Phaedra Colt novels – Blaise I.
About the past of Blaise I haven’t told you much. Until now. This is how everything had started for him…
Blaise hid under a round table standing in one of the corners and he watched the adults, including his parents, dancing in the flickering flood of colorful light. Perfect! The way they’re moving is making everything easier for him!
One of his schoolmates, Edith, was sitting at a nearby table, counting while her head was lying between her arms, as the other children ran up and down to find a hiding place.
Hide-and-seek has always been one of Blaise’s favorite games, and he’s found a great hiding place now too: he could see everything from here, he was hard to spot, but if the little girl were to look for him here, he had two escape routes where he could disappear undetected. The sweet taste of victory filled his mouth.
The fly in the ointment: he felt it was the best week of his life, but he knew that tomorrow it would end and they would go home. His school organized this ski trip, to which his parents came as well. Even though they couldn’t ski, they tried. Blaise found them funny, and he was pleased that he was finally better in something than them, despite him standing on the skis for the first time in his life as well, just at the beginning of this week.
He was glad though that there were still a few days left from the winter break, and at home with his neighbor and best friend, Tommy, he would still have time to build a snow castle and play wartime. That was his other favorite game.
In the meantime, Edith finished counting, slid off of the chair, and started to look for the others. Blaise followed her with his gaze. She passed his parents, who were headed to the bar, dehydrated from dancing, holding hands. He knew they were going to drink alcohol: his father, John, beer, his mother, Laura, some colorful cocktail.
All the adults drank alcohol tonight, and at first, he also wanted to, but when he sipped his father’s beer early in the evening, he didn’t like it. John just laughed, patted him on the shoulder, then hugged him, and he said that it was okay, he’s only six years old, ten years from now, and he will have to stash beer bottles from him at home. Blaise couldn’t ever imagine loving this bitter taste.
His schoolmate, meanwhile, has already found quite a few kids. As he could see, two of them were missing: he and Nat. No wonder, Nat was the smartest girl he knew, she was good at football, and she always brought delicious cookies to school on Mondays, which she and her grandmother had made the day before. He was wondering where she was hiding.
Blaise was unbeatable in hide-and-seek, but he also had a reputation as a terrifying seeker. Edith got closer to him, so he thought it best to sneak away on one of the escape routes. The other thing he knew about Nat was that she’s super brave. He was sure she’s chosen a place where Edith would be looking for her the last: in a place where children can’t set foot.
As soon as Edith checked under the table, where he was kneeling half a minute ago, he jumped behind a curtain and slipped along the wall to the bar. He guessed well, as Nat was lurking behind it, sitting on a soda crate and drinking fizzy soda while chatting with a boy polishing the glasses.
„Blaise! Where’s Edith?”
„He’s looking for us”
„Come here, she won’t find us here”
„Then the game will never end”
„It will, it’s going to be midnight soon, and if she won’t find us by then, the game’s over anyway. My mom and dad said I could wait until the new year, but then I had to go to sleep”
„That’s what they told me too. Though I wanted to show you the picture of Jameson” The little girl’s eyes lit up. Nat loved dogs, and Blaise had a sweet, black spaniel.
„Do you have the photo?”
„No, it is in the room, in Mom’s wallet”
„Then let’s go!” Blaise snuck out to the other side of the bar. Luckily, his parents were drinking only a few steps away from him.
„Mom, can I get the room key? I want to go up.”
„Sure, but come back in ten minutes, it’s almost midnight! I’d like to greet the New Year with you!” She smiled charmingly. She was a beautiful woman, with long blonde hair and blue eyes, but now she’s dressed in a particularly pretty way, which made Blaise proud. He thought Laura was the most gorgeous mom of them all!
„Okay, I’ll be here!” He grabbed the key and crept back to the edge of the bar. He waved to Nat that he had the key, so they are good to go. The fact that they broke the rules of the game, and Edith’s looking for them in vain, didn’t bother them at all.
They ran up to the second floor. Room 207 was theirs. As soon as they got through the door, he excitedly ran to the table, on which his mother’s snakeskin-patterned wallet was resting. He opened it and fished out Jameson’s pic next to his baby photo.
„Oh, how sweet!” melted Nat in the sight of the doggy.
„I know, right? And he’s loyal, he knows the basic commands like „sit”, „lie”, and he brings the ball back!” he said proudly.
„Wow! I want a dog too so badly, but I can’t because my sister is allergic to them,” she said sadly. „I’m sorry. But when you grow up and move out, you can have your own.”
„Yes, I will! One like Jameson!” That’s when someone screamed. Then someone else, and in the end, it sounded like everyone was screaming like one person. Blaise and Nat looked at each other confused. Blaise started running towards the door, but Nat didn’t move.
„Come on!” he urged her.
„What’s happening? Why is everyone shouting?” she asked in a thinning voice.
„I don’t know, maybe it’s already midnight” With this he convinced her, and they rushed down to the lobby, from where the event room opened, where the party was held. The receptionist was nowhere to be found, but the front door was wide open, and the icy wind was shrieking, bringing snow in.
“Something’s not right,” stopped Nat, grabbing Blaise’s arm, who instinctively looked at the clock above the fireplace. 11:56. It wasn’t midnight yet. The horrifying screams mingled with deafening rattling and crackling, and now Blaise didn’t want to go into the room either, but then he remembered that his parents were there, and he had to see if they were okay!
As he turned to Nat, he saw the reception desk, a red hand hung out on the floor from behind it. „Here’s the key, go back,” he said horror-struck.
„Where are you going?” she whispered.
„My parents…” That’s when the double-winged door slammed out, and Blaise’s mother flew out of the event room, landing on the floor with a loud bang. Blood covered her beige lace dress, one of her shoes was missing, her bun fell apart, but when she saw Blaise, she reached for him.
„Run, hide!” Unexpectedly, a dog-like thing came out of the room, but it was much bigger than a dog, and its eyes were yellow. Blood-mixed saliva dripped from his muzzle, which was full of needle-sharp teeth. It stepped next to his mother, then bit through her neck without hesitation, shaking her for a few seconds. Nat screamed, turned tail, then she started to run back upstairs. Blaise stood rooted to the spot and stared at Laura, who stopped moving, but an ever-expanding, almost black puddle formed around her. He couldn’t understand what was happening, everything happened so fast.
The dog stormed past him pushing him to the floor, and a second later it was already at the stairs, where it threw itself at Nat. The girl was squealing, and then her voice died suddenly as if it’d been cut off.
The monster slowly turned around and walked towards Blaise, while another came out of the room, but it looked like a panther, and its eyes flickered white…