All was calm, save for the soft gently echoing tap of my foot falls due to the shoes I wore. The soft cloth of my purple dress dragged gently across the smoothness of the floor beneath my feet. The hallway I walked down was pristine in the way the white marble reflected like a soft mirror. The black obsidian stone floor reflected a whole other form of myself in smoke and shadow. Little did I realize what the shadow of myself could endure. The massive black painted double doors, with hardly a carving on them, swung open as I approached. The sheer weight made the hinges groan a great protest as the doors moved inward into the massive circular ballroom. As I stepped forward through the threshold, a breeze took my long brunette hair moving it back.
Grand columns stood proudly, however, held up no second floor as there was nothing but eerie blackness above. No sense of a connected ceiling could be seen as though the darker side of the Universe was watching silently. Every thirty feet stood a white marble column with simple square designs. The most basic square top and base design one could dare come up with. It was almost droll in a sense. A shame the caver did not create a better pattern to give a feast for the eyes.
In between every few columns stood a single white door with gold knobs, all the same basic round shape. The sheer simplicity of the room gave a feeling of sadness as though all was lost. In the essences of my mind, I could feel a forthcoming that I feared amongst all else. The room mimicked my fears that I knew in me were still going to happen, but I dared not acknowledge this to myself. Noticing I was all alone, I began to cry.
A door creaked open. In a flash I turned around to see a man walking through the threshold into the ballroom. My eyes widened to realize who stood between the columns making his way into the light of the room. Jordan Knight stood graciously before me. Well dressed in a simple tuxedo and white dress shirt with black bow tie. Well polished black leather shoes and even gold cuff links finished off his attire. His hair was slicked back to the sides, but the top was fashioned with a slight airy curls. The presence he gave off was debonair as though he walked right off the pages of a well acclaimed magazine like G.Q.
As he approached, my heart began to pound in my chest. The shock of it all caught in my throat as I tried to calm the unease in mind and body. My mind swam with thoughts of pleasure that he could dare do onto me. Stepping ever so softly forward, Jordan took my hand into his white gloved hand kissing the tips of my fingers as though a butterfly landed. A shiver took me as he stepped even closer, nearly face to face.
“Shall we?” he asked, bowing slightly.
Nodding, feeling my face flush, Jordan positioned my hand on his shoulder and the other in his hand. Sliding his hand around my waist, his fingers flexing slightly to hold me just so, the waltz began to play. Swept away I was by the rhythm like a single carousel of just two horses going round and round each other in perfect motion.
“Why do you look so sad?” he implied returning a slightly similar expression.
“This place is so airy. So alone. I can't seem to find anyone else that believes like I do. Why am I the only one here?” I asked.
“You are not alone. I am with you, am I not?”
I nodded, keeping my mouth closed not wanting to ruin this moment and the pure classical surroundings before me.
Twirling me around, his out stretched arm moving me outward away from him, his fingers barely holding onto mine, I twirled back inward toward him. My dress spinning about as though it were wind blown petals. We waltzed until the music expired. The breath of me was stolen as I tried to catch it as I stood there awe struck. I could still feel my body and feet moving to the dance like specters of my former self.
As Jordan stepped away to the side of me, the light of the room was smothered into darkness as though he commanded it into submission. A click echoed in the nearly empty ballroom. A single spot light overhead in the shadowy ceiling as it illuminated him while he removed his black coat, it falling to the floor before his feet in a crumpled heap. The single light accented the whole of his body, but the shadows under his dark brown eyes, nose and chin made him look angry. As he began to remove his bow tie, a sense of giddiness took over my mind, but it was short lived. Something felt wrong. Something wasn't right. I stood frozen staring at him as he proceeded to remove the dress shirt with every flick of his fingers as they trailed down to each button. His bare chest heaved breath, rising and falling. The sheer beauty of his softly defined muscles captivated my sight and took over my mind as I felt my chest rise sharply with anticipation.
Sliding the white dress shirt back over his arms, the breeze catching it slightly, I shivered for a moment. I could hear him breathing as he gradually became excited. Surprised as to what he would do next, I closed my eyes, but found myself unwilling to keep them closed for long. As I opened my eyes, a sickening grunt came from Jordan's throat. His fingers dug into his skin. His fingernails catching a collection as he pulled back from his right wrist and up his arm. The tearing of his skin shocked me to barely a scream. I was petrified to what I saw before me.
There he continued with the other arm the same way. The sheets of skin lay flapping at the base of his shoulders. Blood dripped from his flesh and skin. Every drop I could hear as though I were right next to him. I stood there frozen in the center of the ballroom staring, unable to scream. Looking down at me, Jordan's face sweaty from his actions toward himself, he stepped forward slightly. His breathing labored as he proceeded to continue the previous actions, this time onto his chest.
As his fingernails dug into his skin from his left breast, I screamed. Falling to my knees, I covered my face as I felt my body shaking. I could not believe what I was seeing.
“Do you see? Do you see now?” Jordan cried, his breath labored even more as the skin from his chest began to rip from him. The veins could be seen peeking through the massive amounts of blood that dripped from his arms and chest. Blood still pulsed through them as he moved still pulling skin from areas he could reach. Blood splattered all over his white dress shirt that lay at his feet dotting it like an abstract painting.
A primal scream escaped my throat, the floor beneath me crumbled away. All was darkness around me as I fell through the abyss of nightmares. My screams echoed in unseen walls as though the darkness itself was a solid shape.
Within moments, I fell into the arms of another man. Shocked, I scrambled in his grasp wanting desperately to be let go. Setting me down on my feet, I scampered away from him, my back turned. Looking all around me, I realized I was in a similar ballroom, however, the marble column tops and bases were carved a little more detailed in a curved flourish design. Between every few of them stood a white door and they too were more detailed in their carving. Above, just as before no ceiling could be seen as the shadowy darkness consumed everything in a haze.
“Are you all right?” the man asked.
His voice sounding familiar, I whirled around to face him. Donnie Wahlberg stood before me this time. His attire was nearly the same, however, the coat was nothing more than a business suit style. A simple bronze colored neck tie accented the red ting of his dirty blond short hair. His shoes were a soft brown leather, but were just as well polished.
My heart nearly leaping from my chest, I held my hand to my breast fearing it would do so. With a shaky voice, “Yes, but...” I trailed off, my voice caught between a breath and a whimper of fear.
“What's the matter?” he asked kindly, his brown eyes sparkling just enough to catch me off guard.
Words escaped me as I found myself slowly moving towards him. With his arms out, opening his business suit jacket, my hands slipped through wrapping around his waist. His arms wrapped around me as he held me there for a few moments in the warmth of him as though he were a sibling. My heart slowed. I could feel my body relax as I continued to hold onto the calm of his heart beating.
“Would you like to dance to steady your nerves?” he tempted, his voice soothing to my ears there was no way to say no to him.
Looking up at him, I smiled softly. Taking me into his arms in the proper position for the waltz, he stepped forward just a bit bending down to kiss my cheek just before the music began. Whisked away to the gentle rhythm, I felt my mind begin to swim about me. I was calm, yet floating as though I was not there. As though I were a lone specter dancing by myself. The room spun round as the song sped up. Dizziness took me as I fell back. Donnie's grip still on my waist so I would not fall, gently though he let go as I fell to the floor like a feather.
Feeling the floor's stillness against my back, the chill of the floor awakened me from my trance. Sitting up slowly, my eyes still closed, I heard a familiar sickening tear grace my ears. The gasp caught in my throat as I dared my eyes to open. Donnie's business jacket and dress shirt, even the bronze neck tie lay in a collection on the floor. Blood dripping onto the clothing on the floor as I trailed my eyes upward from his feet to his arms. The sheets of skin dangling from his wrists. The muscles flexed as he began to remove strings of white nerves from between his muscles. With every tear into his flesh, he screamed and grunted not in pain, but in a disgusted pleasure of the flesh. Nothing I had ever thought could be possible, was happening before my eyes.
Just as Jordan had done, Donnie repeated the same actions in tearing the skin from his torso and chest. Then began to remove nerves, even some tendons from his muscles. Like a spring loaded sling shot, the tendons from his chest muscles snapped like celery. Gleefully he smiled at me as though he had gone mad.
“Do you know why?” he snarled as he caressed the exposed fleshy muscle on his chest. The slickness of blood and meat across his fingers nearly gagging me.
“No!” I cried at him as the marble floor gave way consuming me into it. Slipping through, I fell down into the ebony darkness. I could not see my hand in front of my eyes as it was so dark that a single spark of light might not be seen.
Beneath me a light shone bright ever consuming me in the encompassing abyss. Taking a breath readying myself to be caught in the arms of the next man, I found myself floating down as though in water. The fabric of my purple dress moved all around as liquid. Turning my body to be upright, I looked around to see the tops and bases of the marble columns were even more flourished in design, a more French design with greater detail than before. This time the marble of the columns had a tinge of blue to them.
Turning my attention to a door opening to my left, a single male figure walked through the threshold of the ballroom. Out stepped Jonathan Knight dressed to his best in a dark gray suit and white button down dress shirt, but with no neck tie. Well polished white leather dress shoes adored his feet. With every step he took, nay a sound he made as though he were a ghost. There I floated still above the floor for a few more moments as he stretched out his arms to gather me softly. A tenderness in his green eyes stilled my heart to barely a flutter.
Setting me down upon my feet, my eyes transfixed onto his, the gentleness of his touch on my cheek I could barely feel. It was not until he graced his lips with mine just slightly did I realize where I was. Finding myself wanting to back away, Jonathan took my hand holding me still as he broke the sweet kiss. Shaking my head slightly, I took a step back. I knew what would come next, but prayed it would not happen. It was then I began to realize why I was in such a predicament to begin with. A judgment of sorts was put before me. A test to see how much I loved them.
“Did my brother harm you?” he asked suddenly, his gentle voice trailing off as a soft breeze from his lips.
“What? No, of course not,” it was then I mistaken the word harm for something else. All of them had harmed me visually and nothing more, but it wasn't straight on physical harm. Not a scratch. Not a scrap. Not a touch of pain was put upon me from any of them. If there was any form of harm done to me, it was mental at least.
Anger began to swell inside me. My face burned with rage. I felt as though I were being falsely accused of deeds not yet acted on. Then the tables had turned. Jonathan looked sullen and afraid. A weakness in his character appeared on his face. A deepened sorrow that I had barely noticed in years past.
Stepping towards him, I took his hand gently into mine. “What's the matter?” I asked, still staring into those signature green eyes.
Fishing something from his pants pocket, the thin silvery object he twiddled between his fingers. “All is lost now,” tears began to drip from his eyes. “Do you know why?”
I shook my head. His hand dropped from mine as he stepped back removing his gray suit jacket, letting it slowly fall from his arms behind him. Ripping the white dress shirt sleeve from his left arm, I gasped. The white fabric hung in stripes over his arm as a lite breeze moved them slightly. From between his fingers the flat silvery object came into view the light catching it slightly with a shimmer.
Before I could speak a word to distract him, in a flash the sharp razor blade crossed his left wrist. For a moment the blood did not flow. Soon with the pumping of his heart, the blood began to drip and then slowly pulse out from his veins. Stepping back in fear, my body quaked as my knees buckled inward as I met the floor. My palms sweaty holding me up against the now dark gray marble floor. My head bowed in submission to the Universe for some unknown forgiveness I begged to give Jonathan.
“Why?!” I cried, screaming the single word until it echoed throughout the ballroom roaring like a dragon. As my tears choked at my throat, my ears caught the faint sound of whimpers from my male companion a few feet from me. I dared not look, only listened, but no matter how hard I tried curiosity took the better of me.
My breath shook as I veered my eyes upward. My dark brown locks covered my eyes slightly like a tattered curtain as tears dripped from my eyes. Jonathan had slit both wrists as he sat calmly on the darkened marble floor. With what strength he had left in his hands, he ripped the dress shirt to shreds. The crumbled, tattered white fabric fell to the floor around him dabbled in blood as though it were snow in winter after a battle.
The dance in which I thought we were meant to blend with a similar waltz sadly did not occur. The ever consuming madness that each of them had expressed slowly made its way into my mind as well. I could not tell the difference between love and self hate anymore, but an inclining inside my soul pushed me onward. I just could not stand idly by while this sweet darling man harmed himself before my presence. Yes, the other two had done the same, but in a barbaric fashion that did not compel me to be empathetic or compassionate.
Crawling towards Jonathan, reaching with my quivering hand towards his face, my voice choked with tears, “Why...why Jonathan?” The feel of his cheek against my hand was cold. The color from his face was fading. The dreariness in his green eyes slowly went out, but not before a rage flared inside him.
A snarled scream erupted from the bowels of his chest through his voice box. Scampering away from him, the breath of me captured to stillness, Jonathan plunged his right hand into his heaved chest. Ribs cracking as though they were tree branches. His collar bone poked out from the skin as he forced his way into his chest searching for the great mass of muscle. Grabbing hold, pulling the organ slowly from his chest, the slurping sound of the flesh letting go came forth in a wide birth wrapped around his long fingers still beating.
With a whisper, “Take it,” stretching forth his hand filled with blood dripping from his beating heart, I reached for it ever so gingerly. My fingers trembling as they graced the flesh staining my fingers with his blood. “Take it,” he whimpered breathlessly.
Cupping his slow beating heart in my hands, the words escaped as I mouthed them, but even then I could not fully understand what I tried to say aloud. Within moments his head slumped over and body going limp, the ballroom floor opened up once again. Jonathan's dead heart fell from my fingers as I fell faster than the heart as though it were floating above just out of reach in the ever encompassing darkness. My tears flew upward encircling his heart as though to bless it into graceful slumber.
Not paying any mind to the light that shone underneath me, I succumb to the constant rhythm in which I was now part of. My eyes closed, my heart still pounding from the pain I emphatically felt through Jonathan's actions, my body jolted awake to the strength filled touch from a pair of hands cradling me. My hands gripped tightly around the man's biceps and upper back. A wide smile graced my sight, his dark brown eyes twinkling a gentleness I never knew was in him. Danny Wood held me in his arms as though I were a small child to him – delicate, yet full of life.
“You've been crying. Why such the long face?” he cooed, his wide smile bringing a joy to me as I wiped my eyes.
“There is a sadness here that is not my own,” I implied pointing to the darkened mist overhead indicating the above rooms I previously came from. “Their sadness is vast.”
With a soft smile, “You reflect,” is all he replied as he took me into his arms preparing for the waltz, but there was no music. As I looked around, I noted the marble columns around the ballroom. They were well defined in carving. An even more French, almost Renaissance flourished design adorned the tops quite majestically. The bases were wide with a stepped design with a hint of soft curves. A kind of strength was all about the ballroom this time. A mating of delicate feminine beauty with vigorous masculine grace.
If there was to be music, it would only be the beats of our hearts echoing all around. Moving to the rhythm of the ghostly waltz all over the ballroom floor, it did not take long for the real music to begin. A mix of waltzing and dainty ballet had taken over. I knew not where this feeling was coming from, I just knew it felt right. The strength and yet delicate hold of my small hand into his well formed hands set the mood all around me. Leaping ever so often as I balanced on the ball of my foot while Danny walked around slowly twirling me around like a well seasoned ballet partner. The skirt of my dress unfolding in a large circle like flowing flower petals.
Balanced as I was with the help of Danny's strength, a gathering of our souls could be felt. A light around me began to form of inner strength that he seemed to willingly give to me. A strength that I had once forgotten. As the dance continued, soon changing to a slow waltz round and round the room, I began to feel more confident in myself. The heart of my soul grew and grew ever coming closer to bursting with light that it could nearly not contain. As we danced, I looked around to see the marble columns begin to glow with brighter blue accents in the veins of the stone. Imperfections in the stone seemed to pulse like rivers of silver.
The moment I became comfortable with my new dancing partner, I felt a sense of dread sweep over me. Within seconds Danny let go of me causing me to spin around, tumbling to the ground as though I were a rag doll. Whimpering, my eyes tearing up, he stood there staring at me. His head angled just so to give the impression he were possessed by something sinister. With his signature wide smile and the angle in which he stared I shivered in fear. It was as though I were looking at a humanized version of Cheshire Cat.
A darkness swarmed around him as he proceeded to remove his cream toned suit and white dress shirt. Keeping the black necktie around a belt loop of his cream toned dress pants, he began to flex his muscles as though he were trying to impress me. I was already impressed with him how he handled his dancing skills and sweet manner.
“Danny, please! Don't do this!” I bellowed knowing full well what he was going to do to himself, but my pleas went unheeded.
Wrapping the black necktie around his left bicep tightly, it at full flex, he dug in with his robust fingers into his flesh. Grabbing hold of the fleshy muscle, he ripped it from the arm throwing it to the floor. Doing the same action to the other bicep, he ripped that muscle clean out, too. My sobs echoed throughout the ballroom. With my tear filled eyes I looked up to see the darkening misty cloud ceiling seem to pulse as though it were alive. Keeping my eyes to the black cloud so not to see him mutilate his beautifully sculpted body, I prayed for this to be over. Covering my ears, I screamed and cried loudly trying desperately to drown out the slopping wet sounds. Tendons breaking like stocks of celery. The ripping of flesh from himself and the slap of meat onto the floor. Splatters of blood everywhere beneath his feet.
“Do you see the truth!?” he yelled. Being the gentle soul that he is, I never knew anger could come from him in such a way.
“What truth?” I screamed back, my tears catching in my throat as I tried to breath in between sobs. My eyes full of watery tears I could barely make out that his once cream dress pants were soaked in blood streaming down his legs and onto the floor beneath him. “Why!” I screamed again.
The marble floor was turning black before me. Veins of white, green and blue snaked all throughout the floor. Once more a massive dark hole opened up under me and I fell threw into the deep, unending ebony blackness. Blacker than pitch. Blacker than the darkest storm clouds that could ever be formed. Darker than all the Universe. The bowels of my inner mind had tumbled me into this nightmarish quest for an answer. An answer to what?
The sense of falling had ceased. I could not recognize up from down or right from left. All was motionless. I could see nothing, not even my hand in front of my eyes. The sound of my breathing took over all emptiness of sound. Even silence was a sound all its own. The rhythm of my heart beating was achingly loud in my chest and ears as the blood pulsed through my veins. One would start to think that madness would come at a time like this, but no, all I felt inside me was tranquil. Feeling myself let go of all the tears and heartache, I felt a light within me start to flicker. A sense of hope ignited in me from the depths of my soul.
It was then I heard a soft male voice speak my name. I opened my eyes, blinking away the blurriness as my vision cleared. A dark brown haired man looked over me. The first thing I noticed was his eyes. Those magnificent, endless ocean topaz blue eyes. Joey McIntyre was the last to meet on this inner soul quest.
Helping me sit up, “Have you awakened?” he queried, softly rubbing my back.
“How did I get here?” I asked, wiping some lingering tears from my eyes.
“You floated down peacefully. I had never seen anyone look so tranquil.” Looking him over, I noticed he wore a white suit and matching dress pants and dress shoes. A pale blue silk necktie to match his eyes perfectly. There was not a spec of dust or dirt on him just like the others.
Listening to his voice, it dawned on me. All the men, these five men whom I knew only from a far, were tempting me into a falsehood. I caught onto their game and now it was time, at least I thought, to let them play the game my way.
“Why are you here?” I asked him as I stood up on my own.
A stunned look took over his words. “Didn't you come here first? We have always been here waiting.”
“Enough with the games! Enough with the temptations! I'm threw with all of this,” I shouted noticing that Joey stood confidently against my outburst.
“Are you sure about that? Is that what you really want? Are you done having us around?” crossing his arms he stood slightly to the side and smirked.
“I...I...” my words were lost. I had always felt a need to keep them with me at all times even if it seemed folly. There was a comfort to it, but times had changed. Something in me was changing, but fighting against that change. “I don't know what I want.”
While my mind was blank and my eyes closed as I tried to retrieve my thoughts, I felt Joey move closer to me. My first momentary reaction I felt in my chest – my heart beating, fluttering as though I were to faint. I could feel his hands wrap around my waist and back as he pulled me closer to him. Instinctively I lifted my head ready for the kiss in which did arrive quite passionately. Taking me close against his body, his lips pressed against mine as his tongue slipped in between my slowly parting lips. Time did not exist in this realm. The passion that was exchanged between us seemed unending until I felt something wet against the chest of my blouse. Still lip locked, I looked down with my eyes to see a collection of red pooling against Joey's chest. Surprised, I pushed him away from me.
“Why are all of you doing this to yourselves? What have I done to cause you all to hurt your bodies?” I cried, transfixed upon the blood stained white suit and shirt.
“We bleed for you cause you love us so. We are your slaves,” Joey cooed seductively as he moved closer wanting to take my hand.
Pulling away, “No, you are not my slaves! You are noth...”
“Wait!...Don't say it! Not yet!” he cried, as he took my hand gently. The blood stain from his chest reversed back into him as though it were never there. “Please, just once more. I promise you this will all be over soon.”
Feeling the rise of compassion fill me once more, I gave into his sweet plea for companionship, even for just a moment. Taking me into a waltzing position, the music began. Joey taking the lead, like all of them had done, I felt as though I were being whisked away on air. As we moved silently across the polished marble floor, which now transformed to a crisp white with a medley of blue hue veins, all I could get lost in were his memorizing ocean blue eyes. The dizziness that I thought was about to happen, having danced round and round, did not take me. I felt at ease, but a part of me was waiting for the inevitable.
As he spun me around, my skirt unfolding, I saw something in his eyes that brought me back to a trance. Pulling me close suddenly, I gasped softly just before he laid a powerful; passionate kiss upon my lips. I was taken away by his enduring romantic manner. The pounding of his heart and heave of his chest against me quivered my body to the core of my womanly flesh. Draping back over his arm, he laid me down onto the marble floor gently as I felt myself nearly going unconscious. Trailing his fingers through my long dark brown hair as he continued to kiss me like a well seasoned lover, I felt his hand make its way under my skirt.
Grabbing his hand and pushing him away, “No. No you don't,” I fussed as I scrambled away from him, sitting on my knees watching his every move. “I can't do this anymore. This has to end.”
Without saying a word, Joey stood, removed his white suit jacket letting it drop to the floor behind him. Relieved his neck of the light blue silk necktie and ripping the white dress shirt clean off as though the fabric was endangering the very core of his flesh. Before I could speak, to desperately get him to stop, it was too late. Clawing at his chest with both hands, his fingers flexing robustly at his skin making deep scratch marks, blood dripping between his fingers and bare chest, he dug inward pulling the muscles and rib cage apart unfolding like a book. The sheer crack of his ribs echoed throughout the ballroom.
Thrusting his hand into his chest cavity he removed his heart while it was still beating. The scream was caught in my throat once more as I sat there staring. My body quivered. My hands shook as I covered my mouth while a gasp escaped. As soon as Joey removed his heart, the sooner he placed it back in and slightly closed his rib cage. His heart now sat slightly out of his chest just enough so it would not fall out. Pulling the dress shirt back on and buttoning it half way, I heard the familiar waltz music begin to play. Backing away as fast as I could, shaking my head, Joey grabbed my hand lifting me to my feet as he took me in his arms for the file dance.
“Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you,” he cooed softly.
Veering my eyes, I looked at the marble columns trying to distract myself from the horror that stood before me. The columns were now fully carved with smooth shapely designs and a whole lot more Renaissance flourished at the top and base. The veins of the marble glowed blue and silver creating a romantic lighting effect. Moments later the other four gentlemen walked through their respectable doors to join in the merriment. They were all clean and well dressed just as before, before the carnage they had done unto themselves as though nothing terrible had happened. They all just stood there between the columns waiting. Two even leaning against the columns in a relaxed; cool pose.
Placing his blood stained hand to my cheek, he moved my attention back to himself. His topaz blue eyes sparkling in the romantic light that emanated from the blue and silver glow of the marble floor and columns all around. Feeling the still slightly wet blood from Joey's hand on my cheek, I broke the gaze and turned my attention to the misty black ceiling above. The mist seemed to consume the whole of the room starting with the tops of the columns. It was then I had to act fast.
Pushing Joey away forcefully, he falling to the floor in a huff, the others rushed forward standing around me in an eerie calm. Hearing Joey get to his feet, his foot falls echoing while the waltz music continued to play, but gradually became more tortured and broken melding with another song. Joining the group, Joey fished out a flat silver object from his pants pocket. Twiddling it between his fingers and then flipping it like a coin with a flick of fingers he slit his wrist cross ways. The blood seeping out staining his white pants and shoes. Looking around at the others, seeing they were doing the exact same action, I screamed so loud that the misty dark ceiling cracked exposing light above.
“No,” I whimpered, pleading with all five of them, “don't do this. Please.”
“You wanted us gone from your sight,” Jordan chimed, laying his bleeding wrist against the side of his body.
“You wanted this to end,” Donnie added, his cut wrist bent slightly letting it drip in front of his feet.
“It has to end, is what you said,” Jonathan continued, as he licked the bloody razor clean, it nearly slicing his tongue.
“You wanted it over,” Danny said, holding his arm out, his wrist down dripping his blood far away from his shoes and pants. The splatters nearly getting onto my skirt as I held the dress back against my legs.
“What will it be?” Joe said at last as he licked the blood from his wrist.
My heart ached. My mind was frozen. It was then I realized the strength I had in myself that I saw through each of them when I danced in their arms. Holding my hands to my chest, to my heart that was pounding out of my chest nearly, a glow formed behind my hands. Closed my eyes and took a breath. Plunging my hand into my chest, I grabbed hold of a long and strong shaft I wrapped around my fingers. Pulling forcefully outward a sword hilt appeared and then seconds later the whole sword itself. The clean blade shone brightly making all five men shield their eyes.
Seeing my opportunity I lunged for Donnie slicing him nearly in half. Donnie fell to the floor, his blood pooling all around him and not getting up, his eyes open and lifeless, I turned to Danny. It was then I realized that none of them attacked me to defend themselves. With one swift stroke, Danny's head came clean off falling to the floor as the blood pulsed greatly out from between his shoulder as his body fell after. Taking a step forward, I sliced through Jordan's torso as both halves fell to either side. His guts and blood spilling out all over in the circle in which he once stood. Jonathan stood there motionless seeing his brother having been so brutally killed. Shaking my head to keep myself from feeling any form of empathy, I drove the sword through his chest. Withdrew from his body and sliced his throat open. A gurgling sound spatted out from the cut as he collapsed to his knees, then fell on top of his brother's upper half of his body.
In a huff of breath I turned to Joey. I was done with the game. I was done with it all and this was the final act. Thrusting the sword into his exposed heart still slightly draped out from his open chest, he gasped a moment of surprise. The sword smoothly going through his heart as he smiled at me softly. Withdrawing the sword, I stood there watching him falling to his knees holding his heart that still spewed blood from it coating his pristine white shirt and pants to crimson.
“It is over then?” he asked as he labored to breath.
Standing there, my eyes filled with tears, I rushed to Joey's side holding him as he fell into my arms. His eyes were fading. The color from his face grew pale. Looking around at the others, their lifeless bodies cold, eyes open as though staring at me the bigger question – 'Why?'
“This is what you wanted,” he whispered with a soft smile.
“No, this is not what I wanted. What...what have I done!” I screamed as my tears burst from my eyes showering his face, the droplets sparkling just a bit seeming to return color to him. Stroking his forehead, my sobs grew loader as I watched his blue eyes fade and his breath became more shallow and labored. “I love you...I love all of you,” I said finally, kissing his forehead. Fixing my gaze into his eyes, he looked up at me one last time. In the reflection I could see the misty black ceiling break away to expose more light.
Gazing upward to see this transformation for myself, the darkness evaporated like parting storm clouds. What was left behind were sparkles of light showering down onto everything it touched. The light was bright white, but soft to my sight as I stared in awe. Looking all around, the light altered the shape of the marble columns to crystal. The floor was also crystal with hints of marble slabs here and there. As the light calmed, the bodies of all Five Brothers faded into starlight. No longer feeling the weight of Joey's body in my arms, I looked down to watch him fade away just like the others.
Carefully I stood on the crystal floor. The sword still in my hands, I looked down at it and it too had changed into a more regal form. A sword I had never dreamed could appear before me. Taking it with me, I walked towards the double doors in which I had originally entered. The grand doors were now solid white marble, parting to let me through, a soft light burst forth before me. I walked through confidently through the threshold of a new beginning. What I had not realized was that my final cry of love towards them had left a portal open for me to return.
Looking back, all my memories of them that I had grown up with were kept safe in a room all their own. As I walked down the new hallway of a future to come, I felt at peace. I had come to a decision that I would never forsaken them as long as I lived. I knew the meaning of inspiration and where my muses came from. For if I had given up on them as muses of men, it would have only meant the death of me. I had come out of the trial by darkness a new woman and was anxiously awaiting the next phase to my creative endeavors.