A whooshing sound woke me up. The temperature of the room drastically decreased, signifying that it was already night time. I reached out on my side to see if Keenan was still asleep but I was disappointed to know that my hand touched the hollowed space on my bed that he had long vacated. I could no longer feel the warmth essence of his body on my pillow, giving me an estimation that he had left probably an hour before I woke. I opened my eyes and found the room illuminated by two huge candles neatly placed on the side table. I wanted to be mad at him for not waking me before he left but I held back... at least he didn't leave me scrambling in the dark – how thoughtful of him.
I sat up and my eyes darted immediately to the window. I remembered the sound that woke me and it felt as if someone in the room watching while I was asleep. I stood hasting and moved slowly, tiptoeing toward the window thinking that I might caught someone sneaking. Only the wind moaned as it splashed on the building's wall, other than that, there was no one in there.
The feeling of someone watching hung in the air and I knew that there was something off. My eyes surveyed the surrounding but all I saw was the silhouette of roofs and the city walls against the darkness. It was quiet outside, the kind of stillness before a giant tsunami hit the shore. But it was probably nothing. I must have imagined it or it must be the absence of Keenan that made me agitated. But there was that off feeling that I couldn't pin point. Odd as it may seemed, the air inside the room changed. I could smell gas that came out of nowhere and in minute I was beginning to suffocate. I knew this smell as I smelled this before. Suddenly my heart pounded like hooves in my chest. I knew that there was something wrong and before I could turn and ran to the door, a gasp of wind blew the flickers from the candles in the room. Darkness flooded and I could see nothing. Wherever I turned I was blinded. I stayed motionless as panic surged in my veins. I felt my heart was going to explode. Then I heard an eerie sound that made all the hair of my body stood. As if tiny metals scraping the walls of my room, producing a shrieking noise that made even a rodent cringed. I turned around following the sound but it was everywhere and my knees buckled with fear, amounting myself to pull down to the ground, crouching with my hands covering my ears. The sound stopped and silence stretched the time. All I could hear was the drumming of my heart behind my ears.
"Lola." A male's voice – as if it was spoken underground with its sound bouncing on the walls.
I turned around to follow the location of the voice but my eyes were concealed in complete darkness. The smell of gas invaded my nostril and it got stronger by the minute that I had to cover my nose and breathed through my mouth. The temperature inside became totally cold that I was literally shivering on the ground with my arms wrapped around myself. I was waiting for the final blow, for annihilation to come and embraced nothingness. I remembered what Keenan said about not having a chance of ascending to the next realm – so after this I would just vanish. I braced for myself. I waited and the longer it got the more it became unbearable.
"Go ahead! Kill me!" I shouted. My voice was trembling.
All of a sudden a flicker appeared in front of me against the dark. I held my breath as I watched the flame dance back and forth. Where did it come from? There was no candle, just a flame suspended in the air. Then a figure from the darkness began to appear while the light from the flicker in front of the figure illuminated it sent an unspeakable horror. As the figure came closer my body shivered while my nails sunk inside my palm as I made a fist. It was the figure of my father gawking at me from the flicker. I stared at it in horror. This was the devil taking many forms. I knew this because I knew about the devil from the scriptures I read. The devil, master of tricks and deception, the ultimate con artist that would do any ruse to send people to the edge and shattered their humanity. I would not fall for it because I knew that this wasn't true but then the figure of my father spoke that sent the tears falling from my eyes. It also got my father's voice – his loving voice. How could I not fall for it? This darkling was so good that it made me believe that it was really my father I was seeing.
"Lola." Said the image of my father. "I miss you so much my dear."
"Dad?" I cried. "Oh daddy, I miss you too..." I was that girl again. The girl who waited every weekend for my father's visit with my brother Ram.
"Come with me Lola. Let's go home. I need you." The image said.
I was sobbing and I couldn't control the tears. I missed him so much, my father. Seeing him standing in front of me made me missed him even more. I wanted to run toward him and just be in his arms and everything would be okay. Just like the old times, when I was a little girl. But this wasn't the old time and I was no longer the little girl who was vulnerable and naïve. I knew this was a trick.
"You're not my father!" I yelled at the figure. "Stay away from me!" My eyes were clouded with tears and I blinked.
The figure flickered behind the flame and the next time I looked, the figure changed. My heart beats liked wings in a cage and I brought both of my hands at my chest to contain myself. It was my mother staring at me and calling my name. I cried hard as my very soul shattered. The darkling would never stop until there was nothing left in me but a broken soul. I shuddered hard and I screamed. My mother disappeared and replaced by the image of my brother Ram but this time it was different. My brother's eyes were distantly staring while blood dripping from the slit in his throat. I wailed violently in all four with palms flat on the floor. I couldn't look at it any more. The sight of my brother dead was too much to take. Then I heard a familiar voice calling my name that made me looked up.
The wavy blonde hair that was almost golden when hit by the ray of sun, the beautiful face with lips slightly opened and those eyes, bright blue as if holding the entire sky.
"Seb." I whispered.
I handed it to the darkling the artistry of the craft. It was really Sebastian Whyte who was standing behind the flame. Even the way his mouth moved when he spoke, the way he arched his brow and the way he stared at me. If I didn't know better, I would have flung myself toward the image.
"Lola." Seb's image whispered and I closed my eyes to savor the timbre of his voice calling my name. But I knew this wasn't Seb. The real Seb was alive at Idmuria and I was the one who was dead. I had to find my strength to get through with this... The demon would never stop until I gave in to what it wanted of me.
"Stop!" I yelled but the image of Seb was still calling my name. I drew the last strength in my heart, the one that I could muster to fight this madness. I would not give in and I would rather vanish in oblivion than succumb.
"This isn't real." I told myself. "Tricks. These are all tricks." I kept repeating it in my head with my eyes closed. I didn't notice that I was bellowing the word Tricks louder like a mantra. As the minute passed the demon's voice was moving farther away as if it was at the other end of the tunnel. Then a loud blow somewhere on the wall. I covered myself as I scrambled to the ground shivering. Lights flooded my room accompanied with voices I didn't recognize. The voices were calling my name and I wasn't sure if this was still one of the darkling's tricks so I kept covering my face. Then a hand touched me as if someone pressed a button inside my body that triggered for me to scream louder. The hands gripped my shoulders and gently shaking me.
I knew that voice and for the first time I felt safe with the hands holding me firmly. Never letting me go. The warmed touch of this masculine hands comforted me, telling me that it was okay and that I could relax now. I opened my eyes and those set of dark eyes met my gaze.