He stood like a warning, eyes following me in the dark.
I tipped the barrel of the gun towards his head, hands shaking. Memories of my initiation flashed through my mind, every thought I'd had echoing a deadly prayer.
It was impossible to look away from his eyes, a chilling emerald green accompanied my thick, black eyelashes. A shiver ran through me as goosebumps rose on my pale skin, the chilling night air blowing through the cabin.
His plump lips stayed in a thin line of no emotion, blood grazing the bottom of his mouth.
I noticed a thin scar that ran along the side of his jaw, as he cocked his head to the side and seized his hands around the gun I was holding.
It was too late now. He had practically plucked the gun from my fingertips, my whole body weak from crying.
I was going to die here tonight. Just like my brother.
He stayed unmoving, midnight black hair getting caught in the breeze. I stood, chest tight as I watched him make no advance to attack me. A sick feeling made the lump in my throat rise, confused as to why I wasn't already dead.
He continued to watch me as his mouth tilted up into a smile, revealing his startling white teeth. His breathing mixed with mine as he tossed the gun into the air with ease.
I flinched backwards as it fell to the ground with a shatter, before lunging towards it.
The cold handle of the gun touched my fingertips. His shadow moved towards me in the dim shine of the moonlight that filtered through the windows. A deep chuckle rumbled in his chest as he kicked the gun from my reach, across to the other side of the room.
I gasped as I lay on the floor, looking at the monster everyone feared was under their bed. It was my job to take them hostage, yet I had never seen one like him.
It was almost as if this whole situation was a game. He was enjoying watching me struggle. And for some reason that was more unnerving than anything.
"You stupid humans," his voice held a husky tenor as he knelt down beside me, "Never giving me a chance to even introduce myself before pointing a gun at my head."
I struggled under his tight grip as he wrapped his hands around my wrist. He was so close that I could feel his breath on my cheek.
He was everything you'd expect an Eternal to look like; chiseled face and strong muscles, pale skin the color of moonlight, signature Eternal eyes brighter than all of the stars combined.
And that's what made them so dangerous.
"Let g-go of me." I pushed against the body that towered over me, tears pricking my eyes. But it only made him push down harder, locking me in his arms.
I gasped against his chest as he threw one leg over my thrashing body.
"I will if you thank me." His smile was replaced by something else, as an almost sad look crossed his eyes. It was only for a second, but it was still enough to notice.
"For what?" my voice was muffled and strained, despite my desperate attempts to keep it even.
What would my dad think if he saw me now?
"For saving your life."
I took a deep breath before pushing against him one more time. I was surprised when he released his grip and moved away from me, folding his arms over his chest in defeat, cross-legged on the floor.
"God, you're stubborn." He rolled his eyes.
"You s-saved my life?" I stammered and pointed a frail finger towards myself.
My mind was a whirlwind of questions, and still every move he made caused me to flinch. I was used to admiring the Eternals from a distance, not like this. He was so close. I could reach out and touch him...
"Fuck yeah I saved your life," he dusted some dirt off his shoulder casually, "I don't think you realise how loud you cry. Practically half a dozen Eternals stalked this cabin. One guy was two steps away from bursting through that door before I pummelled him into mother earth."
A chill ran down my spine at the thought of another Eternal coming in here after me. Something told me he would've taken his chance to attack, and wouldn't be sitting here having a chat with me like we were best mates.
He began to tie his shoe lace.
"Thank you?" I stretched out my arms as I began to sit up, groaning at the ache in my bones.
"I'll take that." He stood up suddenly, body moving faster than my eyes could follow. Kicking his foot into the door, it slammed shut, immediately blocking out the cold air.
After a few seconds he looked down at me on the floor and reached his hand out for me to take. I imagined how pathetic I must've looked in that moment, and how he would probably snap my body in half right there and then if I took his hand.
"My arm is starting to ache, are you going to take it or not?"
There was a harshness to his tone that made my body go rigid, but yet an ease that spread in my chest to dissipate the warning.
I sighed. Blinked twice. Then took his hand.
It was rough in mine as he pulled me up onto my feet, so forcefully that I almost fell back flat on my face.
"You from the EDO?" He cleared his throat and lifted his eyes to meet mine. They locked there and I gulped, breath hitching in my throat.
"No." I gritted my teeth as I shook my head.
"Liar." He spat out the word like a piece of chewing gum that had lost it's taste.
"You have no proof." I fixed my eyes hard on him, trying to control the beating of my heart.
"It's obvious," he started to pick his nails as if he was bored, "The precision of your movements, the way you held that gun, how you looked at me like I was a disease wiping out 90% of the earths population.
Oh and you're heart is racing."
A small gasp caught in my throat, "You can hear my heartbeat?"
"Mhm." He murmured, nodding slowly.
"Can you hear everyone's heartbeats?" I was intrigued by every word he said, every move he made.
He paused for a second, glancing away into the corner of the room. "Yes." He nodded.
"Wow..." I breathed, brushing my hair behind my ear.
"What's your name?" He challenged, raising one eyebrow.
"Astrid." I struggled to stay balanced on the uneven floor.
A shrill laugh sounded as he looked at me dumfound, "Astrid Lockwood, I should've known." He held himself upright but his face grew paler as he stared at me, laughing. "You're quite famous you know?"
I shook my head slowly, heat rising in my cheeks. "I guess-"
"The others are petrified of you." He stated simply.
"Your lying." I almost whispered, fear tightening my chest. Why would creatures like them be afraid of me?
"We don't lie." He locked his eyes in mine again, unwavering.
"What's your name?" I tried to change the subject, unease building in my stomach and making me fidget.
"I don't have one. So call me what you want."
He kicked a piece of crumpled paper, easing the tension, before frowning and leaning down to pick it up. He unfolded it carefully, eyes gleaming.
I was about to ask him why he didn't have a name before he continued to talk, "Ah. I know her." He pointed down to a painting of an Eternal Jett and I had made. It was of the first Eternal's we'd ever seen.
A sudden wave of embarrassment came over me as I snatched the paper from his grip. I glanced down at it with a heavy heart before shoving it into my coat pocket.
"Why'd you draw that anyway?" He leant in closer to me, almost taunting.
"I was young. It was the first Eternal I'd ever seen so I wanted to draw her. She was beautiful."
I decided to leave Jett's name out of it. I didn't now this boys intentions.
"I'm surprised you got away alive after meeting her. She's not like me."
None of them are like you, I wanted to say but kept it to myself. For a split second I understood why scientists spent their days testing these creatures. I couldn't help but analyse everything and get excited by it, feeling as if I was in on some dirty little secret.
"Plus, you hate us, so why did you bother." He continued to talk about the picture, fixated on it.
"You say it like we hate you for no reason."
He frowned knowingly, "Go on then Astrid Lockwood. Enlighten me."
"You threaten us. You're dangerous. You go around killing humans and starting wars. All we want to do is live our lives." I said it before I could stop myself, each word clumsily spilling out of my mouth.
"Have you ever stopped to think that maybe all we want to do is live our lives?" He snapped back almost immediately.
"Well n-no..." I stumbled over my words clumsily.
"Living forever isn't all it's cut out to be you know. Especially when every day you watch another one of your kind drop down with a bullet in their skull. The EDO are the reason I lost my family.
You're lucky you aren't dead." He spat the last words, eyes growing cold.
I backed myself away into a corner as he took steps towards me, anger getting the best of him. I knew this would happen, that it wouldn't be long before he turned like the rest of them.
"Look, I'm sorry but it's the only way to save humankind." I said it like I'd rehearsed the words, and in some ways I had.
I lifted my hands up like a surrender.
"The EDO have brainwashed you. You're looking at it all wrong. We can be reckless and dangerous, but can't humans be too? I'm not an Eternal you should be hunting, and I know the exact one's you should."
His words unleashed something within me. Some burning curiosity that made me yearn for more information.
"What do you mean?"
Silence stilled us for a moment, before he began to speak again.
"Meet me here every night at midnight, and I will tell you everything you need to know about our kind."
There was some finality in what he was saying, as if that was it. No more questions asked.
"Now go home." His voice grew soft as he beckoned me towards the creaking door. "It's too dangerous even for you. People want you dead."
And with that I was shoved out of the cabin, head spinning like a merry go round, still confused as to why I wasn't dead. His voice echoed in my mind, the warmth of his hand at the base of my back lingering, and his eyes flashing through my mind.
I began to trudge my way home through the mud and sticks, squinting through the darkness. As I neared closer to my house, I could've sworn I heard the rustle of trees following me home, but as soon as the men in leather came into sight the noise was gone.
Broken and confused, I navigated my way to bed through the questions and dull answers.
Where have you been? Why are you so late home? Have you been crying? Did you find an Eternal?
Thankfully dad was asleep so no explanation was needed there, although I was sure he'd get told by the night guards in the morning.
It was past lights out so I couldn't even call Jett before I went to sleep. I was itching to tell someone, anyone what had happened. I was almost sure I would burst if I didn't. But then again, I wasn't sure if I should let word slip about what I had just encountered. Maybe this could lead to new things, new discoveries. I could use this Eternal for information and feed it to the EDO. It would be like going undercover.
A wave of excitement washed over me, heart racing.
As I snuggled up into my duvet I realised that even if I could call Jett he wouldn't pick up the phone. Remembering earlier's argument left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I had bigger things to worry about now.
Those last four words he'd said rang in my ears like a siren,
'People want you dead.'