Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aviator #3: "In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night..."

Returning to the open window of his apartment after tackling Feuerkraft, Rob stumbled into the bathroom to see to his wounds. His side ached enormously and vicious pain shot down his torso whenever he turned but, after a careful examination, he appeared otherwise intact.

After showering, dressing his wounds and then fixing himself up with a quick sandwich and a beer, he sat down on his couch and turned on the TV. He watched the end of an episode of American Hero - the latest reality/talent show - before the nightly news bulletin. There was a piece about kids going missing across Knight City and then Rob smiled as coverage of the police raid on the warehouse was shown, recorded just a short while ago. Feuerkraft was being hauled out, his wrists fixed in thick restraints and bundled into the back of a large armoured police van.

The news then flicked to something about a breakout at Dunwich Asylum, when there was a knock at the door to his apartment. Putting down the remains of his beer, Rob sauntered over to answer it.

"Yeah, who is it?" he asked lazily, opening the door a fraction.

"Rob? Hi it's, erm, me. I tried to call earlier so I don't know whether you got my message...?" A woman's voice called furtively from the corridor beyond his door. The attractive- though somewhat gothy and dishevelled-looking - owner of the voice kept looking around and behind her anxiously and, for a moment, Rob didn't recognise her.

"Who...?" he wondered aloud until he looked up into her eyes. Briefly, they glimmered a deep flaming red before turning to a sparkling emerald green. How could he forget those eyes?

"Kath? Is that you?" he breathed, his eyes opening wide.

He looked her over again, realising now that she appeared scared and distracted. He closed his open mouth and blinked a few times.

"My god, it is you!" he exclaimed.

The woman outside the door winced slightly and nodded. "Yes, of course it's me. Can I come in Rob?"

"Sure, sure" he quickly replied and, closing the door slightly, he removed the security chain and let the woman inside.

"Thanks, Rob", Kath, said, a little relief breaking across her features as she stepped through the open doorway. She quickly scanned the living area beyond before turning back to Rob.

"Sorry to just drop in on you like this it's just, well, I had nowhere else to go".

"Hey, that's okay", Rob replied, closing the door. "It's good to see you again. Really good. I mean, I haven't seen you since... well, for about 7 years now. How are you?"

She smiled and shrugged but didn't answer. Instead she looked across at the almost empty bottle of beer and asked, "Is there anything to drink in this place?"

"Sure", Rob replied, trying to smooth down his hair. "Do you want a coffee, water, a coke, a...".

"I was thinking of a beer". She pointed towards Rob's bottle and turned to look at him, winking. Smiling, she lowered herself onto the couch, tucked her legs underneath her, and gazed towards the TV.

"Hmmm... okay, yeah".

Still a little shocked, Rob walked over to the kitchen area and opened the fridge. Kathleen Pendergast was back in his apartment. Well, a different apartment now, but still - it was her. He never thought he'd see her again but here she was, looking as gorgeous and wonderful as she did back when they were both at university.

He'd been in his final year when he'd met Kath, a freshman just starting her time at Miskatonic University. She had been so full of energy and vitality on that day, laughing and smiling, that Rob had immediately become smitten with her. And she was beautiful, in a sort of gothic way, with her black hair and dark clothes and make-up. Somehow, he'd managed to overcome his usual reticence in asking out a girl and soon they'd been an item. It was, Rob reflected, one of the brightest times of his life.

They'd been together around 18 months when Kath suddenly changed. She'd sort of disappeared for a few days, probably out travelling or doing some sort of charity work, but when she returned she was different - quiet, sullen, pale. Soon after they'd had an argument and, well, that had been the last he'd seen of her. By that time, he was working at Knight City Pharmaceuticals and when he got back one night he'd found that she'd packed up her things and left.

That had been one of the blackest nights in his life.

Grabbing a cool bottle of beer, Rob closed the fridge and turned to look at his ex-girlfriend sat on the couch. She hardly looked any different than she had that day she had left him. Why was she back? What had she been doing? Did he really care?

Rob walked back into the living area and handed Kath the bottle, noticing that she'd switched off the TV. Kath smiled her thanks and then took a long gulp.

"That's better" she sighed, her eyes momentarily closing in pleasure. She patted the seat of the couch next to her.

Rob sat down, picked up his own bottle and took a sip.

"I'll glad you're back Kath but, erm, what brings you back to Knight City?" He asked the question cautiously, unsure of where to start the conversion and not wanting to upset the woman beside him nor give her any reason to leave.

"Oh, I've actually been back for a while now. But the last place I was in... wasn't right. So wrong". She shuddered and hung her head at this, her dark hair falling over her face. To Rob, she seemed scared.

"And now, me and some friends of mine are out and about", she continued after a moment. "I don't really know anyone else in this city, so I came here. I hope you don't mind, Rob?"

She tilted her head up to look at Rob, her eyes almost hidden by her hair. The red gleam was back in her eyes. Strangely it reminded Rob a little of Feuerkraft's fiery blasts.

"No, of course I don't mind", he stammered. "You said something about some friends?"

"Oh, they're off doing their own things. They won't disturb us". She took another mouthful of beer, her tongue gently licking the lip of the bottle as she finished, and sighed in delight.

"Rob, can I ask a favour? I need somewhere to stay, somewhere... quiet. Can I stay here for a few nights? Please?"

Rob almost choked on the last of his beer but managed to recover. Kath was back and she wanted to stay. With him. Here. Together.

He smiled and nodded eagerly.

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