by Luka Vaughn
A young artistic soul encounters a mysterious man who may change her life forever.
|Hello, my name is Luka Vaughn. The piece you are about to read was created at random one day in a coffee shop. The inspiration came from listening to a certain genre of music, called Liquid. As I was listening to it, this story just popped up in my head. I'm not sure exactly where I'm planning to go with this. There are limitless possibilities that can be achieved from this intro, I just don't know what I want. So for now, please enjoy this brief fiction piece. Let me know if you'd like me continue this story. Also, please ignore any grammar or spacing issues. I'm importing this from Microsoft Word Pad because my Microsoft Office was having problems so things aren't particularly cleaned up yet. Again, enjoy. ~
Electric, yet frozen. Vibrant, yet dull. Smooth, yet destructive. The music filled Anastasia's ears through her headphones, her mind lost in a state of wonder. There was something about liquid music that just spoke to her. That overwhelming sense of drowning out the days problems through the liquid rhythm and yet striking revenge through the mixture of hard bass drops. The music was so unique and inspiring, Anastasia found complete ecstasy in its call.
All of the sudden, she noticed something different in the beat. A rhythm she wasn't quite familiar with that didn't seem to match well with the flow of the song. The sound was getting louder and louder, forcing its way into her thoughts and breaking her away from the passion she shared with the music. What is this noise? What could it be? Why does it destroy my ecstasy? What are you?
The word echoed through her head for a few moments before she realized what the intrusion was. Removing her headphones, she finally spoke.
"What do you want, Daniel? Can't you see I'm in my zone right now?" Her words were soft as she pushed her light brown hair out of her face, behind her ear, revealing her stunning emerald green eyes.
"Sorry for breaking into your 'zone', Ana, but this is our stop," Daniel spoke mockingly as he pointing the moving LED sign above them, notifying the passengers that their destination was reached.
Anastasia sighed and gathered her belongings, which included the headphones that wrapped around her slender neck, the brown messenger bag which she slung over her left shoulder and the water bottle that was wedged between Daniel and herself whose contents were all but cold. The automated voice system from the train spoke once again, in the ever-so-common, monotone female voice.
"This is the last call for Mockingbird Station. Please exit to the right side of the train. Keep care that all belongings are accounted for when leaving the transport vehicle."
Daniel was the first to get up from his seat, grabbing his single History textbook and his black coat, which complimented his dirty blonde hair. He quickly stepped through one of the many automated doors that lined the train, pressing the small red button that was perpendicular to the side door frame to make sure they weren't locked inside the train before it took off again. He glanced back over at Anastasia, who was taking her sweet time as she dragged her feet through the doorway and onto the station platform.
After they were both off the train, Anastasia went back to placing her headphones on her ears, trying to drown out the sounds of the occasional passerbys and the repetitive station announcements. Before she could completely delve her mind into the depths of her music, another disturbance resonated from outside of the headphones; much louder than Daniel's previous attempts to get her off the train. Anastasia looked up to survey the area and in that instance was knocked down to the ground by a random citizen running past. The stranger turned back towards her after the collision, and in a panic , apologized for his misdeeds while continuing to hurry off. Anastasia could barely get a look at the intruder as the train doors opened back up and he slid his way between the doors. The only thing she could readily identify was the amethyst-like color of his eyes, which struck her as completely interesting and weird at the same time. She laid on the ground in shock, the image of the stranger's unique eyes still burning into her mind.
"Can you believe that? The nerve of some people," Daniel reached down and gave her a hand, helping Anastasia to her feet, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Anastasia nodded before shooting saliva from her lips onto the cold concrete and wiping her mouth, "What an asshole."
"Seriously. What was his problem?"
"No idea, but it's whatever. He's gone now. We'll probably never see him again."
"Yeah, you're right. Still, that was rude."
"Danny, don't worry. I'm over it," Anastasia reached down and picked up her headphones which got knocked off during the encounter, "...son-of-a-bitch."
Anastasia held the headphones up to Daniel's eye-level, showing him the broken remains of the left earphone before breathing a heavy sigh. Her shoulders slumped as she stuffed the headphones into one of the side pockets of her messenger bag.
"Damn Ana. I'm sorry," Daniel could feel what remained of the positive energy after Anastasia's unfortunate encounter leaving her. Anybody who knew Anastasia knew how important her headphones were to her, especially her best friend Daniel. They literally were the only solace she had in this tragedy of a reality that they lived in. He tried to put his arm around her in an attempt to comfort her and save what remaining energy was there, but she just moved her shoulder away.
"Let's just go home," Anastasia turned her head around as she was walking away, looking down at the rusty iron-clad railroad tracks, through the crowds of pedestrians and into the tunnel of darkness. Scoffing, she laced her fingers under the straps of her bag and continued to walk away in silence, wondering how she was going to survive without her music.
"Ana, is that you!?"
"Yeah mom, it's me," Anastasia replied while walking through the front door of her home. Assuming her mom was in the kitchen on the other side of the house, Anastasia spoke loudly, "Daniel is here, too. We're gonna go upstairs and do lots of drugs before engaging in extremely intimate sexual activities."
Daniel chuckled at the notion as he heard Mrs. Pierce retaliate, "That's okay dear, afterwards can you come help me hide the Postman's body? Oh, and then perhaps we can go to the beach once we're done."
There was a mutual humor between Anastasia and her mom, making the two out to be more like best friends rather than the typical mother/daughter relationship. Both of them were very blunt and loved to tease each other at every chance they got. Although they seemed like two peas-in-a-pod, Anastasia still respected her mother and treated her like one when the time called for it. Besides that, their relationship always had a way of making the atmosphere turn positive, no matter what the situation.
"Hi Mrs. Pierce!" Daniel yelled into the kitchen, dragging out the end of the word "hi" in a sense of relaying some sarcasm.
"Hello Danny! Please make sure you wear protection!" Meredith Pierce laughed at her statement before continuing with her daily chores, which currently included cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes. Anastasia rolled her eyes at her mom's last comment before heading upstairs to her room.
After Daniel entered the bedroom, Anastasia motioned for him to close the door behind him before continuing any further into the slop of a room. Anastasia's room was like walking into a live art gallery. There were various paintbrushes, paints, canvases, music CDs, sketchbooks, pens, pencils and laundry scattered across the bedroom floor, like the page of a classic I-Spy book come to life. Daniel tiptoed around the obstacles that covered the ground, finally making his way to the bed and plopping down next to Anastasia who was holding her broken headphones, examining the damage as if her mind could magically fix the unfortunate destruction.
"You know, the damage isn't even that terrible. I'm sure we could take them to a local tech repair shop and get them all nice and cleaned up for really cheap. What do you say?"
"It's not really the headphones that are bothering me."
"Then what's on your mind, dude? I've never seen you so fixated on your headphones like this before."
"I'm thinking about that guy..."
"The one who knocked you down?" Daniel had a confused look on his face as he shifted in his seat to a more comfortable position.
"What is there to think about? He was just a guy in a rush to catch a train. He knocked you down, apologized and boarded. I'm not sure there was any underlying tale to that," he chuckled a little bit, then realized that Anastasia's face was still completely focused at her headphones, not even cracking a smile.
Anastasia then looked up at him and forced a smile across her face, "You're right. It's nothing. Where's that repair shop again?"
"It's over off Walnut Hill and the highway. I'll call them and see what time they close," Daniel jumped from his seat, pulling out his smart phone and searching up the information via SIRI. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like he was having much luck because instead of "tech shop" SIRI brought up "sex shop" and auto-dialed the number. Daniel hurried out of the room, face flushed as he continued to yell at SIRI to call the correct company.
Anastasia sat there, her smile fading once Daniel left the room. She looked back down at the headphones as her mind flashed back to the encounter. Every sense that was activated at the time of the incident was replaying in her head. The smell of the crowded train station, the sound of the operator speaking over the PA system, the taste of the smoke covered air from the individuals who chose to treat themselves to a "cancer stick" before their ride showed and the feeling of getting forcefully shoved to the ground by a random stranger on a mission. However, nothing reached out to her like the fifth sense -- her sight.
Her eyes were completely entranced in the memory of her assailants eyes; those beautiful violet eyes. Anastasia was obsessed with this stranger's eyes, however it was not just because of the unique hue of them. It was the feelings eminating from its gaze. Beauty was simply a compliment to cover the truth; to cover the fact that those gorgeous amethyst eyes were filled with pain. The pain that one reveals after having been suffering for some time. The pain that one announces after being left to rot in the bottom of a well. The pain that screams for help to a random passerby who was recovering from an unfortunate assault. It was in those eyes that Anastasia was completely lost.
"Hey! Okay, so I called the tech shop and they said they close in about an hour. If we catch the train, we can make it there in 30 minutes flat," Daniel sighed in relief after reeling from the humorous incident with the sex shop.
Anastasia was pulled from her thoughts as she looked up at her best friend, "Sounds good. I'll grab some money and then we can head out."
Daniel nodded and smiled, noticing that there was more to the mind of his best friend than she was publicizing. He chose not to push the topic and instead grabbed his bag and headed back downstairs to wait for her.
Anastasia looked out of her bedroom window into the distance, reflecting on her thoughts one final time before tossing her messenger bag back on her shoulders and heading out the door, closing her bedroom door behind her.
Daniel opened the door to the repair shop, holding it open for his best friend.
“After you, Madame.”
Anastasia jokingly provided a “curtsy” in retaliation, producing a chuckle from Daniel.
As the two entered the shop, they were instantly hit with an overwhelming smell. A smell that seemed so familiar, and yet so distant. A smell that reflected the senses felt during the fall when the orange and yellow leaves fell from the treetops. A smell from which one could find a sense of comfort and still a sense of urgency. A smell which brought back so many ancient memories from the past, longing from escape from their mental prison. It wasn’t long, before it finally clicked.
“Ugh, this place smells like my grandma’s house,” Daniel remarked as his nose cringed, reminding him of all the times he and Anastasia spent watching “The Price Is Right” with his grandma instead of satiating their intense craving for Saturday morning cartoons.
“I miss your grandma’s house. Aside from the forcing us to hold hands everywhere so we would not get lost or kidnapped, she did have a way in the kitchen.”
“Okay, I’ll give you that. Her homemade spaghetti is godsend.”
They both laughed as they made their way through the shop, stopping to look at the little trinkets here and there. For a repair shop, the store reminded them more of a thrift shop if anything. The wallpaper was a faint green with little floral designs, slowly peeling at the corners of wall where the ends meet. The carpet was a deep navy blue, complimented with the little black pencil thin waves to create some kind of illusion effect. A bunch of shelves lines the center of the store as if one were at a grocery store, except they were replaced with various parts for computers, cars and other electronics. Last but not least, there was a random mirror in the corner accompanied by a random clothes rack which was the primary provider of the “thrift shop” feel.
“Let’s head up to the front and see if they can fix your headphones. It’s on me.” Daniel smiles removing the headphones from Anastasia’s bag.
“What? No don’t worry I got it. I just paid this week.”
“Hush. I feel bad for not being the superhero in my mind and stopping the guy from knocking you over, so I owe you one.”
“Sorry, can’t hear you. Too busy spending cash monies,” Daniel sarcastically added as he smirked back at Anastasia. Though they never were really anything more than friends, sometimes Anastasia would see him in a certain light and play the idea in her mind about how he would be a good father and husband someday. Of course, she always shook off the thought before it stuck and caused an awkward mental impasse.
As they approached the counter, they took a final glance around before realized there was no attendant available.
“Helloooooo? Ring ring ring? Don’t they have like a little bell or something here we can use?” Daniel was growing impatient as nobody was answering. An uneasy feeling started to come over Anastasia as Daniel was continuing his verbal assault at the empty shop, “Charlie, Tango! Roger, Echo! Hellloooooo? Okay, that’s it. I’m coming back there!”
As those words left his mouth, suddenly a lady popped up from below the counter. Daniel and Anastasia both jumped back as the store clerk revealed herself. The beautiful young lady with jet black curls, stunning hazel eyes and perfect olive skin fixated her eyes on Daniel, smiling a one-in-a-million smile which seemingly caused his legs to turn into jelly and his tongue to be completely compelled. Slightly jealous, Anastasia took note of this and began to speak up.
“Excuse me, Miss,” the words hung slightly on her lips, “I have a pair of headphones here that got damaged earlier. Do you think you could take a look at them and let us know how much it would cost to get them repaired?”
The store clerk turned to Anastasia, a frown coming across her face as she grabbed the headphones from the love-struck Daniel, examining them closely. The clerk seemed oddly attractive for somebody working at a hole-in-the-wall repair shop and by the way she was handling the magnifying glass and tools she protruded from under the counter, Anastasia couldn’t help but get a weird, uneasy feeling from her.
Minutes passed as Anastasia stood there, Daniel still drooling over the store clerk. As progress seemed to be lacking with this gorgeous employee, Anastasia took it upon herself to look around the store some more. Aside from her unfamiliarity with actual engineering parts, she did find a few pieces she wouldn’t mind adding to an art piece she was working on. Though she was bigger on paintings rather than sculpting or welding, she always had an appreciation for the inspiring metal work of Alexander Calder.
Continuing to browse the store, occasionally looking in the direction of the store clerk to see if any progress was made, Anastasia made her way to the clothes rack. The outfits were not at all attractive in any shape, size or color, except for this one really pretty emerald dress. Out of all the clothes in the shop, it seemed the most appealing and unfit for such a location. Grabbing the dress, Anastasia looked in the mirror and held it up to her figure, trying to get a glimpse of how it would look since they had no dressing rooms in the repair shop.
“This doesn’t look to bad, to be honest. Not really sure when I would wear it though considering a barely go out. It’s not like I’m some famous model like the girl at the –“
Anastasia’s words were cut short as she noticed a dark spot on the carpet, reaching to her from behind the front counter. Confused, she looked in the mirror to get a better angle of what was behind the counter without trying to seem too nosy. As soon as Anastasia was at the correct position, she gasped, quickly covering her mouth as her eyes were wide with terror. She turned her head to look back at the two and noticed that neither one of them had noticed. Returning to her original position, Anastasia looked back into the mirror to get a better look, staring face to face in the reflection of a crimson covered body with a nametag that read “Shaun”.
She almost started to faint before noticing something even worse. Frozen in fear, she broke down the figure in the mirror piece by piece. In place of the repair girl was what appeared to be a seductive silhouette, a creature of pure darkness with the body of a goddess. The creature had no eyes and still kept that one-in-a-million smile, except its lips were blue as the carpet they stood. Several black tendrils extended from the creature’s back, dripping to the ground below where the dead body was located. The tendrils seemed to be absorbing the body, as Anastasia noticed that every few seconds, the tendrils would emit a small blue light, making the face of the deceased look as if it were growing older and older.
Anastasia wanted to cry something fierce, but the tears were frozen in place as she slowly turned towards Daniel. She had to find a way to show him without making her newfound discovery known by the creature. She did the only thing that she could think of – text message.
“COME TO CLOTHES NOW. NOT SAFE. MONSTER GIRL. DON’T MAKE A SCENE.”
Anastasia sent the text message to Daniel and looked in the mirror, watching him check his phone and hoping he would text back or even look at her to confirm the confusion of the situation. Of course, Daniel was not always the brightest and most dependable.
“Monster girl? Haha. Anastasia I’m right here, why are you texting me?” Daniel replied out loud, the creature looking up from the obviously non-efficient tinkering and staring right at me, its eyes slowly rolling into the back of its head.
He turned around at the sound of the urgency, noticing the beautiful girl from the counter transforming into something hideous. Any apparent attraction from before was instantly thrown out the window as the creatures tendrils tore through the back of her dress, lashing wildly as the air in search of a new meal.
Daniel was frozen in terror as the creature lunged at him, hailing a screech so loud that it shattered a few of the surrounding glass casings. Thinking quickly, Anastasia flung the emerald dress at the creature, the cloth wrapping around its face and temporarily distracting it. She was surprised at how effective her retaliation was before noticing the hanger was still attached and somehow got interlocked with one of the tendrils, causing the creature to fight with itself to get free. Grabbing Daniel quickly, Anastasia darted straight for the door while the creature continued to struggle with the dress, knocking over multiple shelves and parts in the process.
Before Anastasia could process what was going on through her mind, she arrived at the door to the shop, throwing all her might into it to push it open. As she began to step into the light, she felt a resistance becoming on her right arm. Looking down, she saw the creature, now free from its confines, dragging Daniel back in to the shop.
“Ana! Forget about me! Just run, save yourself!”
“Shut up, Daniel! I’m not leaving you! Just don’t let go!”
Anastasia screamed at the top of her lungs as she saw the tendrils of the monster making its way up Daniel pants leg, wrapping around it, leaving behind a slick black ooze as it traveled. Daniel could feel the tendrils starting to drain the energy from him, his grip on Anastasia growing weaker and weaker.
“Ana . . .” his eyes were starting to close shut as he could feel himself being mentally forced into a state of relaxing slumber.
“Daniel, don’t sleep! Wake up! Daniel please,” Anastasia begged for him to open his eyes. Tears streamed down her face as she was not sure what to do, the anxiety, pressure, fear and adrenaline coursing through her veins as she held on for as long as she could, screaming for help from anybody within range to hear her pleas.
The creature smiled a devilish grin, baring razor sharp fangs as it screeched once more, the tendrils beginning to glow blue as they had with Shaun. Anastasia knew the end was near, but refused to accept it, looking for anything to try and fend the creature off. She found a random muffler part on her immediate right, picking it up and trying to smash it against the creature. However, the demon knocked the weapon away with ease, making its way back to its meal. Anastasia began to lose morale and break down until everything stopped.
“I admire your heart . . . “
A chilling voice echoed throughout Anastasia’s ears as she looked up for the source. She was struck with an overwhelming sense of confusion, relief and oddly enough, attraction. Amethyst eyes.
The same man from the train platform earlier that day was standing at the doorway, wearing his same outfit from before. A black undershirt and a pair of dirty blue jeans, accompanied by a brown leather jacket with a gray cotton hood and a pair of sneakers. Anastasia could barely think straight as the beautiful man stood at the doorway, completely unfazed by the situation at hand. Once again, she was covered from head to toe in chills, those eyes digging deep into her psyche. Confidence. Anger. Depression. Pain. Though he looked like the portrayal of a hero, his eyes spoke nothing but sadness. Those amethyst eyes, breathing down her back and into the core of her soul, freezing her from the inside out. Tell me your story, stranger.
Before Anastasia could mouth the word “help” , the creature was screaming, a couple of it’s tendrils flopping down to the floor before cringing up and dissipating into the air in a purple mist. She looked up to see the man again, this time holding a silver blade carved with various runic symbols. Shaking off her curiosity, Anastasia quickly pulled Daniel back with all her might, freeing him from the grasp of the demon. The ooze from the tendrils had left burn marks through his jeans, his legs covered in scorching bites. Cleaning off his blade on his fingerless gloves, Amethyst eyes looked down at her, his face serious.
Without skipping a beat, she picked up Daniel and made her way out of the store, the sound of crashing and screaming heard in the distance. Though her curiosity begged her to stay and watch what would become of the jewel-eyed warrior and the demonic creature from hell, Anastasia cared more for Daniel’s health. She dragged her best friend to street and screamed for help, a few random passersby’s coming to surround her as she sobbed into his shoulder, holding him close.
“We’ll keep him sedated for now, Ms. Pierce. The damage done to his body is very drastic and surgery options are being discussed appropriately. Though the physical damage only seems to be visible on his lower right leg, there seems to be an infection that has passed through his system and is affecting his heart. We will do all we can to take care of him. For now, we recommend you go home and get some rest.”
“I’ll get rest, but I’m not going anywhere. I need to stay with my best friend.”
“Understood, ma’am. We’ll keep you updated on his condition as we progress.”
The evening seemed to drag on as Anastasia sat next to Daniel, holding his cold, lifeless hand as she sobbed quietly. Though he was still alive, she tossed around the absurd yet reassuring idea that he would be better off dead. She couldn’t imagine the pain he endured during the encounter and even now in his unconscious state, she wondered if the pain was still tearing at him inside even with his inability to show the emotions tied to the suffering. Just trying to mentally feel what he felt caused Anastasia to double over and she made her way to the bathroom to spit up.
Her head was pounding as the pressure to take everything in was so overwhelming. Wiping her mouth and flushing the toilet, Anastasia made her way to the bathroom mirror, turning on the faucet to feel the frostbitten hospital water cover her fingers like little icy tendrils. Splashing the water on her face, she coaxed the liquid into her hair and cheeks, trying to cleanse any and all mental distractions. As she splashed another handful, admiring the feel of the tundra water, Anastasia looked up into the mirror and jumped back immediately, seeing the reflection of the man with amethyst eyes behind her, staring deep into her soul. Whipping her head around, she came to the realization that nobody was present and that though the water was soothing, it proved completely ineffective.
Anastasia made her way to the chair in the corner of the room near the door to the hallway. Taking her seat, she leaned her head back and stared at the ceiling, reaching into her pockets to retrieve a pair of temporary ear buds given to her by a kind nurse. She clicked on her iPhone and scrolled to her favorite playlist. Placing the buds into her ears, Anastasia melted into the chair allowing the music to consume her.
Such an under-appreciated art form that takes ones’ being and morphs it into an entity of pure energy, fueled by ecstasy, passion, relaxation, wonder and dreams. Like a wolf in the snowy tundra chasing the threading winds between the trees, tasting the snowflakes on her tongue and feeling the frost cool her soul. Absorbing the essence around oneself and reaching such a state of ascension that makes it impossible to be reached or seen by mortal arms or eyes.
She allowed the music to absorb her entirely as her eyes closed, taking in every note, every beat and every harmonic melody that protruded from the buds. The beauty that entered her psyche allowed Anastasia to relax and breathe a little easier. Between the encounter with the creature, her best friend being hospitalized and her newly found obsession with the color amethyst, Anastasia needed something to keep her off edge and her playlist did just that.
As the night continued, long past the point where Anastasia had fallen asleep to her music, a slight rustling was heard in the room by false ears. It wasn’t until she had shifted to get comfortable in her chair again that Anastasia had noticed something awry. Her eyes still heavy, she looked between the small creases in her lids to see Daniel standing at the foot of his bed, the hospital room windows overlooking the city wide open he stared out of them. She quickly jumped to her feet, pulling the buds from her ear as she ran to her best friend.
“Daniel! You’re awake. Are you okay? Why are you out of bed? You need to rest!” The commands and questions came like rapid fire as she was overcome with as much excitement as there was worry. Unfortunately, Daniel spoke no words in retaliation. He just continued to stare out the window into the darkness of the night, illuminated dimly by the lights of the city.
“Daniel . . . ?”
Once again, the air was barren of anything other than a one-sided conversation. As Anastasia began to worry, she start to walk closer to him, reaching out to touch his shoulder. As she did, he quickly turned around and grabbed her wrist, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. His skin began to decay, turning into a dark, slick black substance that was dripping all over the hospital carpet. An evil smile crept across his face as he began to bare fangs, dark tendrils beginning to extend from his back.
Anastasia struggled with all her might as Daniel gripped even harder, his mouth opening as a loud shriek was released, shattering all the windows and glass casings in the room. Trying to cover her ear with a combination of her shoulder and one free hand, Anastasia was frightened beyond repair. How could he do this? What happened to her best friend? What’s going on? The questions played around in her mind as she struggled to get free. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, time stood still as Anastasia took her last breath, feeling the sad, passionate hunger coming from the creature.
“I’m sorry,” were the only words she could muster before her fate was sealed.
Daniel’s open fanged mouth lunging at her face was the last image her mind could perceive before Anastasia was devoured.
Then she woke up, breathing heavily, sweat covering her entire body. Anastasia looked over to Daniel, still in his comatose state. Her breathing ceased to relax as she grabbed her chest, holding tightly to her shirt as the tears streamed down her face.
“Help me . . . “