I was alone.
It was how it had always been and likely to how it was always going to be. I could claim that I liked it that way, given I had lots of space to myself and no one to bug me for it. No one to hog the bed and or to try and share my hard-earned riches.
I was alone and that was how I liked it.
Or so I thought.
For years and years, there is always the tale of someone meeting the right person. The ONE. This person that would make them change how they viewed the world. I never thought much of it. Silly words for those whose lives were filled with loneliness and heartache. I was above that. Better than that.
Then, she arrived.
The deal was simple. Once a year they would send someone to me, and they would get another year. Simple. Hard to mess up and yet.
Somehow, this year, they had.
Into my cave she was led, though unlike the others she was not blindfolded nor bound. Merely left there in the middle, standing within the single beam of moonlight from the crack I never bothered to fix. The light bouncing off her dark locks, as she stood calmly waiting for something.
“I can hear you,” she spoke softly but I could hear her clear as day. “They told me why I am here,” calm and gentle as breeze was her voice. “Why are you waiting?”
Dropping from the ceiling where I had been perched, the ground shaking slightly from the bulk of my form as my wings drew back as I tried to make myself appear bigger, larger. Fear often made them taste better and generally humans feared things that were bigger than them. The black talons that were my claws scrapping on the stone of the cave floor. My black scales reflecting the light from moon overhead as I joined her in the center. Staring down at her as if she was nothing, waiting for her to react, to beg and to plead.
Nothing. Not even her scent changed with me being this close.
Cocking my head to the side, “Are you not going to beg for mercy?”
“Would it matter?” amusement in her voice.
“No, I have not heeded such in thousands of years,” lowering myself down so that I could look her in the eyes. Shock takes hold of me, seeing the sightless eyes staring back at me. “You are blind…”
“You are observant,” she chuckled, and I grumbled.
“Do you think to make light of this?”
“Oh no,” shaking her head though she still smiled, “Why would I? You are going to eat me, yes?”
“That was the idea…but why are you not afraid of me?”
She shrugs, the motion is simple and so casual. “I can finally be of use to my village.”
There was the first hint of an emotion that pulled at my blackened heart that I didn’t think was possible.
“I do not usually eat food that is so…defenseless,” huffing as I turn and head back toward my nest. “You are free to go.”
I stop and look back at her, “What is it?”
“Can I stay?”
“I have nowhere else I can go…no place I am welcomed…” there it was again. That feeling that made me speak before thinking.
“Fine. But I am not going to talk to you or anything,” huffing and continuing down the tunnels toward my nest.
I can hear her, struggling to get around, the space unfamiliar causing her trouble but she never calls out for help or asks me to come to her.
“Just a bit further, Ever. We can do this.”
She had a name.
“Found you,” whispering though I know she knows I am awake.
Not saying a word, I nudge her into my body, curling around her to keep her warm and safe. My new precious treasure.
Months past and she is still with me, waiting for me each time I return home. I find myself lamenting having to leave for food but grateful when I hear her call out to me.
Landing in front of her, I lower my head and nuzzle against her. “Miss me?”
“Only a little,” her small hands stroke the top of my head and I sigh happily.
“I brought you something,” pulling back to present what I had clutched in my claws. “Hands out,” waiting until she did as I asked and dropping the small bundle of fur into her waiting arms. A soft meow filled the space between us, and her smile was worth the trouble of carefully catching the little demon.
“A kitten?!” the excitement matching her smile.
“Yes, he was alone, and I thought we could add him to our little family.”
“Is that what we are now? Family?” tone teasing. “Describe him to me?”
“Small, but his fur is like sundried hay, and he has the most brilliant blue eyes.”
“Sounds handsome,” I can tell she was smiling, even as she brought her face down to nuzzle her new charge.
“Ye- “ my words cut off as I hear feet approaching. “To the back of the cave,” nosing her along even as the armor-clad knights charge forth weapons drawn.
I hurt all over but as I open my eyes I can see. “How?” Seraphine was looking down at me, but she was different, the scales gone and replaced by flesh. I reach up and cup her face, “Something is different about you.”
“I lost weight,” she joked.
“Still beautiful,” leaning up to kiss her, feeling my heart beating in time to her own.
We are alone. And we like it that way.
Me and my precious treasure.
The tales were right, just not how I expected them to be. Ever changed how I saw the world, I just had to give up a part of me to see it.