Monday, 15 February 2010
The night was getting late but still true sleep escaped her. Her body ached with fatigue, nestled in the hollow of the comforting bed, blankets warm and thick tucked 'neath her chin. The darkness swirled and eddied through thoughts barely formed, fading in and out in ghostly images. Fear crept through her bones, and not yet knowing the why, she curled tighter in a ball in the centre of the bed.
Clutching the arm of the stone cold statue, feet grasping purchase on the edge of the wide base, she scanned above the throngs milling about the square. Bleak eyes darted black glances her way, her foreignness palpable, her fear staunchly held in check behind a fierce countenance.
He was late... so very late... and it was so unlike him not to call if something had happened to cause a delay. She'd heard from him well over an hour ago, with words of reassurance that he was on his way to rescue her from mistaken routes.
Lost as she was in this chilled and misty city, ancient landmarks filtered in with new architecture, she'd not paid close attention to the names of the trains and had gotten hopelessly turned around. What area this was, she knew not, only that her presence was stirring the hordes of restless youth and vagabonds to circle round like wild dogs.
Some grinned wickedly at her, taunting with words not fully understood, darting in to touch and grasp. She pressed her back against the statue, his damp and unmoving form protecting the side she could not see and keeping safe the contents of her backpack. In the mist, the dampness soaked through her clothes and into her bones, deep into her bones, like claws gripping tight. Her jaw ached from clenching to prevent the clattering of teeth... to hide the chilled vulnerability as well as her terror. Each contact snagging at her clothing drew a hissing breath and she kicked aimlessly at those who ventured near.
Please... please!!! Where are you??? Please help me! Thoughts staggered through her mind as her eyes scoured the crowd, straining to catch a glimpse of his tall, formidable form but she saw nothing more than disinterested faces or prying eyes.
Several tattooed and pierced faces sprang into her field of vision, toying with her fears, prying at her grip on the arm of her stone cold benefactor. A muffled cry sprang from her as tears bounced down her cheeks to blend in with the rain-soaked cobblestones. She flailed and kicked, making contact and eliciting cries of anger and pain.
A silvery flash caught her peripheral vision but suddenly it clattered to the ground, its owner's hand crushed within the huge fisted grip at the end of a black sleeve.
Just as she whipped her head around to look, an arm slid around her waist, strong in its grip yet tender in its touch. She stiffened at first, then seeing his scarred and familiar face, she allowed herself to be drawn from the niche of the statue into the folds of his long black leather coat. He wrapped the warm leather around her body, holding her shivering form close while glaring balefully at the hooligans as they withdrew. His presence put an immediate stop to their cruel shenanigans and they scattered across the square, blending into oblivion.
His warm gnarled hands gently stroked her damp curls, brushing away the tears and pressing her face to his chest. "Ah hen, I am so sorry. Traffic snarled because of an accident and my mobile died. I couldnae reach you on yours..." He held her in a tight hug, willing away the fear and the tears and the chilled chattering of her teeth.
She drifted off to sleep, the ghost of those arms holding her into the depths of more pleasant dreams...