All Timothy ever wanted was to be a normal boy. But normal is such an impossible thing.
Everything changed on the tenth year of his life. His mother had always warned him that one day, he would be as powerful as his grandfather. But he didn’t think it would be so strange.
On his tenth birthday, he woke up in a perfect mood, smelling the strong aroma of pancakes and strawberries waiting for him downstairs. He ran down at an alarming speed, straight to the steaming cup of tea sitting on the table. He hadn’t noticed anything different.
He could hear his mother’s lovely voice, her humming getting closer and closer. He turned to greet her, but all she could do was stare at him surprise, his birthday present clattering the floor. His mother turned away, running to the phone to call his father. It was when he looked into the mirror that he saw he had transformed into a beast. His alabaster skin was no more, his fingers no longer that of a human, but clawed and deadly. In the mirror stood a little beast, with crystal blue eyes and fur the same colour as his own deep brown hair. A beautiful, odd creature.
Though he was quite obviously a furry beast, he was not a normal one. His mouth remained mostly human-like, except for the pointed fangs falling over his bottom lip. He could even smile, making his mother cry in terror once she saw his pointed teeth. Timothy became upset, running out his back door into the trees beyond, seeking a peace only the forest could offer.
The following years were difficult. Timmy would transform into a beast without notice, and sometimes he didn’t even know how to change back. He couldn’t hang out with other children unless they were a fellow shifter. His teeth even remained pointed into fangs, sometimes drawing blood if he so much as laughed. His mother and father told him he could never go to school. Instead he would be taught by his father, a university professor.
“It’s alright, my love.” His mother would say. “You are much safer here at home with us. Those mundane humans wouldn’t understand you.”
The only day he looked forward to was Halloween. On Halloween, he would transform, wearing the most beautifully horrid costume the town of Salem had ever seen. He would prowl the town, a king in his own right.
Once Timothy became of age, he had finally mastered the art of shapeshifting. Finally, he could venture out into the world, no longer afraid. Though, he would soon find that there is more than what meets the eye.
Timothy looks upon his home, giving one last goodbye. It’s bittersweet, but he is eager to get as far away from this town as quickly as possible. He walks away, never looking back once.
Timothy takes a deep breath. The air is crisp, smelling of autumn leaves and death. Always death. Salem has a strange way of making you feel like you’re dying, the graying and lifeless town feeding off your energy. Your happiness.
Timothy starts to walk faster, feeling the eyes of the townsfolk watching him. News spreads fast in Salem. Once word was out that he was going away, the people started to change. Gone were the smiles and joyful greetings, instead making way for scornful, envious eyes.
He smiles an amused smile, sharp teeth sparkling in the sunlight. It’s as if he feels the weight of a thousand stones falling off his shoulders the closer he gets to the train.
When Timothy finally reaches the station, he sits on a wooden bench, pulling a book out of his bag, trying to ignore the hairs standing up on the back of his neck.
The day continues, the sunlight barely peeking out from behind the darkening clouds. A storm is coming. As people scurry to board the train, someone watches. A man with never ending eyes of black glues his gaze on Timothy, a sinister smile curling his lips. He raises his chin in the air, breathing in deep, catching Timothy’s otherworldly scent in the breeze. The man stands quickly, running into the telephone booth.
“I found him, Raul. I found Timothy Black. It took me a while, but I finally caught his scent. He’s leaving a town called Salem.”
“You have to follow him, Daniel. He is the only creature of his kind. I don’t even think he knows just exactly how powerful he is yet. Either convince him to go willingly or do what you have to do. But whatever happens, do not kill him. If you can, bring us his companion, Kaius, as well.”
Daniel hangs up the phone, walking outside the booth, only to see the back of Timothy’s head
disappearing inside the train. The doors close, the train beginning to move. Daniel curses, embedding his fist into the brick of the station wall. The people around him stare, a woman openly gaping at the hole he smashed into the wall. Daniel walks away, now determined more than ever to find what he has been looking for.
I look up from my book, shocked at how busy the station is today. Not one of them is Kai. Where the hell is he?
Almost a half an hour later, a dark shadow falls before me, blocking the light I’m using to read my book. I scowl as I look up into Kai’s face.
“Almost two hours late, Kai? What could you have possibly been doing that would make you this late?” I thrust my book into my bag, trying to remain calm.
Kai rolls his eyes, laughing softly as he sits beside me on the bench.
“Maybe I’m not late, but you’re just too early.”
Any other time, I would have laughed. I would have even turned to him so I could watch the way his eyes light up when he laughs that way. But not now. We need to get the hell out of here.
I roll my eyes as I stand, pulling my bag over my shoulder.
“Don’t bother getting comfortable. The next train to Old Town just arrived. You’re lucky I chose to be gracious today, or I would have left you.”
I walk briskly to the train, leaving Kai scrambling to keep up with me.
“Timothy, are you being serious?”
I ignore him and continue my walk to the cabin we booked for the journey.
“Timothy, what’s wrong?”
I don’t respond, quickening my speed.
Kai places a hand on my shoulder and roughly turns me around to face him, shoving me into the wall. I growl at him and he growls back. We watch each other in silence, his amber eyes searing holes into mine.
“What happened at the station, Timothy?”
Gone is the carefree, amused Kai, who now stands tense and focused, as if to prepare for an attack.
I sigh, running my hand through my hair as I say, “Nothing exactly happened. But I can tell you that I am being followed.”
Kai looks at me a moment longer, eyes roaming across my face, before grabbing my arm, pulling me into the cabin. He sits me roughly on the sofa, quickly locking the door and drawing the curtains. Finally, he sits on the sofa opposite of me. Ooooh, detective Kai. I roll my eyes.
Kai glares at me, saying in a deep voice, “Tell me exactly what you thought you sensed.”
I take a moment before speaking.
“I was reading, not really paying attention to anything. But a young child was acting a fool and ran into me, causing my book to fall to the ground. I went to pick it up and that’s when I scented him.” I wrinkle my nose in disgust. “A man, although not quite a man—a Rimori Hunter.”
Kai’s face darkens considerably, his eyes narrowing as he crosses his arms. He doesn’t say a word, only smirking in a savage way that makes my body break out in goosebumps.
Rimori Hunter’s are acolytes of the Alexander Circle, a vicious coven of super humans, intent on capturing otherworldly and magical creatures, to experiment on them and create hybrids to improve the strength of the circle. If a creature emerges that is one of a kind, the Rimori Hunter’s are sent away with orders to capture the creature and return them to the circle.
I speak into the silence.
“We’ve lost him for now at least.”
Kai finally speaks. “Let him come. We will be prepared. But, know that with him will come others.”
Kai looks up, directly into my eyes. A look that causes my heart to beat just a little faster as I lose myself in the fiery, golden seas.
“They know what you are. They will not stop until they have you in their possession.”
I look away, towards the magnificent windows and the picture of beauty beyond. It looks as if there is a war raging on in the sky, the clouds raining down tears of agony. And anger.
“That’s why my mother and father told me to stay home. For all those years, I thought it was because they were ashamed of me. I didn’t realize they were protecting me until they told me last year.”
Nothing but silence follows. I can feel his gaze and hear the way his breath quickens as if he wants to say something. But he never does. What are you afraid of, Kai?
All of a sudden, the handle to our cabin door starts to jiggle. We both jump off the sofas, a growl resounding low in Kai’s throat as we take up a defensive stance.
“Hello, is anyone in there? Dinner is being served!”
We both visibly relax as we hear the woman’s footsteps retreat down the hall. We both sit back down, the mood having lightened a great deal by the sound of the woman’s voice. I watch him as he watches me, both of us aware that chaos will follow us wherever we go. Although this time, we might not escape it alive.