I waited for him to get off the bus and make his way down the train station and into a cart. I rushed in, and we stood at opposite ends of the cart. As the cart emptied, I sat down, and so did he. Eventually, the cart was empty. I gripped my backpack and willed myself not to walk over to him. I’ll make sure he goes home and worry about the rest later.
A man got into the cart; I could smell he was drunk. He sat across from me, and when I looked up at him, I could see his smile spreading across his face. “You’re pretty….” My stomach churned, and I could feel power pulsing with every heartbeat. Why now…
He started to stumble towards me when someone blocked my view. “Back off…” I was suddenly staring at Conrad’s back. I felt my throat dry as the drunk guy spoke, “I…I’m saying hi to the girl, man.” Conrad stood there firm, “Go screw off somewhere else.” The drunk guy pushed Dean back and went off to the side. Conrad barely flinched. The guy went into his coat jacket and pulled out a knife. He launched himself at Conrad, and I could smell blood. Conrad managed to get the knife away and snapped the guy’s wrist. He went down on his knees with his hand pressed to his side. Power surged through me, and I threw my hand out.
The man was knocked backward and slid across the cart. The lights flickered in the train cart, and I went to Conrad. He was still kneeling and covering his side. I scrambled my vocal cords to hide my authentic voice and gently said, “I think you need to see a doctor…” He shook his head. “I have a raging headache, and I feel dizzy. I need to go home and rest.” I didn’t notice my hood slipped off; our eyes met. His face was confused as he held his shocked gaze on me. For a moment, I could feel warmth, hope, and confusion all at once. It came like waves. Then despair ravaged him as he slowly said, “Sorry, you almost looked like someone I used to know….”
When his stop came, he gathered his things and walked off the train cart. The drunk guy was knocked out sleeping. He will likely wake up and harass someone else or have a hangover; quite frankly, he’s lucky only to have his wrist broken. So I followed Conrad off the train.
“Hey, let me ensure you get home safe if you pass out or need medical help; I will be there and want to ensure you’re all right.” He sucked his teeth. “I don’t need your help…I live nearby.” His voice was always husky and deep, even sultry when he spoke affectionately to me, but now it had a rasp that I didn’t recognize, an edge of sadness and rage. We walked in silence as we approached the house. He never moved away and still rented in the house we lived in. I walked with him to the door. He searched for his keys and started opening the door, then stopped. “You can come in. Seeing as though you have nothing better to do than walk a stranger to the door.” I smirked. “Don’t worry. I can protect myself”.
Everything was bare for the most part. He had upgraded some tech here and there. The tv, probably a new console, and he bought a pc, finally. He closed the door behind me. I heard a meow, and our cat, Bruce, came out from the depths of who knows where. I felt my heart swell. The little black kitten was gone; now, here was a handsome black cat with piercing yellow eyes.
Bruce stopped and gazed at me. His body was tense, and his fur was lifting away from his body as Conrad walked past him. Bruce cautiously smelled me, his coat relaxed, and he instantly started rubbing against me. His meows echoed throughout the place. I missed him so much. I crouched down to pet him, and he headbutted my face as I lifted him into my arms, giggling. I could feel eyes on me. I looked at Conrad, who was staring at us intensely. “Is he hungry?” I asked. Conrad snapped out of it. “Yeah, let me just…” He took a couple of steps before his voice trailed off, and he wobbled. He was panting and grimacing, “Hey…come sit down. I’ll feed him. You need rest.” I took his hand, and he flinched. I sat him on the couch. I quickly found everything for Bruce and fed him. I walked over to Conrad, whose eyes were closed. “Let me check your wound; keep your eyes closed, okay?” He nodded. I softly touched his forehead and sent him to sleep for a bit. I lifted his blood-soaked shirt. The wound was still leaking blood. I grazed my hand over his injury; it was more profound than he would let on, but no vitals were hit. I hummed, and warmth poured into my hand. Slowly the wound closed, and the bleeding subsided.
I rose to my feet and walked around the place. Had he hidden our photos? Did he ever move on? There wasn’t a sight of anyone else living here besides him and Bruce. I felt both relieved and anguished for him. If he never moved on, it meant he suffered this whole time and my family…mom, dad, and twin brother Kieran. This was going to be insufferable. I felt Bruce climb up my back to my shoulders. He was nuzzling my cheek. “Hello there. Did you keep him company this whole time? I knew you’d be amazing.” He meowed happily as I continued my rounds in the place.
Conrad gasped and suddenly sat up, gripping the couch. His eyes looked down to where his wound used to be, and confusion set in. “What?” I could sense his anxiety building. “It doesn’t hurt. Where did it go?” He looked up at me and stared. He had been working out, from what I could tell. His muscles flexed with every movement. His dark hair was longer now. We didn’t say anything for a while, then I asked, “Coffee?” and I was off to prepare him coffee. I pretended to look for the items, although I knew exactly where everything was. I felt his presence as I saw him leaning against the kitchen entryway. For a moment, he only followed my movements. Then he slowly said, “You know…it’s funny. You seem familiar. It’s like seeing my dead girlfriend possess someone else and waltzing in here. Maybe I’m starting to see things.” I held my breath, I added sugar to his coffee and stirred. “The only girl I ever trusted was Kailani, yet I let you in here. I don’t even know your name. She might haunt me for it.”
I laughed. I could tell he couldn’t decide whether to chuckle at his joke or if I had lost my mind. “So, this whole time…you never let a girl in, all these years cause your alleged dead girlfriend might haunt you?” He shrugged. “You didn’t know her. There was something magical about her. Her intuition was deadly accurate, and she could read people like no other. Call it witchy instinct, but she had a beautiful soul.” I gazed at him; his face had this melancholy look. “She was everything. And it’s not alleged…She’s dead…it’s been four years. There’s no other reason…why she wouldn’t come back. Someone took her from me, her family, her life….” His voice wavered between despair and anger. “I’m crazy telling you this. I think you should go now…thanks for everything.” He was walking away, and his back turned, heading towards the door. I couldn’t let this keep going. He had suffered enough. Life wouldn’t be the same. But if there was anyone who could handle this eventually, it was him. So, I unmasked my voice and reverted to my default appearance.
His body froze at the sound of my voice. I could hear his heart beating. His breath quickened as he squeezed his hand around the doorknob; I could see his knuckles whitening, and he slowly turned around. His eyes widened. He was breathing quickly; blood drained from his face. He was hyperventilating. His raspy voice barely choked out painfully, “Kai… Lani?”
Hello! Thank you for reading the next part in my series Taken into the Stars! I’ve discovered that I could create podcasts featuring an audible read along with either my voice or the softwares used in something called Anchor. In the next few weeks I will try to attempt this and see how it works. I’m nervous and excited! As always. Stay sweet and reach out to me with feedback. Would love to hear what you all think of the series thus far!