I don't own the characters, the places, or anything really, I'm just borrowing them. Please don't sue me, I have nothing you want.
Thanks to everyone who added my story to their favourite and/or follow list. It means a lot.
And to those who also took the time to review, thank you so much! It's always great to hear what people think about the story.
This chapter was inspired by a NaNoWriMo prompt to add a ninja attack to get the word count up, so it may seem a little out of place but I hope you stick with it because a familiar face might be appearing soon :-)
**** Chapter Two ****
A girl stands alone in an empty room. The walls are white and wooden; a rectangular mirror hangs askew upon the wall in front of her.
The girl looks into that mirror; brown hair falling in a slight wave down her face and shoulders. Her face appears saddened; her brown eyes full of emotion. A single teardrop trails down her cheek.
Only her head and shoulders can be seen clearly; her body engulfed in a hazy cloud. The room, however, appears clear and vivid.
Emily opened her eyes, staying still for a few moments to digest the details of the dream. She smiled as she traced the contours of the girls face in her mind. The sadness in her eyes, the shape of her lips, the little curve at the end of her nose, and the little scar above her right eyebrow.
Although there had been a girl in the previous dreams, she was always viewed from the back or side. Emily could tell that it was the same girl even although she had never observed her face in detail.
Despite not knowing who the girl was or where she was from, there seemed to be a familiarity to her which Emily couldn't place. She also couldn't place the feelings she was getting thinking about the face of the girl in the mirror.
Hauling herself out of bed, Emily walked over to her desk drawer, pulling out coloured pencils and a sketchbook.
Her artist materials probably left a lot to be desired but she never claimed to be an artist. Emily hadn't asked to have these dreams. She just knew that she had to get the details down and stored, maybe try to piece the parts together one day.
She glanced at the clock on the desk, eyelids dropping with exhaustion. The drawing was almost finished but she wasn't satisfied, unable to express all that she seen in that face. All that... Emily searched for a word... "Beauty".
She looked down at her sketch. The girl was definitely beautiful. Her face so young and pure, skin flawless, but her eyes... Her eyes seemed to contain the secrets to the universe. Emily thought you could get lost so deeply in them, you could swim in there.
"That can't be right," she said quietly, looking at the clock. 5am. She had to get up in an hour. Emily had checked the time when she woke from the dream... that was 2 hours ago. An hour spent drawing the girl and an hour spent sitting, staring mesmerised, sinking in the girl's eyes.
Sighing, Emily scribbled the date and time at the foot of the sketch and decided on a name. "The Girl in the Mirror" was pencilled at the top of the sketch.
Running her hands over the drawing, she took in the details of the girl for a final time. Pulling out her iPhone, she took a photo and sent it to Hanna.
Shutting the sketchbook in her drawer, Emily went back to sleep.
Since Hanna had agreed to help make sense of the dreams, Emily felt a lot of the burden lift. There were days where the dreams still entered her mind, but with the knowledge that she was not dealing with them alone, she was able to stop zoning out as much.
Slowly, the importance of the dreams seemed to fade.
In the month that passed after dreaming of the girl in the mirror, Emily only had a few more dreams. She dreamt of the forest, but did not sketch anything. It appeared to be the same forest from the previous dreams and there did not appear to be any new information.
Hanna had met up with Emily on several occasions after work. They would go to the local bar, despite Emily's protests.
Hanna would coax her into drinking more vodka than she should, and they would end up staggering home. If Emily did dream, she couldn't remember when she woke up.
Eventually, Emily came to her senses and tried to stop drowning her thoughts with alcohol. She was more focused at work and seemed to be returning to her usual self, before the stress of the dreams had started.
Emily had just finished a quiet shift at the Rear Window Brew, her boss Zach leaving her in charge for the day while he was out of town meeting new suppliers. Emily was rather impressed that he trusted her again to work and lock up on her own. The other staff members had went home earlier, leaving Emily to do the inventory and final clean up for the day.
Making her way out of the cafe, she struggled to see clearly now the nights had gotten darker and she fumbled with the key in the lock. The wind had increased and was howling through the nearby trees making their leaves rustle. A shiver ran down Emily's spine as she pulled her jacket tighter for comfort. She'd have to look out her winter clothes soon.
After checking the door to ensure the cafe was securely locked, Emily turned away from the Rear Window Brew and glanced at her surroundings; good old Rosewood. It hadn't changed for as long as she could remember. She cast her eyes over the doll store across the street. The chipped paint faded from years of neglect, the red "A" still hanging from the shop name sign. She was amazed that letter hadn't fallen down yet.
Emily had decided not to take the car today, preferring to walk some days to get some fresh air and extra exercise. Crossing the street, she started to walk down an alleyway. The wind howling through the alley spooked her slightly and she picked up her pace a little, eager to get to the other side.
Since Emily was a kid, she had ran or walked fast through this innocent alley. Nothing ever happened but she always got a weird feeling walking through it at night.
Something snapped behind her, causing her to catch a breath in her throat and spin round. The darkness preventing her from seeing into the shadows of the alleyway. Probably a cat Em, get a grip.
Turning back in the direction she was headed, Emily increased her walking pace.
Footsteps? Getting faster? Emily glanced round again, now convinced she was going insane. She started to slowly jog as she felt the footsteps get louder, faster, nearer. Suddenly a hand was round her mouth and waist and she was being pulled further into the shadows.
The wind was knocked out of her as she slammed into the wall, a hooded figure looming above her holding a gloved hand over her mouth. Emily let out a whimper as she frantically looked around the deserted alley.
Rosewood was not that big; maybe she could push them away and try to scream. Someone would hear her, surely?
But there was nobody around; it was late at night, and she was frozen in fear.
Emily looked at the hooded figure, desperate to see something she could identify. They loosened their grip on her mouth, leading her to breathe again.
"What do you want?" she muttered through their gloved hand.
Before they had a chance to respond, Emily's head was smacked sideways into the wall, a force pushing against her mouth as the hooded person was knocked sideways, the air escaping them in a heavy moan.
Someone else was there.
Emily sank down against the wall, no longer able to support herself. A high pitched ringing started in her ears, and her vision was blurry from impact. She struggled to focus on the two figures battling in the shadows.
The newcomer appeared slightly shorter than the hooded figure, and with a slimmer build. They were packing punches at the hooded figure's stomach.
The hooded figure eventually doubled over as a result of the constant punching they were receiving. As they went down, they stuck their foot out to trip the newcomer but they recovered their footing quickly. Suddenly, the hooded figure turned and ran towards the end of the alley leading Emily to frown in confusion as she tried to process what was happening.
The other person remained in the close, watching the back of hooded figure closing in on the end of the alleyway.
When they were out of sight, the newcomer turned towards Emily, who tried to take in their shape and appearance - she wanted to know who had saved her from whatever would have happened.
They stepped closer, out of the shadows but were still masked by the darkness. Emily thought they were wearing a hat, but she couldn't see much detail through her blurred vision. Their low voice crackled slightly as they spoke to Emily, a feminine softness visible.
"Are you hurt?"
Emily shook her head in response, immediately regretting the fast movement. She moaned as her vision blurred again, and raised her hand to feel her scalp. There was no blood but she could sense a bump forming. It'll hurt worse in the morning.
A gasp escaped from Emily's lips as she felt another hand move beside hers, their fingers touching the sore spot on her head.
She gasped again at the heat in that touch, causing the stranger to pull their hand away.
Emily grabbed their hand, causing surprise to the other person. She searched in the darkness, trying to see their face.
"No... Thank you. You saved my life."
The stranger said nothing, but looked around the alleyway.
"Who are you?"
The stranger pulled back their hand and stood up, "I need to go. Get home safe."
With that, they turned and ran from Emily, and the darkness of the alley.
"Mom..." Emily muttered as she staggered into her house. She had made it home, slowly and unsurely as her vision gradually returned to normal.
"Emily?" Her mom walked from the kitchen, "Honey, what's wrong? What happened?"
Without waiting on an answer, Pam had taken Emily by the arm and was leading her through to the kitchen table and helping her to sit on one of the chairs. She poured a glass of water and placed it on the table in front of Emily, taking a seat across from her.
Taking a sip of the water and a deep breath, Emily tried to explain what happened.
"Someone attacked me in the alley."
Seeing the look of shock appear on her mums' face, Emily quickly added more information.
"They just pushed me against the wall. Someone hit them from the side and punched them until they ran off."
Pam got off her chair and crossed to the phone hanging on the wall, "I'll call the police."
"Why on earth not?"
"I can't even describe them. It was too dark to see. All I know was that one was tall with a hoody on and the other was smaller. A man and a woman I think."
"Honey we need to report it. It might happen again, and the superhero might not be there to protect everyone."
Emily put her hand to her head, her mum suddenly realising that she hadn't checked to see if Emily had been hurt.
Pam moved over and felt Emily's head, who winced at the touch. "Wow Emily, you hit your head hard. We should get it checked out."
Before Emily could protest, her mom had her jacket on and had her car keys in her hand, "Come on. I'm taking you to the hospital."
Rosewood Infirmary was a massive white building, which always smelled of sick old people. Emily hated it there, but her mom had insisted that she get her head checked out, and when Pam Fields had made a decision, nothing Emily could do would change her mind.
Stepping out of the Jeep and closing the door; Emily looked up at the hospital. She would rather be anywhere else in the world.
Walking through the front door into the reception of the emergency area, Emily took a seat while her mom went to the desk and spoke to the receptionist. As it was quiet, Emily was taken almost instantly.
The verdict: She was fine. Yeah, she'd have a lump on her head for a while but there was no concussion or anything to worry about.
The police were at the hospital, and Pam Fields being Pam Fields had innocently went to get a coffee and came back with two police officers. Emily was questioned about the attack and explained all she could, which was not a lot. Two people in black with no remarkable features, probably a man and a woman. At least her mom would be able to relax now, with the authorities involved.
Emily hated the authorities, ever since her friend Alison had been murdered. She felt the authorities were always looking at her strangely and she never trusted them fully.
That night Emily had a dream, the first for a while. She was in that dark alleyway and the hooded figure was there, bashing her head into the wall again. She felt the pain smash through her skull, instantly waking her up. Bolting upright and screaming out, Emily realised she was breathing rapidly and her eyes were blurry with tears.
Her mom was in the room almost instantly, wrapping her arms around her and rocking her back and forth. "It's okay Emmy; nobody can get you here. You're safe. It's okay."
She hugged her mom back, "I know... I'm okay."
The following night was the same. This time when she woke, she did not scream out. Sitting in her dark bedroom with her eyes closed, she tried to calm her breathing as memories of her rescuer came back to her.
There was not a lot of detail as it was all darkness and shadows, but she was drawn to this person. She wanted to know who they were and why they had saved her. Why hadn't they showed her who they were, why had they ran away before she could thank them properly... why had they left her there alone and ran off?
Sitting on her bed, her eyes moved to her wardrobe, the door glinting in the moonlight which crept in below her curtains. Walking over and opening the wardrobe, she looked at the hip flask sitting on the shelf in front of her.
Taking the flask in her hands, she opened the lid and took a gulp, moaning as the liquid burned her throat.
She took another gulp, and another.
She started to cry.
Returning to her bed, she lay on her side and curled up into a ball, her hands round her legs, hugging them to her chest.
She lay there, looking at a patch on her wall level to her eyes. A salty tear drifting down her cheek, tickling her on the way down.
Eventually she fell asleep.
Emily began throwing herself into her work, never being alone during the day to allow herself to think about things.
She met with Hanna most nights. Even if it was just sitting in Hanna's room doing their own thing, knowing that there was someone else there was comforting enough for her.
She couldn't bring herself to walk home through the alleyway again and instead took a longer route at nights, or drove to work to avoid walking altogether.
Occasionally a customer would come to the Rear Window Brew who seemed a similar build or height to the mysterious rescuer. Emily would study their face and try to make a connection.
In truth, she had no idea what build or height the stranger had been. The visions of that night had been slowly fading.
Emily finally accepted that she would probably never know who that person was, and she would have to be fine with that.