The night was darker than many that had passed in a long time, it was unseasonably chilly that night as well. There were shadows at every turn, blackened silk amongst the trees that seemed to tremble or sway with a dancing, murderous intent while the wind blew mercilessly, howling with unadulterated screams. The clouds gathered above, shrouding all things good, all things considered light in the world in a deep, paralyzing blanket of impermeable darkness.
The moon was unseen that night, but not due to cloaking of the black clouds, no, but because there was none to see. On the night of the new moon the sky was as black as ever being that there were no twinkling stars, no silver celestial bodies to spread cool light upon any below who might have courage enough to brave the late October's eve.
A storm was rolling in quickly, the black blue of the sky disappeared behind a mask of swirling, roiling gray-black clouds. They began to spread out, extending like spilled ink, reaching out to clash together in the wind that was growing steadily stronger. The vicious shadows of the night grew, forms taking shape, growing taller, wider, more pronounced in the dark. The limbs stretching from the shadows seemed to fall across surfaces everywhere, pointing accusingly at an unseen suspect.
Suddenly, through the sky a bright bolt of grand proportions with wide spread electricity sparked. Silver webs branched out like fingers to tenderly embrace the evening sky. Dark water filled clouds became illuminated with violet laced, blue neon lights, the forest scene below illuminated just briefly, then, a deep foreboding sound rolled across that stormy sky, like the growl of a beast.
It warned against something still to come… something that would change the worlds of two people Forever.
The lightening flash had been so blazingly bright that it seared the image into the eyes of the suspect hiding in the dark so that when his eyes closed, the vision remained, arcing across his line of sight in a blue-black shadow that impaired his vision briefly. He clutched a hand to his head, standing slowly to wait unmoving in an uneasy silence until the after image faded.
Slowly, one drop after another the clouds began to weep, their entire beings falling from their wispy bonds, thundering down on the world below... like oceans, it fell in waves, crashing to the ground in a wet cacophony of sound. The scent of fresh rain mingling with wet earth rose to embrace the forest surrounding a small clearing. Trees had continued to sway, but bowed now before the gale force winds.
The rain fell in torrents, slamming downward, splattering the rocks that were already covered in pine nettles from the trees that littered the deep, mountainous landscape. Small streams began to form, trickling weakly in the direction the wind was blowing. It continued on, moving into what soon became a babbling brook as it started to flow at a downwards angle in a stony gully that had formed naturally over many years. Below, all things natural were still, becoming completely motionless, save for the trees that still shivered with the weight of the falling rain.
Suddenly there was movement, barely more than a shadow... The rustle of feathers, the rapid beat of flapping wings, the whistle of rushing wind. Panting of labored breath… the frantic pounding of a heart. A pause in the night, a sound like a whisper in the wind grew quieter by the second... the brush of foliage, the scrape of bark... the fall of cloth, the slide of flesh... then, silence. He was being followed, he could feel the accusing stares from the blackness around him, the constant pointing of the shadows. Each drop of water that hit him felt like a shot by a bullet.
A sleek, muscled, long limbed body stood silently between two tall swaying trees, when the lightening struck, the light filtered through the canopy of the trees allowing a dark silhouette to fall over the body of a man. Standing roughly at six feet even, the man's head was covered in shoulder length hair the color of platinum, complimenting a handsome, masculine face covered in golden toned flesh, flawless, surreal... agonizingly beautiful. A long bridged nose that lead up to a pair of almond shaped eyes, almost the color of ice with just the slightest hint of blue, nearly as cold as ice too. Beneath the finely sculpted nose accompanied by his strong jaw sat a pair of full, well chiseled lips which were cast in dark shadows when the lightening struck behind him.
From the dark shadows he stood within, light reflected from ivory incisors bared in a pained grimace when the sky flashed bright once more, this time in front of his still motionless form. Glinting sharply in the sudden contrast of light and dark, the figure's cerulean orbs gazed about in agonized terror, making it clear that he feared some unseen pursuer. Muscles tightened, only to remain taught while shivering beneath tanned flesh, his once white wings were painted crimson in the nearly black blood of sin, each feather seemed to vibrate with the intensity of his fear. Slowly they folded in to wrap around his trembling shoulders as he stood waiting, waiting for an attack to come... to put an end the fright that clouded his mind.
Thunder rolled and the ground to shake with a devastating force. The sound was almost animated, it sounded like an accusation of something unforgivable, sounded like the jury... the judge...the executioner... the death sentence written for he, himself.
A long, anguished sob torn from the throat of a hysterically grief driven man rang out through the cold, wet night, drowned by the sudden howl of an angry gust of wind and the thunder rolled sinisterly once more, the volume at a shattering level.
When finally the lightening struck again, the light fell this time on the image of a silken beast. Limpid eyes pale baby blue color as cold and sharp as ice glared out defiantly from the darkness. Light fell over a silvery muzzle glowing with an iridescent gleam, as the rest of the creature’s body was illuminated, silver fur shown like moon light, bright in the barren darkness.
The brute lept at a shadow near by, the instincts or behavior of a territorial male. The beast stood in the darkness now, he lifted his lips in a snarl, his teeth dripped with saliva, they gleamed from the darkness like little stars. His eyes where angry, but they held another, deeper, darker emotion. Agony... Regret. The beast crouched, springing away from the cover of the two trees, into an opening in the trees that created a ring around a small clearing.
Another flash spread across the night sky, striking the ground near where the male had just been, illuminating him as he roared his defiance. The deep, almost demonic sound rolled menacingly, soon blending in with the thunder as it crashed once more.
His fur was short and thick, bristling at the neck, standing on end all the way down to his flank, a silver pearly sheen radiating from the coat. Near the flank of the animal’s slender, muscular form was a deep gash of red; the crimson stain ran from a wound on his right hip to the ankle of that leg.
A coppery scent mingled around him with rain and wet earth as he stood trembling, panting, barely able to remain upright. There were many cuts as well as gashes on the creature's fine figure, many of them minor, but on the broad chest of the beast was a wound of concern. A gash that ran from the wound on his flank up across his belly to his left shoulder decorated the underside of the animal, bleeding heavily.
The Regal looking creature thrashed his head as if it pained him, almost as though he was being tormented from the inside. The images that flashed through his mind were those of darkness, a red, fiery chasm, an endless echoing scream of terror. He threw his head back and howled… the sound was a deep, eerie, baying call in the night, haunting every living soul.
He stumbled forward then, fell. He rolled to collapse onto his side. The mud on the ground was cool, it soothed the burning he felt on his skin, but nothing would ever be able to soothe the burning he felt in his soul. He groaned in resignation, no more strength to run or fight.
As the lightening struck one more time, it found its mark, striking the throat of the beast. For an instant he was paralyzed, unable to even breathe. When the light faded once more a violet light shone around the width of his proudly arched neck. Slowly a black leather collar with no clasp appeared around his throat, materializing there as the violet shine faded away.
He knew then, his fate had been sealed for not only did that collar render him powerless until its purpose was met; but also it anchored him to the mortal world itself.
If someone found him, God forbid… he knew he would be bound to that one person indefinitely. It angered him that there was no way of telling how long he’d be trapped or what purpose he had to fulfill here on this ancient, slowly dying planet. He could only hope it would be an easy mission.
Somehow though, he knew this would not be the case. He had committed a sin, thus he would serve any sentence given to him, lest he remain here for an eternity longer than any lifetime. He laid his head down, closing his eyes against the grief in his heart. How could he ever make up for the unforgivable sin he‘d committed?
As if in answer to his thought, he heard the thunder roll for the last time, words reaching his ears in the deep rumbling of the sound. "Forever on this earth you will remain until you have proven yourself worthy of your freedom. In this form you will stay for each day of your entrapment save for every new moon, a night on which you will be granted your human form. This way you will be until you show your worthiness in the manner of a selfless, sacrificial act. This I say, thus it is done."
He lay gasping as the air finally rushed back into his lungs while he felt the rain slowly cease. The clouds began to part as he lay unfeeling amid the wet mud, tree nettles and rocks. As the sun began to climb over the drenched horizon his vision started to darken. He began to lose consciousness, as a last fleeting hope for survival crossed his mind. Summoning what strength he had left he barked, once, twice before falling into the black. Around his silent, almost lifeless body, no birds sang, no flowers bloomed.
His was a scene riddled with guilt and sorrow in the bloody morn.
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