In the space between unconscious and awake there is only silence.
Rigo’s heartbeat echoed in that silence. He heard the breath enter his lungs and leave. Soon there was a strange distorted ricochet before the sound of children laughing entered the vortex and before his vision returned to him.
In the time it took for him to take a breath, all his senses were back on line, the heavy scent of the flowers, the sounds of running water and laughter. He was in a garden, pink trees everywhere, a small lake and a concrete path circling it. There were couples walking around the lake hand in hand, some on cell phones, kids playing, a man sitting on a bench working with a tablet. He recalled the sound of children laughing that he’d heard just before re-entering time and space.
He didn’t have time to sort out the disorientation before a loud crack split the air. In that break he saw the first roahn-ami appear, and knew why he’d been called to the area.
A human shaped figure, so black in color it would suck out the light of whatever was near it. Its ears were pointed like a cat. Its eyes, they weren’t eyes. They were two egg shaped pockets of white light that allowed it to find its target. They had wings and could fly, but most often, now for instance, their wings were tucked into sleeves in their backs, completely out of view. They could still levitate above most humans, hanging in the air above them like death.
The sweet scent that always accompanied them rivaled the florals. Rigo had come to hate that scent to the point it sickened him. The roahn-ami had only one purpose, to steal the souls of anything it could, and drag those souls to the darkness.
He scanned the area and found the roahn-ami’s target at the same time the demon locked on.
He had no idea what she’d done to elicit such a powerful enemy, but it was his job to make certain the roahn-ami did not succeed. She wore jeans and a yellow tee and had her long blonde hair pulled back in a band at the base of her neck. She was bent over a pale purple rose and completely oblivious to her pending danger.
He began to run, only taking a few steps before the lion buried deep within him came roaring to the surface. Two human feet hitting the pavement turned into four paws. He felt the power surge, the wind rushing through his long black mane. Everything he was became fiercely primal as he charged towards the beast and its intended prey.
He arrived at her the same time as the roahn-ami. She stood now, staring into nothingness. She didn’t notice his presence running towards her, nor the shape behind her. That told him all he needed to know.
She was already in the darkness.
Trapped between two worlds, the battle for her soul would be won or lost by a demon and a shifter.
The roahn-ami were incredibly agile, feminine in their movements, and able to achieve speeds the eye could not follow. This one used its power to pull the girl’s soul from her body. Standing behind her, its hands directed the energy through her body, out her back, and into one of the containers it wore on its belt, the only article of clothing worn by the roahn-ami.
Rigo pushed harder to reach the girl.
Only a few more leaps of his muscles and he’d reach her, but she was already