HE SLAMMED THE GUN IN MY HAND AND TOLD ME TO SHOOT.
“You . . . what?” I shuttered, my legs shaking so bad I was afraid I was going to fall.
“I said,” Kaine snapped, “Aim for the shadows, and try not to kill me!” And with a grin that erred too much on the side of insane, he winked and was gone.
“Are you kidding me?” I shrieked at the night sky. I was supposed to be on my way to a party. I had gone shopping earlier with my best friend, Alice, as I tried in vain to tell her my secret. But, like always, it lodged its way into my throat and never left. I’d always imagined the conversation would go something like this:
“I’m a hunter.” I’d say.
“A what?” she’d ask, flipping her platinum blonde hair over one almond shoulder.
“A hunter.” I’d repeat.
No, not a ‘let’s go shoot some deer’ kind of hunter. I’m a paranormal hunter . . . like ‘let’s go kill some Vampires,’ kind of hunter.”
. . .
Yeah, I wouldn’t believe me either.
And now, after an hour of driving in circles, instead of bringing me to the party like he was supposed to, Kaine parked, ordered me out of the car and handed me a gun! I mean, I knew that Tracker Pharyes were out to get me, but damn! . . . Couldn’t a girl at least pretend to have a normal life?
Something darted across the clouds, blocking the moon.
I stopped breathing.
A thousand violins screeched inside my head.
I squinted as the pain of music turned up way to loud threatened to implode my eardrums and tried to focus. What kind of being was this? How close were they? How many . . . ?
“We’ll, if it isn’t The Legendary Shadow Hunter”, the shadows sneered. I pulled the trigger, almost knocking myself out as it careened backwards into my forehead.
“Ow!” I exclaimed, forgetting my fear as the piercing pain of whacking myself in the head with a .45 caliber handgun gun registered. Where was Kaine when I needed him? When I didn’t need him he always found a way to make an appearance, like when I was on a date with the hottest guy in school, or trying to have some semblance of a life. But when said ‘life’ was in danger like, now, he was nowhere to be found.
The shadow chuckled.
“So, that metal contraption is supposed to kill me?” the voice asked as she stepped from the shadows.
She was beautiful. That ‘I’m not human’ kind of beauty. It was a stamp all other world beings had. It made them stand out, like a candle in a dark room. It drew me to them. Called to me like a song, pulling and tugging on my very being until it drove me insane. Right now the girl was giving off a slow violin kind of sound, unlike the harsh crash of music I’d heard before her arrival. Hair so black it looked blue danced around her face from an imaginary wind, and I found myself wishing I was like them. To never die. To never age. To be frozen. And then I mentally slapped myself.
Rule Number One: Never let them inside your head.
Twin black eyes pierced through my flimsy facade of strength and my legs refused to hold me. The ground rushed up to meet me, and the girl moved towards me, separating from the shadows completely.
She had wings.
She moved closer.
I shrunk back.
Something told me I didn’t want her close to me, other than the fact that she could kill me. I struggled to move, to inch for my gun, which had fallen a few feet ahead of me. My fingers strained against her hold. I was almost there, if I could just . . .
One minute, she was five feet in front of me. The next, I was slammed against a car, struggling for breath.
I clawed at her pale hands, so translucent I could almost see the pavement beneath them and fought, uselessly, to catch air. It’s a shame I have to kill you. We could have been friends. Her voice whispered inside my mind.
Yeah, nice way to start a friendship, I thought sluggishly as the night took on a fuzzy, haze-like quality.
Blue eyes. Her eyes are blue. Weren’t they…black before? I thought vaguely, her crystal blue eyes searing themselves inside my head and spinning…so slowly . . . ever so slow . . . l . . . y.
Suddenly I could breathe again.
And it was a beautiful sensation. I gasped, my body operating without my consent. The air came gracefully; forcing its way inside me like it had a mind of its own. Clearing my head. My thoughts.
I clutched the ground as my breakfast and lunch sprawled across the drizzled pavement, mixing with the dew already there.
I looked up, searching for the girl who’d almost killed me and met her eyes. Those blue eyes watched me, the life leaving them quickly. She half smiled, images flickering across my mind as she struggled to say something. Two crimson streaks raced down the side of her face, onto the ground.
She stopped breathing.
A hand, tanned almond and promising protection reached out to me and I grabbed it, grateful, for the first time, that he was there.
“Thank you,” I whispered, shock finally hitting me in waves, one right after the other. I almost died tonight, I thought crazily. Tonight, I almost died.
And then, the shock having run its course.
– Short Story written by Jae Lei Nyght