Part I


2


-in which he sees red-


i always wondered why
the humans are so weary of the darkness.
their stupid minds always imagine the worst;
that we will savage their world and
kill them all.

they turned us away,
not the other way around.
you have to know that.

-x-

Eidan couldn't sleep.

He lay in his bed, staring at the cement ceiling. It was pitch black, but Eidan had always been able to see better than others in the dark. He could make out the small desk in the corner of his room, the window that always had the curtains drawn, and the chair that Jenna broke once and he had to fix it.

It was strange to be able to see in the dark, but Eidan grew used to it. He didn't tell anyone about this, of course. They would start thinking he was some sort of freak.

Or worse, a monster.

And he didn't need that. The residents in the palace already doubted him more than he wished to. Then again, he didn't blame them. They had a reason to doubt him, but he wished that they would just accept the fact that he was like any average person in this kingdom.

He sighed, sitting up as he looked around the room. Any other normal person would see nothing but thick darkness – so why in the world could he see through it?

With nothing else to do, he stood up and made his way towards his window. He drew apart the curtains, smiling as he saw nothing but the dark sky. The sky was swimming in darkness, dotted with little specks of diamond-like stars that glittered. Above everything, he could see the full moon radiating a pale glow that seemed almost ethereal. Everything and everyone was asleep.

This was why Eidan loved the darkness. He had peace and silence. It felt like… home.

His eyes fell on the gloomy woods near the palace. It was a large area, covered in nothing but towering, bare trees. Usually, the King hunted there for a hobby (and sometimes, Jenna would tag along if she managed to persuade her father enough), but aside from that, hardly anyone else entered it.

That was where they first found him. The day he met Jenna.

-x-

-nine years ago-

His head felt like it had just been skewered by a sword.

His whole body was burning as if he was bathing in flames, but he looked around and found nothing but blurred images of trees. The sun was shining down on him and it felt like his skin was frying from the intense light.

Eidan groaned, clutching his throbbing head as he sat up. Then, as soon as he felt the back of his skull, he felt something wet, warm and… running.

He pulled his hand away and immediately, his pale eyes widened.

Blood.

The boy whimpered and fell back onto the muddy ground, holding tightly to his wounded head. What was happening to him? Was he going to die? How did he end up here? Where was he?

He had so many questions in his head, and yet he found no answers. None. There were no memories in his mind; it was empty and all he could just about remember was his name and age. Where were the rest of his memories?

Eidan felt the blood pooling behind his head and he shuddered against the bitter breeze. Suddenly, he felt scared and alone.

He literally had nothing.

The boy closed his eyes and waited for death.

"Daddy, I found a rabbit and it bit me! Daddy, look at my – OH MY GOODNESS!"

There was running, soft footsteps making their way towards him.

"Daddy, I found a dead body!"

This girl was very loud. Eidan wished she would just go away and let him die in peace.

"Daddy, there's a dead boy in our woods and my dress is all soaked in blood! DADDY!"

More footsteps. This time, more heavy and Eidan found himself growing annoyed. Couldn't they see he was busy trying to die?

"Jenna! Get away from the dead body!"

"But daddy, he's harmless! Look, daddy, he's not moving! See, I'm going to poke him and he's not going to move!"

A finger prodded him in the ribs.

Eidan's eyes flew open and he glared at the girl in front of him. "Leave me alone!" he screamed, clutching his head as it throbbed even more.

The girl blinked. "Oh. He's not dead, daddy."

Eidan couldn't clearly see her; his vision was slightly blurry, but he could see golden waves of long hair from the girl. Her hair was so bright that they looked like they were glowing – or maybe that was just his blurred eyesight, he wasn't sure.

A large man thundered his way towards them and Eidan immediately felt strong arms pulling him up.

"Boy? Boy, are you alright? Are you hurt?"

Eidan slurred, squinting against the sun as his eyes began to adjust. "…No."

"Did someone attack you? What happened?"

The sun was too bright. It was practically shining down on him and it felt like he was burning on the spot. Whining, he closed his eyes and to his dismay, it didn't help. "I… I don't remember…"

"Daddy, why isn't he dead yet?" the girl spoke up behind them. "His head is bleeding a lot, daddy."

Her father ignored her.

"Boy, have you lost your memory? Do you remember your name?"

Weakly, Eidan nodded. "My name is… Eidan."

Eidan tried to shield his eyes from the sun, but the heat continued to torture him. He groaned, shrinking into himself.

"What's wrong, lad?" the big man shook him gently and Eidan did nothing but moan.

"…The sun…"

"It's high up in the sky!"

Eidan ignored the girl.

"What's wrong? Is there something wrong with you?"

Eidan nodded to the big man's question. "The sun… It's hurting…"

The large man was silent for a long, long while. Eidan began to wonder if he was still there and he cracked open one eye to find the man looking at him with a strange expression.

"Well… You'd better get inside so we can tend your injuries… and get you away from the sun."

So they did just that.

-x-

Something pulled him away from his reminiscing.

It was a small glint, so small that he nearly missed it. Red. Something red flashing in the far woods. Eidan wasn't quite sure how in the world he saw it from so far away, but there was no mistaking that blood-like colour.

It was still there, slithering in the air. Disappearing one second, and then appearing the next like a beacon of light beckoning to him.

Eidan had always been too reckless.

A small smile appeared on his lips as he shoved the window open. Immediately, he was met by a cold blast of wind but he ignored it. Eidan leaned down, staring at the ground with a squint in his eyes. It wasn't too far down. Hopefully.

He shrugged and swung his legs over the window sill, never taking his eyes off the ground. He'd done this before, anyway. When Jenna had accidentally jammed his door shut (long story cut short: Jenna was bored one day and decided to amuse herself with his bedroom door) and they were both forced to escape out the window.

Without a second thought, Eidan leapt. Cold air rushed around him, swirling madly until-

He landed hard on his feet. Wincing, Eidan spent a few seconds examining whether his legs were broken or not, and thankfully, they weren't. He straightened up, returning his gaze to the forest.

It was still there.

A frown appeared on his face. What could it possibly be? It seemed to stay in one place, just madly thrashing against the wind. It was bright too, standing out clearly in the darkness.

He wasted no more time and ran towards the forest.

-x-

you're coming now,
aren't you?
it took you nine years to see.

-x-

The forest always felt like home to Eidan. He didn't know why, but there was always that hint of familiarity whenever he entered it. Even right now, being surrounded by towering bare trees didn't intimidate him. In fact, he felt more at ease here rather than the extravagant corridors of the palace.

Eidan weaved through the trees, hearing nothing but the crunching of the dry leaves that he stepped on. He had been walking for quite a long time now but thankfully, he hadn't lost sight of the strange red… thing. It was still there, flailing against the breeze. If it wasn't for the thick fog that surrounded him, he was certain that he would have seen what it was by now.

He tripped over a log, stumbling slightly. A nearby branch scratched his cheek, drawing blood that immediately trickled down his face. Eidan cursed, wiping it away. He carried on running towards the red thing, this time more carefully.

As he neared it, he began to slow down, his eyes widening.

There was no mistaking it.

It wasn't a thing. It was someone. A tall, slender girl, by the looks of it. She had her back to him and all he could see was her long, sleek red hair dancing in the breeze. Black silk hugged her body, pooling under her like puddles of midnight ink.

Then, she turned around.

The first thing that he noticed was that she had eyes like Jenna's. Chocolate brown with thick eyelashes, although this girl's eyes were more narrow and elegant compared to Jenna's large and innocent ones.

Eidan had to admit it; the girl was breathtakingly beautiful. He guessed that she was around his age, maybe a bit younger. She had skin the colour of fresh snow. Her cheeks were rosy and her lips were the colour of blood, like her hair.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, both taking in each other's presence.

She spoke first. "You're bleeding."

Eidan paid no attention to the scratch on his cheek. "Who are you?"

The girl's eyes averted downwards and she gave a soft sigh. "You should know."

A frown appeared on Eidan's face. "I'm sorry," he said, "but I don't."

"You will."

She seemed so sure of it, so certain that those two short words would happen. Eidan opened his mouth to speak, but he felt something.

Someone was shaking him.

"Eidan! Eidan, wake up! It's already midday! WAKE UP!"

He winced, shooting upright from his bed. Blinking rapidly, he found Jenna grinning at him, her golden hair tied back into a scruffy ponytail.

"Hello, sleepy-head. You're lucky it's your day off or your Master wouldn't be very pleased to see you sleeping in." Jenna poked him hard in the ribs, giggling slightly.

Eidan blinked, looking around him. He was back in his room with the thin blankets all tangled around his body. Jenna was sitting on his bed, leaning over him.

"…I was… asleep?" he mumbled.

"Very deeply too. It took me ages to wake you up. What time did you sleep yesterday? You never wake up late…"

That was the problem. When did he actually fall asleep last night? Eidan couldn't honestly remember; everything was so vague.

And that girl. Was that all a dream? And if it was, why did it feel so real, as if he had really spent hours searching for her in the woods?

"Eidan?" Jenna shook him slightly, frowning. "What's wrong? You've grown silent. Well, more silent than usual, I mean."

Eidan turned to Jenna, studying her face.

She looked like that girl. If it weren't for her golden hair and the fact that Jenna's skin was less pale, they would have been nearly alike. The girl's lips had been crimson whilst Jenna's were a light pink, but they were the same plump shape.

"…Eidan?"

He shook his head, running a hand through his limp hair.

Suddenly, Jenna ran a finger along his cheek, pursing her lips. Eidan stiffened, staring at her with wide eyes.

"Princess…" he whispered, resisting the urge to back away. "What are you doing?"

Jenna leaned back and took her finger off his face. She then pointed to her own cheek. "You have a scratch on your face, Eidan. It wasn't there yesterday."

Eidan's blood ran cold.

-x-

please try to remember,
because your sweet ignorance
is starting to annoy me.


Some people actually reviewed about the title being nice. Yeah, I like the title too. Would you believe it that I actually searched on google 'pretty words' and it came up with a bunch of words... Penumbra was one of them and it said something about shadows and I was like "OMG. IT'S PERFECT." But I changed it to the plural version of penumbraE, because penumbra had the word bra at the end of it...

Yeah, I have a weird way of thinking.

So... does anyone actually know what the italics are going on about? Well, if you have any speculations, tell me cos I love hearing them :D