There was a reason writers had coined the term ‘seeing red’. Prone to cold seething, the rigid tremble in Lark’s shoulders was a novel experience. A dissociated voice in Lark’s head hummed at the lived literary convention, crimson did indeed blur the edges of sight when overcome with uncontainable rage.
Lark pushed himself from the ground. He touched his collar, jerking it back to rights. His fingers stopped. Lark looked around.
Rais was gone. So was the school’s veined marble floor and bowed staircases. Wide empty streets of grey stone took their place. The same grey material made up the square buildings. In the center of the street, utterly alone in the strange landscape, Lark looked up into a lightless pitch sky.
The empty air leeched the stoked warmth from his chest, pulling it away until his frayed breathing could calm, steady, and then still entirely. Lark stood, unbreathing and unblinking in the middle of the grey city. Without the liquid rush of veins or drum of a pulse to distract him, Lark could feel his eyes sitting heavy in their sockets. He could not remember how he’d come here, but surely it wasn’t so important?
It would be good to sleep, Lark thought. The dead city stretched around him, comfortingly endless and eternal. Lark dropped his head against his chest, hair falling lazily before his face. He almost closed his eyes. Red again.
Lark’s eyes shot open. His shirt was slick and shiny down his front. Red covered him. His fingers, having touched his collar a moment before, were sticky with it. As he drew a new shuddering breath, fresh blood splattered the grey cobblestones.
Lark’s shoulders shook again. A fire kindled itself behind his breastbone, restarting the thrum of the blood in his veins. His teeth chattered with each breath. The blood down his front, dripping from his throat, burned.
He glared over the city’s flat eternity with a hatred reserved for another. Betrayed, robbed, killed, he didn’t belong here with the restful and dull, not when Rais was congratulating himself on finally outsmarting Lark. He hadn’t of course, Lark had suspected. Rais was always painfully transparent. But Lark had doubted himself, too weak to act. He had possessed few friends, and none who’d understood him as Rais had. Rais had apparently not suffered from the same debilitating sentiment.
The memories rushed back the edges of the city revealed themselves. A narrow path wound from the grey buildings to the hills beyond. There was a way out.
With rigidly calm fingers, Lark adjusted his collar again. This time his hand came away clean.
The first line of this fiction piece was legitimately pilfered as part of the legal theft project. Check out the original here, which incidentally gives Rais’ side of this story.