The figure in the ally caught Noel’s eye and he did a double-take, retracing the last few of his steps to view them again. It then struck him as odd that they were leaning on the wall. He checked his watch. It was about seven-thirty in the morning, which in his opinion ruled out intoxication by a balance of probability. As he watched through the sheets of rain, the figure staggered and dropped to their knees. He was a goner, no longer able to resist as this person clearly needed some help. He advanced forward, turning his collar up against the rain.
As he got closer, another thing struck him as odd about them. That was their costume. It was period, he guessed late victorian. A frock coat, high starched collar and tie complete with waist slacks, a shirt, waistcoat, *********** and scuffed, well warn walking boots. Their hair hung In curly straggly and soaking wet flyaways around their downcast face and as he dropped down to assess them, he noticed that they were female.
He hesitated, before placing a gentle hand on her back, feeling the suede of the frock coat soaked through.
She appeared to have been startled, but there wasn’t much strength left in her. She whipped one of her calloused, dirty hands off the stone ground and gripped his thigh with astonishing strength, her nails digging into him. He winced but soldiered on.
“Are you alright… uhh… Miss?” He tentatively asked over the steady pattering of the rain. She was breathing heavily, eyes screwed up and her dripping wet face pale and hollow.
“Do you… I mean, do you want me to call anyone?” He continued. And then he followed it up with, “You don’t look very well is all.”
She gulped, and then craning her neck a little, she slitted open her unfocused eyes and tried in vain to see him.
“I… I- c…can’t!” She strained, every word appearing to cost her still more strength. And he had only seconds longer to react before her arms and legs gave out, her grip on his leg slackened, her face relaxed, she let out a short breath and fell into him, unconscious.
He staggered backward where he crouched and held her in his arms, turning her limp form over and with his free arm reaching for his phone.
Flipping its lid up, he hesitated before making the decision to call his roommate before the authorities.
“Hey man. What’s up? You right?” Said a gruff voice.
“Rory, you… I’m up that ally three streets up, and I found this… uhh, woman. I mean, I think it’s a woman. And she’s out of it, I think she might… uhhh.”
“What? Mate, hang up and ring an ambulance! Does she have ID?” He asked.
“No. But… Hold on…” Noel was examining her closely. The skin on her hands appeared to be glowing with a golden yellowish light. It felt hot to his touch and he withdrew his hand. His heart rate quickened.
“Mate, you’d better come pick us up,” Noel told Rory.
“Alright. But I don’t like this!” He said before hanging up.
Noel put his phone back, took off his own jacket, balled it up and placed it on the ground before gently placing her head on it which lulled. Her mouth was open and her face now had the look of someone suffering extreme cold. He held his own body over hers to shield her as best he could from the rain. He brushed some of the dark curls out of her face. She struck him as attractive. Her breaths were long and even, but infrequent which alarmed him slightly. The glowing golden hue her hands had weakened slightly as if being doused by the rain.
About five minutes had passed before the sound of a horn startled him.
A car had pulled up to the mouth of the ally and a young man in blue scrub trousers and a raincoat, he’d clearly just grabbed and thrown on ran round to the passenger side and down the ally toward them. His expression going from irritated to awe-struck within seconds.
“You see it too?” He asked Rory as he approached. He nodded in silent amazement.
“Help me get her in ya car and get her back to the flat. Then we can decide what to do!” He told him.
He obliged. Helping lift her and bring her into the back of his car. She was now so soaked that Rory’s back seat was quickly waterlogged. Rory positioned her head under his own raincoat and then hurried into the driver seat, slamming the door before driving off with a skid.