“A time of change is approaching.…
The Destructive Strength of a New Beginning.
That which does not destroy the Warrior makes him stronger against new storms.
- The Prophet of Truth
The yellow light on her bedside table seemed terribly bright, making her head pound. Pain flashed across her brain and behind her eyes making her moan. She slid her hands over the soft familiar surface of her duvet and a sigh left her lips.
She’d just had the strangest dream. One that had seemed so real that she was still having trouble gathering her bearings. Sarah quickly took a look around and had no doubt that she was in her room. How she’d gotten there, on the other hand, was an entire different matter.
Pulling her quilt back, she swung her legs out of bed and sat up. A dizzy spell made her stop for a second, and she couldn’t help feeling uneasy when she noticed she was still wearing the same clothes from her dream.
The strange feeling of small needles piercing the back of her skull startled her, and Sarah turned instinctively towards the door. For an instant her world seemed to stop, unmoving, in such a commanding way she even forgot she had to breathe. In a split second her dream wasn’t a dream anymore, and the strange man watching her with a severe expression, as he leaned against her bedroom door, sent shivers cursing down her spine.
Although she could hardly recognize him, now that he’d washed up and was unexpectedly clothed, his strangely bright gaze left her no doubts.
His black hair, that she recalled being dirty and disheveled, was now carefully combed and tied at the back of his head in a pony-tail that reached shoulder-length. He wore black leather pants and a coat that reached knee-high, on top of a dark-blue t-shirt. His pair of biker boots had shiny metallic applications, and she couldn’t help noticing how big his feet were, which was to expect, taking into account his height. Certainly at more than five-feet-nine, his shoulders were wide and the cotton t-shirt he wore stuck to his chest like a second skin, emphasizing his muscular build. His slightly angular jaw was surprisingly dignifying, his forehead high, and his soft-looking lips were fixed in a serious and rather unpleasant expression that, added to the frown marking his forehead half covered by dark bangs, gave him a rather threatening appearance. But the most unusual and scariest detail of that picture was the intricate tattoo drawn all over the left side of his face, from his chin all the way to his eyebrow. Without any apparent defined design, the silver lines seemed to shine under the yellowish lamp light. She hadn’t noticed it before, which wasn’t unexpected, since her attention had been mainly focused on all that blood and the deep cuts that had carved his skin. His eyes, on the other hand, were completely loyal to her misty memories. Slightly cold, shining as if they were filled with small crystals able to reflect the light, they persisted in not revealing their true color. Maybe something between dark-blue and grey, she thought. Their ferocity, however, was all too real, making her unconsciously hug the quilt against her chest, as if that could protect her from the dangerous predator that had uninvitedly invaded her home.
It wasn’t a dream … It wasn’t a dream! It was real! And this … is the man I tried to help.
Sarah tried to put her thoughts in order.
Where had he found those clothes? She certainly didn’t not keep anything like that around the house. And it was still night, right? The same night … Certainly too late to find any opened stores. What’s more! How was he standing right there, in front of her, when she recalled seeing him severely wounded? How had he known where she lived? How had he gotten into her house? And why couldn’t she remember any of that? Of how he’d gotten free, of how she’d gotten home, or even of going to bed!
“Sarah.” The sound of her name in that whisper violently put a stop to the stream of chaotic thoughts that had taken over her mind almost leading her into something like a panic attack. She remembered having heard that same voice, before. Of thinking it was warm, seductive and strangely calming … She also remembered that hearing it had been the last thing she recalled! “I’m sorry for having invaded your home like this, but I didn’t know where else to take you,” he went on, almost tranquilly, but his threateningly violent expression was far from agreeing with his tone. As if he’d carefully trained his voice in order not to scare his prey. “I took the liberty of searching for your address inside your purse. Didn’t want to take you to a hospital because of a mere fainting spell.”
The casual, familiar and logic way he spoke was starting to confuse her, and Sarah had to lightly shake her head to break free from the trance his low voice was inducing.
He had been chained to a wall! Confined and tortured in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere! She’d tried to help him. But, if it was as he was saying and she’d fainted, how had he freed himself? And how in the world had he managed enough strength, not only to stand, but to carry her out of that place? Not to speak of the fact that, no matter how much she stared at him, he looked nothing like some homeless guy. The clothes he wore, although Sarah couldn’t start to guess where they’d come from, showed some level of good taste, within a dark kind of style that made him look even more threatening and unapproachable.
“Who are you?” The ridicule of her own question only reached her brain after she’d pronounced it. With so many other, more important questions, she found herself asking the most basic and definitely the least pertinent of the lot. Even more so taking into account that all she wanted, right then, was to make that strange man leave her house before he could attack her or something even worse.
“Alexis. My name is Alexis.”
Sarah swallowed hard. His voice was a terrible weapon, she thought, and she could almost swear that something like amusement had brightened his strange eyes even more. If not for the intensity with which he was staring at her she could have easily sworn that he was blind.
“Alexis,” she repeated nervously and swallowed again before proceeding. She’d seen enough thrillers to know that most psychopaths took extra pleasure in terrorizing their victims before killing them. ”Thank you for bringing me home, but now …”
“I’m the one who has to thank you,” he cut her off. Her voice immediately died on her lips and, annoyingly enough, she found herself wishing he would go on talking. “If not for your courage and persistence I’d still be lock in that place. But how did you know where to find me?”
Sarah shuddered at the change in his expression as it became even more savage and cruel. His wonderful, calm and enveloping voice was also tremendously fake, and all she had to do was slightly lower her mental defenses to confirm her suspicions.
Hate and anger seeped from him in waves that left her breathless. She was sure it took all his will to control that degree of fury. In truth, the blood-red chaos she’d seen in his mind before was still there, demanding that he’d just tear her to pieces, using her as a means to get some shadow of justice for what had been done to him.
A monster. There’s a terrifying hungry monster inside him, and its leash is way too frail!
He moved slightly, once more interrupting her thoughts. It was the first time he did so, and although it looked like he’d moved purposely slow, Sarah couldn’t help feeling threatened again. She blinked fast in order to control her growing panic and forced herself to remain as rational as possible, focusing her full attention on him. Alexis was much younger than she’d thought the first time she’d seen him, and now he was lightly changing his weight from one foot to another, as if something was making him restless.
“I just knew …” Sarah bit down her tongue noticing she’d just answered him even though she hadn’t planned to, and hurriedly tried to explain herself. She had to be careful with this stranger. She couldn’t help feeling that one careless word was all it would take to drive him into a mad bloody frenzy. “It may sound ridiculous, and I doubt that you’ll believe me. But sometimes I just know when someone needs my help.”
Alexis nodded one single time, in a short, dry movement, but his expression softened a bit, almost as if he’d believed her, even though anyone else would have certainly thought she was crazy.
“I thought about just leaving you here. But then thought it better and decided to make sure you were okay. Now that I know you’re safe, and since my presence is clearly unwelcome, I’ll leave this house,” he declared in his softest tone that even so sounded harsh, and Sarah found herself gaping wordlessly when he just turned around and disappeared down the corridor.
In the next instant she’d jumped out of bed and, without thinking, ran after him just in time to see him open the front door.
“Wait!” Alexis froze immediately as if he couldn’t disobey her command, and Sarah found herself just standing there, her mouth suddenly dry, unable to, for the love of God, understand what had possessed her to stop that clearly dangerous man from leaving her house. “Your wounds … were so many and … Are you sure you’re okay?” she managed to ask and was immediately silent when he slowly turned to face her. The smile that stretched his lips left her lost and stunned. The beauty that touched his face with that simple casual gesture was inhumanely frightening.
“Thank you. But there is no need to worry. I’ll be as good as new by tomorrow. And it is safer if I go.” Sarah took a hand to her neck in an automatic protective gesture and this time remained silent as she watched him leave in that calm, firm stride. A sigh of relief left her lips as soon as the door finally closed.