Dark Wings

Chapter 1

Introductions

It was a clear, starry night. A mild night. The perfect night. A young woman, dressed in a deep red, satin dress, walked through the gardens at the back of a mansion, accompanied by a handsome young man. Music spilled out the double glass doors that led back into the mansion as the two youths walked along. Suddenly the girl grabbed the top hat from the young man’s head and, lifting up the skirt of her dress, skipped backwards away from him, staying just out of his reach. She turned around the first corner to her left, disappearing around the wall of a giant hedge maze. Then they were kissing, the top hat forgotten on the groundas she wrapped her arms around his neck. His hands cupped her face as he moved from her lips to her jaw line, and down to her neck. Suddenly she felt a sharp pain and opened her mouth to let out a scream...


Ebony Alida Cathaoir sat straight up in her bed. Her mouth was open in a silent scream, and she closed it as fragmented images flew through her mind. The dream was slipping away like water through her fingers. She desperately tried to hold on to it, but it was no use.

As her sleep fogged brain cleared, she closed her mouth and realized with surprise that her right hand was pressed to the side of her neck. She removed her hand from her neck and looked at it, half expecting to see blood. But there was nothing.
"It was a dream. Just a dream." she muttered, "But it seemed so real. Like I was that girl...” scrunching her eyes closed, she shook her head and looked over at the clock.
With a sinking feeling, she realized that she had another two hours before she would normally start her walk to the school. Groaning, she fell back in her bed and pulled the covers up around her, delighting in the squishy, warm comfort they provided. But it was short lived. She knew she wasn’t getting back to sleep this morning.

Heaving a sigh, she threw the covers aside and climbed out of bed. Her toes got cold quickly on the hard wood floor, as she rushed over to find socks before deciding what to wear. The first socks that caught her eye when she opened the drawer were, florescent pink. She grabbed them, thinking they’d go nicely with her black jeans and a purple tank top, and pulled them on to her feet right away, hopping slightly on the spot in the process. That done, she grabbed the rest of her clothes and headed for the shower.

There were times in Ebony’s life when she resented her parent’s business, as it often took them away from her for extended periods of time. But this morning, she relished it as she walked sleepily into the bathroom adjoining her bedroom and turned the shower tap to hot. It was a beautiful, big bathroom that looked like it belonged in a hotel suite more than her house; with a stand up shower, a white, whirlpool tub, and a white sink and toilet set on a background of forest green paint with matching marble countertops and floor tiles. The counters under the sink and the closet beside the shower where also white, and all the fixtures where a shiny silver.

She lived simply for this bathroom.

Taking a towel (also dark green) out of the closet and hanging it on the towel rack above the tub, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror opposite. Not understanding what she had seen, she walked over to the mirror. It didn’t take her long to find what had caught her attention. On her neck, in the same spot the girl in her dream had been bitten, was a small bruise.

Her brow furrowing, she raised a hand to touch the spot. There was no pain and for a moment she entertained the idea that it was just a coincidental smudge. A few seconds of furious rubbing changed her mind. Completely at a loss as to how the bruise had gotten there, she decided to put it from her mind and go have her shower.

 

An hour  later she arrived downstairs, after having showered, gotten dressed, brushed her teeth, and thrown her long brown hair into a crab’s hand.

In the kitchen, Tomas, the hired cook, was preparing breakfast. She could smell the crapes before she even got to the kitchen.

Tomas was an older man, with a bit of a stomach and greying hair, and a kind, playful disposition. He had been working for her parents since before she was born and he was almost like a grandfather to her.

“Morning Tomas.” She took a seat at the small kitchen table while Tomas returned her greetings.

“Are any of those crapes ready yet? I’m thinking of heading out early.”

Tomas leaned on the edge of the counter as he turned to face her.

“Sure thing, kiddo.” He smiled. “You want cherry, blueberry, or strawberry?”

“Mmmm. Blueberry, for sure. Please.”

While she waited for Tomas to finish making her breakfast, she fetched her cell phone from her purse and started a text to her friend Sam, saying she not to meet her at the house this morning; that she was leaving early and wouldn’t need the ride.

The text came back with an affirmative and Ebony had to smile.

She had only known Sam for about two years, since the start of grade ten when Sam had transferred and ended up in all her classes for a whole semester. But the two girls had hit it off almost immediately. Sam was a fun loving, easy going, straight A student, while Ebony was a little more pessimistic. And not a straight A student. The friendship worked because the two girls balanced each other out. Had either of them been any different, they probably would have hated each other. But as it was, they were best friends.

 

When Ebony had finished her breakfast, she went and gave Tomas a hug goodbye, saying she’d be home for dinner, before heading out the door.

The weather outside was warmer than one would expect for late October, with a light breeze playing over everything. On the trees, the leaves had finally reached the peak of brilliance, with more shades of red, yellow and orange than the rainbow. It was a sight that took Ebony’s breath and made her smile in joy. In the air was the smell of must and decay so indigenous to autumn and Ebony was helpless to close her eyes and take a deep breath of it. 

Smiling slightly, Ebony began walking in the direction of the school, but taking the long way so that she didn’t get there too early. School didn’t start for another hour, and the walk usually only took about twenty minutes. That left a little too much time just sitting around doing nothing for her taste.

In the end, she managed to stretch the walk to about forty minutes and, upon entering the school grounds, she made a B-line for her favourite tree with the intent of pulling out her book and reading. But she had only gotten half way there when a shrill giggle erupted to her right. Turning her head to look,

she saw her grade's champion flirt, Cassandra.

Cassandra and her followers were forming a small circle with a few guys who were standing on the front stairs of the school. Ebony recognized two of the three guys in the circle. One from her English class, the other from her math class. Both of them were on the school’s basketball team. But the boy with them was a totally new face. She figured he must be a transfer student, since she had never seen his face before, but he was definitely not a grade 9. Actually, he looked to be in her grade.
She could see why Cassandra was harassing him though. And for once she agreed with Cassandra’s taste. This boy was gorgeous. He looked about 6’, and had sandy blond hair, moderately thin lips, and a complexion to rival a goddess. His skin was very pale, which Ebony found a little strange, but she figured that he probably hadn't gotten much sun that summer and it was just more noticeable here because of all the tanned faces around him.

She could also see why two of her grades top basketball players were interested in him; he had a body to die for. He was lean and didn’t show his strength visibly so much as just having a sense of strength hanging around him like a fog. Ebony speculated that he must be a dancer or a gymnast to have a body like that.

Ebony was just about to look away when he looked up and stared straight into her eyes. For a second, she just stared, not understanding how he had known she was looking at him, although she was positive that he had known. And then she blinked and turned away, continuing on her way to the tree.

She never ended up pulling her book out of her bag, but instead contented herself with watching the new guy. There was something about him that was very different, but she couldn’t quite place what it was. There was just something about the way he moved and reacted to the people around him. He was so sure of himself, his actions so smooth. He had none of the timidity that would be normal in a new kid. There was nothing to cause it except a nagging feeling, but suddenly he was a mystery to Ebony. The kind of mystery that doesn’t let you forget about it.

After about twenty minutes, the bell rang and she jumped down from the tree and headed for her first class.


The start of second period found Ebony staring out of the window by her seat in history, her head propped on one hand. The room was quiet, except for the teacher rustling some papers at his desk.

When the door opened and someone walked in, she turned to look, curious to see who besides herself would be interested in coming to class early. At first she couldn’t tell who it was, as she could only see they’re back while they talked to the teacher. But when the person turned she realized that it was the mystery man from that morning. Wanting to appear uninterested, she turned back to the window’s offered view. But her gazing didn’t last long.

"Hey. I’m Alex Duren"

She turned around to find him standing beside her, a brown leather bag slung over his shoulder. Reaching a hand out, she returned his greeting.
"Ebony Alida Cathaoir."

He took her hand as she spoke and shook it, but paused when he had heard her name, still holding her hand.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Um, that’s my name. Something wrong with it?"

She gave him a quizzical look.
He smiled, and let go of her hand, putting his hand in his pocket as he said
"No, no, there’s nothing wrong with it. Forgive me; I thought I had misheard you."
Ebony cocked her head to one side

“What did you think you had heard?”

“It’s not important. So tell me, are there – “

Just then, the bell signalling the start of class rang and people began filing into the room.

With a quick “talk to you later”, Alex went off to take his seat. Ebony had barely had time to look away from his retreating back before her friend Sam appeared at her shoulder with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

“Who was that, Eb?” she grinned innocently as she took a seat to Ebony’s right.

“I’m not really sure. His name is Alex Duren and I think this is his first day here, but that’s all I know. Have you heard anything about a new student coming to school?” Sam shook her head and grinned again, less innocently this time.

“Haven’t heard a word.” She paused, then continued “So, you two looked like you were hitting it off pretty well just now.”

Ebony looked at her with a ‘gimme-a-break’ face.

“Don’t you start. He was just saying hi.”

Sam gave her a critical look, but before she could pursue the topic, the teacher called the class to order and she had to drop it.

The End

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