Zira stopped at a stoplight and hit the crosswalk button waiting for it to change, the rush of cars zooming past her, blowing her layered onyx hair around her tan face. The sounds of various conversations going on at once began to echo loudly at her, she grumbled under her breath at the noise and hit the button harder this time, she looked up to see a man staring at her from the other side, his eyes red as blood and skin as dark as chocolate, his height towering over everyone walking past. But no one seemed to notice him or the fact that he was so strange but for some reason she could not tear her eyes away from him. When she suddenly felt something hit her hard in the side, it felt like a tight end just tackled her; the wind was knocked from her lungs out into the air. The man disappeared as Zira stumbled, her heel catching the curb.
“Look out!” She heard a deep voice shout, everything seem to fade into a shadowy blur as she fell into the path of the Toyota Tacoma. She braced herself for impact which never came. A strong and warm hand grasped her wrist firmly as she was yanked away from the car; her face hit a strong toned chest covered in a purple dress shirt and black tailored blazer as she breathed heavily at the speed and force of everything.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” She heard as her head was pulled away from the strangers’ chest. She looked up to see a pair of beautiful light green eyes staring into hers. He smiled softly and cupped either side of her cheeks turning her head in every which way scanning every part of her to make sure she was okay.
“I’m okay really, thank you for saving this damsel in distress.” She said laughing quietly pulling away from him.
“Did you happen to see what hit me?” She asked looking around; he touched her cheek turning her head to look at him.
“Sweetheart, nothing hit you; you were in a mid-fainting spell.” He said brushing a strand of her hair back behind her ear. She felt a shiver go up her spine when he called her sweetheart, she normally didn’t like pet names but for some reason when this tall dark and handsome man said it . . . it felt familiar.
“There is no way; you didn’t see a strange figure or anything?” She said her voice cracking at the thought that she may be going insane. She could not be put in a mental institution, not after what she saw happen to her grandfather. A once proud and strong man belittled to nothing but a shell of a man that once was.
“Actually. . . I did see someone, a rather strange looking man, but then I got distracted by you falling that I didn’t pay much attention to anything else.” He said a tint of red covering his rather high cheek bones. Zira smiled softly, something she hasn’t done to a man in years and looked at her shoes nervously.
“Well thank you-“She said trailing off not knowing his name.
“Dante, my name is Dante.” He said stepping back from her a bit, seeing her nervous stance he didn’t want to creep her out.
“Thank you Dante.” She said looking up at him his light green eyes captivating her, why was she so drawn to him, she should have left by now but her feet were sedentary they refused to leave his side.
“You’re welcome sweetheart. Here is a crazy idea are you doing anything right now? Besides standing there looking beautiful?” He said a coy smile dancing along his lips; Zira laughed sarcastically, smooth, she thought pushing him playfully the wind blowing the scent of his cologne toward her. God he smells good.
“Shut up Dante, I’m buying you lunch.” She said sternly turning on the balls of her feet, her hair gently gliding over her shoulders as she continued walking down the sidewalk, far away from the street as possible. She heard a pair of feet running up behind her, the sound of dress shoes sliding across the loose pieces of cement. She smiled knowing it was him.
“You are so bossy.”
“I am not; my name is Zira if you care.” She said nudging his shoulder softly, he stumbled on his feet acting like she hit him hard. He came to a sudden halt and stared at her harshly.
“Zira, you mean the Swahili name for Hatred?” He asked, Zira stopped and looked at him with a look of surprise.
“Yes, yes it is, why do you look at me so coldly, did I say something wrong?” She asked quirking her right eyebrow at him. Dante took a step away from her like he was frightened by her presence.
“My mother told me to avoid those who were called Zira due to them being born from the shadows”
“Oh my God and you believe your mother’s witchdoctor pagan theories? You’re what in your twenties and you are letting what your mommy told you bother you?” She retorted, why would she say something like that to a man she barely knew, she kept doing that today snapping at little things. She was always a mean woman but she never snapped this much, well Namine would probably beg to differ.
“Of course not, my mother wasn’t a pagan she was superstitious and loved to look into myths from the past I always admired her enthusiasm for her folklore and history. But I don’t have a mommy anymore she passed away shortly after a fortune teller told her the future. But after she met with that gypsy she started to lose her mind, that was the hardest thing I ever had to do is watch this beautiful woman, this woman I held so highly, deteriorate to the point where I had to have her institutionalized but sadly she didn’t last long there either, she would just go into these fits of two sisters of light and shadow and how they were coming. She said to beware the ones called Zira and Namine because they were a lie.” Dante said walking again, Zira quickly following behind, she felt a sense of uneasiness twist her stomach in knots did his Mother believe what the fortune teller told her?
“I have a little sister her name is Namine but she wouldn’t hurt a fly unless provoked. But she has a childlike innocence so I doubt your mother would be talking about her. This fortune teller what was her name, might I ask?” Zira said her curiosity getting the best of her, Dante’s expression turned to a sinister and dark form. They continued walking past brick covered stores and various shops until they reached their destination: The Vidgen. Dante’s expression still remained dark and unwavering, his shadow seemed to rise against the building in a strange manner almost like it was growing like the rage within him at that moment, he looked up from the ground he was staring holes into and simply said: