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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairy Tale by Q. Lenise Lee
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.
Q. Lenise Lee
Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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.
Q. Lenise Lee
Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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.”
Q. Lenise Lee
Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes distractions serve the purpose of calling our attention back to details we overlooked the first time.
Open your heart
take a chance
feel the flow of life