The day was warm for it being a week into January and I tried to stick to the cool shadows as much as I could, not wanting to remove my sweatshirt and expose my Bureau-issued weapon in its holster. A long section of uncovered trail stretched out in front of us so I impulsively veered off the trail to run along the tree line in the bright green grass.
Without warning, Lear stopped running and looked anxiously into the dense patch of trees. I, having every reason to trust Lear’s instincts, searched the edge of the forest with eyes that weren’t yet accustomed to the dreary light filtering through the canopy above. I saw a figure moving about fifteen feet into the duskiness and my hand moved involuntarily to the gun hilt underneath my loose sweatshirt. A woman with softly curled light – almost blonde – red hair and impossibly blue-green eyes, wearing a green hooded sweatshirt over jeans, stepped confidently out of the edge of the forest.
I stood staring at her, frozen for some infuriating reason. Lear took off, sprinting faster than I had ever seen him run, along the forest to my left. So much for protecting me, mutt, I thought. The woman held my eyes with hers as she slowly advanced towards me. She moved with the grace and poise of a hundred legendary ballerinas and was surrounded by an indescribable aura. She was tall with just the right amount of muscles to look both dangerous and glamorous, like some sort of Irish Lara Croft.
"Bridget, I presume?" Her soft lulling voice possessed an exceedingly captivating quality to it, even if her tongue did not seem accustomed to speaking English.
"Maybe, who’s asking?" I replied defiantly. Even if I couldn’t will my body to behave, my mind and voice were still capable of the appropriate amount of rebellion. I even considered speaking with a bogus hard-as-nails Jersey accent – just for fun – but was afraid to put my tough-guy performance too far over the top.
She smiled, but it was by no means a kind or friendly smile. "Well, you are a fiery one, aren’t you?" She had said ‘fiery’ as though it held some other significance. "I am Kayleigh ó Broin, but my name is of no real importance, is it? Names are deceiving, even when furtively exposing the truth."
"What do you want from me?" I spat. "And why are you talking like you’re some character in a badly-written period movie?" I added for injury’s sake.
To my complete lack of surprise, she entirely ignored my questions as if I had not even made a sound. "Did you truly think you could hide from the Great Queen forever using this contemptible farce?" Kayleigh gestured towards me in disgust. "She who is the master of all war and death would never fall for such a charade."
"As much as I hate to interrupt your crazy time, lady," I broke in, "I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about."
"I made a mistake with the first one, but now there is no ambiguity, no doubt in my mind. The Goddess will reward me considerably once I return with your heart," she continued without acknowledging my comments.
I put on my most professional-sounding psychologist’s voice and said, "I know people who could help you with your delusions, Kayleigh. I could call in a few favors and get you in with some of the best mental health professionals in the country."
She stared at me with (what I guessed was) a curious expression on her face. "You really do not know yet, do you? Oh that is simply priceless," she said with a soft chuckle. She appeared to be pleased, in an evil sort of way, with my ignorance of her bizarre little world.
Then I realized that I shouldn’t have to be guessing at what she was feeling. I concentrated and discovered that I could not feel any emotion from her at all. Normally, if I didn’t try to ascertain emotions, I only inadvertently got the big and powerful ones but if I focused on one person I could garner every single petty emotion any person was currently experiencing. With Kayleigh, it was as though nothing but trees and bugs stood before me.
The alarm must have made its way to my face because she said, "Can you not feel my emotions? We predicted that would be the second power that would return to you so I took precautions," she touched a small charm attached to her intricate silver necklace with a spiteful smile on her delicate lips. "If your memory has not yet returned then I imagine that none of your other powers have returned either, except for maybe an insignificant and uncontrolled sliver of the third power. The benevolent Goddess has seen fit to bless me. This will be much easier than I ever dreamed," she said, taking a graceful but powerful step towards me as she began to speak in a language I did not understand (and remember, I understand eight of them).
There was a swift motion behind Kayleigh and a man was suddenly standing at her back, where there had been nothing but air less than a second ago. At first, my heart began to race. I assumed that she had called in reinforcements. I still was unable to draw my weapon, though I didn’t have the foggiest idea why.
He spoke commandingly in what I took to be the same language Kayleigh had just uttered. She responded to him without turning around, her voice angry and spiteful. I watched the exchange with rapt attention, knowing that my fate probably depended on whatever the two strange people were saying. The pair rotated together so that Kayleigh was facing the forest and I was staring at the man’s back. I noticed he had a small roundish stone pressed into the base of her neck. The striking woman walked back into the forest with the same exquisite grace she had exited it with.
The man turned around to reveal an easy smile on his face. "She is gone for now Bridget, so you can take your hand off your gun," he said with a laid-back and friendly voice, which was even more enchanting than that of the woman’s. "Though I don’t know why you even bothered if you weren’t going to be able to draw it," he quipped. His thick accent was unquestionably Irish, but it didn’t hold any of the harshness I remembered from my visits with my more distant kin.
Framed by the soft green backdrop of the forest, he was a spectacular figure with thick hair the color of onyx and peculiar light-blue eyes set in a chiseled face of flawless ivory. His powerful body was merely suggested at underneath a soft white dress shirt and well-fitted jeans. I wanted to say something but my mind had suddenly stopped working.
Contest #100 looms
2 hours ago