"What day is it?" he asked as he slid up into the bed with me. "I wasn't paying attention in the warp."
My eyes felt like cotton. I dragged my eyelids open and blinked at the bare wall opposite my bed. Holes littered the room where tacks used to hold up posters and empty shelves stood like open mouths, waiting and hungry. I was distantly aware of a warm body pressed against me, breathing softly.
I knew I wasn't dreaming. I knew that the warmth of the hand that was sliding over my hip was too vivid to be a figment of my imagination. It took a few moments of syrupy confusion for me to come to my senses. My heart started thudding and flipping around in my chest.
"You're quiet," he commented. "What time is it? Is it really late? I'm sorry."
I tried to move, but my arms felt like they were on fire. Fear and confusion made adrenaline burn through me, tightening my leg muscles to the point of aching. There was a split second where I couldn't breathe. Inhaling was like trying to breathe under water. My stomach underwent this sort of wiggling transformation, like it was trying to turn itself inside out.
"Is it the warp smell? Do you not like it?"
Without thinking, I began struggling. I twisted around in my bed, tangling myself in my sheets and accidentally whacking the stranger in the mouth with my elbow. Hurt and indignant, he fell over the side of my bed. He landed on his back with a solid-sounding thump, knocking the breath out of him.
"God, Indigo!" he wheezed, clutching his lip. "Last time you said the warp smelled like new car!"
I kicked my legs, untangling them from my sheets.
"You don't have to beat me up, you know. If I stink you can just tell me."
"Who are you?" I hissed, my voice shaking.
"What the hell?" he asked, his voice muffled from beneath his hand. I could see a small trickle of blood running down his chin. "What are you talking about?"
I looked around for something to use as a weapon but everything was covered in bubble wrap. The soft corners of a cardboard box weren't exactly menacing. The only thing I'd unpacked was a lamp that I had set on the ground next to my bed. I picked it up, wielding it above my head like a battle sword. The plug was ripped violently from it's socket and sparks flew when the circuit was broken. Everything was significantly darker without the light from the lamp and I instantly regretted unplugging it.
"What are you doing, Indigo?!" he shouted.
"How do you know my name?" I whimpered. Panic churned my stomach and made me feel sick.
My room was lit dimly from the hallway lights. I strained my eyes. In front of me was a fair-haired boy of about my age wearing a black tee and plaid pajama bottoms. His feet were bare. The contrast of the light made the shining white crescent scar in his eyebrow glow, and the blood dripping from his split lip glitter.
"Oh, God..." he murmured, realizing something. "Oh, God, I'm so sorry!"
"Get out, get out!"
"You don't know me yet..." he whispered, more to himself than to me. Amusement flickered into his face. "Weird."
"I'm going to call the police!" I yelled, my throat tightening.
"I didn't mean to scare you!" he insisted, the amusement gone. "I'll go now, okay?"
"Mom!" I shouted, my voice wavering from fear.
Then the boy stood and reached a hand out to me.
"I'm going, I'm going!" he protested. "Don't call anyone! Okay? Okay? I'm leaving now! See you later." He mumbled the last part like he was telling himself some sort of private joke.
I knew that my parents' room was downstairs and on the other side of the house. They were fast asleep and it was impossible for them to hear me but, I called out again.
His eyes widened and he stepped back, looking over his shoulder. He stepped into a small slit of light, coming from the cracked door. I could make out the details of his face. His features were rounded, a soft jaw and a dramatically sloped nose. His eyes were round and bright, and his lips were thin - but not severe. His hair was light brown, almost blonde. It tickled his ears and his bangs flopped unsteadily to one side. It was clear he had bed-head.
A new light began forming, but it wasn't coming from the hallway. A dull luminescent shine was pulsating under the boy's skin. It shone through his pores and radiated white.
He was hugging himself tightly, his eyes squeezed shut and his face contorted in concentration. Suddenly, a rift appeared in the air, as if the atmosphere had split. I couldn't decide if the color of the rip was black or not. It seemed to be every color, all at once... Something flashed into my mind about the spectrum of light, but I couldn't focus.
The white light coming from within the boy seemed to make him translucent. His body shimmered. The rift moved wider to encompass his frame, then pulled him in. Just before it closed with a soft woosh, the boy's face went slack with horror.
"Shit, shit, shit!" he cried, his voice muffled.
Something solid landed on my carpet and shone dully in the bright light. The boy frantically stretched his hand down to pick the object up, but he was too slow. The rip closed itself, zipping him up on the other side.
Shock froze my face into a mask of confusion. My heart was beating normally. I hadn't experienced quite the same rush of adrenaline as I'd had when he was crawling into my bed. This time, it was disbelief that rooted me to the spot. Three or four breathless minutes ticked by before I could focus on anything other than the bone-crushing silence around me.
But then I realized that there was something more important that my numb heart. The object.
I scrambled out of my bed, dropping the lamp to the floor. Then, crawling on my knees, I approached the small, round thing as if it were a bomb. I heard a metallic clicking and, for a second, my stomach lurched. But it was then that I realized it was a pocket watch.
It was gold, with three swirling letters engraved on the front:
I pushed the button on the top and opened the watch. The golden cover flipped off and I started, nearly screaming. It's silver hands were moving in precise ticks. I followed the second hand with my eyes. I gasped when, suddenly, the ticking stopped. An unnatural silence pressed upon my ears. My hands shook. The hour hand was passed the two, nearly at the three, and the minute hand was standing boldly at the eleven. Two-fifty.
And then I saw the date.
It was in number form - in a tiny, almost unnoticeable circle - at the bottom left hand end of the watch's face.
That is, December fourth. Nearly four months from now.