You wake up with a jolt. The air is crisp and smells of dead leaves and spun sugar. The ground beneath you is cold, and all you can hear are crickets and your own breath. Slowly, you sit up, fatigued and bewildered.
A rolling green mist floods the area around you, engulfing you in it's odd brightness. You sit there in awe for a moment, shocked by this strange cloud-like light. A shadowy silhouette catches your eye and strides forward.
"Hello there." the man greets. He is tall and fully dressed in black. He wears a top hat over equally black hair, and his eyes are piercing blue.
"My name is Edward Mordrake. Might you have heard of me?"
You shake your head.
"Ah, I see. Well, I have been summoned here tonight and it is my intention to bring someone back with me." He pauses for some time, gazing intently at you with an air of curiosity.
"I apologize for staring. You are not what I was expecting in a place such as this. Please, tell me your name."
Nervously, you give him your name and he smiles.
"Charmed. If you wouldn't mind, I would like to know your story."
He sits beside you and removes his top hat.
"I want you to tell me your deepest pains. I want to know the dustiest corners of your very soul."
You give him a puzzled look as he grins.
"Fear not. There is no shame here. All of us have had our fair share of tragedies."
Suddenly, a ghostly troop of freaks appear around him. A bloated corpse of a woman, a lanky, ghastly man, along with various other abnormal phantoms. Their pale, glowing faces all begin to stare at you, not ominously, but gently. They almost seemed to beckon you to join them. Just as soon as they had arrived, they disappeared.
Edward Mordrake's eyes search your face, lingering on your lips.
"What is yours?"
Hesitantly, you tell him of your darkest secrets. The agony seems to pour out of you now, telling him of your scars, your past failures, your insecurity, your guilt. Everything comes out at once, uncontrollably. Meanwhile, he silently listens and watches with his brows furrowed with concentration and compassion. He is engrossed in your words, studying your every feature. His eyes look straight through you, as though analyzing your every memory, every thought, every part of your soul.
Normally, you would never tell your life story to some stranger, but something about this apparition invoked trust. Something attracted you to him, as though you've known him for centuries; the way his pale eyes searched yours, you knew there was some otherworldly connection, the way his voice seemed to echo through your rib cage, the way his presence filled your lungs and made you wonder if you had ever truly breathed at all.
When you are finished confessing, the two of you sit in the quiet of the moment. A barely audible murmuring comes from the back of his head. He mumbles a argument with it, and you can hardly make out what he is speaking of.
He then reaches out a hand and places it on top of yours.
"You are a strong, brave soul. Enchanting…"
Your cheeks grow hot.
"I truly feel for you." he continued. "Your story has touched me greatly, but…I'm afraid you are not the one I am looking for tonight. In this case, it's for the best. I do believe you have great potential of a long, happy life, despite the challenges you have faced."
You ask him if you can return with him anyways.
"No, my dear, you deserve far better. Although I thoroughly enjoy your company, you belong here for now, to live out the rest of your days and make the most of it. Everyday I wish I could have those blessings. Please, take advantage of them while you still can."
You understand and thank him for listening to you anyways. He nods.
Still touching your hand, he rises, looking down upon you with a soft expression.
"I am no longer a man, so my fate now cannot be changed. But I can't help but wonder how my life could have been if I had met you."
You smile, and he beams at you with longing. He grabs your hand and helps you to your feet as the two of you hover just inches away from each other's face.
"I can see the beauty of you, inside and out, and I admire it deeply. Even if for a moment, my mind is quiet when I am beside you. I wish I had known you before I…"
By impulse, you pull him closer and kiss him. Your lips begins to tingle, as though they were falling asleep. He strokes your back, your bodies pressed closely together.
He sighs into your hair. "I must go. Maybe we'll meet again some day."
The two of you hold in a tight embrace for moments longer until he reluctantly pulls away and puts his hat back on his head.
You breathe out an unwilling goodbye, and he vanishes before you.
The green mist dissolves into the air and you are left back in the darkness. The stars glimmer strangely, and the moon is fuller than you've ever remembered.