The Traveler

By Lacrea Moonlight

Disclaimer: I own Daenerys Aerilyn Ramsey, Jared Russel, Derrik Kingsley, Margret Grosse and Mimzy. Anything else, such as the mentioned but not named book series and Banshee Chapter are not mine. Banshee Chapter is an excellent film I would recommend to anyone who is interested in horror films. House, M.D. is also not mine. I happen to be a huge fan of the series, though, and just wanted to slap the name of the show into this story. I don't own iPhone 6 Plus, that belongs to Apple. I also don't own PlayStation 3 or Netflix. These are all items that I have purchased or have subscriptions to. I'm making no money off of this fanfiction.

Chapter 1

Daenerys Aerilyn Ramsey. Some people seem to have trouble with taking my name seriously when they hear it, especially those who have read that book series my mom got my first name from. The middle name, she found in a baby book and thought it was really cute. Most people who know me just call me Danni for short and that's how I introduce myself, for the most part. It's not that I don't like my name, it's just so… formal. As I stand in line at the pharmacy and hear my name butchered yet again, I curse my mother's obsession with elegance. I walked over to the technician who had my prescription and gave a thin smile. She was older than me, perhaps thirty-five. I was just about to turn twenty-three years old in a week and it would be a lonely occasion for me.

The technician was looking at me with a raised brow as she read the name of the prescription bag again. Before she could ask, I pulled out my driver's license and shoved it at her. It was my way of saying, "Yes, that's really my name. No, it's not a joke. Please move on with the conversation." She kept her mouth shut and scanned my store card before charging me the $5 co-pay for my birth control injection. I paid for the prescription and for a few other items I'd found while I'd perused the store. I grabbed my two bags in one hand and pulled the car keys out of my pocket with the other as I dodged the aisles of the store to get out. My car's rear lights flashed as I came out and crossed the parking lot. The trunk door popped open and I piled my purchases inside.

Driving home was a short affair and I was soon nestled in my two bedroom apartment, the electric heater I'd turned on humming in the background as it automatically turned side to side. Although I had hoped to find a roommate for the apartment when I first moved there, I had come to enjoy my solitude and only desired my cat, Mimzy, for company. She was a fickle creature, as all cats tend to be and the three year old feline often was found lounging on the window sill. She would lazily stare at the birds as if she was plotting their demise, I thought affectionately. When I pulled out a can of her favorite food, Mimzy bolted from the sill and was suddenly at my feet mewling incessantly. I emptied the contents onto a paper plate and cut it up for good measure before placing it on the floor. As usual, she sniffed at it delicately for a few moments before finally deciding that it was to her standards.

I clasped the paper bag containing my birth control shot and headed to the bathroom. Pulling out a pair of gloves, a pair of cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol, I filled the syringe with some air before puncturing the vial and squeezing some of the air into it. I pulled every last drop of the liquid that I could into the syringe. I put the needle down for a moment as I donned my gloves and soaked a swab with alcohol. I used the alcohol to clean the skin of my intended mark; pushing on the plunger of the syringe to ensure no air was still inside, I prepared to stick myself and be done with this chore when there was a knock at the door. Who could that be? It's 8:30 p.m. on a Friday!

Irritated, I took off the gloves, pulled my pants back up over my hip and smoothed my shirt down. I opened the door to find my neighbor, Jared Russel, preparing to knock again.

"Danni, hey! I thought I saw you come back home!" Jared exclaimed. He was always a little too eager to see me and I wasn't always eager for the same. Jared was a little off to me. There was always something I couldn't put my finger on about him that made me want to run away from him, though he'd been nothing but kind to me since we'd met. He'd moved into the apartment two doors down about a year and a half ago. The first time we crossed paths, Jared had been carrying several boxes to his apartment and I'd been taking Mimzy to the vet for her annual check-up. She had a terrible fit in the pet carrier from just being around him and that cemented my opinion of him immediately. Mimzy liked everyone she ever met until Jared and if she didn't like him, I believed there to be a good reason.

"Jared, what can I do for you?" I asked with my best fake smile. He grinned.

"Oh, nothing. I actually have something for you. There was a package for you and the guy was gonna take it back. I signed for it and took it for you since you're never home during the day," he replied as he went back around the corner outside the apartment. He stooped and brought back a rather large box that must not have weighed all that much because he was able to pick it up so easily. I took it from him and started walking to the kitchen table. He closed the door and followed. "Were you expecting a package?"

"Yes, thank you. I had forgotten it was supposed to come today."

"What is it?" he asked curiously. Nearby, Mimzy was only half finished with her meal and was hissing and growling at Jared's unwanted presence. My irritation began to rise.

"Nothing of importance. It's for work," I replied, somehow managing to keep my ire from coloring my voice. Turning to him, I gave another fake smile and began walking him to the door. I was already having a bad day and it wouldn't have been fair to take it out on him. "I was in the middle of something when you came over, Jared. I'd like to get finished with it and then have some dinner. Thank you again, for holding onto my package for me. I would have just waited until Monday to get home early for it but now I don't have to. Thanks again and I'll see you later, okay?"

"B-but, wait!" he stuttered as I gently pushed him out the door and shut it against his protests. With a sigh I headed back to the bathroom, where my syringe was waiting. I donned new gloves and pulled my pants down again. I hastily cleaned the spot I planned for the injection and then slid the needle in with the second swab to cover the spot even before I pushed the plunger down. I pulled the needle out and pressed on the swab and the new bead of blood that had formed on my skin, massaging the spot gently for a moment. I pulled out a band aid and smoothed it into place, discarding all of the used supplies into the waste basket.

Heading back to the kitchen, I pulled out a small box cutter and used it to open the package I had temporarily forgotten. I pulled out the new clothes I'd just purchased from the online store I favored. I carefully checked for damage and then made sure that everything was the proper size. I examined the print on one of the tags of a dress I'd been very excited to wear. When I was satisfied that it read 3X, I immediately took everything in the box to my laundry room. I was lucky enough to have an apartment that came with free water and already had a washer and dryer in it. I sorted out the proper colors and examined each tag to see what the proper instructions were, even as I blatantly ignored some and just threw them in with my other laundry on the cold wash.

I cleared the box and stuffing away from the table and stuffed it all in the trash. Walking to the fridge, I pulled out the one hot dog I had and the container of macaroni from the night before. I cut up the hot dog, heaped a large serving of macaroni onto another paper plate and mixed the pieces in before popping it into the microwave. I grabbed a can of cranberry soda from the fridge and poured it into a glass. The salt and pepper were waiting on the counter, as usual when the microwave beeped. I put a little of each on the meal and, as an afterthought, squeezed a little ketchup all over it. I ate my meal standing up at the sink. Mimzy had finished her meal finally and when mine was done, I washed the fork by hand and dumped the paper plates in the trash. Taking my glass to the living room, I set it on the coffee table and crumbled into a chair. I don't have a couch, just three recliners to relax in. Two had handles for popping the legs up and the third was electric with a button that slowly raised your feet. It was lucky that they were all tan and brown instead of wildly different colors.

I grabbed the remote and hit the button that turned on my PlayStation 3 and waited while it booted up, triggering the TV to turn on as well. I scrolled to Netflix and took a moment to wander back and forth between watching a movie or falling asleep to episodes of House, M.D. I decided on a particularly creepy film that always managed to keep me awake called Banshee Chapter and drank in the opening scenes eagerly. No matter how many times I saw this movie, it managed to give me the creeps. I sipped my soda and ran my hand through my dyed black hair, pulling the elastic band out and freeing my curly locks. Mimzy hopped into my lap and curled into a purring ball while I absentmindedly scratched behind her ears.

Watching the film, I jumped in all the right places and cringed wherever appropriate. It was just reaching the scene where the main characters reached an underground bunker when all the power went out. I groaned inwardly. Okay, so I don't get to finish my movie tonight. What caused the power outage this time? There aren't any clouds, no storms are supposed to come through and those gutless jerks around the block were arrested for stealing power and cable last night. I sighed as I extracated Mimzy from my lap and headed for the kitchen. I knew I had a flashlight under the sink, along with some jar candles and a solar powered mini generator for charging my small electronics. I'd had enough experience with power outages since moving to the apartment that I'd had just about everything figured out at this point.

Blindly rifling through the cabinet, I felt the familiar grip of the flashlight and pressed the button. Since it was a tripod, I stood it up and twisted its head to shine light on the cabinet's contents. I grabbed two of the six candles and the box of matches. Walking over to the pantry cabinet, I grabbed the glass jar I stored uncooked pasta in and grabbed out a single noodle. Useful tip for when you have to light something and your match isn't long enough: spaghetti noodles are perfect for the job. I struck a match, lit the end of the noodle and used it to light the candles before blowing both the match and the burnt noodle out and dropping the smoking pieces in the sink. I put a stopper in one side of the sink and filled it to an inch below the edge. I dipped my fingers in and heard the droplets sizzle as they hit the match and noodle.

Now that the candles were providing some light, I switched off the flashlight but kept it handy.

"Mim, I don't really feel like going to sleep now, do you?" I questioned my furry companion. She raised her blue eyes to me as if to answer with an irritated look and then came over to rub her grey body against my leg. I pulled out my iPhone 6 Plus from the depths of my purse and tapped my email. There didn't seem to be much else other than junk mail and one email from my ex-boyfriend. I tapped on the subject line and began to read.

I know you don't want to hear from me anymore. I fucked up, I get it. It was just a mistake! I know you blocked my number and you don't accept my requests to see you at work. I'm feeling like a fucking stalker here. Please, just see me. Christy meant nothing to me, okay? It was a one-time fling and I thought we were broken up. She didn't keep the baby, you know. She gave it up for adoption. Please, I just want to talk about this. You know my number. Just call me.

Derrik

What an unbelievable douche! I fumed. I'd broken up with Derrik six weeks ago when I came across Christy, an old friend from high school. She was extremely pregnant and when we got to chatting, she admitted who the father was. She looked really embarrassed by the whole thing; Christy was the honor roll, straight-A student in school. She told me she'd hooked up with Derrik almost eight months prior because she'd been in town visiting with her parents. During that time, we'd been fighting and I had been refusing to speak with him for nearly a month.

I remember his face when I confronted him. His short blond hair was tousled from his hands running through it in stress, his blue eyes had searched the kitchen wildly for some kind of escape. His nose was narrow and his thin lips were pursed. He'd done a hell of a lot more than cheat on me to deserve being dumped and he knew it.

"Danni, I don't know what to tell you. I'm sorry, okay?"

"Sorry? Sorry doesn't even factor into it! Sorry doesn't come close!"

"We were broken up! You can't blame me for this!"

"I sure as hell can blame you! We weren't broken up, you ass, we were arguing. You made a choice to go out and screw the first woman that you came into contact with."

He angrily paced the room as he responded, pointing his finger at me accusingly, "You weren't talking to me, Danni! What the hell was I supposed to think? You weren't taking my phone calls, you ignored me every time I even came near you. I think it's rational to think that you were calling it quits on us after three weeks of the silent treatment!"

"I had every right to be pissed off, and you fucking know it! You beat the shit out of Jeremy, Derrik! Jeremy was my boss! My BOSS! I had to beg for my job and even then, he still wanted to press charges against you for assault! The only reason he didn't is because I made a deal that I would finish one more month there, he would give me a recommendation to the next place I applied to and that he would NEVER have to see or hear from me or you again. I mean, Christ! You accused me of cheating with him! Did you ever consider asking me why I was staying late at the office? No, you were too busy leaping to conclusions. You decided that I was sleeping around and took matters into your own hands. I think the silent treatment was better than you deserved. I should have broken up with you right then and there; I would have saved myself a hell of a lot of heartache if I had!"

The shock I felt wasn't from suddenly finding myself on the floor, or wondering why the room was spinning. It was when I touched my fingers to my mouth and pulled them back to see them covered in the blood I tasted. My lips had been dry all day and the impact of his back-handed slap had split it on the lower right corner of my mouth. I realized that I also must have an abrasion where my canine met the inside of my lip because I could still taste blood when I wiped at the cut. Looking up at Derrik, I could see he was just as shocked about having hit me as I was about being hit. He knew my rules very well and where I stood on domestic violence. I stood up, feeling fear creep into me even as I exuded false bravado.

"Danni…"

"Stay away from me, you piece of shit."

"Danni, it was an accident…"

"An accident?!" I interrupted as I backed away from him, grabbing my purse and keys from his kitchen counter. "An accident is when you bump into someone walking down the street, not when you step forward and backhand your girlfriend because she says something you don't like."

He stepped forward as I stepped back and my hand wrapped around the pepper spray on my keychain. He didn't miss that motion. My thumb moved the trigger from the locked position and I raised it up in preparation.

"Danni…"

I pulled myself from my memories. Thinking about that wasn't going to change my situation. I checked my phone's charge and cursed when I saw it only had 38% left on the battery. Placing it in my pocket, I walked over to the laundry machine and checked the dial with one of the candles. The washer's cycle had finished but with no power, the dryer would have to wait. I shrugged and piled the damp clothes into a basket and headed to the bathroom. I'd rigged up a series of hooks in the bathroom after I moved in and pulled out the rope and clothes pins stashed behind the towels in the linens closet. After hanging the lines up, I pinned up the laundry to dry. At least I didn't have to wash it all by hand like I used to before I got a working washer. Those ancient contraptions I was set up with when they moved me in here were the worst!

It would be an irritation to dodge the wet clothes if I had to use the bathroom tonight but it wouldn't be too bad. I grabbed a blanket from the linen closet and put the basket back where it belonged before blew out one candle in the kitchen and then got myself settled in the living room. I didn't feel like going to my bedroom tonight. Wrapping the blanket around myself, I put the candle on the table furthest from the chair I planned to sleep in and blew it out. I carefully stepped back towards my intended chair and carefully sat down, being mindful that Mimzy had been laying on one of the armrests. As soon as my feet were up and my phone was on the table next to me, I laid back and put one hand on my cuddling companion, the other behind my head. I don't know how long I took to fall asleep but when I did, I'd had dreams I couldn't remember when I next woke.