His view

After centuries of hiding in the dark corners of the world, and years of bleak existence bound to the will of others, she came. She leaked into the cracks of his hard exterior, melting his frozen soul, unaware of what she was doing. It happened quietly, without fanfare, but for him she was like the sun rising; painful and harsh after eons of cool darkness.

His eyes were attuned to the black cell he inhabited. He could make out the fine texture in the stone and concrete walls. The chains that held his wrists were cold and heavy, but they made no impression on his smooth skin. He hung against the wall, still as death.

Barely any light reached him in this dark recess, but the little there was glinted off of dust that floated on the fine air currents in the room. A long staircase lead up to a heavy wooden door a story above him. Despite the thick stone walls and his distance from the door, he could still here the breeze and the activities of small creatures above.

Every day was the same. Every night was the same after his masters left. Every hour, every minute, except when he was out doing his masters’ bidding. So it was obvious that the scraping, clinking, and turning of the lock in the big heavy door was unusual. It was not the sound of a key turning. It was the sound of a clumsy attack on the tumblers in the heavy lock.

The darkness was abruptly filled with blinding light when the door finally cracked open. His eyes adjusted quickly to see a slender figure silhouetted in the doorway. The light created a glowing halo around her form, and he cringed away from the onslaught of day. He could smell her humanness flowing with the breeze down into the room. The intoxicating warmth almost sent him into a frenzy, but millennia of control kept him still as he watched her shield her eyes to see into the darkness.

He recognized the smell. It was the new scent that had perplexed him on his return the night before.

She stepped slowly down the stairs. When she cleared the doorway the light crashed into him, setting the nerves in his skin ablaze. He did not react. The shining dust motes fluttered around her, ebbing and flowing with the currents she disturbed as she descended.

He heard her gasp when her eyes adjusted enough to be able to make out his presence. She retreated against the wall, almost at the bottom of the stairs. Her heart quickened from its already bird-like pace.

Her skin was pale but flushed. It clung to her skeleton while her clothing hung loose. The nape of her neck was completely exposed for her hair was cropped short and curled in ringlets around her hairline. The valleys in her face were sallow. He surmised that in contrast to his own immortality, she was at death’s door.

“What on earth…” she whispered to herself.

He could hang still as a statue against the wall. He could be so still she may never realize he was alive. She would leave him alone, leave this dungeon, and he could continue his existence, as it was, with just the one piece of light to think on for another hundred years. Or he could indulge his growing curiosity, have a little fun. It had certainly been long enough, he didn’t know if he even still knew how, but this was at least something different. It wouldn’t be long until the masters returned and this respite would be stripped from him.

He turned his head in her direction.

The curve of her lip trembled and her chest rose and fell with quick breaths. He could smell the fear around her almost like a perfume, but it wasn’t the usual terror he had become accustomed to. He hadn’t smelled apprehension of this sort for a very long time.

“Who are you,” she asked in a husky alto voice.

It had been at least fifty years since he had last uttered a word. His masters required no response from him, only obedience. He had fought them, tried to reason with them, screamed in frustration at them for the first century of his bondage, but it got him nowhere, and in time he fell into near complete silence.

He could feel the dust on his unused cords as he sucked breath into long-dormant lungs.

“I am the oldest nightmare,” he hissed.

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