Lannor watched in disbelief. How dare this smart mouthed, inconsiderate man march into his house and take over as though he owned it? Elizabeth never had children to inherit the house, so who this stranger was Lannor did not know. There was Elizabeth’s sister but Lannor knew nothing about her. The deep sound of breathing took over the room as Lannor stared at the bed. Sound, that had been absent for too long, beckoned Lannor closer. Yet Lannor could not bring himself to move. Had it been a woman who entered the house crying and in despair Lannor would have appeared in his human form. This man did not deserve his company.
Lannor considered leaving, but he didn’t. Something about the blonde haired, brown-eyed man reminded Lannor of Elizabeth. Their faces both long and angular; their eyes glaring at Lannor in a similar fashion. At a guess, Lannor would say they were related. The man sneezed, drawing Lannor’s attention to the state of the house. Lannor couldn’t remember the last time he’d been in his human form, therefore the house had been long neglected. Without being aware, Lannor found himself on the table beside the bed. The man appeared around the same age as Lannor and his physique appeared well maintained.
Lannor pondered many reasons as to why this stranger was there. It was clear by his red, swollen eyes he’d been crying and this confused Lannor. Never had he seen a man cry before, nor had he cried in all the years he’d been left to suffer on the planet. When Lannor was sure the man would not wake, he jumped from the side table and transformed. Annoyed with this person in his bed, Lannor continued to glare at him, willing him to vanish. He did not. Determined to learn more, Lannor rummaged through both bags. The number of clothes and personal items told Lannor the man intended to stay for some time, much to his disgust. Lannor found a wallet in one of the side pockets and pulling out the driver's licence read, Tyler George, twenty-one years of age. Lannor look back over at Tyler sleeping in the bed and wondered how long it would take to persuade him to leave.
Yet, as the night grew colder, and the wind howled around the house, the windows rattled and Tyler’s feverish body troubled Lannor. Not sure how long he stood at the end of the bed watching Tyler, Lannor became obvious to his surroundings. The longer he observed the more curious he became. Restless sleep filled with unknown demons tormented Tyler. The occasional sound of whimpering as he slept tugged at Lannor and a need to comfort grew.
Lannor had the power to convey pleasure. With a touch, Lannor could take away the pain and suffering. Yet he held back knowing desire would replace these feelings. Lannor considered the implications and shuttered at the thought. The men he had witnessed in the past had been horrible to him in his feline form. Not impartial to partners, Lannor grew wary of the men; they showed no love like the women.
After another cry in his sleep, Tyler’s sweat drenched body rolled over to face Lannor as the orange glow of morning hit the back wall behind the bed. The torment of knowing he could help tugged at Lannor. Would the outcome be the same as the past? As Tyler’s face twisted in distress his hair plastered to his face, lips cracked and face red and blotchy, Lannor chose to help.
Tentatively, Lannor approached the bed debating if it was the right thing to do. The few times Lannor had approached men while they slept proved impossible. Every time, they confused him for a woman and never treated him well when they learned otherwise. When awake, the men would brush of their encounter with Lannor as a dream or nightmare. Lannor understood quickly the men of this world preferred woman over men.
Would Tyler be any different in his response? His fondness for Lannor in his feline form had been a first. Yet, doubts stopped Lannor for helping. Several minutes passed before Lannor gave up fighting the conflicting thoughts in his mind. He had the ability to bring relief to Tyler from his nightmares. It took Lannor all his courage to reach out and place his hand against Tyler’s clammy face. Warmth under his touch made Lannor forget his concerns as his fingers spanned out towards his hairline. Slowly, Lannor lowered himself to sit on the bed, his eyes drawn to his hand as he caressed Tyler’s face. The soft texture of Tyler’s skin was unlike Lannor imagined and gently he caressed his fingers along his jawline down his neck, and towards his collarbone. Tyler unconsciously turned his head against the pillow and Lannor clenched his fingers away, his breathing shallow, fear he’d wake him.
Lannor breathed in deep before once more touching Tyler to help him sleep. But nothing happened. Lannor spread his hand over Tyler’s face; his fingers threaded through Tyler’s hair as he directed his gift to Tyler. Again, nothing happened. Confused, Lannor attempted once more to relieve Tyler of his discomfort. Disappointed, Lannor removed his hand and sat back to stare at Tyler. He’d never considered his gift would not work. Lannor’s gift in the art of pleasure; stimulated and provided a pivotal part of sexual arousal. Why it didn’t work concerned Lannor and moving away, he contemplated the outcome.
At the bedroom window, Lannor watched as the sun rose and birds scattered around the front yard in search of breakfast in the sodden ground. As the sun broke through dark heavy clouds on the horizon, a gentle warmth touched Lannor and he basked in the light before it disappeared. His mind contained a multitude of questions with no answers and the longer he stared out, the more confusing it became.
Lannor realised there had never been a time in his past when his gift had not worked. The gift his people possessed did not restrict whom it was use with - not that Lannor was aware off. However, the longer Lannor thought it over the more he realised it had never come up in conversation with his family or friends, therefor he didn’t know. Why it didn’t work on Tyler was a mystery. Lannor glanced over his shoulder towards Tyler, still tossing from a troubled sleep. Was there something about Tyler that made him different? Lannor continued to ponder for much of the day as he watched and waited for Tyler to wake.
An eerie silence greeted Tyler as he woke. Tangled among the bedding, he stared at the ceiling through strained eyes confused momentarily as to where he was. The dark room, lit only by the moonlight streaming through the windows, made it difficult for Tyler to make out anything. Unable to focus on his wristwatch, Tyler gave up trying to determine the time. As he became more aware, memories returned and a sense of hopelessness once more grew within his heart. Convinced getting up was the practical thing to do, Tyler remained where he was.
In the minutes he lay awake, Tyler noted the rain outside and the cold damp air within the room. He’d have remained within the warmth of the bedding, if not for the need to use the bathroom. It took all his effort to motivate himself to rise and taking the top blanket from the bed, wrapped it around his shoulders. The blanket offered little warmth as he stood on the cold hardwood floor.
Light-headedness caused Tyler to sway before he staggered forward towards the light switch. A quick flick informed Tyler what he already suspected; there was no power. A chill seeped under the blanket and Tyler moved towards his bags where he retrieved thick black socks, a pair of old worn grey track pants and blue hooded pullover. Clothes over his pyjamas, hood over his head and blanket wrapped once more around him, Tyler ventured out the room. Dust swelled around his feet as he made towards the bathroom. Against the roof the patter of rain and as Tyler pushed the door open it grew heavier. A chill ran down his spine as he entered the large tiled room. The white ceramic tiles lining the floor and walls stood out like a beacon in the moonlight coming through the large rectangular window high above the bath against the back wall. A narrow black feature strip around all four walls, shoulder height, stood out in the darkness. The bath, hidden in shadow, did not reveal the elegance it held and was ignored by Tyler. Behind the door Tyler found the toilet and hand basin. The desire to use the toilet became urgent at the sight of the porcelain white fixture and Tyler lifted the lid and seat to do his business. Relief flowed through Tyler as his bladder emptied and as he flushed, he discovered another issue; no water.
With a roll of his eyes, Tyler lowered the seat and lid of the toilet and decided it would be a problem he would look into later. As confirmation, Tyler turned the tap to the small basin, and no water appeared. Tyler was sure the issue with the water could be solved, however, the electricity would take time. It meant a trip into town and seeking the means to have it reconnected. Tyler had hoped to avoid contact with the world for sometime but realised that was wishful thinking. With a sigh, Tyler walked back to the bedroom and retrieved wet wipes from his toiletry bag.
After Tyler tossed the dirty wipes into the empty fireplace, he turned back towards the bed, startled by the black cat outlined on the white sheets where Tyler left the covers to the bed pulled back. The black devil, Tyler thought as he approached the bed wary of where the cat came from and why it was there. Still too dark to make out the features of the cat, Tyler wasn’t fooled to think the cat wanted to be friends. Memories of its defensive attitude when he arrived told Tyler the cat considered him an intruder. This was true, Tyler was intruding, however the cat would need to learn to share.
Tyler stood over the bed, as the cat lay sprawled out ignoring him as he cleaned his paw.
“Do you need to clean yourself where I sleep?”
The cat hissed at Tyler, stood, walked around the sheets as though asserting his authority before jumping from the bed. The cat sauntered towards the door before coming to a stop. Tyler watched amused, and said, “You don’t have to be like that?”
The cat hissed at Tyler and marched out the room and Tyler let out a laugh.
All the stories about the house being haunted, and it were likely animals had taken over. Tyler climbed back into bed and lay once more staring at the ceiling. His thoughts about the house and the stories told made Tyler remember his Aunt Elizabeth, who was the last to live there. He knew Aunt Elizabeth was still alive but where she was or what she did–he didn’t know. The sister of his mother, Tyler’s mother had been adamant she wanted nothing to do with her eccentric sister and therefore Tyler could not recall ever meeting her.
For some time Tyler listened to the creaking of the old house and the rain relentlessly falling on the roof. The desire to cry long gone; it was time to plan his immediate future. Yet with all good intent to do that, Tyler’s mind remained a blur of recent events. The pain still fresh left Tyler numb. After an hour of lying listlessly on the musty bed, Tyler found no amount of effort would lull him back to sleep. Wide-awake, Tyler sat up and stared around the dark room. Somewhere in the back of his mind Tyler was sure he had missed the day. Without knowing the time, Tyler was at a lost as to how long before the sun rose.
“Unless I’m stuck in some parallel universe. In which there never is a day.” Tyler said out loud.
Out of nowhere the black cat jumped up onto the side table scaring the life out of Tyler.
With a hand on his frantic heart, Tyler said, “Must you always do that?”
The cat sat, stared at Tyler for a moment and then cleaned its front paw.
Tyler steadied his breathing.
“This house will be the death of me.” Tyler murmured before looking back at the cat and telling it, “If not the house, then most definitely you.”
The cat ignored Tyler and unable to remain still, Tyler got up. In the middle of the room, Tyler stood with hands on hips deciding what he should do first. It was too dark to clear out his bags; too dark to do anything at all. Without his mobile phone, conveniently left in the glove box of his car, Tyler was without any form of lighting.
“So,” Tyler said turning to the cat. “What do you do around here for fun?”
Tyler heard the cat stop, rather than seeing it do so. Silence passed as Tyler attempted to make out the shadow on the bedside table. As the clouds parted and the moonlit room brightened momentarily Tyler made out bright green eyes staring at him. As the clouds moved on, the room grew darker and cat faded once more into the shadows. Tyler blinked and looked away. Only them did Tyler realise he stood in the middle of cold dark room, in an abandoned house, alone. A sense of melancholy overwhelmed him and letting out a deep sigh, Tyler knew he couldn’t afford to be complacent.
There were things he could do to keep himself distracted and one of the first would be to find and investigate the main switchboard. If there were power to the house already, it would solve Tyler’s first issue. Satisfied with his thoughts, Tyler left the room before cautiously making his way downstairs.