Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 30: Ghosts and Guilt

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city, a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Strephon MacKenzie, a semi-immortal half-fae, has found his mission to investigate fae activity in the mortal world complicated by Cassandra True, a reporter for the Daily Oracle who is unaware of his supernatural ancestry. After entering her dreams once to protect her soul from a magical attack, he now finds that he quite literally cannot keep her out of his mind.

Strephon sat in his cold, damp room stirring his tea. The tea was weak and tepid and he could not bring himself to drink it. Still, he stirred it, concentrating on tracing methodical figure eights with his spoon; anything to keep his mind off the window.

Outside the window the sun was shining; a bright, tropical sun blazing over an azure sea. Warm waves lapped against the white sands of a perfect beach.

The tea. Concentrate on the tea.

The door to his room opened and a woman entered. What are you doing, dear?

Strephon looked up. Phyllis? But you're dead!

Not in your memory. That's all that matters.

Strephon nodded. Of course. I'm dreaming. She looked as young as she had when they'd first met, her lovely face wreathed in strawberry curls.

She sat down on the bed, next to his wheelchair. What are you doing inside? It's so lovely out. Strephon did not reply. You're hiding, aren't you.

I am not hiding.

Then why did you construct these walls around your mind? You wish to keep someone out, correct?

I thought it prudent.

My ever prudent Strephon. The sweet music of her laugh made his soul ache. You know, she is a nice girl.

Strephon followed her gaze out the window. He saw Cassandra, standing on the beach all alone, wearing a raincoat and staring across the sands at him.

I'm only a memory, Strephon. You're not going to hurt my feelings if you look at another woman, I promise. I never expected you to remain in mourning for the rest of your life. I want you to be happy.

I am happy.

You certainly don't look it. Why did you decide to remain here in the Mortal World instead of going back to the Unseen Realm?

Because I preferred reality to illusion.

Then why are you talking to a memory when reality is waiting out your window?

He gazed out the window. Cassandra was still out there, looking wistfully in his direction. His hands grasped the windowsill. He knew it wasn't really a window, but rather a psychic barrier constructed to prevent her mind from entering his dreams... and to prevent his from crossing over into hers. He realized that Phyllis had left him and he suddenly felt more alone than ever. His fingers pressed against the windowpane. He knew what he must do.

He woke up.

He was lying in his own bed. His shades were drawn. Outside the full moon shone over the city. He lay there for a long time listening to the distant din of the wolves.

NEXT:  Friendlee Conversation

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