Lucien cleared his throat. No one asks about your mental health in Hell, so when Elijah took enough time to ask, it forced an unintentional blush to dust Lucien’s cheeks. He was new to it, new to talking, really. It made him sweat. It made his hands clammy. But he figured if so much humanity was going on because of one conversation, it might be looking good on the insanity front.
“So when you figure things out in your head, you have just the one smooth voice figuring things out? Right?” He squashed his full lips with the tips of his inky fingers, they looked like charcoal smudges, but upon closer look, it was clear that it was just part of his coloring. “My body is going through a civil war constantly. Even now, it is taking all I have not to scratch my eyes out because of the incessant boiling in my blood. In my head, I can hear the two parts of me whispering to each other. But it isn’t any part of my consciousness. It’s like I’m eavesdropping on war negotiations.” Lucien tried so hard. He was trying to look serene, trying to put on the front that he had this all under control. But little creases formed in his brow. His black eyes looked angry under his stitched brows, but in their darkness, it was plain to see they were glassy with frustration.
“If I tip the scale in one direction the voices get louder. My angel is a nice side. It doesn’t say much when it’s winning. But the demon is a complete fuckhead. He never stops shrieking, it’s like being startled by your own head. Actually caught off guard by the screams, and when the demon is strong it gets angry, first commenting on my everyday life, things I’m doing, then telling me things, yelling at me, threatening me. The pain is nothing. I’ve learned to deal with that. The thing the pain does is amplify the voices. It’s a lot.” Lucien’s explanation left his mouth with the ashamed twang of an apology.
Elijah leaned forward, elbows on knees and hands clasped between them. He gazed at the floor as though answers would come barrelling to him. He hated things he couldn’t gather.
“That sounds awful, but you cannot live your whole life like this. You will end up hurting other people around you, and you’ll end up killing yourself, and that time, your angel friend won’t be there to cure you.” He lived his long life collecting pieces and bringing them together in their right places, like the tiny pieces of puzzle, Elijah hated anything tangled. He loathed things he couldn’t understand and solve. “Where are you from? Are you an occupant of this house, too? How old are you?” He hadn’t come across anyone like him before.
Lucien’s face fell and his lips pursed. Elijah wasn’t saying anything he didn’t already know.
“I’d kill myself before I hurt someone else, and I’d much rather it that way. But the thing is, I am usually able to keep it in check. I’m sure that’s what everyone says about anything tremendously horrible, but…” Lucien stretched his body out like a cat in the sun. He stretched his fists out and over the sofa until they tapped the window behind him. His back felt good. His shirt fell open and said all the things he wasn’t saying. He’d been tormented, pushed to all limits. There were jagged scars and cuts dotted all over his torso. Some were shiny like burn marks laying in the gentle curve of his lean muscles, the others were jagged right angles where probably more metal had been shoved in to teach him something about being submissive to demons. There were finger long bruises around his hips, an oddly intimate place to have hands so obviously painted into one’s skin. But his face was calm, still, strong, his eyes masked the pain, just as he’d said it would.
“…if I’m not experimented on, or drained of too much angelic power, I can avoid episodes like that.” Lucien draped an arm over the back of the sofa and angled himself towards Elijah.
“As for your other questions. I was born and, well, sort of raised in Hell, somewhere in the bits of Enoch which don’t burn. I have a quaint little box there. And I suppose I’m about eighteen or nineteen. But I can’t be certain, we don’t celebrate birthdays where I’m from.” Lucien hooked his curling black horn under his arm and winced just once, just enough to be noticed. “But I escaped and I’m a bit homeless at the moment. I’ve only just met Dahlia but she’s given me a room here. I’m waiting patiently for her to tire of me and kick me out.”
Welcome to the Lucien and Elijah serial by Aubrey Meeks and Julienne
The accompanying illustration was done by Aegisdea and I couldn’t be happier!
Stay tuned for more of Elijah and Lucien tomorrow!
HE’S UP! What’s going to happen as Lucien faces his attacker?
Lucien and Abomination Boys characters and writing © Aubrey “Meeks” Brown 2015
Elijah and writing © Julienne 2015