Chapter 3 - Foreboding Dreams
A cool breeze blew through Oliver’s open window as he lie on the moth-eaten mattress in his new bedroom, eyes glued to the ceiling. He should be asleep, he knew. But thoughts raced through his brain like lightning, one after the other. What could his mother have meant by this place being familiar to her? Was there something she was keeping from him? And if so, why?
His ice-blue eyes drifted over to the window then, sighing tiredly. All this thinking was making his head hurt. It’s not as if the answer would come anyhow. Not unless she actually divulged what she’d been hiding. And as of right now, that seemed highly unlikely. Frowning to himself, slowly he let his eyelids flutter closed, feeling a wave of drowsiness wash over him. Only a few seconds passed before darkness enclosed, the unconscious pull of sleep overtaking him completely...
Stars. They were the only thing that lit up the unwavering pitch-black darkness that surrounded him on all sides. Immediately, Oliver’s senses began to become more attuned as he blinked, struggling to see through the shadows that seemed to jump out at him from every angle. Fog billowed around his ankles, covering the ground in a thick blanket, the scent hanging in the air that of pungent earth and dirt. I’m in the swamp, he surmised, frowning to himself. It was more of a statement, a fact than an actual discovery - it was like he just knew deep down somehow.
The muddy ground squished underneath his feet as he walked further into the dark, the sounds of the wild rising up on either side of him: crickets chirping, the minute ripple of movement on the water, insect wings beating the air, frogs croaking out their own personal symphony... But before Oliver could take it in or even remotely begin to wonder why he was here, a sound rang out in the open air. A sound that chilled him to his very core: a wolf howl.
His blue eyes widened considerably, feeling his breath catch in his throat. What in the world was a wolf doing all the way out here? They weren’t native to this area by any means. Slowly, he started to turn away, go back the way he’d come. But as he did, his Converse-clad foot stepped on a twig. It cracked loudly in the stale night air, snapping in half instantly.
The wolf howled again, this time longer and louder. It was getting closer. Suddenly, Oliver didn’t care if it heard him or not - he needed to get out of there. But before he could run, the fog cleared around him, revealing the creature he’d been so desperate to avoid.
It was bigger than he’d imagined, almost majestic but very menacing. Ebony black fur covered its body, the hair standing on end from hackles to the curve of its spine. Oliver’s heart pounded erratically in his chest, feeling his breathing pick up. Suddenly, though, as if the animal could sense his fear, its eyes locked with his. The orbs were a deep amber hue, gazing over into Oliver’s own piercing blue ones. It was then that he realized the creature meant him no harm. The wolf’s eyes held sadness, not violence.
He must have been out of his mind to do it. But something in him felt drawn to this animal, some instinct deep inside of him. Ever so slowly, Oliver approached the creature, careful to not make any sudden movements. But the wolf only watched with a curious gaze, unbothered. When he was about a foot away, he knelt down in front of it, the wolf calmly staring back. Oliver had to bite back a gasp then at what he saw there, the image reflected in the animal’s eyes shocking him to his very core. No...no, it couldn’t be-
Oliver woke up with a start, his clothes and bed-sheets drenched in sweat. He put his hand on his heart and felt it beating rapidly. What in the world had...what was that even? Taking deep, steady breaths, he tried to calm himself as he closed his eyes briefly. It was only a dream, it was only a dream...
With mechanical movements, he untangled himself from his sheets and walked over to his dresser against the far wall. Leaning there for a moment, hands pressed to the smooth mahogany surface, he let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. Glancing up then, he picked up his necklace from where it rested among the other bits of junk he’d tossed up here upon arriving.
Turning the pendant over in his hand, the silver surface glinted off the tiny rays of light coming in through the window. It had a single letter on it: a C. Oliver gently ran his fingers over it. He’d always wondered what the C stood for. Even his middle name didn’t start with a C.
Shrugging, he slipped it over his neck, deciding once and for all that today would be different. No pondering what brought him here, what things meant. Today would be a day to explore, to discover.
It was time Oliver really got to experience New Orleans.