Hertfordshire, April, 1987
I sat up in bed screaming in the middle of the night. This happens most nights and there is usually a solid reason for it. I never scream as a rule not even at a Duran Duran concert. Not my style so this is a pretty weird thing for me to do. It isn’t like I am in control of it or anything. I am asleep and I just wake up doing it. Embarrassing really. I’m not afraid. I’ve learned to recognise it as a kind of early warning system bit like the four-minute warning.
I am usually having a dream about someone coming into my room to attack me or something. I wish I dreamt about Simon Le Bon or John Taylor from Duran Duran coming in instead but I never have any luck there. I never see who it is. It’s like they are invisible but I can really feel they are there even though I am asleep. They stand next to me and then they touch me. Makes my skin crawl. I can’t move, my heart pounds and then I sit up eyes wide awake and scream. Sometimes I see lights around me of all different colours, dots of red, blue and white. I’ve only seen black lights during the day obviously. Don’t like them for some reason. But in the last few years I have seen faces, shadows and even full on people standing in my room and around me outside when I am awake. I try to ignore them but they get in my face and it’s hard not to see them. Suppose I’m getting used to them. Not sure I have a choice.
Since I’ve turned seventeen and started doing my A-levels, it isn’t just lights, faces, shadows and people I see but strange creatures. Everyone thinks I am a weirdo because I made a mistake telling them what I saw once. I’ll never do that again. No one comes near me now. I am just a joke at school. I hate that place. Wish Mum & Dad had sent me to an ordinary school and not a posh private one. I don’t seem to fit in there or anywhere. All sounds crazy, I know. I don’t know why I see them I just do. I have been seeing strange stuff since about six. Yeah and I also feel everything. If you feel crap or scared and don’t even tell me I will know. I just will.
There was something different about that night. I expected my Mum to come running in like she always did but nothing. She was still in the Studio at the bottom of the grounds of the house taking her frustration out on a new painting. She’s Lucinda Driscoll, famous for her impressionist paintings. Her stuff is usually full of people acting like happy clappers and Captain Sensible at Weddings and places. Too unreal for my tastes. It’s like she doesn’t want to see the world for what it really is with all its lies and illusions. But lately she has been dabbling in the dark side. She’s been painting men that look like criminals. All harsh lines and black backgrounds. It’s kinda cool. She says she wants to show the cruelty of men and the secrets they hide. Think she is trying to exorcise her anger at my Dad. He’s the film star, James Driscoll. You know the one who starred in Mann’s World with Stacy Wilde. He’s going for the Oscar flick now. He left after a row the same night. Mum found him in bed with his new co-star in a hotel earlier in the day. Apparently, she’s a right bimbo. Dad usually goes for them.
He breezed out past me slamming the door just before the paint brushes Mum threw at him in the kitchen reached him. He left for LA on the first plane out and I haven’t heard anything from him since. It’s the third indiscretion, that’s what Mum likes to call them. Beats me why she bothers with him. He’s my Dad and I might love him but he is still a pig.
Guess she still had her Walkman on full blast. When I checked on her an hour ago before going to bed she was on her second bottle of wine painting like a mad woman, splashing paint everywhere. The guy emerging on the canvas looked more like a demon version of my Dad. Not sure it is going to be her best work but hey if it does the job and makes her feel better who am I to judge.
I pinned my body back against the headboard when a flash of white light filled the room making me gulp. Streaks of light from the moonlight coming in between the blinds on my windows overlooking the garden were shimmering at the bottom of the room. I kept my dressing table, drawers & HI FI stack there. This weird shimmering grew making my Duran Duran, Aha, Spandau Ballet and Richard Gere in American Gigolo posters look funny behind it. A mixture of adrenaline and acute anxiety spiked. I am an anxious person but this was really strong. I hadn’t felt this kind of anxiety since last week and I’d never wanted to feel it again. Craig Knight and a couple of his friends cornered me in the small closed off courtyard at the back of the school where I always go to draw. No one else goes there and I can escape in my mind. They did it for a dare. They wanted to see what it would be like for the most popular twat in the school to snog the weirdo. He grabbed a hold of me and pushed me against the wall while the rest of them laughed and urged him on. He was so strong I couldn’t get away. He slobbered all over me as I squealed. Then they urged him to go further. He laughed and obliged.
Next thing I knew I was on the ground underneath him and he was straddling my body with his hand up my school uniform skirt. More boys and a couple of girls came to watch. Bitches. They always had it in for me. They all stood looking down at me laughing. So humiliating. I wanted to scream but like I said, not my style so I fought like a tiger. Little good it did me but at least I tried. I wasn’t going out with a fight and letting him win. He undid his belt and trousers ready to rape me and then it happened.
This blue light shot out of me from my chest and stomach. Next thing I knew, Craig was being lifted up by it and thrown across the courtyard to land against the opposite wall. Wow, I couldn’t believe it. I stood up and everyone took a step back from me. They all looked terrified. I was shaking like a leaf. Craig was getting up after sliding down the wall swearing at me. He came towards me at speed and it happened again. Some of the girls screamed and ran past Mr Charles, one of the teachers who came to see what the hell was going on. He stopped the rest of us from leaving.
No one mentioned the blue light when we were questioned by the police on my Mum’s insistence. Craig and the two boys, Mark and Tyron were all instantly expelled and facing attempted rape charges. I just wanted to crawl out of there and never face anyone again. My Mum and Dad haven’t let me return to school yet. Craig and the other two have disappeared, running away vowing to get me back. Now there is a bloody police car outside the gates keeping guard. I wish this had never happened. I wish I wasn’t this person. Maybe then everyone would like me more. It’s so cold being lonely.
So back in my room, my heart was thudding so much I thought it might burst. I knew something was taking form at the bottom of my bed. The distorted light started forming into distinct transparent shapes. They started to move towards the bed. I wanted to run but I couldn’t move. It felt like I was paralysed. I couldn’t even open my mouth. As they did the transparency warmed and they took full physical form. There were green! Like lizards but human. Flat heads with long noses, bulbous black eyes on the side, scales all over their bodies with long yellow talons on their hands and feet. Hideous things. But that’s not the worst of it. Long pink fork tongues came out of their mouths every time they hissed and spoke in some weird language. The sound of it made me feel sick. Their tall shapes kept leaning over me and having a conversation. I wanted to shout to Mum but I knew she wouldn’t hear me.
These tunic clothed things were armed as well with some kind of weapon. Like something I’ve seen on TV before. I think they call it a Bo. That guy in the tv series Monkey has one. I loved that show as a younger kid. I kept trying to work out what they were going to do. They just kept talking and prodding me. One of them did it so hard, I yelped. It was good really because it made me move. I had to get the hell out of there before they decided to go further or worse.
Big mistake. The minute I moved one of the things caught hold of my hair and pulled me off the bed. I landed on my carpet hard. Before I could move again that horrible tongue poked out and lashed wetly against my neck. I really couldn’t move after that or even speak. At the same time an image flashed vividly in my mind. It was of a tall man. He couldn’t have been that much older than myself. Maybe a few years, twenty or twenty-one. I couldn’t see much of him because he was dressed in a long black coat with a hood. It looked more like a cape. I saw him walking across the road to the gate as though I were there. He had the most gorgeous ice blue eyes I have ever seen. He walked across the road, past the police car undetected. The gates just seemed to open for him. He walked straight up to the front door and raised his hand to it. Open sesame again. As he stepped inside the hallway and mounted the stairs to the first floor where my bedroom was, I finally got to see his face. Wow he was so handsome. I’ve never seen a boy or a man that good looking before. The only real way to describe him is as beautiful. His pale smooth skin had no imperfections. His features were aristocratic, regal, finely chiselled as though by a sculptor. He was so damn hot with muscles and all. I could see strands of blonde hair. He was so much more attractive than Val Kilmer, one of my favourite stars. I met him once when Dad took me to a shoot in Hollywood.
I didn’t just see his long booted legs mount the stairs, I felt every move he made as though he were somehow connected to me, part of me. I couldn’t explain it. You have to remember at this point, I didn’t know whether he was another intruder meaning to harm me or someone to help. But somehow, I felt relieved he was finally here, as if I knew him. Then I remembered I’d seen him before, in my dreams. God, I didn’t know if I’d imagined him.
I got distracted after that because the reptiles had obviously come to a decision about what to do with me. Out the top of their weapons a long blade suddenly appeared. The one in the middle immediately lowered the knife to my throat and spoke again to the others.
I felt his powerful warrior like presence sweep through the doorway lit by the moonlight before I actually saw it. So, he was real. He was really here. The Reptiles hadn’t sensed it yet and the middle one made some intelligible announcement before raising the knife to swipe it across my throat. Inside I cried out. I was going to die. Then he spoke in their language, fluently, no hesitation making the one ready to take my throat out stop dead in his tracks. They turned except the one in the middle who answered him and raised the knife again. The man swept back his cape coat to reveal a long sword sheathed at his side in a sling around his lean athletic figure at the hips. He drew it quickly and moved across the room so fast he disappeared. He didn’t reappear until I saw his sword clash with the Bo underneath so hard it raised the blade to the ceiling and up out of the Reptilian’s hands.
I stared as the Lizard men rushed forward to tackle my gorgeous rescuer. He made short work of despatching the creature with his sword, slicing it clean through its middle. He spun around fast. In the process his hood fell back over his shoulders allowing the most beautiful silky ash blonde hair spill out down over his shoulders to just past his chest. Wow. It was nearly white blonde and seemed to glow. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The blade cut through the reptile again and he fell dead at the man’s feet dropping his Bo. The second and third were already coming at him. He propelled the lizard upwards into the air and against the wall with his hand, discharging a charge of blue light just like the one I had seen coming from my body when Craig tried to rape me for fun. The man lowered his body and turned swiftly to kick the lizard’s legs out with an expertly aimed kick. It was brilliant to watch. Impressively, it sent the slimy reptile into the opposite wall ripping my Richard Gere poster. Shame but it was cool. The creature slid down the wall and sank down hard on top of the Hi Fi stack and squashed it flat.
The stranger moved at lightning speed. He gripped the third Reptilian by the throat to raise him into the air and then backwards with a thud on the floor at the same the time as sending another fierce charge of light at the reptile he had initially thrown at the wall who came towards him again. The creature fell backwards on the floor. This time the light consumed his body sweeping up and down his form burning and disintegrating it. The Reptile’s scream was loud piercing making me wish I was able to cover my ears. It made my blood curdle. Why the hell was my Mum not hearing this? Then I had that weird feeling I sometimes get when I see this supernatural stuff. Maybe this wasn’t real. Just a dream? I couldn’t tell for a moment. It just seemed too incredible to be happening.
One of the reptile’s came at the man hard and knocked the sword from his hand. My rescuer snatched one of the Lizard men’s Bo as the two came at him. Turning his body, he twisted the Bo fast in his hands with expertise before bending to avoid the attack of one to hit it hard into the stomach of the other. At the same time the reptile gave a loud cry. Blue light travelled down the Bo and consumed his body. This time he fell dead. Every move the blonde young man made was precise, expert. He immediately raised his body and struck the Bo across the head of the final Reptile. It staggered back dazed holding the man’s sword. The stranger dropped the Bo and snatched his sword away from the lizard. He quickly lifted the weapon and brought it down across the reptile’s neck removing his head from his shoulders as though he was slicing butter. I scrunched my eyes closed expecting to be covered in blood and not wanting to see.
Thank God I didn’t feel anything splash on my face. That made me open my eyes. I stared shocked when I saw that the first reptile to die had already disappeared. There was no trace of him. The man stood regally over the second two bodies watching as they sunk inwards and disintegrated into ash before dissolving. I tried to move again but it was useless. I felt my heart beat fast again when the man slowly turned his head to look at me with an imperious expression. He strode towards me making me whimper as I attempted to move my body again.
He lowered himself onto his haunches and swept his eyes over my body clothed in my silk PJ’s.
“You are younger than I expected,” he said tilting his head to one side as if he was confused or something. His voice was kinda of sexy, aloof, English like my own but as if he belonged to the Victorian era. Hot.
I would’ve asked him what he was talking about but I couldn’t speak.
Then he enigmatically outstretched his arms to either side lifting his cloak majestically as he did so, taking my breath away. He slipped his arms underneath me and lifted me up into his arms. I didn’t know where to look. I know I was blushing because my cheeks were warm. He didn’t appear to care as he carried me back to the bed and carefully laid me on top of it.
“The paralysis will wear off soon. It is how the Reptilian race stun their prey before an attack. You must sleep.” He pulled the covers over me and gently tucked them around me. His face was so close to mine for a minute I thought he was going to kiss me when he leaned closer and studied my face. He said ever so softly, “You are very beautiful. More than I expected in a mate. Come to me, Clara. It is time. I have waited patiently for you for a long time. But now the wait must end.” Mate? He wasn’t just talking about being friends.
He leaned forward, even more close. I looked up into those blue eyes. The colour was so vivid against his pale smooth perfect skin and felt transfixed. What did he mean by mate? Not that I wasn’t interested or anything but the way he spoke it sounded like he considered me as his. Like it was fate. Then it happened. He did it. Kissed me on the top of my forehead. His lips were cool, soft as velvet, possessive as they lingered.
He straightened and backed away from me and turned as though to move through an invisible door in the fabric of reality and just disappeared leaving me alone unable to get the image of the moment out of my mind. I could still feel the brush of his lips as if he was still there. Why did he have to leave just like that?
A couple of minutes later I felt the feeling in my body return. I sat up panting wondering whether it had all been some strange dream and had not really happened. I put the lamp at the side of the bed on. I hadn’t dreamt anything. It was all true. The room was a mess. There was green slime up two of the walls and my Richard Gere poster was torn in two and my Hi Fi stack was done for.
I threw the covers off and retrieved my art folder from under the bed. I didn’t want my Mum seeing all of my artwork. These drawings were of my dreams, my visions and the characters I wanted them to be private. I suppose I didn’t want to share them. They were special to me. I flung it open on the bed. I had at least twenty drawings of characters and worlds I had seen for the last three years. There were at least ten of the young man who had saved me from the lizard men. I’d gotten everything down to the last detail correct and even captured his beautiful pale face and blue eyes. I picked up another drawing of a bleak dark winter landscape, an apocalyptic vision of London in the future after the bomb was dropped and world war three had occurred. Somehow, I knew the two were linked and that it wouldn’t be the last time I saw the blonde man.
This is a publishing partner title, published by Wild Girl Publishing.