This tale takes place after Red Moon Rising. Though you may enjoy some aspects of the story without all of the background of Silver Girl's adventures, a lot of things will be quite confusing. That said, enjoy!
“You’re absolutely certain this is what you want, Sarah? There’s still time to reconsider, but once we’re past the horizon, rescinding will be considerably more difficult.” The key to Sarah’s bike - soon to be mine - feels far too heavy in my hand. Sylvia is a fine ride I’ve already had the pleasure of taking for a spin. I don’t doubt she’ll be useful. Sarah is handling all of this just a little too well.
Her brilliant silver smile doesn’t waver for an instant. Somehow it intensifies as she squeezes my hand around the key. “Look Yana . . . You’re Patina now, all right? One of the most important things Patina had was her bike, a shining silver Ducati. It got her where she needed to go, fast and reliably. While the uniform, mask included, was always pretty handy - especially the belt - the bike was important too. Besides, I’ve got kids to look after and I can fly. You’re going to chase after a once alter-ego, and you can’t zip through the sky. Consider Sylvia my donation to justice. The bike, that is."
If I hadn’t seen how holding in pain and hiding her anguish affects her manner, I would claim she’s handling everything far too well. She’s not holding back sniffles or shifting her footing. She’s not avoiding eye contact.
Sarah has come a long way after all.
“As long as you’re certain. Admittedly I’m stalling just a little due to nervousness. How did you feel before you set out for your little road trip?” Hunting down Quillspawn with Silhouette is not going to be a cakewalk.
It’s probably not going to be much fun. She’s going to be trying to stop us - or, worse yet, convert us - at every turn. I’m ready for that. I’m hoping for it.
“To be honest? I was full of desperation and hope. If I couldn’t make it as Patina I was sure that my life was over . . . plus more than a little unsure of how I was going to get by and where I was planning on actually going.” Sarah laughs as her expression shifts to embarrassment before she hides it with a hug. “But you don’t have those problems. You’ve got a goal, and a partner. Plus, you’re not powerless.”
Compared to the power I had when we first met I am, but I don’t need to say that. It’s better for me to be like this if Quillspawn is where having those powers led. A part of me does wish I could get them back and use them responsibly, but the rest of me is suspicious of such fantasies.
My Nesatealian magic is more than enough to be dangerous. Aniela’s shadowy powers aren’t exactly weak either, and her experiences with the inky villainess should give us an edge. We worked together to help Sarah stop Red, but I’m still surprised she trusts me as much as she does. She was one of my victims, but I guess trusting me is a lot easier since she spent some time with the essence of Quillspawn inside of her with me kneeling at her feet.
That should make us even, or close. We haven’t talked nearly enough, and that will have to change before the end of my journey. The thought opens a deep pit in my stomach.
“Whereas I know where I’m heading, which doesn’t leave me feeling much better. I even know how to stop her.” It’s been weeks since the red moon failed to rise and we learned of our shared lineage. There should still be some comfort from that victory but what stands out most of all to me is The Domina’s sacrifice. “I’ve been in your mind, deeper than most. I’ve tasted that self-doubt and second guessing that was your first nature. How did you ever manage to get past that?”
“Wanna know the truth?” Sarah whispers into my ear in a way a disturbingly strong portion of me wishes were sexual. I don’t think she realizes the amount of appeal she oozes in such simple gestures. “I never have. You just learn that you need to make a choice . . . like the other Sarah did. There’s always doubt. Eventually you just start making your choices quicker so people stop being able to tell.”
She draws back with an apologetic smile spreading across her features in a way that makes it impossible not to smile back. At least she acknowledges that’s not much to go on. If she didn’t then she wouldn’t have that honest charm that she has in droves.
Truthfully, I was hoping there was some trick, even if it had to be learned through experience. Her truth is the next best thing, I suppose. Reality could learn a lot from fiction.
Silver fingers softly squeeze my hand before letting go. She has faith in our success. She’s the reason the Nesatealia are no longer a force to be reckoned with. If I can stop Quillspawn, I can do my part in making the world a safer place. I could achieve a level of redemption paralleling that of the fallen Sarah.
If all goes well, maybe I’ll even get to survive, mind intact.
It all comes down to getting over myself and taking the risk, doesn’t it? “So go out there, get to know your new partner in crime-fighting, and save the world a little. It does wonders for the body and mind.”
“Silhouette already said her goodbyes, and this is the last of mine. Take care of your kids, and yourself. If you go off the deep end after helping me claw my way out I won’t ever forgive you.” If Sarah can go through all that she has and still turn out all right in the end - both versions of her - then that means there’s hope for me too.
“Don’t worry about me! I’ve got Susan and Lida still wanting to help with the kids, and Valerie too. Mystic’s putting her psychobabble to good use. Sarah LaSilvas and Silver Girl will both be just fine. You just worry about Patina.” Sarah wiggles her fingers in a wave and I mirror the motion with a smile.
Transitions are always the hardest times to deal with. There’s never a time where nothing is an issue, but fallout is much different than current events. I look forward to basking in transitive chaos.
I exit, twisting on the balls of my feet, continuing the wave in a backward gesture. If we weren’t distant cousins I might try to find reasons to stay. The last thing the world needs is a daughter of a Nesatealia and a LaSilvas, especially now that the former is a name I hope will fade from memory in a generation or two.
Aniela is waiting beside our ride, wearing her shadow as the figure-enhancing second skin it is. From my current glance and my last memory of her in her tattooed glory, I’m not sure which is more enticing. The black definitely has its appeal, but the tattoos . . .
Being out of crazy-jail is making my hormones go wild. I already know how far down those tattoos go, but I’d love to find out firsthand. My lips could trace quite the path along those designs.
“All ready to go, Patina?” Aniela - Silhouette, rather - has been doing this a lot longer than I have. Already she can see the mask instead of the woman behind it. Susan chided Sarah’s dream of running off to become a super heroine, but I think she was much better prepared for it than either of them could have possibly known. There’s a certain mindset that doesn’t grow overnight. Aniela and Silhouette as names feel interchangeable to me, but they’re not to her. “We’ve got some daylight to burn before we’re in Twilight Falls, and we’re already a step or two behind her.”
She’s right of course. On the road I’ll have plenty of time to think too much for my own good. “I wasn’t born ready, but I think this introduction is getting a little stale. Let’s head for the initial incident with minimal delay!”
We share a grin as I mount Sylvia just before she does. I savor the closeness as her arms wrap around my waist. A motorcycle must do wonders for a relationship, at least physically. I’ll be able to intimately feel her reaction to every bump of the road. Even the boring parts of this journey should have a delightful shadowy lining.
After quickly revving the engine just to savor the sensation, we speed away from Sarah, and from all of the troubles the past held as we race towards those of the future.
As fun as the first few hours were, half a day later the excitement just isn’t holding up. Driving at night is nice, especially between cities. Midas has a larger metropolitan area, of course, but after those limits there’s a whole lot of road and not much else. Sylvia’s hum and Silhouette’s closeness are the soundtrack and ambient bliss; otherwise, it’s just a matter of staying on the road.
Tracking down Quillspawn won’t be easy unless she decides to be stupid, and I doubt she will. If my plan works out the way I’d like then we won’t need to find every last woman infected by her ink - one should do.
Our magics were able to track her down to Twilight Falls, but by the time we get there I’m sure she’ll be gone. Unless she wants a showdown. There is always a chance that she has an even bigger trump card than we do, but I don’t think any amount of planning will protect us if that’s the case.
Knowing that she possesses the Nesatealian corruption of the LaSilvas gift to the same extent Sarah does hers is worrisome, but she hasn’t the mastery of it that Sarah does. It’s not the same ability. The thought of having to stop Sarah is a frightening one. Nothing mental would work, and I have no clue what kinds of magic The Domina taught her when she gifted those memories. Our best bet would be a bullet, which didn’t work very well when Jesse Colloten tried it.
Luckily for us, there’ll be no more side switching now that she’s awakened to her role as the light bearer . . .
“Patina, what’s that on the roa-shit!” Silhouette catches sight of the slick black coating on the road before I do, but not soon enough for me to react. The wheel starts to slip and I can feel any semblance of traction fading away. We accelerate when my instincts make me punch it instead of desperately trying to brake.
“Damn it Sarah, you should have reminded me that sometimes hesitation can be a very good thing!” I try to brake now, but the tires must be slicked because we don’t even slow down. A slick of ink laced with a little magic would have stopped the brakes anyway, but we’re starting to tip and this uniform doesn’t provide much in the way of protection. I can feel the slicked ground on my thigh and I’m dreading the road rash and loss of blood to follow-
Except that we never connect with the road. Silhouette holds me tighter as we fall not onto the road but instead against dirt off to the side. It still hurts to slam down into the ground and tumble, but a little magic and quick thinking just saved the skin of my left leg. Sylvia isn’t so lucky. I can hear her slam down against the road just as we hit the ground. The sound of her metal body sliding across the road makes my gums ache and my ears ring.
Metal on asphalt is not a sound you’ll likely hear on a guided relaxation CD.
With a wince, I pull away from Aniela and stumble to my feet only to be rewarded with the sight of Sylvia’s careening slowly coming to an end. The ink was apparently enough to ruin the brakes, but not to stop friction-induced sparks. That was very thoughtful of her.
“Well . . . That’s one way to start an adventure. We’re halfway between Midas and Twilight with no wheels. Any chance you’ve got some form of teleportation farther than a couple of feet to the left?” Tedium is a lot better than excitement. I should have known better than to expect the journey to be trouble-free. Quillspawn isn’t stupid enough to hide behind only distance. We’re not likely to lose her trail or be disheartened, she knows that. She knows us better than we know ourselves.
“Sorry, my shadows don’t work that way. Don’t you have anything that might work?” Silhouette’s words are followed by a sigh as she stands and brushes herself off. “Otherwise we’re hoofing it.”
I wipe the ink off of my thigh in disgust. At least I can be thankful there’s none of Quillspawn’s essence in it. All I can feel from it is slickness. If there were more to it I would be able to feel the intent.
It has such a thick, wet feeling . . . I can’t believe that I used to tolerate - no - enjoy being covered in it. “Sorry, no such luck. I know that some magic users make it seem simple to just poof state to state, but it’s actually very complicated. Without the power boost my ink used to provide I can’t even get as far as you can. My magic doesn’t work like that.”
“Fun . . . Hopefully there’s a roadside motel we can reach in an hour or two. At least if we both hold a handlebar the walk won’t be so bad.” There’s disappointment in her voice, but not disapproval. I know there are things my magic can do that hers can’t. For one, I’m much more adept at sculpting energy. I just don’t have much to sculpt anymore.
This is not the way I saw my first adventure going under the mantle of Patina. Sarah never had any experiences like this, but she didn’t exactly have a nemesis. No mask can hide my identity from mine.
Patina’s boots are a lot bigger than they used to look.
“We’re certainly not making any ground standing here like this. I have a hunch this is going to be a very long night.” Every step I take trudging over to the fallen bike is followed by a small shot of pain. I’m thankful Silhouette pulled us away from the bike, but it would have been lovely if she could have made us fall on our asses instead of our sides. The pain will fade soon enough. This is a story we’ll be laughing about years down the line.
Silhouette laughs and twists her face into the most delightful of grins. “You didn’t really think being a super heroine was just getting your mind melted out between your legs did you?”
After a deep breath I quicken my pace, hoping the blush of my cheeks isn’t bright enough to be seen through the darkness.
Three hours pass before we even see a building. My body aches from easing Sylvia along the whole way, but at least Aniela is excellent company. Even though I know far more about her than I should, we still have a lot to talk about.
Now we have a goal in sight, what looks to be one of those dingy roadside motels. It’s not much, but it’s a place to hole up for the night. Sylvia won’t start, and neither of us knows why. She might just need a break for all I know. She definitely doesn’t look ruined. At the worst there must be a number we can call in the morning.
“I never thought I would be so happy to see a roadside. My legs are killing me. It’s not as if the bike is heavy or we’ve been walking for that long . . .” This is definitely a good bonding experience if nothing else. “You ever stayed in one before?”
Shaking my head, I squint to see if I can read the sign from a distance. We’re still too far. “Nah . . . Back when I was the infamous Yana N. Ritter my modes of transportation were generally comfortable enough to sleep in. If not I could always get a ride with a little ink, or crash in the home of an adoring fan. Money and power: there’s a lot they can’t buy, but when you have them you really don’t notice those things anywhere near as much.”
“Sounds great . . . a lot better than this anyway.” Aniela laughs and shakes her head. I don’t know how this could have ended up as a good time, but it has. “So I was thinking, and stop me if this sounds crazy, but when we get to the motel how does a nice fuck sound? It’s been about a month since I’ve had any kind of intimacy and you’ve got a cute shape. Plus the sexual tension is killing me.”
I stop abruptly and can only manage to stare at her with my mouth hanging wide open. When my ink was inside of her I’d read through all of her memories. They’re not fresh in my mind, but they’re fresh enough to know that she isn’t the kind of girl who asks for sex as if it were a refreshment.
Of course stopping makes Sylvia stop, and Aniela smirks back at me. Her face says both “I wasn’t kidding” and “Why is that such a shock?” Responding to either isn’t exactly easy.
None of her defining sexual moments showed any forwardness, much less a strong aptitude. Her life as Sarah’s kitten had involved a lot more than meowing for her and Jesse and she’d never been too sexual before that - she’d actually considered herself straight, of all things. There were no other strongly-defining moments before Quillspawn claimed her. Even when she was revised to betray Sarah, Aniela was passive.
One can use the past to guess the future, but every effect changes the next reaction.
My mouth keeps opening but nothing useful comes out. In my writing, there was the occasional character with a crass moment, but they were too rare for me to draw inspiration from them. Stammering is not something I’m very accustomed to.
“You can say ‘no.’ I won’t be offended. It just means that we won’t be able to share a bed, because I would love to jump you.” The words are coming from her lips and, from what I can tell, her mind. It’s still hard to believe. Fans used to proposition me all the time, but they were much more subtle about it. Since I was generally choosing the ones I wanted to keep long-term, it was always very easy to know what to say. “Yes” meant I could say anything as the memory could be smoothed out later. “No” meant a quick rejection.
Being a normal person would be far too difficult for me. Life as a super heroine is difficult. I imagined the physical and emotional challenges would be stressful, but I didn’t give a second thought to interpersonal relationships or to sexual relationships. To be honest, I didn’t give this nearly as much thought as I should have.
I prepared for it like I would a story: gathering useful information and then waiting until I needed to apply it. I imagined this would be much different; this wasn’t the different I imagined.
She’s staring at me. Minutes have passed and not a real word has left my lips. Plenty of syllables have, but nothing solid. Solid would probably be a good thing right about now. Would that I had something solid to give that didn’t make me feel like an idiotic, hormone-driven teenager.
Still, her question deserves more of an answer than a quick combination of “um” and “uh”.
“There’s nothing that I would love more. I’ve been trying to keep my mind away from the topic of sex since we first started out. Feeling you pressed against me for all of those miles was torture.” Great. Something has been said, but I’m not sure how eloquent it was. At least it’s something. “But we don’t exactly have the best history, and even if you believe that I’ve reformed I still thought you were mostly coming with me because we need to stop Quillspawn before she inks up more people-“
“That’s part of it. I definitely don’t want some delivery girl with eyes just a shade too dark and wet knocking at my door turning me into another vessel for Q.S. That’s about the last thing on my to-do list.” Silhouette poses against the handlebar, arching her body in just the right way for the moon and stars to highlight what her shadows could never hide. “A big part, honestly.”
She’s vamping. I’ve never had another woman vamp at me like this. I’ve had men put on as much false bravado as possible to try to be the man to turn me around, but women were always nervous around me.
This is simultaneously thrilling and nerve-wracking. My heart is beating a thousand times a minute and I’m breathing a little too quickly. “The rest . . .?”
“When Quillspawn was inside of me, she wasn’t just using me as an extension of herself. I was her vessel just as you were. Though she was in absolute control at all times, her mind was inside of mine, and all that she knew became a part of me.” She pulls away from Sylvia and locks her gaze with mine more intensely than anyone’s eyes ever have. “I can’t remember every thought she had. I can’t remember every memory she revised and reshaped . . . but I remember you.”
“You remember . . . me? There are quite a few ‘me’s’ that you could remember. There’s the me kneeled before her, naked and helpless. There’s the me you’re with right here-“ In a single motion, Aniela pulls out the kickstand with her foot and presses a finger to my lips.
I can taste her shadow against my lips as it playfully pulls them shut so not even the softest sound of protest can break through. It doesn’t feel invasive. It feels playful even though it’s much more forceful than I’ve ever felt playful touches. If I struggle, she’ll stop. This doesn‘t challenge the trust that has already formed between us. Her words don’t make me worried she’s corrupted or under another’s influence. They just make me feel vulnerable and exposed.
Her hand caresses slowly along my cheek, keeping the thumb over the seam of my lips. Her eyes are so dark and deep, and I momentarily let myself dream of being consumed in her shadows.
Through my ink her shadows always tasted ethereal, like wispy cloth that could caress the right place just enough to feel, or close around tightly enough to feel like a soft cocoon. Feeling them inside of me, feeling them trace where my ink used to flow, s a thought that’s almost orgasmic. The loss of what made me special isn’t something I notice unless I think about it, and those depths do wonders to remind.
“What I mean, is that I remember Yana. I tasted the Yana who used to be an aspect of Quillspawn. I experienced the blurry line of where you ended and she began. There was a part of her that desperately missed being a part of you. It was a part that longed for the structure, for the raw imagination that you possessed. A part of her even longed for your sense of compassion, for your lust, for your longing to be loved. Those weren’t a part of her, you know.” She leans her forehead against mine as I suck in a sharp breath through her shadow. “To feel anything close to how she felt when she was whole, when she was with you, she had to draw that from me.”
Yanuka and Quillspawn both acted as if all that went away once she was free of me. They made it sound like all the humanity was gone that had held me back from being the daughter Yanuka craved. Could it be true? Could she miss me just as much as I miss her?
If it were, and there were some way to reason with her, to show her that she didn’t need to pursue such a dark path, the reward could be so wonderful . . .
“I remember the little girl who used to write out her deepest fantasies and dreams by pressing her fingertip to a piece of paper to give her pool of ink form. I remember her fragile hopes to use her abilities to become loved, famous . . .” Her finger moves away from my lips as hers approach, but the shadow lingers. “I remember when her loneliness, when her sorrow made her first slide her fingers into her own ears, convinced she wasn’t yet ready for publication. I remember the exact moment, Yana.”
Tears well up in my eyes as she speaks, and her lips move against mine with every syllable. She knows things I don’t want anyone to know. It’s as horrifying as her closeness is erotic. Her lips keep teasing to press full into mine, and I yearn for that sensation. I yearn in so many ways.
Her other hand’s fingertips trail along my back, but they don’t attempt to draw me closer. She’s still giving me the chance to pull away. I don’t want to. Afraid as I am, I only want her more.
Just when it feels as though she’s finally ready to feed my burning desire for her lips, they slide against mine on the way to my ear. Her whisper is more sultry than any I’ve heard from lips other than my own. “I saw the little girl inside. I saw the young woman. Quillspawn tried her hardest to make me serve as a replacement for you, but all it did was teach me about you, and you . . .” Her teeth grasp my ear just enough for me to feel, slowly tugging at the flesh until they slip away. I would groan if I could make any sound at all. “You, Patina, Yana, whoever you want to be, are beautiful.”
To think that Silhouette being controlled by a product of my own self-control, or rather a lack thereof, is actually turning out to have a gorgeous side to balance the wicked.
I don’t want this captivity to end. There are so many thoughts, so many cravings and desires I wish I could express. Not only does it show her that I trust her, it lets me feel her shadows teasing at the void inside of me. Oh, it would be heaven to feel that shadow filling so many voids, starting with the warm one nestled between my legs.
“So I want to take you to that motel, and I want to fuck you. I want to pin you down onto that bed, and give you all of the attention, all of the lust, and all of the love you could ever want. I want to taste what you taste like fulfilled, and I want to show you that you are beautiful.” With a quick kiss to the tip of my ear, she pulls back and leans against the bike. Her hands withdraw from my body, and her shadow goes with them. “Unless you don’t want me to, then I’ll just need to satisfy myself..”
I have never met a woman like Aniela. I don’t think I could survive two of her, but one? One is more than wonderful. One is amazing.
“Sounds great to me.”
The blonde at the counter of Park ‘n Sleep gave us our key without too much fuss. Aniela insisted on paying, of course. Sylvia is parked in front of a window. I’m pinned down to the bed.
Aniela also insisted on tearing off my costume as soon as we got inside. Hers didn’t take much effort to melt away, just a thought. Seeing those black tattoos revealed against her milky skin is something I’ll never forget. The tattoos hugging the curves of her thighs and her breasts are so exquisitely unique.
Her bare body grinds down against me as she forces a thigh between mine. I’ve never been pinned down like this, hands on my shoulders holding me down with just enough strength so I can struggle but not rise, and it makes my body sizzle and burn. She doesn’t have her hands free to touch me, but the rolling, the twisting of her body against mine is more than enough, and she hasn’t even teased me with her shadow.
She moans into my ear as she grinds her nipples into mine, and I bite my lip to hold back a scream. Aniela doesn’t hold back a sound. My hands can’t decide on a place to rest, sliding over her back and down along the curves of her ass, always trying to pull her closer to feel more of her hot skin so slick with sweat.
My thigh between hers savors the feeling of every clench and the wet feeling of her nether lips quivering blissfully. She’s so sensitive, but not sensitive enough to let the pleasure slow her down.
She grinds harder, pinning me deeper into the mattress. Vainly I try to match her pace but the feelings are too intense. My breathing is ragged. I can hear my heartbeat in my ears almost as loudly as I can hear her screams and as viscerally as I can feel her nails clawing down from their place at my shoulders to my hips, raking so hard along the way.
“Can you feel it?” Her voice is half lost in a moan, but I can make out what she says easily with her lips pressed so close to my ear. “Can you feel how much I want you, how much I need you?”
If her moans, her insistent touches, or her dripping sex alone wouldn’t tell me just how much she does, the combination screams it to Pluto. “Yes, goddess yes! I can feel it so, so much! Want you to fuck me every way you can, make love to me, take me, and don’t hold back your shadow!”
Nails trace down along my thighs. My hips shudder to meet them My eyelids flutter as I desperately try to keep my eyes focused on hers, to let her see my own need just as clearly as I can feel hers. As much as I love all of this, there’s still that one last need that she isn’t fulfilling. Neglecting it only makes the desire louder.
“Ooh! I see, you want me to fill you with my shadow, to take you inside, to reach my shadows places where my fingers can’t reach, where nothing else can reach, don’t you?” Her voice flows like lava into my ears, melting me in places I didn’t remember I had. The cry I can’t hold back from my lips is almost loud enough to hurt my ears. “That’s the loudest ‘yes’ I think I’ve ever heard! All right, I can fuck you with my shadow . . . just for you.”
The almost-reluctance in her eyes fades away as they fill with shadows before extending from her body to wrap around mine. They slide between my legs, caressing me far more faintly but far more firmly than fingers. The shadow fills me, raking over my back, kneading me so tightly, and my body goes almost limp as I shudder to press into every feeling at once.
I can’t, but struggling to try is more fulfilling than success.
At last her shadow traces along the inner curves of my ear just like my fingers used to, and I shudder at the feeling as it pierces into my mind. I can feel my awareness and control leaking out with the honey between my legs. I curl my toes so hard they feel about ready to break as my whole body quakes in a spasm. Her thigh and mine feel so much stickier as my vision starts to tunnel, and all I can see are her eyes. All I can feel is her shadow inside of me.
“Mmm . . . Now why don’t we see what a helplessly obedient Yana N. Ritter can do . . .” My vision is shrouded in shadow as it fills so many places that have felt empty for what feels like so much longer than a year and a half.