The evening was nearing its close. Twilight shrouded the world in a misty
translucency, worse for distinguishing surroundings than the inkiness that
would follow shortly. Tombs melted into each other, crisp edifices blurred
by the hour - and it was quiet, deathly so. The sole of his boots sounded
out the only movement in the cemetery as Richie Ryan made his subdued way
to his destination. The silence was a little eerie, he was absolutely
alone here, but then, that's how the young man had wanted it. He'd sat on
his bike and watched the last car drive away, and even then he'd waited for
it's roar to die into nothing before moving from his position.
He was visiting a friend, and the things he told her, he didn't want the
rest of the world to hear. He still told Tessa things that he wouldn't
even tell Mac. Things from his childhood, times from the recent past, his
feelings, his hopes, his dreams, his nightmares, and she listened, she'd
always listened, quiet, calm, trying to understand what could sometimes
reduce a grown man to tears. The only thing was now that she couldn't
offer her advice, well not directly, but sometimes the young man swore she
was helping him sort things out by himself.
"Hi Tess!" he breathed as he stopped in front of the gravestone.
He tried not to be sad here, to leave the grief in that first memory of
waking after the shooting, and to use this place to remember the good
times. Yet, somehow, there was always a glistening over his bright eyes as
he smiled in greeting and laid a single bloom out of his clenched palm.
Richie stayed crouched by the headstone, his hand rested on the cold
surface over his offering, staring at the soft, off-white petals a moment,
composing his thoughts. He knew he didn't have to vocalise them, but they
made more sense to him if he did.
"I miss you," he began quietly with a sigh, "you'd have made things better
between Mac and me. Oh, we're fine now, getting along again, but things
have changed so much. I wish you'd been there, more for him than for me,
he needs you. I know he's got Amanda, but the way they are together,
that's Us, Immortals, not the way he was with you. We're all so damn.." he
groped for the word, "..flighty. Forever's too long, no commitment. I
'spose that's what I really wanna talk about - I've met someone, she's like
Us, Immortal, I mean. Her name's Altea. You would not believe us if you
saw us, we're not what you'd call matched," the young man laughed shortly
and gazed at the sky as it struck him just how unusual the relationship was
for him. "I've changed a lot," he worded the thought that entered his head,
"even a couple of months ago I'd have dropped Altea like a hot potato.
We're both hot tempered, and maybe I should have walked away, but there's
something about her. She's angry, defensive, difficult to live with, but
at the same time, she's so vulnerable and she can be so tender. Most of
the time I wonder if she needs me at all? She treats men like they're sub-
human. Then she'll look at me and that goes away. Then she's attractive,
sexy, charming, funny, wonderful to be with. I don't understand it - I
think we've even surprised Mac by lasting more than a week already," he
laughed again, lightly this time, the joy and mystification of his
relationship with the unusual young woman all over his face.
However, his features straightened again as a familiar stirring in his
being distracted him from his next sentence. Richie climbed to his full
height and scanned the immediate area, now he was harassed by the hour he
had selected. He couldn't see a body close by, but even as the influence
on him settled his senses went into overdrive, trying to locate the source
of the Immortal call. Shadows moulded into each other, turning the
cemetery into the wash of greys of a drab water-colour.
The young man was alert now; this was holy ground, and instinct stopped
him from reaching for his sword, but the presence of his own kind
disturbing his peace annoyed him.
"Who's there?" he called, his tone disgruntledly cold.
The response was anything but coherent. Richie's eyes widened in surprise
and horror as a scream as shrill as a banshee's wail assaulted his ears and
a small mass of darkness came charging at him from the shadows. A blade
announced itself as it reflected the little light that was left, but the
young Immortal's reaction's were hampered by the nightmare that accosted
him. He watched, halfway between shock and disbelief as the razor's edge
arced towards him.