This time the dream was different.
There was no black water or blue-tinged sky. It was a dark mossy forest, all sound silenced by the wildly growing vegetation clinging to every stationary surface. There was a wolf, sunk low to the ground of hard-packed leaf-strewn dirt, lips pulled back in an ugly snarl although there was no noise.
It was evident after a second that the snarl wasn’t aimed at me; I turned - agonisingly slowly, I thought - and there was nothing.
Every leaf and frond was still. There was nothing except the green and brown shades of the woods. Then out of nowhere the man in black was charging towards me, his syrup-coloured eyes simmering with acidic rage. Just before his long, wiry fingers closed around my throat the alarm woke me up.
Thank God it’s Friday, I thought to myself wearily.
School seemed to drag, and even though I understood more about them now it was difficult to talk to Meena and Willow without thinking of the wolf and the cat and the conversation in the woods. Whenever I thought of that it reminded me of my dream. Though it was more like a nightmare - being attacked by a furious man was not a nice dream to have.
At lunch Meena joined myself and Willow at the corner table.
“We were taking it in turns to run a perimeter of the school,” Meena explained. “But now you know more about what’s going on, I don’t think we should bother.”
“I don’t mind,” I mumbled, picking apart a bread roll. I didn’t think a corrupted half-breed would try to get at me in a high school.
“Doesn’t matter anyway,” Meena said, chomping down satisfactorily on her cheese sandwich. “There was never any sign of him around here, and I get hungry when I change.”
Willow gave her a look, but as usual nobody was paying attention to the three of us. Meena had continued anyway, waving the sandwich like a conductor with a baton.
“As long as there’s cheese in the world, everything will be okay,” she prophesied. Willow eyed it sceptically.
“Cheese won’t stop a bullet,” she pointed out.
“Actually, if there was -”
Meena turned her head automatically and so did I, but Willow was frozen in disbelief. The person who had called her last name was a tall guy with short dark hair, passing a few feet from us on the way to the tray deposit. He flashed her a grin and we all stared dumbly after his back as he walked out. Nobody else in the room was any different, the chattering continued.
“He shouldn’t have been able to see us,” said Willow, scandalised. She saw my blank face and explained. “We’ve cast an illusionary shield over us so all people will see is three ordinary-looking students - you know the kind you pass in the hall but don’t know?”
“He could only have seen through it if there was magic in his blood and he knew what to look for,” Meena mused. “He knew my name, but we’ve not seen him here before.”
“I thought you said everyone has magic in their blood,” I pointed out, tearing my eyes from the empty doorway to look at her face.
“They do, but I also said that not everyone has the power to harness it - therefore it lies dormant throughout their life,” she reeled off like a college professor. “That guy obviously has…”
Willow piped up, “There must be someone magical in his family - you don’t think an Immortal -?”
“Is it possible for that to happen?” I asked, my eyebrows drawing together. I rubbed at them to smooth them out because it made my head hurt. The steady insistent aching pulse had started again.
“Of course. Anyone can be changed at any time. But I don’t think that guy has been near an Immortal - meaning he’s nothing to do with Tenebrus.”