A rustling of the nearby underbrush caused Drue to stir. Night had fallen and the world was dipped in inky blackness. The nearby crunch of fallen leaves and the snap of twigs quickly brought Drue to consciousness. Her eyes snapped open. She could see nothing. Blinking rapidly she tried to adjust her vision but it was no use. She felt around for her clothes and began dressing as she listened for more sounds of moment.
Whatever it was, it was content on watching her. The thing paced to the left and then back to the right seemingly unsure of what to do. Eventually it slowly advanced, but remained unseen. Taking steps toward Drue and then recoiling slightly whenever she looked in its direction. Finally it turned a pair of eerie yellow eyes upon her.
Druesilla knew she was caught. There was nothing she could do to aid her plight. It was too dark to run. If she fell and was injured at best she had no medicines to treat her wounds, at worst she’d lay among the ferns until she withered away and died. No, running was not an option. She patted the pockets of her pants, nothing. She must have packed her small blade into the canvas bag that still hung from a branch in her dwelling.
There was nowhere to run and no way to fight. She couldn’t risk flight so the only alternatives she could think of were to scare it away or reason with it. She didn’t have anything to scare it away with so that left her only one option. She mustered all her courage, and called out into the dark.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
There was complete silence. For just a moment the thing stopped moving and stared at her, its yellow eyes open wide. Drue thought she may have heard a gasp, but she couldn’t be sure, the creature may have just been breathing. Her heart beating hard in her chest, she tried again.
“Hello? Come out. I mean you no harm.”
A male voice returned her greeting, not aloud, but in her head. She had never met a telepath and the sound of his voice was inescapable and frightening.
“Why have you come? What are you doing here?”
Just then a large four legged figure materialized before her. Startled, Drue stepped backward and banged her foot against the rock, making her thankful she’d had enough sense to put on her shoes.
Boldly she replied “I am new to the land of fallen angels. This place, I now call home. My name is Druesilla, daughter of the seer, Raven Phoenyx of Paradise.”
Remembering her manners she bowed, showing the enormous black feline that she held him and his kind in high regard.
The cat raised his head high, tucked in his right foreleg, and then gracefully returned the gesture.
“Welcome to the Midway, Druesilla Phoenyx. I am Eldred, the phantom cat of this abundant grove.” He purred “Now, let’s get you somewhere safe.”
She let the name he'd given of this place of exile roll around in her mind, “The Midway? Mid… way…. The middle…. But half way between Paradise and what?”