Flower of Nightfall by Maialen Alonso - Read Online
Flower of Nightfall
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Mina never thought that her life would lead to something so beautiful and yet so tragic.

Mina woke up in the middle of a stormy night and her world is forever darkened. Drawn by her family’s screams, she walks downstairs where a sticky liquid stains her bare feet. A strange shadow rises in front of her, large and imposing. There, before her incredulous eyes stands a demon…

After more than a decade Mina is released from the psychiatric institute where she had been remanded. She knows what happened. Now she wants answers, and she wants revenge. No one ever believed her; demons don’t exist… But he, the violet-eyed demon, has each and every one of the answers to her questions. Is he really the killer? What is hidden in his gaze? Questions start to cloud her mind, and nothing is what it seems.

A frenzied voyage begins in order to discover the hidden truth. Together with Dunham, a solitary hunter, secrets will come to light, feelings will flourish and blood will run… Mina never thought that her life would lead to something so beautiful and yet so tragic.

Publicado: BadPress el
ISBN: 9781507168943
Enumerar precios: $2.99
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Lileya

Acknowledgements

To my mother and brother for always being by my side, in good times and bad.

To my father, the first person who believed in me, and who still holds my hand wherever he may be.

To Elena (my Okaa-san) for supporting me through so many years and giving me so many encouraging words.

A very special thank you to Agarwen Art, the friend and artist who has been able to create the marvelous illustrations for this book.

And to all those who always send me their kind words and encouragement, thank you.

Prologue

One night, on October 13, 3083, loud thunder shook the house. Lightning intermittently lit up the sky, illuminating the room for a fraction of a second. Strange shadows danced before the eyes of a little girl, who grasped her bedspread in fear. At only seven years old, the storm made the world seem darker and gloomier to her than ever before. Something was different about that night. Something terrified her so much that her hands were shaking violently, sweat was dripping from her forehead, and her body was so tense that it was starting to ache.

She listened to the sound of the rain pouring down onto the rooftop and backyard. It echoed through her room. Something caught her attention; footsteps sounded downstairs. She thought that it was probably her parents. She got up to stand by the door and listened attentively, trying to make out the sounds. A deathly silence had suddenly taken over the house; even the noise from the storm had subsided.

She threw herself onto the bed so hard that she bounced off onto the floor. Tears streamed down her face from her honey-colored eyes. She struggled to get back up. She had heard a scream; she was almost sure of it. The problem was that she wasn’t sure if it was real or not. Her doubts soon faded as more screaming flooded the house: screams from a man, a woman, a child… She heard banging, the sound of breaking glass, and unintelligible words. Chaos had taken over the building and the terror that had started creeping up her spine now completely possessed her.

She swiftly gathered up all her courage and stepped cautiously out of the bedroom. She headed towards the wooden staircase without making a sound. She could no longer hear anything in the house, just an uncomfortable silence. It was then that she saw a large, strange, imposing shadow slip past her.

As she started to descend the staircase, holding onto the wooden banister with her tiny little hands, she noticed a strange, repugnant, metallic smell. Her little feet gradually got closer to what would soon be her worst nightmare. When she turned down the white-walled hallway she stepped in something hot and sticky. She started to slip, and when she lowered her eyes to the floor she noticed that it was covered in bright red. Her heart started to beat incredibly fast, so fast that she felt like it was going to beat right out of her chest. She heard another noise, increasing her level of panic, but her body seemed to have a mind of its own. Without even knowing why she turned to head towards the noise.

The silhouette she saw was the same as the terrifying shadow that had appeared before her earlier. Now it was faintly illuminated and looked surreal. It was the demon from her dreams: long, shiny silver hair and two long, twisted horns extending from the top of his head. She stood frozen with her eyes wide as saucers, staring in astonishment at this creature from hell. He turned and looked at her with bright, violet-colored eyes that seemed to pierce right through her soul.

You… she whispered in a soft, child-like voice. Something about the situation tugged at her memory, making think of things long since forgotten.

Without saying a word, he made a mocking gesture and approached her slowly, mesmerizing her with the hypnotic color of his skin and the strange clothes that he wore. He placed his hands on his hips, making the muscles in his upper body protrude, and watched her closely. After a brief moment, he spoke.

"Mina, if you want revenge… You must grow, become strong, and then come for me. I’ll be watching you wherever you go, and if you try to escape… I’ll take you to hell with me.

His sullen silhouette started to fade before her teary eyes until it disappeared completely. His words would torment her for the rest of her life, making her teenage years a living nightmare.

***

She woke before dawn with the image still fresh in her mind. Those piercing eyes had been haunting her for years now. She rubbed her forehead trying to alleviate the headache that pounded into her skull. She angrily tied back her chestnut hair. She couldn’t remember getting a good night’s sleep once over the past twelve years. That would change today. Today she was finally being released after tricking and lying to the hospital’s macabre psychiatrist. She had convinced everyone that she no longer believed demons existed. She claimed that it had all been a figment of her imagination. After being locked up all those years… She could finally live her life, and get her revenge and the answers she had been waiting for.

Chapter 1

The Bitter Taste of Freedom

A young, 19-year-old girl of average height, with a slightly sickly appearance and dark circles under her eyes, glanced back at the institution where she had just spent the past decade of her life. She hated the white building surrounded by gardens, but what she hated most of all was the sign hanging at the entranceway: Cornwall Psychiatric Institution. She half smiled, swearing to herself that she would never let them lock her up again. She would rather die. But the real challenge began that day. She had been planning this for years and knew what she had to do. First, she needed to get more information, and she knew exactly where to start.

She had been secretly talking to a boy that had been admitted two years ago. The poor guy was no more than sixteen years old and had arrived screaming and deranged. He would hurt himself as a way of dealing with his fear. Mina had discovered during her long chats with him, while he was all drugged up on meds, that he had been at an underground party in Central Metropolis, It was supposed to have been an innocent little rave that had turned ugly and ended up as a sadistic bloodbath. He described the horrible beings, the pints of blood that bathed the floors, and how he had managed to survive by hiding in the air conditioning duct. He couldn’t remember much more than that, except for what was printed on the invitation that a beautiful, blonde woman had given to him: Noctis. Mina had to look for any clues that she could find that would lead her to accomplish her life goal: finding the silver-haired demon that had murdered her family, including her baby sister, Scarlett, who had been only five years old. He was the source of the nightmare that her life had become.

She sighed, looking back at the building one last time and brushing her hand through her disheveled, short, chestnut hair, she began to walk away.

The idea of going back home troubled her. The memories of that horrid night could revive the trauma lying dormant in her mind… After contemplating it for a few minutes, the fortune she had inherited from her parents inspired her to get moving. That night she needed to gather her strength in peace in order to be able to face the terrible reality of the past that still lay deep in her soul. Finally, with the hope of spending a peaceful and restful night far from her demon, she headed off in search of the nearest hostel.

It seemed strange to be outside. In the past twelve years, she hadn’t left the psychiatric hospital more than five times. The small city in which she found herself had changed just as much as she had, to the point where it was almost unrecognizable.

As she looked at everything around her, she suddenly changed the direction she was walking in and decided to head home. She had to face her past. It was all connected to the present and the future. She knew that nobody had been there in months since Mrs. Figgins had come by to check and make sure that everything was in order. Mrs. Figgins was the old lady from next door who loved Mina’s mother dearly. She had also been the one, along with her poker group, who kept the looters and thieves away from the house by chasing them away with her broom.

The streetlights lit up the street of the gated community with a clear, yellowish haze. Not a soul was in sight; the houses were dark. Everyone was sleeping peacefully while Mina stared long and hard at what used to be her home. She felt her heartbeat race while images from that night twelve years ago flashed like lightening in her mind. Her head started to ache and she felt sick to her stomach. Most of her memories of that night were hazy. In fact, everything was except for the image of him. She remembered him clearly, maybe too clearly, but she felt strangely connected to him. Sometimes, possibly from the effects of the tranquilizers and other meds, she would remember looking into his taunting eyes and seeing hidden feelings of complicity, sorrow, and innocence. But she always reminded herself that he was the destroyer of her entire world.

The first step past the doorway was the most difficult. The stale smell lurking around had not completely masked the sweet fragrance of roses that her mother had often used to make the house smell nice. Had her old neighbor kept up the tradition for her mother? Because on the table right next to her, there was a vase full of fresh flower buds ready to bloom. The smell caused her heart to sink into her stomach.

Everything’s the same… she whispered, leaning up against a table in the foyer.

She continued down the hall then stopped short. She could feel her legs giving way under her. As she glanced down at her feet, she had a flashback. Her feet were small and bare again. She could feel the hot sticky blood on the floor, and to top it off, the giant stain was still there, darkened with time and horribly visible on the poorly cleaned carpet. Mina had to lean her hand up against the wall to keep her balance. Completely overwhelmed, she rubbed her eyes desperately to try and rid herself of the ghosts of her past while she worked on controlling her breathing.

Then suddenly, as if a light had switched on in her head, it dawned on her. Why had they killed her entire family and not her? Why was she different? Maybe her parents knew something about the dark world that hid in the shadows. Maybe they found out something they shouldn’t have… And Scarlett had probably been killed because she had woken up from all the noise and had unknowingly decided her fate.

Practically sprinting up the stairs, she ran up to the second floor, towards the master bedroom. She would go through everything, turn the place upside down if she had to, to find some sort of clue. But an hour after rummaging through the drawers and the entire closet she had found nothing, absolutely nothing, out of the ordinary. She dropped down onto the plush bed exhausted, covering her forehead with both hands, trying to think and repress the sense of frustration growing inside of her. When she lifted her hands, she saw the adjoining door to her father’s office. She started to feel very anxious. She remembered that both she and little Scarlett were forbidden from entering there. She had only seen the room once, and that was purely by coincidence.

There’s got to be something in there, she said, certain of it.

It dawned on her that there weren’t any windows inside. When she was little, she hadn’t noticed that something so obvious and important was missing from the room.

There really wasn’t much in the little room: a couple of shelves hanging on the brown painted wall, a desk with a computer and a metal cabinet. The computer automatically switched on and a log-in screen appeared. She didn’t know the password, but she knew that her father was hiding something there that needed protecting. After several attempts at trying to guess it, she gave up. All that was left was the metal cabinet with a tiny lock; it wouldn’t be that hard to open.

Bingo! she said, smiling as she heard a little click.

She took a deep breath and exhaled, trying to calm herself down. She removed the lock and opened both doors as a shiver ran down her spine from the cold metal handles. Inside there wasn’t much: a couple of files, photo albums of both girls in their most memorable moments, and some loose papers scattered on the shelves. Removing everything in frustration, she saw something that made her heart stop. Under a pile of what looked like reports written in another language she saw a small, black card, adorned with a strange, white flower and an engraving of the word Noctis on the inside.

A stabbing pain shot through her head like a bright, white flash causing her to lose consciousness. She fell to the floor with a thud.

A distorted voice echoed in her head, but there was nothing around but darkness. She couldn’t even see her own hands. It was as if she had been sucked up and swallowed whole.

I’m in your head, looking at the reflection of my last memories, after which we cease to exist. Even though the wound in your heart is bleeding without you realizing it, and the pain that you’re feeling makes you want to scream, don’t do it… We are united as one, but I will be the one to rule over everything… Noctis.

She opened her eyes wide, remembering that strange whisper and the words that she could barely make out. It wasn’t the first time she had dreamt of him. She remembered having seen him as a child… It didn’t make any sense; it kept getting more and more confusing, but she had finally found the clue that she had been looking for. Her father had been in contact with demons!

He had gotten involved with them and now he was dead. But she couldn’t see the connection. What was a scientist doing getting involved with demons? She had solved one of the mysteries behind her family’s murder. That meant that there was a logical reason behind their deaths and she had to find out the truth.

She flipped the card over and saw the address of a nearby industrial complex. Surely they wouldn’t have another one of their macabre parties in the same place, but there was no harm in going to have a look around. Only so many things can be a coincidence. With a little bit of luck, she would be able to find some sort of useful clue, and the fact that the elegant writing on the card had already appeared to her in her dreams definitely meant something.

She preferred the vulnerability of the dark night rather than staying one more minute in the house. She felt extremely uneasy with so many painful memories and all the strange smells in her old home. It was driving her crazy. So she decided to head down to the industrial complex as soon as possible. Before leaving, she grabbed the old backpack that her father had used when they went to the mountains on the weekends. Inside she placed a couple of flashlights and an old but comfortable coat that had been her mother’s; then she ventured off.

The outside air felt colder on her skin than she would’ve imagined. She zipped her grayish coat all the way up and started to walk down the deserted street, following the reflection of the streetlights as if hoping that they would protect her from any evil beings hiding in the dark. She had a horrible feeling that something had been watching her for a while now, and her instincts weren’t wrong. On the roof of a nearby house, two violet-colored eyes were glowing intensely, watching her every move with a giant smile, displaying perfectly white teeth.

It looks like you’re having fun, whispered a jovial voice at his side. Is it her?

Yes, he answered while standing back up. She’s on the move.

I see that you have something planned… smiled the girl with a wicked grin.

You know the number one rule, Nana. You never let your prey get away.

They looked at each other with complicity; with such a long friendship, they didn’t need to say much. So they decided to get moving and track their target before they attracted any attention from some unsuspecting human.

After walking for an hour, Mina found herself outside the industrial complex. Looking at the buildings, she felt a certain sort of déjà vu, like she had been there before back when she was a child. She remembered waiting in the car while her father was inside. She was almost certain that it had taken about ten minutes before he had returned to the vehicle.

How lugubrious… she sighed frowning.

She took the large flashlight out of her backpack since the glow from the streetlights didn’t reach any further than where she was standing. She started to walk, but her body was tense and rigid. She felt as if she were ready to jump out of harm’s way at a moment’s notice in a desperate attempt to escape a surprise attack. She looked at the card again, trying to see exactly where she needed to go. Then she heard what seemed like laughter in the distance and the black card slipped through her fingers. Someone else was there too.

It’s okay, she told herself squeezing the flashlight with both hands and forcing her feet to take a few more steps.

Amongst the shadows, she could see a soft light shining and the reflection of two silhouettes. It appeared to be a couple who had snuck off to find a quiet spot to themselves. Already feeling more at ease, thinking she could ask them if they’d seen anything strange, she started to creep a bit closer, hoping that the young couple wouldn’t think she was a peeping Tom.

When she got close enough to make out their faces, she opened her mouth to greet them but stopped when she saw how the guy, with his disheveled black hair, smiled while he raised his hand to place it on the girl’s head. She was trying to laugh innocently, but it didn’t seem all that innocent.

Everything happened in slow motion in front of Mina’s eyes. She stood frozen, looking at his sharp, pointy teeth that he hadn’t seemed to have before. He grabbed the girl’s chestnut hair and pulled it forcefully. Completely startled, the girl cried out in pain. A stream of what looked like black liquid appeared on the wall they were leaning up against. The sound of liquid dripping onto the ground hypnotized Mina, leaving her petrified. When the girl’s body fell to the ground, the loud thud and horrific sight of his evil grin startled Mina and the flashlight slipped out of her trembling hands. Barely a few feet away, he turned to look at her.

Run, her inner-self screamed at her. Come on, stupid. Run!

She turned, terrified, and started to run blindly in the dark. She couldn’t even see her own feet, until a little bit of luck smiled on her and the clouds started to clear from the sky. The enormous full moon lit up the scene of her nightmare. In a few seconds that really seemed more like hours, she realized that she really didn’t know anything about these diabolic beings. She had only ever seen one in her life. She didn’t know their limits, their capabilities or really anything about them. She cursed to herself while glancing around to see if anyone was following her.

She stopped and collapsed onto her knees. She needed to breathe. She felt a cold hand squeeze her throat, preventing her from getting the air she needed. Before she could get back up and start running, she felt a blow from her right side, forcing her to the ground.

You…? You were invited? he asked holding the card that she’d dropped earlier. Who gave this to you?

Mina remained silent, mainly because she couldn’t manage to utter a word.

Well, he continued mockingly, licking his lips with his fire-red tongue. I think it’s best if we don’t wait for your host, don’t you agree?

He reached out his bloodstained hand, making shivers run down Mina’s spine. He pulled her up with a tug, bringing her in close while tightening his grasp on her arm, making it nearly impossible for her to escape. They began to walk hastily over to the largest building in the complex. Mina saw a light and a huge shadow cast on the door. It was an older man, completely bald with strange tribal tattoos all over his head. He let them in right away, as soon as he recognized the boy.

They had barely made it through the doorway when the sound of loud music echoed in their ears. The place was full of people that appeared to be normal, but Mina started to wonder if she was about to see the same thing that her friend from the insane asylum had witnessed. They stopped in the middle of the room and he pulled out the black card again to have another look. Mina watched him from the corner of her eye, thinking that there must have been something on that invitation that she wasn’t able to see, but he was. After checking whatever it was, he started pulling on her arm again to drag her across the huge dancefloor, full of young people who appeared to be human. He pulled her