1. His mistake had been to touch her. Ever since he’d first seen her and realized she lived in the apartment on the other side of the stairwell, he had been keenly aware of her presence. Up until yesterday morning, he had been able to keep her at a distance. Up until yesterday, she had been the nameless woman who had caught his eye, but who had been beyond his reach. Up until yesterday.
2. She reached down with her free hand and lightly cupped his cheek. She was unaware of moving closer to him until a warmth pressed along her hip and abdomen. Immediately she felt a hunger begin deep in her abdomen where it rapidly grew in size and heat. She wanted him to put his arms around her. She wanted to feel his body against hers, skin to skin. But her mind had turned to mud. She had no idea what to do next, much less what to say. She broke away long enough to catch her breath, and Rachel wondered if his heart was thundering as hard and as loudly as hers.
3. I have given my life to the Knights and to this mission. I have foresworn ever having a wife and family, and I can count on one hand how many times I have been this happy. I’m happy, Rall. Are you listening? I am happy, and I can’t explain why or how, other than the fact that I know it’s because of her. Explain to me, then, how being happy makes me a liability.
4. Rachel stood in the doorway and stared up at the storm clouds. There was a good chance she wouldn’t make it back before the deluge, but she had no choice. She started out the doorway when she caught sight of an elderly gentleman hurrying down the sidewalk across the street. To her amazement, one of the oil slicks suddenly shifted, and began to move in his direction, as if to intercept the man. She continued to stare at the oil slick, when it suddenly reared up. Two rows of enormous, sparkling teeth jutted out of its center, and the entity caught the man in the back. The man had seen the thing suddenly arise from the street, and he turned to avoid it, but the creature bit down, folding the man in half. Rachel heard a sickening crunch as the man shrieked in fear and pain. Then, the man disappeared within the blackness. The mouth-like aperture of the thing closed, and the oil puddle oozed, squirming and gleaming, back onto the street. A lump around mid-center was the only evidence to show it had swallowed a man whole.
5. She was worried about him. Somehow, she knew that if he was aware she was not back at the apartments, he might come looking for her. Cold, unyielding terror surrounded her heart and lungs at the thought of him venturing out where those oily monsters were lying in wait. Oh, my God, Sorrow! Don’t come looking for me! Oh, please, God! Don’t let him run across any of those things!
6. Helix turned to look at him, his lips thinned with determination. “Consider what our lives will be like from here on end. Knowing our hearts are contained on another world, with a woman we cannot have. While the rest of the knights are allowed any woman they want without ridicule because they chose someone from here. I don’t know about you, Sorrow, but bits and pieces of me are slowly dying because of this forced separation.”