Re: Whispers in the Dark
Author’s note: Author’s note: I love disclaimers they’re so… constant. And reviewers are nice too, not to mention the ultra beta who puts me in my place when melodrama overflows into a pool of liquid suffering and despair… I’ll stop now.
Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A DISCLAIMER
The real disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN DEATH NOTE OR DARKANGEL!!!!!!!
WHISPERS IN THE DARK
“And you know what the icari does with their brides, do you, girl?”
-The Darkangel, by Meredith Ann Pierce
“Childhood?” repeated the darkangel slowly, his brow furrowing as he slowly thought about the word. His fair hair was pulled back into a thin braid, trailing down his back as he bent over various medical instruments that the human couldn’t have identified even if she wanted to.
“Or have you simply existed since the dawn of time?”
As always, he continued to work before he considered her statements, making no physical effort to show he had heard.
“No. I am not that old, though I age greatly with each passing year. The weariness one gains is unimaginable; being immortal is a far cry from being forever youthful, which is often the interpretation of my current state.” His black-gloved hands paused over a silver instrument that gleamed faintly in the candle’s soft light. “My childhood ended the day I was born. I was always aware of people… staring at me. I was an oddity in a world where differences cast one into doubt, into this category of… others. Something not welcome. I’m sure my family was rather relieved when I left.” He turned around with the metallic object in his lap, facing her with his ever-grim expression.
“Where did you go? Did you come here?” she asked, looking up towards the high-vaulted ceiling, glancing over the charcoal drawings that seemed to line every room, each black drawing showing another portion of the darkangel’s thoughts; each one another window into his closed mind.
“No. It was a long time before I came here. To say I left home is a lie. I didn’t ‘leave’, because that implies I had a choice. It wouldn’t have been long until I would have; tt was very difficult for me to live there, as you can no doubt imagine.” He paused, then turned to meet her eyes. “I was taken by the darkangel you know as Judah. At that time, I referred to him as Ryuzaki.”
Good and Evil
To tell the truth
there is little difference between the two
There are certainly acts of murder and violence
acts of charity and justice
but it is the shades of gray that we seem to grow blind to
It is the shades where the line between the pair grows blurred
until old fools like me can no longer tell the difference.
Light Yagami awoke to the faint glimmer of candle light, as his eyes blinked away the dark spots and his mind sought consciousness. The cold, immobilizing sting in his eyes receded to his finger-tips and finally out of his body altogether, replaced by a numb chill. His eyes began to see objects in the dimly lit cavern—tall, gothic archways carved in stone, leering and looming in their shadows; thin candelabras lined the walls, dripping pale wax onto the granite floor. On the walls hung portraits of men and women—figures surrounded by golden light, draped in colorful clothes that he couldn’t place.
Without realizing it, he found him standing in front of the portrait of a man with blood dripping down his face. Woven around his head was a crown of thorns, dripping blood from the jagged edges that pierced his tanned skin. Light’s pale fingers reached slowly to trace the man’s strangely serene expression before stopping. Slowly, he turned, and for the second time met the darkangel’s gaze.
Unnerving and demanding, the cold eyes bored through his skull with a will that must be obeyed. It was unquestionable that he should do otherwise. Half of his being wished to hurl itself to the ground and beg for mercy, but the other half, being the more practical one, took over and forced the boy to hold his ground. He would not lose his pride to a creature that wasn’t even human.
The darkangel seemed to be waiting for Light to ask something, or to say something, but Light Yagami had long ago learned that it is best to remain silent and observe before one strikes. At seven years old, Light had become a master of caution and precision.
Seemingly annoyed, the Icarus answered the unasked question with a tone of irate amusement. “‘What am I?’ I am an Icarus, a member of the proud race of Darkangels, black gods from the deepest pits of hell come to enact divine judgment on the human race; a monstrous beast who steals the souls of maidens and drinks their blood as a toast to mortality. As for ‘Who am I?’…. The world calls me Judah, but to those few who know me I am known as L.”
Once again, the vampyre stopped, waiting for a response of any kind. The human, though, remained cold and silent, his eyes glittering with the power of gained knowledge, stored away for later use to be used, no doubt, against the darkangel in a time he least expected it.
Finally, Light spoke. With clear hesitation, he repeated the syllable presented to him. “L?” It was a name he had not heard before—a single letter, something rather uncommon in his own language. Clearly, it meant that the darkangel was a foreigner. His accent would have marked him as a visitor even without the name; had he been seen in the human’s village, even without the wings, he would have been feared and shunned.
That’s not to say there had never been travelers within his village. Men and women who wandered the land every now and then stopped through each town along the way, but they had never travelled so far. Their accents were never too strong, their features were never too different, and their mannerisms and customs were a near match. Light had been more disliked than the rare nomadic passers-by.
Analyzing the vampyre once more, he realized he had never seen any human with such a pale visage; the darkangel’s bones seemed to almost tear through his nearly translucent skin, visible even through the baggy tunic and trousers; his eyes seemed larger than any human’s he had seen—more owl-like, wide and omniscient; his nose was slightly longer at the bridge, hardly visible against his snow white features. Perhaps strangest of all was the Icarus’ hair, which spiked out in all conceivable directions, each silver strand standing on end as if it had been entwined with wire, melding with snow-white highlights.
“You may call me Ryuuzaki, because frankly, your mispronunciation of my name will drive me mad. We cannot have that, can we?” The darkangel seemed to be amused by whatever thought had struck him; or, at least, Light thought he was amused. It was hard to tell with this creature that hid his emotions so well behind a mask of indifference. Interesting, that the creature would employ the use of a tool Light had never encountered in anyone other than himself—every human he had ever met left their thoughts for all to view. It was only Light who knew the meaning of what it meant to hide oneself.
“You are certainly not a muscle man, but then again, you are not needed for heavy lifting,” continued the vampyre with disdain, his thin hand reaching over to Light’s short tunic sleeve. The boy drew back from the icy chill that exuded from those hands, but the darkangel paid no heed. The icarus’ eyes narrowed and he clicked his tongue in what Light believed to be annoyance.
“Still, you should probably attempt to build muscle. Your arms look like toothpicks! What do they feed you kids these days?” The darkangel breathed out, shaking his head slightly and loosening his hold on Light’s clothing, allowing the boy to totter back from the vampyre. Had the vampyre been less imposing, Light may have voiced the hypocrisy of the situation, and how like skin and bones the darkangel himself looked.
The silence stretched between the two of them until finally the darkangel, still exasperated, broke it, “Ah, well, we have our work cut out for us.”
Diversity among humans is laughable
They all look the same
It is bothersome to tell them apart
some people have tried to argue the same for us
But no one actually believes them
“Disgusting, are they not?” The darkangel’s whisper fell close to Light’s ear in a tone full of a bitter irony that the child was too young to place. “They were once very beautiful, all… with flowing locks of hair and luminescent eyes. Now look at them.”
They appeared as if they had once been women, exactly the darkangel had so aptly described. Their figures had long since vanished, leaving twig-like bones and torsos that seemed to disappear within the thin rags they wore. Each wraith-like creature rocked back and forth, issuing moans and dry sobs, and through their thin lips, Light could just barely catch the outline of their teeth.
What disturbed him the most was not the stiff, straight hair but the dark holes where their eyes should have been, with each empty socket seemingly pleading to him for something—release, respite, perhaps.
“At first, I thought it was the weather, but then I realized that maybe it is merely the fact that they have no souls or blood on their bodies, and have subsequently lost their minds.”
The Icarus’ words sounded far away, for the boy was lost in those dark sockets as they wept invisible tears, all visible expression of sorrow lost in the absence of liquid.
Walking corpses, things that should have been buried beneath the earth—they were disgusting.
He vaguely remembered a time when he had scoffed at the belief of such atrocities; snickered at the simple idea of the beings the nomads had whispered of. Beautiful women, taken from their homes and never seen again—taken as brides by the vampyres the wingéd dæmons who plagued the land. He had hardly believed the tales, except, perhaps, in wistful fantasy; he had horrified his neighbors by drawing a simple picture.
A horribly inaccurate picture, he now saw.
The Judah he had sketched had been much taller, perhaps stretching to seven feet. His arms, while being unnaturally long, hadn’t been as thin as the real darkangel’s, and his hair had been much more tamed in charcoal. To see reality was like being forced to look in an honest mirror and see just how ignorant he truly was.
A day prior and he would have considered the word laughable when directed at himself. He was not ignorant of the suffering that lay around him, or so he had thought. It was only then, as he stared into the dark abyss of the wraiths’ eyes, that he truly saw himself for what he was: A small child, too young to know any better, in the hands of a creature who would abandon him to a fate worse than death.
Truth was a mirror, broken into fragments, with each piece portraying a different angle; every shard painted a different reflection, but an equal measure of reality. Distortion of this reality was the simple matter of rearranging the pieces, but to see the full picture was to mend the mirror, to pull the fractions back together, to complete the puzzle—an impossible task, intended only for dubious gawking.
All his life, Light had lacked the pieces to see past his own fragmented reality, instead choosing to believe that the one shard he held contained all the knowledge he needed to know. It was only now, away from everything he had believed real, that he discovered the sea of jagged glass.
“What do you want from me?” Light said, his eyes skirting back to the pale darkangel, whose expression had changed to something more easily read, something he himself had often seen while peering at his own reflection.
“You are rather quick to the point, Light-kun. Perhaps you do have your uses. As you can see, my wives are less than apt to movement in their current… state… for lack of better terms. I need you to deal with it, as I am much too busy.” Judah, L, Ryuzaki chuckled under his breath coldly. There was no sympathy in that voice, no inkling of pity for Light to cling to in his unfamiliar surroundings.
The wraiths moaned in unison, pitching every wail in a different piercing key. Light clapped his hands against his ears and they remained there, even after the cursed sounds stopped. The Icarus, seeing Light, simply quirked one corner of his lips then turned away from the boy and the remains of his wives.
“I do hope, Light-kun, that you are indeed as clever as you believe yourself to be.”
Lies are a gift with which many are blessed.
Truth is a curse that haunts us till we are dead.
They are too entwined to allow us to ignore one for the other.
After the third day, Light could no longer force himself to look at them.
The first day had been the worst (or so he told himself). The first instant of staring into their black eyes, watching their writhing movements as they struggled to make their way across the room, hearing their moans and unintelligible words—before puzzling out exactly what to expect. That was the worst (or so he told himself).
He didn’t even believe they could talk; they had somehow lost the ability to speak and now only spluttered and gurgled.
One of them had turned its head towards him and had began to crawl towards him; it had been at that moment that Light had realized the door was locked. The door was locked.
Furiously, he had banged against the wood; had shaken the handle and had glanced behind him at the shrieking women. As soon as his fist had pounded against the door, they had begun to scream out a sound that seared against his mind, fragmenting his thought process.
That had been the first day.
The second day had been easier, in a way; he had awoken to find himself curled against the door, facing towards the skeletal creatures. His limbs had been sore, and although they had ached, he had not moved from his position. The women had milled aimlessly on their own side of the room, glancing at him every now and then out of a vague curiosity. They had not approached him again—whether out of apprehension or disinterest, he didn’t care… so long as they did not touch him.
Light’s plan, at that point, had been very simple and childish: Run through the door as soon as the darkangel came to unlock it. It was pathetic, and he knew it, but there was nothing else to be done. Light had never drunk much, but the lack of water was taking its toll on his mind; his solutions were slower to arrive and lacked the painstakingly detailed air that normally came with the packaging. Light had never needed to be brilliant before, and now, when he had needed his birthright, it had abandoned him.
A child, a simple child, locked away behind a single door in a room with three corpses, awaiting the judgment of the darkangel.
In his sleep, he dreamed of rushing water, and clear glass lakes that lingered just an arm’s distance away… and yet never within reach.
By the third day, this day, he wondered if the Icarus had simply left him to die. It seemed an odd way to operate—kidnap him simply for the purpose of leaving him to die. Illogical, but then, the darkangel wasn’t human: Who said it had to follow human logistics?
The thirst would kill him before the hunger. A human could live without food for a substantial amount of time, but without water he could feel his mind slipping away, wandering from his body only to return with no memory of where it had erred.
What was the mind without the body, the body without the mind?
And yet, somehow he couldn’t bring himself to care, even when his eyesight dulled and his memory fell to pieces. He found himself growing ever apathetic. If the darkangel wished him dead, so be it. What would he have done with his life instead—lived alone on the outskirts of civilization, wandering from village to village as a disgraced nomad with a foreign name? Perhaps it was better to meet an early than to draw the tedium out.
Somewhere behind the door, the vampyre crouched, laughing away at the demise of poor, human Light Yagami, and Light was quite certain that if he had the energy, he might be laughing as well.
To say I lied to him would be untrue
More or less
opted to let him believe what he wanted to believe
Whether I was angel or dæmon was entirely his choice
Sometimes I think he could never tell the difference
“Welcome back, Light-kun. It would appear you are not yet deceased.” The darkangel’s impassive voice came to Light distantly, echoing off the lapse of conscious time.
“Dehydration?” asked Light, coughing through his dry throat, opening his eyes to search for water. Seeming to sense his intent, Ryuzaki quickly set down a clear container of water on the boy’s chest.
“Not enough to kill you, apparently. I am pleasantly surprised—I thought you would be dead by now. Three days is usually enough to do it for a hysterical child,” said the icarus in a dead monotone, seemingly bored by the information he drawled out.
The darkangel waited for Light to finish off the water before handing him another bottle and muttering, “Be careful not to drink it all at once. I would rather you avoided vomiting on my floor.”
“Why did you let me out?” asked Light bluntly.
Instead of being surprised, the darkangel seemed to have been expecting the question. “I believe I told Light-kun I need an apprentice,” answered the vampyre as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He raised his hand to his mouth, biting on his thumb in a childish gesture that did not match the creature’s appearance in the least.
Did such creatures normally imprison their apprentices and nearly kill them?
Light was slowly realizing the monolithic separation between human thinking and this creature’s process of cognition. He then began to do as any man of marginal intelligence who had brushed up against a contradiction would: Recalculate.
The spiraling figures told him it would be pointless to argue, that it would get him nothing, so he simply nodded.
“Good. I will not be required explain myself.” The darkangel seemed thoroughly pleased with himself, and drew closer to Light “There is little you are useful for. Light-kun is terrible with women and not built for any physical labor. In fact, I think Light-kun’s redeeming feature would be his intelligence, which is the last thing I need from him.”
The Icarus paused, then; whether for dramatic effect or acknowledgement, the boy was far too busy guzzling water to calculate. When Light’s supply of water was deplenished, the Icarus continued, sounding more irate than before.
“Light-kun will accompany me to cities and distribute a very rare and exotic fruit. An extreme few are grown, so I will expect Light-kun’s respect when dealing with them.” The darkangel pivoted and drew out a blood-red, spherical fruit. It gleamed dimly in the candle-light. Without thinking, Light reached out and grabbed the fruit from the darkangel to examine it more closely.
“Hmmmm. I had forgotten hunger kills humans. Very well. I have others. Eat it.” The darkangel then stood swiftly, hunching his shoulders in an informal stance, and slouched away, his great black wings obscuring all but the silver-spiked tips of his hair.
And with one bite the child condemned himself to a life distanced from humanity.
Author’s Note: You Pe2K people are rather neglectful reviewers.
EmBreon is the maple syrup to my slightly undercooked crepe
khajmer = biffle
yoface = broham
thegalleonman: (8:37:28 PM) How sad.
thegalleonman: (8:37:37 PM) I'm amused.