The oak trees lining Rosewood Park loomed in the dark as though waiting to perch on anyone who comes near them. The air was cold and moist. Not a single star was visible, hidden behind dark puffy clouds sailing smoothly against the night’s sky. The lamp posts lit dimly lighting the pathway. Not a single soul was in sight. Her sneakers made soft thumping sound as they hit the tar road. Her music boomed loudly from her Ipod.
She had been running for the past hour without resting. Her legs could barely keep up with her, yet she forced her muscles to move, force her blood vessels to keep pumping blood into her heart. Sweat made her shirt stick to her body like second skin. She tried to drain her thoughts away, tried to focus on running, but they keep coming back. The images from the book, and the flashes of pain and despair that she saw before won’t leave her alone. Alas, her legs couldn’t take it anymore. Her muscles tensed, and she collapsed to the ground panting heavily. A sharp pain surged through her body, her heart beating against her chest as though it was about to burst out.
She closed her eyes, trying to calm down. She turned off her music, and listened to her own breathing. Mother, how could you? She understood now, yet she couldn’t accept her mother’s willingness to sacrifice her life for what she believed in. And leaving Raine all alone in this alien world. She understood her powers, her dreams now. She understood what her mother wants of her, yet she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She doesn’t have enough knowledge, enough power. It’s absurd to even think about it!
A twig snapped. Raine opened her eyes with a start. She got up and looked around. Her intuition told her she was being watched. She moved away from where she was lying down. She heard soft footsteps from a distance behind her. She quickened her pace then turned swiftly to her right and hid behind the huge oak tree. She heard the footsteps stopped, then continued again. Now. She walked out calmly from behind the tree, with excellent timing, staring at the person in front of her right in the face, her fingers curled up in a shape of a ball. “Who are you?” she asked coldly. His face was merely a shadow, she couldn’t make it out. “Raine? Raine is that you?” he stepped into the light. “Ryan? What the hell are you doing here at this hour?” She softened up and drew her fingers away. She knew him as Kaelan’s friend and relaxed.
“Well, I uh, I was walking back from the diner and I saw you so I thought I would just come up and say hi,” he said, forcing the words out in a single breath, then looked down, embarrassed. Raine studied him. He was looking a bit flushed. Then she smiled. Ryan had been awfully nice to her lately. Well, he never really talked to her except for the casual hellos if they bumped into each other at university. “Can I walk you home?” he asked suddenly. Raine was taken aback. She eyed him suspiciously. Hesitantly she answered, “Well, I suppose so. If you’re walking the same way.”
Seek the one of great knowledge, one who plays with time, one who is destined, one who will be by your side. “Mum, I can’t do it,” she groaned as she got out of her bed and kneeled down on the floor. Her eyes shot at a dark blue candle on her dressing table, and the spark caught fire. She looked up at her ceiling, as though expecting her mother’s voice to come to her again. “I’m scared. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life! You left me alone in this world and now you expect me to pick up where you left off?” her voice was shaking with rage. “How could you? How could you just leave and drop this burden on me? It’s not fair!” she shouted. Warm tears streamed down her face.
Dagda struggled… Most powerful…Rune…over the centuries gained ultimate power…coven leader Rose Raidan…the battle which caused her life. The contents of the book began to fill her mind again. There was a drawn picture of a woman with dark hair shooting blue sparks from her fingers. She was wearing a long black cloak, her expressions of rage and determination. “Ardeo, Ardetis, Ardemus.” was written in cursive beneath the picture. Fire was burning all around her and there were others battling what looked like horned beasts, minotaurs perhaps. Another picture of a woman slumped weakly in the arms of another man, his head resting on her neck. Blood was flowing down from her bare throat. She shook her head, as if shaking the images away.
She reached for the phone. “Kaelan, hey. I uh, let’s go out tonight,” “Raine? What the? Do you have any idea what time it is? Is everything ok?” his voice was groggy on the other side of the line. “Yeah, fine. Just want to hang out,” “It’s 5 in the freaking morning! Nothing’s open. I’ll see you in like, 3 more hours ok? Go back to sleep,” he hung up. Jackass. There’s no point sleeping now, she thought. She got up from the floor, went over to her dressing table and blew the candle out. Then she reached for her black satin coat and went out.
A gush of wind sent shivers down her spine. She let her dark hair loose, and as the wind blows they fly up, spread like silky tentacles. She walked down the lonely road of Gael Avenue, only the dim street lights as her companions. She was so tired from running in the park, her legs still aching, yet she couldn’t go back to sleep. A small light lit a dairy on her left. She ignored the ‘closed’ sign and knocked on the locked door. A big burly man came to the door. He opened the door slightly. “We’re not in business yet,” he said abruptly, clearly annoyed by Raine’s appearance so early in the hour. “I know, but please, can I just get a cup of coffee? Then I’m out,” she said pleadingly. The man studied her. “Fine,” he scoffed. He let her in, and started the coffee machine. Raine watched silently as he prepared her coffee. “three fifty,” he said. Raine put a twenty dollar note on the bar. “Keep the change. You’ve been so kind,” she said simply.
The cool night air brushed against her face as she walked out the door. Taking a sip of her coffee, she walked towards a nearby bench and sat down cross-legged. She reached down into her coat pocket and took out her cigarettes. Coffee and cigarettes can never go wrong. She glanced down at her watch. 5.30am.
A pair of gleaming gold eyes were staring straight at her from the alley in front of her. Beautiful eyes like those of a cat. Her heart skipped a beat. For a second, she had forgotten how to breathe. Then the eyes gradually disappeared. She got up from the bench and gathered what was left of her courage and walked into the alley. Glancing behind her, she made sure that no one was around before holding out her finger and whispered, “Give me light.”
“Impressive,” a soft voice suddenly startled her. She turned around. A tall dark figure loomed behind her, clapping his hands. He walked nearer towards Raine and she backed away. The light from her little flame bounced off his face, highlighting his breathtaking features. Eyes of gold he had, jawline sharp and refined. His voice was deep and seductive. Trying to conceal her fear, she demanded, “What do you want from me? I’m not afraid of you.” “Oh, but you should,” he chuckled. He drew closer. “Strict command I was given, you were not to be harmed,” he said. “Yet your beauty is appealing, I could feel your blood pumping through my veins. And oh, your smell…orgasmic.”
He reached for her face and softly ran his fingers down her cheeks then on her neck. Raine stood paralyzed. His eyes were so beautiful they hypnotized her. The tiny flame on her fingertip blew out. She couldn’t concentrate anymore. In an instant darkness surrounded them. The air became thick and moldy. He leaned in to kiss her lips. She turned away and squirmed, yet he had her tight in his arms. She could feel his disgusting tongue in her mouth, yet she was powerless. His skin was as cold as ice, sending shivers down her spine. Her knees grew weak.
Then he moved away from her mouth and kissed her neck. “Get away from me,” Raine whispered exasperatedly. She could feel his hands moved up her legs, then he slipped them under her shirt. “Stop!” she cried out. He licked her neck over and over again, and suddenly a sharp pain surged through her as he sank his fangs into her flesh and began to suck.
Her mind was raging. Gritting her teeth she growled, “I said get away from me!” With whatever left strength in her, bidding all her energy into her right hand, she raised it trembling and clasped his neck. He cried out in pain and tried to draw away but she held on. The flesh underneath her fingers started to crackle and boil. Red bumps started to form on his skin, and one by one they burst. Cold black blood trickled down his neck. She held on to him tight. “Where did you come from? Who do you serve?” she demanded. He was writhing under her, groaning in pain. “Answer me!” she screamed.
“One of your own. I am just a messenger,” he gasped. An immense feeling of power overcame her, and fuelled by her rage, she concentrated her power on him and he burst into flames. Raine stood there amidst the darkness, ashes lying before her, dumbstrucked by what she had done. I Killed him.
Warm air touched her cold cheeks, so gently, as though comforting her. As if she did nothing wrong. The sky above turned a lighter colour. Raine walked out of the alley in a sort of trance. Her guilt was overriding her. She felt lost, confused, terrified, even angry at herself. She glanced all around her, expecting somehow or rather the siren of a police car would boom around the corner. But there was nothing except for a couple of dimly lit shops preparing for the morning business. She kept walking in a daze, shaking, and little did she realized, she was already at her front door.
How she could have made it surprised her. Unlocking the door to her little apartment, she turned on the shower full blast and then undressed. She felt dirty from the creature’s touch, dirty from the guilt of destroying him. She meant to hurt him, not to kill him. Her own powers shocked her. Never had she ever felt such surge of power, never did she realize she could use her powers to such length. Start, sure, manipulate, of course, but incinerate completely? The thought scared her. She’s already having difficulty accepting the fact that she was different from others and now with this knowledge that her ability is more powerful than she ever thought, and took a life, human or not, it damned her to life.