A Perfect Storm

Part Sixteen of the Sonata in Red series.
Part One: A Song of Glory
Part Two: A Choir of Intrigue
Part Three: Etude in the Sun
Part Four: A Requiem in the Dark
Part Five: Hymns of Terror
Part Six: Refrain from the Past
Part Seven: Refrain from the Past (pt. 2)
Part Eight: A Fugue in Three Parts
Part Nine: Rondo Alla Contrattempo
Part Ten: Interlude
Part Eleven: A Fool’s Masquerade
Part Twelve: A Reprised Duet
Part Thirteen: Dancing with the Devil
Part Fourteen: Adagio under Lantern’s Glow
Part Fifteen: Into Destiny


The hall I’m in is empty with James’ departure, with none of the guards in the vicinity and no obvious indications for where Sophia may be I tease out the perceptive power of the grey, extending my senses out searching for signs of activity. The sounds of seven distinct individuals are faintly audible. Fortunately only two of the figures seem to be female with a significant difference in age between them.
The older woman was accompanied by a man of similarly advanced age and they both seemed to be sleeping. The younger woman was alone in a room nearby, awake despite the late hour. Opening my eyes draws my senses back to my human limits, repealing the shallow dip I’d taken into the grey. Adjusting my path to avoid the patrolling guards I carefully time my approach so I arrive by Ava’s room as I predict the guards to be the furthest from this area of the estate they’re likely to go. Bowing my head demurely, I wrap the door with the back of my knuckles politely and confidently let myself into the room.
Inside the room is dimly lit by the light of some candles, slumped sobbing over a desk a young lady lightly dressed in her sleeping attire. The click of the door closing behind me as I enter attracts her to glance back in my direction. Sofia’s face greets me with a confused expression behind her tear streaked face and bloodshot red eyes. Everything about her appearance exactly as I remembered from that night.
My heart pounds thunderously in my chest. I take a hesitant step towards her, savouring the moment. My blood roars in my ears, my veins burning with the thrill of the moment. Scarlett’s lips parting slightly as I search desperately for the words, but it is Sophia’s voice that breaks the silence first.

“What do you want, Scarlett? I wish to be left alone tonight,” her voice is rough from crying. The words sound fundamentally identical as on that night but some evanescent quality feels different, causing my resolve to falter. Suddenly I begin to consider the insanity of my actions, invading a Baronet’s home without a plan on the off chance his daughter-in-law happens to be the woman who pushed me off a roof once. Whether this is Sophia or not, what am I hoping for?
Too late to back out now, I shore my resolve and walk across the room towards her. Sophia, or Ava, is taken aback by the flagrant disregard given to her words by a servant. By the time she realises that something is wrong I’ve closed the distance to an arm’s reach from her.

“Good evening, fair maiden,” I offer my widest harlequin grin, tilting my head slightly for effect. Smoothing down her wild hair before running the back of my hand lovingly across her cheek I stare deeply into her eyes and continue, “I beseech thee most earnestly, not to shout. I am not Scarlett, but an old dance partner from another age. You knew me as Nightingale, I gave you my true name and you called yourself Sophia. I’ve followed the trail of your sweet music for all these years, dreaming of our reunion. You called it fate that we should meet again, and at last you are proven true.”

Inspiration shapes the words that pour from me like a dam bursting after so many years. I want to sing, to take her by the hand and dance upon the rooftops. The exaltation of my victory should be profound and beautiful, but I am met not by the fierce dancer I had known that night. In her eyes none of the fire and madness I had dreamt of. Ava, for I cannot think of this weak thing as Sophia, looks at me terrified.
She screams. This is not going at all as I’d hoped. The shrill cry is met by the yelling of guards out in the hall. Falling backwards from the chair and crawling desperately away from me, I feel quite confident that this woman while physically identical to Sophia could not possibly be her.
Determined not to have wasted this entire pursuit, I plunge into the grey and with preternatural speed I whisk up the empty chair and bar the door to buy a moment before the guards arrive. Empowered by the ephemeral mists I dance across the room, effortlessly lifting Ava and holding her against the wall. I allow her to truly see me in the mist, her terror silencing her screams.

“Does anything I said mean anything to you?”

She shakes her head, tears flowing freely once more. A violent rage boiling over beneath the surface of my calmly threatening demeanour.

“Is there anyone in the world you know of who looks exactly like you? Do you have a sister? Has anyone ever stolen your blood? Does the name Sophia hold any meaning to you?”

She shakes her head again to each question. Behind me the guards have made it to the door and will be through in seconds.

“Where is your husband headed right now?”

“I don’t know! He won’t tell me!” she bawls suddenly, having apparently touched on a nerve I long to press further but the splintering wood of the door insists it is time to go. Dropping Ava unceremoniously pushing the monster blood in my veins to its limits I dash towards the window, deftly hooking my hand beneath the desk and hurling it through before me as I leap.
I hear the guards charging into the room behind me. They have the skill to perceive me but not the power to catch me. I don’t waste time returning to the Gate, it will already be closed against me and not even Aiden would aid me tonight. Instead I rush towards the river Sol, my options severely limited after assaulting one of the aristocracy. If I’m able to survive my flight I will need to lay low for a few days for the heat to blow over.

Up ahead the roar of the waterfall grows steadily louder as I approach. Like the drums of  war fighting to drown the screams of the damned in hell, I offer a desperate prayer to the stars and leap into the tumultuous cascade of water.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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