Perdita walked down the cobbled paving stones of legal London. This was the highlife. She had achieved her ambition to be a barrister. Only a junior one at this stage. But it was a really good start and she had a warm feeling about everything in her life. To walk down these streets where so many famous names had graced their steps before her was a monumental event. Since during the eighteenth century, the Bar was an inaccessible place, especially to women. In fact barristers were few and far between. A profession for the elite and those who could afford schooling.
Walking the paving stones of Inner Temple was like walking into another period of history, of time. It was to walk with the likes of Charles Dickens’ Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, or even Dickens himself. Barristers in fleeting attire with their periwigs, conjured up bygone days and eerie ghosts of legal life long past. Following in the lightly trodden footsteps of Dr Johnson, a famous Londoner.
However today the short walk from court to her chambers (law office) seemed an eternity. Although it was only four in the afternoon, it was the middle of winter and it got dark very early. To top it off it had been raining. Dark grey clouds hung over the skyline painting it into a sinister looking canvas. The slicked out streets glistened like a lavish carpet on which the traffic seemed to stand still. Perdita recalled the events from two nights ago.
That night the moon had chosen to disappear behind the fluffy, cotton wool clouds casting strange shadows in unusual places. The trees looked like wild panthers ready to pounce. There was a dark patch of street a few feet away from the entrance to a bleak house.
“That’s where I saw them disappear. Then I glimpsed a figure. A dark shadow which appeared to be a man coming towards me; or some creature of the twilight hours. I screamed out for help. Gasping and panting for every suffocated breath of air. Foolishly I believed he could have..would have helped me.” But her would-be knight had been nothing more than her everlasting torment.
Perdita recalled the past events to some of her friends. Some teenage tourists had disappeared whilst attending a rave in one of the dingy parts of the city. Perdita had seen them vanish and when she tried to help was chased away, her own life in peril.
“I began to run. It was instinct. Second nature. Never for one moment thinking about what he would do; or about my own safety. I had to get help.”
Who would have dared to help or even have listened to her? She was in hysterics. Frantic. The streets were desolate. Even if anyone was around they’d have been too frightened to move. To venture out of their four walls of safety. Their fortified fortresses of cement and plaster.
“I noticed a car on the rained out street. Screeching and wailing. Wildly I tried to signal the driver. Waving my arms about like a ferocious windmill in a sudden, unrelenting summer storm.”
He just carried on driving the metallic monster. Perhaps he didn’t see her. Didn’t want to. Never noticed a wide-eyed flame-brown haired woman chasing after him or being chased.
“I ran until I could no longer run. Until I ripped my skirt. Lost my shoe. Like a flustered, distressed Cinderella. Eventually I admitted defeat.” Perdita didn’t tell them of what else she’d seen. It was too amazing a sight. None of them would have believed her anyway. They’d accuse her of exaggerating or say she was most probably in shock.
Sometimes when she thought of it she had trouble coming to terms with it too. A fire-eyed monster oozing slime with hollow green eyes. She felt she had imagined it. But her imagination wasn’t that wild or warped. In reality it wasn’t imagined. The monster was as real and as alive as she was.
Perdita had been stalked. Even the police were miffed at the disappearances. Exhausted and bewildered. She spent fifteen agonizing minutes with them.
“What were you doing out so late? All alone? Or was she? Why wasn’t she more careful?” On and on they droned like a broken record. Fat lot of good they were. Having the tables turned on her as if she had any part in those kidnappings. They were neither attractive nor comforting.
Where was her Agent Fox Mulder now?
She was a barrister. They frowned at her. Gazed upon her with suspicion and innuendo. Good thing she never told them about the ‘real’ creature she’d seen. Flaming body; venomous, green protruding eyes.
Perdita needn’t have bothered. She wasn’t treated like a witness but like a suspect. Endlessly interrogated. Now she knew how a common criminal felt. Only she hadn’t done anything wrong. Broken any laws.
Perdita locked her door and poured herself a large brandy. Convincing herself it was purely for medicinal purposes. She wasn’t a drinker. Never touched the stuff. It tasted warm. Bitter, but she was in dire need of consoling. To forget everything about the terrifying encounter. Even for a couple of tortured hours.
At chambers all her friends and colleagues had heard of her ordeal. Not with the raving monster but with the local police.
“It’s getting to be like the old days again.” Remarked one of her colleagues. “A woman needs a bodyguard to escort her home.”
At which point Perdita glanced over to Kane. She had worked with Kane for about six months now and she found him to cut a fine figure of a man. Or to use the modern parlance. He was a bit of a hottie. With his ice-blue eyes and raven black hair. He was to die for, not literally speaking of course. But his eyes. There was a certain something in his eyes that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Something menacing.
Perhaps the ice blue was the problem. Maybe the ice ran deeper into his veins and was embodied in his blood and further still into his heart.
Although he had always been civil to her and never cold, Kane was fast developing a reputation around chambers as a ruthless “head-hunter” type. That was no big deal in this profession, but he was well known for tearing the opposition to shreds. Fiery in nature also meant fierce in the boardroom and presumably in the bedroom too. But what was Perdita thinking letting her thoughts wander like that.
She found it strange she could never read his mind. Well her powers didn’t really extend to reading minds per se. She could sense feelings, emotions, as well as having the power to alter thoughts. Akin to hypnotic suggestions. Her powers were more telepathic than supernatural.
“Make him fall in love with me,” she giggled to herself. Where did he get that name from anyway? Even though her name was distinguished and had origins; his stemmed back to the time of Adam and Eve. Since the beginning of the world itself and one of the original sins – murder! Cane and Abel.
If anyone found out about her powers, her wicca powers, as Perdita called them, they’d probably insinuate she’d been using them to influence decisions of judges and juries alike in court. A sort of a personal gain for her. Since the more cases she won, the more she’d gain a reputation for herself. With that would come status, promotion and her name higher up the name plaque outside chambers. A bigger profile where she’d be calling the shots. Dream on!
“Afternoon,” she heard a sweet-sounding voice say to her. Sickly sweet? It was the “god” himself. Speak of the devil. He must have felt his ears roasting. Perdita felt a shiver down her spine as he placed his hand on her shoulder. Someone had walked over her grave. Through her thick jacket she felt his frosty touch.
“Goodness. You startled me there.” She jerked her body forward in an attempt to loosen his grip. Boy did he just come out of the freezer.
He was always turning up in the wrong place at the wrong time or vice versa. Once he was there when Perdita felt someone had been following her; and out of the grim shadows Kane had appeared to save the day. Just as on the night those teenagers had vanished, when someone was chasing her on the street. Her savior or her tormentor? She wished she knew. Now reading minds would have come in handy.
“I wonder if you could help me out with a case I’m working on? I seem to be stuck on finding a precedent.” A likely story she thought to herself.
“You could try the Net. Unless you’ve exhausted all the possibilities like Lexis. I mean you are familiar with computer technology aren’t you?” The wonders of the twenty first century. You had to be computer literate to get a job in this place otherwise you couldn’t get your foot through the door. Unless he had connections or family. Nepotism was rife in the legal profession of this country. Old school ties also came in handy too. Especially for men. So that’s probably how Kane got work here. That or he obviously impressed the women on the candidate selection committee.