Crack! He turned around. Someone is here. Uninvited. Isaiah left the key in the lock. He scanned the corridor of his new apartment. It was dark. Quietly, he started to move, grabbed an umbrella and held it like a baseball bat. Crack! The intruder made a move. Isaiah descried a silhouette, hiding. He ran towards it. Then BAM!! Everything went black. When he regained consciousness, he felt himself sitting down. His vision was blur. He looked around, trying to define where he was. He could see the shape of a TV screen. As he blinked more often, his view became clearer. He was in his living room. In his couch. What the hell? He looked to his right. In the armchair was his assailant. Calm and immobile. It was a man. Isaiah couldn’t see his face; he was wearing a hoody that covered his head. Under it, was a shirt with some stain of dark things on. Isaiah noticed the inside of the stranger’s sweater. It was the kind he liked: fluffy, soft and warm. The intruder wore jeans with some Van’s on. At his feet, there was a backpack half-full. Isaiah put his look back on his guest’s face. Now, he could see the light in his eyes. He was staring at him. Isaiah felt scared and pressured by his look. He tried not to look away. It took him everything. A sweat was sliding on his temps. Slowly, he felt the liquid coming to his cheek, down to his chin. He swallowed his saliva. As soon as he found the courage to finally say something, his assailant pulled back his hoody. Isaiah could now see clearly who he was. He had dark hair. They were long as he didn’t cut them for almost a year or so. His eyes were determined. But to do what? He had a small scar above his left eyebrow. A little bit like a certain wizard, except for the shape of it. Suddenly, the intruder’s lips cracked the seriousness of his attitude. He was smiling. It took Isaiah a moment to realize it. They stared at each other for a while. Then it struck him. ‘James!?’ Isaiah said. A rush of adrenaline exploded from his chest. He sat straight, his eyes wide open. His heart skipped a beat. James brought his forefinger to his lips. He stood up and walked to the window. He glanced outside then looked back at Isaiah. The late one was still in shock. He hasn’t seen him for a year, now. He looked tired and unhealthy. ‘James… What happened to you?’ he whispered, as James came back to his seat. Before Isaiah could say another word, his old friend started to talk. ‘Let me tell you a story’, he said. ‘You are free to believe me or not. It all started two years ago…’
A cold day. Winter just started but everyone was already in their biggest and warmest coats. They were all shivering. Well, they looked like it, or maybe it was my entire body that was trembling, including my eyes. The snow was sticking to the ground, making it slippery for any cars. A truck was coming in front of me. The driver was focused on his radio. A young boy crossed the street with his mother. The driver did see them at some point, but a little too late. He hit the break. The tires stopped moving and slid for a hundred meters. I ran as soon as I saw the truck coming. I ran as fast as I could. The boy was in the middle of the road, her mother a little behind. I passed next to her, bend my body to reach the boy and jumped. I tackled him to get him out of danger. I put one hand on the back of his head to protect him. I landed on my back. The truck kept sliding after passing us to finally stop without hurting anyone. Everyone gathered around us. The mother’s boy held him so tight in her arms. She looked at me and nodded as to thank me. I smiled at her, then turned my head to the imprudent driver. I stood up, helped by few passant, and walked towards him. As I arrived closer, the driver opened his door and stepped out, terrified. Speechless. I approached him to make sure he was alright physically. A young man walked to the little boy and his mother. Determined to do something bad. I watched him. He pulled his shirt on to take a gun out of his pants. As soon as I saw the shiny machine, I ran, trying to stop him. I jumped on his back. We fell on the ground. The gun slid on the snow, away from us. I jumped on the assailant, punched him as hard as I could. Once. Twice. As I prepared my arm to hit his face for the third time, he hit me. I got destabilized and fell, giving him the chance to run away. I stood up. I watched him leave, without his gun. He looked back to the boy and his mother before vanishing in the darkness of a street. The picture of the crazy young man stuck to my head. He had short red hair. Green eyes. A small scar above his lips. He seemed to be twenty or twenty-one. White. Maybe British. He was trained: his punch was strong as if he repeated that move over and over. He was around five feet tall. I looked at the mother and her son. She stared at me. Intensively. I got closer to them. She walked closer to me with her son besides her. ‘Are you alright?’ She nodded. We shared a look. It seemed like she wanted to add something but hesitated. ‘Are you sure?’ I insisted. She gazed around. ‘I need your help.’ She finally said. I was confused about what was about to happen. I noticed a familial restaurant behind her. I pointed her the place and we sat at a table inside. A long silent imposed itself. When she decided to break it, she told me about her son. Ethan. He was the love of her life. He was everything to her. He was her precious. She couldn’t lose him. At any cost. That’s why she decided at his birth to disappear and hide until he was old and strong enough to confront his destiny. I didn’t understand a word she was saying.
She continued by telling that he was a target. A target to the young adult I fought a little earlier. His name: Eden. He found their traces six years ago. It was his first attempt of killing Ethan. His mother managed to stop Eden before it was too late. They escaped. For months, the mother could afford a roof in different cities for a couple of weeks for her child. But the money started to become rare. Thankfully, she had families and friends she could count on. They stayed for a while hidden at her closest cousin. They were safe. At least, that’s what she thought. No one noticed their presence in the house and nobody was after them. They lived in peace. But it didn’t last long. After a year and a half, Eden showed up at the doorstep. The mother’s cousin attacked him to protect his family, but he wasn’t strong enough. Ethan’s mother took him and ran as fast and far as she could, to save what was left of her cousin’s family. They escaped in the subway, found refuge amongst the homeless under a bridge. The following days, they headed north to visit one of her closest friend. He welcomed them for two years. Until Eden found them again. Eden killed her friend before aiming for Ethan and his mother. The late one knocked him out with a vase. Once again, they escaped death. As she called another friend to find shelter, she saw the police hanging out at her friend’s house. Pictures of the living room with the silhouette of the owner drawn on the floor were showed by the journalist. She was scared. Months passed. They found a roof now and there, leaving a pile of bodies behind them. Federal police found out a common point to all of the victims. Them.
They managed to stay in the shadow until that day. I listened to her story. Her unbelievable story. I was about to ask her why they were purchased by a teenager. She took a moment before answering as if the reason was terrifying. When she found in herself the courage to talk, a noise of breaking glass could be heard. Suddenly, the mother fell from her chair. Blood splatters painted the table. The boy screamed at his mother. He kneeled next to her. He shook her up, trying to wake her. I pushed him down to protect him from the bullets. When it stopped, I dragged him in the kitchen. I looked at him. His eyes were wet, his nose flowed freely. I stared at him. He stared at me.
What could I do? Only two things: keep him alive and figure out why he was the target of a killer.
To be continued