“I…I’m sorry I was eavesdropping. I’ll go now.” I stuttered, turning away then, only to find that the path from which I’d come had gone, disappearing into everything a wild forest ought to be in my imagination—thick bushes, lurking shadows, poking twigs. Where was the road? Where had the peace gone? I whipped back around at Legend and his companion. The scene on their side hadn’t changed. Legend almost looked sorry, but his companion—well, there was no way to tell.
“Are you sure you could go back, Miss Ashmck?” the man with the black eyes asked, in a frighteningly polite tone.
After taking a deep breath, I turned back to face them again. “No,” I replied as naturally as possible, seeing that the forest altered itself for them—that was what it seemed. I shifted my gaze to Legend, looking for an explanation of some sort.
“It will take a lot of courage to believe what I have to say, Jess,” Legend said—yes, he spoke to me for the first time. “Let’s start with who I am. By the time you entered the school, I was already there, but in fact, I transferred just a bit earlier than you did.”
“You were a transfer student?” I asked skeptically. He blended so well with everyone (except me), it was hard to believe.
“You seem to find that fact dubious,” he noted. “But that’s just the beginning. I transferred, not from another school, but from another world, another dimension, altogether.” Again, he stopped to wait for me to react. There was a hint of care in his eyes, as if he was carefully trying to catch a hissing cat.
A familiar grin spread across his face. Sure, whenever he looked at me, his expression was serious, but with his friends, he was always finding new ways to play tricks on them. From the outside of the circle, I often glimpsed this wolfish grin. Alright, I get it, something more shocking is going to be revealed, I thought.
“You heard me.” Without a warning, Legend pulled off the unnamed man’s mask. It was only then that I could finally see his facial features—and the lack of it. Aside from his two completely black eyes, the man had a thin red line for a mouth, so thin it looked drawn on with a colored pencil. It was almost like the lips of a clown, with the corners of his mouth so high they were right next to his ears. Since he wasn’t speaking at the time, I couldn’t even tell the upper lip from the lower. It was just a thin red line. Nose? Not that I could see. His face was only a bit less pale than pure white, making the colored pencil reference even more relevant.
“Is that…is that not another mask?” I asked just to make sure. I was in fact already quite certain there wasn’t another mask beneath the one Legend had just torn.
“Come and see for yourself, Miss Ashmck,” the man invited. When he spoke, his mouth was opened wide, and the thin lines appeared even thinner.
I took a few steps closer to them, cautious. He had the face of an alien.
“What are you, then?” I asked Legend. He seemed pretty human to me.
“Half human, the other half vampire. You could say I have a human being’s lifespan with the physique of a vampire.”
“How am I to believe this?”
“Look behind you,” Legend suggested. I turned around, and saw that the forest had turned into a paradise of dandelions and butterflies. As if to check that it wasn’t an illusion, I knelt on the ground and plucked a dandelion. It was real. I gave Legend a bewildered look, and turned again—it was the forest again.
“Alright, I believe you. What’s next?”