A teen girl discovers she has unbelievable powers and is caught in an ancient war.
"Amanda, let's go! Don't make me come up there!" "
I jerked my pen away from my journal at the sound of my stepfather's voice booming from downstairs. Snapping it shut, I grabbed my trench coat from the closet and shoved it into one of the pockets as I slammed the bedroom door open against the wall. My stepfather, looking a bit flushed and standing with one foot on the stairs, seemed relieved that I'd come marching down of my free will.
"Don’t slam the door into the wall,” He commanded as a parting shot when I stormed by and out to the car. My Mother already sat in the front seat and had turned on the camera. She was flipping through pictures.
"James, I need a new blender. Ours shorted out this morning."
"What do you expect me to do about it now? Its six o'clock and we're on our way to Jeremiah's game. If you wanted a new blender, you should have gone out and bought one."
She blinked at him in surprise. "I was just letting you know."
He threw the car into reverse and backed out into the street. "Why is always my job to take care of things? I work all day, deal with all the trouble Amanda causes, and then when I come home you expect me to run to the store to get a blender? Can’t I just enjoy one night out at our son’s football game?”
“I was just telling you--”
“When do I get to enjoy myself for once? Ever since Amanda’s been here it’s been one thing after another. Why can’t we just be another normal family enjoying a Friday night football game? Hmm? Why not, May?”
I chose that moment to add my two cents. “Well, Sha’Kai did warn you not to kick her out.”
His cheeks quivered and his face turned redder than the stop sign we’d rolled up to. I half-expected him to wrench around in the mirror.
It was true, though. Sha’Kai had come with me to try and ease my transition into my new life. She had warned me that there would be difficulties ahead for me. I just didn't expect them to come from inside my family.
From the moment my stepfather and Mom met us as the airport, Sha'Kai seemed to loathe my new stepfather. Besides my mother, the dislike was the only thing they had in common. Sha'Kai managed to keep a cap on her growing disdain, and with each small squabble would walk away before anything worse could be said. The tenuous peace lasted until just after the wedding, when my stepfather's anger at Sha'Kai simmered over. They began to argue. I'd never seen Sha'Kai angry before. Her hazel eyes, the same ones I have, turned a stormy grey as her tanned face flushed crimson. The screaming match escalated until my stepfather demanded Sha'Kai leave his house and never return.
"You're making a huge mistake," Sha'Kai had warned in her carefully annunciated English. "Life will be more difficult with Melee if you send me away."
"Get out before I call the police and have you arrested for trespassing," My stepfather growled.
"Don't say you weren't warned," Sha'Kai was suddenly calm. She picked up her woven hat from the table. Her gaze turned to me, where I had been watching the fight from the doorway of the kitchen. She seemed to be looking past me even though her gaze was directly on me. "Sa leil. Vanna hahlo si." It means, roughly, "Trust yourself. Keep fighting it."
Sha'Kai put on her hat and walked out the door without looking back. I had tried to follow her, but my stepfather wrapped his arms around my waist as she vanished around the corner. The next thing I remember, I was standing in the yard with rocks in my hands. My Mother was weeping at the shattered front windows. In that moment, I recalled my blackouts. I dropped the rocks and lowered my head to my chest. I’ve been tortured with them ever since.
I could see the memory of their last fight playing through his mind as I brought it up. Stepfather bit his tongue and kept driving, filling the car with a stony silence the rest of the way to the high school.
After we parked, and just before locking the car, my stepfather swooped around the front bumper towards the both of us. He planted his feet firmly and waggled his finger at me.
"Don’t go running off this time. We want to know where you are at all times. Don't leave your Mother's sight. May--" He broke off with a thick warning look.
"You can keep an eye on her, too," She chimed in weakly.
"Don't be silly, May," His chin wiggled as he chastised her. "You know I'll be with the football Dads. I want to enjoy his game, not be Amanda’s baby-sitter."
"Don't call me Amanda," I said calmly.
"I didn't. You did."
"Darling, please," Mom pleaded. "Not tonight. This is a big night for your brother."
"Every game is a big game for my brother," I murmured under my breath. If my parents heard me, they ignored me as we started towards the field.
The home side of the stadium was crowded with orange-and-white jackets and T-shirts. The opposite team looked equally garish to me with lime green helmets and yellow padded pants. My stepfather immediately vanished halfway up the bleachers where the men with mid-section tires and five o'clock shadows stood shaking hands and beating each other's backs. I grabbed my Mother's delicate wrist before she could join the football Moms that gathered high in the corner of the stands away from the teenage ruckus below.
"I'm going to sit under the scoreboard."
"Well," She glanced at down the field. "I guess I can see you from here. Make sure you don't go anywhere else."
I quickly navigated my way around the hot dog and popcorn-armed high school students to the end of the stadium. I was the only person out that far that I noticed. The baseball fields behind the scoreboard were dark and empty and I could view all the action on the field just fine--without the crowd or air-horns blasting my ears deaf. I plopped down and leaned against one of the supporting posts. I used my knee to prop up my journal and continued chronicling my weird day.
The rise and fall of screaming excited fans and the peppy marching band music didn't catch my attention. I didn't look up until the air began to feel chilly. I stopped writing to turn up the collar of my jacket. The two teams were on the far side of the field. One of the bands blared a fight song and the other bleachers, the lime green side, waved yellow streamers around and screamed. The sun had set and bugs darted around the buzzing stadium lights.
I don't know if it was the cool trickle of air or a faint footstep in the dust that caught my attention, but I became aware I was no longer alone. My senses went on full alert. I could not see anyone beside me, so I turned my head over my shoulder.
There, in the fading twilight, my eyes discovered a figure leaning against one of the field lights. Aware they had been spotted, the figure pushed away from the post. I caught a glimpse of golden hair before the figure snapped their fingers.
Surprise froze me in place. A light sparked alive in their palm--like a small, glowing firefly but brilliant enough to light up her face. Surely I was dreaming again. I closed my eyes briefly. When I opened them again, she still stood there and held the light in her palm.
The pale woman smirked at me. Her black uniform didn't reflect the light flowing from her fingertips. In the center of her forehead rested a black diamond in a silver setting, suspended with nothing. A matching diamond set into triangular pendant hung around her neck, and again around her wrists. The jewelry looked familiar. Her wide, almond-shaped eyes burned with conviction.
We remained locked and studying each other for a frozen eternity. I sat stupefied by the glowing in her hand and the deep fire in her gaze.
Her step forward broke the spell. I leapt onto my feet. She paused.
"Nykia Koranta ala m'vei," The woman's voice rang like a bell. But I understood her perfectly--"Welcome to the Justice Warriors." Another cold tremor rocked down my spine--she'd used the same language as my dreams. My head buzzed. I stood confused and stunned like a trapped animal--I couldn't feel my toes. I couldn't move.
But she did. Her black boots shifted into a wide stance and her arms extended out from her torso. The buzzing in my head droned louder and my body began to tingle. I tried to speak, to shout, but my tongue felt dry. I wanted to move my arms up, to run, to anything, but my limbs had stopped listening to me--when had I become a prisoner in my own body? I felt like I was reliving my second nightmare, but here no one would push me out of the way. Something began to glow around me--were the birthmarks on my wrists really glowing?
An explosion threw me forward against the ground, shoving dirt up my nose and into my eyes. Sparks rained down from above and electricity cracked in the air. The burning smoke brought my senses back into my control. Coughing dirt out of my lungs, I managed to push up. The scoreboard over my head had exploded and burned. Glass littered the ground all around me. A surprised roar swelled from the stadium behind me.
I looked to where the woman had been, but she had simply vanished. A quick glance at my wrists revealed two perfectly normal-looking scars--not glowing ones. As the last of the lights crackled and rained glass down on me, my heart dropped into my stomach. I knew I'd be to blame.