Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 44) [Wednesday Wanderings]

This week's Wednesday Wandering's is another installment from the current serial, Hunt For The Dark Phoenix.

Author's Ramblings: I should apologize, as this installment is MUCH shorter and VERY late, all things considered. Seeing as it's past midnight, my brain is short-circuiting and I don't have much to ramble about, so onward to the story! I couldn't skip a day though as neither Brittany(thank you, sweetie!) or my characters will forgive me, so in spite of this under a thousand word installment, here's to the Dark Phoenix and Eira!

RECAP: This installment continues with both characters still in the "guest room" void of the DP, shortly after Eira's shocking confession that she really isn't a clueless girl from the League's basic training. The DP is doing an excellent job of twisting her heart, emotions and life around with the simple power of words. Just how far is he going to take this? 


“I’m not giving up Rory-!” Eira began. “Are you okay? You look a little…eep!” The yelp of surprise was quite genuine when she jerked aside as the phoenix slumped forward. His hands clutching his head as if he were in some sort of agony. “Master Phoenix!”

“I-I’m fine.” He coughed, twisting away from her helpful hands. “I’m perfectly fine. Please keep your voice down, it is giving me a headache.” He stood, unsteadily for a moment and then eased backwards onto the bed, leaving her sitting on the floor. “Secrets.” His hands fisted in the blankets. “I hate secrets.”

“Master Phoenix?”

“Stay where you are!”


The darkness touched his voice, several shades deeper than she remembered. Eira froze, an inkling of fear rippling through her for the first time. “M-”

“Please don’t…your voice…it’s…” Gradually his hands unclenched and after a moment, he sat up, fully composed. “My apologies. Please excuse that momentary lapse in my concentration.” The smile offered was forced in the way at it appeared to be stuck on his face for nothing more than necessity.

Before she could study the expression entirely, a familiar black shroud of energy spiraled around him, fading away to reveal his everlasting black cloak. The hood automatically rose up, gliding over his head, shielding the face from view.

“Do you understand what you’ve told me so far?” The artificial touch of politeness lingered. “Is there anything you would care to add or…subtract?”

The first colorings of blush surfaced as Eira looked away. “I…” There was no way out of the truth she’d just declared. The game was over.

“Shall I summarize? You’ve been pretending from the very moment we’ve met. You admit to being Schol’s summoner—a criminal known throughout this quadrant as being against The League, with a fairly decent price upon his head and all those associated with him. You are aware of the crimes you have committed as a member of the rebellion backed by the Shadow People and also accept the responsibilities and consequences associated with it?”

“You don’t have to make it sound so formal-”

“Apprentice!”

“…am I…in a lot of trouble?”

“What do you think?”

“I think…” Eira snuck a glance upwards. “You have all rights to…kill me…according to the decree.”

“Really?”

“Yeah…I think you could too.”

“True.”

“True!” Eira sputtered.

“Yes.”

“W-will you?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No.”

“Even thought you know who I am and what I’ve done?” Eira twisted her fingers together, she didn’t dare embrace the inkling of hope he offered.

“Especially since I know who you are and what you’ve done.”

“But the price on the head of all known associates of Schol-”

“That works both ways.” He waved his hand dismissively. “I think you’ve paid your price.”

“What?”

“If I’d wanted to be red of you, apprentice, I’d have done it quite some time ago.” The devious smile returned. “And most certainly in a manner that it would be such as if you had never existed at all.” He shifted from the bed and began to pace the floor in calm, straight lines from one end of the visible square of carpet to the other.

Eira began to pale, feeling the warmth draining away from her face as she stared at the darkened figure before her. She’d never once felt this degree of darkness from him before and the sheer force of such coldness sunk beneath her consciousness. “You…know. You knew!” The realization was settling in, but she couldn't bring herself to believe it.

Impossible! He couldn't have known! There was NO WAY he could have known? Right?  

“Tell me something, apprentice, when you read the file, before you decided to hunt me down, did you read everything in it? If you did, then pray tell, what is the Dark Phoenix known for?”

“A master of wit!”

“Incorrect. Guess again!”

“No.”

“Smart answer.”

“But the wrong one.” Eira struggled to keep her face blank, she could feel the blood rushing to her head, her temper beginning to boil at the tips of her fingers. “You…you’re…a…”

“A what?”

“I can’t think of a word!”

“That’s proof in itself.” He smirked. “The Dark Phoenix is a master of manipulation. Of course I knew. You wanted to play a game, so I played.”

“Monster.” Eira choked out. “You’re a monster!” The image she’d held of him was now swiftly crumbling beneath this new darkness. “You’re a monster! What kind of trick is this?”

“The same trick you’re trying to resist at the moment.”

“I’m not trying to resist anything! You shouldn’t ask people questions you don’t want answered! Your stupid truth mark is the one hammering around in my head and causing this mess!”

“That was last night…not tonight.”

“What?”

“This is all a game, Eira. You made it a game with your first lie. It’s only natural you would surrender after a systematic and final defeat by your opponent, but it is always good to gracefully give in when your turn has ended.”

“No! I won’t give up!” Eira was on her feet, hands fisted at her sides. Her eyes darted quickly about her surroundings, but she couldn’t make out anything much besides the now pulsing purple-black energy that swirled around the area of the ‘guest room’.

“But the game is no longer in your control. You cannot play.” He chuckled. “and it’s not a matter of giving up, but rather, of giving in! There is no escape route this time.”

“Stop it! Why are you doing this?”

“Many reasons, though the ones that come immediately to mind are the simplest.” He began to circle her in the same, calm, expressionless manner. “”I hate secrets, Eira and lies. I also harbor an intense dislike for cowards…runaways, if you would. People who cannot face their own problems so they burden others with it or disrupt the natural course of life while trying to escape it. You’re running from secrets, you have secrets, you haven’t told me the truth until a smattering of minutes ago and you’re still trying to escape.” He snorted. “At this particular moment, you have no redeeming qualities and I have no use for you in this form.”

Her fingernails dug deeper into her palms, the pain fueling her survival instincts as her body tensed, waiting. “What are you going to do to me?”

“Wouldn’t you care to venture a guess?” He yawned. “I find it to be extremely boring when people are so direct…takes all the fun out of-”

“You’re going to hurt me, aren’t you?”

His head snapped up, the hood falling away to reveal the golden-gray eyes fading away to deep, black orbs of energy. “Only because your promised punishment remains incomplete.”

She swallowed hard. “I guess what just happened then was…?” He didn’t answer. “Okay…after that, then what?”

“One thing at a time, apprentice. Don’t you think it’s best to conclude one experiment before beginning another? In this case, shouldn’t you absorb the entire experience before proceeding further?”

“W-what do you mean?” He had stopped circling her and now stood directly before her, menacing in form, the black tendrils of energy snaking out towards her. One hand reached out and she shied away from the fingers that clamped purposefully over her head. Her knees buckled and gave out beneath her as she felt the intrusion as sharp, deliberate pains piercing through her head and into her mind.

She couldn’t block him. She couldn’t run. She was absolutely helpless as he blew through the corridors of her mind, reading and seeing everything with a cool, brisk efficiency. The shame registered in the pit of her stomach as he reviewed every act with the same, expressionless face before her, passing no judgment, yet judging just the same.

The shock, the pain and the confusion twisted into a singular mass she couldn’t dissect.

She didn’t even feel when the hand fell away.

Something warm wrapped around her shoulders and something soft dabbed at her face. She was sitting on something soft now…the bed? The tears were hot and cold at the same time. The fact that she was crying wasn’t something she wanted to acknowledge, but the blurry softness continued to wipe methodically as her eyes burned, birthing tears she couldn’t keep.

When her vision cleared, the same expressionless face hovered in front of her. The phoenix, minus his cloak, one hand dabbing at her face with a black square of fabric.

“I don’t understand you.” She whispered, hoarsely.

“I’m glad.”

There was no energy left to reply to that.

“I hate secrets.” He dropped the fabric square in her lap. “You had quite a few.” He sighed. “and now I think I have the final pieces of my puzzle.” The smirk resurfaced. “We’re still playing the game, but now it’s my turn.”

© Sara Harricharan

1 comments:

Kristina Rohder said...

*epic arm flailing*
Wow... That... I...
*is speechless*
*more epic arm flailing*
So Eira is a criminal??!! I did not see that coming!
Maybe I'm strange, I but I really like the Dark Phoenix when he is in a "dark" mood. Anyway, I'm not overly surprised that he knew about Eira's past all along. He is a smart fellow.
Well, I can't wait to see what happens next. This story is so awesome! XD