Turning over in bed moaning as I reached over to shut off the alarm. The little red numbers on my clock read 5:15 a.m.; I stumbled out of bed and made for the bathroom. After putting my hair back in a rough pony-tail, I started my morning workout. First I stretched out making sure my muscles were loose so I wouldn't pull anything, then I went to work. After I was done lifting weights I prepared for my morning run. Changing out of my gym shorts and muscle shirt and put on a pair of sweats and an oversized long sleeve t-shirt. Before leaving I checked to make sure my daggers were in place and ready for quick use. Checking the sheaths on my mid-upper back, then the ones on each of my upper arms; next came the ones on my outer thighs, and one last one in my left boot. Looking in the mirror in my bedroom to make sure they weren't visible under the loose clothing, and then finally I was ready to leave.
Down the street for two blocks, then a right at
McDonald's and then another right turn on the corner of Bruce and Lake Sena. I made sure to stay away from Calice St. because that was part of the shape-shifters terrain; although many would just ignore me, I new that others wouldn't. Some would just love to sink a knife or teeth into me if they got the chance, I wasn't about to give it to them. So turning left onto MaryBeth Ln., away from shape-shifter territory. After running for a couple more miles I stopped at a little place called Joe's Diner. I walked in and sat down on a stool at the counter.
Kira saw Dez walk in, after she finished taking her current order she sauntered on over to the counter. Handing the cook the order "Hey Dez," She exclaimed with a broad smile on her face; which was not unusual she was always smiling, "The usual?" Dez nodded. Dez never talked much, but she stopped by every morning and ordered a cheese omelet with a side of sausage, bacon, hash browns, and a glass of milk. She seemed like a nice girl, she didn't smoke or drink and she didn't do drugs which even extended as far as drinking caffeine! Which she found weird, but hey good for her…but she worried about her sometimes. Whenever she came in with the occasional nick or an unusual bruise; she would always try to talk to her to see if she was all right, to make sure she was safe and sound, and wasn't too hurt. She would see if she could coax what happened out of her, some times she got some lame excuse like she fell or tripped over something, claiming she was extremely clumsy. But she new that not to be true for she had seen her around and she was very balanced, to say the least. Then sometimes Dez just wouldn't answer and she new that it was time for her to stop, or else Dez would clam up and not talk for weeks. Today though she seemed in good enough mood, she had a slight grin on her flawless face. It nearly scared her, for a grin or even a smile which was even scarcer then a grin was barely ever seen upon her lips. "Why the good mood this morning?" she inquired as she leaned on the counter chewing on a piece of gum that had long since lost its fruity flavour. "Oh, nothin' much." Was all she said, breaking out in a toothy grin. It made Kira's hair stand on end; she didn't ask any further, walking around the counter and into the kitchen.
This was exactly what I had planned it to do; not wanting Kira to poke and prod where I didn't want her to. The truth was that I was in extremely pleasant mood. For tonight I was to meet with a contact that would give me more information on Zenth. The contact hinted that his information might lead to the location of were Zenth might be. After years of training and searching for him, I might actually finally get the chance to avenge the death of my friend who had died so long ago. Some times I even woke in a cold sweat that haunted me, not letting me forget that fateful night.
It was mid-August the summer was winding down; leaves were turning colours of red, orange and yellow. The days were nice and warm and the nights were cool. It was my most favourite time of the year; the weather was perfect and the sight was breath-taking. I was in the woods not too far from my home. My friend Andy and I had gone down to the little stream, about a little more than a mile from my house. We were attempting to catch the little tadpoles that were darting about the water to and fro. In the end all we had succeeded in doing was get soaking wet. We went over to a large flat stone that sat by the edge of the creek which was barely big enough for us both to sit on; and attempted to dry off some what. We lay there chatting, looking at the clouds in clear blue sky, slowly pass us by. We had been playing around when Andy tried to push me off the large stone, but instead of me falling off I caught him off guard and pushed him off instead. I burst out laughing not being able to keep it in; Andy pretended to be very hurt that I had in turn pushed him off and was now laughing at him. The look he was trying to make didn't help the matter it just made me laugh even harder. I was holding onto my sides for they hurt from the constant laughter and my cheek bones were killing me. Andy lost it and started to laugh himself, he lumbered back onto the rock, it took a while but we finally managed to stop laughing. Andy laid back on the rock and folded his arms behind his head; I lay down beside him resting my head on his still damp shirt. Andy took one of his arms and firmly placed it around my waist hugging me close; I closed my eyes and sighed. Everything was perfect. We laid their like that watching the sun go down in a breath-taking sunset.
That scene would forever be imprinted in my mind. Haunting, taunting, me of what could have been; what would have been.
We fell asleep there on the still warm stone, my head resting over his beating heart.
I was startled awake, it took me awhile to figure out my surroundings and to remember where I was 'oh crud' I thought. Andy and I had fallen asleep! I am so dead when I get home. Then I heard a light rustle of the leaves and almost non-existent the sound of cloth rubbing against cloth. That's what must have been what had awoken me, I thought. I was a very light sleeper or so said my mother and anyone else who new me. My head still resting on the sleeping Andy's chest, I carefully lifted my head just a teeny bit above his chest so I could look around. There in the shadows of trees I thought I saw a tall figure standing there watching us. I lightly shook Andy awake putting my finger to his mouth silencing him so he would not speak. I bent down whispering in his ear & pointing in the direction of where I had seen the shadowy figure. It took awhile for his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the night, but when he saw it his eyes widened in fear. With both of us wide awake by now we noticed the cold breeze of the night and I started to shiver, not being very fond of the cold. Andy wrapped his arm around my waist pulling me close, hugging me tight. After what had seemed like an eternity we saw it move, and it was coming toward us! I tensed up when I saw it coming, Andy squeezed me tight trying to comfort me; I clung to him retreating into the warmth and comfort of him.
Andy himself was comforted just by her being there beside him, being just as scared or maybe more than he was. As it moved toward us barely making a sound it was a wonder that Jezz had heard it coming in the first place, Andy marvelled.
As the shadowy figure stepped out of the shadows and into the dim light of the crescent moon, he realized that it was a man. He was tall and well built; he wore all black from the black muscle shirt, underneath a black button-up shirt, to the black leather boots, which were mostly covered up by his tight black jeans. His wavy raven black hair tumbled down his face till it reached his shoulders. His eyes were captivating, black as night and just as cold. His lips were a pale pink, but his skin was like porcelain, white and flawless.
His eyes glittered like onyx, reflecting the dim moon light, as he came near. His movements were filled with grace and swiftness. Then he was only about ten feet away; it frightened me that he had gotten so close with out me realizing it. When he was about four feet away from the rock he stopped.
"Well, well, well…what have we here?" he said with an evil smirk on his handsome face. "Two little children out and about in the middle of the night, tsk, tsk." He shook his head wagging his finger at us. "You of all people should know better than that Andrae. You never know what could happen..." That evil grin of his was back, showing two over sized canines. Jezz shrunk further into Andy's embrace, a shiver ran up her spine at the sight.
"Zenth…" he whispered his voice filled with disbelief.
"So now you remember me? What did you think that I wouldn't be back…brother." His smirk went from a grin to a full smile, which was in a way charming, but terrifying. "No Zenth. I already told you! No!" Andy said in a firm voice even though inside he was shaking. "Well I'm sorry, but this time I won't be taking no for an answer."
Andy pushed me behind him, "Dez get out of here. Now!" he exclaimed.
"No. I won't leave you." I said defiantly.
"This isn't a time to be stubborn. Go!" he whispered furiously. I stood right where I was and didn't budge. I was not going to abandon him. "You don't need to see this, you don't need to be here. Please, go." His eyes were filled with pain, and were pleading with me. I almost gave in but instead I came to stand beside him grabbing his hand and squeezing it tight. Andy held me close and kissed my forehead lightly. Then he pushed me behind the large rock, this time I staid.
What came about next occurred so fast that I didn't know what had happened. The next thing I knew Zenth was upon him and then Andy fell to the ground white as parchment. I ran to his body screaming his name, tears welled up in my eyes and came tumbling down my cheeks onto his cold, dead body. I buried my face into his chest sobbing not able to believe that he was really dead. That this dead body was the same person who had just a few hours ago I had been laying beside enjoying a beautiful sunset with; who I had grown up with and known all these years. In my sorrow and disbelief I had forgotten about that tall dark figure standing not too far away, Zenth. He stood there with a smile and a look of contentment on his porcelain face.
Gracefully he sauntered on over to were I was bent over Andy's dead body, wiping the blood that had trickled down his pale chin. "Get up you blubbering fool, and get out of my sight; before I decide to kill you too." He sneered at me. I didn't move, because at that moment I really didn't care what happened. "I said leave…you try my patience girl." There was annoyance in his deep voice. Good I thought, serves him right. Then Zenth reached down and grabbed me by my hair yanking me up off my knees. I yelped as a shot of pain raced through to my scalp; he pulled me towards him till I was an inch away from his cold face. "I thought I told you to go, now leave. For if I ever see you again I promise you, you will not live to see another day." With that he thrust me aside like a rag-doll. I crumpled to the ground, but when I looked up he was gone, and so was Andy's body.
That night I had promised myself that no matter what happened I would find Zenth; that I would be sure he got what he deserved, for what he had done to the one I loved, to my Andy. I ran home that night and gathered as much of my things as possible; I had to be very quiet because it was one in the morning and my parents were still sleeping. But luckily I lived in the basement and they were two stories up. Quietly I gathered up all my things that I had quickly stuffed into different bags and hauled them out to my little blue Volvo and drove away.
I drove for hours and only stopped twice; both for food and a bathroom break. I drove wherever the road took me not really knowing where I was going, just anywhere but were I had come. Money was luckily not a problem; I had enough money stored up that if I was careful I would be ok till I found a decent job.
After the first day I got rid of my cell phone it was stupid of me to bring it anyways, because it was like a tracking device. Besides my parents and friends kept on calling it so I threw it out the window while driving down the inter-state. The past needed to stay in the past or else I wouldn't be able to make it. The only thing I needed was my memory of Andy and what that creature had done to him; for I was sure he could not have been human.
I ended up in a small town in Minnesota, named Sena after the lake that was at the center of the town. Halfway there I had traded in my little blue Volvo, for a small, used, black Honda. When I went to register I changed my name, Dez Kilborne; later I would see how ironic it was, but for now it worked. For as I guessed Jezzabell Johnson was being looked for. My long blond hair was cut short so it framed my delicate face and was dyed a light reddish-brown, and thanks to colour contacts, my light blue eyes became a dark green. Two days after I had left I had taken all my money out of my bank account and closed it. When I arrived at Sena I opened another at one of the local banks. With some of that money I was able to rent a small three room one bath apartment. It was perfect, it had a bedroom, a small room could be another room or a small living room, there was a small kitchen with a bar that could be used as a table; then a small bathroom with a bath/shower, a toilet, and sink.
I found a job at a little store where I was a stock/cashier. If this wasn't the store could shame Wal-Mart I'd like to see any other that claimed it could. It had every thing from dehydrated lima beans to kerosene powered heaters. It was an odd little store, but it paid well. So well that I had extra at the end of each month that I put it in the bank, and by the end of the year I had enough to by myself a pretty decent weight set, along with a bench set.
Life here was wonderful I had a job, a place to live, the people in the town were nice, they didn't poke and prod about my past; not that I would tell them much, let alone the truth. But I never forgot the reason I was here. I would stay up late into the night, looking, searching for something or someone that could help me. I needed to know what it was that had killed my Andy and how I could get rid of him. If it hadn't sounded so foolish, so... childish; I would have called this Zenth, a vampire. He fit all of the descriptions perfectly; tall, dark, and dangerous, to say the least. But vampires, just like dragons, and faeries were only stories, something you would read about in a book or see in a movie.
When I had almost been there almost a year and a half, I finally found something, or thought I did at least. I was up later than usual and after so many hours of searching I still had nothing! It annoyed and frustrated me to no end. But I wouldn't give up, I refused to quit, it wasn't even an option for me. So here I am in the dark with only the dim glow from the screen of my laptop to light the small room; I sat searching like I had done so many other nights. My clock glowed 11:35 p.m. I knew that I needed to go to bed for I had work the next morning at 5:00 a.m. which meant that I had to get up at 3:00 a.m. So that I had time to do my work out, go running, and still have time to take a shower before I had to leave for work. But I pressed on thinking just a couple minutes more, and not twenty minutes later did I find something...or at least I thought I had. I had been on one of those martial arts links to see if there was anything that even hinted at what I might be looking for. Then all of a sudden I was on this one site for some school that offered almost like an assassins training. It had an e-mail address link down at the bottom; I decided that I might as well see what it was like because now that I though about it that's basically what I was planning to do assassinate someone or something. So I e-mailed them saying that I might interested in seeing what there school was like and attend there. No sooner than had I sent the message, did a reply come. They invited me to go see their school and said that once a date was arranged then they would send a plane out there to get me. I was quite shocked at how fast all this was going, it was as if they had been waiting for me to respond. It crept me out but I decided that I would go through with it since it was the best I had found so far. So I typed a reply saying that I would contact them once I found out when I could get a day off from work.
I went to bed that night with the hopes that this was what I was looking for, I didn't realize then that this was more than what I had even dreamed it would be.
When I arrived at work that morning I sought out my manager finding him in his office which was unusual for he was almost always out there in the store helping the customers and making sure we were doing our job. He looked up as I entered a smile on his boyish face. "Hey Mark do you think I can have some time off next week I got an offer from a university and they want me to come and check it out?" I gave him one of my puppy dog looks that could make almost anyone melt. Mark wasn't one of those managers that usually let you have much time off, he said it could create laziness in even the best workers. You could tell that he was wavering back in forth on what his response would be. So I quickly added in "When I get back I could do some over time to make up for the days I was gone. Plus I've only used one sick day the whole year and that was only because I was really, really sick." which was true I had caught a really bad fever and I couldn't move let alone go to work. In the end he said yes but I new it was only because I said I would work overtime when I got back. So that evening when I got home I told them that I would be available that coming Monday; and again they sent an immediate response, saying that, that would be fine and that they would send someone to fetch me early the morning of. I asked if they needed an address. They sent me a response that kind of startled me, it read: Why ever would we need that Miss Johnson, is not your address 6B Marshville Way, Sena Minnesota, area code 3518.
All I could think was, what in the world had I got myself into? After a while when I had still not responded they sent me another.
Dear Miss Johnson,
Do not be frightened, we do a background check on all of our applicants to make sure they are safe and what they say they are. It's a standard procedure. There is no need to be frightened. If you still wish to continue as planned, or if you wish to back out please respond back with your answer by tomorrow.
Jezzabell Johnson has been dead for more than a year now. How did you find that name?
I typed rapidly and yet again the answer came almost instantly; but that didn't even faze me anymore.
It will all be explained when you arrive on Monday.
And it was, a driver arrived at my apartment a 4:00 a.m. waiting for me. I hurriedly got dressed and brushed my hair not even bothering to eat anything. The driver just stood there, like a rock unmoving and silent.
The car ride to the air port was almost insufferable. For it was in total silence, after my attempts of trying to strike up a conversation were fruitless, and I realized my efforts were in vain. I too was left to silence.
As we pulled up into a private airport the driver exited the car, still not giving me any directions. When he started to walk away I realize I might want to follow him. I stumble out of the car, nearly tripping over myself and ran to the mans' side. Who did not even wait for me to catch up but just kept on walk at a jogging pace, which I ended up doing just to pace with him.
When we rounded the corner a small black jet with black tinted windows came into view, its black paint glistened in the early morning sun, making my eyes scrunch up and raise a hand to try to block out the glare it caused. Three men were unloading the stairs and making last minute inspections on the tiny jet. When they saw us round the corner they all froze nodding to the driver then to me and went back to work. I boarded the plane slowly walking up the black velvet steps and onto a plush black walkway. The interior of the tiny black jet was just like the outside, black. There were about ten seats, two across five down, and all of them covered in a soft, thick crimson material. The walls were black and the windows were tinted so dark that if the door would not have been open still I would have thought it a moonless night. I sat down in one of the chairs and sunk back into the comfort of the seat, I sighed; it was like a sitting on a chair made entirely out of the finest feather pillows.
About five minutes later everyone was seated and we were ready for take off. No one offered to start a conversation so I sat there in silence. After about twenty minutes into the flight I lapsed into a deep sleep.