Well folks, here’s where things start getting interesting in the world of Koios and Anahita. From about here on out, it’s an all out race to the end. The good news is that it does have an end now. I finished it last week, so now it’s just a matter of editing and making a cover before you’ll be able to buy it as well as read the un-edited version here.
Is there anyone who wants updates on this story more often than once a week, or is it just the right amount of time between chapter updates?
CHAPTER THREE- DARK CARNIVAL OF THE IMMACULATE
It was improbable, no, impossible, that Brigett was the woman before him. Which was why it was good she had given him a different name than what he had expected. His reality had been bent, but not yet broken.
He took one last look and then crashed out of the nearest window. The beauty broke to thousands of pieces as it and he fell to the ground. Koios waited for a moment, scrunched up in a ball while shards of glass fell all around him. When he was sure it was safe to move, he lifted his head and leapt gracefully over the glass.
He looked back once when he reached the end of the block. There was a flash of light from the window he had broken that left him blinded for a few seconds. When it disappeared, he saw that the light inside of the church was gone as well.
Anahita had left.
Koios hoped that she would just leave him alone now.
He began his walk back towards their basement lair. The whole way back, he somehow managed to keep his thoughts off of that night and what he had seen in the choir loft. The reprieve was welcome for the time being. He knew that as soon as he fell asleep, the dreams would return, and with a vengeance at that.
For a moment, he thought about what might happen should he Greet the Mane, the morning. It would kill him, he knew that much. As he died though, would it hurt? It couldn’t possibly hurt more that he felt now, could it?
But he was no coward and he would not allow himself to take the coward’s way out of this situation. Perhaps Diu would be able to help him. For he was older and wiser than Koios was and might have an idea oh now to deal with this intense grief. Yes, Diu would be able to help.
The help would have to wait until tomorrow, however. All ready, Koios could feel the others returning to their home and the sunrise was no more than an hour away. His safety was in the basement, true. But he wasn’t going to pass out in the communal room like Lupis and the others did. What if their home was discovered? What if a thin beam of sunlight fought its way through the cracks in the foundation and landed on a sleeping fool in the room? The safety of his room meant more to him. If he was to reach it though, with enough time to spare, he would need to go directly there. So, for today, he would have to deal with the dreams on his own.
He was one of the last to arrive back at the basement, following Emaline inside. The red haired beauty had a face that still had drops of blood on it. Her first feeding, as all were, had been messy. But she was smiling and laughing with the others, her loneliness forgotten. That was all Koios could hope for at that moment.
Without bothering to see how hunts went, or even stopping to see how the others of the Court were doing, Koios made his way into his closet like room. He closed his door and locked the two locks before turning around.
The largest piece of furniture was, by far, his bed. It took up most of the available room, but was well worth it for the comfort. Koios didn’t bother to turn on the light bulb hanging from the ceiling as he made his way over to it. There was always a clear path from door to bed amidst all of the things he had collected in the past ten years.
With a feeling of gratefulness, he fell onto his bed and pulled the two blankets he had over him. Others might be able to sleep on the ground and without covers, but he had never been able to, not even when he had been alive.
Koios settled into his bed before closing his eyes to await the dawning of the sun, the complete unawareness of this world and the dreams that he knew would come with the sunrise. Without fail, he always dreamed of her and of that night. In a way, he looked forward to those dreams. It meant that he could see her again. But they were still painful. And after tonight’s encounters, he knew the pain would be immense.
As the sun peeked over the horizon, Koios felt his body and mind slow until he was completely out of the world, just another corpse yet again in this carnival of corpses.
He knew he would dream. He always did. It was always of that night, without fail. But it wasn’t. Oh, yes. He did dream. But Brigett, the thief, the gun, Diu, were nowhere to be see in it.
And it didn’t feel like a dream either. It felt real, like he was, for that moment, alive once again.
Koios reached up with a hand and touched his left side. There was movement in it and the sound of a drum filled his ears. He was alive. That was how he knew he was dreaming.
That and the fact he was watching the sun set.
As the flaming sun sunk beneath horizon, he heard a noise from behind him. He turned and found himself facing what appeared to a carnival. Everything in it was what a carnival in his childhood dreams would have had. Small rides, side shows, a main tent. It was all there. Including the freak show that was needed at every and all carnivals. The stage was set as he walked over to it, the barker up on a small stage, preaching to the crowd that had gathered. The crowd though…he knew them all. Everyone was a member of Diu’s Court, the barker himself Diu as he must have looked in life. “Strong man with two heads! Snake woman! A fallen angel!” the not-Diu spoke in loud tones. “All that and more inside. Look now, I show you a hidden beauty that up until now, has only been seen by those who paid to see it!” With his cane, he flicked at one of the hanging posters, which immediately rolled up. Behind the picture of the strong man was a cage that held a snarling…thing in it. Koios wasn’t quite sure what it was. As he watched though, the thing transformed until it was no more than a small girl with red hair.
“Emaline!” Koios breathed out. He was seeing her vampiric nature shine through without any help of her human side hiding it.
The barker continued his walk and his talk as he moved up and down the stage. “A human? Or a vampire?” he asked them. “No one knows. But look at the beauty. Two things together, living in harmony.”
Koios closed his eyes, completely disagreeing with what was said. There was nothing beautiful about it. The young girl didn’t deserve to constantly be fighting for control over her life and hunger. Make it stop, he found himself thinking. Usually, if he thought about it hard enough, the dream would stop for a bit and let him get some measure of restful non-existence.
He opened his eyes again as the crowd around him began to chant, “Cut her wings off! Cut her wings off!”
Why won’t it stop, Koios thought over and over again. That was all that he wanted. He looked about to see just what the group—no, the mob—was cheering over and cringed. A poster of what looked like an angel had been rolled down to show the group. “For just three dollars, you can see all this and more at the Carnival of the Immaculate,” the barker called out.
Koios searched through his pockets and was hardly surprised when he discovered that he had just enough money to enter into the tent that housed everything. He was among the first to step forward, pay his fee and walk inside.
The place was dark at first. As he continued to walk, the tent grew lighter and hotter as well. Soon, he found himself walking past a stage that held what looked like dancers that were on fire. As he looked closer, he saw that they weren’t as human as he had originally thought they were. True, their bodies were the shape of a woman, but flames licked from the insides of their very bodies, coming out from their skin to envelop them as they danced. And if that weren’t enough to force him into believing that they were somewhat other than human, their glowing eyes were. He was reminded of blood as he looked into them. “Red cat monster,” he read under his breath as he looked above the stage. His eyes traveled back to look at them again and then he saw how they did resemble cats in their own ways. Graceful, glowing eyes, tails, even fire that was slightly formed into ears. It was all there. Monsters from his very own vision of what Hell would look like.
After seeing the red cats, there was a part of him that wanted to return from the way he came. He pressed onward though, knowing, deep down, that there was a reason for this torture that he was being put through. Koios walked on.
The strong man that the not-Diu had been talking about was next. The man had two heads, much the way Emaline had outside. But both were visible at the same time on this man. One side of his head was as human as Koios looked right then. The other was even more evil looking than the red cats and the thing in Emaline would have been had they been combined. Koios walked quickly past that one, not needing to see any more of what his dream was trying to tell him with that image. The man had accepted his demon, and they were combined.
The human power now belonged to the vampire and the vampire power was on loan to the human.
He made his way out of that smaller tent and into another. This one held a cage that was full of a white light. He was unable to see through the end that was facing him to determine what was inside. His memories of earlier that night came back to him though, and he immediately knew that this was the fallen angel that had been spoken about. He walked about the cage until he came to a side with bars that he might look into. All he saw of the person inside was their back. White wings and a near blinding white light were all that he could make out.
“Come to try and destroy me again?” she asked. “Have you come because you needed more fun?” Her voice was scornful as she spoke. And so very familiar.
“Why would I come to hurt you….Brigett?” he asked her.
The fallen angel turned around, surprise on her face. “You remember,” she said suddenly.
He shook his head. “I always remembered. You are in my dreams every night. I relive that night every time I close my eyes, wondering what I could have done differently to save you.”
Bridgett pursed her lips. “You remembered, yes. But now you accept as well.”
He smiled at her in a way that he hadn’t since James had died. “That I will not argue with.”
“How long has it been?” she asked him, coming to the bars of her cage.
“Ten long years,” Koios replied.
“And since James died in you?” she questioned again.
“Five,” he told her, looking away.
“The same for me,” she told him, making it so he was not as ashamed at his own truthfulness. “I’ve been dead for ten years as well, but Anahita for five of them.”
“Why come back now?” he asked her angrily. “I was beginning to be comfortable with who I am. What I am. I was helping others the same way that Diu helped me when I first came into this world of darkness.”
“You’re a dead man, James.” He flinched at the use of his old name. “Changing your name to fit your new live does nothing to change the fact that you bartered away your soul to the dark, that your heart does not beat, that you do not breathe. That you live off of blood.” She spat the last into his face.
He turned on her, the monster inside of him beginning to break loose. “And changing your name does, Anahita?” He glared at her as he tried to get some measure of control back. “You speak as though you know all. You don’t. You don’t know why I agreed to become a vampire. Or what my life has been like since I became one. Still, I ask you again. Why come back now?”
“Because both you and I are needed in this world.”
She sighed and began to explain. “This is more than a dream. This is me reaching out to you from my home in order to talk to you so you do not run away. That night, ten years ago, we were both meant to die. But something went wrong. We were meant to die together, in a car accident. What’s more, we were both meant to go to Heaven. We must work with what we have been given though. The mistake that happened to us can not truly be fixed. Not now. But for others, it can be. There is someone on this earth that is killing those who are meant to journey to the next life together. And they are both people who are pure of heart. Power comes from purity, Koios. You know that.”
“Who is it?” he asked her.
Anahita made to answer his question, opening her mouth and starting to say the name. A sudden movement from behind her made her stop though. “I can’t tell you here, Koios. There’s too many ways that it can be intercepted and The-One-Who-Takes can learn of it and prepare to take us both out.”
Koios nodded. “So what do we do then?”
“Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” he told her without hesitation.
“Tonight. After you awake and make your hunt, meet me at the church.” She didn’t need to tell him what church she meant. He knew that she meant the one where he had almost killed her.
“Bridgett,” he began, stretching out a hand through the bars of the cage to where she was. She moved to touch his hand, but before their fingers could touch, the dream vanished.
He awoke, gasping for unneeded air in the black of his room.
Trivia: When I wrote this chapter, I wrote it all in one sitting. The only music and noise I had playing was the song by I Am Ghost by the same title as the chapter so I could get in the right mood for it. This was likely the hardest to write of all of them, and if I had stopped in the middle, I don’t think it ever would have been finished.