By Moonlight 2.4 : The End is the Beginning

I.

 

Ruin and rumble.

On all sides.  In all directions.

That was all the pair could see.

They stood, surveying the carnage which they had created.

But that was now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

II.

 

Theia nodded.  She was finally satisfied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Indeed.”

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

 

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BEGIN PART THREE

 

©Lenise Lee Pubn.  All Rights Reserved.

 

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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

The Christmas Gift

He had the full payment folded inside of his jacket and the signed and notarized lease

agreement to the studio was in the glove compartment of the limo. Now, all Alex had to

do was to find a way of getting across town and back with enough time to close the deal

before the real estate agent backed out and without being late for his scheduled pickup.

Another round of giggles flew through the air and drew Alex’s eyes toward the

source of the playful sounds. As he turned his head, a splash of hot pink shuffled across

the corner of his vision. A little girl with flapping pink shoelaces ran toward a woman in

a belted cream-colored wool coat sitting on the other end of the bench.

 

“Ms. Jasmine, they came untied again,” a tiny girl with a puffy white coat and two

braided ponytails breathlessly huffed out.

 

When she pushed her small foot forward to seek help with her wayward laces, a

pair of feminine hands reached down to rescue the frustrated child. A young woman,

close to his age, was the owner of the silky brown hands. Before she dipped forward to

tie up the girl’s sneakers, Alex caught a glimpse of her side profile and found a muse for

his newest painting. He silently wondered how he had neglected to notice such a

beautiful face sitting so near to him until now. As Alex imagined the brilliant earth tone

mixture of tan, brown, and bronze he would use to capture the stunning woman’s image

on a fresh canvas, his artistic vision switched on and temporarily blocked out the

impasse he had been struggling with a moment ago.

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