„I do not regret this, I do not regret this", I whispered over and over again as I wrote my name on some strange papyrus looking sheet of paper. I wrote my name with my own blood.
A strange looking goblin gazed at me wickedly.
"Thank you for making business with me, Miss Sokolova." This thing's smile spread across its ugly leathern face, making it looking gory. I felt sick. So much for lying to myself – I did regret this.
Ok, so maybe I should explain some things. I was broke. Like really broke. Probably being in my situation every other sane human being would just return home, begging their parents for food and a warm bed. It would be a wise thing to do. Not me, nope. I was lucky enough to convince my parents to actually allow me to study at the University of Vienna. In case you didn't know the location of this building is in Austria. No, not Australia. Austria, which lies next to Germany. Yes I speak German. Not in the way that I could fool people in believing I'm not a foreigner, but good enough to communicate.
I guess I should introduce myself properly. My name is Sasha Sokolova. I'm a 22 year old student. I told my parents I would attend the law school but I happened to waste my time on Slavic studies. As you surely noticed my name sounds Russian. I was born there. Well, that's pretty all I know about my origin. I've never known my father. My mom took me to America when I was a toddler. But it scares me not to know where I'm from. How are you supposed to know where you belong if you have no idea where you're coming are from? I've felt los for my whole life. And because I suddenly felt the urge to find myself I have been studying Slavic studies over a year now.
So, back to my parents. My mother married a quite rich man. I don't know how she charmed him. Eric is not that bad, kinda strict. Kinda very strict. He found out that I've been wasting my time on something unreliable and cut my money.
Vienna is expensive. I have to pay for the place, the food, tickets to the University and so on. Do you want to know how much the ticket for the subway is? 50 € for one semester which, by the way, lasts about four months. Hello? Yeah, yeah I know what you'd say. Getajob, loser. Well, I've tried. The thing is, I am only free on Saturday and my stepdad took me by surprise with his you-are-on-your-on-crap. No one has ever found a job within one week!
So there I was, walking completely hungry and utterly depressed down the streets of the capital city of Austria. I don't remember how exactly but this little weird guy suddenly appeared right in front of me. He looked like an old homeless midget to me. And I really did try to avoid him but the moment the opened his mouth I felt paralyzed.
"I have an old boiler full of gold I could share with you, my Dear", his mischievous smile turning hideous. Of course he spoke in German at first. It was something along the following line: " Hey, Süße. Ich habe einen alten Kessel und der ist bis zum Rand gefüllt mit Gold. Interessiert?"Now that I think about it, it was a pretty pervy sounding comment. What a loony. Gold? Sure.
"No, thank you", I answered through my teeth in English. I thought he would get lost as soon as he realized I'm not into German. He proved me wrong.
"You don't like gold?", he purred in my mother tongue and watched me as if I was his prey.
"I would prefer money", I muttered without thinking.
"I can arrange that", he beamed, grabbed my hand and pulled me into an alley. Before I could protest the world around me blurred. The next second I found myself in some kind of dungeon. It looked dirty and dusty. Then I recognized something which looked like a check-in counter. Abruptly I had to think about Harry Potter. This is insane, I thought.
There were only two possibilities for this. Either I was so hungry that I became delusional or I had a tumor in my brain. Not good.
"Girl, you can have all the money which lies over there in the corner if you give me something in return. I want your luck."
"My luck? What are you going to do with it?"
"Maybe I'll eat it. How should I know? I have to own it first so I can decide."
I turned around, taking in the sight before me. There was a lot of money. It was a little mountain. Naturally, hungry and sleepy as I was, I nodded.
And I know what you're thinking. What? She sells something like that to a creepy stranger? Well, I have to tell you that he must have hypnotized me. Because when I think back, I did feel groggy. And it's not an excuse for my dumbness. This goblin was a magical being. They can actually make people delusional.
And that was how I found myself signing an old piece of paper which was covered in confusing old looking letters with my blood. Yes, I actually had to cut my palm for this shit. As soon as I drew the last line of my name he broke in an evil laughter.
"Ah, my Dear, it really amuses me how people do not worship Fortuna. Do you want to know a secret? The reason humans have luck is because of their soul."
My blood ran cold the second the words left his mouth. My soul?
"Hihihi, yes your soul. Think about it, girl. Would you be able to feel a coincident sequence of events as something fortunate without a soul?"
"Listen. That is not a lawful agreement! I don't believe you can actually sell your luck. What do you mean with this soul shit?"
"Language, my Dear. And don't get onto my nerves with this human crap! You belong to me now. What shell I do with you?"
I felt weird. My body became heavy, my eyelids started to close on their own. What was happening? It didn't slip my gaze that there was a strange fluttering light around me and I cringed at the sight of the troll or goblin or hobbit, whatever, or better yet whichever, he was. The little creature breathed the sparkling fog into its mouth and munched on it. At first he looked pleased. I watched him from the ground now, kneeling numbly on the floor and not able to speak. Why did I go with him? I have never been stupid enough to start a conversation with complete strangers who looked like ugly moles. The world was darkening around me and I braced myself for death when he unexpectedly spit the fair structure out of this disgusting mouth. For a moment I thought I saw a row of very sharp teeth. As he was retching everything out as I was gradually becoming better - even though I still felt delusional.
"You, girl, taste like glue. Disgusting!", his venomous voice rising.
He grinned as he noticed that I still couldn't talk. A low giggle escaped his mouth. The world turned again, disappearing from my view and reappearing all of a sudden again. The floor under my knees changed, as did my surroundings. I was in my little, crappy apartment.
As I closed my eyes to sleep (on the floor where I appeared) I heard him mumble in a high pitched voice, "If you are no good to me, I'll sell you. Human slaves are quite in demand nowadays." And with that sentence he left. Or was it me who slipped into unconsciousness?
I woke up and groaned. There was a hot pain in my neck from lying on the floor. My whole body felt heavy. And then I sensed someone behind me. I spun around, forgetting my legs were numb as I attempted to stand up and stumbled into my invader. Unlike in those books or movies he didn't break my fall and caught me. He lazily moved aside so I could land face down on the floor. From the corner of my eye I noticed some dust bunnies under my sofa. Gross, I should tidy up.
I heard him grunt in disgust above me. And when I dared to look up my breath got caught in my throat. I don't know how I should describe him. He didn't look human. All my senses screamed DANGEROUS at me but I couldn't take my gaze away from him. He was beautiful, yet frightening to the core. His eyes were dismissive, lips pressed into a thin disapproving line and his strong jaw clenched tense. He looked grim hovering above me with his arms crossed.
His hair was blond, sort of. You wouldn't find this color on a human. It was this dirty blond shade mixed with a sparkling gold. To be franc I can't even describe the texture of it. I was kind of wavy and slightly curly but not wild or tangled. And it seemed to straighten itself out sometimes because I often noticed the curls gone. It went slightly pass his eyes, softly covering his (to some extent pointed) ears. He had a straight nose and nice pouty shaped lips. His skin was pare and shimmered slightly. He glowed in a supernatural healthy way. He was tall and lean with broad shoulders, wearing a dark blue leather jacket and skinny jeans. He would look yummy if it weren't for his eyes and some repudiative manners. His eyes were large black orbs with a deep, dark gleaming in them. And no, not in the pretty way you could sometimes see on people. It seemed they glowed black and somewhere behind the deep back was a spark. It looked devilish. They sometimes try this look in horror movies but the reality was nothing compared to some stupid movie. It was really frightening and adding the arrogant look on his face.. He could pass as Lucifer himself. But enough of the description, let's get back to the actual story.
So as I naturally looked up at him from the floor he hissed at me. His face showed his disgust quite openly. And I got really irritated to have a stranger in my apartment who seemed to be an obnoxious dickhead. I know that I probably looked like hell, tired and sore and not to forget very hungry but still. I was a girl; shouldn't guys be nice to you if you were sort of pretty and feminine? I was neither obese nor ugly, so I considered myself as the good average. And I can't remember that anyone has ever showed me this much indifference. I even took a shower in the morning. Or the day before, depends on how long I actually have spent on the floor. This rude behavior was not justifiable.
Just as I was scrambling to my feet, trying to gain some balance he cleared his throat.
"Shasha Sokolova?", he asked in a deep, smooth voice.
From the stare I gave him it was clear he got the right person.
"I'm your new owner. You may refer to me as Master", he spoke nonchalantly.
And then I snapped. I was beyond exhausted and had no patience for this. "You? Owner? What do I look like to you, a dog? Listen, I don't know how you got inside but I would be pleased if you'd leave. Or I shall call the police, because if it didn't occur to you, you are breaking into my home here and therefore breaking the law." There, I stood up for myself.
He then showed some kind of document right in my face. It was the contract I'd signed with blood earlier. Oh no, that has really happened? I snatched it away from him, trying to read it but failing because of the alien letters.
"As your Master I am legally here. You belongings are mine, by the way."
Was it some kind of dark humor? How could a person belong to someone? So much for the abolition of slavery, I thought bitterly. I choose to be quiet as a start. I needed someone who could read this damned excuse of a document. And translate it. And explain me the law of, how should I call it, the magic world? I know, this was the right time to tell him off and so on -and I had never believed in magic but if you'd seen him you would shut up and shit your pants. He didn't look human. His eyes which looked like flamy coal burned holes into me. I was not crazy enough to tell him to piss off. Even if he clearly was crazy.
Out of the blue my nose itched and I suppressed a sneeze. The look of loathing on his face was overwhelming.
"Why are you even here if I'm so yucky?"
"I needed a place in the human world I could stay. I wasn't expecting it to be so.. shabby and you to be so plain.."
My mouth fell open. This was irritating. I squinted my eyes at him and growled, "Well, it is a good thing then that his apartment won't suffocate your exquisite taste for very long, isn't it? Because I can't afford it for any longer. But if it is your wish to stick with me, I welcome you to join me on the streets, Master."
He looked confused, his demoniac eyes gleaming treacherously. That made me nervous. Appalled I tried to explain without sounding mocking.
"You need money so you can pay the bills. I don't have a job because I didn't really have time for this. I'm a student and it's hard because I only have time on Saturdays but people usually search for someone with more flexible times. And my step dead kind of surprised me when he said it was no longer his business how I choose to live. So here I am, poor as a church mouse. And I'm sooo sorry to break it to you but you didn't choose wisely when you picked me."
His eyes burned. Really burned. I made him angry. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I backed away from him, stumbled and fell right onto my butt. He snarled, truly, like an animal. I tried to crawl away while cold panic circulated through my blood. He caught my foot, dragging me backwards and inhaling deeply. I felt weird. The sparkling light was once more around me. Not again. He filled his mouth with my gleaming soul, or was it my luck? I didn't really understand what the midget meant by Fortuna.
With all my will I lifted my foot and hit him in the nose. He stopped, not really hurt but caught in surprise.
"Bad boy! You don't eat people's gleaming light without permission", I whispered, completely drained. He looked ready to kill but before he was able to reach me again I got cataleptic.
Plunk! Plunk, plunk.. I woke up with a headache and a very strange noise inside my head. What was this clatter? It was getting on my nerves. Sounded like metal hitting another metal. Still shaky I noticed that my body was yet again sprawled on the floor. My poor neck. Ugh, I would never sleep on a floor again. My right leg was totally numb and gross while I tried to lift it. I already felt the itching feeling of my blood flow into it again. I felt sick, my throat and my eyes hurt like hell. The floor has always been cold. No wonder I caught a caught.
As I looked up I saw him (in all his stupid gleaming glory) throwing around with gold. He hit some gold rocks against other ones and drew sparks. And the sparks were becoming sold sand. And the golden sand became rocks. I blinked, there was gold all over my apartment.
He didn't notice me, not even as I approached. He was sitting with his back to me, occupied with his mesmerizing activity. And as I got closer I suddenly took notice that his hair had lone wisps of colour which were blue or green. Utterly overwhelmed I leaned in closer and didn't note the speed he used to turn around to finally face me. I would have flown backwards but his hand caught up to my forearm, holding me in place. His eyes narrowed dangerously at me.
"Am I not to your liking, Sir?", I mocked him. Probably not the wised idea I've ever had but this situation was creeping me out. I obviously was in denial and on the other hand if I had to die, then at least in a cool way and not like a weeping idiot.
His eyes were black, definitely darker than before. I noticed that he had dark circles around his gleaming eyes. He looked awfully pale and tired.
"I'm hungry", he said expectedly.
Hmpf, and what on earth should I do now? He really expected me to do something. The frown on his face got from simply unhappy to pissed. He looked like a spoiled child.
"Then go and eat something. You know, there are a lot of possibilities. You could go to the supermarket and buy something, like fast food. Or you could cook something. You could phone the delivery service and.."
"I DO NOT EAT HUMAN FOOD!"
I know I should wonder what he ate instead but my first question has already slipped my lips. I could stick to it as well.
He hissed. Abruptly his (gorgeous) face was very near to mine. It was intimidating. His nose twitched and he reminded me of my old dog Nautilus which I had as I was a child. Was he checking outmy scent? His face fell.
"You taste awful. What a waste. I knew there was a rub in it. You were extremely cheap."
"Excuse me? Cheap? I'll tell you who- wait, did you said I taste bad? That's rude, you know? Do you think that you actually taste better!"
"I'm hungry", he growled again.
"I told you to eat something. Do you expect me to feed you?"
He tried to inhale me. I saw that he was breathing my light into his mouth again but before I could even feel weird he started to cough. And while he was distracted I broke loose and crawled away from him.
"Let me guess, I taste like glue", I said through my teeth.
"I would say syrup.. But glue fits as well", he stated dryly.
"I'll make you something to eat. This is crazy. You are probably just my imagination anyway", he was getting on my nerves. I didn't even know why I was so kind. He wanted to eat me. Scratch that. I know why I did this. Because I always did this. I always helped people who didn't care a damn about me. I should stand above him while laughing and screaming die,bitch,die! But instead I searched for some vegetables. Because in my head there was a voice that cooed, ohh poor baby.
I decided to make myself a soup. I needed soup. He would eat it anyway if he was that hungry.
I turned on the fire so the water could boil and threw some frozen vegetables inside. Yummy, I thought miserably. Not even a dog would eat this. I needed to go buy some groceries. It dawned to me that he was awfully quiet. The little kitchen and the living room were connected. Or better yet, the kitchen was inside of the living room. I only had to turn around to check on him so it made me wondering what he was up to with this silence.
"Are you okay there?" I shouted past my shoulder afraid to see what was wrong. If he was about to die I certainly wouldn't want to traumatize myself by looking at his corpse.
I flinched; I could feel his breath against my ears. When did he get so close? I felt myself being drained, again. And for the second time, before I could even feel the lightheadedness crawling under my skin he got into a fit of coughing.
"Would you cut it out already? Are you trying to kill me?" I was angry.
"You taste awful", he pouted. His voice got softer yet weaker.
"I asked you a question, dumbass."
"I'm not trying to kill you, stupid! I want to gain some energy from you. But you are so flavorless that I can't even swallow you. It's like trying to gulp down expired honey, your essence always gets stuck in my throat. And I can't go and feed on someone because I probably will get noticed! AND IT'S YOUR FAULT!"
"Myfault? Excuse me, who are you anyway to believe you have the right to suck me out, huh?"
"I am you owner! I bought you because I need a place to stay and obviously someone to feed off."
He looked distressed, I was tired. I recalled that he had a lot of gold so we would be able to keep the apartment. If he wanted to pay for it, that is. And if he did, I wouldn't end up homeless. Maybe I should try to get onto his good side.
"Well, are there other possibilities?"
He looked at me with his freaky gleaming eyes and I swallowed. I switched my gaze from his eyes to his lips. He had very pretty lips, curvy and pouty in a sexy boyish way. My gaze wandered then to his strong jaw, his neck and his broad shoulders. For the first time I noticed how strong and manly his hands looked, how long his fingers were. Ugh, I looked back up to his lips which were moving.
Focus, I told myself.
"I said that I don't like human food. It's not filling. I could gain some energy from you by sex but-"
"What?" I shrieked. What the hell?
"But don't even imagine that I would touch a filthy human." He smirked. This obnoxious asshole was laughing at me. What did even make him think that I was interested?
"Listen here, I would never touch you! You may look good but don't think that your arrogance makes you even a slightest bit likable! Your looks do not even out your personality. And no, I don't care if you own me. This can't be legal anyway."
I was so pissed; I could've punched a hole in a wall. He didn't say anything but his eyes were cold, glowing aggressively at me. His jaw clenched. Oh-ohh.. There I thought he was trying out to be an ounce nicer. Silly me. I gulped, he was scary.
"Listen, you can crash here for all I care, but at the end of the month we have to move out because I haven't got the money for the rent."
He breathed out through his nose. I half expected him to lay his hands around my throat and strangle me but instead he said something nice.
"Take the gold and pay for the rent and everything else. I'll be back in a couple of days."
And with this he turned around and vanished, leaving sparkling smoke behind him.
There were only few things running through my head:
Thank god I won't have to live under some muddy bridge.
Thank god this creepy guy is gone.
How the hell should I sell all that gold?