~ A Quickened Soul ~

~ A Quickened Soul ~

A Chapter by Nite Spectre

Chapter 2

Mountain Shade High School was one of the newer and nicer high schools that had been built to handle the city’s extremely large student population. It was situated just off one of the main highway junctions, for easy access of the students, making it a simple thing for Ethan to get on the east bound branch towards the mountains. The Monday afternoon traffic thinned out as he got closer to the mountain, mostly due to the fact that it was a work day. The road to Plummet Point, which was arguably one of the city’s most romantic spots, was nearly devoid of life except for the bravest of the wildlife. It took a little over half an hour for Ethan to reach a small turn-out that looked over the city. He parked the car and killed the engine letting the silence of the surroundings fill its cabin. He turned his head and looked at Jessica, “You have any better shoes with you other then those?”, he asked with a significant glance at the open toed heels she was wearing. Jessica looked down at her feet then shook her head with a sarcastic air, “I didn’t know I would be hiking today or I would have worn different shoes.”

Ethan’s head drooped as he shook it. He got out of the car and helped Jessica out as she followed. “Well then I have a question to ask. How do you feel about being carried?” he asked slyly with a crooked grin. Jessica’s face grew curious, “I don’t have a problem with it as long whoever is doing the carrying doesn’t drop me.” Ethan turned his back and crouched down, offering his back to her. Jessica hesitated before clambering up and clinging to his neck with her arms. Ethan stood, lifting her off the ground with a squeak. He reached back and grabbed her legs and wrapped them around his waist. He waited for her to adjust herself before he set off into the trees that lined the opposite side of the road at a brisk pace. He paid careful attention to where he was going as he half climbed half walked up the dead leaf covered slope. It took him almost twenty minutes to reach his final destination, and he carefully set a grateful Jessica back on solid ground. Ethan stretched the muscles where she had been clinging before waving her toward the tree line. Jessica’s gasp of amazement pleased Ethan immeasurably as he stepped onto the ledge behind her. He stood just behind her and let her draw in the beautiful and seldom seen beauty.

East of the city on the opposite side of the mountain stood the Clearwater Forest National Park. The park’s verdant green trees and lush plant and wildlife were a mark of honor for the city, especially during the summer months when all the tourists came out to see the wonderful view. Now that it was fall; the trees had shed their vibrant green coats for their colorful fall ones. The parks wide vistas of trees and plains flowed outward from the base of the mountain; almost like the red and orange carpet of royalty. The rebellious reds and mellow yellows brought hues and color often only seen in nature.

Jessica turned around slowly, her eyes looking up at his. He smiled and moved around her to the ledge over looking the scene. He beckoned Jessica to him and pointed down and back toward the way they had come. “See that big gray slab poking out the forest there? That’s Plummet Point. We’re about a mile past it and about twice as high. Very few people ever bother to make the climb like we did for a view like this when they can get the same, if smaller,version of it down there.” he said as Jessica grabbed his arm and leaned out to see where he was pointing. Ethan pulled her back before sitting down on the edge with one leg thrown out over the side. Jessica sat next to him on his other side and leaned her head against his shoulder. “How the heck did you find this place anyway?” she asked softly afraid to raise her voice above a whisper in such a tranquil setting.

I wandered off during one of our family camping trips. I scared the living daylights out of my foster parents.” he said after a long pause his voice barely above a whisper, although it was for an entirely different reason. She nodded seeming pleased with his answer and they lapsed into silence neither willing to break the moment. Ethan’s head was spinning in a million different ways. It had been a long time since he had ever felt close to someone and here he was sharing his private getaway with a woman he barely knew; for no apparent reason. He watched as she closed her eyes and nestled against him. He wrapped his good arm around her shoulders and shivered at the feeling. Everything about her sent a tingle of excitement shooting through his nerves; the rise and fall of her chest as she sat drowsing in his arms, or even just the way she really looked at you when you spoke instead of the usual blank stares that most people used.

Ethan’s phone vibrated; rudely shocking him from his thoughts. He took it out and glanced at the ID before cursing silently. He opened the phone, “Hello… Yeah, I’ll be right there. Just hang outside or something till I get there.” He hung up and glanced down at Jessica and noticed her looking at him. “That was Chris. He was wondering if I when I was coming to get him,” he explained simply. She looked around and her brow furrowed in curiosity. “What time is it,” she asked looking around at the shadows that had grown considerably since they had arrived. Ethan checked his watch, “It is 2:15 pm. Why?” Jessica jumped to her feet brushing herself off hurriedly. “I should have been on my way home by now. My parents are going to kill me for being late for my piano lesson,” she exclaimed starting to panic. Ethan chuckled as he stood up, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll get you home on time. I just have to swing by the school and grab Sebastian and Chris first.” Jessica looked at him sideways but didn’t say anything. Ethan crouched down, letting Jessica clamber on to his back before setting off down the slope. It only took half the time to reach the car then it had to reach the ledge and they were soon on the freeway speeding back toward the school.

Ethan pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of the school’s main doors where both of his friends were standing. He honked before sticking a hand out of the window and gesturing for them to hurry up. Sebastian, who normally sat in the front seat, opened the front passenger side door and jumped when he saw Jessica sitting in it. He closed the door and got in the back seat next to Chris and nudged the other boy with a jerk of his head at the front. Chris nodded but kept quiet as Ethan pulled out. Ethan followed Jessica’s directions to her house arriving just as her music teacher was walking to the door. With a brief hug for Ethan and a good bye to the other two boys in the car, she raced to the door and let the man in before shutting it with a last wave to the black car. Sebastian climbed over the center console and into the front seat wearing an appraising sort of expression. “So…What were you two up to alone together,” he queried with an assumed uninterested air. Ethan looked at the lanky boy before shaking his head and ignoring the question. Both Sebastian and Chris took the hint and said no more on the subject on the way back to their homes.

Ethan dropped both boys off before parking his car at his house and grabbing his duffel bag and workout clothes from his room. He left the empty house and walked the few blocks to the gym. He changed quickly before shoving his belongings in a locker and heading into the sparring room. The sparring room was a large rectangular room filled with mats, punching bags, a fighting ring, and all the various workout machines. Ethan selected one of the darker and more worn punching bags in the back of the room and began his daily workout. He spent the next hour working each of the different techniques until the clock on the wall struck 4 pm. He wiped the sweat from his face before joining a growing group of people near the ring. Guru Michael, the Grand Master of the local Silat martial arts group, stood waiting in the center of the ring. He nodded and smiled at the various faces as he scanned the crowd. His gaze seemed to linger on certain people, almost like he was marking them down for something. Ethan tensed as the Guru’s gaze lingered on him before passing on to the rest of the crowd.

Now then, except for a few no shows it seems like we have everyone here. That is good. Today, instead of Gregory here continuing last Fridays instructions, each of you will be sparring with me; on a one-on-one basis. We will spar until one of us is either incapacitated or yields,” a growing murmur of concern and surprise washed through the crowd as people whispered to their neighbors. Guru Michael ignored this as he stepped back and stood in the farthest corner waiting for his first opponent. Ethan rubbed his chin absently as he thought about why the Guru would do this; he shrugged and put it off for later as Gregor came through the crowd and lined people up. Ethan looked at the line ahead of him and grimaced slightly before leaning against the wall and closing his eyes; he was going to be there awhile. It was almost two hours later by the time he was close enough to even see the steps leading up to the ring. Ethan watched the two students in front on him in their fights against the Guru and envied neither of them; the Guru was pulling no punches. Ethan stepped up as the last student stumbled his way off the mat and into the waiting arms of his fellow students who gave him water and some Tylenol for the pain. Ethan looked at the Grand Master and noticed that the older man was barely breathing heavily; Ethan shook his head but took his position in the center of the ring.

Guru Michael stepped up and they bowed in unison before both lowered themselves into fighting positions. Ethan watched for the slightest movement in the Guru’s body but missed the twitch of the left foot before it was flying toward his head. He lifted his right arm in a high block and gritted his teeth waiting for the blow to land. The strike struck home like a hammer to the arm sending Ethan staggering back. Guru Michael pressed his advantage; sending kicks and punches at Ethan with out pausing driving him backward toward the ring wall. The last blow smashed into his already battered right arm and dislocated the bone while sending Ethan up and over the ropes and onto the matting just outside. He hit the ground with a thud and a rush of air as the breath was knocked from his lungs. Ethan heaved himself onto his back and fought for breath as people crowded around him. He shook his head to clear his vision before pushing himself up with one arm. He waved away the offered hands as he shakily regained his feet. Ethan looked into the ring and met Guru’s appraising gaze before the teacher turned and got ready to face the next opponent. Ethan looked at his right arm and winced before snapping it out and hearing the bones crunch together. His gasp of pain hissed out through his clenched teeth as he worked the arm.

The crowd by this time had returned to watching the fight which allowed Ethan time to step up to the ring and climb up onto the outside of the ropes. The current opponent faired no better then Ethan had as he was pushed back until he fell out of the ring too tired to catch himself. Before anyone else could step in, Ethan slipped between the ropes and retook up the starting position in the center of the ring. Michael’s eyebrows rose in surprised curiosity while the loud yells, of the students that he had cut, reverberated against his back. Guru raised a hand motioning for silence before he simply asked, “Again?” Ethan nodded and dropped into fighting position foregoing the bow. Guru merely followed his example before launching once again into his maelstrom of kicking and punching. Ethan, who was normally a very docile individual, was pissed. His anger was fuelled by the throbbing ache of the injured bones in his arm and the numerous bruises the layered his body. This fight would have followed the same track as the last one if he hadn’t seen the foot coming to meet him this time. He caught the kick in mid-strike and threw it away from him sending Guru’s center of balance off. He dropped to the floor and swept Michael’s remaining foot from underneath him causing him to drop. Michael was back on his feet in an instant but wasn’t ready for the roundhouse that blossomed from his cheek as he turned around to face Ethan. The Grand Master was sent to the ground, dazed. Ethan took advantage of the situation and flipped landing an axe kick to the Masters stomach doubling the man over. Ethan sprang away with a back flip to regain his feet but was dropped back down as the now angry Grand Master scissor kicked his legs together. Ethan fell on to his back and smacked his already aching head on the mat with a loud thud. He eyes refocused just in time for him to roll from beneath the Grand Master’s own axe kick. Stumbling to his feet, Ethan grabbed his recovering opponent and used the other man’s weight to throw him over his shoulders. Michael landed on his own back the sharp hiss of air coming from his lips. Ethan didn’t stop but straddled the man and planted one hand on the man’s neck and balling the other into a raised fist. Guru Michael let his body go limp in the traditional sign for submission before Ethan let him up. Both men stood gasping as the crowd of students and attracted onlookers cheered and whistled. Michael straightened and clapped Ethan on the shoulder before limping out of the ring in the company of Gregor and the other senior students. Ethan nodded at all the congratulators all the while wincing every time one of them slapped him on a bruise.

He slowly made his way to the showers where he let the hot water massage his bruised and drained muscles. He changed and then grimaced in pain; the walk home was going to be hell. He exited the men’s showers and almost dropped his bag in surprise as Nicole stood in the lobby looking at him. “What are you doing here,” he asked mildly annoyed that someone had come to check up on him. “You’re normally home by six and when you were I thought that I should check here before I got worried,” she explained offhandedly. Ethan looked at her awhile longer before nodding and heading for the exit with her in tow. “I saw your fight with that guy in there. You were great; you never told us that you were that good,” she remarked in the way of small talk. Ethan huffed as he tossed his bag into the backseat of her car before sliding into the passenger front seat. “That’s the thing. I’m not that good; if anything I’m moderate,” he shook his head wearily as he rubbed his right arm. “When did you get there? Did you see the start or just the tail end?” She shrugged sheepishly, “Just about the last half of it.” Ethan nodded, “Then you didn’t see the first time I went up there. I had my butt handed to me on a silver platter. Then I don’t know, I just got so mad that he beat me that I went back up and…won,” he said that last word with a kind of unhindered amazement. Nicole looked at him from the corner of her eye as she drove around the corner to their house. “Well whatever did happen, you won so be proud of yourself for once instead of always thinking that it was just a fluke.” Ethan nodded but didn’t take her advice; there were just too many things that didn't add up. Why had Guru Michael moved so slow that second time around? Why had he been able to catch that first kick and why wasn’t his arm hurting anymore? These questions buzzed around his head but he shook them off. He walked into the house and said hello to his parents before heading for his room. He threw his workout duffel bag in the closet before grabbing some black pants and shirt from his drawers. He changed hurriedly before grabbing his keys before dashing out the door with a wave to his parents. He got in his car and headed for the center of the city where Hilltop Park was located and the HallowCert was going to be held. He arrived just as the gates were opened and he followed the eager crowd in.

The crowd flowed down to the slope to the stage except for the few people still waiting for other arrivals. Ethan stayed near the entrance and took up a post against one of the walls keeping an eye out for his friends. The first to arrive was Chris, his large form, wading through the ever more crowded entryway with easy. Sebastian came a few minutes later slipping in between and through the crowd. Ethan nodded to both as they came and joined him as they waited for Jessica to arrive. By the time she arrived the concert had been in full swing for over an hour as she jogged up her face flushed with regret. Chris and Sebastian poked fun at her, about how she always showed up fashionably late, as they all joined the rapidly growing throng of people in front of the stage. Ethan stayed back near the grassy hills and knolls that were the park’s namesake, the throbbing bass from the speakers thumping against his body in waves.

Sebastian, his body already starting to move to the rhythm of the music, launched himself into the teeming moshpit. Chris soon followed suit after giving Ethan the backpack that he had been carrying. Jessica, who was a big fan of the particular band that was playing, threaded herself through the crowd and bounced and swayed to the music all the while with Ethan’s watchful gaze upon her. Ethan, himself, sat down with his back against one of the many trees that littered the park and its hills and watch his friends while enjoying the music. Eventually, everyone came back to sit with Ethan as they grew tired or too bruised to continue. Ethan opened the backpack and pulled out the rolled up blankets as the late October weather brought a chill down on the park. Sebastian’s girlfriend Samantha, who had arrived shortly after they had, curled up next to him under one blanket sharing the warmth. Chris and Rebecca, one of his old female friends that he had bumped into during his own moshpit escapades, were curled up in the second. Ethan, who was used to the chill, used the last blanket to wrap a slightly shivering Jessica up in a bundle. Ethan wrapped his arms around her as she leaned against his chest and relaxed to the slower songs of the new band. They stayed like this for a long while as they sat and just soaked in the rare opportunity to hear the music live.

Jessica sat up and threw off the blanket pushing the woolen mass away from her. Ethan looked at her questioningly and she mouthed bathroom before moving off toward the parks bathrooms. Ethan watched her until she disappeared around the corner before sitting back and returning to his own thoughts, which just so happened to be focused on Jessica. It had been more then twenty minutes before Ethan began to wonder where she went. He nudged Samantha, whose head popped up out of the tangle of blanket that was her and Sebastian. “Did you see Jessica in the bathroom when you went just now,” he asked not yet worried. Samantha shook her head, “Nope. It was empty except for me and a couple of people who were smoking some cigarettes.” Ethan nodded, “Tell Sebastian that I’m going to go look for her, when you go back down there,” he said with a small grin. Samantha blushed even in the semi-dark of the park. Ethan chuckled to himself as he walked the way Jessica went.

He checked the closest bathrooms before moving off toward the farther ones; still not finding any sign of her. His curiosity turned to worry as he continued to look and still saw neither hide nor hair or her. He walked back toward where the band’s trailers were parked when he almost missed the soft sobbing of a women followed by the gruff curses of a man coming from in between two of the trailers. Ethan, walking around the corner of one of the RV buses, stopped dead in his tracks. His irises darkened to a deep forest green as he began to growl, deep and feral like. He stood in the shadow of the RV watching as a man hit and slapped a young woman as he tried to rip her clothes off. The man backhanded the woman with a resounding smack causing her head to whip around violently and cutting off her sobs of terror. The woman’s face was encased in shadow making it impossible to see the victim’s identity.

The rapist, who was so focused on what he was doing, didn’t notice Ethan until he grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. The man’s face was still showing surprise as he hit the opposite RV harder enough to dent the metal body. Ethan lowered his fist, the knuckles bleeding from the force of the punch combined with his brutal workout earlier. He watched as the man slumped to the ground without a sound aside from the thump of his body hitting the unyielding concrete. Ethan turned to the still motionless woman and almost turned back to the man to kill him. Jessica, who had been that man’s helpless victim, lay on the cold ground; her mouth bloody and her clothes more rags then garments.

Ethan shucked his over-shirt and gently wrapped it around Jessica’s unconscious shoulders. He sat down with his back against the RV and pulled her into his arms as he wrapped them around her. He held the shirt closed around her half-naked form as he used his other to dial his cell phone. “Sebastian? No time for any of that. Grab Chris and meet me by the trailers, now. Bring all the blankets; and hurry,” he hung up on the still confused rocker as he lifted Jessica up bridal style. As he turned to walk away, he saw the still unmoving form of the rapist and had to fight off the urge to rip the man limb from limb. He hurriedly walked on reaching the benches just outside the RV Park before his friends did. He didn’t have to wait long as Sebastian jogged up with Chris in tow. Both boys had to take only one look at who was resting in his arms and her state to know that Ethan wasn’t in a merciful mood. Samantha and Rebecca, who had followed in the wake of the two boys, drew off the remains of Jessica’s outer clothes and revealed the extent of her injuries. Ethan’s snarl of anger brought both Chris and Sebastian around in time for them to grab his arms and stop him from going back to finish things. Their silent pleas restrained Ethan but didn’t stop his anger from simmering just under exploding; his eyes seeming to shimmer a dark brooding green. Ethan picked Jessica back up again as the two women finished wrapping her warmly in the blankets. Ethan moved off toward the parking lot his friends following close behind. They walked silently respecting Ethan’s need for quiet. They reached his car and opened the door for Ethan as the car beeped affirmatively. He gently put Jessica down in the front seat before closing the door softly. He turned; meeting the stares of his friends as they waited for him to explain. Ethan shifted from foot to foot slowly bringing his temper back under control, though not without a fight.

I went looking for her when she didn’t come back after awhile. I checked all the bathrooms and didn’t find her, so I played a hunch and decided to see if she had tried to sneak backstage, you know to meet the bands. I was in the RV parking lot when I heard crying and a man cursing. I went to see what was going on and I came up on them,” Ethan paused here, his throat constricting as his anger resurfaced. He cleared his throat before continuing, “The next thing I remember is watching that scum bag flying into the side of an RV. When the guy didn’t get back up, I did what I could for her before I called you guys and carried her out to where you all found me.”

Sebastian nodded, “I’m surprised you didn’t kill the b*****d. I know I would have.” Chris nodded his agreement, “If you tell us where he his; we can go back and rough him up some more,” he added while cracking his knuckles loudly. Ethan’s grin was almost demonic in its intensity, “No… I don’t want you guys getting arrested. Just call the cops and tell them that he is in the RV Park.” Both boys nodded before moving off as Chris pulled out his phone. “Where are you going to take her,” was the next question that came forth from Samantha, who was one of Jessica’s close friends. “I’m taking her home. Where else would I take her?” Samantha shrugged her shoulders, “Well maybe the hospital, but if you’re going there then you might want to take me with you. Her parents are really protective and are more then likely as not to call the cops on you with you showing up with their daughter in your arms looking like she does.” Ethan frowned at that statement, ‘Why would they call the cops on him? He wasn’t the one that tried to rape her,’ he thought to himself.

He nodded and looked at Rebecca, shook her head, “No. I’ll stay here with Chris and Sebastian and make sure they tell the cops everything. You go drop her off and then go home. Chris will give me a lift home.” Ethan nodded and hugged Rebecca before getting into the driver’s seat. He started the car after making sure that both Jessica and Samantha had their own belts on. Ethan was silently thanking his car’s silent engine as the quiet purr didn’t disturbed the still unconscious Jessica. Just looking at her face and knowing that there was even more damage underneath all those blankets sent his blood back to boiling as he sped toward Jessica’s house. Ethan must have been speeding without realizing it because he reached Jessica’s house in just under fifteen minutes; a feat impossible even on the best days. Ethan ignored the implications though as he gently carried Jessica to her door with Samantha in the lead. Her knock on the door echoed in the chill night air of the vacant street and nearly made Ethan drop Jessica at its intensity.

A gruff yell sounded through the door before it was opened by a large heavyset man in his forties, who Ethan assumed to be Jessica’s father. The man looked at Samantha questioningly before his eyes swept up to Ethan then to what he had in his arms. With a yell, Mr. Meers leaped at Ethan with arms outstretched but grabbed nothing but air as Ethan had leaped backwards on instinct. “You…You will put my daughter down and leave as quick as you may be before I make your face look like your a*s.”, he growled threateningly as he took a step closer to Ethan. Ethan tensed, ready for the larger man’s next move. Mr. Meers made to take another step forward but was pushed back by Samantha as she jumped between the men in an effort to stop them. Jessica’s father looked at the smaller woman with dark eyes threatening but Samantha didn’t back down but stayed where she was. “No, Mr. Meers. You have it all wrong. Ethan didn’t do that to Jessica; he was the one that stopped who did. He is just trying to get her home safely,” Samantha pleaded her voice shaking as she struggled to restrain one pissed off father. Mr. Meers gaze bored into Ethan making him take in involuntary step back. By this time Mrs. Meers had come running out of the house with, if the situation had been different, the stereotypical frying pan raised over her head. Her eyes fell on Jessica and she rushed forward brushing aside her husband’s reaching arm like an avalanche does a tree. Ethan staid as still as he could as she ran up and wrapped her arms around her daughter’s padded shoulders. Ethan looked away, not wanting to see the tears. Mr. Meers slowly relaxed as he saw that Ethan hadn’t tried to attack his wife. He looked at Samantha, who looked back at him steady though she was rubbing her hands together nervously. Mrs. Meers grabbed Ethan’s arm and began to drag him toward the open front door followed closely by the still suspicious father. Ethan followed the mother carefully as they entered the house.

Mrs. Meers motioned Ethan to follow Samantha upstairs to Jessica’s bedroom before drawing her husband off to the kitchen. Ethan did as he was bid and followed Samantha up the softly creaking wood stairs. She pointed to the door on the left of the landing before heading back downstairs; presumably to talk to Jessica’s parents. Ethan walked into the dark room and almost tripped over a mess of wires that was lying just inside the doorway. He extracted his foot before picking his way carefully through the debris to the large bed shaped shadow near the back wall. Ethan freed one hand by leaning Jessica against his chest so he could pull back the sheets. He gently laid her down on the bed and removed the top most blankets before recovering her with the ones on the bed. Ethan bent down and light brushed his lips against Jessica’s exposed forehead. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to stop him before it started. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you when you needed it,” he whispered softly before turning and hurriedly leaving the room when she moaned softly as she shifted. He had just closed the door with a barely audible click behind him when he jumped cursing at seeing Mr. Meers watching him from the stairwell. The older man twitched a hand at him before going back downstairs with Ethan following slowly and very reluctantly.

Both of Jessica’s parents stood in the brightly lit kitchen talking quietly while Samantha sat at the table sipping from a steaming coffee cup. Ethan stepped in and cleared his throat bringing both parents around to look at him. Mr. Meers glanced at Samantha before walking to a cupboard and bringing out a tall bottle of what appeared to be tequila and two double-shot glasses. He poured the liquor into both glasses before handing Ethan one and downing the other in one drink. He continued to watch Ethan as the younger man followed suite before smacking his lips and sighing gratefully with an upraised glass to older man. Mr. Meers nodded approvingly before filling both glasses again. Ethan didn’t drink this one but instead watched Jessica’s mother as she examined him. She looked to her husband who nodded before leaning back against the counter, shot glass in hand.

Mrs. Meers cleared her throat, “I want to thank you for what you did tonight. Samantha told us what happened and we owe you so much. Our daughter is all that we have and I don’t know what I would have done if she had died,” she said with a quivering voice that threatened to break at any moment. Mr. Meers nodded his head, “My wife said it plainly enough. If that man had finished what he was doing; he may have killed her afterward to stop her from going to the cops. From what Samantha here told us, it seems that not only did you save our little girl you also got the rotten b*****d that did it and that puts you good in my book.”, he said as he extended a hand for Ethan to shake; which he did as a little of the tension that had been building melted away. “It seems that I also owe you an apology for my actions when you arrived. It’s just that the first thing that I saw was my baby girl in your arms with bruises all of her and I just assumed that you were the one that did it. For attacking you like that and assuming the worst of you; I deeply apologize.” Ethan shook his head, “No. It wasn’t your fault. It was the natural reaction of a father seeing his injured child. I expected no less from you.”

Mr. Meers nodded briefly before shooting his drink and leaving the kitchen with a brief slap on the shoulder for Ethan. Ethan looked at Mrs. Meers and Samantha before clearing his throat to get their attention. “There is one thing that I would like you to do if you can. I don’t want you to tell her that I was the one that helped her; I don’t even want her to know that I was the one that took her here,” he said receiving bewildered looks from both women. Samantha was the first to speak, “Why wouldn’t you want her to know that? It’s not like you helped the man or something. You saved her from being raped and you don’t want her to know that? Why,” she questioned clearly confused. Mrs. Meers interrupted his answer, “If what my husband says is true, then it appears to me that you may like her. Having the fact that you saved her life would be a big help with that.” Ethan shook his head vehemently, “That is one reason why I don’t want her to know. I don’t want her to feel obligated to me for anything. Another reason is that she will have enough on her mind of what she does remember of tonight to have another subject added to it. Then there is the fact that she is way out of my league and I will never insult her or any other woman with that. Then there is the fact that I am terrified of getting close to someone; again,” this last he said so quietly that both woman had to listen hard to hear him and even then they doubted their ears. They looked back and forth from each other as they digested what he said; finally Mrs. Meers nodded, “All right. I promise not to tell her anything, for now.” Ethan opened his mouth at the last part but was forestalled with a raised hand, “I won’t say anything unless she specifically asks if it was you. I will let her figure things out for herself.” Ethan’s mouth worked before snapping closed as he nodded. Brushing her hands off, Mrs. Meers gave Ethan an awkward hug and a quiet ‘thank you’ before joining her husband upstairs.

Ethan stared into space before he was pulled back by Samantha putting her cup in the sink. He shook his head to clear it, “Do you want a ride home?” She shook her head, before also hugging Ethan tightly and joining her friend’s parents upstairs. Ethan walked to the door and opened it but paused at the threshold as he looked around Jessica’s home one more time. He locked the bottom door from the inside before closing it quietly and getting in his car. He sat a moment, the chilled leather seat cold against his back. He looked at the upper level of the house and bade its single sleeping occupant a dreamless night before starting the engine and driving away.

Ethan arrived home to a pitch black house; its other occupants having gone to sleep hours before. He walked into his room and shut the door leaving the lights off as he stripped and lay down on his bed. He sighed heavily, his eyelids sliding closed as he relaxed. He had not gone straight home after he had left her house; instead he went back up into the mountain and looked out over the city and its glittering lights as he sat, thinking of that nights events.

He couldn’t help but replay the scene over again; the sight of a woman, who he now knew to be Jessica, being beaten and molested as some strange man tried to have his way with her. The very thought sent his blood boiling and his stomach twisted sickeningly. Ethan fought back his nausea and anger before sitting back up in his bed, to restless for sleep. He got his workout clothes from the closet and put them on before heading for the backyard.

He shivered as he stepped into the frosty night air. The grass crunched beneath his shod feet as he walked across their icy stalks. There was a slight breeze that ruffled the raspy leaves of the trees as it swam through their boughs. The breeze sent a shiver through Ethan as he began to slowly jog the circuit of the yard, gaining speed at each full circle until he was almost running. Each step sent his thoughts spinning faster and faster; his fight with the Grand Master, his impossible victory, then finally his actions at the concert. Eventually he ground to a stop, his sides aching and his breathing heavy and labored. He flopped down on the grass stiffly, and looked up into the dark night sky at the few stars that were bright enough to push through the city’s enormous light pollution. Their twinkling beauty made Ethan sigh with envy and wish that he could be up there with them. He remained outside a bit longer before be brushed himself off and headed back into the warm confines of the house.

He returned to his room and took off his sweat laden clothes and threw them in the overfilling hamper. He sank down onto his bed and let out a grateful breath for the soft mattress. He massaged his aching left arm and hissed at each bruise the he accidently pressed. ‘I’m going to look like some weird leopard or something tomorrow with all these bruises but nothing compared to Jessica’, he thought to himself reflectively as he rolled over and closed his eyes, willing sleep to take him. It took more then an hour before it came; the inky black abyss of a dreamless slumber.

© 2010 Nite Spectre

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Added on April 8, 2010
Last Updated on April 8, 2010


Nite Spectre
Nite Spectre

Las Vegas, NV