DISCLAIMER: None needed, my story. Might be a bit dark, I suppose, and doesn't have a pairing as such... yet. If I manage to write a sequel one day it will.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Like everything else I've written this story is also available at my own fic site, http://ryufic.blogspot.se/
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To rosmari.karlssonfaltin[at]telia.com
By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson
My eyes are blue.
They are in fact such a startling bright and intense blue that one would expect them to belong to some tall, pale, white-blonde person from a cold country far away. Although I fit the pale criteria, I am just an average height brunette, born in a big city far away from exotic cold places or anything of the like. In fact I'm kind of plain, a fact hammered into me in high school, when the relative attractiveness of my unusual eyes was something I was held accountable for by the more popular girls there.
This isn't the reason to notice my eyes though. Not at all.
The real reason is far worse.
The first time I saw one of them I was very young. Too young to know that there was indeed a them, or to even remember now just how young that was, there was only him. I remember him.
It was dark and I wouldn't have seen much at all if there hadn't been a full moon shining in through the window. He stood over me, so tall, so large, and so unreal in the moonlight. His white hair blazed as it stood up from his head like he had been one of those funny characters in the Sunday morning cartoons, but there was nothing funny about him. Nothing human either.
His skin was pale and his fingers long, narrow claws that reached for me in the dark, and with that absolute certainty one rarely ever get to feel once childhood is over, I knew I was going to get eaten. His long fangs glinted in the light as he opened his mouth, preparing to gobble me up. It wasn't that which scared me most.
It was his eyes. They were a burning red, a colour I had never seen on any person before, and even in only the moonlight I could tell that there was blood coming from them, like tears. I couldn't scream, I couldn't run, and I couldn't look away.
I stared right up into those eyes, waiting for the monster to eat me.
Because of that I didn't miss his reaction. He froze, leaning over me, and frowned. Slowly his great maw became smaller and closed, hiding his sharp teeth as he stared down at me. His arms drew back as we stared at one another, and his expression changed.
He disappeared so quickly afterwards that I never knew how or where, and, unfrozen from his spell of silence, I screamed as loud as my tiny lungs would let me.
It was a nightmare, my parents told me, and for years I believed them. Contorted memories of that moment, of that night, visited my dreams often enough as a child that it didn't seem like a lie. Somewhere deep in my heart though I knew it was, and I never forgot those bleeding red eyes in the moonlight.
It wasn't until many years later that I realized that one of the expressions that fleeted past in that brief moment before he disappeared had been the most frightening of all. Not hunger, confusion or even fear.
The next time I saw one of them I was almost ten years old, convinced I was a big girl and straining to prove it to my parents the way children often do at that age. As I stood there at the bus stop with my mother in some part of town unknown to me and for a reason I've long since forgotten, the way her warm hand closed around mine when I sought it out was a shield against old nightmares come to life. It must have surprised her how I suddenly clung to her like that, how I was clingy with both my parents for days afterwards, but she never questioned it. She just smiled lovingly and reassuringly at her little girl.
Because she didn't see them. She couldn't.
I saw two of them that day at the bus stop, two ghoulishly white figures standing cloaked in the shadows between the buildings across the street. They stood right there, staring at me with their glowing red eyes, shaded but otherwise fully visible by a fairly busy street where people were coming and going as I watched. No-one else ever looked their way. No-one else saw them.
The bus came and I hurried my mother to get us both on it, heart pounding in my ears and tears stinging at my eyes. The last I saw of those two were their pale, hairless heads turning as one to continue staring at me as the bus drove away. I learned two things that day.
My nightmares are real, and I am the only one that can see them.
For years afterwards I stayed in the parts of town well known to me, I was obedient and well-behaved, never tried to go off on childhood adventures or stayed out after dark. I kept my head down and my eyes to myself, while developing a way to always carefully observe my surroundings out of the corner of my eye. My parents were pleased with me this way, the only concern they had was that my fear of the dark returned that day at the bus stop and never really left, but they were kind and understanding, and did not make a big deal out of their daughter sleeping with a light on.
They of course did not know of my nightly inspections of doors, windows and vents, the many nights I crept through the house to make sure that they and my little brother were safe as they slept, or the nights I spent simply awake, clutching my flashlight and a pathetically small pocketknife as I stared at the window in my room.
Nothing ever came for us there, and by the age of thirteen I was beginning to relax a little, beginning to doubt what I knew and what I had seen. Problems with girls at school took up more of my thoughts than the fear of catching sight of something pale and menacing hiding in the shadows. That was the summer we went to visit relatives in the capital.
My cousin was two and a half years older than I, and I idolized her. She was pretty and popular and bold and all the things I was not, but she liked me anyway. We had spent two weeks there with me being her shadow, but rather than being annoyed with me my cousin always smiled brightly and dragged me along to show me something else, something new. My parents adored her for it, for helping their awkward little girl out of her shell, that much I could tell even then.
What neither my parents nor hers knew was that my cousin had made a boyfriend that her parents would not have approved of, an older, wilder boy of the kind that gets labelled dangerous or bad news. We'd giggled about it, and on that fateful night I helped her sneak away to meet up with him, backing her up when she lied about where we were going to be. My parents were shocked, really, because I would normally never willingly be out that late, never risk being outside when it was anywhere close to dark, but I swallowed down that fear for her sake. We were supposed to be back before it really got dark anyway.
Exactly what happened between them I would never know. He had a car and some friends with him, and he took us further away from my cousin's home than either of us had intended and I was comfortable with. Before I knew it though my cousin and I were let out at a random street, her face upset and his angry, while the boys peeled out and drove away. She took my hand and said that we had to find a bus stop or a phone, but she sobbed as she said it. Finally we had to sit down somewhere because she was just outright crying, and I honestly don't think she knew where we were anymore than I did.
The shadows grew long and my fear screamed at me. If only I had listened, if only I had yanked her with me and kept us moving, anywhere at all. But she was so upset and I didn't know what to do.
I don't know where they came from, I didn't see them when they grabbed us and something hit me very hard in the head because I blacked out for a while. To this day I wish I hadn't woken up again that night.
But I did and we were in an alley, not far from where we had been actually, and it was dark. The light from the street didn't reach us there, only the light of a rising moon did, but it was enough for me to see. Her. Them.
The first thing I saw was her blonde hair and her hand, convulsing it seemed, and as my eyes cleared I thought for one split second that she was being raped. Then I saw that the truth was far worse, because then I saw them.
There were two of them, pale and twisted and naked, their maws so disgustingly big and disjointed. The noise they made was indescribable as they devoured my cousin while she was still alive. Her head lolled back and she looked at me, looked me right into the eyes, and I saw that what they were doing was not just to her body. I could literally see in her eyes how they were tearing her soul apart and devouring that too, the agony, the violation and despair in her before her life finally ended.
Her eyes turned glassy, dead, and at that moment I wanted to be dead too. I never heard the third one come up behind me, didn't even try to make my weak body struggle as he lifted me, didn't scream as his long black tongue coiled itself around my neck and down into the neck of my sweater. For a moment it tightened around my throat and I thought it would strangle me, but then the creature was just... gone, and I fell back to the ground. A large, grotesque white head swam into view, its tongue still hanging from its maw as it stared at me.
Those inhuman, bleeding red eyes looked down at me with a very human expression. Fear.
It was afraid of me.
That was when I heard the other sounds. The sounds of voices, human voices, and of running. They drew back, all three of them, towards the deeper dark as a policeman with a flashlight came running towards us. Another joined him and I was jostled, my vision blurring over.
Before everything went black though I saw them, retreating into the shadows while staring fearfully at me, and how the police never even seemed to notice that they were right there.
My family was broken after that. I spent time in the hospital, had some injuries and a bad concussion, which helped me when the police came to take my statement. Apparently it was believable enough that I was knocked out when we were grabbed and that I only came to a little, just enough to see that there was someone with my cousin but that it was too dark and my brains too scrambled for me to give a description. It was also believable apparently to the therapist I was sent to that I didn't really remember anything other than that, and my family learned to accept that I wouldn't talk about what happened.
The police continued to search for the murderer and for the rest of my poor cousin's body, but neither would ever be found. How could they, when the police had stood no more than a few arms lengths away from her murderers and never even saw them?
The year that followed was blurry for me, between hospitals, police visits, night terrors and therapy, and before I knew it I was fourteen and had missed almost a full year of school. Thankfully I had always been a good student, and was smart enough that it was decided that if I had a private tutor I could catch up and join my age mates in the final exams. My parents scrounged up the money for a tutor and I threw myself into the studies, grateful really that I wasn't forced to leave the house much yet.
Needless to say I didn't sleep well at night, but when I did manage to sleep I would awake, every time, with that horrible fearful question ringing in me. If these creatures of the darkest of nightmares were so afraid of me that they ran from the sight of me... then what did that make me? What was I?
What was I?
Fifteen years old and school, of course, was hell. I went from big news to juicy gossip to the freak girl and a target for bullies, much as I had expected. I didn't care. For a while it just aggravated the bullies more that I honestly didn't give a damn about their childish and pathetic cruelty, but as the months drew on they began to fear me. I was too unpredictable in the way I reacted, carried something scary about me in the look in my eyes, even though I never raised either voice or a hand against anyone. I just wanted to be left alone.
And eventually, I was. The little trolls at school ignored me for most part, and while it left me friendless that was fine with me. I did what I was supposed to, I studied and got the grades that would please my parents, but other than that I remained at home, near my family. Always alert, always searching.
I kept watch. And I saw them.
Books had not given me much to go on, the occasional myth that might or might not have the smallest of references to what I was searching for at the most, but even that was more than the Internet had to offer. If the truth was out there in any way, well, I wasn't the girl to find it.
But I caught glimpses of them.
Not often, and thankfully only far from my home, but towards the end of my fifteenth year I had observed them, however fleetingly, at least a dozen times. Never more than a few at a time, at most, but unless I somehow managed to spot the same ones over and over it gave me a general idea for what these monsters looked like, pale, bald, twisted and emaciated faces and large, deformed ears. They kept to the shadows and were either naked or in dark rags, and no-one ever looked their way.
They so clearly were not human, and everything in me roiled at the sight of them. My cousin's eyes as she died always resurfaced in my thoughts, and my throat burned with acid every time.
Then as I was about to turn sixteen, a mere month before the date itself in fact, my family moved. A bigger city, a better job for my father and a considerably larger sum of money for my family to live on was the cause, yet my parents were so concerned, so apologetic to me for going through with the move. Reassurances on my part mattered little, because I was considered well-meaning but frail, and the move could further damage my fragile psyche.
In truth I was torn about the move, but not for any reason my parents would have understood. My increased observations of them in my city, in more and more parts of it and more often, had been worrying me greatly for a time. The city was not safe, if it ever had been, and how long until they had found their way to my neighbourhood? My little brother was getting to be too old for my mother and father to keep an eye on him whenever he wasn't at school anymore, and I was getting to be more and more anxious just to see my parents go off to work every day.
But this new city was an unknown element too, I knew nothing of safe or dangerous areas, or if indeed they were here too. I could not even tell if the neighbourhood that we moved to, pretty and pleasant though it looked, was in any way safe.
Sleep became a thing of the past as my silent, secret patrols increased tenfold. Simply observing from the corner of my eye was no longer enough, and I scoured my surroundings to make sure my family would be safe.
My parents called me jittery, and worried for my mental health. Once or twice therapy was brought up, but I believe my mother and father lacked the heart to make me go just because I wasn't settling in easily in another city. At my new school my age-mates quickly realized that there was something weird about me, so while I was a hot topic for gossip, especially since the public version of what happened to my cousin made the rounds, I was left alone.
The first time I saw them in my new home I was just walking down the street towards my mother's workplace, having gotten off school early and was supposed to meet my mother for lunch. I froze at the sight, stopped dead right there in the busy street, and stared more obviously than I had at any of their kind for years.
There were three of them, just standing in the shadows at the mouth of a small side-street, and they looked nothing like I had come to expect. These were not bald, twisted figures in rags, nightmares hanging on the edge of vision with open maws glittering with far too many teeth or with their black tongues hanging out. Not at all.
For one thing these three figures were clearly female, the first I'd seen of their kind. Tall and thin and just as pale, their white hair in shocking contrast to the black clothing they wore. Their mouths were closed and looked far more human than those I had seen before, overall they just looked more human, but every instinct in me screamed that they were not.
They noticed me, noticed my staring, and alerted those glowing red eyes zeroed in on me with a familiar intensity. They shifted, one of them moving as if to walk towards me, and that broke their spell over me.
I turned and I ran like I never had before, my heart pounding hard in my chest as I raced towards my mother's work. I couldn't explain to her why I was in such a state when she found me, and that led to further awkwardness at home and more concern for my parents. After that I lived in fear whenever my poor mother left for work, despite knowing that she drove to work and only left it for the occasional lunch down the street. The risk was still too great, and that fear and uncertainty was not easy on me.
Finally the fear for my family's safety overrode my own terror, and I went out into this new city on my own. Even though I was dizzy and sick to my stomach in abject fear of what I would find, or worse what would find me, I set out on foot and by bus to try and determine whether the areas the members of my family most often moved in would be safe.
For all I knew the neighbourhood we lived in was safe enough, I had already patrolled it several times and never caught sight of anything dangerous, but I wasn't quite so foolish as to trust that entirely. The memory of that first creature, the white-haired male that wanted to eat me, silhouetted against my old bedroom window in the house where we used to live remained with me, and I never saw one of them in that neighbourhood again after that.
The area around the school yielded nothing, much as I had thought. In general the area around the school was open, well lit, and seemed to lack any larger shaded areas that might hide them. There was a small park next to the playground and the basketball court, but there were not enough dense clusters of trees to obscure the view from the buildings around it, so I dismissed that.
I passed by the movie theatres, the pizza parlours and burger places on my way towards where my father worked. Those streets were all large, well lit and crowded, and probably seemed safe to other people. Even the side-streets were wide and well lit, but all I could think of was of how many of those surrounding shops would close once darkness fell, and how many of those inviting lights in the windows would be turned off by then.
My anxiety rose as I came closer to the district where my father worked. The buildings right near his work were all tall and the streets wide, but no more than a stone's throw away and the dark and empty windows of unused warehouses warned me to turn back. I didn't dare to continue that way and choose instead to cut across town towards where my mother worked.
It didn't take long for the wide, well-lit streets to narrow, for the buildings to grow older with gaps between them, dark alleyways and narrow side-streets too obscured to see down. Even the buildings themselves had too many dark nooks and crannies, and the sick feeling of fear grew stronger in me.
As dusk crept closer and I hurried towards the street where my mother worked, I saw them no less than three times. At first I saw only a flash of movement between dumpsters down one alley, but the brief glimpse of a bare white limb before it hid convinced me it was one of the bald, twisted ones I had seen. A few blocks away from there I caught sight of a few white-haired figures leaning in dark door openings on a side street, my second sighting of those black-clad females.
If it were the same ones I couldn't say, not then, because I tried not to be as obvious in staring at them as I had been previously while I walked past at a brisk pace. It didn't help, they had clearly noticed me before I noticed them, for I could feel each and every set of glowing red eyes burning into my neck as I tried not to break out into a panicked run.
One figure stepped out of the shadows enough for the light to touch her, and while I quickened my pace and didn't dare to look at her directly, the long black leather coat and her short white hair was quite clear to me.
Especially when she showed up again a few blocks later, weaving in and out of shadows across the street to keep an even pace with me, almost appearing as if she wanted me to see her. I screamed when her glowing eyes met mine and threw all caution to the wind, running as fast as I could the last part to the bus stop.
Awkwardly I waved away the bus driver's surprised concern, and did what I could not to look as frightened as I really was. I spent the bus ride home trying to collect myself, so that my parents wouldn't take one look at me and see how truly terrified I really was, and also cursing my stupidity all the way home.
Yes, I had found out that while my little brother might be safe enough, both my parents spent nearly every day in parts of the city that held dangers they, and I, could not protect against. Had it helped in any way? No, my fear and worry for both my parents would only increase now, and worse... despite spending the entire trip home looking out the windows to make sure there were no pale figures following it, I couldn't say for certain that I hadn't just led monsters right to the doorstep of my home.
Feigning illness I stayed at home for a few days after that particular bout of folly, though whether I did it out of cowardice or bravery I'm unsure. I spent the days while my family was away the same way I did my nights, vigilant and tense, certain they would come at any moment and from any direction. They never did.
Another month or so passed without a sign of inhumanly pale skin or burning eyes, and even though I was starting to feel a bit strange, as if perhaps I had a flu coming on, I went about my days in the way expected of me.
It was overcast that day, had been for a while and the weather forecast promised at least a week of rain. It was still early, so it didn't bother me too much when my mother asked me to go pick some things up at the grocery store while she had to drive my brother somewhere. Despite a slightly annoying headache I was alert as always, and the shopping should have been handled quickly and I would have been safely on the bus heading home in no time.
My problem was that I had spent so many years looking for monsters in the shadows that I had forgotten that there are human monsters too.
I saw him, walked right past him without a care, my eyes scanning the dark parts of the other side of the street and completely ignoring him. Another girl my age would probably have paid attention to his suspicious appearance and to the car parked near him, but regular cars cast too small shadows to be of concern to me, and I didn't.
Suddenly there was a meaty hand over my mouth and an arm around my torso, and everything tilted and spun. An acrid scent filled my nostrils, then the world slipped away.
When I came to it was to a pounding headache and overwhelming nausea, and I was being carried. It took a brief moment for my mind to clear to the fact that I was being carried over the shoulder by someone who stank of sweat and worse, and that my hands were tied.
I panicked. I kicked and I struggled and I must have taken my abductor by surprise, because somehow I got him to let me go. I fell to the ground painfully, hit my head and tasted blood in my mouth, but that did not stop me from scrabbling to get away. I found my feet as he overcame his surprise, and I ran.
I had no idea where I was or where to go, I just had to get away from him. He chased me, and presumably with the benefit of not being drugged dizzy, he soon caught up with me. He didn't get a good grip on me, but managed to throw me quite hard to the side and I again hit my head on something before I was back down on the ground.
It should have been over then, really. He was on me, an adult man against a thin teenage girl with her hands tied and her head bashed up. But instead an anger overtook me, a burning rage so fierce it has scared me ever since. I pushed my bound hands into his chest and somehow held him back from me. In a strangely detached way I felt my mouth open, how my lips drew back to bare my teeth at him, and this sound erupted from me. It was a deep rumbling that burst up from my chest and past my lips, not entirely unlike a lion's roar.
There was nothing human about it.
The sound of it shocked me back to my senses, snuffed the rage from my veins and sapped the strength from my arms. Whatever I had just done, wherever it had come from, it was gone again and I was just a girl, beaten and drugged. I had barely the strength to stay conscious anymore, much less to save myself from what would happen.
Except it didn't.
There was an answering sound, not too dissimilar to the one that had come from myself, and then the man, my attacker, was just... gone. I saw nothing but distant clouds for the briefest of moments, only then realizing that it was getting dark, before the evening sky was replaced by white and red.
I was jostled, lifted into strong arms, and at the periphery of my blurry vision I saw the edges of a familiar black coat. The soft leather was tucked around me, and I didn't need a clearer look at her face to know who or what held me.
At that moment I gave up.
Ignoring the horrible sounds coming from behind me and just so exhausted, physically and mentally, I leaned into my monster and wept, deeply and raggedly, as I let my mind slip away into the dark.
When I awoke I was dazed and confused, my body hurting all over and my mouth and my eyes dry, as if after a high fever. It took a long, disoriented moment to even realize that I was uncomfortable, and that I was this because I was lying on floor tiles. It took even longer to remember what had happened before I passed out.
Just forcing my eyes open hurt, so my instinctive attempt at scrambling to my feet had very meagre results, I was barely able to push my head up from the floor. With my heart thundering in my chest I cast my eyes about frantically, trying to take in as much as I could.
I was clearly in a derelict building of some sort, because what I could see of it in the darkness was dirty, broken and barren, fractured flooring and rotting wallpaper, and gaping open holes where once windows had been. I was a few stories up, and the weak light that came in through those empty squares reached a small area around me, leaving the rest of the room in blackest shadow.
That feeling in me, in the pit of my stomach and crawling up my neck, told me that I wasn't alone before I saw them. They moved out of the deepest darkness just enough for me to see that they were there, and then they waited. There were four of them that I could see, and a movement at the edge of my vision told me that there were more behind me. I was surrounded.
The one with the short, unruly white hair moved a little closer than the others, and for that reason her features were a bit easier to clearly make out in the faint light. The movement made me flinch badly, and only then did I discover that I was in fact covered in a by then familiar black coat. It had been draped over me in a gesture that suggested some care, a realization that might have affected my fear somewhat, had I been given a moment to consider it.
Instead my brief moment of distraction meant that I did not see her move up to me, I blinked and there she was. Although prone, I cowered in fear at the sight of her.
She was tall, impossibly tall, made even more so because I was on the floor and she was standing next to me. Thin, reed-slender like all their kind, but somehow it looked different on her. More ancient somehow, even more inhuman. Her skin as white as snow, it almost glowed in the faint light, and her long hair a silver shade of white that glittered like jewels on a faint breeze.
She looked down at me with glowing red eyes that looked more ancient than anything had any right to be, and as those eyes examined me with such a knowing yet at the same time searching look I forgot how to breathe, much less scream. She tilted her head as she watched me, the slight movement more reminiscent of that of a bird than that of a human. While she was a far cry from the hideous beasts I had seen in the past, there was still nothing human about her.
Even though I stared right at her in my helplessness I almost did not see her move as she knelt by me. One long, slender hand reached out to touch my hair, hesitantly at first, but soon sifting my hair between her fingers. Expressions chased each other across those inhuman eyes, but I could not read them, not understand them.
Then that slender hand touched my face, right near my eyes, and while it should have frightened me worse a strange calmness engulfed me. I would later learn that it was her calmness, granted me by that touch.
The caress itself was strangely affectionate, almost like a mother's, and with it those eyes grew soft, almost sympathetic as she gazed down at me. The light glinted off long translucent fangs as she opened her mouth, and I should have been more afraid. It was as if I was being hypnotized by those eyes and that ongoing light, gentle caress.
She did not eat me, she did not hurt me. Instead she spoke, her words lilting and her voice as otherworldly as her appearance. And although it was not her intention to be cruel, those words ripped my world apart.
As I was still gasping for breath, my mind revolting at what I had just learned even as a treacherous little whisper somewhere in the back of it told me it was true, the one that I had for some reason dubbed my monster stepped forward. She tucked her coat around me and gathered my unresisting form up in her arms, cradling me to her chest.
I did not see her look to the silver-haired one for permission, but I know she must have nonetheless, as I closed my eyes and leaned my head into her shoulder for the second time that evening. I felt the world shift as she jumped, and the wind rush around me as she raced with me in her arms, but I refused to acknowledge the world at all. It was as if I hoped to make everything a lie, a bad dream, if only I could press my eyelids together hard enough.
After some time the wind stopped whipping at us and I realized we were no longer moving. There was a gentle little nudge and I reluctantly lifted my head and opened my eyes to look at the one carrying me. Her red eyes were easier to read, soft, regretful and apologetic even as she waited for me to notice that we were standing beneath a tree in my front yard. A faint sting of bitterness came and went as I acknowledged that of course they knew where I lived. Of course they would, once they had seen me.
My regretful monster carefully put me down, steadying me until my legs cooperated, and rather reluctantly took back her coat. She ducked her head a little to meet my eyes, and with a frown and awkward words she told me that she was sorry. I wondered fleetingly why her expressions seemed slightly more human, more easy to read, to me than the others I had seen, but I pushed it out of my mind as she took a step back and told me to find her when I would need her.
Then she was gone and I was left alone, lost, confused and broken, in the dark outside my parents' home.
From that moment on it never truly would be my home. Although I tried to resist it for as long as I was able, the world that I knew had been ripped away from me, and I didn't belong in that house anymore. I didn't belong in that family anymore.
It started almost immediately, really. I staggered up the front steps and the door was flung open before me by my frantic parents, whom welcomed me with a thousand questions and fear that bordered on hysteria. Instead of letting me inside I was rushed off to a hospital to be checked out, and by then I had set firm in my mind the story to tell. I gave the police and all others present as detailed a description of the man who grabbed me, even though I felt fairly certain there was nothing left of him to find, and of the details surrounding how he had captured me. Again my unfortunate penchant for head injury was to my advantage, more so when those involved found out about my past experiences with the same, and some rather extensive and somewhat embarrassing examinations later, I was allowed to leave.
It was in my mother I first noticed the change. Both my parents where frantic when they met me in the door at the house, but they calmed unnaturally quickly while at the hospital, especially given our family's history and the uncertainty regarding what had happened to me. But it was actually visible with my mother, the way she at least seemed concerned when speaking to me, and then when she turned so that I was no longer in her direct line of sight seemed calm, if a bit confused, as she looked around. It was almost as if she couldn't quite recall why she was there.
Then she would look my way by accident, and her eyes would go wide and blink strangely a few times before she became concerned again. Each time it happened the concern was weaker than before, and that frowning moment of confusion when she looked at me became clearer to see.
It scared me and made my insides go cold as ice.
We went home, and it was as if my parents had forgotten what had happened. My little brother asked questions at first, before he, too, stopped talking about it, but in his case it might have been a natural reaction. At least he was subdued while our parents prepared for the night as if nothing unusual had happened that day, and for that I admit I hugged him before sending him off to bed. I went to my own with a head full of questions and a heart filling up with grief.
The days and months that followed would prove that what I had been told, or in some cases rather shown, the images and feelings somehow sent to my mind rather than conveyed in words, was all true. Gradually my presence just faded, especially where my family was concerned, until my mother could look right at me and not see me standing there.
I found that if I focused my will, I could for some reason make people notice me, and I had no idea at the time just how amazing this ability of mine really was. It was always easier with strangers or casual acquaintances, such as teachers at school, for some reason I have never quite been able to discern. They blinked once or twice and then obeyed my will to notice me, in time more than that, they would come to obey my will while I exerted it over them.
My family though, for some reason they seemed resistant to whatever it is that allows me to do what I do. It took long moments of slow blinking as I poured all my will into it before I was seen, and even from the beginning it was not always successful. By the time I was eighteen I stopped trying, because by then nothing I did would cause their eyes to pause and focus on me, even for a moment.
By then I had of course long since faced who I am, and embraced my new family. It took me no more than two months in fact, before I took off into the night, crying and heartbroken, towards the only ones that really knew what was going on with me.
Was it sheer luck that my monster so gallantly caught up with me, stumbling blindly down dark streets not far from my neighbourhood, or had she in fact been keeping watch over me all that time? I still don't know, but I am grateful nonetheless, for what I did was foolish. I should have been well aware by then that the world is filled with monsters, not all of them inhuman, and not all of them benign towards me.
But caught up with me she did, and brought me to the others. Ever since her mind touched mine I knew that the one with the long silvery hair was the leader of this family, the queen of this small clan, and while they all tried in different ways to ease my transition it was she who guided me the most. It was she that had the answers, in as much as there were any answers for any of us to find.
They had all begun as I did, as human girls once upon a distant time. Some of them were very old, and she, the queen, was so ancient I could not wrap my mind around it fully. But they had all experienced the fading, it came with the change of the colour of their eyes. How it amazed them, this ability of mine to force my presence upon my surroundings, just as the way my eyes remained this strange, and by now glowing, blue.
I was different, the queen told me, I was more than they. Stronger. I was to be the future of my kind.
At first it didn't make sense to me. Little at all made sense to me, and it was difficult since their words often were, and still are, halting and different. Parts of their conversations are made through the link of minds, in image and emotion, which was yet foreign to me. I was still in transition after all, my fading far from complete. Traces of my borrowed humanity still clung to me then, and until they were shed it would always be a little awkward for me.
My assumption that those twisted, horrid male creatures of my past belonged to the same species as my new acquaintances, and now myself, was something the queen denied firmly. Males and females, of which my little clan is but one of many in the world, are considered completely different breeds, and while little is known about how or why the males come into being they are considered naught but foul, mindless and murderous beasts. The male beasts try to avoid my kind when they can, because the females will kill them whenever their paths cross. Not all females actively hunt the male beasts, but when one is found it is our duty to the mortals to kill.
I do not agree with the queen's assessment of the males as uniformly animals of no thought or reasoning. I will never forget that first one, the male with white hair in my childhood room, and the clear intelligence in his eyes. Exactly what he was and what it means I do not know, because I have never seen one like him since, all other males have been the misshapen horrors which I heartily agree are but beasts. I also do not disagree that they must all die, whatever else I myself might be or become, I will not forget nor make less of how my dear cousin died. For that alone I would tear those things limb from limb with my own hands, no matter what it makes me.
In some vain effort to try to remain human I persisted with school to begin with, despite the annoyances of the things I had to do to simply make my teachers remember to give me grades, but my reasoning soon changed. While it may take effort on my part, I am still the only one that can impart my presence on humanity, and I have grown to realize what that means. How that makes me the future of our kind.
Before me my sisters did not live too poorly, the inability to be seen allowing them to take temporary shelter in shops or homes sometimes, but those times were rare as they came with considerate risk. The sunlight weakens them, although it still does nothing to me, and in the past there have even been sisters that in taking shelter in human homes due to circumstance got caught in the sun for so long that, once darkness fell, the males found them and devoured them. For most part my family has opted to live in abandoned buildings, tunnels and subways during daylight hours before I came.
Not anymore. I will go to school and learn what I must, and then no matter how long it takes and what I have to do, what I have to steal or who I have to manipulate, I will build our future. I will build us homes where we can be safe, my family and I.
Until then I manipulate humans with my power, and keep my family safe within their homes during the day. Even if they look right at us they will never know that we are there, although they will do my bidding all the same. My sisters will be safe, and I will do what must be done. Until I succeed we will all watch them move about without knowing that we are there, living the lives that we no longer can have.
My hair is still brown, although in time I am told it will pale to one of the many shades of white my sisters display. My body still looks human, although my skin is nearly white now, but I may become taller in time. Whether or not I shall look quite as slender and inhuman as my sisters we do not know yet, only time will tell.
When you feel a sudden chill down your spine for no reason, it is because I passed you by. When you wake in the night, heart pounding and fearful but you cannot say what you dreamt or what awakened you, it is because I was there.
When you feel dizzy or tired for no reason during the day, it is because I was there, siphoning your strength, feeding off your energy. When you are afraid of the dark and cannot give a good reason why, it is because I am out there.
I am the blue-eyed monster.
And I am watching you.
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