Introduction| Next Part (2/5)
I've been thinking about my encounter with the Dragon again. That Crossroads and Xia. That has been the last time I've talked with the Dark man, and now the holidays have made their approach. My wandering have led me back into the pacific northwest, a land very much full of wolves as father would've said.
I don't understand why the Dark man sought to make me cross lines with the Dragon. I've learned only a scant little more after the matter. The Dragon is part of some order. The number seven is sacred to them. And they kill monsters.
That is it. Kyle or this Dragon or whatever is a monster hunter. That makes him seem even more childish in retrospect. To treat the world as so simple as evil beasts or good people, one to save and the other to slay.
I still can't make it home for the holidays.
Portland has drawn itself to me, and I'm in some suburb or outgrowth of it on a hill. Its covered with trees. Even in winter this place looks alive. Strange for a man like me, except I can taste the undercurrent of death around me. There is a stain here, and I'm not being kept waiting for patients.
Merry Christmas. Eguberri.
* * * * * * *
Trees dripped with December rain on a small hill overlooking west Portland. An older neighborhood with more empty houses than others, still had enough residents to have Christmas lights twinkle. A man in a dark hoodie leaned against a tree at the edge of the neighborhood, on a road that disappeared into trees and died short of extending the neighborhood another avenue.
The man wore a pair of sunglasses over his regular glasses, even though it had turned dusk. The rain had stopped, but he still clung tight to the black hoodie he wore. His shoes shined when wet, black cowboy boots with tarnished metal on them. The worn boots were tucked under his black slacks, they looked like shoes to most other people anyway. Under the hoodie part of a ebony and silver tie poked out, although it wasn't tied anymore. The shirt underneath was of a dark gray tone, but looked expensive but spent. Noir Badarte had no tattoos or piercings. And he didn't wear hats.
He also was frighteningly skinny. Some had accused him of being a meth addict based on the scary thinness he displayed. Smoke also came out of one of his pockets.
Noir tossed a chip into his mouth. He munched artificially on it, as if forcing himself to eat. After swallowing, he took his hand out of the pocket. He took a deep breath from his joint, letting it out slowly. Then he would take another chip from the bag hidden in his other hoodie pocket and toss it into his mouth, and commence with eating once more. Again, Noir handled this as though it were a meditation, something that he was forcing himself to do.
I should've had Bert drop me off. He'll never find me here, Noir thought. Besides, when I do this it drives him and the others crazy.
A pine cone dropped down a foot from Noir. He took a glance at it, not quite startled, but surprised by the fallen pollen from the Douglas Fir above him. He took a glance up. Nothing there, no squirrels.
"Ghost?" He murmured. Tempted to reach out with his necrokinetic senses, Noir chidded himself. "Squirrel. Don't jump at a squirrel."
Then Noir jumped at the sight he saw when he took his eyes off the fir tree above him. Gray fog replaced the scene around him. He couldn't see anything around him. The joint stayed firmly in his jaw.
The figure in the mist had been the one to startle him, however. It illuminated the fog as it moved to him. Noir felt frost and snow grow on the ground around him. His skin went cold.
She, he guessed by the shape of her figure, stood a good three feet taller than him. Her skin was pale and dirty blond hair dangled in front of her face. She wore a red velvet coat, long enough it drug on the ground around her. Christmas lights were wrapped around her body, each of them a-light and too bulbous to have been purchased at any store. Her limbs were too long for her body, her body too thin at the waist to be anything human. That and each breathe she exhaled didn't come out as fog like his was doing. She had no pupils in her eyes, just glowing green sclera. Her nose was too small, too perfect. And she was covered in pine needles and mistletoe.
In her right hand, held aloft, she had a ornamental star, which didn't break the fog. It seemed to create more and more of it.
"You have got to be kidding me," Noir said without thinking, "what, I get to deal with Christmas ghosts now too?"
Her eyes narrowed at his tone. Noir didn't mean it to sound as snarky as it came out, but, he sounded quite good in his head.
"You forget yourself, Deathwalker." She took a step toward him. Noir noted that the tree moved its branches out of her way, letting her stand right next to him. She bent her knee and put a single finger on the join in Noir's mouth. The light in the joint went out.
Noir spat it out before the frost growing on it could touch his face. He tried to step back, but suddenly felt a strong urge to not look away from this... Noir couldn't think of the right word for her. She kinda was beyond his knowledge. He couldn't think straight.
"What the- Hey! Nobody invited you here to bug me!"
"You children never learn respect even when your betters try to teach you," She responded. She then slapped Noir upside the head. He tumbled off his feet into a pile of her fog brewed snow. "Manners, child."
"Child?!" Noir's head hurt. "What do you want, or is beating on me the plan here?"
"Manners." This time, the scary snow Christmas lady stood over him, all eight or nine feet of her over him.
Noir then took a second thought. Manners. He hadn't thought it through. Had he disrespected this thing? He tried out a couple theories in his head based on that. Maybe this tree was sacred to her or maybe something about this night and being alone or any other myriad hundred random things that spirits or gods or what-have-you find offensive, Noir thought.
Noir bowed his head. "Apologies, I meant no disrespect. I... I am called Noir. Er... Hello? How are you?"
He cringed at that last bit, especially where his voice cracked.
Shaking her head, the tall blond spirit grabbed Noir by the leg. He tried to get out of the way or to stop her, but she just slapped him if he resisted. "Deathwalker you must come with me."
"Uh... ever consider asking?"
No response. Noir felt snow pile over his body as she dragged him, covering him in a shallow pile of snow, slush and frost. And it got into every piece of his clothing. Noir decided to count how long until he felt hypothermia take over.
"Great. Um... Where are you taking me?"
No response. Again.
"Now I'm getting curious, are any of my questions going to be answered?"