“Shh. No one can help you...”
“You will die here...”
“You cannot stop it...”
“Ada!” I shout. She hit me over the head with a rolled up news paper.
“Oh hush up.” she says, “you were flailing like a mad woman in your sleep again. “
I sit up in bed, rubbing my head, and I wonder what it is that disturbs me so much.
The dream is black. Nothing. Black and fog. And voices.
A shiver rolls through my veins as I think of the voices.
One of them was mine, obviously. I was pleading- begging for help. But help with what?
I don't even want to think about what the other voice said, the throaty-scratchy female voice, whispering to me all those things. Laughing at my plead.
“Will you stop it!” I hiss at her, Ada Pembrooke, the ghost who has been haunting me ever since I was unable to save her two months ago. She's waiting on me to have another premonition, a vision that will tell me who is going to die, but not when. She wants me to save the next person and only then will she leave me alone and move on. I hope I can stop the next one...but, I haven't had a premonition since Ada’s and I am worried that I may never have one again and I'll be stuck with her for the rest of my life!
I must have another. I cannot live with this woman for the rest of my life!- that would be a nightmare! She is vicious! Terribly strict and tight lipped I don't know if I will ever do anything to please her.
“Well don't just sit there!” she says, “get up, you will be late for school.”
“I know what time it is and it is six thirty! School doesn't start until eight!”
She purses her lips and slits her eyes at me. A frightening sight if you are on the receiving end of it. And I am. So I am quite frightened.
I jump out of bed and gather the clothes that make up my uniform, the dress; the slip; the headband; the tacky boots.
Another year of this will be too late for me.
I start for the door but Ada blocks it. I could walk through her but I have done that before and it feels like walking through a very thick spiderweb. No thank you.
“What?” I groan.
“What was your dream about?”
I stare at her, a bit bewildered that she even bothered to ask. She never asked before and that was the fourth time I have had that nightmare.
“Nothing.” which is actually as close to the truth as I can get because, really, I didn't technically see anything.”
“You were flailing, stupid girl. Do I look like I don't know what a nightmare looks like?”
“Certainly so, yes! But that has never persuaded you to ask me about my dreams before.”
“I thought it was nothing!”
“You've had to smack me awake four times in the past month...”
I let out a rough sigh and try to move around her but she expands herself (literally) and blocks the whole doorway.”
“You,” I say, pointing an accusing finger at her, “are going to make me very late?”
“Tell me the dream and I'll let you pass.” she says with a tight smile.
“It was black and foggy and there were voices now let me pass!”
“What did the voices say?”
“I don't know, I can't remember!”
She looks at me hard and slowly reduces herself to normal size before stepping aside.
“Have you had a vision?”
“No, it wasn't a vision. And I don't think I will have one again, ever.”
“What makes you think so? You don't know that.”
“I do, and I know.”
I leave the room and rush to the bathroom to start my morning routine: shower, teeth, hair, make-up. That latter is new.
I usually don't wear make-up, but.... there is this new boy at school. Henry Flitch; the most handsome boy at the academy.
He goes there with his younger brother, Thomas, he is nine, I think. Henry is my age.
“You really shouldn't wear that tacky paint.”
I jump and whirl around to see Ada standing behind me.
“You cannot!- just come in here while I'm dressing!” I shout, I am surprised my parents haven't called the looney bin already from all the shouting I've been to doing... to know one in particular in their eyes.
“You're not dressing and it is not like I haven't had what you seem to lack before.”
I can feel my face turning red. And not from embarrassment.
“Get. Out.” I demand.
“I want to know what those voices said.” she says as sternly as she seems determined to get the dream out of me.
I sigh. And listen to make sure my parents aren't up yet. Of course they aren't, they have reasonable work schedules and are aloud to wake up at nearly nine o'clock.
“It was black-”
“You told me that! Was there anyone talking?”
Jeez the woman knows what she wants to know and when she wants to know it.
I groan and slide down to the floor with my back against the cabinets under the sink.
“Me and another voice, a woman.” I say. “I- I was begging her to help me and she laughed at me and told me I would die here, only I don't know what here is. She told me I couldn't stop it.”
She just stares at me with the pinched up scowl she usually has for me.
Then she nods and says,“take that stuff off of your face.”
My mouth falls open but before I can protest she has faded away.
I wonder where she goes when she does that. Though she does it rarely it never hurts to be a little curious.
I completely ignore Ada's order and finish brushing my hair and dressing. I can hear my mother walking around in their bedroom. Pacing probably, she is an artist and has a few of her works in the British Museum. I'm quite proud of that, actually, but she stresses over her work. She's not the best person you want to be around when she is under stress. My father is probably still sleeping, he is an editor for A.P. Watt Limited. He is a very quiet fellow and I wonder why sometimes. But I don't let it bother me, he is who he is.
I leave the bathroom and go back to my room to get my bag. I am early to leave, yes, but I could walk around the city for a bit before I go to school.
I get a bagel and a banana from the refrigerator and out the door I go.
The morning is dull and foggy but when I look into the sky I see patches of blue here and there. The sun is directly behind a cluster of clouds, determined not to be seen today by ground-walking observers. I munch on my bagel as I stroll along the wet sidewalks. Trying to avoid puddles of water that sometimes fill the few potholes. I am not in the mood for a broken ankle today.
I notice a shop on the corner of the sidewalk opposite me: Dalia's.
I cross the street and enter the shop and I see...very interesting things.
There are voodoo dolls and dream catching stones; pendants for luck and love and powders for charms; I see paints that look more like melted gold and silver on the corner table in the front of the store, the label says Silvergoul.
“May I help you...” says the shopkeeper, she seems very young to own the store by herself. Her hair is long and black with hints of glittery gold highlighted in. Her skin is pale and she wears a long black dress with lace on the wrist and the edges of the bottom and around the neckline. There is a large red jewel hanging around her neck from a platinum chain. It looks like bloody clouds are circling around inside it.
She looks a little frightened, actually, I can see that she is trying very hard not to look it but she is failing miserably and I start to wonder if I should just leave.
“Emile, go to the back and refill the Sandbastars.” says a very pretty middle aged woman with black hair as well but with natural streaks of silver. I assume this is the younger girl's mother. “How may I help you?” she smiles at me.
“I- no I'm just browsing.” I say smiling back at her.
“What unusual eyes you have...” she says dreamily. I could feel offended by her forwardness but I don't. She just seems curious.
“Yeah, they are different.” I say quietly.
“You are the girl who fainted from the accident.” she says matter-of-factually.
I take a step back surprised that this woman recognizes a perfect stranger after months have gone by.
“Y-yes that's me.” I hadn't even known I was walking down the same street. Have I always come this way?
“Yes.” she says. “I recognizes your eyes. They were most unusual to me; very pretty all the same though, dear.” she smiles.
“Thank you.” I say quietly.
“You have had nightmares haven't you...” she says slowly and quietly. Her eyes narrowing into mine without accusation but with pity and worry.
“How did you-”
“It lingers in your eyes...the dream.” the says. “that was not your original eye color either.” she says matter-of-factually.
This time I jump and nearly run to the door and leave. But I stay; scared and curious. Curiosity taking over.
“I can see the thin hint of green along the edges.” she says, then she puts her hand out as if she meant to hold me there but her hand hesitates in mid air. “Do not be frightened. You are not the first person I have seen with the condition.”
I hear a bell chime in the distance and I instinctively look at my phone and see that it is eight.
“I have to go.” I say quickly.
She does grab my wrist this time. Not roughly but gentle and soft almost like leather wrapped around your wrist.
“Come back.” she says, not demanding but not quite leaving any room for me to decline.
I nod and she lets go of my wrist.
I rush out the door and I nearly run straight through Ada Pembrooke.
“Good lord, girl!” she cries, “Have you not the sight to see where you are going?”
“I'm late.” is my empty response to her.
“Ah I see you've met our Ms. Evelyn Clover.” she says with a laugh. “She is quite mad you know.”
I keep walking, ignoring the gossiping ghost at me side. She does choose the worst times to appear and disappear. Frustrating woman.
“You're not going to school with me.” I say, still not looking at her, afraid I might attract attention to myself talking to air. No one else can see Ms. Pembrooke, though it is not a complete shock, I would like to be able to walk around and not be seen talking to nothing.
“Even if I weren't going do you think you could stop me?” she says a little too darkly for my comfort. She can move things and if I don't cooperate she will be sure to chastise me with embarrassing physical motives. “Do not cross me, stupid girl.”
I try my best to keep myself from huffing and only a slight breath of impatient air escapes my lungs.
We arrive at my school and I take a chance glance in Ada's direction but she is no where to be seen.
I sigh in relief and continue on into the school.
“Luna!” it is Henry; my prince beckons me. Okay he's not my prince but he is still gorgeous and he is calling me!
“Hey!” I say loudly over the bustling in the halls.
“Hey, er, how was your weekend?” he says.
But of course I don't answer. I'm too busy observing what must be a fabulous physic under-
“Luna?” he says, his eyes curiously on mine.
“Did you have a good weekend?” he says slowly this time.
“Okay...” he starts to turn around but I grab his elbow.
“Wait!- how was your weekend?”
He smiles his pretty white smile down at me; his eyes a beautiful bright hazel and his dark hair so straight his ends seem to fade away like the tip of fire.
“God you are beautiful.” I mutter.
“What.” he says with a chuckle.
“I said you're really wonderful!” I smack myself on the forehead. That wasn't much better than the original.
He laughs a little and says, “you are too.”
Then our eyes lock and the rest of the class just falls away.
“Don't you have a class to get to?” I jump and look to my left. Ada.
“I have to go!” I tell Henry.
“Uh- wait!” he calls after me.
I rush into the ladies room and glance under the stalls. Empty.
I lock the door and whirl around knowing Pembrooke is standing right behind me.
“What are you doing here!” I hiss at her.
She smiles and shifts on her heels.
“I'm quite fond of schools. You should know that.” she says, still smiling her devious smile.
“You can't stay here.”
“Why not! It is not like anyone can see me.”
She cocks her head to the side and narrows her eyes at me. Unlike Ms. Clover’s gaze this one was completely accusing.
“Watch it.” she says darkly.”
A cold shiver rushes through my veins. I cringe at the chill.
I unlock the door and start for my first class.
I whirl around to see him shoving through the clusters of teens and pres.
“Are you okay?” he says. A look of confusion dominating his gaze.
A little boy rushes over to us. Thomas. He wears the same uniform as Henry only his hair is an adorable red- straight like his brother's- and his eyes are green. He is going to be very handsome when he gets older.
He stops in front of us, cheeks flushed and skin pale, he looks a little ill. I wonder if he has gotten the flu I have been hearing about on the past week.
“Whoa slow down, Tommy.” Henry laughs.
“Hi, Luna!” he says a little too loudly. The halls have quieted now that the bells for some of the classes have sounded.
“Hey, Thomas.” I say smiling at him.
“Wow! Your eyes are spooky.” he says. Very random if you ask me but I don't mind, he is just a kid.
“Tommy!” Henry says with a mock shock. “I think they are beautiful, thank you very much.”
That's it. My heart melts.
I can't help smiling but of course that doesn't last long.
“I think he's too old.” says Ms. Pembrooke.
“You okay?” ask Thomas. “I'm sorry if I upset you.”
“No it it's not you.” I smile easily at him.
It's the annoying dead woman at my side harassing me now as we speak.
He smiles wearily up at me and now I think I was right about him being ill.
“Don't you have a class to go to?” Henry ask Thomas with mock sternness.
He chuckles and says his fair wells.
“I don't like this boy.” mutters Ms. Pembrooke.” Stop ignoring me!”
I cringe a little and that gets Henry's attention.
“Are you ill?”
“No! Just had a bit of a chill.” well that was obviously a lie. It is twenty-five Celsius in here.
He doesn't catch it, though, and instead swings his arm over my shoulder.
He smells like cherries and something manly.
I look at him.
He takes a paper off of my back.
“My boots smell like dead fish”
I glare at Ada, who is leaning against a locker fiddling with her nails.
“How long has that been there?”
“Since you ran off.”
My face turns red.
“It really isn't a big deal, Luna,” he says making a fairly successful attempt to calm me down. “it was probably a fourth year pulling a stupid prank. Don't let it get to you.”
I smile up at him, into his pretty easy eyes.
“Class! Now!” shouts Ada once again making me jump.
The bell sounds and I pull away.
He stops me, though, by grabbing my wrist.
“Would you like to come to Hyde with me?” he says in a low voice.
“Absolutely not!” cries Pembrooke.
And I, ignoring her, smile and say yes.
“Oh! You ghastly child!” she says in protest.
He smiles at me and releases my wrist. The air is cool where his warm skin touched mine.
Ada grins. She must have been eavesdropping at the shop.
“You had better let him off easy, girl.” she says with the a chuckle.
“I can't...maybe later?” I say, “I can meet you there.”
He smile falters just the slightest but he nods.
“Is six okay?”
“Yeah that would be great.” he says.
The school day drifts by in a frenzy. Everyone is rushing trying to hurry up and end their academic day
and head to the pub or the library... most likely the pub.
I head back to the Dalia's as promised by yours truly. Ada is right by my side humming and skipping occasionally. Which really looks odd on her.
“Oh! Welcome back!” says Ms. Clover. “ I never caught your name, dear, what is it?”
“Luna Trainwick.” I tell her.
“Miss Trainwick, would you like some tea?”
I accept and she goes to the back and brings in some earl gray. My least favorite but I take it anyway out of propriety.
“You said that I am not the first person you've seen with this...this condition?” I say stumbling over a few words.
“Ah- yes. The changing of the irises. A dear friend of mine was inflicted with the same condition. She saw things no other could see.” she says taking a sip of her tea.
“What did she see?”
“What do you see?”
I hesitate, unsure why because she already recognizes my condition, supposedly.
“I have premonitions. Visions that tell me someone is going to die. I was unable to save the last person I had a vision about...”
She looks at me sympathetically.
“Your eyes... they are the color of love, Fuchsia .” she explains, “the person you were seeing was in love, maybe had a lover they were supposed to see and never got to. Your eyes change color according to the person's wants: love, health, money, spiritual healing, happiness, death.”
I choke on my tea a bit and decide that I have had enough.
“How do you know this?”
“My dear friend, Dalia, she had vision not unlike yours. She died some time ago trying to save someone she was seeing. She told me these things. That woman you saw earlier is her daughter. I adopted her. She knows very little about her mother's gift and blames bravery and pride for her mother's demise. Quite sad, actually. I would love to tell her more, but I cannot, too hard.”
The thought of death reminded me that Ada was unusually quiet. I look around for her and see her in the corner. She looks distraught, not angry, sad. She senses me watching her and disappears before my eyes.
“You named your shop after her?- your friend?” I ask.
“I sell things that keep away the unwanted: potions, charms, pendents, jewels- like the one you saw hanging around Emile's neck. That ruby brings love luck and keeps away the lustful.”
“I see. Do- do you have anything for dreams?”
She nods and gets up from her chair.
She goes straight to the back and brings back a gray stone hanging from a platinum chain like Emile's.
“This is Dog's Breath.”
We both chuckle.
“I see how that would work against evil.”
She shakes her head.
“No. This is a clarifying stone. For your dreams”
She hands it to me but I am reluctant to take it.
Do I want clarification?
I take the stone and loop it over my head.
“I hope it works for you. “
“Is there a possibility that it wouldn't?”
“No, not really. It worked for Dalia, it's hers. The only one I ever made.”
“She had troubling dreams as well?”
“Troubling? I wouldn't know but she did seem lost. I made it for her so she find the answers she needed through her dreams.”
“That was very considerate of you...I don't think I can take this then, it has such a personal value to you.”
She shakes her head.
“No, if your dreams are troubling you may need more clarity.” she says.
I fail to understand how that would help me.
“You are frightened by these dreams. Obviously,” she says, “why not demand clarity?”
“You don't know what I dream about, though. These dreams are... dark. Literally.”
“Clarity. Tell me about your last dream, Miss Trainwick”
I clear my throat and stand. Ms. Clover sits back down in her chair; her gaze thoughtfully on me as I pace back and forth.
“It was black- foggy as well. And there were two voices: mine and some else, a woman. The woman's voice was scratchy and hissy. She was laughing at me. I was begging her for help but she wouldn't help me. She told me I would die here and that I couldn't stop it...”
She nods, her gaze unwavering.
“Clarity. Take the necklace- never take it off-”
The bell over the shop door chimes and a young couple walk in.
“You have to go now,” she says, “please come back as soon as you can.”
I nod and leave the store muttering “good day” as I walk pass the couple.
The clouds have passed and the sun is starting to set. I look at my phone; five fifty. I make my way to Hyde Park.
I stop at a do not walk signal and my necklace is yanked forward by the jewel into mid air.
Then Ada appears observing it in her hands.
“Dog's Breath? Really? I would've expected more from her; Flying Pig or Child Arms.”
I yank my necklace out of her hands and glare at her.
“Where do you go when you disappear like that?”
She cocks her head to the side.
“I don't think that is any of your business.”
“It is too! You are always in mine so why not-”
“I am your elder that is why!” she bellows, “Drop it, now!”
I stomp across the street into Hyde Park and I see him, leaning against a large tree. He shed some of his uniform clothes and his bag is lying in the grass by his foot. He spots me and grabs up his bag to rush over to me.
“Hey!” he says with a large happy smile, his eyes squinting like they do when the smile in genuinely real.
“You did not just drag me all the way out here just to see this oaf!” says Ms. Pembrooke. She huffs and follows us along as we start to walk around.
He takes my hand in his and we stroll around the park. Passing cyclist and mothers with their children; a few tourist taking pictures of the fountain and the gardens.
“How was school for you? Mr. Duggen still hard on his pupils?” he ask with a smirk.
Ada makes a very unpleasant sound, which I ignore heartily.
“Yes, I am sure the whole bio chem class is going to fail this year.” I laugh. “He scares the entire class!
We both laugh as we both know how scary Mr. Duggen is.
He holds my hand tighter as we continue.
“I think my brother really quite fancies you.” he chuckles.
“Why do you think that?” I feel my cheeks warming.
“He talks about you, a lot.” he says, “I've only been at that school for six months and I have never heard a boy his age talk of some one so passionately, particularly a girl. He likes you.” Now it is his turn to blush. “I do too, actually... but I don't think I have nearly as much of a shot with you as he does.” he laughs. Trying to break the tension with humor.
I smile at him, my heart is racing.
“I really like you too.” I say quietly avoiding his gaze.
“Time to go!” Pembrooke barks as she grabs my free arm and yanks.
I'm yanked to the side and it looks as if I am pulling away from him. He lets go of my hand and looks at me with hurt expression.
“I'm sorry I thought I felt a bug on my hand!” is my ridiculous excuse.
“It's...okay.” he says unsure.
He tries to hold my hand again but Ada yanks me away again. “Now! We are leaving!” she orders.
I yank my arm out of Ada's grasp and stumble against Henry's chest nearly knocking him over.
And then everything goes dark.
Feathers engulf me into raven darkness. The sound of the fountain and child laughter fade away into something heinous.
A laugh, a cry, a scream, a splash!
Then the darkness gives away to a green tainted world. Sounds are muffled and I can't breathe. Arms flailing at the sky but I sink. Deeper and deeper I go until darkness swallows me. Blood floats around me and I hear another scream. So much pain. So much sadness. I am alone. I try to scream for help but there is no one here. I am drowning.
I gasp and the feathers fall away. My legs are shaky and Henry is holding me. He is staring at me in horror and nearly drops me but holds on tighter instead.
Ada smiles her devious smile. Oh no...
“What?” I says struggling to get him to release his grip on me. He is frightened, obviously. Nearly squeezing the life out of me as he turns a sickening white.
“Luna...your eyes are yellow.”