She hurriedly ran up the dingy staircase, taking them two at a time. Reaching the to she glared into infinite darkness. Stretched out before her was an immense hallway lined with dozens of doors on either side. As her eyes adjusted she began slowly moving towards the first door.
As quietly as possible, she attempted to turn the knob but found it locked. She tried door after door, moving diagonally through the corridor.
About halfway up the hall she came upon an unlocked door. This door was noticeably different than the others. The metal of the handle was cooler and shinier, yet the huge maple doors were exuding an intense heat. Though she felt uneasy about going inside, she reasoned it to be safer than wandering around the corridor. Silently, cautiously, she opened the door.
The first thing she noticed was the stuffiness of the room. The hallway had been cool and breezy as if all the windows had been left open on a cool morning. This room, however, felt as though it hadn’t been opened in years. She shut the door behind her, a light at the other end of the room appeared. Glancing around she inched slowly forward, towards the light. As she got closer, she noticed the light was coming from a candle. A little further an old armchair became visible. Finally reaching the feeble wooden table on which the candle rested, she turned and realized the room behind her was fully illuminated. Confused, she turned back and was startled to see a man sitting in the old armchair.
Without thinking, she grabbed the heavy brass candle holder and moved to strike the man. Her attack was in vain for he had knocked it from her hands, across the room, and had her arms restrained behind her back before she knew what had happened.”It’s alright Raine. I’m not here to hurt you.””What did you call me?”
The man loosened his grip and spoke softly, his mouth inches from her ear.
“I know you don’t remember me, or yourself for that matter, but I am here to help you.”
“Why should I believe you?”
“What choice do you have?”
Sensing her relax he cautiously released his hold. He left her standing opposite the armchair to get a small metal stool in the corner of the room. Offering Raine the comfy chair, he took his seat on the stool facing her and beckoned her to sit. With some uncertainty Raine collapsed into the chair and, finally realizing her exhaustion, leaned her head back and closed her eyes.
* * *
I remember nothing of then. Then I was me – but still, someone else. That person was strong, she was fierce. Lavender and scarlet silk brushed together, invading my mind. He was scarlet. I can’t see him anymore. Who is he?
* * *
When she reopened her eyes, Raine was suddenly overwhelmed at the change in the room. What had once been a dank, empty space was now filled with three large oak tables and four huge bookcases. The tables were set up vertically in the center of the room. The first was covered with the most mouthwatering food and wine she had ever seen. The second was littered with looked like hundreds of dresses, pants, exotic costumes, shirts, shoes, and hats. The third, perhaps most appealing, was stocked with weapons of every kind – swords, knives, guns, bombs, throwing stars, fighting staves, etc – and very elaborate types of armor. The four bookcases were lined against the walls, two on each side and all overflowing with books, scrolls, and manuscripts.
Suddenly filled with an insatiable hunger, Raine stood up and briskly waked to the first table to pour herself a cup of wine. As she raised it to her perched lips, Raine paused a moment, considering the possibility that the food was poisoned. While she pondered, the mysterious man appeared. Sensing her apprehension, he walked to the table, stood opposite Raine, poured a glass from the same jug, paused a moment, and drank deeply.
“I promise…you are safe here.”
Taking this as a sign of good faith, Raine drank and ate her fill while the stranger sat and watched silently.
When she finished, Raine returned to the armchair to comfortable digest her food and likewise the man returned to his stool facing her. After a brief pause, Raine looked up asked the question that had been burning in her throat since she’d walked in on him the night before.
“Who are you?”
“A friend,” he said seeing her irritation rise at his cryptic answer.
“Ok,” said she with growing agitation. “Then can you tell me your name?”
He thought for a moment. Then, smiling slightly, he said, “Ananias.”