“Did you see them?” I asked my sister. “That girl was hot!”
“Did you see the guy?” she asked in astonishment. She looked around and tapped someone behind her on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” she said.
“Yeah, what’s up?” asked the guy when he looked at her.
“Um, a two people just left here, pale, grayish eyes—”
“Was the girl amazingly beautiful that you felt bad about your own appearance?” he asked.
Jen nodded sadly, taking a hit on her ego. He simply smiled.
“Ah,” he said. “You’ve stumbled upon the enigmatic Jaymes and Silena Ereguard. . They have a brother name Kismet. He’s the eldest. Their parents are rich, but no one really knows much about them. They kind of… avoid any kind of contact with people. They’re weird, though. They don’t bother with any of us. But I wouldn’t mind if Silena bothered with me!” He turned away and laughed.
I peered over to where they’d been sitting. There were two full trays of food, untouched by Silena and Jaymes. Weird, I thought. The bell rang, and I headed off to my next class.
At the end of the day, I waited outside in the parking lot next to my sister, watching the distorted, black clouds tremble in the sky as they threatened to burst and cause rain to plummet the world into a gray depression. I pulled out my cellphone and keyed in his number. He didn’t answer his phone. I slid my phone, considering texting him, but if his phone wasn’t on, what use would that be? So there we waited, hoping for him to get here before the rain set in. A Z28 2010 Camaro passed by us slowly, and I saw that the people in the car were the Ereguards, with the one who must have been Kismet in the front seat. He had blond, windswept hair as well, and the same intent gray eyes.
After ten minutes, when the whole parking lot was nearly vacant, our dad pulled up in his old car. He crawled to a stop and we got into the car. “How was school?” he asked.
“Better now,” said Jen. And no one said another word to each other during the twenty minute trek home. When we got home and finished the furnishing, I went to my room and lay down in my bed, waiting for my brain to find something to do. The TV hadn’t been unpacked yet, so there was no television to watch. So I decided to go outside.
I pulled on a jacket and told my dad where I was going, and then I headed out into the cool outside air. I walked to the left of the house and walked up the rocky road, then turned into the dense forest. Water dripped from the leaves as I walked through the thick forest. I wound my way through the thick barricade of trees, daring to venture farther into the vast expanse of overgrowth. I walked through the damp forest, scanning the area to find something interesting. The air was still heavy with humidity, and from the looks of it, it would soon rain again. I sighed angrily, recalling the place where I used to live. How sunny and warm it was, the winding streets that were so easy to get lost in, the flickering neon lights at night. I already missed them.
So I walked aimlessly, no knowing what I would find or when I would turn back. I just walked, my feet taking me farther into the woods. I looked around as I walked; at the gnarled tree trunks, the symbols etched into the wood, the green leaves that hung from the branches of the trees around me. Droplets of cold water dripped down on me as they fell from the leaves of the taller trees. Suddenly, there was a noise. It was like someone or something running through the woods. I stopped, dead in my tracks. I broke into a cold sweat, beads of perspiration running down my back. I looked around carefully, being sure not to move. I saw nothing. And right before I was about to start walking again, the same sound repeated. I spun around, trying to locate where it was coming from. It came again, closer this time. Where is the sound coming from?! I exclaimed in my mind.
There it was again. I cursed under my breath. As I backed up, something ran out into view. I was calm when I saw what had caused the noise. It was just a lone fox, its fur reddish orange with circular white spots on its back. I sighed in relief, and then stared at the animal before me. Suddenly, there was the sound again. It was like leaves rustling against the ground. The sound dragged on, and came closer and closer very quickly. The footsteps became closer together, like a thunderous clap beating to a faster and faster rhythm. My heart beat as fast as the footsteps thudded, quickly and inconsistently. And out of nowhere, there was an impossibly fast blur that raced out in front of me, and the fox was gone. I didn’t move.
My heart sank into my stomach, and I felt bile in my throat. I walked slowly, looking at something that was on the ground, a kind of thick liquid. It looked like paint or molasses, some odd fluid. And then I saw it up close. The crimson trail of fluid started where the fox had been, and dragged over into the direction the blur had gone. Holy crap… I thought. Blood. My head spun as I remembered what had happened. No animal in the world was the fast. Not even the cheetah! And there was no way something like a cheetah lived in a forest in Cleveland.
I looked in the direction of the blood trail and did the most stupid, reckless, tactless thing I’d ever done in my life.
I followed it.
I walked in that direction, gulping quietly. My heart was in my stomach, like I’d gone down a really steep drop on a roller coaster. It hammered in my body, and my brain was screaming at me to turn and run, but I wasn’t listening. I continued to walk, and I finally got close enough to see something odd. There, lying on the ground was the fox. It was limp, lifeless. I ran over to it, and inspected it. I couldn’t find out the cause of its death, until I followed where the smear of blood was. Two small holes were in its neck, as if made by small incisors of an animal. They were as small as the holes of a thumbtack, but slightly larger. I touched the side of the fox. Normally, when you touch an animal, it’s warm. The fox was cold, as if it was empty.
I stood up and began to run in the direction I’d come through. I ran until I hit something. It wasn’t a tree, but it was rock hard, like I’d run into a wall. There, standing in front of me was Jaymes Ereguard. His face was solemn, and he was bleeding from out of his mouth. His eyes looked like they were rimmed in scarlet for a moment, which was probably a trick of the eye because when he looked back, it wasn’t. He didn’t say anything until I did. “Are you okay?”
He flinched as I spoke, as if restraining himself from doing something he shouldn’t. “Yes,” he said calmly, his voice like stabbing shards of ice. “I’m fine.”
I turned away for one second, about to tell him about the dead fox I’d found. “There’s a dead fox back there. It’s weird, though. I can’t tell how it…” I looked over at him. Well, were he had been a second ago. He was gone. I jumped at the sight of the emptiness before me, and then began to run home.