Chapter 7: Things have Changed
'What the hell was that all about?!' You though frantically as you stomped up the stairs, your face feeling hot and blazing red. The scene kept replaying in your head; Kiku leaning closer and closer, on a path were you would eventually--
'NO!' You thought, slapping your cheek and shaking your head. You shouldn't be thinking about that- after all, you liked Kuro, not Kiku... right? But Kiku reminded you so much of Kuro...
Sighing, you continued up the stairs and eventually reached the top. Walking quietly down the hallway, you arrived at the source of the annoying noise that had interrupted your and Kiku's... moment. Your dryer had finished it's cycle and now was screaming it's lungs out, demanding to be emptied of the load it carried. Pressing the correct button on the machine to shut it up, you opened the latch and pulled out the freshly dried content from inside and piled it on the washer top. Shutting the dryer, you hummed as you folded as sorted your belongings, unaware of the shadow that was watching you.
About half way through sorting the laundry, you heard something shift and fall behind you. You automatically tensed as you looked over your shoulder and onto the ground and found that a bottle of soap had fallen to the floor. Stopping, you stooped and picked up the fallen object and stood as you inspected it. 'How did this fall?' You wondered as you stared at the blue bottle. It had been up safely on the shelf along with the other laundry related items, and as far as you knew you didn't have mice running around...
As you looked at the bottle, you noticed something and glanced up, only to see a shadowy hand right in front of you. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" You screamed, dropping the bottle as you flung yourself backward into the dryer. Upon closer inspection you noticed that whatever it was had flooded about half of the laundry room floor and looked like an inky black cloud.... much like the one from your dreams, the only difference being that you knew you were awake this time. As you scrambled backward onto the dryer, knocking over some of the laundry you had set there, you heard your teacher call your name. For a heartbeat, you wondered if you should call for help, but made up your mind as the cloud-thing reached up and wrapped a smoky fist around your ankle. Squeezing your eyes shut, you screamed.
"HELP ME!" Just as you yelled, the cloud monster yanked and dragged you off of the machine you had perched on. Your scream was cut off as you went crashing to the floor and the air was knocked out of you. Slowly, the cloud-thing began engulfing your body, everywhere it touched felt cold and painful. Just like in your dream. As soon as you were able to, you took a deep breath and screamed, over and over again as you struggled to free yourself, but to no avail. You were vaguely aware that Kiku had yelled your name again, but you were gradually slipping out on consciousness. The thing seemed to be draining the energy from you as it went, and your struggles grew weaker and weaker as it closed over your neck. A single tear rolled down your cheek as you thought that it was over for you, but suddenly you felt a strong and familiar presence enter the room. An immense pressure seemed to bear down on you, so much so that it made you want to gag, but at the same time also rendered you immobile.
Suddenly, the cold and pain was gone and you slowly regain consciousness. You were also aware that someone was kneeling beside you and ssat up quickly. However, that wasn't your best idea as you immediately became dizzy and light headed. Someone put a hand on your back for support- warm, not cold and painful.
"Are you aright, (Name)?!" You heard the person exclaim, and you glanced over to see that it was Kiku.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little dizzy, that's all," you replied a bit shakily and you put a hand against your rapidly beating hear. However, as you did that you noticed that something wasn't quite right and began clawing at your neck, feeling the distinct lack of chain. Your hands flew to the floor and began patting around, but it wasn't there either.
"My necklace! It's gone!" You cried as tears began falling down your face. After all of that, it was the fact your necklace disappeared that made you break down. "That- that THING must have taken it!"
Kiku rubbed your back sympathetically and helped you up off of the ground. Using himself as a support, he helped guide you down the stairs and sat you down on the couch as he went to retrieve your coat.
"It's not safe here, (Name). We can't stay here." He said as he handed you your coat, and you stared at him, confused.
"What do you mean it's not safe? What was that thing anyway?" You demanded. After so long and so much, you just wanted answers at this point. You had not planed for your day to end up like this, you never asked for any of this to happen. You had just planned on a calm day where nothing happened, not an attack from your worse nightmare- literally!
"To be honest, I'm not sure," Kiku sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair. Oddly, it seemed as if his eyes had just changed colors. Weren't they brown just a moment ago? "I just know that it's not safe to be here anymore." Amazingly, his voice seemed to drop a little bit and as you watched large, black wings materialized onto his back. He ruffled his hair a bit and you noticed some small, black horns. Unblinkingly, you stared at him as he turned to look at you.
"K-Kuro?!" You gasped and he smiled. "Hello, (Name). I'm sorry for hiding my real identity from you, but everything's going to be alright now," he said as he reached a hand out towards you. This was just a bit too much for your frazzled brain to handle in one day, and your vision flickered and when black as you passed out.
Kuro quickly stepped forward and caught (Name) as she slumped over. A quick assessment told him that she was in fact still breathing, just passed out. He sighed and smiled softly as he gazed at her sleeping face before lying her down on the couch, shrugging her into her jacket before picking her back up and cradling her in his arms. Grabbing his own jacket on the way out, he spread his wings and took off into the sky, praying that nobody had seen them. The cold winter wind was a strain against his leathery wings, but he endured it. They needed to get away quickly, and going by foot was not only suspicious but slow and left them open for an attack.
Kuro was unsure why the cloud being would have taken her necklace, but if he had to guess it most likely that whoever it was was going to use the necklace to track (Name). And since he had touched the necklace himself, it was not an option to bring her to his home. So where could he take her? There was one person he could trust...
Banking to the left, Kuro headed out over the city and towards the woods. Flying into the thickest part, he landed and tromped for a while down a secret hidden path until he arrived at almost a cabin looking cave. He took a deep breath and then kicked the door a few times, considering he couldn't knock with (Name) in his arms. It didn't take very long until the door cracked open a bit and a familiar blonde haired demon poked out.
"Ah, K-Kuro?! What are you doing here?" Matthew stuttered.
"No time to explain. Listen, I need your help."