Geoff stood and watched until the ambulance had driven down the road and out of sight, the sirens fading and the people slowly dispersing from the scene. The sky began to darken and clouds cluttered the sky, thick and grey. He knew that the rain would drench him. He didn’t know what to do, where to turn. He wanted to rip off his shirt and fly. Release his wings, fly and never look back. He momentarily considered turning his earpiece back on but shied away from the thought; whatever was waiting for him on the other end could not be good. He wiped his eyes and turned to run down a steaming back street behind the shops. He couldn’t breathe; he pulled of his jacket and shirt, allowing the cool rain to fall on his back. He was completely ignorant of his surroundings as he slid down the side of a building to the floor. Pain undulated through his veins and pumped in his gut as he let his human form peel away to reveal the blue shimmering skin beneath. As he leant forwards he let his wings stretch out, searching for some feeling other than shame.
He was so concentrated on this task that he barely noticed the intake of breath from the end of the alleyway. He snapped his head up to see the girl¸ well, she was more a young woman, who had spoken to him on the street, the girl who had searched his soul with her gaze and saw his disguise. It was apparently still a shock to her, though, to see Geoff slumped, soaked, his dark hair plastered to his glowing blue skin, wings elongated. He wanted to stand, to get away, to do something, but he didn’t. He hung his head away and hoped she would leave, never speaking of what she had seen, although he didn’t really care if she did. A few seconds passed, and a cold hand shocked Geoff’s shoulder. The girl was looking down at him with empathy and distress in her eyes. Their focus was easy for Geoff to read; she wanted answers and he felt like he should give them.
‘Come on, let’s get out of the rain, I want to talk to you.’
She spoke confidently; there was no fear in her tone, only wonder tainted by pain. She held his arm as he stood, and he shook his body like an animal.
‘What’s your name?’ Geoff asked.
‘Corby. And yours?’
‘Geoffrey. But call me Geoff.’
She nodded seriously and he turned to walk alongside her, but she hesitated.
‘Don’t you think you should...’ Corby gestured to Geoff’s body. ‘Cover up?’
Geoff laughed dryly and looked at her. His power wasn’t depleted, he could keep his disguise for days if he wanted, not that it was comfortable to have to shrink yourself and adjust into a strange human body. He felt his skin ripple again as the blue changed to a light olive, his limbs shrinking and evening out. He pulled on his soaked shirt and slung his jacket over his shoulder.
‘Where to?’ He asked.
Corby stared for a moment in shock. She had seen many things, but this was a first. But she adapted well, she had to. She nodded encouragingly and gave a solemn smile.
‘There’s a small coffee shop a few blocks down; it sells really bad coffee so it shouldn’t be too busy.’
Geoff smiled again.
‘Sure. Let’s go.’
He strode swiftly down the alley and out on to the now deserted street. The rain pounded down. As they neared the bus stop Geoff noticed the blood had washed away. No sign that Leigh had even died here today. Corby jogged to keep up with him, avoiding looking at the site where Leigh had stepped out. She ran ahead and before he knew it Geoff was following Corby into a tiny little place; rather dark and not exactly what you could call clean. Geoff didn’t care about that. He swept the room and found it empty, so he offered Corby a chair in the corner and joined her. Once seated, Geoff sat, completely silent. He wished he could hear Tolstoff’s voice, more than anything. After a few seconds Corby leant in to Geoff.
‘Who...or what are you?’ She asked pointedly.
‘You don’t waste time, do you?’ Geoff replied, amused but appreciative of her direct nature.
‘Well, I was just curious. I mean, I’ve seen things, let’s say, I’ve seen creatures...things that are not human before...but nothing like you.’ She briefly eyed Geoff, flicking her eyes across his face as if searching for something.
‘Well, Miss Corby, I am not of this world, I can tell you that much.’
‘You don’t say? The blue skin wasn’t much of a give-away.’ A hint of sarcasm lined her voice.
The corner of Geoff’s smile lifted.
‘Tell me this, Corby, how is it that you have seen things...non-human things, when you yourself are human?’
Corby paused; she was considering her position. She didn’t know whether to trust Geoff and he sensed that.
‘I will tell you my story if you tell me yours.’ Geoff prompted.
Corby looked down at her hands and began to tear at a napkin on the table.
‘Fine. I’ll start. I am an Uxietne or as humans have named us in stories; a pixie.’ He grumbled slightly for giving up his power in the conversation, but he cared to little at this moment to stay cautious.
‘A pixie?’ She repeated, her eyes wide, her mind searching all the images in her mind of such a creature and comparing them with Geoff.
‘But...why were you here? I saw you...following that girl...and you tried to stop her too. Why were you here?’ She asked, obviously fizzing with questions.
‘I am part of the E.P.H.D, a magical sect of our world which exists to watch over and to guide, even save humans. Usually special individuals who have lost their way, or are important for one reason or another.’ He explained.
Corby stared for a moment, processing what he had said. Although she looked rather speechless, she did not seemed scared or alarmed as any other human would have been.
‘So...you were trying to save Leigh.’ Corby summated.
Geoff’s jaw tightened.
He sighed and put his hands in his hair. Corby reached out and touched his arm.
‘It wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t have stopped it...’ She trailed off.
‘Yes, yes I could! I knew! The prediction was that she may try to self-harm...I just never thought she’d commit suicide...I could have done something if I hadn’t listened to that stupid, jumped up, control freak Nixa! I could have...saved her.’
He sighed and pulled out his tiny earpiece, smashing it on the table. Silence quilted them for a few moments.
‘I-I was trying to save her too.’
Geoff pulled up his head and stared at Corby’s bright face, rain dripping down her hair.
‘I’ve got a bit of a confession...I guess you could call it.’
Geoff stared steadily.
‘I...I dreamt about her. You see, I saw her – Leigh – in one of my dreams; and I knew she was going to try and, well kill herself. I saw her on the tube and followed her – like you – and then I lost her...and I was too late.’
‘You see, I’m a time leaper.’
Geoff snapped his head up.
‘Really? I’ve never met one before...they are very rare these days...’
‘Yes, well. It’s exhilarating...but not when something...like this happens.’ Corby stared out of the window.
Geoff stood up.
‘We need to go to the family...I need to see her. Will you come with me?’
He looked at her right in the eye, conviction oozed out of them.
They both stood and left the shop, the rain had stopped and they turned left in the direction of the hospital.