Chapter 2

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"We need to go." The man grabbed my hand and helped me to my feet.  I could feel an electric current of desire sizzling from the place where our hands touched.

I struggled to stand. I had floated in the darkness all my life, so I had never walked. This sensation of gravity and balance felt foreign to me. I got dizzy rising, but I quickly adjusted to it.

In the blackness, I hadn't even known I had legs. I didn't know I had a mind or who I was. All I knew was pain.

Maybe because this man had "summoned" me, he knew the answers to all my questions. Maybe he knew who my mother was and why I had been trapped in that darkness for so long. Maybe he could share his knowledge with me. Maybe that was why he rescued me.

A warm sensation heated my body as I stared at his silky, dark hair and muscular shoulders. I already knew everything there was to know about pain, maybe this man was here to show me pleasure. Pleasure. Something about the word made my stomach tumble with excitement.

I understood the concept of pleasure, but I had never actually experienced it. I was pretty sure pleasure was what caused by heart to ache every time I gazed at my master.

My master didn't give me much time to learn how to walk before we were running. It was an odd sensation, but it felt delightful for the air to flow over my skin and through my hair as we raced forward. I could see now that my hair was black as well, like the tar. It kept flying in my mouth and threatening to suffocate me like the darkness had. His hand that held mine, looked so pale against my skin. My skin was dark, like tree bark.

Eventually we stopped, in the middle of a clearing, surrounded by evergreen trees. This place looked just like the last place. We were in the middle of a forest that must have gone on for miles in every direction.

"I think we're safe for now," my master said. "We'll camp here for the night."

I nodded my head. I'd be happy anywhere, as long as I was never trapped in that black tar again. I didn't pay much attention to my master's fear. That must have been why we were running, but nothing could be as horrible as that tar that had surrounded me and filled my lungs had been.

My master reached into the pouch attached to his side and threw some black, sparkly dust into the air. It fluttered and spread in the wind until it touched every tree around us and coated the ground. Black lightning burst from my master's fingertips and zapped all of it.

"Do you have a name?" My master asked.

The ground surrounding us seemed to tremble a little.

I shook my head.

"We'll call you Malentha." He chuckled to himself. "It means 'dark flower.' It suits you. You came from darkness, yet you're still beautiful."

I liked the way the name sounded and blushed at the compliment.

Cracks appeared in the ground surrounding us. It looked like the earth would swallow us, but for some reason, I wasn't afraid.

"My name is Adramalech," he added.

He had a nice name, but my heart preferred the idea of calling him Master. It felt like what he was to me. He brought me here to this foreign place and I'd follow him and everything he did to the ends of the earth.

The trees swayed in front of us as the ground made an audible rumbling noise.

I spoke for the first time, surprised by how velvety, seductive, and feminine my voice sounded. "Why did you rescue me?"

From the cracks in the ground, a strange smell permeated through the air around us. I wrinkled my nose, preferring the non-smells of the darkness I came from. A few tiny creatures slithered from underneath and gathered before us. Their limbs moved unnaturally.

"Rescue you?" Adramalech laughed. "Did I give you the impression that I'm some kind of hero?" He narrowed his eyes. "If there's one thing I'll never be, it's a hero."

I got a closer look at the creatures. They were all animals-like raccoons, squirrels, and birds. But their eyes were glassy and their flesh was rotting. They were dead.

I didn't know how I had this knowledge in my head of what the animals in Zycara were like. All I'd known before this was darkness, so it didn't make sense. It seemed the longer I stayed here, the more I understood of this world, even parts I hadn't yet experienced. Almost like I had been here once before and my memories were slowly returning to me.

I didn't have long to dwell on this. My master grabbed me and pinned me to one of the trees surrounding us. Something about his height and the way he held me made me feel small and feminine. I could feel his power filling the air around us. The sensation of his body against mine was intoxicating.

His voice was husky. "I knew you would be beautiful, but I had no idea you'd be as tempting as this." He gently stroked my hair as he stared at my lips. My body was trembling. He looked like he wanted to kiss me and I could feel myself already melting in his embrace.

He stared into my eyes and I could see a darkness haunting the depths of his pupils. "You may be happy that I summoned you right now, but you'll come to hate me later. There's a darkness inside of me, an evil, that effects everyone close to me."

My body felt weak and my heart thumped loudly in my chest. I could never hate him, no matter what he said. We had a connection now, a magical one that went deeper than words could describe. No matter how evil this man was, he couldn't be as evil as the world he had accidentally saved me from.

But I could feel that his words were true. Something about the way he moved was like a viper. It should have repelled me, but instead it excited me. I had a snake inside me, too.

He pulled away from me and I silently watched as more creatures, even bigger ones like deer and bears burst from the cracks in the ground. They fell apart as they moved, but they continued to crawl. Disembodied hands, heads, and stomachs rolled on top of each other and formed a little house.

When it was finished, everything was still again and the cracks in the earth closed their seams.

"We will sleep in here tonight," Adramalech said.

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