Chapter 1: Attack

She picked her long dress out of the mud and gathered the loose, now dirty fabrics into her arms as she increased her speed. Her heels clicked and left a faint mark on the wet pavement. A shout came from behind her, causing her to panic and nearly trip. She stopped for a brief moment to catch her breath and kick off her shoes.

Her heavy breathing seemed to echo off the darkened buildings. She moved her eyes, scanning for a place to shelter. An overhanging on a building provided just what she was looking for, with its high shelves outside and underneath the yawning to keep it dry in case of bad weather.

She hid behind the shelves and tried to slow her breathing so they would not be able to hear it. A cold hand tapped her bare shoulder and she nearly cried out when a clammy hand clasped over her mouth. "Shh, quiet, it's okay," a voice soothed.

"Oh Shane, I'm so glad it's you," the woman replied, giving him a relieved smile and a warm hug. "It's alright, I won't let them hurt you, I promise." He continued to hold her close, keeping her warm as he led her back into the storm. He knew the one place they would both be safe, a specialty store only about a block from their location where the owners were said to be willing to hide people for a price. Money or not, he was going to get her there.

He muttered curses under his breath. "I'm going to count to three, and then we run."

The timing was quick and they began to make a mad dash down the street. Through the rain, dripping wet, soggy shoes slapped the pavement. Still they ran. The woman's dress tore as she scraped it up from the ground. Heavy panting and the sound of swift shoes could be faintly heard behind them.

The sidewalk had very few people out in this weather. Shane, in his desperate attempt to reach safety, began pulling her across the street, "There, its right there!" he panted. His eyes were fixed on a flourished sign hung over a dusty blue door. The sign as read above the entrance said in elegant red lettering, 'Soul Dynesty'.

A motorcycle revved up not far off from the shop known as the Soul Dynesty. It nearly ran the pair over in its plot to stop them. Shane stopped and pulled her closer to avoid another motorcycle behind them.

Both cyclists turned off the motors and one in particular swaggered up to them. He grasped at the chain around Shane's neck and yanked it off, throwing the metal symbol to the ground. The biker behind them gave the woman's hair a tug and let out a shrill laugh as she came out of his grasp.

She pushed the woman to the ground, taking off her helmet to show off her menacing sneer. The guy nodded to her, signaling the move. This prompted the biker woman to take out a knife, grab a fistful of hair, and stab her straight through her throat. She kept it there, letting the blood drain, spraying down her shirt.

A blue aura encircled the blade and was soaked up like a sponge into the knife itself. Shane sprang forward in a last attempt to help her but was on the ground under the sturdy man within seconds.

He heaved himself up, trying desperately to lift the man off of him. When the weight on his shoulders finally let up, the woman with the knife had gone. He rolled himself onto his back first. Both bikers had left and he was alive.

He crawled over to Maria's lifeless body. Maria that was her name, the one person who had trusted him with her life. The woman who now lay cold, dead, and lifeless. Her aura was gone; any color that had been in her eyes was lost to the wind.

Tiredly, he picked up her soft body gently and finished his path to the store. The door was wide open as if someone had been expecting him. He kept staring at the once bright eyes and ignored the screaming in his head.

The woman behind the counter made no sound as she appeared next to Shane in a matter of seconds. She said nothing, only beckoned him into the back. He stepped through the deep blue curtains into a storage room with a set of stairs.

At the top of the stairs, the woman gestured him to follow. She motioned to the body and pointed to a bed in a corner room at the top of the stairs. She grabbed a device off the wall that reminded him of an old fashioned flashlight. She drew the light across the body for a few minutes as if searching for the cause of her death.

Finally, she stopped and shook her head, "The wound was fatal and destroyed the body. Even with her soul recovered she would not survive." Shane was too disoriented to make sense of what the woman had said.

Of course she was dead, he already knew that.

The rest of his night was spent by her bed, sobbing. When it finally came time for the shop to open that morning, the counter woman decided it was time to confront him. "If you're so lost over this and you really need a job, I suppose you can work here for a while. We rent out these apartments and, seeing as you probably have no money, you could make up the rent by working."

He didn't speak, only nodded his head. "Good, then we should start with introductions hm? My name is Annette Ransh, and I am only one of the owners of this shop. The other, Corcey Regalt, takes over during the day."

He paused, seemingly to digest this information but to Annette it appeared like he was trying not to fall asleep. "And your name is?" she inquired, rolling her eyes impatiently.

"Shane, just Shane," he replied bluntly.

"Well Shane, when Corcey gets here I'll introduce you two and then you can get started. But for now, just get some rest."

He nodded, spicily and obediently he went over to the bed.