Giselle was born on the first day of April and she hated that. As far as she was concerned, April first usually signified the worst day of the year and therefore, the worst days of her life. At the age of five, a snotted-face boy decided to throw her a live lizard as an April Fools prank. She started disliking those critters ever since. The day she turned twelve, she came down with severe rashes. It turned out she was allergic to the prawn tempura she had for dinner the previous evening and she ended up with a swelled face for days. Perhaps the most unfortunate (and possibly a life changing event) that happened on her birthday was six years after the tempura incident.
On this particular April first -- her eighteenth one, in fact -- things started normally enough for Giselle. She woke up at seven in the morning to the incessant beep of her digital alarm clock. Glancing over to her right, she looked on to the other bed in the room where her companion was still sleeping soundly buried under a pink frilly blanket and a pile of stuffed toys. She got up stretching for a little bit and went on to have a long, relaxing bath.
Giselle was glad that today was a Sunday. It meant that there were not many fellow students milling around the dormitory she was currently housed in. Most of her dorm mates often return to their homes over the weekends and those who have favored to stay usually slept in until the latter part of the day. Briefly, she wondered whether she was the only early riser in the dorm.
After she had bathed and dressed in a light yellow floral printed dress, she headed on outside. It had became some sort of ritual for her to have her breakfast at the old coffee shop located about five blocks between her dorm and the college campus. The dormitory provides breakfast and dinner at a given schedule and only from Mondays to Fridays and though the place also has amenities for students who wish to prepare their own meals -- she was not much of a cook to begin with. In fact, she has yet to succeed in boiling or frying an egg.
The air was warm and humid as she walked towards her destination and by the time she arrived, she had broken into a sweat and was quite hungry. The cafe door gave a little chime as she opened it and to her surpise, her usual seat by the far end of the dining area was already occupied by the only other customer inside who stared at her as soon as she entered. Feeling a bit put off, she chose to seat four tables away from the man -- the farthest she could get away in the tiny cafe.
Upon seeing Giselle, the barrista named Kyle smiled in immediate recognition and set about with completing her order. She did not need to tell him what it was. Two slices of bacon, extra crispy, along with scrambled eggs and three pieces of toast with orange marmalade was just the way she liked it. As for her drink, she usually goes for a strong brew of coffee in the morning and then if she would particularly be buried in college work in the afternoon, she would order a tall glass of iced cappucino.
Around fifteen minutes later, her food arrived and she quickly dug in, savoring the rich aroma. She would have continued eating if not for the strange prickling sensation she felt at the back of neck. It was as if someone was watching her every move. Furtively, Giselle turned around to look at her immediate surrounding. She noticed that the man has left. Weird. It felt as if he had vanished in mid-air. Kyle was behind the counter; busy with wiping the just washed porcelain coffee mugs. Besides, she had known Kyle for a couple of years already and was not the type to spy on anyone. He was a good guy.
She quickly finished her meal; her appetite being somewhat diminished and then paid Kyle while telling him to keep the change. Somehow, her intuition was telling her to get out of the place fast. Not only had the strange prickling sensation grew stronger but there was also the feeling of a shadow trying to envelop her.
Once she stepped outside, the hot and humid air instantly clung to her. She gasped and breathed heavily trying to make her lungs squeeze in as much air as possible. In her mind's eye, she could see a swirling dark cloud closing in on her which made it hard for her to see and to breathe. She tried calling out for help but her voice made no sound. I must. . . get back to the dorm
, she thought desperately as she struggled to make herself move towards the right direction. Her body was starting to feel leaden like there was an iron ball tied to a chain around her leg. Giselle was two blocks away from her destination when her body simply ceased all motion. She froze right in the middle of the street and in shock, she failed to notice the car speeding towards her. There was no escape. Of course, things like this always happen on my birthday
, was her final thoughts and she imagined she heard the sharp screech of the car's tires as it skidded to a halt and saw a black figure grabbing her
~x~I'll be there by your side
Share your fears in the silent redemption
Touch my lips, hold me tight
Live in vanity for a while
She could hear a voice. It was a soft and sweet sound that brought an aura of calm around her and eased her weary body from pain. The song was something she remembered from her childhood. Her nanny used to sing it to her whenever she woke up from particularly bad dreams but this voice was nothing like her nanny's. The voice reminded her of a lazy summer days, of lush green forests, of rolling hills and fields. It reminded her of everything pure and beautiful. Like the voice of an angel.
Gradually, the voice faded into nothingness and was replaced by a deep, gruff sound along with an odd ringing in her ears. The voice turned into syllables and syllables into words.
"Oh, god. Wake up! You gotta wake up." The voice was masculine and rather frantic. Slowly, she came into consciousness and that was when she felt the pain. Every bone in her body seemed to had been crushed and she was lying on the hard cemented ground.
"Wha--?" She groaned. Giselle opened her eyes and the world appeared in blurred shapes and outlines. She immediately closed them again.
"Here. Drink this," her rescuer continued and a hot, bitter liquid was pushed down her throat making her sputter. If someone would be poisoning her right now, well, she supposed that the person would not waste time rescuing her. It did not make any sense but then so had everything that had happened so far. Her brain was a muddled mess and she could hardly think straight at the moment.
The drink, it turned out, was a medicine designed to work as a painkiller with an instantaneous effect. Though there was still some lingering pain, it was all reduced to a dull ache which Giselle could barely feel.
Her vision was clearer when she reopened her eyes and enabled her to see the person who rescued her for the first time. He was a tall, lean young man who appeared a few years older than Giselle. His uneven shoulder-length raven hair was tied in a ponytail with a few strands rustling gently with the slight wind. He wore a charcoal black turtleneck cardigan along with dark gray slacks and knee-length leather coat. And the most distinguishing feature he has was his sharp cool grey eyes which made Giselle shudder involuntarilty. For one short moment, she thought those eyes looked worried but before she could discern what that meant it was replaced by an expression of steely indifference. For some strange reason, something about him seemed very familiar which she found baffling.
"Can you walk?" He asked as he stood up and that was when she noticed the slight accented tone of his voice. Presumably British
, she surmised. He now sounded calmer compared to minutes ago.
"I-- I think so," Giselle replied half-expecting him to help her up but instead he merely stood there clearly waiting for her to stand up on her own. Well, that was rude!
She silently huffed as she tried to get up. After all that had happened-- actually, I am not exactly sure what had occured. My mind's still in a blur. Though based on my torn and stained dress and these bruises on my arms, it might have been an accident.
"Thanks for the help." Out loud, she said brushing off the thin layer of dust that had gathered on her clothes. "I better get going."
They were standing in the middle of a deserted alley, a place she was particularly not fond of to be hanging out with a total stranger even if said stranger did rescue her from something. Circumstances were rather unusual at the moment and some pieces does not fit in the puzzle. But right now, she was more interested in her safety rather than finding answers that were starting to form inside her head.
She turned to leave, her pace almost breaking into a run.
The fact that he knew her name, even if she'd bet her life that she had never met him before, made her stop and turn around.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Giselle demanded.
"My name is of no importance. Right now, your life is in danger."
♰. Word Count: 1,660
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