He’d perched up in an old oak tree like some giant bird, his wings tight against his back. He watched the last people wander down the darkening street and away from the old abandoned house. This place would do nicely. People s...
He’d perched up in an old oak tree like some giant bird, his wings tight against his back. He watched the last people wander down the darkening street and away from the old abandoned house. This place would do nicely. People seemed to avoid this old building like the plague and that meant he could live here peacefully and away from prying eyes. Even the old stone and iron fence seemed to foretell days gone past of some unknown chilling history.
When he felt no beings would see him, he launched himself from his perch, gliding down with silent wings to the sidewalk below. A slight crunch of shoes on some loose debris the only sound in the still of the night. He moved forward to his new home, hand waving the door open. “Let’s see what has been left to make me comfortable.” he mumbled, stepping over the old threshold.
She saw the small leather bound book sitting on the table and picked it up, starting to flip through the pages. A deep voice spoke to her. "What do you expect to find in there?"
She spins around, nearly dropping the book, peering into the shadows. Blinking and shaking her head, thinking she must have imagined the voice until it spoke again.
"I..." she paused, "I don't know."
An odd chuckle like sound came from the darkness as the shadows started to swirl. A figure moved forward, his hand out stretched. "My book, if you please."
She blinked a few times, clutching the book in her hand, but finally stepping forward to obediently hand it over to him. When their fingers touched she froze for a moment before pulling her hand away. He swept past her, a blur of shadows as he moved. "Explain why you are in my home."
It was little like a question, but a command he'd expected her to obey.
"I missed the last bus from campus and had to walk home." She stopped as he turned to face her, then slowly continued. "Someone... thing... was following me and I thought I could lose it by coming in here."
He nodded and sat down in a chair, his hand moving into a sweeping gesture for her to sit in the other. "Your follower was wise not to enter here... you however, could have made a poor choice."
She sank into the chair, her legs feeling very weak from that statement. "What are you going to do with me?" her voice barely a whisper.
He looked her over for a moment. "When the shadows are full, I will take you home."
Her head jerks up and she looks him in the eyes. “But I thought… you mean… why?” She stumbled over the words.
He set the book down on the table and slides it in her direction. “Open the book.”
Tentatively, she took the book and opened it up. “I don’t understand what it says.” She says softly.
“But you CAN see the words?”
“Yes.” She replied.
He mumbled a deep “Interesting.” He then clears his throat. “That is my personal journal, I’ve been writing about a dream.” He shifts in his seat and draws in a deep breath. “The dream is always the same, she comes, but I do not know why. I know she is vulnerable but also strong. This one is different among her kind. I see her reaching out her hand… and the dream ends.” He shrugs.
“So who is she?”
He chuckles. “I have no idea. You see, my kind doesn’t dream.” He leans back in his chair, his long legs stretching outwards and he lets out a sigh. “You must not tell a soul… nobody.” He turns his head to look at her. “Do I make myself clear?”
His gaze sent a shiver down her spine. “Y… yes, you do.” She wondered if anyone would believe her if she told them, she almost didn’t believe herself. “Who… or what are you?” she managed to squeak out.
“That is unimportant, however if you knew, that might make your life more difficult.” He moved quickly out of his chair and to the window, so fast she blinked to see if he really moved or not. “You would be hunted to the ends of the world and then some… would you really want to live like that?” His long hair obscured his face from her as he spoke, but the words were more than enough to make her fear for her life.
“No.” she mumbled.
“Wise choice.” He reached up a hand to grip the window frame. “The less I tell you, the safer you are. You already know too much, but I doubt any of them would know or care.” As he pulled his hand away, she stared at what looked like indentations where his hand once was. “It’s time to go.” He said softly, moving away from the window and turning to face her, extending his hand out to her. “We will walk the shadows, to make sure nobody sees you.”
Obediently she took his hand, not quite understanding what he’d meant, but rather than ask, she kept quiet.
“When I tell you to start walking, just walk. Now close your eyes.” He moved her hand to his other hand and wrapped his arm around her, moving her closer to himself. He glanced down to make sure her eyes were closed. “Heed what I say and keep them shut the whole time, this is for your safety.”
“I understand.” She whispered.
“Good” he muttered. “Now walk.” They took two steps and he pulled her against him tightly, the wind whipping past her face. They were in his home, but how could they move so fast? She fought her own temptation to open her eyes for a time, but opened one slightly to see… or not see. She saw nothing, just darkness. She turned her face into his body and kept moving with him, her fear starting to grip her like a vice.
He could feel her tension and held her tighter, then they jerked to a stop, she shivered as her face pressed into his chest. “Keep your eyes closed and count to twenty.” His voice was calm and strangely gentle, so she nodded in agreement without saying a word. “Forget you ever saw me.” And he moved away from her. She took a breath and started to count, but stopped and opened her eyes at ten. She was standing in her room, the house still as the night around her, save a dog barking a few houses over. She was home.
Slowly she turned around and dropped her backpack on the floor near the door like she always did, taking a step towards her bed. Her foot touched something in the darkness and she bent down to see what it was. In the sliver of light from the window she saw the feather lying on the floor. It was huge! She’d never seen something so large in her life. Reaching out she picked up the feather, longer than her forearm even with the gentle curve to its tip. It was as black as the darkness she had just been in. Quietly she moved to her dresser, opening up a drawer to place the feather inside. Perhaps it was all a dream.
A creak of a bed in the next room reminded her that she was indeed home and it was time for her to get to bed too. She took off her shoes, jeans and t-shirt, pulling on her nightgown and crawling into bed. Tomorrow… she thought… I will wake from this dream.
He’d sat and watched the house for some time, no lights turned on, no sounds… she must have gone to sleep. A dog barked from a nearby yard, most likely because of him. Animals were aware of things humans weren’t. He pulled his cloak around him and shifted a bit as he waited a while longer. This girl must be protected at all costs. His mind went over things he’d heard in his younger days… how long had it been, a century… two? He’d lost track and shook his head, it no longer mattered. Only she mattered now. Was she the one? How would he know. As the first rays of the sun started to rise in the distance, he knew it was time to go. Standing, he took a few steps and dropped into the last shadows to the west.
Chapter Two: A new day.
She woke with a soft groan, her head throbbing in time to the beat of the music her roommate was playing. She rolled over and pulled her pillow over her head to drown out the music, which of course, didn’t work. Sighing, she got up, grabbed some clothes and hurried into the bathroom for a quick shower before facing her roommate. Ducking into the bathroom she gasped at the stuffy moist air, heavily perfumed and scents of hairspray. She was thankful she didn’t have asthma.
She stripped off her clothes and jumped into the shower, adding her own favored scents from her shampoo and body wash to the air. She wrinkled her nose at the thought of her roommate's other choices and held her bottle of shampoo and deeply inhaled a moment to clear her mind. Slowly she turned, letting the water run down her back, squeezing a bit of the shampoo into her hand to lather up her hair. Rise, condition, and repeat… she took her time knowing that if she took too long, the bubbly roommate would go away and she’d be alone to study. Dragging herself from the shower, she dried and blotted her hair, dressing and finally peeking out to see if she was alone.
She stepped out into the hallway, hearing no sounds and smiled. She was alone now and could study in peace. Dropping her dirty clothes into a laundry basket in her room, she quickly made her way to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and see what could be made for breakfast.
The coffee was still warm, so she poured herself a cup and added a decent amount of cream and sugar… all bad for her, but it made it taste so good. Then after savoring a few sips, she dug into the fridge for some leftovers or whatever would suffice as breakfast. Grabbing the three-day old box of Chinese take-away, she smiled knowing her leftovers were unmolested since she last had any. Her roommate was very much against anything that looked like ‘worms’ in her eyes. She gathered up her ‘breakfast’ and went out to sit in her favorite chair, an old armchair that had seen better days, but still held up well under the use of the two women. Scrolling through her phone for new messages and taking mouthfuls of her breakfast, she didn’t hear her roommate return from her morning errands.
“Hey you, what time did you get in last night?”
She choked on her rice and a few flew from her lips. “Late, I don't really remember.” She croaked out, wiping her mouth.
The woman's mouth split into a wide grin, showing off her white teeth. “That's so unlike you Tina.” She moved to sit on the sofa, tucking her legs up as her hazel eyes reflected the humor in her voice.
“Oh Jak, I was just at the library and missed the last bus home, so I had to walk. Is that really so bad?”
Jakayla snorted back a laugh. “No, but you could have made it sound more interesting by saying you met a guy.”
She gave her friend a disparaging look. “I'm too busy to date, I start my residency next month.”
“All the more reason you get laid now” Jak quipped.
Tina rolled her eyes. “I'm not desperate!” Her voice now tense and her body rigid.
“Oh, I see now… you did meet a man.” Jak leaned back on the sofa, waving her hand back and forth. “You know Tina, you are a terrible liar.”
Her mouth hangs open, no words coming out for quite some time, the two just stare at each other silently. Slowly she finally speaks. “I swear, it was a dream.”
Jak shakes her head. “A dream? Come on, don’t play with me like that.” She leans back and laughs a bit. “So if it was a dream, I hope he was cute.”
She pushes her hair over her ear and smiles. “Yeah, it was a good dream and he was cute.” Better to just leave it at that and wonder if the man she saw was real or not. Her mind racing to try and remember what she knew about him, what she saw. Who was he?