She could not get away from it, no matter how hard she tried. Her breathing was like fire in her throat and she tried to scream, but it was too difficult. She did not even know what she was running from, but she knew she had to get away. Running, hiding - nothing worked. There was not much surrounding her. It was as if she was running in a black tunnel. She felt lost, afraid, and lonely. It was cold and she could barely see anything in front of her because it was so dark. Where was she? Why was she so afraid? What was she running from and why was it chasing her? She heard something, or someone, come up behind her and suddenly - she was yanked back by her hair. Within a moment…she woke up! She jumped up, panting heavily, holding her hands to her chest.
“What was that,” she asked herself aloud, making sure to take in deep breaths to calm herself down. She swiped her curly, brown hair from her face, though parts of her hair were strewn with sweat. She sat there, frozen for a minute, feeling her damp clothes cling to her skin. What was all of that about? She then decided to attempt to get up and get something to drink. Of course, the cold floor and the dark hallways did not help her sneaky suspicions. Before she walked into each room, she would reach in to turn on the lights. Every dark room she approached made her heart beat faster and faster.
Finally, with a sigh, she entered the kitchen, finding that nothing had been lurking in the dark. She went to the counter to grab a glass from the dish rack and then to the fridge to fill it up with water. She leaned back onto the counter as she slowly sipped the much-needed liquid. Why did the water feel as though it were soothing a burned throat? She then leaned against the counter, still holding the glass in her hand, and she closed her eyes, taking in more, much-needed deep breaths.
“It astounds me that you are still afraid of the dark after all this time,” a deep voice echoed through the room. Her eyes immediately snapped open. She slowly looked over, having her heart already dive straight down into her stomach, and out of the dark corner of the room stepped a man clad in full black. Before she could even think, she flung her glass at the man, though he dodged it with no problem, making it hit the wall and shatter into a million pieces. The sound of the glass bursting made her jump. The man chuckled and continued to walk towards her.
She then frantically looked around and decided to grab the nearest item to attack him with. She did not know how a small woman could harm such a bulky man, but she had to try. Luckily, a frying pan was laying on the stove, which she immediately picked up and ran towards him, swinging at him with all her weight. She imagined hitting him on the head with it and running, but just as she thought she should have collided with him, she fell to the floor. She lied there for a moment, shocked.
“Rue!” the man exclaimed, appearing at her side in an instant, but before he could touch her, she sprinted through the house, locking every door she could so she could create barriers behind her. She finally got to her room, slammed the door behind her, and locked it - breathing as if she were about to pass out. She slowly backed up, not allowing her eyes to drop from the door. She knew that man had the capabilities to break down the door, but how long would it take him to do so? Two seconds, five minutes? Her time was limited. She looked around the room and found her bedroom window. The thought of jumping or scaling down the wall of her apartment building fluttered through her mind, but when a wisp of air blew past her face, she knew that her time was up.
“You are faster than you look,” he commented, making her jump and scream simultaneously. He was standing beside her bed. How had he gotten in? She looked to him and then to the door. It had not even opened, so how was that possible? Rue just stared at the man with wide eyes, her hand placed over her racing heart. She did not say a word - she just stared. “What?” he asked, acting as though he had a third eye he was unaware of.
“Who are you? And what do you want with me?” she questioned, pointing to herself as if to signify that she was just a short, nothing of a woman. The man chuckled. “What’s so funny?” she asked, becoming a bit aggravated with the stranger. Her fear was not helping either. This man showed up in her room - how? And now he was laughing at her? Not good.
“Sorry, it’s just that you should see the looks you keep giving me,” he said, smiling at her. She glared at him with a bit of a dubious look on her face. For a moment she realized that he was very large, but he did not appear as menacing as she had first thought. She shook her head once she began to think again, wondering if she were awake or asleep. She pinched herself, but she winced and then looked left to right, as if she were trapped and terrified. The man frowned.
“Rue,” the man stated in a low tone. Did she really think she was dreaming? She looked up to him with her bright blue eyes and stared at him again, but this time, she looked to him like she was begging him to end the nightmare.
“Why me?” she asked aloud, not even noticing she had spoken. Such an odd question to have asked, but Rue could not help but wonder why he was after her – such a normal, ordinary girl. She was nothing special. She had gone to a regular public school and had not even been one of the top students. So why would someone want to target her, out of all people? She then took a second to acknowledge his features. She noticed that he had long black hair and eyes that seemed to shine violet. His features were somewhat chiseled and yet smooth. He seems very massive, but he was not much taller than she was.
The man looked to the ground. What could he say to respond to that kind of question? There were many moments of silence, and right as he started to come up with something to say, Rue sat down on her bed. She was thinking about not wanting her life to end, not knowing that the man felt guilty about just being there.
“Can you at least tell me your name?” she inquired. He looked to her in shock. Had he really not introduced himself? He grimaced.
“I am terribly sorry. I should have introduced myself the moment I appeared, but then again, you did attack me with a pan,” he stated sarcastically. She rolled her eyes.
“And I didn’t even touch you,” she retorted. The man chuckled. She paused for a moment. How was she having such a nonchalant conversation with her would-be killer?
“And that is a good thing too. Rue,” he uttered, kneeling in front of her, “My name is Pyro and I am here to help you.”
“Help me?” she requested. She felt odd with him being so close to her. He nodded. “What are you helping me with? I mean, you are the one who barged into my house - if you call it barging and I don’t - and scared me to death,” she babbled. He frowned, leaning back on his haunches to give her space.
“I am sorry, I did not mean to alarm you in any way,” he apologized. She sighed. Her head would not stop spinning.
“Then why are you here? If you are not here to hurt me, then…” but Pyro cut her off.
“Hurt you? I would never even conceive such a thing!” he bellowed, standing up to put some space between them. “If you think I am here to hurt you, then I am sorry I have led you to believe I would, but that would never happen, I can assure you.” She looked to him with furrowed eyebrows.
“Then why are you here?” she asked, frustrated. He looked down at her for a few minutes before answering.
“You are in danger,” he confirmed. She felt her stomach drop. It was a good thing she was already sitting.
“What?” she asked, her face falling into a frightened expression. A few minutes ago, she had thought her life to be in danger. Then this...man...says he’s not going to hurt her. Now she’s in danger? He frowned yet again. He reached forward like he was going to take her hands in his, but stopped and pulled back.
“Do not be afraid, I will not let anything bad happen to you,” he verified. For some reason, she believed that. She did not know how or why she was in danger, but she saw sincerity in the man’s eyes.
“Then what is endangering me?” she questioned.
“To put it simply, there is a league of people who think you should be among them when you have already chosen a side,” he insisted. She grew even more confused. Out of nowhere, a man popped into her existence and then he tells her she’s chosen something she never recalled?
“Wait, when did I choose sides? Because I just met you and I did not even know about this until now, so how is that possible?” she asked. “And what sides?” He sighed and rubbed the back of his head.
“Why is it that I can’t do this every time?” he posed to himself.
“Every time? Okay, now I’m just lost. What are you talking about?” she petitioned. He then sat down beside her on the bed and finally took her hands in his. She did not know why she did not pull away, but all she could manage to do was to stare at the stranger.
“Rue, my name is Pyro, and I have loved you for thousands upon thousands of years,” he avowed. She looked to him in shock.
“What did you just say?” she retorted. This was not how she had imagined being told ′I love you’.
“For thousands and thousands of decades, there has been a fight between my people and the league I mentioned before, and now the fight is coming to a climax,” he pronounced.
“Then why am I involved?” she demanded.
“Because you have been a part of the ordeal since the beginning,” he declared. She bent her head a little, due to the fact that the room was now spinning. Since she did not speak up, he decided to continue. “And since the beginning of it all, many people have gotten hurt. I know you are bewildered with all of this, but I promise you that it is all true. I am here to protect you, and my only wish is to make you happy.” She looked up at him slowly. Who was this man? Why had he said so much and yet she was more confused than when he first arrived?
“I don’t understand,” she admitted. He nodded.
“And that is totally understandable, but I must somehow get you to understand that I am here for you...always.” She nodded.
“Okay,” she mumbled, staring off. She had said okay, but in her head, she was screaming at herself. What the hell was she doing? He let out a deep breath and looked at her with a sad expression. Had he caused her this pain? Would she not have had to deal with this sooner or later? He just wished he could take it all away and hide her from everyone and everything. She looked up, her eyes glazed over.
“I comprehend what you say, but my mind doesn’t seem to be functioning at the moment,” she confessed. He nodded with a slight smile.
“I know, and I am sorry that I am the Bearer of Bad News, but this would have happened sooner or later.” She nodded yet again. Sure he said all of this, but it just did not seem plausible.
“Okay.” She looked down yet again and saw that he was still holding her hands. Had he been holding them the whole time? She looked up at him with wide eyes. Had everything he said been true? He had not taken his eyes off of her. His words kept echoing through her mind.
You have been a part of the ordeal since the beginning.
Since the beginning, many people have gotten hurt.
For thousands and thousands of decades, there has been a fight between my people and the League I mentioned before, and now the fight is coming to a climax.
She had been staring into his violet eyes while his words continued to flash through her mind like a scene in a movie.
But suddenly, they all stopped with the first sentence she had remembered before the information overload -
I have loved you for thousands upon thousands of years.
“Why do you love me?” she asked. His smile broadened, which surprised her a little. Had she not caught him off guard with her question? She could have sworn that question would have made this man think before responding, but he did not.
“Because I have done so since the beginning and have never stopped,” he proclaimed.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I fell in love with you a long time ago, in another lifetime, and I have loved you ever since,” he proclaimed. Rue felt her heart flutter in her chest.
“In another life?” He nodded to her question.
“Yes, we have known each other in every lifetime, and from the beginning, we have loved one another until the end,” he professed. She looked into his eyes and knew that he was telling the truth. She had loved this man for a long, long time.