Rayan groaned with satisfaction as he got into the steaming hot bath. His body still hadn't quite recovered from the marathon he'd run a few nights before. The event was foggy in his mind now. He remembered the charred grass - and that it hadn't been hot like he had expected - but almost everything else had slipped his mind.
This was normal; experiences regarding the shadow man decayed from memory quickly. Some people said that the man came to you in your sleep and sucked away your thoughts. Rayan had laughed at that when he'd first heard it, dismissing it as silly superstition. But now he wasn't so sure what to think. It was dangerous to assume anything with regards to the shadow man, no matter how odd, stupid or ridiculous. The man wasn't just mysterious, he was also veryobscure. Uncomfortably so, or so he'd been told.
He'd forgotten to bring in the shampoo.
"Amara!" he yelled, exasperated.
He heard the front door open on the other side of the bungalow. Rayan tutted. Amara had ridiculously good hearing. It was very useful in their current situation - a lot of what was said about the shadow man was uttered in whispers, usually not to their own ears. Amara was a master at eavesdropping.
She threw open the bathroom door and chucked a bottle of shampoo at a naked and startled Rayan. He slipped down in the bath and involuntarily gulped a mouthful of water as he tried to get his bearings. Amara grinned and left quickly, jogging cheerfully down the long bungalow corridor. There was little that pleased her more than annoying Rayan.
"Son of a bitch," he muttered in between small coughing-choking fits. He inspected the bottle of shampoo and discovered it was a flowery pink brand for very feminine women. Typical. Now he'd be stinking of bloody roses for a week. He slid himself down in the bath and closed his eyes, letting his mind wander. He thought about Lacey, a girl Amara had been friendly a few years back. She had been hot: long dark blonde hair, grey eyes and a killer smile. From Holland, if Rayan remembered rightly. It was an accent he'd never really thought much of until he saw it on her. Now he loved it.
"Get a grip, man!"
Rayan jumped violently, sending a tidal wave of water sloshing over the side of the bath and onto the magnolia-coloured tiled floor. Someone had shouted - a man, by the sounds of the voice.
He thought about calling out to Amara but suddenly felt embarrassed. He must've let himself fall asleep for a moment. The voice was... a dream. Some sort of odd, short, auditory dream.
He washed his hair quickly and mechanically, no longer feeling relaxed enough to enjoy the hot bath. He dressed, dried his hair (which took a ridiculously long time considering its length - cropped short) and found his Xbox.
After playing for a few minutes, curled up on his leather 'gaming chair' next to the cat, Rayan was calm. The voice had completely slipped from his mind - which was now occupied with deciding what he was going to have for dinner that evening and killing the alien mutants that were attacking him in the game.
In the next room, Amara was working. She had been in the garden measuring electrical activity in the area when her instruments had gone crazy for a few seconds. It had happened just after she'd thrown the shampoo bottle at Rayan - at the moment he had been day-dreaming. She'd spent the past hour or so sifting through data, attempting to find the cause of the sudden spike of electrical energy.
She didn't find one. After checking her equipment, she found one of the mechanisms had sprung loose. Amara decided the odd readings she had received were a simple mechanical malfunction. She tightened up the device and the incident quickly faded from her mind.
By the evening, when Amara and Rayan were sitting round the dingy square wooden table shoved in the middle of their kitchen, neither of them could remember much of their day at all. Just another boring day on their seemingly pointless quest to find the shadow man.
In the back garden of the house directly opposite theirs, a patch of grass was smoking.