Michael wasn’t always the way he is.
He wasn’t always a source of light and warmth and infinite possibilities.
There was a time when he was once full of darkness, too unsure of himself and trapped inside danger. He was angry, mysterious, and he walked a little too close to an edge that, if fallen off, he would never be able to climb back up.
There was a time when I knew him when his lights switched off and suddenly I was lost in the night that surrounded him. I didn’t know why. He wouldn’t tell me anything. Not at the time. But it was to protect to me, I suppose, to push me away from him and save me. He told me that there was no place on the planet far enough away from me and when I asked why he said it was because he loved me. He loved me so much. Too much.
Another way of saving me, again, I suppose.
I try not to remember it. And most of the time I succeed. But occasionally those black eyes watch me in my sleep and it takes over me. I wake up from a nightmare that was once real, covered in sweat, lying next to the boy who is the reason it happened.
I’m not mad at him. I don’t blame him at all. It wasn’t his fault, he was doing it for me.
But if danger is fire then he was burning.
“Go,” he said, teeth clenched, jaw sharp, “now.”
I was stood right before him, eyes looking up and locked on his. His fists were balled tight beside him and I knew it was rage pumping from his heart through his veins. He was terrifying, the Michael I knew had faded into a shadow and the stars in his eyes had burnt out. Anger and fear, him and me, and yet I couldn’t walk away.
“Lyra,” he warned, waiting for me to move, “don’t test me. I swear-”
“No, I’m not going anywhere.”
I wanted to sound tough, to sound sure of myself, but my voice cracked on every word. I was shaking, visibly and uncontrollably convulsing in front of him and my vulnerability locked me to the ground.
And then his hands were on me, strong against my shoulders, pushing me against the wall. He seemed taller as he looked down at me. His face was almost completely covered in darkness but I could see his fierce eyes calculating my next move. Not that I had one.
The next thing I knew one hand was holding my face, the other pulling me into him. His lips pushed against mine, soft and hard at the same time. It was like I was air and he was drowning. I couldn’t help myself. I kissed him back, matching his fire. But deep down I knew something wasn’t right. The way he held me, hands a little too shaky, breathing a little too loud. He was breaking right in front of me and I was about to shatter with him.
I pulled back from him at the same time his eyes turned black. There was a throbbing in my ribs, searing through my side and matching the sound of my pulse in my ears. I looked down to see scratches, deep and scarring and unrecognisable. Where did they come from? They were fresh, new, blood dripping down my hips and landing at my feet. Was this him?
He spoke my name, then, I was almost sure of it. But it sounded wrong. It wasn’t him, it wasn’t Michael with his threatening eyes and growling voice standing over me. It wasn’t him, I know it wasn’t.
It was only when I fell unconscious that I realised I was in danger.
I guess I was too late.
Because if danger is fire then I was caught in the flames.
But, like I said, it wasn’t Michael. It wasn’t him. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew it wasn’t him.
I know what it was. Deep down, in every darkened room, behind every shadow, in every flicker of a light, I know what it was, what waits there. But I won’t let myself remember. Not anything other than those midnight eyes that are now nothing but pure light.
I won’t let myself remember.
Because if I remember, then he will too.