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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Dark · #1480356
Meet Claudia. See if you can guess where the title came from. You'll get a cookie.
The Ether.

That’s what Claudia called the quiet place in her head where she goes sometimes. You know, when her parents fought or when she was bored in class. That, at least, her friends could understand. They were always bored – bored with school, with people, with life. Claudia wasn’t like that. Or at least she didn’t want to be.

She had excellent grades, but everyone (even the teachers) assumed she was getting cheats from the brainy underclassmen who would give up all their smarts for a chance to hang out with a Pop. That’s what everyone called them – at first it was just a short way of saying popular, and then some stupid rumor mill made the girls into Blow Pops, ha ha.

It was confusing and unbelievable how many rumors got thrown around, like confetti or glitter, and that shit never goes away, no matter how much you clean or how much you think you got rid of. Always there.

Claudia was lucky – she’s had a steady boyfriend, fellow Pop soccer star Brandon Wills, for three years and no one had much fuel to feed the fire much about her. Normal stuff that everyone gasped and giggled about, but nothing serious enough to believe.

She didn’t even care that everyone thought she was as dumb as her friends – in fact, she was glad. If everyone knew how smart she really was, they’d mistrust her a little more; leave her out a little more, until she was outcasted, not even good enough for Queen Geek. Oh – that was another name. It was for the smartest girl with the lowest taste, basically geek personified.

While this was a name to be feared and hated by Pops, it was almost a treasured title within the Geek Kingdom. Queen Geek was even friendly in a social way with some Pops who had problems with homework and what ever else they couldn’t grasp on their own. Fact was, she was popular – in a sad sort of way, Claudia always thought. She hated it because she knew the latest Queen Geek, Marcia, and knew she, Claudia, was smarter than her. In a different life, she would have been Supreme Queen Geek, and all would fear her.

But she didn’t want that. She liked being a Pop – she was pretty, she had the best clothes, the best make-up and the most glamorous things to be envied i.e. cell phone, car, shoes, and boyfriend. All in that order. A big house on the hill. Fake princess nails and fake gorgeous hair and fake shimmering tan. She had it all.

On the surface.

Inside, she felt hollow. Like something once occupied there, but it went out for a while and never came back. She didn’t understand it, so she tried her best to ignore it or fill it with things she had, or things that could be worn on the outside. The Ether wasn’t a part of that, necessarily – it was space inside of her, but it was warm, quiet and safe. Like lying on a canopy bed with a bunch of furry pillows with the curtains drawn to block out the light and other things. Safe.

It’s where she is now. Dinner, in her house, is a dreaded tradition where everyone gathered to have uncomfortable, quality family time together, where afterwards she’d escape to her bedroom, her mother to her next dinner party, and her father to his office to be the ever buzzing bee. The silence was almost as bad as when they started arguing, like now.

“Just when the hell were you going to tell me about this, Howard?” her mother yelled.

“It was sudden, honey,” soft, velvet tune of her father, “it was unexpected.”


Claudia tunes out. She knows how it’ll end, anyhow. Her parents have been having the same fight over and over for the last eighteen years. He makes excuses for whatever work thing he has to do. She’ll slowly start to jab, and he’ll take it, until finally his temper explodes and that’s when it gets ugly.

Her parents met at a country club when they were teenagers, went out a few times, and suddenly had a grand wedding a month after they met. Claudia heard enough around her stiff, starchy grandparents, aunts, and uncles – not to mention the arguments her parents had when they thought she was asleep – that the pristine Catherine Gertrude Betherly was ‘expecting’ before she got married. Which is to say, she got knocked up and had a white collar shotgun wedding. Claudia had a big fat ‘scandalous’ stamp on her forehead since the day she was born. Probably even before that.

She wonders vaguely if her parents ever argued when she was in her mother’s womb, and maybe that’s what the Ether is, a second womb. She wonders if Fetus Claudia had the Ether then, if even the walls around her were still too thin to block out the shouts and the bitterness.

“It’s not like we’ve been planning this, Howard, not like it was expected we go on this trip,” her mother starts putting more emphasis on words she thinks are more important. “It’s just another week to you, I know.”

“I’m sorry, dear, it can’t be helped.”

“Oh no, it can’t ever be helped, can it? No, I doubt you even think about growing a spine to stand up for yourself to those selfish jackasses you work for.”

There comes a time where even the Ether doesn’t help. Her mother’s sharp voice and her father’s soothing one pierce through, and Claudia sighs.

“It’s how I put jewels on your neck, Catherine.”

Uh oh, she thought. He used her name.

“Puh-lease.” Her mother jerks her wrist in front of her, like she was taking it out on some invisible pest. “Is that what you call your whores when you go to meet them? Jewels on my neck?”

“Goddamit, Catherine, this is my job not a fucking hobby – or would you like to be living in some dump while you work to support your habits?”

“May I be excused?”

“At least I don’t parade some bimbo around to our friends and embarrass you to everyone in the fucking neighborhood.”

“Nothing embarrasses you anymore; I’ve seen what you wear to the beach on your ‘girl trips’.”

Claudia tunes the rest of the argument out while she slips quietly to her room. She didn’t eat much of the meatloaf with parsnip gravy and fried okra. She didn’t eat meat (new vegetarian fad) and she hated okra, anyway. She was getting a little soft around her waist – if she wasn’t careful her size four would turn into a six pretty quick.

She didn’t need her friends calling her a fatass.

Today was the last day of school before spring break – the ultimate week of parties to any teenager, anywhere. The past four years she had been allowed to go to Cali with her girlfriends and one of their parents – who was one of those mothers that would rather be ‘cool’ then ‘responsible’. It was, to say the least, awesome. Beer and half naked guys and beach parties galore.

This year, though, was supposed to be special or something because it was the last before she would graduate. She was the youngest in her class, being a Start of the School Year baby so that she’d be only seventeen when she walked in her gown in a couple of months.

Her friends teased her because she wasn’t old enough to buy cigarettes, which was some right of passage they all went through because they all smoked – as soon as you hit the big one-eight you bought cigarettes for your younger Pops. Being the youngest meant this ‘tradition’ was likely to pass her by altogether. But that was fine. She hated smoking – she only pretended when it was called for. Like everything else.

This spring break she had to go with her parents for a trip to Europe – see the world, and all that, before she got wrapped up in studies. Supposedly. But Dad’s law business came up with an important case and he couldn’t go. The fight downstairs would last another hour or so and then the whole thing would be called off, Dad would work, and Mom would retreat to some spa to ‘exorcize the negativity.’

Which meant she was free. She was kind of psyched about Europe, but wasn’t looking forward to all the ‘quality time’ with her family units. Too much time together was like mixing a bottle, liquor, and a match – Molotov Cocktail. The analogy made her laugh bitterly as she wondered which one she was. The bottle, probably. Holding everything together until it’s smashed, the pretty shards scattered everywhere as flames made it all go away.

She got worried when she thought this way. It was like; it wasn’t her thoughts but someone else’s – someone more violent and vicious. When it got like this, she always felt better when she talked to her boyfriend. Getting her cell phone from her back pocket, she called him. One ring. Two.

The flame licking down to ignite the fluid, making it combust like a bomb...

Three. Four.

Faces in the flames as it spreads, horrible demons...

Five. Six. Seven.

Eating shards of her bottle body, and she couldn’t scream...Eight. Nine.

Click. “Hi, you’ve reached Brandon Wills. I’m not in right now –”

She clicked it off suddenly. He wasn’t answering. It didn’t surprise her. He, unlike the rest of the modern world, didn’t like his phone much and often misplaced it or forgot about it. Most of the time it made her laugh. Now it made her mad.

But it was a dull anger. Not real. Not alive.

Where did that thought come from?

Giving up, she sat up from her queen sized bed with its flowers and vines theme and slipped her feet into her new pink Converse. She didn’t want to be by herself right now, but she didn’t want to be with her Pop friends. They didn’t understand, not that she would try explaining these other thoughts that came to her sometimes. She told Brandon some of it, and he never judged her.

“Everyone has that side to them. You can’t be perfect all the time.” He told her. And she almost believed him. He didn’t understand she had to be perfect – or what else was there?

She took the backdoor to get out of the house, her parents’ feud still raging. They wouldn’t notice her going, and they wouldn’t come up to check on her. That should have made her sad. It didn’t.

Claudia was at her two door VW yellow bug when she swore at herself. She forgot her keys. Rather then going back in and risking crossfire, she decided to walk. His house wasn’t that far, and her long sleeved white cardigan and jeans were enough to combat the cool evening temperatures.

She tried to think about Brandon to shut out the ugly thoughts. He was the most perfect guy in school – everyone thought so. He was a star soccer player even though basketball was their school’s main sport. He was tan and gorgeous with dark honey hair that went in all directions in perpetual bed-head, tall and lean and muscled, with calves to die for. His butt was a regular topic among the girls and the gays on the bleachers at a game, being a rare find of thick and strong at the same time.

Brandon made good grades, wrote poetry, and planned on being a pediatrician. He treated everyone fairly, and was a genuine person. He was one of those that weren’t popular because they wanted to be – but because he was just so awesome, it was effortless. Claudia loved him, but envied him because he made it seem so easy to have people love you.

His parents worked for what they had, rather then inherited it, and that gave him and his younger sister a sense of worth that trust fund babies just never learned. He was beautiful in a way that Roman statues are beautiful, he was smart, he was kind, and he was whole. He didn’t regret anything he did, and her certainly didn’t have a missing piece of himself he tried to fill.

Thinking about his goodness helped. She was actually smiling when she came up on his house, a modest two story that was cozy compared to the mausoleum she grew up in – three stories with four bedrooms, three baths, and not one room where she had a fond memory, or a Kodak moment.

The house was dark, the eggshell paint giving of its own glow, but she was undaunted at the lack of light as she crossed the lawn to the side of the house. His parents were out for the weekend, being a happy couple with bimonthly trips with the family. Brandon had been excused because of exams he’d had this week.

Excited now, because she could see a thin light in the second story window she knew to be his bedroom. Probably he fell asleep reading, or something equally adorable. He would be alone, they would be alone, and Claudia felt excited. Contrary to popular theory, she hadn’t slept with Brandon yet – she hadn’t slept with anyone. It had been brought up, of course; Brandon was a gentleman, and wanted to wait until they were more mature. She agreed and was relieved – having normal frights and uncertainties of the big bad it. Would she be bad at it, would he not love her anymore if she couldn’t do it, what if they never do it?

She had told her friends she had, and she assumed he did the same because of the many rumors flying around; none of them were about her or him being a virgin. Which they were. The truth is often stranger than fiction.

Where had she heard that?

Shrugging it off, she got a wild idea. If he were asleep or in some cuddly position on his futon or whatever, she wanted to surprise him. And wouldn’t that be just the perfect romantic start to loosing her virgin status?

Getting up there would be no problem – there was an intricate vine ladder around the back porch that made everything seem wild and untamed though in truth it was well thought out and hedged in very carefully to look that way. Careful of noise, she used the triangle sized holes for the toes of her shoes and her fingers to carefully climb up the side to the slanted arch. The tricky part was trying her best not to slide off with zero tread on her shoes to get halfway up the fucking thing to where his window was.

This romance business was hard shit.

She didn’t even notice, with the careful work she was doing, that that thought was so not like her.

When she had got a decent footing on the shingles, she stopped to catch her breath against the wall. Not so distracted, she realized there was noise coming from his bedroom. The t.v?

Curious, because the sound was muffled and odd, she shifted along the side until she was just at the point where, at her modest height of 5’3”, she could peek around the sill to get a quarter-view of his room set up.

Doing just that, her light brown eyes widened sharply and she pulled back, like she was struck. No, no, she couldn’t have seen that. Brandon would never cheat on her. Because she didn’t want to, she looked again.

Infinite black.

Suddenly she was lying on her own bed, devoid of clothes, arms spread and feet together, like Jesus on the cross. What happened?

She wasn’t nude, just in her set of bra and underwear. Nothing was different in her room. Nothing but her.

Numb, she slowly sat up and braced her arms on either side, gripping the edge of the mattress like it might help. Wasn’t she just going to Brandon’s? Standing, she went to her personal bathroom that connected to her room, and proceeded to stare at her reflection. She didn’t know for how long she stood there, but her reflection was smiling...and it wasn’t a nice smile.

“It’s about time you woke up, sleepyhead.”

Did she say that? The reflection’s lips moved. She must’ve.

“Oh, come on. You still don’t know?” The reflection snarled and unhooked her bra. It was her...but not her. She tried to touch her face, maybe she was dreaming...

“Hey, quit it.” The Reflection said as it tossed the white bra. “I can feel you trying to move, you know. You can’t. Not yet.”

What’s going on?

The Reflection just looked at itself....She just looked at herself, lifting her modest A cups to study.

“Christ, we have small tits. Oh, well.” She grinned again. “Now, Claudia, my darling, I think we need a proper introduction.”

This has to be a dream.

“Oh no,” She said, like she heard her. “This isn’t a dream, sweetcakes. This is reality, and it’s about damn time you know the truth about me.”

But...but you’re me...I’m me...

“Well,” the reflection Claudia looked thoughtful. “That’s true and it isn’t. You’re you, but I’m me, and I live inside of you, in that I’m a part of you just like you’re part of me. Dig?”

I don’t understand...

Reflection–Claudia frowned. “Of course you don’t. God, for being so smart who would think you’re this clueless? I’m your alter personality, sweetie. My name’s Delilah.”

Delilah? You mean –

“Yes, yes,” this person – this Delilah – waved her hand, impatient. “That silly doll you had when you were four. Princess Delilah Sunflowers.” She made a face in the mirror, so that Claudia could see. “Don’t care much for the last name. So now I’m just Delilah, like Cher or Madonna, but better looking.”

Before Claudia could understand, she dimly felt this Delilah move her body away from the bathroom to stand nearly nude in her undies in front of the window. Delilah scoffed.

“Oh, please, stop all that virginal shyness, I’m going to gag.”

I still don’t understand. Why are you here? How did you get...get to be here?

“Oh, that’s a story for later,” she said and started rummaging through the drawers. “Dammit, where is that...Ah-ha!” She cried and took out a tiny black tank top and a pair of old jeans that had gone out of style months ago.

What are you doing?

“Getting dressed. Duh.” Throwing on the tank without a bra, she started to tug on the jeans and then thought about it. “These are way too tame. Let’s improvise.”

Getting a pair of scissors from another drawer, she started cutting.


“Shh, just wait.”

Delilah, fully in control of Claudia’s body, slashed the legs in a way that left them messy and random. Despite herself, Claudia was impressed. To buy a pair of jeans with the same effect was forty dollars extra, at least

“That’s better.” Tossing the scissors in the general direction of the bed, she tugged the new jeans on and posed for herself first. “Not bad. I guess it will do.”

What are you doing? She asked again.

“I’m going out. Can’t do that in one of your sissy outfits, now, can I? Not where we’re going.” Going back to the bathroom, she frowned in the mirror and took a strand of hair to look at. “I hate this color. When did you die us blond?”

Six months ago...

“Fuck, that long?” Delilah looked mad. “If I had known I would have come out sooner.”

If you’re a part of me, why didn’t you know?

Distracted, she sighed. “It’s complicated. I’m always here, but sometimes I sleep.” She bent to look around noisily under the sink. “Sometimes your life is so damn boring, I can’t stand it.”

This is so confusing...

“Ugh, just shut up a minute.” She growled. Picking up a black case Claudia had never seen before, she straightened and climbed up on the sink. “Now, try to be quiet in there, or I’ll poke out our eye by accident.”

Claudia, confused and afraid, did as she asked and watched as Delilah leaned close to the mirror and outlined her eyes in black. And not only that, she dusted the lids with deep purple, and pumped up their lashes with something that looked like black paste.

Looking happier, her other-person smiled. “You can talk now.”

I still don’t get it. Where did you come from?

“You had what they call, a mental break from reality,” Delilah said calmly while she organized different makeup on the vanity. “Your young mind couldn’t take reality, so it created an alter – that would be me – to help deal with it.”

Deal with what?

She got very serious. Looking herself in the eye (which sounded weirder then it was) Delilah shook her head. “I’d rather not say. It’s bad enough one of us remembers.” Suddenly smiling, she picked a compact and opened up a shade of wicked red blush.

“Anyway. Don’t worry so much. We’re going out – and for once, you don’t have to pour your drink in a plant and make sure everyone gets home safe, you boring little thing, you.”

Shocked, she got quiet again.

“Don’t be so surprised, sweetness.” Dragging the brush over her cheeks, Delilah was making Claudia look like a hooker. “Hey. I am not. Just wait til I’m done, then you can judge.” Slamming the rouge down, she scowled. “After all I’ve done for you; you whip out some insult like that. Like I’m some whore, or something.”

....I’m sorry.

“Damn right you are.” Looking somewhat calmed, she continued with different shades of eye shadow, concealer, blush and lipsticks. “You really are lucky to have me, you know. Without me, you might’ve turned out to be one of the Pop bitches you call friends. Or even Queen Geek...” She shrugged. “But as it is, I’m all your wild inhibitions rolled up in a fabulous package of smarts and looks. While you act all responsible, I act recklessly.”

How does that help me?

“Well, you’re dominating, so you have control most of the time,” she said, “Or at least you did. I dunno about now – I might be the dominate one because I’ve never been in control while you were aware before.” She shrugged, like it wasn’t important.

You’ve done this before?

“Yeah,” she said, using some glittery goo to slick through her hair. “Only when you’re really fatigued, like super tired, or when you’re not conscious. Haven’t you noticed waking up in the middle of walking around, or waking up in the shower at three in the morning?”

Yes...but...I thought that was just sleepwalking?

“Nope. Just me.”

Where are you going?

Getting a wicked grin, Delilah inclined her head. “I told you. Out. We’re finally going to have some fun.”


Claudia woke up again on her bed.

For a second she didn’t remember any of it. And then when it came back, she had a brief feeling of relief that it was all just a weird dream.

But her good feeling was shattered as she sat up in exactly the same outfit Delilah had put on last night. Scared, she listened and found no voice. She tried to move her arm, and she could. Delilah was gone.

Breathing heavily, she went to the bathroom and threw up.


Claudia spent the rest of the day in bed. Sometimes she slept. Sometimes she just stared at the ceiling, at the wall, at the things in her room – drifting, not in the Ether, but in a numb consciousness that catatonics must go through. She was afraid of going to the Ether, of loosing too much control and letting Delilah out again. But she didn’t want to feel. Didn’t want to remember why her head hurt and her stomach felt vile and her body bruised.

She was vaguely aware of noise through the house, faint footsteps and doors closing. Her parents probably think she’s out somewhere. She was almost never home during the day. She welcomed her parents’ sense of letting their only child fend for herself on her own moral ground.

It was getting dark when she couldn’t be aware anymore. It was getting dark when Delilah started waking up, like some vampire that prowls at night and fears the day. She was scared.

You don’t have to be scared, sweetness. I would never hurt you.

“Delilah.” She whispered her voice hoarse. It was a statement, not a question.

Its okay, I promise I won’t bite.

“I don’t know.” She sat up and hugged her shoulders. Her nails were a different color – from French tips to gothic black. She didn’t want to feel helpless again. She didn’t want to sit back while Delilah wrecked havoc on them.

I’ll do my best to explain, puppy. Last night I got a little carried away. I’m sorry.

She sounded like she meant it. Because she didn’t know how else to communicate, Claudia spoke aloud. “What did you do?”

I had a little fun. Okay, I had a lot of fun. Just a club I go to from time to time, when you let your guard down. Seedy little place, I guess, but it’s good for blending in. I got us drunk, I’m sorry, but you never do, and I thought we could for one night.

“And you left me to deal with the aftereffects.”

Hmm, you sound a little angry.

“I am angry! You went out and had a grand time and left me with the hangover, and I don’t even remember what happened! We got drunk, we could have gotten raped or killed or – ”

Hey! Calm down! I am not that irresponsible, give me a little credit. I remember everything, I did NOT black out and I would cut the balls off any creep that would harm us. I couldn’t do that to you, not to you, Claudia.

The blond laughed suddenly. It sounded tired. Holding her face in her palms, she laughed at herself. “I’m crazy. I’m talking to myself. I should be locked away.”

That is no kind of attitude to have. We would be no better locked away in some loony bin then here in this posh hellhole. And you’re not crazy. I am.

“That makes no sense.”

Yes, it does. You would have been crazy if not for me. Because of what happened –

“What did happen? How the fuck did you end up inside me?!”

...I don’t want to tell you.

“Too fucking bad!” Angry, so angry. She stood and stomped around the room, wanting some kind of revelation as to why this was happening to her.

Claudia, sweetness, calm down. It’s going to be ok.

“No it’s not! I’m talking to myself, I have another whack-job personality in my head somewhere telling me what I should do, I feel like shit, and I’m not even going anywhere for Spring Break!”

While listing her current problems, she suddenly remembered the night before. “Brandon! I was going to his house. I remember that. And then I was just here and you were in control.”

Delilah was curiously silent.

“What happened? What did you do?” Afraid again, she went to the bathroom and shut the door to have a fight with Herself in the mirror.

She looked horrible. Last night’s makeup was smeared all around her eyes and her lips looked chapped and blurry. She looked used.



“Delilah! Dammit! Answer me! What did you do to Brandon?!”

What did I do? WHAT DID I DO?! What a question! Like I would do anything to your precious Brandon! You want to know what happened? Think back. You were climbing up to his window like some twisted Juliet trying to be all romantic...

“Yes,” Claudia suddenly remembered. “I was climbing up and his light was on...”

Exactly. You got up there, but when you peeked in the window, what did you see? You told yourself that it was a mistake, no, you weren’t really seeing that, but when you took another look that’s when your little mind snapped and I was the only one there that saved us from falling off that fucking roof and killing us.

“No...” Horrified, Claudia covered her eyes. “No.”

What did you see, Claudia?

“No!” She screamed. “Shut up! I don’t want to do this!”

Then let me show you! Let me show you what happened, so you can understand what needs to be done!

Crying now, Claudia sank to the floor. “I can’t...”

You can. Get up.

It took a few tries for Claudia to get her legs steady enough to stand again.

Look at yourself.

She did. She looked pathetic, gaunt and the tears made the makeup worse. She hated herself in that moment.

Let me out, Claudia, so I can take care of you.

And with a last look at the sad, pathetic little girl she was, Claudia let go.


Delilah had been mesmerized.

Claudia had retreated from the scene because it was yet another incident that shattered her view of her perfect world and she just couldn’t deal. On the second look through the window, Delilah had indeed come out to play dominant while Claudia fell unconscious.

Brandon was there, oh yes he was, and he was on all fours in all his naked glory in front of a likewise buff but pale individual riding the hell out of his much–drooled after ass.

Ah-so. Delilah thought. Pop star Brandon likes to bite his pillow, does he?

The noise Claudia had heard had been of passion underlying one of Madonna’s early records. Delilah found herself disgusted by the unoriginality.

Finding the whole situation terribly ironic, she fought not to laugh out loud as she climbed down from the roof with more ease then her counterpart had climbing up. As she walked back to Claudia’s house she did laugh, a combination of amusement and simple joy at being at the helm for once.

Underlying it was an anger she knew was directed, not at Claudia’s precious Brandon, but at the unknown male who dared to take what was hers. As she snuck back inside the house, she stripped out of the good-girl outerwear and lay down on the bed, planning. At a point she was so deep in thought she didn’t notice Claudia waking up and taking control for a brief moment.

Delilah, skilled at hiding herself from Claudia, closed tight on those certain memories until they were better acquainted.


Delilah delighted at the shower, liking the feel of hot water cleansing their body and reawakening the mind. When Claudia had let go, Delilah eased the memories from the night before so that she could understand.

She had been quiet since then, allowing Delilah to clean them up before any decisions were made. Claudia would come around. She would see that Delilah only wanted to protect her, and that she would always take care of her.

He’s gay.

“Perhaps.” Delilah allowed while she toweled off. “He’s probably bi. There’s never an easy explanation, at least not anymore.”

But he loves me.

Delilah frowned. Dammit, she still had her heart in his hands with talk like that. “Maybe,” she allowed, sparing feelings. “But I think he uses you more like a beard. I’m sure he cares for you a little.” In that she wasn’t lying – she’d seen herself how disgustingly nice and sweet he was to her. “Doesn’t change the facts, though.”

What facts?

Throwing the towel down, she gripped the sink and glared at the reflection. “He cheated on you, Claudia! No matter who it was with, he cheated. Remember, you had this discussion with him. If he ever wanted to see someone else, then he should tell you and not go behind your back because that would be more painful? Remember that?”

Yes...but –

“But nothing! He lied to us. Rather then come clean that he wanted his ass pounded by another guy and cut you loose, he went behind your back – no pun intended – to get some action! He saved himself the chance that word would get around that he likes guys! What would happen then, huh? His Pop status would plummet and his friends would disappear. Those self righteous assholes would never let a gay guy be in their clique. You know that.”

He doesn’t care about that though! He’s not like that; he never set out to be popular.

“Isn’t that just a line of bullshit? Every single one of them would do a lot of things to keep their reputation, or what little of it there is.”

He’s not like that.

Frustrated, she left the bathroom to dress. “You’re useless. Fine, whatever, keep your little feelings for him, it doesn’t change what happened. Now I see you won’t get, at least right now, what I have to do.”


“Shh...” she whispered, and put the Ether around the part of her that was Claudia. “You’ll understand someday what I’ve done for you. Then we’ll be the best of pals!”

She felt Claudia struggle as the Ether swallowed her up to make her rest in that safe, warm prison Delilah had created for her so many years ago. She smiled and started to focus on her plans.


It was easy.

Delilah had found the best suburban outfit in Claudia’s closet of white collar, modest button up shirt and knee length black skirt that made her look Mormon, but it was effective. Although detesting this new color their hair had become, she admitted it was better for the look she was going for – innocent survey girl. Swept up in a high ponytail, she practiced a vacant look of an eager doe and found it easy.

Buying a clip board and typing up some phony questions on her computer made her design complete. There was a moment’s hesitation that, perhaps, he knew who Claudia was by sight, but a little background checking made that unlikely.

It’s truly amazing what information a poor rich white girl can obtain if she tried. The identity of the man with Claudia’s boyfriend was easily obtained from Brandon’s neighbors. Careful not to let her other half’s love see her, she asked around and got that there was a boy from the wrong side of town that came over too often driving a low-riding car with squeaky breaks.

One particular neighbor was so upset about the noise he filed a police report, and even had the boy’s name and mailing address. When asked why she was so curious, she said that she was planning a surprise party for Brandon and wanted to get all of his friends together. Easy.

Brandon’s little playmate’s name was Christian Borneo, and he lived nearly an hour away from her neighborhood. She spent the first two days of spring break watching the house. She’d park a block away and walk by under different outfits, and sometimes park in a bystreet and watch. She saw him, plenty of times. Anger.

He wasn’t bad looking, if you were into that kind of guy – waif-ishly thin and pale. Christian didn’t seem to get out much, at least during the day. In the morning a woman would leave with two small boys, who were usually trying to tear each other apart. A bus would bring the eight and nine year olds home at 3:00 and the woman would get home at 7:00. The boy, this Christian, didn’t leave until 6:00 or 6:30, but she never followed him. Temper, temper.

Both nights he didn’t get home until after midnight, when all the lights were out on the street. Perfect. Sleeping a few hours at a time, Delilah planned on the perfect set up of playing door to door survey girl and surprising Christian when he was home alone.

Smug that the neighborhood the little whore lived in was so run down, she drove the third morning to his home in Claudia’s mother’s white Cadillac, with no chance that she’d be recognized.

Walking up to the one story, run down brick home with its chicken wire fence, she had her expression in place. Clipboard in hand, she rang the doorbell and waited. There was a curse, and some locks being jingled, before he opened the door in his boxer shorts. Fighting not to frown over his physique of a four year old girl, she smiled.

“Hello, sir! I’m doing a local survey about the local public schools for the Sunday Post,” she lied easily. “And I was informed there is at least one person at home within High School years?”

He looked groggy and hung-over. It took him a minute to process her cheeriness. “Um, yeah, that’d be me,” he said between a yawn. His teeth were crooked.

“Oh!” she said, as if pleasantly surprised. “I’m sorry, sir, you just look so mature, I’d thought you’d be at least in your twenties, if you excuse me saying so.”

Flattery on this scale worked on all. The irritation lifted from his blurry blue eyes and he grinned. “Nah, that’s cool. I’m actually nineteen.”

“Would you mind answering a few questions, then?” When he looked uncertain, her smile got bigger. “Please, it will only take a few moments, I promise.”

“Eh...I dunno, my mom’s not here and all, what’s it about?”

Prepared, she replied, “It’s about the social distinction between public high school and private. You know, the different cliques and opportunities afforded to each, and so on.”

He still didn’t look convinced. Dammit.

Putting a hand to her brow, she huffed dramatically. “Oh, I’m sorry; it’s just so hot out here. I have to walk all around this block, you see, and it really is tiresome. Could I trouble you for some water?”

Christian glanced around, and in a look she couldn’t have missed if she were deaf, dumb, and blind, he looked her over. Son of a bitch, she thought as he shrugged and left the door open behind him. He’s bi. No wonder, him being a pitcher, and she wasn’t talking baseball.

Suddenly her job got a hell of a lot easier.

Casually unbuttoning a few buttons at her cleavage, she waited patiently in the ‘living room’; a nice way to say it had a 24 inch color television and a few ugly couches with giant cabbage roses in blue and red.

The carpet was plush, but a mismatched brown in a way that would have looked good – for about five minutes. Having such a mother, Delilah had front row seats to accessorizing lessons with Mother Dear not just with clothes, but your house.

Dear, lovely Christian came back with a white t-shirt in place with a glass of water. Not minding the smudges on the glass, she accepted and smiled, a slightly different smile then the one she had a moment before. She drank slow, and let some drip from the corner of her mouth to spill down her chin and neck to her chest.

It wasn’t a lot, not even stain worthy, but it was enough to lead bi-boy’s eyes to the right places. Their skin was still tan from Claudia’s spa trip the weekend before school ended. The effect was effortless.

She finished in a few short gulps and handed it back to him. “Thank you.”

He nodded, and turned away.

“Really, all I have are a few stupid little questions,” she pleaded. “And then I’m out of your hair.”

He shrugged again. God, but this boy was boring her. He sat on one of the couches, the loveseat, and she sat next to him, closer then need be. She smiled in his face and watched him blush, a faint salmon color behind pockmarks of early acne.

Delilah wasn’t so self aware as to not realize she took the bad features of this boy and that was all she saw, because that’s all she wanted to see. Christian wasn’t so hideous, or so pale, then any other kid in America, but she wasn’t aware of it, and she didn’t want to be.

“Okay, questions one – blah blah blah blah blah?”

“Uh, blah blah blah blah,” he answered, but she noticed as she wrote down his answer that his eyes were roaming, and she purposely shifted so the Mormon Girl skirt became Girl Next Door’s.

She asked a few more nonsense questions, each time shifting so that her skirt was high enough to show all of her leg and a generous amount of thigh. After question number five, she took down her hair and ran her hand threw it as she wrote down his answers.

Christian was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

“Uh, almost through?”

“Yes, just one more,” she said, leaning forward. He actually leaned back – intimidated? “Do you have a girlfriend?”

“No...” he stared at her lips as he said it, and she felt a fierce joy a lioness must feel when she takes down her prey as he leaned forward into a kiss. As he pushed her back against the cushions, she thought that this was different – instead of bringing back her kill for some male to feast on, she was going to enjoy this all on her own. Oh, yes.


She was smoking.

Claudia had to fight the dark to get a glimpse of what Delilah was doing. She was smoking. But she wasn’t in front of people – she was sitting on the toilet lid in her bathroom, leaned over, smoking. The shower curtain was curiously closed.


Delilah acted as if she hadn’t heard, if heard was the right word. She took two more drags, and snuffed it out on the sink counter. Claudia couldn’t quash the worry of what that did to the marble.

Delilah started laughing.

“How did I end up coming from you? YOU of all people! There couldn’t be anyone more completely opposite on the other side of my coin. Honestly, it’s like a cosmic joke.”

Claudia tried asking more questions, but Delilah erupted.

“SHUT UP! Shut up already! God!” she stood, but didn’t look at the mirror. “Christ, I’m tired.”

She didn’t understand. She didn’t ask.

“All this, I’ve done for you. Why did I do it? Are you grateful? No. Are you even aware of how much I devout myself to your well being? No.” she sighed and shook her head.

She sat back on the lid and leaned so that her back curved over the top of the toilet and her head could rest against the tile. Her eyes closed. “This is funny.”


“I don’t even really care about Brandon,” she laughed, but it was devoid of humor. “Yet I’m so angry that he cheated on us – on you. God, he’s not even my type.”

What happened?

Instead of being afraid, or confused, or apprehensive, Claudia suddenly felt sorry. Delilah, in the short time she’d known her, wasn’t the depressed type.

“I’m not depressed,” Delilah defended, but it was soft. “It’s just such a rush that it took a lot out of me. It’s like tasting heaven and then having to go back to your potatoes and rice.”

Before she could prod, Delilah got up and went to the bathtub with its curtain drawn. “Ahh,” she said, almost trancelike. “Le amour.”

And she shoved the curtain aside.

Not for the first time, Claudia’s mind couldn’t understand what she was seeing, and she fainted. She caught a faint whisper of her own voice, “You’re so pathetic – he was asking for it,” before the black.


Brandon was sleeping.

The annoying ring on his phone started buzzing, and it took twelve rings before he was aware enough to answer it. He usually didn’t have it that close to his head, but his mom made him promise to answer when they called from San Antonio.

Untangling himself from his sheets, his voice didn’t sound like he’d been asleep for the past ten hours.


“Heeey,” a sweet, feminine voice answered. Claudia. “Hi, sweety! How are you?”

“Good,” he said, a little more awake. He sat up and scratched his naked chest as he yawned. “How are you? Are you still in Europe?”

She laughed. “Nope, got back early. My parents were just too much.”

Curious. She didn’t usually sound this cheerful after spending time with her bickering parents. He saw this as positive, and continued talking as he went to the restroom.

“That’s cool. See anything neat?”

“Oh, Europe was all calm and nature and stupid buildings. Boring. I’m glad I’m back. I want to see you.” She flipped topics quickly, and it took him a second to answer through his tooth brush.

“Sure, babe. When?”


He spit out toothpaste and watched it swirl down the drain. “Now? I’m not really ready to go out.”

“Oh. Okay.” Her voice had lost that cheery note. Feeling bad, he decided to give in.

“Give me a half hour and I’ll be there. Alright?”

“Okay! See you!”

A soft click and he was left alone.


Half an hour later, Brandon pulled up to Claudia’s house in his four year old mini cooper. He’d taken a lot of grief for not getting a big truck or Hummer by his friends, but he liked it for its dark blue and white stripe finish.

Dressed as a typical modern teen in t-shirt and jeans, he strolled up to his girlfriend’s house and reached up to knock. It opened before his knuckles touched the wood and it took him a moment to recognize his greeter.


Her grin was a million-watt quality as she posed for him. She’d died her hair jet black, and the artsy makeup was something he’d never seen on her before. Dressed simply in a white tank and cut up jeans, she looked great. Sultry. Something he’d never thought of her before.

“Like it?”

He stood stupefied before he realized she was talking to him. “Huh? Oh – yeah! Well, it’s...it’s different.”

She laughed – and he couldn’t have explained the chill that dazzled down his spine – and jumped up to hug him. She even smelled different. Like exotic spices and sweat of a bar princess. Must be the Europe air, he reasoned.

Taking his hand, Brandon followed as she dragged him upstairs. The house was strangely dark. “Where are we going?”

“My room.”


She sent him a grin over her shoulder. “Not here.”

Interesting. In all the time he’d known her, she’d always played coy when it came to her ‘bedroom’. Not that he hadn’t been – but it was more pro-forma then anything spicy. They’d never even made-out in that room.

But now he got the distinct feeling Claudia was giving him all the right signals most guys his age would leap at and ask questions later. Brandon, however, had a little more self control.

When they reached her pristine room, she dragged him in and shut the door firmly.

“Claudy, what – ”

“Shh,” she put a black tipped fingernail to her lips, curved into a smile. “It’s a surprise.”

Claudia led him to her bed and made him sit. Fortunately – or perhaps unfortunately, depending on how you look at it – that put him at eye level with her chest, and in the better light coming from her bathroom, he noticed she wasn’t wearing a bra.

His control slipped a few notches.

She stretched up, catlike, and buried her fingers in her hair. At her quiet laugh, he knew that she knew what had his attention, and he could feel his cheeks heat.

“Oh, little Brandon,” she cooed, leaning forward. Her eyes were half lidded, and he found himself lost in the intense spark in her swirled brown eyes. She gently touched his shoulder, and coming so close he could feel her breath on his face, he swallowed hard. “Little boys and their toys.”

Their lips met, and clung, hers almost as desperate as his. Maybe more so. She was practically straddling his lap as they clashed tongues, and she growled as his thumbs found her nipples through the thin shirt.

Claudia straightened and backed away almost before he’d realized she’d done so.

“Oh, my,” she gasped. “Getting a little ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?”

Claudia was walking to her bathroom. He started to get up, but she seemed to sense it.

“No, no, no! You sit tight, Brandy-kins,” she turned slightly, leaning on the door frame. “I’ve got a surprise.”

Turned on despite the odd nickname, he sat back down and watched as she closed the door, leaving only the light from the bottom of the door to alight on his feet. The comfort of the dim room had him relaxing as he wondered what she was doing.

“I was ever so lonely without you these last few days,” she called through the door. “I mean, I thought about you every day.”

Brandon leaned back on his hands, letting his shoulder support his head, a half grin on his face.

There was a little rustling from the bathroom, like bottles clinking together.

“I mean, you’re the only one that really gets me, you know? The only one who really cares beyond some stupid obligation by blood.” She laughed, shrilly. Brandon lost his smile.

“So, imagine my utmost glee, narcotic really, when my parents called the whole trip off the day before we were supposed to leave!”

“You mean, you didn’t go?”

“Of course not! Why would anything in this family go smoothly? That’s the day pigs fly and shit smells like roses.” A crash. She cursed. Claudia never cursed, if she could help it. She’d told him once that it was just a habit, not cursing. “I really liked that mirror, too.”

“Claudia, what’s going on?” He straightened.

“Stay!” she barked. He was stunned into doing so. “Let me finish. Now where was I?”

“Oh, yes. Well, that night, I was bored out of my little mind, so I decided to sneak out to see you. Hear me? To see you.”

Cold sweat made his shirt stick to his body. The night before Claudia was supposed to go to Europe was the night...Christian...

“So, all romance style, I snuck out of my oppressed castle to see my dashing knight at his humbler dwellings. And, in this fancy mood of mine, I thought it would be a fantastically fabulous idea to climb up to your window, to be your Romeo.” She laughed, and it was that throaty laugh from before, the laugh that wasn’t like Claudia at all. “Little did I know, you had your own Romeo right there in you room.”

“Claudia –”

“Shut up! You listen!” she snapped. “Dammit! What is it with you people and interrupting me?”

“Whatever you saw I can explain,” he said, scenarios of his friends finding out and being bashed ran through his mind.

“Oh, I just bet you can. Go ahead, then. What – you fell and then just so happened he had his dick un your ass? And you got stuck so you were arching and trying to dislodge it?” Hysterical laughter.

Embarrassed, he stood and tried to open the bathroom door only to find it locked. “Honey,” he tried a softer approach. “Just open the door. We can talk about this.”

“Oh, yes, Brandon. We will talk.” Her voice, so ominous, made him wince. “But first things first!”

Claudia yanked open the door, beaming viciously at him. He could only stare at her as she circled him like a panther, eyes so wide he could see a circle of white around the corneas as clear as day. He kept facing her, with his back to the bathroom.

“Brandon, Brandon, Brandon. So deep in the closet, and yet so free. Claudia could never be that free,” keeping his attention on her, he didn’t react to her referring to herself in the third person. “Could never be that – whole.”

“Baby,” he said softly. He couldn’t explain this fear of her – fear of what she might do, or say. Each could be fatal, and he couldn’t explain it. “Please.”

“Please, what?” she asked him in her soft as ash voice, eyes sharp. She advanced towards him, and he backed up, putting his hand behind him to grip the sink for balance. “Please, what?”

“Please, try to understand.”

Her eyes flashed, almost seemed to become a different color, and she smiled a toothy grin. “I understand. But do you understand?”

She pointed behind him to the bathtub. Turning his head, slowly, he looked over his shoulder and saw the closed curtain. “Go look at your surprise.” Claudia told him, voice mellow and cheerful.

Not wanting to, but feeling he had to, Brandon gradually got over to shove the curtain aside. The air left his lungs as he stared down at the tub, eyes wide and afraid like a frightened deer, so close to madness you could see it brim.

Jesus Christ...!!! was his last thought before darkness overtook him and he crumpled.


Delilah dropped the book end from her father’s study with a frown, not having to use it after all. Brandon had crumpled and was sprawled on the tile in front of the newly veiled surprise in her bathtub. He’d fainted.

Oh my God. Delilah...

Shoving at Brandon’s body with a boot tip, she scowled. “Lightweight.”

But Christian...why did you...

Gripping their temples, Delilah growled through clenched teeth. “Stop already! I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to explain to someone like you – you just won’t understand.”

She sounded on the verge of tears.

Tell me. Please.

“No!” she screamed. “I’ll show you instead!”


The air had its own pulse.

This thought was Delilah’s, and Delilah’s alone. For a few moments on Christian’s couch, she felt alone. So very alone. Almost separate. Making out with the bisexual boy who stole Claudia’s man’s ass and probably his heart, she felt this pure fear make their heart skip its precious beats.

Her whole existence, thus far, had been as a part of Claudia. A different part that protected, loved, and cared for itself as it called that self Claudia. But at that moment, she felt like her own person, and that scared her most of all.

Christian’s tongue penetrated their mouth, and she slowed as new thoughts came to her.

What if she was becoming more than just her host’s protector? A separate person with their own place in the world? She didn’t want that. Her freedom was due to having been captive from time to time – being contained within her precious Claudia.

Without Claudia, what was she, really?

Wanting to escape from underneath this creature on top of her, wanting to breathe and try to think, she started to struggle. Christian either wasn’t getting the hint or didn’t care. His hands came down to roam over their body and her pushes were being ignored.

Feeling the fragile threads of her mind unraveling, she made a noise into his mouth and reached up behind them. Laying flat on the couch now, she could just reach what she realized was the hideously pink lamp with faded shade attached. A rush of fresh panic flooded her when his hand went up her skirt and touched her that she pulled the heavy thing down and crashed it over his dark head.

He yelped and pulled away from her, confusion in his blue eyes, before his eyes rolled and he slumped forward, dead weight on top of her. Taking in gulps of air, she watched a line of blood travel along his hair onto his forehead.

For a long while, she lay there, very still. She experienced a bit of her own Ether, except this wasn’t comforting. It wasn’t anything, really. Time passed, and she didn’t know it.

Finally, she pushed the boy off and he fell with a heavy thud on the carpet. It was easier to breathe, and she blinked. She felt like herself again, but she couldn’t forget that feeling. What did it mean?

Sitting up, Delilah looked down at Christian with contempt. He wasn’t dead, just unconscious. Poking him with her shoe toe, she was satisfied when he didn’t react. Good. This was going to be much simpler then she thought.

Oh, getting him to her car was difficult, but Delilah found that a lot of things worth doing were difficult. Using an amazing amount of strength for a seventeen year old girl, she hauled Christian to her car supporting him under his armpits.

By the time she worked out the mechanics, he was vaguely coming to, and was little more then a living doll murmuring under his breath. Delilah paid no attention as she calmly led him to the white Cadillac, setting him comfortably in the passenger seat.

Driving back to Claudia’s house, she felt a heavy weight lift from her shoulders, and she starting whistling. This was going to be interesting.


Claudia was horrified when Delilah forced the memories on her. Kidnapping Christian and then keeping him in her bathroom, handcuffed, for three days while Delilah tortured and kept him alive.

She felt what Delilah felt, and experienced every muffled scream, every terror filled glance, and every rush of demented satisfaction as if she’d been there. She had been there.

Delilah had been quiet as Claudia experienced all that had happened in the last week. Retrieving a cigarette and lighter from her pocket, she let it fill her lungs and curl up into the air in swirls and loops.

Christian had held out longer then she’d anticipated. Cigarette burns, slashes, bruises, and chemical burns had made him scream through the handkerchief gag, but he’d held on, drifting in and out of consciousness.

She’d been creative with the chemicals, a skill she’d picked up from an advanced chemist book she’d leafed through while Claudia was sleeping. You’d be amazed that with the right combinations of household items can wreck havoc on your skin. The angry welts and damaged skin were in decorative swirls and patterns starting from Christian’s cheeks and skittering down to his rather pretty feet.

Not looking at the thing in the bathtub that had made Brandon faint, she let Claudia shut out the rest in a rare form of mercy.
“He finally gave out earlier,” she told her. “I gave him an overdose of those sedatives your mother keeps in her fridge. Before I called Brandon.”

Oh my god...

Delilah laughed. It was not a happy sound. “God? Your god can’t help you, dear. Not you, or me, or even Christian, now.” Snorting in disgust, she tossed her half finished cigarette into the bathtub, and watched as it hit and rolled down the dead boy’s chest to lie across his abdomen.

While letting Claudia into the loop on what had been going on, Delilah sat comfortably on the toilet lid, resting her chin on her palm, looking down thoughtfully at Brandon. She’d quickly handcuffed him to the towel rack in case he woke up, and she had to smirk at how silly he looked sitting up lamely against the wall, both arms trapped above his head.

She had no doubt he could break free, but hopefully she wouldn’t be faced with that option.

What are you going to do with him?

Delilah could feel the fear and anticipation in Claudia’s half of their mind. It was more acute now, more then she’d ever been able to feel while in control before. Interesting.

“I don’t know. What would you like me to do to him?” She grinned, but already knew what she would say.

Let him go. It’s not his fault.

“Really.” She scratched her neck and hooded her eyes. “I don’t think so. I could have such fun with him, you know.”

Please, don’t.

For a long time Delilah didn’t say anything. Her grin fell and she closed her eyes. “I won’t. Fuck.” She stood and went to the cracked mirror, seeing the splinter go down and splitting their reflection.

“I wont.” She said again. “But do you know why?”


“Because you love him still, you great idiot.” She frowned, and the image was distorted. “I could never actually...hurt anything you really cared about. Christian was easy. But him...”

She bowed her head.

You love him too, don’t you?

Delilah snapped her head back up and stared at them in horror.


Claudia was blown away by the new thought.

Past the tough attitude, even past the turmoil of emotion underneath that, was it possible that Delilah had come to love Brandon through her?

Delilah had gotten herself under control. She shook her head. “What a silly thing to say. Silly, silly, silly. Just silly.”

Delilah, its okay.

“Shut it!”

Claudia wasn’t hurt by her attitude. God, was she getting used to her? Probably.

She did decide to drop it. Claudia was an emotional wreck even in normal situations. But as long as she didn’t hurt anyone else, maybe they could be okay. Just maybe.

What do we do now?

Instead of telling her, Delilah showed her through their connection. It took less than half a minute, but it seemed like hours, like she’d been with Delilah when she’d been planning this whole escapade.

“Come on. It’s late.” Delilah picked up her cigarettes from the sink and went into the room, the bathroom glow the only source of light. Quickly, she packed two bags that she could easily carry, and only with clothes, some jewelry, and a few baggies and rolls of cash Claudia had never seen before.

Shrugging on an oversize coat that she recognized as one of her father’s old trench coats, Delilah stood still as she peered in front of the bathroom door. She was looking at Brandon, bound on the floor, still unconscious.

Are you okay?

“Sure.” The slightly mad murderess said softly. “You’re right, you know.”

I know.

Brushing her hand over her eyes, swiping the betrayal of tears, Delilah turned off the light and let darkness engulf them. Softly closing the door, she made her way by memory downstairs to the front door, locking it as well.

Taking a deep breath, she paused on the porch to light another cigarette, the red tip an ominous glow in the darkness. She stared up at the clear night sky, watching the smoke writhe and curl around the stars, which were a hundred billion miles away.

“I guess it’s time. Let’s go so far away, we’ll be on our way home by the time we stop.”


Delilah blinked in surprise that Claudia’s voice came out of their mouth. Smiling, she nodded. Getting into the yellow bug that was her sixteenth birthday present, Delilah backed out and headed down the street, feeling like she could fly.

“What about the car? Won’t they find us?”

Delilah chortled. “Don’t worry. We’ll sell it to some people I know who’ll pay cash. Sky’s the limit, baby.”

Laughing, Delilah was thrilled because it wasn’t her laugh, but Claudia’s. They were on their way.



Brandon had woken up the next day, and it had taken another two hours for him to be fully conscious, and to excape the bathroom. He ran screaming out of the house, hysterical down the street as neighbors came out to see. When the police showed up he was crying.

It was the start of massive confusion and fear on both the police’s and community’s part. No one could make sense of it. Why would someone kill a young boy in the bathroom of a young girl, and then leave a bound teenager helpless but alive?

Brandon didn’t truly remember the full story until a few weeks of therapy and hypnosis later. Everyone assumed someone had kidnapped the three, killed Christian, and had for some reason left Brandon and took the Claudia girl.

But when Brandon had remembered exactly what had happened, it had taken even longer for people to believe it, and he even became a suspect. Rumors of a love triangle spread, but the center was Claudia. That she’d gotten involved with the Christian boy, and her boyfriend had found out, killed them both, got rid of Claudia’s body and then staged to where he was a victim.

By the time things were straightened out, and the full story out about Brandon being gay and Claudia being the one who hadn’t taken it well, it was too late. They found bits and pieces of Claudia’s bug through stolen car part shops but no sign of the wayward girl.

A nationwide search was sent out, even with Claudia’s new black hair, but no one ever came forward. Her parents denied comment when bombarded by news reporters, but her so called Pop friends were all too glad to talk and say what they had always ‘suspected’ of Claudia, and why she was in their group in the first place.

“I mean, she was such a nobody, you had to feel bad at first,” senior Francis ‘Frankie’ Seymour told the local paper. “But then she just got all weird. I was like, all freaked, but I didn’t want to say anything. If I had, the little (explicit) would have sliced me up in the bathtub too.”

To this day, there are no leads, and the case remains cold. There is currently a warrant out for Claudia’s arrest for first degree murder, kidnapping, and drug possession (no one bothered to realize the sedatives were her mother’s) but the police don’t have much hope.

The rest of us must just hope, perhaps prey, that wherever the damaged girl is, she’s at least not in a position to do others harm. Or you may wish, as I do, that she may at last found some peace.

© Copyright 2008 Little Cricket (littlecricket at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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