Gareth woke up in the dead of the night, the mighty thirst which overtook him driving him to the kitchen to quench it. Methuselah-the-python uncurled from the foot of the bed and followed the teen, hissing worriedly. There was no one on the corridors or into the kitchen, but the teen felt a shifting into the air and a chill ran down his spine.
Gareth took a small bottle of water from the fridge, twisted its cap, and emptied the contents in almost one go. Letting out a small sigh of contentment, he put the bottle into the trash can, then turned around to walk to the exit but bumped into something on the way. The object was emanating the same kind of chill Gareth sensed on his way to the kitchen.
Definitely someone, not something, he thought. “It’s freezing outside. What in the name of the gods are you doing in the snow and cold at this hour? You should be in bed wrapped in blankets, sleeping.”
“No blankets would keep me warm.” The answer came in an overwhelmingly sad voice. “And I haven’t slept in ages; I forgot what it’s like, but I’d really like to…” The one who spoke, a boy about Gareth’s age, abruptly stopped, then continued in a voice tinged with disbelief. “Wait, can you see me?”
“Of course I can. Blond, curly hair, beautiful blue eyes like the clear summer’s sky, a little shorter than me and also a bit thinner, and…” It was Thorne’s son’s turn to stop talking and vehemently shake his head. “No. That’s impossible. No way.”
Methuselah let out a long hiss as though he were confirming Gareth’s words, much to the other boy’s amazement. “You’re right, it is odd because you offered a perfectly accurate description of me.” The blond boy frowned. “Is this an expression from your time? Perfectly accurate? I’m trying to adjust and, since you are the first one I talk to in…”
“My time?” Gareth’s eyes went wide as a thought crossed his mind, making his blood freeze. “What time do or did you live in? What country?”
“Last I remember, I was seventeen in my father’s house, the Akedene Manor in Scotland, just before the brave, mighty clans were defeated by the English dogs in the Battle of Culloden.” The other boy paused a bit. “I’m Graham, the fourth son of Barclay Kaplan, laird of Akedene, and his loyal wife Annabelle.”
“I’m Gareth, the only son of Thorne St. Ives, a retired spy of sorts.” The teenager stopped to choose the right words. “What my dad does…it’s pretty difficult to explain to someone who is not from this time, as you put it.” The teen took a sharp inhale. “And I’m blind most of the time. I mean, all the time, except for now when I only see you.”
Graham gave a small smile and bent down to pet Methuselah’s head, causing the snake to express his affection through a long, soft hiss. “Is the sacred creature yours? Can he see me, too, or just using his senses?” He looked into Gareth’s eyes. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know snakes have healing and magical powers. Also, they are very wise.”
“I don’t know about other snakes, but Methuselah has quite a personality and sometimes he acts like he knows things, so yeah, I think there’s a drop of magic in him.” Gareth swallowed hard. “Back to you now; so, from what I understood, you are a ghost, right?” When the other boy nodded, he continued. “How did you end up in this situation?”