Mistress...I am with you.
I am coming....falling now
Mistress, it's not a fall. You are flying now.
Nareth was beside me again, I had almost come to expect her presence when I awoke. Pain throbbed and bit through my body as I fumbled with the vial, my hands shaking, unable to release the lid. Stepping closer, Nareth leant forward.
"Do you need me to help?", she asked and I nodded as best I could, "Speak only to my mind. Do not waste your strength.", She reached down, opening the vial and pressing it to my lips. I coughed in an involuntary spasm as the warm liquid hit my parched dry throat, curling up in pain as a shudder ran through my body. Tears welled in my eyes as I stared up at Nareth. "Take all you wish. There is no need to hold back now.". Nareth grit her teeth against the pain she was obviously feeling too. Stepping back slightly she closed the vial.
"you should leave me, I will hurt you too"
"Should think I have a little pain coming to me, yes?"
"I would not wish this on anyone, even you", Nareth's gaze wandered down to stare at my bruised and wasted form.
"I knew far worse...when my time came. If that knowledge gives you comfort...take it."
"no comfort in another's suffering Nareth"
"It is the way I was made to be, Mistress. I cannot now be any other way. You are beautiful in this agony."
"beautiful...agony", I buckled and writhed at the pain in my abdomen now excruciating, probably the effect of Nareth's essence reaching the near dead digestive system. Nareth staggered and took a step back and then taking a further step back from the bed, let a small growl escape her lips, like a wounded animal. I retched every sinew screaming, my mouth filling with dull lifeless blood and bile which dripped from my parched lips. "Nareth.."
"Mistress...No..Beq..." Nareth seemed to be struggling within herself. "If I could...take this...back..."
"Professor", I croaked and at this she shook her head, growling more loudly. Perhaps it was the confusion of pain and fading consciousness, perhaps a simple memory, but before me I saw not the Sang Li incarnation but my own Nareth, the professor. "she would know...you would know how"
"No...", Nareth was firm, her eyes cold. My body was wracked with coughing, and I began to weep openly as blood leaked from my mouth again. "That woman is dead, Mistress. Just as...just as Sang Li is dead."
"dead....its no longer as final as it was.", I faked a smile, throough the veil of pain. A shudder passed through Nareth and I saw blood running from her nostrils.
"I am merely a vessel.", Nareth's voice grew angry and confused."Do not fool yourself. It makes this..harder. Echoes...only echoes.". Nareth cramped, and almost fell, grabbing the wall for support. Her cries undirected seeming more an appeal than an answer
"who are you talking to?", In my declining state, my mind focussed on the bitterness that I held, I sought to anger her, perhaps she would end this.
"I am speaking to *you*, Mistress.", Nareth struggled to stand up straight, sweating blood.
"you are sure? I have been deceived before, you are so good at deception", it felt good to mock her for a change, as she had done to me so many times.
"I am...sure. I deceived you..I cannot be..deceived. I am the Black Pharoh. The Messenger...".
In my mind I laughed to she see Nareth's struggle. My breath was labouring by now throat gurgling with fluid build up. I coughed violently and a gob of blood sprayed the bed sheets and more dripped from my nostrils. Nareth's nose was bleeding freely now too. She looked down at the blood on the bedspread, at my face.
"This is NOT a game, Mistress."
"game is nearly over. check mate, you win."
"Stop fighting. Pain only makes me stronger. Your's *and* mine."
"which Nareth grows stronger?" I questioned. She staggered, cocking her head to one side, looking very confused.
"I..must...I must go. You want to find me, when it is done."
"yes, you are wanted, Nareth, professor....", in my mind I saw my professor again, not the one that stood before me.
"There is no Nareth, Mistress.", Nareth clenched her teeth. "And...your precious...Mr. Wirefly...and his Orchid...they will not be safe from you...when it is done. Take care with them.". She wiped blood from her nose and managed a dry laugh. "When the hunger takes you, no one..will be safe."
"If you say so, Nareth", I sneered as Nareth turned abruptly away, clutching her belly as if in agony.
*"go, leave me, I will find you and this vicious tawdry life that you have given me.".
Nareth stumbled away from me, out of the bedroom and down the stairs, in my mind I saw her leaning against the glazed balcony door for a moment as she gathered her strength. Nareth quickly opened the door. and the air was filled with a roar, like a thousand wings beating at once, my mind assaulted by her rage, with images of Nareth stomping, trudging across snowy rooftops. There are bloody tears on Nareth's face, freezing, turning to rubies, and falling on the snow.
"Mistress...", her voice is vicious.
"No Professor! It is a silly game, Mistress.". Once again I fix in my mind a single image, the professor as she was. Standing outside the museum.
"Yessssss...I knew that woman...I watched her die...I watched the darkness devour her."
"as you will watch me"
"Yesssssss...", My mind leapt to Nareth's projection, the streets of the city, filled with rats. And then of a fire, and the city engulfed in flame. "Do not taunt me. It is all within my grasp.". I burn with pain, my mind rages at the image, seering, burning pain in my mind and coughing takes hold of my body. Nareth observes me, but at this distance, does not feel the pain...
"no taunt, Nareth, just memory"
"Let those memories die. They are useless to you now."
"no! they are me, leave me, leave my mind,let me die in peace"
"Peace...A thousand rats, a million, fill the streets. I will show you peace soon enough."
I'd pushed her away, forced her from my side after all, as I fell into unconsciousness, my inner voice called out, and a single tear ran from my eye. "profeso....."
"Sleep, Mistress. Sleep one last time."
I slept, a broken sleep, threaded with the painful spasms of my failing body, I woke with my head pounding, to hear voices in the house
"Should I check upstairs? I'm worried about her.", a woman's voice, echoing from downstairs, the familiarity lifted my heart but still I could not place it.
"Me too", a man's voice."lets go upstairs"
"Beq?", the woman again
"we should check her room", the man.
The door creaked slightly as it opened
"Beq, it's Or-"
The two new arrivals stood staring for a moment, as I lay with my back to them, the full extent of my decline visible on my skin.
"What has Nareth done to her?", the mans voice a low whisper. "Beq?"
"Nareth?", I mumbled, not fully lucid. The woman moved closer to the bed.
"Beq? Are you alright?" she asked. I stirred, recognition returning to me, I rolled over to face the pair, wincing with the additional discomfort. Looking up I could see Orchid, flanked by Rip, her mouth open as if to speak but finding she had nothing to say. I was taken by a fit of coughing and doubles up in pain, a small thread of bloody spittle running from my lips, tracing the cracked red line of dried blood, evident from previous bouts of coughing.
"Beq, wh..", started Rip, stopping, not knowing what to say as in evident pain I struggled to focus
"O...Orch...id...Riiip", I sighed, letting the escaping breath form the words.
"Beq" said Rip softly peering over Orchid's shoulder
"n...ot , not long now"
"Now beq, you will be ok, you have to", he continued, forestalling acceptance of the mortal state he had found me in. I coughed again, weeping freely with the pain, parting my dry cracked lips in an attempt to smile. Orchid started to reach out a hand to me, then pulling it back it back in, hugged her arms around herself.
"Beq.. this.. this can't be..", She shook her head sorrowfully.Rip, visibly pale looked on in silence
"I ... have paid my price yes?", I ventured, looking up to Orchid, summoning my last strength, realising that I had woken now for the last time.
"But what have you needed to pay for?" replied Rip as Orchid blinked hard, looking away to one side.
"but I ...w...ill...", more coughs, more blood tinged fluids, " n..n.not be a..alone..not n..now", I rocked slightly, resting as Orchid blinked away the tears forming in her eyes.
"Beq, you never were alone!", she protested.
"But what of you, Beq? What do YOU want?". I looked at Orchid, my eyes full of pink blood tinged tears
"n..n.not th this". Rip looked down, unable to look at me
"n..n.never. w.w.wwanted th...s.s.sh...she lives..."
"Did she do this to you? Do more than she has done to hurt you already?"
There was a loud thud on the roof followed by the sound of running footsteps....
Rip jumped slightly and looked up, as Orchid and I too turned our eyes to the sky
"sh....she...prof..eesssor, isss good, iss there....I.I..feel her"
"Orch...id....Riiip, I .. I... will see you, do ... do not tr...ust...eat....hung....geeerrrr"
Rip looks saddened and confused as I was taken with a spasm of pain, my skins broke out in a sweat, and I coughed up a glob of blood which soaked into the sheets. Rip lurched forward towards the bed before stopping
"nearly...." I croak, my voice itself failing now, Orchid reached forward again stopping short of touching me, uncertain if she should. I reached out my hand and lay it limply on the mattress
"good bye", Orchid rested her hand atop mine.
"Beq...no", Rip's protest, becoming tearful. I cry, weeping pink tinged tears freely.
"Beq! No!", enjoined Orchid sobbing, squeezing her fingers around my hand tightly
"You cant leave us beq, you cant"
"must..die, body is ... gone. Help me...she.. f...ears Elen...be tray...". Orchid McMillan began to sob uncontrollably, fingers still clenched tightly around my limp hand
"Elenore then... you want us to find Elenore?", Orchid asked, as Rip put his hand on her shoulder, tears dropping down his face. I closedmy eyes, coughing, then opened them once more. Orchid McMillan shook my hand, pleading, "Beq... Beq... is that what you want? Beq?"
"help me..d.d.do .....do not let .....", I shudder passes across my body, my breathing laboured more heavily, a gurgling, rattle rose in my throat.
"do not let what beq?", Rip stared at me, waiting. I coughed, dislodging something, blood flowing freely from my mouth. Orchid closed her eyes, turning away, unable to look at me any longer
"her win", I gasped.
Orchid McMillan whispers, "Alright Beq."
"all ends", the words merely a gasp. Rip stands with tears rolling down his face.
"She will not win beq"
My body convulsed, shuddering, my chest gripped with the pain as my heart failed...I drew my legs up before forcing my eyes open. Drawing the deepest breath I could, a moment of clarity,
"go, run...not safe now, I am not safe for you...save your... selves", A final violent cough tore threw me. My breath spent, my heart stilled, my body broken and finally at rest, I stared at the ceiling as the world closed in...
... and with a shudder Beq Janus died.
"Beq, we cant leave you, not like this" sobbed Rip as Orchid watched through tearful eyes, clenching my hand in hers, falling to her kness, tears falling in steady streams from her eyes. "Beq?...BEQ?"
4 years ago