Warnings: some graphic images, mentions of blood and violence, sociopath character
Word count: 1.8k
Summary: Juhyeon runs and runs, and then she falls where no rope or ladder can reach.
A dream. This has to be a dream. Juhyeon would never be running down the cobblestone street, lungs burning as she tries to keep quiet, if this weren’t a dream. Her heart pounds, and her hands shake.
Not a dream, then, but a nightmare. The stones cut painfully into the soft skin on her feet and slide between her toes, but she doesn't stop. She can't stop - won't stop - running. She's a greedy creature, she'll admit, but she'd easily give up everything if only to keep her own life.
This is neither a dream nor a nightmare. This is real and every bit a piece of reality that Juhyeon never wanted to taste.
Her shoes, 9,000 yuan Louis Vuitton's, were left behind to (unfortunately) become some beggar's by now. Juhyeon had shed maybe a tear or two over the loss mixed in with all the tears of fear and desperation that have no doubt ruined her make-up, but despite the blood streaked down the road behind her, she's alive.
Tonight had been something of a wake-up call for her and her family. Her father, a successful politician and drug and arms dealer, a man with a foot above ground and a foot below, had made a deal with the wrong organization and decided not to uphold his end of the bargain.
As Juhyeon had discovered tonight, the consequence was her life.
She can hear voices behind her, shouting angrily, calling for her blood. Her vision blurs with her tears, and she trips.
A hand covers her mouth, and arm snagging around her waist. Her eyes shoot wide open, and the gasp of air she tries to suck in is blocked by the hand, her chest seizing painfully at the lack of oxygen. The night goes dark around her, the street lights dimming until she's looking up from the street and slowly sinking down, down, down.
Sensation prickles into Juhyeon's fingers like the steps of a million spiders, butterfly wings murmuring in her ears a tune so familiar yet so distant- the sound of a panicked heart waking from false security. The murmur of water in her ears hums a tune of acceptance, the soft lapping spreading her hair around her head, a dark halo for a fallen angel.
A laugh rings around her, her heart races with the cadence at which it rises and falls. Her lips part, a whisper of a note of longing escaping with a mournful breath.
She opens her eyes, dark irises lit with conflicting peace and moonlit shock. Ever so slowly, as if her arms are extending through molasses, she presses against the black water that makes up the floor of this chamber of forgotten memories. From where she stands, ghosts of the toys she once played with, husks of friendships she'd had as a child are at war with the social acquaintances she runs with now. The water shimmers where she focuses on it too long, watery images of her own face, distorted in fear, anger, disgust, laughter, joy, all exaggerated like a clown's mask.
The laugh rings again, tinkling with bells tossed in the wind.
"Hello?" Juhyeon calls softly. Her voice echoes in her own ears, a dome of sound that presses harshly against her chest. The laugh chimes to her right. Juhyeon spins toward it, coming face to face with a large stone wall, the gray battlements laughing down at her as thin pink blood trickles down from the mortar.
"Won't you climb up?"
Juhyeon stiffles a scream against the back of her hand, and the laugh descends on her again. It caresses her shoulders with all the warmth of summer nights, the coolness of snakeskin.
"Maybe you'd scream again."
The voice is right behind her, pointed canines against the shell of her ear, calloused hands around her wrists. The scream rips from her throat, becoming physical force against the representation of the Great Wall. The wall screams back, the stones ripping apart, skeleton hands sticking out along the stairs lined with the lyrics of her fears for carpeting.
She takes a step forward, resting her bare foot against the first stone step. The dark red of her blood running bright against the pale pink of the blood of memories long buried. She takes a leap of faith, lifting to the next step.
"Hello?" She calls again. The laugh is ahead of her now, shimmering against the dark sky.
"Scurry, scurry," the voice singsongs, the same laugh cresting on the edges of his words. His because the timbre echoes in her chest, the tenor ringing pleasingly, pleadingly. "Up the wall, up the wall, isn't it fun?"
The stairs continue on forever, Juhyeon's breath coming in short, harsh pants with the taste of poison wine, the punch of gunshots. She clutches at her stomach, and her hand comes away streaked with the blue of her childhood bedroom. She frantically wipes it off on her skirt, but the color is persistent on her hands. It streams up her arm and flies behind her in a furl of butterfly wings.
"Why are you still running?" The voice interrupts her from her left. It's dangerously close; Juhyeon can feel the breath of the speaker on her neck, feel the warmth of his body against her side-
"Shit!" She squeals, spinning on her heel in a quarter turn, the wind up of a singing jewelry box. There, in front of her, is a man with the grin of a Cheshire cat, his teeth glinting brighter than the rest of him, seeming to reflect the moon that only shines in the watery ground. His eyes are deep, black pools of sins committed through his hands but not his will.
"Such language from such a pretty lady," he gasps, his words rolling from his mouth with the grace of lilies falling to rest on a stagnant pond- lovely but rotten. Juhyeon’s mouth drops open.
"Y-you're-" She stops, unsure of where to lead her sentence. The man simply smiles and leans forward. His eyes reflect her face, the image rippling across their surface before his pupil returns. He reaches up and removes the top hat from his head. His jacket, long and green, the coattails flapping behind him despite the stillness of the air, is lovely.
"I am Chen," he murmurs, "A...keeper of this place, if you will." He spins quickly, throwing his arms out. The bridge disappears, the water is gone, and the moon reflects nowhere- not the sky, not the ground- except for in Chen's smile. Juhyeon gasps, drawn in with the force she can't name. Her skin feels oddly magnetized, as if Chen's movements trigger her own.
"Wh-what is this place?" She asks tentatively. Her eyes flick around wildly, and as a titan from the ocean, her memories begin to surface, images of her childhood flashing before her eyes again. She sees the blues of her old walls; she looks at her hands. The paint is gone.
"This is the place with only one escape," Chen answers easily. He laughs, and it grates as much as it pleasures. Juhyeon scoffs and narrows her eyes.
"How can I escape from a place I don't even know the name of?" She says, pointing a finger at Chen's nose. He looks utterly delighted, the corners of his lips curling up.
"Ah, you're so cheeky!" He practically squeals, pressing the tips of his fingers together. His eyes close as he says very seriously: "I think I like you."
Juhyeon stamps her foot. "If you like me then tell me where we are!"
Chen's cheer echoes across the silence in ripples, the color of his voice changing with each ping against Juhyeon's heart.
"Abyss?" She repeats, confused. Chen's grin becomes strangely saccharine.
"Yes," he confirms, "The place with only one way out."
Juhyeon's next words are careful. "And...what is the way out?" Her head cocks gently to the side, her hair falling over one shoulder. Chen stares at her, his eyes seeming to be trapped in the hypnosis of her dark hair falling over milky skin, chocolate smeared across pale lips, licked warm again by another's mouth.
"Oh, it's simple," Chen singsongs, the blade in his hand spinning, the silver glinting in a methodic rhythm. He grins.
"So simple," he adds. He cackles a little bit before he leans in, his nose practically brushing against Juhyeon's. "All you have to do is make a Contract with me." He jumps back and throws his arms out in a sort of hurrah motion. Sparks fly from the tips of his fingers, catching on the edges of Juhyeon's dress. She swats at them, but the flames only grow larger. She feels a scream build in the back of her throat, not noticing her skin has not yet felt the angry heat of the yellow flames dancing along with wild abandon, a bright children's tune whistling in her ears.
Chen catches her wrist, and suddenly, the light is gone. The Abyss is black and endless except where the moon suddenly shines red on the both of them.
"Simply say these words," he murmurs against her neck, his breath tracing the lines of her collarbones, his lips brushing her skin. His voice is low, haunting, scraping against the edges of insanity. "Tell me you will take a Chain around your neck until your head pops from your shoulders. Tell me you will accept my help in exchange for your freedom from this place but not for your life's freedom. Tell me you will let me protect you. Tell me you will call for my when you need me." He pulls back, his dark eyes glow. "Tell me."
Juhyeon breathes. There is no attraction in Chen's promises, but there is an attraction to the man himself, to the way he holds her body so carefully in his hands, the way he draws her against himself, the way he urges her fingers to curl in the lapels of his jacket. One of his legs slips between hers.
"Tell me," he growls, lips nearly touching her own.
"How should I tell you?" Juhyeon breathes, sinking into his arms, her body melting without her consent.
"Say my name," Chen urges, his fingers tight around her waist. And it's with the most certain knowledge that Juhyeon takes in a breath in order to answer the man holding her so intimately.
"Jongdae," she says. The moon erupts. It shines with the brilliance of the sun. Chen's laughter sounds louder and louder, tearing across the blackness and splitting it away. His hand grips her hair and pulls her foreword.
"I claim you," he whispers murderously, and he crashes their mouths together, licking insistently into Juhyeon's mouth, his arms tightening around her. Light bleeds underneath Juhyeon's closed eyelids, dragging her into the bright white pleasure. Her chest feels warm, too warm, so warm until it starts to burn.
And she knows no more.
1. pandora heart au, anyone?
2. i live for random jd pairings
3. tagging lotusk