It wasn't so dark anymore. The colors were interchanging, flashing in circles and stars. Thoughts couldn't cluster, they spiraled outwards, dancing along the edges, threatening to spill into the void along with the rest of her.
Somewhere out there she could hear a whisper, her name playing on the lips of a distant sun. It sounded gentle, welcoming. Like she was going home after a long trip, and there was her family, waiting on the doorstep of the wooden cabin she's grown up fondly in.
But once the color drained from her eyelids, Courtney woke up to the forceful shaking of her body. At first she suspected a spell, but the hands gripping her upper arms were rough enough to leave prints.
"Courtney!" The voice hissed again, but it wasn't the last person she remembered. It was someone she remembered though.
"I'm gonna throw up if you keep shaking me," she replied harshly. Or tried to reply harshly. Courtney's words fell flat, echoing in the small space where she was cramped behind the bar. "I thought..."
"That you'd been abducted by a crazy Shadowplayer?" Duncan smirked, finishing her sentence. "Us too."
The ceiling seemed very far away, but as soon as Courtney tried to get herself up her head was overcome with dizziness. She fell into Duncan who held her back to stop her from hurting even more.
"You need to see a doctor."
"I'm fine," she protested. There was only one person Courtney trusted with her medical needs, and it wasn't a human at the local hospital.
"You were sucked into a shadow," Duncan explained, not letting up his hold on Courtney's waist. "That's firstly very dangerous, but the side effects for those, especially after the first time you do, can be harmful."
"I know the risks," Courtney bit back. She tried to hold her tongue before she said too much, but the way Duncan came crashing into her space, telling her things that didn't concern him, it threw her off a very dangerous cliff. "I'm a Witch, Duncan. We all know the risks of the shadows."
She stood up, brushing him far away from her. That was when Courtney noticed the second guy sat on one of the stools, smiling fondly at the pair of them.
Courtney cleared her throat, moving towards a broken glass on the floor, on the far side of the bar away from the two Hunters. "Besides," she mumbled. "It wasn't my first time." A flick of her wrist and the glass came together in one piece, landing peacefully in her hand. She placed it back on the correct shelf, watching the confused reflections of the two men behind her.
Courtney didn't have a lot of experience with Hunters. She'd always stayed on the right side of their Law. It wasn't until she opened the bar that she even crossed the regular laws. The Hunters had never shown interest in her before, all she had ever heard was old tales from her family and her friends and her friends families. The older generations of Witches had more to say on the subject. Courtney had grown up learning both sides of the prejudices. Her grandparents were the type to go against the Law, they didn't believe Witches should have to conform to such silly Laws. They were extraordinary, they had the right to express it. He parents had been very strict about the Law, following every command ever given their way. Courtney still felt she was too young to know which side she belonged to.
"Do you know him?" Duncan asked, getting himself up from the floor. "The Shadowplayer?" Courtney shook her head. "Do you know what he looked like? Any distinguishing features? Birthmarks? Moles? Freckles?"
"He...I didn't see his face," she replied, staring down at her hands. "His hood covered most of his face...he had nice teeth, I guess. Well kept. Almost shiny. That's all I saw."
Courtney thought, the memory already trying to block itself out. "Not necessarily. But he was Latino, I think. His accent...it reminded me of my grandparents, they were from Panama originally, so they had quite thick Spanish accents." She was nodding her head, as if reassuring herself that this was true. She could feel the two of them staring at her again. "How did you get me out? Of the shadows? It's not an easy thing to pull someone out when they're already in...and how did you know to be here to do it?"
Duncan looked towards his partner and sighed. "We had a tip off, someone called the office and said they saw shadow activity in this area. I- when I was in here the other day, I was following someone I suspected to be a Shadowplayer. I lost him in the crowd, but I'm assuming he was the one here again tonight."
Courtney simply continued to nod as if she understood.
"What does he want with you?" Geoff spoke up, watching Courtney. She first found him suspicious, but one look at his face showed he was concerned. Courtney didn't know him, he didn't know her, there was no reason she knew behind his concern, but it was definitely there, etched into the crevices of his face.
"He just said...I don't know. He needed my help with..." Courtney trailed off, one hand suddenly clutching her head. "I can't remember. Nothing specific, I think. He just wanted me to go with him. Do you know who he is?" No one answered, but that was all the answer Courtney needed. "I want to go home."
Both young men moved toward her at those words. She backed up against the shelves, eyes darting between the two. She didn't know them, they weren't trustworthy. Courtney watched Duncan's partner signal for the two of them not to move any closer to her, sensing her uneasiness.
"This man, this...Shadowplayer, he's going to come after you again, Courtney. We have to make sure you're safe-"
"I can take care of myself!"
"Clearly," Duncan snorted, obnoxiously reminding her that he did just save her life.
"I was caught off guard, I-"
"And next time he'll call first to let you know?" Courtney took a step towards him, fist clenched. He didn't flinch. "You're not safe to go home, Courtney. Whatever he wants with you, I doubt he'll be nice about getting it."
"You don't under-"
"Shh!" Geoff hushed them. Duncan didn't stop talking.
"No, you don't under-"
"SHUT UP!" He bellowed, making even his partner jump. "There's something on the floor.
Geoff had moved to the far side of the bar, where Courtney was standing and where the Shadowplayer had been. Reflection from the lights was peaking against the baseboard and running outwards towards the bar itself. He crouched down and Courtney was now hovering over him, staring down at the silvery substance. They hadn't noticed it before, and Courtney had no idea what it was.
"Have you got a jar or something we can put some in?" He asked Courtney, who, without moving, called a clear mason jar into her hands. Geoff startled slightly, taking it from her with a slight shake of hand. He didn't have much hands-on experience with Witches who practiced their craft openly.
"What is it?" Courtney asked, not distracted by Geoff's reservations of her.
"I have no idea," he admitted. "We better get this back to the house."
A/N: Oh how exciting!
I must say I am really proud of the opening two/three paragraphs pf this chapter are written.
Are we feeling the story fall together a little bit more now? I am. And that really means something because I do not have any more pre-written chapters going on for this story, which means I gotta get cracking on writing some more!
At current, this is one of four, maybe five, stories I'm working on, along with a plethora of oneshots that I can never seem to finish... So do be patient with updates, as always.
Thanks for reading, please review (: