Strange Eyes

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Thirty-two

We greeted the dawn with an anxiousness.

It wasn’t the same beautiful merging that had been there the night before. No, that time, it was hastened. We didn’t have any time to waste. The golden sun shone in through the swaying treetops. My eyes met Sam’s as I covered my nakedness.

His dark eyes were gleaming with something unknown to me. I glimpsed his pain. His fear. The anxiousness that stirred within his heart. His hand touched against mine, and we walked into the safe house with the others, Adonis leading the way.

The ridges of Adonis’ back glowed in the morning sun. The air was chilled. Empty of sound. Something ominous had settled about the atmosphere. Something dark. I could feel it in my bones.

The u-so-nv.

The word, although not in my own language, stirred chills within my heart. I knew that none of us could be prepared for what these beings would bring to us. What darkness they would conjure. What chaos.

I recalled my dream that I’d had what felt like the hour before. It was burned in my brain. The all-consuming darkness. The silver eyes. The feeling of absolute hopelessness, as though all warmth and peace was being leeched from the world.

We were all wide awake, despite our natural instinct to sleep. We all pushed through, the adrenaline running high. As we entered the safe house, our clothes half-on that we’d laid out in preparation for our return, Adonis led us solemnly into the living room.

I passed under Rick’s arm as he held the door open. His expression was like stone. He regarded me shortly, something passing between us. Les’ dark eyes met mine. A mutual fear could be seen in all of us as ventured into the unknown.

Sam’s hand was an anchor in mine.

Adonis did not sit. He stood as we all filed in, the room silent and barren of laughter and music that usually filled it. It was white. Bare. I sat beside Rick on the couch, Sam parting from me wordlessly, his eyes meeting mine briefly. I knew that he needed to stand with Adonis at the head of the circle that we had all formed.

I looked around at all of them. These beautiful men that possessed the same magic that I did. It sung in our blood. Burning with the song of an ancient people, a power as old as time.

But would it be enough?

Adonis waited to speak until everyone had settled. His topaz eyes were hard. Powerful. I remembered the cracking of the exterior that I had witnessed earlier when we were Shifted, and a sharp pain ran through me. What was going to happen to us?

Adonis looked so tired. Drained. I suspected that this new information of the u-so-nv had rattled him. I would never know what it felt like to be the sole learner of this new threat, with no one to confide in. And I hoped that I would never learn. I felt for him deeply.

Finally, he spoke, as the room was still. It was so silent that I could hear my own blood pumping.

“We all know what our purpose is.” Adonis began. His voice was powerful. Deep and resonant. He was the only one that any of us saw. There was a chilling stillness about the room, as though the earth itself were listening.

“To protect the tribe.” He said, looking at each and every one of us. His eyes stopped on mine. I nodded my head at his words, feeling the deep truth of them. I felt this purpose pull at me, ignite in my soul.

“We’ve always known that there would be beings that would disrupt the force of the tribe.” He continued.

“In the past, we’ve encountered spirits of malignant intent. Beings that seek our end. But it is the purpose of the creation of the Changed Ones to fight against these foul creatures. And we have. This is all that we know.” There was something profoundly ancient about Adonis in that moment, as those words left his mouth.

Sam nodded his head, his expression like stone. I felt the pull of their energy. The flame of their bond, reaching out to all of the rest of us. Sam and I’s bond was like a glowing ember, gleaming faintly between us in the morning dimness. I felt the stirring of his emotions. I knew that he could feel mine too.

Adonis kept on. “But this is one threat that is the fiercest I have ever seen.” With those words, my heart sunk in my chest.

His eyes glowed. He looked so unstoppable just standing there. So larger than life. They all were. Why wasn’t that enough?

“In order to go against these spirits, we must know of them.” Adonis was intent, his eyes smoldering with intensity and power. I readied myself for his next words.

“The u-so-nv manifest themselves into human form. They blend with regular society by day. However, by night, they morph into a cruel and dark parody of us the ga-ne-tli-yv-da.” With those words, a heart-stopping realization came over me, igniting every fear in my body.

The boy with the silver eyes.

He had been standing right there. He was at my school. Among regular people. Kids.

They were in Aurora.

“They’re here.” I spoke, the words leaving my trembling mouth before I could stop them.

Adonis paused. He stared at me. His eyes were so bright and piercing that it looked as though a flame had manifested itself within the topaz glow.

“You saw one?” Adonis spoke the words with an incredulous whisper. All of the others turned to look at me. Sam’s gaze burned bright into me, alive with horror. His expression was that of agony and an anger so intense that it combatted with the Alpha’s own intensity.

I nodded my head, my heart pounding fiercely. “Before I came to you. He…it…was at my high school. Standing on the outside of the quad.”

The collective mood of horror settled about all of them. Sam’s eyes blazed. He looked faraway, as though he were concentrating very hard on something unknown.

“They came to me in a dream, too. A vision. I saw them. The u-so-nv.” My words came out rushed, hurried. As though the knowledge would fizzle out if I didn’t speak quickly enough.

Adonis’ eyes were searching. He looked deep in thought. I realized then that Sam’s hands were clenched dangerously at his sides. He was trembling with what I perceived as anger. I felt it hotly within our bond. Everyone was silent, the air alive with a horrible thrill.

I stared at them, wide-eyed. “Why did they choose to come to me?” I spoke, my voice small. Adonis looked at me.

“I do not know.”

My uneasiness tripled.

I swallowed thickly. “What are we going to do?”

There was a hush. A thrill of anticipation. We all looked to Adonis, the momentary attention my realization had gained lost to me.

Adonis looked pained. Lost. So incredibly young, the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“I do not know.”

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