very miracle that she was revived. But of what she was. This beautiful, fey-like creature had stared into my soul. I knew then I was irrevocably lost within them.

                          

Full coral lips formed slowly to utter four simple words I hadn’t expected to hear from her.

 

“Am I dead yet?”

 

  

 

 

 

 



© 2015 A.C. Lei


Author's Note

A.C. Lei
Okay, there might be some confusion so to make it clear, so far, I'll be alternating chapters for each character's perspective. In the first chapter was Faith's while here, is Reine's. The next chapter would be about Faith again and so you get the picture.

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Added on April 8, 2015
Last Updated on September 12, 2015
Tags: arise, death, stalkers, witches, werewolves, magic, realms, romance


Author

A.C. Lei
A.C. Lei

Philippines



About
"I'm a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, hidden by a riddle and guarded by a sphinx." I find inspiration in the darkness, in the hallowed pits of grey and the abysmal smoke of nothingness. Basically, .. more..

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Glass World Glass World

A Chapter by A.C. Lei