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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The apple dropped from Ethan’s hand and landed with a soft thud against the carpeted floor. Without giving her time to flee, he pulled the female into his grip then twirled her until her back was pressed flat against his stomach and chest. The dampness of her wavy hair caressed the delicate skin of his nipples causing a low hiss of arousal to tumble from between his lips. The sensation urged him to hold her tighter. The need to feel every soft inch of her skin covering his own nearly overwhelmed him. Their connection sent a sharp jolt zipping through the thick muscles of his tense biceps and flooded Ethan with the heat of a primal need to claim her here and now as his bonded mate. Her shiver of fear only served to drive his lust to boundless heights – All Ethan could sense was Shay’s presence. The only sound he heard was the beating of her pulsing heart. The smell of her sweet innocence flooded his nostrils, drowning out any other scent. The feel of her slick skin skimming across the tip of his tongue as he used it to lay a delicious path along the curve of her neck made his manhood instantly harden.
Another current, nearly as intense as his thirst to devour the feminine essence of his woman, disrupted his thoughts. With great reluctance, Ethan pulled his lips from her quivering skin. He had to wait until the cycle of the moon was completed before taking her to his bed. The temptation to taste her, to arc his back and shoulders so that he could wrap his full form around her frame and consume her within his spiraling passion was dizzying. Never before had his attraction to a female compelled him to disobey his masters. No woman had every tempted his lust, his mind, his body and willpower…his heart…so thoroughly, nearly to the point of madness. He was so close to succumbing to the pressure of wanting her so badly that Ethan had no choice but to push the female away from him with one strong thrust.
One moment she was shivering with erotic anticipation from being held so tightly within the bulging strength of his arms, and the next she was being expelled from his hold and shoved forward. The motion was too sudden, causing Shay to lose her balance. Just before she tumbled down hard, a pair of hands caught her by the waist and lifted her to a standing position again. When her bare feet were planted firmly on the floor, one of the big hands that had just saved her from her fall moved in search of her fingers then twined both pairs together.
“Come with me,” Ethan said, as he gently pulled her across the room with him, “I have something to show you.”
Whispers from a fading dream ripped through her body, startling her from a restless sleep. Sitting up in the middle of the stuffed cot, she used the back of her hand to swipe away a heavy layer of sweat and oil from her brow. She looked down and saw that her hands were shaking. Her breath was ragged and she could barely breath. Her chest was heaving high with deep sobs that refused to release from her lungs. Silent screams were the worst. The burning behind her breasts was nearly unbearable, like the flare from a blowtorch was crisping her skin to shriveled shreds. When she realized what was causing the pain, she immediately recoiled. Her thin legs lifted from the edge of her shabby mat and yanked them back so that she could hug them to her chest and pin herself at the head of the bed.
With her back against the cool plaster of the wall behind the bed, her eyes watched the cause of her mania. The last beams of daylight were slipped through the thin slit used for ventilation and slid across the tiny single room quarters. Even the muted illumination of the pale orange was strong enough to cause a gnawing pain behind her eyes, forcing her to coward deeper into the darkness of the corner she was now trapped in. She shut her eyelids tight and buried her head between her knees, seeking desperate relief from the glow spilling into the assigned room of the apartment building. There was at least another full hour of torment to endure before the last drops of late twilight disappeared from the sky then sweet relief would finally come.
This was not the same world she had been born into. Somewhere along the way, everything had flipped. Night was day, and day was taboo – forbidden, dreaded, to be avoided at all costs…even lethal, like now. After so many years of hiding in the shadows, even the darkest skin was white as smoked ash and the palest skin was nearly transparent. A society of vampires? Hardly. A pack of ravenous heathens condemned to dwell in darkness? Very possibly that is what they had all become.
For the next hour, while the last embers of sunlight slid into a merciful twilight, she fought off panic and tried to ignore wispy strips of pain ebbing across her skin. The moment purple overtook gold in the eternal struggle for dominance of the sky, the first howls pierced the air. Strangled high-pitch screeches fill the early night. Time to move. And move fast.