Blood Crossed Part 7


I part the branches blocking my vision, only to stumble into another tangle, forever and unavoidably obscuring my sight in every direction, black and smooth with gleaming bluish leaves, tendrils of darkness. Ahead, a light shines, ad it's towards this solitary source that I struggle.

My fingers elongate into bony, bladed claws, and the brush falls away somewhat easier, parting easily under my transformed grasp. Finally, I seem to be coming a little closer to the shine ahead, and I observe that the source of light is a fire in the center of a clearing. A single, shadowy figure stands by, shivering.

I finally step into the open, grassy space, somewhat relaxing at the feeling of freedom from the plants, and move closer to the tall, broad-shouldered figure. "Are you all right?" I ask, standing a few feet away, nervous. "You look cold."

A hiss comes from the figure's hood, deepening into a peculiar growl, as though a person is trying to sound like an animal and almost managing. The voice is deep, but cracks, either from emotion or youth.

"It's cold where I am," he says, "It's cold where you left me."

"I don't understand," I protest, "I don't know who you are."

"Of course you don't."

The hooded head turns towards me, and the eyes under that tangle of thick, black hair are twin holes in the world. Black light, void radiance, the emptiness between the stars, the flickering nothingness of his gaze immediately gives me a headache. When he speaks, now, it seems that a great multitude of voices speak simultaneously.


"Please! I don't know who you are! Just tell me why –"

The hood falls away, revealing pale, cracked skin on a narrow face, and sharp teeth behind sunken cheeks. It's such a familiar face-

-And when powerful, long-fingered hands close around my throat, and a scream of rage erupts from that snarling mouth-


-I realize, he sort of looks like me.


The dream falls away in an instant, and I bolt upright, panting, barely keeping myself from screaming, frantically looking around an unfamiliar place, and just when I've almost calmed down, a pale face with black, almond-shaped eyes appears inches from my own, staring at me wide-eyed.

"GAH!" I splutter, and roll away, bringing most of the blankets with me to the floor, desperately trying to untangle myself. By the time I stand, I can feel my skin rippling and tensing, my bones creaking and preparing to grow, and it takes a few deep breaths to calm myself and prevent the transformation.

"Elenor," I gasp, "You… startled me."

"Sorry," she laughs, sitting cross-legged on her bed, those big wings wrapped around her shoulders like a cloak. "You didn't seem to be sleeping well and I was just… looking. You're very handsome, after all." She smiles devilishly.

I very abruptly remember last night. Ah… wow. What a night.

"I was sort of having a bad dream. Nothing out of the ordinary, I guess. It's been a rough week." I sit down on the edge of the bed, trying to decide if I should stay. This is a new problem for me. I've never slept over with a girl before.

"Kind of made up for it, didn't we?"

I chuckle. "Maybe. Either way, I had a lot of fun. How about you?"

"Oh, yes. Lovely night." I can't tell if she's staring at me. "So… how long were you thinking of staying? In Halfmoon, I mean."

"However long I have to, I suppose. I have some things to take care of, some people in Senyeck to get in touch with." As I'm saying this, her face falls. Yikes. "I'll be right back, of course. I just have to make some arrangements for… my brother."

Guilt washes over me. I can't believe it, but I'd almost forgotten about the crash. The sabotage. She still doesn't know about the feather I found on my ship.

"Okay," she says, directing her gaze at her knees. "Well… I'll walk you to the port?"

"Sounds good." Great. Now she looks distinctly unomfortable. "Look, Elenor, I'm not just gonna take off and forget you, you know that. I really like you. I like being here. I'll be racing back."

"You mean that?"

"Of course."

And I do. It's only right.

The people of Halfmoon are notoriously liberal and forward-thinking, or so I've been told. It's the point of Rebirth for humans from a particular part of their world, so the young people who appear there every so often keep the locals updated on the goings-on of Earth sports, politics, and conflicts. Apparently, from what chatter I pick up on, there's a new leader there now, someone called Carter. Most of the people here seem to approve, despite the fact that they'll never see Earth again and it scarcely matters who's in charge there.

Humans are, almost all of them anyways, a very optimistic and diverse people. They seem to adapt to new situations with astonishing speed and ease, something we and the Seraphs both struggle with. Earth must be a frantic and exciting place, to produce such energetically changing people. I like spending time with them, although they have a tendency towards curiosity that makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes.

Elenor, as well, seems to enjoy their company. Halfmoon's human population has adopted her as a sort of mascot, never taking her religious ministry seriously, but always willing to listen. A kind, if condescending, custom.

"Ellie! How are you!" seems to be the town's motto today. Everyone's smiling, it's a lovely day out. My spines, which are only slightly different from human hair in appearance, stretch a bit to absorb the sunlight. I feel warm and content, phsycially.

I wish I wasn't getting so many knowing glances. Elenor insists on holding my hand, winding her tiny fingers through mine, which feels both pleasant and precarious. I'm careful not to crush them.

And everyone seems to know what that means. A few people have even winked at me, the practise of only blinking one eye, which denotes congratulations, or a conspiratory sort of approval. How do they know? And why do they seem so pleased about it?

"Are you hungry?"

I'm caught off guard, lost in my thoughts. "Whuh?"

"Like, breakfast. Do you want anything?"

My stomach growls, but my brain growls louder. I'll eat on the boat. There's usually some kind of vendor. I just want to get out from under all this scrutiny. "Nah, I'm not hungry. Had a big dinner."

She looks at me oddly, but smiles. "Okay. So… when do you suppose you'll be back?" Ah, we've reached the dock. I hadn't realized how close to the cliffs we were. "I'll come and pick you up here."

"Um. I don't know, two or three days. I'll call you, don't worry."

Looking around for anyone who may be watching, I bend and briefly kiss her, barely brushing her waiting lips before straightening. Did anyone notice? I don't think so. I feel like a bastard, but who can blame me?

It's not us, misbehaving. It's the world, waiting to judge, that makes me nervous.

I let her hand go and backstep onto the boat's ramp, tearing my gaze away from her inky, inverse eyes at the last possible moment. I miss her, three seconds later.

I almost make it up to the deck in time, but the airship's already pulled away before I get to the railing. Elenor is already nothing but a small figure, all wrapped in white, standing against the trees, maybe waving to me, waiting for me.

I'll be back soon.