The first time I saw him he stood on the pavement ahead of me. He was waiting for someone or watching something.
He scared me from the get-go. Standing over 6 feet tall, he was a bald-headed with a large neck and biceps bigger than my thighs. He was wearing a tight black tee-shirt with no sleeves with his arms covered in tattoos. Long black-jeaned legs led up to a firm torso and a large barrel-like chest. I was an office worker, a little over 5 feet 2 in flats, making him seem like a giant.
Without making it too obvious, as I knew he spotted me, too, I crossed the road and looked into a shop window as if I was interested. After a moment, I walked on with a quick glance over my shoulder. He was watching me. Was I obvious?
Two weeks later I saw him again. I was going back to work after lunch. Getting away from the desk and air conditioning was a must for me. Looking up, he was there again. This time, he was standing on the street talking to two guys who looked rough. They had long hair tied in ponytails and dressed scruffily. I came to an abrupt halt and, for a moment, he glanced my way then continued his conversation. I didn’t want to walk past any of them. They scared me. So I turned round and went back to the office the other way.
This guy freaked me out, and I didn’t know why. We didn’t know each other; he was just a random guy on the street.
Ha! Ha! Me, Kristy Moon getting freaked out, but in reality, it was more than that.
My first proper encounter with him came on a night out with Sharon and Claire, my friends from the office.
We were heading to a nightclub in town for some dancing. I was in the middle linking arms with my two friends. I felt good because being short; my heels made me seem almost as tall as them.
As we approached, he was there on door duty outside the very club we were going into. He wore a brown bomber jacket and black trousers with black lace-up boots. There were gauged earrings in his ears, and they caught the light, flickering at me. A tattoo of a snake ran around his neck, its tongue pointing in my direction.
“Shit!” I halted, jerking Sharon and Claire forward.
“What?” They both spoke at the same time.
My eyes locked with the big man before I broke away, “I’m sorry, I can’t go in there.”
Sharon looked vexed as they both faced me.
“What on Earth is the matter with you?” Asked Claire.
“Why can’t you go in?” Sharon asked at almost the same time.
A shiver passed through me at the thought of walking anywhere near him. I didn’t want to risk him touching me, afraid of what I might see. I turned away from him, breaking the spell I was feeding myself.
“Kristy, for God’s sake, what is the matter with you?” Cried Claire.
“I have a bad feeling. I need to go home.”
“What?” They gasped with disappointment. “No!”
“Yes. Go in without me. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
They knew about my weird feelings although I never elaborated. They also knew I wouldn’t change my mind.
I hurried in the opposite direction, but only got a few steps when a shadow engulfed me, and my heart jumped into my mouth.
“Excuse me?” A finger on my shoulder was the worse thing he could have done. I spun around, and instead of seeing him I had a premonition.
His large hands came for me, his mouth forming a yell in a screwed-up face. His whole body was about to crash into mine.
I was terrified until he morphed back into his present self.
“Do I know you?” He asked.
“No!” I snapped, staggering away from him. “I have to go!” I couldn’t tell him what I had just seen, that he would attack me in the future.
Thankfully, as I ran away, he didn’t follow, and I made my way home. I was desperate for the comfort of my blanket. My heart was pounding and my breath was coming out in gasps. The panic I felt until I reached my front door was almost overwhelming. I ran to my chair and wrapped myself in the blanket and closed my eyes. My breathing and heartbeat slowed. I rubbed my cheek with the blanket; it always calmed me.
I’d had it all my life. Granny Moon wrapped me in it on the day I was born as my mother slipped away.
She knew I was special from the start as she and Papa brought me up.
The wool from the blanket came from clothes worn by her father and herself and that made it Moon protected. She told me I had her gift and in time I would learn to use it.
I didn’t look upon it as a gift, but more of a curse. Granny Moon died before she could guide me and help understand it.
It warned me of things to come, but it was not always clear what I saw. The big man was clear. He was fearsome and I didn’t know why he would attack me.
When people touched me, I know things about them. Soon my reputation was one of being a bit weird. I also found that people would come and ask about their future. It didn’t always work like that. My visions were unreliable, or maybe it was me misreading them. Granny was not here to guide me.
My problems began when I told a lady she should avoid bridges. I had such a strong vibe from her when she shook my hand. It turned out it was her daughter who needed the warning. One stormy night, the river washed away a bridge in town. The daughter travelled over it, and was lucky to get away with her life. She suffered serious injuries, and her mum blamed me. I know it upset her and couldn’t blame her.
That taught me a valuable lesson. I needed to be more careful. My reputation was irreparable and gave me no choice but to leave town. I didn’t want to live in the shadow of Granny Moon, where people comparing me to her.
Taking my Moon Blanket, I moved to where no one knew me, and as I snuggled in after an episode like today, I could hear Granny talking. It was as if I needed to get away to hear her voice clearly.
Now sitting here, I got up, changed my clothes and made a milky coffee sprinkled with cinnamon. I put the television on and lost myself in my favourite programmes. The big man’s face as he screamed at me was forgotten for a while.
The following morning I arrived at work. The girls were waiting to pounce.
“Your hot-looking guy is called Adam Reece,” said Sharon.
“He is not my hot-looking guy,” I said. “He’s my scary guy.”
I sat down and put my handbag in the desk drawer and switched on my computer.
“Are you put off by the tattoos?” Asked Sharon. “He had lots.”
“No, it’s not that,” I said.
“Then what? He wanted to know all about you.”
“He did? What did he say?”
“Only your name and phone number.”
“And where you lived,” added Claire.
My jaw dropped, and they giggled. “No, of course, we didn’t, but he knew your name.”
My stomach rolled. “How?”
They shrugged. “We didn’t tell him.”
I typed my name and password at the screen prompt. How could he know my name? We didn’t know each other.
It was all a little strange and more so, why a random man I had never heard of, would attack me.
No more was said, and I discouraged them talking about it further by not asking them, even though I was curious. I was also still a little afraid.
On Saturday I was cooking a lasagna. We would have a girly night with wine and a rom-com.
As I headed for the supermarket, my head was already in the kitchen putting all the ingredients together and imagining an evening full of laughter and wine. Walking along the pavement, I zoned out of everything around me.
Suddenly, all hell let loose as I heard a roar and a screech from behind. At the same time the big man, Adam Reece appeared, almost flying towards me. His face scrunched up in, what? Alarm? Anger? In that instant, I couldn’t tell. I could just hear him roar and that terrible noise behind me.
His arms engulfed me before I could react, and as if by slow motion, we flew before slamming to the ground. That was the last thing I remember.
When I came round I instantly knew that something was wrong. I couldn’t move my head and my neck was sore. My right arm felt heavy, and my shoulder didn’t feel right either.
“Kristy?” Said a voice at the side of me. “Kristy, open your eyes, love.”
I did and for a moment the light was blinding. When it evened out, a women’s head came into focus.
“Hello, Kristy. I’m Karina, the nurse looking after you.”
“What?” My voice came out as a croak and I coughed.
“You’re in the hospital and you’ve had an accident,” she was saying.
“An accident?” I repeated because I didn’t quite believe her. I was attacked, wasn’t I?
“A bus careered off the road. You’re very lucky to be here.”
It came back to me in a flash. Adam Reece wasn’t attacking me. He was saving me.
“Adam?” His name felt strange on my lips.
“He’s down the ward. He saved your life, from what I hear.”
I’d broken my collarbone and my arm, or rather Adam did as we hit the concrete. He suffered two broken ankles as the bus wheel passed over them.
Claire had been to my flat to bring me some things, and my blanket came with them. It was what I needed to heal.
How could I have gotten it so wrong? Again?
The following day I felt much better except for a heavy plaster cast on my arm, held up by a tight sling so it didn’t pull on my collarbone. That would heal on its own as long as I didn’t put pressure on it or move it around.
They would discharge me soon, but there was one thing I needed to do first.
Adam was sitting up in bed reading; he had small wire-rimmed glasses on that made him look less frightening, and the white hospital gown that made him look different from the fearsome man I remembered. His his feet and lower limbs were encased in plaster. I tapped on the door with no idea what to say, apart from the obvious, which felt inadequate given the circumstances.
He looked up with surprise. “Hello.” He took off his glasses and put them and the magazine on the bedside cabinet. “Come in.”
“Hello Adam,” I said feeling a little silly standing there with my blanket draped around my shoulders.
“Take a seat,” he indicated one against the wall. “Can you manage?”
I pulled it towards the bed and sat down. The blanket fell from my shoulders against the back of the chair. My voice failed me as I stared at him and he looked back at me. Neither of us seemed in a hurry to speak as we held each other’s gaze. I felt we were communicating without talking.
Goosebumps shot up my arms and I had to look away. “I came to say thank you, but more, to ask why?”
His gaze shifted to a spot just behind my shoulder.
“I don’t know. It’s just something I did.” His eyes came back to me and I knew there was more. He blinked twice and then said, “You’d think I was crazy if I told you.” His eyes flickered over my shoulder again and I felt a presence behind me. The hairs on my neck stood on end and my shoulders went still. I knew before he said it.
I fought the urge to turn around, afraid of what I’d see, or perhaps what I wouldn’t. There was another long pause before he spoke again, and I shivered despite the heat.
“Sarah came to me in a dream. She said I should look out for you.”
“Sarah is my Granny,” I said, and he nodded. “But why? How?”
“I don’t know. I never know these things.”
“What do you mean?”
He nodded again. “Not just Sarah, other people. Other dreams. I have to do what they say because, despite my bad boy image, I can’t escape who I really am.”
“And who’s that?”
He didn’t speak straight away. He wet his lips with his tongue as if he was deliberating.
“A guardian angel.”
I stared at him. He was serious. “You’re a guardian angel?” He nodded. “My Granny came to you because she knew this would happen?”
He grunted, and I leaned forward and took one of his big hands in mine. His fingers closed around the back of my palm. I felt only good in him. I saw how he’d spent his life fighting against what he was and how he couldn’t change what was in his heart.
Once again his eyes moved past my shoulders, and I saw a faint smile play at the corner of his lips.
“She’s here, isn’t she?”
He nodded and I still couldn’t turn around. Goosebumps flooded my body. “Does this happen to you a lot?”
“Never like this. Never so intense.”
I smiled. “That’s my Granny.” I looked down, and he was still holding my hand, his thumb was brushing my skin. I looked up and into his eyes and they met mine.
“Granny raised me and she has protected me ever since. She heals me and now she will heal you.” Standing up, I picked the blanket off the back of the chair and draped it around him. Making my way to the door, I stopped and turned to him. He had both hands on the blanket as if he could feel its power. For a moment I saw a shape shimmer beside him.
“Granny is with you.”
He nodded. “I can see her.”
Smiling, I knew my gift, with Adam’s help, would never be a curse again.
This one of the stories one of the stories in the The Magic of Stories Book.