Erudite

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Chapter 1

Kylie stomped down the hallway, her fierce hazel eyes glaring at anyone who dared look her way. Smaller, more timid students scrambled out of her path, and even the more audacious students stayed at least a few feet away. This was Kylie Simmons, and she was no one to mess with.

Kylie opened her locker and grabbed her bag. It was black, as was almost everything else she owned. It was the only thing in her locker besides her textbooks, which sat on the top shelf practically untouched. Third period had not even passed yet, but Kylie didn’t plan to stay for it. She rarely ever did.

After slamming her locker door Kylie swung around, ready to leave her boring, unwanted school behind-- at least for the day. She almost ran right into Ms. Kelly, her third period English teacher. Ms. Kelly was a short, plump, middle-aged woman, and one of the stricter teachers at Jackoby Heights. Ms. Kylie glanced at Kylie’s bag, then back up to her face. “And just where do you think you’re going, Miss Simmons?” she asked. All the students left in the hallway turned to look. Ms. Kelly’s loud, gruff voice was hard to miss. Kylie stared down at her, her face free of emotion. “I have another engagement today, Ms. Kelly,” she said, slowly and calmly. “I’m terribly sorry that I won’t be able to attend your class, as I so enjoy it.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. She whirled around and exited the building through the south door. Ms. Kelly was left standing in the hallway, her mouth gaping open in shock. After a moment she shook her head and yelled at the remainder of the students to get to class. She sighed and rubbed her forehead in a vertical motion to soothe her headache. She didn’t get paid enough for this.



???

Kylie’s boots stomped through the shallow puddles of water in the school parking lot, spraying her old ratty jacket with dirty water. The gentle mist of the early morning clung to her face. She took a hair tie from her wrist and pulled her jet black hair back into a ponytail before continuing down the road to an old abandoned building. The windows were broken and boarded up, the once cheery sky-blue paint peeling in long strips. Kylie climbed the fence and stood on an old tire that was just tall enough for her to scramble into one of the first-floor windows. She wriggled through the window, careful not to cut her exposed skin on the broken glass that jutted out on each side of the dirty windowpane. She jumped down onto the dusty floor and stood up.

It was musty and dark in the old room, but Kylie could just make out the silhouettes of boxes sitting in the corners of the room and traces of graffiti on the walls. Kylie brushed her fingers over the colorful designs. She loved the way they looked in the dark room. Each one was individual; unique. Kylie slipped off her jacket. It fell into a crumpled pile on the floor behind her.
She crossed the room, her black leather boots sending up dust every time they thudded on the floor. After brushing the dust off the top of an old crate, she sat down, crossed her legs, and rested her head in her hands. This was her place; her thinking place, her place to get away-- all her own.

Kylie sat and thought. This was what she did here. Sometimes she thought about the graffiti on the walls-- the way they were all different, all telling a story of a person’s pain, their troubles, their joy, their interests, their inspiration... Sometimes she thought about her father-- where he was, what he was doing, if he was thinking about her... And other times she thought about what she might do in the future-- where she would live, what she would do. She hadn’t come up with answers for those questions yet. Sometimes she thought she might live somewhere rural, far away from civilization. Like the jungle. Other times she thought she was more of a city girl. Kylie shook her head. Her thoughts confused her.

At that moment she heard a rustle of clothing in the dark expanse of shadows on the other side of the room. Kylie looked up and squinted at the strange silhouette lying in the corner. When she looked closer, she saw it was a man. His stomach rose and fell as he breathed deeply. Kylie inhaled sharply and slowly lifted herself off the crate and began to walk backwards, step by step, to the window. As soon as her back turned, she heard the man speak.

“Leaving so soon?” he said groggily. Kylie slowly turned to face the man. He was still laying down, his arm covering his eyes to block out any light. Slowly he swung to a sitting position and with almost inhuman speed was standing a foot away from her. He was tall, with stringy dark brown hair. His eyes showed intelligence that would have made Kylie think he was an older man, had the boyish curves of his face not shown that he was barely any older than she was. His eyes were embedded deep in his skull and there were dark purple bags under his eyes, which she was surprised to see were a startling shade of blue. Greasy hair, chapped lips, and the smell wafting from skin showed that he hadn’t showered in a while, if ever. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. Though his filthy appearance repulsed her, she saw something indefinable about his appearance that made him seem almost handsome, as well as alarmingly in-human

Kylie stood speechless, her ragged breaths catching in her throat. He glared at her. “Say something!” he commanded. She turned to run, but he grabbed her arm. She wriggled free and dove for the window. This time she wasn’t careful about the broken glass. She scrambled through and broke into a sprint as soon as her feet hit the ground. She felt the warm blood from the glass cuts oozing from her arms and hands as she ran to her house.



???

Kylie sat cross-legged on her bed, her thoughts wandering. Absently she thought her mind reminded her of a bingo machine, each thought flying to the front of her mind, then away and then back again. It had begun to rain softly, the drops patter-pattering on the roof and windows. She stared out her window. The night was pitch black, the moon new and invisible.

Now the rain sounded like an ocean being poured over her house. Kylie loved storms. She debated even going outside to watch the lightening light up her front yard. She shook her head and yawned, tiredness overwhelming her. She got up from her bed, ready to go to the bathroom to shower.

Suddenly the lights flickered, once, then twice before going off. Kylie gasped, startled, and sat back down on her bed. The thunder rumbled outside like the growls of a thousand dogs on the hunt. She jumped as the lightning flashed silver through her window, lighting up the yard just enough to show a face peering through the window. The lightning flashed again, this time red, and then dark purple and green. Kylie’s eyes widened, and her head spun, dizzy and confused. She screamed as the window was blasted apart and the shards of glass cascaded toward her face. She covered her eyes with her arms and felt the glass pierce her hands. She looked up again. The wind whipped her hair around her face and blocked her vision. She opened her mouth to scream as a black figure stepped through the window, but the breath caught in her throat. The figure approached her with long, quick strides. Kylie’s head spun. Her vision became black as the starless night sky as she collapsed into unconsciousness. The last thing she saw was the dark figure’s face looming above her.



???

Kylie woke up to the sound of voices. She didn’t open her eyes, for fear of what she would see when she did. Her head throbbed, and every joint in her body ached. Still, she tried to smell the air and take in as much of her surroundings as possible. She could tell she was laying in the sun; the rays warmed her skin and she could tell it was bright, the way the sun is when it reaches its highest point in the sky. The air around her smelled floral, warm, and earthy, like she imagined a forest would smell. The voices spoke on, one bold but gentle, the other softer and agitated. Neither was the voice she remembered hearing in the deserted building.

“Just what were you thinking? How long do you think you can go hiding something like this? For the love of , you‘ve lost your mind, you have.”

“We need help,” the other voice said. “I don’t like it any more than you do, but we’ve got to face facts. Times are changing.”

“How can she be of any help to you? Not much more than a child, and a right small one at that. Just how long do you think it’s gonna take you to get her into shape, and then how much longer after that for her to actually be of use?”

“Patience, Myrna. Patience is the companion of wisdom.”

“There you go again, Darius! Quoting humans, reading their books. And now bringing one to join us! Just what’re planning on doing next? Going to live among them? If you keep this up, you’ll be a human by the end of the decade!”

“This is no ordinary human. She may seem weak and undisciplined, but there is a force greater than all of ‘s minions growing inside of her. One day, she will be great.”

“Oh?” Myrna said sardonically. “And just what makes you think that?”

A long pause followed. Kylie could almost feel Myrna’s impatience from where she lay.

“Well?”
Kylie heard Darius let out a sigh, before whispering “...She is my daughter.”

Chapter 2

Myrna gasped, and Kylie heard her footstep as she took a step back.

“But-- how--”

“Shh. She is awake now. She’s been listening for some time.”

Kylie’s heart leaped as she panicked. Still she laid motionless, until the sharp kick of a boot in her side made her roll onto her side, eyes open and alert.

“Up, Girl!” the voice she recognized from the old building yelled.

“Lucas! Calm yourself. Do not forget who this girl is. Had I not needed you to cross into the human realm, you would have been banished, and whether or not you still will be shall be decided as soon as we get back.”

For all his bravado, this seemed to make Lucas back off, the fear apparent in his eyes.

“Kylie, this may seem too much for you, I know. But if you just come with us, we can...”

Kylie’s curiosity turned to anger. Why would she go with him? Who was he? She didn’t know where she was, how she got there. And he expected her to come with him, without so much as a peep?

“... and don’t worry, we’ll explain everything when we get--”

“Come with you?” she growled. “Why would I come with you? I don’t know where I am or who you are, and you expect me to come with you?!”

“Kylie, calm down. It will all be explained soon,” He touched her arm, as if to comfort her. She shrugged it off violently and swore at him before running off the other direction, into the trees. It seemed like she had been doing a lot of running today, and the fact that she wasn’t in good shape didn’t help. Still, she knew she had to keep going. The trees blurred past her as she ran deeper into the forest. The trees were getting thicker; harder to weave through as she ran. Suddenly, the air grew cold and swirled around her, but instead of only feeling this sudden wave of air, she could almost see it too. The gentle breeze reflected all the colors of the rainbow, vivid and bright. The breeze became more violent, focusing on a point a few yards ahead of where she rain. She was still running fast, but stopped abruptly as the wind gradually materialized into Darius.

Kylie gasped as his face stared down at her, neutral and calm. She shook her head and stumbled backward in the other direction before running faster than last time, fright being her motivation.

Again the colorful wind blew past her ears and began to focus on a point in front of her. She swerved, dodging where the wind was becoming a small tornado. The wind continued to follow her, and she tried to run faster, but her pace was slowing. She soon had to stop, her sides heaving as she panted. The wind swirled in front of her and soon Darius was standing in front of her, his hand gripping her shoulder.

“Kylie, we can keep this up all day. Please. Come with me.”

Kylie glared up at him. Darius, taking her hand, closed his eyes mumbled under his breath. The wind Kylie had seen before whirled around her, but this time she was caught inside the tornado instead of watching it materialize before her. The wind was so strong she had to close her eyes. She felt her hair whipping around her face. Her body felt as though it were a Twizzler; the wind coiled around her like an invisible spring.

The wind died down and Kylie was finally able to open her eyes. In front of her loomed a long hallway. It was made of something that felt hard and cold like marble, and yet soft and almost rubber-like at the same time.





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