Night finally came and conquered the landscape and soon the Desert was encased in a transparent darkness. The stars crystallized in the reflection of Statik's eyes; she could not blink as she focused her attention to the growing distance. The warm wind pushed her gently, carving an invisible current through the dark toward the glow ahead.
Statik's heart pounded in her chest like the drums of an ancient war as she approached the solitary flame posted solidly in the ground. She looked around to see if anyone was here. Here in the Desert. This is the place. A half-moon of rock cradled the place where she stood, her eyes hypnotized by the flame from the spiraling torchiére. Eventually they drifted off to the peaks stretching to the West in front of her. The end of the Desert.
Suddenly, a chill raced up her spine and searing blood coursed through her veins. Her body stiffened and the hair on the back of her neck stood out in a wave of fear. She sensed an unexpected presence. She knew in an instant that she was no longer the bloodthirsty Hunter she thought she was....she was the Hunted.
She sat down with her back to a large rock and propped herself up. The only sounds she could hear were the wind and the various nocturnal creatures in the distance. Whatever was out there had not yet gotten to her. For now she was alone. A hint of moisture and minerals in the air distracted her attention from the new presence. The dusty sand and gravel scattered as she got up to seek out the source of it.
Several meters from the crescent rocks she discovered a hidden pool. An unlikely oasis, deep and dark yet somehow inviting. She lowered her hand into the shadowy liquid. It was warm.
She stood up suddenly, sensing movement in the distance. Pain and longing. Confusion and unbridled power. A chaotic and lost sobbing. Statik did not fear this being. It was powerful, yes, whatever it was, but she realized it was not a predator as she had originally thought. It was something else. Something new.
Come. Come to me.
Walk slowly. Listen.
The outside will become the inside.
Walk to the water.
Statik walked over to the water and dipped her hand in to scoop up a handful. She brought it to her lips and drank it in quickly. A drop fell from the corner of her mouth to her arm. She went to brush it off and she stopped. She looked closer at her arm, seeing her skin turn pale. Her vision trailed off and she was surrounded by saturated colors bleeding into a sea of black water.
She closed her eyes and sunk into the water, letting the waves and currents take her down. She opened her mouth. The dark warmth poured in, filling her; she tasted red and gold. Her body floated down, limbs relaxed and her hair floating around her. An electric tingling started at her feet and surged through her legs, torso, arms, face and to the tips of her fingertips. She touched herself all over, smoothing out her skin, every sensation telling her she was still alive...and well.
She opened her eyes and could see a flickering light above her. She reached up and could see her hand still in the wavering light of the liquid she had submerged herself in. She swam to the surface and let out a scratchy guttural yell. Arms taught from holding herself up, Statik looked down at herself, wet and breathless. She took in deep breaths and laid stretched out on her back over a nearby boulder. Her spine arched and her bosom heaved upwards as she caught her breath.
She let out a sigh, pressed her lips together and mouthed some pagan words she herself did not even understand. Droplets of liquid streamed ever so slowly down her figure from all sides, down the rock, down to the ground. The Desert lapped them up greedily as they reached the sand, pulling the moisture down, sucking it in, never to be seen again.
She rocked her head from side to side, waiting now for whatever was coming next. More hallucinations, more wind, more darkness.
The flame from the torch flashed and flickered in the wind.
The sobbing in the distance was gone.
It was coming. He was coming.
She closed her eyes and laughed, "COME! COME TO MEEEEEEEEE!"
She screamed a wild holler into the wind and fell into unconsciousness.
***I thought it only fair to mention that this Statik storyline has a new contender, the Jaguar-Man. A new perspective brought to you by the master chef over at Irish Gumbo. We have accidentally come together and decided to collaborate and weave this tag team story together as it comes to us. I'm excited to be participating in such and unusual creative endeavor. Cheers!