the Prologue of my new YA Paranormal Romance, Demon Wings: The Fires of a Nightmare
The Fires of a Nightmare
I was surrounded by darkness. A deep, perpetual darkness that tightened around my throat and my mind. I couldn’t move nor speak --- all I could do was blink as I searched anxiously for a light in the terrible darkness that enclosed me. I’m not sure where the darkness came from or how it was birthed. All I knew was that it was and it remained. Then, the sensation of my limbs returned and I was able to walk again.
Peering around anxiously, I stumbled forward, praying to find some sort of bright sanctuary in the dark realm I wandered. After a few minutes of roaming in complete obscurity, I panted heavily and fell to the ground exhausted. The black aura was too much for me to bear; it was as if the darkness itself was feeding off of my desperation.
Then, just as I’d given up hope, a vivid orange flame rose out of the black setting, rising and thriving high above my head. I screamed, bringing my arms up to cover my face. My eyes burned from the intensity of the fire, and I had to look away before my eyeballs were set aflame. I cowered on the ground, tucking my brown head between my knees as I took a few deep breaths to keep myself from fainting. Where had this fire started from? It was all so bizarre.
“Lily… Liliana …” a voice called out to me from within the flames.
I froze, frightened by the intensity of the voice. Where was that voice coming from? I glanced up from my hiding spot fearfully, keeping my eyes fixed onto the tall flame that burned fiercely in front of me. I wanted to call out --- respond, but my lips refused to budge. What was going on? Why couldn’t I speak?
“Lily, come to me …” the voice said.
I gasped when I saw it, when I saw the face made of fire. It was a handsome, yet terrifying face that stared back at me from within the orange inferno. What frightened me the most were the large black eyes that watched me closely, as if it were reading my thoughts. I wondered if they knew I was terrified to death.
Those same black eyes sparked before the face spoke again. “Liliana, do not fear me. Join me inside the flames. Let their warmth caress your soul.”
A sudden surge of power rushed through my body, and I managed to ask, “Who are you? What do you want with me?”
The man (if that’s even what I should call him) smiled at me, and I was completely petrified when I watched him emerge from the flames. He was tall, and made completely out fire, but then his figure shifted into something more realistic --- more human, and I gasped at the sight of the gorgeous man standing before me.
He was about my age and near six feet tall, with black shoulder length hair and hypnotizing grey eyes. I blushed when I glanced down to find him completely in the nude. I was already shy from his bareness, but then he grinned at me and his perfect mouth gleamed. I almost fainted on the spot from the beauty of his smile. But he wasn’t real, I reminded myself sternly. He was a figment of the flames. A demon.
The man took a step near me and held out his hand. I stared at it longingly, wondering what to do. My once strong willpower had melted into that of a fervent infatuation. As I watched his fingers motion for me to take his hand, I sighed, and before I knew what I was doing, my right hand reached out and grasped his. In an instant, he pulled me towards his body and into a tight embrace.
I gasped as he yanked my head back to lick at my neck, where he lined my skin with tough kisses. My face burned with embarrassment when I realized he was protruding against my leg. Uncomfortable with my lack of control, I struggled in the demon’s grasp, fearing the passion that flared within my own soul.
“Oh, Lily, how long I have waited for you.” His thick voice tickled my ear and he kissed my neck once more. The demon sighed suddenly and whispered, “You’re still so young and frail --- your purity bewilders me.”
I frowned at his remark, detesting the way his fingers stroked at my skin. Writhing against his body, I tried my hardest to free myself of his grasp. “Let me go!” I cried out, fighting him. “Please!”
He laughed wickedly at my endeavors and his grip tightened. “Stop it, Lily. Don’t be a fool,” the demon told me. After bringing a warm hand up to touch my cheek, he asked me, “Now … how about a kiss?”
I glanced up warily at the sound of his request, meeting his sparkling grey eyes with my own. His luscious lips curled upward into a smile and it was then that his spell over me broke; it was as if someone had pulled the blindfold off of my eyes. I stared fearfully into the now black eyes of the monster that held me, and no longer was he the depiction of beauty. I shuddered, feeling foolish for falling for his guile. What held me now was an appalling creature with a long snout and gigantic black horns that spiraled at the end. His new manifestation frightened me and reminded me of a beast.
“No!” I screamed with terror, elbowing him in the gut. I gasped as I was tossed to the ground carelessly. Yelping loudly when pain shot up the entire left side of my body, I cringed, and a few tears slipped out of my eyes. I couldn’t move as the pain engulfed me entirely. After taking a few deep breaths, I tried to sit up as the urge to run away passed through my mind, but I found that I was once again static. What sort of power did this creature possess?
As I lay motionless on the ground, the demon’s legs came into my view; I stiffened when he bent down to gaze into my eyes. It only took a split second for him to transform back into the man he pretended to be, but it didn’t matter anymore … I would not fall for his deception again. He kept silent as he observed me, and I dreaded the intense look in his grey orbs. I bit my lip and braced myself when the demon reached out a hand to stroke my long brown hair.
“Lilianna …” he cooed. “Why do you cower before me? Do not fear what you can’t understand, child.”
I don’t know why, but I started to cry at that moment. Perhaps it was from the fear of never escaping from this horrible thing before me, or maybe it was because of the fierce pain that stung my left side. I figured it was a little bit of both. Tears streamed down my cheeks as my heart hammered in my chest with terror. What did this monster want with me? Why wouldn’t he just let me go? I hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve this kind of ill-treatment.
Gazing squarely at my face, the monster dropped his hold on my hair and sighed. He rose to a stand before saying, “Perhaps I should’ve wait a little bit longer. You are not ready yet.”
“Ready for what?” I asked him fearfully.
He smiled a wide smile before replying, “For as long as I’ve known you, Lilianna, you always ask the same pointless questions.”
I shook my head, confused. “I don’t understand what you mean! I don’t know you! I never have!”
This demon --- or whatever he was, wasn’t making much sense. Why did he keep saying that he knew me? I think I would remember meeting a terrifying demon --- or his handsome counterpart. Something about this whole thing wasn’t right, but it somehow felt familiar. How could that be? As I stared into the dark eyes of the beast, I felt danger settle deep inside my gut.
The demon sighed at my response. “Lily, do not worry. I will come back for you when you are ready.”
I frowned, not comprehending what he meant. What sort of game was this creature playing at?
“Ready for what?” I asked fearfully. “What do you want with me?”
He smiled then; a large, obnoxious smile that took up most of his face, and he seemed to be enjoying my torment. “I thought you knew,” he replied softly and his eyes flashed when he watched me shake my head. The demon grinned and added, “I want you to bear my child, Lily.”
I gasped, my stomach churning at the thought. I’ve had many offers before, but this was just surreal. No way in hell would I lie with that … thing! Narrowing my eyes at the demon, I spat, “I will never have your child!”
The demon laughed at my disgusted expression and replied, “Funny … that’s what you always say.” He reached a hand out to touch my face, but I turned away from him sharply, hiding against my shoulder.
He clicked his tongue against his cheek petulantly, his eyes changing back to black. “Until next time then, my lovely.”
Suddenly, a large fire ignited where the beast had been standing, and it engulfed him wholly. He vanished within the fire, and I stared in horror as the flames began to spread, heading straight for me. I tried my hardest to get up off of the ground but I found I was still immobile, and I knew I was doomed. As the fire began to lick at my arm, I screamed and my eyes grew wide with fright as the flames swept over my body, burning every inch of me.
I screamed in agony until the pain was too great and I passed out, darkness swallowing me once again.
“Lily, Wake up!”
I opened my eyes slowly, yawning as my senses awakened. It was pitch black in my bedroom and my vision was blurry at first, but after rubbing at my eyes I found my mother sitting on the edge of my bed. I jumped upright and my pulse quickened; I was alarmed to find her sitting there, staring at me.
“Mom? What are you … doing?” I asked her fearfully, wondering why she waking me in the middle of the night. She looked worn-out wrapped up in her pale blue robe, hair a mess. There had to be a reason why she woke me up. Had something happened?
She didn’t answer my question, only stretched out her hand to feel along my forehead. “You’re burning up, Lily,” she told me with a frown. “Are you feeling alright?”
I nodded, confused by her question. “Yes, why?”
Her frown deepened. “Lily, you were screaming at the top of your lungs just a minute ago. Your father almost had a heart attack from the sound. He thought something horrible happened to you.”
“Was I? I’m sorry …” I bit my lip, surprised. Had I been screaming?
“Yes, you were --- and when I came in here, you were flailing about on your bed like you were fighting somebody off. For a second I thought the worst…but when I took a closer look, I realized you were alone in here.” My mother sighed then and examined me worriedly. “Are you sure you’re alright, honey?”
“Yes, Mom. I’m fine.” Shrugging, I added, “I must’ve had a nightmare … or something …”
“You don’t remember?” She asked.
I frowned and tried to recall what I’d been dreaming only seconds before she woke me, but my mind kept drawing a blank. All I could remember was darkness, miles and miles of darkness.
“No,” I told her softly. “I can’t remember.”
My mother smiled slightly and stood from my bed, giving me a soft pat on the shoulder. “Alright then, Lily. If you’re sure you’re okay ---”
“I am,” I told her strongly. “You don’t have to worry.”
“Goodnight then, dear,” She said, kissing the top of my head.
I watched her walked towards my open doorway eagerly, hoping to get back to sleep. Glancing at the alarm clock on my nightstand, I noticed that it was 3 a.m. Boy, was I going to be a happy camper at work tomorrow. I settled back into the many pillows against my headboard and waited for my mother to leave me to my slumber. As she was on her way out of my room, she stopped halfway through the threshold and turned back around to face me.
“Actually, there was one more thing I forgot to mention,” she said slowly.
“What was that, Mom?” I replied with a yawn.
Her relaxed expression vanished as she said, “You kept repeating a name. It was odd sounding …” My mother’s face went completely blank as she tried to remember the name, and for some peculiar reason, I started to tremble. It was as if I was afraid to know.
“It was --- my, what was that name?” She sighed and shook her head. “I can’t believe I’ve already forgotten it. Hold on, let me think …”
As I was about to dissuade her from telling me, my memory was jump-started, and the nightmare came flooding into my head. I remembered the black surroundings, the fire, and … the demon. My heart froze. It was his name, the one my mother heard me saying. But how did I know that? He hadn’t told me his name … or had he? I stared fearfully at my mom’s lips, dreading to learn the monster’s identity.
“Darcamias,” she said suddenly, eyes brightening at the success of remembering. “That’s what it was. Darcamias … hm, it’s a very unusual name, isn’t it?” My mother shrugged then, as if it were nothing, before she smiled back at me. “Well, goodnight, Lily.”
I opened my mouth to speak, to prevent her from leaving, but no words came out. My brown eyes grew wide with fear as I watched my mother blow me a kiss from the doorway and exit my bedroom, leaving me alone in the dark. I glanced around my surroundings frightfully, my pulse rapid. Feeling foolish for acting so afraid, I tried to calm down. What was I so afraid of anyways? It was just a stupid nightmare! It didn’t mean anything. I rolled my eyes and forced the fear out of my system before focusing on sleeping again.
I closed my eyes swiftly, praying not to fall back into the same dream from earlier. Even if it was just a figment of my imagination, I didn’t want to return there again. As drowsiness began to take me, the demon’s name echoed in my head up until my eyelids slipped shut.