Ess’s deep red curls bounced lightly, tickling her skin as she turned at the sound of a male voice. Her violet orbs were dim for a moment before flashing brightly, brows narrowing at the figure as she inspected the man. His voice sent a chilling sensation down her spine. Not one that she was afraid of, but one that carried a grudging emotion;of what or why she wasn’t sure. Taking in his dark eyes and hair, she pushed aside the heavy door, letting it slam shut behind her as she stepped forward and paused.
It was as if a switched flipped inside her brain, his face triggered a vision that came and went in an instant. Deep within her dreams his raven strands outlined a familiar violet glow, similar to hers. She saw him staring close enough to feel his breath tickling her forehead. Ess remembered him whispering to her, "Don't worry, now... I won't hurt you. This might be unpleasant, but it won't hurt."
Her expression was displeased and of slight confusion, melting away as easily as it had taken over. Her ‘Professional’ persona began taking charge. Smiling provocatively, she slid her cloak over her shoulders revealing a soot black gown, tightly laced along her hour glass curves. Her lips curved into a sultry smile, her fingers twirling and twisting along her curls absently. She glanced around coyly.
“I’m here with you, good sir.” She teased, her voice soft and almost enchanting. She shrugged, her brow twitching as she thought to herself and answered, “Well, I was just talking to the Guard Captain...so I was invited.”
Essence waited for him to speak, her mind trying to pinpoint the memory.
“Do I know you?” She giggled innocently. “Or perhaps I’ve entertained you before?”
She easily kept up her flirtatious manner as if she were already in disguise. She knew her memory was not just from forgotten dreams, but something more. She got the impression he had a similar confusion and decided to use it to discover more information. Ess winked at the man as she spoke.
“Course if I had entertained you, I think you would remember....The name is Essence.” Dragging out the last syllable of her name she waited for his name in return.
Luckas blinked a few times looking at the woman; his dark eyes examining her figure and registering gestures, mannerisms, trying to find something, anything, that told him who this person was and why he couldn't remember when they've met, but he didn't find it. It would have had to be a brief encounter maybe... It was puzzling, and unnerving, that was a rare feeling for Luke and he wasn't sure if he liked it.
As she walked closer and began speaking with him he started to feel slightly nervous. She thought she knew him too. If she remembered knowing him... How was that possible? He shifted uncomfortably, trying to hide his confusion and smile as he usually did, but for the first time in as long as he could remember... He found it difficult to mask his feelings; he was forced to take a moment before he managed to open a smile and replied. "Miss... Essence, is it? I definitely would not pass on any opportunity of being entertained, however, if you had entertained me, I would certainly remember, but perhaps you would not remember me." He stated, now fixing his eyes on the woman's violet gaze, and feeling a small chill as if he had done the same thing at some point in the past. "I'm Luckas, by the way. I'm... A visitor, you might say. Like a friendly ghost. I roam the halls in search for people to scare or amuse." He tilted his head to the side, his grin widening a bit. "Say... You do look awfully familiar for some reason. You've been living in the city long?"
“ESSSsss.. Is acceptable Luckas....I have been here some time now.."Tilting her head she continued smiling, but it was in a comforting way. “You act like you haunt this castle..or this land.” She rolled her eyes, quieting almost to a whisper and leaned forward as if to approach Luckas to finish her thought, “But I think it is you, who is haunted.”
Her expression went blank, as if she saw through Lukas, another vision taking place of the castle hall.
About 5 years ago in Newhaven
The silence of the night was shattered by a horrid scream. The man who had been motionless on the ground had stood up, with his back still leaned to the wall, and was screaming at the top of his lungs as if he was in absolute agony. The screaming didn't last very long though, as the man began to smash the back of his head onto the wall, forcefully and repeatedly.
Finally, with the sickening sound of a crack, he stopped, sliding back down to the floor, leaving a bloody trail on the stone of the wall behind him; a blank, lifeless, stare in his open eyes.
Essence simply watched the scene in surprise and utter confusion. She could not understand why someone would do that to themselves. She stood, as if to go to the man where he lay dead and bleeding, as she recognized his face. Her lips took on a sick smile as she knew he was no one to miss, no one worth remembering. She turned back towards the street, peeking around each corner for any sign of movement. Ess knew not to stay where she was and needed to get home quickly.
Ess blinked lifelessly, staring at the man before her...Luckas. She had been like a statue, pale and unmoving. Her fingers had been still wrapped around a curl, as she came to life it was still stuck causing herself to tug on her Golden Blond strands...? Ess hadn’t realized what she had just done, but she unintentionally changed before this man’s eyes.
Ess indeed was blond now, but in addition she appeared more petite, almost breakable, shorter in height. Her lips were thin, her skin actually had pigment spotted in freckles; yet her eyes remained a shade of purple. The only other color was a thin silver line, encompassing the iris.
“Was it this face you remember.” Her thin lips broke into a sly smile. “I remember you, who visits my dreams.”
Luckas chuckled slightly when Ess implied he was the haunted one, but his smile shut and he took a few steps back when her face suddenly changed before his eyes. Black eyes flashed red as they widened in shock; he remembered her now, but how was it possible that she remembered him?
[Flashback - Newhaven, about 5 years ago]
"Don't fight it. It's useless." The boy said in a soft, almost kind, tone. Luckas grinned, wiping a bit of blood that had dripped from his nose as he faced the petrified figure of a man. This man wasn't on the boy's plans, but he seemed like the perfect prey, so why not? The idiot had tried to pick a fight with him, for no reason other than he had thought him weak; he let the man throw a punch, but now he would see which one of them was truly weak. Luke's eyes were already beginning to spark at a reddish glow as he faced the poor soul; scum of the worst kind, that's what he was. "I know what goes through that feeble mind of yours." He said, his voice in a soft, mocking, tone. "You were thinking: 'Oh, a scrawny looking kid like this, on this part of town, at this late hour... Easy prey, I'll have my fun with him'." He snickered. "Little did you know that the scrawny kid was listening to your footsteps and thinking the exact same thing: Easy prey. Silly, silly you. And so the hunter becomes the hunted." Luckas taunted. "I bet you don't feel like such a big man now, huh?"
Carefully, Luckas looked around the dark alley; not the most secluded place, but it would have to do. In this part of the city, no one would have much courage to check for the source of any screaming. Plus, the street was mostly empty at the moment. Looking back to his 'companion', Luke smiled cheerfully at him. "I know what you're wondering right now: 'Is he going to kill me now? Am I going to die?' Well, my friend... No, and yes. I'm not going to kill you, but be sure you are going to die. If you're lucky you'll die tonight, but I doubt it." At this point he started to go through to the man's pockets. "Money... Cigarettes, those things can kill you, you know?... Hum... Nothing much. I'm surprise you still have money on you. Well, you ain't gonna need it now." He said tossing the man's money pouch to into a dark corner; someone would probably find it in the morning. "Now, if you were a tad bit more interesting I might play with you further, but I'm growing bored of making threats and stuff... So, nighty night, dear anonymous idiot. It's been a real pleasure."
Shortly after saying that Luckas placed his hand over the man's eyes, his own eyes lighting up in red. Within seconds the man began to shiver and fell to his knees, free from Luckas' command to stand motionless, but no longer able to support his own weight; hell in its purest form coming to life inside his mind. His eyes had widened in terror as he slipped further down onto the ground.
"Huh, you're not much of a screamer, are you?" Luckas asked absently, rubbing his eyes as he felt exhaustion beginning to set in, a side-effect he was more than used to by now. "Well, at least you're not completely a pathetic coward." He crouched down in front of the man and stared deep into his eyes. "I wish I could see what you see..." He whispered softly, a childish smile playing on his lips. "I'll let you in on a little secret: I've been called 'mad', 'crazy', and similar things, a couple of times in my life. You probably think you're mad right now. The secret, what they don't want you to know, is: This is what sanity truly feels like. It's my gift, from me to you. Too bad you'll only have a short time to live it."
Luke was simply staring at the eyes of his 'victim', he never got tired of that terrorized look. All the while he thought his brother was the lucky one; he could see what his victims saw, Luke could only wonder what terrible secrets those people kept. In a way, maybe that was good. Unlike Matthew, Luckas still had some control over his actions, but he wasn't sure if he would have that same control if he actually got to see the full extent of their suffering. He'd probably lose whatever control he had left. The first hours never changed; they simply sat with that look on their faces, if they lived through that... Well, that's when it got interesting. Luke didn't think this guy would make it that far though; didn't seem like he had that much fight in him.
Suddenly, he thought he heard something and stood up straight, turning to see a woman standing near the exit of the alley. "Hold still, please." He commanded, before walking closer. Once standing in front of her, he smiled. "Well, well... Who do we have here?" He asked, pulling the woman's hood back to get a better look at her face. The color of her eyes was odd, and made it clear that she had some Enlightened ability. "Don't worry, now... I won't hurt you. This might be unpleasant, but it won't hurt." As he said that, his eyes began to glow in the same violet tone as hers and he saw several moments of her life as if he had lived them. Mere moments later, he broke eye contact with the woman and rubbed his eyes; he was worn out from attacking the idiot, who was still sitting there trapped in his own mind. "Well, I have to say, you have a pretty interesting set of memories... Wow." Luke stated casually with a grin. "Tell you what, I'm going to give you something for the trouble, that idiot won''t need it." He said, walking to the back of the alley and picking up the purse he had tossed aside.
He walked back to the woman and put the purse in her hand, closing her fist around it. "Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to make you forget you ever walked into this alley and everything you've seen here. You will only remember walking straight home. I'm sure you understand that I can't afford having you tell anyone about this; I'd hate to end up in a dark cell so early in my life."
With that, his eyes glowed violet again. As he focused on the woman's most recent memories, the images began to blur and fade. Once he had gone over them all, he stepped away rubbing his temples. He had pushed himself a little further than he should have, he needed to find some place to sleep and fast. He walked past the woman muttering. "Go home." As he did so. He didn't even bother to look back and see if she was actually leaving or not.
[Reality - Newhaven, present time]
Luke remembered her now... She had caught him in the act, a long time ago when he was still free. The young man was feeling shivers down his spine as it all came back to him; a mix of terror and excitement burning a hole in his insides. He was so much younger then, careless, he pushed himself too far and his ability failed him. He stared blankly at the, now blonde, woman that stood in front of him. Her more recent memories that night were of a man, who she called 'Dean', and who called himself a 'Knight', but was probably neither.
Luckas had paid the man a visit a few days later, but hadn't bothered to even waste his energy on that piece of scum; he simply had the man do something so horrible that the terror of it alone drove him over the edge. He slit his own throat. Luke heard it was quite a shocking sight for his young fiancee to find as she visited the next morning; after all no one could ever understand what had caused a healthy young man to suddenly castrate himself and commit suicide. If only that woman knew what kind of life she would've had... She probably wouldn't have been so distraught.
The shock beginning to subside, Luckas continued to look into the woman's eyes as they glowed in the poorly lit hallway, thinking that perhaps she was right and she was the ghost after all... He was the haunted one. The irony was too much for the young man to bear and he suddenly broke out in laughter. Laughing louder and louder by the minute, Luke leaned his back against the stone wall and slid onto the floor, laughing hysterically and occasionally choking as he tried to stop for air. It took a bit of time for him to finally be able to speak, looking up at Ess with a slightly psychotic smile on his face, still coughing slightly from his fit of laughter. "Oh, I remember you now!" he exclaimed. "I remember it all!" He chuckled. "You are truly memorable, Ess! I, on the other hand... I'm not used to being remembered. It's rather flattering to hear I've appeared in your dreams, I have to say." He said, getting back on his feet. "You're not mad at me for that, now are you? I think we both learned to be more careful that night."
Ess quirked a brow as Luckas fell into a fit of laughter. She thought the irony was quite amusing as well as she bit down on her lip to try not to join him in his hysterics. Her facade melted away, back to her dark red curls and doll like features, the ugly scar looked almost painted beneath her left eye as it stood out so against her pale skin. She couldn’t help it and suddenly burst into her own fit of giggles. Luckas’s laughter became temporarily contagious, giving a slight ache in her chest.
Bits of images flashed before her eyes, the memory flooding her mind:
Feeling the stranger’s mind beside her own, they watched as she re-lived her father impaled to a wall; jumping through a mix of tortured moments as a child when nameless faces tried to break her time and time again. Ess saw flashes of the men she bedded since she arrived in Newhaven, in an embarrassing amount of detail. A sickening wave washed over her as she saw herself in her mirror, her features blurring amidst a constant change, never repeating. There is no telling for sure, how many faces she has taken on. She rarely copies other women, but takes lips and hair from one girl, mixing with the skin of another.
Feeling a bit awkward now, she approached Luke, lightly slapping at his left cheek. “That’s for the degrading emotions you dragged out of me...For that I am not so happy with you. In the future, if you so desire to know what is going on in my head, please just ask.” She sighed relaxing a bit. “I don’t recall everything, mind you, but you left me with a distinct feeling of being invaded...violated. I assume from the bits of memories you know my secrets, so I would then expect you to understand my request.”
She stepped back a bit and winked, “You may be cute, but I don’t like a complete stranger hanging out in my dreams, thank you very much.” She extended her hand in a formal greeting. “Please, not to sound cocky, but understand you are the only other person out of two that know what I really look like and my secret. I would appreciate discretion.” Her lush lips parted, her tongue inattentively slipping over them, “It could hurt my...business.”
She thought about one of her customers, “Tim,” from earlier that night and rolled her eyes at the thought of him knowing her true identity. Twins help her, she would never be left alone. Such a nieve puppy that one is. Ess didn’t feel he was dangerous, but perhaps a bit obsessed.
"Ow." Luke whined as the woman slapped his face, a snicker escaping soon after. "In my defense, you were not supposed to remember the violation." He stated. "That was the point, you know? Can't possibly be the worst thing someone's ever done to you, now can it?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. "Don't worry though, I have no intention of telling anyone any secrets, but I'm sure you understand why I did it, we're not all that different you and I... Or so it seems." He said stepping closer to the woman and examining her as if he could see under her skin. "A creature of habits, not proud of what you do, but knows no other ways, had little rules and codes to make it seem like it's not so bad, not get into too much trouble, not get hurt... Like me in a way. You change your face, I erase mine. Much like you, I protect my business."
He pulled back, and tilted his head in a curious gesture. "I wonder though, do you still do what you do because you accept your place in the world or because you're afraid of what greater thing you might be destined to? I think that, despite your obvious skills in this line of work of yours, that you waste your ability by fulfilling the fantasies of rich fools. Why not fulfill your own instead? Or have you been broken to such an extent that you simply have none left?" He closed his eyes and breathed in slowly as if he had caught the scent of something in the air, then opened them and flashed his usual psychotic smile. "Tell me, are you planning on ever being as strong as you can be or was I wrong to let you live that night?" He motioned as if to reach for her face, but stopped halfway through. "Are you just another disappointment, or can you actually see..." He mumbled, softly, as if speaking to himself, not saying what he expected her to see exactly.
Finally he lowered his hand and pulled away some more, chuckling as if he had snapped out of trance suddenly. Leaning back against the wall and giving a little shrug he added: "You told me to ask... Those are my questions."
http://youtu.be/w31mjtTMvRo Egypt Central-White Rabbit
Crossing her arms casually, Ess leaned back, placing some weight on her left hip. She stared at Luckas for a moment before she answered, smiling with a respectful nod.
“Thank you. I hope you realize, I did not attempt to pursue this idea of you even if I thought I would succeed. Nor did I speak to anyone about our encounter and the skum that ....died unpleasantly. Nice touch by the way. I’m impressed at your gift.”
Taking a deep breath she thought carefully at his observation. “I suppose...we are much alike. I know if I had your gift, I would proceed down a similar path. We both pretend and put up a front, not letting others inside how we truly feel and in your case you have the advantage. We appreciate truth yet we lie to ourselves. We mean well yet are hypocrites.”
Unfolding her arms she leaned in close, her curls almost touching his chest and whispered, “Why would you have killed me? Do you really see me as such a waste? Perhaps you need to justify your own existence, judging others?” Ess chuckled, her fingertips tapping along her thigh in thought.
“I may not have discovered all the answers to the questions you lay before me, but I can tell you this. I am no coward and I have not given up on life. I am still here and have done what is needed to survive...” She drifted in thought, still staring up into Luke’s eyes. “Maybe I have given up on people and that is why I continue to ‘pretend.’ Perhaps I have not found others worth my trust and friendship...or I am still figuring all that out.”
Ess leaned into him, placing her hand against his chest. “Tell me if I am lying.” She dared, knowing she spoke truthfully. “I work to better myself in my studies, in books on anything I can get my hands on. I search for a teacher or teachers of many kinds of talents, and I keep personal goals always in my thoughts. I admit we all can be weak, but our will can make us strong.”
Luckas grabbed the woman's hand and slowly pulled it away from his chest, holding back a wince caused by the pain on the wounded area. Releasing her, he replied. "I feel no need to justify my existence, the fact that I exist is not my responsibility, nor was it my choice, so why should I justify it? And we all judge others, I'm being judged for my words right now, aren't I? The question however, isn't why I would kill you, the question is: Why not?" He chuckled. "Back then, the fact that you were there would have been more than enough, yet I didn't. Funny, huh?"
Luckas scratched at his chest absently, the touch had been enough to remind him of the itchy bandages, and sighed. "And do you appreciate the truth? You have to know something to truly appreciate it, no? How well do you suppose you know yourself? No, I don't think you are weak, or a waste, I do however believe you are so used to pretending that one of these days you might just believe your own illusions. See, almost everything we do is with the simple goal of not getting hurt, physically or emotionally, doesn't matter. If a memory is to painful to bear our minds will block it out, if admitting to a particular truth is too painful we will lie to spare ourselves that pain as well... eventually it reaches a point when everything around us is built around those lies, and we lose ourselves. So tell me: Is not feeling pain worth living an illusion?" He shrugged. "Those things you seek: Knowledge, companionship, trust... They are all illusions as well in a way. The truths written in books are proven wrong and then other books are written, and then proven wrong, and so on. As for trust and friendship..." He chuckled. "Well, no one truly trusts anyone, not completely. Not really. At most people like to pretend they trust, but give them one little reason to suspect another and they will immediately find a thousand more... And then there goes the trust. If something can be shattered so easily, what is point of having it in the first place?"
Luke sighed softly. "See... I've gone through enough minds to know that, while mommies and daddies out there like to say otherwise, people are pretty much the same. There are rare people I've met who have proved themselves to be truly unique in one way or another... And while you are unique, Essence, you try so hard to be like everyone else that it just makes me wonder what's the point." He shook his head. "Suppose I'm just naive that way: I have hope that there is something other than mediocrity hidden out there somewhere. Though I may never know for sure."
Essence smiled sweetly, relaxing more as she listened to Luckas. Agreeing with much he had said, she nodded here and there as he spoke. She remained silent, politely absorbing his words. She thought about how he carried much wisdom from his journeys thus far in life, and she felt it a relief to have someone on a similar level to converse with. They both knew they had more in life to learn and discover and perhaps admit to themselves. Even the sad and depressing she felt was not worse than no feelings at all. She did realize before he spoke, that she has denied herself much throughout the years, but she slowly was changing that. Ess knew she was soon to discover another path, taking her into the exciting unknown.
In reference to Luke’s words on trust, she did not agree completely, but that did not matter. She did however dwell on his final observation of herself: “ And while you are unique, Essence, you try so hard to be like everyone else that it just makes me wonder what's the point."
Essence wasn’t sure if she fully understood that perception. She did know she wanted to be accepted, but she did not have many friends. She did not conform or deny herself in general in order to be accepted, so she therefore was alone. Perhaps she was hiding from the world. Maybe she did not wish to relieve the cruel injustices of her childhood, and therefore tried to act like it never existed. Yet, she knew that wasn’t the case. Maybe she just never found closure, and she needed to discover what that would be to take the next step forward in her life.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence, she realized he was still staring at her, as if waiting for a response. Ess dipped her head in a sign of respect, and her true smile shone through. “You have an ‘Old Soul’ Luckas. You intrigue me and I hope to have the pleasure of more of these encounters with you.” Ess’s violet iris’s dimmed in their glow, a mischievous grin taking over her expression. It was not quite clear what she was thinking, but it was not menacing towards Luckas.
“So, if you had my gift, what would you do with it?”