Kate’s dream was filled with darkness. A thick veil saturated her surroundings. She had no way of knowing where she was. She was walking slowly, carefully. She extended both hands to feel for anything that might block her path. The silence made her ears ring. She was frightened. She could see nothing, hear nothing. There was only emptiness. She needed to get somewhere, but her memory failed her. Where was she going, and more importantly, how could she get there in this darkness? She felt helpless--abandoned. One word crossed her lips before she woke.Aidan.
The hot shower helped Kate focus on the day’s events. She and Ellen were due to meet Robert in an hour at a café around the corner from the apartment. The thought of being asked personal questions by a complete stranger made Kate slightly uncomfortable, but what choice did she have? She needed answers and if baring her soul was the only way to do it, than so be it.
The hour passed too quickly for Kate. She stared into space as she ate breakfast with Ellen and Elise. Her food was tasteless, and her senses seemed dull. Elise’s father had already left for the day. Ellen had made an excuse as to why she, Elise, and Kate were there. He had asked no questions, and Ellen had offered no further information.
The walk to the café was shorter than Kate expected and she found herself filled with anxiety and apprehension as she was ushered through the door by Ellen.
“Don’t worry, honey. Robert is a gentleman. Whatever is said in this room stays in this room, I can assure you.” Ellen smiled, giving Kate a gentle squeeze around her shoulders.
Sitting in the back corner of the café sat the man Kate presumed was Robert. He got up from his seat upon seeing Ellen enter the café. A man in his forties, Robert was the classic picture of a gentleman. He was neatly dressed in a sports coat and his dark features were handsome, surprising Kate. The Robert she had pictured in her mind was old and ruffled in appearance. After all, what kind of normal looking person would be an expert in demonology?
“Ellen, it’s been too long. How are you?” Robert offered genuinely, taking Ellen’s hand in his own and holding it there for a moment.
“Hello, Robert. It’s wonderful to see you again. It’s been too long, dear friend,” Ellen replied cheerfully.
“And this must be Kate,” he said, turning towards Kate. He took her hand in his own and held it gently in between his hands the same as he had with Ellen. His hands were warm, and Kate felt at ease the moment he touched her. Perhaps this wouldn’t be as bad as she had originally expected. Maybe this man could help her.
As soon as the three had sat down at the table, Robert began the questioning. He took out a small notebook to make notes, after asking Kate’s permission.
“Kate, I would like to start from the beginning. Tell me when you started sensing that something was different in your life,” Robert began.
“I started having bad dreams a few weeks ago. Up until then, I hadn’t had any bad dreams since I was a kid.”
“Okay, so you started having these dreams. Can you tell me about them?”
“Well, they’re usually at night, or they seem to be, because they are always so dark. I’m usually running away from something, or just lost.”
“Is there anyone else in these dreams, Kate, or is it just you?”
“Sometimes there is someone after me, but I can never tell who it is. It’s always so dark, or there’s fog. Usually, I can’t ever make out where I am, or how I got there. I always feel that I’m trying to get somewhere. I just can’t remember where it is.”
“Tell me about Aidan. When did you meet him? How did you meet him?” Robert continued, jotting down a few notes.
“He came to the bookstore where I work last week. I helped him find a particular book. He told me he was here on business, so I didn’t think I’d ever see him again. But then he showed up on Halloween outside city hall, and we had a cup of tea together. After that, he asked me out to dinner, and that’s when everything got weird.”
“Did he say where he was from, or what type of business he was in?”
“Yeah, well, he didn’t actually say where he was from, but he has an Irish accent, so I just figured he was from Ireland. He said he was here looking for real estate.”
“What does Aidan look like, Kate?”
“He’s tall, probably about six feet tall or so. He has dark hair, dark eyes. He dresses casually, not in anything that really stands out. He’s a really good looking guy,” Kate trailed off.
“Did he ever mention his age?”
“No. I wanted to ask, but I didn’t want to come across as rude. I’m not really familiar with Irish etiquette when asking about someone’s age.”
“How old did he look to you?”
“Maybe mid-twenties, but then again, I’m a terrible judge of age,” Kate answered.
“Kate, this may make you a bit uncomfortable, but I would like to ask you a few personal questions about your relationship with Aidan. Is that okay?”
“If you think it will help,” Kate offered hesitantly.
“Did you and Aidan ever have any kind of physical interaction?”
“No, none at all. I just met him. I’m a little shy of physical affection. I’m guess I’m not really the affectionate type, physically, that is. Physical touch makes me nervous, and Aidan makes me nervous enough just by his presence alone.”
“What about him makes you nervous?”
“Anytime I’m close to him, I get really warm—unnaturally warm. At first I thought it was embarrassment, or maybe even some kind of cold I was coming down with. It only happens when I’m close to Aidan, though.”
“But you never had any physical contact with him? No handshake, hug, or anything like that, correct?”
“Well, the first time we met, I handed him the book he was looking for. His hand grazed mine. Then we had tea together and I bumped into him by accident, and he sort-of caught me, but other than that, no.”
“Tell me about what happened when you had dinner with him.”
“I really don’t know what happened. We heard a scream from the front of the restaurant. Aidan went to see what happened. I heard a loud crash in the kitchen area. The lights went out, and then Aidan told me we had to get out of there. He insisted I leave with him. I was confused, so I did what he asked me to do. We drove for a few minutes and then he told me that demons were after us both. I asked him to pull over and let me out, and that’s when his skin started glowing. I got out of the car, ran up the road, and then I passed out. I woke up at my house--alone. My car was in the driveway, even though I left it at the restaurant. All the doors in my house were dead-bolted from the inside. I called the police and asked them if anyone had called about the restaurant. No one had, so that’s when I thought I might be crazy. I called Elise and she came and got me.”
“So you haven’t heard from Aidan since you got out of his car?”
“No. But I think he may still have my cell phone. Someone called Elise’s phone and my cell number came up on her caller id. I told Elise not to answer it. Whoever it was didn’t leave a message either.”
“So, what do you think, Robert?” Ellen asked.
“I’m not entirely sure, but I do think that Kate may be in danger,” Robert replied.
“What about Aidan? Is he a demon, or something else?” Kate whispered.
“That’s hard to say, Kate. I think the question we need to ask ourselves is this: why did he target you?”
“I don’t know. I’m nobody. Why would a demon, angel, or anything else want to mess with me? I’m still not even sure what to think about all this,” Kate mumbled as she hugged herself with her arms.
“Are you a religious person, Kate?”
“I believe in God, if that’s what you mean. I haven’t been to church in a while, but I was raised in church. My dad was a very religious person up until a few years ago. After that, all of us stopped going to church.”
“There has to be something that connects you to all of this, Kate. Think as hard as you can. Have you ever tampered with the occult, or any kind of witchcraft? Have you read any books on those subjects?”
“No, not at all. I read mostly modern fiction. I’m not much of a fantasy or sci-fi kind of reader.”
“What book did Aidan buy the day you met him?”
“He bought a collection of plays. He was looking for a work by Erasmus.”
“Erasmus, Robert murmured half to himself. “That’s interesting.”
“Does that mean something?” Kate questioned.
“I think you need to call your cell phone, Kate. That may be the only way we find out what’s going on.”
“What? You think I need to talk to Aidan, or whoever it is who has my phone? Is that wise?”
“We may never learn what’s going on any other way, Kate. I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t think it was the only way.” Robert offered gently.
“Okay, I’ll do it.”
Ellen and Kate rose to go, offering a farewell to Robert. Kate agreed to keep him updated when and if she learned something new. The walk back to the hotel wearied Kate. She needed a nap. She needed rest. Then she would call her cell phone.
Elise was watching TV when her mother and Kate walked through the door. She glanced up with an anxious expression on her face.
“Well, what did he say? Can he help?” She asked impatiently.
Kate and Ellen looked at one another before plopping down on the couch.
“I guess that’s a no, then.” Elise said to herself.
“Elise, I need to borrow your cell phone.” Kate responded. The nap would have to wait.