[P] The Line Begins to Blur [SERAPHINA] - Printable Version

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The Line Begins to Blur [SERAPHINA] - Only - 05-04-2019

polarized, divisive drowning in strife

Only dreams about dancing with a snake.  This snake is someone he does not like.  It is Stephen.

--who he hates.
--who he can't seem to kill.
--who he never wants to see again, even in the vaporous residue of his dreams.

Just wake up .. and let it go, then. Stephen whispers in his ear.

Only is instantly awake at the sound of Stephen's words buzzing in his ear. Stephen's voice, though quiet and isolated in the solid dark safety of Only's mind, cuts the safe space apart in a way that no knife can.  Fracturing Only's inner peace was and is always the goal.  That way Stephen can find a way inthrough the cracks and reach deep inside until he can feel the other side.  

Oh what fun hijacking Only is for Stephen!  Especially when he gets to feel Only's utter dismay over the fact that today will not be spent alone in solace -- it will be a battle, a battle for power, for control.  All Stephen ever has to do is invade his dreams and hunt for him like a deer in the woods.  To lay traps and silently wait while Only sleeps. Stephen was a hunter, and it did not matter what it was that he was hunting.

Today, his weapon of choice is words.  Its almost as easy as throwing gasoline on a fire.

That thing I do to Florentine, you know, with the rocks?

        It always gets you.

You make this way too easy for me Only.  Really.

Stephen throws darts at the back of Only's eyes from the inside, each point hitting nerves that make Only grit his teeth so hard they might crack. He thinks about all the ways Florentine has been killed by Stephen in his dreams.  How real they felt. Stephen handcrafts Only's nightmares, carefully painting in every vivid detail he would like the little worm to remember.  In Only's dreams, Stephen is the bloodless white snake with pitch black hair - an inversion of himself (he supposes).  Regardless of who is there to witness the death, it is always Florentine's.

None of the blood ever belongs to anybody else but her.

But now, now Stephen is leaving traps in reality, weaving infection into Only's life so that it spreads before him and not after.  The threat is no longer bound to just a nightmare.   An invisible enemy that has trapped him in Solterra and confined him to this cave. The worry Only feels is disruptive to his strict itinerary of daily mantra and ritual.  It destroys the floodgates, and all that is being held behind it -- pours into Only.


Only rises from the dust, it falls in streams off of his smooth serpent scales but clings red and sticky to his white blonde hair.  The thin face twists in some kind of awkward, indescribable, but unmistakable pain as Stephen laughs and laughs and laughs between Only's ears.

He laughs because Only cannot get rid of him, not here .. not today.  

"Why are we here?  I want to go home."  Only consults with the hieroglyphs on the walls of the cave that Stephen has condemned him to.  All those squiggles, loops, and lines -- somehow Only can see Stephen's gaunt, vapid, murder-face looking back at him.  Talking back.  These delusions, (though rare) trap Only.  Stephen might as well reach out and comb the blond out of pathetic, feeble Only's scared chalcedony eyes.  He might as well hold Only's chin up and use Winona, his beloved knife, to cut that pretty snakeskin throat of his.  

And Only -- today, will believe it.  He will see it.  He will feel it.  For today, Stephen has taken control of him. 

Today, they are together. 
Today, they both see the cave and everything that is in it.
Today, is the day that Stephen wears Only's skin and pretends to be someone he is not.

And today, my sweet boy, you will dance to the tune of my choosing -- or I will have you killed.

Denocte seems so much farther away now than it ever has, and Only gazes back out the cave, still lost in the canyon, held hostage by none other than Stephen himself.   Winona winks in the fading sunlight which is red - redder than usual.  Smoke from the distant lands have carried over in a thin red veil.  It watercolors the sunset with something that feels very distopian to Only.  Stephen makes him breathe it all in deep, the dust, the ash, the taste of blood - his own blood.  The side of Only's cheek is raw from chewing at it in agony. 

You can go home when I say you can.  

Only's thin black lips press into a tight, fretful line. He gazes longingly at the distant horizon, if he even thinks, just once, about going home, Stephen will know.

Stephen is always listening -- to everything.  

Even to the footsteps that are so silent that only a small pebblestone skipping across rock pulls his attention off of Only.  The two look up and over to spy the source.  Stephen can see a horse with his Left eye but Only can only see a blackish blur with the right. Together, they concur that someone is coming.  

Several yards across the narrow valley, and upwards of another twenty-or-thirty feet, a stranger is wending the rocks with all the adeptness of a mountain goat.  Something on its neck glimmers red-silver, a flash of black here and a smear of grey there, Only's eyes lose all the white details with the din of twilight muting everything, even the stranger's intentions.

Kill it.  Because Stephen is not feeling friendly enough to fight Only for conversation.  Only merely watches the figure and moves back - back towards the mouth of his cave.  

"No, we don't even know what 'It' is?" Only says.

Kill it now.  Stephen's will is strong enough to draw the dagger from its hiding place. 

"But what if they don't even know we are here?"

Winona, Only's beautiful metal horn, sinks into the nest of golden hair and is gone, but only before coming together as one solid knife at once. The tanto knife is cradled inside of the hollow space between mortal and magic, suspended and as still as death.    The stranger is only growing closer - I never miss my targets.  No one will know, one way or the other. Stephen boasts at the back of Only's mind.

"Don't!"  Only shouts loudly when he feels Stephen cut an invisible chord that releases the knife -- it surges forward with power.  All Only can do is sidestep to throw the aim entirely by sacrificing the meat on his shoulder to blunt the blow.  Now deviated, the bloody knife nearly hits the figure Stephen has aimed for but it misses and richotets off of an angled surface of stones instead.  It chips precious footholds which go crumbling down the slope and Only holds his breath.  He scurries back into his hole in the wall and,

without much more gusto, the knife falls to its death and vanishes before it can make a noise as it clatters against stone. Just then, Only feels the flesh across his forehead split as the knife returns home.  His eyes water as Winona drives herself out from inside his skull, the skin raw and bleeding around the protruding blade. 

Adrenaline has taken the place of the hysteria that lead Stephen to the surface in the first place.  The energy makes Only's blood burn, strengthens him, it buries Stephen alive in an avalanche of desperation that Only seems to have found in trying to protect someone.  One day, he knows he will have to do this for Florentine too.  

Stephen vanishes with a resounding threat, leaving Only to clean up the broken pieces.

Leave this cave and I will kill you.  Tell anyone and I will kill Florentine.  

technically I still exist, but not in my mind