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Author's note: I was inspired by a lot of things for this book but the fact that some of the characters are so emotionless actually comes from me. I have a strange case of empathy. I'm diagnosed with a severe case of it, but I almost never show it. Thus created C.R.T.
December 19. 1851.
It was a long and dark December. And I remember standing on the rooftop of the great cathedral. There was snow on the ground. Beautiful white snow stained with blood of my own mate. Clearly I remember seeing the red against the white and the blood drawing me to walk straight off the cathedral’s roof down to the bloody mess of my mate’s remains. And I didn’t fight the feeling of needing to jump.
“White snow.” I whispered to myself taking a step towards the edge. “I want to see the snow.”
I took another step and heard someone scream. I looked down unafraid of the height and saw a man and a woman. Or I think that’s what I saw. I remember standing there and seeing two people each the size of a grain of rice. They were screaming for me I knew that much. But their words were muffled by the wind and how high I was off the ground.
I looked back at the spot of snow that was covered by blood and smiled.
“I’m coming for you Richelle.”
I remember taking another step towards the edge as I said my mate’s name. I took another step and another. Putting my feet in front of one another as I walked on the narrow and ice-covered rooftop, I made my way to the stone angel that had two gargoyles placed next to it. And when I reached the edge I opened my arms and let the cold wind hit my face. It stung, but I knew I wouldn’t feel pain anymore. Soon.
“Get down boy!” I had managed to hear that from the now large crowed looking at me.
They wanted me down.
As soon as the voice had carried up to where I stood, the wind blew from behind me and was pushing me towards the edge. I didn’t fight it and let myself fall off.
Falling I felt the wind slap my face with such force that I had to cover my face from the wind. I looked down and saw the red snow coming up faster and faster. I could sense death pulling me into her world. And I let the cold take over me. And then pain, much pain. But after, I felt nothing. Pure numbness and the feeling of death was a relief.
But I knew I would be back. I couldn’t stay dead from a mortal way of killing yourself. I stay dead for about a hundred years then come back with the same body. None of my body falls off or starts to rot. We stay preserved. My kind stays preserved. And I’ll be back, just like how my mate will.
I woke with a start and drenched in sweat. My hand flung out from the tangled covers to quickly turn on the light on my side table and fumbled trying to find the pencil. When I finally got my Dream Diary, I started flipping through the pages, my eyes searched trying to find a blank one. Finally I found one and started to write about my dream.
It’s starting to happen again. The same dream, it won’t stop. I haven’t had one in almost a month; I thought the therapy had really helped. I thought I was cured. I mean, most people have different dreams. Never the same one, right? But this time, I don’t know. It was different. It was like the after story of the hanging. That guy, who was watching me choke and struggle for air, was on some church thing. He kept saying Richelle. I believe he was talking about me. Though I’ve never heard the name before, I know it’s mine. These dreams are so weird. I need help. No one should have to have these dreams. No one.
I sighed and closed my Dream Diary. I flung off my covers needing some air. My journey to the window consisted of tripping on clothes and other things that was impossible for me to see with the dim light of the lamp. I finally made it to the window and opened it. I breathed the cool, early morning air in deeply. The crisp, freezing air chilled my lungs and then the alarm clock went off, making me jump and hit my head on the window.
“Owwwwwww.” my head throbbed with a sting and I slapped my hands on top of it. While doing so I stumbled back over to my alarm and turned it off.
My head’s stinging started to slowly decrease in pain when I walked over to the dresser. I picked out an outfit, got dressed, and then walked downstairs without brushing my hair or teeth. I didn’t need to brush my hair. My hair, no matter what, would always fall into straight coffee brown layers. As for my teeth, I don’t brush them until after breakfast, so the food won’t taste any weirder than it already is.
I rushed past the pictures in the hall and into the kitchen. Even though I was up early my dad had already left. Yet there was still my brother.
“Sup my dearest idiot.” I said without looking at him and walking to the fridge.
“Well you seem to be in a cranky mood.” said Blake picking up the paper and turning to the recent activity section.
“I’m not cranky, I’m just not happy to see you.” I searched around the inside of the fridge and saw nothing edible but a piece of cheese, a chicken leg with a little mold on it, and some orange juice.
“Gee, thanks Tara, you’re so nice.” mumbled Blake taking a sip of non-caffeine coffee.
“I know I am, now shut up.” I pulled out the orange juice and drank from the carton.
My eyes wondered over to Blake as he rolled his eyes dramatically. He put down his cup and turned the page of the paper. I realized he wasn’t wearing his usual dress shirt, khakis, and expensive shoe brand that guys don’t wear until they start to work. In fact he looked miserable. His curly, auburn hair was unbrushed (though it was hard to tell), his eyes had bags under them, and he seemed to just stare at the paper without actually reading it.
I decided it, got out a bowl and the box of cornflakes from the cupboard, and then finally poured the pulp-free orange juice and cereal into the bowl.
“That’s gross, Tara.”
“Wow, Blake, I thought I just told you to shut up.” my happy mood was slowly declining, so to distract myself I took a spoonful of breakfast and gave Blake the stink-eye.
Blake put the paper down and looked at me angrily. Then he said, “Well least I know your hooker friend is where you’re getting that attitude.” with that Blake stood up and left the room scowling.
“Blake! What’s your problem?” I shouted after him.
For some reason, Blake had never gotten along with Destiny. I have tried repeatedly to make them make-up for whatever made them hate each other, but that always seemed to make them hate each other even more.
I took a bite of my orange-juice-and-cereal breakfast and chewed hard, trying to take my anger out on the cornflakes. Not only did it not work, but it made my jaw hurt. I started to chew slowly again and caught something black out of the corner of her eye. I swallowed and looked at the little black dot on the table. Suddenly, it started to move.
I put down my spoonful of orange-juice-and-cereal, walked over to the little black spider, and squished it.
I sat back down to finish my breakfast when my stepmom came in.
“Morning Sweetie.” she said putting in a dangling earring.
“Morning Amy.” I put another spoonful in my mouth. I chewed and looked around bored.
“Why don’t you call me mom? I am your mother.” she walked over to me, her heals making a sharp clack with every step.
“You’re not my mom. You’re my stepmom. Big difference.”
“Please Tara. I know that you miss your mom but she’s gone. You need to learn to live with new people.”
I had to bite my tongue to prevent my retort.
My mother disappeared when I was eight. And it’s been nine years since the police came to our house saying that my mom was most likely dead.
Afterwards my dad started to use work as an excuse to not think about it. He met Amy at a business meeting and they both just loved work so much that they decided to get married and not see each other except when they’re not a work. Which is practically never.
Amy sighed and looked at me with her whiny face. “Okay.” she said sadly. “Well have a nice day at school.” she walked off into the hallway and opened the door that led to the garage.
I sighed and grumbled “Thanks Amy.” then heard the garage door open and then a car start. The sound of Amy’s car faded away.
Another bite of my breakfast made it into my mouth then I poured the rest of it down the sink. I didn’t feel like eating after her brother’s little comment and Amy’s presence.
I strolled into the hallway and scooped up my bag. The clock was about to strike 8:30.
“Crap.” I scolded myself for being late again. “Blake hurry up I need to go!”
I hated myself for failing my driver’s test…three times in a row. Not because I couldn’t go anywhere, but because when I had to go somewhere, Blake was the one to drive me.
“Coming.” he said walking down the stairs as slowly as he could.
I sighed heavily and walked into the garage. The walls were a bland gray, and the floor was a muddy brown. The only color in it was the navy blue mustang that Blake had decided to buy with money he was saving up for a trip to Africa.
Blake got his keys out and I hoped into the passenger’s seat. He pulled out the garage and we drove in silence.
Five minutes passed before I couldn’t take the silence anymore. I needed noise so I decided to insult Blake, but before I opened my mouth I felt something on my leg. I looked down and saw another little black spider crawling on me. It stopped and I felt a sting shoot up my leg.
I felt fine after it bit me…and after I squished it. My leg did feel a little numb but besides that there was no pain.
“Will you hurry up Blake?” I hissed punching him in the arm. “I really don’t want to be late with Ms. Summers going all give-a-detention-to-the-first-student-who-happens-to-be-late-by-a-minute mode.”
“The speed limit says fifteen, besides we’re passing the elementary school, and you know how they get to go to school later than us.” Blake paused then added, “But you might not understand seeing that you almost ran over a kid on your latest drivers test.”
“Hey! That kid was in the crosswalk when I had the right of way!”
“It’s the pedestrian right of way! Not the drivers!” explained Blake quite loudly but yet slowly.
“Well no one cares!”
“I know that Blake. I said ‘No one cares’ and you are defiantly a no one.”
Blake got deadly quiet and looked straight ahead. I didn’t know why he was so moody lately. Usually he would just ignore my comments and not take any offense to them at all to act superior. Maybe he got rejected from another college.
Poor Blake, he had been trying to get into one for a whole year. He had enough money and a good education, but no one wanted to have him at their college for some reason.
We sat in silence for the rest of the ride. The tension between was thicker than a rock and hung in the air like fog. It sucked.
“Here you go.” Blake said lamely looking at the school as we pulled up into the parking lot.
My mind snapped out of its daydreaming and looked at the school sign. It was covered with graffiti and gum that no one bothered to ever clean off. But under all that junk it said: Maplegrove High, home to the Tigers.
I hoped out and walked to a tree that grew right outside the school gate. Destiny was leaning against it with her eyes closed and her ear buds in.
Destiny was probably one of the most beautiful girls in school. Her skin a mix of chocolate and caramel, with grey eyes, straight black hair, and at the height of five foot six . The only thing that wasn’t so beautiful was her biting personality, and strange views of the world.
Which is why we’re known as the outcasts.
“Hey Dest.” I said having finally reached the tree.
“Hey Freckle.” she took out her ear buds and turned towards Blake. “Hello Ginger.”
Blake replied with a glare and drove off.
Destiny had many nicknames for both me and Blake. Though the most popular ones were Freckle and Ginger.
I was Freckle because of the little mole on my cheek. And since Freckle is a more flattering name than Mole, she decided to name me such.
Blake was Ginger for obvious reasons.
Destiny turned back towards me after Blake was out of view and smiled. “Well are you just going to stand there looking pretty?”
We walked through the gate and into one of the many hallways that were scattered throughout the school, towards Ms. Summers.
While on the most exciting journey of searching for the English classroom I kept seeing something out of the corner of my eye.
I looked down to see another black spider following right next to me.
I was starting to get freaked out about this spider thing so I stopped and watched as it stopped too. I took a step forward and it crawled to where I stood.
My foot was stomping on it madly within a second.
I lifted my foot and checked to see the spider. It was smeared on the ground and this time it seemed to stay dead.
“Um, Freckle, are you okay?” Destiny said looking at me and then to where I had just spent the last minute beating the crap out of the spider with my shoe.
“Are you sure? You’re really pale.”
And it was about at that moment when the feet of several students came rumbling down the hallway screaming.
I recognized most of the kids in my class, so I stopped one and asked why everyone was so freaked.
“She’s dead! Ms. Summers is dead! She collapsed and we tried everything to revive her, but she’s dead!” she screamed and tore down the hallway with the sounds of sirens approaching.