Tuesday, February 26, 2019
The Return: Shadow Souls Chapter 14
all(prenominal)(prenominal) ad honorable, Damon verbalise as he and Elena reached fair and Meredith. Now derives the hard part.Meredith looked up at him. Now comes?Yes. The really hard part. Damon had finally unzipped his mysterious black whip bag. Look, he express in a b atomic number 18 murmur, this is the actual adit that we have to larn through. And sequence were doing it, you can have all the hysterics you emergency beca call youre supposed to be captives. He pulled come forward a number of pieces of dress circle.Elena, Meredith, and Bonnie had drawn together in an automatic show of velociraptor sisterhood.What, Meredith said slowly, as if to give Damon the final benefit of ab step to the fore lingering doubt, are those ropes for?Damon tack together his go to integrity side in an oh-come-on gesture. Theyre for tying your hands.For what?Elena was amazed. She had neer seen Meredith so obviously angry. She herself couldnt even so get a rallying cry in. Meredi th had walked up and was display case at Damon from a distance of well-nigh four inches.And her eyes are gray both(prenominal) distant part of Elenas encephalon exclaimed in astonish custodyt. Deep, deep, deep, behave gray gray. All this prison term Ive thought they were chocolate-br protest, entirely theyre non.Meanwhile Damon was aspect faintly alarmed at Merediths expression. A T. rex would have looked alarmed at Merediths expression, Elena thought.And you expect us to walk around with our hands tied up? While you do what?While I act as your master, Damon said, curtly rallying with a glorious smile that was g whizz almost ahead it was there. The common chord of you are my slaves.There was a bulky, long silence.Elena waved the entire chew of objects a right smart with a gesture. We wont do that, she said simply. We wont. There has to be some other way Do you want to carry through Stefan or not? Damon de humansded suddenly. There was a searing conflagrate in the d ark eyes he had fixed on Elena.Of course I do Elena flashed ass, tinctureing heat in her cheeks. but not as a slave, dragged along screwing youThats the sole(prenominal) way humans get into the blackened Dimension, Damon said flatly. buttoned or chained, as a lamias or kitsunes or demons property.Meredith was shaking her head. You never told us I told you that you wouldnt akin the way in plain while answering Meredith, Damons eyes never left Elena. Underneath his break throughward coldness, he looked to be pleading with her to under(a)stand, she thought. In the old days, she thought, hed have adept lounged against a wall and raised his eyebrows and said, Fine I didnt want to go anyway. Whos for a picnic? exactly Damon did want them to go, Elena know. He was desperate for them to go. He alone didnt know any honest way of conveying that. The only way he knew was to You have to make us a promise, Damon, she said, looking him instanter in the eyes. And it has to be befo re we make the decision to go or not.She could see the relief in his eyes, even if to the other girls it baron seem as if his face was sinlessly cold and impassive. She knew he was glad she wasnt apothegm that her previous decision was final, and that was that. What promise? Damon asked.You have to affirm to give your word that no matter what we decide now or in the obscure Dimension, you wont try to Influence us. You wont put us to sleep by mind control, or nudge us to do what you want. You wont use any vampire tricks on our minds.Damon wouldnt be Damon if he didnt argue. But, look, suppose the succession comes when you want me to do that? There are some things there that it office be ameliorate for you to sleep through Then well tell you weve changed our minds, and well release you from the promise. You see? Theres no pigside. You just have to swear.All right, Damon said, still belongings her gaze. I swear I wont use any configuration of Power on your minds I wont In fluence you in any way, until you ask me to. I give my word.Right. At last Elena broke the stare d have with the tiniest of smiles and motions. And Damon gave her an almost imperceptible nod in return.She turned away to remark herself looking into Bonnies searching brown gaze.Elena, Bonnie whispered, tugging on her arm. Come here for a sec, okay? Elena could notwithstanding help it. Bonnie was strong as a small chisel pony. Elena went, casting a powerless look everyplace her shoulder at Damon as she did.What? she whispered when Bonnie finally s excel dragging her. Meredith had come along as well, figuring it might be sisterhood business. thoroughly?Elena, Bonnie burst out, as if unable to hold the words back any longer, the way you and Damon act its different than it used to be. You didnt used toI mean, what really happened between you two when you were alone together?This is hardly the while for that, Elena hissed. Were having a big problem here, in case you hadnt noticed. But what if Meredith to a faultk up the un done for(p) sentence, pushing a dark lock of hair out of her eyes. What if its something Stefan doesnt desire? Like what happened with Damon when you were alone in the motel that shadow? she finished, quoting Bonnies words.Bonnies mouth fell open. What motel? What night? What happened? she almost shrieked, causing Meredith to try to quiet her and get bitten for her pains.Elena looked at first base one and thusly the other of her two friends the two friends who had come to give way with her if necessary. She could feel her breath come short. It was so unfair, butCan we just discuss this later? she suggested, trying to convey with her eyes and eyebrows Damon can acquire usBonnie merely whispered, What motel? What night? What Elena gave up. Nothing happened, she said flatly. Meredith is only quoting you, Bonnie. You said those words last night while you were asleep. And maybe past in the future youll tell us what youre talking abou t, because I dont know.She finished by looking at Meredith, who just raised one perfect eyebrow. Youre right, Meredith said, totally undeceived. The English language could use a word like sa. It would make these conversations so much shorter, for one thing.Bonnie sighed. Well, then, Ill find out for myself, she said. You may not hold I can, but I will.Okay, okay, but meanwhile does anyone have anything helpful to say about Damons rope embrace?Such as, do we tell him where to stuff it? Meredith suggested under her breath.Bonnie was holding a length of rope. She ran a small, fair-skinned hand over it.I dont think this was bought in anger, she said, her brown eyes unfocusing and her voice taking on the fairly eerie tone it always did when she was in trance. I see a boy and a girl, over a counter at a hardware store and shes laughing, and the boy says, Ill bet you anything that youre breathing out to school adjacent year to be an architect, and the girl gets all misty-eyed, and s ays, yes, and And thats all the psychic sleuthing I care to hear today. Damon had come right up to them without devising a sound. Bonnie jumped violently, and almost dropped the rope.Listen, Damon continued harshly, just a ascorbic acid meters away is the final crossing. Either you wear these and you act like slaves or you dont get in to help Stefan. Ever. Thats it.Silently, the girls conferred with their eyes. Elena knew that her own expression said intelligibly that she wasnt asking either Bonnie or Meredith to go with her, but that she herself was red if it required crawling laughingstock Damon on her hands and knees.Meredith, looking at present into Elenas eyes, slowly shut her own and nodded, letting out her breath. Bonnie was weeping her head already, resigned.In silence, Bonnie and Meredith let Elena tie their wrists in lie of them. Elena then let Damon tie her wrists and thread a long rope between the three of them, as if they were a chain gang of prisoners.Elena c ould feel a flush sexual climax up from below her chest to edit in her cheeks. She couldnt meet Damons eyes, not this way, but she knew without asking that Damon was thinking about the time that Stefan had dismissed him from his apartment like a dog, in effort of just this audience, plus Matt.Vengeful cad, Elena thought as hard as she could in Damons direction. She knew the last word would hurt the most. Damon prided himself on being a gentlemanBut gentlemen dont go into the Dark Dimension, Damons voice in her head said mockingly.All right, Damon added aloud, and took the lead rope in one hand. He started walking briskly into the darkness of the cave, the three girls crowding and stumbling behind him.Elena would never forget that brief journey, and she knew neither Bonnie nor Meredith would either. They walked across the shallow possible action of the cave and into the small opening in the back, which gaped like a mouth. It took some maneuvering to get the three of them into it . On the other side the cavern flared out again, and they were in a large cavern. At least that was what Elenas enhanced senses told her. The pure(a) fog had returned and Elena had no idea which way they were going.Only a a few(prenominal) minutes later a building reared up out of the thickset fog.Elena didnt know what she had been expecting from the Demon Gate. Possibly huge ebony doors, carved with serpents and crusty with jewels. Maybe a rough-hewn, weathered colossus of stone, like the Egyptian pyramids. peradventure even some sort of futuristic energy field that flickered and flashed with blue-violet lasers.What she maxim instead looked like a ramshackle depot of some kind, a place for holding and shipping goods. There was an empty pen, heavily fenced, topped with barbed wire. It stank, and Elena was glad that she and Damon had not channeled power to her nose.Then there were people, men and women in fine clothes, each with a key in one hand, murmuring something before ope ning a door in one side of the building. The same door but Elena would bet anything that they werent all going to the same place, if the keys were like the one she had briefly borrowed from Shinichis house a hebdomad or so ago. One of the ladies looked as if she were dressed for a phantasy masquerade, with fox ears that blended into her long auburn hair. It was only when Elena saw under her ankle-length dress the swishing of a fox tail that she realized that the woman was a kitsune making use of the Demon Gate.Damon hastily and none too lightly led them to the other side of the building, where a broken-hinged door opened into a dilapidated room that, strangely, seemed larger on the inside than on the orthogonal. All sorts of things were being bartered or sold here many looked as if they had to do with the management of slaves.Elena, Meredith, and Bonnie looked at one another, round-eyed. Obviously, people bringing ferine slaves in from the outside considered torture and terro r all in a days subject area.Passage for four, Damon said briefly to the slump-shouldered but heavyset man behind the counter.Three savages all at once? The man, eyes devouring what he could see of the three girls, turned to look at Damon suspiciously.What can I say? My job is also my hobby. Damon stared him straight in the eyes.Yeh, but The man laughed. Lately we bin gettin maybe one or two a month.Theyre legally mine. No put one acrossnappings. Kneel, Damon added casually to the three girls.It was Meredith who got it first and sank to the ground like a ballet dancer. Her dark, dark gray eyes were focused on something no one but she could see. Then Elena somehow untangled the oneness syllable from the others. She focused her mind on Stefan and pretended she was kneeling to kiss him on his prison pallet. It seemed to work she was down.But Bonnie was up. The most dependent, the softest, the most fair member of the triumvirate lay down that her knees had gone solid.Redheads, eh? the man said, eyeing Damon sharply even as he smirked. Maybe youd better buy a little tingler for that one.Maybe, Damon said tightly. Bonnie just looked at him blankly, looked at the girls on the ground and then threw herself into a prostrate position. Elena could hear her sobbing softly. But Ive found that a firm voice and a disapproving look actually work better.The man gave up and slumped again. Passage for four, he grunted and reached up and pulled on a dirty bell rope. By this time Bonnie was weeping in fear and humiliation, but no one seemed to notice, except the other girls.Elena didnt defy to try to comfort her telepathically that wouldnt fit in with the aura of a formula human girl at all, and who knew what traps or devices might be surreptitious here in addition to the man who kept undressing them over and over with his eyes? She just wished she could call up one of her Wings attacks, right here in this room. That would wipe the smug look off the mans face.A moment late r, something else wiped it off as completely as she could have desired. Damon leaned across the counter and whispered something to him that turned the slumped mans leering face a peaked(p) color of green.Did you hear what he said? Elena communicated this to Meredith using her eyes and eyebrows.Meredith, her own eyes crinkling, positioned her hand in front of Elenas abdomen, then made a twisting, ripping motion.Even Bonnie smiled.Then Damon led them to wait outside the depot. They had only been standing a few minutes when Elenas new imaging spotted a boat gliding silently through the mist. She realized that the building must be on the very bank of a river, but even with Power directed solely to her eyes she could barely make out where the nonreflective land gave way to shining water, and even with Power directed solely to her ears she could barely hear the sound of agile deep water running.The boat stopped somehow. Elena couldnt see any key dropped or anything to fasten it to. But the fact was that it did stop, and the slumped man put down a plank, which stayed in place as they boarded first Damon, and then his drove of slaves.On board, Elena watched Damon wordlessly offer six pieces of gold to the ferryman two for each human who presumably wouldnt be coming back, she thought.For a moment she was disjointed in the memory of being very young only three or so, she must have been and sitting on her fathers lap while he read to her from a wonderfully illustrated book about the classical myths. It told about the ferryman, Charon, who took spirits of the deceased over the river Styx to the land of the dead. And her father notification her that the Greeks put coins on the eyes of those who died so they could pay the ferryman.Theres no coming back from this journey she thought suddenly and violently. No escape They might as well be truly dead.Strangely, it was horror that salvage her from this morass of terror. Just as she lifted her head, perhaps to screa m, the dim exercise of the ferryman turned from his duties briefly as if to look back over the passengers. Elena hear Bonnies shriek. Meredith, shaking, was frantically and illogically reaching for the bag in which her gun was stowed. Even Damon didnt seem to be able to move.The tall specter in the boat had no face.He had deep depressions where his eyes should be, a shallow grok for a mouth, and a triangular hole where his nose should have protruded. The eldritch horror of it, on top of the stink from the depot pens, was simply too much for Bonnie, and she slumped sideways, limp against Meredith, in a faint.Elena, in the midst of her terror, had a moment of revelation. In the dim, moist, dripping twilight, she had forgotten to stop trying to use all her senses to their fullest. She was undoubtedly better able to see the inhuman face of the ferryman than, say, Meredith. She could also hear things, like the sounds of long-dead miners tapping at the rock above them, and the run of enormous bats or cockroaches or something, inside the stone walls all around them.But now, Elena suddenly felt warm tears on her icy cheeks as she realized that she had completely underestimated Bonnie for as long as shed known about her friends psychic powers. If Bonnies senses were permanently open to the kinds of horrors Elena was experiencing now, it was no wonder that Bonnie lived in fear. Elena found herself promising to be a hell of a lot to a greater extent tolerant the next time Bonnie faltered or started screaming. In fact, Bonnie deserved some kind of an award for keeping a grip on sanity this far, Elena decided. But Elena didnt dare do any more than gaze at her friend, who was completely unconscious, and swear to herself that from now on Bonnie would find a single in Elena Gilbert.That promise and the warmth of it burned like a candela in Elenas mind, a candle she pictured held by Stefan, the light of it leaping in his green eyes and playing over the planes of his fac e. It was just plenteous to keep her from losing her own sanity on the rest of the journey.By the time the boat docked at a place just slightly more traveled than the one where they had embarked all three of the girls were in a evidence of exhaustion brought on by prolonged terror and wrenching suspense.But they hadnt really used the time to think over the words Dark Dimension or to imagine the number of ways its darkness might be manifested.Our new home, Damon said grimly. Watching him instead of the landscape, Elena realized from the stress in his neck and shoulders that Damon was not enjoying himself. Shed thought hed be heading into his own particular paradise, this world of human slaves, and torture for entertainment, whose only rule was self-preservation of the case-by-case ego. Now she realized that she had been wrong. For Damon this was a world of beings with Powers as great or greater than his own. He was going to have to claw out a foothold here among them, just like any urchin on the roadway except that he couldnt afford to make any mistakes. They needed to find a way not just to live, but to live in luxury and mingle with high society, if they were to have any chance to rescue Stefan.Stefan no, she couldnt allow herself the luxury of thinking about him at that time. Once she started she would break undone, begin to demand ridiculous things, like that they go round to the prison, just to stare at it, like a junior high kid with a crush on an older boy, who just wanted to be driven by his house to worship it. And then what would that do to their plans for a jailbreak later? Plan A was dont make mistakes, and Elena would stick to that until she found a better one.That was how Damon and his slaves came to the Dark Dimension, through the Demon Gate. The smallest one needed to be revived with water in the face before she could get up and walk.