Kallan parks her old moss-green car in the back lot of an old office building. Converted from offices to apartments, it still has that old world charm and character. She takes the elevator to the top floor and then a private stairwell to the rooftop apartment. The apartment is nestled in a large garden; lush and green with a myriad of plants, flowers, and trees. It is jarring compared to the city that surrounds it, as if displace from a land of rolling hills. Luck was very kind to her when she found this place and Kallan burned all the Gardenias she had on hand in thanks.
She enters the apartment and Oria meets her at the door. Oria is a strange creature, about the size and shape of a river otter with a face of an Arctic fox. She has two small horns spouting on top of her head with long-fingered claws for grasping. Her body is covered with iridescent scales with the coloring of a mourning dove. As a odd mixture of fur and feathers runs along from the top her head to her tail, while fur covers most of her face and ears. She looks like a creature plucked from a child’s imagination. Kallan found her under a city park bench, she was so tiny then. Kallan isn’t sure if Oria is an undiscovered creature or a magic spell gone wrong. But she doesn’t care. Oria is her roommate now and there is nothing else to think on.
Kallan takes off her boots at the door. She crouches down and gives Oria a short rub on the head, before draging herself towards the couch and flops down. Oria follows with her wobbling scamper and jumps on the couch. She puts her front claws on Kallan leg and begins to knead like a cat. Kallan turns her head towards Oria and gives her a warm smile.
“Don’t worry Oria I’ll be fine. You know how it goes.”
Kallan says in a tired chuckle as she pets Oria. Both taking comfort in the moment. But Kallan can’t just sit here all night, things needed to be done. So she gets up and with Oria following.
Kallan showers and changes to a comfortable t-shirt and sleeping pants. She soaks her shirt and trousers in the bathtub to get the blood stains out. She curses her need for button down shirts and trousers. Unsure if it was a smart or dumb choice when it came to laundry. She begins to drink large cups of an herbal tea that smell and tastes like a concentrated apothecary. She then shoots a quick email to headquarters about giving in her report tomorrow and heads off to bed.
In a sliver incense burner on her bedside table she adds a incense mixture of cedar, dragons blood, lavender, sage, and sandalwood. She sets it alight and the wisps of scented smoke blooms out. There is power in it and Kallan might need that power tonight. Her way of hunting takes a toll on the body especially right after, she hopes for a peaceful night as she lies down with Oria at her side.
The sleep is peaceful, her breaths are even and her face calm from the worries of the waking world. But then it starts. She doesn’t thrash with flailing limbs and panting breaths. Instead her body locks into place. It begins with a tensing from her jaw that bleeds into her neck. The other muscles follow one by one to the tips of her fingers and toes. Her body now unnaturally still, griped in an intense fight with an imaginary enemy. Sweat beads form and drips from her body, staining her t-shirt.
Oria wakes to Kallan’s unnatural stillness. She moves quickly from Kallan’s hip to her face. Oria bumps her head on Kallan’s cheek and licks it as she makes low chuffing sounds, to wake Kallan. It works. Her eyes fly open as she takes a deep breath like she hasn’t been able to breathe at all. Kallan feels her muscles relax as the slight bite of acid burns through them.
She nudges her head back at Oria in thanks. Oria’s glowing eyes are a comfort in the dark as Kallan pets her head. The sweaty t-shirt begins to chafe. She gives Oria’s head on last pat before sitting up and pulling off the shirt. The bedding and pillows are still warm but not damp, luckily. Kallan didn’t need to get up to either get towels or change the sheets. She would do it tomorrow if necessary.
Kallan buries herself into the bedding with Oria on her chest. She is a great comfort. Kallan takes a deep breath and the scent of the incense calms her. Exhaustion seeps further into her body the second time. Kallan lets her consciousness fade way into a restful night.