IT ALL TAKES PLACE in a small country with a size of maybe a province that was recognized by no one in the world but the people who lived there. Everyone who lives in the peculiar place brings the existence of the country to their graves. Not one country, state, city, or other town knew of this place.
The population was fair, just enough. The people were considered rich, if they go outside the country. Citizens there give importance to their reputations, just like the way almost everyone in the world held importance to their reputation.
It only had one school— university, no one really needed more, the university was enough for every child, teenager and college student in the country. In this country, every high school and college student who studied in the university stays in one massive mansion-like dorm.
Well, every teenager but Dark— who lives in his family’s historical underground mansion. Dark is a very intelligent and attractive young man to the extent that every girl in the school would actually walk around the whole school looking for him- even when they knew that no one would really see him. They’ve seen him in pictures, he was more likely that of a Greek god. Girls would fantasize over the young man, dreamily, on a daily basis. Not one thought different.
With his almost ash-white blonde hair, cold silver-blue eyes, his facial structure, the jawline, and the intimidating, breath-taking look he had in every picture. The enigmatic demeanor radiating— even if it was just a picture of him. Everyone in the school would always wonder how he could be so unnoticed. The hallways, the classrooms, the events; surely, someone with such good looks would never go unseen.
But he does. That left everyone wondering, but it did nothing to lessen the fascination with the young man. Girls adored him. Not one could ever change that.
I, Kira Reine Montgomery— as short as I could say my name— however, you would think that I, with such name would have that of a goddess-like beauty who attracts many boys. Surprise! I am no more than a simple girl who knows how to carry herself with her dark brown hair, black irises, and small frame.
Like every other girl in the university, I have always wondered about him— Dark. I never voiced it, never expressed it, I never tell anyone how I would wait on the staircase that would lead to Dark’s home, how I went down the staircase only to be greeted by the complete darkness of a hallway and no light would work on the hallways except on the staircase. It was strange, like magic, like something was preventing the light to shine through the dark passage-like isle.
I would wait, in hopes to get a glimpse of Dark. I don’t know what it was about the place, about Dark. But something about the place, even though it might as well be some abandoned historical place rather than Dark’s home after going down the staircase once, twice, thrice, a part of me knew it was his home and no other place. Something about the place seems so safe and familiar. Something about Dark, that draws me in, maybe my love of darkness— at night or daylight, but there was something else... something I couldn’t pinpoint. It is almost like a missing piece.
“Hey! We’re heading over to the staircase before getting home, do you want to come?” I hear Audrey ask, cutting me off my reverie.
I do. I really do.
Smiling at her, “Yeah, sure,” I answer, taking my backpack and slinging it over my back. We make our way out of the university’s gate, walking as tiny droplets of rain drops upon our skin and uniforms. Rain and dark skies were nothing new to the country, most people in the country hate it, but to me, it was a whole different story, I love the rain and the cold and the dark sky that came along with it.
I breathe in and wonder, will I ever see him?
Soon enough, we were at the east side of the town, the staircase was close. Suddenly, Audrey, my friend, runs to the staircase and drags me with her.
“Oh!” I squeak in shock, Audrey dragged me into the hallway. The hallway was cold and dark—as always— like every other time I’ve gone down the staircase.
Audrey huffs, “they said there’s a poster of him around this hallway,” she mutters. Suddenly, something knocks our body, fast like a strong wind that simply swept by, if it hadn’t been for actually feeling it knock my body, I would assume it was nothing but wind.
“Oof!” My heart started beating through my chest erratically. An intoxicating smell lingered in the air, it smelled quite manly, like black roses, somewhat woodsy with mint. Oh god, what the hell was that?
Audrey drags me, yet again, to the staircase, with wide eyes, she looks at me and squeals. “It was him! It was definitely him!”
Him. Always him. Never Dark. They never call him Dark. It was always him.
“That’s impossible, Audrey!” I scoff at her, to which she responds simply with a grin, but I knew, a part of me knew that that was him.
“Whatever! All I know is that shadow, was him!” She prances, running off to their group of friends who stayed on beside the staircase and was laughing at Audrey’s reaction. They started gushing.
I shake my head, walking up the staircase slowly. As crazy as it sounds, no matter how creepy it must have been earlier, I wanted to stay. Once I reach the upper ground, I look back to where exactly my body along with Audrey, was knocked by something, or rather someone.
That’s when I suddenly hear a whisper that gave me goosebumps, ”Do not come back,” I shiver and suck a breath. I blink again and again. I didn’t just hear that, did I? I’m just imagining things. I turn around and walk up to my “friends”, making our way to the mansion.
We wait outside the mansion’s gate after letting the scanner scan our ID and fingerprint. The gates slowly open for us and we make our way inside the territory where we are welcomed by the maids, taking our bags and holding an umbrella for us.
“Oh dear! Your uniform is almost soaked!” Says my handmaid, Ofelia, in her thick British accent, wrapping a towel over my back. “Quickly, get inside and change!” Ofelia hurriedly helps me inside the mansion and into my room, like she was in some sort of rush.
“I will come back in a short while to take your uniform and wash it, after handing you your snacks, alright dear?” I nod at Ofelia, who closes the door, leaving me in my room. I make my way to my door and locked it.
I walked back to my bed, removing the blazer, unbuttoning my blouse and stripping off my skirt after removing my socks and black ankle boots— placing all of it on the chair. I take a shower, soaping my body with the floral and somewhat fruit-scented soap, rinsing my body as the water cascade from the shower head to my body.
I dry myself and move to the closet, changing into a pair of shorts and a tank top, then walk out of the closet, barefooted, not that I minded. Besides, the floor was warm enough and covered with an expensive-looking carpet.
There was a knock on the door and I walk over, unlocking it, the door opens, revealing Audrey and my handmaid holding a tray with a plate of donuts and two glasses of orange juice. Ofelia places the tray on the table as Audrey and I sit on my queen-size bed.
We wait for Ofelia to exit the room, she leaves after taking my uniform and closes the door behind her.
“Tell me you believe it’s him!” Audrey gushes immediately after Ofelia’s departure
“No, it’s not!”
I give her a pointed look, “I’m not done talking yet, I said it’s impossible but who else could do that? There’s... Maybe a 10% chance,” I continue, Audrey rolls her eyes at me, almost looking like she wanted to do nothing but ignore my comment.
Then a thought crosses my mind, “Did you smell something after that?”
Audrey’s eyes widen at my question, “Yes!” She squeals.
“What did it smell like?” I ask again.
Audrey frowns, “Smells exactly like the boys in our school, really,” she answers. “You have to be more specific than that, Audrey,” I press, making Audrey scoff, “you can recognize it easily, Kira, we’re literally surrounded by boys at school! They simply smell like boys, just peppermint, and cinnamon,” she answers.
No Audrey, you are literally surrounded by boys at school. I wanted to say, but didn’t.
I furrow my eyebrows together in confusion, peppermint, and cinnamon? No, it smelled like black roses, woods, and mint. “Didn’t it smell like black roses? Woods? Mint?”
Audrey looks at me incredulously as if I had said the most ridiculous thing known to world history. “What the hell are you talking about?”
What the heck?
I decided to brush it off, shaking my head, “Never mind,” I mutter. Audrey rolls her eyes at me and snickers to herself lightly, probably with a certain thought upon her mind.
“Whatever,” she says, standing from my bed abruptly and leaving the room. I frown. I couldn’t be mistaken, couldn’t I? It was too clear, too vivid, for me to mistake the scent.
I walk over my closet and slip on my flip-flops and a sweater over my tank top, deciding to make a quick travel to the library, it wasn’t too late yet anyway, it was just a little past three in the afternoon. I take my phone and close the door behind me. Maids and housekeepers bow as I pass. It was something I had to get used to over the years since I started staying in the mansion, the unusual special treatment towards me even when they try to not make it as obvious as it seems, it was no use. I do think, though, that it was one of the reasons why my so-called” “friends” insisted I join their group.
As I slip out and close the grand doors of the mansion behind me, the gardeners and maids lingering outside turns to look at me, a butler nears me, “Would you like to use a vehicle, Miss?” He asks.
Doing that would save me the effort, but I won’t be able to go back the staircase if I go with a chauffeur, “Do you think I could drive it myself?” I ask, for permission.
The butler smiles at me sadly, “I’m sorry, Miss but no.”
I nod my head, “Very well then, I will walk instead,” I say, smiling at the butler then walking to the gates and pressing my thumb on the scanner. The gate opens.
I took my time walking as music play through my earphones. It wasn’t too long until I took sight of the staircases where across from it was the library, I walk towards it, and the intoxicating smell still lingers in the air. I stare at the place in wonder.
I brush it off and continued making my way to the library, the bell rings above me as I open the door, the librarian looks up from her book and smiles at me, I smile back at her, politely.
I made my way to the shelves of history. They said there was only ever one book that has every history of the country. Mystic Kingdom’s History. I trace my hand on the books, giving my full attention to the titles. I frown as I realize that it was not there. But if I remember correctly, no one was allowed to borrow the book, it was only allowed to be read in the library.
I frown and head to the librarian, who wasn’t there anymore.
What the hell?
Someone taps on my shoulder, making me jump in surprise as I turn around. It was the librarian, I put my hand on my chest, “Need help, dear?” The librarian asks.
I nod at her, “Perhaps, you’ve seen the Mystic Kingdom’s History book?”
“Oh, a young man asked to borrow it!” She says, as if it was an everyday thing, though the woman was considered old, I know that the woman isn’t old enough to not be able to see the said man’s face.
“Is that so? I thought borrowing the book was not allowed?” I ask, bewildered.
“And it is not, dear. The young man said that the country’s mayor asked for it, I was quite skeptical, to be honest,” the old woman answers, walking back behind the desk.
“Then why did you give it?”
“Well for all I know, the Mayor does need the book and he’s the mayor, therefore he owns the history book of our country even if it means giving it to a young man,” the librarian answers, sitting on the chair behind the desk.
“May I ask what the young man you were talking about looked like?”
“Do you really need the book that bad, child?” She simply nods. With a huff, the librarian seems to think, “I couldn’t make out his face, if I’m being honest,” the woman starts, I frown, is this woman serious right now?
“He was wearing a black shirt, a black leather jacket, black jeans and had this black fedora hat, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’s trying to go unnoticed,” the woman continued, my eyebrows shot up. Dark? Why would Dark—?
“Was he tall?”
“Yes, very tall, actually,” the librarian nods in response, as if recalling the moment that Dark had possibly come to take the history book.
I smile at the librarian, “Alright, thank you, Ma’am,” I say with a nod then walked out the library.
With that, I decided to go back to the staircase, maybe I could find that poster Audrey told me about? I walk until I notice something that seemed to shine quite brightly under the dark skies.I squint my eyes at the object, it was just beside the staircase. My eyes widen in recognition, it’s the country’s history book. I hurriedly run to the book and bend down to pick it up.