The Passing Veil

Submitted into Contest #117 in response to: Set your story at the boundary between two realms.... view prompt

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Fantasy Fiction Drama

(Possible trigger warning. Contains obsession, control, and death)


“There you are.”


A rough yet soothing voice woke Jesse with a start, causing her eyes to adjust faster than they actually could in the darkness of her bedroom. She’d been in a deep sleep, her body dead weight in the center of her plush bed, refusing to move despite the urgency that rushed through her core to do so. The sound of the voice had been crystal clear, vibrating through her ears, but the room remained still and quiet. Through the skylight above, her blurry eyes fought to find their focus on a small set of stars that showed through a clearing of clouds in order to bring her mind back to center.


There was nothing out of place. No feeling of sinister presences seeking to pin her to the bed and make her forget who she was like in the recent settings of her waking dreams. It must have been a fluke. A weird working inside her brain as she slept, even though they’d been happening quite often lately, giving her pause as she adjusted slightly under the soft comforter. Maybe it was time for a trip to the doctor for a checkup to make sure everything was working, she wasn’t deficient in anything important, and that she wasn’t losing her mind.


Except, when she moved to stretch and raise an arm over her head, her shoulder brushed against something that couldn’t be overlooked as a bunching of covers. It was solid and cold and sent spine tingles all the way down to her toes. Something in her stomach fluttered and came to life. A mixture of uncertainty tainted by fear and an unwelcome, forbidden excitement that coiled in her stomach and immediately stilled her movement. She breathed and her lips parted making the action obvious. For a second, she dared not move an inch, afraid to look towards whatever could possibly be in bed with her.


She realized then that she shouldn’t have been so naïve in her thinking when all the red flags had violently shaken themselves in her mind’s eye as soon as she’d decided to rearrange her bedroom. The bed had been placed underneath the skylight in the room, because what was the point of having a beautiful view of the sky if you couldn’t see it while lying in bed?


The room had always been different. It had character and a mind of its own. A certain atmosphere and presence that stood out from the rest of the house, which was why Jesse fancied it the most. It wasn’t a menacing feeling she got when she stepped through the doorway, but whatever it was always drew her in piquing her curiosity.


It was almost like walking into another world. As an empath, it fueled her senses spiritually, giving her something to look forward to at the end of a busy day when the chaos of the world had drawn out all of her energy. Often, she’d settle down at the large window seat nook at the end of the night with a large cup of chamomile tea, lit candles to center her mind, and a good book. It was in those times she’d feel her skin prickle from an invisible nudge behind her, or when the shadows danced and it felt like someone was hovering over her shoulder, reading along with her.


Now it seemed, that whatever had been lurking was somehow able to take form and was laying down beside her, and the image of this being, without a glance, without warning, popped into Jesse’s head.


She gasped. The shock and surprise bringing a hand to cover her mouth, even though she hadn’t even really looked at him yet, and her body stiffened even more, if that was possible. Now she had to look. There was no other way, and with the stealth of a sloth, she turned her head. The dark curls of her hair a nest on the pillow beneath her head twisted and outlined her face, as wide, green eyes met the figure for the first time.


Her senses had been right. He looked…he looked like the character from the book she’d been reading. The one she’d been enthralled with. The one with bright, blue eyes swirled with flecks of green, and dark, lush hair that fell in curls over the top of his forehead and down the nape of his neck. His facial features sharp, cut out like a fine marble statue and a jawline for days.


“Donovan.” The name slipped through her lips before she could stop it. It was absurd. She had to be dreaming still, and the idea, which brought her to a lazy smile as she twisted, reactivating the warmth in her bed, turning to stretch in relief, her hands and arms reaching in his direction to clarify the fact of her dream, made her recoil just as fast as her fingers tapped against the solid form of his chest.


As if lightning struck, spurring her away, her feet kicked out as she fumbled with bedding, leaving behind a pile of messed sheets in her wake. She jumped off the bed, landing somehow perfectly at its side to stand and stare at the shadowed man lying there on his side, his head propped up by one hand.


His was a look of hidden amusement. A slightly bent smile and bright yet lazy eyes caressed her from where she stood, yet he said nothing and seemed content to stay in that position.


“I have to be dreaming,” she confessed, hunching a bit towards him as her hands curled at her sides, bunching the hem of her nightgown for comfort and support. The tone in her voice conveyed that she was looking for him to respond. To nod. To agree on some degree that she was stuck in a dream on top of a dream.


He didn’t answer but cast his gaze upwards catching her attention to follow his line of sight, and she did. What was revealed then she’d never seen before. Spreading the distance of her bed, cutting it right down the middle, separating the space between where he lay and where she had been, was a thin veil. It shimmered in the darkness, moving in soft waves making his form appear faded.


“All this time you didn’t stop to think about who or what kept brushing the back of your shoulder every time you looked away?” he finally asked, breaking the silence between them, breaking the hypnotic state the veil seemed to put on her. “You knew it wasn’t a ghost or a spirit or some malevolent thing.”


“I thought it was my imagination.” Her words came out meek, but she was not, and it only meant one thing.


“Don’t lie,” the words he purred, coercing her into admittance with just the look she gave back.


Regardless, she rolled her eyes, pushing her hands up into her long, curly locks, brushing them back off of her face as she shook her head. “But you’re not real.”


There was no way he could be. Not a character in a book. Not one that she’d been daydreaming about, hurrying home to read about, to find out what precarious situation the author was about to put him in next. Yes, she had a vivid imagination, but this was going overboard, and she wasn’t or hadn’t lost her mind that much. Yet. For a moment though, she had to wonder if her sanity was slipping. The shimmer of the satin veil, the stilled, almost stale air around her and the image of Donavan now reaching through the barrier until only his fingertips appeared on her side, was all too real.


“Does this not look real?” he asked, his brows lifting with the question.


A string of questions to fire back started to rise in Jesse’s train of thought. Everything from the idea of accidentally creating a Tulpa with all the energy she’d put into this character, to the possibility of a different plain of existence, which she’d thought of before in a more logical sense, to the very tangible question of, why me?


The last one slipped from her tongue before she could stop it.


Donavan flipped his hand palm side up and wiggled his loose fingers at her, beckoning her to come test the barrier with him, uninterested in her self-doubt.


Jesse noticed something flicker in his eyes, those blue, glowing orbs. They caught her, held her attention. Pulled her forward across the bed until she was on her knees in front of the veil, her nightgown tucked tight under her legs as she pulled her bottom lip into her mouth. If it was real, it would have made sense. Samhain was close, working its magic by thinning the boundaries between the world of the living and the dead, but did that work for all plains of existence?


Oh, how badly she wanted to reciprocate his curiosity in her and touch those outstretched fingers. What if the characters given to writers on earth were in fact real, living and breathing in another realm, unable to reach those they wanted until their stories were written out on paper? Then again, the book she’d been reading was popular, so what about all the other fans?


Jesse didn’t consider herself special. She ran a barista where conjuring up specialty coffees and teas was a true passion and tried to enjoy life by sharing her passion with others. But for the most part, at the end of the day, exerting that much energy into the world left her wanting the company of nothing more than the quiet stillness of solitude while swallowing up the words of her favorite characters, in the hopes of dreaming about them once she drifted off.


No doubt anyone in her position would leap at the opportunity to spend some time with their favorite crush from another realm.


Still biting her bottom lip, heavy in contemplation, almost to the point of drawing blood, she decided to take a chance that it wasn’t a dream and lifted her fingers giving a tentative touch. Substance in spades caused her to take a sharp breath and draw back quickly. A silly snicker blushing her cheeks, and something deep inside her stomach pushed her forward again. With a pounding heart, the pads of her fingers ran the distance of his, slipping through the veil to the other side.


At first the atmosphere felt numb, but Donavan was warm. The skin on his hands slightly rough to the touch. They coaxed her forward even further. The light in his eyes extinguishing any possibility of fear or danger inside her soul as she grew lost in him, to the point where it was easy to curl his fingers around her wrist and pull her completely through to the other side.


She fell through with a hitch in her breath, feeling as though the air in her lungs had been knocked completely out as she landed on top of him, her legs straddling his waist, her face a hair’s breadth from his.


Jerking back, she found it hard to breath and ended up lowering her body back towards his, but not as close as before, turning her head to the side in order to adjust to the atmosphere. The air was thick and contained a certain waxy smell. One that reminded her of going into a Halloween store. All the plastic, props, costumes and make up giving it a sort of magical, yet chemical smell.


Donavan’s scent on the other hand was very real. Cozy spice like frankincense and myrrh and a little clove mingled with an earthy almost metallic undertone that pricked Jesse’s senses like sucking on a dirty penny. He also seemed to provide the only oxygen available for a human on this side of things, which kept her in an awkward closeness, which she was prompted to apologize for.


“You’ll get used to it,” he assured, raising them both from the bed as she seemed incapable.


Her body felt a little boneless, more so due to the fact that she was in lust rather than trying to breathe in a place her lungs didn’t want to function.


The stunning, supposed fictional man was happy to aid her in this adjustment as he leaned down while urging her to place weight on her feet and slipped his lips over hers. Her mouth had remained conveniently open in awe as his breath filled her need. His lips were full and soft and everything she’d imagined them to be.


This was sick and sweet and disgusting and mentally she cursed. Fantasy was one thing, but reality was never this good. Oh god, but she wanted him to kiss her, and he did with reverence, a gentle caress against her pout as if he knew what was going through her mind in those moments.


“I’ve been watching you for a while, just as you’ve been watching me,” he whispered against her mouth.


She sighed. The spell had been cast between them, if only metaphorically and she wound her hands around his neck, fiddling idly with the curls there.


“Let me show you this place,” he urged.


Jesse granted him a smile with that request, now that she’d had her fill of oxygen from his lungs and took hold of herself, pressing her feet against the ground, letting her hands slip from his neck, down his chest where the buttons of his black silk shirt seemed to dangle open. She couldn’t help but laugh at that.


“What’s so funny?” he asked, taking one of her hands to lead the way.


“I still can’t help but think this isn’t real. Every bit of logic I have that’s grounded in reality is yelling at me to stop.”


Donavan seemed to grow cold at that remark and a frown creased his forehead, drawing his dark brows together. “You’ve never had experience with other realms. I can see why this would feel unusual, unobtainable. Most of your kind don’t explore enough, the possibilities are endless. I think once I show you around, you’ll understand it better. You’ll fall in love with this place just as I have.”


Jesse noticed they were no longer in her bedroom then, but walking along crunchy orange, yellow and red leaves that had fallen from the trees outlining a cemetery, making the tall, shadowed figures bare boned. Some looked as if their branches were reaching for a particular grave site, and some stretched towards Jesse.


Black iron fencing with an arrow tipped design ran around the length of the property and at the mouth of the entrance, sitting on each side were several orange gourds or pumpkins. Each one had been carved and candles placed inside their centers lit.


Again, the waxy smell invaded Jesse’s senses, followed by warm cinnamon and vanilla.


She looked up at Donavan, a feeling of unease sweeping over her, even though she felt comfortable with him. As if she’d known him, in the real sense, for a long, long time.


“This place is beautiful, but I should really get back.” She paused in her steps, a light tug backwards on his hand.


Her turned to her, a soft sweep of his eyelashes downwards as he blinked. “You can’t go back, Jesse.”


Now it was her turn to frown as she crinkled her nose and rejected his statement. “What?”


“I chose you.”


Now her stomach gurgled with unease and a tinge of fear. This was not part of her fantasy, nor was it a wish to visit a realm in which she couldn’t return home from.


“What?”


“And you chose me. It is done.”


“No. Take me back. Now!” Her heart started to thump again as she pulled on the grip he had on her hand.


“I can’t.”


Bile crept up the back of her throat at those words, but she finally broke free. “I don’t even know you. Not in the real sense of knowing someone. You aren’t even…” she wanted to say real, but that was a waste of words and instead she turned and ran. To where she was running, she wasn’t sure, because she was lost in this world and panicked, but she kept going, hoping that maybe something, possibly the veil, would make itself known to her again.


She ran fast and hard, until something firm appeared out of nowhere and she collided with it.


Donavan.


He took her by the arms, drawing her back against his chest, his hand at her throat, firm but gentle. “Let me show you.”


Once more they were at the veil on one side of Jesse’s bed and she squealed and squirmed in his grasp, reaching for the other side with all the strength she had, but it was no use. His hold was unbreakable.


“Look!” he urged.


She’d all but started to sob in frustration as he helped guide her chin towards what she needed to see and realize.


There on the other side was a body on the bed laying still and lifeless. The skin was pale, gaunt, near the point of grey, green sunken eyes staring up at the stars through the glass skylight.


“I’ve counted every freckle on your beautiful face every single night. Every single night I’ve tapped at you, wanted you to realize what you couldn’t in reality. That you were and have been mine for quite a while now.”


“Oh god,” she gasped, relenting her need to fight him as she inched forward, one hand limp in an attempt to reach what she knew was her body.


Jesse had been parading around in her world as a spirit unknowing and denying him the ability to help her cross over into the afterlife realm. The realm she belonged to now and it had taken him masquerading as a character from her favorite book to enable her to finally see the light.


Donavan was death.




October 28, 2021 04:04

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5 comments

Courtney Moore
14:01 Nov 03, 2021

Wow! This was a very well-crafted story. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to meet their favorite character? The twist, of him being death, was surprising. I was almost hoping he was the character. That he had chose her, and because of his selfish love, had dragged her from her living body. The details are flushed out very well. You do have a few run-on sentences that could be broken up. For example: ‘The dark curls of her hair a nest on the pillow beneath her head twisted and outlined her face, as wide, green eyes met the figure for the first tim...

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Jenny K
21:33 Nov 03, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to read and giving feedback! It's always helpful and appreciated. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. I think if I could push past the word limit I might of made him the character...maybe? Who knows. LOL

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Graham Kinross
04:50 Nov 22, 2021

Nice story, cool twist!

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Jenny K
20:25 Dec 27, 2021

Thank you so much for reading! :-)

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Graham Kinross
21:59 Dec 27, 2021

No problem Jenny.

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