The Mistress

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
P is in a dead end, With the future responsibility in view and an unknown enemy, he may have no chance of having a bright future. But what if there's a protector he can always turn to? The Mistress. That's her name.

Submitted: May 19, 2016

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Submitted: May 19, 2016

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A/N: Names stated in this story are real Thai names. There are really an opium farm in the Northern of Thai. A research has been made to obtain the most accurate information as much as possible.

"You don't belong here." A sweet but cryptic woman's voice travelled to the boy's ears.

He turned around, startled. Nothing was in sight, though.

His private bubble suddenly popped and everything surrounding him seemed to rush all at once into his mind, disrupting the tranquility he had a few hours ago. The opium farm and the future responsibility held in his hands when he had received the news that his father was horribly sick. Because of this, he might have ten years to survive. Everything had become a whirlwind of planning, lecturing, and meetings. He had to learn everything from his father in ten years, maybe more if he got lucky. However, luck had never been on his side and ten years was insufficient comparing to how his father had 60 years to learn, practice, and experience everything firsthand.

"Who's here?" He asked, unable to conceal the fear in his voice. His heart began beating faster and his muscles began contracting, prepared for the fight-or-flight mode. His feet backtracked into the poppy plants. Despite having to spend the rest of his life operating this business, he had no idea why he was here so quick.

"Relax," a woman's voice rang into his ears again followed by laughter sounding like the strumming of harp strings.

All around him, the voice echoed. It tried poking its way into his mind and piercing into his eardrums. There was no escaping. It was a stereophonic sound. At one point it was on his left. Then, it was suddenly on his right. Now, it was in front of him. His head spun. He had his hands in a guarding block position as he whipped his head around. Sweat sluiced down his back, head, and technically every part of his body.

"Who are you?" He asked again, swallowing involuntarily. "I-I'm not afraid of you!"

The laughing continued. It was as high-pitched and sinister as ever.

Suddenly a figure alighted on the ground a few feet from him. The impact created a small crater that knocked the boy off his feet, landing on his back with a groan. He was flooded with golden light radiating from the creature in front of him.

Instead of feeling awed, he was filled with terror.

"You don't belong here," the 'thing' repeated itself. The boy, even from afar could sense the breath that was blown upon him, shivered. Gingerly, he propped up on his elbows.

"Do you?" He asked weakly. He stared at the floor before meeting the eyes in front of him.

The creature, a woman, looked ageless but also ancient at the same time. Everything about her from her hair, her clothes, and complexion was golden. Her eyes were the exception, however. They appeared to be changing every now and then. From magenta, it was now steely blue, bleak and lifeless.

"No," she said brusquely with the tone that didn't fail to raise the hair on the nape of the boy's neck. "Unlike you, I have no choice. Unlike you, I'm detained here, boy."

"I'm not a boy." The boy stood up to her defiantly. "I'm 14 years old. Almost 15. Technically a mid-adolescent."

"Good for you." The Golden Lady smiled slightly but her eyes, which was now grayish almost white, were dismal. They were glassy and translucent, and if the eyes are really a window to the soul, then hers would be more or less vacant. "What's your name, then?"

"Ronnapee," the boy answered, his eyes penetrating into the mystical orbs directly across from him. "Just P's fine, too."

"Well, Just P, it's a pleasure meeting you." The Golden Woman nodded and prepared to take flight.

"Wait!" P ran up to her whilst dusting himself. The light that was emanating from her was searing hot but didn't desist his movement. "Will I get to see you again?"

She swept her glance toward him slowly. "That depends on you."

"If it means coming here, being here just to see you... Then, I'll stay here." He pointed at the ground and waved at the opium farm behind him.

"Why?" P's words were capable of halting her actions. "I've never met someone who confronts me without cowering apprehensively or fleeing at first sight. You intrigue me. What made you stay?"

"You're so beautiful."

In an instant, flashes of black light perforated every inch of her skin.

A chill ran up P's spine as if the temperature had dropped by ten degrees on the already freezing mountain in the north. His breathing hitched and he thought about taking back his words but his legs remained stuck to the ground, refused to move.

The gangrene sent waves of nauseating smell. As the creature strolled toward P, pieces of flesh peeled themselves away. They fell along the path like the trail of bread crumbs Hansel and Gretel sprinkled to guide them home but this would never take him home; he would be taking the road to his doom. The moldy and sickly green skin unveiled bones. Not the healthy ones, but the cavitated type that were brittle and yellow, sort of brown and almost bronze in color, and as if they had suffered from osteoporosis. Moreover, her eyes were out of their sockets, dangling like wrecking balls and her jaw was slackened from their joints. Last but not least, the innards slithered out as if she had been disemboweled.

"Do you still think I'm beautiful?" She flashed an enigmatic smile at P.

"I—" P cleared his throat and took a step back. If it was one thing he had learned from associating with those people Dad had requested him to be acquainted with when he had been taken to fancy parties, it was to answer questions to people's liking but in a way that even you were convinced. So, be truthful but not too much.

"Well," P licked his dry lips, "each person is beautiful in their own way. So, yes. You're beautiful... but in your own way."

She nodded, satisfied with the answer. "Remember this, P. Everyone has at least one role in their life. Each personality is displayed solely to the person or people they want it to be perceived. I'm just making it more substantial. P, you must remember that this is just a mirage. Beauty or even goodness can be a fraud."

"Okay." P dedicated a tremendous effort to composing himself. "Um, now can you transformed back please? Not that I'm scared. It's a bit unnerving."

She laughed. "Okay."

"And if I'm gonna continue seeing you, what should I call you?" P asked with more confidence, his heart rate now returning to normal.

"Call me..." She hummed. "The Mistress."

&&&&&&&&&

A decade and a half passed. P had taken over the opium farm. Throughout the years, many things had changed but the one thing that never did was the relationship between him and The Mistress; it had only been improving and evolving.

"P, here's your ginger tea," Sukrit or simply Krit, P's brother said as he set down a cup.

"Thanks," P said softly with indifference as he continued looking out the window.

"Hey," Krit uttered, sitting across from his brother. "What do you think of doing next?"

"I-I—"

"You don't have to tell me now." Krit clasped his hands as he leaned forward. "I know that you want to end this illicit business, that you want to enter the Royal Project instead." The Royal Project is a project contrived by His Majesty King Rama IX with the principal objective of wanting villagers to have a sustainable life with a sustainable jobs which include weaving, planting fruit and vegetables, making pottery, etc. with the hope of inheriting and continuing Thai customs and traditions to the next generations. Often it involves getting rid of opium farms and preventing deforestation.

Krit stood up and walked to his brother. "But you should never think about how Dad would be disappointed of you," he said as he lightly patted P's shoulder. "Right here, right now it's not the world of the dead. Only the living have the rights in it."

"How do you know it's not? They’re judging." P groaned, pushed away his tea, and flopped his head down onto his arms.

"Believe it or not, it is!" Krit shouted back.

P sighed because that was what he usually did these days. Then he looked up and drowsily reached for the cup. As his lips touched the cold surface of the ceramic—

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"The Mistress?" P eyed the woman who was sitting with her legs crossed across from him. Years of practice and experience had rendered P immune to not having a heart attack from her unannounced appearances.

"Don't drink it," The Mistress repeated casually. Her eyes were turquoise, the color of calmness and protection.

"What could go wrong? He's my brother." P raised the cup toward her. "Bottoms up!"

A minute later, P laid sprawl on the ground, convulsing with spasm as if he was having a seizure. His digits were all contorted in a stiff position and spit was spilling everywhere. Once in a while, indecipherable inhumane gasps were emitted from his mouth.

"I'm not falling for that. You're making a fool out of yourself." The Mistress's eyes were now purple. P only needed one glance to know she was annoyed and his action just increased the amount of moodiness in her. "You can't pull the legs of the dead. We have the connection to those who're dying."

"Oh, c'mon!" P pouted as he sat back down into his chair. "I haven't had a good laugh in years and you couldn't do this one favor for me?"

"I thought you once said that my presence was enough to pacify you."

"Ha, I wouldn't have counted you as being susceptible to flattery." P leaned back on his chair, only two of its legs remained in the ground. "Oh well, there's a first to everything."

"P, stop sidetracking me!" Now, there were flecks of red hue in her irises but then they quickly morphed into a blue-green color of placidity. "I'm not supposed to be telling you this because intervening into the human world is like meddling with fate and the Gods. I could get condemned..."

"But?" P slammed the chair's legs against the floor and raised an eyebrow.

"Do you remember about what I told you about the day we met?" Her tone became all business-like and her eyes were cloudy, all stormy gray. "About the mirage and people's personalities?"

"Ditto." P smirked. "People are nothing but lies."

"Your brother..."

"Is clearly not one of them," P said gravely, rankled at what The Mistress had propounded.

&&&&&&&&&&&

"The Mistress? The Mistressss!" P turned this way and that with agitation as he scurried across the opium farm.

But why should he?

Just because the crops were now in a full-blooming mode, venting out colors of white, mauve, and red across the eerie, dark field, which meant that in approximately two weeks, the harvesting and cultivation would be ready. Which meant that he had even less time to figure out a way (that wouldn't stir any demonstrations among the workers, so destroying these poppies were out of the question) to terminate all operations leading to distributing opium all across the globe. Which could create more addicts and other unimaginable effects. Which—

Okay, so maybe he should be feeling like there were delusional weights encumbering him after all.

No doubt why recently he often had nightmares and just before wandering around to find The Mistress, he had had only been pulled out of one.

There had been darkness, hovering and rapidly closing in on him. He could have felt himself suffocating and being dragged into layers of shadows, as if he could have been drowned by them. Coldness seeped into his pores and there were sounds of people crying out for him...Just like now.

"You're an abomination," several deep, celestial, metallic voices penetrated into P's skull.

A chill ran up his spine, jerking him as his left foot tripped over his right and lost balance. With an oof! he was horizontally aligned to the ground below him. His face and body were scratched against jagged rocks that engraved shallow cuts and bruises upon him.

"Daddy's not going to be proud of you."

P sprang up. He was unconsciously scooting himself backward as he frantically kicked and scraped at the dirt. Like in the dream, his throat seemed to close up and his mouth seemed to have been filled with sticky glue instead of saliva; no sounds could be escaped from him.

"Release us. Set us free. We have the right answers you're seeking," the voices echoed but not the kind that would make you feel relieve and possibly cheerful like when you shout at mountains. No, these echoes were bouncing around P's brain in a mind-shattering frequency. Not only that, but the voices drawled, as if attempting to prolong their malicious words for as long as possible. The swarms of butterflies in his stomach which were buzzing around like crazy in pure petrifaction didn't help soothe him. He could even feel himself hyperventilating, his heart palpitating as if he had run in a marathon, and blood trickling down his nose.

P vaguely wondered why he had come for The Mistress and not Krit. Of course, he mentally slapped himself, his brother was sleeping and he didn't want to disturb him. The voices gradually became clearer as he became focused. The pain somehow helped him with that.

"P, relinquish this struggling and yield to us! You can't evade us forever!" How did those shadows even know his names? The voices amplified, cleaving into P's nerves, bouncing around as if he were optical fibers transmitting a set of data.

Panting and crawling backward anxiously, he looked up and made out The Mistress in the dark.

That was why they knew his name!

Instead of the shimmery, golden aura he was used to every day, she was dressed in a gloomy garb. An ominous, yet angelic countenance was embossed across her feature. Worse of all, her eyes. Yes, those colorful color-changing-depending-on-her-mood eyes screamed nothing but impending doom.

In a wider picture, The Mistress was leading a horde of—apparitions? entities?— but whatever they were, they had been ranked into battalions. All around him, these impalpable forces of veritable radicalness and diabolicalness roamed the premises.

One group was breaking their way through the earth. Another was flitting around in the sky, their face obscured by the moonlight reflecting off them. The last group, which The Mistress was in command, was ambling their way to possibly devour him, ripping away his essence.

His breath hitched. His throat constricted further. He had been stabbed in the back all along. The Mistress was a hoax, after all. After what they'd been through. After all those deep, dark secrets P had shared with her. She was no different from the ones she had cautioned him against.

NO! P attempted to holler, but again he was betrayed by his own vocal chords. He wanted to cry! Even he was not treated loyally by himself! He stifled a sob. Perhaps what The Mistress had told him could be applied to her as well. It depended on one's interpretation, right? So, it was likely how she was not an exception.

With no further deliberation, P sprang away and ran. Into the poppy fields.

&&&&&&&&&&&&

"We have a very positive chance of being successful." The young speaker's eyes twinkled with mischief. "The drug has already access his entire system. I've seen it."

"Excellent," one of the board members licked his lips greedily.

"I propose our next move is to ensure that he backs down by himself," another senior crew spoke up. "With the predicted symptoms, he won't last long—"

"In fact," the first speaker interposed, "that is an understatement. His current condition should be enough to make the workers lose trust in his leadership, turning them against him."

"That," the only woman in this congress with a deep crease in her brow piped up, "would be nice."

"I venture no further forecast should be made," The young man continued. The other three people nodded. "You know how I'm the only successor left. With me, I hope I don't have to remind you what rewards you would be receiving once I'm in charge."

"No, sir," they all replied in unison. "We're at our utmost content to have an opportunity to serve you. We're truly honored."

"Good." The young man smirked and left the ramshackle hut without another word.

"Krit," a whisper in the wind jolted said person.

"What?" He scowled and was ready to scorn his 'colleague'. He had presumed that his egress had been obvious that the conference was adjourned. "I thought—"

As he was about to revolve to meet the person he had assumed was behind him, he was confronted with the most violet eyes in the world. If eggplants or vanda orchids were to be deposited next to them, the colors would have been absorbed from them. Everything would have appeared dull apart from those eyes.

Her face was more impressive. Every component—from her eyes, nose, and mouth—held an elfish attribution. It was a healthy, pale complexion and everything about her seemed so small and delicate and fragile. Her curly, chestnut brown hair accentuated her fine feature.

"I'm sorry." Krit returned to his humble facade, bowing his head slightly. "Do I know you?"

"I, um... I guess I'm lost," the woman said meekly, a cute blush adorned her expression. "I work here but I'm still new. It's probably not that peculiar if a hectic person like you would not have seen a low-leveled staff like me."

Certainly she was not from around here but her Thai was so impeccable. Krit had a hard time not liking her.

"How about I show you back to the workers' accommodation?" He asked politely, extending a hand to her.

"Thank you," the woman responded malignantly, clutching her fingers tightly around his wrist. Krit believed he saw a set of fangs sprouted from her mouth but his hypothesis was promptly dismissed when darkness and coldness knocked him out. He didn't even have enough time to curse.

 

"Owwww," Krit moaned, cradling his head and sitting up dizzily. "What happened?" He asked weakly.

"You don't remember anything?"

Krit's heart hammered against his chest. He stared at his hands. He knew that voice from...somewhere. Gingerly he looked up and perceived that it was still dusk but everything seemed brighter. The violet-eyed woman was a bioluminescence?

Sure enough, she was glowing and as she was closer, Krit was able to discern the atmosphere and the mattress under him. Somehow he had arrived home without any recollection. Had the precipitative, love-at-first-sight phenomenon he was experiencing so addictive for him to be oblivious of everything?

He stood up; ready to be embraced and kissed by the rapturous sensation only this woman could offer to him. He always knew he had a bizarre taste—violet eyes with brown hair and elfish features—and it felt like she had directly come out of his figment, as if she had been allegedly designed for him.

"W-what's your name?" He stammered, his mouth parched. "At least tell me before we, um, anything happens."

"The Mistress." Her visage was deprived of any expression.

"W-wait." Krit stopped, still as a statue. The Mistress trudged on toward him. "Y-you're P-P's The Mistress? His i-imaginary friend?"

"Yes." She sneered, tracing her sharp nails along his jaw. Krit hit the headrest with a bang! He tried to close his eyes and turned away from her but was in vain; his bones and muscles seemed to be as stiff as a cardboard. "Yet right now I'm in front of you. Do I still look 'imaginary' to you, hmmmph? And friend? Puh-lease, more like fiend, I conjecture."

Krit watched it all happened unblinking. The transformation. Not that he could have moved. The Mistress stood on his chest. She was not heavy, not at all. She felt as light as a feather but if it was even possible, she also felt as heavy as an elephant. She wouldn't budge and it started making Krit panic.

The transformation slowly took its form, as if to take its time satiating the look on his face, drinking in his anticipation as the process peaked toward its climax.

Her hair elongated, twining its way into his throat and coiling around his waist, tightening like a snake. Even the taste was unpleasant. It was coarse and dark like death itself or ink. The black, ebony color that quickly gloomed and turned sour seeped into every surface area that covered his body. Writhing and gagging against his binds, he almost missed the other elements.

The Mistress was as white as paper, maybe even more, that she looked transparent. Blood red spidery arteries embroidered throughout her skin. Empty eye sockets burned dark holes in his mind as he lost in the perpetual abyss.

Suddenly, just as the vine-like hair curled around his throat and eyes, shutting all of his senses, Krit was released.

"This is just a warning. That opium powder you put in P’s tea? I know about it!" The voice was laced with so much anger that he had no doubt believing it had been layers and layers of hatred cumulated from previous lives after lives. "That's the reason he's all antsy and having hallucinations!"

"Oh, is this what it’s all about?" Krit raised his chin loftily. "But hallucinations? That's strange. He must be a rare item."

"Leave. P. Alone!" The wrath augmented manifold. Glasses broke and cement cracked as the breeze blew away the remnant memories of The Mistress.

&&&&&&&&&&&

Thai warlocks would not have matched the stereotypical warlocks with sparks of magic coursing through their veins, or a staff they’d wield to cast spells or attack demons or rogue magic users with. They don't even have a pointed hat, to begin with.

No. Stereotypical Thai warlocks wear black clothes with rosaries around their neck or wrists, sometimes both. A sack bag hangs on their shoulder with talismans, holy water, holy thread (usually white strings put around a place to keep off evil spirits), and enchanted rice (similar to holy water but are used to throw at untamed spirits and monsters). Moreover, they are usually bald or white-haired with beards for formidability.

So, Krit did not expect this warlock to be young, about 20, or...poetic.

"State your business," the warlock said as Krit walked into the room. "I can see your uneasiness."

"You speak poetry." Stupid but that was Krit's first thought.

"Words are entertaining. They're worth retaining." He twirled his hand. "But what can I do? At least a person who'll remember me is you."

"Um..." Krit slightly squirmed and cleared his throat. "That's nice. I get it how processing words before speaking is vital but I'm actually here for two reasons. Business matters only." He narrowed his eyes at the warlock who was affecting him with that sheepish grin.

Without further ado, Krit launched into the story from the beginning about the opium business to how he was so voracious on the wealth the sales had been providing that he refused to convert it to something more legitimate to how the workers had found P that morning, all bruised and dirty as if he had been fleeing from something. Trampled tracks of poppy flowers had suggested his strenuous attempt. Nobody had questioned him. A group of workers hauled him to the nursing area.

A congress had been conducted and it had been clear how everybody thought postponing all activities until P fully recovered was eligible. Krit had been about to offer another solution that he could be the next P, that he could get everything going. But luck had its way of interfering with his meticulous plan.

P had walked in looking healthy like he had been dipped in the fountain of youth or the River Styx.

"No changes will be made," P had belted out and given Krit a wary glance. "Except that we're done with opium. We're attending the Royal Project!"

Then P had scowled at him with the look that obviously declared: "I'm done with your nonsense. I've waited too long to buck it up and make a change."

"Why did he have to believe her?" Krit ended, looking at the warlock with his big, sad puppy eyes. He had had no intention of speaking his mind out, but somehow the warlock, whether with magic or not, had brought out every feeling and thought he had had over the last decade without any resistance. "Has something been blossoming between them that is more intact than a friendship? Perhaps something more profound?"

"So, you believe it had something to do with The Mistress," the warlock rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "The only one who has been alleviating his distress?"

"He's not actually 'distressed', you know?" Krit rolled his eyes. "But that's beside the point. I want you to capture The Mistress and cast the nasty things warlocks usually cast into his stomach."

"The former I can do." The warlock sighed and shook his head in resignation. "But...are you sure about the latter, too?"

"You're just scared you'll get arrested. I know that with enough evidence, they would take me." Krit gritted his teeth. "And from there, they'll be able to trace it back to you. People here are still superstitious enough to believe in black magic."

"Transfer the money into my account. You'll know the amount. If it happens, do not be astounded."

"How will I know?" Krit frowned. "And don't you have to be careful with money? Too much money in one account will be suspicious. Not to mention other clients you have."

The warlock smirked. "Oh, so you're concerned. Too bad I can't have you cornered."

"That doesn't really rhyme!" Krit countered rather loudly but his face went abnormally crimson.

The warlock laughed with great satisfaction. "But don't worry. I'm not in a hurry." He waved his hand dismissively. "Anyway, you should put the money. Before the sky turns dusky."

"No way! The drive into the town is rather long!"

The warlock only smirked as an answer.

&&&&&&&&&&&&

"What have you done to him?!" The Mistress lunged and seethed at Krit as he sauntered toward the ATM.

"Wow, he works fast," Krit muttered to himself, one corner of his mouth lifting slightly. “How come she’s here, then?”

The Mistress drew in a small circle in the air with her hand. An orb of light, the size of a beach ball, materialized in front of them. Inside was P. His frame and the surroundings were slightly murky and contorted from the golden light that was projecting the scene.

P looked like he was dying.

He was pale and cold beads of sweat adorned his brow. He grasped at his stomach painfully and his eyes bulged. He seemed to be gasping and screaming as he retreated to clawing at the mattress. Once, he jackknifed as if electrocuted by a shot of lightning and barfed onto the wooden floor. Rusty nails, locks of hair, clumps of teeth, shreds of buffalo skin, and other unidentifiable objects streamed with blood and drool oozed across the floor.

Krit looked away and sculpted the angriest, most horrified, and most depressed face as he could. "Why would you ever think that I could have done that? He's my brother!"

"Oh, so you deny of this crime?"

All of a sudden, the light was bashed out of Krit's eyes and he felt like being sucked into himself.

"What is this?" Krit asked as he braced himself for the world seemed to still be tilting this way and that.

"I'm possessing you."

"What?!" Krit blinked his eyes several times. "I thought... Wait, why am I having a double vision?" By that he meant seeing the scene of the ATM like looking through someone else's eyes overlapping the sharper scene of The Mistress and him in a giant amphitheater.

"There are several forms of possessing a human being," The Mistress said matter-of-factly. "I chose this because I want to talk to you and torture you without any witnesses."

With the last word, Krit hardly heard anything. Pain spread through his every joint, twisting and bending it in various angles. The cracking of his ribs and every bone felt like a long fault point cracking the earth open. Tides after tides of blood regurgitation splashed the coppery and sweet but nauseating scent through his nostrils. He sputtered and sputtered but no fluid flowed from his mouth. Yet, the red liquid were traveling down his eyes, nose, finger tips, and ears. Again, nothing such as a scream, could escape from his trembling mouth.

Inside, he was on the ground, immobile. Eyes cold and stern as he glowered at The Mistress tormenting him unwaveringly. Outside, he seemed to be moving involuntarily across the expanse of concrete. The peals of his constant footsteps, bones crushing, sinews blending, nerves burning, muscles tearing, and people shouting...

Wait, people shouting? Raising his throbbing head a fraction off the solid floor, he focused his vision onto his outside body. There, standing as still as a puppet, he endeavored to yank his feet off the floor but it was as if he were standing in a pool of chewing gum. As the truck's light hit him, his inside body glared at the deviser, praying that retaliation would be compromised.

"Rest in peace, Sukrit Phumphraya."

 

 


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