Mordechai trudged through his home; his heavy steps reverberating off the cracked stone floor. Becca glided before him; her long, slinky body a sparkly green beacon in the darkness. He followed her into the sitting room and slumped into a worn leather chair. Becca curled herself around Mordechai’s feet and up his legs until her head rested on his knee. Exhaling a shaky breath, Mordechai reached out and stroked her cool head.
“I’m alright, Becca.” He mumbled through quivering lips. “I’m just tired and need—“
“NO!” A voice hissed in his head as Becca coiled tightly around his legs. “Please,” the snake whimpered in his mind. “I don’t like the way it feels …”
Mordechai could feel Becca shudder under his touch. It pained him that the drugs he took hurt her. But there was no way of separating them. They shared the same soul. Mordechai gently tilted her head up and gazed into her eyes. “I’m sorry. I don’t have a choice.”
Becca shook her head from his grasp and quickly unwrapped her body from around his legs. Mordechai watched as she hastily slid across the floor before coiling herself into a tight ball in the corner of the room.
His heart hammering in his chest, Mordechai ran his sweaty hands down his face. The chaos swirling around in his mind was preventing him from concentrating on anything except his own breathing. Mordechai flexed his fingers and balled his hands into loose fists several times to assure himself he still had some control over his own movements. Confident his hands were steady enough, his Tareh slowly circled around his left right hand forming into a small syringe. Mordechai’s silver eyes came to rest on the small glass bottles scattered on the end table next to him. All the bottles on the table were empty.
Mordechai shook his head. “That’s not possible.” He began frantically picking up each bottle desperate to find one that had even the smallest amount of liquid in it. Each bottle he examined was thrown to the floor until the small table was empty and broken glass was scattered about his feet.
Mordechai gazed breathlessly at the empty syringe in his hand before closing his eyes and laying his pounding head on the back of the chair. He could feel his whole body slowly being engulfed by the darkness surrounding him when he suddenly felt something brush against his hand. His chaotic mind stalled and Mordechai opened his eyes to find an orange bumblebee resting on the hand that was still clutching the empty syringe. “Wilde?” Mordechai rasped. The small bumblebee shimmered as it walked on his hand; its furry body making his skin tingle.
“Were you looking for this?” A soft, musical voice shattered the darkness surrounding him and Mordechai looked up to find Daslo standing in the doorway holding a half empty glass bottle.
Heat coursed through Mordechai’s body as he gazed at the Lorrae standing before him. “Yes,” he replied softly. “What are you doing here?”
Daslo strode towards him, her penetrating gaze never faltered from his face. She gently pried the syringe from his hand. “Becca, please take this.” The snake quickly uncoiled and was by her side in an instant. As Daslo held out the syringe, Becca raised up her head. The moment they touched, the syringe dissolved into a shimmery dust that absorbed into the snake’s body.
Mordechai swallowed hard. “I need that.”
“No,” Daslo slid her hand into his; filling the space of the syringe. Wilde buzzed about them as she held up the bottle. “Pain, disdain, fear, regret, and self-loathing. How can you inject this into your body? Why are you doing this to yourself?”
“It’s what I deserve." Mordechai lowered his gaze, "After what I did.”
“Mordechai, that’s the emotions talking.” Daslo cupped his cheek in her hand and pressed her forehead against his. “You can’t keep living in the past. There is nothing you can do to change it.”
Mordechai shook his head and gently pushed Daslo away from him. “Can’t you see I am not strong enough? I’ve destroyed lives, Daslo. A Strong Soul, maybe even Pure, is no longer in this world because of me.” His whole body started to shudder.
“No, no,” Placing the bottle on the table, Daslo slid into his lap and wrapped her arms around him. “It was an accident, Mordechai. A tragedy that occurred one hundred years ago.”
Tears glistened in Mordechai’s eyes as he pulled Daslo closer to him. “That simple, huh? Just forget it?”
For a fleeting moment, Daslo’s lips were against his. “I don’t want you to forget anything. I want you to share the burden.”
“What?” Mordechai frowned. “You can’t be serious. I can barely hold myself together because of this and you expect me to pass the memory to you? Your Soul, Daslo-“
“Is yours, Mordechai.” Daslo’s hazy gray eyes shone as she gazed him. “I love you. Your burdens are mine; they always will be.”
For the first time in weeks, a small smile appeared on Mordechai’s face. “Why me?”
Daslo steadied his shaky shoulders. “Simple. The moment I saw you my Soul recognized it’s equal.”
“How?” With a trembling hand, Mordechai brushed several curly strands of white hair off her shoulder. A single, pitch-black ringlet came into view. Mordechai twirled it around his finger. “Daslo?”
“It’s not dyed.” Daslo interlocked her fingers behind his neck. “The strand started to change color about a week ago.” She looked at the dyed black streaks in Mordechai’s disheveled, white hair. “I don’t mind because it is like I always have a piece of you with me.”
Mordechai sighed. “Being with me could ruin your career ...”
“Then I’ll find a new one,” Daslo interrupted.
“You’re a Royal and the next in line to be Heiress if…”
“I’ll renounce my title.”
Mordechai placed his hands on either side of Daslo’s angelic face. “My Soul is Broken, Daslo. I’m a junkie who has absolutely nothing to offer you. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“I didn’t do anything, Mordechai, accept choose to love you. I’ve done nothing wrong. And you have done nothing wrong by loving me.” Daslo nodded towards the bottle on the table. “We’re stronger together than apart. If my Soul is Pure, it’s because a part of it belongs to you.”
“You don’t understand,” Mordechai pushed Daslo off his lap and attempted to stand. His legs quickly gave out and he fell back into the chair. “The drugs are not a choice, Daslo. They are a punishment.”
“A punishment?” Daslo paced about the room as she processed the information. “Who is doing this?” Daslo’s nostrils suddenly flared, “Brighid. She believes you destroyed her life so she wants to destroy you. Mordechai, can’t you see how completely insane that is?”
“We made a deal—a pact.” Mordechai picked up the bottle and stared at the murky liquid it contained. “Two injections a day and she will not taint or destroy what I love. It was the easiest decision I ever made.”
A tear ran down Daslo’s cheek. “She found out about us and decided to punish you for being happy. As long as you keep poisoning yourself, she won’t kill me. Does that about sum it up?”
Mordechai ran a hand over his mouth. “Pretty much. I couldn’t risk…”
“My life?” Daslo took the bottle from his hand. “That’s the problem, Mordechai. Whether I choose to risk my life or not is up to me. Not you.”
“The deal is done, Daslo.” Mordechai gestured for the bottle. “Brighid and I made a Soul Pact. I couldn’t break it even if I wanted to.”
Daslo’s hand trembled as she gave him back the bottle. “For the last couple years I have slowly watched you deteriorate and I can’t do it anymore.”
“You’re leaving.” Mordechai cleared his throat, “I understand.”
“No, you don’t.” Daslo knelt before him, “You can’t break the pact. But we can.”
“Join with me.”
Daslo placed a hand in his. “Join with me. Our Souls will be bound together and we’ll be stronger as one. That pact won’t hold.”
Mordechai squeezed her hand. “Or it will and you will be bound to Brighid as well.”
Daslo leaned in, placing a feather-light kiss on his lips. “It’s a risk I am willing to take.”