When I woke up I was lying on the red satin sheets of a king-size four-poster bed. My first panicked thought was that I’d been kidnapped. By who? It could have been that guy Ayumu. Maybe that’s why Morrigan wanted to hang out. Perhaps she lined up the victims then Ayumu picks them up, takes them home and murders them. Somewhere in my psychosis was a quiet, tiny little voice of reason. And it was saying to me ‘calm down a minute. If you’d been kidnapped would you really be lying freely on a bed with nobody in the room? You know, I even bet the door’s unlocked’. Obviously I liked this voice more but it was hard to hear it over the manic screaming coming from the rest of my brain. The voice of reason started getting clearer so I slowly got off the bed, brushing back a curtain of thin black material and walked over to the door. The door was made of a dark brown wood and felt heavy when I tried to open it. The metal door handle was ice cold and sent a shiver down my back.
“You don’t want to go out there” a slightly high-pitched voice said and a pale hand pressed against the door.
“Wha-? Let me out of here!” I shouted.
“I think somebody needs to go back to sleep” the voice said.
The pale hand slipped away from the door. I felt a hand on my shoulder and everything went black. Again.
I woke up on the bed once again but this time I could hear voices. Two voices. A man and a woman. I looked up and saw Ayumu and a pale woman around twenty years old. They hadn’t noticed I was awake and were still quietly talking to each other. I strained to hear their conversation but they were too quiet. I crept forward without realising how close to the edge of the bed I was. In any other circumstance I could have steadied myself but the damn satin sheets slipped past me like a giant red eel. It alerted Ayumu and the woman to my awakeness. I heard a sigh and Ayumu came and untangled me from the tangled mess I was in. He glanced at my neck for a second. The woman stood between us.
“Back off, Aya” she said and Ayumu stalked over to a black velvet armchair in the corner of the room.
The woman made sure he was sitting before turning to me.
“Hi, sorry about earlier. You were making a bit of noise and drawing attention to yourself right now isn’t good” she said.
This was the owner of the pale hand that had barred my way out. Her hair was white blonde and cut beautifully short but just long enough that she would have been able to tie it up. She smiled at me. Kindness blazed in her slate grey eyes.
“I’m Tawny” she said, poking her tongue out of the side of her mouth.
“I’m-“ I started, not really knowing what else to do.
“Hallie, I know. Y’know, it’s a good thing Morri’s strong or you’d still be stuck out in the park. Although, I guess Fang would’ve come and got you”.
I stood by the bed wondering what the hell had happened. I was in the park and now I was in a bedroom with an overly happy woman and a guy I’d mentally accused of being a murderer. Having him sat in the room was kind of awkward for me.
“You don’t talk much, do you?” Tawny said, pushing back a piece of her fringe.
“Oh, I’m sorry”
“Nah, that’s okay. It’s nice having another quiet one around. Aya seems to make enough noise for it, though” she said with a laugh.
“The hell I do, Tawny!” Ayumu shouted, rising from the chair.
Tawny spun round and spread her arms out protectively.
“Sit down, Aya” she said sternly.
Ayumu growled but returned to the chair. Tawny watched him for a while before turning back to me. She sighed and a quiet snarl came from the corner of the room.
“Get out if it’s tempting you that much!” she snapped at Ayumu.
He launched himself off the chair and ran out of the room, slamming the door as he left.
“See what I mean? He’s so loud” Tawny sighed again and stepped away from me.
With Ayumu gone she obviously didn’t feel the need to protect me. Maybe there really was something dangerous about Ayumu and when my mind had been panicking it had been right to. And what did Tawny mean when she said something was tempting him? Looking at Tawny she didn’t seem all that strong and if Ayumu was a mass murderer she wouldn’t stand much of a chance against him.
“Where am I?” I asked quietly.
Tawny’s cheerful expression darkened.
“That… you don’t need to worry about that. You’re perfectly safe if that’s what you’re worried about. Is there anything you want?”
“I’d like to go home. My dad will be home by now and he’ll start worrying about me”.
Tawny looked at the door for a second.
“Okay, sweetie, I’ll just go see Fang” she said and slipped out of the room.
A few seconds later she came back. Under her arm she had a black jacket and a red dress.
“You need to put these on. They’ll cover your scent long enough to get you out if we’re fast. Don’t worry, Fang’s gonna be on the next floor. If anything goes wrong he’ll get you out, okay?” she said and passed me the clothes.
Tawny beckoned at the clothes and ducked out of the room to let me change. After I changed I looked at myself in the black wood mirror. The dress was floaty but elegant and didn’t suit me at all. It fell to my knees and clashed with the stripy tights I was wearing. I’d left the jacket off but realised why Tawny had given it to me. As beautiful as the dress was it wasn’t particularly warm with its tiny straps. I slipped the jacket on and looked in the mirror again. Great, I looked even worse. Tawny dashed back into the room with a slightly panicked expression on her face. She shook her head and came over to me.
“You need to switch your shoes and take off those horrendous stripes” she said, fussing about with my hair and the way the skirt of the dress was hanging.
“What’s wrong with stripes?” I asked as she gave me a pair of black Converse wannabe pumps almost identical to mine with the exception of a red bow near the toe on the right shoe.
“Just take them off. I’ve got some socks if you want them”.
I shook my head, pulled off my tights and slipped on the replacement shoes.
Tawny disappeared into a closet and came back with a bottle of perfume. I was about to ask what she was doing when she sprayed some of it on me. I pulled part of the jacket up to my nose after she’d sprayed it. I couldn’t smell anything. I couldn’t smell anything. I gave her a confused look and she tapped the clear glass bottle.
“It’ll help you blend in. Now, I’ll take your clothes”.
She put the perfume down, bundled up my clothes and grabbed my hand. She stuck her head out of the door and waited for a few seconds. She led me out of the room and down a wood-panelled corridor. The next room was like a Goth’s paradise. The walls were dressed in black wallpaper with intricate gothic designs pressed onto them in silver leaf. A large black chandelier hung in the middle of the room, casting a bright light over the room and immersing the next floor in shadow. Not an inch of the chandelier had any wax on it, despite the fact that it used red and black candles not light bulbs. The room was eerily still. Tawny straightened up from the hunched position she was in and led me into the room. Dotted around the room were three motionless figures. I watched the silhouetted statues as Tawny led me through the room. I relaxed as I made my way across the wide circular room because, after all, statues can’t hurt you.