Ethan knew that mercy was not in their spirits and, if he were ever captured by them again, they would keep him alive to bleed him out slowly, one cut at a time… over decades, centuries eons, if necessary… whatever would make him suffer the most, until his very last breath.  And then they would call him back to life, and do it all over again.

Q. Lenise lee
The clouds gathered in the distance, dark and terrifyingly alive with static and energy.

From below, Ethaniel and Shalise watched as the high blue sky disappeared behind the descending chaos. Dakken hovered nearby, a silent shadow beneath the long barren branches of the ancient elm tree. The children sat in the dust near a dilapidated car, rusted nearly to only strip metal and bolts.  They held hands and kept their eyes closed tight, as if in deep prayer and meditation.

A reckoning was upon them all.  Elder gods do not die, they are only reborn darker and more powerful. 
 
Ethan and Shay had nearly destroyed a very ancient, very powerful coven, and now those very same beings, crushed under the tons of rubble and ruin of their toppled home, had risen.  They were the violent energy pushing behind the storm pulsing closer toward the outnumbered outcasts.  

Mother and Father had kept Ethan as a son, had given him all the rights and cruel privilege of their abysmal ancestry, and he had turned on them, fiercely and without hesitation. And now his former guardians had returned, much faster than he had anticipated, angry and hungry for revenge.  Ethan knew that mercy was not in their spirits and, if he were ever captured by them again, they would keep him alive to bleed him out slowly, one cut at a time… over decades, centuries eons, if necessary… whatever would make him suffer the most, until his very last breath.  And then they would call him back to life, and do it all over again. There would be no end to his torment.
 
Shay had risked everything to save Ethan.  She could have easily left him to die in the dungeon, but it would have been the same as sentencing her own self to death.  They were linked, beyond physical bonds.  Their blood, their thoughts, their powers, their very lifeforce flowed as one.  She had never sensed so much, been so aware of the flow of energy all around her, until Ethan touched her that fateful night in the dive bar.  It was as if every cell in her body had suddenly awakened for the very first time.. She had felt every stripe of the whip the torturers had inflicted upon Ethan as if the sting had touched her own body each and every time.  The truth was clear and simple, Ethan and Shay were bonded for life, and beyond. If he died, then so would she.  And now, they were facing the same fate again.  She wasn’t prepared to fight again, and neither was he.  They didn’t understand what they were capable of together or the full extent of their abilities.  But they would have to learn quickly, time was not on their side.
 
Dakken was the coward of the group. He had sensed the trouble in the basement, when Shay had escaped and went to rescue Ethan.  He had heard the yells of guards frantically trying to subdue the couple.  He had felt the walls of the house tremble.  He warned no one; only disappeared into the twilight of the early morning, saving himself and not a single other soul. His true allegiance was to himself and his duty was, first and foremost, to his own survival, and for this he had broken a sacred oath to lay down his life for the dark ones that he served.  He had failed them, and now his life was once more in terminal danger.  The sentence for treason against the elders… death without trial. Instant. Painful. Humiliating. Death. Over and over again, forever.
 
The children were different.  They were the only truly innocent party here.  Or were they?  Where had they come from?  And how had they survived in the daylight and even during the nightmares of nightfall on their own for so long?  The thought again passed between Ethan to Shay, but there was no time to wonder about answers.
 
Time was up.   
 
The gun metal grey clouds flowed over and under each other, like quicksilver, or a snake filled with poison, alive and full of dark magix.
 
And then the lightning bolt flashed.  Bright and blinding.  Striking inches from where Dakken hid in the shadows of the tree.  And just like that, day was night, black and dangerous.  
 
Everything went dark around the couple, and then the howls started.  The screeches followed.  The darkness had called out to those who dwell within it.  The light of the sun kept them cramped in basements, buried behind dirt piles, hidden in the boarded ruins of buildings and other dwellings.. but now.. now that the sun was gone, they began to burst forth and pour into the chaos of the sudden nightfall.

Ethan and Shay moved closer and pressed their shoulders together. The pale skin of Ethan’s broad shoulder pushed into the warm flesh of Shay’s slim brown one.  On instinct, they touched hands and held tight to each other.  Electrified chaos began gathering all around them.  But they had defeated the dark once before. Together . As one force, united.  And they could do it again.
 
But how many times?  How many times would they have to become a whirlwind of power?  How many times could they do it?  Was this an infinite gift?  Or would their luck be up one day?
 
Snarls circled closer, ravenous sounds meant to inspire fear and wild pulses.
 
Shay and Ethan planted their bare feet deeper into the dust, powering up and readying themselves for the first attack.
 
And then…there was light.
 
Not a burst nor a flash, but a brilliant blue funnel of swirling light.  A column of illumination that lit up the dark and blew back the wild things that were roaming there.
 
Ethan and Shay stumbled back as they turned, startled, covering their faces from the powerful brightness, nearly as white hot as the glare of the noonday sun.
 
It was the children.  Engulfed in a blue flame, still hand in hand, eyes closed, they were the beacon of last hope.
.
.
.
.
 
 
from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairytale by Q.  Lenise Lee
 
Copyright 2021 Lenise Lee Pubn.  All Rights Reserved.
 

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