Heat. Heat pours down on me as I stand outside during passing period at my school. It’s not Spring, no, it’s not even the end of Summer. It’s Winter, and it’s 85 degrees out; but this should be expected when someone lives in the southern part of California like I do. Unfortunately even though I was born and raised here, I’m not made for the heat, and my long brown hair sticks uncomfortably to my neck until I get to my fifth period. I get through it by doodling tiny monsters on my classwork, not interested in the rambunctious freshmen around me nor the droning of my teacher. I prefer the wallflower route when it comes to school.
After school, I rush out with a skip in my step. Hardly any homework, besides English and I could whisk through that. My mother has decided to treat me for getting good grades today, she takes me to the mall near our house shortly after we arrive home and tomorrow I’m supposed to go to a sleepover with my new school friends. It’s a sort of big deal for her for me to get good grades, for not only is this my first year in high school, but it’s my first year in an actual physical school. I have been homeschooled my entire life until now, so she is happy that I am getting all As and Bs.
She drops me off in the front of the mall near the restaurants, and watches me leave into the building.
I walk casually into the mall, small groups of people buzzing around, going into the different stores and talking about various unheard things. I bypass the nail salon, the chocolate shop, the engagement ring store, and other stores I don’t recognize, in order to get to one of the only stores I enjoy shopping at. Hot Topic. I smile the instant I walk in, looking at all the odd gothic jewelry and dark colored clothes. I stay in the store for nearly half an hour, picking carefully for I only have a little bit of money, when I suddenly get this strange feeling that I am being watched, and naturally I look around. In the corner of the store, near the entrance and all the Doctor Who things, I see a man.
This man sticks out from the crowd in a rather odd but intriguing way, or at least to me he does. He is wearing a black coat with white fur trimming, and is wearing a mask as if it was Halloween, with red upside down triangles under bright blue eyes which serve for the holes of his mask. On his forehead is the insignia for the astrological sign, Libra, painted in red. I stare at him for a bit, intrigued by his outfit, especially his mask. If I didn’t know better I’d say he looks like he’s about to rob the store. He then glances over at me and cocks his head to the side, then he soon leaves the store.
I leave soon after as well, and decide to walk around the block to get just a little bit of fresh air. After a while, I go back inside, and I suddenly hear shouting, and I look towards where it is coming from. I see the same man from earlier that day running from the store, a security guard chases after him as fast as he can though it doesn’t come close to how fast the man is running. All I can do is watch, stunned; but this only gives him enough time to get behind me.
I feel a bad and oddly recognizable feeling, the feeling of a knife pressed up against my throat. He also grips my arm tightly, his chest pressed up against my back as heart races and pounds against my ribcage. My mind trying to process what was happening, what WAS happening?!
“Put down the knife!” I heard the guard shout, bringing me back to reality. I plead at him with my eyes to get me out of this situation, out of this psycho’s arms. Instinct compels me to move away from the cold knife against my flesh, not wanting it to even accidentally cut into my neck.
“I will kill her if you get closer!” The man behind me shouts at the guard, but he whispers in my ear after. “Don’t be scared, I will not harm you.” I relax slightly at the reassurance, whether the truth or a lie, but I am still stiff with being held captive. The knife itself feels like it has a curve exactly fitting my neck. Perfect to slit it…
He leads me backwards to the entrance, goes through the doorway, and suddenly lets me go. He bows at me, in a surprisingly polite fashion, and then runs away, jumping with ease over everything in his way. I watch him go, and then I shakily go home, my mind stuck on what had just happened… After long consideration, I decide not to tell my parents. They worry enough already with my two younger siblings, and that man didn’t actually hurt me, he was just using me to get away.
After dinner, my mom goes to sleep with my smaller siblings, and my dad goes to work out at the gym. I am outside with my two dogs, Pepper and White Socks, playing with them and watching them wrestle in the driveway. Our house is situated on a hill that overlooks my entire home city... Then, I see a tall, hooded figure appear from behind a bush near us, and it approaches me.
My dogs bark at the figure, and I get out a pocket knife that I keep in my pocket. He puts his hands up in defense, and I see that it is the man from earlier… This makes me lower my knife a bit, and whistle sharply for my dogs. They come back to me, and I look at him questioningly. He bows, which surprises me slightly, and then he says,
“Hello again, I do hope I didn’t harm you earlier today.” I nod, still surprised to see him here, and unsure of him.
“Hello… and no, you didn’t.”
“That is good.” He takes a step closer to me. “May I ask you something?” I pause, wondering to answer or not.
“All right, sure.”
“How can you see me?” I find this funny, I tilt my head in confusion and I laugh a bit at the obvious answer.
“With my eyes…”
He suddenly lunges forward and is only inches from my body, staring deeply into my eyes from the light blue eye holes which I see aren’t his natural eyes but part of the mask. I step back in defense, my knife higher than before by instinct.
“… You have the sight… So it must be YOU who they are after.” I was now very certain, if it was not certain before, that this man was crazy, and defiantly not the good kind.
“It’s, um, been nice. But I need to go inside now…” I hurriedly go inside my house, and go to my room, but… The man is already there, holding my two dogs.
“You have a very cute pair of dogs.” I grab my phone, and then I run to the bathroom, locking the door and hiding in the shower as I start to dial 911. Soon I hear a knock on the door. “You are not very good at hiding. Also, I need to borrow that room for a bit, please. You can hide back in here once I’m done.” I did agree with him, it was not my best hiding spot… I think for a while, and despite my better judgment, I come out. My phone is still in my hand, my finger hovering over the call button.
“Try anything, and I will call the police. Go in, come out, and leave.” I said sternly, and then I head for my room tensely as he goes in the bathroom.
“Thank you for your kindness.” He comments, as I get my dagger from my room clutching it to make me feel safer, and am waiting for him at the end of the hall near the door. While waiting for him, I hear a thunderous echo ring throughout the desert bowl that I live in. I listen to it with a smile, knowing there will be rain in the desert, thinking it will be nice to go look at the lightening later. I look out the window and I see the sky is strangely cloudless, and yet the roaring thunder continues.
“That’s not good.” Said the man who was… Suddenly, right behind me, also looking outside the window at the storm less sky. I was a bit startled, but I only glanced behind me at him for a moment.
“You have to drive home? Well, if you go now, you might beat it since it isn’t raining yet.” I commented, wanting him to leave before my mom woke up or my dad came home to find a strange man with their seventeen-year-old daughter.
“It’s not going to rain. They’re getting closer, and we need to leave.” The “we” in his sentence started to worry me quite a lot.
“YOU need to leave, before my mom wakes up or my dad comes home. I happen to live here.”
“I understand that, but things are coming that are out of your control! When it’s all over, you can return.”
“… Right.” My sarcasm is obvious as I suddenly push him towards the front door, wanting to move along with his departure. “Well, see you around, crazy man.” I shut the door quickly once I shove him out, and make sure to lock it before walking to my room.
“Alright, FINE! Let's see how long you and your family last when The Seven finally get here!” He shouts, sounding fairly frustrated. I look at the door, my curiosity getting the better of me, especially my curiosity in this crazy man.
“... The Seven what?”
At that very moment a red light grows from behind the front door and it suddenly explodes with a devastating boom! An orb the same color as the light flies past my face and destroys the wall behind me, knocking me away like a rag-doll! My siblings and mother scream out in terror from their room as our home shakes violently!
“They’re here! Run!” The man shouts, and I grip my dagger tightly. In blind shock I run to me room and grab my backpack of things from my room, running through the house towards the garage, in hopes of escaping whatever the hell just happened. I simply hope my mom doesn’t try to get to me; hopefully she just tries to protect my little siblings instead. “We need to draw them away! Do you have any vehicles we can use?” The man is right next to me again, and though I’m still shocked and confused beyond belief, I answer him automatically.
“My dad’s Prius, he took my mom’s car.”
“Are you sure?!” There is yet another explosion. “Alright, we have no time to waste, come with me!”
“If anything happens to my family, and I will kill you!” I point my dagger into his face threateningly. “Stop this, RIGHT NOW.”
“I’M TRYING! I warned you earlier, and now you have to pay the price for not listening to my warnings!” He climbs into the Prius on the driver’s side. “Now GET IN!” I climb in the Prius’ passenger seat, still shocked, but now also very pissed off. This is NOT what I wanted to happen today, not at all. We drive off and then see several humanoid creatures chasing us; I stare at them in the mirror wide eyed. I feel like I’m in some kind of nightmare. The man looks around, obviously upset.
“Where’s the seventh?” He questions, but I am hardly worried about the seventh creature. I suppose I should have been because suddenly a sloth-like creature with a woman’s face lands on the hood and begins tearing up the car! I jerk back in my seat, stiff with my dagger comfortingly held against my chest, as I stare at the creature on top of the car. The man jerks the wheel to the right, and it falls off without much of a fight.
We drive on for hours upon hours, the sound and smell of my home burning slowly fading away… We ride in the car silently together until the fuel finally runs out. The sun has just begun to rise above the horizon when we stop; a vast sea of grass and hills can be seen for miles just outside my window. The man gets out of his seat, walks over to my side of the car and opens it for me.
“Get out, we’re walking from here.” I slowly and dazedly come out the car, following him silently, my eyes unblinking and staring out blankly as I think, and worry about my parents soundlessly. “Do not worry for your family; they are coming for us, your family is of no concern to them.” I nod silently to show him I heard him, he must have seen my expression. Or perhaps he can just read minds, I wouldn’t have been surprised much with what’s already happened. I go on thinking, and despite what he said, worrying. He means they were coming for me… They were coming for me… I think sadly. I had put my own family in danger. For what, I don’t know, but it must be my fault… The man stops in front of me suddenly.
“I feel that we… have not gotten off on the right foot. Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?” He offers in a friendly manner, I think for a second more before answering him.
“You could start by explaining to me why I’m in the middle of nowhere with a man who doesn’t show his face, after running away from seven creatures who were clearly not human and who tried to kill me and you with something that was also clearly not human.” The man looks at me for some time before taking off his mask, revealing to me his true face… He has an exotic tan skin color, and has a normal brown eye and one purple eye, that is slit abnormally like a cat’s along with sharp looking fangs where his incisors and canines would be, and a bat-like nose… There is a long pause, as I stare uncontrollably, my breaths staccato. What... What is he? Have I honestly been traveling with this... Creature? This monster...? Though, he doesn’t look that scary... Why should I trust him anyway? Though a million thoughts go through my mind, my lips can hardly form words to this... person? How do I even know he’s on my side? What if he just wants me for himself? … Should I run?
“… Wh-ho… Who are you? Why did those things try to kill me?” I finally make out the words. He is surprisingly patient with me, despite my obvious fear.
“My name is Libra. I was simply looking into the sudden activity of The Seven, who were killing people around your age for an unknown reason. I wanted to know why so I walked among you humans, following their trail for a clue as to why, when I found that YOU have the sight. You saw me when nobody else could.” I laugh, though it’s mostly distressed from the information.
“All right then… So, what are they?” My shock is turning into sarcasm and curiosity. He hasn’t killed me yet, I suppose he won’t… unless he needs me for some sort of ritual. I shiver at the thought, several horror movie plots running through my brain.
“They are the embodiments of the seven Deadly Sins; the one that attacked us was Sloth… Wait a moment.” I look at him questioningly as his eyes lighten up in realization. He turns away and counts his black gloved fingers, his eyes stair intensely into his hands for an answer of some kind. “I figured it out! Ma’am, you need to listen to me, it is of the utmost importance to solving what The Seven want with you!”
“My name’s Emelie… What did you figure out?” I figure he told me his name, I might as well tell him mine. It’s better than ma’am, too formal to me.
“There have been only six children killed before you, and they have all been killed in the ways The Seven ironically kill. The first was burned and eaten; the next had her face removed, and so on. The one who hasn't killed yet was Sloth, and that's because it's a procrastinator! You are the last one they are after.” I nod slowly, taking it in.
“That makes sense…” The word hardly has any meaning anymore. “Saved by procrastination, who knew?” I tried to make the situation light, though it most definitely wasn’t.
“Don’t be so thankful yet. They are still coming, and they are most likely very angry by now.” He continues to walk towards what I assume is the closest city to us, and I follow him, quickly overcoming my shock. I’m opening up to the possibilities of this… arrangement.
“Right... Um, despite how cheesy-movie-line-ish this sounds, do you know why... me? I mean, I'm just me. I haven't even seen anything like this, besides a few ghosts maybe, and all the sudden I can see you and those... things.” I awkwardly compose my question.
“I do not know why, but I really don't care. They want you dead, and I want them to fail. That is all that concerns me. Maybe later we can find out why, once we get to my home.” My eyes widen slightly at the sudden notion I hadn’t realized.
“Yes, that's the safest place I can bring you. It's in Ireland, on the eastern border of The Fey Kingdom.” There is a pause before I respond.
“… Right… Okay.” He glances at me.
“Still don’t like me, do you? Not even trust me?” I wear a monotone expression, my mind still going a thousand miles a minute.
“I trust you as much as I can for meeting you today, and I don't know you well enough to say that I like you… Though I do owe you my life, why you saved it I'm not sure, but you did.”
“Well, I saved you because it was the right thing to do.” Are there still people with actual morals..?
“Arigatou.” I breathe out, “thank you” in Japanese.
“Dō itashimashite. I can speak seven languages by the way, so don’t try anything funny.” I wonder what I could even do that was funny with the situation, or even why I would want to do it with him.
“Okay.” I simply say, though my mind is suddenly racing. Who is this man, really? And what is he? Surely he isn’t the only one, so there are more inhuman races out there, probably even at his home where he is taking me... Honestly, I’m scared. I am not prepared for this. For a new world that could very possibly kill me before my time... But, I have to trust Libra. I owe him my life.