The Underground

Book by: SRDarling

The Underground

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

August and Allegra Llewellyn find themselves taken from misery to wonder by a carefree-recluse-doctor-inventor Silias, an immortal romantic shunned by society. He not only shows them magic beyond their wildest dreams, but proves to them love and happiness exist and are easy to achieve once self-pitty is set aside.
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Summary

August and Allegra Llewellyn find themselves taken from misery to wonder by a carefree-recluse-doctor-inventor Silias, an immortal romantic shunned by society. He not only shows them magic beyond their wildest dreams, but proves to them love and happiness exist and are easy to achieve once self-pitty is set aside.

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Underground

Author Chapter Note

August and Allegra Llewellyn find themselves taken from misery to wonder by a carefree-recluse-doctor-inventor Silias, an immortal romantic shunned by society. He not only shows them magic beyond their wildest dreams, but proves to them love and happiness exist and are easy to achieve once self-pitty is set aside.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 27, 2009

Reads: 204

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 27, 2009

A A A

A A A

Praeludium
 
Before I met him, I believed not in two things: love and magic. Before I met him, I was lonely, I was naive; I didn’t feel the warmth of the sun or the cold patter of rain until then. I was so much younger then, for this happened many years ago, but even time could not wash away all that I learned with him.
The first time we met, we shared not but a conversation, but seemingly much more than that. The third time, we shared a kiss and the mutual understanding of one another brought us closer. The fourth, fifth and many more were filled with many things, many feelings, many little shards of gained knowledge. By the time we parted for the last time, I believed in magic, yes, I believed, I knew, that something was never what it seemed, I learned never to take anything for granted, and I believed that everything happened for a reason, but most of all, I learned to believe in true, pure, unconditional love.
 
Chapter I
 
It was early April of, I don’t even remember when, a long time ago. I was not yet twenty, but if one had not known, they would have guessed me many years older and ripped by the bitterness of life’s shortcomings. Which, despite my young age, I had experienced many. My mother, taken from me when I was too small to remember, had left me nothing, herself impoverished. My father worked away his life, and was never present much. My sister I raised and was my only true friend besides my many books I hid myself in most of my life. Allegra was a quiet, yet delightful young girl, like a daffodil untouched by spring’s storm. In this matter, we were quite opposite, as I was the tree ravaged by the wind and lightning.
It was today that that storm spent it’s fury upon our city. It threw down cold rain like a hail of bullets as I ran to the store, my umbrella fighting me every step of the way. My knee and ankle were stiff from the unusually cold weather because it was badly broken when I was a child. I had been trampled by a runaway horse whose flailing hooves showed no mercy neither to me or its owner, and today the poorly healed breaks were hurting badly as I dashed down the grimy street.
I have always been a very clumsy person, and today was no exception. The toe of my boot caught a crack in the sidewalk and I toppled like the corpse of a building. I felt the cold wet coming through my dress, and felt some minor wound begin to bleed. I gathered myself and tried to get up. My lame leg didn’t want to move and for a moment I wondered if I had broken it again, as the original fractures never healed right to begin with.
I tried again and failed. The cold was becoming colder, my dress now completely damp. I had tossed my useless umbrella aside. As I struggled in the cold, a warm hand came from nowhere and grasped my arm. Another hand found my waist, but this hand didn’t seem quite human. I worked to my feet and turned to look at the gentleman who helped me up. A dark cloak shadowed his face and figure but he took my arm and led me off the street. I wasn’t sure what it was about this strange figure but I trusted him for one reason or another.
The ally way was dank, so he kept a firm grasp on my arm. After a moment, he brought me to a door, opened it and helped me up the two steps that looked as if they may break if I stepped on them.
Once inside he threw the cloak away from his face, but kept his back to me as he lit candles. It was a pleasant place, photographs, books, paintings, a piano; it was not the home of a man with ill intentions.
“What is your name sir and why did you lead me here?” I clung to a wall so as not to fall over.
He turned slightly as if he was dreadfully shy. “I...I couldn’t just leave you in the street like that, could I?” His voice was soft as if his vocal chords were cotton and his lips satin. It was lovely and deep, each tone careful as if he may have been in a choir; it seemed trained and thoughtful. “My name though,” he said, a pause, “my name is Silias.”
“I thank you, Mr Silias, for your help, but my sister, she is sick and she is at my home, I must return.”
He turned around all the way. What repulsed me at first seemed not so repulsive after a moment. A thick shock of black curls shot out in every direction, falling around his broad shoulders. His face, handsome and refined, was bizarrely wrong; his left cheek and a small part of his forehead, his ear, and part of his neck, extending down the left side of his body, was metal. Small stitches and bolts kept his skin, so mellow it looked like moonlight, attached to this smooth, shining, perfectly moulded piece of metal. One hand was so perfect and the other, his left, was made of the same master-crafted silvery metal. His eyes told a story of great suffering, but also of innocence, imagination, and quiet love and patience. They were a piercing blue green, but the left was tinted gold, as if flecks of bronze were there. His lips, slightly parted allowed minimal breath to escape. He was tall, yes, but somehow seemed like a total gentleman.
“What is your name?” He said gently, as if the words were made of crystal and may shatter at his touch.
“August, Mr Silias.” I smiled, something I hadn’t done in a very long time. “Like the last month of summer.”
“Yes of course.” He smiled in return, his silken lips twisting slightly at the corners. “Follow me.” He, after saying this, remembered my walking troubles and came towards me. He grasped my arm again, and unknowingly I jumped at his touch. I hadn’t meant to, and it frightened him a little. “It’s alright, August. I’m not going to hurt you, I promise.” He put his metal hand lightly on my waist again.
Delicately, he led me into his kitchen, where a small table had been set. He pulled out a chair for me to sit down.  
“Thank you, sir.” I sat down, leaving my odd leg stuck out. Blood stains were obvious on my dress.
He made a small gasp. “You’re bleeding!” He placed a hand over his mouth lightly. “Hold on a moment, August.”
From that moment on, I secretly loved the way my name rolled from his lips. He said it as if it was a prayer or some sacred name of a saint.
He returned with a quilt and bandages. He set them on the table and went to the kitchen to place a kettle on the stove. He did, and returned. He unfolded the blanket and draped it over my shoulders. For this I was quite thankful, for I was shaking dreadfully. Without a word he knelt on the floor. This must have been quite a task, for he made a small noise of pain and his face twisted a little.
“May I see your leg, August?” He looked at me with complete honesty in his beautiful eyes.
I hesitated. My leg hurt yes, but how much better would bandages make it feel? It hurt yes, but do I really want this man I’ve only just met to examine my leg? It hurt, yes, I was shy yes, but I decided to say yes.
“August? May I?” He sighed as if I had said something mean to him. “I promise I won’t hurt you. I may look cruel, but I promise I am the kindest person you will ever meet. I can help; now, may I see your leg?”
I nodded my head, bracing myself for the pain to come. He pulled a chair over, the only other one, and propped my leg up on it. Gently, he lifted my dress up over my knee; he let it go no further than that. He removed my boot and sock, as my ankle was beginning to swell. A terrible gash to my knee and a few scrapes were the culprits of the blood stains.
With his fleshed hand, he touched my pale skin. I winced; the swelling hurt, but his hands were so cold, it was like ice against my leg. “I’m...I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?” He looked worried as he glanced up at me.
I shook my head. “No, no...it’s just...my ankle is tender.”
He smiled a little, almost embarrassed. “I’m sure my cold hands don’t help much. But, if you’d like to be fixed up a little, you’ll have to bear with my touch a few more moments.” He cradled my swollen joint with both of his hands. One was so soft, the other just as forgiving, but even colder. He examined it for a moment. “I suppose I should have told you that I am a doctor, so fear not. But, you have sprained your ankle badly, and this is a rather nasty wound you’ve got here.” He rose from the floor with some difficulty and went to the kettle. He poured some of the water into a dish and returned to his place on the floor to dress my wounds. Gently, he dabbed a bandage in the warm water and began to wipe away the dried blood. I tried to hold in my pain, but it was indeed very painful.
I had received my share of these sorts of things, but this hurt like none other I had ever had. A tear rolled down my cheek.
He noticed, and looked up. The simple kindness in his eyes helped, but it didn’t relieve the pain completely. “Don’t cry, darling. It’ll be over in a moment.” He went back to wiping away the dry blood. I bit my lip and let no more tears slide off my cheek.
After a few minutes, he had treated the wounds to his liking and had me bandaged up. He had wrapped up my sprain and replaced my footwear, though not too tightly.
“There,” he said, proud of his work, “we’re done. And it wasn’t terrible was it?” He stood up in a painful manner and pushed a wisp of black hair from his face. “Well, now that that’s over with, what kind of tea do you like?”
I was still astonished by this man’s kindness. “I’ll drink anything you like, sir.”
“Well, fine then. But, you need not be so formal. It’s just Silias. Not sir, not mister, just Silias.” He smiled, more with his eyes than his lips.
“Sorry.”
“No don’t be sorry,” he said returning to the table with two cups and the kettle. “I respect your courtesy.” He poured me a cup. “I haven’t any milk or sugar. I haven’t been to the store in a while.”
“It’s fine. I drink it plain anyway.” I clutched the cup, warming my hands.
“Why were you out by yourself this afternoon?” He said over the top of his cup as he put it to his mouth.
“My father works most of everyday, so I take care of my sister. I was on the way to the store myself when I tripped, god curse my clumsiness.”
“God made you clumsy for a reason,” he looked at me with near curiosity.
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“Well...how are we going to get you home? I can’t let you walk by yourself, but I can’t be seen, hm. ‘Tis a predicament.”
“Why can’t you be seen?” I said, not realizing what had slipped past my lips.
“I...I just can’t, August. Not every person is as kind as you.” He ran his index finger around the rim of his cup.
He thought for a moment. “I’ll get a cab, if you can direct us there.”
I nodded. “Yes of course.”
“Well, finish up,” he said, “and I’ll get you back.”
We sat in silence for a moment. “Thank you so much, Silias. I would probably still be lying there if it weren’t for you.”
He smiled, and I swore that his glassy eyes became misty. He pushed small wire frame glasses up his nose.
“I should be going,” I grinned painfully, not wanting to leave. I felt safe here with him, I felt happy, I belonged.
“Of course.” He stood difficultly. He helped me up then, grasping my hand and waist tightly as he had before. “Lean on me. You don’t need to put strain on that ankle. It needs to heal, and walking heavily on it won’t help.”
I did as directed and I felt him pushing against me and it was then I realized that we were helping one another walk to the doorway.
He flung his cloak over him, pulled the hood up, and his kind face was consumed by shadows again. 
“Wait here, I’ll be back in a moment.” He went out into the rain, limping off, his step a hiccup through the puddles.
I did as directed, again, and sure enough, not three minutes later a buggy pulled up and he hopped out to help me down the stairs, and up the steps of the buggy.
He pondered a moment as to how to get me up there, and he finally settled with holding my hand and waist again and giving me a little push into the carriage. He climbed in and asked me where to go. I told him, and the then told the driver, who went off in the correct direction.
I was still damp from the street, and he had saved me from embarrassment and removed my blanket. So, I shook with chills in my seat. I knew he felt bad for not being able to remove his cloak, so he offered for me to lean against him. I accepted graciously, and with his arm around me, I felt complete for the first time in my life. I was not only physically warm, but the hole in my heart was filled. As we sat in silence, I noticed a distinct lack of a sound that should have been there.
“You haven’t got a heartbeat.” I said as my head rested against the fleshed side of his chest.
His free hand when to where the gentle pulse of a heart should be and he glanced down. “No, I haven’t.”
I put my hand over his and I felt the hard metal plate through his shirt. I looked up into his eyes and flung my arms around him. A little shocked he reacted slowly. Finally, the artificial hand lay across my back. I could hear his soft breathing, his chest just barely rising and falling.
We finally reached my home, just outside the city, and an unfamiliar horse with a fancy saddle stood munching on hay in our barn.
“That’s not our horse.” I sat up, releasing myself from his warming embrace.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean there’s someone here who I don’t know.”
“I’ll come in with you.” He opened the door and stepped out.
“You don’t have to.”
“Yes, I do, now come on.” He handed the driver some money and asked him to wait. He returned to me, let me into his arms and helped me down. I leaned against him all the way to the door.
I let him in, I followed, and a man from my father’s work stood in front of our meagre fire place. He turned around when I entered. Silias retreated to the shadows.
“Are you August Llewellyn?”
“Yes sir.”
“I have been sent to report of your father’s untimely death today. He was killed instantly by some logs that broke loose. The largest sum of compensation possible will be sent to you and your sister.” His eyes showed pain, and it was obvious he was a compassionate man.
“I...thank you sir.” My eyes fell to the floor.
“I understand how you feel. Your father was a great man and a great friend. I am utterly sorry. I tried my best to save him. If there’s anything you need, you may come to me. I’m Mr Lewis.”
“Thank you so much, Mr Lewis. I’m sure my father would have had kind words to say about you as well, and would thank you for being so kind to his family.”
Mr Lewis smiled. “Your father had kind words about everyone.”
We bid good bye to Mr Lewis and were left in our own self pity.
I stumbled out of Silias’ clutch. “I need to find my sister.” I limped towards our room. “Allegra?”
“Yes, in here.” She emerged from the room, her face stained with tears.
I said nothing, but in our silence, we understood and embraced one another strongly.
I led her to the great room. “Allegra, this is Mr Silias. He is a very kind person. He helped me today when I fell.”
“You fell today? Are you alright?”
I’m not too bad, don’t worry.” I smiled in reassurance for her.
“Silias, this is my sister Allegra.”
“It’s a pleasure, Allegra,” said the soft voice owned by no body. “I want you two to come with me. You can’t remain here by yourselves.”
“You can’t be serious.” I said. “No, you’ve done so much for me already. We can manage.”
“How? You need a real place to stay. I have room, food, protection, you’ll be safe, I promise.” He said earnestly. “I can’t just leave you here, just like I couldn’t just leave you on the street, August.”
I looked at Allegra. She said nothing, but had an approving look on her face.
“Fine, Silias. But we stay the night to pack.” I said, gratefully.
“Fine. Good. I’ll be here tomorrow at nine thirty to pick you up. I’m glad you said yes, I wouldn’t have been able to just leave you here. Good night, love, I’ll see you tomorrow. Nice meeting you, Allegra.” He turned and walked out. But, alas, we would meet for the second time tomorrow.
The two of us packed in a very hurried manner, and still managed to sleep. We had no breakfast upon waking up, as we slept late and had no time to eat and freshen up.
Silias arrived at nine thirty sharp, his cloak blocking out the sunlight which had graced us this lovely morning.
He helped put bags in the carriage, helped both of us in, and then climbed in himself. He wore gloves today, hiding away his one flawless hand.
We arrived to his home and he repeated the helping again. He carried the bags to rooms on the second floor.
“You may have separate rooms. If you feel more comfortable with one, be my guest. It’s your home too now. My room is on the third floor. If you ever need anything, let me know,” he said as he glanced about his home proudly. “However, do not go into any of the other rooms on the third floor. Only my room. Any other room in the home is yours to explore and enjoy, except the third floor rooms.” He pulled off his cloak and Allegra’s hand tightened on mine. Her eyes were huge at the sight of him.
“Now,” he said jovially, “let’s eat shall we?” He smiled kindly, and Allegra smiled back, but her vice on my hand did not subside.
“What do you girls like to eat?” He turned around smiling, his eyes sparkling. “It may surprise you, but once long ago I was a very good cook.”
“How old are you, Silias?” I piped in.
“Old enough, August.” He buttered bread for toasting.
“You don’t look older than thirty,” I ventured further.
He laughed. “Why thank you, darling.” He placed the bread in a frying pan. “I am much older than thirty. And I’m beginning to feel it.” He pushed his sleeves up his arms; subtly muscular, pale things, well, thing, one cast of smooth metal, but matched the other in every way but colour.
“Why are you mismatched like that?” Allegra was a simple, straightforward child. I tried to tell her sometimes this approach wasn’t appropriate. She disregarded my warnings.
Silias stopped a moment, pulled the golden toast from the pan and set it on a plate. He turned around, a hint of amusement in his eye. “Mismatched?”
Allegra smiled confidently and nodded her head.
“Mismatched. Well, I’ve never heard it quite like that before.” He paused. Whatever memories he was digging up must have hurt. “When I was much younger, I know I don’t look old, but you can’t always tell things just by looking, I was in a terrible accident. I was lucky, however, well, that’s...maybe I’m lucky, anyways. My home burnt down around me, and I had to patch myself back up somehow,” he said in a lively tone. “Actually, a doctor friend of mine helped, but we used our medicinal knowledge and my imagination and way with mechanics and this is what we came up with. I know I look like a nightmare, but I’m not a bad person. I just look bad, that’s all.” He paused and took a breath. “I just look bad. I’m just mismatched.” He ran his fleshed fingers lightly over the metal of his synthetic forearm.
I decided not to pry anymore, so I caught my tongue when I was going to ask him about his lack of a heart. I could tell this was more than enough pain for one day on this gentle soul. I didn’t want to hurt him anymore.
I couldn’t help but begin to slip a little bit in love with him. The first time he grabbed my arm on the street I felt like a different person. I liked this different person as well.
That afternoon, Allegra had gone up to her room for a nap. We had worked hard the night before, and she was beginning to show signs of sickness. So, Silias and I excused her to sleep. We sat sipping tea in the parlour.
“I’m terribly sorry about my sister’s incorrect outburst this morning before breakfast.” I said nervously.
He snorted. “No, no, I was a little enlightened by it. She’s a very sweet girl.” He looked at me. “Besides, it felt good to talk about it to someone who isn’t the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice about killing me or about tormenting me.”
“I don’t know how anyone could even think about doing such a thing to such a nice person.” I gazed out the window at his flower garden that grew inconspicuously outside.
“That’s the catch, August.” He stopped. “I’m not really a person,” he said uneasily.
“What?” I tried to contain my wonder.
“I’m part of...well....I’m... an immortal thing. A vampire of sorts, but I don’t need to use other people to maintain my health. I suppose, I’m simply immortal, I don’t age, but people don’t like that very much.”
I nodded. “Oh.”
“Please don’t hold it against me,” he pleaded.
“I won’t I promise. I could never hold anything against you after everything you’ve done for us.” I smiled. “You’re one of the family now.”
He smiled, comforted. 


© Copyright 2017 SRDarling. All rights reserved.

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