Catty and I decided to Collab on a story. We wanted to see what would happen if we put our heads together, and this is what turned out.
There was an artist who loved to paint the shadows. But the dangerous thing about toying with the darkness is it took its price. It took your mind. Your soul, the very fiber of your being, it infiltrated you and consumed what pleased it, until there was nothing left. These shadows, hungry for something to feed on, came out of these horrifying works of art. They crept against the walls, watching for him to become vulnerable. But they didn’t always have to hunt. More often than naught, their prey came to them, enchanted by the rich, alluring colors, the promises of something devastatingly taboo.
One day, a young child crept into the gallery, her eyes wide, as her hands nervously clenched and unclenched. She wasn’t supposed to be here, she knew, but something called her. She looked around the room in which it called her, looking for someone, something …. hoping she isn’t alone in the commodious room.
“Child …. You are … lost?” A voice asked hesitantly, soft and soothing, melodious in rhythm. She turned, her eyes wide, but her heart singing out to the beautiful voice.
“No…. I don’t… think so… Where is everyone? Where are you?” She asked, her tone worried, yet she was surprisingly unafraid.
“Come closer, young one.” The voice crooned, the shadows softening. “Do not be afraid, youngling. We will take good care of you.”
“But… I don’t know where you are.” She responds, eyes widening at the paintings.
“Just follow the path we set for you,” the voice said quietly. A hallway to her right lit up, the light a sudden and abrasive brightness that hurt her eyes.
Slowly and hesitantly, she walked through the hallway. She watched the shadows emerging from the painting in front of her. The painting showed the story of a young prince, who let the darkness get to him. The same prince who slaughtered his family to making the voices go away.
“Why are you showing me this?” She asked quietly, unable to tear her eyes away from the blood spattered painting.
“Don’t be afraid,” the voice said quietly.
The shadows leaked from the paintings around the room, revealing their hiding spots, where they watch the weak humans. They watched her from all around the room before closing the hallway, leaving her trapped in the room. She looked around for a moment, not yet afraid, but the barest hints of anxiety began swelling in her small frame.
“Please,” she said hesitantly. “Where am I?” A quiet sound to her right startled her, ripping a small gasp from her throat.
“Don’t be afraid,” came the soft voice. She could see a lady, garbed in red silk, her hair covering her eyes in graceful swoops. “Are you lost?”
“I.. don’t think so. I don’t know.” She responded, mumbling in an uncertain tone. She looked at the women towering over her, and she looked at the woman’s hand reached out in front of her. She wondered about why the women was the only one here. She wondered where was her family, was she left behind?
“I can help you find your family, young one,” the lady said, her voice calming. “But I require a small token of your faith. Something to … give me energy enough to help you find your family, youngling.”
“Miss, what do you mean by token?” the little girl asked, pondering if she could trust the women.
“Just a drop of your blood,” she said soothingly. “A single drop. A pinprick. Then we can find your family.”
“My blood? Why.. do you need my blood?” The little girl asked, wanting to know what her blood could do. She never thought of herself of anything special, so how could her blood help.
“It doesn’t matter, young one. Don’t worry your pretty head about it.” She reached out a hand, the skin paler than any human’s, the veins blue and pulsing. “Just a drop of blood.”
“Okay…. I guess a drop of blood wouldn’t hurt me, but ma’am, why is your blood blue?” The lady laughed, a harsh sound in the stillness of the art gallery.
“You ask too many questions.” She said, her face losing some of its kindness. “The blood?” She asked impatiently.
“Okay… if you say that it’ll really help.” The girl said with utmost uncertainty, but she didn’t want the lady to become angry with her. She hated when people became angry at her, they yelled at her and they scared her. The little girl reached out her hand, offering one of her fingers the the lady. She reached out and snatched at the girl’s hand, dragging her roughly down the hallway.
“Come child,” she said, her voice harsher now, raspy. The lady’s nails dug into the little girls skin, causing the child to bleed from her wrists.
“Ow, you’re hurting me. Let me go! I don’t want to go!” the little girl screamed at the lady.
“Hush. You should be honored, being chosen to take part in our little ritual.” The lady snapped, tossing her hair back. Her eyes, they were so cold, so … dark.
“Okay… but you’re hurting me, and I don’t like it.” The little girl said between sniffles, trying not to cry out of fear. The lady ignored her, yanking her into the large circular room, where unfinished paintings stood in a ring, the shadows bleeding out of them. The little girl looked at the ring, watching the shadows form a mouth, as if they were going to eat her.
“What… is that?” the little girl screamed, terrified of everything around her. “Am I going to be eaten?” She asked the lady, the lady who was smiling a grim and sadistic smile.
“You are very lucky” the lady said with a quiet smile. “Very fortunate indeed. You have been chosen as the sacrifice that will prolong our life … for another century,” she said, pleased.
“I’m a sacrifice? I’m going to be killed?” She said, trying to pull away from the woman. The lady’s nails scratched against the girl’s arm as the girl got free of the women’s grasp. The women turned around, and almost growled at the girl. The little girl turned out in an attempt at escaping, and saw the shadows forming a wall where the door used to be.
“Don’t be frightened,” the lady said in the same sing-song voice. “You won’t feel a thing, not a thing at all, just surrender to the darkness …” The little girl felt her consciousness fading.
The women walked over to the drowsy girl, and picked her up. Her nails expanding, shaping into the form of a knife. She placed the girl down in front of the mouth, and stabbed her in the neck. From the wound bled her blood, thicker and darker, as it coursed to the floor, pooling into a still mirror, which the shadows came and drank their fill.
They gleamed, an ebony in the sparse light, pleased as they slipped back to their canvases, waiting for the gallery to open again.