Riverview. Once a thriving rural community, over the generations it had become a virtual wasteland; a place where the wronged and the sinners came to hide in disillusion. Maybe it was the solace that could be found there, maybe it was the serenity- whatever the cause, over time more and more haunted souls gathered in the neighbourhood, looking for refuge.
It was the perfect place for Glade and Maia to set up home.
After arriving at their hideaway Glade put his little sister to bed and kissed her goodnight. As he watched her drift off to an angelic sleep he only hoped that he'd be able to ensure her safety for the years to come.
Glade knew that Avalon was proud, that he was vengeful, and that he would come looking for them. It was only a matter of time really. And so, that night Glade found a seat and took up a vigil. He promised himself that he would stay awake until morning, always keeping one eye fixed firmly on the window and the world outside. But Glade's journey had been long and arduous, and before long he gave way to sleep.
In the morning Glade awoke to a sound outside. Instantly his mind rang with alarms as he jolted from unconsciousness and whirled to look at Maia. After seeing that she was still safe in her crib he relaxed for a second, and immediately turned his attention to who or what was outside. Creeping cautiously to the window he peeled back the curtains and peered out...
It was a ghost. Glade had heard ghost stories before- everyone knew that they existed- but in recent years there had been a movement to banish ghosts. Certain people had decided that the suggestion of people coming back from the dead was obscenely heathen, and consequently gravestones were destroyed and science labs closed down. How this ghost came to be, Glade had no idea.
Glade was reluctant to approach the figure, after all, when you're on the run everyone is a potential assassin or informer. But something in the ghost's seemingly cheerful face gave Glade the composure he needed to talk to the man.
Approaching him tentatively, the ghost greeted Glade with a friendly handshake and a warm smile. He introduced himself as Kale Summers, stating that he lived just down the road and he had wanted to welcome Glade to the neighbourhood.
At first some pessimism remained. Glade hadn't expected any sort of greeting when he'd arrived in Riverview, assuming that everyone pretty much kept to themselves in this area. This was true, for the most part, but for whatever reason Kale was different.
They talked for a while, just general everyday chit chat- no specifics, no secrets- and gradually Glade found himself letting go of some of the tension that knotted his insides. That was, of course, until he heard Maia's cries from inside the house.
At the sound of Maia's impatient calls, Glade felt that avid anxiety wrap round him again, squeezing tighter until he found it difficult to breathe. Although he didn't fear Kale like he would any other person, he still didn't feel comfortable with him knowing about Maia.
However, seeing the ease drain from Glade's complexion like that, Kale understood. At that moment he simply stated that it was nice to meet him, he hoped they would see each other again, and said goodbye. In passing he commented that he knew a little something about needing privacy at all costs, and then he was gone.
For the next few days Glade and Maia stayed safe in the house, with Glade occasionally making trips out to the grocers for supplies. He was reluctant to take Maia outside for fear of who might see them. Avalon controlled his people with a macabre and unyielding maliciousness; everyone for miles around bowed to him, so it wasn't much of a stretch to assume that he had spies as far out as Riverview.
But there's only so long one can stay a prisoner in their own home without dancing amidst insanity. In time Glade made the decision to venture out of the house, which Maia was only too pleased by.
Glade and Maia spent the day exploring Riverview, keeping strictly to the more secluded areas and out of the main town. As he watched Maia enjoying herself in the sun, Glade began to feel a little better about his choice. It was a necessary risk really- he couldn't keep Maia cooped up inside the house forever, no matter how much better that made him feel. Besides, if Avalon wanted to get them it was doubtful that four walls could stop him.
After walking for some time, Glade and Maia arrived at the infamous Simhenge monument. The beauty of the surroundings reminded Glade somewhat of his homeland and the life he had left behind. It wasn't a bad thing though- the allure of his previous home could be mirrored in this new land, and the uncomfortable memories of his childhood could be enveloped by the hopefully joyous memories he could give to Maia.
As the sun sank into the shimmering water and the moon crept up through the sky, Glade and Maia began to head for home. That was the plan anyway...
In the distance, down by the water's edge, there was a woman, and Glade couldn't help but be distracted by her.
Excluding Kale, this was the first person Glade had come across since he had arrived in Riverview. Of course he had been trying to avoid people by keeping out of populated areas, so he had to assume that maybe this woman had a similar mission in mind. But why?
Logic... Logic can be a very useful thing. It can keep you safe; protecting both your heart and your mind, but sometimes we don't need it. Sometimes the illogical choices turn out to be the most fun...
Placing Maia carefully on the ground, Glade walked over to the woman by the water. As he neared her side she heard his footsteps and turned round in agitation, pure panic distorting her beautiful features. Clearly she hadn't expected anyone else to be at Simhenge- maybe there never was in the past.
Glade apologised to the girl, assuring her that he meant no harm and he had just wanted to introduce himself. He told her his name, and she returned it with a smile. No words from her lips, just the amused expression for now.
Glade could have taken this silence as an indication to give up- walk away- but he couldn't do that. Gradually the girl began to talk back, and like his conversation with Kale the topics stayed neutral. Clearly the residents of Riverview were as guarded as he; clearly everyone had something to hide.
It's unclear how long they spoke for- Glade found himself distracted by the moment. He was aware of certain things, like the moon rising to control the sky and the stars glittering as they grew brighter, but other than that time was of little consequence. After their words ran out Glade and the girl just stood together. With some courage, Glade slipped his hand into hers.
He thought his heart ceased beating for a moment as their fingers touched, fearing that she would pull away and ask him what the hell he was thinking. She didn't though- she didn't say anything at all.
Glade should have left it like that really; the simplicity of hand in hand was all that was needed to complete their meeting, but he couldn't resist asking...
With his words the spell was broken. After asking her what had brought her to Riverview, Glade could only watch in dejection as the girl wrenched her hand from his, muttered that she had to leave now, and ran out of sight.
Turning back to the water, Glade allowed sadness to pass him by as he thought of their meeting. Yes, it had ended in dismissal of sorts, but just the flicker of hope was all that Glade needed to keep his optimism alive.
It's a shame really, because it was to be this meeting that would turn Glade's world upside down.
As Glade turned back and prepared to pick up Maia, he froze. In front of him were two dark figures- two shadows that slithered out of the night and violated his tranquility. All at once a cold splash of dread began to pool in the pit of his stomach.
Glade couldn't begin to imagine what they wanted, but the flashing of their teeth told him that something was deeply wrong...