"Cause when the shit hit the fan
All we ever had ended up lost in the fire
And now nothing's saved, nothing's gained"
Hurricane by Theory of a Deadman
The street lights flicker in the encompassing black of night as I walk down the streets in District Seven, throwing half formed shadows onto the pavement. Small pools of standing water turning into orange mirrors, making the whole scene look like something out of a B movie horror flick where the lone damsel in distress is suddenly accosted by a man who turns out to be Dracula himself.
Poor electrics and schlock horror novelty aside, the night could be described as, well, pretty shitty.
It's the end of August and the winds are already blowing like we're hitting the start of winter. My hands are tucked into my pockets and my chin tucked to my chest, trying to keep a little warmth to myself. It's not just the weather turning the air cold, looking up into the night sky I can see the blood red eye of the moon staring back...a Hunters' moon.
Cold weather chills the body, a moon like that, the soft red glow it gives everything that chills the very soul. Most people see it as an omen for good or ill, but that night, frankly, I think I was dealing with enough crap to happily overlook any celestial sign of poor fortune...maybe that was my first mistake. Maybe that was why I dismissed the uneasy feeling I was getting, just shadows and moonlight pulling on that never extinguished primal fear of the human mind.
I was already drifting into a pretty foul mood, it's my last night of freedom before the tortures of school begin again...boring lectures, stuffy classrooms, and annoying teachers. Not that I care that much about it. I tended to skip more classes than I attended. There's more to life than sitting like a good little girl and learning parrot fashion from some old guy who spends more time paying attention to his students' bodies than their minds.
I can't help but sigh at the seeming pattern that's forming, weather sucks, school sucks, my life pretty much sucks, maybe it always did, it certainly seems I have plenty of crap to wade through so I stare back at that bloody red eye in the sky and determine to salvage something of this evening at least...and deep down, in some primitive part of me I could swear I felt something, somewhere, staring back.
I pulled at the purple streak that Kata, my best friend died into my hair that night, curling it around my finger as I headed back to the ancient nunnary in the middle of the city, to the place I have to call home. Of course, there will be hell to pay for this single little colourful lock. Nuns don’t like hair dyer, it’s the product of Lucifer himself. I bet I will get that I was trading my soul for these foolish mundane reasons. But it had taken us an hour of prepping and dying to get this how I wanted it; maybe I wouldn't have bothered if i'd taken the time to think about how much trouble this was going to cause me in the long run, but, well, trouble finds me anyway, may as well face it with style, right?
Forgetting my mood for a while I reflected how well things had been going, I was happy with my hair, and i'd managed to sneak out of the nunnary without being noticed...God bless mindless TV programming and the never ending passion of nuns for Esmeralda and her fellow South American sisters.
Things seemed to go well after i'd gotten to the bar earlier that night, one drink in and I find a guy willing to lay some money down on the pool table, which I was more than happy to take from him. My friends were in high spirits and i'd managed to get some time in with Laci cuddled up at the bar. Perfect evening, right, cherry pie with whipped cream on top.
An hour later and I wish I had that pie so I could have shoved it down Laci's throat and tell him to choke on it and die after I found him screwing some little bar whore in the store room...again. Oh, he gave me the usual crap, how he was sorry, it just happened, it meant nothing, how he'd never do it again. It's the again part that brought me back to thinking of my own stupidity for letting it ever be able to have the word “again” used. The argument was something else, my friends had to try and pull me away from that little bitch as I tried to turn her into a smear on the floor, and then again when I gave in to the urge to try and make sure my dear, beloved Laci couldn't fuck anything else that moved for a good few months.
The arguments, the fights, that was bad enough, but when you can almost feel someone's gaze burning into your back the whole night, when you can feel the weight of someone's complete attention, and not know who it is or where they are, that sets your nerves on edge more than dealing with the same old crap. I'd had this feeling all night, ever since hitting the streets, through the pool game, the drinking, and the betrayal of my wonderful boyfriend, and if anything, all this seemed to make whoever, whatever this was all the more focused on me.
I was walking down the Szövetség Street when I stopped for a second to light a cigarette, trying to make this paranoid feeling that had gotten under my skin to go away. That was the second mistake of the night, I realized that as soon as the feeling of shear horror ran through my body, and the primal instinct to run knocked the air out of my lungs for a second. I looked up from my cigarette, seeing a man standing in front of me. Either the lights fell on him in a strange angle, or I watched way too many horror films lately but I could swear his eyes were black, and I’m not talking about deep brown eyes, I’m talking about eyes with no white at all, nothing but the darkness. Both my mind and body were screaming at me to flee but I knew better. The last thing anyone should do when facing danger is to back down. Danger is like a wild animal, it attacks at the tiniest sign of weakness.
“Awesome contact lenses” I noted, in a surprisingly cool tone, using all my will power to hold my body back from shooting out like a horse when the bullet flies out from the gun.
The guy was still staring at me, a smile appearing at the corner of his lips, his head making the slightest of movements, a simple nod. I knew it was too late to run by then. Someone grabbed my arms roughly from behind, pulling them to my back. I could feel their cold breath on the side of my neck, causing me to shudder with disgust. I knew screaming wouldn’t help me. This wasn’t the best part of Budapest. Fights and screams were part of every day life, people would only think some drunk went against each other again.
I had to get through this alone as I did with everything else. As the man in front of me smirked, I kicked towards him in attempt to keep him away but it was no use. My body struggled in the other one’s strong arms but of course it did no good. The first guy, with that mocking smirk, touched my chest, right above my racing heart, and that was the weirdest, most indescribable feeling, as if something was sucking life out of me, like I was slowly falling into the darkness, like I was getting lost in the blackness of his eyes. That was when a small voice in the back of my mind pulled me back from it. Suddenly I felt like my body was on fire, all the terror I felt turned into anger, pure rage. My body jerked, and I saw the cross that i'd inherited from my mother swing out on it's chain and touch the man’s hand. He took a step back crying out in pain, surprising the other one enough to weaken his grip on me slightly. I headbutted him, and his hands fell off me. I felt suddenly dizzy and my head was pounding like a bass drum, doing that seems way cooler in films than it feels.
“Gentlemen”, said a cool, cold deep voice. His tone was almost mocking, with a hint of arrogance but only almost. He was way too controlled, too much of an undercurrent of collected calm. I couldn’t see him as he was standing in the dark, very smartly avoiding all of the street lights.
One of the men hissed something, glaring at this man, maybe it was a name, Aiden, or Hayden. He surely wasn’t Hayden Panettiere ready to start a country song... But I could use her fiance at the moment. A Klitschko would definitely be benefitial right now. However, whoever he was I couldn't care less, they seemed to forget about me, and that was the right time to attack. There was no way I would have left without hurting them for trying to cause damage for me. I have no idea where the strength I had came from but it was amazing. I could feel my blood rushing through my veins, all the adrenalin making me feel like I was Buffy, the vampire slayer. I hit one of the guys in the face, causing him to fall on the ground, hitting his head on the hard pavement. Mysterious guy from the dark yelled at me, in all honesty, I have no idea what it was he was trying to tell me as all I could care was this other man coming at me like some kind of hungry beast. I kicked him in the stomach, or that would have been the plan, instead he grabbed my foot, so I landed on the cold pavement next to his buddie who was snarling at me. My hands got some nice bruises as I landed on them, trying to weaken the strength of the hit of the pavement. Blood was slowly flowing from my wounds, colouring my usually olive skin. I punched the man next to me in the face, making disgusted noises as he literally spit curse words on me. Next thing I knew... Next thing I knew that something was on fire for a second, and then bad boy number two’s head landed on my otherside with a loud thud. I was staring at it for a second, more shocked by the fact that I wasn’t shocked than by the bodiless head right beside me. I quickly shook myself mentally, and jumped to my feet. Bad boy number 1 did the same, only to start a fight with Mr. Decapitater. My reaction time didn’t seem to be on the top as I just realized that I was at a murder scene, and I should get the hell away from that.
I turned my back to them, and ran as fast as I could. I always knew there were benefits of running other than winning some race. I swear, I ran so fast on a hundred meter, even Usain Bolt would be envious. I didn’t look back, not even for a second. All I could sense was the noises of fighting, and the lights on the wall, like something was on fire. The shadows made them look even bigger than they were actually, making it look like giants were fighting against each other, the sound of hard metal crashing echoed in my bones, making me run even faster. I didn’t care what was happening there, all I could think of was to get away from all of them in one piece before my earlier thoughts of this night being like something from a horror film turned into reality, with me in the starring role.
I turned to the right at Dohány Street, passing by the non-stop shop I often went to buy booze, the noises from the Pizzeria on the other side letting me know there was no apocalypse going on, whether I feel that way, or not. In only a minute I passed the Alsóerdősor Street as well, running by the high yellow building of the hospital, I was only a corner away from home.
It took me around two-three minutes to get back to the nunnary, that was a record, that’s for sure. Completely out of breath, panting like I’d just run a Marathon, I stared up at the tall fence in front of me. God damn Sister Zsuzsanna for putting those spikes on the top after the last time I was caught sneaking out. Classy, I must say, fits the name Square of Roses. I took off my leather jacket, threw it over the fence, so I wouldn’t end up spiked up like a picece of bacon, and quickly climbed over, glancing over my shoulder. I couldn’t help but still be under the influence of what had happened. I ran towards the gate of the building, my steps echoing in the dark like a jackhammer on the yellow stones’ of the square, Saint Erzsébet standing in the middle, owning the space with her flowers in her hands. I didn’t care if I woke anyone up with opening the large gates that led through the church, or not. If I had to choose to be punished by some soap opera fan nuns, or those black eyed whatever they were men, I vote for the nuns. I leaned against the gate to open it, and finally, as I was between the cold walls of the church, I felt safe. I let out a sigh of relief as the heavy door slowly closed behind me. I never thought I would actually be happy to be back at this place. I walked between the benches, still panting slightly, feeling a little bit taken aback by the silence that the walls offered me.
“Stop staring at me so accusingly,” I glared at the painted angels above my head. “I know you weren’t all goody goody all the time,” I mumbled to them. I’m talking to paintings on the ceiling. What exactly does that say about me? I laughed to myself as I turned to the left, and opened the door that lead to the dorms only to have the living hell scared out of me. If I were the screaming type, I would have surely screamed but I would be a poor choice for a Scary Movie. There she stood in front of me, in all of her statuesque glory, Sister Zsuzsanna. That woman doesn’t even breath, doesn’t even blink, she’s one of the walking dead.
“Sister Zsuzsanna,” I grinned at her sheepishly. Maybe I should just think about going back to those guys, they seem less scarier at the moment.
“Léda,” it’s common knowledge that nuns don’t curse but they do say your name, they say it like that was the worst swear word in the whole Universe.
“Cute nightgown, sister,” I noted, running my eyes over her simple white nightdress, biting my bottom lip not to burst out in laughter. Adrenalin rush, it does crazy things to people, I should be happy I haven’t fainted yet, no one has smelling-salts lately.
“We will talk about this tomorrow,” she said sternly with only her lips moving. Maybe she uses botox, and that’s why her face is so statue like, one can never know nowadays.
“About your nightgown, sister?” I smiled at her innocently, knowing I was pushing her never existing patience but after a night like that, and before a day like tomorrow, I deserve some fun.
“Go to your room, Léda, now,” she said, her face turning all red like pepper. I wonder if I push her more, she will turn into a little devil and end up like a spot on the door like in one of those old folk tales.
“Yes, Sir, I mean, sister, yes, sister, my room now,” I saluted and quickly started away, bursting out in laughter.
I fell into my bed as soon as I entered my room, my eyes wandering around the ever so boring, and impersonal used to white, now yellowish walls, furnished in a very minimalistic style, a single bed, a closet, a desk, and that was it. I glanced at the piece of paper on the wall next to my bed, the only decoration in the tiny Spartanian room: “We fight for you. Keep the faith.” The one and only thing that my mother’s ever told me. She must have been a huge Bon Jovi fan. That piece of paper is my all time reminder that one can not afford to count on anyone, not even their own mother. According to Sister Margit my mother was a bright young woman, the bravest she’s ever met. Of course, if this bright young woman was so brilliant how come she ended up knocked up at the age 18? Also if she was the bravest how could she end up leaving her baby with complete strangers? How could she leave her daughter alone in a world like this? Sister Margit always says I have to forgive her for abandoning me because she had a reason, her heart was ripped out when she had to leave. Still, she did it because she had something more important to do. What is more important than taking care of your child? Sure, I understand, she must have saved the world, and she was Wonder Woman.
She abandoned me because she wanted to protect me. In my opinion if she had wanted to protect me, she wouldn’t even have given birth to start with because let's face it; life is cruel in general. It’s nonsense that even after a night like this I keep thinking about that woman. I was cheated on, almost got into a barfight, almost got killed by unknown junkies, or creatures, whatever the hell they were but as always I’m back to square one. Except that I also think of the man in the dark. I hear that one single word that I heard him saying again, and again, sending shivers upon my entire being, from my very soul to my toes.
I knew I was saved as soon as I heard him, not because I thought they would forget about me, but simply because I knew whoever that man was, he would kill those guys. I don’t believe it to be anything personal, or that his reason for the murder would have been my precious self. No. He was a killer, controlled, cold blooded without any kind of second thoughts. I shouldn’t even be thinking of this as I’ve got nothing to do with the whole thing, it’s none of my business. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, simple as that. Story of my life. Instead of thinking of this, I should forget about this crap before I become as obsessed as Bella Swan. I’d rather be Lizzy Bennet and turn down Mr. Darcy, only so he could propose again. Not that a Mr. Darcy would ever consider even talking to me but still.
I stood up, and changed into my pijamas before falling back to the bed, and reaching for my earphones, pushing the play button on my twenty-so year old hi-fi, Janis Joplin’s husky voice on the even elder record distracting me slightly. But even the music what usually helped me to silence the noises of my boisterous mind didn’t help this time. The feeling of how the world around me was changing for good didn’t let me have my rest. I often think of this, the unstoppable way how everything slowly spins out of control, the thought pushing down on me like a dark shadow of the future, getting more and more intimidating. I don’t know if it’s only my teenager hormones having the best of me, or some kind of horryifying premonition but I swear, I could feel it in my bones, with every breath I took, minutes by minutes we were all getting closer to our destiny what lurks around in the dark, waiting in the shadows for the perfect moment to crash everything what we know, destroy our lives like we were tiny little mindless plastic dolls. It will arrive out of the blue, blowing everything away on it’s way like a destructive tornado what has no mercy, hears no screams, or pleads while it devours all lives on it’s way of destroy, and when that happens... When that happens, I’ll be in the middle of it, I’ll be in the middle of that tornado.