3. Entering London

Trace woke me up to tell me that the we had five minutes until we got off. I stood up and sorted my dress out. It’d got pulled up whilst I was asleep. I then got my bag down from the overhead rack and passed Trace his too. I sat back down, bag on my lap, feeling refreshed from sleep. “Where are we going in London then?” I asked.
“Well, I looked up places to stay in the centre of London and found a fairly cheap hotel where we can pay per night so we can leave if we needed too and not waste any money. I booked before. We’re on the second to top floor and our rooms are facing. I think we should go there first and drop stuff off, then we can go into London and get some other things”, he replied. His aura was quite small, he was tired, and it was a dark blue, concentration.
“Okay”, I said. I stood up and put my bag on my back as the train slowed to a stop. We were in London now. I walked to the doors, Trace behind me, and pressed the button to open them. It took a moment but they did eventually open. I stepped out onto the platform and a gust of wind from a passing train hit me. It brought me back down to earth. Trace took my hand and I thought it was probably just sticking with the going out act until I looked at him. His aura was completely grey this time. I wondered if it would still look like that if we kissed but I didn’t dare try it. I was too afraid I’d get the wrong answer. “So, which way to the hotel?”, I asked, dismissing my thoughts.
“I’ve got the directions on my phone so, one second”, he said. He let go of my hand and pulled his phone from his pocket, finding the map showing where it was. “We go up the street ahead of us, turn left twice and then turn right”, he finished. We started walking up the street. It was quite lonely so I became worried and took Trace’s hand again. He didn’t show any emotion towards it but didn’t let go. I couldn’t see his aura, he must have withdrawn it.
We turned left onto another street, even more empty than the last. There were old shops with the paint peeling off the signs and houses that were now half broken. The whole street was deserted. It was very long and seemed like it was almost a village in itself. The streetlamps were old fashioned ones and when I looked back properly at the houses, I noticed that the architecture was Victorian. Something bad had happened here over a hundred years ago, something so bad that no one had come here since. Even the weather seemed to have left. The sky over head was grey but no rain fell. There was no wind, no warmth and no cold either. It was abandoned to the strongest sense. I didn’t speak until we turned left a second time. This street was not so empty. It was quite nice but quiet although there were still people in sight. “What happened on that street before, Trace?”.
“I don’t know and I’m not sure I want to but I have a feeling it would have been something to do with the Guardians and the shadows”. We turned right. “Here we are”, he said. The hotel was large and quite nice looking but it wasn’t extremely posh, just within our budget. We stepped through the front doors and walked to the reception desk. “Rooms 83 and 85 under Zachary Whitlock”, Trace said. He’d put it under a fake name. The receptionist handed him the keys and we walked to the lift. “If you don’t mind, I’d rather take the stairs”, I said. I’d always hated lifts and now that I knew I could get stuck in one with a shadow creature, I wasn’t anymore keen on them. Trace nodded and we started up the stairs to the fourth floor. “So, why Zachary Whitlock?”, I asked.
“Well, I had a friend when I was  much younger called Zachary, or just Zack. He was a Guardian but, since we were so young, he wasn’t trained enough to defend himself. He was taken by a shadow. I remembered his name when I was booking the rooms so I said that. Whitlock was my great, great grandma’s maiden name. I thought it wouldn’t be that easy to trace Zachary Whitlock to me in future, if anyone got the hotel records”, he replied. He still had his aura withdrawn as he said that but it was ebbing back. I couldn’t see what he was feeling, however, as it was too large of a mix of colours. It kept shifting but I couldn’t pick out just one emotion.
We finally reached the fourth floor and walked down to the end of the corridor to find our rooms. We stood outside room 803 and Trace put the key in. He opened the door. “This one’s yours”, he said, following me in. The room was quite large but it was dark even with the very large window. Trace left to go and open his room. I started to unpack but couldn’t see very well so I turned the light on and found that the shadow in the corner did not move. “Trace”, I called, now beginning to panic. He came straight into the room and saw what I was looking at.
“Grab your stuff and move into my room”, he said. “It’s not safe in here”. I did as he said, shutting the door behind me. I put my stuff on the armchair and sat on the sofa. “You’ll have to stay in here tonight, I can’t book another room because I’ll still be paying for that one. I’ll sleep on the couch”, he said.
“It’s okay, I’ll sleep on the couch, I’m smaller, you won’t fit. I’ll grab the covers from my room”, I replied. He looked at me, trying to judge if I was going to let him win this. When he decided I wouldn’t, he spoke. “Fine, but I’ll get the covers”. He walked off into my old room. I got up and started sorting my bag out, leaving the things that I wouldn’t need for the day. I would’ve kept all of it with me, just in case, but it was too heavy to carry. If we didn’t come back to the hotel room, I’d only lose a few changes of clothes. I left the first aid kit, my inhaler, my purse, my phone and one change of clothes in my bag. Trace came back in and dumped the covers and two pillows on the settee. “If you’re ready, we’d best go into London and see what we can find before it gets dark”, he said.
“Right, hey, I never asked, who was it that you’re trying to find?”, I asked.
“My mentor. He went away for a while but when he came back, he said that there was something important I needed to do. He didn’t say where we would meet or exactly when but he said near the end of the month, somewhere in England”. His aura was grey with some dark blue and pinky-red. He was telling the truth but was concerned and nervous about it.

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