That was the night that my world fell apart. Before it all happened, I was an ordinary girl living a mundane life. I thought about boys, of course. I also thought about school, life, and my future in general. I don’t know what caused the series of events that changed my existence, but it wasn’t something I could have predicted or planned for. Why did something like this have to happen to me? I wasn’t unique in any way; I had no skill in sports, and I was no smarter than the next girl. In fact, I was about the most ordinary, everyday girl you could ever meet.
That night, I sat on a bench in the middle of an empty park. My mother worked nights, so I used the convenient lack of parenting to visit my favorite spot to obtain peace and quiet. I was reading a romance novel about a vampire who fell in love with a girl. You know, something unique and original that has never been done before. The girl had just realized the man was a vampire, and he was racing to save her from another psychopathic vampire who wanted her dead. Certainly, this novel would win story of the year.
The lights lining the street path flickered; that was the first thing that caught my eye and caused me to glance up from my book. The second was a sudden cracking boom in the distance. It shook the ground beneath my feet ever so slightly. I would have missed the flickering purple light between the gaps in the trees if I hadn’t already been staring in that direction.
I stood up, as if in a trance, and began walking towards the sounds and lights, dropping the book as I went. As I took my first step off the paved pathway, another boom echoed through the trees and I saw another flickering light off in the distance. I continued to work my way through the forest, drawn ever closer to the noise like a bug to a light. Soon, I could start to hear voices coming through a break in the trees.
“Just give up, you cannot win!” shouted a steady and self-assured voice.
“The hell I can’t!” another voice filled with anger and malice shouted back.
The familiar boom came in response, and I continued forward. The danger of the situation should have been obvious to me. I knew that whatever was happening, I should be running in the exact opposite direction. I knew that; yet, I was compelled to continue forward.
I found myself stepping into a small clearing hidden deep within the park. The lights from the street had become obscured and the stars and moon were all that lit the clearing. At first, the space in front of me appeared as empty and desolate as the rest of the park. Then another loud bang and the purple light flashed from the depth of the other side of the clearing, causing me to duck behind a bush.
A form flew out from the forest. A young man seemed to have been blown back by some unseen force. He twisted in midair and landed in some kind of fighting stance without making a noise, his muscular arms flexing. I impulsively took a step forward and a twig snapped under my foot. The young man twisted to assess the situation, and I gasped at the sight of his face.
I recognized him. He was a boy in my school named Andrew. However, he was not just any boy; he was the most attractive boy at school. He had a chiseled face and his body was muscular and mouthwatering at the same time. His rich blue eyes seemed to almost glow in the darkness and his blonde hair was styled with perfection, even in the midst of whatever fight he was in right now. He wore a simple t-shirt and jeans that had various slashes and splashes of dirt on them. I could see the outline of his chiseled pecs and broad shoulders, even in the weak lighting. He had not identified me yet, the series of bushes obscuring his vision. I took a step forward to gain a better look. Andrew turned back to watch the forest in the opposite direction cautiously with his body lowered
A large, lumbering monster took a step out into the clearing. Andrew’s eyes locked onto the beast, but instead of fleeing in terror as I was too frozen to do, he started moving towards the monster without reserve. Was this the creature he had been battling? Was Andrew some kind of Power Ranger? I hadn’t known our town for being the center of any giant Kaiju battles.
Their steady steps turned into a full sprint toward each other. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t get my voice to work. Andrew did not turn away. He met the creature head-on. It slashed down on him, its massive fist ready to crush Andrew’s skull. I wanted to stop what was about to happen. I wanted to save him, but I could barely move or think. I was clearly imagining things. I had fallen asleep on the bench while reading that fiction and now I was having a dream. It was just a bad dream.
Andrew dodged the thing with ease, then drew his arm up and a sword of fire appeared as if from nowhere. A single slash tore the animal in half. When the swing stopped, the sword flickered and disappeared, as if it only existed while he was swinging it. The creature looked around, confused for a second and then the animal split in two, both halves sliding to the ground. On second thought, I had told my mother those mushrooms she bought at the farmer’s market looked suspicious. This must be a drug-induced hallucination. I was having a bad high.
As I upgraded my delusions from dreams to hallucinations, what remained of the creature disappeared in a puff of dark black smoke without leaving a single drop of blood. Andrew stood up straighter, looking more relaxed with the creature now gone. Another light exploded from the forest, but it came from behind Andrew this time. Whatever had been shooting fire was not the beast in question.
“Watch out, Andrew!” I shouted a moment too late, reaching out.
Without looking back, Andrew leapt out of the way of the fireball with an elegant backflip. However, my shout must have distracted him as he nearly missed the landing, his eyes snapping in my direction with a complete look of surprise. Before I could think to say anything else, another purple flame shot off from the same location as the last. It took me a second to realize it was directed at me. I shouted out as the fireball erupted around me. This was it; this was my end. First some kind of demon beast, and now me.
A large force grabbed me and pushed. I flew down to the ground, hitting the dirt with an uncomfortable thud. The large muscular being began to grab at me and I struggled, fighting against its hands. I didn’t know what to think. Maybe the fire was intelligent and wanted to violate me. The heck if my first time was going to be from fire. I knew my thoughts didn’t make sense, but nothing did at this point.
“Will you stop?” whispered a concerned voice.
It was a familiar voice, calm and reassuring. I opened my eyes to see blue sparkling ones in front of me. Andrew was on top of me, his face pressed close to mine.
“Quiet,” he shushed me, grabbing my hand and pulling me up.
Within a second, he had dragged me back behind the bush. He wrapped his arms around me and held me protectively from behind, the pair of us sitting in the darkness. It was kind of nice and I wondered if he was single. Then I berated myself for having such a stupid thought right now.
His breath tickled my ears; it smelled of vanilla. His chest pressed against my back, his heavy breathing slowed to a rhythmic pulse. It took another moment to realize that he was listening for something. There was a cracking of boots, the sound menacingly coming towards us. His arms tightened around me, as if trying to shield me from any harm. I held my breath as the boots stopped on the other side of the bush behind which we were hiding.
There was a loud curse, and the boots stomped off in another direction. Andrew held me for a moment longer, then loosened his grip. He pulled away and, though I wanted to remain in his arms, I regretfully let him. He looked me up and down.
“You’re all red; did he hurt you?” Andrew seemed concerned.
No, you idiot; I’m red because you’ve been rubbing up against me for the last five minutes with your rock-hard bod, I thought.
Regardless, why did he care about my safety? I’m just a nobody in his class. He has never once acknowledged me before today.
“Wait; I know you, don’t I?” he asked, a small, reassuring smile appearing on his face.
That smile made my heart leap. It was full of innocence, respect, and care. I almost forgave him for putting my life in mortal danger. It was a smile you could wake up to every morning for the rest of your life. I wanted to say something in response, but I just didn’t seem to be able to find the words to do so. Suddenly, there was a large noise from a short distance away. Andrew grabbed my hand, the look of concern back on his face.
“We’ll speak again, but right now you need to leave. It is too dangerous tonight; just leave and keep running. I will keep him focused on me. Now… go!”
He pulled me to my feet and gave me a small push, then began jogging in the opposite direction. I glared back at him. How dare he tell me what to do? Who did he think he was, getting all comfy with me under a bush and then running off? Well, I wasn’t going to move an inch, not one inch.
Another blast of purple flame struck a tree a few feet away. With a creak, it came crashing down to the ground. Alright, you win this round; I’ll leave. However, it’s not because of your angelic voice, ripped body, and good boy routine. Not one bit. I could hear Andrew shouting in the distance, but I just kept running. I was confused; the only thing in my head was that I needed to do what he told me. That and the warmth of his abs. I ran until I burst through my front door. Numb and exhausted, I fell into my bed. This was a dream, I kept telling myself it was a dream. Stupid bad mushrooms, all I had to do was wake up.