For Lorelle (Part 2)

For Lorelle (Part 2)

A Chapter by Nicole
"

Part 2. This was as far as I got, unfortunately, but maybe I'll go back and finish it someday.

"

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                  No one seemed to notice me in the clothes the woman had given me. In fact, I hardly got a second glance. I followed the smells of the outside, finding them floating through the halls soiled with the smell of blood and sickness. It was such a relief to be free of them and I stood outside the doors for a long time, soaking it in. Well, that and trying to figure out where the hell I could go. Others of my kind. That was my first my priority. But amidst the few people that swaggered along the dim streets, they all smelled human. I wandered away from the doors of Wilheight General Hospital, mesmerized by the setting around me that was so cold and unwelcoming to my eyes. It was night, not a single star overhead, and more of those growling monsters perused the roads with their glowing eyes set on the ground ahead. Carriages of some sort, I thought. They didn’t look like any animal I’d ever seen. Didn’t smell or sound like it either.

                  I made tracks away from the hospital, putting my hands into the pockets of the light clothes I wore and feasting upon the strange smells that floated around me. I stayed clear of the growling carriages. No need to go through any of that again. God no.

                  I saw a few dark shapes, people walking here and there. But no one stopped to stare at me. It was chilling and unnerving. I could feel myself panicking a little as the reality of my situation began to sink in. I mean, really sink in. I was lost. I had no idea where I was. I couldn’t find any more of my kind. I had no idea what this place held for me. Enemies? Possible. I wasn’t ruling that out. Better to keep a savage edge, just in case. The angel excuse seemed to work pretty well, but I wasn’t going to use that again unless I had to.

                  Shelter became my first priority. Shelter and possibly food. It had been weeks since I’d eaten and I could’ve kicked myself for not hunting sooner. Of course, I wasn’t planning on any of this. How was I to know I’d be flung into another realm this week? Time to be realistic. Realistic and focused. Food and shelter, two priorities.

                  I was assembling a loose plan, working on getting my bearings and unleashing the full force of my senses to begin locating the nearest area of dense foliage. That was when I smelled her. I wasn’t her scent, at first, that caught me off guard. It was the emotion mangled in it. I could smell the tears, the anguish. The complete and total surrender that made the hairs on my arms and neck stand on end. It drew my eyes upwards, into the tops of the buildings that were so impossibly high that I could only make out her outline faintly in the darkness.

                  There wasn’t time to process any of it. She let go. I saw her body falling. Flailing in the air. And my heart threatened to punch right out of my chest. She was falling fast, but not fast enough that I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t move, even, at first. And then the instincts took me. For a moment, I was back in the old days. My muscles burned with delight as I sped across the street, leaping over one of the growling carriages as it passed and falling into a crouch. My legs coiled beneath me, muscles tensed for only a moment before I launched myself into the air.

                  I hadn’t expended that much force in a while, even fighting in the Icendown. I felt the adrenaline drop my temperature beyond the freezing point and my fingers tingled with delight. I reached out one arm, looping it around her narrow waist as she fell and catching her, the other hand punching out to grip the stone windowsill of the building that blurred past me. She gasped deeply, but never screamed. Odd. I hung there a moment, holding her against me by her waist, and focused my strength on hoisting myself up onto the windowsill. Not difficult. She gasped with each jerky movement and I could feel her eyes burning holes into my face. But she didn’t say anything. I reared by my now free hand and punched in the glass of the window, pleased to find the room beyond it dark and empty. I flung her inside and followed after her into the gloom.

                  I landed in a low squat on the floor, the glass crunching beneath my feet, and unfurled slowly to stand before where she sat, propped back on her arms and gaping up at me with her mouth open in shock. I must’ve looked godlike, standing there in the darkness with the streetlights beyond the window illuming my back and shining through my white hair. That must have been why her face was so pale and her resin-colored eyes were so wide. I was reminded instantly of the shewolf from the mountain and stiffened, my eyes perusing over her and finding her unscathed. Well, a small victory.

                  She was beautiful. I hadn’t noticed until now. Young, though. Her hair was a deep brown. The color of the loamy soil when the snow melts away. And her eyes were a golden amber that was amplified in the dull light filtering through the broken glass. Her skin was fair, but not so much as mine, and her face was a thin smooth oval that stared at me with unfaltering surprise. And yet, that surprise seemed only skin deep. It was almost as if she had been expecting me. Waiting for me. Creepy.

                  “Why did you do that?” her voice was soft, faint. It was almost a whisper. But there was a firmness in it that wouldn’t let me slough it off. Weird question though. If anyone should be asking that, it should have been me. I wasn’t the one who had just flung myself off the top of a building.

                  I squared my shoulders, looking down at her with my jaw tense as those resin eyes got under my skin. “I don’t know.” I answered truthfully. But I didn’t believe myself; she probably didn’t either. My tone was too uncertain. Too hesitant.

                  She closed her mouth and looked away. Anything to not look at me, I guess. I wasn’t that strong. I couldn’t stop staring. Her scent was complex, layered. Each new plane of it was smooth and cool, like a blast of mountain wind over my face. It was...captivating. “I’m not going to thank you.” She said at last, seeming more resolved now. At least one of us was. My skin seemed too tight. My muscles begged me to flee. To run. To get the hell out of there. But I couldn’t. She had frozen me to the floor. Metaphorically, of course. An ironic turn of the tables. I didn’t like it.

                  “I don’t want you to.” Was all I could manage to croak. It surprised me, to hear myself say that. But she didn’t seem to notice or care.

She was standing, dusting herself off and pushing her long hair back over her shoulders. Her clothes were as strange as everyone else’s here. Pants. Tight pants, actually. They flattered the slender shape of her legs and the pleasing curve of her butt. I couldn’t resist. I smirked. Her shirt was hidden beneath a big gray coat, large black buttons going up the front. It smelled like wool. “You done eye raping me yet?” She jabbed at me with an icy stare and I blinked.

Oh yeah.

 I looked at her face and studied her a little, not taking time to examine the details now. “Sorry.” I mumbled and slouched, cramming my hands back into the pockets of the navy pants and looking at her from beneath my falling white mane of tangled hair.

The sound of a door opening caught my interest and pried my eyes of the floor. She was leaving. I started after her, catching her easily and falling in behind her. She was short, a lot shorter than me. But then, that wasn’t any amazing feat. I was pushing six four now. She was maybe five five. Looking down I could see the top of her head. It made me smirk a little and I looked away sheepishly.

We headed down dark hallways, pressing through a door that opened to a staircase the plunged down into darkness. “Where are we going?” I couldn’t resist. The curiosity was killing me.

“I’m going home.”

Home. Hmm. I pursed my lips a little bit, chewing that over. No way to miss the sharpness of her tone. She, alone, was going home. Alone. Without me. Hmm. “Where am I going?”

“Back to the hospital.” She didn’t even glance back at me over her shoulder. Weird girl. It was interesting...made a little twinge of urgency thrill up my spine.

No way in hell was I going back there. “No.”

                  She did look back at me then and studied on my face for a moment as we walked down the steps. She kept her hands on the rail and her delicate brow furrowed. “Where you going home or something?”

                  “No. “ I said again, feeling a growing tightness mounting in my chest. She was beginning to push all the wrong buttons.

                  “Smoke break?”

                  I arched a brow at that. Again with things I didn’t understand. That was becoming very tiring and extremely frustrating. “No.”

                  “Are you a nurse? You’re wearing scrubs.” She said rather pointedly. The sounds of our footsteps echoed down the staircase. It was a lonely sound. Hers were softer than mine.

                  “No.” I was distracted, studying on her back again and the way she walked. It was smooth, graceful. She let her hand hover over the railing without actually touching it.

                  I could smell her frustration growing. It was thoroughly amusing. A smile twitched at my lips. “You’re not a nurse, you’re not going home, you’re not going back to the hospital. What is wrong with you?”

                  If she knew how hilarious that was, she might have laughed. Although I didn’t really take her for the chuckling type and so I held my own amusement in. I settled with continuing to watch her instead. When we reached the bottom of the staircase I stepped quickly around her, seizing the door handle and clenching it shut. I turned my eyes down to her, burning holes into her face with a hard stare. Maybe she’d get the point. “I want to know why you threw yourself off the top of a building.”

                  Her face was hard, seeming unmoved by my glare and returning it with nearly as much ferocity. It was baffling but I held my position. She pinched her lips into an angry line and there was murder in those amber eyes. “I didn’t realize we were trading questions. You answer if I answer? Is that the deal?”

                  I thought about that for a moment. Sounded good. I nodded and kept my hand firm upon the doorknob, looking down at her expectantly.

                  “Fine.” She didn’t sound satisfied. “I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out and there wasn’t any other way. I hate this place. ” Only the latter rang true. The rest was a lie. Of that I was absolutely sure. She wasn’t a very good liar. I didn’t know her and she was banking on that to allow her to weasel her way out of telling me the truth. Nice try.

                  “Fine.” I copied her tone with a mocking bat of my eyes and toss of my head, “I’m an angel here to save your life. If you turn around now, I’ll vanish into thin air.”

                  That didn’t please her one bit and she quite nearly snarled at me. “Liar.”

                  “Well we’re trading answers, if yours is going to be a lie then so is mine.” I shot back at her, snarling a little as well in spite of myself. It didn’t intimidate her. Suddenly I was acutely aware of how strange she was. And I was the one panting cold air into the stairwell around us.

                  “It won’t make any difference if you know the truth or not.” She tried, stepping back and crossing her little arms over her chest. I saw hint of a flickering change in her expression. Had she noticed my cold breath? Maybe.

                  I put myself into check immediately and raised my temperature. She had a way of getting me riled up and excited. I’d have to watch closer to keep myself under control. “Same to you. But for what it’s worth, I’d like to know.”

                  “Then you tell me the truth first, who are or what are you?” She was persistent, I’ll give her that. I didn’t like the idea of going first but I could, at least, keep my hand on the door until she complied with her end of the bargain.

 I swallowed hard and looked away from her. Was I really about to tell her what I was? Where I had come from? How I had ended up here? No. I wasn’t. But I would answer her in some length. If I played my cards right, I might get some more time to bask in her scent and maybe even some food. I shook my head, cramming some of my white mop behind my ears. “My name is Albinus Daevian Icewinde. I came here by mistake, wherever here is, and I don’t know how to get back. I got hit by one of those roaring carriages and ended up at the hospital.” There. I said it. I wondered if she’d let me get away with such frugal amounts of detail.

She did. Thank the goddess. “Okay.” She was quiet for a long time, processing it all I guess. Her eyes traveled over my face, my hair, my body and clothes. She sighed and reached to rub her forehead with one of her thin little hands. “Okay, look. I don’t want to talk about this right now. If you don’t have anywhere to go... I guess you can come stay with me. I’ve got a hide-a-bed couch. Just one night, though. Got it? And if you even think about doing something perverted, just know I’ve got a taser.”

I blinked, unable to hide my surprise. She was offering me a place to stay? I hadn’t bargained for that. But again, I wasn’t one to bite the hand. “O-okay.” I stumbled over an affirmative and opened the door, stepping aside to let her pass before me.

 

Chapter 3

 

                  I stood on the sidewalk, unable to hide my disdain as she rounded the front of one of those growling carriage things and opened the door. She glanced up at me, the wind in her long hair, and sent me an expectant slanted look. “You coming?”

                  Unfortunately, yes. I shuffled to the side next to her and she eyed me with scrutiny.

                  “No one drives my car but me.” She said matter-of-factly.

                  That was fine by me. “Okay.”

                  She waited and the silence got tense. “So go around and get in the other side.” She prodded, her tone slightly annoyed. I thought I caught her rolling her eyes. But I wasn’t sure enough to call her out on it. I shuffled back around to the opposite side, reaching for the handle as I had seen her do, and copied the way she climbed into the seat. I pulled the door shut and sat, my hands in my lap, and my focus turned to controlling my temperature in such a small, confined space. If I didn’t watch it, she’d figure out something was up other than heightened strength. She was bound to notice ice forming on the inside of her windows.

                  The carriage snarled and belched to life, the inside lighting up and I couldn’t help but watch in silent awe. She pulled on this, cranked on that, and the thing began to move. Her hands rested on a large wheel that she turned this way and that, guiding the contraption around on the road. A car she had called it. Short for carriage? I puzzled over it. That’s when the heat started.

                  She was so busy pressing buttons; I hardly noticed it when she cranked on a dial, turning it from a blue snowflake, my preference, to a red flame. The heat gushed into my face from somewhere I couldn’t determine and I was instantly sick. My head swam and I sat up straight, rigid, looking at her nervously as I tried to understand what she was doing to me. Weakening me? Was this her master plan?

                  She seemed indifferent, her thumbs drumming on the wheel as she chewed at her bottom lip. The heat continued to grow. I thought I was going to die. My stomach roiled and wrenched in my gut, my throat tightening as the hot air puffed relentlessly into my face. But she didn’t seem to notice.

                  “Can I know your name?” Anything to take my mind off the swirling vortex of heat that seemed to be focused on me alone. My head swam and thunked back against the seat.

                  “Lorelle.”

                  I was distracted enough to be curious. “That’s...odd.”

                  It must’ve struck some kind of chord. She flashed me a bitter glance. “I suppose Albinus is normal?”

                  I managed what I had intended to be a grin. It must’ve looked more like a grimace than I had hoped because she furrowed her brows again and those vicious honey-amber eyes narrowed. “My mom was German.” She quipped, as if that was supposed to explain everything to me. I was too disoriented to pursue it any further; the heat that puffed relentlessly into my face was making me wretch. I’d be lucky not to vomit.

                  Outside the car, the scenery had begun to change. The buildings got shorter. The passing cars were less frequent. There were trees, grass. The stars could be seen, but only a few. But my head was running circles around the inside of the car and I weaved in and out of consciousness.

                  She finally noticed. Goddess bless her. “You don’t look so good.”

                  “The heat...” I managed to groan, rolling my head over to look at her with desperation, “please. Make it stop.”

                  She snapped the dial back over to the snowflake and the air changed instantly. It was cold. Icy. Oh merciful fates...it seemed she wasn’t trying to incapacitate me on purpose. I felt myself suddenly jerked back from the teetering edge of real sickness. It wasn’t as cold as I’d have liked, she kept it within a mutual human/aeterni comfort level, but it kept me from emptying my stomach inside that small cramped space.

                  “Better?” She sounded less annoyed. Almost concerned, even. Shocked me away from my own thoughts and I stole a glance at her lovely, smooth oval face. She was watching the road with deep intensity, her bony hands gripping the wheel.

                  I cleared my throat, checking to be sure I wasn’t withholding any think that might get sprayed across the seat, and coughed a “Yeah.” She seemed appeased. At least for the time being.

                  I watched her begin to rummage, reaching down into the floorboard between our seats to pull out a rather large brown bag. It was cloth, stitched with gold flowers, what looked like lilies, here and there. She fished through it, the mysterious objects with in clacking around, until she pulled out a little device I recognized. It was the same one the man who had struck me with his car had talked into. The little device that called the ambulance. Which had brought the morphine. Which had all ended me up at that god-forsaken hospital.  I frowned and bristled. She wouldn’t dare.

                  The little object glowed bright blue as she flipped it open, pushing little buttons and holding it up to her ear. It was silent for a while. I waited tensely. Then it spoke. I couldn’t keep my mouth open as I heard a muffled voice coming from it. I couldn’t understand what it said, but it was talking. Definitely talking.

                  “Hey, Clare, it’s me.”

                  It sang out some obscure, high spirited jabbering.

                  “No, I’m on the way. Look, is Whit there?”

                  More excited gibberish.

                  “Yeah. Yeah, I figured. I was wondering if you guys would come over tonight. Or if you and Whit were staying over.”

                  Whit and who..? Someone named Clare? I was being nosy. Terribly so. But I had a feeling I was supposed to hear this.

                  “No, the band can come. But there isn’t enough room for all of them to crash here.” Her forehead furrowed prettily.

                  The little device chirped happily.

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s fine. They’ll just have to lock up when they leave. Are you sure Whit can’t stay over too? I just...well it’d be better if he did.”

She paused a moment while the little device burbled at her.

                   “No...well. It’s hard to explain. I can’t talk about it now. Wait till I get there. You guys can go ahead, you know where the key is.”

                  Another pause.

                  “Okay sure. See you in a few minutes. Bye.” She clicked the device shut and tossed it into the brown bag again. I watched it glow for a moment, the blue light illuming the inside of the car until it dulled, dimmed, and finally turned off. What in the hell kind of world had I ended up in?

                  “So,” She started again, seeming antsy in her seat. I hadn’t imagined her for a talker but I wasn’t going to rebuke her for trying. It was nice, sorta, to be around someone who wanted conversation. I hadn’t just talked, per say, in a while. At least not to anything that walked on two legs. “So Albinus, right? Do you have like...a shorter name? That’s kind of a mouthful.”

                  I shrugged a little, thinking that over as I watched the world slide past the glass window to my left. “Not really. But I’m open to suggestions.” Lorelle. That was her name. I hadn’t had a chance to properly mull it over. Lorelle. It flowed off the tongue in a graceful way. I stole a quick glance at the young woman next to me; it suited her.

                  “Oh.” She drummed her thumbs on the wheel again. A nervous habit. “There isn’t really a good way to abbreviate it. I guess Albi sounds kinda girly. Right?”

                  I wrinkled my nose and looked back out the window, watching my breath fog up the glass, “My mother used to call me that.” My tone made it sound like a bad thing. It was, in fact, a bad thing. Anything related to that snow-witch was. But I couldn’t blame Lorelle for that, she couldn’t have known. Still, I couldn’t resist a thick growl from starting in my throat. Damnit all. I caught myself a little too late and tried desperately to cover it up with a cough. I silently kicked myself for a moment; there’s no way she hadn’t heard it.

                  If she did, she didn’t show it. The car wheeled suddenly to the left and pulled up in front of a strange looking cottage that sat between two large fir trees. It was made of a great many rust-red little stones, stacked tightly and crumbling here and there; a little worse for wear. Lights from within glowed through the drapes covering windows on the first and second floor...and then there was the noise. A racket that sounded like a man flailing about with copper pots tied to his limbs. I grimaced and cast a questioning stare in her direction, greeted by the slam of the car door as she got out. Ookay.

                  The air outside the car was cool, pleasing, and smelt less oppressively of tightly packed humans in small confined spaces. A meager amount of relief, but I’ll take what I can get. Here there were trees, grass, and small shrubs all lined around the house, though they grew in such haphazard ways that it was apparent they were not there for aesthetic appeal. At least not now, anyway.

I raked some of my white hair from my face, senses braced against that thunderous clamoring and crashing that came from within, and watched her begin up the cracked, uneven stone walk that led up to the door. She paused and turned back, arching a brow at me,  “You coming?”

                  I nodded and drug myself towards her, my body tensing under the cracks and booms that resonated from beyond the large wooden front door. A quick glance about me gathered a view of other such houses on down the street, slightly rundown and seemingly worn beyond former glory days, hugging the edge of the shadows behind thickly overgrown trees and shrubs.

                 



© 2010 Nicole


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Added on October 11, 2010
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Author

Nicole
Nicole

Wichita Falls, TX



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A Numerical Overview: 1) I am physically incapable of keeping any plant alive. I have killed two bonsai trees and a cactus so far as well as the few potted plants I've bought from walmart over seve.. more..

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Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by Nicole