Uzumaki – Prologue


Always the same…

She found herself here once more, as she always did, floating in an ocean darker than a shadow cast on a moonless night, submerged beneath its waters, though not struggling for breath as she let the currents of the deep water carry her slowly toward into its depths, not resisting in the least as it had its way with her. She felt as small eddies would move over her skin, created by the gentle, yet inexorable pull of sourceless gravity that drew her downward into the depths, the currents dancing about her as she in turn did her boneless dance upon them. Every strand of hair spread around her face, allowed to fly free from earthly bonds, and she smiled, dwelling in the darkness about her, letting it wash over her, allowing it to go further, pulling it inside her, allowing the ebony hell to embrace her, move through her, suffuse each cell as she curled her legs to her chest. The near complete sensory deprivation calmed her, allowing her to shut out everything. The world, the light, sound, air, tactile sensation… At this moment, reality was her enemy, and she scorned it in the darkness.

This was her refuge from the overbearing weight of reality when it became too much for her, the only place she could deny that there were others who actually existed, a place she could deny the world beyond her own skin. Here, there was nothing. No thought, no desire, no need. Here, she could simply exist, as she often dreamed of doing. The obsidian waters cocooned her in their oddly satiny touch, filling every inch between skin and where air would threaten to touch her. If this was death, she didn’t care. All she knew at this moment was being. No future, no present, and most of all… No past… No pain…

She closed her eyes against the darkness, seeking the sweet release of becoming the dark themselves, an end to form itself, to be part of something that was larger and grander, yet less than what she would leave behind. She barely noticed the gradual rise in the hue of the waters around her, from the oppressive yet comforting black, to a darker, eggplant purple, and still gaining in luminosity. It was the fore front of a wave of light, moving insurgently against the pitch canvas she had lost herself in, the gentle force before the overpowering assault. She tried to deny it as she did everything else while she was here, yet as the waters began turning blue, and the glow began to slip past the thin protection of her eye lids, she found it undeniable, unstoppable as it began to brighten and warm all that was around her. What had been a relaxed pose now became tense and rigid as adrenaline slid through her body on greased tracks, and once loose, calm muscles began to tighten, and become as hard as steel. She clutched her legs to her breasts now, trying to stave off the incursion for a few more moments, trying to grab the blanket and keep it about her tighter. Knuckles turned white, pearly teeth bared as her internal struggle against the onslaught grew in ferocity. Muscles tightened, fists so tight they hurt her as she tried to avoid what she knew the light brought with it, what reinforcements it would bring to ravage and overwhelm her here at her most vulnerable.

Unfortunately for her, dragons were far easier to slay than tides of memory turned loose from their levies.

It was always the physical sensation that struck her first, the gentle, inconsistent pounding that racked her body. It grew slowly, just as the insufferable light would, beginning like the patter of small water droplets on skin, building to power force that rocked her body each time it struck her. It gained the sensation of a hammering force through her body, driving each nerve ending to life as it slowly took hold. Then, she felt movement, fevered, insistent movement from two distinct objects, desperately trying to break physical bonds and become one to spite their individuality. The pleasure always assaulted her next, and she screamed… Part elation and part dread as her solitude faded and her new reality set in. The scent on the air was one of sweat and humidity, a hot day in a small, almost oppressive space. Sounds began assaulting her ears, and filling them, sounds she had hadn’t heard in a long time, sounds she never believed she would hear again. Suddenly, new scents began to fill her nostrils, bringing her back to reality all the faster as the wave had almost completely obliterated the pocket of darkness she had managed to retain around her self. It was at once familiar and strange. Jasmine, pine, the smell of tea slowly losing its heat to the air around it. Echoes of their cries… She wouldn’t open her eyes, though, fearing the final dagger as these other knives broke into her and tore at her heart.

The two of them collapsed onto the bed into an exhausted lump of flesh and limbs, their bodies naked, covered only by a thin, sweat soaked sheet, and separated by nothing but the air around them. Her back was to him, his strong arm slipping from the thin linen to rest upon her shapely waist. They struggled to catch their breaths, lungs lapping greedily at the oxygen around them as the flush settled over their bodys’, fatigue setting in as they finally began to relax. He used the last of his waning strength to pull her closer, closing the gap between bodies useless for little more than acting as paper weights. She kept her eyes closed tightly, “God no…” she thought to herself, pleading with herself not to succumb to temptation. “Please, don’t let me see… God please…”

“Awful quiet for someone who just did what we did… I’m the one who gets to pass out here,” he said breathlessly. “You’re supposed to ask me what I’m feeling and get answered by a loud snore.”

“Haha,” she said, “very funny.” A smile creeping over her lips even as the dread gathered like storm clouds in her mind. “You should be quite proud of yourself… My father always wanted to meet the man who would render me speechless.”

“Ah… You’re father… Perfect mood killer…” he said, the cute chuckle she always loved apparent in his voice.

“Sorry, baby,” she said, genuinely apologetic. “It was just… just… wow…” She inhaled deeply, her smile becoming broader, “What the hell was that, any way?”

“A little something I thought you might like.”

“Oh, god… You got it out of that book didn’t you?” she asked, turning over, managing to keep her eyes tightly closed as she turned to face her lover.

“No no… Trust me, that book is the last place I look for sex tips… That’s weird even for me…” He said, leaning down to kiss her gently on the forehead.

“Good… Because if you had, you weren’t gonna touch me for a month.”

“Oooooh, cold… Cut me to the quick…”

“Those lessons on effectiveness pay off, no?” she asked wryly, his fingers gently tracing the outline of his ear and jaw line.

“You’re old man was right… It would be a miracle to see you quiet for more than a minute…” he said, his own hand beginning to trace of the line of her spine through the sheet.

“Silence, you,” she said in a manner, her tone gently mocking but insistent. She lowered her head at this, her smile subsiding, “When do you have to leave, again?”

“Tomorrow morning.” was his only reply, knowing from the sound of her voice she did not anticipate their impending separation. “Lets not dwell on it now, though,” he said, “I can think of about a hundred more pleasurable things we can do on our last night together for a month and a half…”

“Is that right,” she said, the smile returning, her dread increasing within. She moved her hand, knowing what she would find before she even moved. The temperature on the bed increasing at that very moment, the heat becoming unbearable in a matter of seconds. Her hand found his arm, or more to the point, found the pair of bones that made up his arm’s skeletal structure. She was already on her back, and he was on top of her, the words “Don’t open your eyes” filling her mind over and over again like a mantra for dispelling spirits. The flames began to lick painfully at her skin, the smell of burning cotton filling her nostrils. Despite her welcoming smile, her eyes were clinched tight, tears welling up in them, knowing that the desire, the single chance to see his face would override what she knew was coming. She knew better than to look, but in the end, she didn’t care.

Her eyes flew open, and instead of their small cottage, and the face of the man she loved, there was a burning room, and a skeletal Death’s Head. The skeleton touched and caressed her like a lover, but it had already been bleached by time, no appearance of the man it used to wear. The only thing that even looked remotely alive were those eyes, those yellow and red eyes that burned not in passion for her soul and body, but pure destruction, those eyes that burned… for her death…

She sat straight up in bed as the adrenaline coursed through her body and slapped each and every nerve awake as it passed through her system, her arm flying forward and tossing her sheet aside as she reached out in vain for the man she knew was not there. Her skin was covered in a sheen of cold sweat, and goose bumps covered her as the shock passed through her body and into the air. She shivered in the cold, and one gloved hand reaching down and gather the sheet up once more, bringing it to her breasts in a weak motion to shield herself from the cold, and the fear that was now easing through her veins like a serpent coiling about her heart. She reached over to her nightstand, her bare hand, taking hold of the brandy snifter as she shakingly poured herself some into the small, clear glass, her uneasy motions causing some to spill out onto the wood grained surface of the stand. She brought the glass over, and brought it to her full lips, sipping at the alcoholic beverage to try and calm her frayed nerves.

Each drop that hit her tongue did nothing to ease her shaking, acting as useless as it usually did on nights like this where she would wake up from that hellish nightmare. It was always the same dream, hitting someone who had given up on dreaming at least ten years ago. It didn’t visit her nightly, though she began to wish it did for want of an immunity to the effects it had on her mind and heart. If nothing else, the dream was the perfect terrorist, striking at one’s most vulnerable, going to ground, then striking again just as the fear reaches a low point on its curve. She would love nothing less than for it to find another memory to replay for her, to show her in mind numbing horror, but instead it kept returning to the one of the happiest moments in her life, when freedom and responsibility were in equilibrium, and nothing could go wrong with the world.

She finished the beverage in a few moments, and replaced the glass on the nightstand next to her. She hugged her legs to her chest and sat shaking, feeling the gentle effects of the alcohol as it slipped over her body, slowly eating away at her tension, gently easing her off the plateau of stress. He lay back down, and pull the sheet and a heavy blanket over her, wishing she had thought to actually wear something to bed, knowing it would be this cold at night. Had her inconsistent romp through Hell not awakened her, the bite of the cold night air on her skin would have. He looked out over the large expanse of the cold empty master bedroom, and her heart sank just a bit. She closed her eyes and eased back into sleep, tomorrow would require her nice and rested, and no way would she allow fatigue to endanger the path that lay before her. She slipped her hand out to touch the other pillow on the bed, the side that absolutely nothing slept on, and gently stroked the place he should be sleeping.

“Good night.”





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