There are a lot of things in this world that I don't know, and I'm okay to admit that. But right now? Right now I'm absolutely sure of one thing.

There isn't much time.

I watch the people around me going about their daily business and I wonder if they know. A woman jogs with her child in a stroller, a businessman across the street leans against a building to read the morning paper, a couple sits on a nearby bench just to enjoy the scenery. I wonder if they know that the existence they've come to take for granted could be compromised soon. I glance at my watch. Yes, it would be very soon; only a few minutes now. Looking around at the pleasant chaos that is New York City, I let out a shaky sigh and close my eyes.

The thought nags at me again.

There isn't much time.

The rift will open any minute now. I feel Ryan beside me, tense and watchful. Even without looking, I know that silent, graceful Charlotte stands on my other side. I can practically taste her fear and with a slight pang I realize that I feel pity for her. For what she'll endure if the rift really does open.

The breeze sweeps past us in the cool of Central Park and I raise my head, inviting it. Could this really be the last day of sun…the last breeze I'll ever feel on my cheek? The thought sends a shiver down my spine and I squeeze my eyes shut even tighter. I don't do tears. The strong don't do tears.

I hear a crash and my eyes snap open. Ryan's head swivels and Charlotte lets out a frightened squeak before we realize that a child playing nearby has just dropped a toy truck.

Ryan turns to look at me with wide eyes and for the first time I think about how hard this must be for him. Standing by my side has a price, and he paid it dearly. For what… I ask myself, though I still don't know. We could all die in a moment, inthis moment, and he'll have lost everything.

I give him a small nod and he takes a deep breath, turning his eyes to the sky. I glance at Charlotte through the corner of my eye and I see that she is watching the small child with a mild fascination. She glances down at her own small form and back at the laughing child.

"Do you hear that?"

Ryan speaks and I look at him sharply. His face has gone white and for a second I'm unsure of what he's talking about. Then I hear it.

A soft ripping, tearing…the sound threatens to burst into a loud scream that will force us to our knees. I look wildly into the sky and I don't see it yet. Ryan too is looking frantically for the source of the sound that is growing steadily louder.

My heart thumps against my chest and I swear that everyone in park can hear it. I glance quickly at Charlotte to find that she has slumped to the ground, shaking with monstrous sobs. Even through my fear and resolve I abandon my attempts at locating the rift and try to help her to her feet.

"I c-can't…" she cries, glancing at me with a grimace twisting her normally exquisite features. "I c-can't f-face it, Ev...I just…"

I grasp at her arm again, trying to pull her up. "You can, and you will. You don't have a choice…none of us have a choice" I tell her sharply, trying to be heard over the growing loudness of the ripping sound.

"Evelyn!"

Even through screeching that grows louder by the second I hear him. He is no longer next to me and my eyes dart frantically until I find him. Ryan is halfway across the park from us, pointing to something I can't see through the trees. I heard definite panic in his voice when he called for me and this only makes my heart jump faster.

Charlotte pulls her arm away from me again and continues to sob loudly. Frustrated now, I lean down and grab both sides of her face tightly with my hands.

"Listen to me. Your fate is your fate. This is a choice you made. Now I think we have a veryslim chance of getting out of this alive. However. If we do, we are NOT going to leave you behind. Got that?"

She sniffles, wipes the tears from her eyes and looks at me with that piercing look that only her kind can give. Then she nods slowly, looking away from me.

"Good. Now let's go."

The entire earth feels like it's shaking from the noise and Charlotte comes willingly this time as I sprint towards where Ryan is standing. As we run, I look at the people in the park. The couple sitting happily in their embrace on the bench, the man has since folded his newspaper and left and the jogging woman is nowhere to be seen. Everyone around us is blissfully unaware of the chaos about to unfold.

Lucky them… I think

We finally reach Ryan and he has to yell over the din to be heard.

"It's getting bigger now. I don't know why it's happening this fast. It should take longer right? I mean…it's supposed to be taking longer…"

His voice is completely panicked now and a good octave higher than natural. I reach down to hold his hand. He takes a deep breath and looks me in the eye, then glances down at the tiny Charlotte by my side.

The three of us look towards the break in the trees towards the setting sun, the rapidly darkening sky...and our impending doom. The source of the noise is a large black tear, slowly widening in the sky. I squint to see and yes, there they are; hands clawing at the sides of the rift, reaching to climb up and out.

Time is up.

I glance at Ryan, the man who'd given up everything to stand at my side. I then look down at Charlotte, childlike and beautiful on the outside but a great and powerful force on the inside.

I then glance down at my hands. Steady.

Gripping the hilt of the sword strapped to my back, I close my eyes and raise my head to feel the breeze one last time.

My name is Evelyn Niall. I'm not human. I come from a world parallel to the one you inhabit, and one more thing.

I'm a Spirit Hunter.