Adventuring through twisted time.
Oakville, New Jersey. Why did it have to be New Jersey? Kjiri slammed the door of his car, as he put on his suit jacket and put his hands on his hips pacing around the vehicle. The car had broken down on the side of the road and he was already late for an appointment in Atlantic City, a date with lady lucky that is. “Damn rental…Of course I had to rent a car and drive. What a good idea it was to take a trip from Philadelphia to Atlantic City…great.” Kjiri growled at the hunk of junk. He should have known better, he had a habit of breaking down in the middle of nowhere.
The geezer called for a tow but it was going to take awhile. What was there to do in a place like Oakville, New Jersey? He couldn’t even make it to the local gas station. Kjiri slapped the car for good measure out of frustration, but it seems lady luck really had it out for him as the place he slapped had a razor sharp edge…it being a junker of a rental and all, and sliced open his hand. Taking a dirty rag from inside the car, Kjiri was able to tie it loosely around the cut with his one free hand but he needed to get somewhere quickly…somewhere with water.
A diner. Finally Lady Luck seemed to be smiling upon him. Even if he wasn’t gambling away his pity in Atlantic City right now, at least he could get some water. He stepped into the diner and almost immediately noticed a young lady staring at him. Judging by the outfit she was wearing she worked there. He tried to look inconspicuous and tried to give polite nod to the girl who was staring and her boss or coworker but ended up just grimacing through the pain of his sliced hand.
He took his seat and as the waitress approached he hid his left hand in his sleeve and waited for the waitress to take his order. Water…he needed water…
“Can I…help you?” The waitress said, the same one that had been staring at him as if she could literally see his emotional burdens. Before he could give his order she asked “are you ok?”
Kjiri hesitated, how did she know anything about him? He thought he was hiding the pain well, or was it something else? Moving his left hand under the table he kept his eyes lowered onto the table. “Just…water…lots of water and napkins.” The older man managed to growl through gritted teeth. If he didn’t get some water for this wound covered in a greasy towel soon, he wasn’t going to be able to hold it together. Just a little longer. Need water. And why is this girl staring at him? “Water!” He barked much harsher than he meant, his right hand a white knuckled fist.
Kjiri couldn’t remember what happened, as he sat there with his bloody hand under the table. There was a time when a wound like this would have been taken care of in an instant. Perhaps he had sworn off magic for too long and his memory was just fuzzy. He seemed to remember a time when he could feel the magic flow through his body with powerful, youthful energy. But lately it was more like a trickle and even then he felt like he had to beg it to come.
Sweaty and growing faint by the moment, Kjiri didn’t notice that the waitress from a moment ago had ran off in search of a first aid kit despite asking for water. Stupid blood. If only he had is crystal. Crystal…why did he want a crystal? The memory faded as soon as he had called it into being. The more he tried to capture the image of a blue crystal pulsing with power, the more his head hurt. Must be loss of blood making him delirious. He can’t remember ever owning a crystal before especially one with such power.
He was snapped out of his own thoughts when the girl came back carrying a first aid kit and thankfully there was a glass of water. Not as much as he had liked, but he didn’t blame her for not knowing what he wanted. He wasn’t in a talkative mood, however, she sure was!
Kjiri ignored her request to see the wound which was still under the table and took a handful of the smallest bandaids he could find. Between ripping the paper with his teeth and shaking the bandage free with his hand that wasn’t bleeding, he got a few out and stuck them in his mouth.
“Harvard, huh? Your parents must be so proud,” Kjiri mumbled with a mouth full of bandaid. Next he took the glass of water and dumped it on his hand underneath the table, letting the water splash all over the floor. “You think I’m sweating? Why don’t you go out and see that shitty excuse of a rental I got and you will understand why I am sweaty, girl. I prefer you find a way to help me with that mess,” he growled, bandaids still in mouth and through the pain of the ice water. That was definitely on him though, he should have warmed it.
Kjiri’s eyes glowed faintly like it was a cold florescent bulb as he mumbled something incoherent under his breath. The water warmed and soothed his hand in a moment the wound closed. He continued to mumble, eyes averted downward to keep prying eyes from seeing.The water from the floor, defying gravity, left the floor and his hand and returned to the cup. He put the cup on the counter, never stopping his rambling, and spat the bandaids into his hand and placed the wad on the clothes that were bloodied from the wound. The bandaids sucked up all the blood from his clothing until there was only the faintest of tings that could only be detected if you really looked thoroughly.
“No matter what, blood stains are still hard to get rid of entirely,” Kjiri grumbled, mouth free of bandaids. He placed the blood soaked bandaids into a number of napkins so that they wouldn’t leak everywhere. He flexed his hands to make sure he got everything and then folded them both on the table in front of him. Just in time for her to finish her story and ask “Have you always been this unlucky?”
Kjiri was about to make a snide remark about lady luck always being on his side when flashes of the same crystal, followed by a woman’s scream, and some kind of fabric came flooding into his mind. His headache came back with a vengeance and he winced. He forgot the question and asked in a whisper now finally cognizant of being in a public diner, “Sorry to have troubled you with that mess. But I can’t help but notice the way you are looking at me. Do we know each other?”
Kjiri was trying to remember something but the more he tried to remember the more he forgot and the more the pain worsen. What kind of memory could he have forgotten? What was it that was causing this pain? He realized that the young woman was still talking. Talking about her parents, obviously didn’t catch his sarcasm. Talking about washing his hands, but it seems that she caught sight of his little magic act and she seemed to have changed the topic yet again to his faint bloodstain. If Kjiri were to guess, he would say this lady loved to hear her own voice more than wait patiently. Honestly, Kjiri felt too old for this but she had been very helpful and perhaps she just needed someone to listen.
“You don’t know me, yet you know what is happening to me?” Kjiri said, not bothering to hide his incredulity. Yet somehow she knew about his headaches and the pain he has when trying to remember. Was she part of his problem? How did she know about any of this? Then she mentioned a spirit. His eyes narrowed as she spoke. A woman who sees spirits and these spirits attach themselves to others. Even though this sounded familiar, Kjiri couldn’t place the memory. Like something just out of reach. Finally, he wiped the dazed and confused look off his face and said, “Speaking of bad luck, I have to do something about this car.”
He got up out of the booth and threw some money on the table, enough he figured for the wad of bandaids and the glass of water, “Thanks for calling ahead and keep the change. I will wait for a tow outside.” Kjiri didn’t know much about this spirit thing, or at least have any tangible memory of it, and so he thought it best he make tracks before she had a chance to continue her monologuing. She sounded like a sweet girl, but he didn’t want to get caught up in other people’s problems. He had problems, and more than he realized, of his own to deal with.
Kjiri kept his head low as he exited the diner, trying not to draw any more attention to himself. Now that he healed himself, with special thanks to a rather talkative youth, he looked at his problem with fresh eyes. “Well, now what do I do?” Kjiri mumbled realizing that he was still in the same situation bloody hand or no. He didn’t have any way to move the car on his own and for whatever reason his magic has seen better days. He could have sworn he was better at magic. He seemed to remember a war…a battle…a king…the headache came back again worse now.
Now that he was out here, he remembered the girl said something about being able to help him. He didn’t even catch her name, or if she even introduced herself, or if she did he wasn’t paying attention. He was about to kick the wheel of the junker and remembering his hand, thought better of testing lady luck again. What the hell was he supposed to do now?
Kjiri leaned forward on the car, head downcast. If he could only think straight. Something about that woman he couldn’t shake off. He had been quite rude, but he paid for the trouble. Something she said clung to him, a spirit? HIs memory was so fuzzy. He could remember really concrete things. He grew up with a loving family. He left them in pursuit of his own ideas, whatever it was to “make it on his own.” He served in the military, he was a highly decorated vet. He lost his wife and daughter in an accident. These facts replayed in his mind. He was at their funeral, his brother-in-law pushed him away. He retired unable to focus on his job. These he knew were real facts. But he found the harder he tried to remember anything else the more his memory fogged. He couldn’t remember the exact place or the years it happened, couldn’t remember his commanding officers but remembered serving high up in the command.
The more he thought about it, the more he returned to the waitress. He didn’t have this problem before he encountered her. Whatever he name was. Did she do this to him? Did she put some kind of curse on him…some…evil spirit? Cursed. Kjiri groaned and almost hit his car again. She was cursed. He tried to remember what he knew about the subject but the same fog that was blocking his past memories wouldn’t give him access to what he knew about the other creatures he encountered. If he wanted to know more than that, he would have to relearn it. Perhaps it would help him unlock more of his memory. He had some luck with it when she was with him, just fragments and notions, more than he had now.
“My name’s Everlee by the way,” came the same youthful voice from the diner. His eyes opened and for a moment the pain cleared. He looked around and saw the young lady now called Everlee approaching him from her car. At least there was some reprieve. He tried to smile but then another thought flooded his mind: cursed people are bound by evil spirits. From the way she was looking at him, it seemed like there was some kind of spirit on him. Kjiri straighten himself and looked at the woman for a moment. So being around this woman cleared his memories. Of course chasing them continued to hurt, but he wanted to know more. “You can call me K.” Kjiri responded, his eyes flashing blue and for a moment they looked more youthful and less weathered than before.
He looked at her with a more knowing expression as if he identified who she was but he said nothing. He smiled for the first time, the only way he was going to get answers was to get figure out more about who this Everlee was. “I have to apologize for my behavior back there. It’s hot and my car broke down. Gave me a nice gash as a reward. Thank you for your help in my fast recovery.” Kjiri showed her his perfectly healed hand. Kjiri nodded, “we did get off on the wrong foot.” He watched her carefully, obviously she saw the spirit that was around him, perhaps the reason his memory was gone. “If you could help me get the car to the shop, I would compensate you for your troubles.”