My lack of posting has been abysmal of late, and i'm sorry. Writing 'Echoes of Glory' is taking more effort than it should. At 12,000 words on it, but I imagine the bulk will be written in the summer. So, to tide you ver, i've given you part two of the 'Siren Call' chapter. This is only in first draft stage, but it definitely feels like it has potential to me... As always, all feedback welcome and appreciated.
A Siren Call: Part Two.
It was inevitable that based on the somewhat haphazard arrangement of the front of house that backstage was going to epitomise why the place was actually named ‘The Wreck’. Faye was not disappointed to learn that she was completely right. The long hallway seemed to shrink in on her; its dark blue walls were waves crashing into each other. The more she stared into them, the more she swore she could hear the heavy roll and crunch of water smashing onto rock. The floor was a tangle of crossed wires and debris, laced onto the concrete. Large dog-eared and faded posters of bands that had once played adorned the wall. A few were signed by the band, although Faye barely recognised the name of any stuck up there.
It was only by fixating herself on those minor and insignificant details that Faye could actually avoid where she was, and who she was actually with. The lure and call had been irresistible and once again, she waited to see what the price would be. The low glare of the lights ahead made her head feel fuzzy. It felt like she was underwater, still breathing but not totally conscious. The melody he hummed seemed to be taking her deeper into a trance, leading her away from the light. A small insignificant voice wailed at the back of her mind, telling her that this was an awful idea. Faye couldn’t even claim it was like last time when she had first met Mephistopheles and her behaviour had been totally out of character. Being fooled twice was a sign that she should know better. A trip to hell and back should have taught her how to pronounce the word ‘no’.
But it wasn’t that simple. As if things ever really were… Like a Pandora’s box, once opened, could it ever actually be closed? Not once the secrets were out. Rejecting the reason in her mind, she pushed it to the back until its urgent shriek was lost in the echo of him.
‘Are you alright?’ His humming had stopped and the sound of his ruffled voice snapped the box in her mind shut, but she knew that tiny tempests had already escaped.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ A fake nonchalant shrug accompanied the words, and satisfied, he turned back around. Whoever he was, it was easier to deal with him when she couldn’t see his face. Though even now, she was aware that she was watching every detail. Faye’s eyes were fixated on the tiniest details. The refraction of light onto his hair, the cool sparking of his hand against hers, the half whispered promises exhaled into the air. Ten minutes ago, he didn’t exist to her. Now she couldn’t move away from him. Attracted like magnets.
He continued to lead her until they reached a large crimson door. Allowing his hand to break the contact, he pulled the door firmly until a blast of cold air forced its way in. Gulping down the cold air greedily, she felt some semblance of logic and reason return. But she rejected them when his hand once again grasped hers. Feeling his body pulling her, she stepped out into the void.
Except it was like stepping into another world. Leaping into the abyss.
Gone were the drab walls of ‘The Wreck’ where each punctured note rang of failed dreams. A brilliant shimmer of a sunset greeted her eyes, so clear that it exposed the nakedness of the air. Hues of violet, burned oranges and muted yellows seemed to blend and mask each other, the colours’ edges streaming rainbow blood. Below the melting sky laid a calm sea, its water iridescent under the sinking sun. The waves gently passed on their secrets, rising and falling until each one was lost to the tranquil water. It was the most sublime thing she had ever seen.
‘Breathtaking, isn’t it?’ He was there beside her. Of course he would still be there. Her throat parched and coarse, she chose to nod in encouragement rather than try to respond. It struck her then that she had followed this man through a doorway to another world, and she didn’t even know his name.
Turning to face him now, she cleared her throat to ask who he was when she was greeted by eyes bluer than a clear sky. Her prepared words came out in a jumble so that ‘I forgot to ask you about your name’ came out sounding like a garbled mess instead.
‘Oliver,’ the words came out as a gentle song, or that’s how they seemed to sound. Each note complimenting the wombing and breaking of the waves below. At least he seemed to understand what she meant, even though she was mentally kicking herself.
‘Oliver,’ she repeated. ‘Olly.’ His lips hardened into a thin line, erasing their pink lustre. ‘Oliver…’ she reverted back to his first name and he smiled again. It was hard not to mirror it with her own. ‘I’m Faye.’ This time he nodded at her, his face warm and inviting. It was wrong to compare Oliver and Lee, but she couldn’t help herself. The problem was it was like comparing ice with fire. Both beautiful. Both mesmerising. Both lethal.
She waited for him to speak next. To initiate the conversation. To break the tension scissoring through the air between them. But he let it hover there. It crept along her skin like a cool breeze, crinkling her composure, tugging her in.
‘So…’ Faye began, desperate to mask the silence with something. She hadn’t remembered it feeling this difficult to speak to Lee. Words fell like stardust with him; now they clung to the inside of her throat, afraid to make their way out. ‘Why are we here?’
‘Because it’s where you want to be.’ His voice resonated in the air, as if he understood the current swimming under his words. Six months after the worst and best days of her life, there was nowhere to run anymore. Lucifer was going to come for her soon, and when he did, not a place on earth would be safe for her.
‘Don’t look so worried, Faye. I’m not going to hurt you.’ The flutter of a wave muffled the thudding of her heart against her rib cage. He wasn’t going to hurt her. She’d heard that before.
‘That’s not the first time I’ve heard those words,’ she countered quickly, a wry smile playing on her lips.
‘But it is the first time you’ve heard them from me,’ she nodded, ‘and I’ve given you no reason not to trust me…’
‘She loathed that he had an answer for everything, but it had been a while since anyone had shown any interest in her. And as for Lee… Well he had made his choice now. She was sure he would cope with the consequences.
‘Okay, I’ll play.’ Settling down on the grass, Faye couldn’t really remember much about his music, only the chemical pull she had felt on her body. She still felt the pull now, and her body was reacting to him, inching ever closer.
‘They were great! Reminded me of someone but I can’t remember who…’ The hazy nature of those details was odd. Faye had a crystal memory, especially when it came to music. Before her life had been transformed six months ago, her headphones were a surgical extension of her body most of the time. ‘Have you played at ‘The Wreck’ before?’
‘No, we haven’t. We were there as a favour to an old friend. We haven’t been around here for a long time.’ Not really a surprise. Coventry really wasn’t a city that people would choose to revisit, unless there was some contractual obligation to be there. Before Faye could move on to the next question, he was humming that song again. It didn’t feel like before, when his voice literally paralysed her and tied her down. This time, she leaned back on her elbows and allowed the melody to glide over her skin like the crest of a wave.
Descending deeper into the ocean now, the sun was an enflamed jagged orb. When his lips began to murmur the lyrics of the song, Faye felt her skin prickling, as if invisible strings all over her body were being manipulated and pulled in which ever direction he wanted her to be. And what was worse, the grin on his face made it clear that he knew it too. His fingers traced shapes on her open palm and when the end of the song came, she felt completely pliant. If he would have asked her to throw herself off the cliff, she knew she probably would.
‘Have you always sang?’
‘Always. You could say that I was born to sing.’ His eyes, framed by perfectly long eyelashes, glanced down at the floor. ‘If I’m not holding my guitar, I feel naked.’ A mischievous smile ghosted his lips. Faye felt her cheeks flush scarlet. ‘And you, can you sing?’
‘I’m not bad, I suppose. Kind of average… It definitely isn’t my calling though.’ Singing was reserved for the company of Lauren and herself. Any public display of confidence was off the cards.
‘So what do you want to do?’
‘I honestly don’t know… School is alright, but I’ve seen too much and done too much now to worry about exams. My A levels aren’t really that important to me.’ The brutal cold of the inner circle and the feel of manacles holding her down were never far away from her mind. Especially when she was alone. ‘I don’t want to be stuck in a job. Working all day, everyday just to scrabble together enough money to pay bills doesn’t appeal to me.’ She thought of her Mum then and the late shift she was currently working on a checkout at the local supermarket. The bags under her eyes. The meagre wage she received. But at least she was sober now. A small mercy.
‘So you want to leave here then?’ Her head shook frantically in response to his question before she even realised. Her bright eyes widened in alarm at the thought of leaving now. The first escape she’d had from reality in months. She wasn’t ready for the strings to be cut quite yet. Oliver instantly rephrased, responding to her panic. ‘Leave this city, I meant.’
‘Definitely, I want to see the world.’ Of all the things she had witnessed and experienced, about her past, about where she might be headed, about the magic coursing through her blood. To stay here would be a prison. Bound. ‘ I can’t believe the world starts and ends at the motorway. Have you travelled far?’
He shuffled closer to her conspiratorially then, so they were shoulder to shoulder, his pumps knocking against her shoes, his hand tangled in hers clumsily. His eyes seemed frantic and wide with excitement. There was something very boyish about him.
‘Faye, I’ve been to see so many places, I can’t even believe to tell you what is out there. You see that horizon…’ His free hand pointed out towards the ocean, stretching out until it kissed the sky. ‘I’ve chased it. I’ve seen worlds you wouldn’t even know existed.’
She wanted it all then. She needed to chase the sunset with him, before this was all over and she had to skulk back into the darkness. Turning her hand over in his, there was no doubt that she had waded in far too deeply now. She was hovering on the edge of oblivion and she either had to pull herself back from the brink, or jump straight in and brace herself for the fall.
Dauntless, she took the jump.
It might have been the song, it might have been the place, it might have been the friction between his skin and hers, but no matter the reason or the cost, she crushed her lips against his urgently. He didn’t push her away, but pulled her closer, his fingers interlocking with hers on the sandy grass edge. The miniscule voice that whimpered at the back of her head was abandoned now. This wasn’t wrong. He could be the one for her. This was not a mistake. Dismissed. He tasted of pacific sunsets, of the deep blue sea and of balmy air. It was hypnotic.
When Faye broke away, her breath coming in ragged bursts, the air still felt charged, except the idyllic sunset before them was now a wound ripping through the sky, bleeding crimson and black. Storm clouds were approaching in the distance.
‘Sorry.’ Faye’s words were out before she could prevent them. Though they remained, however uncertain she was about who she was apologising to.
‘Don’t be,’ he murmured, kissing her lightly on the forehead, twirling a strand of her hair around his fingertips. ‘I was wondering how long you’d take.’
Playfully, she stuck her tongue out. ‘It’s clearly your fault for being so irresistible.’ Rolling her eyes, she scrambled to her feet, worried as she watched the darkening clouds move closer towards them.
He chuckled. ‘You have no idea. I’m not even trying.’ If he wasn’t even trying now, she dreaded to think how he could be. The lack of control she felt was concerning. If he asked her to sit back down next to him, she would obey without question. It was terrifying. A secret war in her head between desire and fear.
Keeping her back turned, she concentrated on the glimmer of sun left in the distance. She wondered where she was supposed to go from here. If she pretended Oliver wasn’t nearby, maybe he would disappear and she would find herself back home. When his arms encircled her waist, and she could feel his breath against the curve of her neck, the world felt like it was shrinking it on itself. The vibrant timbre of the air shivered and shook into a sepia tone. The air was awash with beiges and reddish browns, the colour of autumn leaves. The waves rose higher, chopping against the face of the cliff they stood on.
This time when he sang, it wasn’t a soft, sweet melody. It was darker than that. Delicious and haunting, numbing her senses, dulling the part of her brain that realised that this was a trap.
Thunder slashed the air, but Faye could only hear its slight echo. To her it sounded tinny and insignificant. Lightening streaked, spiking the peak of the waves, but to her the light was muted and dull. A tumult of water crushed against the rock, making the ground tremble and fracture, but she didn’t feel even a slight shift. A cold, clinical blade hovered at her back, its malicious steel pointed at her skin. She didn’t feel the pinch. Anaesthetised. Drowning in him. A sinking ship.