[center [size14 [font "Times" Viintage & Tweedy write autumnal, gothic characters!
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[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/gLyuXVa.jpg?1]] [size14 [font "Times" Armand watched the little creature as she drew away. So very small. And as she shrank back, he moved forwards again, willing himself to stand up straight. He now was something near 7 foot/2 meters, head brushing the foliage above. He balanced himself as best he could, feeling his body spread out about himself. And with the human so close, some of his tentacled appendages lapped at her toes, tasting their own blood.
The creature had little reason to trust a human, even one so fragile and alone as this one. Even the smallest thing was capable of the smallest amount of harm. His curiosity was keeping him tame, and exhaustion, and standing against his sense of self preservation. In his condition he was solid, he could not wick himself away to safety like a vapor. She needed to be out of his way if he wanted to make it out through the door, and not by attempting to break through anything else, risking further injury.
He knew she was afraid of him. What he did not was how much she knew about him, how much her searching, groping eyes were capable of seeing. If she could recognize him beyond these moments now.
As she continued, he tilted his head, more pale hair falling over his shoulder in front of himself as he shifted. Was it simple curiosity, then, that was leading her to pursue him? How foolish.
His eyes moved to her fingers, the ones she had dipped in his blood as she had bent; stained with it. Armand tilted his head, watching her again. It would be so easy to kill her now. If he still had strength in his body- which was debatable now- but there was a chance. Alone. No one was pursuing her, and his own pursuit he hadn't heard in some time... the men.
"[B Help,]" he repeated, disbelieving as his face hardened, his frown deepening. "[B What could a tiny creature like you do to help me? And why?]" Suspicion colored him. Far be it from him not to believe that she wouldn't want to ask him for something in return. Something potentially dangerous. For perhaps she was hiding some truer nature about her.
Her last statement made him wonder, Armand shifting closer again so he could better see her expression. Bending down so he could look into her face, so very close that he more felt than heard her pulse now.
His voice crooned an inquisitive sound, "[B And have you so resigned yourself to a fate at my behest?]"
[right [font "Times" ...[i Perhaps.]]]
[font "Times" Miriam trembled, ever so slightly, to the low vibrations of his voice. He was uncertain but not so much threatened and that gave her enough hope that she might walk away alive tonight. Still, her curiosity kept her in place just feet away from him. Fingers entangled with one another and eyes searching for even the slightest of change. Or better yet, the movement of this person's lips.]
[right [font "Times" ...[i It was human, right?]]]
[font "Times" Just another strange man who'd lost his way in her backyard. Unfriendly, but to her guess, not in the greatest of shape. Not according to his tone. But what if he wasn't? The anticipation fueled even her wildest imaginations. And with her sight in ruins, they seemed more real then anything else she had grown to know. To think otherwise, Now that was a challenge. Miriam inhaled deeply. And while her chest dropped so did her shoulders.]]
[font "Times" [b "It takes a few trial and errors to memorize my way though here. That, I'll admit. But while we're on the topic of injuries..."] By this time her voice had trailed off and she finally caught a glimmer of gold shining through a vale of white and grey. It was so close, and so clear that it took her a moment to process what she had just seen.]]
[font "Times" His words fell onto her bare skin and rolled over tiny goose bumps now forming along her collar bone. It was cold. like a winter breeze but moist instead of crisp. Miriam's first instinct was to build distance. She fell back a few steps, dragging her feet along the gravel to ensure she didn't go off the pathway. But in doing so, she had lost all sight of him. Even those bright burning embers that permanently stuck in her head.]
[font "Times" [b "No..."] She left it short and sweet. No reason to play dramatic, though her heart said other wise. The heavy beating pulsed through her body like the warm blood in her veins. She was afraid. There's no telling what someone is capable of when they feel cornered. Human or not. And that was what scared her most. Miriam [b " But that was never the reason I came out here in the first place."]]
[font "Times" [b "God granted us five senses. Faculties of sight, of smell, of hearing, of taste, and of touch. Remove one of those and the rest seem to heightened."] she rubbed together her fingers. The same fingers now stained because of him. just line her feet, and the waist line of her gown. [b " This garden now reeks of blood and dirt, and I know I have you to thank for that. Still, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't offer some help."]]
[font "Times" [b " That is, unless you've made up you mind about what you've planned to do with me."]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/gLyuXVa.jpg?1]] [size14 [font "Times" The earth beneath him tasted fresh, fed, and turned, and alive. And tainted with the astringent tang of his blood. The parts of his body, now eldritch and strange to him, that touched the earth granted him knowledge of it as if he had it pressed to his tongue. His senses were hideously alive now as he heard the push of blood through the woman's veins, and the uncertain, hard punch of her heart.
"[B Perhaps that is for the best,]" Armand responded, feeling his voice getting dangerously inquisitive as his patience thinned. It was almost a teasing comment. The wounds on his body were a constant draw on his patience and attention. Sapping his strength from him and pushing thoughts into his head as his body ached for something to replace it. "[B You might trip, fall and hurt yourself in your flight,]" he continued, feeling his mouth water at the prospect of tasting not only his blood in the air.
"[B Why indeed?]" The creature shifted, hearing his joints complain at the movement. His voice was failing him now, holding onto what human aspects it had and falling into something more hollow, bestial. He grit his teeth, sneering at the searching, blank face of the woman as she [i smiled] at him. It was infuriating somehow and he wound his arms around himself tighter to try and keep still. Armand's back was arching as he looked over her fragile body.
"[B Its appeal has fled now,]" he panted, thinking to the silence and safety and musty warmth he had been seeking.
The creature shifted closer to her, angling their faces close to one another with one, unsteady step, dragging his bulk behind himself. The sound of slithering drew closer to Miriam, as did the sound of the voice.
"[B And you,]" he inquired, impatience and a curious threat entering his tone now. "[B Do you think you can evict me?]"
A humanoid face pushed towards her into a ghostly sliver of suggested moonlight. Angular, shadowed, gray, and with glittering, gold eyes like embers from the back of a stove grate, barely visible through the slots. But there nonetheless as they reflected the moon, hung over with pale hair, gone stringy in some parts with the dark staining on the ends. And the mouth stained dark.
[font "times" Mid day and she could walk the greenhouse a thousand times and know exactly where she was at. She could distinguish each particular smell her mothers plants gave off. Know what had been watered and what was beginning to dry out, simply by the texture of their leaves. She had memorized this place in a way she herself found hard to believe, despite how large it was. But during a night like this, when mist fogged the glass that surrounded them, she felt quite [i unsure]. As if the gravel path she stood on narrowed into what looked like a hall of pure darkness cradled in branches, vines, and weighted leaves.]
[font "times" Miriam tried desperately to give shape to what was in front of her. To find confidence in her memory but her nerves distracted those beautiful images with Reality. She could not see. And the more she concentrated, the more she strained her doe-like eyes. Causing them to water over and over again.]
[font "times" Perhaps tending to her curiosity was unnecessary. She was incapable at this point and for that she was, surprisingly afraid. But not for some irrational fear that a monster would drag her into an imaginary abyss and feed on her flesh. No, she was more worried about falling or injuring herself that would give Aunt Diane yet another reason why she was unfit to live alone. Hell, that woman's voice replayed over and over again inside of Miriam's head. it was as if she never left. ]
[font "times" It didn't seem worth going any further inside the greenhouse then what she already had. No sign of movement, or even sound. But then it spoke. A strained rasp of a voice coming from in front of her. So there was something inside. Or better yet, Someone. Miriam's hand dropped from the door handle in a very slow manner and her heart began to race a little.]
[font "Times" As far as pin pointing the direction, that was the challenge. She dragged her feet one in front of the other and while unknowingly she was close, she felt so far away. Her only hope was for the stranger to speak up again, so she responded. making light to the tension that was growing.[b " - Not when your speaking to someone who has spent majority of her time caring for these -"]
[font "Times" Miriam has stopped mid sentence when she felt something warm pooling around her frozen toes. It was thick and as she bent over to touch it her with her fingers she could immediately smell the iron leaving its mark in the air. She knew what it was - although she hoped it wasn't. And to make matters worse, she was being questioned about her worst vulnerability.]
[font "Times" What was she to say? Yes? She hadn't the slightest idea where to look in order to respond. Miriam stayed put and began cleaning her hands with the bottom end of her dress. her body now trembling because of her anxiety. [b " I see shapes and I see colors. But right now I see nothing."]]
[font "Times" [b "... So what ever you're business is in here, I can assure you, it is still your business."] there was a smile. Brief and full of concern but it was her way of coping with the many ideas floating about in her head. There was the one of someone dying which she wouldn't know how to explain, and then there was the thought of potentially losing her own life simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But what was she going to do? Run? Scream? [b " But if I may ask... Why here?"]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/gLyuXVa.jpg?1]] [size14 [font "Times" The mist clung heavily to his hair and the cloaks that he had managed to keep pulled about himself in this form. The moisture in the air on open wounds and damp skin made it feel even colder. But it was dark now, it was quiet. Little things that shouldn't be about were sleeping or hiding now. It was all the mercy he felt he was willing to give them, if he still had the strength to fight back longer. He was seeking solitude now, so he could assess how hurt he was.
A greenhouse would do. Standing, shining dully in the moonlight like a ghostly skeleton, with barely membranes stretches over its form. Perhaps it would be warmer inside. Greenhouses often had, with their sun-warmed interiors, a temperature difference from the world around them. It would be nice to sit somewhere quiet like that for now.
He was barely holding together his form, his pace, as he lurched from the treeline and in towards the structure, trying to find its entrance. The stress and the pain was making it not so, and so when long fingers finally found the handle to the portal, he was what felt like the heaviest, most unbalanced he had ever been. Inside it was blissfully quiet. It was still.
Those same hands found the edges of a counter upon which smaller plants were held, fingers curling to gently hear the scratch of his nails on the wood. Just to remind himself he lived.
The creature had to duck to make it inside, standing at somewhere nearing two meters/seven feet. And despite the greenhouse's size, there was a surprising lack of space to maneuver inside. The tended plants in their containers, and set into the soil beneath meant someone kept this place. Armand found himself wondering if they would find him. If they woud kill him. If he had enough energy to flee or fight. His legs weren't working well now, nearly overcame now with extra, boneless limbs slithering over the things around him; tasting the surroundings for themselves as if dragging him down like roots.
And it was that figure that the other who entered the greenhouse would have seen. Head and shoulders and torso recognizable as human- but the hunch seemed one of pain. And the sound of flesh sliding against flesh was unmistakable. The long, pale-haired head turned slightly, blackened, aurelian eyes sliding to view the pale little slip of a creature that hesitated by the door.
The slam of the door made him flinch, unexpected, and ended in that turn towards her. He had heard her coming, had tasted the heightened pulse and the warmth of such a small body as she drew closer, foolish to chase. And yet she was unarmed. She was afraid, even as her eyes searched the darkness. The drip of his own blood onto the ground/gravel caught his attention briefly and he shifted, moving deeper into the shadows underneath the taller plants.
Now the silence felt static- tense with the electricity of the unknown. His own difficulty breathing would have given him away, so Armand did little else to conceal himself, pulling his shrouds closer. Those eyes would be the only glimmer he could not conceal, trained on her, watching to judge if she were dangerous or not.
"[B Is that not up for debate now?]" came his strained rasp of a voice, feeling a rueful grin tug at his lips away from his teeth.
"[B Do you see me?]"
He could feel more of his face cracking. He wasn't gone completely yet. But everything adding up was making it harder to keep a stable form. His body hurt with all that had sprung from it this night. He wasn't going anywhere easily with how lame his legs were this way, none of the lightness he gained if he just let it happen. Armand's vision swam with the frustration of it, blurring his vision and poised on his lashes, ready to leap down his face to trail along the cracks in it. And every inch opened a new eye on his skin, pushing, seeping in from the cracks in his visage.
[center [font 'times' [i '━ It is said, that the day the devil falls in love, it’s will be the most hauntingly beautiful thing ever. And we should all be terrified. For he will go to the depths of hell to have her...']]]
[font "Times" Miriam Marie Valentine. A dainty little creature with skin as pale and smooth as pure milk, was now in contrast to the heavy red curtains she stood against as she gazed out into the mist that was her back yard. And by god, she was beautiful. Despite her lack of womanly shape and the fogginess that had completely taken over her blue eyes. She was beautiful now and she herself would never know. Her Aunt Diane was the only one left to burden this fact. And although she had made the vow to look after her niece to the best to her abilities, seeing her condition worsen had become depressing to her. "You know. Usually it's quite difficult to see at a time like this but, with the seasons changing and the weather fluctuating I feel like I can make out more then what I should." And it was true. The way the full moon reflected off the blanket of haze brought more light into the house then a dozen candles ever could. This didn't occur often, so the girl did her very best to take it all in before it was gone.]
[font "Times" Miriam shifted her weight to face in the direction of Diane who, thankfully enough, wore a light beige dress that flooded around her feet. "Aunt Diane?" The woman, however, was unresponsive at first. Far to busy worrying about the reality of Miriam's life. Would she ever marry? Would she ever bare children? or had she already grown comfortable with this loneliness. "Miriam dear, don't you think you're spending too much time here?" The frustration was evident in Diane's voice and Miriam immediately made her way over to her hug her tight. " I am fine. Honestly. I take a few hours out of my day to go outside. I've been memorizing where everything is and where it goes -"]
[font "Times" " Miriam your twenty four. Your mother had you at twenty one. Is this to be your life? Living like a widow in a big home. You can't even venture upstairs unless someone is here." Diane pulled away from the girl. Holding her by the shoulders with both hands. And Although she couldn't see it, Miriam could feel her aunts pity burning holes onto her face. It happened every week she came to check in. She'd spend the day cleaning what her niece could not. Stocking her kitchen with food she made sure to bring, and then right before leaving she would give the same lecture Miriam was sick of hearing. Diane let out a heavy sigh. "Sell the house, dear. You can come stay with us now that your cousin has moved out. You'll be in the middle of town - we can introduce you to new people." Miriam took hold of her aunts hand and with much confidence, led her down the hall and to the door. No light needed.]
[font "times" "Aunt Diane, you know I can't do that. I appreciate the kindness and the concern but this is all I have left of Mother - of my father. and until my eyes fall out of my head, I am staying here." It was home and it would stay home for as long as she could help it. Diane simply smiled. Pressed her lips against Miriam cheek and said [i " Okay"] Before making her way out. Meanwhile Miriam returned to the same window she had made herself comfortable at since sunset. Staring endlessly out into bliss while her memories unfolded. But tonight Diane's words were like splinters. She couldn't shake the truth of what she meant. Miriam wasn't getting any younger, and her eyes weren't getting better.]
[font "times" The bushes along side her Mothers greenhouse, rustled against the glass and for a split moment her tired eyes picked up movement from within. It was so sudden that she didn't think much of it. Hell, it could have been anything or nothing at all. But then it happened again, and again, to which Miriam's curiosity led her through the kitchen, out the back door and into the rustic structure that smelt of rain and rose petals. Her bare feet immediately went numb against the cool gravel path while Her cheeks and her nose turned pink. She didn't expect for it to be so dark inside considering it was nothing but glass and leaves. ]
[font "times" Her hand slipped from the door and it slammed closed behind her. which caused the entire frame to sway ever so slightly. "Its a garden, not an enchanted forest.."]
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