The boy ran through the dark snowy woods, clawing at the undergrowth and low branches. Blood, stained his hands and his bare feet were sodden with mud and snow as they bled onto the forest floor. He would have been able to run faster if it were not for the heavy load that he concealed under his cloak. His breathing had become laboured, his eyes bloodshot but still he ran on through the bitter snow and ice that buried the mountain.
And there it was again that soft moan in the distance that made his skin turn to ice and his blood into molten lava, ready to erupt. He stopped dead in his tracks, not knowing where to turn next, the beast would surely catch up with him soon. But he ran on, for he was their only hope now, to stop would be to surrender.
A breath. Not like that of a wolf or other wild beast that roamed the forest at night. It sounded like the release of hot air from a livid volcano. And it hushed the otherwise noisy insects from there chant. It was soft, yet heavy and seemed to suppress great power for what it was, a single breath. It echoed over the mountain and shock the snow and ice from the trees. It had a way of frightening him, of warning him that the beast was approaching, approaching to take what only hope that he had left.
The stone that he bared around his neck had started glowing, pulsating, its blue glow illuminating the surrounding trees and bushes in an eerie way. The boy had been running for hours now, his sweat ran down his face and dampened his clothes making the journey unbearable. He wiped his brow with his bloody hand being careful not to disturb contents of the ragged cloth under his cloak.
Silence. The deafening breath had took what life that the forest still possessed. Now there was only the boy's breathing and the pulsating of the stone that kept him believing that it was not all a dream. Surely the beast was still there, following him in the dark. His pulse was racing and the weight of the heavy bulk he was concealing was nearly too much for him now. He had been without food and water for days and although his body could take more than most, he was getting very tired.
Suddenly a mighty roar shock the mountain for all it had, trees trembled to the ground and blocked the boy's path.
The mystical stone that he bared around his neck shook too and turned as black as the heavens above him. It was beating with tremendous power. There was something else to, the inscriptions around the edge of the amulet were glowing a bright yellow. Strange he thought.
It did not matter now and he grabbed it to hide the light that illuminated himself, but he gasped out in pain as the stone scorched his hand. It was blistering hot and pulsating in a way that can only be described as if it were alive. But the boy had no time for studying the mysterious stone now the beast or whatever it was would be upon him soon.
He tore thought the woods this time, breaking through the wilderness at an alarming speed, trying, hoping that he could find safety.
Piercing screams could be heard all over the mountain now, the boy tried in vain to cover his ears from the terrifying sounds but nothing could keep them out. The beast was right behind him now, its racing heavy footsteps could be heard all over the mountain.
In an instant the ground beneath him ruptured and the boy was left motionless in the centre of it all as the beast descended upon him. It was he too that was screaming now clutching his hidden load and screaming, screaming with all the power he had left.
Non omnia moriar.
"not all of me will die"
Kaitlyn looked towards the small town in the distance, it was a cold night, the moon was a striking white against the coal black sky. The trees stood to attention along the straight road casting dark black shadows down around her.
Kaitlyn had always been afraid of the dark, she could remember when she was little her mother singing her a bed time rhyme to help her go to sleep. She couldn?t remember the words but just thinking about it made her feel like smiling, but the smile never lasted for longer than a flash, the happy memory soon became a nightmare, a nightmare that she would keep reliving over and over again in her mind. She sighed and took in a deep breath.
She shuddered it really was an icy night, suddenly the idea of wearing a thick sheepskin coat that she joked about at the mall wasn?t a bad idea.
She reached the front of the small town, it seemed a friendly place. Granted no one was around to verify that. She could see a small store to the east of the town surrounded by houses it was probably one of those places that didn?t sell anything but home made stuff from the town and they had positively never heard of Dr Pepper. She laughed at this.
Boy she wished she was back in Chicago, what was she doing? She had left all of her friends and family and for what a small town that had never been heard of. What was she getting herself into now?
Crossing the nearby car park she read a sign "Burton Heights" so this was where she was going to be staying for the next few years.
She had just graduated from Chicago City High and she had decided that she wanted to study in a college that was away from the city life. Everything was so hectic there and she supposed that moving away from the speed of city life would calm her in some way.
As she reached the end of the car park she was greeted with her new home ?Burton Heights?. It didn't look like much but everyone that she had spoken to about accommodation had said this this was the best you could find in Bedford Falls. It was a stone building with row upon row of small windows dotted across the huge building.
Ahh well, thought Kaitlyn at least I'm not living with Aunt Hannah and Uncle Tim. She laughed. They were crazy relatives that had offered to take her in.
A cold wind disturbed Kaitlyn?s thought and she went into the building. She had only noticed it now but it was unusually cold tonight. Oh Kaitlyn, she thought to her self stop it, you and your over imaginative mind will get us into trouble one day. Kaitlyn headed straight towards the receptionist behind the desk. The women gave Kaitlyn a warm smile.
"I?m Kaitlyn Brooks," she said politely.
The women looked puzzled.
"My dad arranged a room for me?"
The women immediately started typing on the computer vigorously. Kaitlyn glanced at her nametag, Jane. It seemed to be a normal name. Then again what was a normal name? Kaitlyn can?t be if your called it. Jane then stated going through files, in a manor that can only be described as strange. Kaitlyn watched and wondered how long Jane had been working here and if she was on any medication. Although she would never ask this to her face.
After a few minutes of typing and looking through files and folders, Jane handed her a key with the number 124 on it.
Kaitlyn felt uneasy around Jane so she took the key and walked quickly to the stairs not bothering to look for the lifts, let alone ask Jane where they were.
She started up the stairs realizing how excited she was about seeing her new room. She quickened her step curiously but found herself bumping into a boy about her age.
He was standing in the shadows so it wasn?t surprising that Kaitlyn missed him. There was a cold darkness to his face and movements. His hair and eyes were dark black even she couldn?t tell, but his skin was rather pale.
Kaitlyn felt herself shiver. The boy still hadn?t moved it was as if he was observing her, thinking, like when you see someone you know you've met before but you cant remember where.
Kaitlyn held her ground after all she didn?t mean to bump into him. The boy passed her, and turned to give her a direct look as he did.
Kaitlyn saw that his eyes weren?t black, but a very dark blue, he was still staring at her, with a slight note of happiness maybe, it was as though he was happy to see her. He was wearing black clothes, as though he was about to break into somewhere. And a chain around his neck. Other than that he was completely plain.
Just then another lad came racing down the stairs, he had blonde hair and a dark tan, exactly the opposite of the mysterious boy beside her. The mysterious boy?s eyes were now fixed on the blonde guy with complete attention and icy hatred. They looked like two dogs ready to fight as the other came closer.
The boy in the shadows said nothing, he just observed the other with a fixed stare. "You." He finally said.
Kaitlyn could not tell what the boy was feeling when he uttered this single word. Hatred? Yes she thought, hatred. But It was hard to tell you see, he had barely shown any feeling at all.
"It?s been a long time." the blonde guy said.
"Sure has." The other replied.
Kaitlyn felt uneasy of the strange guy in the shadows, and took a step back. She then thought of leaving because they obviously weren?t the best of friends, and she certainly wasn?t in the position to be braking up this fight!
The dark boy?s voice was harsh and clipped while the others voice might as well have been that of a movie star, it was quiet and yet strong. The blonde boy walked back up the way he?d came and left Kaitlyn all alone with the other. She looked down at him meeting his face his cold eyes looked as if something amused him.
"Nice meeting you, perhaps we could do something, sometime?" He then smiled and went down the stairs.
Kaitlyn shuddered, she certainly wasn?t looking forward to another meeting with the mystery guy. She didn?t known what to think but she felt tired though, she could be sure of that.
She took in a deep breath, perhaps her new life in Bedford Falls wasn?t going to be as boring as she had first thought. Kaitlyn walked slowly upstairs, and she eventually found her floor. A sign read numbers 110 - 130.
She started walking briskly down the corridor glancing at the numbers on the doors when she stopped dead in her tracks.
It was the boy from the staircase, he was standing by a vending machine looking into the glass. His blonde hair was shinning in the neon light above them. He seemed friendlier now, nothing at all like the other boy. His hair was short and cut tidy, and his eyes they weren?t cold, they were a bright blue and looked friendly and warm.
Kaitlyn realized that those eyes were also staring right at her she mumbled a hello and he walked towards her.
"You have pretty hair." He said admiring it.
"Thank you." Kaitlyn answered not knowing really what to say but flattered by anyone liking it.
"Look I?m sorry about what happened before you see me and Gabriel well we're enemy's I suppose." He looked at her kindly. Kaitlyn had guessed that.
"What?s your name?" He asked.
"Kaitlyn." And she smiled, that?s it Kaitlyn charm him, like that's ever worked before.
"And yours?" She asked, still wondering why he and the boy were enemies.
Kaitlyn smiled again.
"Are you going to be living here?" he said glancing at her bag that was bursting with clothes.
"Yea, number 124." Looking around for the door number.
"Hey that?s right next to me want me to give you a hand with unpacking?"
He said this as though he had been looking forward to it all day. Like a child would when their mum and dad had just declared that they can eat sweets for breakfast. How did he know anyway that this was her first night here?
Oh, you can?t let it go can you, your always looking for another explanation and it always seemed to be on the paranormal side of things. He's the first person you?ve met around here and you actually like him!
He started to look impatient so Kaitlyn said yes and after all she might find out why James and the boy were enemies.
Kaitlyn was woken up abruptly, a car alarm somewhere was beeping outside. Why in God?s name can?t they fit in sound proof windows, she thought.
She though of opening the window and looking outside but what would be the point in that? Even if she could see which car it was what was she going to do walk out onto the street and magically stop the car from making the annoying noise? But as usual human nature came into play and she hauled herself out of bed and opened up the window and peered out into the night.
The cold air outside was fresh and it tingled and stung her face. There was a gentle breeze in the air and she shuddered, feeling the cold.
The car?s alarm had stopped now. Typical, she thought. She was about to close the window and get back into bed when she noticed something glint in the light of a passing car. It was so bright that she couldn?t ignore it. She strained her eyes in the darkness but she couldn?t make out anything.
Ohh, Kaitlyn go back to bed! It was probably only an empty beer can or something! But this time she chose to ignore her ?sensible? half and continued to peer into the darkness.
Then she saw something. Someone. Standing in the shadows where the light had come from. They were standing there not moving in the slightest, waiting maybe? If this was Chicago she would not have been worried or concerned, you could get all types there.
Just then she heard a car driving up the road. She could still make out the figure, standing in the darkness and waited for the car to go past so she could take a better look.
The car drove down the road and went past the man or woman, but there was nothing there. No man, no mysterious light.
Kaitlyn sighed with disappointment. This place was weird she thought. She closed the window clumsily trapping her finger. Ouch! Serves you right for being nosey, the sensible voice in her head reminded her.
She then got back into bed and slept.
He watched her quietly, calmly from the out side of the building. She had thought that she had seen him but hiding was no problem.
He would sit and wait for the right time to act, she wouldn?t understand it all if he acted now.
She was beautiful, and she knew it, just like her witch of a mother. But she was nothing compared to Kaitlyn.
"I?ll teach you, you?ll see."
She awoke with a positive feeling the next day hoping to make a good first impression at her new college. Dressed smartly she walked out of ?Burton Heights? with a spring in her step. James seemed to be a really nice guy, he to went to the same college as her and he even liked the same things as her. He had even invited her to go on a skiing trip with him and his mates in a month or two. She was so happy, she couldn?t remember how long it had been since she had felt like this. But then again, maybe she did. She could remember feeling like this back when she was only young. Back when her, her mother and her father all lived together, under the same roof.
She couldn?t understand how some families weren't like hers when she was younger. How they never ate at the same table at meal time, or how their parents never seemed to be bothered to show up at the school play. Kaitlyn had always thought that it would be that way forever, but she was wrong.
Her mother had died in a tragic accident when she was very young. When a person looses a loved one at the age of seven it leaves a mark. Not the kind of mark that can been seen from the outside. One which is deeply imbedded in a persons decisions, thoughts and feelings about the world around them.
Not only that but her father had remarried later that year to some business type where he worked. Kaitlyn?s mother had never been the ?business type?, she preferred music and art. It wasn?t as if she was stupid, she could have easily made loads of money with the amount of quiz shows she was watching at the hospital near the end.
Kaitlyn sighed, she didn?t like thinking about her mother. Well not all of the memories anyway.
Soon she arrived at the college. It seemed to be linked to the public library too, like Burton Heights most of the complex was made out of stone. It was set back of a small road which led to the couple of shops that Bedford Falls actually had. Kaitlyn entered the building through a set of large glass doors. It was warmer inside at least.
She soon found her way to her first class and before she new it she was thinking that perhaps moving to Bedford Falls wasn?t such a bad idea.
She met up with James and his friends at lunch and found out that he took almost half of her classes. At the end of lunch James and most his friends left for their classes, but since Kaitlyn had a free period she decided to go and check out the local library seeing as it was practically in the college.
The library was a large spacious room. Most of the walls and ceiling were covered with oak panelling, Kaitlyn thought this very traditional but she felt that it made the room feel very dark and she wouldn?t like to be left alone in a room like this, she probably wouldn?t be able to find her way out.
She made her way though the row upon row of bookcases piled high with books, old and new and seated herself down in a corner of the building where many people were sitting reading. She grabbed a book before sitting down so she looked like she had a purpose being in the library. There seemed to be alot of college students around, all deeply engrossed in their books.
There was a boy with black hair seated at the end of a large table near Kaitlyn. He seemed to be murmuring and cursing to himself whilst flicking though the book he was reading with no regard to what damage he might cause in the process. He then slammed the book shut and got up. Dropping his black jacket on the floor he cursed again before picking it up and walking towards the exit.
Kaitlyn could now see his face it was the boy from the stairs! What had James said his name was? Gabriel?
He then walked out of the library slamming the door on the way out. Kaitlyn was interested in what he was getting so worked up about so she casually walked over to the spot where he was previously reading and opened the book, trying not to look like she was being nosey.
The book was called ?The complete dictionary of Latin words and phrases?. Kaitlyn didn?t think much of this, if she was taking Latin then she would probably loose her temper! She shrugged it off and was about to take the book back to where it had come from when a piece of paper fell out of it. It read ?munob isin lin siutrom ed? ahh Kaitlyn thought, he was trying to find the meaning to this.
She moved into the seat where Gabriel had been sitting and was going to start looking through the book when she noticed there was something on the floor.
She bent down to pick it up and saw that it was an amulet. It was golden with a blue stone in the centre and it had an inscription around the edge. She couldn?t quite make out the words but it looked something like, ?munoo isin siom d?. Ahh she thought again, it must be the words on the paper!
She started looking for the words on the paper in the book, but came up with nothing. Dam, no wonder he was annoyed. She looked again at the words on the paper and thought. She seemed to recognise one of the words, ?siutrom? it meant something she was sure. She turned the paper upside down and looked again.
That?s it she thought, the letters are backwards! No wonder Gabriel couldn?t find them in the book. She changed the letters around and came up with ?de mortuis nil nisi bonum? She hunted through the dictionary for ?mortuis? the word she had thought she had recognised and came up with three words, death, dead and die. Of course, mortuis as in post mortem!
Now to the other words. She finally came up with something along the lines of ?converse negative sick dead?, which made no sense at all! But wait, maybe she had to change the words a little so they were easier to understand, after all Latin was a language that was first spoken thousands of years ago!
Eventually she found it ?de mortuis nil nisi bonum? or ?speak no ill of the dead?. So that was what the amulet said, but what did it mean?
Kaitlyn returned home late, she had missed her last two lessons and had lost track of time in the library. She walked into ?Burton Heights? and was so tired that she almost bumped into James.
"Hey where were you, I though we had agreed to walk home together?"
"Yea I know, sorry you see I was in the library and I saw Gabriel."
"Gabriel?" he said with utter disgust.
"Yea and he....." Kaitlyn didn?t have a chance to finish her words.
"I thought I?d made it clear that he was bad news and you should stay away from him!" James said as though Kaitlyn had betrayed him in some way.
"All you said was that you and him were enemies, not that I was not to go near him!" Kaitlyn was angry with James. Even if he had said that Gabriel was trouble he still didn?t have the right to tell her what she could and couldn?t do with out a good reason.
"Just stay away from him you?ll only regret it!" He answered with a touch of annoyance.
Kaitlyn calmed herself down and spoke in a quieter tone this time, "Only if you tell me why."
"Ok, ok have you ever looked in the register of births, marriages and deaths department in the library?" He said now in a more relaxed tone. "Well I have and Gabriel Marston just doesn't exist."
"Perhaps..." She began.
"Perhaps he isn?t from around here? Perhaps he was born in another country, trust me I've checked and there are no records for a Gabriel Marston. Anywhere."
Kaitlyn wouldn?t tell James about the amulet, not just yet. She had seen him freak out enough for one night.
Kaitlyn tossed and turned in the night her head filled with memories from that evening. Gabriel was there in her mind and as Kaitlyn thought, a strange feeling that chilled the roots of her hair and froze all her fingers and toes came over her. Kaitlyn gave a cold shudder.
She stepped out of the haze and into the world again. Kaitlyn was standing in the snow, it was blissfully cold.
She turned around; she seemed to be in the middle of nowhere all she could see was snow. She turned again and saw a forest had appeared about half a mile from where she was standing, she was sure it wasn?t there before. Curious and shocked she moved towards it and before she knew it she was standing in front of a large snowy forest.
She noticed a set of footprints leading into the forest, they looked inviting, as though she was intended to follow them.
As she entered the forest it was as though she had entered another world the sky above her was black and it was snowing violently, she seemed to still be following the footprints but they had changed. They no longer looked neat and crisp, as though someone had been walking with great care. They didn?t even resemble foot prints any more.
They were smears of snow and mud, someone had run though the forest, taking no care of the lower branches and bracken that was the forest floor. There was something else too, blood. There were red smears too on the floor and Kaitlyn, although as frightened as she was kept at a steady pace following them.
Suddenly she was running, running with all her speed and strength. She could hear screaming in the background and she was so scared of what was making that noise. Then she saw him, Gabriel's face. He was smiling a wicked smile and as she looked down at his hands she saw blood. He began laughing hysterically and moved aside to let Kaitlyn take a better view at what he was hiding.
There lied James, a bloody mess of a body. She screamed with fear and looked back at Gabriel. He wiped his mouth with his bloody hand and laughed again. She screamed and screamed but no sound would emit. She was helpless and vulnerable but she continued to look on in dread as Gabriel moved towered her reaching out for the amulet she wore, his face a mask of insanity.
Kaitlyn woke up with a really bad headache not remembering the dream from the night before. Glancing at the clock she read 10.05, she groaned and turned away only to jump out of bed a second later realizing that she had a class at 10.30.
She quickly got dressed never minding to brush her hair or teeth properly and hurriedly made her way to her door. She left her room and was about to lock up when she noticed a folded piece of paper lying on the floor bellow her, she stooped down and picked it up opening it to find a photo of a forest on a mountain. But wait, she seemed to recognise it.
Then the dream came back to her, a snowy scene James dead and oh God Gabriel, Gabriel!
She felt a cold chill run down her back. Her hands were shaking, her heart pounding as she stared at the photo and screamed. The scream seem to last for eternity and finally she stopped and opened her eyes.
Kaitlyn seemed to be in an ambulance, though it wasn?t moving she could hear a soft humming sound. She hauled herself up, she squinted dazzled by the sun and noticing that the door was open she walked out.
James came running up to her, "Are you all right" he asked worried.
"Yes, what happened?" Kaitlyn answered her head pounding.
"You collapsed so I phoned an ambulance." Pointing to the paramedics.
"What do you mean I collapsed, I was all on my own and." Kaitlyn stopped remembering
the photo. Her legs felt weak and she swayed loosing her balance.
"The photo." She looked up and stared directly into James?s eyes. "Where?s the photograph?"
"What photo, Kaitlyn are you all right what?s wrong?" Shaking her.
"James you know all that stuff that you told me about Gabriel, well is it all true." Kaitlyn hoped that the answer to her question was no but by the look on his face she was wrong. James took a step back his face was full of fear. "What?s happened!"
"This morning I found a photo outside my room and last night I had a dream that Gabriel had ...killed you." She choked on the last words trying to hold back the tears.
"You Idiot what did you do, I told you to say away from him!"
"I know, I know I?m sorry, but yesterday in the library I found." Kaitlyn had reached in her coat pocket for the amulet but it had vanished.
"You found what?" He asked trying to calm her down.
"What.... oh nothing It doesn't matter."
Kaitlyn broke down into tears on to James?s shoulder, what was happening to her!
Weeks past and Kaitlyn hadn?t seen or heard from Gabriel once. Perhaps the freak had finally got the idea and left as James had said.
Kaitlyn was having lunch in the college's cafeteria with James and a few others. James started to talk about the trip him and his mates were going on. It was to the Tehachapi mountains the following week. They were going to go Skiing and Snowboarding and James wanted to know if Kaitlyn would like to join them.
"Sure I would, but what about the snow and..." Remembering her dream.
"Why are you so worried, you could do with the rest" He said finishing his drink.
"Well, ok then I'll come but I doubt that I?ll be any good at it" Kaitlyn laughed, she was a little happier now, she could use the rest she had been getting far to worked up about the whole Gabriel and the missing amulet thing. Although she still hadn?t mentioned that to James she felt that It was best left untold.
Kaitlyn closed her eyes but it didn?t help. The van had just hit a patch of ice and was sliding to the right. It veered off the frozen surface toward the safety rail separating the highway from a rocky gorge below.
About forty miles later the highway narrowed from four lanes to two, James was sitting in the seat behind with another boy. Charlie was driving in the front with Chris, and Katie was sitting beside her.
They passed a sign saying ten miles to the Tehachapi mountain range.
"Ten miles to go." Kaitlyn said to Katie, as she turned around she saw that James was watching her. All her good feelings froze like the ice on the windows. James?s face was a vision of hatred.
They arrived at the skiing resort a couple of hours later. It must have been about 10pm when they finally arranged their rooms. Kaitlyn wanted to have a word with James to see what was wrong but he didn?t want to know and he left with the rest of his mates to check out the rest of the resort.
Kaitlyn felt completely alone and couldn?t believe that James, after taking the time to invite her and pay for her stay would completely ignore her.
The wind whistled outside the log cabin, the trees creaked and there was the steady drip, drip of wet snow falling from the roof of the cabin to the ground. Kaitlyn could here something outside. It sounded like an engine of a car but different, it seemed to be pulsating.
She wasn?t sure what it was but it disturbed her and just like the car alarm before she had to investigate it.
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