***NOT EDITED*** (Please excuse the errors and whatnot)
The cold wind picked up and I shivered slightly even though I’d already donned a jacket. I listened silently at the invisible screeching bats that called out like banshees in the night and watched the odd black silhouette of one flutter past the moon.
“Here you go” Helena offered e a blanket as she walked out onto the balcony with me. She took a seat on the other chair with her own blanket and together we sat in silence just enjoying each other’s company.
“It seems kind of... eerie tonight don’t you think?” Helena whispered, almost as though talking too loudly would ruin the serenity.
“You think so?” I answered her question with a question.
She nodded slightly and looked towards the forest. “Usually I can hear the slight swaying of the trees from the forest... but tonight they’re standing still. I don’t know... I guess you could compare it to always hearing cars whirring past while you try to sleep, and then all of a sudden you hear nothing. It’s just odd”
I nodded considering what she meant, “I guess so”
We continued sitting in silence when I noticed two people walking down the path out on the campus grounds. I figured it was just a couple walking together for a romantic walk and casually watched them as they strolled along.
They walked along the path where there was little light so I couldn’t make out who they were. “They must be a fairly new couple” I noted out loud.
“Who are?” Helena asked. I nodded towards the two walking silently and she turned her eyes towards the two and stayed quiet while we both followed them. They stopped walking when they reached a bench and together they sat down side by side. It was obvious to see that they were deep in conversation and I half wondered why I was watching them. I kind of felt like a stalker.
“I think I’ll go for a walk as well” Helena spoke up dragging her eyes away from the couple. I think this couple had the right idea, it seems like such a nice night to go for a walk.
“Want me to come?”
She shook her head and smiled sheepishly at me, “No, I think I’ll go by myself, just soak in the silence if that’s okay” I smiled and nodded watching her stand up and fold her blanket before tossing it on the sofa. She grabbed a thicker jacket and called out her goodbye before closing the door.
I closed the door to my apartment shut and noticed how the temperature dropped a little out in the corridor. It was dead quiet and even though it was barely past nine o’clock everyone seemed to have gone inside.
I walked along the corridor momentarily glancing at Derrek and Blake’s apartment as I passed it and pressed the down button before waiting for the elevator. The metal doors slid open and just as they were about to close a hand stuck itself in the gap and the doors flung open. My eyes widened when I realised that the person attached to the hand was Blake.
“Oh! Hey Blake” I greeted him surprisingly.
His eyes darted to mine and his face went blank. “Oh, hey Helena” he leaned against the wall on the other side of the elevator and we stood awkwardly in silence while we descended at a snail’s pace. “So... what are you doing out here so late?”
“Just going for a walk... and you?”
“Same... same... I was going to ask someone if they wanted to join me but I figured they’d be busy or asleep”
I nodded and once again we fell into awkward silence. I don’t know why but I never felt quite as comfortable around Blake as I did the other Elementals and being in this elevator alone with him seemed to magnify the discomfort. Finally the doors flung open and we both walked out.
“So I was-“
“Hey did you want-“
We both started at the same time. We chuckled lightly and I waved for him to go first. “Uh... I was wondering if you wanted to join me for my walk?”
I was a little surprised that he wanted me to join him but I bit my lip nervously and shook my head slightly, “Oh... I’m sorry Blake. I kind of wanted to go for a walk by myself and even declined Val offered to come with me”
I saw a look pass across his face but it was gone just as quickly as it was there. He cleared his throat and smiled, his white teeth contrasting against the olive pallor of his skin. “Oh, no problem. I’ll uh... catch you around”
He nodded and walked outside and turned down the path going left. I blew out a breath and walked outside as well, “Well... good thing I declined his offer, that walk together would’ve been super awkward”
I wasn’t really sure why it had become awkward between us again. During the drive up and down from Crane’s Hollow we’d gotten along fine, but now it seems as though we’d fallen back into habit and I supposed it was just going to stay that way.
I shook thoughts of Blake out from my busy mind and continued to walk down the path remembering I decided to go for a walk to clear my mind and so far I’d done the opposite. It was much colder out of the campus but there was no snow to be seen anymore. I pulled my jacket around me tighter when a gust of wind picked up and blew my hair around windy.
I began on the pathway where Val and I saw the couple walking and I looked up to see if she was still out on the balcony. She wasn’t. The balcony was empty and the lights were off and I figured she’d long gone to bed. Every few metres the yellow glow from a light post would illuminate the pathway but in between them the path would grow dark.
Something flittered from the corner of my eye and by instinct my eyes tried to search for it. As I looked around I saw no one around and thought it must have been leaves flying along with the swirls of wind. I shrugged my shoulders and every once in a while I noticed the flitter of something everytime I passed under the light.
I’d walked for about twenty minutes when I realised the ‘flittering’ was becoming too methodical. It wasn’t randomly happening along with the wind anymore and happened just outside of my eyesight. I could feel that something wasn’t right... and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end when I realised that the only sound was the howling of the wind.
No bats screeched, no night animals scurried or scampered and the odd scraping of leaves across the cement sounded like steel knife being dragged. I slowed down and knew I needed to get back to my apartment. I was barely walking now, unsure whether I should circle around or turn back to walk the way I came.
The cold wind blew and yet sweat dampened my palms and forehead. I realised now that declining Blake’s offer was a stupid decision and I wished that I could go back in time to accept it... or just not even go for this walk! I gulped and decided that turning around was my best chance to reach the campus quickly, whether or not I was being paranoid, walking back would be for the best.
Quickly, I turned around and my eyes widened to the size of my fist at what stood, or floated, barely three paces behind me. Pitch black as a moonless night and emanating cold waves from his almost transparent body was a shadow. A shadow or some sort of ghost.
My breathing hitched and I could barely manage to suck in enough oxygen to my lungs. The shadow was faceless and yet it was clear to see that he was staring straight at me. He wasn’t quite solid and I could see small wisps floating off from the edges of his silhouette. Where was Blake? Would he be close enough to see me or hear me?
My foot took a step back, so slowly it felt like years before I moved an inch away. The shadow glided closer, not moving his faceless face from mine. The wind dropped leaving the grounds deathly silent and without the whistling and howling in my ears I could hear the soft airy gasping coming from the shadow.
“What do you want?” I managed to choke out softly, tremors lilting at the question.
The shadow slightly tilted his head and his arm slowly lifted up and reached towards me. I squeaked and without further questioning I turned and ran like my life depended on it... which it possibly could.
The winds picked up once more and I glanced back only to see the shadow, completely unaffected by the winds, gliding fast towards me. I panicked, I couldn’t help it! I barely turned back to see where I was running and the toe of my shoe caught in deep crack on the pavement.
I was sent hurtling forward and crashed heavily to the ground as a shrill cry escaped my lips and my head smashed painfully against the cement. The shadow floated over to me and rose off the ground to hover over me.
As dizziness overwhelmed me, I did the only thing I was capable of doing... and screamed.
I kicked another pebble into the lake and watched it disappear into the blackness below. The howling winds rippled the surface of the lake and I twirled my index finger sending out crystal blue flames towards the ripples and watched as each of the little waves froze when the blue flames blew over them.
I felt embarrassed.
When I left my apartment I had every intention of marching over to Val and Helena’s apartment to ask Helena to go for a walk. I felt confident and full of determination, but as soon as I rounded the corner and saw her exiting her apartment I panicked and ducked behind the gap that held a fire extinguisher until she walked past.
I mentally slapped myself... coward.
I briefly pondered over why there was a fire extinguisher in a university that clearly doesn’t need it when I finally built the courage up to follow after her and nearly squashed my hand in the process of keeping the elevator open.
I shook my head and kicked another pebble into the lake while I shifted my position on the rock I sat on. It wasn’t like my heart pounded so hard painfully when I asked her to join me for a walk, and it’s not like I wanted to bury myself in a ditch when she declined.
Nope... not at all.
I groaned out loud and pulled at my hair. How embarrassing!
I leaned back and stared at the little sliver of silver moon that was occasionally covered by the dark grey clouds that blew past. Maybe she did want time to herself?
Or maybe she simply didn’t want to walk with me...
I figured there was no point in wasting precious brain cells moaning over what happened. I just needed to man up and try another time. Much, much later. With renewed (half) confidence I slid off the rock and dusted my jeans off before shoving my hands into my pockets and began to make my walk back to the campus.
A fair bit of time had passed and I was sure that Helena would have turned back by now, if she wasn’t already back at in her apartment. I strolled along enjoying the cold breezes that kissed my cheeks when a blood curdling scream met my ears.
“Helena” I whispered, before sprinting off in the direction it came from. “Helena!”
I ran and the pounding of my feet slapped against the cement as the wind blew against my face drying out my eyes. The flashes of yellow light beamed over head and another scream brought me to a halt as I spied Helena on the ground with the shadow hovering over her.
“Helena!” I shouted anxiously.
But she’d already passed out.
I bet that went a different way than you expected... huh? Lol.
Yeah... there’s a lot of ‘howling winds’ in this chapter seeing as the cyclone outside is rattling my entire house. Also, this chapter may have a few different POVs but don’t expect it much. I really didn’t want to have anyone else’s POV besides Val and Derrek’s but I had no choice here.