Somewhere in this world
is a little cafe
on a cobbled street corner
and the rain and mist
quietly fog the glass
And I imagine I’m there
while the coffee warms
on my fingertips
as I contently gaze
out the window
at all the passerbys
and wonder at
how kind life could be
Posts Tagged With: fantasy
Somewhere in this world
A blog especially made for all my written short works, poems and snippets of everyday life. Some you may have already read, others might have been buried in the forever growing void of the past. This is their chance to see the light of day once again. So grab a favorite mug full of cocoa, snuggle in the most comfortable corner you’ve got and enjoy!
She settled like silence under the shade,
serenely her smile spoke softness that swayed
shadow to sunlight and seasons to shift
sorrow to sweetness so slyly and swift.
Like sirens she’ll sail her song to souls
whose solitaire sighs she subtly has stole
And sincerely sets once sullen hearts
to spirited life, from smoke into spark.
She snakes as a sylph solidly past
scourges of sadness, unscathed, steadfast
Smart as a swallow sweeping through storms
springing to burst forth silver lines strong.
Steady and sweet, strong and sure,
subtle and smart, with sentiment pure
She settled in silence under the shade,
her smile speaking softness that swayed.
I cannot say just when it grew, this garden full of vibrant hues
But I will tell you why it breathed, what gave the plants their blooming wreaths.
I think the laughs, the joyful days, brought sunlight where once shadows stayed
And gave the fledgling doves their warmth, and mended wounds were once was hurt.
The steady trees, they listened well, even if wind brought storms to yell,
And wavered not, but gave a home, and strength to those who were alone.
And the lush ferns, like emerald gems, outstretched their leaves like open hands,
And gathered rain without a frown, not letting go nor letting down.
The innocence and honesty, was born from life that came to be:
The fawn that learned to skip and run, the jay that sang its first sweet song.
And wonder rose as each new day, brought stories new to share and say,
As bumbling bee and whispering wind, went through with tales that had no end.
It seemed as if it’d live always, forever going through its days,
Until the laughs stopped passing by, and leaves fell down with withered sigh.
The storms soon came without an end, and molded roots, and drowned its friends.
And weeds ensnared the life that once, had flourished with its endless trust.
The songs had ceased, the doves had gone, and shadows chilled and hid the sun.
And the large trees that once had stood, had fallen into rotten wood.
Sometimes I pass where it had been, the garden who had been my friend,
And missed its songs and shining tales, and all the ways it had prevailed.
But if I listen very close, beyond the rain of its dark ghost,
I hear a beat, a silent creep, of seeds still breathing, growing deep.
And wonder if some day may come, it’ll shine again its radiant sun.
This One I Love
Barely up the sunrise still, far the colored dawn
in the dark, blue and grey, light a lazy yawn
cold and chill this quiet morn’, yet warm I am,
holding close this one I love, softly hand in hand.
When you’ll wake this light I’ll find, rising as the sun,
pushing back the lonely hues, bringing life to run,
and your dreams, so wild and far, I’ll beg to bear,
wanting more this one I love’s, happiness to share.
Walk this graceless world, we’ll search, love of every kind,
beauty of the simplest joys, loneliness behind,
sorrow tempered by the touch, lips to weary brow,
being with this one I love, ev’ry lonely hour.
Love my heart does break to find, pain seeped in your eyes,
would I could I’d risk my peace, bring you the blue skies,
kindle fires for your chill, soothe each deepest pain,
sheltering this one I love, til there’s no more rain.
My faith I have, my word is true, I see in your blue soul,
a sunrise sweet, more beautiful, than any to behold,
til then that day arises, I promise you I’ll be,
staying with you, one I love, always, eternally.
To utter a word, to lay nakedly,
the truth of my soul, unequivocally,
sews my lips shut, with thorn and thread,
and renders my thoughts, my secrets dead.
And yet write I can, in comfort of prose,
through guise of a fictional character’s woes,
of suppressed remorse, of choked anger,
of unprofessed love, of thoughtful banter.
So say I naught, but write I will,
my secrets so true, in tales deceitful,
where words of written, speak more than my lips,
so long as my fear, I’ve not yet eclipsed.
Aboard the Montenegro Ferry
Four in the morn’, stars spill
like glitter on dark canvas
high above silver black waves
lapping gently by Balanacan peir.
Montenegro floats like a beast whale
ivory bleach and silver pole,
ribbons of green gold mermaid’s hair
twining her glistening form.
Men and woman, teens and children
line up, purchasing tickets
seating by the open dock
their cups of hot soup
curling steam in the wet salty air.
Montenegro lowers her wide ramp
beckoning passengers and vehicles to enter.
A ferry horn sounds, engines hum
stirring ripples in the water
then rolling waves of power
gathering speed into the ocean
salt wind and spray
cooling, awakening, refreshing.
Whilst mothers bid their children to sit
and men station by the open deck
admiring the flying fish zipping over tidal waters
viewing the small foot islands pass
as Marinduque fades in the distance.
Grey mists gather low over
rolling sun-wilted dry farmlands, shading, filling, land’s light-tired eyes and heat-smoldered lungs.
Storm clouds growing, graying, swelling, the
belly-roars of its distant thundering,
teasingly shuddering this
thirsting land’s soul.
Now comes the wind, first a
gentle rush brushing soft upon
child-flower fields, now a
sweeping gale testing the strength of
mighty wise-aged orchards.
Wind’s great breath, blowing swift
cold crisp drops of rain, beating now their
fiercely played-orchestra of
run-wild notes against
land’s once music-starved ears, drenching full
with startling cool wetness land’s once
dried well of inspiration.
And my heart fills and dances with all
just before I write.
The music was playing
softly, slipping through
walls of velvet blue, dying
shades of life.
Tears crawled through the channels of
her age beaten face
and only the
blue crystals of her eyes
flowed there. I wondered of days when she
oblivious to this sad
fate she now waited for.
One hand reaches for her, asks
“Tell me your story…”
But she could not speak. Yet the touch
bonded hearts; one heard, understood now
this weeping woman. Saw the remnants of her
fragile, broken dust world
falling away from her
still sea eyes.
The music still played. What does
she wait for? Lips
thin, motionless. Only
the world tick by, seconds… seconds, and
out her window
the leaves still fell.
And when she passed,
the bond never broke. Even
when the girl that had known her
had left her.
And she was sorry for that.
Leaping along, clumsy now, atop moss-inlaid boulders, following
Sister, young heart, who seeks
some hidden pool to play in, laughing, I wondering if
memories never fade.
Gurgling water flows, splashes merrily up, kisses ankles, cold, clear, crisp as
the shrill of birds, high, flit suddenly –
shadows pass, light dances —
Blinds me, lost, my footing, slips! Sudden pain, arm flays, churns up
mud, dead leaves, debris.
Laughter now. Like water that plays its funny charm
Sister sweet has found her joy, I, now knowing… haha!
memories never fade.
Last dregs of daylight streak
red and gold, the skyline above
emerald-lush forests of
Quiet, now. Pale lights hum from weary homes, remnants of
their long day’s burdens
sobered now by night’s soft croon.
In the shadow, somewhere distant, the sounds of
slippered feet, many, slap
rain-paved roads. Children race home, but not before
catching one last game of
Night lengthens. Lonely moon, with her
lover’s glow, eases into
the inky velvet skies, her many dreamers
the Stars, alight.
Dog yowls at some
drunk man, lost,
walks away from mistresses
some familiar kareoke song spilling from
Standing long on my balcony, watching
all across the island.
Queen Lydia’s Lullaby
When sunlight sets like blood-stained tears,
And bends your heart to weep,
Who’ll speak soft words like lullabies,
To sigh your pain to sleep?
And in the night of summers gone,
When dreams are but shadow,
Who’ll bear away the nightmares far,
And keep the wicked low?
In mornings lost when darkness stays,
forever in the sky,
who’ll paint the black with diamonds bright,
‘til sunrise lifts up high?
In secret groves where thorns do grow,
And villains lie in wait,
Who’ll guide you far ‘til all is clear,
And perils do abate?
And of a sea where waves do drown,
And muddle up your mind,
Who is the calm to reflect well,
The answer you must find?
Who is the prose that speaks your heart,
Who is always your friend?
Who is the heart that hears your fears,
Who is your guiding hand?
Your mother, child, who holds you now
With soul that shall now give,
These promises that have been sung,
So you may always live.
To a symphony
of songbirds and crickets
and the warm yellow and emerald green
kaleidescope of the rainforest’s
early morning sunrise,
I wake with content
in the barrio.
In oversized shirt and cargos
and rubber chinelas
I pedal my bike
down rainwashed streets
passing children dressed in school uniform;
plaid skirts, khaki pants, white shirts
all who rise early
for their 7AM classes
yearning instead to play
sepak takraw and lusong-tinik
in the barrio.
And at the open-air market
the vendors call out
selling with cheer, and merry laugh
as if every day is Christmas
rice cakes, putu, bibingka
my pesos for their homemade treats
their grins and joking
a priceless gift
in the barrio.
The haggling calls
of fishermans’ wives
cry out from the seafood stalls
carried along with the pungent stench
of tilapia, bangus, shrimp, squid
adding to the overall chaos
of motorbikes and jeepney engines
as the marketplace breaks to life
when the afternoon comes round
in the barrio.
And I ride back home
full of brittle plastic shopping bags
as gangly young men sing harana tunes
to blushing young girls
and busy old men grimace broken tooth grins
chopping down banana fruits
from sagging roadside trees
while their lovely wives
prepare adobong manok
or carneng asada and rice
at their homes’ makeshift clay stoves
in the barrio.
Soon the town falls sleepy
in night’s starry cloak
and the huts and villas
light up softly
with kerosene lamps or candlelight
as the busy husband retires
not to bed but to Pare’s home
where drinks and pulutan
and Kareoke galore
add some humble festivity
of a simple night
in the barrio.
Mother hasn’t called
for dinner just yet
so they fill their hunger
two kids, racing
by great beach shores
holes in rubber chinelas
pockets empty of change
ragged they are
in second-hand clothes
still brightly their smiles
do light their eyes
and sweetly they cry
from dry dust lips
laughter and songs
with the roaring of
the ocean’s shifting waves
which can only fill
a cat’s belly full
so they fill their hunger
In congested city streets
where smog and smoke
choke the air
and noise like
on a New Year’s eve
deafen the skies
with lost yells
of stressed pedestrains
a flower girl
paradise from fingertips
the scent of
and gumamela flowers
the coarseness and concreteness
of this tumultuous city life
like a flower that grows through
a crack between
grimy pavement streets.
Sunny found Lost today. He was alone in the dark hole of a weeping willow. She almost didn’t see him for he was dressed in shadows. She asked to stay for a bit… It was raining out, very hard, and she was quite distraught. Sunny was a very young girl, and she had never been caught out in a huge storm before.
Lost welcomed her in. They introduced themselves. Lost was a boy that never smiled, but Sunny didn’t care. Lost was polite and prepared biscuits for them both, and they then settled on a small coffee table together, eating their biscuits by the light of a single candle that Sunny had brought with her. The sound of the rain outside was the only noise between them.
Soon, Sunny was finished, and she didn’t know what to do. Lost never looked at her, but he seemed to be waiting for her to talk.
“I have never met you before,” she said. “Where do you come from?”
“A place you’d never want to live in,” he answered. Lost’s eyes met hers, and they were without emotion. “You wouldn’t want to know.”
“I might have to live in such a place one day,” said Sunny. “I have to move, soon.”
Lost was quiet for a long length of time.
“Are you sure?”
Sunny solemnly nodded. “Yes.”
Lost regarded her for a serious moment. Something she wouldn’t say was hurting her deeply. Lost turned away and felt bad for her. He briefly wondered about why she would have to move, but didn’t ask.
“Where I come from,” he began, “You’re always in the dark, stumbling. There are no fires, no stars to guide you.”
Lost killed the single candlelight before them. Everything was now entirely dark, and Sunny couldn’t see an inch in front of her.
“You’d have to catch fireflies and keep them in jars for light. But their light never lasts long…they always die in captivity. If you love them, then imagine having to do this, all the time. I’d let them go, but then I’d have nothing to guide me.”
Sunny heard him trying to strike something.
“You try to light a match, for fire,” he said. “But it was always raining there. Inside and out. Everything was cold and wet, heavy with rain. Impossible to find warmth.”
The match finally lit. Light illuminated Lost’s grim face, Sunny’s quiet one.
“With firefly light, the world you’d see was desolate and dangerous. Empty streets went on with apparently no end, or dead ends. Same with stairs, but they’d end to sheer drops. There were always locked doors. The opened ones, you’d have to be careful with. Most would trick you. You might end up meeting a demon. Other times, you’d get locked inside an empty room, or a deadly one, and never be able to come out.
“Every place there was in ruin. Abandoned houses, no people inside to warm their internal furnaces. Withering gardens, the rose bushes choked with weeds. Lonely parks with ponds of murk and quiet playgrounds with molding swings and toys.
“And the people there… Something, or someone, was always missing for them. They were always sad company.
“In a quiet club, I once met a dancer who wouldn’t dance anymore. She’d lost the one who gave her the music. She just lay on the floor, in the dark, dressed so beautifully… I think she’s still there, and she hasn’t yet moved. I hope I’m wrong.
“In a studio, I found a painter. He was slumped sadly over a painting. He could paint nothing but black and white paintings of completely no purpose. He’d lost the color in his palette, and the life to paint of.
“There was a child who’d never smile — she never had the family to teach her how to laugh. A good man who could never do enough to help the world, feeling useless, for where was the voice to tell him thanks? A lady hunched over with bags of trouble. An old man who had lost his voice because he had grown too tired trying to speak — he had no one to listen to him. A toymaker who wouldn’t stitch eyes on his toy bears faces, for where were the kids to see and enjoy them? A writer who could never complete one story. How could he when all the endings to his own life’s story were sad?
“It wasn’t only the people, the creatures were hurt, too. I met a duckling who never stopped looking sadly into a pond, thinking he was ugly – he had no friends to tell him he was a swan. There was a dog that kept running into things – he had no friend to guide and teach him. A cat stayed eternally up in a tree, too afraid to go down. Where was the one below to call her, or help take her down when she mewed? There was a sparrow all shivered-up in a bush. Where had her flight gone, to guide her toward warmer weather?”
Lost fell quiet. Sunny noticed his eyes, too tragic and deep. He’d seen too much, and knew so much, too.
“In a world where everyone is lost,” he heavily continued, “you’d find those who’d drag you down with them, in all their misery. They were the demons. Then there were those who’ve lost hope and given up… No one could get to them.
“The dancer, the painter, some of the others I’ve mentioned to you and more yet that I have not… I’ve tried to help them all. I sang a song for the dancer to dance, but even with the melody, she wouldn’t. I could have sat beside her and sorrowed eternally with her, but I’d have been lost too. For the painter, I posed. He didn’t even look once at me. I told the lady to let go of some of her burdens so I can help carry some for her, but she kept on picking up more along the way. The dog wanted to bite me when I tried to teach him how to come. The bird wouldn’t believe me when I told her she should go south for warmer weather. You see, they could not stand up anymore, even with my help. They had stopped…trying. I would’ve stayed with them until they had learned how to try again, but I was not strong enough to. It was too dangerous. But not everyone had lost hope…
“The child… She may not have had a family to learn how to smile from, but she did smile when I found her and gave her a reason to smile. The man, I thanked, for giving me advice on how to keep strong, and I became the gratitude he needed to carry on saving the world. The old man… I knew how to listen to his story, even though he could not speak, for it could be told through his eyes. The toymaker stitched a bear for me, and he was glad to see how I enjoyed it. The writer wrote a story for me with an end, and though he himself didn’t have the good endings to his own life, he learned how to write what he wished for. The gosling – I told him he was a swan, and that gave him the strength to look up and believe in himself. The cat came down when I called her, and though she was afraid, she trusted that she’d fall into my arms.
“They fell away into their own paths as I went through my own dark world. They were my friends, just small lights to help guide me, just as I was a small light for them.”
Again, Lost fell silent.
“How did you escape…?” Sunny quietly asked.
It took him a long time to answer her.
“I never escaped,” he said. “I’m still trying to get out.”
The rain outside had grown stronger. A stray wind violently raced through the crevice in the door of the weeping willow’s hole, and their candlelight was gone again.
“Light it,” said Sunny, and she felt scared. “Please.”
“You light it,” he told her. She felt his cold hands place the matchbox in her own. She quickly tried to open it, but the lid burst open and the matchsticks fell to the wet floor. She found some and tried to strike them. None would light.
She was shivering now, in the dark, from the cold and now her fear.
“Why are you here?” Lost whispered.
“Because you invited me in,” she said.
“No, you found me,” he told her. “Why were you out in the rain, Sunny?”
Sunny felt hot, rancid tears begin to stream down her face.
“I don’t know!”
Lost pushed open the door. The rain burst in, instantly soaking them. He didn’t seem to mind, just stared at her, his face soaked and expression grim.
“Do you know where to go? Where’s your home, Sunny?”
“I…I don’t…just shut up, Lost!” she yelled, and then she was running out the door and into the rain. She didn’t go very far until she slipped. The rain kept on falling. She was gazing up at the heavy grey skies, thinking about Lost’s world.
Lost’s face appeared above her, shielding her from the rain.
“I just lost the people I love…very much,” she said. “I don’t know where to go anymore.”
Lost didn’t look surprised.
“We’ll find some fireflies to guide us,” he said.
He’d grab her hand, but he’d learned that demons could try to pull you down. He’d sit with her, but he knew that he couldn’t, forever.
“Get up, Sunny.”
I’m taking a bit of a breather from my main literary project to write a short story. This one takes us into the Philippines, where folklore lives on deep in the heart of Filipino culture. Here we follow the journey of Segunda. Her tale is fraught with mystical creatures such as elves, dwendes, tikbalangs and asuwangs set in a rather darkly run underground fairy world.
I’ll post a part of the story once or twice a week until it’s complete. Until next, happy reading!
Part One. The Elf Prince.
There is no place as dangerously precarious yet beautiful as a wild rainforest. With her lush green foliage like emeralds splashed with rain and vicious creatures hiding beneath her wind blown canopies and shadow eaves, you’d die in beauty if ever her hidden dangers befell you.
Segunda was the village’s one beauty. Though her father was dark and wizened like a cracked riverbed during the dry season, Segunda’s skin glowed as a full moon does and was as alive as a bouquet of freshly blossomed white roses. And though her mother vanished easily in a crowd like a plain field mouse lost in the weeds, Segunda conquered attention as an eagle does sweeping over the mountains. She possessed grace like the tall and whispering bamboo that moved with the wind yet possessed a character as strong as a typhoon. With eyes the color of sun-kissed honey, Segunda seemed as if she had been born from the fabled secret world of elves, dwendes and other mystical creatures of the forest.
But that was perhaps because she was.
On her sixteenth birthday, Segunda’s father called her into his room. His expression was very somber as he began to speak.
“Anak, I have to tell you the truth of your past. When your mother was four months pregnant with you, she fell very ill. According to the doctors, you were developing in the wrong spot inside of her. We were too poor to afford surgery. You and your mother would have died had I not gone into the forest cave, seeking a miracle. It was then when I met Viktor, king of the elves.”
Segunda’s father breathed, his eyes lost in the past. “Viktor looked like any ordinary man, but his eyes shone like firefly lights as he spoke to me. He said he knew of your mother’s sickness and had a offering. He would save you and your mother’s life if I agreed to give your hand in marriage to his son when you turned sixteen. Since I had no other way to save your life, I agreed.”
Segunda, although shocked at hearing this, could not speak as he continued.
“That night as your mother slept, Viktor sat beside her bed and placed his hand to her belly. He whispered some foreign words over and over again, then removed his hand. At first it looked like nothing had happened, but I noticed the change in your mother’s face. Whereas before she had been pale and waxy, silently suffering in pain, her skin transformed into a healthy glow. Life had once again returned to her. She was no longer sick.”
Her father then took his daughter’s hand and looked her in the eyes with a grave seriousness she had never seen before.
“Viktor said that you would be born beautiful and wise, fit to marry a king’s son. But if you refuse his son’s hand in marriage, you will suffer a curse, one that would affect unborn children for years to come. That is why…anak, you must not be selfish. Do not throw away the gift of life and risk the lives of others. Tonight, I will take you in the forest cave and you must be brave.”
Her father took her into a comforting embrace, but Segunda could not utter a word. All she could hear was the thudding of her heart in fear and her thoughts racing, screaming in her mind. She did not want to be left alone in the forest. She did not want to be married to a stranger. She needed a way out…but it seemed there were none, and when her father finally left her, and she was certain that he would not hear her, she began to weep.
Night fell across the village like someone had thrown black paint over a colorful palette. Segunda was escorted by her father out of her home like an animal being taken to the outhouse for slaughter. Her mother could not even say goodbye nor look at Segunda before she left, but if it was because of shame or heartbreak, Segunda could not be certain.
Once they were at the forest’s edge, her father placed a blindfold over Segunda so that she would not know how to return. They walked for almost three hours until Segunda could no longer recognize the rivers they crossed over and the way the forest breathed around them thick and wild, for they were in the depths of the forest were not many ventured.
At last her father removed the blindfold from her eyes and aimed his flashlight toward the mouth of a cave that she had never seen before. It was so large that it seemed to inhale the dark night around it. The forest here was strangely silent and calm, giving Segunda the impression that a very dangerous predator was lurking about, and the forest creatures dared not make a sound lest they lure it to their hideout.
“Anak…Segunda,” said her father. Her heart trembled and jumped. She wanted to run and scream into the dark forest, chance any other monster there than whatever lived in the cavern. But she faced her father one last time and nodded. “They will treat you well. You are alive because of their magic. This is were you belong. Do not be afraid.”
He gently lifted her chin with one finger and wiped the tears that fell from her amber eyes. “You have never been mine. You were already lost before you were born. You are a jewel I have borrowed from royalty. I am blessed to have held you for so long, my one beauty in a world of hardships. I now let you go.”
He held her one last time before lighting up an oil lamp and giving it to her. “Head down into the cavern until you come to where it splits into three separate, smaller caverns. Wait there, they should come for you. Goodbye…anak.”
Segunda bid her father her love and finally turned away. She did not look back, carrying herself into the cold darkness of the cave that spiraled down and down, soft earth slipping beneath her feet and smelling like decayed wood and moist earth. Cavern fangs from above dripped with cool water that sparkled menacingly in the light of her oil lamp, like a snake’s wide-mouthed venomous jaws, ensnaring her shivering soul. Dark holes in the cavern walls howled mournfully as if lost souls wandered there. She felt as if she were detached from herself, a puppeteer joyfully pulling the strings of her body from above, moving her where she did not want to go.
Her lantern’s light eventually exposed the place her father had described. Three smaller tunnels divided the cavern. In the center was a clearing where a large stone slab marked. Feeling apprehensive, she made her way to the stone and sat on it, resting her lantern beside her. And she waited.
It was not long before she sensed something there before she could see. Like a leaf had dry rolled and whispered. She turned, eyes searching a darkness and seeing nothing. Her heart quickened, and in the silence she could almost hear it. Drumming. Drumming. Stop heart. Stop!
She turned. Just a whisper. Nothing more. Segunda picked up her lantern, adjusted herself on the cold hard stone. Her hands lifted her lantern toward the darkness where the whisper had come from. For a second, just a second, she thought she saw a tall dark shadow. Then it was gone. Just the darkness of that cavern’s corner where someone must have been but was no longer there.
Chills stitched up her arms and down her spine. She began to cold sweat. With numb lips, she uttered, “Who’s there?”
Someone hissed! Right by her ear. So close she felt the warmth of the whisper, brushing back the downy hair near her ear like a soft gust of wind.
Shocked, she threw her lantern toward that direction and in her haste, it fell from her hand. Dropped to the floor. Sputtered and then was out. Darkness and fear enveloped her like a suffocating blanket. She was paralyzed. Now it was just her and her hammering heart.
Still as a statue, gazing into the darkness straight ahead, she felt someone standing there. Right before her. But she did not move.
“You are pretty. Just as father promised,” said a voice. A young man’s voice. Gentle. Amiable. Cool. “I hear your heart. Where I live, we make music from heart beats.”
Suddenly she felt he no longer stood before her. His voice then appeared next to her. Close by the ear he had whispered in.
“This darkness terrifies you. I will not lie. You are more beautiful afraid than brave. Like a bird ensnared, gauzy waterfall rainbow wings sputtering in the sunlight while I laugh and gaze.”
She felt a finger press against the center of her chest, firm. As if someone intending to pierce open an animal’s skin with a knife. Segunda fell back, the finger trapping her down to the cold stone before lifting away.
“So helpless. Human. I fall in love even more.”
The hiss of a match. Light exploded in Segunda’s eyes and she was blind for a moment. The elf prince sat beside her, looking down at her face. His skin was like hers, pale and watery like a rain-washed moon. The firelight played in his unusually colored eyes, like flames laced in grey ash. Dark hair framed his face. Shadows lined his strong jaw.
Segunda finally found her courage and pulled herself up, quickly backing away from the mystical being. His dark brows frowned, not hiding displeasure at how she retreated, but he did not say anything. Instead he stood up, a tall, lean being that commanded respect dressed in a darkly simple royal suit, and gently bowed his head. “I meant not to scare you. My name is Aeron.”
He leaned down and picked up Segunda’s fallen oil lamp, lighting it up with his match flame before placing it down on the stone slab. “Please,” he continued, gently offering his hand, but his eyes burned as if a refusal would prompt a murder. Heart still racing, Segunda felt sick as she took his hand and he guided her off the stone until she was standing beside him. His presence made her feel as if she would never get far if she tried to run, and his hand firmly held hers in a tender, yet controlling, manner.
“We will leave the lamplight here. Come with me. Now step. One. Two.”
And as she left the safety of the light and was further pulled into the blinding darkness, she could not help but sense the sinister soft smile that played on Aeron’s lips.