Devil’s Descent II update 11-16-09

Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Lily retreated from the doorway. She spun on bare feet and flopped onto the chaise where Julian choked her with soap. Lily rubbed her twitchy fists against one another. She stared at the opposite wall. The mirrored Lily nearly looked human. Her flushed face defied death. Her eyes flirted with it.

What are you looking for out of this? He’s not Ian. He’s something worse than you are. Is that why you’re here? Because Julian’s more of a head case than you are?

Lily relaxed her hands. She flipped them over and studied the palms. The punctures reminded Lily of stigmata. They were healing sluggishly.

I already know the answer. I’m here because…because it’s still there. I used to want to be him just so I could be a better person. Now I want to be him because I want to know what it’s like to stop caring.

“I won’t apologize for those.”

She wasn’t surprised to hear neither his aristocratic voice nor the haughty words it issued. Lily’s dangerous grin acknowledged the self-destructive futility of her quest.

When he didn’t touch her, he had hurt her so badly. When he wounded her, he had healed some of the pain.

Make him apologize? Never.

Lily fisted her hands. She answered him with, “I’d expect you to have manners to apologize. Since I don’t think much of you it doesn’t really matter, does it?”

Julian dropped a dress-shirt the color of smoke onto her lap. “And since I know you for a liar I don’t know why I bother to even converse with you.”

“Oh baby, did I hurt your feelings?” Lily’s syrupy drawl accompanied by face-splitting smile served to taunt. “I would never want to hurt your feelings, darling. Dig my heart out with a rusty knife first before that ever happens.”

Julian crouched down. “Will a claw suffice?” He traced the razor appendage above the area in question.

Lily lifted her chest. She tapped his finger with each breath. “You already had my heart, Julian. You chose to give it back.”

“Mmm. That I did.” He doodled the air above her heart. “Why don’t you hang onto it for a little while longer? That’s a good girl.”

“You don’t want good. You want easy.” Lily took his hand with both of hers, careful not to make any threatening gestures to land her with a slashed throat. Satisfied Julian would remain well-behaved, she nuzzled his wrist before kissing it. “You know where you can find that, Douglas. Back up about two feet, turn right, and head straight until you come across naked blond tramp.”

Julian echoed her actions. “You have an unhealthy dislike of blondes, Lily. You really should take a care lest I think you’re jealous of them.” He waited until she looked at him before kissing the inside of her wrist.

Lily inhaled and exhaled with staccato precision. Julian smiled. “Why haven’t you taken your dress off?”

“Because you’re still here.”

“Since when are you shy? You hate clothes, remember?”

“Maybe I do.” Her voice, smooth despite the lust stiffening her mouth, flirted with provocation.

“Stand up and I’ll take it off for you.”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“That’s not what you really want to say, is it?”

“No, it isn’t.” Lily’s intoxicated gaze strayed to the fang he flashed. “But it’s what I’m standing by.”

“Too bad. We could have much fun, you and I.”

“I know but then what?”

Julian’s tongue tasted her skin for a stingy second. “You could be my lover.”

“I can have that now. What else?”

“Are you negotiating with me?” Julian’s toothy grin menaced even with its charm. “Please tell me that you are.”

Lily didn’t answer him directly. “What would you give me, Julian, to pick up where we left off?”

The vampire touched her bloody knees with gentle pressure. “Not a blessed thing.”

Lily’s cheeks blazed with color. She looked down and laughed. “Fair enough.”

Julian squeezed just hard enough to get her bruised attention. “I don’t want a crush from you, Lily. I can get that anywhere.”

“What do you want then? You want me to fall in love with you too?”

“Love.” His dead laughter filled Lily with emptiness. “Love is stupidly weak when I want something far more complex. Don’t pretend to understand. Let me explain it to you. I want to be a thorn in your side. I want to occupy every bit of your heart until you can’t breathe without feeling me strangling you with my being. Love comes and goes. It’s easy. I want your hate, Lily. I want you to loathe me so much you want to die. Can you do that for me, darling?”

Vicious Bliss: broken update 11-13-09

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Katherine recoiled. She almost dropped her fairy-pink cotton candy. “What did you just say?”

He immediately crowded her; not wanting to let her move away from him. Mikhail dipped his head and placed warm lips next to her small ear. “I love you, Katherine.”

Standing there, clutched his embrace, she looked past his shoulder. Electric lighting blurred, becoming a chaotic representation of their unusual circumstance. With his touch, she found the emotional walls between them becoming paper-thin. Katherine tried to respect their construction, even though she knew all it would take is one well-placed thought to punch right through them.

“You’ve only known me a week.”

“Same as you. And just like you, I’m in love.”

“Huh?” Katherine craned her head back to search his face. “What do you mean by that?”

His eyes crinkled with teasing warmth. “You love me too.”

She sputtered; cheeks pink and mouth gaping like a fish. “Well…I mean…I really didn’t say…you…ah…”

“Yes, you did. I heard you.” Seeing she was going to continue to spout denial in a nonsensical string of broken phrases, Mikhail tapped her nose once. “My ears are very, very good. I heard you, Katharina.”

Katherine trembled from all the emotions trying to erupt. Her gaze skittered away from his.

Isn’t this what I always wanted? Someone to love me. Someone who wasn’t afraid of me. So why am I so afraid?

“Mikhail?”

“Yes?”

“Is this going to get sexual?”

He whipped away his hands from her arms. Mikhail shoved them in his pockets. “Wow. I…uh…wow! That came out fast.”

Katherine took courage from his distance. “Do you just want sleep with me?”

“No. Not just.” The uncomfortable creases in his face took on comic proportions. “I mean, if that’s where we go then yes.”

“Are you liar?”

Mikhail froze. His gaze became glass.

“Would you lie to me just to get me in bed?”

“No.” His whisper made Katherine infinitely sad and delirious all at once. “I would never use you like that. Never. I would never do anything that disgraceful to any woman. Ever.”

Katherine wanted to trust with her eyes and not with her touch. She wanted to but she knew herself better. So she came to him, hand sticky with sugar and touched his burning cheek. Feeling Mikhail made her eyes close in bliss. Katherine entered his mind and danced in his lovely emotions.

She saw them together, imaginings like smoke in his thoughts.

Oh, he does want me. Badly. But that’s not all. He…he loves me. I’m inside his heart. Even I know this is insane. We don’t know each other. I can’t believe I started this stupidity but here we are. He’s not lying to me. He’s not. He loves me. Me!

“Katharina?”

She hummed in answer.

“What are you doing?”

Katherine gasped, pulling out of his body with violent disconnect. She struggled to find normalcy in her phrasing. “I just…I just wanted to touch you. I’m sorry.”

“No, that’s okay.” He rushed to pull her hand against him again. “I like it when you touch me. You can do it whenever you want.”

Mikhail’s earnest smile set off guilt.

If only you knew what you were really agreeing to.

Suicide Doll update 11-10-09

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

The raucous noise of his clattering shoes served as a warning to his defiant playmate. Narcissus hoped she heard him with a guilty mind. When he topped the last stair, he swung off the banister post and yelled, “Lisette!”

He gagged before the last syllable burst from his lips. Decay ripened inside his chest. Narcissus covered his nose and mouth with a richly-embroidered sleeve. He blinked back the tears forming in defense against the stench suffocating the sprawling attic.

“Lisette?”

The room swallowed the tiny and unnoticed querulous sound passing as speech. Narcissus froze in terror. His hand swung clumsily by his side, fingers instinctively searching the small hand that had been by his side forever. He wanted to run away. He wanted to close the room up and never, ever look for what he was sure to find.

‘NO! She’s not here. She can’t be. Lisette CANNOT be in this room.’

Narcissus looked to his side. His elegant brows drew close in drugged surprise. A doll lay discarded on the dusty floor. His feet whispered over to the toy. He crouched down and touched it with a fingertip. Narcissus remembered this doll. It was the one he had given her when they had first moved into the present house assigned to them by Nephilim.

It had been her favorite—much to his delight. For years Lisette would never be seen without her doll. When had that changed? When had Lisette discarded her faithful companion? Why didn’t he ever notice? How did he forget such an important part of his darling?

Narcissus dropped the arm covering his mouth in order to pick up the forgotten toy. He breathed shallowly in a vain effort to stave off the poisoned air. His incensed thoughts rambled while his fingers stroked the doll’s blank face.

‘What could be that stench? I can’t believe no one comes up here daily to ensure nothing dies here by accident. It could be a cat for all I know and I love cats so! I swear if Lane has been derelict in his duties by allowing some poor creature to die in here…well, I will definitely have that butler’s head for this!’

Some distant part of him wondered if he was only delaying the inevitable, however, Narcissus refused to even contemplate such a thought. The smell had to belong to an animal. It wasn’t Lisette.

‘She couldn’t have died because if she did so would I. It’s an impossibility for me to continue to live in world without Lisette. I’m still breathing so must she.’

Fixated on his implacable will, Narcissus continued to study the present puzzle of Lisette’s doll. A few moments could be forgiven because his quick mind would solve it with minimal effort. Then Lisette could forget her rage with him after he returned her beloved toy.

He considered it, seeing Lisette in its lovely countenance. Narcissus blew out a long rush of air. His nose prickled. The ghastly smell wanted to undue him. The haze of the past cleared and he remembered. Lisette had last carried it when they came up into this very attic as children and left it as adults.

Grim Alice update 11-8-09

Estimated reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

“Yukio,” Director H. remained fixated on Alice. “I would have a word with you if you please.”

The younger male bowed his head and obeyed the dazzling creature whose intricately layered white suit threatened to outstrip the room of color. Yukio’s resentment presented itself only through his overly graceful movements. Director H. smiled and gestured, “She’s perfect for you. She followed me with only minimal slaughter.”

“Minimal? How minimal Director H.?”

He shifted from one leg to the other before addressing his diminutive colleague. “I only had to kill her seventy-one times.”

“Violently?”

“Mostly.”

“And she never hesitated in coming back for more?”

“No. In fact, Alice dared me to employ even nastier methods. The blood would’ve sickened even you, Director K.”

A blissful smile touched his rosebud mouth. “Exhilarating.”

Yukio remained unmoved by their morbid conversation.

Director H. waved the young man closer. He waited until Yukio reached his side. “Alice is strong enough even for your demons. You won’t be able to scare her away. She’ll keep coming after you until you have no choice but to give into her charms.”

“As you say, Sir.”

“I do say. I say very well. Look at her.” Director H. slid over, making room for his recalcitrant charge. Yukio joined him. Posture erect, virgin-colored robe not close enough to touch the metal rail, Yukio obeyed with minimal effort. His gaze flicked down and away with insulting indifference.

“She’s terrified of being eaten.”

“Really?” Director K. tapped his tiny gloved fingers against the railing in consideration. “She must be sensing it from previous incarnations.” He observed Yukio with sly amusement. “You made quite an impression there, Lord Yamagata. Obviously, you couldn’t contain yourself.”

“It wasn’t me.”

“If you say so. No, actually don’t.” Director K. swiveled his chair and faced the adolescent. His miniature black suit and matching tie contrasted aggressively against the carmine seat and even more so against the blindingly white room. “Our little Alice here has met your acquaintance more than once. I do hope you don’t kill her too quickly, Yamagata-sama. It’s such an effort to procreate these days. If you are tempted to allow your temper to dictate, at least remember that you must ensure your line survives. I can only reorder Time so often before it puts me in wretched mood.”

Yukio’s silvered stare darkened with menace. He pivoted on his heel and faced the child-like being. Yukio bowed low before his elevated chair. “You are my elder, Director K. so I beg pardon if my words are given with disrespect, but I cannot believe I have ever met this human in any incarnation.”

Director K. pursed his rosy mouth. “Is that so?”

“Yes.”

“Foolish boy.” His wide smile revealed perfect fangs. “Why do you think you already hate her so?”

Yukio held Director K.’s mocking gaze for a vulgar amount of time. Helpless rage caused the ends of his knee-length hair to rise. His face whitened past the color of ice. The room’s temperature instantly dropped to freezing.

“And there, my arrogant Yamagata-sama, is all the proof we would ever need.” Director K. sliced the air with his hand. The room became unbearably hot. Yukio dropped to his knees.

Heart no Kuni no Alice Manga

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Peter Almost Kissing Alice...

Today is the perfect day to share this new manga I came across just yesterday. Why? Today I finally updated Grim Alice, my dark Alice in Wonderland inspired piece, and coincidence favored us all.

Heart no Kuni no Alice is a Japanese manga that takes on Alice in Wonderland. Here’s the summary from One Manga:

The girly but bloody otome game re-imagining of Lewis Carroll’s classic fantasy novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with bishounen characters and added romance.

In this story, Alice is not all what she seems. She is practical, strong, yet a cynical person. Instead of the tradition story, Alice is kidnapped unwillingly by a mysterious (yet somewhat bishie-looking) man with bunny ears into a place call Heartland. Stuck in Heartland due to a trick by the mysterious bunny eared man, she meets the residents of this world. Along the way, Alice meets Blood, handsome mafia leader; Ace, the psycho yet charming knight and more…What should Alice do in such a world!?

I absolutely love the art, the psycho quality all characters possess, and I just can’t help but love the vibe inspiring this manga. After all, it’s dangerous and playful just like Grim Alice.

Here’s some a taste of the art:

Alice and the White Rabbit

Alice and the White Rabbit

Alice and Blood Dupre, Mafia King aka the Mad Hatter

Alice and Blood Dupre, Mafia King aka the Mad Hatter

 Blood Dupre musing on Alice

Blood Dupre musing on Alice

Currently, Dark Tower Scanlations group is doing the Japanese-to-English scans, and they are doing a marvelous job. I can’t thank them enough for sharing this.

If you are unfamiliar with reading manga, please be aware that you read this from right to left. Otherwise, you will definitely be confused! :)

If you like Grim Alice, you will definitely have a liking for Heart no Kuni no Alice. Please drop a comment here to let me know what you thought of it.

http://www.onemanga.com/Heart_no_Kuni_no_Alice/1/

Grim Alice update 11-5-09

Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Alice looked at him, frown hanging from her lips. “You are so strange, Director H.”

“As are you. Go on now.” His elegant hand chased her away, albeit slowly.

Alice shook her head and turned away with a shrug. She studied the door before drawing in on her near-limitless reserves of courage. Alice walked through boldly. A curious sensation of falling drew her eyes downwards. Her feet tingled as the floor rushed up to meet her with dizzying precision.

Was I falling up or down?

Alice glanced behind her only to see the doorway had vanished. A cavernous chamber stretched into infinity. Steam floated, coyly showing glimpses of earthen pillars and walls tiled to match the floors.

Silence punctuated only by the irregular sounds of dripping water stuffed her ears to the brim. She easily could believe she was the only creature alive in this odd world.

It felt marvelous.

Alice moved deeper into the chamber. Devoid of fear, but tempered by caution, she allowed curiosity to govern her. The moist air parted to give way to an enormous bathing pool. Alice knew an invitation when it appeared. Her shirt joined shoes and pants in economic fashion. Soon she stood nude. Alice peered into the manufactured pond. She imagined she could fall in and never been found again.

It did not feel marvelous.

Diminutive height aside, Alice had never learned how to swim. Very few things frightened her (somehow Alice’s instinct to feel fear wasn’t reliable) and drowning ranked rather high on this personal footnote.

Come on, Alice. It’s nothing to be afraid of. You’re not going to drown. Only bathe. Director H. wouldn’t go through the trouble of bringing you here if he meant for you to die, right? You’re being silly. Stop it.

Embarrassment dotted her cheeks. She forced her body to stillness. The anxiety evaporated as if it had never been. Stoicism replaced indecision. Alice entered the pool with girlish grace, swaying slightly in a bid for balance, before sinking to her chin.

The water warmed her skin right to the edge of perspiration.  Eyes bluer than the veins in her fragile wrists slit in contentment.  Alice exhaled in smug relief. Everything was fine. Reckless emotions were for those without vision. If she couldn’t control her environment she could at least control herself.

A thick bar of soap appeared with a splash. Alice looked up, expecting to see an intruder. Instead, a beam from an unnoticed dome encircled her. Before she could study the light source, a tiny bottle of viscous liquid dropped in front of her. Alice plucked it from the water with an interested frown.

I guess it’s shampoo. But why so small? It’s worse than what you find at the local shelters.

She set it on the ledge behind her. Alice used the soap with brisk intent. Satisfied with her cleanliness, she ducked her head under for the briefest time possible. Alice’s heart quivered a few disconsolate notes before resuming its normal cadence. She opened the bottle and slathered her long brown hair with the contents. Piling the heavy mass on top of her head, Alice let her senses fall under the exotic scents.

It smells so good. I feel like a rich girl. Or better yet…I feel like I’m in a dream. No problems. No worries.

The enormity of the pool beckoned, testing her spirited conviction. Alice reached out with a foot. She defied physical limitation by clinging to the predetermined “safe” end while commanding her leg to stretch several feet away.

“It’s only water this time. What did he mean by that?” Alice muttered while carefully creeping forward. She somewhat expected to sink into an abyss and was most pleased when it didn’t occur. Alice jumped up once and landed with a splash. A stingy giggle manifested.

Alice dipped her head back, spread her arms wide, and imagined herself to be alone in a friendly sea. If only all water could be so polite and managed. The light continued its monocle stare. She closed her eyes against it and let herself sway in pleasure.

High above the girl, hidden safely in the lighted tower, two sets of eyes studied their newest addition while another set refused to look down.

“She’s magnificent, isn’t she? The constant pull between fear and fearlessness is exquisite.”

“Director H. you are to be commended in your choice of young Alice. She’s a perfect foil for the Yamagatas emissary.” The child voice and matching appearance didn’t reflect the ageless knowledge of the speaker.

“She will doubtlessly be pleased with young Yukio.”

“Really? How can you be so sure?”

Director H. spared his distant relative a mocking glance. “She thinks my eyes are pretty. And my hair. I imagine if I had bunny ears she would enjoy those as well.”

“Are you interested? It’s not too late to change the pairings.”

“Too kind you are but no. I’ve tired of the details that comes with pairings long ago. I’d much rather watch.” Director H. propped his chin on white-gloved hand. “They’re so delicious though, aren’t they?”

“Hmm. Yes. They are.” Brilliantly violet eyes turned away from the splashing pseudo-nymph and addressed the young man standing a hostile distance away. “What do you think of her Lord Yukio?”

“She’s adequate.”

“Really? How can you be so sure? You haven’t even looked at her.”

“I don’t need to, Director K. I trust you and Director H. with the choice.”

Devil’s Descent II update 11-4-09

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

She considered him. “What are we doing here, Julian?” The name curled her mouth deliciously. “Have you forgotten we hate each other?”

“Absolutely not.” He raised her arm and kissed her wrist. “It’s time to go home, Lily. Let’s go.”

“I can find my own way home.”

“Are we starting this again, darling? If you had just listened to me earlier you wouldn’t have fallen down and destroyed your dress.”

“What? Oh no!” Lily studied the full skirt in horror. Dirt smears mixed with dried blood told its tale. Her chin trembled. “My dress…my grandma’s dress…”

“Lily, you’re crying!” He chastised in genuine surprise. “Come now, dearest. It’s just a dress.”

“No! It’s not just a dress! It’s my grandma’s…it was her favorite…and I…I ruined it!” Lily pushed past Julian and ran back into the bathroom. She grabbed the hem and lifted it. She studied the stains with critical focus. The mud might come out; she’d have to work on it with a brush after it dried. The blood—Lily never could get blood out completely and she didn’t want to risk asking her mother to do it.

“Think, Lily, think. What does she do? I gotta get this out now. Salt…no…maybe soap…yes, I can do this with soap. Hot water or cold? I can’t remember…”

“Lily, leave the dress with me and I’ll get it cleaned.”

She looked up, momentarily distracted from her panic. “Can you? It really would mean the world to me.”

“Of course, my sweet.” Julian brushed back her disheveled hair and cooed, “I couldn’t have this tragedy on my conscience. Give me the dress and I’ll make sure you get it back in pristine condition by morning.”

“Are you sure you can do it? I mean, there’s no one in town that does this for a living.”

“There’s a place outside of Vickery Hill.”

The gentle reminder of how she was a prisoner and he wasn’t dampened Lily’s enthusiasm. “Oh, that’s right.” She cleared her throat. “Umm, I can trust you about this, right? I mean you wouldn’t screw me over on this?”

Her naivety in conjunction with her obnoxious language coaxed an honest smile from Julian. “Yes. You can. Unlike Ian I don’t lie.”

“Good. I’d hate to have to kill you for this.” Lily’s breezy threat fell flat as she remembered she no longer had contact with the Spirit. “Julian?”

“Yes?”

“Earlier you said something about this being normal. I mean, you said something about the Spirit wasn’t done with me. What did you mean?”

“Is this a conversation you want to have in the bathroom?”

“I don’t care.”

“Well, I do. Come on. Strip and I’ll bring you something to wear. Then we’ll talk.”

Lily stopped him halfway out the door. “I’m not going to wear something of hers.”

“I’m not that crass. You can wear one of my shirts. It’s long enough to cover those plump little thighs. No one will see anything.”

“Plump? Maybe compared to those sticks over there.” Lily stuck her nose in the air, daring him to contradict her.

“You’re so catty. I love it.” Julian gifted her a rakish grin before disappearing.