I had somehow willed myself out of that black abyss and back onto the earth plane. I stood up in my bed, hyperventilating and sweating bullets. I promptly decided I was no longer interested in attempting to fall asleep again. There was no telling what could happen next. I immediately jumped out of my covers and ran to the bathroom, flicked the lights on and quickly inspected my neck. If it wasn’t for the silvery, raised line at my carotid, you’d never know it was there. I traced along the scar with my finger just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but it was inevitable. The encounter with the dark, mysterious dude had truly transpired, and there was no doubt about it. I took a long, steamy, hot shower and proceeded with my daily preparation routine for school. Except it was only 5am. I tried not to make too much noise and wake up my parents. I didn’t want to worry my mom. I couldn’t care less about my dad. I couldn’t find anything else to do, since I didn’t have to be out of the house until seven thirty to catch the bus for school, so I plopped myself onto the bed and started reading my Vampire Academy book. How appropriate. I shrugged at the thought and proceeded to read. It was my last attempt at feeling like a normal human being, by spending a few moments of ordinary meaningless girl time. I tried to convince myself further into denial as I flipped through the pages. The truth is that the storyline had begun to lose its luster, since my life was now veering further and further away from reality as we know it. Hell, I could write a book on my own life! I mentally laughed at the irony as the words I kept reading diminished my interest. I decided I had enough fairytales for one day, and slammed the book shut. It was still only six forty five, so I opted to take a walk. As I walked I realized that my cell phone was still on vibrating mode. As I clicked to change the sound settings, I realized I had three missed calls and a voicemail. I didn’t recognize the number, so I dialed my voicemail to retrieve my message. My heart lit up when I heard it was Wilma’s sweet voice calling me to let me know the apartment was mine. I was so happy. This was going to mark a new chapter in my new life away from Jen and Tom. I was so excited, I almost forgot how early it was when I was about to dial her number to accept the offer. I whispered a little prayer to God and Helios, thanking them for the good news that I badly needed right now. I was going to go to my apartment after school and start packing everything as soon as possible, and give my notice of leave to the landlord. I trotted around the neighborhood gleefully. Yes, like a gleeful geek. Weirdly enough, as I looked up at the sky, I noticed silver light lining the cloud above me like an aura. I wondered if I was hallucinating with joy, or whether I was actually seeing it. It was the same silver lining I had seen before. Who says God doesn’t get humor? I smiled to myself as I continued to stare up at the cloud, as its lining grew brighter and brighter. Funny, because the sun had just risen in the east, and as directionally challenged as I am, even I could see that this cloud was clearly on the west. There was no possible way it could have been the sun peaking from behind it. Something told me that Helios was ‘behind’ it all, no pun intended. Ya, I’m a dork. As I continued to bask in the light of this moment (ok, I’m pushing it), I made my way to the bus stop. I figured I could use some extra time to myself on completing some assignments ahead of time. As I saw the bus approaching, I popped in my headphones and braced myself for whatever glorious adventure the Hamilton Street Railway had in store for me today. Just as the thought skimmed my brain, a gothic coupled plopped down in the seat in front of me. A lesbian gothic couple no less, with matching dyed, blue-black hair, and pasty cake make-up. One girl was tall and lanky with stringy hair, and her naturally blond roots peaking through made her appear to be balding. The other was quite her opposite. Short and stubby, with short, full hair, cut into an odd asymmetrical, futuristic-looking bob. They were fully attired in black, with charcoal rings around their eyes and seemed to be attached at the hips. They locked hands and cuddled all the way until the bus arrived at their stop in front of Jackson Square. The dark duo was then very quickly substituted with a morbidly obese man who appeared to have been mingling with swine. He smelled like it too. Uck. His long hair was knotted and greasy, and his eyes were crusty with sleep. Yum. Let’s not even get started on his clothing. And I use the term loosely. His poor excuse for a t-shirt was filthy with each square meter claimed by some unidentified smear. It was ensembled with a pair of ripped flood-jeans, and was likewise patched with multitudes of crud stains. To top off the look, there were a variety of palate-curdling stenches that accompanied him. I couldn’t quite distinguish each individually, but I could clearly isolate that of urine, B.O, and beer. How appetizing. I discreetly pulled the sleeve of my sweater down and clenched my nose with the fabric. Mmm. God Bless fabric softener. Luckily, he waddled his way to the back of the bus, far enough for his stench to fade away with him. I wondered where he was going this early in the morning. I allowed my thoughts to wander off nosily into anything that was irrelevant to my life at the moment. Then, I tried to dwell on the mundane things like the fact that I was going to move into Wilma’s apartment. The thought of it made my heart race with anticipation. I must have been in a daze for quite some time, because when the bus arrived to Mohawk College, the driver had to give me a little holler to get my attention. “Hey there, this is your stop Miss. Yoo hoo! “
“Oh… sorry. I’m not fully awake yet” I remarked shyly, as I gripped my books harder and rose from my seat, swinging my back pack over my right shoulder.
“You’ve been kinda zoned lately dear! Try to get enough sleep. It ain’t gonna help your marks much otherwise” he advised me gingerly.
“Yeah, I’ve been really busy lately, but I’ll take your advice” I concurred as I quickly trotted down the bus steps. I headed straight for the Tim Horton’s for a steaming cup of liquid energy, and scooted over to the library. I decided I’d start with biology and I skimmed through the pages of the text book to where my unfinished homework was. I was so absorbed into my work that I didn’t even realize that Tom had been standing right in front of me. Shit. “Hey, uh, Jaz. Listen, before you say anything or leave, I just want you to know I never wanted to hurt you and that I care about you. A lot”. I signed, and then slapped my textbook shut and begun rising out of my seat. Before I could fully stand, he extended his arm towards me and then hesitated.
“I...I don’t want to hurt you. Please Jen and me... I mean, there is no Jen and me. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. I... I’m not with her, and –“
“Ya, I’ve heard enough. It hasn’t exactly been a joyride for me, and newsflash Einsten, it’s all your fault!” He squinted at my last syllable, as if I had aimed a dart straight for his heart. “You have all the right to feel that way Jaz. I can’t… I can’t even justify what happened. All I know is that something came over me. It’s gonna sound stupid and crazy, but it was as if I was… drugged of something…” The word stung like pins and needles down my spine. For the shadow of an instant, I reminisced of the dark, mysterious dude that kept appearing in my dreams, or rather transported me to his dimension, or vampire cove, or wherever the fuck he took me. The thought merely trickled through my mind and quickly disappeared. I was enraged as I flung past him, not the least bit concerned with how hard my back pack slammed into him in the process. “Jaz” he called after me “I – I just want you to hear me out for one minute!” he continued to follow behind me as he rubbed the arm that my backpack had violated. “Jaz!” he grabbed my arm from behind me in a final attempt to get my attention.
“Do. Not. Touch. Me” I fumed.
“Just hear me out, and I’ll leave you alone. Promise”
“Make it quick. Time is ticking”.
“That night, at the club, something weird happened. I don’t know how to explain it, but, ever since I took a sip from that drink that dude got us, I-“
“Wait, what drink?” I interrupted.
“Some British guy. He was following Jen around and he offered her a drink. I bumped into her on the way to the bathroom and she introduced me to him. He seemed pretty cool. We got to chatting a bit and he offered me a drink. Everything went weird after that. It was like the whole place got…warped” he scrunched up his face in a confused gesture, and looked away from me a he explained himself. It was as if he was trying to figure it out and actually convince himself of what happened. “It was really freaky, and since that night, I’ve totally sworn off drinking”.
“Well, congratulations! And as ‘warped’ a it was” I stammered as I made finger quotations around the word warped, “you sure seemed to be enjoying yourself, swapping slobber with Jen”
“Look Jaz, I know. It was like I didn’t have any control. It was all so weird. One minute she was talking to this British guy, then-“
“Wait” I raised my hand in his face “what did this British guy look like?”
“What? I dunno. He was kinda tall with black hair and really pale skin”.
My heart sunk. I could almost hear it splat at the pit of my gut. My skin went cold all over, and my palms got all clammy.
“You… don’t look so good. Are you aright Jaz?” his eyes were glazed over as if he was going to cry.
“Um. No, I just thought I had seen him before. I mean, I’m fine. “
“Buzz, that’s what his name was. The guy”.
“Oh, I guess it’s not him after all” I collected myself. Even if it was truly him, it wasn’t like I could exactly explain who he was to Tom. Yah, look I occasionally get transported into some other dimension when I go sleep, and some demonic, vamp-like dude, like the guy you described, sucks my blood, and tries to seduce me. Umm. Something tells me that wouldn’t go over very well.
“Anyways” he continued, she was so into him and before I knew it, we were both in the stall, and well, you know the rest”
“Ya, you can spare me the details. It was revolting enough the first time” I said with the look of pure disgust on my face. “It was like I was in a trance. Jen says… she says she can’t explain it either” he looked at the floor, and swung his leg back and forth with his hands in his pockets, like a shy, little ten year old who’s about to be scolded. “You know some things happen for a reason Tom” I said resigned.
“No, Jaz, it’s not like that, I-“
“Tom, don’t waste your time. What’s done is done and we can’t change that now. Just let it go.”
“But, I don’t want to let you go” his eyes got all watery, and his bottom lip quivered.
“We can’t always get what we want” my eyes held his for a long moment. “Just let it be. I’ll work on not hating you in the meantime, but you need to give me some space”. He just looked at me with anguish in his eyes, and with a look of pure defeat, he turned on his heal and slowly walked away. I caught a glimpse of his profile as he turned around, and tried to hide the tears that streamed down his face. He couldn’t bear to say another word. I actually felt really sorry for him just then, despite his betrayal and the pain he put me through. Although, I couldn’t shake that strange twinge in my gut that kept telling me something was terribly wrong. I mean, yeah, my boyfriend caught cheating with my best friend was wrong enough as it was, but this feeling kept nudging me to think that something evil was lurking. I just sat at my locker to complete the last two questions of my assignment, when an even weirder phenomenon nearly knocked my socks off. The words in my text book were literally glowing. But, only certain words and letters. They were distinct enough for me to realize that they had been illuminated to deliver me a message. I scrolled down the page to try to make sense of it all, and transferred the letters to another piece of paper to decode what read:
Beware the evil that surrounds you Erebus is near.
Ok. So now what? Who or what was Erebus? I mean, it’s cool and all being a supernatural Goddess with the ability to travel through different dimensions, but the mystery that comes with the package is not all it’s cracked up to be. Or, at least not as I’d imagined it to be. So as I picked up the pieces of whatever sanity I had left, I lugged my rump back to the library. I quickly logged on to the computer and looked up ‘Erebus’ on Google. To my astonishment, the words brought a very cold shiver down my spine, and raised goose bumps all over my body. ‘God of darkness’ and ‘Deep darkness or shadow’ came up numerous times. A term used in Greek mythology. The definition just confirmed that Helios was trying to warn me of some type of danger in code form. This was much more powerful than that words that lit the screen. What I was living wasn’t exactly a myth. This was all too real, and there was no escaping it. I went to class and tried to continue my diary duties as a normal human being, and pushed the incident as far back in my mind as I could. But I knew that sooner or later, the powerful reality of what I had just learned was going to catch up to me.