A/N Here it is.. chapter one. This was actually supposed to be a part of a longer chapter, but since I'm doing a few different projects for Christmas, along with an AP psych class, I didn't have a ton of time. So, this chapter's a bit shorter then I would have liked. Plus, the old version of it looked it had been run through the paper shredder so I pretty much had to rewrite the whole chapter. No doubt there are mistakes.. as my proof reading eye isn't as great as I'd like. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy, although I don't quite feel it's on par with the Prologue .
Also of note, the beginning of this chapter is different than was previously posted, due to some critique I received, I decided to write a new section. Whether this was silly on my part or not, I guess I'll find out.
Part I: Bound
An instrumental Composition intended especially as an introduction to an extended work.
Continuing to fall, Castor tried to regain some sense of mobility, as the odd feeling in his limbs and body faded away, replaced by the absolute weariness that seemed to accompany every use of the Swords Dance. The adrenaline that had once been flowing through his veins – from the Swords Dance as well as by the natural panic that had overtaken him when the Mawile had attacked – was now subsiding. Now, he was consciously aware of the pain from his paw coming in frequent, sharp jolts.
Castor’s breathing slowed, gritting his teeth to try and dismiss the pain as best he could as continued to fall. Now that the Mawile was - at least - incapacitated for the moment, he wouldn't have to worry about being followed. Castor closed his eyes, trying to concentrate once more on his place of destination, imagining every detail of horrid place with all the attention he could muster, while trying to ignore the pain coursing through his leg.
He could feel the dark aura of the Faint Attack begin to surround him, enveloping him in the shadows as he phased away into the realm that he had been in moments before. It took only moments of strained concentration for him to come out of the limbo, emerging back into existence with a loud crack that rebounded of the walls. Once more, he found himself falling.
Except, this time, the ground was there to break his fall.
He slammed into it, shoulder first, plowing through the shards of sharp rocks that were littered about the ground. He didn’t even have time to cry out in pain as his head met the rocky wall, and his leg was no better off from the endeavor. His mind began to swim, accompanied by the pain issuing from his leg – which had not in the least appreciated the jarring movements from the fall and landing – and the weariness that had now overtaken his body.
So, it was no surprise to Castor that he felt unconsciousness setting in, looming over him like a great bird of prey, waiting, watching, as his swimming vision erupted into black dots. He did not fight the impending nothingness as his vision wavered and dimmed. He could barely think coherently, and the sleep that came from unconsciousness seemed welcoming.
As his mind drifted, his eye lids closing over red, narrowed eyes, his thoughts couldn’t help but travel back to the time when this had all began, and he began to dream.
It had all began with a dream, so perhaps it was fitting that it ended with one.
Falling, falling, falling, falling…
Castor abruptly awoke, his voice, which had uttered a loud explanation, now fading into a ghostly whimper. His eyes were wide and narrowed, and his breath was coming in harsh gasps. It took him a moment to realize he was sitting up, his mind trying desperately to recall the events that he had just experienced. He distinctly remembered the last moments of his dream.
He had cried out.
He had also been running through a slew of hard rain and wind.
He had been panicked about something.
Faces, he had seen faces, bloody and gashed.
Singing. A scream. Silence.
But in a moment, the memories were gone, the rest of them fading into nothing, like sand through a crack. Slowly, Castor was forced to take in what reality lay before him. He found that he was shaking, cold sweat drenching his snow-white fur, but he found no reason for it; he was afraid, even though he was safely enclosed within the Absol civilization; cold, even though he clad in thick fur meant to brave the elements; alone, despite the fact his brother lay beside him, deep within the realm of sleep.
Shaking his head, Castor tried to grasp the fleeting remnants of the dream, but they, like the rest, were slipping through the cracks, until he was, as always, left with nothing: he was a sufferer without a cause. Only the feelings of fear and dread lingered, for the body could not forget what was instilled in it, even if it could not remember how it had come about; after all, one did not forget the feel of pain, even if the cause was all but forgotten. But that did not help Castor -- it did not tell him why.
He strove to understand, because without understanding, he felt like he was bound with untruth. But how could he understand if he knew nothing? For this reason, part of him wanted to remember every minute detail, down to the last piece of bone, even though he knew deep within himself that whatever he unearthed would not be pleasant. The other half of him, the piece of his soul that was just as young as his body, wanted nothing to do with it, recoiling away from each notion of recall like a Togepi from rotting flesh. That half of him wanted nothing more then to run to his mother for comfort, even though he couldn’t allow himself to do so. He hadn’t run to his mother’s side since he was forced into the start of his Absol independence after eight months under his parents’ care, along with his brother.
Such was the way of the Absol clan.
Independence was stressed. Learn to walk on your own four paws, they said. When you have the ability to walk, use it. To have others carry you is to be lame.
Castor shuffled his paws in a melancholy frustration through the fur bedding till the tips of his claws met the hard rock, stilling as the body of his brother moved, his red face becoming even more apparent in the dying sunset light filtering in from the entrance to the den.
A picture suddenly seared through his brain, as intense and blazing as a flame: it was a picture of a face not unlike his own, rivulets of red coursing down it, seeping into the skin and dyeing it red. Castor jerked, but latched on to the gruesome imagery with a fervid determination. The magnetic gaze drew him in, and he was as reluctant to let it go as it skewed and twisted, becoming more distorted then it already was. He could barely discern the features, now fuzzy and marred by earthy shards.
But if he knew anything, he knew the figure was dead. No one could look like that and not be dead.
It was a start; it was something. Something to distinguish himself from the rest.
Castor jumped automatically, head jerking around to the voice of the speaker, another shot of adrenaline coursing through his body at the sudden fright. Heart thumping in his chest, Castor found his brother, Pollux, looking at him, his features unreadable, although his jade eyes were piercing, like they always were. More often then not, Castor found himself wondering whether his brother could see through him.
“It’s nothing. Just a dream... nothing but a dream,” Castor slowly replied, trying to add surety to his faltering tone.
“Mmm…” Pollux absently turned his head to where the remains of the dying sky were shining through. His voice was monotone, revealing nothing. “Do you remember anything?”
Castor shook his head. “… well, not really. No.” The dead face flashed through his mind again. He doubted it would go away now.
His brother favored him with another piercing glance, but only for a few moments. Pollux’s head was once again resting on his paws, and he curled into a tighter ball, eyes closing. “Then it is of no consequence.”
It is of no consequence… That was what Pollux always said, never actively pursuing anything that came before him. Pollux never badgered him, interrogated him, or anything of the like during the course of his life, he just watched – always watched with those jade eyes that seemed not his own. In some ways, Castor always felt a slight tinge of disappointment at Pollux’s answers, as if his heart expected him to say something different. Although, Castor thought, I have given him no reason to.
It is of no consequence.
Was it? Was it really?
“Go back to sleep, Castor,” Pollux continued, staring out the exit of their tiny den once more. “The moon hasn’t even risen yet.”
Castor watched Pollux curl deeper into the bedding, feeling suddenly empty, while at the same time finding the flitting rays of sunset strangely unwelcoming. He didn’t want to go back to sleep. He doubted that sleep really did anything for him at all. Castor then vaguely wondered if any of the other Absol slept. He knew that foresight – visions, the knowing of the unknown -- were something to his kind, though he had never heard another say anything about it: it was a kind of instinctive intelligence that he knew from the time he was born and was only later certified as truth. It was the same kind of intelligence he and the rest of his kind possessed concerning the weather -- a certain change in air pressure could mean rain and thunder, or an updraft of cold air could signal a storm, even if it was days in advance. It was intelligence that was often without truth or founding, but was there. Never had he known those predictions to be wrong.
What Castor didn’t quite understand was why his kind insisted on keeping everything to themselves. It was a mystery to him that he hoped to later uncover. Though as time went by Castor found, somewhat to his dismay, he was showing the same characteristics, yet he didn’t know why. This bothered him, almost as much as the marred face did now.
Castor looked over at his brother again, not bothering to take up Pollux’s command. Instead, he stared blankly at the den’s wall, as if by doing so, he would stumble upon some revelation. The bedding shuffled, and a few minutes went by before finally his brother spoke again.
“Do you want me to get Mother for you?” Pollux made a movement to stand.
Castor’s face showed a brief flash of emotion at the mention of his mother, her lithe, outlandish frame filling his mind. Castor’s feature’s brightened.
Learn to walk on your own four paws. To have others carry you is to be lame.
His face fell, and he felt his brother staring at him. Pollux said something that Castor did not catch, though the sound of his voice, level and steady, betraying no emotion, was enough to snap Castor out of some sort of some impending thought. Castor met his brother’s eyes. “No,” he said, finally. “I think… I think everything will be fine now."
Pollux gazed at him blankly, as if trying to discern his twin’s emotions. “As you will.”
Instead of lying back down, the red-skinned Absol moved purposefully towards the den’s exit, out into the twilight that was fast ushering in the moon. Pollux didn’t even look at him as he walked past.
“Where are you going?” Castor found himself asking.
“Out,” he answered, shrugging. “I can’t find sleep any longer, so there’s no use trying. Are you staying?”
“For a time, anyway,” Castor said dismissively. “I’ll find you later.”
“As you wish.”
Pollux continued to move toward the exit, but just as he reached the outlet, he stopped, and turned toward him once more.
“You said you couldn't remember?”
“Do you want to remember?”
Pollux didn't even bother to hear whatever Castor's reply might have been, leaving Castor to stare at the wall of their small den and wonder.