Deep within the mind of Luna Dancel were endless terrifying darkness and a dreadful voice that would rarely leave him alone. Awake or asleep, it would always speak to him, making sure that he would never have a normal life.
He must have been a terrible person in his past life. That was the only reason he could give himself for being born and growing up with inescapable curse.
Hearing the same dreadful voice since the age of seven, for nearly fourteen years, he was somehow getting used to it. He was learning to ignore it. Not to be frightened by it.
But there were those times that he could not help feeling uneasy, afraid, and obedient to it. Most of the time, it was speaking the truth, like that time when it said that he was too disgusting to be loved by the people around him, mostly by his own mother.
After giving birth to him, she left him to die. She never doubted that Luna was a curse inflicted to her and not a human being. Not her son.
Luna had a twin brother named Sol, but Luna was the only one their mother thought was a curse. That was because Sol had this warm radiant glow around him unlike Luna whose hands were always as cold as ice that people hated his touch.
His mother wanted him out of their house, but his father and twin brother would never allow him to leave. Those two were the only people in his entire existence that truly loved him.
That day, thirty-first of October, Luna and Sol had turned twenty-one. Luna was not hoping for any celebration. His mother was always preparing cakes and gifts only for Sol. But even though he was not expecting those things from her, he was still wishing for it. To be loved by his mother was his only lifelong birthday wish.
Kill Sol. That is the only way she can love you.
That annoying voice again. It was getting louder the more chaotic his emotions become. He was angry and envious towards Sol, but he could never kill his twin brother.
He feels more love than hatred for Sol. If not for his twin brother, Luna would already be consumed by the awful voice inside his head.
Sol is the reason you are suffering your mother’s hatred. Once he is dead, she will stop hating you. I am your only family, Luna. I care for you more than your twin brother and your father do. Luna, you should listen –
The voice faded as a hard object whacked his head.
“SOL!!!” he angrily bellowed as he turned and glare at his twin brother who sat beside him and picked up the backpack that he had thrown.
“What are you doing here?” Sol asked and his annoying blue eyes were always warm and smiling. “Skipping classes will only make Mom…”
“Mom doesn't care if I skip classes or not,” Luna impatiently interrupted as he walked out of his sanctuary which was a tree house at the farthest corner of their backyard.
His father built it for him. To serve as his hideout whenever his mother kicked him out of the house and would forbid him to enter for days or if she would not stop beating the hell out of him.
“She loves you, Luna,” Sol firmly uttered.
Luna showed Sol the cuts and bruises underneath his black long-sleeved shirt.
“She loves me so much, Sol. I know,” Luna bitterly said, jumping off the tree.
Sol followed and tightened the grip around his twin brother’s shoulder.
“I've got you a great birthday present,” Sol whispered with a mischievous smile.
“I don’t want to date,” Luna said since Sol was happily playing matchmaker since their eighteenth birthday.
“This one will finally work out,” Sol assured him.
“Sol, they want to date you, not me.”
“This girl likes you, Luna. I made sure of it. Just try it out. I already arranged everything. You only need to come.”
“You know I hate dating, Sol. Why do you keep on arranging dates for me?”
“You only hate it because they are not good enough for you.”
“I’m not good enough for anyone. It’s not their fault, Sol. It’s all because of me. I’m disgusting.”
“You’re not,” Sol firmly said before dragging Luna to the café nearest their school.
Wing Café was crowded with students. Most of them greeted Sol and ignored Luna who was already used to that kind of treatment.
“Where is this girl?” Luna asked, staring at the door, wanting to run back to his sanctuary and sleep the day away.
“Here,” Sol pulled him towards one of the tables lined beside the glass wall of the café.
Sitting there was a lady, probably the same age as Luna and Sol, had an attractive heart-shaped face and a gorgeous body covered with a casual purple dress that was knee length and sleeveless. Her black hair was short and covering part of her right face.
Luna suddenly felt conscious. He was only wearing a long sleeved shirt and tattered jeans. He was comfortable with that kind of clothing unlike Sol who was always so fashionable.
“Do you really want to date me or my twin?” Luna asked, not wanting to waste time with pretentious women.
“You’re right. His boldness is a bit interesting,” she smiled at Sol then stared at Luna from head to foot, making her more intimidating and stunning. “I don’t like your twin brother. He is too full of himself. I want simple and honest man like you but if you don’t like this, we can all go home.”
“Of course, Luna likes to know more about you, Lei,” Sol pushed his twin brother at the chair opposite the beautiful lady. “I’ll leave you alone. Enjoy.”
Sol tapped Luna on his shoulders before walking out of the café.
“You can go after your brother. I’ll understand.”
“I’m sorry,” Luna looked away from the door and faced Lei. “How do you know my brother? I haven’t seen you at our school.”
“I’m a freshman,” she simply answered, gracefully mixing her cup of latte. “I met your twin through my eldest brother. Glenn. Do you know him? They are basketball team mates.”
“I’m sorry. I remember faces but not names,” Luna said, a bit embarrassed.
“You’re cute,” Lei said, taking a sip at her latte. “Do you want to have coffee here? Or do you want to drink while walking? This place is crowded at this time. It’s suffocating.”
Luna smiled as he said, “Let’s take a walk.”
Lei was different. That was the first time Luna felt comfortable with someone other than Sol and their father. That was the first time a woman took interest in him. She was not asking about Sol. She was only curious about Luna and Luna alone.
“Why did you agree to go on a date with me?” Luna curiously asked.
“Because we cannot disagree with our brothers,” Lei sighed and took something from her purse. It was a small red box. “Happy Birthday.”
“You don’t have to give me anything,” Luna blushed with embarrassment.
“But I already bought this for you,” she shoved the box at his chest. “Open it.”
“Ah… thanks,” Luna blushed further while staring at the box with awe. That was the first time he received a gift from someone, aside from Sol and their father, that he was reluctant to open it.
“Are you just gonna stare at the box?” Lei was smiling at him with amusement and Luna found it infectious.
His lips were nearly touching his ears. He was smiling a lot at his birthday and at a company of a person he just met. That was the first time.
Lei was giving him a lot of first time experiences.
“Just return it to me if you will not open it,” Lei irritably said and Luna thought it was cute.
“I’ll open it,” he said, taking the lid off the box.
It was a black multi strand leather bracelet with tiny red beads on it.
“It’s beautiful,” Luna said, staring at the gift with amazement.
Lei snatched it from him and said, “Let me.”
She put it around his right wrist. “It looks perfect on you.”
“Thank you, Lei,” Luna sincerely uttered.
She only stared at the bracelet with a warm smile before moving her fingers delicately from his wrist towards the sleeves of his shirt.
“Don’t,” Luna tried to pull his arm away before she could roll his sleeves up and reveal his beaten arm but her grip was surprisingly strong.
“Why are you running away?” her smile instantly changed from sweet to disturbing, her stare from warm to aggressive.
She gently pushed his sleeves up, exposing the shameful secret he was concealing.
“You should not feel embarrassed,” she continued, caressing his beaten arm. “You should be angry. Seek vengeance instead of hiding in that tree house.”
Luna struggled to pull his arm away but her grip remained firm.
“You should listen to him,” her soft voice became chilling, paralyzing Luna. “Listen to the voice within your head.”
The bracelet tightened around his wrist as his chest tightened with fear.
“Who… are… you?” he struggled to breath.
“I already told you,” she whispered as she moved her lips closer to his ear. “I am Lei.”
She playfully ran her fingers from his arm up to his shoulders, around his neck, and over his cheek.
“But you can also call me…” she kissed his lips tenderly then passionately, sucking all the air from his chest. “…Lust…”
She stared at him with a bewitching smile that drained whatever strength left within him.