The guide ushered me through a door and into a small room. Bare white walls made the room feel even smaller than it really was. Against one wall was a couch, currently in use by two people. Against the opposite wall was another couch, this one was also in use. The third wall was boasting a small recliner. I strode towards it as it was the only empty seat. My presence in the room brought the number of occupants to five. Three girls, two sitting on the first couch and giggling and the third sitting with the only other boy. Her shoulder length blond hair gave a hidden look of strawberry red. It could almost be said to say her hair contained fire.
The other boy in the room sat next to fire-hair and cast furtive looks toward her. His close cropped hair was too short to even catch a hint of the color. He seemed to be almost bald. His eyes though cast a quiet look in my direction and there was no mistaking the wispy grey color.
I turned my head toward the giggling girls. The one closest to me wore her earthly colored hair long down her back. Her friend wore her blue dyed hair in short wavy curls. The blue haired girl turned her face for a second and the glimpse of her eyes enchanted me. They seemed to be an exact reflection of the ocean.
They made us wait in the small room for over an hour before anyone came in to check on us. He was a short man with an air about him that stated he was a perfectionist. His clothes were perfectly ironed, his hair perfectly styled, and his glasses at the perfect angle to give him the looks of a smart man. His blue eyes had an intense glare that made you feel like some specimen under a microscope. I instantly disliked him. The smile that cracked his perfectly powdered face reinforced that dislike. The giggling girls smiled back. The rest of us just stared. The other two with a look of study and dislike. Myself, I looked on with disinterest.
Years ago I had schooled myself to conceal all emotion and only let up what I wanted to. This intense schooling brought on a degree of control I hadn't been able to fathom at the time. Now I can force myself to laugh with real glee and to frown with real hatred. Today in the room I kept myself locked tight and looked at him as if he was common, nothing really new, nothing important.
"I am sorry to keep you waiting ladies and gentlemen." His voice sent shivers up the spine. The images it alone inspired were chilling. "I was caught up with some rather talkative women." He smiled. I had a guess at what he was really doing with those women. Well two ideas really. The first was creepy, the second was disgusting. "I am sorry to inform you that you will have to stay in this room for the night. The couches are pull out beds and the recliner, well it reclines. There should be just enough space. Oh, and were you are now is where you will sleep. Women will be in shortly with blankets and pillows." He smiled again and left. The door, although quiet, was loud enough to be thunder in the following silence.
The giggling girls quickly became the bawling girls. Grey eyes glanced at Fire hair and smile. Fire hair shrugged and stood. A look at Grey eyes and he was off the couch. She pulled out the bed and lay down. The bawling girls were holding each other in a death grip. If they didn't choke to death or strangle each other it would be a miracle.
The recliner did indeed recline. It was a rather comfy recliner at that. I snuggled in and closed my eyes. Through hard practice I shut out the crying girls and retreated into a state of calm.
When my eyes opened again the room was quiet. I sat up and looked around. The bawling girls were locked together on their pull out bed. Both of them were breathing. Grey eyes was in the spoon position with Fire hair. Somehow I didn't think she would like to wake up like that. Either she would or Grey eyes would move. I wouldn't interfere. My mental clock told me it was five in the morning. I had fallen asleep last night.
The door opened a crack and a small head peeked in. The light shining in from the hall revealed a perfectly styled head with glasses at the perfect angle on his nose. He was back and was probably going to wake everyone up.
My guess proved accurate. After making sure everyone was still asleep he opened the door completely. A young man walked in with a bugle. Even before he started playing I was up and at attention. It was an ingrained reflex from military school. The creep's eyes widened when he saw I was already up.
The others jumped awake. The girls were actually silent as they stood staring at the door. Grey eyes stood sleepily at the side of the couch. Fire hair stood slowly, turned to Grey eyes, and punched him in the gut.
"If I ever find out that you have laid a hand on me again it will be a lot worse. A lot." When she turned back to the creep she was wearing a smile. "So what's up for this morning?"
"Actually, we will be going for a little walk." His eyes sparkled with lust. A grown man lusting after a sixteen year old. Disgusting. "Come, come." He walked out the door without looking back. The bugler left behind him. One by one we left the room. I was the last out.
Down the hall the creep took a turn. After taking the turn I was lost. No one was in front of me. The hall was totally deserted. Not cool. Silently, I glided down the hall looking down intersecting halls, searching for anyone from my group.
Laughter cascaded from an open door. I entered to find an empty room. One wall was filled with one-way glass. I was on the observing side. And I found my group. They were centered in a circle while the creep gestured to five eggs. Each was a different color. White, brown, orange, green, and black. The last egg wasn't actually black though. It was more of an absence of any other color. A hidden speaker brought the voices to me. The giggling girls were giggling again.
"Each egg represents an element: air, earth, fire, water, and darkness. Each of you will choose an egg. In your care the egg should hatch within a few days. If it does not then we will take the egg back and you will be returned to your life. Any questions?"
"Mr. Anglehart, there are five eggs and four of us."
"Yes, where is that boy. I hope he didn't wander off. It would be rather dangerous if he did. No need to worry, he will be found."
"You mean to tell us that there is another person for our group?"
"Well yes. you met him last night. Jason Freskrum. He slept with you all last night. Do you not remember?"
"No, I don't remember another boy."
I grinned. It was something I had a knack for. If I didn't want to be noticed I could disappear right under your nose. How I did it though is impossible to explain. It is more of a feeling rather than a thought. A thought could influence this knack though. I figured I had been away long enough.
A door next to the one-way mirror allowed me entrance.
"I want the black one. The one for darkness. I think it tends to suit me more than any of you." Eyes widened at my entrance. "Anyone going to disagree with me? No? Well, thanks." I walked to the black egg and caressed it.
A tingling sensation filled my hand. Removing my hand from the egg removed the sensation too. The egg wasn't smooth or rough. If I didn't know it was a real substance I would say it was just a force pressing against my hand. I stroked the egg some more. Yes, most definitely a force of some kind. Inside the egg shadows moved. A clawed hand pressed against the force opposite of mine.
"Mr. Freskrum I believe you missed something important. In order to gain care of an egg you must be willing to sacrifice something should the egg hatch. Each egg has its price. The one chosen will cost you your eyes."
My mind reeled in shock. My eyes, no more than that, my sight would be gone. I would be unable to see. My world be as dark as the object in the egg. To gain an egg of darkness I would have to live in darkness. Love filled me. This feeling had an odd tinge. I turned in upon myself to discover why I was feeling love. The egg. The egg was sending me feelings of love. It was alive and feeling. It was sending its own feelings to me. In the bask of its love the loss of sight seemed inconsequential.
"Then so be it."
Where was the light? Why couldn't I see? What happened to me?! Memories came back to me. Being led to a surgery room, seeing the implements to remove my eyes, the gas mask. This was my payment.
It was an odd experience to wake up and not be able to see your surroundings. I had once heard that when you lose one sense your others become keener in an attempt to make up for the emptiness. It was true. The rough blankets surrounding me were roughly rubbing my hands, my tongue felt thick with the aftertaste of the gas, sterility wafted into my nose, and my ears could pick up the hush of feet walking through a corridor.