The Grand Piano could be heard from outside as I made my way to the front door. The warmly lit hallway of the hotel was welcoming from the hellish storm outside. Balancing the keys and the bag of bagels in my hands I reached for the first lock on the tall maple door. A clap of thunder shook the building. My hand twitched and caused me to lose my grip on the keys which fell to the ground with a smash. Something about that noise bothered me. I shook it off.
Today was ominous, and had an air of something I couldn't touch, something I just didn't recognize. Perhaps it was the mixture of the rain that fell unceasingly for a week with little signs of stopping, and the haunting music that Gabriel played on the other side of the door.
I collected myself. "Quit freaking yourself out." I muttered, and once again went for the lock.
Just as my key touched the lock, the door swung open with force. I looked up and the room revealed a startled looking woman. Her wide eyes quickly melted into a superficial and plastic smile. She excused herself and squeezed past me and the door frame and scurried down the hallway to the elevator. Typical, I thought. This wasn't an unusual happening. I looked to Gabriel who hadn't stopped playing and shot him an exhausted look. He cracked a smile without taking his eyes off the keys to even see my face.
"Why is it that you feel an obligation to ALWAYS bring someone home from the parties we go to?" I asked even though I knew the answer.
"Hey, that's Mia! She's a nice girl, she's new in town, and she needed a place to stay. How was I to turn her away?" his last words turned his smile more sinister.
"I'm sure you made her feel right at home." I tried not to gag . "At least I know she didn't sleep in my bed... "
"So what should I say when she calls you?"
"-Tell her I died in a plane crash" he finished and got up from the piano to grab the breakfast I had brought in. "So, where did you end up last night?"
"Where do I usually end up when I'm tired of thirty year old men hitting on me? Night Stalking of course." I said with a satisfied tone.
'Night Stalking', as my brother and I called it, was another game we usually played when we were bored. Its simple. Hide in the shadows and follow people for as long as you can without them noticing. When they do notice, see how close you can get without them running. When they do run, chase them. It was a sick game, but addictive. We let them get away of course, but something about their fear was so appealing that we kept playing.
"You know I don't like you just out on the streets at night. Someone's going to think you're a prostitute or a drug dealer or..." he mumbled on..
"You always act like I'm in some sort of danger, calm down. I'm not the one fornicating with every street rat in the city." I smirked as I watched his expression slip into dissatisfaction.
"Alright, well, I'm going to let that one go because you brought my bagels. Just remember that you're not the most dangerous thing that lives in this city." He raised his eye brow to match his now smug face.
He grabbed for the morning paper on the counter, unfolded it, and headed for the balcony. When he was almost out of earshot, I muttered "I hope you're not referring to yourself" and reveled in watching through the glass as his head snapped up from his reading and slowly turned towards me.
I flashed a huge smile in return, ignored his glare, and turned on the television. All over the news was a story of a huge gang fight last night that had broken out in lower east Brooklyn. 12 left dead. Another 20 or so injured. Some were innocent civilians.
"Boring..." I muttered without enthusiasm, then quickly flipped through the channels until I hit the food network. The T.V. Screen filled up with a picture of a huge roasted turkey that looked as if it was covered in melted bronze. That made my mouth water until I realized I didn't need the extra pounds that food would surely give me. So I changed the station again and let it rest on the weather channel.
The network was busy displaying the pictures of the huge storm clouds that had covered New York for the last five days. Rain, every single hour. I looked outside and saw the light drizzle and I felt something in my stomach drop.
Gabe came in shaking his soaked newspaper everywhere and laughed. "Ya know it would be great if the paper stayed dry too." I spun around on the couch to face him. He, in the least attractive way possible, took a bagel and shoved the entire piece of food into his mouth.
"Gabe?" I asked
"Hmm?" he responded with his mouth stuffed.
"Don't you still wonder... what it's like ...." I looked off out into the storm clouds gathering once again outside.
He swallowed "What ...what's like?" He asked clueless.
I jerked my head to the side in the direction of the window.
"Oh..." his voice became very cautious. He understood. "Well, no, I mean its no different from being in the shower so-..."
"No, Gabe it is IS different!" I burst in bitter frustration.
"Eden," His face looked even more exhausted then mine. "Please, not now, let me have one moment of peace without another one of your 'why are we different?' episodes."
I felt my spirit drop. There he goes, silencing me again. "...Sorry." I hissed.
"Alright, look." He rolled his eyes. "We have spent years, Eden, years trying to figure out what we are, and why strange things happen to us. We have found NOTHING. I'm done. You, my dear, need to move on and realize that we both have very long, promising lives ahead of us and we will live them as ordinarily as possible, whether the rain chooses to fall on us or not." He went back to reading.
Everything grew quiet around us. Even the t.v. seemed to be drowned out by the tension filled silence.
Gabe once again took his eyes off the paper to glare at me. "Look I know this week has been full of rain, and it's hard for you to deal with things like that, and your angry because your little boyfriend broke up with you so... why don't you just take a walk or something and clear your head, alright?" He made a motion with his hand as if he were shooing me away.
I couldn't believe he just said that. I stared at him for as long as I could stand. He did not look back.
"Screw this." I whispered.
I rolled my shoulder blades forward and flared my wings as far as they would stretch. I grabbed for the rubber band around my wrist and tied my hair back as I headed for the balcony.
"What the hell are you doing?" Gabriel asked in a dark, vicious tone. "I told you to go for a walk..."
"I think I'll fly instead" I said, carelessly.
"No, you won't!" he rushed over the counter.
"Because in case you haven't noticed, Gabriel," I said relaxed as I looked over the edge off the 30th floor balcony.
"EDEN!" he yelled as I climbed on top of the railing.
"We aren't normal, we aren't human, and YOU were the one who taught me how to fly." With the last words I jumped into the cloudy morning sky and dove several feet.
I head Gabriel yell a string of curse words when he realized he couldn't come after me. I didn't look back at him. I focused and soon the wind carried me away up into the clouds to soar high above the city. I was never allowed to fly outside during the day. Gabriel thought it was too dangerous. But staying hidden for years, it only made you go insane. We were meant to fly all the time, whenever we pleased. Who would dare stop us?
The air was cold and bitter but to me it felt like freedom. I closed my eyes and drifted. I extended my hands outward and felt the rush of the wind. I could see the rain dart out of the way...
I drifted into thought as I glided over the great grey city, its lights not yet lit this early.
I loved every part of this massive town. I loved feeling small yet empowered by living here. I could be whomever I wanted. I could go anywhere I wanted. Anything and everything could be mine. It was in a sense. Who would stop me from taking over? I was indestructible, young, knowledgeable... I could rule the world... I would change so much...
As I looked down upon the city I decided the best place to be would be somewhere secluded in central park. Just to meditate.
I flew down into the tree's. Being seen wasn't a good idea. Air traffic control would freak out if they picked up a ufo ...in New York City. God knows the last time that happened all of New York fell silent as we watched a hole being torn into our skyline.
As I landed, I looked to where the Twin Towers would have stood.
I remember that day ... I remember being with the Laurents ...I remember feeling nothing at all.
Mark had been watching through the balcony window as Trisha was desperately trying to call family. I saw the second plane hit one of the towers. I watched as it exploded. I watched it all.
Mark hung his head in silence and began to pray. How a man like him expected his prayers to be 'answered' I'll never know.
He looked up at me, and asked "Well... don't you feel bad? Sad? Angry? Why the hell are you just standing there like nothing's happening?"
I, at 8 years old, responded. "People die everyday, who are they to me?" the words I spoke still haunt me to this day. I was an ignorant little child. It wasn't my fault, I didn't understand.
Mark took his massive hand and smacked me across my face. The impact didn't even phase me. His hand looked like it hurt though.
" Get out of my sight you little..." Before he could finish I cut in.
"Gladly." I said with exhaustion and disgust.
As I walked away down the hall, I remembered getting grabbed by my hair and thrown into the back room...I shut my eyes to forget the rest.
I exhaled slowly and laid in the chilled wet grass. I rolled over onto my stomach and held out my hand I watched as the rain split to either side of my hand to avoid touching it. How I had racked my brain about why it did such a thing. How was it possible? Hell, how was I possible? The things that I've been through should have left me dead years ago, but here I am... Healthy and happy... for the most part. I was happy but longing. Longing to know what I was. I thought on...
It was strange how my fears had changed over the years. Up until Gabe had come to rescue me, I was afraid of two things. The first, my foster parents. The second ... being left alone, forgotten, abandoned. Now I wasn't afraid of anything.
I rolled back onto my back and stared up into the grey sky. While it bothered and confused me, I still loved the rain. It was beautiful in every single way. It fell when and where it pleased. It stopped for no one ...well ...except for me I suppose. I let my mind drift. I wonder If one day I'll have all of my questions answered. I closed my eyes. How amazing it would be to know what I've always wondered.
My eyes snapped open at the sound of something in the distance. I looked around. Did I fall asleep?
It seemed like I had been there forever, I looked to my phone for the time. I had been there for quite a while. How strange the time fly's.
"Crap" I mumbled. I forced myself to get off the ground no matter how comfortable it may have been. I needed to get someplace warm and maybe get some food.
I walked for a while and came upon a hot dog vendor. Usually I would reject such vial food, but I was starving.
"Hi, can I get two hot dogs with just ketchup on them ... and those chips ..and.." I scoured the stand for anything else edible.
"That water bottle." I ordered.
"Sure." he said apathetically in a thick accent.
I waited and looked around for someplace to stay, perhaps a library.
"That'll be $10.50." he said handing me the brown bag filled with greasy food.
I searched my jean pockets for my wallet.
"Dammit," I whispered. I had left it at home.
Today was going so well....