Running through the night. Running, running. Always running.
There is no end in sight.
I dare not look behind me to once again look at my assailant, for that would only impede my position in this chase.
I just keep going forward.
Why am I here? Why am I being hunted?
These questions can wait for later.
I feel the bloodlust of the creature behind me, something maddening and chaotic.
Despite its civilised apparel, that is undoubtedly a monster. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
How could I ever have been tricked by such a folly - I feel stupid. I feel as if everything in this moment is all my fault.
I can’t bear it; I have to look back. My feet are getting weak and I’m not sure how much longer I can do this.
My head turns slowly as my legs speed up. These numb ligaments are reaching their limits.
A stick breaks underneath my foot as I lose my grip on the ground. For a moment I am in stasis, trapped in the air before I make my crashing descent.
But it never comes, I feel a swift movement from underneath me as I am scooped up and cradled.
It has me now, but for some reason, I am not scared.
I look up at the creature, the very charming looking man who has been chasing me this whole time.
Suddenly I am hit with memories, a sensation I have never felt before as if I have loved someone else’s life and my own.
The face becomes something of a long-lost friend, someone I know well, but I can’t place who.
He picks up my pale blonde hair and tucks it around the side of my ear.
In an instant, the calm air about him is gone and the monster is back, his black hair and eyes glow with a purple aura.
“I know what you did, Hiro.”
A sickening smile appears on its face, now completely different to the handsome man who once stood before me.
Then it all fades to black.
I open my eyes to a misty hue covering them as I stare at the ceiling. I try to lift my hand to wipe them clean, but a cold force is pulling them down.
I turn to my left to see a small vampire, latched onto my arm as she sleeps.
A smile erupts on my face as I feel warm tears flow down to the cervices in my mouth. The salty taste of sadness is washing away, engorging my senses.
“Now how did you get in here, little one?”
Neve buries her face deeper into my arm as if imitating a heavy sleep, but I can see a small smile crack from the side of her mouth.
“Oh, oh, are we sleeping now? Is that it?”
A short giggle, muffled by the sleeve of my pyjamas abruptly comes to a halt as Neve takes a one-eyed peek at me.
I put my hand on her head as she sleepily rolls over to face me.
“Papa scared, so Neve protect.”
I think back to the dream as it slowly fades away in my memory – possibly a result of Neve’s presence here.
The more I try to remember, the more I am brought back to a moment from another lifetime, the moment that brought me here.
As these haunting moments engulf my entire being, all I can hear are the final words of my dream.
“I know what you did, Hiro.”
I don’t know what they could possibly mean, or who even said them. The voice was so foreign yet so familiar, I can’t quite put my tongue on it.
I feel a cold sensation squeezing my arm again as I am brought back to the moment.
“Now who is abyss staring?”
Neve looks up at me again, only to reference the same words I told her the other day when she was in a similar disposition.
I’m not sure how comforting those words were now that I’m on the opposite end of them, but they are true.
We must look towards the future instead of lurking in the past.
That doesn’t stop me from feeling there is a darkness on its way here, something awful; I think Neve knows it too.
For a world so normal, I’m not even sure what it could be. I can’t forget that Neve did just show up one day, and I mean so did I – so there is a precedent for the supernatural to happen in the natural here.
“You’re right, Neve. Let’s go make Bell some breakfast and get our minds off this, huh? What do you say?”
Neve instantly peps up and radiates light as she raises both of her arms in the air, her hands in little fists.
We get up out of bed and make our way down the hallway.
I feel Neve tug on my finger, trying to get my attention.
Neve looks up at me.
“We got this!”
I tilt my head in confusion. What have we “got?” Breakfast? I think we will be able to handle breakfast.
I mean, we may be two lazy hikikomori’s, but we can fry up some eggs.
Oh Neve, how you have such little faith in me.
I’ll have you know I’m a fully functional adult, who might even have a kid. Maybe, still unsure about that. Although honestly, the full reality of the situation is yet to kick in.
I’m so used to the bachelor lifestyle!
Yes, the bachelor lifestyle of reading books and watching anime all day. Peak existence.
“Of course we do, it’s just breakfast!”
Neve shakes her head.
“No dummy, we got this.”
What Neve is trying to say hits me like a truck, at this point I’m not sure if she’s trying to reassure me or reassure herself. Either way, we have got this.
“You bet, we’re a team, Neve.”
Once again, she lifts her arms in the air, this time laying out her palms flat facing me.
I give both of her hands a high five.