The Dark Domain

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Start your story with an unexpected knock on a window.... view prompt

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Fantasy Teens & Young Adult Mystery

(T.W: blood, gore, brief mention of self harm, mild swearing).


Knock.


KNOCK.


She startled awake by the harsh knocks.


Groggily rubbing her eyes, she turned to check the time.

3 am, the clock read.


3 am? Who would knock on my door at 3 am? Is it Lily?


Sighing, she pulled off her blanket and dragged her feet to the door.


Opening the door, she whispered “What do you want?”


To an empty hallway.


Blanching, she took a step back “Lils, is that you? This isn’t funny!”


No response.


Knock


“It’s not the door…”


KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.


As the knocks became desperate and more insistent, it dawned on Xena that the knocks were actually coming from the big window that led to her balcony. She couldn’t tell what was making the noise through the heavy purple velvet curtains that she normally shut every night.


What should I do? Maybe I’m dreaming…


KNOCK


Jerking awake from her thoughts, Xena couldn’t help but approach the window from the urgency in this knock.


Whispering a prayer, she pushed away the curtains in a quick motion like that of ripping off a bandage.


“Wh-what?!” She choked out, her voice leaving her in a gasp.


Slumped against her window was a bleeding guy.


Oh, and he has wings. Big, feathery black wings.


She pinched herself to check if she was awake, but the sharp pain she felt only left her more confused.


Suddenly, the guy lifted his head and stared straight at her.


His eyes are… pale pink?! WHAT EVEN IS FREAKING GOING ON-


THUMP


The guy hit her window so aggressively she winced at the noise, wondering if her family would hear and show up at her door.


If this isn’t a dream.


But the bloody handprint he left on her window left her unable to stay still any longer.


I don’t care what the hell is going on, he’s hurt, and I need to help him.


She motioned for him to lean away from the window so she could open it, hoping he would understand.


He was bleeding so much it took him four tries to move away.


I need to see where he’s bleeding from and staunch it before calling for help.


The cold had made her window stiff, so she had to push with all her might to get it open. She stepped barefoot into blood, but she was too concerned to care.


Crouching down, she finally got a good look at the guy.


He’s definitely an angel. There’s no way a human can look this ethereal.


Even bloody and beat up, his beauty was unnerving. Sharp angles, smooth chocolate skin and curls for days.


Not to mention the pale pink eyes and those huge black wings.


It was ridiculous how she felt self conscious with her acne scar ridden cinnamon skin and bedhead greasy hair when the poor angel guy was half bleeding to death, but hey, the mind works in weird ways. Now shut up Xena, and focus.


 “Wi-will you… keep staring… or he-help me?” He gasped out, embarrassing her out of the daze as he glared at her. 


Well, he’s a jerk.


Glaring right back, she replied “I’ll check your wounds and help you inside, but I’m no doctor. Then I’m calling for help.”


Hesitantly touching the blood on his stomach, she realized he had a huge gash there. She immediately ripped the bottom of her shirt and pressed on the wound, making him wince in pain.


“Sorry, we need to staunch the blood flow. Could you hold this? I think you have other wounds too…”


Nodding, he took over while she felt the rest of his body, trying to keep as professional as possible so he wouldn’t feel any more discomfort. She found another deep cut on his thigh and swelling around his ankle which she was sure he had either sprained or broken.


But there was still too much blood to just be from these wounds.


“M-my wings…”


“What?”


“My wings,” He spit out, closing his eyes.


Horrified at what he was suggesting, Xena got up to take a closer look at his very large wingspan. His poor wings, that sounds so weird, were slumped at an awkward angle. 


She carefully felt the outermost feathers of the left wing unsure what she was looking for, its not like they taught me how to treat wings in CPR, and her hands came away sticky with blood. But even with all the blood she had felt the velvety softness of the feathers and the power flexing underneath.


Like steel covered by velvet.


“Be ca-careful,” He wheezed out, “Th-they’re sensitive…”


“Sorry, I didn’t know,” Xena said apologetically, continuing her search.


Sensitive? How? She wondered, not realizing she had said it aloud.


Even through the pain glazing his eyes, he stared at her like she was an idiot for a solid second before suddenly leaning in and scratching down the inside of her arm.


Shivering, she glared at him as she rubbed her arm viciously like it would erase the phantom feeling.


Then he slumped down again, eyes closing­- but not before she caught his slight smirk.


I should just leave him bleeding here if he feels well enough to pull this shit.


Pushing down the urge to give him a good shove, she lightly touched the inside of his left wing first, and then the right, all the while ignoring how he grit his teeth and stiffened.


There was no tear on either of the wings there, so she promptly got up and nudged him so she could see his back.


When he turned slightly, her breath got stuck in her throat from the horrific sight.


What the fricking hell


Someone tried to-


Tried to cut his wings off


“Who would try to cut off the wings,” She whispered, voice hoarse “Of an angel?”


She flinched when he started to shake, almost violently.


Xena grabbed his shoulder in concern and asked “What’s happening? Are you oka-”


He’s… laughing?


“I’m not an angel.” He chuckled, so bitterly she could almost taste it in the air.


“And I’m not human. Are you sure you didn’t hit your head somewhere too?” She snorted, thinking out loud.


Who’s he trynna fool with those wings of his? And he had me worried there for a second… I should probably check his head for injuries too though…


If this is a dream, it sure is vivid.


Sighing, Xena ripped a bit more of her shirt while hoping it wouldn’t completely turn into crop top, and quickly pressed it down on the blood seeping from the mess that was his back. It looked like someone had tried to hack off his wings with a blunt axe― a quarter of each wing was hanging off, with bits of bone and flesh protruding under the blood. The sight made even her nauseous, and she wasn’t one to get queasy easily.


The blood wasn’t slowing down as far as she could tell and panicking, Xena pressed down a bit harder. Which was the wrong thing to do, because immediately she heard him yell out in pain and a wing slapped her hard, as if in reflex.


Hit with the full force of his wing Xena slammed hard into the railing, vision blacking out for a moment.


Ouch.


Cursing under her breath, she peeled herself off the railing and limped to the angel who was currently groaning in pain.


How hasn’t he bled out yet? Is it an angel thing? There’s no way a human could survive this much blood loss… but what should I do? What can I do?


Getting more worried by the second, Xena urgently leaned down and asked “Is there anything that can help slow down the blood? Some angel supernatural secret? You’re bleeding out too fast― maybe I should just call the ambulan-”


NO!” He yelled, startling her with the intensity “N-no ambulance.”


Why? Maybe he doesn’t want them to find out he’s an angel? Is it some angel law? I can’t exactly push him for answers right now though-


“Alright no ambulance.” She assured him in what she hoped was a soothing voice, “But if you don’t help me stop your bleeding you will die from blood loss. Or hypothermia, whatever.”


Wait… but can he actually die though? UGH why is this SO CONFUSING?!


Also, wasn’t it cold? Why do I not feel cold?


She had forgotten it was the middle of winter, and she just realized it was because waves of heat were practically rolling off the angel’s body.


Great. He most likely has some supernatural version of a fever too.


“Your bl-blood.”


“What?” She asked, thinking she had heard him wrong.


“Your blood.” He repeated forcefully, as if willing her to understand.


“You have to drink it?! What the hell?!” Xena replied, her voice rising from how ridiculous it sounded.


Is he some vampire angel hybrid?! If this is a dream, I’m suing my own brain.


“No!” He said, looking equally as disgusted at the suggestion. She watched as he struggled to get something out his pocket, eventually taking it out herself, ignoring his glare. It was a vial of gold liquid.


“Mix it in th-that. Three d-drops. Pour it on th-the wound.” He instructed, clearly struggling to speak.


And he couldn’t have mentioned this before? And what weird witchcraft is this? Is he a witch angel hybrid? That doesn’t even make any sense, just shut up Xena.


Frustrated, Xena quickly nicked her finger on a loose rock and methodically added three drops of her blood to the vial, whatever it was. Then she went and dumped it over his back and a bit on the other wounds, watching as it fizzled and popped. She was in awe how the blood slowed down until it barely dripped down his body. 


“What now?”


“I need a place to stay, not long.” He replied, voice steadier.


“I can’t exactly hide a whole ass winged guy in my room without my family finding out, now can I?”


“Just a few hours. Please.”


He sounds so desperate… what is he hiding from?


Maybe I can hide him in my... closet? Will it be big enough?


“Okay. Can you stand and go inside?” She asked, determined she could figure something out. Why she was doing it, she wasn’t sure.


Without answering her, he pushed himself up, wings flaring out despite being at an awkward angle. Limping on one leg, he squeezed himself in sideways through the window door.


She quietly went in after, passing him to open her closet and basically throw everything out. Maybe if she made it look like a mess her family wouldn’t be suspicious, thinking she was going through one of her moods again.


When there was enough room, I hope, she put down an old blanket with an extra pillow, and motioned for him to go in. Surprisingly, he didn’t argue and just limped inside, slumping down with a sigh. It was an awkward fit even with it open.


He’s still in a pretty bad condition.


Grabbing her cellphone from her nightstand, she dialed a number she knew by heart. At the noise, he looked up at her, betrayal filling his gaze.


“It’s not an ambulance, you idiot!” She whisper-shouted, “My cousin’s a doctor, she can help us!”


Us? Since when is it ‘us’ Xena you dumbass.


“There was no need, my friend will be coming soon to get me.”


“How does your friend know where-”


She was interrupted by the panicked voice of her cousin, who had luckily picked up.


“Hello? Xena?! It’s like almost 4 am are you okay?!”


“Don’t worry Lemon! I’m okay! But it is an emergency and I need your help… can you come to my place? I’ll sneak you in through my balcony, bring a rope or something.”


“Are you insane? At least tell me what’s the emergency!”


“Uh… have you ever stitched up an angel?”


…………


“I thought you were sleep talking Xena but there’s actually an angel in your closet-”


“I am not an angel, how many times do I have to tell-”


“Then what the hell are you?!” Xena asked, throwing up her hands.


He regarded them for a second, then said “I’m Nephilim.” 


Half angel, half human?


“Oh.” Lemon said, still staring at him in awe. She had arrived fast with first aid and rope, climbing deftly onto her balcony. Xena, predicting her reaction, had slammed her hand on Lemon’s mouth before she could scream as she saw the bloody mess on the balcony.


Poor Lemon hadn’t even changed out of her pajamas either, blonde hair in a messy bun. Her older cousin had been her best friend for as long as she could remember. And though Xena was 19 while Lemon was in her late twenties, they remained two peas in a pod.


He’s lucky my cousin’s a genius who graduated early.


“Okay fine, Nephilim,” said Xena, rolling her eyes “Not much of a difference.”


“You’re mistaken, Xena,” He said her name mockingly, but his eyes darkened.


Looking between them, Lemon nervously said “Should I stitch up his wounds then? They look pretty serious…”


The angel- no, Nephilim guy, merely shrugged. “You don’t need to. My friend will be here soon, then you can forget about me.”


“You’re kinda hard to forget,” Xena chuckled, but he just stared at her, eyebrow raised. “But she should stitch you up since she’s here either way.”


“Fine. But don’t touch my wings.” He said, and Lemon immediately went into doctor mode, ignoring his icy tone and matching glare. While she stitched the gash on his stomach first, Xena took the opportunity to finally ask him,


“So, who tried to chop off your wings, Nephilim?”


Just chillin’ while my cousin stiches up the bleeding half angel and we wait for his ‘friend’. Nice.


“I’d tell you,” He began, appearing unbothered by the pain from the stitches, “But then I’d have to kill you.”


He smirked, chin rising as if in challenge. Lemon froze, but Xena assured her with a nod.


He’s probably kidding… right?


“Sure,” She scoffed, trying to play it off.


“Suit yourself.” He shrugged, but she could see a pleased glint in his eyes, “An angel tried, of course. Who else?”


“What?!” Lemon shouted, while Xena shushed her, scared her family might wake up.


“Angels aren’t what you think. You call them angels because they have wings, but you humans are mistaken. They’re simply just another supernatural, like the demons and fae. In fact, they’re fae-demon hybrids. Their true name is Abraxos.”


“Wait… so does that make you a fae-demon-human hybrid?!” Xena asked, trying to wrap her head around what he was saying.


“Does it matter?”


“Not really,” She agreed. He was a supernatural either way.


Looking surprised at her easy agreement, he continued, “The Abraxos are the rulers of our side. I can’t tell you-”


“Why not? We saved you, the least you owe us is an explanation!”


“It’s not like anyone will believe us if we tell them anyways.” Lemon added briefly, moving on to stitch the cut on his leg.


A smile played on his lips for the first time, “If I tell you, then the life debt for both of you will be absolved. We deal in trades. So, fair trade?”


“Yes, yes! Fair trade!” Xena agreed quickly, gesturing for Lemon to agree too “What use have we of a life debt from him? He’ll be leaving soon anyways!”


“Fine, fair trade.”


As soon as Lemon uttered the words, a chill spread through the room, so cold it burned.


Xena hissed as she felt the burning spread from the air right into her arm, and she heard Lemon do the same. She looked down to see a simple black line burned into her arm.


“Fair trade.” He echoed, his smile taking a sharp edge.


Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.


“Our world is parallel to yours. It’s called Eldelvain, The Dark Domain. Nephilim are considered abominations by the Abraxos and are forced to be Watchers. Sacrificial warriors that stand watch in the barrier between the human world and Eldelvain to protect both sides.”


“Actually, there’s a whole war brewing and Mr. Fallon over there got injured in a top secret mission- but we can’t really explain that to you right now so how about we all go to Eldelvain for a nice cup of tea?”


Screaming, Xena whirled around to find an unexpectedly well-dressed guy with a huge grin on his face.


He looked normal, except for the fact that he’s also eerily beautiful and has sharp horns growing out of his head.


She heard Lemon furiously apologized to Fallon as she had apparently stabbed him with the needle.


“Oh sorry, did I startle you? Thank goodness I put a silencing spell on the room! I’m Leo, witch-demon extraordinaire at your service! Well not really at your service-” Laughing, he cut himself off as if they shared some inside joke.


Xena was too shocked to say anything, and she was sure Lemon was the same.


Who woulda thought, not one, but two supernatural visitors tonight?


“Fallon, nice to see you in one piece my man. My potion worked quite well, didn’t it? It had a tracker in it that could only be activated by human blood, if you’re wondering.” Leo smiled, but a hard glint entered his eyes as he glanced at the mark on their arms.


“Leo.” Fallon said, and the two shared a dark look. Suddenly, Xena felt nervous.


“How about that cup of tea?” Leo said, grasping her arm, as Fallon did the same to Lemon.


“Wait, what are you-”


“We can’t just let you go without a thanks, now can we?” Leo grinned sharply, and she knew it meant you know too much.


Leo threw something on the ground and darkness swallowed them, stealing the breath from her lungs.


And when it dissipated, Xena knew where they had arrived.


Eldelvain, The Dark Domain.






June 11, 2021 23:00

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