She just knew that Elaine was in trouble, she knew it. She had sounded so odd on the phone, so lost. Elaine had hurt herself or was in danger. Giselle didn’t know how she knew, but she did. Giselle had always known things like this.
It had begun when she was nine years old. Giselle had a feeling that her Jane Tardivel was hurt. She had rushed over to her house to find her friend in a heap underneath the apple tree in her backyard. Jane had fallen while trying to pick apples.
One time, while she was in high school, she ran back home to her brother, Sam. She just knew that he was hurt or in trouble. He had been in a car accident down the street from their house and that’s where her feeling had led her.
Giselle had always had feelings when people she knew were in danger or they had hurt themselves. As a physic talent, it was pretty crappy and sometimes depressing. She had tried to see if she could use her talent for something good, like gambling, but no dice. She only knew when someone was in trouble.
And right now, Giselle knew that Elaine was in serious trouble. She had never experienced a feeling this deep or dark before, or as menacing. Giselle’s whole body was shaking. She had to get to Elaine right away, right now.
When 69B came into view, however, she stopped. The whole building looked dark. She realized why a second later: There was a forest of trees surrounding the apartment building. The trees looked old, as if they had been there forever; but she had been there last week and nary a tree was to be seen then.
“What the fuck?” She whispered. She was terrified now. This miraculous forest mixed with the feeling, the urge, spelled trouble. Giselle just wished she knew what kind of trouble.
Giselle stepped closer to the forest and looked through the trees. There was the apartment building. She just had to get through the trees. Her mind made up, she stepped into the trees and made her way closer. The trees whispered around her and their branches creaked menacingly. A shadow moved in front of her and she walked faster.
There was an ear splitting scream from one of the apartments on the first floor and she ran towards the building now, terrified. Not looking where she was going, she bumped into a woman and rebounded, falling to the ground.
The woman held out a hand. “You must be Giselle.”
“You don’t sound too sure.”
“Yes I’m her. I mean, that’s me.”
“Good, your friend needs you.”
“Who are you?”
The woman had blond hair that fell past her shoulders and her skin was impossibly pale. It was the eyes that frightened her the most, however: they were black as tar, whites of the eyes and all. They were eyes of the dead.
“I was called Lenore. I can grant you safe passage through out the apartment building, but I can not grantee your safety beyond that. Will you still help your friend?”
Giselle swallowed. “I do.”
“Then take my hand.”
She didn’t know what compelled her to do it, but Giselle took Lenore’s hand. She screamed as the trees took hold of her, branches grabbing her arms and legs. She could no longer feel Giselle’s hand, all she could feel was the roughness of the trees and all she could see were the branches of the trees.
Then the branches began to creak and shiver and she could see only shadows. The tree branches began to fall away and she found herself walking out of the forest, but there were a line of apartments in front of her. The walls were covered in black fire but the walls didn’t burn.
As she looked at the trees behind her and the apartment doors in front of her, she jumped back as the door to Elaine’s apartment door opened, seeming to move the black fire itself. Giselle could see into the apartment and saw Elaine on the ground.
“Elaine!” Giselle screamed. Not even stopping to look at the forest of trees (or wonder what the hell was going on), she ran forward and was in the apartment and by Elaine’s side in seconds. The apartment door slammed making her scream. She quieted and checked on Elaine.
“Elaine! God, please be okay, please be all right, please be okay.”
“She will not wake.” A voice said.
Turning, Giselle’s fear increased ten-fold. A tall, thin boy was standing in front of her. He had black hair and eyes that were black orbs of tar. He was shirtless and there was a shape of a raven etched into his skin.
“What do you mean? She has to wake. Who the fuck are you?”
“A better question might be how you got in here when all the players have been chosen? A more important question might be: what is your name?”
“M-my name? Giselle.”
“Giselle.” He said it as if testing out the sound of it or the shape of her name on his tongue. “Lovely to meet you. I’m sorry for what’s about to happen.”
“What are you talking about? What’s happened to Elaine?’
“The same thing that is about to happen to you.”
The room became filled with the sound of wings flapping and Giselle was reminded of the movie The Birds. That movie had scared the shit out of her. As she watched, the man lifted his arms and then he was no more. His body morphed into the birds she was already hearing, as impossible as that was. He had not shifted into one bird, but hundreds.
The raven’s came at her from every direction and all she could do was throw herself on top of Elaine. She screamed and cried and yelled as the birds tried to peck at her skin and rip at her flesh.
In the end, all she could do was whisper as she bled out all over her friend from the wounds that were like a hundred knife wounds. “Elaine, I’m sorry. I’m sorry Elaine. Elaine, I’m sorry…”