“What made you think I was a stalker?” Arthur asked her while returning from buying what she had set out for, “I mean, have I got stalker written on my face or something?”
She laughed and replied, “Arthur, you know I can get paranoid at times… It was an honest mistake, believe me.”
Arthur joined in the laughter. They were neighbours and best of friends. Despite their age difference, they were each other’s confidants.
“And what made you think that man was a stalker?” he asked between laughs, “I swear, you should have seen your face. It was hilarious! I wish I had taken a photograph!”
“Arthur James Watson,” she playfully punched him, “Need I remind you of your disastrous first date?”
“Yes, the worst first date in the history of worst first dates,” he added.
She smiled but then felt unsettled. She realized something and slowly, her smile faded. He raised his eyebrow as if to ask- “What’s wrong?”
She looked into his eyes. They were so warm, so inviting. So clear and green like the rainforests. It was the perfect shade to match his contrasting red hair. He was about her height, but if you looked at him from afar, he looked taller than he appeared. She couldn’t help but recall the day they had first met.
She was only seven or eight then, her parents were glorifying the achievements of her then ten-year-old brother, who had constantly remained unfazed by it. She felt dejected, ignored and inferior to her brother. “Don’t let them get to you, sis,” he had told her then,”They’ll come around to you in no time.”
Her brother had always been kind to her. He wasn’t too affectionate nor was he too strict. However, for a growing child, love was needed.
She was sitting on the swing, all depressed when Arthur had come to her.
“Hey,” he called out to her. “That’s not the way you swing!”
She looked up to him but ignored his comment.
He walked up to her smiling in a way she had never seen her family do.
“You want me to push you?” he asked softly.
She looked up at him, a little unsure, but nodded slowly.
That was the day when she first, played with someone. The first time she had ever made a friend.
“What?” he interrupted her flashback, “Got lost in my hotness?”
She smiled softly, and shook her head.
“Are you mad that my dad sold your reserved blood?”
“No, it’s not that.”
“Then what is it?”
“You’ll be gone, won’t you?” she asked glumly. “You’ll be gone off to college, and I’ll be stuck here in high school. Levi is going to go too. Mom and dad never stay at home for long... In other words, I’ll be alone.”
Arthur let out a sigh. “Will you miss me?”
She looked at him in surprise. Arthur was never the emotional kind of guy. Things like loving someone or missing someone never suited him. Why was he asking her this?
“I know you will miss the hottest guy in the world living next door. I mean, who wouldn’t?” he added with a grin.
A joyful irritation seeped into her. “Your stupid pranks, Arty, are really not funny,” she scolded with suppressed laughter.
They both laughed as they walked to the street they both had spent all their life. Little did she know that the very next day, her life was about to change. Forever.
Delaroth sank to the ground and awaited the darkness to envelop the city of Greater Mrantis. He was close to finding her, he thought. He was so close but his detest for light had overcome his need to find the One. He was growing impatient. He had spent more than a week in this filthy Human Realm. He longed to go back home. Back to his kingdom. Back to Krator.
He clenched his fist. He felt like a goddamn fool. If the Eternal would have it, he would meet her without any effort. If not... He did not bother about that. If the Eternal did not have it, he would live in his shell of loneliness as he had before. A lifetime of loneliness, he reassured himself, is endurable.
He could imagine his successors, who would not be of his blood.
He could imagine the kingdom, he had earned, ruled by his treacherous brother’s sons.
He could see the people calling him- The King of Solitude.
He let out a small laugh, if this were a war; he would have already won it. However, this was not a war. It was destiny. Everyone knew that no one could fight with destiny.
Leaning his head back to the wall, he shut his eyes and sneered at his own luck.
“The one person I am fated to meet,” he laughed with a hint of sadness, “is the one person I am unable to meet.”
As the sunset approached, people returned home and some came out to enjoy the darkness of the city, the lonely vampire got up from his place and began searching for a mystic. Somewhere in the city, he would find a mystic, someone who knew about Realms and creatures residing in other Realms. He had decided what to do. He had to return. His kingdom needed him. In fact, he needed his kingdom.