It takes me a moment to realize where I am.
Although my vision was blurred, probably caused by shearing pang that throbbed at the corner of the left side of my forehead, I could make out that I was back at the bluff. Specifically, I’m laying inside the gazebo on Old Bailey’s Bluff, alone-in the dark-within a lonely and decrepit gazebo. “Greeeeeeat Jessie, don’t you know how to get yourself in all sorts of danger.”
With an ashen gray roof in the way of my view of the night sky I can only assume I’m lying on one of the benches which cling to the structure. Also, the tidbit that my hair brushes against the cracked wood of the bench is another key indicator. I don’t bother to get up or look around much in an effort not to succumb to unconsciousness, again. My…second, no third one since moving to this lovely little town. Thanks moms, you’ve been really keen in providing me a safe environment to live out my teenage years.
Ok, sarcasm is another welcomed sign that I haven’t suffered any brain damage. Or I haven’t suffered much brain damage. My left eye won’t stop twitching and I’m going to take that as a possible warning. With that being somewhat resolved, I figure it’s time to get out of here. Like, quick or reasonably quick for a girl’s who’s just been knocked unconscious by a…
"Huh?" I was knocked out, wasn’t I!
I try to clear my senses so I could move after I realize how I may have wandered here, oh and by “I” I mean “not of my own free will”. But I find this warmth which nestles my body too soothing to even try and move. Like a heated blanket wrapped around me on a cold winter night, I just want to shut my eyes again and sleep.
…Ok, my life’s in, or possibly in, danger and I want to sleep. Sleep to this sudden warmth I’m presently feeling out in the cold late fall night. In short, blow to the head…may not have been so good after all. Then another thing comes to me, thanks to my brain which has been so good at keeping me aware upon waking up, I have been moved.
I have been moved and taken from the school’s parking lot. Taken and dragged to the very other end of town. Left Alone, completely isolated, far from anyone else. Oooh, this so not good. Against the tightness of my body, I sit myself up bringing on a jolt—no a pang, yeah a pang—of pain down my back which sparks another revelation, “Ben…”
I remember now, partially. I remember seeing him, in the school’s parking lot, standing in the shadows while I was at my car. I remember seeing Benjamin Smith: Boonville’s loner boy—slash—“possible uber social freak”—slash—“hot quiet boy with odd leathery tail”—slash—“potential murderer”—slash—Demon Boy. And thanks to the slashes, I’m able to get a clearer understanding that’s he’s free to do whatever he intended to do to me. Ok! I’m up.
The adrenaline which courses through me is motivation enough to get me going. That and the little visual of becoming lunch meat for Ben come tomorrow gets me moving against my resistance not to. I sit myself up hastily which nearly causes me to careen off the bench.
Realizing I have to get control of my eager-to-motor legs, I shake down some of that urge and get onto my wobbly feet to get the hell out of there.
The surprise of my bare feet slamming down on icy wooden floorboards sends me down to them in a thud. With a lurch forward I’m back up again and not even mildly worried as to why I’m no longer wearing my Doc Martens. Well, a bit worried…why the hell would he take my boots? Shut up, Jessie and go! Right! Mean inner voice, take the wheel.
I stumbled down the steps, mummy drunken-ishly, onto the wet grassy field that stands behind the gazebo. Walking, more like staggering, across the grass a mist summoned by the bitter cold water thrashing the rocks below, chills me as I make my shaky escape. Half way across the field, I stop when my lovely brain makes me also aware that I have no way of getting out of here. Ben could do that disappearing-thing, so no need for him to snatch my buggy for his personal take-out.
Oh cripes, you’re take-out…Nan, you old haggard bat, you were right.
A wind bristles across the hairs along my nape. Not just a cold wind, but it was a wind that carried a: “I’m watching you” feel on it. It could only mean one thing: he was near. I didn’t have to rely on my senses to know he was. I could feel his gaze softly spotlighting me as I stood in the field. I knew I had felt him the moment I awoke. That blanket sensation thing was probably his doing, created by the stare of his warm greenish-brown eyes.
The sound of his voice drifting towards me told me I was right, “You shouldn’t move,” I’m shaking. It’s been so long since I’ve known terror like this. I try to calm myself, make it seem like I’m shaking due to the cold since the strapless dress and its lace covering did nothing to protect me from the cold. I turn around expecting to see him there, back within the gazebo I had just left.
“You took a pretty hard hit.” He wasn’t there.
Doing what he does best, he was hiding somewhere among the shadows created by swollen full moon which struck the large pine trees that forest around us, the large slightly crooked gazebo, and the night itself which possessed no real light to null the shadows.
“You hit hard.” I replied, trying to play it cool or reasonable lukewarm at showing I’m not a bit freaked out. While being freaked may be partially crippling I’m able to push it down. I’m able to back off the flight feeling and embrace the urge to fight him if need be.
The lace sleeves of the covering which nets my dress curtained my fingers and hides my fingers from him as they take form to prepare for the incantation I begin to cast. He forgets he’s not dealing with his usual picking. He’s dealing with a grade-A bruja, a freakin’ Witch from Los Angeles via France. Where are you?
“Don’t,” He mutters. The sharp utterance was insipid and cold yet part of it sounded…concerned, “Don’t try and cast. Seriously, you’ll only strain yourself further.”
"Oh?"—Keep him talking—"You’re an expert now,"—keep talking so you can try and spot him and take him down before he can take you down—"on all things, witchy…"
"Witchy?" His voice comes from my right, and not to my surprise there’s nothing there.
Witchy? Wow, must have been some hit. “Yeah, as in knowledge-ed in-ah-all things related to witches’ witchy.” Whatever I say, how dumb it is right now, doesn’t matter as long as I keep him talking.
"Is that really a word?" From behind me again, he’s super good at that "slipping into the shadow thing" he does. And it’s really annoying.
"Totally is. You should look it up."
"I guess I will—" Fingers formed in the configuration of Andraste, the middle of both hands kissing the prints of the thumbs while the index and pinky are erect, I send a burst of bright violet light to my left in the direction which his voice comes from. In the burst of the vibrant color I only catch a glimpse of him as he slips into the shadows before any of the light can strike him.
That was quite…wow. I fall to my knees under the rush that swarms my head.
"I told you not to. You’re hurt, you’ll only hurt yourself more if you try to cast." Damn it, he was right I am hurt.
A concussion, I have to have a concussion since a simple stun incantation wouldn’t cause such a draining backlash like this unless my mind is all…messed up. If I’d try the spell again I would need to make it hit, if not I make myself completely vulnerable to him. Just one direct him would knock him out and give me time to get far away before he ever wakes and does what demon boys like him tend do. Usually unpleasant things.
"Shove it." Not the greatest comeback but it’ll do for one of those "you’re about to get into a fight for your very life" moments when any comeback is a sign of resistance. Or so I think so since that’s what films have always shown me. Back to the situation at hand, Jessie. Oh, yeah.
”So,”—and the one way to draw him out—“you do this to a lot of girls?”—is by talking, yeah lots of talking—“Or girls only foolish enough to believe your broodiness is a sign of maturity and not some ploy to lure?” Hopefully I will say something that’ll make him slip, even though so far he seems completely all together with no room of error. What a freak.
”You think I’m a monster.”
”If the glove don’t fit you must be a monster.” Classic, I know. I subtly look around for him, and I do so by not moving much which works out since I can barely move at all about this point. I need every bit of energy to put him down. Put him down humanely in a not permanent kind of way, for now.
When I make another glance around a pair of violet eyes shifts within the shadowy gullet of the gazebo. It’s him. He isn’t fully tangible, but he’s trying to either avoid the potential of me successfully striking him with the incantation or he has something else in mind. Screw this. Raising my hand, pointing my shaking-formed fingers in his direction his violent eyes waves like a stream of electrified smoke within the gazebo signaling he’s disappeared.
He’s done that shimmering thing he does giving me an opening. This moment won’t last, so I take full advantage of it. Like a confused track runner I enter a small sprint backwards. All I can think about is getting far from the shadows. The further I can get from them I can keep his element of surprise from not being so elemental a surprise. Don’t think, just run.
The moon is low tonight so it lights up much of the field. A field which is pretty barren of any trees, thank you Mr. Tree-chopper-downer. I’m in one giant spotlight, kinda center stage which may seem trapping since I’m in a ring surrounded by shadows but it ain’t. I can see whatever way he tries to come at me. So, come at me bro. Ew, tacky. And slightly foolish of me, because he took my mental challenge.
From the edge of the ring the moon creates I see his violet eyes flare just before he pounces. His jagged shark-like teeth glint in the moon’s light as he lets out a roar before tackling me. I expected to hit the ground but don’t. He’s erected his legs out to the side of me and has planted them on the ground providing him support as he lowers us down. How sweet of him a soft tackle, the creep.
When I look directly at him I see he’s reforming into the mask he wears so well. His greenish-brown eyes have returned as they stare blankly into mine. His teeth begin to sheathe. The blacken veins that bulged and pulsated around his face and from the corner of his eyes have faded. I can feel the talons of his hands, one holding onto my lower back and the other the nape of my neck, revert back into plain old finger nails. He licks his thin lips, no longer wet and blood red.
I’m gazing into his eyes, trying not to show how freaked out I am. And, oddly how angry—upset—I am with him. He’s fooled me, really bad he’s fooled me. I’ve lost that little pang that wants to violently hurt him. Well, it’s there but not as loud. His tail slithers up behind him, reaches out over his shoulder, and its arrowed-tip acting like a finger places a fallen strand of my disheveled hair behind my ear.
His tail withdraws behind his shoulder, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Damn him. “Really, is that the way you come on to other girls or something?” It took me a moment to realize that my resolve in hiding the fact I was freaked out, failed miserably. Breathing heavily cancels out my “let’s do this” façade I once weakly held onto. Jessikah Baquero: Uber Duchess of Lame.
"What?" How nice, after the time we’ve spent he still doesn’t get the lovely personality which is I, mine, no I. Focus!
“Get off of me.” I demand, finding the frustrated that once made me all grr-arrgh. It was his failure to laugh or just get one of my out-of-the-moment comments.
"Wait, I need to explain,"
"Oh, no need to explain. You’re a freaky demon boy who wants to kill me. I gots it clear as—"
"No! That’s so overused and old. I’m far more original than that. I’m so original it’s nearly futuristic."
"I know." He grins.
"Stop that, don’t mock me. You don’t have that right, only non-freaks who don’t want to kill me have that right."
His grin fades, “You think I’m a freak because of who I am.”
Don’t fall for it, “Not going to fall for that sad boy thing you do, Ben. I think you’re a freak because of what you are. Big difference, in fact a major one.”
”You used to like me,”
”Yeah, kinda a negative to your character since that usually means I’ve managed to attract another hazardous relationship with a grade-A schizo.”
”We were in a relationship?” His eyebrow arches with confusion, hell I see the shocked look on my face for the stupid slip-up and try to cover.
”No. No not at all. We were just friends doing friend-building things. You just happened to line about us being on stable ground. Instant collapse.”
”Because of what I am?”
”Yeah you can say that and oh, this is a major one too, you knocking me out!”
”Wait, I didn—”
”Get off of me!” I’m beyond annoyed now, I hate being cuddled in his arms like some fool. I’m not a fool, especially not one that should be cuddled by him.
”I have to explain what happened,”
”What part of ‘Get off’ don’t you understand?”
I can see the fact that I’m not listening to him is annoying him in his own way, and I could care less. “If you will let me,” And his annoyance is distracting enough to let me do what I have to.
“You know what I love about incantations—” My hand re-formed I prodded it into the center of his chest. The subtle strike sends him careening off of me, the burst of light tosses him into the air before slamming him into the ground. It also causes me to hit my head against the cold ground under me since he was holding me up, “ow.”
Once I recollect myself, glad that casting the incantation has completely drained me, I shuffle back up onto my feet. I was going to head out of there using the insurmountable good fortune bestowed upon me, but I couldn’t. There was a noise, a gasping and chattering of teeth kind of noise that kept me from bolting.
It was Ben.
He was still up, barely unharmed by the incantation a major impossible. He was a demon so the incantation, a demon one, should’ve have knocked him out. But it didn’t. He was on his back staring up at the sky, his eyes shifting from his human ones to his demon ones as he breathes heavily while shaking rapidly from the strike. And from the contorted look upon his usually vacant, emotionless face, he also shook because he was…scared.
Against the itch on the back of my neck scratching at me to haul ass and run, I go in the opposite direction and make my way towards him. Over him, I see his eyes are wide with, well, shock as they stare up at the night sky. He’s in pain. His body is being rippled with dagger-like poking of electricity. His pale flesh was slickened with sweat, and his lips were shaking as if he’d just gone swimming in the middle of a blizzard. He glances at me, and tries to look away wanting to avoid humiliation.
No, not humiliation, He didn’t want me to see what was happening. It took me a moment to realize it. Kneeling down beside him, all I can do is watch as he shook uncontrollably. Something was not right about him. I didn’t mean to say it but the words just slipped from my lips, “What—are you?”
I fall quiet while I watch the stun incantation recycle repeatedly within him, fighting to do its purpose in knocking him out but something also deep within him was fighting against its affect. Again, a major impossible. The incantation was meant to keep a demon at bay, or simply constrain the demon.
The incantation was working, obviously. It was constraining the demon…but couldn’t constrain the human portion. Ben wasn’t just creepy demon boy he was also creepy somewhat normal human boy. Ben was part human, part demon. He was a no-no, impossibility, a demon half-breed.
Then, in a stammering crackled voice he answers my utterance in tone of desperation and pain, “That’s what…I was kind of hoping you could…tell me.”