Eoin resisted the urge to spin quickly to see who was talking. That kind of swift movement would only reveal his fear. It might also save his life, he knew, but it seemed as though this enemy wanted to talk before it killed.  And for talking, one needed to at least bluff the upper hand.

So instead, Eoin walked across the huge empty room to stand by the windows, where the lights of the city turned him into a dark silhouette.

He turned so that he back was to the glass, wishing that he was better armed. He had been a fool to come here like this

“You were a fool to come here,” said the voice of a woman from a dark shadow across the room, as if she had read his thoughts. Eoin thought she sounded like she could be a pop singer, with her low, soft voice that was almost a warm purr.  “You were much harder to catch, last time.”

And with those words, a nightmare stepped into the shadowy light from the window. It was tall and slender, and had a beautiful black face of a woman and the shoulders and chest of a woman, swathed in black leather.  But beyond that, this creature did not resemble a human. At her wide hips, her shirt transformed into black fur that covered two long muscular cat legs, paws glimmering with sharp claws. Instead of arms, two massive black feathered wings rested by her sides, swooping down to brush against the ground. At the end of each wing was a thin clawed hand.

Eoin swallowed hard and pushed his back against the cool glass.  Who—what was this creature?  And what did she mean by last time? His mind blinked back to the previous summer and the long trek through the forest and the ancient instrument.  Had it worked, then?

“Oh, you poor little confused human,” she said, advancing slowly towards him. “You don’t remember, do you?”

“Oh yes, I remember,” he lied in as bitter a tone as he could muster, convinced that it was best to try to fake confidence.

“You have always been a pathetic liar, my old love,” she smiled a wicked grin revealing teeth that were far too sharp.

“Love?” Eoin’s mind was reeling but topmost in his thoughts was his need to escape. In a swift motion, he drew a small dagger that he always kept on him and made as if to throw it at her, but at the last moment he swung his hand down with all his strength and shattered the window behind him.  At least, that was his intension.  But glass is not made to shatter at one blow, and his knife had only made a small hole and web of cracks in the huge windowpane.

“Yes, my sweet little bard.  You have not forgotten your Morrigan?”

He hit the glass again, still not daring to turn his back on the monster, hope draining from him like water leaving a sponge.

“Well, it’s time you remembered.” She laughed, and raised a clawed arm to strike him.

Because he was not looking at the glass, Eoin did not see the bright white light that had spread along the little cracks, widening them and deepening them. He pressed himself against the glass, terrified as he watched his death speed towards him.

And suddenly, the glass behind him broke and he fell backward through a hole the glass the size of his body.

As he fell, he realized that breaking the glass had probably not been a good idea. A dark shadow launched itself from the window above and for a moment he wondered if she would catch him, to finish him off herself.  Through the whiz of air past his ears he heard her laughing above. No, he realized, she would let him fall.

Then there was a flash of blinding blue light and it was over.

The End

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