Enoch the Traveler: Tempestas Viator
"Unbelievable." Violette said with a yawn as she drove the car through the fog on her way home after a disappointing performance.
Disappointing, not because of any misstep on her part; it was disappointing as this was her last show as a professional dancer and she had truly hoped they would show. Her sister she could forgive; Heather had a habit of sudden disappearing acts.
She smiled as she remembered that was, in fact, how Heather became a part of the McKnight family in the first place. One morning, her parents had woken up to find a toddler playing in their living room and, after a fruitless search for parents, Heather had been adopted and made part of the family. She hadn't heard from Heather in over 6 months, but Violette still left her a ticket at every box office she performed at in hopes she would pop up again one day.
Violette's smile faded as she pulled onto the dark country road; the long drive home was the only downfall of living so far outside the city. She slowed her speed as she eyed the darkness beyond the trees on either side of the road. The last thing she needed after today was to plow into a random deer.
Violette grabbed her phone and glanced at the notification bar. Nothing. She tossed the phone back onto the passenger seat. Luke's last text message was typical,
'Can't make it. Rain check. See you tomorrow night. Love.'
It was times like this she regretted being the cheerleader in his quest to become a lawyer. When he graduated Law School last year and took a job with a leading firm she was proud to have helped; that is, until she realized that his career meant the only way she could see him was to schedule an appointment through his secretary. She suddenly wondered if next month on her wedding day her phone would beep with another of his 'rain check' messages.
She was so lost in thought she almost drove past her driveway. She hit the brakes and jerked her steering wheel hard to the right and held her breath as the car struggled to make the sudden turn. A small moment of panic was followed by a sigh of relief as the car slid slightly. She punched the gas and straightened the wheel as she slammed both feet on the brakes and slid across the gravel to a sudden stop.
Violette sat breathing heavily as she stared in disbelief out her windshield. The headlights shone through the fog and revealed what she had assumed to be the carcass of a deer blocking her driveway was, in fact, a body. She blinked as she tried to wrap her head around who, what, and why as she slammed the gear into park, grabbed the pistol from her purse, threw open the door and walked slowly towards it.
"Hello?" Violette said calmly as she glanced around to make sure no one was waiting to jump her. "Can I help you? Hello?" She paused as the man remained motionless and silent. She could hear her dog barking from her house beyond the trees as she took another step and briefly considered getting back into her car and driving past him.
The man was lying face down on the gravel; Violette's frown deepened as she took another step and suddenly realized the clothes that had seemed strangely colored were in fact supposed to be solid white and what she had mistaken for pattern were a collage of rips, dirt, and blood. She ran the last few steps and knelt beside him.
"Are you alright?" Violette asked as she reached down and touched the man's shoulder. When he didn't respond, she gently turned him over and gasped as she stared down at him.
Violette winced in disbelief at his face; pale skin revealed various shades of purple from a pattern of bruising and his dark hair was matted with dried blood. She glanced down to see a strange metal configuration clasped around his wrists and binding them together, his hands were bruised and bloody below them.
She took a deep breath and sat back on her heels as she stared at the strange label on his shirt. It was some sort of code in characters she had never seen before, but coupled with his current state and the odd metal contraption that looked suspiciously like handcuffs it certainly made her think he had escaped from...somewhere.
Violette reached down and gently touched his face; he was freezing, and no wonder, it was the middle of winter and the clothing he was wearing seemed more appropriate for a warmer climate. She jumped as the man moved slightly beneath her hand and she found herself staring into a pair of murky green eyes.
"Oh." Violette said softly as the man took a sharp breath.
"Heather?" The man whispered as he blinked slowly.
"No." Violette stammered. "That's my sister."
"Ah." The man groaned quietly as he fought to stay awake.
"Who are you?" Violette asked suddenly.
"My name is...En...Eldritch." He corrected with some effort.
"And you know my sister?" Violette asked.
"I thought she could help me."
"Well, she's in Wales."
"Then I am for naught." The man replied, his voice trailing off as he lapsed back into unconsciousness.
"Great." Violette griped as she wondered what to do with him. He obviously had never met Heather before if he could mistake them for one another, but then again, with her reputation for helping anyone who asked, even strangers, Violette was not surprised. In fact, their last argument, before Heather disappeared, was about her letting some stranger she found stay in her house. She had received an email from Heather about six months ago saying she was fine, in Wales of all places, and would be in touch.
Violette sighed as she looked down at the broken man and realized she was about to do the same thing she had yelled at her sister for. "Fine." She grumbled as she walked back to the car and pulled it to the side of the driveway before grabbing the keys and locking the doors. She walked back over and grabbed the man under the shoulders. "But the handcuffs stay on." Violette said as she grit her teeth with the effort of pulling him across the gravel, up the steps, and to the door.
"She's gonna owe me if he turns out to be trouble." She drawled.
Violette sighed as she finally managed to get the man into her house and up on the couch. It surprised her that even with all of the dragging, the pushing and pulling, and the dog barking he was still out cold. She reached over, turned on the lamp, and grimaced as the light filled the room giving her a real look at him.
"Good Lord!" Violette said under her breath as she placed her pistol on the table and stared down at him. His hair was matted from dried blood and his face covered in shades of purple and black. He looked unreal in the light; his clothing shimmered beneath the dirt, the fabric appearing almost otherworldly, and the etchings on the handcuffs stood out against the strange darkness of the metal.
"Alright then." She said as she took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen. She pulled out a big bowl and filled it with water as she grabbed her first aid kit and a clean set of washcloths from the cabinets. She took everything back into the living room and sat it on the table. Her Mastiff, Gracie, sat in a protective stance beside the couch and whined quietly.
"Let's get this taken care of." She said as she wet the cloth and started wiping the grime and blood from his face.
Violette placed the last bandage on his forearm and yawned as she glanced up at the clock. It had taken almost an hour, and all of her first aid supplies, but she was pretty sure all the major wounds had been seen to. She fell back in the chair and looked down at Gracie, who had settled comfortably on the floor beside the couch.
"Don't let him kill me in my sleep." She muttered as she curled up in the chair and passed out.
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