The Curse of Time: Chapter 2
Raven was jolted out of sleep by her phone which was blasting some strange tune. She silenced it and rolled over, only to hear it buzzing. Continuing to ignore the phone, she had almost dozed back off when it vibrated straight off of her dresser and fell right on her head. Sleepily, Raven flipped her phone open and groaned at the caller.
Aaron laughed at her from the other side of the phone. “Well, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed!”
Raven woke up slightly at the sound of her brother’s voice. “Only because you woke me- What time is it anyways? You really need to figure out the whole time difference thing.”
“I would, but I’m in your house making coffee, so it would be rather pointless. Besides, it’s nine o’clock.”
“Yeah right, how could you be in my house? Did you hack my computer again?”
“Come on down and find out!”
Raven just moaned and hung up on him. She rolled over and checked the time- 9:07 a.m. –and shook her head. Slowly, ever so slowly, she slid out of bed, took a shower, and got dressed. By the time she made it downstairs, it was nearly ten o’clock and the smell of fresh coffee and strange spices filled the house. In fact, it smelled a lot like Egypt.
Seeing Aaron gulping down what was likely his third bowl of cereal, Raven ran over and hugged him. Milk spilled on his shirt, and he yelped in mock annoyance as if he actually cared about how he looked or smelled.
“Hey!” Aaron grinned, “Watch the food!”
“When did you get here? You should have told me you were coming back for a visit.”
“Well,” he swallowed the last bit of cereal, “To put it simply, a ton of ‘top secret’ stuff was going missing at the good ol’ workplace. We were getting blamed for it, but it wasn’t us. Still, we got fired and an investigation got started so me an’ the boss made a hasty retreat.”
“Sounds bad,” Raven was slightly concerned, “but if you didn’t steal the stuff, how come you ran instead of proving your case?”
“Many reasons, including the one where they don’t care about the truth. The boss thought it best if we did our disappearing act. Which reminds me, the boss’ comin’ over for dinner tonight – I hope you didn’t have plans?”
“Ummm…” Raven was a little bit annoyed now, “I actually do have plans. Tell him to try for dinner tomorrow. I’m not cancelling my stuff just because you’re back from Egypt.”
Aaron smiled, nodded his head, and poured himself another bowl of cereal. Raven picked up a bowl and went to join him, only to find that he had finished off every cereal she had but the Raison Bran. YUCK! So she satisfied herself with a granola bar and headed off to class.
That day was long, and seemed to stretch forever. Raven found herself constantly dozing off into another world. While her dreams were somewhat sweet, they left her with a strange sense of foreboding that clung to her throughout the day like a cat clinging to the branch of a tree. She couldn’t shake it, and she was afraid of what would happen when it let go. Raven’s friends didn’t see much of her that day, but when they did see her they all noticed that she looked tired and scared.
As she was walking home that evening, looking forward to sitting down by the TV and watching her favorite movies, Raven tripped on something in the street. There was a strange smell in the air, like something was burning, and when she looked up- something was burning! In fact, the entire street was on fire. People were simply walking around in the blaze as if it were normal and expected, not at all dazed or confused. They smiled and chatted with each other as they went about their business, all while their shoes melted from the heat. At one point, a lady walked right through a wall of flames and shrieked loudly. Raven ran over to help her from certain death, but saw that there were no signs that the woman was even singed. The woman kept shrieking though, and finally cried out “My shoes! Another pair ruined!”
Raven was shocked, and suddenly noticed that her sneakers had begun to melt. She turned around and ran- hoping to find some way out of the city of fire. Almost immediately, she tripped over the same object lying in the road and found herself flung forward and out of the flames. Standing back up shakily, Raven looked behind her and saw nothing. There were no flames, or people. It was just the usual look of a quiet village at night.
Reaching down, Raven picked up the necklace that she had tripped on. It had been caught between two sticks which had stretched it out across the walkway. She looked at it, and then looked around for a possible owner. There was no one. So she tucked it into her pocket and stumbled home. Still smelling of smoke, she stumbled up the stairs and cleaned herself up, but remained unsure of exactly what had happened to her.
When she had dried her hair, she changed into new clothes and was saddened to discover that her favorite pair of jeans was now ruined. She tossed them gently into the trashcan and went downstairs to pop some popcorn and start her movie. In all of the excitement, she had completely forgotten that Aaron was back. Had she remembered, she would possibly have been more prepared; But then again- maybe not.
Sitting at her table, eating her food, and lounging in her chairs were Aaron and Aaron’s boss. That’s right, the one Raven told Aaron not to have over. But nooo, Aaron had to insist he come over anyways. It was a typical Aaron thing to do.
When she came in, they both stood up- Aaron loudly proclaiming that it was about time she came down. Aaron’s boss just stood there, and Raven suddenly realized that she didn’t actually know his name. Actually, all she knew was that he was Aaron’s boss and a good man.
“My name’s Cameron,” He said, extending his hand, “Cameron Black.”
Well that answered that question, but it was kind of an odd name, especially now that she looked at him. His name was closer to the exact opposite of the man standing before her, so she almost thought he was joking at first. Cameron means “Crooked-nose”, and Cameron’s nose was- no joke- the straightest nose Raven had ever seen. From his head to his feet, he was covered in white. His hair was so strangely white that it almost glowed, but it was slightly tinted with shades of blue that looked so natural that she would believe it if her told her they were. While his hair was strange, it was Cameron Black’s eyes that were most unique. They were not quite blue, not quite green, not at all black, and a hint of yellow. That’s right- yellow. As deep and clear as a calm ocean, Cameron’s eyes reflected the light from the lamp until they almost seemed to glow. They were beautiful. Any girl would die for eyes like those. As she returned his handshake, Raven noticed that his hands were covered with black gloves, which were the only dark thing on him. Strangely though, she could almost seem to feel through the gloves and sense that his hands were covered in scars. How could a man so young have so many scars?
Pulling her hand away, Raven sat down without saying any of the million things she had been composing in her head as she entered the room. Maybe it was because of her strange day, or maybe it was just the presence of a guest in her messy home. Or perhaps it was because her mind was suddenly preoccupied by curiosity.
As Raven had sat down, she had felt the brush of a necklace against her skin, but didn’t remember putting it on. She was certain that it was the necklace which she had tripped on, but she didn’t even remember pulling it from her pocket as she had thrown her jeans in the trash. What she did remember was that she couldn’t remember what it looked like. Suddenly, she had a strong and overpowering urge to pull it out and see what it looked like. She put several bites of food into her mouth and swallowed them without ever even knowing what was on her plate while she concentrated on trying to remember the necklace. There was a conversation going on around her, but Raven wasn’t aware of it. She wasn’t aware of anything but the necklace until Cameron repeated his question and Aaron kicked her from under the table.