The Other

With a steely-eyed gaze, she watches those far below performing their meaningless and menial tasks. Her clawed feet grip the head of the gargoyle she squats upon as the wind tunnels down the avenue. Her wings flutter slightly; she tries to hold them closed yet they begin to unfurl nonetheless. This one has no control. She caresses the stone creature she clings to. I see longing in her expression for the days when their corporeal brothers took flight with the likes of our kind.

Tasked with watching her movements, yet instructed not to intervene, I take a perverse pleasure knowing that she hunts so near the house of their current prevailing god. Glancing over, I survey the cathedral of this Saint Patrick. It’s a magnificent structure, shame it serves no purpose other than to collect lost, frightened sheep. This urban sprawl is no different from any other these humans have littered the ground with – houses of false worship, dens of inadequacy, squalor in the name of ownership. They do love their tenement housing and the riches it brings them to take advantage of the less fortunate. Even the well-to-do who buy into their own lie of opulence live like rats in a sinking cage. Some are enlightened and grateful for what is shared with them, but most – they display undignified arrogance, believing they’ve the right to divide the land among themselves.

Visually sorting the wriggling maggots below, she spots one that holds her eye longer than the rest. She scents the human while I watch her. Then I look down and immediately know what she is taken with. No, please no.

My gaze slowly rises to watch her once again; she is patting her stone companion on the head, scoring it with her talon and a smear of blood so others of our kind will know it belongs to her. Task complete, she sets off in steady yet slow pursuit of her prey.

The girl on the ground is not going far – I know exactly where she is going. A short taxi ride takes her to her chic-to-be-common Tribecca residence guarded by an ass in a ridiculous hat. Settling in a stone archway a short distance away, I wait for what will happen next, though in truth, I already know.

The girl enters her building. Minutes later, the entire top floor illuminates. I picture it in my mind’s eye: she removes her coat, hanging it on a hook as she pulls the clip from her hair, allowing her mane to fall freely about her shoulders. She kicks off her stilettos, sliding them to the side with a delicate bare foot. She drops her mail on the sideboard as she begins her evening ritual. Why was she on Madison Avenue today?

I watch as sly satisfaction crawls over the Other’s features. I’m sure she’s wondering if the advantage of enjoying the finer things in life will make the girl taste sweeter – I would wonder myself. Meanwhile, I nestle deeper into the cloaking mask of twilight as the shimmering refection of the Hudson glimmers in my eyes.

***

Night has fallen, her prey has settled comfortably in for the evening, or so the poor girl thinks. I feel regret, but like all other things, this too shall pass… Dropping to the ground, the Other opts to visit the door-monkey, an unnecessary cruelty. He rushes to grant her egress. Most of our kind hide their true nature from these humans. She prefers to flaunt it… let them see her shimmering wings, her clawed feet, her taloned hands; let them see all she has to offer – haughty bitch! Her hold over him masks his fear until she decides to let him feel it; I am guilty of wearing the same mask, but not for the same reason. As she walks past the door-monkey, I watch while she mockingly thanks him for opening the door. He bows in supplication; her left arm strikes out, crushing his head against the marbled wall of the foyer. Kneeling beside him, she removes the ring of keys attached to his belt and shakes the ichor from her hand at the same time.

She ascends the stairs, walks across the well-appointed lobby and calls for the elevator. It arrives and as she has guessed, the Penthouse unit requires key access for the lift. She inserts the key into the slot, smears a finger across the button labeled ‘P’, and the doors close behind her. I can see no more from where I am. I move to the building’s ledge, finding better vantage to watch what is to unfold.

The elevator doors open onto a comfortable yet highly privileged loft. The thought that the girl living here knows of her arrival must have crossed her mind by now, but to one like her who enjoys terror as much as flesh, the squealing pork is that much sweeter. My heart rises to choke me.

She begins to walk through the apartment; I see confusion on her face. There are antiques of great value here; stone carvings hang upon the walls that are far too reminiscent of our kind’s past. She runs a finger across a 17th century credenza in exquisite condition, a Celtic dragon carving hanging above it. She glances at my latest gift, a Victorian fainting chaise poised below the windows opposite the entry. Most Manhattanites, wealthy or not, don’t posses such things. Her interest is piqued… and the hostess in residence has still not come out to play. I swallow the sickening feeling in my gut.

The Other sniffs the air; I know what she smells. The scent of warm honey and jasmine coming from the left – it often greets me. She heads in that direction.

Following along pace by pace on the outer ledge of the building, I reach the room the scent is emanating from the same time she does. She slowly pushes the door open as I peer through the window. What I see confounds me for a moment. The girl, my girl, my pet, is lying placidly in a tub of warm water, steam rising from it, hair pinned atop her head, with a cloth resting across her eyes. I simply stare. She must know by now it isn’t me, why hasn’t she run?

My lovely pet begins to speak, the movement of her lips the only thing disturbing  this twisted diorama.

“She won’t like that you’ve come here. You should leave.” Even through the glass wall of the window and the vying sounds of the street below, I hear her taunting the Other. My eyes sting in the biting wind. Goodbye my beautiful pet.

Shock freezes the Other in place for a moment, indecision caused by the unexpected brazen nature of the creature resting in the water. Then realization dawns upon her; this human is already kept by another. As if sensing this comprehension, my pet lifts her arm from the water to display a small black feather inked on the inside of her left wrist. It is the mark I make upon my own.

Moving her hand to the edge of the cloth, my pet lifts it slowly from one eye; I see my own arrogance radiating from her gorgeous emerald lens. Lowering the cloth once more, her arm sinks back into the water, she waits. I am to blame for this.

The Other loses what little control she has maintained up to this point. She dives at my pet, ripping her throat open with snapping teeth. I watch as she tears apart tender flesh with raking talons and scratching claws. Honey and jasmine scented water splashes the room as my own vision tinges red. Within, I silently howl my rage. Throughout the encounter, my pet does not struggle… not once. She dies with dignity.

I slowly withdraw from the glass as the Other withdraws from the bathroom; she backs down the hallway. Sensing she is being watched, her head whips toward the bank of windows set into the exterior wall, her eyes narrow, nervously searching. There, in the darkness, I crouch.  Waiting…

skull_fangs2

~ Nina D’Arcangela

© Copyright 2013 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.

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About Nina D'Arcangela

Nina D’Arcangela is a quirky horror writer who likes to spin soul rending snippets of despair. She reads anything from splatter matter to dark matter. She's an UrbEx adventurer who suffers from unquenchable wanderlust. She loves to photograph abandoned places, bits of decay and old graveyards. Nina is co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, co-founder of the horror writer's group 'Pen of the Damned', and if that isn't enough, put a check mark in the box next to owner and resident nut-job of Dark Angel Photography.

36 responses to “The Other”

  1. Wanderer says :

    Wow, great piece, Nina!

    Like

  2. mari wells says :

    Wonderful, Nina.

    Like

  3. Dan Dillardlard says :

    Sounds like the people of Manhattan could use some industrial sized cans of Raid.

    Like

  4. moondustwriter says :

    no cat and mouse game … this
    Excellent Nina you built tension to a dark taloned peak

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Thanks, Leslie! I was hoping for more, but an injured arm kept me from taking it where I would have liked. Or I should say, kept me from taking the reader on the full journey I would have liked. 🙂

      Like

  5. Tyr Kieran says :

    A beautiful and deadly dance of immortals playing games with humans. Fun tale, Nina! Would love to read more!

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Thank you, Tyr! I never truly end my Dark Angel stories… I always leave room for the imagination to fill in the ‘what’s next’ part. There may be more one day, eventually they will all string together to make a world that fits like ‘The Purple Dread’ lol 🙂

      Like

  6. Daemonwulf says :

    Hmmm, yet another D’arc and D’eliciously D’evilish little ride you have taken us on, Oh Nina. From this day forward I will avoid lower Manhattan. But something tells me that I’d get along with any creature that lies in wait wrapping itself in darkness. *shimmering smile* But seriously, I really enjoyed this tale, most especially for the added word count that permits you to explore your highly evocative visuals. Not to mention social commentary. ‘…houses of false worship, dens of inadequacy, squalor in the name of ownership…’ Beautifully accurate.

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Thank you, Daemonwulf! I was wondering who would notice the deliberate twist on common terms normally used to describe human greed and indecency. I think you’d fit in just fine in my Dark Angel’s Tribecca. The story could have been more encompassing, but my wounded wing didn’t allow for more than the 1400 words I managed to thump out; more than none, but less than some… I’m happy to know it was still effective in its (to me) sparse descriptive telling. There is much, much more behind this one in my head… 🙂

      Like

  7. Sue says :

    Nice build-up with more details as I read.

    I found this sentence “I see longing in her expression for the days when their corporeal brothers took flight with the likes of our kind.” confusing and intriguing.

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Thank you, Sue! I was wondering if you’d come back to read – I’m ecstatic that you did!

      “I see longing in her expression for the days when their corporeal brothers took flight with the likes of our kind.” – at this point, the Other (bad Dark Angel) is crouching atop a stone gargoyle. The sentence is meant to convey that the good (if there is such a thing) Dark Angel sees a remembered want in the Other’s face to fly with what were living gargoyles at one time. They are after all, both ancient winged creatures. 😉

      Like

      • Sue says :

        My pleasure. The problem was mine. Did not realise the Dark Angel is your character and since I have not read much of her travels I didn’t get it.
        Of course one could be a good dark angel –remembered when they were once living gargoyles
        One of the series I read by Christina Henry , the MC sidekick is a gargoyle, and naturally has the best lines in the books

        Like

        • Nina D'Arcangela says :

          My Dark Angel is probably very far from that character as she tends to eviscerate most of what she come across, though she is not evil. She loves and adores her possessions right up until the moment she must dispatch them. Seeing their beauty, their humanity is both a refection of herself, and things she is not allowed.

          Some day I may actually write an explanation, but she is basically my voice in dark, poetic prose that I twist into an actual tale. 😉

          Like

  8. Thomas Brown says :

    An intriguing piece this week, Nina! It hints at much more to come, I hope there is a part 2? It reminds me of urban Sidhe fiction with its emphasis on immortals and mortal ownership and the Manhattan setting. Beautifully descriptive, as always.

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Thank you, Thomas! I’m usually a bit more ‘dramatic’ when it comes to my Dark Angel; but since this story involved a second dark Angel, and took place in a city setting, it felt right to hold back on the emotive value. I can’t say there will be a part two, but I do imagine the Other will get what’s coming to her in some form or another – Dark Angel style… Lots of arrogance, with very little pity. 😉

      Like

  9. blazemcrob says :

    Lovely story, Nina! Of course, all kinds of possibilities are weaving through this Damned gray matter of mine. Ooh. The gray says revenge, sweet revenge will be what is administered. But when? How? Alas, I must wait for the lovely stroke of your pen as it moves across the parchment. In my mind, I see red ink, so glorious.

    Blaze

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Thank you, Blaze! My Dark Angel sees red too! And she isn’t the type to let an insult like this pass her by without some form of retribution. Though I’ll readily admit, I don’t know why she was restricted from taking action against the Other to save her pet – not yet anyway. I’m waiting for my brain to catch up with the tale. Who knows what she’ll need to rend into ity-bity pieces to have that well deserved revenge! For now, I’m just happy the paw survived, and the piece didn’t completely suck! lol

      My fall back was a 40 some-odd word poem. (I don’t write poetry – I suppose that would have been an element of horror in itself!) 😉

      Like

  10. zkullis says :

    I’m torn (not unlike the pet’s tender flesh).

    On one hand I was rooting for the Watcher, wondering if she would save her morsel of a pet. On the other hand, my darker side rooted for the Other, eagerly pursuing a blood-meal, giving in to the passion for the kill even though the Other knew the girl belonged to another.

    This story incited a number of emotions in me. Nicely done!

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Flesh so tender, rent asunder;
      blood pouring, vengeance like thunder…

      (see, I suck at poetry!)

      Thank you, Zack! I was torn too. Letting one of my Dark Angel’s pets be shredded by the Other was difficult. But running to her rescue was too easy – and my dark Angel is a tragic character, she is defined by all that she is denied in this world. There was really no way to let her ‘treasure’ live. 😉

      Like

      • zkullis says :

        Yeah, you suck at poetry…. 😉

        Flesh so tender, rent asunder;
        blood pouring, vengeance like thunder…

        Hell yeah!

        I think tragic characters are so powerful because they often embody the concept of a pendulum – the further the pendulum swings towards the side of positive traits, the further its return swing reaches into the darker depths of tragedy or misfortune. While this isn’t always true, I believe it produces a character that is infinitely more enjoyable.

        Such is the case with your Dark Angel. (I want more)

        Like

        • Nina D'Arcangela says :

          LMAO – I do suck at poetry… it has rules and pace, meter and form that I can’t stand the notion of abiding by! Though I enjoy reading a well written poem – for some reason, angry and/or erotic poetry seem to be what I enjoy the most… go figure!

          That being said, I can spin my dark little ass off when it comes to rhyming or rhythmic prose! ;D

          Like

  11. Hunter Shea says :

    God I love the poetry of your pen!

    Like

  12. Joseph Pinto says :

    Nina, as always, what can I say? You complete consumed me with “The Other.” It’s typical Nina…(ok, so now you’re asking well, what’s typical Nina?lol) So happy you asked!!:

    Typical Nina prose is haunting, beautiful, painful & mournfully poetic, if read with a quiet & reflective mind. In this one piece alone, you’ve introduced me (and our readers) into a spider’s web of possibilities – the world of these angels & their stone comrades – and a myriad of questions: the back story of the ‘good’ Dark Angel and her relationship with her pet; most intriguing, why is she watching the ‘evil’ angel and what is their ‘beef’ with one another.

    I love the fact that you’ve crafted a contained tale here that, in reality, is anything but. Your imagery is excellent, but it’s the pulse of emotion that keeps this story coursing for me…

    I’m excited at the prospect of another glimpse into the realm of this “Other.” Until then, I loved your story. Masterfully done!!

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Hi Joe! First, my apologies for taking so long to respond – I’m limping on 3 paws here…

      Thank you very much for not only enjoying this particular Dark Angel story, but for summing up my writing approach when it comes to my angels so aptly! Pace and emotive pull are extremely important to me. Every decent story still needs an underbelly, but this one is half and half. Not a complete emotional roller-coaster, but not a cut and dry ‘just the deets’ spiel either. I’ve actually passed this one up more than once for posting feeling like it was wanting more than was in there, but I’m happy to hear I was wrong! lol

      Thanks again for such high praise, it is most greedily appreciated! Is there more coming? Who knows… When the Dark Angel wants to be chronicled, she’ll let me know. ;}

      Like

  13. jaimiengle says :

    Eerie and disturbing. Well done. Love the line: the sqealing pork is that much sweeter. Creepy!

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Hi Jaimie! My apologies for the delay – I have an injury that has kept my typing to a minimum with strict orders to avoid this blog else my PT will kick my butt! I’ll probably hear it from her on Monday…

      Eerie, disturbing & creepy… Darling, you must come and live as MY pet! I couldn’t ask for more!!

      Thank you, that is truly gracious praise and I’m very appreciative! 🙂

      Like

  14. abbie foxton says :

    My first Nina D’arcangela! Exquisite prose that masks the mind, projecting
    image and emotion that’s very hard to forget…my curiosity piqued, I am pleased to see, that I have stories past to ponder.

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Hello Abbie! A pleasure to make your acquaintance! As I have done with the last few replies, I apologize for the delay. I’m one wing down, and I couldn’t get here any sooner…

      I’m very pleased to know that you enjoyed my Dark Angel tale, though I don’t consider this one the most intriguing of the bunch. I hope you have the opportunity to read some of the past pieces here and on my Sotet Angyal writing blog. My Dark Angel is a very greedy/loving/temperamental/and harsh mistress, but she does love to be adored.

      Thank you very much for the kind words, and beautifully crafted compliment! 🙂

      Like

  15. mirabella says :

    Love this captured me entire. Your words are so eloquent…beauty beheld. Such fluidity, the pacing trance-like…and of course I appreciate ‘his pet’ …so very good love…your imagination is stunning. Grazie for sharing! Bells xxx

    Like

    • Nina D'Arcangela says :

      Bella signora, thank you so much for your encouraging and gracious words. I know you don’t always care for the harsher side of the imagination, but I’m extremely happy you enjoyed the emotional pace of this tale. From one who writes so beautifully, that is a true and genuine honor. 🙂

      My apologies for the late reply, as I stated several times, my writing/typing arm is injured and I’m on restricted use for the time being.

      Again, thank you, sweet poet. I am most appreciative!

      Like

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