(The sky is a void lacking a soul. No stars. The moon's light strangled into nothingness by thick clouds. Only various layers of black exist. She remains crouched on a rooftop within it. The layers bring her comfort. The shadows whisper to her soothingly as they cling to her form. They press against her as the multitude of voices pleasantly fill her ears with harsh tones. Even from behind the dull red eyes of her mask she can see them moving all around her in a hypnotic dance. Her gloved right hand softly holds the vial that is the centerpiece of her minimalist necklace. The vial contains her memento. Her trophy. A lock of Angel's hair. The one she tore from his head herself. Such a fond memory. So kind of him to remember her for the holiday. His name is said in many voices within the shadows around her. The layers of his repeated name bring a smile to her face within the confines of her scarecrowish, black mask.

They suddenly shift to her sister's name...Eclipse. The shadows know her well. They have a relationship with her too. They tried to speak to her, but she cannot hear them. Eclipse refuses their call. She just uses them to suit her needs then leaves them. Not Dusk. Even when not inside them, she still feels them. Hears them. Wants them like they want her. She wonders what her sister is doing right now. Is she thinking of her? It's because of Eclipse that she is here right now. Her curiousity has gotten the better of her.

She gracefully drops down from the roof into the backyard. Slowly, she approaches the window she intends to use as a point of entry, when she stops in place. Movement, off to her right. What could that be? How wonderful. It's the person she's come to visit. The shadows titter all around her. Bathing her in a cacophony of restrained laughter. Her fingers slide around the vial of hair on her necklace again for a moment. Her smile growing behind the mask. Plans change in an instant. She rushes forward and violently throws her body against a large window. She crashes through, sending glass everywhere, and hits the floor before rolling and stopping in a contorted, but crouched position in front of her quarry.

He sits in a wheelchair. His hair haphazardly gelled. The shirt he wears is too small for his broad shoulders. Panic fills his features. He starts to scream. She leaps forward to land on top of him in the chair. Sitting on his lap facing him, she cups his face with her left hand to muffle the scream. Her right index finger wagging slowly in his face. Her voice is quiet and strong. A slight warble hides within the layers of vocal tones.)

Dusk: Let's not do that. Loud noises scare me.

(A quiet titter escapes her lips to match the ones the shadows made previously. His wide eyes look off to his right. Her mask turns slightly to follow them. A few feet away a revolver rests on a night stand. Sharply, his head is turned back to face her. His breathing is labored against her gloved hand.)

Dusk: Oh, you won't be needing that. You really should focus your attention on me. A girl could get upset by a man with a wandering eye.

(Her free hand moves towards his right eye. A finger extends to rub circles just around the eyeball.)

Dusk: Wouldn't want me to get offended and go pluck pluck pluck would you?

(He shakes his head slowly while saying something muffled against her hand. She pats his forehead like one would an obeying dog.)

Dusk: Better. Now, let's get to know each other Hugh Whitman. You will give me the answers I seek.

(She removes her hands from him. Slowly they move up to her mask. Instead of screaming again, he finds himself curious as she begins to lift it up from her face. A face that causes a flash of recognition in him. Her smile spreads further as she sees his expression.)

Dusk: Ah, so you do remember my sister. So tell me, why did she let you live?

(She smells the fear on him as if it is an intoxicating pheromone. He was already traumatized by Eclipse, and her little girl scouts, when they shattered his kneecaps. In a way, some of the fun is ruined. He's already broken.)

Hugh Whitman: A...a chick begged her to. Those bitches ru...

(She cuts him off by covering his mouth again. There is no interest in his extra thoughts. Not from such a feeble mind. He is beginning to bore her so soon into the conversation. She already knew Fallon begged Eclipse not to kill him. Why did Eclipse listen though? Her manic eyes bear down on him.)

Dusk: Yes or no question Hugh...Do you deserve to live?

(Even his confusion over the question seems rather dull. Her interest is quickly waning.)

Dusk: It's a simple question. Only two answers. Yes or no?

(Finally, he stops making her wait. He nods his sweaty head.)

Dusk: See how easy that was?

(She smacks his face a couple of times in an almost affectionate manner before climbing off of his lap. He's puzzled and slightly relieved to have her be less close. She turns around and takes a couple of steps away. He looks over at the gun and then back to her. He can't help himself. He's got to ask.)

Hugh Whitman: Wait, that's it? Wha...What are you gonna do?

(The question brings her such amusement. A tiny bit of laughter escapes her lips against her will as she pulls her mask back down over her face. In her mind, she dares him to go for his weapon. It would enhnace the evening. Her hands move down to the blades holstered on her thighs. They rest loosely at the top of the handles. Her tone darkens as she responds while still laughing.)

Dusk: Fix my sister's mistakes of course...

(As her hands grip the blades her laughter turns into a warbly cackle. It spills from her in a torrent of insanity. The blades leave their sheaths and raise to the sky. He immediately tries to wheel himself over towards his revolver. As she turns around her blades spin in her hands so that she is holding them in the opposite manner of how she drew them. By the time he reaches his gun she is already on top of him. Stabbing downward. His weapon drops from his hand to the floor. Everything goes quiet other than the waves of twisted laughter. His body twitches against her as blood gushes from his neck. She leans closer. Stares into his eyes. Feels the life draining from him. Why would Eclipse deny herself something so wonderful?)


(Anchorage. The only city I truly feel comfortable in. I reside in Queens because it is home for Angel, but I don't particularly care for it. The streets are too quiet at night. They feel empty. They lack the screams that echo up into the sky from the alleys below. The multitude of gunshots. The alarms. The fires. At night Anchorage rages to life. I can feel all the movement in it as psychos and thugs take the streets in large numbers. As violence becomes. The crisp air. The starry skies. I've missed it all.

I unlock the front door to the mansion that once housed Retribution Inc. Before they[Fallon] decided[made] to[them] abandon me. I push the door open and am greeted by nothing. An empty entryway. An empty building. The door is shut behind me. I make my way in and stop at the kitchen. I open the fridge and am greeted by the smell of rotting vegetation. I abandon the thought of finding something to drink. I shut the door and head upstairs to the bedrooms. I open Summer's door and find what I expected. A pile of empty bottles and cigarette packs. An unmade bed. A table standing on three legs covered in extensive pock marking from a blade being stuck in it repeatedly over time. She may be gone, but this room feels like her. I can smell traces of stale, booze sweat lingering in the air.

I move on to Fallon's[the princess'] room. It's like it was never lived in. Nothing out of place. The bed made. No discernable scent. Just emptiness. An emptiness she chose to leave me with. [She hurt you]. I don't blame her. [You should]. It's my[her] fault. I brought her into something she wasn't emotionally designed for. I hid things from her view. [None of her business]. I have no desire to stand in here anymore. I make my way to Ember's room. I immediately notice the small, blood stains on the sheets of her unmade bed. What caused those? [Doesn't matter]. She left[betrayed] me. I did everything I could for her. Tried to give her a new path after realizing I had destroyed[improved] what she originally was. I want to feel bad about it. Cling to the misery I caused, but I find it difficult to connect with those feelings for some reason. I reach for them, but they aren't there. Not really. [You didn't need them]. Enough of this. I don't care. They are gone. All of them. I storm out of her room and head to my own.

I unlock it and go in. I look around to make sure it has remained untouched. It has. They didn't interfere with my space before leaving. [No, just your plans]. I lift my mattress and spot the item I wanted. My bone knife. The one I made in the dimension I grew up in. The one I brought with me when I came to this one. I grab it and put it in my belt. I should never have left it here. I pull a bag out of my closet and pack some of my clothes in it from the dresser before going to the bathroom and collecting the few supplies from there I want to bring with me when I leave this area again. I toss the bag on the bed and head back downstairs. There's something I need to check.

As I walk through the main floor, my mind layers images of the others around the house. Summer and Fiona bickering at the kitchen table. Fallon curled up with a book in the living room. Ruen cooking in the kitchen. Ember sitting silently in the bar. Vivian constructing some technological device on a coffee table. None of it's real. [Never was]. Just various memories slammed together over the currently reality. Ghosts of a previous time. I push them from my mind as I enter a closet. My hand pushes in a panel to reveal a keypad. I enter the code. Pressurized air greets my ears as a piece of the wall slides aside. I move my way down the stairs. I want to see if my computer system still exists. The one Vivian redesigned. The one we[I] used to find our targets[victims]. It's obvious as soon as I step into the War Room that the set up has changed from what it was. Components are missing. I press power on the system and wait. The screen comes up, but there's nothing left...just an error screen. Damn her[Fallon]! I am unable to stop myself from kicking it multiple times before throwing a remote across the room. It shatters against a wall. My breath heavy from my anger. I stop myself from doing further damage to anything. [Why]?

I could have used that and now it is gone. They truly have taken it all. I take my seat at the head of the table in the room and lean back. There wasn't much of anything left for me here. Not really. It's not that this isn't what I expected. I just don't like it. The dream is truly dead. It's time I allow its ashes to be scattered to the wind. I thought I had accepted its demise before, but now I see it is time to let the finality of it all set in. To let it go. I'll go to the garage next and see what is left of the weapons. Get new sets of locks out. I'll change them all, including the keypad to down here. I'll lock the place down before I leave state again....but before all of that...I need to do the one thing I haven't wanted to do since I came back....See my parents.)


(I stand outside the large gates of my father's mansion. It, and the fencing built onto it, rise into spikes covered in barbed wire. Sculptures of monstrous creatures adorn the unfeeling steel to ward off visistors. The outside of the building itself is cracked, stained, and crumbling. The inside varies depending on where you are. He's boarded half of the building off from the rest on the inside. Each room that is accessible is in a different state of existence. Some are so full of furniture and stacked items that you can't enter them. Some are completely empty. Some are broken memories of a room that once existed. Some are meticulously maintained. Paintings hang at odd angles. China cabinets contain weapons. Then there are the holes and bloodstains randomly in some of the walls that carry the weight of past transgressions my parents have made against each other.

I take a breath and step towards the gate. It begins to open. His paranoia is so great[impressive] that he was aware of my presence the moment my feet touched the property. The snow crunches beneath me as I walk through. The gates close behind me as I approach the front door. I have not been here in so very long. The differences in views between my mother and I are just part of what has kept me away. I needed to find my own way. I could not do that from beneath the weight of their presences. Their watchful eyes. Their all-consuming monstrous[wonderful] philosophies. My mother's constant threats[love]. Her hatred[concern] focused on pushing me to focus only on being the part of me that she considers her daughter. My father at least tries to understand. To give me the time to work things out in my own way. Even so, he is unable to truly relate. My dwindling humanity[weakness] is past his ability to comprehend. He lost[transcended] that long ago in himself. If I wasn't in search of answers, I wouldn't be here.

Dusk made this necessary. She's clawed her way into my life[skin]. I feel that she truly is my sister, but I must know for sure. I must know if I was kept in the dark and why. Does it change the fact that I must hurt her? No. That is absolute. She invaded the little bit of happiness I had achieved. Tried to taint my[MY] Angel. For that there must be retribution. Regardless, I must know. If she is my sister, as I believe she is, then retribution is not all I seek. I want a connection. To know her story. To know her. If I determine her not to be my sibling...then she must be destroyed.

I reach out to the front door, but it opens before my hand can touch it. I'm greeted by black eyes of cold hatred[strength]. I feel the oppression of it against me. Her body[weapon] adorned in a red and black kimono. Chopsticks hold her crimson hair up. She pushes her way out. I'm forced to take a step back as her bare feet step out onto the ice. She closes the door behind her. Bitterness is etched into her features. Her presence overtakes my own. I feel small. Naked. She sniffs at me for a moment.)

Andrea Raven: My real daughter is resurfacing. You reek less of humanity whelp.

(I still hate that she calls me welp. By "real daughter" she means the monstrous[true] aspects I spent so long trying to supress. If I'm not giving into the demon inside completely then I'm just some...thing that is wearing her daughter's skin. As if trying to keep from becoming like her is a sin against the woman who created me. [It is]. She traded me to that creature in that dimension when I was in the womb. She was never there for me and shows me nothing but contempt. Yet, a part of me always searches for her approval. Approval that will never even begrudgingly come to me. Doesn't stop me from hoping, like a [pathetic] little girl.

The part of her statement that concerns me is she smells less humanity on me. Am I losing more of myself to this thing? [Yes]. I enslaved the demon within myself to keep it from taking me. To use its power. I avoided talking to the manifestation of my humanity when I did so. I pushed her away. Did that cause me to lose another piece of her? [Yes]. Is the creature taking more over time? [Yes]. I don't know.)

Andrea Raven: I know why you've come.

(She looks down at me harshly. She knows? How? Does this mean...)

Eclipse: Is it true? Is she my sister?

(I'm met by a wall of silence. No words. Just a glare. I can't take it. [Don't]. I've got to know...even if it brings her ire.)

Eclipse: Answer me! Is Dusk my sister?

(I don't have the speed to react. Her hand is around my throat and I'm off the ground. Held above her. Her teeth clench. Her eyes stab at me like venomous daggers. Her tone is quiet and malicious.)

Andrea Raven: You forget your place whelp. Shut your mouth or be destroyed.

(She lowers me down to eye level and pulls me close. Her eyes threatening mine.)

Andrea Raven: I'll answer your question, but after that you are not to bring it up. You will not tell your father. You will drop this. Or you will cease to exist. Do you understand?

(I struggle against her grip to nod as I have no air for words. As soon as I nod she drops me to the ground. I fall to my knees and gasp for air. Try to force air back into my lungs. I look up at her.)

Andrea Raven: Yes. She's your sister.

(I had already felt that Dusk was my sibling, but to hear my mother say it....it fully sets in. I'm a range of emotions I can't[don't want to] determine. I am unable to decipher whether my heavy breathing is from being choked or being given my answer.)

Andrea Raven: Pull yourself together and come inside whelp.

(With that she turns her back to me and goes inside. The door is left open behind her. There are many things I want to ask her. Tell her. I decide to not to. She would kill me where I stood. [She's where you should be]. For whatever reason she is keeping this from my father. I suck it up and go inside. I shut the door behind me. I move to ask her where my father is, but never get the question out.)

Andrea Raven: He's downstairs. Go see him.

(She gives me a long angry look. Her eyes expressing[demanding] I keep my mouth shut. As if I hadn't already clearly received that message. She leaves. Her interaction with me complete. I head down to the underground basement level. If he's down here, he's training. Becoming a better warrior isn't just an obsession with him, it's the basis of his existence. It's the core of everything to him. Built into his philosophies[truths]. Philosophies of living death, persecution, and brutality that he taught to others before unleashing them upon a defenseless[unworthy] world. None of it ever had anything to do with the fact that he wrestled.

After a multitude of stairs I reach the hallway. At the end of it is the door to his training area. I'm familiar with it. I already know what's past that door. There are two areas in it. The first resembles a sparesely furnished gym. He sets up all kinds of different scenarios in it. The second is his favorite for training apprentices, when he has them. It's a pitch black maze of decaying rooms sealed in by a dented, steel door. He likes to lock those he trains in with him for hours to hunt and attack each other. I'm fond of it myself.

The door slowly opens. His massive, muscular frame steps forth into the hallway. His body is so scarred[beautiful] there is barely any flesh left that is untouched. Most of his tattoos are no longer recognizable because of this. I look up from his broad chest to see his painted face and shaved head. The face is a blue and black, techno-looking skull with strange designs that make his scarred face seem more angled. It doesn't hide all the marred flesh of his face. Instead the skull is enhanced by the scarring. Crazed blue eyes recognize me instantly. Their depth feeling as if I might be swallowed within their abyss never to return. The aura of menace that surrounds him slams into me. My senses go haywire as they are overwhelmed by the instensity[power] of it. It's a moment before I can adjust inside. He walks forward with a grace that belies his size. It's now I realize someone else steps out from the doorway as well. I hadn't known he had taken on a new apprentice. She's a small, asian girl of maybe 14 years. His youngest yet. Where did he find her? She walks to his right, but always a step behind him. Blood runs down from her nose and mouth, as well as from a nasty gash in her left cheek. She appears not to notice. Remnants of facepaint adorn her features, but are unrecognizable at this point. None of that is what I really notice about her. No, what has my attention is I feel nothing off of her. Just emptiness. It's...disturbing[interesting]. She stops as soon as he does. His dark, raspy voice fills my ears. His fangs glisten as he speaks.)

Darkstar: Eclipse...it's been awhile...

(I look up at his painted[true] face. He doesn't like when I'm out of contact for this long. Unlike my mother, he has expressed interest in maintaining a relationship with me. Something neither of us is very good at.)

Eclipse: Yes, it has. I've been busy.

(Beneath the skull paint his face is as expressionless as always. No visible reaction to my words.)

Darkstar: I've seen.

(We stand in silence for what seems like an eternity. Neither knowing what to say. He's been watching OWF which means he's aware of Angel. A topic I'm glad he has not brought up. I'm not sure of his thoughts on it or where it could lead. I'd rather spare Angel from meeting my parents for now. Angel isn't exactly overjoyed with that prospect either. My father motions to the girl off to his side.)

Darkstar: This is Fray.

(We nod to each other without speaking. He turns and looks at her for a moment. She[it] immediately walks past me and heads out of the hallway. He and I stare at each other for a long moment before he suddenly walks away. I follow. We go up a level and turn down a couple of hallways before stopping in the bar. I sit down at the table while he steps behind the bar. He grabs a bottle of whiskey before joining me at the table. He takes a long swig then passes the bottle to me. We stare off at the wall rather than each other. No words. Just a bottle being slowly passed back and forth for hours in silence.)


(The world is gray. Gray skies. Gray grass. Gray pond. It's so...empty[appropriate]. I sit on a rock and stare at the placid water. I imagine what it would be like to live in a world of color like everyone else. Of vibrancy. I'll never know. I grip my temple as sudden pain snaps me out of my [weak] thoughts. I cup my eye with the hand holding my temple and wait for the pain to subside. As it recedes, I know the source. She is here again. I look over and find what I'm expecting. A mirror has split the world in half. Like it has so many times before. On the other side everything is bright and filled with a multitude of color. It's her world. Alexis Cage sits on a rock much like the one I'm on. A beautiful, white dress adorns her curves. Her long, silken hair glowing in a sun we don't share. Her glossy lips smiling softly at me. There is no animousity in her features. Even so, I do wonder if I have trapped a part of her within me during our many conflicts. I let that thought fade away as she speaks in her exuberant manner.)

Alexis: Soooo you're back again?

(I nod in response. I don't have words for her yet. At least, not ones that aren't broken.)

Alexis: You know this story will never have an ending if you can't let go right?

(The words strike me strangely. There's a truth in them. [Don't listen]. When did she become so profound? [It's all lies]. Will the chapters of my life about her ever end? [Don't let them]. She's the one who wants it to end. She left me. Left us.)

Eclipse: You ran away.

(Her eyes twinkle with amusement. She giggles as she happily responds.)

Alexis: That's fucking preposterous. I'm here right now.

(She lies. I know it's not true. Though I see her...I cannot feel her.)

Alexis: All the terrible things you've done to me and I'm still here.

(I thrived on causing her pain. Broke her over and over for years. When my humanity returned I found myself feeling horrible for what I'd done to her. Wanted to apologize to her. Talk to her. [Why]? Now I'm not sure why I felt that way. Whatever part of me felt...sorry..is gone. I don't regret the harm I've caused her. I'm pleased with my work. [As you should be]. I gave her what she deserved.)

Eclipse: I'll find you again someday. You'll walk too close to the mirror and I'll pull you through it.

(Kicking and screaming like always. She's unphased by my words. That same smile resting on her face. We stare at each other for what seems like hours before she speaks again. Her voice holds layers of sadness in it.)

Alexis: Why carry all this pain and hatred? Don't you want more?

(This coming from the woman who has been handed everything. I try to steel myself against the tide of sorrow she directs at me.)

Eclipse: Why do you care?

(She shakes her head as if I don't understand. She's right. Why would I?)

Alexis: Our souls are linked. Why wouldn't I?

(The only thing she's ever cared about is herself. A self she destroyed just as much as I ever did.)

Alexis: We could have stood side by side. Been strong together. You threw that away so long ago. Do you remember?

(I nod. I could never forget the first time I brought her pain. It was special[amazing]. She had just been handed the WoW title without earning it and then failed me as a tag partner. I gave her [what she needed].)

Alexis: You threw away what could have been? You threw away me.

(Even in my dreams she still doesn't get it.)

Eclipse: You're wrong. I made us closer. I know you better than anyone Alexis. I brought us intimacy.

(From the look on her flawless[fake] face I can tell she doesn't appreciate my words. It's every bit the truth though. Tearing each other's flesh brought us closer than I have been to anyone except Angel. In some ways maybe closer than him.)

Alexis: You expect me to agree with that? That all the violence, stalking, and hospitalizations were bonding? That it brought us together? That's shit. It's shit and you know it.

(I would be hurt by her words if I wasn't used to her being clueless[my victim]. Even staring at her when I know she isn't real doesn't diminish my urges to shed her blood. To see her writhe on the ground. To look at the despair on her tear steaked faced once more.)

Eclipse: Things have always been how they were supposed to be. I love you to DEATH Alexis.

(Make no mistake, she is mine. [Your property]. Only I get to hurt her. Only I may get to someday kill her. That decision is mine alone. My words continue to displease her, but she holds it in well. Much better than she normally would.)

Alexis: You're never going to let me go are you?

Eclipse: Never...

(Never[NEVER]. Her eyes seem both sad and pleased at the same time. It's an odd combination.)

Alexis: I have to go. We will talk again soon mirror sister.

(On that we agree. She fades away with a wave. I find I miss her immediately. The mirror cracks violently. The sound overwhelming my ears as it shatters. It takes her world away from me completely. I'm left in the gray. Once again alone. [Alone].)


(I wake up on the floor in the empty room at my father's residence that I fell asleep in. No windows. No light. It's like I slept in a tomb. Not an unpleasant sensation. I dreamed of her[ALEXIS] again. She was on the other side of mirror like always. The conversation got further than the last several times she [inavaded] my dreams. They always feel so real. I am often left to wonder if it's really her. If we are truly meeting in our dreams. I doubt it. I think that's just me wanting it to be so. I've consumed Alexis until my belly was full, and yet I starve for more. If I hadn't broken her so badly last time she could have healed up. We could have done it again. [And again]. Instead she's gone. The last time I saw her was on a screen. So drugged up she probably couldn't have recognized me. How absurd[pathetic]. My mirror sister fell into the abyss. An abyss I carry in my heart. A void she left. Am I trying to fill that void with Jenova now? No. That would be impossible. There is only one Alexis. My Alexis.

Thoughts of her somehow shift to those of my actual sister. She's around. Skirting the edges of my existence. Probing. Poking. Pressing her body against my love. I still owe her for that. Her debt will be paid. She will[must] bleed for me. After that, maybe we can talk. I hope so. I want to hear her story. Know her experiences growing up in that hellish dimension we both were born into. Understand who she is. Is there a chance for us to come together as sisters? Can we have a relationship and be unalone, or are we destined to destroy each other? Is she too far gone? Too focused on the things that would force me to kill her? [Angel]. I don't have the answers. Not to any of these questions. She will come for me again. I just have to be patient.

What I'd really like to know is why my mother is hiding her existence from my father. Why doesn't she want him to know? Is she waiting for the right time? For all I know she could be waiting to use it as something to hold over him. I don't understand the dynamics of their relationship. They've been living here together since she brought me to meet him nine years ago. They seem to love, hate, and be indifferent to each other. I'm not sure they are a couple again or just cohabitating. Like they are tolerating each other because only they can understand each other. In the end, it's not my business. I've gotten all the information I can on Dusk here.

I sit up. My body is stiff. I pull out my phone and check the time. 6pm. My parents are probably just starting to watch the soap operas he recorded while they slept. I will not be sticking around to watch The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives. I've got other things to take care of before I leave the state again. I stand up and exit the room. I don't bother going to the living room to say goodbye. They'll be aware of my depature anyway. I leave the house and head off through the woods across from the gate.)