THE WIND BATTERED NIKOS'S body as he soared through the midnight
From the ground, anyone seeing his erratic movements and motions might have mistaken him for an injured and disoriented bird but his behaviour was a result of nothing of the sort. The rapid shallow pounding flooded his senses as his own heart instinctually attempted to set itself to the rhythm that could only belong to one. He darted back and forth paying close attention to the sound and vibration that rang in his head. As he turned south, the pounding was perfectly synchronized with his own heartbeat and his instincts told him that this was the direction from which the signal was coming.
It was far away and faint but it could never be so far or faint as to escape Nikos' detection. Nikos stilled himself hanging in the air as if the clouds were as solid as the earthen ground. His heart filled with emotion and his thoughts lingered on every beat of the distant drum that called to him. Overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude and wonderment of what he had done to deserve the miracle, Nikos found himself frozen in place for fear that the heartbeat might fade or even disappear at any moment. He was hearing it, feeling it, absorbing it and binding it to him for the remainder of his existence. He remained entranced in his connection to the vibration of the beat for some time before he was able to think of anything else. With his senses piqued, he determined that the pulsation was coming from 500-600 miles away. It was so close. Only half of a night's travel but he could not cover that distance on this night. In addition, a suitable arrangement for sanctuary in the area from which the heartbeat was originating was a necessity. Plans would have to be made and they would have to be made quickly before the others sensed her presence!
It was this realization that others might have simultaneously perceived the signal that broke his trance and he was suddenly aware that dawn would soon be breaking. He needed to return to his sanctuary immediately!
Nikos rotated midair to begin the return trip home, constantly aware of the pulsation that tapped away in his mind. Its rapid shallow and slightly irregular pattern had, over the last hour, settled into a regular, bounding, and rhythmic beating that lulled Nikos into a state of remembrance… remembrance of what he once had, what he once lost, and the hope of what he might have once again. The night that was coming to an end seemed to have passed in the blink of an eye while Nikos had been engulfed in the familiar comfort of the life force of his equal female. She was here, on this earth and that was all that mattered to him. He would have detected her presence anywhere in the world but it just so happened that only a few years before, fate had led him to these United States and now she too was in America.
Dawn was just arriving when Nikos reached his destination of the old plantation home. This was one of the largest and most secure properties in the region, and for that reason he had come to spend much of his time there rather than in other countries. True, his homes in France, Italy and other parts of the world were exceptional, but this one in particular was his favourite. In addition, the American lifestyle allowed him to fit right in without being scrutinized by others, but rather simply considered eccentric. Throughout history, there had been times, which, based on popular beliefs and religious convictions of the populace of any given country, he had been forced to take up residence in other countries to avoid persecution. However, currently, North America was very accepting of unusual habits and practices by its citizens making it the perfect location for himself and others of his kind.
As soon as Nikos entered his home, he placed calls to his attorney and realtor. It was 6:30 a.m. and both of them would be getting into their offices soon but Nikos would need to be secured for the day by that time, so he simply left messages instructing them both on his needs.
His attorney not only managed all legal matters pertaining to his property interests, but also oversaw all funds Nikos set aside in trusts over the years for these transactions; of which, there was more than anyone could ever spend. As for his realtor, he instructed her to secure a home for him between 500 and 600 miles south of his current location that could close immediately, and to then contact his attorney for completing the transaction. His realtor already knew, having procured many properties for him in the past, that he had only a few requirements and those were that it be spacious, secluded, have a limited number of windows and have a basement. She had never asked any personal questions of him and he liked it that way. Had she done so, he would have fired her immediately as Nikos had learned over the years that when people became inquisitive about him, it was only the beginning of trouble.
He had also learned to over-compensate the connections he developed. Money bought him not only privacy but also strict obedience to his demands. His lack of material inclination allowed him the freedom to be more than generous to those who did his bidding, and who seemingly had an affinity for material attachment. He had no qualms about spending exorbitant amounts on that which was important to him, and this had to be the most important of all things ever to come his way.
After completing the calls, Nikos adjourned to his basement where he would rest during the day's sunlit hours. Over the years, he had come to detest these hours in which he was completely restricted in his movements. Unlike others' times of rest, he had no choice in the matter of when his body's recuperative hours would take place, for this was determined solely by the suns blazing rays. It was a condemnation by the sun that dictated his state and his abilities. It was as if the moment the day's light breached the horizon, he ceased to exist. He was a spirit trapped inside of a body whose life force could only be detected by one of his kind, as all energy and appearance of bodily function disappeared as quietly as it reappeared with the sun's descent beneath the opposite horizon. A useless, motionless, secluded form, capable not even of self-defence but only of thought… maddening thoughts of how this came to be. While in his semi-comatose state he could, with much effort, maintain a frail connection to his outside world yet take no action in it. Over the years, this ability, or rather this gift of discernment had begun to fade making it difficult for him to detect real danger until it was nearly upon him. There had been no hope that this gift would ever strengthen, only weaken, until this night.
Over the next 11 to 12 hours, Nikos would use every last bit of strength he had maintaining the connection to the beat that had captured him earlier in the night. This sound alone would soothe him throughout his imprisonment during this day.