Ghost Knight Ch. 01byicehead©
All was a blur. She felt nothing, as if she had no flesh at all. She saw only darkness, yet the darkness seemed to be moving, like a black cloud of mist. There was no smell, no feeling of warmth or cold, and an eerie silence that was finally broken by a heavy voice saying one word:
The voice echoed within her. It was deep and almost frightening, yet it was also young and smooth. Suddenly she began to see something in the darkness; something glowing. Something that began taking the form of a pair of eyes. Bright, glowing red eyes staring at her in the darkness, eyes that were both frightening and somehow alluring at the same time.
And slowly, very slowly, she saw a face beginning to form around those eyes. It was a young man's face, darkly handsome and a bit dangerous, with a mouth that was set into a grim, unwavering line. Stray strands of shimmering silver hair hung in front of that face that stared at her in the darkness. And then a hand rose into view, stretched out before him with the palm open to her and the spread fingers outstretched in her direction.
His mouth moved.
Suddenly she began to feel as if she had a body. She felt a tingling sensation, starting with her head, spreading down into a neck and a torso, stretching into arms and hands and fingers, and then into legs and feet. She tried to look down, but she couldn't. Her body wouldn't move. At least not of her choosing. And still her body continued to tingle; and gradually she began to like the feeling. It felt good. Especially as it intensified between her legs. She began feeling an impulse to squirm about from the feeling of pleasure, but her body still couldn't move. She was trapped in a sort of prison, being treated to pleasure and unable to respond to it.
The figure of the young man before her began to glow. "Awaken now."
The darkness began to swirl around her, and the young man's image faded from view. And as he faded, so did the pleasant tingle running through her body. She tried to whimper in frustration, but heard no sound come from her mouth. She wanted more of that feeling. She began gaining control of her body, moving her arms and legs about as she vainly struggled for something to hold onto in the infinite nothingness. The swirling black began to illuminate into sparkling silver lights—
Her eyes closed. She curled herself up, utterly at the mercy of whatever storm was surrounding her.
Then all at once there was solid ground beneath her. More specifically, she was lying on it, still curled up. Her eyes opened; the world around her was all a blur at first, but slowly as she blinked repeatedly and looked around, she began gaining clarity. She observed that she was lying in the mouth of an alleyway looking out at the street. It was nighttime, and evidently late, as there were no cars driving by. She shivered, and wrapped her arms around her as she also realized that she was naked. Her mind began filling with questions, as to where exactly she was and how exactly she had gotten there.
A door across the street opened and a middle-aged woman with short brown hair stepped out, and began walking toward the parked green SUV on the side of the street. She unlocked the car and opened the door and started to get in, when she stopped as she saw the girl sitting in that alley. "Oh my god!" she gasped, shutting the door and hurrying over to the girl. "Are you all right? Do you need me to call 911?"
The girl stared up at the woman, and her mouth opened and she started fumbling for speech. "W... wha... w-w-where...where am... w-where am I?"
The woman studied her, and then removed her coat and wrapped it around the girl's shoulders. "San Francisco. You're in San Francisco. Are you all right?"
"I... I, I-I don't know."
The woman took her by the hand and shoulder and helped her up as the girl shakily rose to her feet. "Maybe I should get you to a hospital. What's your name?"
"My name?" It felt like a hard slap to the face as the girl dug for an answer to that and came up blank. "I don't know."
"Wow, I'd definitely better get you to a hospital. Come on."
The girl awkwardly followed the woman, as if trying to remember how to walk. The woman guided her by the hand as they approached the car, and the girl climbed into the passenger seat. As the woman got in and started the car, the girl relaxed into her seat and closed her eyes.
An image flashed across her eyes briefly. It was just a blur at first, but she gradually made sense of it. It was a little girl's memory, running through her back yard, seeing her smiling mother coming out the back door offering her a plate of fresh-baked cookies. She could hear the tinkling of the wind chime and the chirping of birds.
Another image followed shortly after that. She was seeing the halls of a school; this was the memory of a teenage girl, talking with her friends outside of her locker. They had just left class and were on break for the moment; free to talk about... whatever it was they talked about.
Now she was seeing another image. She was on a date with a roguish-looking boy who made her heart go pitter-patter. They were at the movie theater, and he was buying the popcorn, and then he offered her an early taste before they went into the movie.
These were her memories; she knew they were. They were her memories, fighting to the surface. She just couldn't reach them yet. Who was she? It was like her life was something she could see in the distance, but a bar was blocking her from being able to reach it.
They finally pulled into the dark, mostly empty hospital parking lot. The digital clock on the dashboard read 1:04. The girl awkwardly got out of the car and entered the hospital with the woman's help. "Anybody here?" the woman called as they stepped into the lobby.
A nurse appeared and came running down the halls. "What have we got?"
"I found this girl lying naked in an alley. She doesn't remember who she is."
"All right, we have an open room, come with me." The girl was starting to regain the feel of walking, no longer needing her hand held to move around as she followed the nurse. She was guided into one of the examination rooms, where the nurse switched on the light and instructed her to sit down on the table. The nurse produced a digital thermometer from a drawer. "Open up please." The girl obliged, putting her lips around the tab as the nurse hit the button. She took a look at the readout... and her brow furrowed. "Well this can't be right."
"What?" the girl said. "What is it?"
"Well according to this your body's only at room temperature. There must be something wrong with the thermometer." She went back to the drawer, trading the digital thermometer for a fluid one. "Let's try this the old fashioned way." She inserted the tab into the girl's mouth and said, "You wait there; I'll get the doctor." She moved to the door, stopping to pick up a hospital gown and hand it to the girl. "Why don't you put this on while you wait?"
With that the nurse walked out and the girl was left alone, with only her growing questions. First I wake up naked in the middle of the city with no memory of who I am, and now someone tells me I'm not producing any body heat? What's going on here?
There was a mirror on the wall, which the girl moved to look into after slipping on the hospital gown. The face she saw was beautiful: long platinum blond hair with bangs above her light blue eyes, and an athletic, sexy figure. The face was vaguely familiar, but it didn't jog her memory the way she hoped it would. It was still like looking at a stranger... well, maybe not necessarily a stranger so much as a distant relative she hadn't seen since childhood. Still, it was a flawless look; one that any girl would love to have.
The door opened and the nurse returned, with a balding man in glasses and a white coat in tow. "This is our Jane Doe, doctor," the nurse said.
"Hi, I'm Dr. Walt," he said, shaking her hand.
"Mm, hi," the girl said awkwardly, holding the thermometer in her mouth.
The doctor laughed. "Oh, I'm sorry. Let's take a look at that." He took the thermometer from her mouth and looked at it. His look instantly turned to puzzlement as he turned his head to the nurse, and with his eyebrows raised said, "Room temperature."
"Well that can't be good," the nurse said.
"Are you sure you can't remember your name?" Dr. Walt asked.
"My name..." The girl put a hand on her head and closed her eyes, straining to remember... she thought back to the memories that she'd flashed to before. "My name..."
"Elisa! I baked some cookies!"
"Hey Elisa, who're you taking to the formal?"
"Want an early sample, Elisa?"
"Elisa. My name's Elisa."
The doctor nodded and smiled slightly. "That sounds like progress. All right Elisa, why don't you sit down, and let's run some of the usual tests."
Elisa nodded, and seated herself on the table again. Dr. Walt put the earpieces of his stethoscope on and stepped up to her, pulling the collar of her gown down and pressing the cold piece of metal to her chest. He held it there a moment... his face suddenly took on a look that made her especially worried. He shifted the tool around, his look never changing. "What the hell?" he said sharply.
"What's wrong?" said the nurse. Dr. Walt responded by removing the stethoscope and putting it on her. The nurse repeated what he'd done, pressing the metal instrument to her chest and getting the same bewildered look. "I... can't find any heartbeat at all!"
"Neither could I!" Dr. Walt said. "If she wasn't sitting in front of us, I'd say this girl was already dead!"
Elisa's mouth hung open. "Already dead," she repeated in a shocked whisper. Something about that phrase made her feel like there was something else she should be remembering—
She suddenly gasped and her muscles clenched as she felt the sharp pain of a knife stabbing her in the gut. It wasn't happening now; there was nobody in the room with a knife, but she could feel it as if it were. She felt it again, and screamed. She felt herself being stabbed again, and again. And again. Dr. Walt and the nurse stared at her in horror, and she dropped off the table to her knees as she felt the sharp blade piercing her once more. She collapsed to the ground...
Now she just felt cold. She clutched her arms and shivered. "Elisa? What's wrong? Are you all right?"
"No!" she cried. "I'm not all right! I don't understand... anything!"
She saw more images now; ones that seemed to correspond with the stabbing pain she'd just felt. It was an alley, like the one where she'd woken up... there were two men there, dressed in hooded sweatshirts... they were hassling her... she tried to fight back... one of them had a switchblade...
Elisa sprang to her feet and ran for the door. The doctor called after her, and she saw the startled woman who brought her as she bolted past her. She had just made it out the door of the hospital and into the parking lot when she dropped to her knees again and cried. Nothing made sense; and she was beginning to agree with Dr. Walt: if she didn't know better, she'd also think she was already dead. The memory that had just surfaced seemed like, essentially, her own death.
"You will accomplish nothing by continuing to lie there and weep."
Elisa opened her eyes and looked up. There was no one around her, but she recognized the voice. It was the voice of the man she had seen in the darkness before she woke up in the alley. Whoever he was, he was still speaking to her. But the question of who he was still weighed on her—and she still didn't entirely know who she was.
"Young lady!" The hospital staff was emerging now. The nurse stepped up to her and reached down to take her by the arm. "Come on, we need to do some in-depth tests—"
The second the nurse touched her arm Elisa lashed out, sending her flying into the rest of the staff. And for just a moment as she did that, Elisa saw that her hand and forearm had become encased in a black, jagged-plated gauntlet that appeared as if from nowhere and trailed a stream of sparkling silver light as she swung it. When she stopped to look at it, it disappeared. There was a quick swirl of black mist, and the gauntlet was gone.
The hospital staff stared at her in bewilderment, as she stared at her hand. "What..."
"Do not bother yourself with the living. Your calling lies elsewhere."
That voice again. Elisa looked around her in search of its source, finding nothing. His voice was in her head.
"Now hear the call of the Ghost Knights."
No sooner had those words echoed through her head than her ears were filled with an intense pulsating ringing sound. She dropped back down, clutching her hands over her ears and screamed. It was so loud! "Stop..." she pleaded. "Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!"
Once again, black mist and streams of sparkling silver light began swirling around her, and as it did the world in front of her faded from view, as did the ground beneath her feet. She found herself returning to the dark clouded space she had seen before—and standing before her again was the mysterious red-eyed man. "What's going on?" she pleaded. "Who are you? And... who am I?"
He said nothing. Instead he extended a hand again, and the pleasant tingle in her body began returning. Slowly it intensified, and she now found herself free to move in response to it. Her eyes closed and her breath quavered. Her hand reached for the focal point of the sensation, which as before was between her legs. When she touched it, she found the sensation intensified, and intensified further when she began rubbing it. She began to shiver—
The pulsing ring returned, and her hands clamped over her ears. "What is that?" she cried.
"You are being called," the stranger said. "You must answer."
The black mist and silver lights swirled around her again. Her eyes closed and she put her hands on her head, overwhelmed by the world spinning around her—when it suddenly stopped. Elisa slowly opened her eyes. It looked like she was in the middle of, of all places, a junkyard. She was still down on her knees as she had been outside the hospital, and still wearing only the hospital gown. She rose slowly to her feet, looking around in bewilderment, wondering what in the world had brought her here and why—
She spun around at the sound of a hideous growl, and fell over backwards screaming as she faced a creature that shouldn't have existed. It looked primarily like a dog, but bigger and uglier and much, much nastier. Its coloring was mostly a brownish orange with a thick streak of red running along its back, and its fur was thick and bristly, the red streak looking like it was mostly made of sharp spines. It had paws that looked a little bigger than they should have been, with claws that were longer and much sharper than they should have been, looking almost as menacing as the horrible teeth that filled its snarling mouth. Atop its head were four short, sharp horns; the inner ones small and stubby while the ones closer to its pointed ears were longer and curved. It glared at her with a pair of yellow eyes that glowed with a golden fire, intent on pouncing on her and ripping her to pieces.
Elisa inched backwards, whimpering in terror as the growling beast advanced on her. At any second it would leap at her and lock those huge fangs onto her throat—when it suddenly turned its head to its right, and leaped to the side to dodge a swing from a silver blade that shined so brightly it almost glowed. Elisa honestly couldn't tell if that blade was made of metal or crystal; it looked like something in-between. What she could see was that the sword was held by a girl dressed in black, wicked-looking armor. The gauntlets that covered the girl's forearms looked just like the one that had appeared on Elisa's own arm a moment ago, and the rest of the suit followed largely the same pattern of jagged ripples in an orderly, yet dark and wicked, design. Not to mention the sword she wielded was wickedly ornate.
The girl herself had neck-length red hair, and a fierce pair of eyes that looked down at Elisa impatiently as she said, "Are you just going to sit there all night? Armor up already!"
"W... w-what?" Elisa took a moment to gape at her confounded, when she saw the dog-thing springing back to pounce on her rescuer. "Look out!"
The girl had time to bring her arms up to defend herself, but she still ended up on her back with her sword arm pinned down, dodging her head to the sides as the creature snapped at her. "Brett!" she shouted. "Where are you?"
"I'm a little busy right now," a boy's voice grunted from behind Elisa. She turned around, and atop one of the mounds of junk was a guy in black armor similar to the girl's, but more fitting to a male body, getting up after being knocked down. And a moment later, she saw by what. Another dog-thing was approaching him, with ichorous drool dripping from its hungry jaws. The boy raised his own sword, which was also made in an ornate design, but one that was distinctly different from the girl's, and stared down the creature in a ready stance.
Elisa turned her eyes back to the girl in front of her, trying to wrestle the creature off, barely managing to push far enough to keep its snapping jaws from her face. Elisa had to do something; whoever this girl was, she needed help. But what could she do? That girl was the one with the armor and the sword...
"Come on, damnit, don't just sit there!" the girl commanded. "Summon your Spirit Blade and get this thing off me!"
"Don't play stupid! You're a Ghost Knight, you answered the call, now do something! Ahh!" That final grunt came in response to a near miss from another attempted bite.
Elisa was more confused than ever, even as she rose to her feet, trying to figure out what to do. She saw the girl pinned to the ground, and she saw that creature—she stared at that hideous creature—
Something snapped inside her. All at once Elisa charged forward with a feral growl. The thing had time to look up and see her coming before she threw a punch that sent it tumbling thirty feet away. And as the rush from her sudden attack cooled down, Elisa looked down at herself. She had suddenly become dressed in black armor just like the girl's, which had appeared on her from nowhere. Her body still moved freely in it; it didn't feel heavy or uncomfortable; in fact, she felt... powerful in it. Stronger.
The girl, however, didn't stop to appreciate it. She immediately sprang to her feet and dashed for the fallen creature. The thing was just starting to get up when the girl's blade slashed it across the side. It fell over again, and the girl planted a foot on it, raised her sword and impaled the creature. Elisa's response was to put her hands to her mouth with a frightened squeal, which turned to a stare of wonder when she saw the silver lights pouring through the blade into the creature, causing the thing to finally burst into a cloud of dust.
"Heads up!" The call came from the guy on the mound—Brett, the girl called him. Elisa turned around in time to see that the other dog-thing he was fighting had gotten away from him and was charging for her. Elisa's first instinct was to fall down and scream. She didn't. Once her first instinct passed, she instead responded to her second instinct, which was to charge forward to meet the charging beast. A split second before it would have gotten its teeth into her, she swung a lightning-fast right backhand to its face, knocking it onto the ground, and planted her foot on it.
There was a sword in her hand. She didn't know where it had come from, but it was there. Without a second thought, she raised it up and brought it down on the creature's neck—she averted her eyes at the last second before the blow was struck, but she felt it when the body beneath her foot disintegrated. And when she tried to take a good look at the sword that had appeared in her hand, it disappeared in a swirl of sparkling silver light.