"Heart of Darkness"
By Niko Wilde
Copyright © 2002, all rights reserved

”My only love sprung from my only hate Too early seen unknown, and known too late Prodigious birth of love it is to me, That I must love a loathed enemy.” -Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare


His eyes scanned the room nervously, almost as if he were trying to map out the quickest route to the closest exit. Fat beads of oily sweat rolled down his forehead, and his hands shook as he reached for the glass of bourbon that sat between us. I waited while he tried to get his bearings, while he reached across the table to take hold of the lit cigarette, and inhale deeply.

I waited, even though my patience was wearing thin, because he was afraid…and if he was afraid, I knew I had good reason to be.

His name was Kadin, and he had the most beautiful amber colored eyes that I’ve ever seen. In this dim light, I could see the flecks of gold that were reflected by the candlelight...and I found myself enamored by the color of his skin. It was like warm coffee with cream, so smooth and unblemished that I found myself wanting to run my fingers across the exposed flesh on his wrist.

I’d never do such a thing, of course, but the temptation was still there. Sometimes I fancied myself capable of catching glimpses of hidden secrets, when my fingertips began their slow dance against flesh. And what sat before me was flesh worth touching; worth learning from.

I couldn't gauge his exact age, but he was old. Not in the mortal sense, where skin wrinkled and turned parchment thin, and eyes clouded over milky white with the faded memories of all that had come before. The being that sat before me showed his age in an entirely different way. His skin had once been the color of rich mahogany, I could tell- but the years had mellowed it into something softer and warmer. The wrinkles that should have creased his forehead, belying age and wisdom, were simply not there. He was as smooth as an infant, and if I gave in to my urge to touch him, I would find him as hard and unmovable as a granite statue.

What could make such a powerful creature afraid? And what, exactly, did it have to do with me?

He spoke first, almost as if the question had been said aloud.

"You're connected to him, somehow. I can feel it. I can smell it on you. You share the same blood." His voice was quiet and calm, the perfect contrast to the outward fear that he projected. He looked at me with those amber eyes, glowing dully in the dim light, as if these simple words should explain everything.



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