By Moonlight 4.1c





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.
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from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairytale by Q.  Lenise Lee
 
Copyright 2021 Lenise Lee Pubn.  All Rights Reserved.
 

From the Mind Journal of Ethaniel, Crown Prince of Shadows

…I do not dream.

I have never dreamed.  If I did so as a young boy, I no longer hold those memories anywhere in my mind.

Even when I was still like the others, trapped between the chains of the dusk and dawn, I did not sleep.  I prowled.  I wandered.  I tormented and tortured.  I stalked.  I fed the pleasures of my flesh.  I starved the want of my soul.  Because it was my destiny, it was my right, it was my heritage.. or at least, that is what I had been taught.

During those long, dull hours, just after the sun touched the sky and before the howling packs were set free after twilight, I roamed the castle halls.. In search of.. I had no idea what..  I did not hunger.. for food, anyway… I did not need sexual gratification, but I would take it if the thought plucked my mind.. most of all, I did not sleep.  My handlers, Mother and Father, ensured that I was always always ALWAYS  at my prime.  In peak physical and mental condition at all times.  When I was a boy, a lashing for every time my eyelids fluttered close.  They watched watched WATCHED me constantly.  Looking for any flaw or any reason to punish me.  Training.  That’s what they called it.  For what glory is to come.  When the dark ones return.  But it was just relentless torment of a child who become a monster.  A monster who needed to feed on… whatever his wicked heart desired.. until.  That night.

The moment she burst through the doors, running from some unknown creature of the night… I sensed her… I smelled her… I craved her… I knew she belonged to me.  It was a rush more intense than anything I had every experienced.  It was the most perfect moment I had ever felt.  The pull of destiny.

She fought.  She fled.  She didn’t back down from the strength of my former… companion…  There was no fear in her.  Even with death’s blade barreling down upon her, she was already a true queen, ready to face the end with eyes open, a brave heart, and a steady hand.

Shay.

I do not sleep.

Yet, here I am.  In a dream.  Shay’s dream.

The feeling is uncomfortable.  Surreal.  Not being in control.  I am always in control.  Except that is no longer true.

My will is no longer my own.  It is hers.  To protect her.  To watch over her.  To follow wherever she leads.  I am hers, more than she is mine.  Is this what the ancients called, Love?

I have no time to contemplate this question.  We are not alone.

Though all is ink dark on every side, I know they are there.  I can see them; even though they are the unseeable ones.  No mortal may lay eyes upon them.  But I am no mortal.  I never have been.  I am something new.  I am what they had hoped to spawn.  For untold eons, my arrival was foretold.  Yet, I am not what they had expected.  I am a disappointment.  I can sense their anger… and fear.  My potential has been wasted.  My purity tainted.  Because of… her.  They loathe… and fear… her for what she has done to me.  She has turned my vision away from them and on to something more.  Something outside of their control and influence.  My eyes are looking at the dawn, but not their dawn.  Hers.  And those like her.

I am five steps behind her.  She does not know I am here.  But she does sense their presence.

They circle.  They plot.  They watch for a moment of attack.  But they cannot.

She is more powerful than they had anticipated.  They come so near, only to have to retreat.  She… or something else… is blocking their path.

And then.  Then it arrives.  Descending like a raging storm.  They all shriek and fall back.  They know not to interfere.  They have done their best, it will do the rest.  It will end her.

On instinct, I react.  My heartrate accelerates.  I feel my pupils dialate.  My body begins its change.  The change that was once the harbinger of doom for all that lay unfortuneately in my sphere.  But I am no longer confident.  Is this transformation to harm?  Or to help?  But harm who?  Help who?  The answer is no longer clear.  I am no longer their servant, so is my change to fight it?  Or assist its deadly rampage, about to break a terrible wave upon Shay?

I would never harm her.  Never.

I will myself to choose.  Choose now.  Choose who I will serve.  Choose who I will…  Love.

I chose her over all else before.  I can…I will… do so now.

I will fight.  I will die, if need be, for her.

The air turns dark… much darker than before.  An electric rage swirls around us.

It is closing in.   She stops moving, and so do I.   We do all things in sync.  It is an instinct we have now, undeniable, and unchanging.

I move my arms forward.  I am trying to grab her.  Pull her back, behind me.  Although I know we are strongest when we fight together.  It is my own instinct to want to protect her, to take on the hardest hit from this storm first.

But I cannot reach her.  She is only five steps in front of me, but in this nightscape it may as well be five hundred.

The atmosphere charges to its highest peak.  Our thoughts are one.  She is not ready.  She cannot stand against this enemy.  Perhaps later.  But not now…. can.  Because I was spawned from the will of this creature.  But I cannot position myself to save her.

My heart syncs.  My muscles tighten.  My nails dig deep into the palms of my fists.  I feel my teeth grinding down hard.

I cannot save her.  And this is the first time, ever in my life, when I am afraid.

And then.

The world around us goes motionless, soundless.

A grey dawn descends.

Shay and I are whipped from the nightmare.

Remember these things.

The message is for her.  I think.  I am not sure.  Are they speaking to me also?

My eyes blink open.  Dusk is rapidly descending.  The monsters will be on the move soon.

And then I think… Where are the children?

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From By Moonlight : An Apocalyptic Fairytale by Lenise Lee

Copyright Lenise Lee Pubn, All Rights Reserved.

From the Thought Diary of Shaylise Stafford

…I am being watched.

I can feel their presence, just out of view.  The corner of my eye catches movement.

I had not dreamed in many years.  Not since I was a young child.  Not until that night.

The night when everything changed.  The night when Ethan stole me away from my life.  The night when I realized that I was so much more than an unknown, barely surviving server in some gawd-awful bar.

This is a dream.  I have had so many times since then.  I almost have it memorized.

I am being watched….

From somewhere in the darkness, they are there.

This is a dream, I reassure myself.  But I know, at the core of all that I am.  This is not a dream.  This is as real as any other moment in my waking life.

I am wandering through an ocean of dark oblivion on all sides.  Yet, I am not alone.

They watch.  They study.  The observe and take note.  Some dare to come too close.  And that is when I sense them.

I am not supposed to know that they are there.  But I do.  My bones stiffen.  My muscles tense.  My mind’s awareness goes razor sharp.  I am aware of all things, everything, even them, all at once.

Somehow, I can see them also.  Flickers of shadows only.  But they are definitely within my visual perception.  And they are the unseeable ones, this I know on instinct.  They are never meant to be observed by mortals; their presence is only to be a mere passing thought.  A shudder, a chill.  A superstition to be shushed and shamed.  Never spoken of aloud, only by children, who have not yet learned the closed-mindedness of the adult world.

But I am no mortal.  I never had been.  Neither am I like them.  This worries them the most, I can tell.  I am something new.  Something they had not expected.  At least, not so soon.

It was Ethan who activated this dormant gene within me.  It was his sudden appearance in and disruption of my world that forced to me to become what I had always doubted and denied.  To become my truest self.  The self within the self.  The highest self.  Needed for a specific purpose, to win a very specific battle in an eons-long war.

His nearness.  Even before we had laid eyes upon one another, we were instinctively aware and bound to each other.  This is the call of fate.  The pull of destiny.

In a blanket of black, I wander.  Confused.  But not frightened.  I feel my breathing pick up pace, my eyes widen as I search deeper into the dark.  Something is coming.  Fast and furious.  The prickle in the air is electric.  And I know, as my heart sinks, I am not prepared for what approaches.  It is too soon.  I am not ready to face the fight coming my way.

And then, suddenly, my awareness lifts.  A new presence has arrived ahead of the enemy on the dark horizon.  A grey dawn quickly descends.  And I am in the land of the dark no longer.

Before I am yanked from the world of dreams and nightmares, where the true veil is lifted, four thoughts are planted in my mind.

Remember these things.

My eyes flicker open.  There is still some daylight left, and then the animals will be out soon, prowling the open night.  Hunting season.

Then I remember them… Where are the children?

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from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairytale by Lenise Lee

Copyright 2020 Lenise Lee Publications, All Rights Reserved

 

By Moonlight 2.4 : The End is the Beginning

I.

 

Ruin and rumble.

On all sides.  In all directions.

That was all the pair could see.

They stood, surveying the carnage which they had created.

But that was now.

A moment ago they were huddled together beneath the heap of heavy rocks and dust that had once been a dark castle on a black hill.  They were protected from the immense weight of the pile by the energy bubble they had forged at the very last moment.

The moment when they, in unison – as they would always be from this point forward – realized that they were more powerful together than apart.  

When the great revelation finally came upon them, and then manifested itself.

Shalise and Ethaniel were the most powerful beings in this universe.  They always had been and always would be, but only when they were One.

Hands still clasped together, fingers interwoven – her cocoa ones twining through his pale ones – they breathed, again as a single force, slow…deep…purposeful breaths.

This was not a victory.  It was only a beginning.

They had ended the dark reign of those who had dwelled within the walls now laid flat.  Yet there was so much more to do. Ethan’s father  and mother were not dead.  They had merely removed themselves from danger.  He could sense that – very clearly – and, by default, so could Shay.  They were not near. The sinister force that had once haunted this ground had been forcefully swept far away, but not so far that their heavy presence had been completely muted.  They were in hiding. Probably had taken a chosen few of their minions and gone to think, regroup, and plot their next phase. There was no doubt in Ethan’s mind – nor Shay’s – that they would resurface, eventually.

“What now?”  Shay’s voice was soft, unusually soft, and its subtle texture pulled at his heart, causing Ethan to squeeze her hand slightly, tenderly.

He turned his blue eyes from the wreckage surrounding them and placed a tender, warmer gaze into her hazel stare.  He loved her so much.  It was an overwhelming swell in the center of his chest, a feeling of complete rapture that he had never known before and would experience only in her presence.  He wanted to run away with her to the furthest corners of creation and wrap her so completely in his love, so that no force would ever be able to touch her luminous spirit or harm her perfect flesh again.  Would that be terribly selfish to actually do that?

Just as quickly as the thought silked his mind, another tug called it back to the here and now.

Ethan’s eyes reluctantly looked away and back toward the coming dawn.

This time, for the first time in many years, he did not fear the rising of the new sun.  The permeation of a once-feared dose of heavy daylight, instead, heralded a new sensation, which he welcomed.

It no longer burned to feel the ember waves of sunlight flowing over his skin.  It was a warm caress. A revitalizing pulse of energy, renewing his purpose and setting his solemn vows into sacred places.

Ethan closed his eyes, tilted his sharp chip upward, locked his jaw tight, and breathed deeply of the new day and of the morning dew.  Where once darkness had been his bondage, Ethaniel was, now and forever, reborn in Light. With his queen, his love, the other half of his soul, Shalise, by his side.

Dipping his face down and out toward the eerily silent city in the valley below, he knew there was much work to be done.  Nothing stirred there. It was time to wake up others and bring them into this journey. They would need much help with what was to come.

“Now we fight.”  He said, voice low and husky, filled with passion and purpose.  “We hold the dark. Push it back, starting here and then move that front in all directions.  This is zero ground. It will soon become sacred again.”

Shay moved her gaze in the direction that his eyes pointed toward.

She held tighter to his hand, and the glow at the center of their grasp pulsed again.

“We fight,” she repeated his oath, “We hold the dark.  We push it back, as far as we can in all directions… Together.”

“Together,” he affirmed, as the couple began to move forward on strengthen legs.

 

II.

 

Theia nodded.  She was finally satisfied.

“Now we help them,” the goddess said as she began to transform her energy and descend into the human realm.  “This ending is the world’s new and much-needed beginning.”

“Agreed,” her celestial husband, Hyperion, noted in an energy pulse, as he also moved toward the lower world of mankind.

In a thought, they were both removed from their watchful post behind the curtain of creation and walking among the mortal beings.

They would not be recognized.  At least not until they were ready to be so.

As they moved toward the edge of the muted and dirty city, the silhouette of a couple pierced the light of dawn spilling over the hill on the eastern horizon.

“There,” Theia said, “coming over that hill.”

“I see them,” Hyperion replied, “shall we introduce ourselves?”

“No,” her answer was sharp and low.  “Let them find us first. This will be the first of many tests.  We must prepare them in all areas for what is to come.”

“Indeed.”

And with that, like smoke and fog, the two were gone into the air.

 

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BEGIN PART THREE

 

©Lenise Lee Pubn.  All Rights Reserved.

 

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

By Moonlight: Interlude III

She is his Queen. The drip of his pulse taps out her name. The pull of his heart seeks out her essence. His thoughts sync only with her ka, her spirit, the essential presence that is she. Woman who has stolen his will to be, to exist, to breathe. She who has lifted the dark bonds that once held him tight, imprisoned within the enemy of himself. By moonlight she appeared, dressed in the rays of cosmos, crowned by the starlight. At dawn, they walked hand in hand, moving against the cloak of the cosmos, in fear of none, in search of the All.

Rise, My Queen

from The Thought Journal of Ethan

By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairy Tale by Q. Lenise Lee

By Moonlight 3.2a

His hair had changed. Was changing. She watched as the short straight tips of his platinum blond turned ice blue. An intense contrast to the golden dawn filling the sky over his shoulders.

Shay reached thin fingers toward the crown of Ethan’s head and felt a sharp tingle strike at her fingertips. It was a noisy, slightly painful sensation yet she could not pull away. The motion of her hand was bound toward its destination. The air between them snapped and popped, the sound of a slight crackling touched the rims of her ears.

The closer her hand drew toward the electric blue hair, sharp and stiff, its strands reaching toward the bright heavens overhead, the more powerful the grip became that urged and tugged her closer. Not just her hand, but her full body now motioned into Ethan’s atmosphere.

He had become the embodiment of mysteries she had only heard whispers of.

The secret people spoke of with frightened looks on their faces, lines of worry upon their brows and fear circling at the centers of their eyes.

from By Moonlight 3.2, An Apocalyptic Fairytale

Q. Lenise Lee

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

By Moonlight 3.2b

Pebbles, smooth and multicolored, from the dusty ground raised up, hovering mid-air. Small patches of dirt were dragged from their resting places, and lifted into the swirling fray of debri. The old stump from the dessicated tree-thing nearby sounded as though it had began a deep and emotional song, and hummed from within its hollow. The lean blade of grass that had saved them stood stiff and tall, much taller. Had it grown? Had it produced offspring also? As Shay’s eyes instinctively moved in all directions around them, the grass-thing had reproduced itself, spreading out, thousands upon thousands of times in all places wherever the lens of her eyes touched.

A jolt of power summoned her mind back to Ethan. Waves of energy flowed through her fingertips, into the center of her palms, now spreading up the length of her arms and filling her body with a pulse more compelling than before. A song. Faint but familiar, like a soft, slow hum began in her stomach, matching the melody of the chorus sang by the tree-thing. Louder and louder, it moved and stirred, until the words finally burst from within and tumbled from her lips. Prince who became King.

At the pronouncement, Ethan turned. A pulsing, purposeful stare held Shay within its grip. This is the moment when all things changed. The moment Shay had been awaiting, unknowingly, all her life. The song she had forgotten. A memory long buried. It was a silent seed of anticipation, of a coming coronation. Come, now, awaken.

from By Moonlight 3.2, An Apocalyptic Fairytale

Q. Lenise Lee

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

By Moonlight 3.2c

These words, full of magic and energy, ageless and timeless, and with confident command, fled her lips.

Now, we escape the Void.

Now, we flee the dark.

We, two, Arise, at First Light.

The deep rumble of his voice answered her call, responding in turn, an oath solemn and true.

Now free, now flowing, infinite movement, All Eternity,

We, two, no longer fleeing, found

As cosmo unfold, pressing forward, exploring, unbound.

In Ethan’s eyes, Shay saw her glowing reflection. Dark hair encircled by a bursting crown of silver. She had changed also.

Alert. Her mind sharpened. Her dark eyes, with shimmers of silver swirling within their deep pools, looked up and beyond Ethan’s shoulder, watching a dark shadow shifting uneasily.

Strong fingers stroked her forearm, calming her powers back to standby.

“He is a guide,” Ethan’s smooth voice spoke, easing Shay’s mind. His voice, of one calling her to peace, stayed her energy. The unspoken ending – For now – also circled her thoughts. “For what awaits us.”

from By Moonlight 3.2, An Apocalyptic Fairytale

Q. Lenise Lee

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Shay lept into the dark.

The pitch black that awaited her was blinding.  The swoosh of air jetting past her ears and the pressure against her cheeks were the only indicators that she was indeed falling.  

Fast and far.

Ethan’s tower had been much higher up than she had anticipated.  Ethaniel.  Not quite the cold-blooded monster she had envisioned him to be.  Pale, yes.  An uneasy coolness to his skin, absolutely.  But not a monster, this she knew for sure.  

The ground was much closer now, she could sense the sudden dread of its nearness.  Her stomach lurched at the inevitable end that was awaiting her less than four breaths from now.  If the oxygen had not already been sucked from her lungs the exact moment after she swung herself over Ethan’s balcony, she would have surely been screaming by now.

Three.  Her belly tightened.  Bracing for an impact she would never feel.  

Two.  Though she saw nothing through the cole blackness, Shalise felt her eyes close and tighten from the terror awaiting her.

One.  For some reason, her lips moved.  Prayer?  No, she knew nothing of it.  At least, not anymore.

Impact.

Her fall stopped so close to the ground that Shay felt stiff, dry blades of grass scratching at her forehead, cheeks, and bare stomach.

Was this what death was like?  An eternal sense of hovering within your final moments of life.

No.  She was alive.

The only reason why she knew this is because of the quick snatch of breath that flooded her chest as she was violently tugged backward and up into the air.

Something had caught her.  Something had saved her less than a moment away from certain demise.  Something that had grappled her tumbling body with such force that she could feel its claws still digging deep into the flesh of her mid-back.  

Wait.  Not claws.  The texture was too flesh-like.  Not warm, but not bone-chilling, as she imagined talons to be.

Fingers.  The nails were deadly sharp, enough to rip her skin.  Though she could not see the blood, she felt it crawling down the sides of her back.  

Up, up, up, her weakened body climbed.  It was like the entire scene was reversing itself.  The higher she was pulled, the less intense the darkness became.  Slowly, her eyes began to grab at points of reference. Once she spotted the gray slabs of stone that lined the walls of his fortress, a shudder racked through her, from shoulders to toes.  Fresh scratches opened across the flat of her stomach as she was dragged over the edge of the abrasive stone.

Finally, the fingers released their grip within the flesh of her back, and Shay was dropped into a crumpled pile at the center of the open balcony.

As Shay lay there, breathless and broken, she squeezed her eyes tight, hoping for a death that she had been wishing away only seconds before.  Finally, she opened them then released a weak, silent whimper.

Bare feet.  Muscled calves.  She dared not look up any further.  What was he?  Perhaps she was wrong.  Maybe he was a monster.  How else had he been able to save her?

“I can never let you go.”

Harsh. Raspy.  Booming.   Ethan’s voice.

He didn’t bother to force Shay up from her crumpled fetal position.

The feet moved away, with a regal stride.

She knew, he was right.  They were bound together, forever.

If he had a heartbeat, it was moving in sync with hers.  Like a stalking phantom.  She had sensed its presence within her chest as she tumbled down the side of the wall.

Wild.  Erratic.  Afraid.  For her.  For himself.

What had he done to her?  And why?

Out of the dark, into the light.  Shalise would never return to the life she had known.

from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairy Tale by Lenise Lee