by Grant Jones
Story about lonely boy, 3 beautiful girls, and an ancient evil.
|I know it will sound nutty. I know most of you won’t believe me. I knew they would run. Most of all, I felt alone.
But I honestly couldn’t help myself. When my mother yelled at me the way she tended to, the way her forehead tightened and exposed the healthy purple veins, it was almost too much to bear.
I was so out of it, I nearly forgot what I was being scolded for. Falling out of the trance-like state, I remembered. I had snuck out last night. Again. I couldn’t help myself. What was I supposed to do during the strange insomniatic periods? They had started to occur more frequently. Now it happened every night.
My mother threatened to take away my phone privileges. She didn’t seem to notice that I wasn’t paying an ounce of attention to her. Additionally, I didn’t feel the need to point out that she could take my phone; I didn’t have anyone to talk to anyway.
I had drifted away from my friends and family slowly. I hadn’t meant to, but the whole ordeal was so very taxing, both on mind and body. School had changed as well for me. What once was the thirsty pursuit of knowledge was now a mandatory, daily ritual. I didn’t get much from lectures anymore. I was too busy gazing upon other students pained expressions as they struggled to take accurate notes, scribbling non-legibly across their notebooks.
Finally, my mother left the room in a hurry. I stumbled to my dresser numbly and changed into my flannel maroon pajamas automatically. As I pulled back my covers and slipped into my soft bed, I confirmed in my mind the disgusting truth. What I wanted more than anything: blood.
* * *
I tossed and turned in bed for hours, vainly trying to induce what I knew would never come. Eventually, I flicked the switch of my bedside lamp on. I sat up in my bed and waited for morning to arise.
But a realistic thought came to me first. ‘What am I doing here?’ I wondered. ‘I’m not getting any sleep. To sit here would be such a waste of time.’ I climbed out of my bed instantly, and meandered over towards my window. ‘Besides, what can my mom ground me from?’
Getting out of the house was fantastically easy. Undoing the locks on the windows, then pushing the screen out took little effort. Soon thereafter, I was standing in the front yard, enveloped in a thick nighttime mist. Belatedly, I realized I forgot to put on shoes and normal clothes, but I didn’t mind. The crisp moonlit yard seemed natural to me: inviting, almost.
Without a second thought, I closed the window behind me and jogged onto the hard concrete sidewalk. I soon discovered that night was much more invigorating and exciting than daytime. As I stalked and slinked through the shrouded streets, I realized that this was the one thing I didn’t want taken away.
Luckily for me, no one spotted me that eventful night. However, this was the first among many adventurous treks into the darkness that called to me so.
* * *
I got absolutely no sleep that night. My morning routine followed just as every day. I got up from the bed, where I had lied silently for only a few minutes. I hopped into the shower, had a quick breakfast, and high-tailed it out the door, desperate to leave the house. I predicted I would completely pass out sometime during the day, but strangely enough, I never did. On the contrary, actually: I felt more invigorated and ready for the day than ever.
I was the first one at the bus stop, as usual. As if on cue, Kimberly Martin sauntered up to the bus stop behind me just a few minutes later. Glancing at the far end of the street, I groaned at the prospect of being late for school. “Hurry up, bus,” I mumbled aloud.
“I hope we aren’t late again,” Kimmy said in a whisper behind me. I turned to face her. She had natural black hair with blue eyes and glasses. She always looks cute, but in a younger way. I could have sworn she was 12. Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating a little, but you get the picture. I’ve known Kimmy since 5th grade when she moved here from North Carolina. She’s actually one of the only friends I have left, but we’re not very close.
I frowned slightly. “Yea, our bus driver has issues with being on time,” I complained. She giggled quietly. I asked, “Did you finish that essay for Walker, yet?” Kimmy shook her head quickly.
“No, I started last night, but I had trouble concentrating and ended up going to bed early. I’ll probably finish it tonight. You?”
I grinned and proclaimed that I finished it already. I didn’t feel the need to say that I had around 7 extra hours added to my day last night. I didn’t mind if Kimmy thought I was a hard worker.
Kimmy stuck her tongue out. “Wow, Lucius,” she commented sarcastically. “I didn’t know you were a hard worker… In fact, I didn’t know you did work at all.”
“I do so do my homework! Only I just forget sometimes!” I called and shoved her gently. She laughed, and pointed at the far end of the street in enjoyment. Turning my head to look, I saw the bus crawling down the street.
I had a normal day: I went to my classes, took notes obediently, then rinsed and repeated. By lunch I had gained an enormous appetite. I stood in the lunch line, grabbed a tray of dangerous-looking food, and walked outside into the gently sunlit afternoon to find a place to eat alone. Just like always. After meandering around the school courtyard for a few minutes, I found a picnic table near the gazebo. I slid my book bag off my shoulders gently, placing it in the dirt at my feet.
Poking and probing the interesting food occasionally, I eyed the architecture of the gazebo absentmindedly. The black wooden beams arched straight up to a circular, slanted black roof, where debris was bound to be piled up. Benches lined the gazebo and a single black beam rose up from the center of the covered area. The sun was high in the sky and the gazebo was heavily shaded.
As my eyes traveled downward to benches and my heart skipped a quick beat. The three girls who sat in the shade were utterly gorgeous. I mean, I can’t even explain to you how beautiful they were. You’ll just have to take my word for it. They were uber hot. But the strange thing was, I’d gone to this school for three years then. (I was a junior.) Never before had I seen these three girls in my life. Were they new students?
Yes. My previous thoughts were answered immediately at the beginning of my physics class. Mrs. Sanders called out in her nasal voice, “We have a new student joining us today. Victoria is coming to us from Washington, and I’m sure you’ll all be very nice to her.” She gave a stern glance to the back of the room where a group of guys sniggered and groaned. Soon after, Victoria walked through the open door of the classroom.
Seriously: if I hadn’t known better I’d have said that a fan was blowing and she was walking in slow motion; no joke. Victoria had deep brown hair with streaks of blonde in the back. She had clear pond green eyes; I could even tell at this distance. As sudden as a bullet, the boys in the back of the room were silent. I could practically feel the tension in the room as girls in the front row combed their hair with their hands quickly and checked their makeup. But there was something else. Aside from obvious reasons, I was drawn to her. I wanted to talk to her. Something inside me told me to. I decided against it, not wanting to make a fool of myself, and remained silent throughout the rest of the period.
Civics class brought the same strange introduction. Another one of the girls in the trio joined my class. Do I even have to say it? She was beautiful beyond belief: she had black hair with blue tips. Her heart-shaped face was perfection: I couldn’t find even one sign of pimples or blackheads. She also wore cute glasses shielding blue eyes that automatically gave you an intellectual feel. She also wore a pair of cute sapphire earrings. The effect was breathtaking. “This is Selena from Washington.” Washington again. Are they related? I wondered. As Mr. Write droned on, I shook my head. They have different last names. Again, I felt the unusual feeling that I was drawn to her unlike anyone else.
By English class I felt as though I had a bad case of déjà vu. You know the drill: Beautiful girl, new school, Washington. A third different last name. This time Dana joined our class. Dana had short blonde hair, obviously not dyed and she had striking gray eyes. When she entered the room, a few guys wolf whistled at her, but she appeared unflustered, although my teacher was scowling darkly at them.
Remember how I said that Selena looked really smart? Well, she was. They all were. They didn’t seem to like raising their hands to answer, but if they were called upon, they always knew the answer. Always. They were unlike anyone-- anything I’d ever seen.
After the long day, the final bell chimed and I felt victorious: another day of school tackled, and conquered. As everyone in the class rose from their seats and started leaving, I hurried ahead to try and walk near Dana. I exited the classroom, scanned the filling hallway, but there was no sign of Dana. Damn, I thought. I guess someone wants to get home soon.
The bus was as boring and overcrowded as ever. I plugged my mp3 player into my ears and cranked the volume up to drown out the cacophony.
Compared to normal school days, I didn’t feel the same once I got home. I let my bag fall to the ground and trudged through the kitchen for a snack; I was impossibly hungry already. Now that I think about, I thought, Lunch wasn’t very filling. Well of course it wasn’t filling; there were like 1,000 kids who went to our school; the portions were horrible. No joke. St. Felix High was the most populated school in Louisiana.
My mom shouted to me from the laundry room. I didn’t really listen, but I assumed it was a greeting, so I shouted back, “Hey.” I started getting foodstuffs out while my mind wandered around aimlessly. My mind is very one track. Once it locks onto something, it’s difficult for me to do other things. Which is why when my mind settled on the subject of Dana, Victoria, and Selena, I couldn’t stop thinking about them.
I automatically prepared a bowl of left-over spaghetti as I thought about the three girls from today. Victoria, Selena, and Dana: they would be in my class all semester. I cheered a silent cry of victory, although I’m not sure why.
After I ate, I cleaned up the kitchen a bit then went to my room. I was almost always somber in my room: it was practically a shrine to my family and friends—my old friends, that is. And part of my old family.
Pictures of my late dad hung everywhere. He died around four or so years ago in a freak car accident. Don’t feel bad for me. I’m over it, really. I refuse to take the pictures down. To tell the truth, I still feel connected to him. Sorry if I sound crazy; I probably am.
I flopped on my bed and sighed. What was going on in my life? I clutched the quarter-sized emerald my dad gave me for my 14th birthday; the last birthday he was there to celebrate. The emerald was actually the last gift he ever gave me. I think holding it helps me think straighter—but don’t quote me on that. Like I said, I’m probably crazy.
What was up with my life? Suddenly three girls from Washington move in at the same time. They were all astoundingly beautiful and now I was having these cravings. I idly wondered if bloodlust was some strange after-effect of puberty. I could only wish. I placed the ruby on my countertop before crumpling into my computer chair to get started on my mountainous pile of homework.
* * *
I looked up from my physics flash cards and craned my neck to check a glance at the clock. 11:53. I still didn’t feel an ounce of exhaustion, so I decided to stay up. And you know what the crazy thing was? I pulled an all nighter, was ready for school the next day, extremely prepared for all my tests, and didn’t feel tired one bit. I had to admit: all this creepy business was very useful for my schoolwork.
* * *
I remember that day of school so clearly, looking back. Everything was strange, and yet crystal clear at the same time. A wave of events crashed down on me all in one day. I suppose I’ve tortured you enough with suspension, so I’ll get on with it.
My morning classes were normal: average teachers, average students, and average homework. After standing in the lunch line and grabbing my styrofoam tray of I-don’t-even-want-to-know, I returned to my typical, unoccupied bench at lunch. That’s when the weirdness started. Dana, Selena, and Victoria all sat in their usual spot under the gazebo.
As I ate, I couldn’t help but take a peek at them. They were so beautiful and breath-taking, I couldn’t make my eyes leave them. I saw Selena whisper something quietly, and then all three girls simultaneously turned their heads toward me. My previous goal of trying to get them to notice me worked: all at the same freaking time. I quickly returned my gaze to my food, but I was late: I could feel blood rushing to my cheeks to form a crimson blush.
I didn’t look back over for a long time, but near the end of lunch I snuck another look at the girls. They were deep in discussion and didn’t seem to notice me. This struck me as odd, compared to their usual silent, melancholy nature. But then again, what did I know?
Physics started normal, but got progressively weirder and weirder every minute. A small circle of boys had formed around Victoria, who seemed calmly oblivious to the attention she was receiving: either she had learned to deal with it, or had no idea of her own beauty. Today she wore a black sweater with a jean mini-skirt and black boots. A sparkling ruby ring adorned her right hand.
Mrs. Sanders was lecturing to us about something (I don’t even remember), when out of the corner of my eye, I saw Victoria looking at me. She appeared puzzled and had her head cocked to the side slightly. I looked back at her, determined not to appear embarrassed, and to my surprise, she locked eyes with me for a moment or two before returning to her notes, expressionless.
That wasn’t the only time, either. I caught her looking at me another time, but I resisted the reflex to look back, and concentrated on my notes. Strange, huh? I’m not going to say it was bad. After all, having one of the three most beautiful girls in school stare at you was never a bad thing. Just very strange. But the craziest part of my day, the beginning of my crazy life, began in civics class.
Everything was normal; other than the sudden interest and stares I was receiving, everything was fine and normal. Strangely enough, no one other than Victoria, Dana, and Selina stared at me. If anyone else stared, I would have checked a mirror. But I didn’t need to. There was nothing on my face.
So as I was saying: civics was normal for the first part of the class. Selena was wearing a dark black shirt with a flowing yellow skirt, patterns of roses woven in, and converse to complete the image. She looked amazing. This wasn’t what was crazy.
Selena stared at me a few times as well, but refused to say anything to me. I ended up just ignoring her stares. Everything was completely normal. We were talking about the upcoming election, when Mr. Martinez asked Selena to retrieve a book from the shelf for him. Obediently and wordlessly, Selena stood up and glided over to the bookshelf. Grabbing the book from the shelf, she started back to the teacher’s desk. Almost all eyes were on her: guys in the room were taking in her every detail, while girls were watching her every move, just waiting for her to mess up somehow.
I could see it coming: I sat in front of Mr. Martinez’s desk, so Selena was facing me. She stopped midway through the classroom and everyone looked puzzled. Movement caught my eye suddenly, and her pupils got slightly smaller, larger, then back to their regular size again. Selena’s mouth opened slightly, and she wasn’t looking at Mr. Martinez anymore: she wasn’t looking anywhere. Her arms carrying the book fell to her sides reflexively, and the book fell to the floor between her feet with a loud slam, landing flat.
The silence in the classroom was amazing: never before had Mr. Martinez been able to do this in all his years of teaching, I can tell you this for sure. Selena? Dropping a book? Her grace and beauty almost didn’t permit it. Yet, as her expression stood still for moments, seconds, and then half a minute, Mr. Martinez stood and led her off without a word. I guess to the nurse’s office. Just as she was leaving the room, Selena’s mouth closed and she looked over her shoulder at me with wide eyes. And then the door slammed shut.
The class suddenly erupted. Girls snickered and laughed as boys seemed worried and were generally upset. I sat in silence, thinking it through to myself. The bell rang, and I headed off to seventh hour. Dana was nowhere to be seen in English that day, and I had a feeling that Victoria was suddenly absent as well.
* * *
I walked through the front door of my house quietly, dropping my book bag to the ground roughly, letting out a groan and rubbing my shoulders gingerly. I just can’t wait until scientists discover back problems in kids with too much homework. That’ll force teachers to assign less.
I called out a hello to my mom, not quite sure where she was. I wandered into the kitchen automatically and stuffed a hot pocket in the microwave. I listened to the sound of absolute silence as the snack cooked. Once the timer on the microwave beeped obnoxiously, I realized that my mom hadn’t called anything back. Maybe she’s grocery shopping, or something. Suddenly paranoid, I checked in the garage, but her car was there.
And suddenly my heart was racing, my thoughts jumping to completely unrealistic conclusions. I rushed through the house, trying to think logically. She wasn’t in the guest room, any of the bathrooms, my room, or the kitchen. I rushed into her room finally and stopped dead in the doorway.
My mother sat straight up in the bed, looking right at me. She was dressed in a black dress and didn’t appear to be wearing makeup. She looked at me somberly and wordlessly. Suddenly, I recalled the date. October 29th: the anniversary of my dad’s death. Not really relieved, I gave mom a short wave before leaving the room.
I ate my hot pocket quietly while my mind drifted. Very quickly, it returned to the incident with Selina today. I tried to think of an explanation for Selena’s shock, but I was so exhausted and upset I couldn’t think of one. Not a logical explanation, at least. I snorted aloud. My story was one that had nothing to do with logic, although I was only beginning to get a taste of that insanity.
* * *
I ran out of homework to do. I had no tests to study for, and my school grades were soaring. I didn’t want to risk waking my mom up by turning on the light. If she knew I was staying up so late—mind you, ‘staying up’ isn’t really applicable when you don’t sleep—she’d murder me. So I ended up doing the only other thing I could do. I snuck out. Like always, it was ridiculously easy, although I admit it: I’d be screwed if my room was on the second floor.
The crisp night air enveloped me like an enticing aroma and I wandered around the street for a few minutes, simply enjoying the dead silence. I glanced upwards on a whim and gazed at the stars for a few minutes. I found the big dipper after a minute or two, then tried to find other constellations.
And that was when it hit me. I suddenly had this urge to go somewhere. I knew I had to go somewhere, but only the deep dark crevice of my mind knew where I should go. I stopped thinking and let my feet lead me. I didn’t run like most nights. I simply walked in a straight line down the streets.
I eventually arrived at my destination. My neighborhood-front park was composed of a rusty teeter-totter, a couple of swings, and several wooden benches covered with a thick layer of graffiti. Yea, it’s pretty nasty, to be honest. Usually, I would have walked over to a swing to think for a while. Maybe I would have looked at the stars, or wrote in the dirt at my feet. However, on this particular night, I didn’t approach the equipment for one simple reason.
A group of teenagers were already occupying the park. From what I could glimpse, they seemed to be around my age. I ducked behind a tree quickly, but I must have been obvious, as a clear voice rang out through the darkness. The group’s chatter immediately ceased.
“Oy! Don’t try to hide from me!” The voice was female, but had more attitude squeezed into it then I had ever thought possible. My heart froze, truly terrified. What kind of weirdoes go to the park at 2:55 am anyway? What if they’re drug dealers, or chain smokers, or a dangerous group? What if…
I didn’t get the chance to contemplate all of these thoughts, as another order was barked out.
“Get your ass over here!” the voice commanded.
I was petrified, but I managed to comply slowly. I shuffled sideways robotically, leaving the protective shade of the pine tree behind me. The group was smaller than I suspected: Only three teenagers hung about the premises of the playground. I couldn’t see their faces, but their appeared all female. And suddenly, it hit me: the three girls who graced my sight were none other than Selina, Dana, and Victoria.
My head reeled from the sudden shock of the revelation. All three of them had their eyes locked onto me. Dana was standing, and cringing, I assumed it was her who had shouted at me. Her face conveyed anger, while Selina looked worried. Victoria snickered inappropriately and gave me a ‘you’re screwed’ look.
Dana wore loose fitting jean shorts with several tasteful rips and tears. A silver necklace with a single diamond hung close to her neck. She had shrugged into a loose fitting black shirt, buttons undone down her front to reveal a small tight-fitting undershirt. While it seemed she was severely underdressed, she seemed perfectly fine about the cold, crisp night air.
As I examined the others in the group, as if on cue, they all started giggling, snickering, and chuckling simultaneously. I looked around for a bit, wondering what was so funny. Dana had moved closer to me. A fraction of a second later, I realized the cause of their laughter.
I was still in my pjs. I tried to not let my embarrassment show in my face, but I could feel my cheeks turning pink. But, I still kept my gaze locked on Dana until she spoke again. Sure enough, her chuckle subsided and she began to interrogate me. “What do you have to say for yourself?!” she shrieked.
That’s when the confusion started to set in. Was this some kind of joke? I stared blankly at Dana and slowly the girls’ expressions turned to puzzlement. I opened my mouth to say something, but Dana started to speak again. “We had to trek across the whole United States of freakin’ America to find you. We had to take about a zillion stops because you kept letting go of your Bijou. Then, when we get here, you don’t even say anything to us. You just ignore us and do your own thing?! Who do you think you think you are?!”
This was worse than switching into a new subject and starting the class off with an exam that I didn’t study for. I opened my mouth to say something, but Dana cut me off. She was pacing back and forth.
“I know Faun is all ‘omnipotent’ and all that shit, but you don’t have to show it so much, honestly.” She stopped pacing and talking to glare at me. I made a mental note to not make her mad again.
They all were staring at me, and I was pretty sure my mouth was hanging open. All was still for a minute or so. Then I simply said, “What in the world are you talking about?” All at once, their eyes widened a bit. That’s when Selina decided to speak.
“He doesn’t know. He has no idea.” Her voice was gentle and soft and sounded like everything good in the world. I’d have bet you a bajillion dollars that she could win American Idol, hands down.
Both Dana and Victoria nodded silently in agreement. And suddenly, reflexively, all three of the girls turned to the left. The sky was starting to be painted with beautiful streaks of orange and pink on the horizon. I was starting to get sick of their ‘hey-let’s-do-everything-at-once’ business, but it didn’t seem to be anything I could stop. Besides, my mind was still reeling from the rant Dana had just issued.
They all turned to me again. “We have to leave now. School starts in a few hours. Come here tomorrow night, yeah?” Victoria smirked as she spoke to me. I was suddenly upset. I don’t really know why.
“And what if I don’t want to come?”
Victoria and the girls started towards me. Victoria shoved me aside roughly, then kept walking in sync with the others behind me. “Don’t be stupid. Both you and I know you’ll come, Lucius.”
I’m not even joking, they kept walking. Just like that. As they started towards the neighborhood entrance, I heard Selina say something to Victoria. I swear, it sounded like, “You didn’t have to push him.” I smiled instinctively and I felt like I belonged here. Not at the neighborhood park, but with these girls.
After a minute or two, I started towards the entrance to the neighborhood, and I ran to try and catch up with the girls. But strangely enough, they were nowhere in sight. I swear they could disappear in the night before your eyes. I’ll bet they had some really good magic tricks.
* * *
That school day was very… difficult. I guess that’s a good way to put it. As you can probably imagine, my mind was still boggled by what Dana had been saying. Faun? Omnipotent? Bijou? That makes about as much sense as... a 15 year-old boy who would rather blood than a girlfriend. Sad, but true. The days had started to seem like months, years, in of themselves. My throat started burning that day and I tried to convince myself it was some kind of allergenic reaction. I knew that it was no such thing, but I figured it was a better realization than the truth. As if I needed to seem crazier than I was already.
I couldn’t concentrate on my schoolwork all day because of the things Dana had been saying. Then I thought about what Victoria had said. “Both you and I know you’ll come, Lucius.” I didn’t know how she knew, but it was very true. There was no way I was missing them tonight.
Dana, Victoria, and Selina all gave my sly grins throughout the day and I did my best not to seem suspicious. Other than you know, what was going on, the day was pretty normal. In English class I got the chance to use a dictionary to look up the word omnipotent. It means all-powerful. But that doesn’t mean anything to me, considering I don’t know who Faun is. But Dana must have been applying omnipotent to me, considering her words. My head reeled from all of the confusion and I tried not to think about it. Hopefully tonight things would clear themselves up