I stared up at the ceiling, what a colorful ceiling it was. With lots of blues and purples and…red? I don’t remember Stormy Night having big blotches of red in it. How…odd? I went to raise a hand to my eyes but for some reason my hand never made it. As an impulse my eyebrows came down closer to my eyes.
And that’s when it hit me. I was seeing out of both of my eyes. And that red, that was Steph over me, his bloodied hand waving in front of my face, his arms holding me up off the ground.
The sound of the panicked people around me came next. I looked all around at the faces of the people I’d just begun to know. They stared back, scare, amazed, bewildered. My stomach sunk to my feet. Were my eyes that frightening?
“Albina stay with me!” shouted Steph, snapping me out of the dark dizziness that had started to creep into my vision. His wide pale eyes pierced through me like sabers. He would glance up every once in a while for what seemed like forever. But his face, his eyes, were watching me. Making me feel exposed, naked, I felt so weak in his arms and what seemed like forever the voices were white noise and it was just him and I. This comforted me for some reason.
Mac and the art teacher suddenly showed up. Mac held out a large wad of cloth to my head, shielding my brown eye. It smelled like grass and cologne, it was his sweatshirt. I felt funny with it
pressed up against my forehead. I didn’t really get why it had to be there. I mean…
And then as Steph lifted me into a nearby chair the pain hit me. Like someone was taking a blunt screwdriver to my forehead. I groaned and tried to pitch forward but a warm body held me up. My hands entangled themselves around it as I squeezed my eyes shut. The pain was overwhelming and I coughed because it felt like I couldn’t breathe.
I could feel fingers entwined with mine and for sometime I thought it was Steph. But as I heard Dorcus’s soft hiccupping sobs I exhaled a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.
I refused to open my eyes for fear of the ones that might be looking down into my own. But I did whisper softly.
“Dorcus?” I muttered softly, my voice was weak and cracked and I was extremely thirsty.
“Oh Albina, are you alright? I was so worried, your school called me, then the hospital. And after the accidents just a few days ago…” she trailed off as she wrapped her arms around my form. I creaked my eyes open and thankfully the light wasn’t so bright. Dorcus’s deep thick auburn hair was getting stuck in my cracked lips and clogging my nose.
She finally pulled away and I could see the tear tracks down her rosy cheeks. She patted my head softly as her lips trembled.
“I’m ok…alright,” I mumbled as I tried to sit up. I shuddered a bit as dizziness took over. Blinking a few times I fought back the grogginess. “What time is it?”
“Around 7 o’clock, you…you were out for some time,” replied Dorcus as she dabbed her eyes with a tissue. A dull throbbing originated from my forehead and when I raised my hand to investigate I found a wad of bandages. I groaned.
“How bad was it?” I asked as I felt around the bandage.
“You split your skin obviously, but you bruised the bone pretty badly. Luckily there was no damage to your brain,” replied Dorcus. She gave a weak smile. “If you’re up to it we can head home now.”
“Yes,” I replied, “I’d like that.”
I was a bit dizzy as I walked in the front door. Dorcus shook out the umbrella we’d been forced to reside under. Outside the rain pounded against the roof and sides of the house and did nothing to help alleviate the headache that was brewing in my forehead.
“Here why don’t we get you some Advil and you head to bed?” asked Dorcus. I nodded and sat down at the small table, staring out at the pattering rain.
“I’m hungry; do we have anything to eat?” I asked as I rubbed around the bandage above my right eye. It itched vaguely.
Dorcus scrambled off to make something to eat as I watched the raindrops roll down…
The vision came, much like any other vision, fast and uncaring. Daring me to hold back its encrypted message. But I was so tired, my head throbbed and I didn’t want to fight it. Not this time, I simple didn’t have the strength. Dorcus watched me warily as the present melted away and before I knew it, the vision from before came back, changed this time. Fate had shifted…
The flood waters roared around the ancient stone supports. Already one side of the old railroad bridge had given way beneath the stampeding waters. Leaving the tracks exposed, a dead drop off into the murky abyss.It was perfect; the path to it had been clearly marked by muddy footsteps and trampled grass. Thunder cracked overhead and a lone figure shivered on the bridge. His eyes darting back and forth yet unable to make sense of anything around him.
“Jump,” said a voice, and the boy’s head jerked to the side and there she was. A figure of beauty, Aphrodite in mortal skin.
Yet his flashing silver eyes didn’t quite register her, his pupils dilated and his facial muscles twitched. Slowly though, he sunk into her control, easily. Something that if he could control his own power, would never have happened. But his root, his anchor on the present day was so strained that her power easily took control of him. A perverse relaxation.
“Jump, I dare you,” she said. The vision contorting her face, for she was a Unique. A Complete Valentine whose taste for blood ran deeper than her corrupted soul.
Steph relaxed under her control and he swayed on his feet as the red and pink eyes of the girl stared….
Coming back into reality was painful; I was clutching the table in one hand and my throat in another as I gulped down air. Dorcus was leaning over me, repeating my name, trying to get me to respond.I could feel her warm aura as a Valentine wash over me but it only added to the sweat on my brow. She was using techniques our Teachers had taught us to bring people back to a center. That was why the vision had faded so quickly.
“Albina! Are you there? Please!” she cried as I stood up. She gripped my arm painfully tight. I stared over at her, panic in my eyes and a quaver in my voice.
“I’ve got to go,” I said and took a few steps forward. My body felt numb and weighted down, like I was underwater…
“Water!” I suddenly shouted as everything snapped into place. Dorcus gripped hard, trying to hold me back.
“Albina, you’re hurt, you can’t go anywhere,” she pleaded. My different colored orbs stared into her murky brown ones.
“I have to save him Dorcus, from himself…and her,” I said without thinking as I resisted her grip. She looked helplessly on as I paraded to the front door, throwing on a hooded sweatshirt and pulling the hood over my bandage.
“Alba…”she muttered softly enough I had to look back at her. She looked stricken, saddened and worn down. My injury had scared her today, made her believe she’d almost lost me. Her only friend, her only daughter. The only person she could trust herself enough to love.
“Today isn’t the end, I’ll be back, and fate is still shifting. I promise,” I told her, she nodded, defeated, and I left.