My name is Keegan and I am scared. Okay, I fucking admit it. I am shit scared. These men things are sitting across from me, telling me that my life has been a lie. We’ve just sprinted from one end of the city to the other and now they say that whatever was chasing us is here again. Fucking hell, these aliens, clan people whatever, they chased me in the first place.
I bolted. Pushing past the kid on the counter, throwing open the swinging kitchen door and through the back of the café. I darted around a stainless steel bench, grabbing a knife as I went. I pushed open the back door, nearly braining the one on the other side. Idiot. Him, not me.
There was a bike hidden behind a dumpster and I quickly pulled it out. No chain or padlock, more idiots, lucky for me.
“Sir,” the final one approached me. He was my age, and nowhere near as desperate as me. I threw the knife and he spun to the side. I used the distraction to mount the bike and took off, quickly shifting the gears so that the pedals pushed and I gained speed. The year of cycling uphill after an exhausting shift was about to pay off.
I cleared the end of the alley skidding around the corner, as the two men things guarding the front of the café appeared. I turned away from them, away from the city and sped down the road.
The men things chased me. I could hear them and as I rounded a wide bend, I risked a glance back. They had changed into a pack of dogs. Large dogs, one of them separated off from the pack and I turned back to ride.
It was hair-raising. My heart was starting to pump rapidly, my blood was starting to pound in my brain. I crested a hill and freewheeled down it, standing out of the saddle, ready to pedal hard the moment I started to lose speed.
I whipped past a row of terrace housing and I am sure, in the daylight, they would have looked nice, I might have even felt a moment of envy for the people who could afford them, but now, they were dark. Feint outlines of windows hinted at people inside, hiding their lives from prying eyes.
The road leveled out and started up a steep incline. I risked changing the gears so I could push hard into the hill.
I panted and puffed. The men things gained on me in this uphill section. I could see them slip and slink under the puddles of light offered by the few street lamps. Like before, it was more a float than a run, their paws hardly seeming to touch the ground.
I pushed hard, making it to the top. The road here was busier, bathed in the orange glow of plenty of street lights and I headed along the footpath, dancing out onto the road when there was a break in the traffic.
I stayed on the road now. Victoria Park down a steep incline to my left. I jerked my wheel to the left and headed down the slope into the Centenary Pool car park. There I slammed the brakes on.
Over the top of the trees shielding the pool from the park was a symbol. The same symbol carved in the box that I had rapidly shoved in my backpack when I had ditched the police at my house all those years ago.
I had always felt it Celtic of origin and had actually researched it before my parents had died. They had told me it was a Doire Knot from Ireland. So why was a Doire knot on what could only be described as a really really big thing?
The thing seemed to fluoresce yellow and up the top of it were tentacles but some of them were rigid and others seemed to flow. The apex was spherical in shape and it stayed that way until it disappeared out of sight. But it wasn’t solid yellow, there appeared to be timber grain lines in it.
“She is beautiful, is she not,” Ettore Chaise said beside me.
I jumped. I fucking jumped, taking the bike with me. I did not land straight back down again, no, I fucking fell over, still with the bike between my legs. Paw man could have chuckled. I muttered something under my breath and pushed the bike out of my way before I rose.
“Her name translates to “Oldest One” and she is a Bwbachod.”
“What the ” Chaise clamped a hand over my mouth.
“Bwbachod are incredibly sensitive to anything we say about them. She will not fly us home if you say anything to offend her.”
“Okay,” I said slowly. “What does that symbol mean,” I asked Chaise.
“What symbol,” he asked me.
“There is a Doire on the outside.” I was super confused, the image was plain as daylight. Although as I looked at the symbol, the same one as my box, the image faded to be replaced with something else. I was transfixed.
“Wa,” I stumbled speaking.
“Bwbachod are known for their mischievous nature. This one is quite capable of showing one person one thing, whilst a person standing beside them sees it’s yellow skin.”
The whole thing seemed to wink at me.
“You must never insult one, because then, where ever you are in the universe you will be left stranded.”
“Seems risky,” I offered.
“We are a polite race. Some others have a much harder time than us, although perhaps we could continue to discuss this on board.”
“On board,” I asked.
“On board, you are not safe on Earth anymore.”
“Nothing happened to me until you lot showed up.”
The Bwbachob seemed to laugh, and the ground seemed to tremble slightly.
“We did not remove your father’s heart.” Chaise stated emphatically.
“If I go on board, what are the chances I get off the Bwbachod.” I was itching to call it a thing, but I wasn’t quite game, the whole evening was turning out to be surreal.
“You are not our prisoner, we just want to take you to meet your father.” Chaise sounded so reasonable, so confident.
“Give me a moment,” I said. Chaise nodded and I headed closer to the Bwbachod, slipping through some bushes at its base so I could get close to it. The creature was amazing. It had small legs supporting it, but the toes were wiggling. Would I go with them in this living spacecraft or would I stay?
A small Doire formed in fount of my face. It was embedded in the image of my mother’s face, superimposed on my father’s face and over all of that, the library I was seeking to enter.
Two red eyes stared at me from the bushes.
Thanks to Ashley James for the starter sentence in this Section. Please feel free to offer suggestions for the next starter.