She looked at me and fell to her knees, gasping for air.
“Yuvani!” I screamed, sprinting towards her from across the room. I wasn’t going to lose her, not now, not after we’d come so far.
“Sayyam,” she warbled, choking on something invisible. I saw her faintly shake her head, ‘No, don’t come closer’.
I didn’t care.
We hadn’t spent weeks tracking this demon; hadn’t spent countless sleep-deprived nights for things to turn out like this. We hadn’t tracked our parent’s murderers to the end of the world to lose.
All of a sudden, I froze. My feet stopping in their tracks. I felt a strong grip wrap around my ankles, slowly winding its way up my legs, then my back. It held on stubbornly, refusing to loosen its hold. This was it. I would be forced to watch my sister die, and know that I could do nothing about it.
Yuvani fell on her side, her hands shivering in pain, to finally dissipate into smoke. Something snapped inside me, rage filling each and every one of my senses; the anger blinded me. I could feel the tremors running up my arms. The bonds holding me back weakened.
“You son of a-”
“Tsk, tsk,” a hollow, dark voice emerged from a corner, “language, Sayyam.”
“Go to hell,” the darkness in my voice scared me, and I fell silent, listening to the sound of each of my slow shuddering breaths.
“Where did you think I came from?” The voice mocked, almost a whisper in my ears. The restraints vanished and I fell to my knees, my gaze sweeping the room cautiously. Suddenly, the gravity of the situation hit me. My sister was gone, and I didn’t know where she was. She wasn’t dead; I knew she wasn’t, I could feel it, but until I saw her, standing unharmed in front of me, nothing would convince me to stand down.
“Where is she?” I felt my way across the cold floor, mercilessly forcing my knees to extend into a standing position.
A thick, dark cloud enveloped me, whispering dark thoughts into my ears, filling my head with possibilities, opportunities, evil ideas. My hands reached out, I was ready to beg, plead, do whatever he wanted to stop the visions, the flashbacks, to take back the choices I’d made. The smoke gathered together, forming a man.
His eyes were red.
“You did this to yourself,” he growled, stepping in my direction. I cowered back; his words were trying to get to me, and I was letting them.
The demon stormed forward, grabbing my arm, and pulled me closer. A rough hand pushed back my sleeve, revealing a red mark, a twisted symbol. He smiled, revealing a set of razor-like, sharp teeth.
“You did this, to what? Hurt me? Looks like you’ve messed up, kid. You can’t hurt me by doing this. You’ve found me, but at a price. You’ve set something into motion. Something dark, something powerful.” The creature leaned closer, until his teeth almost grazed my neck, I shuddered in disgust, awaiting the pain that was to come. His next words caught me off guard; made me realize how far I’d let things progress.
“Your past will catch up to you.”
The demon flicked his wrist and I flew back, crashing into the wall behind us. The last sound I heard was a demonic laugh, and the final thing I observed was a pale woman, fully clothed in black. I smiled weakly. How ironic. Here I was, on the brink of death, on the verge of stepping into hell, and the last thing I would see was a woman.
That was my last coherent thought as my world faded to black.
My eyes flickered open, adjusting to the dim lighting of the…cage. I sat up quickly, my head hitting the wall behind me. Everything came rushing back.
It was a second before I realized that scarlet eyes were observing me from the opposite end. It took all my willpower not to scream blo*dy murder. My breathing deepened, my heart rate quickened.
“Where is she?” I hoarsely whispered again. I needed to find Yuvani, make sure she was okay.
“Quite the bond you’ve got there with your sister,” the man remarked; his lips curled into a grin. I cringed, not able to breathe from being in the same room as him.
“Where.” I wouldn’t give up, I couldn’t.
He sighed, his eyes turning a deep opaque black, the whites of his eyes disappearing. “It’s been five years with me, don’t you remember? Probably only a couple months in the human realm though.
My blood froze, and this time it wasn’t because of him. “Five years?” My voice seemed far away, as if I was a third person, hearing myself talk. I felt so detached.
The demon chuckled, “Wow, your experience with me must have been unbearably agonizing if you’ve practically forgotten five years of your worthless existence.”
I remained seated where I was, still letting the realization sink in. Or maybe I was just too exhausted.
“Here, let me help you,” he stretched his hand out, and I swore I could see blood lining his skin. Dried blood that was cracking off his palm, little flakes that were peeling away and falling to the floor. Something told me that wasn’t his blood.
I kicked wildly, trying to crawl away from him, from whatever he had to offer me. But there was only so far I could go. His hand came in contact with my forehead, a searing fire on my deathly-cold skin. And I remembered. Pain. Sudden, immense, intense, inescapable pain that flared into existence. I wanted to open my mouth, to scream, to plead, to beg for this to stop. I didn’t want this. The pain was unidentifiable. Just a collection of brittle, sharp bits of consciousness being forced together. I couldn’t move; my body, pulsating with pain, refused to obey me. It radiated down from my head, to my chest, to my abdomen, making me curse my very existence.
When the pain subsided, and I’d made sure my body was still in one piece, I leaned against the wall, exhausted. I heard deep, slow breaths right next to me and felt warm, moist air against my skin. I looked to my right to see him hovering above me. His eyes were now white, even the irises. And he began to talk.
“Hmmm. So, do you think she’s living the sweet life, in a sweet little house? I know that’s what you like to picture; it keeps you going when the chips are really down. Yuvani, safe and content. With a real family now. Free from heaven and hell, tracking, hunting, and heroics; free from you. Finally released from the burden of always having to protect her pathetic, broken little brother. From having to protect the rest of the world from her brother. A settled, stable Yuvani Birla…there’s a thought. I’ve been in your mind Sayyam, I know your deepest secrets, your darkest thoughts, your wishes, your desires, I know them all.
I started at him, not having the strength to say anything. The pain had dulled my senses; the most I could do was glare up at him.
“It’s been so long down here, with me, hasn’t it, Sayyam? Feels like at least a millennia. Could have been quite a few months up there. More than enough time for her to move on, don’t you think? By now, it’ll be hard for her to remember what you really looked like. The exact color of your eyes. What you sounded like when you laughed. I wonder, Sayyam, do you ever think she regrets losing you?”
I shook my head slowly, accepting facts. Yuvani had never needed me, it had always been me who’d needed her protection, her care. His eyes turned an ominous red once again and he flew at me, roughly pinning me against the wall.
“Oh, I think so too. Now, is that what you want to see? Yuvani, without you? Happy.”
Sayyam nodded fervently, his mouth still covered by the demon’s hand.
“Huh. No hesitation.” The coarse palm pulled away from my face. “That’s really what you think she deserves, isn’t it? But, well…”
“…What? Pl- please just…I-” My hands were shaking, was this a threat? Had I said something wrong? I couldn’t let anything happen to her.
I stopped talking mid-way through my sentence. What was I doing? Was I pleading with the creature who’d murdered my mother? Our mother? Yuvani would never forgive me. Especially for this. I gathered what loose threads of courage and leftover strength I had and pushed him back. Immediately, I pulled myself up, gripping the wall for support.
“Sayyam!” an enraged scream erupted from the demon as he turned into a wall of smoke, dissipating from before my eyes. He would be back, I knew that much at least. I surveyed the cage around me. I’d been in hell before, I’d escaped before too, I just had to drag myself though. Back to the living world, back to Yuvani.
I turned around, falling back with a startled gasp. He stood a couple centimeters away from me in his true form, red horns were perched on his head, and his fangs were dripping with saliva. Eager to feed on something. Anything.
A shiver ripped through my spine and on instinct I began to chant an exorcism spell, slowly backing away from him.
“If you actually believe that will work, then you’re dumber than I made you out to be at first,” his eyes were glowing red, it almost reminded me of the embers he’d forced down my throat that one time.
He leaped towards me, sinking his nails into my arm. I finally screamed, not able to bear the excruciating pain. His claws ripped through my flesh as he held me against the wall of the cage.
He pulled away, and suddenly, a dark thought occurred to me. He had infected me, contaminated my blood. I leaned against the wall helplessly. No. No. This couldn’t be happening. Someone had to do something. I had to stop this.
He came at me again, but was suddenly flung aside by some invisible force. That was when I saw her. The woman I’d seen before; she was pale and wore a black floor length dress that seemed to reflect the darkness that was emitted from within her. Somehow I was drawn to that darkness. I weakly stepped in her direction, observing her carefully.
“Sayyam,” the woman tipped her head in his direction.
“Krishna,” the name slipped off my tongue before I had the chance to register anything else.
She moved towards me and I stepped back, now pressed against the wall, blood flowing freely from my upper-arm.
“Why are you here? My soul?” I whispered. She was doing something to me; I could feel it, but for some reason, in some twisted way, I didn’t mind.
“No. We’re bonded Sayyam. You called for me. You may not have realized it, but you asked me for help. And I promise that I will always help you.”
We both stood in the silence, ignoring the demon that was now lying at the corner of the cage. Krishna looked at me, and suddenly, I felt self-conscious. It was as if she were analyzing me, judging me, reading my thoughts. She finally glanced away and I found myself releasing a breath I hadn’t even realized I’d been holding.
“Do you want me to take care of him?” Her nose scrunched up in disgust and barely disguised anger.
“No!” I replied all too quickly, biting my lip.
She looked back at me, genuine confusion written all over her face. “He hurt you, tortured you for years. Why won’t you let me end him?”
“I want to kill him, and I want to do it when he’s awake. I want him to suffer.” I spoke out whatever was in my mind. I didn’t know why I felt so secure around this woman.
“I will never truly understand why you humans choose revenge,” the woman sighed.
“You humans? You are a human too, right? Or are you an angel. A demon,” my eyes narrowed.
“I’m not a human, and I wouldn’t want to be an angel, or even a demon for that matter. I just am. I exist. I always have been, and I always will be.”
I closed my eyes in exhaustion, finally feeling the years of imprisonment; of torture, catch up to me.
“What’s wrong?” Her soft voice carried in the enclosed space. I felt at ease, her presence soothing me. But I was still having trouble wrapping my mind around the sudden turn of events.
“My sister.” I glanced around the cage, “I need her.”
“And deep down. You knew I could help.”
“I guess.” I didn’t remember calling for her. I’d never seen her before. But something convinced me that I’d known her for what felt like eons.
“No, Sayyam. You know. You called me. And I heard.”
“Will you help me?”
Krishna nodded slowly, her hands lifting up, away from her sides. “This is the only way, I’m sorry.”
I felt my lips curve down in confusion. What did she mean?
I felt myself thrown aside, not in my senses enough to know if I was still in the cage or not. I crashed through a barrier- at least what felt like one, and screamed, as my body finally collapsed from the pain which was ripping through my nerves.
Sayyam jolted awake, his senses completely alert. Someone was screaming; a loud, desperate, animal scream. He jumped up, reaching for the gun next to his bed and curled his fingers around the trigger, sliding towards the door of his room before realizing that everything was quiet. It took him another moment before he realized, by the soreness of his throat, who was doing the screaming.
So much for trying to sleep.
Yuvani burst through the door, a gun in her hand as well. Her gaze swept the room, before spotting her little brother standing at the corner of the room, in the shadows.
“Sayyam,” she tossed the gun on his bed, and stepped forward, reaching up to hug him. “You’re okay, it’s alright.”
“I know,” Sayyam replied quietly, his voice hoarse.
“Again? Was it…were you remembering?” She questioned quietly, her words hanging in the air between them.
Sayyam took a deep breath. He didn’t want to worry her, but he couldn’t lie either. “I- th- there was more this time.”
He watched as Yuvani blanched, her eyes widening in a mix of horror and pity.
“You- you’re remembering? I thought you’d lost the memories from the cage.
Sayyam swallowed, controlling the tremors making their way up his hand. The memories that used to make their way into his dream were enough…now he didn’t know how he would handle the fresh ones. Yuvani had shared the burden with him at first, taking away some of the memories to ease his burden.
She’d had nightmares for days on end.
Yuvani had always had these…powers. Sayyam didn’t know what to call them. He didn’t know where she got them from, and every time Sayyam brought it up, she’d change the subject, clearly not wanting to discuss it. But one thing was for sure. He wasn’t nearly as special, or as gifted as her.
After that experience, they both thought the events had been buried, somewhere in the recess of his subconscious. Going to hell and returning was not an easy- or simple feat; if a days’ worth of memories could traumatize her. They could only imagine how long it would be before he’d go insane. Delirious from the agony. Sayyam closed his eyes, trying to relax, only to envision cuts lining his arms, his own body, lying bruised and battered on a cold, hard floor. And Blood. Blood everywhere. His eyes snapped open. He was fighting a losing battle with his own mind.
“Maybe your fears were acting up, maybe it wasn’t the memories resurfacing,” Yuvani tried to reassure him, gently cupping his face in her hands, smoothing his hair into place.
“Yuvani, I know what I saw,” Sayyam heard his voice crack and winced. He didn’t want her to know how much his time down in the cage tormented him. He couldn’t let her find out how badly the mere memories of his existence down there had affected him.
He couldn’t let her blame herself.
Pain shot up his forearm, and he gritted his teeth, cradling his arm against his body.
“Sayyam?” His sister stepped closer, knowing something was wrong.
Sayyam stumbled away from her, realizing with sickness what had happened. An empty feeling began to take hold of him. He remembered the last time this had happened, except last time he’d asked for it. He also remembered the way it had scarred him. The torture it had brought, the evilness. It’d been a curse. And now…
“Sayyam!” Yuvani pulled him closer and rolled his sleeve up, gasping when she caught sight of it.
It was back.
Sayyam squinted as the symbol glowed a bright red, then crumpled to the ground, his sister’s panicked words a distant echo, as he fell into a void of darkness.
I slowly blinked my way back to consciousness, pain flooding my awareness. This seemed to be happening quite often. This wasn’t just pain though; no. It was agony, like I was being cooked alive. Trying my best to ignore the pain, I realized I couldn’t see anything, the world was black. I smelled burning flesh. Something warm and metallic coated my tongue. My senses gradually sharpened, and I could hear a guttural scream, it sounded like it was coming from someone else’s body. The vocal chords should have snapped by now. I tried to prop myself up. I wanted to pass out, to die, to escape it all. But I knew better than that.
“Hold on a second darling,” the voice chuckled darkly, “I’m trying to put you back together again.”
I could barely acknowledge his words over the pounding in what I thought was my head.
“I can almost feel your pain, almost taste it. It’s refreshing, you know? I haven’t had visitors in a long time.”
My vision was suddenly given back, and I saw him standing in the corner of a cage; his arms covered in a red, viscous fluid.
“Hey pretty boy,” he hissed, his eyes shining a bright red. His lips twisted upwards in a sadistic smirk.
“Welcome to Hell.”
I awoke with a gasp, choking on the pure air that suddenly seemed to fill my lungs. I was in a forest, trees surrounding me on every side. They seemed to tower and loom, blocking out most of the sullen sunlight. There was a chill to the air that was more damp and sodden than it was bracing and refreshing. Every sound from the shadows, every rustle and snap, made me twitch. It was then that I saw her again. The woman. Where was I? How had I gotten here?
She turned to me, a soft expression in her eyes. “Do you think I’m a monster?” she asked. Her voice was so calm and peaceful, her eyes so full of… I didn’t know what to call it. In my mother’s eyes it had been love. I’d seen something like it in Yuvani’s eyes too. A mix between care, protection, and wonder. Like I was something special.
Logic told me to investigate, observe. Logic told me to kill her. She obviously wasn’t human, she wasn’t capable of emotions. Right?
This would have been so much easier if it had been hunger, lust, mere desire, or the urge toward conquest in her eyes. It would have been easier if I could label her the ‘bad guy’, and get this done and over with. I was a tracker. Hell, I hunted monsters for a living.
But she- Krishna- wasn’t something to be hunted. She wasn’t a human either. She could kill me with a flick of her wrist, but that didn’t bother me for some reason. She had this power I’d never seen before, something that screamed dangerous and deadly, but it didn’t scare me in the least. And that was what terrified me, that she could do whatever she possibly wanted to me, and I would helplessly, willingly, go along with it.
“You’re back, why?”
“You needed me. You were battling your own mind, and you needed me.”
“How did you-?” I tilted my head to the side suspiciously. “Why did you think I needed you?”
“Sayyam, we’re bonded. We’re connected, and nothing can change that.”
“What do you mean?”
Krishna stepped forward, but I found myself still relaxed. She gently took hold of my hand and rolled the sleeve up. I felt the blood draining from my face.
“I- I thought, we’d gotten-” I voiced my thoughts aloud, still unable to comprehend how it was possible.
“You thought you’d gotten rid of the mark,” Krishna completed my sentence, while I could only nod. She continued to speak, “Actually, you had. You’d removed the mark.”
“But then, what did you do me?” My mind and heart were conflicted. My instinct told me not to trust her. My heart said just the opposite. For the first time, I stepped closer.
“I didn’t directly do anything Sayyam,” she held out her hands, shaking her head, “You haven’t truly understood the mark yet. But that was expected, considering how you desperate you were when you accepted it. You wanted it so badly, you didn’t care about what would happen to you in the process. You only wanted it so you could track that demon down.”
I nodded cautiously, I was treading a narrow path here. “What does the mark have to do with you?”
“I’ve been kept imprisoned for millennia now. I am the mark,” Krishna stated. She lifted her hand and pulled the neckline of her dress down, revealing a symbol etched onto the skin over her collarbone. I felt compelled to look at the mark, staring at it for what seemed like eternity.
“When you got rid of it, you weakened the bonds keeping me confined.” Krishna covered up the symbol again, and I averted my gaze.
“Why were you imprisoned?” I breathed out timidly.
“I’m am the polar opposite of light, Sayyam. I am the darkness and everything concerned with it. Nobody ever realizes that darkness doesn’t necessarily mean ‘evil’ though. All they ever do is presume me to be a threat, a powerful, destructive force. And so they locked me away.
“Who is ‘they’?” I frowned, wondering if I was missing some part of the story.
“The angels, they kept me imprisoned for as long as they could. But then you came along…”
“And you escaped,” realization dawned upon me. I should have been scared out of my mind right now. Was I? Strangely, no.
“Not escaped, I just walked off. I set out to discover…” Krishna gestured to their surroundings, “all of this. I made it a point to study life, to understand it all, to comprehend why everything was created if there would be an end anyway.”
There was a heavy pause. I could almost see the wheels turning in her mind, assuming she had one.
“I- kept wondering why; every entity, every power, had always persistently divided me from the ‘Light’ and then; ‘life’ was created, that couldn’t exist without the light – so that life had to spend its existence struggling endlessly against entropy. I am the primeval order of things. Life must suffer and fight…all for what? Only to fall back into me in the end: spent, withered, and exhausted. Light will always only disperse into a state of eternal rest. Why put it through all that heartbreak?” She paused, looking at me thoughtfully,
“What’s the point?”
I took a deep breath, considering it all. She had a point, I could understand where she was coming from. But I’d never been able to answer that question to anyone else’s satisfaction. The answer to every “why” in my heart was undoubtedly “Yuvani,” had always been “Yuvani,” and would always be “Yuvani”- but I could see why that answer didn’t mean much to anybody else.
Krishna’s eyes got even sadder. “Even her light will fade, in the end,” she said.
I felt my anger stir, even though I knew she was right. “Don’t you touch her,” I warned, deadly serious.
“Or you’ll what,” she purred.
“I’ll never look at you again. I know I can’t kill you. But that doesn’t mean I have to talk to you.”
“Sayyam,” she consoled me, and it didn’t sound as ironic and false as the way most monsters said my name. She sounded concerned. “I can’t help what I am. I am the end of all things. All things come to me in the end; you and your sister will too.”
We both stood together silently, some trees rustled in the wind.
Krishna sighed, and leaned towards me brushing some of the hair away from my eyes. “You were the one who released me Sayyam, you set me free. You were the first thing I saw when I left that prison. We are bonded, we always have been. This was destiny; I am the mark, and you were always meant to bear the mark. It’s different this time, don’t you feel it?”
She was right. I could feel every single thing in this universe and beyond it; like everything was alive. She let go of my arm as I pulled on my shirt and jacket sleeves.
I could see the mark, but she was right. I had no violent urges or murderous thoughts. Before, I felt the mark was a brand, a punishment, a reminder that I was cursed. But now, it wasn’t a brand anymore, it was just skin. It was just a mark.
I lifted my gaze and really looked at her. I got the impression that her eyes were full of stars. They weren’t; they looked like a human woman’s eyes. But she wasn’t human, and I knew that Krishna was made, not of stars, but of everything else in the universe, all the space and all the dust, and all the dark matter no one could find or understand. She was standing right there, loving me with her eyes, beckoning me closer. And so I stepped even closer.
She just leaned in, a hand trailing down my cheek, tracing my collarbone, lightly grasping my jacket. Pressing up warm and soft against me, she kissed me, savoring every fractioned moment to the utmost in the way only a being born outside infinity could. I found myself kissing her back just as hungrily. Her kisses silenced me, turning off my brain in a way I only could during the most desperate seconds of battle, when the hunt reached its climax and being killed just wasn’t a choice. I felt almost stunned, but intensely alive, and the tremulous ripples of her joy in me tickled right at the edge of my perception.
She gently pulled away, leaving me confused with myself and my choices. I no longer knew what I wanted. I watched as she frowned, her eyebrows furrowing together.
“What do you want?” I slowly exhaled, clearing all thoughts from my brain.
“It’s not that complicated Sayyam,” she shifted even closer, so that her breath whispered against my lips. “I want what everyone wants. I want to be safe. I want to be allowed to stay, near you, without the constant threat of an ending waiting for me with every step I take.”
“That’s not an answer,” I slightly pulled away from her.
“That’s the only one I got, and unfortunately, that’s all the time you have to ask.”
I felt my eyes narrow, as I reached behind for my gun, despite knowing it wouldn’t do much good against a force like her.
Krishna laughed lightly and shook her head. I was thrown by the sound of her laughter. I stopped reaching for the gun.
“That’s not what I meant,” she said, still shaking her head, as if scolding a child. “I just meant you should get back to the real world soon.
“When…” I began to speak, when I heard a soft voice, almost inviting me to fall back into a deep sleep. I relented to the voice, and relaxed at once. I felt a hint of a kiss on my temple, before everything was silent once again.
Sayyam turned his face away from the feeling of harsh flames licking at his face. He slowly opened his eyes, adjusting to the environment. Wait a second. He was supposed to be in his room. With Yuvani. His eyes shot open. His vision began to clear up and his gaze was fixed on a man standing a couple feet away from him.
They were red.
Sayyam pulled away from the demon, discovering that he was tied against a beam.
“Did you miss me?” Sayyam felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t touch me.” Sayyam could’ve sworn he heard himself growl. Something had changed; he struggled against the confinement. He’d had enough. They were in the human realm. His world. He would show this demon exactly how bad he could be.
Some superhuman strength took control of him and he ripped through the restraints. Sayyam stood up, smirking to himself. An emotion flickered across the demon’s otherwise crimson eyes- fear. Sayyam was filled with immense pleasure, but he knew he had just scraped the surface. There was so much more to do, he found himself wondering how many forms of torture he could administer to this creature.
He punched the man square in the face, a hollow laugh coming from deep within himself.
“So, I finally get to meet Sayyam Shrishtav,” the demon coughed up some blood, laughing gleefully.
Sayyam paused, all thoughts of revenge flowing out of his head. “My name is Sayyam Birla.”
“You keep telling yourself that darling,” the demon stood up, brushing himself off. “I can’t believe big sis Yuvani lied to you.”
Sayyam pushed him up against a wall in anger, “Don’t you dare say her name,” he hissed. He could suddenly see his reflection in the creature’s now black eyes. What he saw scared half the living daylights out of him.
His eyes were red.
“You did this to me didn’t you?” Sayyam said bitterly, on the verge of a panic attack. This was one of those moments when he wished he had never existed.
“Don’t give me that much credit, kid,” the demon snarled, “yes, I scratched you, but you were already a demon to begin with.”
“Sayyam, don’t listen to him!” An urgent voice sounded from behind him.
“Yuvani?” Sayyam turned around.
“Ahh, a family reunion, how sweet!” The demon exclaimed.
“Shut up Cassius.” Yuvani didn’t spare a glance at the demon, slowly taking out her gun.
‘Cassius?’ Sayyam pinched the bridge of his nose as memories came back to him. These weren’t memories of the cage though…they were memories from his childhood.
“Sambhav,” he thought out loud, random memories cluttering his mind.
He felt Yuvani and the demon’s gaze fix on him.
The demon began to cackle, turning into a haze of dark smoke. Sayyam turned to Yuvani, “Who is Sambhav?” He mumbled, uncertainty coating his voice.
“Sayyam, he’s uh…”
“The truth.” Sayyam clenched his jaw.
“He’- He’s your fa- father.” Yuvani stuttered, closing her eyes in guilt.
Sayyam stepped back, feeling imbalanced, both physically and mentally. “You lied to me,” he backed into the wall, choking on the lump that had formed in his throat. “You’ve been lying to me my whole life.”
“I tried to protect you!” She threw her arms up, a tear making its way down her cheek.
“We can all see how well that worked out,” Sayyam retorted, sarcasm lacing his words.
“Sayyam, don’t do this.”
“Don’t do what, Yuvani? Don’t do what?” He stepped closer, and he could feel his eyes changing colors, shifting between his human and demon self. Yuvani gasped, and he hated himself for a brief moment.
“Come on Sayyam, this is what I trained you for, I know how much you crave death. You need to live off suffering, and this will be your first kill… I’m proud of you son.” Cassi- Sambh- the demon edged him on, now standing in his human form.
Yuvani began to step backwards, when Sayyam heard a voice inside his head, it was small, but persistent. It told him to stop. It told him he was better than this.
It told him he was special.
‘Krishna, are you there?’ Sayyam called out in his mind, trying to find the voice again.
‘Always,’ the voice replied, and Sayyam knew he could fix this. This wasn’t the end.
He rushed toward Yuvani and pushed her onto the ground, grabbing the blade from her belt. “Trust me,” he whispered in her ear, before picking himself up, and in a fluid motion threw the knife at the demon.
The blade hit Cassius right above where his heart should’ve been, and he fell to the floor, screaming in agony.
“Why?” He snarled, focusing his attention on Sayyam.
“You’ve tortured me, starved me, dragged me to hell, and killed my mother. You deserve to die.”
“Your sister has been lying to you, don’t you see! She is an angel, your mother was an angel!” His eyes had turned white. He was desperate now.
“If you think I don’t already know she’s an angel, then you’re dumber than I made you out to be,” Sayyam mocked the man in front of him.
The demon only fell on his side as the blade slowly drained his powers.
“Your blood might be running through me, but that will never make me want to be like you. You were never my father, and you will never be my father. You’re just a monster.”
You’re right. I am a monster. I’ve done bad things. I’ve done things you can’t even imagine. Horrible, evil, messy things. And I’ve loved every damn minute! So, thank you, Sayyam. For reminding me of who I really am. A monster.”
Cassius stood up in a last ditch effort to kill Sayyam, but before any actions could be completed, or words exchanged, Sayyam rushed forward, his eyes glowing a bright yellow. He ripped the knife out of the demon’s shoulder and plunged it back it, nearer to his abdomen this time. In a blinding rage, Sayyam moved to stab the man in front of him again, but was yanked away.
Immediately, he felt sedated, and sensed himself calm down. Sayyam slowly turned around, knowing whom he would see.
“Krishna,” he breathed out, still panting from exertion.
Sayyam stepped closer to her. All anger released from his mind. He’d been yearning for her presence, it was almost like a drug for him. The effect she had on him, he craved it. But something in him, call it instinct, told him to proceed with caution. Krishna could sense his hesitation.
“I know you don’t quite see it yet.” She murmured, putting her hands to Sayyam’s cheeks. “But I will never hurt you; when you understand that darkness isn’t always evil, then we’ll be together.” She paused, drifting towards him, “until then…” She stretched up and pressed a kiss to Sayyam’s lips.
He couldn’t help but kiss her back. She was right, he didn’t understand; but there was something strong pulling him towards her. They parted after a moment, and Sayyam took a small step back.
All of a sudden, he felt a pair of hands turn him around hastily. “Sayyam!” Yuvani ran her hands down his arms, checking for any injuries.
“Yuvani, Yuvani, I’m fine,” Sayyam sighed, pulling his sister closer to him.
“Sayyam, she- she’s” Yuvani pointed at Krishna.
“Yeah?” Sayyam frowned, trying to calm his sister down.
“She was the case I was working on when you were in hell.” Yuvani’s eyes were wide, as she protectively tugged him away from Krishna. “She consumes souls, human souls, she lives off them. You need to stay away from her.”
Sayyam shook his head, wanting to defend the woman standing next to him. He felt a tug at the other end of his connection with Krishna and fell silent, looking to her in apprehension.
“Before I was locked away, I didn’t need to feed on soul energy. Everything was in perfect balance. Light and Darkness,” Krishna asserted. “I didn’t disturb that harmony and the consequences are not my fault. And about Sayyam, I am just as bound to him as he is bound to me. I can’t stay away. He is the first thing I saw of this world. He is the reason I am here. There is no way to keep us apart.”
Then, suddenly, her eyes narrowed, as if she’d realized something, and she tossed Yuvani across the room, holding her against the wall.
“You… you remind me so much of him, like an echo.” She said, her voice full of astonishment, her brown eyes darkening. “You’re an angel, aren’t you?” She stepped closer to Yuvani. “Are you like him though? I wonder.” She reached out her arm and placed her hand over Yuvani’s heart.
“Krishna!” Sayyam called as she started to press her nails into Yuvani’s skin, making the angel cry out. She turned her head to him and stopped hurting Yuvani, who was panting, still held against the wall, unable to move.
“Sayyam.” She said, a bittersweet expression written in her eyes. “She’s reminds me of him.”
“Of who?” Sayyam coaxed, moving towards them.
“That Angel who helped lock me away, he’d told me I would always be like a daughter to him. Then he betrayed me, he left me alone, he’d never cared, not for me.”
Sayyam’s jaw dropped as he made the connection. “Was his name Yuvraaj?”
“Yes,” Krishna’s grip on Yuvani tightened. “That was his human name.”
“Don’t hurt her, please.” Sayyam but his lip anxiously. “I don’t know what drove him to do that, but Yuvani isn’t like that. She isn’t entirely like him. She wouldn’t do what he did to you.”
Krishna frowned. “You know nothing about him.”
“I just know that- that he hurt you, and that Cassius killed him, and that he-he’s Yuvani’s father. But I know that Yuvani would never abandon family. She’s loyal, she’ll always stick around, because that’s what family is.” Sayyam stated.
Krishna sighed, looking from Sayyam to Yuvani and back.
“You love her.” She glanced at him.
“Yes.” Sayyam nodded, inching closer, “and you’re only going to hurt me if you hurt her.” Krishna just watched him move closer, still partly turned towards Yuvani with her hand still on the angel’s chest.
“Sayyam… stay back.” Yuvani pressed out and Krishna’s attention snapped back to Yuvani, her hand flying up to her throat.
“Please, don’t.” Sayyam whispered, lifting one hand to cup Krishna’s jaw and make her look at him. She turned her head in his direction.
“She is trying to keep you from me.” Her eyes glazed over in desperation. Sayyam took a deep breath and moved his hand to her chest, letting it rest on the mark.
“I will not forgive you, if you kill her. I won’t be able to look at you the same way,” Sayyam said gently. Her hand fell away from Yuvani’s throat and Sayyam smiled slightly. “Thank you,” he breathed.
“I’ll let her go…if you come with me.” Krishna looked up at him. Sayyam swallowed. Hard.
“You have to promise to never hurt her,” Sayyam said. Krishna moved back the slightest bit. “If you do that, I will not fight what is between us… I’ll come with you wherever you want.”
Krishna reached one hand up to touch his cheek lightly. “I don’t want you to be with me to protect the people you love,” she muttered dejectedly. She glanced down at Sayyam’s arm and Yuvani suddenly fell to the ground. Sayyam quickly knelt down next to her, checking to see if she was okay.
He helped Yuvani up and looked at Krishna, a silence filling the space between them. There was a sort of tension in the air. Krishna moved toward him again, holding out her arms, while Yuvani stood by, her body tensed.
Helplessly, he stepped forward and her arms closed around him.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered, rocking him a little, as he felt a small hollow carve its way into his heart. “However all this turns out. I am the end. I’ll be waiting.”
Sayyam’s breath caught a little, and released in a deeper exhale.
He didn’t say he was glad. But in his heart, he could no longer think of the Darkness as a monster. She was an entity, she was the end of everything.
And till then, she would look at Sayyam with those bright eyes, that encased the whole universe and left his soul throbbing in his body when she pressed against him, caressing his lips, and every second he was away from her he would be wondering how long now, until the end.
Sayyam and Yuvani drove along the road, Yuvani behind the wheel, and Sayyam seated next to her.
“I’m sorry,” she broke the silence, “and that was quite a speech you gave back there, on family.”
“I meant every word,” Sayyam said with conviction, leaning towards her end of the car to place a kiss on her forehead.
“I just wonder where that leaves me, half-demon, half-angel,” he huffed thoughtfully.
“I think that leaves you at being Sayyam.”
“I guess so too,” Sayyam smiled, finally feeling at peace with himself.
“So, I’m forgiven?” Yuvani grinned cheekily.
“Until you make your next stupid mistake, yeah, I’d say you were forgiven.”
“I missed you bro,” Yuvani sighed leaning back in her seat.
“I missed me too,” he winked at her, causing her to laugh freely. It’d been a long time since he’d heard that.
And for the first time in a fairly long time, as they drove off into the sunset, Sayyam had a feeling that everything would be ok.
On some level, Krishna knows it’s a weakness.
She can’t explain why she’d taken hold of Yuvani’s bond with Sayyam and added its strength to her own.
She can’t explain the draw she feels towards Sayyam, the relentless pull that shouldn’t even be noticeable – not to her.
She’s an entity. He’s a half-blood. He’s lower than her. At its simplest, that is where they both stand.
All the same, she knows he is more. He freed her and that act has irreversibly linked them.
But she wants more. She needs him. It’s as if some part of her withered away during those long drawn out millennia trapped. It’s left a… a lacking in her, somehow, and she can’t understand why Sayyam Birla is the only thing she feels sure can bring her some sense of completion.
She doesn’t bother trying to resist it- she will be all powerful, once she’s fully recovered from her imprisonment, but ignoring the awareness of his existence is beyond her.
Now, when she follows the link with the human she is bonded to, she feels an anticipation, a hunger, that she is little sure how to deal with.
She must have Sayyam. She will have him. Whether he wants it or not, she knows he will be hers.
Even if in the end, she has to take the choice away from him
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