He is the most beautiful one among the crowd of people. On his face lays a black mask, which gently complements his features. I can see two beautiful green eyes, gazing underneath it.
He is wearing a suit that gives him a majestic look - almost like he's some kind of a prince, right out of a fairy tale. Know this, appearances always lie.
But I will tell you more about it a bit later.
- Don't bother with him. I heard he is a womanizer! Grace quickly puts an end to my fantasies.
- Huh? No, I wasn't looking at him. I'm simply enjoying the nice party.
- If you say so. Come on, let's go get a drink.
She grabs my hand and guides me through the colorful sea of masks. I've never dreamt of being in a place like this. I doubt it would have ever happened if Grace hadn't used her connections.
Although we've lived together for a year, she still manages to surprise me. Honestly, this girl can do anything!
- Would you look who's daydreaming again! It feels like you're not here at all. You need a boyfriend, sweetie. I can hook you up, if you wish.
- Oh, I don't doubt that, but I will refuse. I don't feel like dealing with men.
- Even men like Hiro?
- Who is Hiro?
- Seriously? You have been gazing at him all night long, and you don't even know his name.
- Oh, I need to take this call.
I hurry out to the balcony before she suspects something.
Thankfully, there is no one there. I close my eyes and let the night wind gently ruffle my hair. It always relaxes me. But apparently the pleasant moment isn't bound to last.
I hear the footsteps of someone, who is slowly approaching me.
- Excuse me, but I would like to be alone for a bit. - I say, without even opening my eyes.
- Don't be a fool. Everyone is having fun inside, and you are out here all alone. Don't tell me you actually think of yourself as someone more special than the rest?
I can't believe it. Who is he to talk to me like that?!?
- Do you really think you can act this way...
I stop in the middle of my sentence, when I see how close his face is to mine. It doesn't take me much to recognize him. That's him - the womanizer with beautiful green eyes.
But he isn't wearing his mask anymore. He's even more handsome without it. I can feel the blush forming on my face. I get mad at myself for losing my composure.
- Balcony is all yours. I'm leaving. The party isn't all that great anyway.
I push him aside, a little more roughly than I intended to, and head back inside. The tapping of my high heels is so loud - it almost feels like they could easily crack the marble floor.
Suddenly I feel chills all over my body, and everything around me goes quiet. I look in the direction of the hall, which was so lively just a moment ago.
What I see there almost causes me to cry out. Lifeless bodies of men and women, whose clothes have lost their colors, and their faces are now black like the marble itself.
My legs feel numb and I collapse on the floor. I still haven't recovered from the shock when I hear his steps.
- Well, do you still consider yourself special? You are the same as everyone else around here. You people are so good at concealing your emotions, you don't even need masks.
When will you ever learn? Your existence is just a tiny fraction of this universe. Such foolish creatures!
I shudder at the sound of his sinister laugh.
- Huh, what?
My friend's voice startles me.
- Thank God! You look like you've seen a ghost. Are you alright?
I look around. Everyone is dancing, as if what I saw just a second ago was merely a nightmare. I smile.
- I'm very tired. I'll be heading home.
- Are you sure you're alright?
- Don't worry about me. Have fun! I'll see you at home.
Grace gives me a big hug before disappearing in the crowd.
I walk away at a rapid pace, without looking back. Was what I saw just a figment of my imagination? No, I can't believe that!
- Desi, don't be stupid! These kinds of things only happen in horror movies, which from now on you aren't allowed to watch. - I try to soothe myself.
Once I feel a little better, I pace down the snowy streets. Kyoto is so beautiful at this time of year.
Grace frequently asked me not to stroll around the streets at night, but I never listened to her.
After all, I didn't come to Japan to travel by buses and trains all the time, especially now after Kyoto transformed itself so beautifully with the arrival of the first snow.
I am completely lost in my own thoughts, until I feel chills travel all the way down my spine. And it's not because of the cold. I start walking faster, as much as my high heels would allow.
In my hurry, I don't notice the ice under my feet, and in one short instant I fall down on the ground.
- Damn it!
I curse so loud, that my voice frightens a stray cat.
- Did you hurt yourself? Let me help you.
My pursuer, now standing in front of me, is the same man from before. My mind instantly goes back to the nightmare from earlier. I don't dare move a muscle. He extends his hand and smiles.
- I doubt you want to remain on the ground. You will catch a cold in no time.
I hate to admit it, but he's right. I don't want to stay here, especially not with him. I take the offered hand, and stand up.
- What are you doing here? - I ask.
- I followed you.
- So, first you behave arrogantly around women and then stalk them? No wonder people think of you as a womanizer.
- What is so funny?? - I ask him angrily.
- Don't believe everything people say. About my behavior earlier, please excuse me. I didn't mean to offend you.
- Offend me? Oh, no. You don't know me, but I don't get offended so easily.
I attempt a smile, and fail.
- A woman's eyes reveal much more than she would ever admit.
- Look, I don't feel like listening to your speeches. Now excuse me, because I'm going home.
When I attempt to walk away, he grabs my hand. I turn around and freeze in shock. Those beautiful green eyes are long gone. It's like someone painted them in bloody red.
- An attractive woman such as you shouldn't be wandering all alone late at night. You never know who might be following you.
He lets my hand go and slowly disappears in the darkness.
I make it home, and slam the door behind me. Drops of cold sweat are dripping down my face.
- I must be going crazy. That is the only logical explanation.
I take my clothes off and collapse on the bed. It doesn't take long for my tired mind to throw away the events from tonight, and I drift off to sleep.
It's the same old dream of my prince on a white horse, and as always I can't see his face clearly. But this time he isn't alone.
Together with him is the mysterious man from the party, who is riding on a horse, as dark as the night. Both of them extend their arms towards me.
- We won't wait forever. It's time to make your choice.
I hold out my hand...and wake up from something soft and fluffy, rubbing against my face. It takes me a bit to open my eyes.
- Is that you, you little troublemaker? You always manage to rescue me from my nightmares.
He lets out a soft meow, curls up beside me and falls asleep. I smile, wish him "Good night" and drift into a deep sleep.