Silently, softly as if it was a shadow of silk, darkness slips in drinking the fading shades of twilight. Ayniah stands at the window watching through gauzy threads of ice as nightfall reveals a cloudless sky and blazing stars in a backdrop of black. Winter’s bitter kiss wafts through the labyrinth of fractures in the window. It’s coming for her, the kiss, and she feels its chill curl around her shoulders as if cradling a lover. All the while, the bright moon sat sated in the sky, casting its silver light on the thin covering of snow.
Not caring if it’s a habit, her fingers dig into the soft thick sable blanket and pull it tighter around her shoulders. The truth, her truth sits in front of her. Ice spreading like webs across the glass invades the inside, not the outside where it belongs. The house, gray, broken, and battered from years of neglect and exposure to the seasons, lacks light, a fire, and warmth. It’s her tomb, her coffin above ground. She isn’t cold, even with the ice, and she can see through the deepening darkness as if it’s daylight. It didn’t change the darkness and the cold from bringing crimson tears cascading down her pale cheeks, and a driving ache to her silent chest. Sinking deeper into the blanket her thoughts and hopes that this night will be different from all the others falls dead. The certainty she will spend another night in the arms of her master turns her blood cold. Not being able to stop herself, her lips moved in a silent plea for mercy or a lie.
This was becoming a habit. Mercy or a lie, she whispers. They were all becoming a habit to fill the empty moments until he beckoned her, until he ordered her to join him. She could resist. With a grin, she knows hope is the lie. She mumbles for mercy then presses her fingertips against the glass, praying to feel its bite. Mercy or a lie, she mumbles again and presses her palm flat against the spider web of ice. Slowly she opens her eyes to see the crystal fingers of ice grow around her pale skin and across the glass. It’s no longer a window and no longer can she see the outside. Her reflection stares back capturing her in the prism of her own pitiful gaze. Her pleas fall to silence.
Ayniah saw the truth of what she is, of what he turned her into, and again feels his hand inside her chest stealing her life.
With a kiss, he left her hollow.
His velvet voice eased her fear and glided through her thoughts. “Death is a cold business,” he warned. “And you have become its mistress.” Within his grasp, the shadows of night and the sharp blades of winter have embraced her as one of their own. They have welcomed her into the arms of their insanity.
With longing in her heart, she gave the winter night one last look and turned away. Before taking a step, she trails her fingertips across the pane of glass, ignoring the frost chasing her touch and the etching sound it made as it followed. It was a reminder she couldn’t deny. She can't deny what she is and can’t deny him. His voice tangles in her thoughts, echoes in her ears, and haunts her day sleep. He has trapped her inside this house and inside his world. With regret, she walks away from the window, and through the barren room, that moonlight’s silver touch is too weak to reach. The sound of her boots scuffing against the loose planks of wood exaggerates the room’s emptiness. Frustration bites her and she tosses the blanket to a broken chair.
Faced with the varied colors of decaying wood, rotting fabric, tarnished silver, and scarred ebony, she longs for a fire. Her eyes ache to forget the dreary colors of winter and death. She wants to feel and see the awe of bright gold, amber, and crimson glow of flames. More so, she wants to watch the flames dance to their own music as darkened shadow on the walls. In her mind, they would drown out the dead of her nightmare and give her the warmth she remembers.
The fire would remind her she had once been human.
It doesn’t come, there’s no fire, it’s like the silent prayer of mercy, or a lie, the outcome never changes. She bows her head and her wavy chestnut hair falls forwards to hang at the sides of her face. Standing at the open doorway between the hall and her room, she understands the house has become an extension of her mind and her life. The room is her mind; it holds her memories, her hopes, and her lies. The hallway with its torn wallpaper, ripped carpet, and broken shelves, stretches out before her as the path she must follow. The choices she makes will decide how wide or narrow it becomes. As if she has a choice, a bitter voice mocks, it would be easier to forget hope than to keep torturing yourself. The saddest part of all comes from the windows, the frosty mirrors she stares out of, they are her eyes. The windows to her soul.