The morning air felt cold against Shannon’s skin. She could feel her heartbeats go faster and faster with every touch of her feet on the concrete. She and Miles had been running for almost an hour now and they had barely spoken a word to each other. Next to her was the man she trusted with everything she had. A man who stood firm when the storms were raging and the gales set her ships to unknown anchors. She considered telling him everything. Seek advice, think through things with him echoing her thoughts. But then she would have to tell him everything. Who she’d been and what had brought her here, and for a moment, she almost did start telling him. But then she knew it would be unwise. Miles must know nothing.
“Nervous about tonight?” Miles asked her while they took a small break, looking into her with his loving concern.
“Not if everything goes as planned.” Shannon looked at her friend with eyes that longed to speak. She smiled at him, meeting his gaze. This was a man she knew that in a different world, she would love.
She waited in her room, anxious and nervous. The beautiful grey eyes still hung in specters forged within her eyelids. Blinking made it easier for her to see them, visualize them scanning her and containing her whole. Deep in her mind she knew what he must think of her: a whore, a one night butterfly, and she accepted that. She had gotten used to it for the past year she’d been working for Landon. But something about Liam was different from all the men she’d given pleasure to. For one, he was extremely attractive. And he wasn’t so vulgar and vile about wanting her, and desiring her in his bed. She knew he would treat her right.
In her dreaming mind she believed he really wanted to talk and nothing more. As she took a quick shower, she told her excited self that this young man would see her for what she was, he would love her and he would take her from that place. In her dreaming mind, as she put on her best attire, she told herself he would desire more than fulfilling his lustful needs. In her dreaming mind, as she sat and dried her hair, she told herself that salvation had finally come, and she would be leaving this place soon. Deep in her mind as she sat on her bed, patiently waiting, she knew she was a fool.
A gentle knock on her door woke her from reverie. She got up, stood before the mirror, shuffling her hair, adding last touches to her look. She wanted nothing but to look perfect. She opened the door, and saw the eyes. The eyes so grey they discolored the world.
She moved from the door and lowered her head, signifying Liam to come in. He moved so slowly, and with a nod of his head entered her room, stood in the center, and looked at her with those piercing eyes.
“I hope I am not disturbing you at this time. I am sure you would be tired after your show.” His voice had a rhythm of its own.
“Not at all. I don’t call that a show.” She smiled shyly, barely able to look him in the face.
“May I sit?”
“Of course, I’m sorry, yes. Please do.” She moved to grab him a chair, but he beat her to it, and pulled one himself and sat.
“Lovely place.” He looked around the room, obviously only making conversation.
Butterflies fluttered in Shannon’s stomach. She moved to her bed and sat there.
“Thanks.” She pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear nervously, for Liam was looking at her, and she could not look back. The grey was threatening. It made her ache and long and dream and hope.
He kept looking at her for a few moments, scrutinizing.
“You are probably wondering why I’m here at this very hour.” Shannon was not. Midnight visits were what kept her living.
“I think you are beautiful.” His words were fluid. He spoke as though nothing could hold him back from speaking his mind. Shannon blushed.
“I shall be blunt and cut the heart of things. I am here for a reason.”
He paused, waiting for Shannon to speak. But there was silence.
“And since I don’t believe your beauty should go to waste here in this place…”
Another pause and another silence.
“I have come with a proposal.” His eyes narrowed waiting for her reaction.
“What kind of proposal?” She looked up, and a glimpse of hope shone on her insides.
“Join me.” It seemed as if it was everything he’d wanted to say. A smile flickered on his lips while his eyes squinted. Shannon’s eyes unfocused. This man really intended on helping her.
“Join you? In what? Where?” Eagerness lurking behind the skeptic voice.
Liam took a long gasp. He stood, paced around the room, as though trying to figure out how to formulate the words he was to utter. Then he looked at Shannon.
Shannon looked at Liam, waiting for the right moment to laugh. But his tone, and his expression were dead serious.
“Hard to believe. I realize that.”
He drew a knife from a side pocket. And Shannon’s eyes widened with horror.
She stared at the white blade in his hand as he approached her and instinctively she stood up and drew backwards trying to find her way to the door.
“Shannon, I am immortal, and you can be too.”
The smile never left his beautiful lips as he drew closer, and he stood close to the horrified Shannon.
“You will need convincing.” And he struck the knife inside his own flesh; the white blade penetrated his heart.
Shannon screamed. Her hands covered her eyes. She was shaking and trembling. A man just killed himself before her very eyes. She could not see, she could not feel but the urge to escape the presence of this sickly man.
Something touched her. A hand. She jerked it aside and pushed the man before her and ran for the door.
But he was faster. He grabbed her by the arms, his clutch strong and firm and held her in place. She was trembling when the hypnotic voice of Liam echoed through her room, penetrating her ears.
By that time she was sobbing, trying to break free from Liam’s clutch. The only voice she could mutter was whimpering. She shook uncontrollably as she resisted, flailing and seeking escape, as her eyes began to open for the realization.
The man was unharmed. Liam stood before her with a knife penetrating his heart. There was no blood, and his face unruffled. Her horrified eyes fixed upon the knife she drew a gasp.
“Join me.” He smiled, and Shannon’s vision began to blur, her head began turning and the room closed in on her, her knees gave way and she collapsed on the floor.
[…to be continued]
Read the next chapters of Crudelis here: