I stand in my room, alone. Ryan is gone. That phrase keeps thundering through my skull. Ryan had an hour, but something snatched him away. Instead we only had ten minutes. I still have fifty minutes with Ryan. I have to try and get back to him, just for those fifty minutes. After that, I’ll let go. Or at least try. I close my eyes and try to cross the barrier. Instead, I end up blown across the room with am eidolon, the child of a human and a spirit, standing by me.
“Shadow Princess, I am thy guardian while your father is gone. I am Wraith.”
The part of me that’s still functioning wants to laugh and say yes, yes you are. But the broken part wins, and I nod. Wraith reaches out and puts a cold hand on my shoulder. I look up at him. Wraith is tall, with translucent white skin, like all eidolons. He has black hair, somewhere between a buzz cut and a shag. His empty charcoal eyes watch me. Although his voice portrays concern, his eyes show no emotion. The eyes of the dead. Those eyes are one of the few things I’m used to when it comes to the dead.
“Shadow Princess, thy father told me you have school today. Should not thou be getting ready?”
The start of a small smile shows on my face at Wraith’s odd way of speaking. ”I should.”
“Then why dost thou still sit in thy sleepwear?”
I shrug. “Because the school knows Ryan is dead and since I am…was…his girlfriend, they’re letting me skip today if I want.”
Wraith looks confused. “But why would thou skip to school?”
The small smile gets a little bigger. “Not skip to school, skip school. As in, I don’t have to go if I don’t feel like it.”
Wraith nods. “And what does the school think of Ryan’s death?”
The smile vanishes. “They say it was a tragic accident. But it wasn’t an accident, was it?” I look up at Wraith. “You know something, or at least you know someone who knows something.”
Wraith turns and walks out my bedroom door and heads down the hallway. “Would thou want something to eat? Thou must keep up thy weight, else thy father will send me away.”
I jump up and run after him. “Wraith, please. I need to know. Ryan…he was my everything. I need to know everything that involves his ‘accident.’”
Wraith sighs and his shoulders drop. “Princess, thy father would not wish thou to know this what I will tell you.”
“I don’t care what he does or doesn’t want me to know.”
Wraith slowly turns and faces me. “Shadow Princess, if we could sit and continue this?”
I sit on the floor. “Sit and start talking, Wraith.”
Wraith looks dubiously at the wood flooring. “Would there be anywhere more…comfortable where we could discuss this?”
I shake my head and point to the floor at Wraith’s feet. “You’re already half dead, it’s not going to matter. You probably won’t even be able to feel the floor anyway.”
Wraith glares at me momentarily, then sits down. The human half makes it look like he’s sitting. The ghost half shows that he’s actually hovering a few inches off the floor.
Wraith sighs. “Shadow Princess, Ryan’s death was not an accident.”
“Really? I hadn’t guessed that!” I say, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
Wraith taps the floor with his fingertips. “Thou may be the Shadow Princess, yet that will not prevent me from turning thou into one of thy father’s subjects.”
It’s my turn to glare. “Wraith, you are under direct orders from the Shadow Lord to watch over and protect me, not to threaten or harm in any way, form, or fashion. Is that understood? If not, I’m sure my father would gladly clear it for you.”
Wraith slowly looks up. “There are many reasons that she is targeting those close to thou.”
Wraith goes on like I haven’t said anything. “Mainly because of your lineage. But also because she thinks she should be in power, not thy father. If only she had accepted his alliance when he offered!” He sighs. “Alas, that was many years ago, after thy father met thy mother. Aye, thy mother is the main reason that this is happening.”
“My mother? Wraith, what does my mom have to do with all this? And my lineage? What are you talking about?”
Wraith looks at the wall behind me before answering. “There are many things thou does not know about thyself. And there are many things that thy does not know about thy parents.”
I open my mouth to say something, but Wraith holds up a translucent hand and continues speaking.
“Thy past and thy ancestors’ past is a dark and twisted one indeed, Shadow Princess. Dost thou still wish to uncover the secrets that lie right behind thee?”
Wraith smiles grimly. And for those who have never seen an eidolon smile, it’s rather frightening paired with those empty, charcoal eyes.
“I will help explain some of these secrets, but only for something in return.” Wraith’s lips curve from a grim smile into a crafty one.
I swallow. “What price?”
“For thee to go to school today. I will follow thee and watch thee, if that is thy wish.”
I shake my head. “No, you stay here. And if Ryan comes back, then come get me. Immediately.”
Wraith gives me a look that proves what I thought. Those ten minutes with Ryan were my last.