She had to wait for him again. She didn’t understand what took him so long – getting ready took him ages. Again, she looked over. He had just put on his hat. “Finally!”, she thought, “Let’s go already!”. 

She wanted to stroll down the meadow, dip her feet into the water. It had been a while and she needed the water badly. Her sisters, scattered around the city, didn’t have that problem. They all had water at hand, only she had to leave the house for it. But the Ewlein, daz Venedig (Venetian Meadow), as the Viennese called it, was a nice place to call her home. And water was close by after all. She couldn’t possibly complain. If only he didn’t take this long to get ready! “Can we leave yet?”, she uttered once more, before storming out of the house. 

The cool evening air smelled of wet grass. She could hear a stream flowing past. The sun was setting and the sky was this peculiar shade of blue. Dusk, almost night and filled with a sort of melancholy hope. Perfect time for a swim in the stream. 

As a nix, she had to stay hydrated regularly, otherwise she would perish. Only why had she grown so fond of this human man, that she left the waterways and lived in his house? Maybe it was his sister, a shy creature, who rarely left the house and liked to hide behind the big tree in the front yard. The long conversations with her had filled her world with everything she needed. She cherished them dearly and wouldn’t want to miss them for the world. 

Slowly she dipped her feet in. The cold water enveloped her ankles, swirling around her toes. Immediately she felt refreshed. She let her whole body into the water and just lay there, looking at the stars, the stream caressing her head. . 

At first she didn’t hear them, she was lost in thought. Only when he tapped her on the shoulder, did she realise something was amiss. “Quick, we must hurry!”. There was an immediacy in his voice, a sort of danger she hadn’t heard in a while. “They’re hunting!”, he exclaimed. 

Immediately she jumped and grabbed his arm. If they were hunting, they would be coming for her and if they saw them together, he would be in danger too. As a human, he wasn’t as fast and he couldn’t hide in the water, like she could. 

They ran. Light-footed she darted between the trees, always on the lookout. She heard them, before she could see. They had followed their scent and were leading them towards them, barking, growling, sniffing. “Dogs!”, she whispered. But as soon as the words left her mouth, she could hear the scruffing of padded paws in the undergrowth. The first dog attacked out of nowhere. She managed to evade the attacker swiftly, but he wasn’t as fast. The second dog caught him by the right arm. He shouted in fear. Without thinking she grabbed a large stick and tried to push him off. It took a bit, but she managed and as soon as he was free, they ran. Faster now, the dog’s panting just behind. She shoved him up a tree and herself jumped into the water of the stream next to it. It seemed like hours passed. And then it was quiet. When she emerged, it was dark and quiet. “Karl?”, she whispered. Her voice sounded alien and frail. No answer. Now louder, “where are you?”. Still no answer. That’s when a purple-grey fog appeared around her. It crept up, like the feeling of dread and loneliness that built up inside her. She was alone. There was no one there. They had won.  She was alone…. 

Until all of a sudden she could feel the…presence of someone. It was different than a normal human. This was a stellar being. And then she caught the eyes of a monster hunter. The old guild, caring for all mythical creatures in the city of Vienna. And she knew she was safe.