The sky was scarlet as Mortal blood; it was dying. His face looked even paler next to it than it already was and his lips were dry and thin. His hair was rugged and black with white flecks at the edges; it draped over his dull green eyes. His figure was slender and his clothes fit close to his body. He wore black slacks, a pale white shirt, and a red-lined black waistcoat. Out of the pocket of his waistcoat hung a white chain, a silver key with a single mangled tooth dangling at the end of it. All around him was dead brown grass that prickled at his bare feet; he stood in a dying meadow; dead like everything else in that world. It was late evening; almost Night's time.
Suddenly Night wriggled free from his bonds beneath the ground and drew his dark cloak around him, his pale white eyes glowing. He scurried hurriedly around the meadow, his feet scarcely touching the grass, and with a great leap, he threw his cloak over the red sky and the white sun lowered swiftly under the weight of black. Night hung in the air as if suspended and a gentle cooing, like an infant, rung softly from his lips. The moons faded into brightness and Night grinned; a harrowed grin. Now he was free; free until Day raised the sun, her ever-glaring eye; now he only wore a thin black robe around his slender and childish figure. He lowered himself to the prickly grass and turned towards the young man who was standing alone in the meadow; that grin seemed to stick eerily to his fair face.
“Use thy key, Night and Dream's barren son, and fulfill thy nature.” Night said his voice as small as a child's. He raised a finger towards the silver key.
“Wet thy arid tongue with mortal reason, my son, for He hath decreed thy action choose thy essence.” Night leaned close to him.
“And the One of Shades has bound you in contract. With thy key it was written.” Night said slowly, his grin falling into a single line. The son looked at Night with widened eyes; widened in terror.
He grasped the silver key and pulled back the collar of his shirt until a small keyhole could be seen on his right breast; a single faint scar ran through it. He swiftly thrust the key into the hole and his body rose up above the grass slowly; he panted hard and coughed violently from the sudden pain as it spread through his chest. Night grinned again, yet this time it was a grin full of fear. He turned and darted off, swift as the swallowing darkness. White blood dripped from the keyhole and when it touched the grass below, the grass twitched eerily and began to shine with a dark glow.
A woman figure walked the silence staunched air with gliding footsteps towards the one with the key, holding a hollow vial made from sapphire shards. She wore a flowing blue dress; her eyes were gold and they glistened in the moons’ light.
“My son, one whose mother toys with Mortal reason and watches over every restful eye, and whose father rules with false lights and reigns in darkness as a delineation of that Shadow which binds us in contract, heed the word of Night, thy father. Give to me thy curse, thy pale blood, so that I may carry out that which the Shadow hath commanded, for I, with curséd wings, am his sometimes messenger of dark tidings to draw man away from which good tidings the Creator hath sent me forth with. To puzzle man’s will and reason; therein lies my dooméd action.” Her voice was cool and smooth, calming to the ear, and as she said this, she held out the vial towards her son, expectancy in her eyes.
“O curséd one, thou who birthed me into thy pooled transgressions and who made darkness my father, I shall heed thy words and thou shalt carry my paled essence, give life to abhorred shades, and deliver fear, that great distraction from faith, to the minds of Man.” Thus said her son and he leaned forward, letting his thick blood pour into the vial. After the vial was filled, Dream smiled bitterly at her son.
“I thank thee for thy essence.” Was all she said and from the air she leapt through Night’s cloak and into Man’s world. The son hovered there, weak from his loss of blood.
“O thou, curséd of evening stars,” tiny voices squeaked; the very stars called down to him from their fiery thrones in the cloak of Night.
“Thou who is most feared, terror of Dream’s essence, we beseech thee to put thyself to rest and forgetting, for we have heard of the world of Mortals, we have many brothers and sisters who rule their skies; we have giv’n ear to their sufferings and torments that thou inflicts upon them with thy essence.” They all began to glisten and sparkle as the passion rose inside of their glowing hearts. The whole of the stars began to move in a commotion of confusion.
“Would that I could take back that hateful choice, those words now written in dooméd letters upon that Shadow’s parchment. There is nothing left. Yet heed not my words for my voice is puppeteer’d by Him who now rules me.” So he said with a haunting glare at the twinkling lights.
“Put down thy wakéd torment! Put out thy flame of hate! Dowse thine intent in repentance!” The stars cried out in woe for man; then quiet. One by one they began to fall from Night’s cloak like loosed buttons, streaking the black with soon fading lights. To the ear, all was silent; yet to the eye, colors, light, and confusion all burst into view as a symphony of silent despair fell upon the blackened skies, as the stars bashed into each other in the confusion. Time then loosed her torrent call and raised her fluctuating blade; Fate. The thick silence fell heavily in the son’s ears and the lights flashed before his eyes in an inundate blaze of white fire.
A sudden shriek, in one voice of stars and the son, rose up from his lips, his face twisting with pain. His body convulsed time and time again until only groans he could utter through his dried lips and stinging body. Images, too fast to see but slow enough to comprehend, choked his minds’ eye like thick fluid. He could not look away or shut them out. Slowly his eyes began to glaze over with a nightmarish gleam and his eyes rounded with fear. Time thrust Fate downward.
“And now will nature be fulfilled!” he howled violently, his voice crowded with many others. The son bent forward and shut his eyes as tightly as he could. His hands clutched his head and his breathing grew rugged. The images wouldn’t stop running through his head; images of darkness and horrors; perversions of the mind of man. Flashing hellish grins, lifeless faces and bodies, and virulently demonic eyes; all these were shown in these images, haunting, tormenting, and testing the son’s sanity. As Night’s reign consummated Time’s, the abhorred sights grew more ghastly and gory, filled with the scarlet blood of Man and all those terrible perceptions of their growing knowledge of both good and evil. The son shook and quaked, sweat falling from his brow as every picture haunted his mind. He could hear the Mortal screams, feel their terror, and see what they saw. Then it was gone and silence once again filled his possessed mind.
Peace, with pale stare, and silent smile, danced the air towards the son’s wretched body, a low hymn humming upon her lips; her white eyes unveiled a secret of which the son already knew. Not a word said she but with only a touch she locked away those lurid thoughts in the son’s mind; but not from it. Night, with heavy footsteps, raised himself into the air and stopped at his son’s body, now hanging in the air loosely. Night bowed low to Peace and dared not look on her tranquil countenance. And Peace only smiled and set a smooth hand on Night’s head; and with a silent sigh, was gone. The son then awoke, and turned his now pallid eyes towards his father.
“Time has brought my reign to an end,” Night began, looking down at his son grimly.
“And so we shall rest until those seeming hundred years pass Mornings petty glows to Evenings darkened grandeurs.”
Night’s eyes began to sink into their sockets and his youthly glow diminished, tarnished skin replacing its old pale likeness. His childish voice grew deeper and he fell to the ground weakly, pulling his son down with him; they groaned with the impact. The moons dimmed into the growing light. And as Day began to raise the sun, her heated passion, tearing down Night’s now tattered cloak, an act of spite against her bothers control, Dream burst through the greying sky and alighted on the softening grass next to Night and her son; Night writhed in agony of his lost power.
“Night, my love, I bless thee with sleep. Let it ease thy fear as thy moons fade and Day’s glaring eye rises.” She touched his cheek gently and kissed his forehead. He stared up at her with dull pale eyes, wonder and fear floundering in them, then sleep slowly dimmed his mind until his breathing was smooth and all light was taken from his sight.
“Now down ye go to the under-earth chambers where darkness and silence shield thee from harm.” Dream said and the earth swallowed his body entirely, leaving nothing left. Dream turned to her son and upon seeing his eyes closed, turned to leave.
“Farewell to thee, mother. Blesséd may thy wakeful hours be, under Days glare or in the beams of Night’s glowing eyes. May thy tidings bring gladness to Mortal ear of the Creator, and may that Shadow not leap to wake me from my less than peaceful slumber.” The son croaked in a raspy voice, his breathing growing shallow.
Dream did not turn to her son but instead took his blessings silently and left to fulfill his wish, the essence she had originally obtained from The Master. She was gone.
Sunlight filled the once dead meadow and now all things livid and dull were now brilliant and bright. Day tore down Night’s cloak and it sunk behind the distant mountains. She danced in the meadow, brining life as an end to deathly horrors. Her laugh was like singing birds and in her face could joy and secrets be seen.
The son stared eerily at the sun with a nightmarish gleam in his fear rounded eyes. When will it end? The thought bobbed in his mind. And so he took his rest on the small patch of still dead grass, closing his eyes. A dreaded name on his lips was spoken by the fallen stars on the wispy breath of the wind. Nightmare.