Basically this is a collection of my musings that I hope to be a novel one day
|I am Fenrir, I am Canine. I am Human. I am Tala. I am anything I want to be. Confusing as it is, it's nothing short of impossible. I've been alive a thousand years, yet died hundreds of times. I am not immortal. Just damned lucky, maybe not even lucky, just damned. I've fought alongside comrades in wars. I've nursed the soldiers who have fallen. I've been great successors and been a wife to many men who would fight and die for me. It's one of those things that no one can explain, I don't understand much more than I know, and all I know is this is something I could have never expected. Those who are Christian do not understand me, in fact, many religions do not understand who and what I am. I prefer my own form of worship, whatever that might be. I believe in God, only God. Call it what you will. I hold strong to every fiber of the truths I believe.
I am a shape shifter. Started out a girl, average, ordinary, teenage girl. Nineteen to be exact. Now, I'll never age. At least not what the normal human being can see. Frozen at nineteen, something happened to me that my mother was never able to explain, nor did I give her any reason to try to. Growing to the age of nineteen I never realized for one instant that I would fight for my life in many more ways that someone normal could ever imagine. I may claim twenty-one soon though. The power of shifting also brings about a strong lust for a stronger drink.
My family is gone and have been gone almost nine hundred years. I haven't seen them in longer. The last of mine disappeared from the face of this planet long after I disappeared from them. They believe I died. I was there, a fly on the wall, the butterfly in the garden, the eagle flying high overhead. I was there, but they did not know that. There was no way they would ever understand what I am. The people of the village would never understand. I would be burned at the stake for what I was…or worse. I lost the love of my life seven hundred years ago. Children killed him by sheer torture. I was caught in a bear trap and unable to save him. I watched him die. His memories and thoughts are with me now. The only thing I have left of him. I lost my Nyx.
My people, they are all I have left and there is nothing I'd rather have to replace them. There are not many like me, in fact, I am one of a very few. I knew nothing of them when I started this life, and it has taken hundreds of years to discover their true natures. I could only imagine there are more. Probably some out there who do not know who they are or they purpose they serve on this earth, but I will meet them, and they will stand beside me in this fight that has taken over everything I know. I know it all sounds like a bad video game or RPG, but this is my life. I live on a higher astral plane with my fellows, far from the eye of who I was, but I can never escape the world in which I was brought in to.
700 Years Earlier
I was running. Damn it felt good to run that fast, feeling the breeze on my furry face. I find myself lurking at the edge of the village after dark, seeing the dogs tied up and tamed in yards. How can anyone live where the whole existence is the diameter of the circle that rope will allow? Eating food that they didn't kill. Tamed, it makes me sick thinking about such a travesty. Once they ran free as I do. That's why I ran. There's no need for capture or death because I pitied the poor domesticated animals. Where is my love? Running is the quickest way to him. It doesn't take long to find him though. He is where I always know he'll be. There is a bond here. I am his Lupa and the equal to his alpha. That is rare in our species. It's even rarer among our breed. We are timber wolves. We have a clan, a pack if you will. We take care of them, and they depend on us. We are not tyrants. They are our friends and family and we have devoted our lives to keep our pack safe and alive.
He is found among the other males of the pack. There is a Beta female next to him, and I don't mind. She will move as I make my way through the pack. The pack knows our bond, they know even if they do not understand. There is a deeper bond connecting me and my male. We've faced battles and our fair share of the demons that wild animals must face and some that only we will ever endure. I enter and join my male in the center. I was part of another pack. I was alone the alpha. There was no male above me. My pack consisted of about 83 wolves, one of the largest packs in the area. My Nyx and I met on a battlefield as allies against a stronger, older pack. The battle raged on over a decade. Many of my pack were lost. Well around half had given their lives to save the territory we had resided on for quite a number of years. The bond was established and the packs were combined. After that the pack became the strongest and largest in the area. I am a proud Lupa and Alpha female to my own.
At the current time, we are not at war with our own, but at war with the two legged ones. They are building in our territory and pushing my pack out of their homes. They are killing off my kind because we run free on our land that they call theirs. They are not evil or horrible, they are looking for homes, and they just don't understand that this land is ours. Nyx is the type who doesn’t want to fight if not necessary. The pack is not too happy with the humans and the extreme loss they are putting us through. I'm afraid in time that the pack will turn on him and his idea of moving on. My opinions do not matter at this point. My pack will turn on me as well. The last resort is battle against the humans, what choice do we have left. It won't be now, it won't be soon. But it is inevitable that it will happen. In due time.
` Tonight we all go hunt. Its part of a bonding ritual we share. The pack usually brings home quite a kill. Enough that not one individual goes hungry. We are a proud pack, yet we look after our weak and young like we would the strong and healthy. We mourn all the same when one dies as we celebrate when new life is brought into the world. Our pack has been through quite a bit of time, and I would assume they will continue to survive even after their leaders have left the earth.
The Way of the End.
I had heard a howl, it sounded like Nyx. I wasn't quite sure what was going on. All I knew is that sounded like Nyx. I took off running, not quite sure where I was going, but all I knew was I had to go. I ran for what seemed like hours. Until I was close enough to see what was going on, but far enough away to not be seen, until it happened. My back leg stepped into a bear trap. I was truly stuck and able to see everything before me.
There were children. They were beating something. I could hear the whimper of what sounded like a damaged animal. The sound reverberated through my soul, and even though I couldn't tell who it was, I had a strong feeling that it was the one I loved. I growled as loud as I possibly could, it took no effect to the children. I was stunned, even though I shouldn't be, for one, if they could hold on to and torture my Nyx, than why would they be afraid of me? My leg was throbbing at this point; I was losing a lot of blood. Quickly. I wanted to go to sleep, but the horror of what was happening to my soul mate was too much to keep my eyes off from it. The urge to let the lifeblood slip from my body and to lay down and die was strong, but trying to meet my soul mate's eyes and mind was the only thing I could let my body do. Before long, the children went away. He couldn't move. He was stuck to the ground as if by some invisible force. "Get up Nyx. Get up!" I was doing all I could get will him to get up, help me out of my bondage then limp with me home, where our pack could watch over us and make sure our wounds weren't fatal. He wouldn't move. There was a slight raspy breath and the child of a whimper coming up from his very bowels, but by his face, he was gone. What I wouldn't have gave to lick his face, bring him back to and look him in the eyes one last time.
I laid down and gave up my spirit as well.
I remember waking up in a warm room, by a fire. My wounds were dressed with fine linens and there was a bowl of cool water to my right side. My mind was still lost in the memories of watching my love die. How hard would it have been to drag myself into that fire so I could have joined my love in the next life? The depression was debilitating. I couldn't move at all, not only because of my emotional state, but my leg hurt. It was probably broken. Soon I heard voices, human voices. I did the best I could to growl and look very menacing. A warm hand found the top of my head, and the side of the ear that I could never quite get myself. I wasn't afraid, a little angry, but not afraid. I succumbed to the hand and let myself sink into the comforting warmth. I awoke again during the day, the human was gone. I decided to walk. Not my most intelligent idea, but I did what I had to do. I must get back to the site where Nyx was killed and take his body back to the pack.
I took off out the door going the speed that would have made my mother angry. I couldn't go any farther and I couldn't save the body of Nyx without some more healing, but I had to move on. The journey was slow and torturous. I noticed my blood was seeping from the wound through the linens. I should have headed back, but I kept going until I saw the blood of my beloved, I hobbled up, dropped to my love's side and nuzzled the cooled flesh. He was gone; the pack would have to sacrifice him to provide our females and cubs with food. He won't be enough to get them full, but at least they can be without the hunger pains. That is what he would have wanted. I gathered him up on my back, and started my slow journey to the pack so show and tell them what had happened.
The path was long, there was no denying that I was hurt, and I didn't have the strength to carry him home, but I continued on. It was night fall when I returned to the pack. They had been concerned when neither Nyx nor I returned from the hunt. Now they knew. I collapse, and when I came to, I was placed next to my love, and the pack surrounded us. The looks on their faces told me exactly what they wanted to know. What happened to our leader? I tried to explain that while I was in a bear trap Nyx had been fighting for his life, the children were just too mean, and the damages they did were far too great for him to survive. I explained the warm home I was in while I healed. The pack was divided in their opinions about the whole situation. Humans killed my soulmate, and fellow pack leader, but a human saved my life. Talk of war had begun, and there was nothing I could do anymore. I was still Alpha, still a leader, but in my time of injury, I could not fight for what I wanted to do. War was inevitable, and it was soon, and I was not ready. Talk of war escalated after several others from our pack were attacked by the same children, and soon the idea of it was starting to grow on me. A few more attacks like that and the eve of war would be upon us sooner than we all knew.
Nyx wouldn't have been happy with that particular time in the packs life. So many of my pack was killed that war. It didn't last long, but the humans were stronger, and smarter. The only thing we had was speed and natural weapons. Nxy was not happy. I could tell in the atmosphere that he was not happy with anything that went on in that time. But it's over now. The pack has long since been gone, and I am spending more and more time in human form. It's the only way I could have survived as long as I did. After the war I took off on my own, several hundred years changing from one animal to the next to survive. I traveled the world several times before I came here to tell my story.
I made it to Russia the second time before I found him. I knew it was Nyx in another form. He had his eyes. Those brown eyes that bore deep within my soul, only his were green with a ring of the brown. That soul, that captivating soul that reached out to mine. It was instant. The taverns were dark in that particular village. But his soul was darker than that. He held my attention, something no other male had been able to do since Nyx died. But then again, he was Nyx. I was his Tala, there was no doubt about who he was, and what he was doing in Russia. He went by Nikolas. Times had changed us both. The century was anew and time had changed everyone and everything. He didn't know me, small talk was something that was old hat for me. Many times had I passed through a small village where the single men were looking for a young woman to settle down and take care of the children they had with their past wives. When I met him again it was the middle of several lethal epidemics. People were dying and many were left to care for the family that was left. I was lucky in that sense; there was no one for me to care for. No one to keep me pinned down, no one to watch grow. I was not lucky at all. My family died long before most of those people ever thought of losing theirs. I was alone in the world. It helped my travels, but at the same time, made for a very hard life.
I followed him through life and death, countries and centuries. I don't think he has ever realized who I was. Maybe he wasn't Nyx, but the closest thing I could have ever found in my searching. Nyx or not, I knew him once before. He has remained human for the most part of the last hundred years like me. We've spent much of our time in the states now. Everything has settled and the time has made life a whole lot easier here. With me not aging, it's easier to travel, not to stay too long in one place. It's easier now that there are ways to change ones looks. Most people I have met along the way no longer recognize me, but as a safety measure, I prefer not to make friends. Nyx, I mean, Nikolas, has noticed that I have not changed in the hundreds of years we have been together, but then again neither has he. It's all a technicality now. We stay from the wondering eyes of the public as much as possible, and stay in areas where someone like us could possibly accepted.
Our home base has been New Orleans for quite some time now. We work, we venture out in to the night life of the Quarter. There are acquaintances that we are known to be around on nights we are not wrapped in each other. They are the kind of people who shy away from the public eye themselves. They keep to themselves, and the public tend to stay away from them. I work in a small bar in the Quarter not far from our flat and he helps lead local tours of the cemeteries. It's easier that way. The Quarter has become very touristy in the time we've lived here and so the people we see for the most part come and go. No one would remember our faces in the time they visit our magical city. There is nothing like the city at night, it holds an air that no other place on earth could possibly carry. Maybe that's why I feel at home here, though technology has invaded the city, there is still an old feel and atmosphere here. The tourists that the city attracts are the ones who dare to venture here to find fear, to find history to find something unexplainable. The longer I am here, the more unexplainable I find. We were here in the days of the untold. Mystery floods every street corner and every small shop that's out of the way. The excitement of not knowing who and what you could find brings thousands of people every season. Of course, it's not all tourists, the great part yes, but at the same time, there are the people like us, who are here because they would not be accepted anywhere else. That's the beauty of everything. There is no need to search anymore. The witches, the crazies, the musicians, the ones who don't fit are here, and despite it all. I would call it home before I would call the village I grew up in home.
There are others around, there is no doubting that, one of the few dangers in being in a city full of unseen things. There are people here who aren't people at all. The immortals that walk among us, the vampires, the elements, and the spirits. There are battles raging in the streets all the time that the mortals cannot see. It's dangerous for Nikolas and me, but its home. I imagine that one day we will be discovered and we will have to leave. But for now, we're safer here than anywhere.
I started speaking to the other lady, Jeanette, who worked usually the same time I did and asked her if she happened to know the new man who came in. She knew nothing. The girl had grown up in the Quarter her whole life and knew just about everyone who came in the bar from the time she was a little girl. I envied her; she was a child, a teenager, and now woman. Even though I have lived many times longer than she, I was still a young girl in the eyes of everyone who saw me. Either way, the man worried her a bit too. She seemed to notice he watched me, and chalked it up to me being an attractive young woman. She didn't understand that the thing I saw in his eyes was more than a simple attraction. It was too much, I needed air. I explained to Jeanette that I wasn't feeling well and needed a break. The look she gave me was all too knowing. She knew I lived with James and with us being a young couple, probably assumed that I was pregnant. Little did she know, I could conceive but chose not to. I couldn't create something that could possibly have to suffer my fate.
While outside, I was able to clear my head a bit. The air was cool, something not uncommon since the river is not far. I turned around and the man was there. Too quiet, too stealthy, he couldn't have been human. Humans could not move like that, their bodies are too cumbersome to provide that stealth. I knew there was something more, but I still didn't sense anything out of the ordinary. “I know what you are Tala." It was even more unnerving that he called me by my given name." I don't know what you are talking about and my name is Morgan, see?". I pointed at my name badge that identified me as nothing more than that. I turned around again and he was gone. Like he had come in, there was nothing more than the sound of my breathing. The day was slow, and the people who were in there were regulars, nothing Jeanette couldn't handle on her own. I made my way back to the counter, explained that I wasn't feeling any better and asked if she could handle the rest of the shift on her own. Knowing how she was, even if she knew it would be rough, she would tell me that she could handle it, and send me on my way.
The uneasiness grew as I put away my things, gathered what I needed and headed back home. It would still be a while before Nikolas rose out of sleep before getting ready for work. The only place I felt safe was back in bed next to him. He slept nude, we both did. Something about us is we needed that skin contact before the connection was truly made. I stripped down and laid as close as I could without waking him. It never worked. Our skin connected and he was awake. Before I could say a word, he knew. My whole body radiated with uneasiness and he knew it. I explained everything that had happened and soon his body started to tremble with the same feelings. It was time to leave New Orleans. A place we had called home longer than most of the elderly around there had been alive. It didn't take long before we were gone. Since there was truly no record of us ever being there, it was no problem to disappear. The only problem seemed to be where could we go?
For a while things had gone pretty well. We were making money, staying hidden in the night of the Quarter, being as human as we could be in a city that wasn't all human. It wasn't until a particular older gentleman started to frequent the bar and watch me that I started getting uneasy. By working in the Quarter, I was used to the few residents who popped in occasionally to say hello and order a drink, and the multitudes of tourists who came in to buy overpriced drinks they could have bought at a liquor store for a quarter of the price. This gentleman was new. He seemed nice enough, but his eyes told a deeper story. This worried me, several times I spoke to Nikolas about the man, and he too could tell me several times that he had seen the man on the tours. The tours never changed, yet the man was there. Nikolas noticed that most times the man paid more attention to him than what the main guide was pointing out. From what we could see there was nothing more than pure mortal to him. Sure, there could have been a bit of "sixth sense" to him, but all that we could tell, he knew nothing. While living in New Orleans, we had adopted different names, different backgrounds, and all together different stories. I was Morgan, plain and simple, nothing to think more about with a name like that. I had met several Morgans in the city, so it wasn't as though I would stand out. Nikolas became James, whom stood out a little more, because he was Russian, but at the same time, in that city, foreign people often took more American names to fit in. It still was not questioned until I started questioning this man’s motives.
Before the Beginning
It was just after my birthday, the sickness set in. For days I laid in bed. My family was bewildered and walked around like I was already dead. They would stiffen each time I would let out a feverish moan. Doctor after doctor would come in at the request of my family to see if they could come up with a reasonable explanation. My younger sister would cry at my door because each doctor would tell my mother to keep visits to my room very short in the event that what I had was contagious. Weeks went by and the only thing I would hear would be the floors creak and the whispers that passed my closed door. I slept for what seemed like days. The dreams would wake me with such ferocity that much of the time I wished I would die.
By the time he showed up I was too wear to stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time. It was twilight when I first noticed the dark figure at the foot of my bed. I was too weak to scream out, but there was a smooth calm in the air that made me not want to. The figure moved towards the side of the bed with a glide that suggested its feet never hit the floor. In my head I heard a whisper, “It’s alright child, remain calm, I’m here to ease the ails that are upon you. Hold this and close your eyes.” The figure which from the sound of the whisper, sounded like a man said. He placed a smoother stone in my hand and closed my fingers around it tightly.
Instantly the fever broke and a clarity came over me like a heavy fog that lifted over a valley when the sun broke through the clouds. I stepped from my bed on wobbly legs and crossed the room. The voice was in my head again, “Come with me child, you must leave your life behind and join me. It’s a long journey to where we must go and time is short.” That scared me; I couldn’t leave my family, especially without saying goodbye. “Where are we going?” The same tremors came over me that had wracked my body when my fever raged. “That is not for you to know yet. You will learn in time.” The stone slipped from my grasp and the fever and weakness hit with full force. My knees gave out underneath me and I hit the floor. “For now, the stone is keeping the fever from claiming your life. The only thing I can tell you is that soon your life will no longer be in danger and you will be healthy again.” That in and of itself made it almost worth it. My family eventually would move on, unlike if I died in that room. They would pass that door and feel my dying presence until they passed on themselves. At least this way I could compose a sort of apology note trying to explain my disappearance. “Okay, but first I need to write a letter to my family, otherwise they might come looking for me.” He was agitated at my stalling “Make it quick, time is running out.” I quickly sat down, pulled out some paper and wrote.
Mother and Father, I’m sorry I had to do this but, I had to leave. My sickness is only causing everyone in this family pain. Please don’t try to find me. I would rather die somewhere alone. Please remember how I was before I got sick and go back to you lives. I love you, Tala
I laid the letter on my pillow and started to gather my belongings. “You won’t be needing your things.” I changed into my choring dress and put a small wooden cross that my father had made me, in to the pocket on my skirt. I really felt as though I owed the man-figure and explanation. “My dad made this for me a long time ago. I need something of my family.” He guided me to the window and we were off.
It seemed like days before we arrived at our destination. We were greeted by a woman. She couldn’t have been over thirty but her eyes told of a greater, longer life. Those gray eyes held stories of horror and sadness. More than I could ever imagine in my short years. “Come in child and rest awhile.” The home looked like an average home of the time. It had little furnishings, but a coziness that only a house full of love could have.
When I woke up it was morning and looked like a beautiful day. Something however, was not right. I couldn’t stand up all the way. I could only get to my hands and knees. Wait I was on my feet, but all four of them? A gray fur covered everything that I could see on my body. I cried out, but all I could hear was a yelp. The lady I had met the night before came through the door, “You’re awake, I did not expect that until much later”. I tried to speak again, but only barked. “If you want to communicate direct your thoughts towards me, I will be able to hear you in my head.” That didn’t make much sense, but I had to do something to make her understand me. “What have you done to me?” It even sounded like a growl in my head. “I cured you, now let’s not waste time, if you want to be human again, focus your thoughts on what you looked like and imagine yourself changing. It’s going to hurt more that you’ve ever imagined.” I focused as hard as I could and after a few moments I felt bones start to pop and move. It was excruciating. It was more painful than I ever could have imagined. She was right, and I was starting to wonder if it was worth gaining this gift instead of a fever. I looked down to see that I was normal again. I was also naked. “Could I please have some clothes, and then maybe some sort of explanation?” She chuckled as she walked towards another room. “You know, I saved your life, If you didn’t notice you’re not sick and you’re not holding the stone anymore. How about a little gratitude for my poor old soul?”. I didn’t notice, but then again I had just been a puppy not five minutes ago. Some things just have a way of freaking you out. “Sorry. This is not something that happens to me on a daily basis”. She returned with my dress. It was clear of all the stains it had gathered over the years of hard labor. Putting it on felt like a new beginning, a fresh start and what could be a good omen for the future. “Okay what has happened to me?” I needed answers, for nothing else, my own peace of mind. “You were near death with a sickness that is raging through the country, he had been watching you for a long time, he saw how you talked to the animals and treated them as though they were your children. When you got sick, he knew that you would be the best choice for this honor”. I sat quietly for a few minutes digesting what I was told. “What is this honor? I don’t understand what has happened to me?” I felt as though I could understand every animal in the woods, but not understand why. “You now can shift into any animal you can possibly think of. You will now be immune to any disease known to human or animal and will live through centuries ahead that people now cannot even comprehend.”
Okay well, some of that made sense. This could be an interesting outcome. “You will have soul mate out there that you will cross paths with many times, until the end of your time. It’s up to you whether you go past that. You, however, will not be able to return to any of your family or friends. They cannot know you are alive or what you have become. It can become a lonely existence if you let it, but you can make the best of it.” For some reason my heart dropped. There will be someone out there for me, but otherwise I’m alone? “So basically I cannot have any friends other than this one person who I may not even life? I want to go home and be back to normal”. She gave me a look of complete sadness and understanding. “It’s too late child, I’m afraid there is no going back, it is done.” I broke down and cried. There was a whole new world in front of me, but nothing left. I was really just a child in the grand scheme of things and in no way prepared to lose everything I knew. It was inevitable that I would lose my family at some point, but not like this. “Make the best of this little one and work on learning to change more smoothly while you’re still in my care.”
She walked towards the kitchen and left me in the living room to contemplate what the rest of my life would be like. In my depression I contemplated running away, if I was going to have the rest of my life alone, I might as well start now. I can’t, I need help, and I’m not ready to deal with this by myself. Thoughts went back and forth through my head for the rest of the day until night and I fell asleep in my own misery.
We practiced for weeks on end. Everyday I woke to eat breakfast, then start training for skills that I would need for the rest of my life and in the evenings we would sit around, drink tea and discuss matters that were important to us. I knew that before long it would be time for me to leave this woman and venture out on my own. What I didn’t know is that before long would be in the next couple of days. One evening as we were relaxing from the long hard day, having a normal conversation her eyes started to drift away from mine. Normally her eyes would bore into mine like she was trying to distinguish whether or not what I was saying was the truth, but not this time. There was something different in her voice and the way that she had carried herself that day. She looked more out into the distance while we were training and seemed to be more stooped than usual. I didn’t take much stock into the issue until we settled in for the night to have our nightly conversations. “This has been some of the best weeks of my life and I wish that you could stay here with me as long as we both wanted, but you know that that isn’t going to be possible.” I knew as soon as she started talking that this was something that had been bothering her all day. Now that I wasn’t deep in thought with training, I was able to notice these subtle changes in her that had been taking place. “ I know that I’m going to have to take out on my own after a while, but it doesn’t have to be soon. I will stay around as long as you will have me.” She sighed and I noticed that her hands were starting to tremble around the cup she was drinking from. “That is just it Tala, I want you to stay, but it is not going to be possible. They are coming soon, and you can’t be here when they arrive.” I didn’t know who they were, but by the trembling in her hands and the way she wouldn’t meet my eyes, I knew that whoever they were, it wasn’t good. “ Who are they?” The air around us seemed to stiffen and grow so thick that it was hard to breathe, almost as though just saying it frightened even the breeze blowing in the trees. “ It doesn’t matter who they are right now, all that matters is that you are gone when they get here, and that you avoid them for as long as possible. They are dangerous, and meeting them could only bring about bad things.” She skirted around the subject enough that I knew whatever was coming was something that scared her down to her soul. There was no reason to ask anymore questions other than one. “ How soon will they be here?” I wasn’t quite sure that I wanted the answer to that question, but it was something I needed to know. “ Two days. There is enough time to spend tomorrow training and then you must leave before the sun rises on the next day. I’m sorry”. Her eyes never quite met mine again that night. We tried to talk about anything else that could possibly be on our minds, but the conversation loomed over us like a rain cloud. It was impossible to think about anything else. After a while we gave in to the night, and went to bed. There was nothing more to say on the subject other than goodnight.
The next morning we followed the same routine as we had every morning before and trained late into the evening. Still nothing was said of the previous night’s conversation, but it followed us as we ran through the days events. By nightfall things were tensed. We knew that now was the time for goodbyes, but neither one of us wanted to say it first.
I gave her a hug, and it startled her, but soon she melted into me with one of her own and the goodbyes were said with tears in our eyes. I didn’t take the time to write a note. I honestly didn’t know if that would be safe for her after they arrived. I wanted to stay, to hide and find out who they were and if she was going to survive their arrival, but I knew from the fear in her voice that she would not, and if I was discovered then neither would I.
Concentrating hard, I shifted into an eagle and took flight. Luckily, I didn’t have many belongings and all but the cross could be left behind. I took it into my beak and soared for other places unknown. My thoughts consumed me about if I would ever see her again, and if I would be safe anywhere I went. I had no idea that I would spend much of the rest of my life running like this. I would always be running away from the things that could hurt me, or worse, kill me. She had been a wonderful woman, with many secrets of her own. I wish that I had been able to learn more about her, and what she really was. But that time with her had ended, and I had to learn how to survive on my own.
We packed up and left New Orleans. We spent time wandering the seemingly endless roads before we decided on San Francisco. It was unsure whether or not the city would be capable of protecting us as we needed, but after searching it seemed to be our best choice. Luckily, throughout our time in New Orleans, we had been prepared with the thought that we may have to leave and had started saving enough money so that we could easily find another home wherever we might end up. The tourist areas are always the more expensive, and that made it hard, but that is where we needed to be. I was still unsure about whether or not we could be safe in San Francisco and still had the uneasiness that I had hoped I would have left behind. But no such luck. Everywhere we went in that city I had the feeling I was being watched, and most likely I was, but it was a feeling that eventually I would get used to and learn to ignore. Within the next few days, we had found an apartment over a busy Italian food restaurant and both of us have found employment in the tourist areas. Once again, I was a bartender who served over priced drinks to people who normally wouldn’t drink and Nickolas had gotten a job as a trolley car conductor. Names and identities had to be changed again and new appearances had to be made. I was Megan and he was Sam, and as far as anyone knew we were transplants there from the east.
As time slipped by, we became more and more comfortable with the city. It was different from our original home, but it still had the same mystery. If one looked hard enough, they could see the unseen within the morning fog. The faces were always different, and no one seemed to care one way or another if they knew our names. We were just more faces among the hustle and bustle of the crowds that came to visit to see the city. The uneasiness had faded and I no longer felt the eyes bore into my back. They were still there, but after a while they became a comfort to me, as though it was the woman from my past looking down on me, instead of the cruel form I had once thought. I spent more time thinking about that time in my life, and wondered how my life would have played out if I had never gotten sick. Of course, I wouldn’t have found Nikolas or had been with Nyx running through the trees relatively carefree. I couldn’t complain about my time in San Francisco, at least not for the first few years. For a while, it looked as though we might have finally found a place that we could settle down in, and might be able to call home for longer than the last. But, that was until I ran across someone that I knew back then, that never should have been around now.
She was young, very young. But I knew those eyes. I couldn’t place where I knew them from, but they were definitely eyes that I had seen before. They were gray, and old. Much too old to be set into the head of such a young girl. It frightened me, could this be the soul of the man that we were running from? Could he have taken on the appearance of someone else to leave me unsuspected? I knew when I had first encountered him that he was not human, so I don’t think it would be impossible for it to happen. There was a difference though, this girl was not imposing, nor did she try to scare me. In fact, she was really human. She was graceful, but no more than a human dancer would be. She didn’t move quickly or silently, she just moved. No more or less than anyone else. She never said a word that day, just watched me, but I knew that she would come again. This time it was like she just wanted to see what I was doing, and whatever that was, it intrigued her. Whatever it was she was doing, bothered me. I knew that I would be looking over my shoulder all over again, but this time, I was going to be watching out for a little blonde haired, gray eyed girl instead of the large man. That in and of itself bothered me more. I should not be worried about a child, but just like the man, there was something to her that led me to believe that she was no ordinary child. Those eyes, they were not right, there was something in them that left me deep in thought for the rest of that afternoon. Once again, I knew that I needed to tell Nikolas about the encounter, and I truly doubted that he would be happy to hear it.
I was sitting at home for a while before Nikolas came through the door. “What’s wrong Tala?”. His strong brow was furled and a frown graced those full lips. “ I’m not sure if you really want to hear about it.” I tried to keep my voice relatively neutral and strong. “Tala, Is it what I think it is?” He moved from the door way to sit at the kitchen table in a chair beside me. The wonder and fear crossed his face like a cloud going over the sun. “Nick, There was a little girl in the bar today…young thing, maybe 9 or 10, she had gray eyes..” He let out the breath that he had been holding and chuckled. “A little girl?” He stood up from the chair and walked towards the refrigerator. “ A little girl with gray eyes walked into the bar, and now you’re all up in arms. I don’t mean to laugh, but I don’t understand why you are so stressed out.” He poked his head into the fridge, all the while chuckling. “You don’t understand, “ I sighed and continued on, just hoping that he would understand when I was finished. “ She had gray eyes, but not ordinary gray eyes. I knew those eyes. I have seen them before, it’s like they belonged in an old woman’s head. Not in someone who is ten! And she just watched me, like she was studying my every move!” I held my breath. If he didn’t believe me, I honestly didn’t know what I would do. Was I really that crazy? Nikolas sighed. “Tala, honestly, maybe she was just a little girl with a troubled past that thought you were pretty and enjoyed watching you make drinks. I honestly wouldn’t make it into a big deal.” He plopped back down into the chair with a grunt. “I don’t plan on running away again just because a creepy little girl gave you the heebie-jeebies.” Maybe I was crazy. He doesn’t believe me. “Fine, I won’t get all crazy on it yet, but I swear, if I see her again and anything weird happens, I’m out of here!” I stood up and stalked towards the bathroom. Maybe all I needed was a long shower and bed. All I could think about was those eyes, maybe I was overreacting, maybe she wasn’t anything more than a strange little girl with pretty eyes. The stress of working and moving all the time were starting to wear down on me. The shower helped ease my fears and my tight muscles. Even though Nikolas was being a jerk about the whole thing, I couldn’t wait to go lay down next to him and let my fears melt away. By the time I got out of the bathroom, Nikolas was already laying down. He had that perplexed look on his face like he was deep in thought. I knew that after he had time to stop, he would think about what I said. “What’s on your mind love?” I flopped on the bed and let my towel fall away. “I guess I was just thinking about that girl. Do you think it was that woman who taught you to change all those years ago? Didn’t you say she had gray eyes?” I honestly hadn’t thought of it. She had old eyes too. But why would she be coming to me as a young girl? I thought she had died all those years ago. I didn’t even remember telling Nikolas about all of that. Old thoughts came back to me. I was stuck in a day dream about Nyx and all the days I spent training with the woman. “ I don’t know. I suppose it could be her, but I thought she was killed. I never saw her again after I left.” The thought left me puzzled. We both stopped talking, and agreed, without saying a word, that this conversation would continue later, but no more tonight. As I started to drift to sleep past memories flooded my mind. The ones that included my family, the ones right after I left, those that featured the wolves that I reigned over, and those of just yesterday. There was never anything in between those memories that would tell me how I got here, just bits and pieces of conversations throughout the last hundred or so years.
I woke the next morning feeling even more tired than I had been the night before. I don’t remember much after I fell asleep, but I assumed that I did not have a very restful sleep. I remembered what was going through my head, and presumably that is what continued on the rest of the night. I was almost tempted to call in to work, and just tell them that I was not feeling well enough to stand behind a counter all night. The thought was incredibly tempting, but it would not be safe considering we had not been in this place too long, only a few years, and it’s best not to piss of your bosses so soon on the job. I groaned, put my feet on the floor and got up to start my day, the other bartenders didn’t have to be at work until usually 8 or 9 in the evening, but luckily for me I had rose up to the rank of Assistant Manager of this particular establishment and that meant that I had to take on the duties of the Manager when they would not be around. This also meant that I was in charge of getting everything ready for the bartenders and patrons well before opening time. It did give me enough to do that I really didn’t have much time to think. Thinking really wasn’t on my top list of priorities after our conversation last night. Nick was still passed out beside me, he didn’t have to be up before noon, especially today since he would be off work. I could expect him at the bar before midnight, if nothing else to check up on me and make sure that my night was going smoothly. After a cup of coffee and a quick bagel, I was off to see what terrors the workers had left for me the night before. I arrived at the bar, and nothing at that point had seemed out of the ordinary, it was just a normal Friday in October, the tourist season was pretty well over, and the holiday season had not yet begun. The streets had the hum of the regulars instead of the buzz of the tourists. It should have felt calm and serene, the cool breeze of Fall pushing the turning leaves from their branches down to the dry cement, but instead there was a vibration in the air. It’s hard to make sense of and to explain, but it’s though there is someone watching you, or right behind you that you can’t see in your peripheral vision. I looked around and yet saw no one out of the ordinary. The coffee shop across the street had people watching the outside from the window, but no one was watching me in particular. I got the door unlocked and stepped in to the bar. This was not some big name club where there was loud music and a large dance floor, it was a nook in a rather large building on a corner lot. The interior of the bar was rather small. There were tables ranging from bistro size, to pool tables, to little 4 person size, we had a jukebox so our patrons can listen to music and then the bar itself. This was usually the place that the regulars came to. It had been in this location for 40 years from what I can tell from hearing the locals talk about it. The tourists that come here have been referred here by a regular, or by someone who has stopped in as a tourist themselves. The atmosphere had a comforting air about it. It is where you knew you could come in and order a drink without any fear of ridicule or brow beating. Many a drink has been lifted under this roof, from deaths to births, to marriages and retirements. So why did I still have these feelings now that I was in this safe haven?