My Unknown Identity
CHAPTER 1Today someone smiles at me.
He isn’t a boy or a girl. He isn’t the cutest guy at school or the most sought-after girl at school. He isn’t a man. He is homosexual, in his own way. I grab a full of his attention by keeping my eyes locked on him, transmitting a message that hopefully him and I could only understand. His grey iris remind me of someone I used to know, like my father, although his image is a blurred reality to me. A smile spreads across the taut lines of his tanned face and that is the only thing I could see at this moment. His smile. His faint but provocative intimidating smile.
How could he act so calm around me? How could he not be scared of my red eyes?
“Hello,” He whispers faintly, very feminine. “How are you doing?”
I remain clueless on whether I should touch his hand for a quick shake or hide mine on my pocket until the chills flowing on my body stop. He is waiting for a response. Should I speak?
“What do you think? Do you think I’m fine?” I say recklessly, although I keep shivering out of guilt because of my initial response. But he keeps his lips stretched as if he’s never heard anything. “I’m sorry. Is something bothering you?”
I bite my lip and keep my voice stern. “Why do you care? Are you going to help me out about those things that bother me? Will you?”
“Whoops, Have I gone too far?” He sits a few inches from me. The bench cramps up the space between us, so there is no choice for me but to stay on my position. The hair on my arms freeze as his arms brush on mine, the heat of his body almost pulsating on mine. My jaw tightens. He could not be so close to me like this. No one should go any closer with me. I calm the liquid boiling in my mouth as I struggle to fight off this wicked instinct…this fierce instinct to either crush his weak body or bury my teeth on his neck.
I move my feet slightly farther, grab my bag, and barricade the teeny space existing between us. If that could work, if I could stop feeling the pumping of blood in his veins, If I could stop hearing the strong beating of his heart, I would have to do something before it goes too far. My nostrils flare. “What do you want? Why should you talk to me—“
“Because you need someone to talk to,” He says. “I feel like you need somebody to be with you at this moment. That’s why I came here.”
The world spins around me. I could not associate with him. Although the murmurs of my heart tell me to keep him right now, I could not dare take these risks. Although my chest jitters in joy because someone has finally heard my silent motives and although he is the perfect person to be with at this moment, I could not endanger some innocent stranger’s life.
“Am I right?”
The next move I must make is to stand and walk away. But before I could bolt out of the lawn, he pulls the strap of my bag and mutters, “Where are you going?”
I hesitate to look back. Even if I tell him all the dramas of my wasted life, he wouldn’t understand anyway, so what’s the point of staying with him? “Let go of my bag,” I say.
He lets his hand fall off my bag, sighs, and rolls his eyes. The sunny expression of his face has begun to gradually fade. “Look, I’m a transferee here. I hardly know anyone in this school and you’re the first person I saw who’s not busy enough to give me a quick tour around the campus. I was just hoping you could help me figure out how to survive real good during my stay here. Do you understand now?”
I lick my lips, concealing my embarrassment in this issue. “Fine,” I slump the books on the bench so hard that it wiggled. “If you want me to tour you around hell, then let me know where should we begin. So?”
“Hell?” He chuckles, cupping his hand on his mouth and crossing his legs. “I don’t see any flames surrounding the school.”
“Oh, new students don’t get to see the flames until they stay a little bit longer. You’ll see.”
“This must be hell in paradise, right?”
I find myself frowning in his nonsense interrogative statement. “I doubt about hell existing in paradise.”
“Oh you little wimp,” He remarks. “Hot guys comprise the paradisiacal state of this place. You’re a real girl so why must you be so blind about things that truly matter?”
I want to smile, but the muscles on my jaw suppress me from doing so, as if they’re aware enough about the precautionary measures I must take before this man, and before anyone. I could survive a little longer around him, if his humorous philosophical disposition would keep on distracting me from the pungent smell of blood heating under his skin. The voice on my head continues to kick on my skull, so I could still retain the thought of jumping on him and having my meal. But the old Victoria tells me to anticipate this rare moment and never let it go, as if he is the first and last person that I would meet throughout my whole life. Maybe because no one has ever talked to me this way or rather, several years have passed since I had a normal human being talk to me normally as anyone seldom would. Still, how dangerous could this be?
“Boys don’t like me. So, there’s no point liking them back.”
“Oooohhh, this is bad,” He snaps his finger. “Did someone break your heart?”
I step forward. We cross the vastness of the school lawn, reaching the dim-lighted corridors heading to the cafeteria. I do not know why the hell would I start the tour in the cafeteria, because chances are, he’s already reached this area or have probably tasted the first candy-sweet fries that ever existed in this world. He’s most likely acquainted with the odd behavior of people around here and/or, beginning to adapt to the Senegalian way of living. I wonder if he has met new friends other than me…if he starts to count me as one. We pause walking at the entrance door. The cafeteria is crowded as usual, but the people are lesser this 2:30pm. I see a blonde couple kissing on the table.
“I reckon that you barely know the name of this place,” I mutter.
“I’m afraid I am not so sure about its name. Is this the first ring in Dante’s Inferno?”
I raise my eyebrow. “You see that?” I point to a group of guys squirting ketchup and mustard on a poor guy with executive glasses near the counter. The guy then runs away as he wipes the stain on his glasses and trousers with a small piece of cloth. “You can actually see how wonderful these people are.”
“Indeed. Is this the only cafeteria in Senegal?”
Different scents of blood smear on the tip of my nose. I rub my nose, hold my breath, and pull my lips on a tight line. The smell isn’t noticeable as when I first entered, but now they overpower me, driving me to heights of skepticism.I need to go, before I make a huge scene before the crowd. “Let’s go,” I crashed against the doors. I hear him ask me where I’m going but I ignore it as I dart quickly away from the room. His footsteps follow my trails amidst the sea of students filling the hallways. I feel his heart beat pounding apprehensively on my ears as I nudge on people around me and as I struggle to find a lonely spot where I could lull the burning in my throat. Seconds and seconds of walking and the sound of his heart beating fades in a distance. The empty space under a tree which is located near the back gates offers me a lovely seat of isolation, so I accept it and hide under the shady leaves falling on my body. I lost him somewhere during the tour.
I sigh, discontinuing to hold my breath. Underneath, I pinch on the bristles of grass pricking my skin as I release the tension that was building up on my intestines lately. Blood… I need blood. The pain seethes on my stomach like thousands of needles puncturing all my tissues. The lump on my throat wouldn’t budge, causing a choking sensation that extends up to my limbs. I do not know what to do. I could call Ryan and tell him to undo the venom inside my body, but I can’t. He’s told me that I can’t switch back to human anymore, and he’s told me that I can’t break my vow to him and to his royal clan.
I wrap myself around the trunk of the tree. “Victoria?” Someone calls. I turn behind, and see a guy with dark eyes and tousled blonde hair who looks unusually familiar. “Is that you?”
My eyes widen. He is young, sun-burned, and chiseled in all aspects. “Tim?” I say.
“Victoria!” The books drop from his chest as he jolts himself forward to crush me in his brawny arms. The heat of his body transforms into mine, speeding up the adrenalines pumping in my body. His neck discloses next to my chin…and I feel most violent and most aggressive when he pulls me tighter and closer to the edge of my limits. I feel weak…and hungry. The blood in his veins pump rigorously against my body, my throat, extending to the limits of my own sanity.
“LET GO OF ME!!” I scream and yank him away from me. He plunges onto the floor and stares back.
Tim hasn’t changed since then. His eyes are two little circles of fear, brushed with an edge of innocence and warmness that have always been a part of him. The only thing that’s clear to me is that we were good friends in the past and that he’s saved me from the dangerous people who wished for my death. What I know is, he’s the only person who hasn’t given up on me, given that everyone has abandoned me and that everyone hates me at the least moment. I gasp for more air. “DON’T TOUCH ME! DON’T YOU EVER!”
“Victoria!” He rushes towards me again, fighting back the weakness that wiggles his countenance, but I push him back for a second time, obeying my instincts only to keep him safe. “GET AWAY FROM ME!”
“Y-y-your e-e-eyes…” He chokes on his breath. In a split second, the wind blows roughly on my face ‘til the sight of the scene has gone completely out of reach and ‘til I found myself scrambling away to a place unknown and to a place that only I could identify. A wrecking pain coats my entire cornea, and I falter and plummet into a crouch in a secluded place I’ve never been before. My vision sharpens as I approach the forests lying across the thick savannah and below the mountains. A glimmer of gold coats the grasses, and right above them are millions of honeysuckles floating carelessly into mid-air. I close my eyes. The world spins around me, and it’s Tim who makes it spin for me.
Tim. He hasn’t forgotten me all these years.