Through Open Doors
As Mateo Ashrina walked through the lonely valley, he wondered if he should ever return to the slums he called home. There had never been a mortal that went through the gates of Allah, and lived to tell the tale, but then again, Allah had never seen a half-breed such as him. With his father’s faerie blood running through his veins, he would not stop. Not until death stares him right in the eye, and even then he would go on.
As he turned to regard the voice that called his name, he had a sudden pain between his eyes when he saw his younger sister running toward him.
“What do you want, Nevaeh?”
Looking back, it struck him how much she looked like their mother; the same olive skin and auburn locks of hair, the same lip shade, like a rose bud only softer, but most of all, the grey eyes that haunted his very soul and were completely focused on him.
“You left without even a goodbye,” she glared those ancient eyes at him, “and I brought you extra supplies, the Gods know you’re not at all organised.”
“Why would I need to part farewell when I shall return in a few days,” taking the heavy, worn out sack, he regarded her, “besides, if i did, Mother would have tried to convince me not to go.”
Nevaeh focused on her shoes that had faded over the years. Living in this town, it was hard to remember what fresh food tasted like, he had forgotten the feeling of the warm sun caressing his skin, and feeling the eternal warmth it gave him. The only thing the sun could not warm was his heart, and the cold hatred he had in it for his father.
“Hey, whatever you’re thinking, stop. You do know what you are doing right?”
She looked him directly in the eye, never blinking, but forever taking in.
“Of course I know what I’m doing, it is you that should be worried for yourself with your clumsiness.”
She gave him a playful shove while they both laughed aloud.
When was the last time I laughed? He thought to himself. When will I get to again…
He looked into the sky and gazed at the sun, it was almost noon. Time to leave.
“I should depart now Nevaeh. Please look after Mother while I am gone.”
When she looked worried and started to speak he interrupted her,
“I shall return sister, that you should not worry about.”
His only sister ran straight into his arms, almost suffocating him. Breathing in his sister’s lilac and honey scent one last time, he braced himself for the journey ahead.
“Do not forget Teo, I love you, return to me and Mother please.”
He ventured through the valley, leaving his only sister and came across a large wooden door with engravings of the gods on it. It looked to be ancient, older than time itself with its thick coat of paint starting to peel and its hinges rusty looking. The gods each looked different, yet the same. Each had faces of unnatural beauty; high cheekbones, full lips and structured noses. The vast door looked quite odd as it stood in the middle of a clearing. The traitorous sun did not shine on it, further darkening the grey sky. Like being transported to a new realm, the ground moved from underneath him and engulfed his entire existence. Like being swallowed by a tidal wave of moonlight, Mateo suddenly woke up in a whole new place, where only the door remained. He quickly pulled his way-blade out from his side, the sword of the faeries. The moonlight licked at every crevice and groove of the door. Mateo stepped closer to survey it further, but took a step back when he saw the name engraved under the door handle.
He did nothing but stare at his name engraved on this old, evil door. The encryptions all around it read names he has never seen before, and his name stood out like a parrot among ravens.
He heard movement behind him with his faerie ears. Spinning around, he felt something barreling toward his face. Catching it by the hilt, Mateo examined the small throwing blade.
The small hairs on the back of Mateo’s neck stood as he looked around him to find the source of the blade. Out of the corner of his eye, Mateo observed a hooded figure dressed all in black leathers, and spun himself around to throw the dagger at the shadow. He heard flesh tear and a small curse being let out.
A woman then. He ran up to her and tried to seize her hands, but Mateo only saw stars as she brought her knee right up to his groin. A grunt escaped his bow lips to which the woman only shared a toothy smile.
“I’ve had enough woman.”
Was all Mateo growled out before maneuvering her hand around her back and holding it there in a tight grip. The woman kicked and slashed and would not stop moving so Mateo hooked his right leg around her slender ones and knocked her to the dirt floor. This left her especially unpeeved as she hissed and brought her elbow up to his nose. This temporarily confused Mateo as he lost his vision for a moment, letting her kick him off to flee. Mateo pulled out one the small throwing dagger discarded on the floor earlier and felt his back muscles flex as he threw the blade at the woman.
The woman barely avoided the blow, absorbing the impact in her right shoulder blade. Thick blood dripped out of her wound as she looked back to Mateo and growled. He only smirked and began to advance toward her once again. This time she was ready for him as she quickly spun around and leaped over his shoulder, reminding him of the graceful dancers he saw dancing on stage every solstice. She then locked her arm around his neck and squeezed like a snake wrapping around its prey, squeezing every ounce of life out of it. He flipped her around as she was brought right in front of him, where he got a good look at her beautiful face. Her eyes were a deep caramel, luring him in. Her tender features turned from anger to shock as she regarded the man standing before her, “Mateo?”
Mateo’ eyebrows flew up in shock. She knew his name. He used that opportunity to lock her hands behind her back and bring her back to his front.
He let out a low growl and whispered fiercely in her ear, “Who are you and how do you know my name?”
She let out a huff of annoyance, to which Mateo squeezed her hands tighter.
“You are the son of the High Lord,” she groaned out as the pain radiating from her hands became unbearable, “how could I not know who you are?”
“Where is he?”
She closed her mouth in defiance and Mateo spun her around. “Woman, I am not playing games so I will ask you once more, where is he?”
A shiver ran through her as she looked at Mateo’s murderous gaze. “I- I don’t know. He disappeared a week ago.”
His brow began to furrow as his patience was wearing thin. She caught sight of his now withdrawn dagger and became frantic.
“I don’t know where he is, and even if I did I would never tell you.” he saw the truth in her eyes and sheathed his dagger.
He looked in her face and saw his own, the same bow lips, same button nose, same square jaw, but she was much paler than he.
“Who are you?”
“Has it been that long Mateo?” at his blank look she continued,
“My name is Thalia, Thalia Ashrina.”