I was stupid and reckless. I even passed as pretentious when it came to acting tough, when I knew exactly that I wasn’t. As crazy as it may sound, nine o’clock at night, I was walking home from work, alone. You would expect a seventeen-year-old to have a car by now or at least have a parent picking them up from work. However, due to my pretentious demeanour, I had convinced my mother once again that I wasn’t a kid anymore and I could walk and make it home safely. After all, the small diner I worked at was only a ten-minute walk from home.
Cold air of winter whistled into my ears, causing me to shield them with my wool scarf. Like any other work night, I was walking in a deserted street with a dark forest on my left. Despite the darkness that seemed to seep from the forest, I had never been afraid of walking beside it day or night. I glanced at the houses on my right. Only a few lights were illuminated. Probably students trying to finish their homework before tomorrow. I picked up my pace remembering that I had planned on doing some reading myself before going to bed. The wind’s violent blow swayed me from side to side. I clutched my jacket strongly around my body to send the cold chills that caused shivers to run down my back.
Suddenly, the feeling of being watched fused into me like the anti-virus liquid shot that I received once every year. However, there was no piercing of the skin. As a strong and pretentious girl I was, I decided to shake the feeling away. I knew every nook of this road and nothing had ever happened to me or anyone. Why did I had to start worrying now? I chuckled softly at my devious thoughts. By far, Amoris was the best place to be. It was incredibly safe. The last crime to be ever recorded was five years ago and it was a theft for a small pair of earrings from the local jewellery store.
I suddenly heard a woosh sound coming from my left. I whirled around to get a better glance of what could have possibly made the sound. There was nothing but the tall dark trees that stood steadily despite their astonishing height. I scoffed again. Was my brain trying to play tricks on me, trying to get rid of my thoughts about the safe Amoris? I chuckled again and ignored what had just happened.
I felt a different wind pass by me, going against the normal wind direction. I immediately whirled my head following the altered wind. My hair danced wildly in front of my face. I quickly brushed it away with my cold fingers. There was nothing there again. I sharpened my ears for a more definite sound but it was quiet, except the whistling wind coming from the forest. Panic that I didn’t realise I possessed started settling in my body. My thoughts started going wild with vivid images of what could possibly have made that sound. A predator? A thug? A stalker? Even worse, a rapist?
No, not a rapist. Whatever that was out there was unbelievably fast and seemed unhuman. This time without a chuckle escaping my lips, I resumed walking. Unease slowly seeped into my veins as my heart pumped blood all over my body. Wrapping my arms around my body, I picked up my pace. Whatever was out there, I could put some distance between us if I walked faster.
Another shuffle sounded from my left. I broke into a run.
I didn’t get very far before two arms lifted me off the ground. Panic plunged to the pit of my stomach. In a matter of seconds, I was pinned on what felt like uneven ground. I stifled a scream but my mouth was immediately covered by a cold hand. I didn’t want to open my eyes. I didn’t want my comprehension about Amoris as the safest town in the whole country being removed from my system. Most scarily, I didn’t want to see which of the options I had listed was standing in front of me. I waited to be barked orders at, but nothing came. Only thick breaths that sounded from my pursuer. He must have worked himself out to corner me in this position.
I slowly opened my eyes curiously. My breath suddenly got caught in my throat. What stood before me wasn’t exactly what I expected at all. If I wasn’t in this situation with this creature but maybe in a mall or something more pleasant, I’m sure I would have checked twice if my make-up and clothes were perfect before approaching him. He had crimson red eyes, unimaginably pale skin and dark lips that teased to be kissed. I shook my head. I wasn’t in a situation to be admiring someone right now. I had to take in my pursuer’s details, just in case I had to report an assault. I closed my eyes a brief moment to compose myself before swallowing the hard lump that I didn’t realise had formed in my throat. I hesitantly opened my eyes and traced the man’s face.
He was about a head taller than me. He had dark hair, or was it? Probably the darkness around us wasn’t doing any justice to my vision. I traced his thick eyebrows, dark eyelashes and finally his scrutinising red eyes. For one, two, three seconds, we held each other’s gaze. He looked at me, searching for something. For a moment I was afraid he was going to discover every little detail about me with his gaze. Hence I broke the connection.
“Don’t scream.” His voice deep and demanding sounded, making me snap my gaze back to his face.
He removed his hand from my mouth. As if I was going to listen to him. I willed myself to scream but I couldn’t move my lips and my vocal cords seemed to be glued to my throat. Panic increased in volume. I tried to move away from the man’s grip but it seemed like I was glued to the ground. I willed myself to breath, but it seemed my body wasn’t responding to my brain’s commands. The man’s hands bit into my shoulders, so hard that my eyes began to sting from unexpected tears. I watched the man as he moved his head towards me. I quickly turned away, my eyes shut tightly that I saw black spots flooding my vision. I felt the man sniff loudly against my neck. He breathed out a sigh before removing himself away from me. I could feel his gaze grazing my skin. I didn’t dare to look. I didn’t want to see his hungry eyes roaming all over my body. He was a rapist!
“It is you.” The man spoke, barely a whisper that I doubted my ears heard correctly. “I’ve finally found you.”
I blinked my eyes at the statement. What did he mean? I glanced at him, only arm’s length away. He chuckled before facing me again. His eyes were no longer blood-red but a mesmerising blue colour. How did he do that? Did he remove his contacts while I was cowering against this barky tree? Was he going to devour me now and leave me here lying helplessly? I saw his ill-tempered and hungry expression slowly change to a sad expression.
“Why is she so beautiful?” The man spoke quietly, I think to himself more than to me. He sighed before turning away from me with his hands covering his face.
I wiped a small tear that had randomly escaped my eye. My feet suddenly felt loose underneath me. I lifted my right leg and attempted to take a step away from him. He suddenly whirled around to face me, making me lock my feet back onto the ground.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” The man apologised sincerely, making me question his sudden change of mood. Was he mistaken or something?
Looking at him now. He didn’t look that much older than me. Maybe a year older?
“In spite of that, I cannot let you go,” He casually continued, a dark shadow clouding his eyes.
What? I think my panic had reached maximum by now and anytime soon I was going to burst into uncontrollable tears. I searched my surroundings for a way to escape but there was no direction that looked promising.
“Please let me go.” I begged, my voice finally freed.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.” The man spoke again, stern this time.
So, I had no choice but to attempt to run. The man glanced away from me, stuck in thought. I picked up my purse from the ground, without making any sudden movements to attract his attention and bolted. Of course he wasn’t going to let me go. I felt two arms pulling me off the ground again. I screamed but my mouth was quickly covered by the man’s hand again. Dogs barked in the background.
Giving up, tears flooded my cheeks. My pretentious attitude gone. The man abruptly released my waist. I glanced up at him blurry eyed. He was retreating away from me with his arm lifted in a defensive position. The irony in this situation made me angry. He retreated from me as if I was the monster he was trying to free himself from. He swore repeatedly and loudly before turning away from me. I slid to the ground, disempowered. There was no way I was going to be freed from him now.
“Stupid me. She’s supposed to trust me, not despise me.” He swore again, his hands running through his hair angrily.
Who did he keep on referring to? Me? What purpose did I have in his life? He suddenly whirled his body to face me. I lowered my gaze afraid of what was going to happen to me. I saw his black boots close the distance between us. He knelt in front of me before lifting his arm towards my face. I eyed his arm then his face. He was watching me carefully. His sorrowful expression still distorting his beautiful face. I cowered, moulding my body to be as small as possible. Whatever intentions he had in mind were going to be fulfilled now and there was no going back. I sent a quick prayer to my parents. Parents I was probably never going to see again.
His arm that had been hanging in the air for what felt like eternity dropped to his side. He sighed glancing at the ground before facing me again.
“I’m really sorry. Forgive me please?” His voice came out raspy and I could feel guilt spilling out along with his words.
I dared to glance into his eyes. I found myself under the scrutiny of two pools of vibrant ultramarine. The blue in them was exceptional and striking. No human had eyes like that. I had gazed into a lot of blue eyes in my lifetime but none were as beautiful as his. I was captivated by his stare that I lost my current predicament.
I was brought back to my senses by his deep, and raspy voice, “I’m sorry”
I blinked a couple of times before focusing on my frozen fingers resting on my lap and dared to speak. “What do you want from me?”
I cringed at how weak and defeated my voice sounded. He sighed before running his fingers through his hair. He didn’t respond for ten whole seconds. He seemed to be in fight with himself. Just as he was about to open his mouth, my phone vibrated in my purse. His gaze fell to my purse then back to me. I stared back until he nodded.
“But don’t tell whoever that is where you are and what just happened.” The man warned before nodding again. I swallowed and nodded while getting my phone from my purse.
Mum’s face flushed across the screen. With shaking hands, I clicked the answer button.
“Honey, where are you?” My mum’s voice cried from the phone’s earpiece. I winced at the worry that radiated from her words. “Do you want me to come and get you?”
“No mum. I’m fine.” I replied suppressing a sniffle. I could feel the man’s intense gaze on my face. I knew I couldn’t disobey him.
“Why are you sniffling?” She barked into the phone. “Are you sure you are alright? You know what, I’m coming to pick you up.”
“No mum, it’s fine.” I stopped her before she hung up. “I’m only a block away.”
“Fine.” She sighed. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Yes mum.” I finished before cutting the call.
I hesitantly glanced at the man. A small smile was on his lips, “Well done.”
I didn’t reply. Still unsure of his motives. I just sat there waiting for his orders.
“You can go now. I won’t hold you hostage anymore. Just don’t say a word to anyone about this or else, I will do more than what just happened today.” Surprised by his words I searched his eyes for sincerity.
However, he quickly stood up before I could investigate them and left my presence. I looked around me suddenly feeling alone. Not one figure was in sight. How did he disappear from my sight that quick? He definitely wasn’t human. I picked myself from the ground, my legs trembling under me. Not wanting to call more attention upon myself, I ran.
I ran as fast as my cold feet could take me.