Leons dark eyes shifted about the room, assessing the crowd. He sniffed again. The presence was lurking somewhere; but as attuned to the World of Shades as he was, even he could not immediately pick the cleverly disguised evil being. Couples held hands laughing, the buttery smell of freshly made popcorn hung in the air lingering in his nostrils and the flashing lights and the off beat music of the amusement arcade assaulted his other senses.
To his left, the dance machine pumped out the latest nightclub music with the pair of gamers intently watching the screen as their feet moved over the brightly light squares on the floor.
As he sniffed again, the teenage girl in the line ahead of him turned and gave him a withering, disgusted look. He inwardly shrugged; used to the ridicule and the responsibility he bore to keep normal human beings safe from the Others.
He could sense the sour note heralding the presence of an undead somewhere within the oozing crowd in front of him. Which one? The girl nuzzling her beau as they waited inline to watch the latest horror flick? The small child swinging on her fathers hands as they moved into the theatre to endure a third sitting of Dora the Explorer – the Movie? The young man standing alone, his lank hair covering his eyes and bony arms folded?
Leon’s breath caught in his throat as he suddenly saw him. Trevor Stevenson, dressed as always, as casually as a crisp thousand dollar note. With his trademark lightning quick movements, Leon catrolled across the carpet matted in chewing gum and spilt slushies, drew a thin silver dagger and stabbed the tall man several times. Twice the flash of silver plunged into the mans side, the frenzied attack also leaving a jagged cut on his forearm as he attempted to ward off the assault.
With an intense ferocity, Trevor pushed his attacker away from him, sending the dagger tumbling across the floor and Leon sprawled in a heap. Blood gushed from his wounds as Trevor ran his hands through his glossy hair. A crowd, both horrified and curious gathered about the figures. Trevor then calmly stated to the prone figure, “I have a restraining order on you – you freak - leave me alone.”
Eager hands contained Leon on the floor as the dagger was retrieved. Frightened parents hugged their children close as the security guards rushed in, grappled one another to restrain Leon in the most painful position they could.
Trevor brushed his torn jacket down absent mindedly and glared at he crumpled figure struggling on the floor.
“You have gone too far this time. The courts are going to lock you away for good.”
“You’re the freak, Stevenson. Who ever heard of a dentist who enjoyed drilling patients teeth, handing out pain in the demented manner you operate, who opens the strange hours you do, who collects teeth and keeps them in jars around the surgery?”
Trevor inspected the tear in his jacket. “I don’t need to listen to your incessant dronings again. You had your chance in court. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a movie to enjoy. One I deserve to without harassment from nutters like yourself.”
The security guards dragged Leon to his feet and began to lead him away. Struggling against the strong hands holding him, Leon shrieked, spittle frothing at the side of his mouth, “You are an abomination in the eyes of God. I will prove it to everyone and you will be sent to the hell you deserve.”
“I hope you like the comforts the police cell will give you. Start praying to your God you are never left alone.”
They locked eyes understanding the unspoken threats as the rest of the world moved obliviously about them.
The crystal silence between them shattered as Trevor felt a warm hand touch his sleeve.
“Sir would you like to come to the first aid room to get patched up? You seem to have lost some blood. I will call an ambulance from there.”
His grey eyes swept over her plain face etched with professional concern. Smiling genuinely he shook his head. “Happily, he only grazed my arm. A mere scratch and one that will heal easily.”
“But the blood, it must have hit something….. major. I thought he had, ummm stabbed you in the chest area as well.?”
He took her thin white hands and placed it over the tattered hole in his jacket as his eyes locked with hers.
“Again – his clumsiness only scratched me. Feel here – there is nothing. Just ripped fabric.”
She gingerly explored the hole onto his chest and the tatters of the sleeve and found only minor grazing on the smooth skin.
“I have a condition which causes me to bleed a lot – even small scrapes – but please… Miss?”
Colleen she blushed “Its Colleen.”
“Well then Colleen, You can see I am not harmed. Thank you for your concerns.”
She withdrew her hands from his slowly, entranced by his voice and the depths of his eyes.
“If you are sure?”
He nodded and tilted his head slightly. “Perhaps there is one thing you could do for me?”
Anything Colleen breathed, meaning it with ever fibre of her being.
“Your shift must finish shortly after my movie does, perhaps you could join me for a drink? That is if you could bear to be seen with someone with a few bloodstains and ripped jacket. Blood doesn’t concern you, does it?”
“Oh no – not all.” She flushed again. Her first date after nearly a year by herself. She was not about to let a good looking dentist past her radar.
“Well then, Colleen, I will see you after your shift finishes.”
He turned and strode into the cinema. As he sat, he brushed the last of the dried blood from his perfectly smooth arm and rubbed the closing marks on his chest where the dagger had plunged deeply. Colleen would serve an amusing past time and her straight white teeth fascinated him - professionally of course. Leon would have to be taken care of; but only once he was out of police custody. He sincerely hoped he would be committed to an institution this time. The unmitigated terror he enjoyed lurking in those halls made him shiver with anticipation.