Tattered Skin

Kohra hadn’t expected to see any lights on. He expected to come back to this little house and it all be empty. But the lights were on and someone was home. Being polite, Kohra walked up to the front door and delicately knocked on it.

“One moment.”

Some form of movement was heard. A set of heavy footsteps led up to the other side of the door, before it was forcefully yanked open.

“Oh. It’s you.”

Arkadin allowed Kohra to walk in, then slammed the door shut. He led Kohra to a couple of sofas and threw himself down, not even saying hello.

“Feel free to raid the cupboards…”

Doing as he was told, Kohra went and had a look around. All the cupboards though were empty, and the only thing in the fridge was a can of lemonade and half a bottle of flat caramel soda, any remaining bubbles long evaporated away. This lack of options made Kohra return to the living room.

Kohra sat down on the sofa opposite, looking at Arkadin up and down. He looked tattered and scratched up. His normally pitch black skin was a more grey colour, covered in bruises and patches of red. His armour was worse off, cracked and broken in some places, completely missing in others. He wasn’t paying any attention to Kohra either, just sitting there, scratching at some skin on his elbow and where his upper arm armour should have been.

“You alright?” Kohra finally spoke.


“What happened?”

Arkadin growled. He still didn’t look at Kohra and he was still picking at his skin.

“A mess. That is all.”

“A mess?”

“Yes. Is Psiksi here?”

Kohra blinked. “Uh, no.”

“Good. I admire him for trying to repair my tattered psyche but I cannot stand the idea of him being here right now.”

“Fair enough.”

Arkadin tutted. “He wouldn’t understand anyway. Not sure you would either.”

“I’m happy to listen though if you want to talk.”

The Death Lord glanced at Kohra. “No. Waste of your time anyway. Too much sorrow.” After a long sigh, Arkadin went back to scratching at himself.

“Why are you doing that?” Kohra asked. “I’ve not seen you do that before.”

“I just don’t do it when you’re around normally… and some of this is because of the last few days!” Arkadin snapped. “I don’t even know why… I just… I don’t know…”

Kohra didn’t say anything else. He knew better and instead just let Arkadin talk.

“Was a sort of purity thing, getting rid of the bad things. But it’s become a horrible habit that I can’t shake. Constantly tearing at my body. Not that it really matters, since it’s all temporary and I can make it all go away whenever I please… But that’s not the point. It’s… just a form of self-harm that doesn’t last very long in the grand scheme of things…”

Arkadin sat up straight, putting his hands between his legs.

“There’s a little voice in the back of my mind that tells me to stop hurting myself. I never listen.”

“A voice?”

“Yes, a voice. Well, several of them. I never listen to them though. I just carry on as I do because…” Arkadin paused. “Well, I don’t know. And I’m sitting here wasting your time and being rude.”


“Why am I like this? I just finished dealing with a duty I hate!” Arkadin stood up from his seat, took several steps forward then stopped. He sighed and tutted, then walked over to Kohra.

“You’re not right.”

“I’m not. You should leave.”

“Why?” Kohra asked as Arkadin helped him to his feet.

“Because right now, I am angry. And the last thing I’d want to do is hurt you by accident.”


“Just… Please…”

Before Kohra could respond, Arkadin covered his eyes and snapped his fingers. When Kohra could see again, he realised he had been teleported home, into his own living room. Everything seemed normal.

On the coffee table in front of him though was an envelope. A pink envelope with a purple stamp on it and a weird, chocolate-like scent.

Feeling vaguely annoyed, Kohra ignored the envelope. It was probably just some apology letter from Arkadin anyway…