Angelica had had this dream a dozen times before. A dream in which she was running through a green forest, its branches and grass wet, the sun peeking through the leaves as if trying to learn her secrets, the dead sticks under her bare feet creating cuts on her delicate skin, the leaves under her crunching louder and louder as she leapt in between the silent trees. The leaves a silent whisper. The animals nonexistent. The forest was other-worldly yet it seemed almost familiar to the girl, the smell of wet grass and nature comforting to her. So why was she running? She was running away from the dangerous beauty behind her. For if she lay her eyes upon the thing she'd be trapped within the dream forever, an endless maze of beauty yet horror-
Angelica awoke with a sudden gasp and analysed her surroundings with wide eyes, her heart beating loudly within her chest, so loudly that she feared the thing in her dream would hear it and come for her. No, Angelica thought as she reassured herself, it was only a dream. Just another dream. A dream that was the only dream that haunted her every sleeping moment. Angelica let out a shuddering breath and downed the cool glass of water, that sat on her bedside table, as she tried her best not to think too much about her dream. However, try as she might she simply couldn't think of anything else-
"Angelica ", a soft voice whispered from the girl's door. Her heart thundered loudly as she snapped her head towards her bedroom door and let out a sigh of relief upon realising who was standing in her doorway. " Oh Jack, you almost gave me a heart attack", Angelica said as she threw a pillow at him, "don't ever do that again you idiot!". Jack chuckled and caught the pillow with ease, almost as if he had sensed it before she had thrown it at him. " I am deeply sorry milady", Jack drawled with a smile as he mockingly bowed, " next time I hear you screaming as if you've been murdered, I'll just not worry about you and continue on with my slumber. " Angelica roller her eyes at him and hoped he couldn't see her in the dim light as she slightly blushed. That idiot handsome gentleman, Angelica thought before asking him, "I screamed? Why would I scream?".
" I don't know, you tell me," Jack replied in a worried voice as he sat on the foot of her bed, the mattress sinking slightly. The smell of rain and trees immediately filled her nose and she tried to resist the urge to get closer to him. "Well," she said, "I've been having these horrible dreams ever since... Ever since you and I began living together," her brown eyes met his unnaturally golden ones, "ever since I met you."
Jack didn't seem the slightest taken aback at this and only questioned further, "and what happened in those dreams Angelica?". Angelica almost purred as her name rolled off his tongue.
" In these dreams, I... I'm running through this forest and it's so quiet that it should be scary. But I find it comforting. But there's this... thing chasing me."
"And what does this thing look like Angelica?". Angelica could've sworn she heard a hint of urgency within his voice bit decided to ignore it and met his eyes, now a fiery gold. Maybe she hadn't imagined it. Or maybe it was 3am and she needed sleep. " I-I don't remember what the thing looks like... but I do remember being afraid of it."
"Hmm... well if you do remember what this... thing looks like, please do tell me," Jack cleared his voice, "of course, that is if you feel comfortable enough to tell me."
"O-of course, I always feel comfortable enough to tell you," she laid back down in her now damp sheets, " but it's probably nothing Jack, honestly, its probably just another dream-" Angelica was cut off when Jack intertwined their fingers together. Oh his hands were warm. Angelica looked into Jack's eyes, confused before he said quietly, "no Angelica, don't ever say that. A dream is a dream; no dream is less important that another dream. No dream is simply 'another dream'", and with that Jack walked out of her room, leaving a bewildered Angelica, his warmth and scent still lingering...
" Ugh my head feels like it's been hit by bricks," Angelica groaned as she sat down at her work table. Lysandra, her friend, looked towards her and rolled her eyes as she asked, " been having those strange dreams again?". Angelica nodded her head in response and switched on her computer as she narrated last night's incident to her friend. "Hmm," Lysandra said thoughtfully, "your roomie sounds hot but... there's something strange about that guy."
"I'm sure it's nothing, he just seemed really worried and concerned," Angelica smiled to herself, "it was super sweet of him." The other girl rolled her brown eyes heavenward again before muttered something under her breath that sounded like "someone's in love". Angelica's cheek reddened with embarrassment and excused herself to get some breakfast. The smell of toasted bread, fried eggs and crispy bacon filled the girl's nose and the heavenly scent travelled all the way into Angelica's stomach, causing it to grumble loudly with hunger. Angelica reddened once again when heads turned towards her, searching for the sound. She bowed her head low, her brown hair becoming a curtain that his her face and made her way hurriedly back to her seat, with a plate filled with breakfast in her hand. Lysandra looked over Angelica's shoulder as she eyed her food, her mouth instantly watering, " mmm, that looks yum." Angelica dug into her eggs first and gave an agreeing, enthusiastic nod. Despite her hunger, Angelica couldn't finish all the food that she had packed onto her plate and gave the rest to her hungry friend, who gladly finished off the rest of Angelica's leftovers. After downing a mug of warm tea, Angelica gave one look at her computer and gave a silent groan before being consumed by the hours and hours of her work...
Angelica yawned loudly as she entered her apartment and tossed her bag onto the kitchen counter before flinging herself onto the red couch. She moaned at its softness as every inch of her body began to relax. Before she knew it, sleep had pulled her into its arms and she was once again trapped within the horrible, yet strange dream. She was running through that damp forest again, away from the thing. The same as always. But then the terrified girl remembered Jack's words: if you do remember what this... thing looks like, please do tell me. Angelica dared herself to look back at the thing and what she saw caused her to stop dead in her tracks. It wasn't a thing. It was someone. A someone with fiery golden eyes- Angelica woke up, her breathing heavy and she scanned her surroundings once again. It was night now. Damn, Angelica thought as she massaged the throbbing pain that had started in her head, was I really that tired? That was when she saw Jack sitting beside her, fully consumed by his book that was yellowing in some areas and ripped in others. Angelica tried not to cringe at the state of it. Then she remembered her dream... the thing... no not thing... someone. Someone who I know very well, Angelica thought grimly, and that someone is the someone who is currently sitting on my couch reading a horrible-looking book. As if reading her thoughts, Jack looked towards her and smiled gently at her, "hey sleepyhead, you look like you've seen a ghost," he said with a knowing smile. Too knowing.
"Were you dreaming again?", he asked tentatively, his golden eyes a mixture of worry and something that Angelica couldn't quite identify. Angelica smiled back hesitantly at the other boy and nodded, "yep, the same dang dream."
"Did you... see that thing? What it looked like?".
" Yeah," she replied in a quiet voice. Jack put his large hand on Angelica's shoulder, causing the girl to jump slightly. Jack frowned, "is something wrong? Do you remember what the thing looked like?".
" You ", she answered, her eyes steel as she stared deeply into the other boy's soul, searching.
Jack placed a hand upon his heart and asked, "me? The thing looked like me?".
" Yes you Jack," Angelica replied in a hushed, icy tone. After calming herself down, she quietly continued, "I... I don't know what it means though Jack. Usually I wouldn't think anything about it except that... you reacted very weirdly the other night," Angelica breathed out before asking, "so... could you... explain?". Jack remained silent, his face blank Even the traffic outside was silent, as if also waiting for an explanation. As if the whole world knew but her. Angelica was about to get up when Jack held out his arm, as if stopping her. He was stopping her. A light blazed dangerously within his eyes, as if a batted was taking place within his heart and mind. As if the other boy was reluctant in giving a response. In that moment, Angelica realised what Jack looked like. A lion... but before Angelica could give it any further thoughts, Jack seemed to of have summoned up the courage and explained. Secrets began spilling out of those soft lips.
" You're not the first person who I've lived with that this has happened to."
Angelica snorted, "glad to know I'm not going completely crazy. Really assuring."
Jack gave her a hard look before continuing.
"Those people would also have similar dreams to the ones you'd have. Where they were being chased and only realised that it was me until... I asked them. It's like this curse that follows me everywhere I go and every time I ask people what the thing looks like, I'm always hopeful its not me," Jack gave a sigh, "but it always ends up being me. After a while I began to sought out answers and after what seemed like an endless maze of nothing, I found the answer," Jack was now looking everywhere and anywhere other than Angelica, "it was a witch. A witch told me this. She... I know she was real. I don't know how but something in me felt a sense of familiarity with her. So I believed her. That I came from a generation of cursed fae."
Angelica barked out a loud laugh. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Fae? Cursed? No way was this real-
"I know, sounds like a whole lot of garbage doesn't it? But doesn't it make sense?", Jack let out a shaky breath and continued, "do you remember that night Angelica? That night when I was a lion? And you woke up and told me about it but I reassured you that it was only a dream? I... lied... I'm sorry. Turning into a lion I guess is one of secret powers. It's just that... this witch had also told me that people like me have always been hunted by people. Cause we're cursed Angelica, and who'd want something cursed roaming freely on this earth?," Jack let out a bitter laugh as he stared deeply into the fireplace, "no one. No one wants us-," but Jack was cut off in that moment when Angelica wrapped her arms tightly around him. Embracing him into her warmth. "Don't say that Jack," she pleaded him as she looked up at him with a watery smile, "I want you. I want you and I will never do such things to you."
Jack looked down at her with wide eyes and returned her smile with a bigger one before burying his face into her brown curls, breathing in the scent of Jasmine, before murmuring, "thank you Angelica. It means... a lot."
When they both pulled away reluctantly, Jack asked, "will you... will you help me to destroy this curse? To put an end to this?".
Angelica smiled warmly at him, " of course I will. I'd do anything for a friend, even if... it's something as big as this, I will help."
"Yeah... friends," Jack said distantly before smiling gratefully at Angelica and saying, "I'm glad to know", before getting up and going back to his room. But before he went, he turned around one last time and smiled sheepishly at Angelica, "also... my name isn't Jack... its Arion," and with that he walked into his room, leaving a shimmer of gold magic dancing in his wake.
"Yeah," Angelica said thoughtfully, "you don't really look like a Jack." A bark of laughter from the other room was her only response.
"Gosh... this is going to be one long and wild adventure".