The Darkness: Mother Night (3/3)

The second seizure hit Cye’s body about two steps into his apartment. The pain still lingered on him an hour after he had fallen. Every muscle in his body ached, as if sensation was letting its first stabs break through a lengthy numbness; a lack of heat wracked his being, leaving him convulsing with violent shivers. He could barely catch his suddenly hard-sought breath, and he fought with every bit of will he had to stay awake. If Kento hadn’t been there to help him to his bed and talk to him, give him something to focus on, he may not have made it any farther. The physical pains were only the side effects, however; something much deeper was injured, and he knew it could never be repaired. He tried his best to sleep, to convince his guest that he was okay and didn’t need a baby-sitter for the night, but he was kidding himself. Tonight, he would be restless and pained, just like the night before.

The knock at the door startled both residents as it reverberated through the apartment. Kento set aside his magazine and stood up from the folding chair he had positioned at Cye’s bedside. “Wait here, okay?” he commanded as he left. Cye nodded as he snuggled against the pillows, giving his stuffed dolphin a little hug. Kento walked through the small apartment and tossed the door open, letting his jaw drop as he saw the caller. “Sage.....?”

Sage stood at the entrance, the very image of death in life. Despite his glassy face, he looked desperate, and his eyes held an eerie intensity. “I wanna see Cye,” he demanded. “Move.”

“Wha......,” Kento stammered dully before suppressing the shudder that ran down his spine. “No. Just wait out here, and I’ll tell Cye you’re h--”

Sage lifted a hand, and the ground vanished beneath Kento’s feet before he was propelled into the wall, hitting it hard enough to leave a full-size dent. He fell to his knees, staring up dazed at his assailant as he walked towards the bedroom. “I need Cye, and I can’t let you slow me down.” He stopped at Cye’s bedside, staring down at the weary occupant. “Wake up, Perfection.”

Cye looked up from the briefest of sleeps and stared up in shock. “Sage?” he asked nervously. His eyes went wide as a menacing hand reached for his face. “Sage, wha--” The chilly fingertips touched his face and sent a violent shudder through his body as the hand clamped over his mouth.

“Quiet, Perfection. Don’t be scared. This’ll save both of us.” Sage reached down and pulled Cye out of bed by his arm, dragging his agonized body to the door. As they went to leave, Kento came slowly to his feet again; a second later he hit the wall again, this time prompting a thin stream of blood to flow from his mouth before his eyes rolled back and his body collapsed in a limp heap. Cye looked at Sage, aghast. “Trust me, this will work out in our favor.”

*This is the Perfection? Well done, child. You are truly part of our line,* the Darkness hissed through the empty alley. Sage remained unemotional as Cye struggled in his tight restraint. A sliver of black reached out for Cye’s face; he winced in disgust as its searing fingers touched his flesh. *Weakling. I hardly believe it’s him.*

“Sage, what are you doing?” Cye asked as he craned his neck back, panicked. “Sage, PLEASE!!! Don’t listen to that thing!”

“I have no choice, Cye,” Sage said flatly, a thin trickle of tears staining his stoic face. “You have to save us both.” He pushed Cye forward, letting him stumble to his knees. “He’s yours, Mother!”

*Thank you, my child. You will be free.* A relieved smile crossed Sage’s face. The sliver of shadow grew into a thick void, drawing Cye and any loose debris towards its vacuum. He grabbed at the ground in vain, trying desperately to plant himself enough to escape the darkness.

Cye tried to get Sage’s attention, panicked tears forming on his face. “Sage!! Don’t let her take me!! She won’t let us both live, Sage, help me!!” A large bit of debris struck his face, leaving him to the mercy of the void. His limp form was swallowed by the darkness, but the void remained open. Two shadowy arms reached for Sage’s body, grabbing him by the throat.

*You served your purpose, and you were hardly worth the trouble. Goodbye.*

“No, Mother, NO!!” Sage protested before the light left his world.

Rowen’s eyes snapped open as he heard the screaming. A massive black hand had a grasp on some struggling figure high above him; it let the figure fall near him, eliciting an appalled stare. Cye’s pained being lay sprawled out on his stomach, his barely open eyes staring desperately out at him. Rowen picked him up, cradling his dying friend in his shaking arms. He had thought he’d never see his friends again, but this was the last way he wanted to see any of them.

“Rowe....” Cye moaned, barely able to form the words. He reached up feebly for a comforting hand, which Rowen anxiously obliged. “I jus’ wanted a new life....... I didn’t wanna die....”

*Too bad, child!* Mother Night hissed as a sharp pain swallowed both. *For the Perfection, you’re hardly a threat.*

A brilliant white light began to radiate from Cye’s limp figure as he screamed. The glare ended the pain and threw the shadows away from the two figures; the darkness around them gave out an agonized, inhumanly high-pitched shriek as it burnt away. Stray segments of black wafted about the glistening expanse before dissolving. A pulling sensation yanked a stunned Rowen and a still Cye up, leaving them floating helplessly. For a second, the dim shapes of two hand appeared, gently caressing each of their faces; Rowen caught the hand against his cheek with his.

“V........,” Rowen whispered before the final overwhelming burst of white knocked him away from everything.

“Sage? Can you hear us?” Ryo’s voice called through the darkness. Sage opened his eyes; the two figures of his closest friends hovered over him, each visibly nervous. “What were you doing out there?”

“I....” Sage groaned. The whole scene was so dim...... “Cye...? Wha....?”

Kento swallowed hard and gave Sage’s cold hand a gentle squeeze. “We, uh.... We can’t find ‘im. We don’t know what happened.”

“Where’s Rowen?”

“He’s been missing a long time,” Ryo said sadly. “I’m sorry.”

“But.....” Sage tried to fathom everything. It was so dim, so hard to piece together; as the snippets of recollection fell into place, however, he felt his heart stop. “Oh, God...... I killed them......” He started to weep out loud, prompting a worried look between his two visitors. “I killed them, but I didn’t wanna..... I didn’t mean to.....”

“What are you saying?” Ryo asked, growing distressed; Sage only responded with stronger crying. Ryo offered a comforting embrace to him, letting him weep gently against his shoulder. “It’s okay. We’ll find th--”

“No, you won’t,” Sage said, placing a weak hand over Ryo’s mouth. “I can’t explain it, but they’re gone..... They’re dead....... I let two of my friends die......” He jumped slightly as Kento’s hand came down on his shoulder, and he turned a tear-stained face towards him, prompting tears in his friend’s eyes.

“If they’re dead, are they a-at rest?” Kento stammered. Sage just nodded, the memory of the sweetly burning white light validating his decision. “Okay, I can deal with that...” he muttered to himself, wiping away his tears.

“I’m sorry,” Sage muttered as he leaned against the bed, trying to catch his breath. “I wish I could give you some hope, but...... I’m so sorry.....”

“Sage,” Ryo said, mustering a strong smile. “There’s nothing you can do to change things...., and wherever they are, Rowen and Sai aren’t mad at you. You know that.”

Sage just nodded quietly. He knew they meant well, but they were as hurt as he was. Two of the dearest people in his life had been cut down so early, and he could have prevented it all. He gave a silent prayer, closing his eyes. ^Rowen, Cye, I don’t know if you can hear this, but please, forgive me and please, look after us. We’ll miss you.^

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