Fear caught up with her, was it obvious? Before a rainsong replaced the false calm of her warm home -- the cherrywood door creaking open, in spilling all the demons -- her grip was around an umbrella ( color lost on her ) and she was shouting down the adjacent hallway, voice nearly impassive. Something came up, stay inside -- we'll be back soon.
Call me if you need me, she'd said. And then the door slammed shut.
She was convinced it would never stop; the journey, the stinging on her skin -- the rain a thousand needles bruising her skin, the sky a lingering phantom. An umbrella had been a well-to-do-gesture, but it hung in her hands like a passing memory, gymnast's legs carrying her -- faster, closer; he seemed to be disappearing in her sight. All dark and black and gray, damp and distant. Tunnel vision.
The rain sunk in to her brain; her eyes, her hair, coursing through the marrow in her bones, the pulsing of her circulatory system, the beating of her heart. It was in this way was she numb, the fermentation in her legs doing nothing --- strengthening her, only an idle thought. Her skin was white, an illumination in the overcast skies; her hair heavy and clinging to her shoulders, her neck. She and the rain not so different now, both just a powerful thundering on the road.
It took either an eternity or just a few seconds, but there he was bounding in to an overhang, then up a stairwell three-four steps at a time. She inhaled cold air and followed suit -- was that Jump's magic in her thighs, clenching in her calves? Desperation disoriented her.
Then slow motion -- the click of his apartment door, the black that welcomed them. The silence. Syaoran bounded in, too fast and too deep, too quickly. He seemed to fade in front of her, causing her fingers to flutter absently over a deck of cards that was a necessary weight against the quivering of her thigh. Fear heightened her senses, and she followed suit -- reluctant, almost. Afraid.
She knew what she'd felt.
And she knew who she didn't feel now.
From too far off he called in to this artificial night, his voice aching, arching over her, past her. She shivered from the rain, she thought. But then the warm pulse of magic -- green, seeming, it was his aura -- radiated a false sense of security. A flickering light caught her eyes, punching a hole in the dark and she went to it, found his voice -- still strong, but weak with anger and a not so guarded trepidation. He seemed wounded.
Light, she murmured, and a fluorescent achingly bright white flooded forth a good distance. A hum of energy buzzing.
And all she saw was the plush carpet, abandoned belongings. She felt like she was trespassing in Death's home.
"Shadow wouldn't work," she explained, more to herself than anything. Not enough light. Too much darkness.
And wasn't that always the way?
So he sauntered off, the ebbing warmth of his retreating fire draining the heat from her skin. She followed his dim outline and it disappeared in to an adjacent room, his voice replacing where he once stood, echoing against the walls. Against nothing but insentience. Lifelessness.
A cover was removed, a blinder in her mind. She fell quietly against a wall, feeling defeated. With a heave, her lashes falling, she called a silent plea to father Time; the card in her pocket a searing, blistering mark for a full second. The craft alerted her senses, her mind's eye replaying -- rewinding. There they were, fire and Light, then just him inside the black -- bounding out of the apartment, the door slamming shut. Then darkness, no Meiling and no power in the house, .. Her proverbial tape was a screen of night for a moment in time and then a flicker or two, and a spark of lightning -- then light. Finally light. A second later, her body excited, willing Time's recount faster ---- there was the cell phone rising in to the air, levitating ----
and then Meiling, long hair like midnight. She talked, animated -- alive and right there. The scene behind her eyes froze. She found it to cliche to say Play -- and the circumstances inappropriate -- so she pushed further, magic allowing the scene to follow through. Meiling, older now, taller and leaner and fiery, talking and lightly annoyed. She was very much here, very much alright. Then a crack, something pressing and heavy in the air. A blur of black--
The power failing –
lightning shuddering, coursing. A clap as the cell phone fell -- generator buzzing in to action for just a moment.
And the absence of Meiling,
and the feeling of dread----
Syaoran was flooding her senses -- she heard his voice in this suspended animation, the trance failing too quickly. What is it, what's wrong I felt you use, .. And he was so desperate, distress lined in his face -- Light doing nothing to ease the look of complete fear.
Her eyelashes fluttered, gaze inconstant. There was silence for a moment, and then she made her choice:
"No, nothing." It was bretrayal, even to her. "You checked in her room?" She pushed away from him gently.
Trying to justify a lie.
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