From the Mind Journal of Shaylise Stafford

There is light
a flash
engulfing darkness
overwhelming stillness
absolute silent
Time is frozen.
I am frozen.
Or do I exist anymore at all?
I do not know
All I have is this thought
I am
I am here
somewhere
nowhere
everywhere
or
Am I the thought 
that someone else is having?
You are
You are there
and so am I
A pop
a flash
then there is light
blank soft light
Everyone is gone
but
I am not alone.

.
.
.
.
.

from By Moonlight: A Post Apocalyptic Fairy Tale by Q. Lenise Lee. Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.

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

By Moonlight 1.5: Shay, Into the Light

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.

Wherever she went, however far she fled, Ethaniel, her beloved, would always pursue and would always bring her home.

 

Part I : The Beginning

Part II : Chapter I

Part II : Chapter II

 

Copyright Lenise Lee Publications 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

By Moonlight 2.0 : Rise, Queen

“Rise, Queen.”

The soft and steady tone whispered into her sunken thoughts, pushing her mind forward, resurrecting Shay’s consciousness from the oblivion it had tumbled into. 

Her lean upper body shot up from the bed.  Soft.  The first tangible thought she was able to grab on to.  Her hazel eyes blink open and take in the scene around her.  The bed is huge, and she is but a tiny sketch amongst an ocean of white linen, buttery soft against her hot skin.  Beyond the bed, peaks and mountains of archaic yet opulent furniture crouched into the dark shadows spread throughout the palatial bedroom. Piles of thick pillows cushion her surrender as Shay’s energy is suddenly wiped clean, forcing her to collapse backward.

Though her body is drained, she refuses to close her eyes, for fear that the dark will pull her down into its depths once more.  Dreams within dreams, within nightmares hoping to be born as dreams. How long had she been unconscious? There had been no rest in those caverns of sleep she had just escaped from.  If she had been out for a single day or even an hour, it had felt like she was under siege from unseen forces, running for her life, for no less than ten thousand times that.

Dark.  

Running.  

Dim light.  

Voices.  

Who had been there with her?  Who had pushed her back up into the surface world?

“You’re not the first.”

A female voice.  Flat, but with a dash of spite just so that the seemingly blunt words would cut the ears of the listener just a little.

Shalise turned her head to the right.  A small, curvy figure wrapped in sheer white linen that hugged her feminine outline stood at a long wooden dresser along the side wall with her back facing Shay.  By the motions of her arms, she was busy preparing something on a porcelain tray. Her arms moved calmly, with smooth motions so that the glass texture made no noise while she worked.

“What?”  Shay’s voice was frail.  She hated how she could not conceal her weakened state.

“You’ll be on the street before the next dawn.  Left to shrivel and die.”

Anger began a slow burn at the center of Shay’s chest.  Had she the strength, she would have jumped from the bed and snatched the girl by the ringlets of dark hair that fell just past the roundness of her dark toffee shoulders.

“Jealous?”  The word materialized from Shay’s lips like a incantation.  A secret place within her spoke, knowing the exact moment to strike and how to lay the best wound, even if it was only a verbal blow.

For the first time since the two began their exchange, the fragile porcelain clanged.  The sound was loud and sharp, as if something, a cup perhaps, had been suddenly dropped on to the delicate surface of the tray.  The moment after the sound hit the air, the girl on the other side of the room froze.

Shay watched cautiously from her position on the bed.  Though she was weak, a girl who had spent so many years on her own, defending her body and mind from this mad world always had one final reserve of energy that could be summoned when needed.

The girl’s shoulders stiffened then pulled back in confidence, she used her thin brown hands to flip hair from her shoulders and then straightened the folds of her tunic, even though they were already perfectly positioned to reveal the sensual frame of her body. Her head cocked slightly to the side, enough for one striking blue eye to cast its cold stare upon Shalise.

“Of you?” Full, glossed lips lifted into a seemingly casual, absolutely dangerous grin.  “Never.”

She turned her attention back to what she was preparing on the tray.

“Liar.”  Shay pushed back; her words filled with defiance.

The girl kept her air of calm.

“He says that you’re different.  But he says that about every gutter baby that he drags home after one of the communal orgies.”  As she spoke, her elbows motioned as though she were stirring something. “Honestly, the only difference I can see is that you came in with clothes on and you also made it to the second floor.  Most of the trash stays downstairs, near the door. For easy disposal.” Shay heard the amusement in the girl’s voice.

“Talking shyt from the other side of the room is easy.”  Shay’s fingers dug into the sheets as she tried to force herself up.  There was a very thin line between anger and fury. And her limits of tolerance had been breached.

The girl turned unexpectedly causing Shay to pause mid-sentence.  Her breath caught in her mouth and nose. Her lips pursed with unfamiliar uneasiness, as she faced her newfound enemy.

Beautiful.  A smooth, round face with deep set almond shaped eyes were outlined with a thick charcoal colored liner, which perfectly enhanced the bedazzling effects of the girl’s sapphire blue eyes.  Rich mocha skin, highlighted at the cheeks with a light dusting of golden glitter, was nearly flawless, except for the long, thread thin scar that traced the outline of the left side of her face, from brow to chin.  Apart from this one imperfection, from body to face to grace of movements, even the most sane person would believe the girl to be a goddess reborn on earth.

“The prince says you will become his wife,” her words were layered in ice, “sovereign royalty of this fortress and the lands beyond.”  She smiled, full, confident, and absolutely regal. “I call you trash, and there aren’t many times when I am incorrect.”  The smile quickly morphed into a knowing smirk, full of secrets and pleasures. “There also even fewer time when I don’t get my way with Ethan.”  She stepped forward. A slender hand lifted and the tips of her fingers beckoned Shay forward, dared her to make the next move. “But at the moment, none of that matters.  Rise, future queen, here’s your chance to prove me wrong.”

Without hesitation, Shalise sprung from the bed.  Arms out, fingers and nails aimed like daggers. Ready to defend her honor.  Ready to tear this witch to shreds. Ready to be defeated before the first strike could make its mark.  

 

Part I : The Beginning

Part I : Last Chapter

Part II : Chapter II

 

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Publications.  All Rights Reserved.

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

By Moonlight 2.1 : Fire and Ice, and Sun and Moon

Smash!

Shay launched at the girl and was immediately smacked back by a wave of energy.  A force powerful enough to send her crashing into the wall on the opposite side of the room.

She hit the barrier with a thud then slid to a stop at the baseboard, feeling crumpled and broken.  Despite the unseen beating she had just taken on, Shay struggled weakly to scramble to her feet. Yet, the more her limbs fought to find balance, the tighter her joints contracted together.  Closer and closer her arms and legs bent at the seems, until she felt bound into a folded sitting position. It was as though someone had slowly tied a heavy rope around her slender body and then pulled the slack to rigid tautness.  

Immobile.

Breathless.

Trapped.

Her hazel eyes lifted toward the source, in the direction of her new enemy.  Through blurred vision – the invisible binding was squeezing the air from her lungs, suffocating her slowing and painfully, bringing tears of frustration to sting her eyes – Shay saw how the girl smirked in triumph, with one side of her lovely glossed mouth lifted high.  The fingers on the girl’s right hand were sticking out, fixed in an unyielding and unnatural position, with the tips nearly straight up against the angle of the knuckles. She was using some dark spell to hold Shay captive, refusing to release her to allow even one small breath, delighting in watching her prey slide into a horrible semi-consciousness.

“Enough.”  A booming voice pierced the tension in the silent air.

Still the girl held her unseeing grip on Shay tight…tight…tighter.

“Mouse, let her go.”  Ethan’s hulking shadow slid soundlessly from the door that led from the hallway and into the oversized master suite.

The girl’s trance remained focused on pulling the life from Shay’s drooping body, which was nearly flat to the floor by now.

TIFFANY!” His words shook the room, causing the boards of the wooden floors to creak and the plaster embedded within the walls to crackle in fear.  “I said, enough! Release her.”  His words were like a truth which the girl could not obey.

And just like that, the once constricted blood in Shay’s veins finally began to flow again, and she drank in a long, raspy gulp of bitterly sweet air.  

From her position on the floor, with her head touching the wood and beads of sweat dripping slowly on the polished amber slats below, Shay saw the girl – Tiffany – Mouse, as Ethan had initially called her – turn silently on her bare heels and stalk from the room.

What followed was a dark blurr crossing Shalise’s vision, and less than a heartbeat later, Ethan kneeled beside her.

A pale hand, large and smooth, reached toward her, and with her lifeforce suddenly restored, Shay had the strength to immediately jolt upright and push herself against the wall.  With her heart racing in full gear and eyes wild with adrenaline, she smashed her palms flat against the barrier that kept her trapped and tried to slide her body further away from him.  In one motion, faster than a blink, Ethan moved both his arms so that she was pinned between the space of them on either side of her head.

Nearly two feet taller and no less than fifty pounds heavier, Ethan was a menacing figure standing guard over Shay’s every breath.  

Yet…

The moment their eyes met, her hazel touching his blue, her fear melted away into nothingness.

Instead, an eerie calm fell over her entire being.

Deep at the center of his cold stare, with irises the color of winter ice, there was a fire burning.  Rhythmic…enticing, hot like a flare from the sun. Ready to consume all in its path, including Shalise.

One large palm slid down and moved toward her cheek.  Though her natural instincts screamed for her resist, a more carnal calling held her steady and even moved her face closer into his touch.

The sensation of his skin against hers was like being embraced by what she imagined pure peace to be.  She felt whole.  Calm.  Balanced.  Powerful.  Capable of pulling the sacred moon closer to the earth if it were called upon her to do so.  At that moment, she felt one with her innermost self.  And with his too.

As they stared endlessly into one another souls, they became wrapped tighter into an unending bond.  Beyond words.  Beyond time.  Beyond understanding.

She sensed a kiss coming.  He angled his face closer.  Lips the color of the softest pink moved toward her own light caramel ones.  Shay had never kissed anyone.  This would be her first, and the anticipation of it sent an electric wave through her body to her most secret places.

And then the mighty spell was broken.  Without warning, Ethan turned his head, pulled himself away and walked – slowly, heavily, one long footstep at a time – toward the open door.

Without looking back, or even peering over his shoulder, he spoke in the smallest tone.

“Your bed maids will help you dress.  Dinner will be offered soon.”

Offered.  What a strange way to announce a meal.  The thought stung Shay’s mind.

Then he was gone.

Once she was all alone, or assumed that she was, Shay allowed a low gasp to escape her throat.

Sobs crowded her voice and thick tears clouded her vision.  She collapsed onto the floor, somewhere near one of the four massive bedposts.  Cries racked her into violent shivers.

For the first time since she was a small girl, watching her parents’ lives end in front her, Shalise was afraid.  More than afraid, terrified to her core.

What was going on?  Why was she here?

Why had she, of all people, been taken from the party?  There were plenty of girls who would have willingly sacrificed themselves for a night with the prince.  Why her?  Why now?  She had worked at the bar dozens of times, seen him from a distance at least half as many.

The most frightening unknown of all – What did he plan on doing to her?  

Offered.  The word bit her mind once more.

There was no doubt, before the next setting of the moon, she would know what path was sealed into her fate.

If needed, could she end her own life to save herself from some worse agony?

Before Shay could answer the question, a sharp tap, tap rapped on the wooden door, and the remainder of her night of imprisonment began.

 

Part I : The Beginning

Part I : Last Chapter

Part II : Chapter I

 

 

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Publications.  All Rights Reserved.

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

By Moonlight 2.2 : Offerings and Other Things

Conflict.

It was a sensation that Ethan was unfamiliar with.  It had taken him a while to sort through his thoughts and experiences to finally pinpoint the exact emotion that was plaguing him.

Watching Shay struggle in silence, trying to understand the scene playing out before her, had evoked this strange feeling within him.

Looking at her now, sitting across from him, on the other side of the large circular table, he hadn’t realized how small she was, and the oversized high-back chair she was seated in made her appearance even more doll-like.  An underweight and frightened doll, maybe a year and or so younger than the seventeen surreal ones he had lived through.

His attention faltered for a moment.  He could sense Tiffany enter the room.  She was the youngest priestess, just shy of sixteen, still learning the ancient ways from the elder sisters of The Dark Order.  Even with the scar, she was the most lovely vision he had ever seen, that is, until Shay appeared before his eyes. Dressed in all white hooded cloaks, the silent parade of twelve females aligned themselves next to the towering marble columns in the shadows surrounding the circular table at the center, each behind one of the twelve seats at the table.  Without having to turn around, Ethan knew that she was standing behind him. Her thoughts were faint, stirring echoes; their dance was nowhere near as bright, brilliant, or as loud as Shay’s excited thoughts that were constantly bouncing around inside his mind, and within the quiet place deep within himself that he had sealed off long ago.

The room was deathly silent, there were no mortal breaths to be heard filling the spaces in the air.  Every face was ghastly serious, and held an unearthly and unnatural beauty.

Shay’s fright-filled eyes had shifted again, from hazel back to coal black.  Without having to peer into a mirror, Ethan knew that his had done so also. It was the awareness of the moment that was causing them all to semi-morph into their otherly forms.  Ethan also knew that Shay had no idea that the change had already begun within her, possibly even before they had encountered one another last night. He had seen her in the dive bar before, but his attention for her was always in passing, a few moments of his time and nothing more.  But last night, there was a definite difference in her scent. His attraction to her was uncontrollable, and infinitely more powerful than any other time they had been within each other’s presence. Her evolution had begun, and she hadn’t even notice, but his primal instincts had.

From some distance place in the darkness surrounding all those present, a clock chimed, chimed, chimed, chimed – sharp and quick.  It was immediately followed by a heavy rumble as the floor beneath their feet lurched and shifted.  Ethan’s eyes quickly moved toward Shay; he felt her wanting to scream in terror but managing to keep quiet, for now.  The whole of her eyes were black now, no white to be seen, as was the same for all the others.

“Bring it forth,” an adult male’s voice calmly proclaimed.

Ethan sat directly across from Shay, as was tradition.  On all side between them were the current elders, if you could call them that.  In reality, if actual years were counted, they were more like the ancients, Yet, by appearance alone, not one of them, of the five males and five females, looked more than twenty-something years of age.  They were all frighteningly appealing to the eyes, the mind and, most dangerously, the soul. A closer look within their gaze, and one could easily see their truest nature, but very few dared to look on them for that long or stare that deeply within them.  Not even Ethan, and he was to be their future sovereign, or so they had been speaking of since he was a child, before the world – his world and the real world – turned upside down and inside and began to hate itself with a seething, alluring passion.

Without delay, a pair of milky white arms, seemingly detached from the rest of the human owner, pushed through the dark backdrop and swiftly placed a bound animal at the center of the cloth-covered table.  What kind it had been, Ethan could not tell, because the fur had been removed, as had other identifiable parts. He supposed it to be a coyote, as it was customary for a medium sized prairie roamer to be offered on a holiday.  For this particular day, an animal, and not another type of offering, was acceptable. A part of him was glad for this, because he was sure that Shay would have died from horror if she had to witness what took place on high holidays, not low ones like tonight’s feast.  The life of the city-dwellers below was dreary and dangerous, but what they lived through was like a sad dream compared to the nightmare of what could – and did – happen within the walls of this mansion.

“Give her the knife,” the male spoke again.

A second pair of detached arms, yellow-tinted this time, appeared and placed a long dagger in front of Shay.  The tip of the blade gleamed bright from the unseen light that was hung above the table. The moment her eyes finally landed on it, and her mind clicked as to what was expected of her, she jumped from the seat, the slight weight of her body barely able to gather enough power to force it back from the table.

On instinct, Ethan nearly rose too.  If not for a sudden sting at the corner of his mind, he would have.  Mother.  She was trying to bind him, to keep him from reacting.  For now, he gave in. His large hands clamped down on the arms of his seat.  The wood groaned slightly under the pressure of his grip. He had to control himself or he would unintentionally rip them off.

“No,”  Shay’s voice had lost all of the fury and fight from earlier.  It was soft…childlike…frightened to the point that his heart ached for her.   In a tone barely above a weak whisper, she spoke her decision again, “I won’t.”

No one spoke; a strange silence hovered on all sides.

He felt her confusion, her fear, her hope that this was all a terrible dream that she would awaken from shortly.

She tried again to speak her objections.  “I don’t care that it’s dead,” she began, her tiny hands twisted and rolled nervously over one another, “This doesn’t feel… right….” She paused to reword her thought.  “This is all…wrong.. It feels…wrong.”

It was at that moment that Ethan realized how stunningly beautiful she was.  The bed maids had styled her long, thick hair into elaborate braids that entwined around her head into the likeness of a crown.  Her pure white tunic, slanted across one shoulder and dropping down to her ankles, fit perfectly, so much so that it added the hint of a budding feminine frame to her slight figure.  Her light brown skin glowed from the oils and honeys they had added to her bath. She sparkled with a regalness that trapped Ethan’s thoughts in adoration. But it was her eyes, those supernaturally bright hazel eyes – they had shifted back – that held his breath within his chest.

“Youngling,” a female voice this time – still calm, still filled with the same amount of dreaded authority as her male counterpart – pierced the air, “Do as you are directed.”

A quick, low breath escaped his lips – relief –  when Shay picked up the dagger between her thin fingers.  

At first, Ethan thought the request of a female – his mother, or so she called herself – had convinced Shay to partake.  She only had to cut the thing, which was still raw, and one or two other symbolic steps and that would be all, for tonight at least.  It was a light induction for the newcomer of the sacred clan, and the elders seemed to be taking the fact that she was totally uninitiated into consideration.  Or were they? The more he thought on this, the more Ethan realized what was actually happening. These beings were not capable of kindness, and this time would be no exception.  He just didn’t have enough time to stretch his mind far enough ahead to see how this would all play out. The cooling of his blood spoke volumes. Nothing good would follow from this moment.

He hated that she had to partake in the sacrifice, but he felt relief that she would finally be one with him and he would no longer dwell in this darkness completely alone.  Ethan did not understand love or happiness or why it was tearing Shay apart to have to cut into an already dead and skinned animal, but he knew loneliness and all of the miseries that it offered too well for far too long.

He pulled in an equally sharp snatch of air as she raised it an inch or two, appearing to aim it at the twisted carcass.  One swipe and then should be his bride. His queen. His one bonded and eternal mate. The other half of all that he was. Some long-buried part within him told him all of these things were true.

Then, in that one quick move which followed, she destroyed them both.  

With obvious defiance, Shay lifted the knife higher and threw it down onto the hardwood floor.  The sound of the sharp tang-tang sound confirmed that the tip of the sacred object has most likely shattered from the violent impact.

“Kill her,” the male said, and before a heartbeat passed, a darkly cloaked figure appeared from the blackness behind the head of the ceremony and lunged at Shay.

She moved to flee the ax head aimed at her, but it would not be necessary.

The assassin dropped to the center of the table and bounced very slightly after the hard thud of his weight smacking the solid object bit the air.  His eyes had glazed over into a milk-clouded and lifeless grey.

Mistake.  That was the first time he had ever heard Tiffany’s thoughts so clearly.

Ethan replayed the reflex over again in his mind.  

The king’s assassin made his move, and so had Ethan.  Using the power of cold thunder and biting shadow growing ever more powerful within him, he struck the killer dead with a single thought – END – before he could fully raise the sharp edge of the ax against Shay.  

It was a mistake, yes, and Ethan would soon pay heavily for what he had done.   But the fear of existing another moment on this dark earth without Shay’s presence somewhere upon it was greater than the fear of the punishment to follow.  Besides, he had known that this is how this scene would end. A split second before Shay threw the knife, his mind had finally foreshadowed the next few minutes after that point.  And he also knew what was approaching next.

Pain.  

His disorderly conduct would not go free from correction, even if he was due to become the ruler of the gathering new world.  There were still many lessons to be learned, and this would be counted as one more sewn deep into him.
A heavy hand clamped down on his shoulder and squeezed till Ethan felt his bone quiver from the strain.

Father.

He stood, turned from the table without making eye contact with anyone – especially Shay – and silently followed his tormentor from the room.

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Pubn

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

 

By Moonlight 1 : The Beginning

By Moonlight 2.1 : Fire and Ice, and Sun and Moon

By Moonlight 1.5: Shay, Into the Light

 

 

 

By Moonlight 2.3 : Show No Fear

I’m here.

Her thoughts touched his mind and he jerked.

The sudden burst of movement sent a stab of pain through every inch of Ethan’s broad frame.

He was unimaginably stronger – physically, psychically, and kinetically – than any other being under this roof, yet now he was suspended mid-air and helpless.  They had beaten him first and then cast their spells to bind him in chains forged in titanium. As added punishment for his insolence, and to ensure his suffering was as excruciating as possible, Mother and Father – his handlers –  had tied him in an unnatural position, with his arms and legs twisted and bent, criss-crossing each other in unusual ways, and stretching his tendons, muscles, and joints to their extreme limits.

Until this moment he had been absolutely still, summoning the mental focus to pause even his breaths to bare minimum so as not to raise his chest wall too much. A breath taken too deeply would squeeze the chains even tighter around his ribs, nearly to the point of his suffocation.  

Where are you?  Her ability to speak to him through their mental tie came easily to her now, and he was pleased with how fast her newfound senses were awakening, sharpening.

He wondered.  Did his presence trigger the gifts buried deep within her to bloom?  Or were they destined to do so on their own? She was of age, so maybe he had not been the catalyst to her awakening as she had been for his reawakening.

Within the timeless dark void of the chamber, he had thought of nothing else but her.  And now she had come.

He had done away with a kingsmen to protect her, and now he was bearing the fullest consequences.  Battered and bruised from brow to toe, lungs collapsing, and eyes swollen shut. And he would do it all again, without hesitation.

He would always save her.

And she would always return to him.

Their bond was unbreakable now.  Her appearance here had proved this to him.  He saw the sequence of events after he had been taken from the room, and she could have used her abilities to escape and left him behind, never to be thought of again.  But she had not. Instead, she was risking her life to come to his rescue this time.

Through his agony, he called out to her.  Silent thoughts seeking out the only soul who could comfort him.  And she had responded without delay.

I can’t see anything in here, she spoke to him in silence, moving her thoughts from her being into his mind, I can’t even hear you breathing.  She paused, still as the midnight.  Are you still alive?

She asked the question, but he knew that she already sensed the answered before the words were even formed.

He, on the other hand, knew exactly where she stood.  

Three feet away and to his right.

He couldn’t risk injuring himself any further – after all, he was only half immortal, for now – so he sent only the smallest energy pulse toward her.  Like a drowning man, using the last of his strength, to signal a passerby, hoping against all hope that they would spot the plea and drag his weak and withered body from the depths of the ocean waves or from the exhausting flow of the rushing stream and back toward the calm stillness of the shoreline.  

Shay was Ethan’s lifeline, and he urged her, gently, to hurry and come nearer.

He felt her mind tug and recoil.  It was mostly from fear. She did not understand what he was trying to do.

Don’t be afraid, love, his mind whispered to hers.  We don’t have much time.

Reluctantly, at first, then more willingly with each tick of the universal pulse that surrounded them all, she dropped her guard and edged forward.  Closer and closer still, until they were within a breath of one another.

His upside down coolness drawn into the warmth she pushed down on him from her right side up position.  

They told the guards to take me back upstairs, to the room.  He didn’t need her to retell the story, he had already read the path of events directly from her memory, but allowed her to continue.  She needed to work through what had happened. She needed to understand how powerful she would be become, especially now that they were united.  I knew they were going to kill me, eventually.  I was prepared for that…, she stuttered, but I…I didn’t want them to keep hurting you…, he sensed the moisture gathering at the corner of her eyes.  You saved me….again. You knew this would happen, and you did it anyway.  And they hurt you so badly because of what you did for me.

She paused, her mind went silent and he nearly panicked at the absence of her awareness.

Shay…

Then he knew why she had shut down.  Her story had almost ended has horribly.

He was walking me upstairs, she continued, right beside me, so close that his skin was brushing mine. That chill!  Her hands flew to her mouth as she muted what nearly became a frantic screech.  I knew, I knew, I knew. I saw it in my mind…what he was going to do…to me…once we were back at that room, she held in the sob but he knew her lips were quivering.  I don’t know what happened next.  I freaked out…I was going to try to run, but then I saw your face.  I…felt your presence…standing nearby, but when I looked around, you weren’t really there.  And then it all just made sense…I wasn’t scared anymore. I knew what to do next…it was a like an impulse, an instinct.  I stopped and I just…I just turned to him and said the words. Take me to him.  Then this feeling, like an electric shock ripped through me, but it didn’t hurt me.  It hurt him though, I could tell, I could see the change. His eyes went gray and shiny but his stare was blank and dumb.  Then he turned around and walked me down here.

Ethan’s mind roamed toward the door and finally moved beyond it.  He sensed the guard there. Shay’s grip on him was loosening. They had to move.  But even if they escaped this room, there was no escaping the true darkness that was beyond, surrounding them in all directions.

At the moment, it didn’t matter.  He would think of their next move once he was free and they were moving toward somewhere, anywhere away from this torture chamber.  This would be his last time ever entering this room.

Shay, he spoke silently to her once more, lean down.

And she did, eagerly following his thought-words.

She could do this, he knew she could.  The power was already overflowing from within her.

Touch your head to mind, like this.  He showed her a vision of how she had to lay her brow against his.  And she did.

Her warmth stirred a strange lust and an even stranger comfort within him.  The kind of hypnotic, pleasurable strangeness that would become an addiction in no time at all.

Then he showed her how to move her energy into him.  He was weak and his internal bleeding was heavy. He needed her to heal him, and maybe then he could break the chains that immobilized him.  

After her first try failed, he touched her thoughts with an invisible kiss – soft and reassuring.  He promised her that if she could not do this, he would not be mad. Instead, even if it was his time to seep into the depths of the unknown beyond, he would go happier than he had ever been before this night.  No one else had ever filled him with as much peace and hope. Not even Tiffany.

With that last thought, a feral wave bubbled forward from Shay.  Full, hot, quick and powerful, filling him with a burst of strength.  His muscles swelled once more, the blood that had been pooling around his organs dispersed and returned to where it was needed most for healing.  

He was reborn within the strength she had blessed to him.  

And with one giant pulse-wave and one spoken command – UNBOUND – Ethan flexed his full frame and the titanium shackles that held him broke.

Just before tumbling to the floor, he quickly rotated his body and landed with his feet planted on the floor, crouching and filled with renewed purpose and bursting with pure energy.

No time to waste.  They had to run. Far and fast, before anyone knew they were gone.

Ethan grabbed Shay by her thin wrist and pulled her forward toward the door.

 

Before his fingers touched the knob, the chamber flooded with blinding light.  From high over head a voice – still cruel, still intoxicated with dark influence and still dripping with mennace –  boomed down on them.

“Very good, my son.”  Father said, with pleasure in his tone. “Excellent, my new daughter.

I see what all the fuss has been about.”  An unseen smerk filled his spoken words. “She is truly the missing piece to this puzzle.  And we are so very glad that you have found her for ussss.”  He hissed the last word, allowing his natural being to leach out.  A momentary slip that he quickly corrected. “Now the initiation of the darkest dawn can begin.”

The door to the chamber swung open.  Shay’s glimmer was fully broken, and the guard had returned to awareness.   

“Take them both for cleaning and dressing.  Feed them as well. We need them beautiful and strong, so that the rite can move forward as foretold.”  

There was a drawn out pause, not even the air dared to move.

“Dear son,” Father continued.  Ethan had always hated being called that.  This warlock was never a father to him, nor was the witch his real mother.  Captors at best, torturers at worst. Seeping darkness into him, until Shay returned the possibility of reigniting his light.  “Did you think she escaped on her own? We had to see what she was capable of. We had to see what you were capable of together.”

They had used him as bait in order to force Shay to evolve without delay.

But now they would regret the fruit of the seeds they had sown.

Without thinking, the couple clasped their hands together, and intertwined their fingers tightly.  Their bodies pushed together, interlocking their energies as well. Waves moved around them, first invisible to human eye and then brightening with each pulse into a flaming gold barrier that shimmered and flared.

Show no fear, love, he whispered calmly into her thoughts.  

I never do, she replied into his mind.

A half grin touched his mouth as he squeezed her hand tighter.  She was a woman after his own heart and filled with his same fierceness.

Ethan balled his free hand into a tight fist.  Crimson energy waves first sputtered and then sparked into a full illuminated glow.  Shay followed his lead and did the same with hers, releasing a flame of indigo blue of equal size and power.

The color of their eyes shifted – his from pale blue and hers from hazel – into the most brilliant and glowing gold hue.  

Alone, they each only had half the potential to ascend.

Together, they would become celestial.  Brighter, more radiant and more powerful than the nuclear energy flowing through a thousand yellow suns.

Starting at this moment, they would become the light piercing the darkening world, awakening it from its slumber.

Shay and Ethan flexed their energies in unison, and the stone walls of the chamber shook.  

As their unified power rose, this ancient castle would eventually fall.

.

.

.

.

End Part Two

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Pubn

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

 

By Moonlight 2.2 : Offerings and Other Things

By Moonlight 2.1 : Fire and Ice, and Sun and Moon

By Moonlight 2.0 : Rise, Queen

By Moonlight 1.5: Shay, Into the Light

By Moonlight 1 : The Beginning

By Moonlight : Interlude I : Hyperion and Theia

“Shall we assist them?”

 

They spoke, but not in a manner that any human could fully comprehend, and not in a language that any human could completely understand or speak fluently.  

 

They existed, but not on a frequency that mankind could dwell within for more than a flash of a moment, or what they perceived to be a moment.  

 

They constantly observed, with the children of men having only the slightest sensation of their presence.

 

They battled and waged great wars amongst one another and on scales so immense that the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve were only signaled of their occurence by way of unpredicted and grand celestial events.  

 

They also loved, more tenderly than any mother or father toward a newborn, and more passionately than a lover with a newfound kindred spirit.

 

Yet now, through all they had witnessed over the eons, since the dawning of all things, this moment had caught their fullest attention.  

 

Great members of the House of the Pantheons stood on alert, contemplating if intervention was needed – not only to save mankind but, more importantly, to save themselves.  

 

Man would continually evolve and regress and then return to a thinking, contemplating species only to tumble downward once more, as was his destiny, but the celestials were created to overcome such a barbaric cycle.  

 

However, here and now, this perceived moment could potentially be the beginning of the undoing of the many layers and ribbons that enfolded the fabric of reality itself.

 

Hyperion, mighty king of Sol, looked, more like motioned his celestial energy toward, Theia, his wife, mother of Luna and Gaia.  

 

She acknowledged him by casting forward a rippling wave of light energy of her own to touch the source of his being.

 

If they were to manifest into tender flesh, he would be in the appearance of a kind and jolly father, handsome and robust for his age; and she would be a startling beauty, too vibrant to be thought of as a mother and too enigmatic to be anything other than adored by all.

 

“We will wait,” was her quiet, calm reply.  “They must prove themselves worthy of our help.”

 

He nodded.  

 

She was correct, as always.  

 

His wife was the more rationale one, and he, the more radical of the pair.  

 

Where she was meditative and strategic, he was quick to action with pure emotion.

 

Still.

 

Still, Hyperion could not shake the feeling that on this particular point, she could be – dare he think it – wrong.

 

Perhaps not assisting the humans in this particular struggle could prove to be a mistake.

 

These two were different.  

 

They were more like gods than humans.  

 

Demi-gods, of course, but that was only a play on words and concepts most of the time.  

 

Quickly, he returned his attention to the seriousness of the situation at hand.

 

Every timeline from this point forward played out before him.

 

The pair were victorious in none.

 

And in the process of losing, they would destroy half of the earth and most of the lifeforms that dwelled upon her, by accident, time and time again.  

 

They were too inexperienced in this form of combat, and had very little knowledge as to how to truly harness, focus, and control the power that swirled erratically and chaotically within their genes.

 

Now bonded, they were like a nuclear inferno, with all of the correct fusions reacting all at once.

 

Poised to blow in all directions, consuming all things in its path.

 

“No, dearest,” he spoke to her in a loving wave, “you are incorrect.  This bonded pair has already proven much.” He continued as his memory replayed the couple’s individual lifelines.  “We have seen it, since their births, how they have already overcome many trials, traps, and adversities, and are still pulsing with a wonderfully bright beacon of purest light.”

 

He paused, awaiting a stern objection, but none came.

 

“Husband,” Theia replied, turning her glorious being in his direction.  To Hyperion’s shock, she was smiling, or what a human would describe as smiling, if ever a human could see her true face without being consumed.  “Finally. You see beyond passion. You see true reason. You see true purpose. And yes, I agree. My initial judgement was in err… on purpose,” she quickly added.  “We will intervene…but not just yet.”

 

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Pubn

By Moonlight 2.3 : Show No Fear

By Moonlight 2.2 : Offerings and Other Things

By Moonlight 2.1 : Fire and Ice, and Sun and Moon

By Moonlight 2.0 : Rise, Queen

By Moonlight 1.5: Shay, Into the Light

By Moonlight 1 : The Beginning

By Moonlight 3.1b

Sometimes distractions serve the purpose of calling our attention back to details we overlooked the first time.

Such was the case for Shay. She sensed the dark creeping all around she and Ethaniel. Slithering through the shadowed crevices on the rim of the town, silently watching the couple’s purposeful steps, haunting their every move while they made their way down the center road.

What distracted her was a color. One she had not known before this moment. Bright and distinct, a sharp and hopeful contrast against the grey terrain of the sleeping city. It was thin and long, shooting straight up from a random pile of dirt along the roadside. Its lean form reaching upward toward the heavens, as if calling down the warriors of the sky to free this town from the dredge it had allowed itself to become buried beneath.

“Grass,” Ethan’s voice spoke over her shoulder while she stooped down to stare intently at the vibrant thing. Sensing her next question before it was spoken out loud, he answered her thoughts with his own. It use to grow wild from the ground – everywhere – especially in the warm seasons, until the ancestors poisoned the roots of everything.

Her first instinct was to pluck it from its hold. To feel it between her fingers, roll its smooth and moist-looking skin across the surface of her own. To try to understand its nature the only way she had been taught – destroy the thing, to understand it and tame it for her own pleasure and use.

Her second instinct was the true one, the one that gave meaning and purpose to the moment, and her spirit seemed to know this. Watch and wait, then act.

Her eyes followed the movement of the grass, as the slightest breeze pushed it toward the left then back toward the right. Its slim form bent slightly then fully, folding nearly in half, as though it were pointing toward something. In an instant, she understood.

Turning on a pivot, left palm open and ready, she caught the snake mid-leap, before its fangs could sink into Ethan’s bare ankle. Locking her fingers around its head, she squeezed her palm tightly, crushing the sneaky beast’s head in her hand.

Dangers were many, but it seemed as though the earth itself had chosen to save them. At least, this time.

.

.

.

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Copyright 2019 Lenise Lee Pubn. All Rights Reserved.

By Moonlight 3.1c

Danger, danger, everywhere. Ethan’s senses were ringing the alarm.

The slithering snake was not the only thing stalking their every step. On all sides of the pair, in all of the shadows, unseen eyes watched closely and waited with stubborn patience.

The energy he sensed was familiar. It was cunning and charming. Yet dark and consuming, like the Void. It was also extremely close.

Danger, danger, everywhere…but most especially over his left shoulder. And approaching fast.

Ethan turned just in time to see slanted eyes, their centers black like coal, peering from the inky shade falling from a tall, broad, and dessicated stump of what was once known as a tree.

“My prince,” the masculine voice was slick like silk and could be equally as seductively dangerous once it wrapped around one’s thoughts. “We searched for you everywhere.” The last word held a hint of untruth. “So surprised to find you…here…out in the open at such an hour.” There was a question hiding in that statement. What the shadowed entity wanted to say was : How is it that you are here out in the open at such as an hour?

Drek was his name and dark words were his given gift from the Void.

Ethan turned tightly on his heels and faced the masculine form standing in the shadow of the mighty stump, which was ashen and grey, in a hibernating slumber, awaiting the day of its resurrection.

Ethan did not fold his arms, but kept them to his sides, with the muscles in his arms and palms taut and ready to spring to defend Shay and himself against the slightest threat.

“I’m here,” Ethan spoke low and with power pulsing through the bass of his voice. His words and their tone were countering the seductive effect of Drek’s mystical incantations. Even a few words spoken by him were enough to seduce an army into surrender.

“So you are,” Drek spoke, pulling back the effect of his dark spell only by a hint. ” Both of you are.” The slanted eyes shifted ever so casually in Shay’s direction. “We thought we had lost her also. How wonderful that you are together. At last.” There was a smile creeping into his words. “So many wonderful things will rise from this union.”

The shadow of a strong leg motioned forward and, in a blink, Ethan stood in front of the shadow, blocking its view of Shay.

“One more step. One more word without my consent, and I will end you.” Ethan’s voice growled like gravel crushing beneath a heavy foot. “I am more powerful than you. Never forget that, servant.”

The rebuke and the force of its power physically stung. A sharp pang ripped down the length of Drek’s slim, athletic form, forcing him to retreat further into a sense of safety as he hid in the depths of the shadow.

The dark outline of full lips motioned to move then, remembering Ethan’s command, he merely nodded his understanding.

“Better,” Ethan’s eyes flashed silver then cooled to their usual ice blue gaze but he didn’t relax his stance. One lesson his adopted parents had taught him that he would always remember. Never let your guard down. A moment’s slip of that one rule of survival could mean a lifetime of regret. “Tell me why you are here. Keep your words silent and focused only within my frequency,” he instructed.

Great Prince, Drek communicated from his thoughts through the narrow mind connection that Ethan had opened between them, as you have spoken, I am your servant. I have been with you many years, since you first arrived in our castle, and will not abandon you now. I have come to continue in my allegiance to you. He silenced himself and awaited Ethan’s reply.

Lies and Deceit. Ethan was not fooled. But Drek had answers to questions that he and Shay needed for their journey. For now, Ethan would listen with attentive ears and a guarded mind. He would also unleash the fullness of his wrath the moment Drek became too much of a threat.

.

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.

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Copyright Lenise Lee Pubn. All Rights Reserved.

By Moonlight : Interlude II

I began this journey in a dark place, and now I have taken chances toward a better, brighter one.

Once, not long ago, we – he and I – traveled only by moonlight. We lived only in its silvery halo.

Our paths began asunder, yet were destined to merge within the crown of the sun.

There are moments when I block out the world and stare at the core of myself.

In those moments, I realize it is I who has created that space and that energy, so that I can discover and fulfill my calling. So that I can hear and feel and be embraced by the True Name by which I must be called.

I know I must continue forward. Ever onward. Because there is no past. The present is only a mirage. Only the future is certain.

~From the Thought Diary of Shay

By Moonlight 3.1c

By Moonlight 3.1b

By Moonlight 2.0 : Rise, Queen

By Moonlight 1 : The Beginning

There is no past. The present is only a mirage. Only the future is certain.

Q. Lenise Lee 
from By Moonlight

Copyright 2019 Lenise Lee Pubn. All Rights Reserved

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.

II.

When realized their loss, reaching tendrils, in close pursuit, on all sides, fear, screams, drowned out, the voice, of One calling, for some, caught, clawing, dragged, consumed, again, forever scattered, always lost, chained, the never ending loop, of nothingness

We all, the remainder, in flight, toward destination, close not known, toward, the Voice, still calling, still imploring, come, further, just a while longer

Then moments, that never existed, ceased to be, all that was and is, frozen, one single unit, a foreign thing, first rumbling, then clashing, then clanging, then breaking, the dark bond, we were sealed with

A pop, a crackle, a snap, a flash, What is this? First Light, it is, we knew, at once, broke yonder, hither, within, without, all around

Now free, now flowing, caught up, electrical static, infinite movement, All Eternity, we, no longer fleeing, found

As cosmos unfolded, we, I, pressed forward, exploring, unbound.

I.

Come, listen now, to my tale, of how we escaped, the Void, how we fled, the dark

When swept aimlessly along, infinitely blank current, came, the Voice, foreign yet Familiar

Come, now, follow, the way is short, yet long is the travel

Conflict, war, rebellion waged, Shall we stay? Shall we go? No here, no there, how shall we know, which way, be truth?

When overlords wrestled, amongst themselves, how, to keep us chained, to unending confusion, to sweeping emptiness, without, within, we scattered

Some here, some there, we fled, in no direction, in every direction, for they were one, same, within, the Void, the endless

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

Grabbing her hand within the grip of his much larger one, Ethan pulled Shay over toward the edge of the terrace.  She allowed him to position her body in front of him, while he placed his arms on either side of her on the ledge of the cobblestone balcony.  Upon looking out at the scene, she held back the shudder that threatened to rack through her.  This was the very first time she had ever seen Rat City from this point of view.   One glance and she received the confirmation she had been seeking.  They were no longer at the bar.  Instead, this compound stood far away, no less than a mile from the center of the urban wasteland.  How had she never noticed this place before now?  Probably because she had always been so focused on keeping alive and unharmed by keeping her attention trained no further than twenty feet in every direction all at once.  From this position, no more than one story high off the ground floor, she could see that his property was circled by meandering paved pathways lined with large fruit trees as well as wide hedges and bushes that exploded with crimson long-stemmed roses.  She also noticed many other details from her vantage point.  One of which was the devastated city scape that lay beyond the perimeter of her kidnapper’s fortress, which was surrounded by a very high steel gate.   It was then that Shay realized she was being held prisoner in a garden among ruins.  What cruel trick of fate was this?

“Your kingdom.”  As if to answer her unspoken question, the cool breath from Ethan’s whispered reply caressed the tip of Shay’s ear.

Ethan moved his hand from the stone railing of the terrace, and used it to brush Shay’s long, dark hair away from her right shoulder.  The feather soft tresses had dried in to lengthy spirals that his fingers ached to run through over and over again during lovemaking.  Without hesitating, he laid a kiss as soft as the wings of the butterflies he had once chased after as a boy on the curve of her delicate shoulder.  After several more, she turned toward him with such teasing slowness that he was sure she felt the same heated desire now filling the expanse of his chest and the growing bulge of his groin.  He thought she would loop her arms around his neck and bring him down to her for a searing kiss.  He thought he saw a glimmer of affection reflecting back at him in the onyx-colored pools of her irises.

He had thought all wrong.  With a sudden swiftness Ethan had not expected, Shay lifted her crooked arm then used the bony tip of her elbow to send a devastating blow to the bridge of his nose.  He had not anticipated the hit and had not been prepared to block it, so the shock of the crackling pain prevented him from immediately reacting to block her daring escape.  With cat-like agility, he watched in blinding rage as she hopped up on the edge of the balcony and tossed her legs over and, with one smooth swoop, disappeared into the blackness below.

You belong to me now…and forever, words whispered into her mind as she tumbled into her destiny.

Q. Lenise Lee
from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairy Tale
Part 1 : The Beginning

Part I : Last Chapter

Part II : Chapter I

Part II: Chapter II

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.

Danger.  Her instincts crept in again, on highest alert.

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.”

from By Moonlight

I: The Beginning

An Apocalyptic Fairy Tale by Lenise Lee

“The queen is missing.”

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.


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. 

Q. Lenise Lee
from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairytale, Book 1


Danger, danger, everywhere. Ethan’s senses were ringing the alarm…


One lesson his adopted parents had taught him that he would always remember. Never let your guard down. A moment’s slip of that one rule of survival could mean a lifetime of regret.

~By Moonlight 3.1c

Q. Lenise Lee

In dreams

looking for something i can’t find…waiting for a dream never destined to cross the threshold of reality…listening for a voice that is now only a faint memory…days spent walking with a spirit of hope, nights wrapped up in lonely disappointment…the very moment i am resigned to let go, to seek after a new source of inspiration, i finally have a chance encounter with you..but only in dreams…

‘This is the place where you come to remember that I will always love you…”

The breath of warm winds caress my golden skin, calling me from a restless sleep.  Light brown eyes touch a pale lavender sky filled with thick patches of milky white cotton dancing across the seamless horizon, floating ever onward, pushing across the canvas of eternity.  Against the backdrop of forever, the majestic mountains of contemplation boldly stand guard over the inhabitants of this lost and sacred chimera.  The rustle of a gentle breeze stirs up gallant waves across the ocean of emerald-green circling round me.

The soft touch from a strong finger moves tenderly along the curve of my chin, drawing my eager sight toward the graceful face I have longed to see for so long.  Serene eyes as clear as liquid crystal instantly capture me.  Words as satisfying as a divine kiss ease uncertainty. A question answered, a promised renewed.

“You alone are my perfect love. Before you, none…after you, none…Never forget that I’m only a whisper away.”

The tickle from a stream of orange sunlight floating through white curtains coax my dark lashes apart, prying me from the secure hold of a much yearned for peace. Sweet melodies of an angelic choir fade away with the rushing azure tides of the ensuing morning skyline..LL♥