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Manifest of Blood

There are stories about how a kiss can reveal the true nature of a being. A frog turned into a prince. A princess woken up by the lips of the one that fought darkness to reach her crystal coffin.

This is not one of those stories.

The woman was running through corridors of stone and cold, daring only once in a while to turn back. She knew the monster was close behind, chasing her, and that sooner or later she would be caught.

All her life she had seen the shining eyes of those demons all around, and all her life she had been running. No rest, no peace in her dreams. Sleep did nothing but bring closer the nightmares of those shadows that stalked her during the day.

It was now, long after she had ceased to be a girl, that she saw one of them, clear as the blade that she had unsheathed to fight for her life. She could see it fangs, it claws, and those cold eyes that wanted nothing but to rip her apart. That is what she saw, there in the dark.

The monster had already eaten, it seemed, since it snout was covered in gore. Its back was covered with scars and fresh bruises and lacerations. “Do not come closer, beast,” she said, her voice breaking in the air.

Another shadow approached her from another corridor, its curved claws like scythes glistening in the dark, ready to attack her. The wounded monster suddenly lunged towards it, gnawing the neck of the newcomer. She could see the black fur of the shadow covered in its blood, the bones underneath it being crushed by the fangs of the monster that had been chasing her. The shadow roared and tried to shake its foe, to not avail. Only when it stopped moving, the monster released the neck of its kinfolk.

Then the monster came close, its head bowed down. She stepped back and felt a wall. There was no more running. If the monster could dispatch with such ease a beast like that, there was nothing she could do. But she was not going to die without a fight.

She lunged forward, her knuckles white over the hilt of her gilded dagger. She stabbed, not once, not twice, but thrice, to the body of the monster. Its jaw kept its fangs guarded inside, its claws still in the floor. No roar or cry did the monster utter.

It was not a kiss, but the blood pouring out of his body, what revealed to her the true nature of her chaser. Her friend was there, the one she thought she had lost many moons ago. No claws or fangs did he have now. He did not have any garments nor weapons, only the dagger stuck in his back, drenched in scarlet and woe.

What curse had turned him into a monster? Or what spell had been cast into her eyes to see him as such?

“Why? Why you kept chasing me? Why didn’t you leave me alone?”

“Because I told you I was going to be there for you, until the end.”


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