SIXTINE Book I / Chapter 1
Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Blinding and deafening darkness.
Movement around me, taunting me. Stalking me.
Panic inside me.
Where the hell am I?
How did I get here?
And what happened before this, the urgent intake of breath, my eyes cracking open, only to find myself in this bottomless pit of night. Am I asleep? Am I dreaming? My fear tastes of stagnant water and dust.
No chance of a nightmare. This is real and I am not alone.
Amorphous shadows are fleeting past like guilty fugitives, their stare black against black, their tenebrous presence piercing the space around my heart with a thousand icy daggers.
Whoever they are, I know they came looking for me.
They are calling my name, in a raspy whisper.
But it isn’t my name. Nobody calls me Sixtine anymore, not since I was seven years old and they found my mother’s body by the cliffs, algae in her hair, a feather in her hand and her throat full of sand. That was fifteen years ago.
“I am Jessica!” I want to shout. But the thick silence strangles my scream, letting only the echo of a weak groan seep into the swarming obscurity.
Suddenly a dim green light colors everything. Instinctively, I search for the source, but there is none. I am in a large room with bare stone walls. There are no doors, no windows. The high ceiling is as empty as the walls. Where does the light come from? How did I get here?
Then I look down and my soul fractures.
My naked body is lying lifeless on the floor.
I can see it with cruel, startling clarity: it is my body, my self! My long, wavy blonde hair is spread on the stone, framing my head like a golden aura. My thick eyebrows the shape of angry waves, my fine nose, and full, defiant lips. My curves and my long legs and the three moles on my left forearm, the scar under my right knee, my narrow ankles and the neon pink nail polish on my toenails. They are all mine.
So why are they outside of me?
There are also things I don’t recognize. Around my neck, a broken necklace woven with gold filigree and blue gemstones has spilled its beads on my breasts.
A black cross is tattooed across my navel.
There are scratches all over my arms. My fingers are a deep shade of red. Dried blood. They are still clasping rotten flowers. Thousands of the same flowers are strewn all over the floor – black stems and black hearts with grey, yellowish petals.
The same color as my skin.
My blue eyes are wide open, still, staring right in my direction.
Am I dead?
The light vanishes. Back to black. I am still here, outside my body, my mind grappling for answers.
I don’t know who I am. What I am. Even if I am at all. And I remember nothing.
Still the darkness whispers.
The shadows inch closer. I feel their poisonous heat, coursing through the veins I no longer have, burning my last drop of strength. It is pitch black, but I make out the edges of one silhouette, his outline drawn in the faintest of green smoke.
A man with a long, black snout, like a dog.
His hand reach out for me.
Then, a familiar sound crashes into my consciousness. With it, a flurry of images, and more friendly voices. Thank heavens, a memory, filling the black murmuring void. A memory vivid and alive and bright!
It was only a few days ago. I was still myself then. Gigi was there. She kept repeating the same words.
It’s bad luck. Don’t go, Jessica. It’s bad luck.
My wedding day.
Carry on reading Chapter 2 here.
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