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The Elements: Benders
Author's note: The inspiration of this piece came in the form of a dream. I've always had odd dreams and decided to start writing them down. Before I knew it, it turned into a novel. I hope that people will enjoy this novel as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Ever since the beginning of time there has been a generation that stands together like no other family in the world has before. Originally there were only four; they are known to the Generation as Elders, for they were the first generation; in a way they are immortal. Their spirits are omniscient, but when they visit, they are as real as you or I.
The Elders lived in Pangea (when there was just one continent.) Just like most of the Generation, the Elders were not born but created. They were placed on the Earth at different points: one to the north, south, east, and west. When they were a few years old they discovered that they could control the elements. They each could bend one, and only one, element, but they did not bend the same element. The girl from the north could bend air, the one from the south could bend fire, from the east came the one who bends earth, and from the west is the one who bends water (this order will not change). For they have never been named, they created names from their elements: The northern bender (air) is known as Cloud Shifter, the southern bender (fire) is known as Fire Maker, the eastern bender (earth) is known as Earth Mover; that leaves the western bender (water), she is known as Water Dancer.
They call themselves Benders, meaning that they have the ability to bend one element. Along with the bending, they found that they had two other abilities. The first they found was the ability to shape-shift; they were able to shift into the animal that was closest to their personality (every Bender has a different animal). The next was the discovery of their warrior form, this is the form that they could bring their speed and strength to its peak and still be able to control it; this form also came with an outfit that brought out their most creative side, even though they didn’t create it. The name, Benders, and the abilities were passed down to each generation that was created.
Later on a bender was born, but there was something different about her. The Elders saw that once she was born, she was stronger, faster, and smarter than her sisters. Her eyes shifted to different colors that could only be described with gems such as emerald, jade, topaz, aquamarine, ruby, and onyx. She was a water bender named Graceful Water, for her movements with the water were just as graceful as the thing itself. The Elders kept a close eye on her feeling that she was extraordinary.
When Graceful Water was two she knew all bending moves except for one, the Elders were smitten with her knowledge, she was practicing the hardest move there was, letting the water become her form temporarily. One of her sisters was walking by as she practiced, Graceful Water looked to see who it was; it was Heart of Fire (the fire bender).
“Why do you even attempt, Grace? You shall never perfect that movement.” said Heart of Fire, trying to discourage Graceful Water.
Heart of Fire was always ragging on her; she couldn’t stand anymore of it. At that moment her anger towards her sister filled her body with a heat she had never experienced. With the water still in the air from her bending, Graceful Water spun to face Heart of Fire. All she was planning to do was thrust the water at her sister; with the heat still flowing in her she started to move the water so that it was in front of her. When she did this, she saw her sister’s eyes widened infinitely; she looked to see why her sister was in shock. She expected to see the moving water as her form, but that was not the case. The water she was bending had turned to fire, she tried to shake the fire from her hands and cause the trees around her to catch fire. Heart of Fire and Graceful Water were now surrounded by walls of fire.
The Elders, having seen this happen, allowed their spirits to join them to protect the girls. Once the fire was extinguished, the Elders turned to Graceful Water amazed by what they had just seen. Graceful Water was a completely different sight though; she was crying a waterfall of tears. She had almost killed her own sister; she couldn’t understand why the Elders were keeping her alive. One law is to never attempt the murder of a sister.
The oldest member of the four Elders walked up to Graceful Water and let her drift into unconsciousness. They took her to a meadow, sacred to their kind. In the meadow there was a small, stone, rectangular table, which they laid Graceful Water on. They studied her while she was asleep; from her exterior, she looked like a normal bender, but the Elders could tell that something was different about her. They made her awake but not fully, Graceful Water was in a trance. The Elders wanted to see what she was capable of; they invented a few different tests for her that had to do with bending all the elements. With her instincts very strong, Graceful Water was able to pass all the tests. When the Elders returned her to unconsciousness, they now knew only a limited amount of what she could do.
The Elders did not want to lose this amazing creature, as they called her, so they invented a potion for her to drink. The potion only allowed her to age until she was thirty-five and then her age would reverse down to one year old. When they revived her she had drunk the potion and had a new name. The Elders named her Water Flame, but they had a name for what she was:
“I am so tired! Can we not just unpack tomorrow, Cat?” My sister, Carlie, is nagging again. Will she ever stop?
“Carlie, we just started. Plus, I need to get you guys everything that you will need while I‘m gone.” I said, telling her for the millionth time today.
“Just let her be, Carlie,” said Julie, attempting to persuade her into actually helping.
“We know you two are opposites but we’re all sisters no matter what.” Sara said while she gave me a hard look on the matter, “We really need to get this stuff done, and that means working together.”
Okay, here’s the story. My sisters and I are fraternal quadruplets; basically we are the same age and look nothing alike. My name is Caiity (pronounced like Katie), but my friends and people I love call me Cat because of my eyes and cat-like temper, I’m the oldest; Sara is the next oldest, she gives me a look whenever she says something about us all being sisters no matter what, not that I can really agree, but I also can’t argue. (I’m not connected with them biologically, but what can I do?) Carlie is the third oldest, let’s just say she’s a hot head (which is funny because of her flame colored hair) who only really cares for herself. Julie, she’s the baby of the family, her nickname is Jewels because of all her beautiful jewelry.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re Benders; we have also been adopted since we were a few years old. All the families we have lived with have not been very….welcoming, I guess you could say, so we set off on our own. (I have basically been a mother to my sisters their entire life, they hate it whenever I leave to travel.) We have lived in two different places since then, not counting where we are moving now, Juneau, Alaska. That was four years ago, when we were fourteen. We are now eighteen and ready for anything life throws at us.
Being the oldest gives you a lot to think about, you want to be able to play around and goof off, but then you have to be careful and protect your family. Sara says that I’m the most mature and immature in the family because I love to wrestle with my siblings, but sadly, only Carlie will wrestle with me.(We all get a kick out of Carlie losing every time, well, except for Carlie.) Carlie always says that I cheat because I read her mind and see every move she makes. I have the ability to see the future and read minds (I can also put my thoughts and visions into other people’s minds).
We just got to our new house a few hours ago; I don’t need to unpack everything so I’m helping the others with their belongings. I’m going to stay here for only a few weeks, just long enough to get them settled in and stuff, and then I’m heading out to visit all of our cousins around the world, again. Sara and Jewels are trying to get me to stay instead; Carlie knows that it is no use. I have a feeling they’re going to try and talk me out of it again tonight.
“Will you please consider staying longer than a few weeks before you go? You may find something to hold you here.” Sara is, of course, trying to get me to stay.
“I don’t know why you keep bugging her about it. It’s not going to work.” Carlie chimes in, thinking she knows everything as usual.
“Sara, I know you want me to stay, but you know I’m not going to find something to hold me anywhere. I’m sorry,” I can’t ever stop apologizing to them.
“You may not find something, but you may find someone,” here we go again.
“Sara, you know very well that I will never find that ‘special someone’ as you put it.”
“You never know, Cat. Have you not felt the pull?”
“Yes, I have felt the pull!” The pull, how can I describe it? When I was one, I started to feel a pull. From the stories of our family, that is how it begins. How we find our true love. We feel a pull towards the one we are destined to be with (a.k.a. our Destiny) and they feel a pull towards us, the farther apart we are, the stronger the pull; the closer we are, the tighter the pull. I do have to admit that ever since we arrived in Alaska, the pull has been getting tighter. Whenever the two sharing the same pull see each other there is no denying the attraction. I don’t want to force someone into loving me.
“Maybe you should follow it.” said Sara cutting into my reverie; I gave her a look. We’ve already had this discussion and she knew what I would have said. Oddly, Julie was quiet this far into the conversation. I heard her thoughts and looked over at her; her forehead was wrinkled as she thought deeply. Even though she has never worried about me when I left, she was now. I could understand why.
“Julie,” I said, waiting for her to meet my eyes. “I am not going to be harmed.”
“I know that,” was all she replied.
“Then why are you thinking that?”
“Cat, you’ve been depressed lately. Maybe it’s because you want to follow the pull. I just don’t want you to make a mistake while you are away.”
“Listen to me, Jewels; I will never leave you guys like that, no matter what.” Julie looked straight into my eyes to reassure herself that I was not lying.
“Okay, Cat, I believe you.” She smiled at me; she was as delicate as a rose petal. If I left them forever it would destroy her. Julie looked up to me more than any of them; I couldn’t do that to her, or any of my siblings. I heaved a big sigh; I am getting sick of this human food. What I wouldn’t give to go hunting for a mountain lion, too bad my sisters won’t eat like that. I could tell that Sara wasn’t going to press the matter any further tonight; I shoved away from the table and walked out to the stables.
I’ve saved up far more than enough money, and we had a lot of land, so I built a stable and bought some horses before we moved. We all have two horses, Sara has two Quarter Horses: Star and Flash; Carlie has two Mustangs: Bonnie and Clyde (ironically enough, the names match their personality); Julie has two Paints: Abby and Aspen; I have two Clydesdales: Midnight and La Luna (Midnight is Black and La Luna is Gray).
I walked into La Luna’s and Midnight’s stall, they are only separated by a short wall running through the middle. They always seem to know my feelings, like we’re woven together and feel the same emotions. La Luna could tell that I was uneasy and need to do something to calm myself down, as well did Midnight. I could tell where they were heading with their thoughts (I can also communicate with animals.). I walked across the barn into the tack room to get a bridle; I never ride with a saddle unless I will be riding for a while. The time was around seven o’clock, so I was going to ride Midnight on a small path in the forest that surrounded the house. While I was riding I was thinking about tomorrow, the past few schools we’ve attended have been full of guys that once they see a cute girl they think they own them. It doesn’t help the fact that us Benders are gorgeous compared to every other girl around us. I’m hoping that there will be at least one girl at this school that guys will pay more attention to than us.
Thanks to the location of the house, we are going to Juneau- Douglas High School. I don’t know why or how, but our senior year is going to be different. I felt something in the atmosphere, something I haven’t felt in the longest of times. I stretched my senses out to see if I could identify it, with this I discovered a strange scent. I didn’t identify what was in the atmosphere, but I did know what this scent would lead to if I followed. I slowed Midnight to a walk, we were getting closer to it or it was getting closer to us; so why was I not turning around? Once Midnight caught the scent he reared and took off towards the house, he knew what it meant, too.
I finally got Midnight to calm down and go to sleep in the barn, I knew he was worried but I ignored his mind and walk towards the house to my own bed. When I got to the door, I realized why I didn’t turn around when I first caught the scent; the pull was coming from the same direction. From this experience, I knew why this year was going to be different.
“This is going to be a dangerous year.” I mumbled to myself on my way to my room. Luckily, my sisters don’t have the “super” hearing I have, so they were not able to hear me.
“Are you riding with us in the Porsche?” Julie asked coming down the stairs in her first day outfit, light colored jeans and a graphic- tee, only looking at me after she cleared the stairs.”Why are you wearing that?” I looked down at myself.
“What? I’m riding the bike.” I was wearing my favorite dark washed jeans with a blue V-neck short sleeve shirt, and, of course, tennis shoes.
“Fine, just don’t forget your riding jacket and your helmet.”
“Why are you so grouchy?” I asked “You love school.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night thanks to Carlie.”
“What did she do now?”
“She stayed up all night, with the lights on, looking for an outfit!”
“Not my fault that I actually have to work to look good, unlike someone we know.” Carlie said coming down the stairs, giving me a hard look, along with Sara.
“You guys just behave, okay? Let’s go,” Sara said as we walked out the door. Sara and Julie rode with Carlie in her Custom-made red Porsche 911 GT3 and I took my silver Ducati Superbike 848. Other than riding or being in the forests, I feel the most freedom when I’m on my bike. There is nothing that can compare to the wind rushing against my body; I can hear it running past my helmet and I feel like I’m in a dream. If only I could stay on it long enough, I love to drive fast (way over the speed limit basically) so I also got to the school before my sisters. I parked my bike and I began to study the students all around me, seeing if there was any threat near. Most of the kids were looking at me of course, but they couldn’t tell who I was, even if they did know me. My sisters were just around the corner when I caught the same scent as last night, exactly the same scent. I turned to the location it was radiating from. That was my first mistake; it was the first time I actually moved my head to look. My eyes met a pair of round, dark eyes; I knew what that meant instantly; I snapped my head back around so I was now watching Sara get out of the Porsche. I took my helmet off, hoping that my face wasn’t as panicky as I felt, so I could put it in the trunk of the car. Apparently my face wasn’t serene, or even normal; Sara noticed right off that there was something wrong.
What is it? She thought towards me. I just shook my head, not wanting her to freak out on her first day of school.
“It’s about time you got here,” I said jokingly. “I thought I was going to have to call the police.” I was trying to stay off the topic; if there was only one thing I could do great, it was tricking people. I was able to laugh it off while we walked to the office for our schedules. The scent disappeared as soon as I turned my head back around, I was both grateful and worried. If I’m going to protect my siblings while I’m gone, I need to figure out who carries the scent. Maybe I will have classes with Sara and I can warn them of who to watch out for.
As it turns out, I have no classes with my sisters; of course they have all their classes together. The only time we have together is lunch, maybe I can still find some way to watch out for them. When we left the office Julie and Carlie went off to their class, Sara stayed at my side as I told her to.
“Something is going on with you and I demand to know what it is.” Sara turned on me.
“I told you never to demand anything from me.” I said
“I have a right to know. If this is something to do with this morning…”
“Fine,” I dropped my voice down low so that nobody but her would hear. “This morning I caught a scent. I want to make sure that it isn’t a threat to us.” While I was talking we arrived at her classroom; I sniffed the air and the scent was in there, but it was different. I didn’t have time to go through the room and find them so I said “Be careful, the scent is different but it’s one of them.” Sara looked at me with frightened eyes; I looked back at her steadily; she understood.
I won’t tell them until it is necessary. She thought to me fiercely, I nodded to her in thanks and headed off to my first class, PE, ugh. I love playing sports, but not when I have to throw the game; we were playing volleyball in PE, one of my favorite sports, and I have to go easy so I won’t hurt anyone. So using my reflexes I played while my mind wandered. I kept thinking of last night, this morning, and the class that all of my sisters were in, with me on the other side of the school. I couldn’t stand it any longer; I stretched my mind to my sisters, I didn’t want them to know I was spying so I said nothing to them, just listened. Sara was running over our conversation, Carlie was thinking about herself, and Julie was listening intently to the lesson, as always. Neither Carlie nor Julie suspected the danger that was around them. I went through the room searching for the scent; once I found it I found the mind. It was a female; she was looking at something that wasn’t the mundane classroom before her. She could see the future; she was seeing a young man trying to decide something; I could tell that she cared for this man deeply. I could now tell what he had to decide; basically he had to choose to be good or a monster, how cliché. She sighed his name in her thoughts; his name was Ash, I couldn’t tell what her name was, but I could tell that there was a strong bond between them. They were mates; I’ve never seen into a mind of a person with such a connection to another; it was amazing. I didn’t want to intrude on something private so I brought my mind back to my own.
I went to the rest of my classes (Chemistry, History, and Spanish); they all went by in a flash. I kept thinking about that girl and how she cared so much about Ash. I have only seen that kind of love whenever a Bender finds their Destiny. I was thinking about her again as I opened the door to the cafeteria. It was, as most are, boring; it had white round tables to sit at instead of the typical long, faux wood tables. I knew my stomach wasn’t up for human, let alone school food; so I walked over to a table where my sisters and I could sit. I only needed to wait for a few minutes for my siblings, I guess they were already in the line when I first came in; I was a little too focused to pay attention to them. Carlie and Julie were talking about their English class, but Sara was asking me questions about the scent I caught this morning. I just ignored her and focused on the English conversation.
“I can’t believe that we have homework on our first day.” Carlie whined.
“It’s fair, I mean, it’s the middle of the semester, Carlie,” Julie said trying not to pout considering she agreed.
“You two just need the right help and you’ll be able to get the work done in class, like Cat and I.” Sara said eyeing me. According to all our grades, I’m the smartest. I won’t let the schools put me in honor classes because then I wouldn’t be able to travel, so I get very bored in all my classes since I know all the material.
“I will help you with whatever you need for as long as I’m here.” I promised them.
“Thank you, Cat,” Julie and Carlie said together.
I had to laugh at that; never once have we ever said the same thing at the exact same time. It was even funnier because it was Julie and Carlie who said it; she never agrees with the rest of us, not that they agree with me on everything, but still. We were all laughing with each other when suddenly, I was overcome by a scent; it was the same one as last night and this morning (from both encounters), but there was even more than two, the scent was coming from five different people. I imagined danger, but not of this magnitude. I made sure there was no change in any of my features so that I didn’t tip off them or my laughing siblings; there was, however, a reaction I couldn’t control. My right forearm tensed, not from fear or adrenaline, something no one in the world could see coming or have been able to stop. My Destiny was near, I still had no idea who, but he was so close it caused me pain. I knew if I looked up I would find myself staring into his eyes, and then it would be impossible to refuse, as I hope I will be able to do. I tried to hide the pain of the veins, wanting to forever form the unknown name of my Destiny. I failed miserably; Sara saw what was happening through my eyes.
What’s wrong! She thought in alarm, automatically, her eyes ran over the entire cafeteria thinking I saw something.
“It’s nothing, Sara, just pulled a muscle in gym.” I lied evenly, looking her straight in the eyes. Sara saw nothing in my eyes except the pain I was now suffering. Her eyes widened immensely; she knew exactly what would soon happen. Who? She might as well of yelled it at me than thought it. Julie and Carlie were looking at me like I won the Nobel.
“I don’t know who.” I said truthfully. She looked as if she didn’t believe. I had my head hanging down through this conversation; the only way to convince her was to look her straight in the eye and say it, so I did.
“I do not know who.” I said the words slowly, forcing her to believe. I hated forcing her to do things, but I didn’t need her on my case when I’m going through this. Sara nodded and went back to eating, as well did Carlie and Jewels.
They were all silent as they ate, or kind of silent, their minds were screaming questions, not really towards me; they were, however, about me. I ignored them and let my mind stretch out to hear the entire cafeteria. Most of the guys were thinking about my sisters and I. Okay, so there is no girl that would distract the guys from us apparently, great! I heard the thoughts of the girl again; she was asking someone beside her something through thoughts.
Has he chosen yet? She asked; even though all I could see was the side of him, I could see the man beside her shake his head no. He can read minds as I can; this is not going to be good. I turned my head to the side slightly so I could see this girl; she was short in the extreme, almost pixie-like, with long curly, black hair. She was beautiful, just as beautiful as my siblings and I are.
She sat across the man I recognized as Ash from her vision. He was handsome, he had ash blonde hair; I’m guessing that’s where his name came from. He was steadily built, not big but also not small. I could easily see his muscles; they weren’t the big, body-builder kind, but they were conspicuous. His face looked as though he was in pain; I didn’t understand at first, but then I remembered his choices.
Ash sat next to a heavily built man. He looked old enough to be a teacher or something. He had dark brown, slightly curly hair; he had a smile on him that looked permanently etched into his face. This guy looked like a professional body-builder. Even though he couldn’t even break one of my bones, I didn’t want to mess with him.
The girl the body-builder sat next to was, well, wow. She reminded me of Carlie, which was weird because they looked nothing alike. She reminded me of Carlie because she looked like the kind of person who thought only of herself. I listened to her mind, and sure enough, she was thinking of herself; her name was Rose, which fit the color of her lips.
The man that sat beside the physic had slightly long hair, barely past his ears; his hair was the same unique color as mine. It was weird that this man is the only person in the world that has the same color of hair as I do; he seemed extremely familiar. He looked younger than his brothers; he looked super scrawny compared to them, too. I stared at him, reading his mind; he was doing the same thing. He was intensely focused on the minds of my sisters; I went tense in less than a second when he tried to find my mind. I looked back at the table I was sitting at; frightened that he would look over when he knew that I was listening to him and his siblings.
I waited, reading his mind, for him to find me out. From the course his mind took, he was struggling with something. When I felt his eyes on me, my body felt as though it just had a sugar rush.
I can’t hear her? I heard the thought in his mind; he thought it was strange. I found it strange as well, he could read everybody’s mind just as good as I can, but he apparently can’t read mine. The only difference between our abilities is that I get pictures and words while he just gets a picture. I looked up towards him; when I met his eyes, I felt the pull more than I ever had before. This time, though, instead of ignoring it, I welcomed it; I wanted to follow it. That thought caught me off guard.
She looks extremely familiar, he thought to himself. He looked away before I did; that one look didn’t even last a second, it wasn’t long enough to form a true bond between a Bender and her Destiny. I carefully kept my eyes on my table for the rest of lunch; I felt his eyes on me one other time, right before he and his family left. He was curious for many reasons, but mainly two. He couldn’t read my mind, and he thinks he’s met me before today. I have to figure this out before I leave.
Apparently, Julie noticed that I was acting weird.
“What’s wrong, Cat,” She asked me gently
“I’m just feeling a little off right now.” I told her; it wasn’t a lie either. I rubbed my palm against my forearm.
“Maybe you shouldn’t ride the bike back home, if you’re not feeling well.”
“I’m sure I’ll be fine by the end of school, Jewels,” I dropped my voice low so only my sisters could hear it. “Who knows, it might be all this human food you’re forcing me to eat.” They all laughed at that statement.
“You do know it’s not as bad as it use to be? Try some, you might like it now.” Sara said, pushing her salad towards me. I put on a brave face and tried her salad.
“You’re right it’s not as bad as it use to be,” I said swallowing the disgusting lettuce. “It’s worse far, far worse.” I said laughing; they joined in when I made a facing showing them a joking face that said I might be sick.
A few minutes later we shoved from the table and headed off to our last class. I was, again, on the opposite side of school as them. My next class was English, and from what Julie and Carlie told me, I was already ahead of the curriculum, as usual. At least I can help them start out with good grades if I tutor them, I thought to myself as I walked through the classroom door. Once I entered the room every guy froze and looked at me, even the teacher stopped. I walked over to the teacher, Mr. Larkin, to get my books and stuff.
“Excuse me, Mr. Larkin, I’m Caiity.” He looked me up and down when I spoke; this is going to be interesting. “I’m new here.” I told him, he already knew, but since he hadn’t replied I felt the need to say it.
“Oh, o-of course; here, l-let me get your, um, book.” He stammered, well it was different than the other teachers; they just stared at me. While he was hunting up a book for me he was mumbling about me to himself; I knew I didn’t want to hear that. I looked around the room for the first time; all the guys were staring at me, strange but a slightly normal response to my kind. I continued to look around; suddenly I met a pair of deadly, black, but familiar, eyes that were boring into mine. I realized why they were familiar, they belonged to my Destiny; I looked the other way but let my mind stretch to his. What I heard was even more disturbing than anything else I experienced in my life. He just met me, and he absolutely loathes me; I knew I should walk out of the room, instantly, find my sisters and take them somewhere safe. The thing about me is I never do what I should and I wasn’t going to; I was going to face this man head on. How, I had no idea.
Mr. Larkin finally found a book and escorted me to the desk that I would have to sit at for the rest of the year; it was also the same desk that my Destiny was sitting at, still staring at me with daggers. Once Mr. Larkin turned towards the front of the class I looked at the unknown person beside me, I still didn’t know his name; he was looking me straight in the eyes as well. No, we didn’t form the bond, considering he was a little busy hating me at the moment. He did change though, he saw his reflection in my eyes and he knew what he had to do. Throughout most of the class he planned to attack me, he was trying to find the best way to kill me without killing so many people; then right near the end, he compared himself to a man that was a father to him, his father’s name was Dr. Adam Caxton, the name sounded familiar to me but I couldn’t take the chance to look through my past with him like this. By the end of class he made his decision, he was going to try and stay away from me at any cost possible, as long as it didn’t involve killing me. He had two sides of him warring inside himself, one he called the monster who wanted to pounce and kill me now, and the other that didn’t want to harm me; the one that felt the pull towards me.
When the bell rung, he was out of his seat, and the room before anyone else; I walked out slowly trying to assemble my face out of the stress I felt showing. My sisters and I met at the car in the parking lot; I kept making sure no member of the Caxton family was around.
“Are you feeling better, Cat?” Julie said once I was in hearing range.
“Yeah, I am, and yes, I’m riding the bike home.” I told her before she could ask.
“Okay, see you at the house,” She gave me hug and hopped into the back seat of the Porsche. Carlie was already in the driver’s seat waiting; Sara gave me a hug and said that she would see me at the house. They could tell that I was going to go hunting once I got home. Carlie waved bye and then pulled out to head home. I waited until they were around the corner so they wouldn’t see that I didn’t have my helmet, then I zipped my black, leather riding jacket and got on my bike. I stuck the key in the ignition and started to back out. When I turned my head to make sure no one was behind me I met those dark eyes for the fourth time today. I sat there staring for a minute and then decided to go forward instead of backing out, I was going to have to make a super wide U-turn but what did that matter. I pulled forward and turned instantly, with my knee basically touching the ground; I pulled out of the parking lot and headed home at full speed. It’s a shame I couldn’t avoid my situation any longer; that would’ve made me thrilled.
Okay, I’m a Bender who’s breaking a law set by the Elders because my Destiny is a vampire; not to mention, my Destiny wants to kill me because of how I smell to him. (Apparently I smell like everything in the world, great.) I am so dead now. And I thought I was ready for anything the world threw at me.
I actually drove home slowly, still nowhere near the speed limit but closer to it than usual. I was a little over half way home when I noticed that a nice, silver Audi R8 was following me; using my side mirror I looked to see who it was; it was the Caxton family. In an instant I reached my top speed on the bike trying to get home before they found out where my sisters and I lived. I lost sight of them in my mirrors, but I still needed to hurry because they were still following me. Once my drive came into my view I swerved into the cover of the forest; no one knows that this drive exist except for my sisters and I. Once I was far enough into the forest where they couldn’t see me, I shut the bike off and watched to make sure they didn’t follow. They slowed down but turned to the other side of the road instead of towards my house; that was when I first noticed that there was another drive there. This isn’t good, I thought to myself grimly. I turned the bike back on and headed down the long drive, rimmed with trees that led to our house.
I left my bike in the garage next to Carlie’s Porsche and my silver 2006 Ferrari F430; I left my riding jacket over the seat and took off running into the forest behind the house. I could feel Sara and Julie watching me from the living room, but I didn’t acknowledge them; there never is a way to stop hearing thoughts though.
Something is very wrong with her, Sara thought, knowing that I only ran near my full speed whenever something was bugging me.
We’re going to have to talk to her tonight as soon as she gets back; Julie was thinking the same as Sara. This is going to be a long night.
You see, when I go at my top speed, no one and nothing can see me; since I was only going near my top speed my sisters could only see a steak of blue flash across the yard that was caused by my shirt. I didn’t want to tell them what was wrong with me, but I also can’t avoid them forever. Maybe there’s a way to get out of telling them; or at least that’s what I hoped.
I spent a good two hours hunting; I bagged three mountain lions, not my best hunt but I was trying to figure out what I could tell my sisters. It took me forever but I figured out that I would tell only some of the truth; basically that I found out who my Destiny was, kind of, and that I didn’t want to force him to love me. Hopefully they will buy that. I would have to put on my best grimace and will them to accept that as the whole truth; I’m going to hate myself tonight if this works.
I walked through the back door that would lead me to the living room. Sara was sitting on the beige leather sofa with Julie, and Carlie was sitting in the one-and-a-half chair that matched. When I walked through the doorway they all turned to look at me; I knew they were about to start interrogating me, so I went and sat on the floor in the middle of the room so I could look them all in the eye at the same time. Sara took a deep breath, followed with a sigh; she was going to begin the questions.
“Caiity, you know there’s no use in saying that there isn’t anything wrong with you, right?” Sara asked me trying to figure out the best approach.
“Yeah, I know you and Julie saw me running earlier.” I told her, trying my best to stick to the truth.
“You were acting weird this morning before class, at lunch, and even weird after school in the parking lot.”
“I know; I didn’t want to have to tell you at school.” I told her trying to hurry this conversation along so I can see what the other drive leads to.
“What do you mean?” Julie asked.
“Yeah, tell us what?” Carlie asked agreeing with Julie. I took a long deep breath before I answered.
“I-I found my Destiny, I don’t know his name, but he does go to Juneau- Douglas High.” I told them, waiting for the oncoming explosion.
“What?” Carlie asked.
“That’s great, Cat!” Julie yelled at me laughing.
“I told you that you might find someone to hold you here.” Sara said smugly to me. I shook my head at all of them, they didn’t understand at all.
“Do you guys even hear yourselves?” I asked getting angrier each second. I have to remember to control my temper. “You’re asking me to take away someone’s will to find love, just for my happiness!”
“Cat, this is what every Bender lives for, to find their Destiny to pass along this amazing blessing the Elders have given us.” Sara told me, Julie and Carlie nodded in agreement.
“You call it a blessing, I call it a curse.” I told them giving them a cold look that is never meant for them, it’s for the Elders. “You don’t have to wear a shackle on your ankle because of what you can do!” The Elders forced me to wear a slim, silver, unbreakable anklet to keep my extra abilities in check; I’m a prisoner of my own kind because I’m stronger, faster, and I have abilities that no other Bender in the world has.
“No, we don’t wear a shackle, but we do care for you and future generations that must exist.” Sara said gently.
“What are you going to do if every Generation to come is forced to wear a shackle?” I asked. “Are you going to go along with it or fight against the Elders?”
“No, I know your answer and I know that I’m not going to take away someone’s will like I’m a stupid Elder!” I screamed interrupting her. I got up and ran out the front door; I wasn’t going face them until I gained control of myself again, I couldn’t risk hurting them. So, what was I going to do while I cooled off?
“Ugh!” I moaned to myself wanting to do anything right now. I couldn’t go hunting again; I can’t digest anything else for the next week or two since I’m so full. The thought came to me then, I can follow the other drive, which should cool me down. I took off running towards the highway, but only to the edge of the trees for now, just to make sure it’s safe. I waited till there were no more cars on the road to see me cross; once I was clear I jogged up the drive. (Well, it was a jog for me, not so much for a human.) I got to where I could see a house that was the same size as mine; it was gorgeous not exactly what I would expect a person in Juneau would live in. I then realized who lived here, Dr. Adam Caxton and his family; I stayed hidden in the forest that rimmed the yard and continued looking at the house. I was looking at the second story when I suddenly met a pair of light, golden-brown eyes staring straight back into mine.
It was the physic, her eyes were strangely distant; I stretched my mind to hers and I understood why. She had a vision earlier, once I decided that I was going to follow the drive, which showed I would end up here. She had a vision about me, why? As if she could read my thoughts she remembered a vision from the drive home. This vision showed me getting attack by her brother; in response to the vision I searched the house for his scent. He wasn’t in there; then she showed a vision of him leaving with a pained look on his face, only her knowing that it was because of me that he left.
Knowing how much pain this caused her and her family, I made the worst mistake possible; I let three simple words pass through my mind into hers.
I’m so sorry. I thought to her. I saw her eyes widen in either shock or fear. She didn’t know that I put my thought into her mind, but she did hear what I said; she also knew that I meant for her to hear it. She was having another vision, but this time I didn’t stay to see it. If I wanted or needed to know it later, I would figure it out then. I ran back home, at full speed this time; I was through the door in less than a second. My sisters were still in the living room, I went straight to Sara. She stood up when I came in the room; I cross the space between us and hugged her tightly.
“I’m so sorry for earlier.” I said to her crying. “That anger isn’t meant for you,” I paused while I gathered my other two siblings into a group hug, “Any of you.”
“It’s okay, we know.” They said over and over hugging me back, trying their best to comfort me. They didn’t know why I was crying, and frankly, neither did I.
“Is it weird to cry because I’m happy to have you here?” I asked, knowing how they would answer.
“Well, it’s weird for you to,” Carlie said being honest as always.
“Considering you leave us,” Sara said adding on to Carlie’s response.
“A lot,” Julie chimed in finishing the sentence.
“You know what, I don’t care if it is weird; I’m just happy.” I said laughing.
That night I had the weirdest dream; I was standing beside my sisters and myself. It was like I was a ghost; I was watching how I acted from everyone else’s point of view. I have to admit, Sara was right. I did look freaked when they arrived at school. When I saw how I acted at lunch that almost killed me, seeing the pain in my eyes was not the easiest thing to live through. I now know that the pain from my veins wanting to form his unknown name is not something you can hide. Seeing my face in English, and right before I pulled out of the school was strange; it was like I was being strangled and I was calm about it. I could practically see death coming towards me with every breath I took. Then came the rerun of what happened at their house; at the time I didn’t know what expression was on my face, now I know. When she showed me the vision of him leaving because of me, the only thing my face showed was sadness and severe pain. While I was sleeping, watching this dream, I felt that pain; it was all I could feel. I woke with a shock, gasping for air; I was trying to escape the pain that was clawing its way out of my chest and up my throat. My hand automatically came up to my neck like the pain would leave if I touched it. It wouldn’t fade so I gave it what it wanted and allowed it to break free; next thing I knew, I was curled up in a ball crying harder than I ever have before.
That morning I took a lot longer than necessary to get ready; I was really trying to get a hold of myself. Last night had been brutal; can’t wait to see what happens today. I didn’t want to take my Ducati today, so I rode in Carlie’s Porsche with everyone else (unlike the original 911 GT3, it had back seats). My siblings had heard me crying last night, but strangely, no one asked me about it; I was grateful about that though. I was quiet the entire way to school; I tried my best to block out the concerned thoughts that were coming from my sisters. They thought they wanted to know the whole story, but I knew better than to tell them.
Last night while I cried I decided that I wasn’t going to stay here more than a week; possibly even less. I’m going to have to tell them tonight so we can get the whole ‘please stay a little while longer’ conversation over with. It’s going to be hard to convince them that I have to go whenever I can’t tell them why. Tonight is going to be hard all around.
When we got to school I didn’t say a word; we all just stayed by the car, I tried to listen to my sisters’ conversation, but honestly, I can’t tell you what it was about. I really just stared at my shoes while I waited for my sisters to walk to class. I heard the soft footsteps of one member of the Caxton family approaching me; I didn’t want to look up in fear of who it might be. Since I was still staring at my shoes, I saw that she came to a stop right in front of me.
“May I please speak to you?” She asked me in a ringing voice that could call the angels to her. I looked up to see who it was, it was the physic. I looked over her shoulder at her family, they were watching me and her with curious eyes; I looked towards my sisters out of the corner of my eyes, they were just staring at me and her. Misunderstanding my looks she added onto her question. “Alone, if you don’t mind?” I looked back in her eyes and nodded. This surprised her; was she thinking I was scared or just going to avoid her after last night? Well, this is the perfect time to figure out.
“Lead the way,” I said to her, gesturing that she should chose a place to talk. She turned with her back to me and headed to the back of the cafeteria; her siblings started to follow, but she held up a hand and shook her head. This had my curiosity going crazy; I have to be careful though, they say curiosity killed the cat, and sometimes sayings have meanings that need to be taken seriously (considering my animal is a tiger). When she stopped, she turned to face me; she was studying my eyes for some reason. I felt my eyes getting ready to go cat, wanting to warn her to keep back, but I was able to control it somewhat; instead of turning into green/yellow cat-eyes, they shifted into the same topaz color as hers. She was looking for something and she didn’t find it; she sighed and took a step back so she wasn’t right in my face.
“I saw you last night,” She said to me, looking at the ground instead of me. “I heard you, too. I don’t know how, but I heard you in my mind.” She still wasn’t looking at me.
“You’re telling me that I spoke to you in your mind?” I asked in an unbelievable tone. She nodded yes to me, I wanted to tell her the truth but I couldn’t. I snorted, “How in the world would I manage that?” She looked me straight in the eyes, she was trying to pull the truth out of me, but she wasn’t going to get.
“I don’t know, but you did, somehow.” She said angrily. “I saw you hiding in the trees around my house and then I heard you in my mind saying ‘I’m so sorry’.” She was actually babbling I’ve never seen a vampire do that, it was interesting.
“I don’t understand,” I told her remembering the pain from last night. She heard the break in my voice and started studying my eyes again. I stretched my mind to hers and found out that she saw only the pain in them; I waited for her to say something again, but instead her eyes went distant. She was having a new vision; it was about me. She saw me traveling, but she couldn’t tell where I was at since I didn’t even know that. I was walking alone, crying; neither she nor I knew why I was crying in the vision.
“Why?” She said once she came back to the present. She was worried about me for some unknown reason.
“Why what?” I asked her. She looked down at our feet while she spoke.
“You’re leaving soon.”
“How did you know that?” I asked playing dumb.
“I can’t explain it right now,” She answered stopping midsentence. “Are you really upset about anything?”
“I don’t see how it would be any of your business if I were.”
“Please just tell me.”
“I’m not going to tell you because it’s none of your concern.” I told her backing away from her. When she started toward me I turned and ran to my class. With my mind still behind me I heard her think how can I get her to answer me without revealing what we are? I pulled my mind back to my own and I was keeping it there until I needed to know something. I needed to get out of this town soon, but when?
I went through all of my classes paying strict attention to the lesson; keeping my mind to myself. My sisters had no idea what was going to happen this week and I was planning on keeping it that way until the right time. My mind kept wondering back to the vision of me walking alone crying; I still didn’t know why I was crying. That’s the first thing I need to find out, but probably the last thing I’m going to find out.
When I got to lunch my sisters were already seated at a table waiting for me; the Caxton family watched me as I entered and walked over to join my sisters. I was kind of expecting the physic to come over and try to talk to me again, but she didn’t. I talked to my sisters about all kinds of random stuff today while they ate.
“Did you guys hear how the weather will be this weekend?” Jewels asked us.
“No, why?” Carlie asked.
“Well, I know Cat is the only one who likes sports,” she started. “But I figured that we could go play football or baseball, whichever Caiity wants to play.” Jewels said smiling widely at me knowing those are my two favorite sports ever.
“Why, all of you hate playing sports?” I asked.
“We want to spend as much time with you as we can, Caiity, which includes doing anything you want.” Sara said agreeing that Julie had a great idea.
“Well, except hunting.” Carlie said in a low voice. I laughed at the face she made; she thought that eating animals is a disgusting habit I have.
“Don’t worry, Carlie, I’m too full to eat anymore for a while.” I winked at her.
“Good then,” She nodded to me. “But anything else, I’m up for.”
“Sports are just fine with me,” I smiled to them. “Thank you, my sisters.”
“We shall do anything for you, our leader.” They said together, placing their hand, only where their fingertips touched their chest, over their hearts, and bowed their heads slightly. It’s a sign that says a Bender is at your service; no, I didn’t like for them to pledge their service to me, but a Bender must choose that for their self. They must have discussed this earlier today; I’m sorry that they will have to change this because I’m leaving; this is going to be even harder than before.
The rest of lunch we talked about all kinds of things, from cars to school to shopping. I have to admit that even though I don’t like talking about girly stuff, I had fun. We walked out of lunch together laughing at something Jewels said; I felt the eyes of every member of the Caxton family on me as I walked pass them and out the door to get to class. Today I was going to sit alone at my desk; my Destiny (I still don’t know his name) didn’t return to school today, my heart ached knowing I was the cause of it. Maybe when I leave his sibling will tell him I’m gone and then he can return.
English went by faster than yesterday; I didn’t pay attention to the lesson, but then again I didn’t need to. I got all the material they went over from my sisters earlier. Once the class was over a guy came over to my desk, I guess he was trying to be nice today since yesterday all he did was stare at me. He looked like a star football player from a TV show or something; the perfectly messy hair with the round eyes and everything.
“Hey there, I’m Aaron.” He said giving me a smile that was a little warmer than it should be.
“Hi, I’m Caiity, nice to meet you.” I smiled at him gently shaking his hand.
“Yeah, we all know who you are.” He said winking at me, which was awkward.
“Oh, uh thanks, I think.” I said looking at my books in my hands.
“No problem. Do you need any help with your books or anything? I can give you a hand.” He asked reaching his hand toward my books; I started to walk around him.
“No, I’m fine, thanks though. I actually have to meet my sisters at our car.” I said walking to the door.
“Okay, maybe another time, see you.” He yelled after me.
I walked straight to the parking lot trying to hurry and get home so I can ride La Luna. I wasn’t watching where I was going, so I didn’t see it when a girl stepped right in front of me, cutting me off. I ran right into her, neither of us fell but we did stumble back one step. When I looked up I saw that it was the physic; I really need to figure out her name.
“Hey,” She said to me. There wasn’t anyone in this part of the hallway right now so we could speak freely, if we trusted each other, that is.
“Hey, do you mind telling me your name?” I asked her; I knew it was weird but I was tired of calling her ‘the physic.’ This question surprised her because it was random, but she thought it was reasonable.
“Sure, my name is Grace,” She said to me smiling; I felt strangely comfortable around her, almost like she’s one of my sisters. She actually even cares about me, I can’t believe it but it’s true.
“That’s a beautiful name, Grace,” I told her, not that she didn’t already know it.
“Thank you, Caiity, I think you name is also beautiful.”
“You can call me Cat if you like.”
“I thought that only your friends and people you love can call you that?”
“That’s true, I’m surprising myself that I’m saying that,” I told her truthfully, “Considering I just met you.”
“Listen, I’m sorry about this morning. It’s just that my brother went on a trip yesterday and he looked upset over something. Then you showed up at our house out of nowhere; I could have sworn I heard you in my head, maybe I’m just hearing things, though.”
“Grace, its fine, you have nothing to apologize for. I just don’t like it when someone tries to force me to tell them something.”
“Thanks, Caiity. I just needed to say that to you.”
“It’s okay; I understand completely.”
“It’s great to hear that; I’m glad I got to talk to you.”
“Me to, Grace; it’s nice having someone other than my sisters to talk to.” I said smiling at her.
“I agree and I’m also sorry, but I have to go.” She said with an apologetic smile.
“That’s fine; I have to go as well; my sisters and I might play baseball tonight.” I told her.
“That sounds fun. See you around, Caiity.”
“See you, Grace; like I said, you can call me Cat.” I said as I waved to her.
My siblings were leaning against the car waiting for me; I smiled widely at them, surprising them with my.... perkiness I guess. Their eyes widened at me and I just laughed. I opened my door, waiting for Sara and Jewels to get in before me. When we were heading home, I was still laughing at their faces, I couldn’t seem to stop.
“Why in the world are you so perky and laughing like your high?” Carlie exploded; that just made me laugh even harder.
“You should… have seen… your faces.” I said in between laughs trying to catch my breath. They didn’t understand so I put their faces in their minds using my memories. They all busted out laughing like me. We were like that all the way home; I honestly didn’t know why I was so perky and laughing so much, it was like something came over me and all I could feel was happiness. I felt whole, like a piece of me had been missing and now it was back. Carlie pulled into the garage, still laughing, and looked at me; this reminded me of what I have to tell them tonight.
“Do you guys want to play baseball tonight?” I asked them trying to keep my happy mood. They looked at each other before answering.
“Yeah!” They said together enthusiastically; it made me smile that they were excited to play sports.
“Come on, we can play in the backyard,” I said while I got out of the car. While we walked towards the backyard they were trying to decide teams. Whoever had me was going to have the advantage; I tried to convince them that I would play at the same skill level as they did, but it didn’t work. I started to turn to the house to get the bases, bats, and a ball.
“Hey, you guys hurry and choose teams while I run and get the equipment.” I told them with my back turned.
“Um, Caiity,” Sara said hesitantly stopping me where I was. I turned my head slightly and saw why she was hesitant. There were four other people in the backyard besides us; I turned to see who it was, it was the four Caxton children. I smiled at Grace and walked over to them, wanting to see why they were here.
“Hey, Grace, what are guys doing here?” I asked her.
“We heard you were going to play baseball,” said the big body builder. “We thought you could use a challenge.” He said smiling his huge smile.
“Darius, please,” Grace said shaking her head at him smiling. “We really came to get to know you, but hey, if we can play baseball with you we’re up.” She told me.
“Unless you’re scared,” Darius teased flexing his muscles at my sisters and me.
“Oh, please, we can handle a little challenge,” I told him implying that we aren’t scared, “My family against yours?”
“Sure thing, Caiity,” Grace told me. I nodded and ran inside to get them equipment; when I got back outside I gave each of my sisters a base and went to set up home plate. I turned to face Grace; it was time to find out who was batting first. Grace was already right in front of me once I turned; she had the bat in her hand, I placed my hand right above hers and we continued until her hand was resting on the knob. She smiled at me while she laughed, she knew that she was going to win; what she didn’t know, was that I let her win.
“You’re up, Caxton,” I told her smiling.
“Bring it, Cat,” She said using my nickname; I smile at her even wider, she trusted me now. Did she know that I was leaving tomorrow? I walked over to my sisters who were smiling at the Caxtons warmly; they couldn’t catch the scent that I could, so they thought the Caxtons were human.
“Okay, we’re pitching-,”
“You mean you’re pitching,” Julie interrupted me; I smiled at her and nodded.
“Yes, that is what I meant. Sara, you get outfield; Carlie, you get third base; Julie, you get first base; and I’ll get second base while I pitch,” They all nodded and went to their positions. I took my place at the pitcher’s mound and faced the batter with the ball behind my back. Grace was batting first; she stood in the ready position and smiled at me. I nodded to her, asking if she was ready; she nodded back at me signaling that she was. I wound up and threw a curve ball; I went easy because I want to see how good she was. The ball went slower than she expected so she missed: strike one. Ash was catching; he threw the ball back while he laughed at Grace. I shook my head at him and gave it my all this time; I threw Grace a fast ball. She very nearly had it but she swung too late; the ball went right past her into Ash’s waiting hand. Their eyes widened that time, they didn’t think that I could really pitch; I was going to let Grace have a hit this time. I threw another fast ball at human speed since they were going to keep to their acting. Grace hit this one just as I was expecting her to; it went straight in between Carlie and Sara. They both started running towards it, you would have thought that they were going to run into each other; Carlie got on all fours and Sara launched herself off of Carlie’s back. Sara caught the ball in mid air; I smiled at her as she threw the ball back to me (she was laughing).
I turned back towards home plate; Darius was batting now, this was going to be interesting. I nodded to him and he nodded back with a huge smile on his face. I threw the ball while I laughed, he expected my laughing to throw the course of the ball off, but he was surprised that it went straight and true; the ball blew right past him. It continued like that until it was time for my family to hit; most of the time my sisters and I were laughing but so far we were winning.
I was batting first and Grace was pitching; she bowed her head to me asking if I was ready and I mirrored her saying yes. She threw me a fast ball (not at human speed either); I watched her more than I did the ball, her eyes widened before I even touched it. She had a vision right after the ball left her hand, she saw me hitting it looking straight at her, not even glancing at the ball. The vision came true with that one swing; I got a homerun. My sisters also got homeruns when they batted; it continued like that the rest of the game.
Whenever the game ended the Caxtons stayed to help clean up; Grace stayed by my side once the game ended. I didn’t really understand why, but I liked her, she was like another sister that was something like me. Sara and Carlie were holding two of the bases looking at me; I knew what they meant, I took a deep breath and sighed.
“Let’s just take the equipment to the barn and I’ll clean it after my ride tonight.” I told them, they nodded in agreement and waited for Julie and me to get the remaining equipment. I turned to get the bats, ball, and home plate only to see that some of the Caxtons had already gotten them.
“You have a barn?” Grace asked me with a smile.
“We have more of a stable, but yeah,” I told her nodding with a smile. “Do you like horses?” I asked her.
“Well, we haven’t really ever been around them.”
“But they are very beautiful creatures,” Ash said coming up behind her with a pained smile. I smiled back at him and with each second that he was around me, his smile seemed to relax.
“Why don’t you guys come and see the horses?” I asked. They all nodded with excitement. I motioned for them to follow my sisters and me.
I led the way to the stables; Julie helped me open the door when we got there.
“Please wait for a second while I turn the lights on.” I walked inside and to the back of the barn, using my cat eyes to see in the dark. I got to the light switch and waited for my eyes to go back to normal and turned the lights on.
“Come on in,” I yelled to them. Sara and Carlie walked straight into the tack room and laid the baseball equipment on the floor; Darius and Ash, who had everything else, copied them and joined us in the hall of the barn. La Luna had caught Grace’s eye.
“She’s so beautiful,” She said walking towards her stall; I followed behind her to make sure neither La Luna nor Midnight did anything to harm Grace. I saw that Midnight was getting ready to rear at Grace.
“Be careful, Grace, La Luna and Midnight don’t really like anyone but me.” I said placing my hands on her shoulders showing Midnight that I trusted her. Midnight backed down but kept his guard up.
“Would you like to pet her?” I asked Grace. She nodded to me. “She won’t hurt you if I’m with you, I promise.” I opened La Luna’s stall door and grabbed Grace’s hand with one of my own and held the other up palm forward. I was both warning La Luna not to hurt Grace, and calming her because she was scared that Grace was going to hurt me.
“Easy girl, calm down,” I coaxed La Luna. I asked her with my mind if she was going to behave. La Luna snorted and nodded her head. I smiled at her and nodded back in thanks.
“Okay, Grace, are you ready?” I asked turning to look at her. She looked slightly scared but really excited.
“Yes,” She replied.
“Okay, come over to her side with me.” I felt all the eyes of my siblings; along with Darius, Rose, and Ash on Grace and me. I pulled her by the hand and placed it on La Luna’s back; I pulled Grace’s hand down her back so that she would get used to the feel of La Luna’s fur. Grace was smiling so I took my hand off of hers and started petting La Luna on her stomach.
After a few minutes I went to stand by Midnight and pet him; Grace felt perfectly at ease with La Luna. Once Grace looked at La Luna’s marking on her forehead, her star, La Luna looked back at her and nudged Grace’s head with her nose. I laughed at what La Luna was thinking: She’s not so bad, Cat. Very pixie like, though, don’t you think? Grace had no idea what I was laughing at, but she was laughing at the strange gesture; she stopped petting La Luna and gave her a big hug around the neck, smiling.
When we all left the barn I left the lights on so that I wouldn’t have to turn them back on later. Grace was gushing to Rose about how soft La Luna was. I couldn’t help but smile at her; she was so perky and friendly. This was the first moment that I noticed that Ash held her hand while they walked, and Darius walked next to Rose and held her hand. I guess that meant that their brother, my Destiny, was the odd one out (kind of like me in a way).
When we got to the house I invited them in for a few moments; they all looked at each other and then at me with sad faces.
“We’re sorry, but we can’t,” Ash told me. “Our parents will be wondering where we are soon.”
“Okay, that’s fine,” I told them. “Grace, do you think I could talk to you for a moment?” I asked her, she nodded and I walked past her into the darkness knowing that she would follow. I stopped when we were almost to the forest.
“Grace, I need to tell you something and I’m also asking a favor of you.” I told her trying not to be rude.
“You can tell me anything, Cat,” She told me honestly.
“I’m leaving soon, either tomorrow or the next day; I need you to promise me that you will do whatever it takes to keep my sisters safe.” I told her looking straight in her eyes.
“Is this what your upset about, leaving?” She asked I just shook my head at her.
“Please, just promise me?” I asked her sincerely. She looked me square in the eyes searching for something again; apparently she found something this time. I stretched my mind to see what it was she found, but then she stepped towards me and gave me a hug.
“I promise you, Cat, that your sisters will be safe until your return.” I hugged her back in thanks; now all I have to do is tell my sister; that is going to be hard. We walked back to the house together, I could feel that she was watching me but I didn’t acknowledge her. Once we arrived at the house we all said our goodbyes and my sisters and I went into the house so they could eat.
“What’s up, Cat?” Carlie asked me smiling.
“I need to tell you guys something,” I told them looking down at the table, unable to meet their eyes.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Sara yelled at me. “You can’t leave yet!”
“I didn’t say that, Sara, I was just,” Just trying to let my unknown Destiny live his life no matter how much pain that caused me; I can’t tell them that.
“Just what?” Julie asked gently, trying to calm Sara down. I took a long breath and let it out as a sigh.
“I was just trying to warn you that I’m leaving soon. I’m not leaving tonight, but I am leaving soon.” I finally looked up at them, Sara was really angry now.
“When?” Carlie asked me looking only at Sara.
“I’m not entirely sure, either tomorrow or the next day.” Sara was looking straight at me and shaking her head.
“How long have you been planning this?” She asked, her voice breaking twice. I shook my head; I didn’t want to tell her this. “How long!” She exploded.
“Ever since last night,” She had her head between her hands shaking and kneading it; I couldn’t stand hurting her like this but what else could I do. “Sara, I’m causing more harm than good as long as I’m here!”
“No, you’re wrong!” She said to me fiercely. “You usually stay longer than a few days, why change that now?”
“Please, just let me leave when I want.”
“No, not until you tell the truth! Why do you want to leave after just a few days?” She was beginning to calm down, but she was still crying. I shook my head at her; I can’t tell them the truth. “Tell me now, Cat!”
“Fine, you want to know the truth?” I was yelling and crying; I didn’t know if they understood me and I didn’t care. “The truth is that me being here is hurting my Destiny, me being here isn’t good for him; I can’t stand hurting him!” By the time I finished telling them this I was crying my eyes out. I just admitted to them how weak I was and even though I say I don’t want my Destiny, I still care immensely for him. Sara walked over to me and hugged me from the side; I hugged her back putting my closed eyes against her neck.
“Do you know his name?” I shook my head. “You need to stay; if you leave now then you will be in the worst pain you have ever felt. You need to at least learn his name.” I was shaking my head even before she was done speaking.
“Sara, I can’t. What if I form a bond with him, or what if I get too attached to him or something?” I asked her. “What am I supposed to do then?”
“You would still be able to leave, but you wouldn’t be able to stay away for very long.” Julie told me rubbing my back.
“I would still be taking away his will to love, I just can’t do that.” I said to them.
“You need rest, I’ll go tell La Luna that you can’t ride her tonight; we can talk about this tomorrow night if you haven’t left yet. You may choose when to leave, we’ll understand.” Sara told me. I nodded with my head still against her neck; I lifted my head and walked straight upstairs, but I wasn’t going to sleep yet. I would have to wait for them to go to sleep so I can go out. I changed into a pair of cropped sweat pants and a tank top as I waited; pulling my hair down from the twisted bun I created this morning. I lay back on my bed in my dark room, lit only by the light of the moon coming through my third-story window.
It didn’t take them long to fall fast asleep, only about an hour and a half; once they were all deeply asleep I climbed out of bed and went straight to my window. It wasn’t a long way down, for me, but I also haven’t tried to jump from it yet; well, first time’s the charm. I opened my window and stepped out into the darkness; it seemed like the earth came to me, it was actually pretty fun. Once I hit the ground I took off running toward their house, I knew she saw me coming, and that she would be waiting for me. What I wasn’t expecting was that he would be back home; I hid my scent from him, only letting Grace know that I was here. I noticed that Grace registered my scent in her mind rather than using her nose. She snapped her head towards the stairs and I saw that she wanted to meet me in her room. She still didn’t know that I could read her mind or anything, so she was going to be in for a surprise. Grace excused herself from her family and headed upstairs at human speed; I followed up the wall and through the window. I heard her family thinking that she was acting weird, and my unknown Destiny trying his hardest to read her mind (she was thinking of a bunch of little things that had nothing to do with me, she’s smart.)
I decided to leave her a note instead of waiting for her in her room; I quickly grabbed a piece of paper from the desk next to the window and told her to run and meet me at my house in the barn as soon as she can. Hopefully she would be able to get out of the house without being followed. I dashed back out her window at full speed; no one was able to see me flash by. I ran straight into the barn, I spooked Midnight and La Luna when I came to an abrupt stop inside their stall. The dry hay pressed into the bottom of my bare feet. I heard Grace come to a stop right outside the barn doors; she came right to the stall door. I turned to look at her, I had no idea what I looked like, but I was hoping that I looked somewhat normal. Grace gasped as soon as I turned around and she saw my eyes.
“What happened to you; are you alright?” She asked, making no move to come closer to me. I cried a lot this past hour so I must have looked pretty messed up.
“I’m fine, Grace, I just needed a friend.”
“I’m here for you, whatever you need.”
“I need to know something from you.”
“What do you need Caiity?” She said searching my eyes again.
“I need to know your brother’s name.” This request surprised her.
“Why do you need to know that?”
“Please just tell me; I promise that I’ll tell you why as soon as I can.” She thought this over for a minute, and then she nodded.
“His name is James,” I nodded; that was all I could do. The pain I was going through at that moment was too massive for anyone to handle. Grace saw the pain in my eyes when I dropped to the ground and started to open the stall door so she could get to me. My horses saw what was happening to me and knew that they need to keep Grace away; the thing was that I needed Grace; I needed someone to help me get through this. I couldn’t hold the piercing scream clawing its way up my throat; right before I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to escape the pain, I saw Grace drop to the ground as well with her hands over ears. I didn’t hear it but I saw her mouth open to scream, before she made a noise I blacked out.
I knew I passed out, but I couldn’t seem to be able to wake myself up; I heard my sisters, both their minds and voices. I still had control of my brain but yet I couldn’t control my body, how strange. I stretched my mind all around me; I not only found my sisters mind, but also the mind of the Caxtons. They were all thinking about me; Grace was replaying the scene in the barn to try and understand what happened. She got to where I screamed and fell to the ground; she noticed that my scream sounded slightly like both a human and an animal in the most severe pain ever. I shivered, seeing the pain it caused her the first time she heard it. I noticed that there wasn’t hay or grass around me; and that there were arms curled around me, one at the back of my knees and the other around the back of my shoulders, I was being carried by someone. The arms tightened when I shivered and I heard the breath of whoever was holding me stop. I was too tired to see who was holding me; I let my mind drift back to my own and I passed out again in the process.
“She hasn’t moved?” A man asked.
“She shivered once, but nothing more.” Someone answered him in an anxious tone.
“Dr. Caxton,” I recognized this voice but I couldn’t put a name to it. “Have you figured out what happened?”
“No, Julie, I haven’t,” It was Julie, how could my sisters not know what happened to me? “Grace, would you mind telling all of us the story?” I felt a cold hand push my hair off my forehead before pressing softly against my skin.
“She told me, earlier, that she wanted me to come to the barn so we could talk.” Grace began. “I walked into the barn and straight to her horses’ stall; she told me that she was leaving tomorrow and that she wanted to ask me one last thing before she left…”
“What was that?” Dr. Caxton asked her.
“She wanted to know who James was. She nodded when I told her; the next thing I knew she gasped in pain, screamed, and then fell to the ground; all while clutching her right forearm. I began to go to her, but then she screamed even louder than the first time; once I heard her scream I felt so cold, and I felt so much pain. I screamed and fell to the ground as well; I watched her the entire time, the pain, both hers and mine, didn’t recede until she passed out,” I could practically fell the tremors coming off her as she shuddered at the memory.
“You say she was clutching at her arm?” Dr. Caxton asked her when she finished; I could tell that he was walking away from me to retrieve something.
“Yes, her right-forearm.”
“Sara, do you mind folding the blanket down while I get my bag?” Dr. Caxton asked my sister.
“No!” She shouted. “I-I mean why?” She isn’t going to be able to trick him.
“I want to see if there is anything on her arm. That’s not a problem, is it?” She might as well go ahead and let him look.
“Dr. Caxton, I, I mean we, would like to talk to you and your family for a minute please.” She was being careful not to sound blissful. They must have agreed because I heard the shuffle of feet which belonged to my sisters and the soft, barely audible footsteps of the Caxtons, all but one.
“Are you coming, James?” Dr. Caxton asked.
“No, I would like to stay here for now,” I could feel his eyes on my still body; why would he want to stay near me?
“Very well, then,” They all filed out the room and into the kitchen that was at the very front of the house. I didn’t make my mind follow them; instead I kept my mind to myself. I wanted to open my eyes and see want he was doing, he wasn’t breathing or moving, but I couldn’t, I still didn’t have the ability to move. He began to breathe in little breaths, almost like he was trying to get use to my scent. I stretched my mind to his, and sure enough, that was exactly what he was doing. He wanted to be able to stay with his family and be able to figure out the mystery of my silent mind. I heard his soft sigh and his shift in weight; he wanted to come to my side and wait for me to wake up. He was actually scared to come anywhere near me, scared that he might hurt me. He was warring inside himself to either stay where he was and struggle to stay still, or to come to my side; he was like that for a while.
I was surprised how quickly time passed as James and I waited for our families to rejoin us; he was beginning to get impatient, he thought that once his family came back into the room he would be able to relax slightly. After a few more minutes, he sighed and got out of the chair; he walked towards me until he was a few feet away from where I lay. He hesitated with his breaths as he took one last step towards me; he was now right next to me and I could feel the coolness of him, I welcomed it just as I welcomed the pull. He slowly knelt beside me and placed his hands on the edge of the couch where I was; he let himself take a small breath as he clutched the couch as if to hold him there.
I couldn’t stand hurting him like this; I was in enough pain for the both of us. Remembering the pain brought it to the forefront of my mind; the pain had receded, but not by much. I hope my sisters will be back soon so they can take care of this; my hand twitched at my side wanting to clutch my other arm again. James went completely still beside me; I felt his eyes on my hand and then on my face.
“Caiity?” When he said my name I felt strange, I don’t know how to explain it though. “Caiity, can you hear me? If you can, move your hand again.” I now only had control of my one hand so I did as he said. “Adam, I think she’s waking up!” He yelled over my head. I thought it interesting that he calls his father by his first name, and then I remembered that Adam isn’t James’ biological father.
“James, what happened?” Adam asked him at once.
“She twitched her hand, and then I told her that if she could hear me to move her hand again and she did.” James told his father.
“Dr. Caxton, please let us do this,” Sara said coming into the room. “We know what to do.” Adam didn’t seem so sure from his thoughts, but then he remembered the looks my sisters had on their faces when they told him what they needed to do.
“Okay,” He said to them. “Come on, back up, they need room.” He was telling his family to move out of the way of my sisters; he was also warning James with his mind what was about to happen.
“Julie, move the blanket out of the way; Carlie, hold her arm up for me.” Sara was getting everything ready.
“Are you ready?” Julie asked Sara. Sara took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“Yes, I’m ready,” I felt the edge of the knife at the crease of my elbow; Sara took another breath and started to press the knife into my arm. She continued to press harder and harder until it broke through my skin; once it was deep enough she dragged the knife down to my wrist.
“What now?” Adam asked Sara.
“Just wait for it.” She told him. I didn’t notice that I stopped breathing until I gasped again; my eyes snapped open, and my hand went to try and smother the pain of my arm. I sat up in a sharp movement clutching my arm and breathing shallow, fast breaths.
“How long have I been out?” I asked Grace staring at my bleeding arm.
“Caiity, I don’t think we need to worry about that now,” She said in a strained voice, she was holding her breath just as the rest of her family, except Adam, was. “Let’s just get your arm fixed first.” Sara was walking towards me with the needle and thread; she handed it to me when she reached my side. She knew that I wanted to do the stitches myself instead of having Adam do it.
“Sara, maybe I should…” Adam begun, he saw that I had already begun to sew my wound so he thought it was no use; instead he came and stood behind me to make sure I sewed it up nicely. When I was done with the thread I used my teeth to cut it and received the bandage from Sara’s other hand; I only heard surprised and impressed thoughts coming from Adams mind.
I can’t stand this; I need to know if she’s okay! I heard James think; he wanted to return to my side and look at me with his own eyes to reassure himself, but with fresh blood coming from me that was not a good idea.
“Now, will someone tell me how long I was out?” I asked, slightly annoyed that no one answered me before. I looked up to see why no one answered me for the second time; they were all looking at Grace and James.
“Well, you passed out at about, um, eleven- thirty or so;” Grace told me. “James was the only one in the room when you started to move.”
“Your hand twitched at two; then Sara stabbed you at two-ten,” James said looking at the floor next to the couch where I sat; he winced when he mentioned Sara stabbing me.
“So, about three hours?” I asked I wasn’t really talking to anyone in particular.
“Yes, approximately three hours.” James answered me, still looking at the floor. I nodded, not really sure what to do now; I knew I need to soak my arm in water as soon as possible, but not while the Caxtons are here. From the corner of my eye I saw Adam’s hand begin to reach towards me, he was wanting to check out my arm; I turned my head towards him slightly, his hand hesitated, not long enough that Sara could tell.
“Do you mind if I check the bandage, Caiity?” He asked me in a friendly tone with a slight smile.
“Not at all, Dr. Caxton, go ahead,” I told him stretching my arm across me so that he would be able to see the bandage easily.
“Thank you, oh, and call me Adam,” He smiled down at me with his eyes as I nodded and smiled back. From what I could hear, James was slightly jealous that Adam was able to touch me without wanting to harm me. James has never been jealous of Adam before, apparently he wanted to take Adam’s place holding my hand and arm, checking to be sure I’m fine.
“You did everything perfectly for someone who has had no experience.” He said interrupting my… research, I guess. I didn’t notice that my eyes moved so that I could see James out of the corner of them; he was looking straight at me, trying again to read my mind. I snapped my eyes back so that they were looking into Adam’s topaz eyes; he was looking at me in a strange way, almost like he was trying to see my past. I shrugged and smiled at him again.
“I guess medical stuff just comes naturally to me.” He nodded as he considered that for a minute.
“Well, maybe then I won’t see you or your sisters in the hospital often.” He said smiling at Sara; my sisters laughed, but I just looked down at my hands sitting in my lap. I could feel eyes on me again, but I didn’t look up to acknowledge whoever was looking at me. I shifted my weight and began to get up from the couch; I dodged Adam’s hand that was about to push me back down.
“If you’ll excuse me please, I would like to go take a shower.” I said looking at my sisters; they were wondering why I said that. They knew that you’re not supposed to get stitches wet for the next few days. I’m going to heal it, don’t let any of them come upstairs. I told them through thought as I left the room; no one tried to stop me, so I guess that was good. I walked up to the third floor and straight to my bathroom; once in the shower I removed the bandage and the stitches. I shoved my arm under the water and concentrated on my arm; I pictured it without the cut, the only thing on my arm was his name, James, formed by my veins, permanent in my body.
After a few minutes in the shower, I got out and grabbed a new pair of black sweats and a blue tank top; I wrapped my forearm again before I left the bathroom. Since the cut was deep, I wasn’t able to heal it completely so now I only have a slim, red line running down my arm; it would only take once more to remove all traces of the cut. I put my dirty clothes in my hamper and headed back down stairs to join everybody. When I entered the room everyone turned to look at me; I stopped at the bottom of the stairs, looking at everybody, and I laughed.
“Hey, guys,” I waved at them. Grace smiled at me and came to my side; she nodded to me, asking if I was okay and I nodded back. She smiled widely and hugged me as she laughed; I hugged her back and laughed with her. When she let go she pulled me back over to the couch where we sat for the rest of the night. The entire Caxton family stayed and watched TV with us; they were all joking around with my sisters and each other. I felt James’ eyes on me the whole time. I was scared to meet his gaze; I was leaving soon and if I formed a bound I wasn’t going to be able to leave easily.
I was still sitting next to Grace when I fell asleep; I had my knees pulled up so that I could rest my head on them with my arms around my shins. I could barely keep my eyes open so turned my head to the side so I would be comfortable; when I did this, I turned in the direction James was sitting. I saw his eyes widen when I looked straight into them, but that was all I was able to see because my eyes closed as soon as I placed my head back on my knees.
Later that night I felt cool hands handling me carefully, trying to lay me down on the couch; I wasn’t able to wake myself up enough to see who was touching me. They didn’t place my head on the couch, instead they placed my head on someone’s lap; it had to of been Grace, her scent was familiar to me and she was the only one who was really close to me so far; I felt her playing with my hair, she was also thinking about how soft it felt to her.
I didn’t sleep long, maybe only an hour and a half; when I woke up I was still on Grace’s lap and she was still playing with my hair. She was laughing quietly to herself, I guess she didn’t notice that I had woken up because when I begun to laugh she jumped slightly.
“Morning, sleepy head,” She said to me laughing again.
“Morning, Grace,” I looked around; only her siblings were still around. “Where’s your dad?”
“He was called to the hospital earlier this morning.” James was the one that answered me. I turned to look towards him; I was still scared to look him in the eyes.
“Oh, well, I hope nothing terrible happened,” I told them as I sat up. I stretched my arms up and leaned back slightly to pop my back. “I need to go get ready for school, excuse me please.” I walked back up to my bathroom and hopped into the shower. I did the final healing session and all the traces of the cut disappeared. I still had to wear my arm wrapped with the bandage, the Caxtons would know something was up if my arm healed so quickly.
I walked back down the stairs to join everyone else; before I could relax and sit next to Grace, I had to wake my sisters up. I walked over to Sara and Julie leaning against each other sound asleep.
“Sara, Julie, wake up, you need to get dressed,” I said loudly, Julie woke up instantly with Sara following right after. “Go get ready,” Julie shook her head to wake up as she got up from the loveseat; Sara got up, still dazed, and walked up the stairs. I walked over to where Carlie laid on the floor; I placed my hand on her shoulder, she was going to be harder to wake up. “Carlie, time to wake up, hot head.” I said as I steadily added pressure to her shoulder using my nails; she winced and jumped straight to her feet. I laughed at her when she looked down at me; she started to mumble insults under her breath, I didn’t listen to her. She never has been a morning person, or Bender.
“Why did you have to dig your nails into Carlie’s shoulder and not Sara’s or Julie’s?” Darius asked me. I shrugged and smiled at him.
“Sara and Julie are easy to wake up, but Carlie is a completely different story.” I told him remembering her face; I started to laugh. “Carlie is the kind of person who would sleep twenty-four-seven if I allowed her. Have you never met anyone like that?”
“No, we haven’t, until now at least.” Ash said.
“I’m sorry about last night. I honestly don’t know what happened.” I said looking at Grace.
“I’m sure no one saw it coming, Cat,” She said grimacing. “Can I ask you something about that, though?”
“Well, it’s just that when I heard you scream,” she paused to shudder, I noticed that James was watching me intently; he, too, shuddered slightly at the memory Grace was picturing. “It sounded like an animal was in pain, too, like a tiger or something; the sound, I think, was coming from you. I don’t mean it in a rude way, but I was just wondering if I was hearing things or what.”
“You think you heard a tiger noise coming from me?”
“I was hearing things, wasn’t I?” I can’t lie my way out of this; I took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh.
“I think I need to show you something, but you probably won’t believe your eyes.”
“We’ll believe you, Cat.”
“Did you know that every person has an animal that they can represent?” They all shook their heads so I continued. “Well, that’s true-,”
“What’s your animal?” James asked me; I smiled and look towards him again.
“My animal is, ironically, a tiger, that’s why my sisters call me cat,” James was slightly surprised at that for some odd reason. “Sara’s animal is a wolf; Julie is a fox; and Carlie is a mountain lion. My sisters and I are very connected to our animals, but I’m the most connected for some reason.”
“What do you mean?” Grace asked.
“Well, my eyes shift, color I mean, but whenever I’m being threatened or in danger or just trying to warn someone to back off, my eyes go to what I call cat. If you don’t really understand, I can show you.” I waited for them to say something but they were silent. I put my head down so that no one would see before I was ready; I took a breath, closed my eyes, and allowed my eyes to go cat. I lifted my head with my eyes closed. “Okay,” I said when I opened my eyes so they could see; I looked around the room, meeting everyone’s eyes so they would see clearly what I mean. “This is what I mean by my eyes going cat,” I met the last set of eyes and realized that I made a mistake; James was looking straight at me and when I met his gaze his eyes widened as they did last night; I closed my eyes instantly and let my eyes shift back to their original color, or at least one of them. I opened my eyes again and showed that they were normal again.
“Do they mess up your vision?” James asked me.
“No, they just enhance it. They enable me to see in the dark, see farther distances clearer. Why?”
“It just seems like they would.”
“They’re my natural eyes, not contacts; there’s nothing over my eye or anything.”
“I still don’t understand, Cat. Why is your family so attached to your animals?” Darius asked me, sounding slightly annoyed. I smiled and laughed as I answered him.
“It’s just something we were, um, born with. It’s been like this with every
Generation,” I told him. “Sometimes, stronger than the rest,” I grimaced.
“So, can you shift into the animal?” he said jokingly.
“Well, there have been legends that our ancestors were able to shape-shift into their animal. My sisters and I haven’t tried it, so, we don’t know.”
“Really?” Ash asked me, I nodded and smiled to him. “That’s really cool, Cat.” I was getting use to them calling me Cat.
“Are you still going to leave soon?” Grace asked me, I saw James lift his head sharply and look at Grace and me. I stretched my mind to his and Grace’s; she was showing him the conversation where I told her to protect my sisters. He didn’t seem to like that I was planning on leaving soon, he hasn’t figured out why he can’t read my mind yet.
“Yeah, I am still planning on leaving. I actually think I’m going to leave tomorrow.”
“Why are you leaving so soon? Your sisters said that you usually stay for almost a month.”
“Well, I told my sisters that if I found something or someone to hold me here, I would stay longer.”
“So, you haven’t found anything or anyone?”
“Well, I have found someone to hold me here; I actually found an entire family to hold me here.” I smiled at Grace and Darius; they were the friendliest to me. James was trying to figure out who I was talking about; Grace knew that I was talking about him, but he wouldn’t listen to her.
“Then why would you leave?”
“The person I found to hold me here, seems to, well, loathe me, if that makes sense.” I saw Grace glance at James; I glanced at him to and hung my head. Grace turned back to me and placed her hand on my shoulder; I heard my sisters shuffling down the stairs.
“We need to head to school now,” I sighed as I stood up; I grabbed my riding jacket and waited for my sisters to come down the stairs. Julie looked straight at me and sighed.
“You’re riding the Ducati aren’t you?” I nodded to her and smiled. “Fine, just be careful,” I walked over to her and hugged her.
“Why are you so obsessed with me being careful? You know I can’t get hurt.” She hugged me back tightly.
“You know why,” I watched her mind as she showed me how I acted throughout the years; she remembered freaking out whenever I came home and revealed the scratches on my back caused by my own tiger claws showing.
“I’ve been through worse, Jewels,” I said as I showed her a small amount of the pain I experienced last night without making her feel any of it.
“I know you’ve been through worse, I’m just being paranoid.” She smiled and laughed as she headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Sara and Carlie were already eating; they had already asked the Caxtons if they would like something to eat, but they turned them down. I slid my arms through the sleeves of my jacket and headed to the side door; I needed some time to think.
“You’re the one on the bike. Where did you learn to ride like that?” I turned to face James.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We saw you on Monday; you made an extremely wide U-turn going about sixty; your knee basically hit the ground when you turned.” He was looking at me with awed eyes.
“Oh, well, I’ve been riding for a while and I like to go fast so I taught myself how to make a wide turn without being killed.” I smiled at him, still not meeting his eyes.
“Yeah, the first time she tried it, the bike threw her off.” Carlie said coming back into the room.
“But I didn’t have a scratch on me,” I told both of them. “Come on, we need to get loaded up.” I led the way into the garage and headed straight to my bike which was still parked between the Porsche and the Ferrari. I heard a low whistle from behind me and turned to see who it was.
“Whose car is that?” Rose asked.
“Which one are you talking about?” I asked her knowing already that she was talking about my Ferrari.
“The silver Ferrari F430.”
“Oh, it’s mine; it’s a 2006 model. Cool, huh?”
“Very, how does it ride?”
“It rides like a dream. Do you want to see it?” I asked inviting her to see on the inside.
“Seriously, I can?” She asked with a beautiful smile.
“Yeah, you all can,” I told her nodding; they all walked over to my car while I opened it. I heard another whistle that came from Darius; I laughed as I moved out of their way. The inside of it was black, faux leather racing seats and a radio that was presently hooked up to my IPod. My sisters ignored us and got in Carlie’s Porsche, leaving the doors opened; I noticed that James stood by the Ducati instead of the car. Maybe he’s into bikes more than he is cars. I walked over to him thinking he wanted to know the model; even though it’s on the side.
“It’s a Ducati Superbike 848,” I told him looking at the bike with my hand on the seat. He just nodded and stood there; I leaned over the seat to grab my helmet off the floor where Julie sat it after she got it out of the trunk.
“I’m a little surprised that you didn’t get the Streetfighter.” He said when I straightened back up.
“I considered getting it, but the sleek style of the Superbike is so much nicer that the Streetfighter.” I smile up at him; still, once again, not meeting his eyes. He smiled back slightly as he agreed. “Which one do you like better, the Superbike or the Streetfighter?” I asked him.
“I like the Streetfighter, but you’re right about the style; so I have to say the Superbike.” He was smiling, happy that we had one thing in common; I have to admit I was happy about that too. Once his siblings were done looking at my car, they loaded into the Audi R8 I saw on Monday. I put my helmet in place, zipped my jacket, and started to back out of the garage. I guess everyone was going to follow me today because the Audi was still in the drive way and Carlie always follows me to school if I ride by myself. I shrugged and made a wide U-turn as my sisters began to pull out. I straightened out and headed down the drive way towards the highway with the Caxtons following right behind; at least they all drove fast.
I pulled into a parking spot instantly and everyone else did the same; monkey see, monkey do. I turned my bike off and walked over to the Porsche so I could put my helmet up; Carlie’s mind was hilarious this morning, she was grumbling about us being in such a hurry and not being patient. I was laughing when she got out of the car; she shot me a look when she heard me, but I just ignored her and shook my head. I got the keys from Carlie so I could lock the car after I was done; my sisters and everyone else went ahead to class while I was putting my helmet away. I lifted my head to the sky, which was nice and cloudy, only minutes away from raining; I smiled as I tilted my head back down and started to turn and walk to class. I stopped mid step; leaning against my bike was James, he was watching me questionably. He shrugged away from my bike and walked towards me slowly; he paused when he was a foot away from me. My breathing spiked and my heart missed a few beats; he has never been this close to be while I was awake. I knew he heard my reaction, but he didn’t comment on it; it took all I had not to look him in the eyes with him this close, I focused on keeping my eyes on his forehead, but making it look like I was looking him in the eyes.
“What are you going to do while you’re gone?” I was taken off guard by this question, had he not gotten this information from Grace?
“I’m going to visit all of our cousins; they’re all over the world so I will probably be gone for a few months.” I shrugged.
“Oh, that’s nice.” He said quietly; I could sense he didn’t really think so. I looked over to him curiously, but he didn’t see me. “Do you know when you’re leaving, exactly?”
“Well, probably tonight or tomorrow. I have to find someone I can trust to ride with me to the airport so they can drive my Ferrari back to my house.” I said as we walked through the main doors. I noticed that he never took his eyes off me as I talked, how odd.
“Why don’t you ask one of your sisters?”
“Well, I don’t trust Carlie with it; and Sara and Julie don’t like to ride in it, let alone drive it.”
“I would be willing to drive it back for you, if you would like.” He was actually looking down at the floor as he said this.
“Really?” He nodded, still looking down at the floor; I couldn’t control myself and I made one of the biggest mistakes ever. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders gently and hugged him. “Thank you so much, James.”
“No problem, Caiity,” He said in a strained voice, I looked up and realized what it was; I quickly let him go and took a step back from him.
“I’m sorry; I honestly don’t know what came over me.” He smiled at me and laughed.
“It’s okay; I’m sure you’re just excited about seeing your cousins.” He placed his hand on my shoulder for a short second and let it drop. “You can never be with people you love too much, Caiity,” He said both to me and to himself.
“You do know that you can call me Cat, most of your family does.”
“Yes, Grace told me that you only allow your family, friends, and the people you love to call you Cat.”
“Yeah, she seemed to know that before I even told her.”
“So, according to that statement, you consider us to be friends.”
“No, Grace is practically another sister to me; I love her. I don’t know the rest of your family as well, but I’m hoping to change that.” I told him looking at the floor; his head snapped up when I told him that Grace was another sister.
“We need to get to our classes,” He turned and started to walk away; when he was a few steps from me he stopped and turned back around. “You and your sisters are welcomed to sit with my family during lunch, if you want to.” I nodded my head to say that we would consider it.
I went through my morning classes in a daze trying to figure out what I’m going to do now; I have to be strictly careful from now on. James and I are very close to forming a bond, and when he rides with me to the airport it’s going to be torture. My Spanish class got out early so I went to wait for my sisters outside their classroom so we could go to lunch together; I didn’t see any of the Caxtons on my way here so I thought that they must already be in the cafeteria.
“Well, at least we don’t have any homework tonight,” Carlie was saying as they exited the room; I laughed as they turned towards me.
“Well, well, well, look who finally wants to hang out with her sisters.” Sara said to me smiling widely.
“Well, I figured since I was leaving tomorrow that I might as well spend some quality time with you.” I told them jokingly.
“I think there’s someone else you want to spend your time with.” Julie said raising her eyebrows.
“Let me guess, his name begins with a J, and ends with an ‘ames’?” Carlie said looking straight at me; Julie nodded her head. She shoved a picture from last night into my mind; showing me the gruesome sight of watching my veins move and connecting in a peculiar pattern, forming his name before allowing my blood to flow through again.
“Yep, it sure does, sis. I don’t think James would mind some quality time either.” Julie laughed.
“Will you guys please grow up?” I asked, surprisingly I felt blood rushing up to my cheeks and warming them.
“Aw, look, she’s blushing,” Sara busted out laughing. “You’ve never blushed before, Cat.”
“I know; it’s embarrassing to have it happen.” I told her hiding my face in my hands as we walked.
“Don’t be embarrassed, you look even more beautiful than usual.” When she said this it made me blush even harder, Sara just giggled.
“James said that we’re welcomed to sit with his family today at lunch.” I told them trying to get off the whole blushing subject.
“Is that what James said?” Carlie asked me, fluttering her eyelashes.
“I’m serious; we can either sit with them or be bombarded by immature boys.”
“Your right, I would rather sit with them than sit with immature freaks.” Carlie said as we entered the cafeteria.
“Okay, I’ll wait until you guys get your food and then we’ll go sit together.” I walked with them in line, waiting for them to get their food. I listened to the lunch time conversations through thought; most of them, sadly, were about my sisters and me. I heard Grace ask James if he wanted to play football with them tonight, but he wasn’t really paying much attention to her; he was trying to figure out how he would be able to ride in my car with me to the airport.
“Do you guys want to play football tonight?” I asked looking at my sisters; I heard a mental alertness coming from James and Grace as they listened in.
“Why do you want to play tonight, why not wait till this weekend?” Sara asked me while she grabbed a salad.
“Sara, I won’t be here this weekend, I’m leaving tomorrow.”
“Oh, right, well I’m up for it if they are,” She jerked her chin towards Carlie and Julie. They looked at each other and nodded.
“I’m in, Cat,” Julie said.
“Sure, why not?” Carlie said, not really enthused.
“Okay, we’ll play after you all eat at home,” I told them looking disgustingly at their food.
“Hey, don’t knock our food; it’s not our fault you have a very different and very strange taste for food.” Sara said giving me a sarcastic mean look.
“It’s not strange, all the food I eat is natural, nothing added to it.” I told her for the millionth time in my life. “Plus, I barely have to eat with my appetite.” Be careful of what you say and think, I told her through my mind; she didn’t understand but she listened to me and shrugged.
“Whatever, I still don’t like your ‘natural food’ it’s nasty despite what you say about it.” Carlie and Julie nodded in agreement as they, too, listened to our conversation. We walked towards the table the Caxtons were sitting at; there was enough room for all of us. Grace smiled as we approached and grabbed Ash’s hand; I didn’t really understand the action, it didn’t match her thoughts. She was excited that James and I were beginning to become close to each other; so it wasn’t only my sisters who noticed it.
“James told us that he invited you to sit with us.” She said as she gestured for us to take a seat; Sara took the seat next to Darius with Julie right next to her, Carlie took a seat next to Rose, which left me the seat on the other side of Grace and next to James.
“Yeah, we really appreciate it; some of the kids around here can get a little territorial.” I said as I carefully took my own seat; from the corner of my eye I saw that James shifted so that he wouldn’t be so close to me, then I realized that I did the same automatically as I sat down. “So, what were you all talking about before we interrupted?” I asked feeling slightly awkward.
“Well, I was asking James if he wanted to play football tonight, but I don’t think he was listening to me.” Sara gave me a look; you little sneak, she thought towards me; I laughed at her because she was right, she knew me well. How is Caiity a sneak; she asked them if they wanted to play football right after Grace asked me like she heard Grace herself…, James was thinking to himself; he was actually thinking about the possibility of me being able to read minds, but then he rejected that thought. No, that’s impossible.
“That’s really cool; I actually just asked my sisters if they would like to play football tonight as well.” I told her.
“Well, that’s ironic,” She said giving James a sideways glance. “We never did tell you that, despite what happened afterwards, we had fun playing baseball with you guys.” She smiled at me.
“Well, I’m glad you did; you guys are really good at baseball, but you weren’t the challenge you thought you were.” I told them giving Darius a teasing look.
“Well, if you hadn’t learned how to pitch like that we would have won the game,” Darius was annoyed because he lost.
“What do mean, Darius?” James asked with a slightly crooked smile.
“It was crazy; this girl can pitch any kind of throw there is perfectly.” Darius said leaning forward talking with his hands. “There isn’t even a major league baseball player that can pitch like her; she can even pitch better than Grace.” James looked at me in amazement and I just shrugged.
“What’s the big deal, so I can pitch better than Grace and any player in the major league?” James just stared at me, Darius had his head in his hand laughing, Rose just looked at him, Ash was in his own world, and Grace just smiled oddly and shook her head.
“Cat, you saw how good we were; I’m the best pitcher in the family and you threw better than me.” I just nodded; I didn’t want her to ask me how I could pitch like that or anything of the sort. “So?”
“Come on, Caiity, spill. Where did you learn how to pitch like that?” Darius said looking at me intently. I looked at my sisters who were looking at me wondering how I was going to get out of this one.
“I can’t really say,” Brilliant, they are going to see right through me easily.
“No way, you are not going to get out of this.” Grace said with Darius murmuring in agreement. I saw from the corner of my eye that James’ hand was moving towards me; I can’t let him touch me, there is no telling what that will do to us. My heart stopped and my arm began to burn; it was just as painful as it was the first time I saw him. Grace glanced at James, hearing my reaction, and then she looked down at his hand that had frozen when he heard my reaction. Suddenly I wasn’t looking at anything around me anymore, instead I was looking at the place I have truly called my home all my life; something was wrong. She wouldn’t have called me to her if everything was fine; then I saw her, she was standing in the moonlit night when there was a full moon, with three others. I came back to the present gasping for air, she was in danger and I need to go see her. I grabbed Grace by the shoulders instantly and stared into her eyes, knowing that she had just seen the same vision, but with a few things different, she would see me their fighting against the three other people who were searching for someone they will never find.
“When is the next full moon?” I asked her demandingly. My sisters were scared, knowing that I just saw the future and it was bad; they kept their minds blank. The Caxtons had a different reaction, Darius and Rose just stared at me with wide eyes; James was shocked by the vision he had just seen through Grace’s mind; Ash felt the anger I felt now, I just then realized that he is an interpreter, just like she is only not as gifted. This family has everything, a reader, a physic, and an interpreter. “Grace, listen to me. I need to know when the next full moon is.” I realized that I was shaking her and jerked my hands off her shoulders and grabbed the edge of my seat so I wouldn’t hurt anyone.
“Why?” She was wondering if I had just seen what she had, but she couldn’t bring herself to believe it.
“Just tell me, this is an emergency; please tell me.” I was crying and I couldn’t stop, if I lose her I’m doomed.
“It’s tomorrow night,” I shook my head and squeezed my eyes shut. I shoved away from the table and ran out the door towards the parking lot. I heard three sets of footsteps behind me so I pushed my legs harder making me run faster, but still at a human pace. They caught up with me soon; Sara’s hand grabbed my wrist and spun me around. She was about to ask what happened but then she saw that I was crying and wouldn’t be able to speak. She hugged me around the waist and I buried my face in her shoulder; Grace rubbed my back trying to comfort me; James was standing behind Sara watching me hurt, unable to do anything for me because he had no idea what would help me.
“Tell me what happens.” Sara said, not bothering to keep to the code; I didn’t care at the moment either, the only way she would understand is if I told her as much truth as possible.
“I can’t stay here any longer, Sara; I’m sorry.”
“Why can’t you stay one more day and why did you need to know when the next full moon is?” She asked me gently; I pushed away from her slightly so I could see her face.
“She’ll need my help; she’s going to be in terrible trouble during the next full moon.” Her eyes widened as she realized the danger I was referring to; she pushed away and grabbed my shoulders roughly and began to shake her head.
“No, you can’t do that, you can’t help her.” She told me. “Caiity, if you go there at the same time they’re there, it would be a suicide mission; you can’t do that to us, she’s not your responsibility anymore.”
“Sara, I’m not going to let them have her so they can just kill her!” I yelled at her. “She will always be my responsibility, she’s my mom; I would sacrifice myself to save her if that’s what it takes to stop them.” I shoved away from her and walked toward my bike. “Don’t even try to follow me, Sara.” I yelled without turning; I heard Sara telling Grace to release her, but from the sounds of her struggles Grace was able to pull her back towards the school and away from me.
I got to my bike without any other attempts to stop me; I fished the key out of my pocket and threw my leg over the seat to straddle the bike before I started it. I reached my hand towards the ignition, but a white hand softly grabbed my wrist stopping me; I sighed knowing that it was James. I looked up and he was looking straight into my eyes; he didn’t give me time to say anything to get him to let go of me.
“I’m going with you,” I shook my head about to protest, but he placed his index finger to my lips disabling me to speak. “At least to the airport; I promised you that I would drive your vehicle back to your house, and I’m keeping that promise.” He removed his finger but kept his hold on my wrist. “Now, are you going to allow me to keep the promise?” He asked me. I took a deep breath, taking in his scent and sighed.
“Yes, I’m going to allow you to keep the promise.” I told him, my eyes never leaving his. He smiled at me crookedly, but still kept hold of my wrist; we stayed where we were, not moving, for a few minutes. My arm began to ache, but not painfully and the pull became tighter and tighter the longer we looked at each other; we were drifting towards each other unable to control ourselves, if we didn’t break eye contact soon it would be hard on both of us when I left. I snapped my head towards the front of my bike and squeezed my eyes shut for a brief second.
“If you want to come with me, then you need to hop on now.” I told him still looking at my bike; he looked at me for one more second, wondering if I hadn’t felt what was beginning between us. He sighed and got on the bike; when I turned the ignition on he still had his hands at his sides. “You’re going to want to hang on,” I told him; as I backed out he hesitantly wrapped his arms around my waist. I felt at peace with him this close to me, but I still wasn’t complete; I heard his soft sigh as I raced out of the school parking lot and headed straight towards the highway. I hope I can live through this so I can return to my old and new friends.
I started to speed up as soon as I got on the highway; I started to think about what would happen if I didn’t get there in time, she would be dead. The bike can go fast but not fast enough for me right now; I gripped the handles tighter trying to hold myself in place. My tiger self caught up with me and she wanted to spring from the bike and take off at full speed; my leg muscles started tightening getting ready to jump. James noticed the difference in my body’s posture; he tightened his hold around my waist thinking that I was scared from the speed. Him tightening his hold caused us to come together, his entire body touching mine; my body’s rejoice was painful, but not something I wanted to rid myself of. My body relaxed and I was able to keep my head together.
We arrived at Juneau International Airport a few minutes later thanks to my speed; I got off the bike and handed James the keys expecting him to take it home now. He just looked at the keys and then shook his head.
“I’m going to see you off before I take your bike.” I sighed and put the keys in my pocket as he got off the bike. We walked to the ticket counter and I purchased a ticket to Inverness, Scotland; James looked at me when the woman told me the price, he began to reach into his pocket for his credit card but I already had mine out and on the counter.
“Put it all on the card,” I told her, she and James gave me the same look that said it doesn’t seem like I would have that much money on a card; I shrugged and nodded for her to continue. I got my ticket and headed towards the terminals with James following me; we arrived at my terminal right as the plane was landing, so I still had a while before loading. I groaned quietly and sat down; James looked at me and took a seat beside me.
“Do you want to talk about it?” He asked hesitantly putting his hand on my back; I shook my head.
“You wouldn’t understand; it’s complicated,” I told him putting my head in my hands.
“I can possibly understand more than you think.”
“James, I do want to tell you, I really do, but if I do, you and your family would be put in terrible danger,” it was the truth. “I don’t want to do that to you.”
“What do you mean we would be put in danger?” I shook my head. “Caiity, it can’t be that bad.”
“James, I have done terrible things in my past, things that have caused me to put my entire family in jeopardy.”
“You can trust me, you know.” He has it backwards, he can trust me, but if I don’t want him to be in danger, then I can’t trust him.
“My plane is about to start boarding,” I said as I stood up and faced the doors; he stood up with me just as they announced that they were going to begin boarding in five minutes. I began to walk towards the doors, but James grabbed my wrist and spun me around; he crushed me against his chest and I hugged him around his waist. Whether it was for himself or his family, or even my family, he didn’t want me to leave; one of his arms was stretched from one side of my shoulders to the top of my other shoulder, and his other hand was on my lower back pushing me against him. In his mind all I heard was him saying please stay; I looked up at him and saw that he looked as I he would cry if that were possible. He leaned his head down and placed his forehead against mine, as he did this his hold began to loosen; I needed to go now, the bond was formed and if I waited any longer I wouldn’t be able to leave. I buried my face in his chest one last time.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered to him and pulled away; he tried to grab my hand to stop me but I danced out of the way and raced towards the doors that were now open. I needed to keep my emotions together, the pull was getting stronger and tighter with every step I took; it was causing me pain to leave him so there’s no telling what this is doing to him.
When I sat down on the plane I only allowed myself to think of what I was heading to, not what I was leaving; as I did this I went into lockdown mode This is how I found out that he was determined to keep what just happened between us from his family until necessary; I couldn’t agree more, if he did that they would be slightly safer.
“Have you seen anything more?” I asked Grace; she shook her head. It’s been almost two days since Caiity left in a hurry for Scotland; ever since she left I’ve felt incomplete. Something happened between us at the airport; my sibling knew that I was hiding something from them, but I wasn’t going to tell them. I miss being able to look into Caiity’s eyes, seeing her smile break across her face like the sun rising on the horizon; Ash felt my sadness, he looked at Grace and then at me. Her sisters were going to be arriving at our table soon.
“James,” Ash said. “You really need to act at least slightly normal. They’re freaked enough about their sister without you acting like this.” I nodded.
“I know that, Ash; I’m really trying,” Sara was the first one to the table; Carlie and Julie were right behind her, though. They all smiled at us as they took their usual seats; I wonder if they know that they smell like animals. Caiity smells like anything you can think of, but they smell like the animals they represent; interesting. My family was talking to them as I thought about this.
“So, why don’t you miss her while she’s away?” Ash asked them, talking about Caiity.
“Well, we always feel like a part of her is with us no matter what.” Sara said smiling; Carlie and Julie smiled as well.
“How is that possible?” Darius asked; Rose just gave them a curious look.
“You see, Caiity created our family crest when we were younger. The first year that she traveled the world, she was worried that we would think she was leaving us permanently.” Julie told us.
“So, what did you do?” Rose asked her. Carlie shrugged.
“We got tattoos,” She said bluntly.
“We got our family crest on the back of our necks, and then we got our animals on our lower back. I have a fox that’s lying down on its side,” Julie said.
“I have a prowling mountain lion,” Carlie said with a slight smile.
“And I have a wolf baying to the moon.”Sara said looking at Carlie and shaking her head.
“So, Cat has a tiger on her lower back.” Grace said; it wasn’t a question.
“No, all the tattoo designs of a tiger would have taken up her entire back, and they didn’t really fit her or the animal.” Julie corrected Grace; Grace looked at her with a very confused look on her face.
“So, Cat didn’t get any animal, she just has the crest?” I asked speaking for the first time since they arrived. I’ve taken to calling Caiity Cat, but I don’t know if I will be able to call her Cat when she returns after what happened at the airport.
“Well, no, she didn’t get an animal, but she doesn’t just have the crest.” Sara said. “Instead, she got a black rose with the stems reaching to her hips on both sides.”
“A black rose?” Ash asked; Sara nodded to him. “That’s an interesting choice.”
“There’s actually a story that goes along with the black rose, but it’s really strange.” Julie said.
“We would like to hear it, though,” Grace told them with us nodding or mumbling in agreement; Julie was about to tell the story just as the bell rung.
“If you come over to our house tonight we’ll tell you the story.” Sara said as she got out of her seat and headed out the door with her sisters following. My family and I followed shortly after them; once out the doors, we went our separate ways.
Ever since Caiity and her sisters arrived at this school, every male human’s mind has been filled with fantasies that I wouldn’t want anyone to know about; I feel sorry for myself that I have to listen to it. I’m able to tune it out sometimes, like now for instance; I spend most of my time thinking about Caiity now. Grace had a vision about Caiity last night; she was fighting someone that outnumbered her by two, and from what Grace saw they were stronger and faster than Caiity was. Then the vision took a different course; Caiity was actually winning. It was like she was storing up all her strength and speed until the right moment; they were trying to break her bones, but they couldn’t even pop her joints.
I spent the rest of the day thinking about her, wondering what she was doing now and when she would be back. When the bell rung, I walked out of class in a daze, wishing I could see Caiity right now. I don’t understand why I can’t read her mind, but sometimes it’s like she can read mine or my siblings. I really wished I could have read her mind at the airport that day. What did she mean that she’s done terrible things in her past? Why did she say she was sorry before she left? Why does she sometimes laugh at nothing? Sometimes it’s like her and her sisters communicate through thought somehow, what is that about? These questions have been running through my head all day, and I have no idea how to answer them.
My siblings were already at the car when I entered the parking lot and talking to the sisters; they were getting ready to leave. I heard Darius ask if we could come over later to hear the black rose story; I found it strange that I was the only one who knew the story. I walked over to them and said that I would see them later; when I got into my car I turned on some music that would help me relax some. Once my siblings got in I pulled out and headed home.
“Can you see what they’re going to tell us tonight?” Darius asked Grace.
“I’ll look and see,” Her eyes went blank for a few seconds, then a strange look crossed her face; I looked over at her in shock. “I can’t see anything.”
“Try focusing on Julie, she seems to be the one who tells the stories.” Ash told her. She closed her eyes this time and she saw something, but it wasn’t anything to do with Julie; it was about Caiity.
“I didn’t get all of that, what was it?” I asked her.
“Caiity, she’s coming home soon, but I don’t know when.” She shook her head in surprise to something before she continued. “There’s something different about her; she’s like a completely different person.”
“What do you mean?” Darius asked her sounding slightly annoyed that he couldn’t understand.
“I don’t know, I can’t really describe it.” She looked at me. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
“Maybe we should talk to Adam or Kay about it,” Ash said; Grace and I shook our heads.
“No, they can come over to the sisters’ house with us tonight.” I told them. “The sisters actually like Adam, but they haven’t met Kaylie yet.”
“They like us too you know.” Grace told me, I just nodded to her; it was true, they did.
We arrived at our house then, and Adam and Kaylie were home. Grace looked at me, are we going to tell them? I shook my head slightly as I got out of the car; my siblings and I walked into the house together. Rose and Darius headed over to the dining room table to build a house of cards; Grace and Ash went to sit on the stairs; I walked over and sat at the piano. Kaylie looked up as I sat down and walked over to me; she placed her hands on my shoulders.
“Are you going to play, James?” she asked me.
“I don’t know, I may, but I have nothing new.” I lifted my head to look at her as I said this.
“I don’t mind, my son, your older creations are just fine. You don’t have to create something new every decade.” She laughed and went to sit with Grace and Ash on the stairs. I looked at the keys before I began playing; it has been a while since I’ve played, I haven’t really had anything to play about. Do I have something to play for now? My hands drifted across the keys, playing Kaylie’s favorite song, something I created for her and Adam when they got married. I looked over at her and smiled, she was swaying to the music; Grace was looking at her too. Grace was thinking of a song that she loved; I began playing another song. When Grace heard me playing Chopsticks, she turned and smiled widely at me; I smiled back at her.
When I turned to face the keys again I heard something like music, but it wasn’t the piano I was playing. I paused where I was in the song and the sound was inside my head; it was humming a tune that was both unfamiliar and familiar to me. It sounded almost like a lullaby; I listened to the tune as I began playing it on the piano. Grace and Kaylie came and stood behind me wondering what I was playing. As I got further into the song it started reminding me of Caiity; the voice I heard in my head began to sing. It was a female voice that could be considered a soprano or alto; her voice was beautiful even though I didn’t understand the language (and I know most languages), but I still didn’t know who it was, and I knew I didn’t imagine the voice. The song ended with a melancholy key that the voice matched.
I stopped playing and sat there with my hands in my lap. What did that song mean, and the voice? I knew that my face didn’t hide my confusion or frustration; Kaylie placed her hands on my shoulders again and looked at the piano.
“What was that, James?” she asked me.
“I don’t know, Kaylie, I heard a voice in my head and I began playing.” I told her shaking my head. “The further I got into the song, the more it reminded me of Caiity.” I looked up at her.
“Wait. Do you mean Caiity as in the sisters’ Caiity?” Grace asked me remembering how the song ended.
“Is there any other Caiity in the world who spells her name C-a-i-i-t-y?” I asked her.
“Well, there was that nurse that worked with me when I changed you that spelled her name like that, and she looked a lot like Caiity.” Adam said as he came down the stairs to join the rest of us thinking about the nurse. “But I don’t think it’s the same Caiity.”
“Well, I agree with you, but the point is what this song means. I heard a female voice singing in a language that I didn’t understand, and it sounded like Caiity in a way, like when she says things that belong in one of our centuries or even maybe before us.” I told them.
“I still say she’s weird altogether, but your right, she does say some strange things every once in a while.” Rose said coming into the room with Darius shrugging in agreement.
“She’s not strange, she unique just like the rest of us.” Grace said to her, Rose just shrugged and went to sit by Ash with Darius following right behind her.
“Your right, Grace; none of the sisters are strange.” They all looked at me when I said this. “They have all been through a lot in their lives and they’re all connected in a way that is a mystery to everyone who meets them. Seeing their memories about each other is amazing, but some memories are the exact same in all of their minds.” I was looking down at my hands as I said this.
“What do you mean, James?” Ash asked me.
“I mean their memories of Caiity. They all have the same memories; watching her eyes shift, seeing every emotion, whether its mild or severe, play across her face, seeing the smile that raises the sun, watching her dance in the moonlight, singing songs with them, and so many other many memories. They think of her as a mother, not a sister. They remember being able to sense when something is wrong with her because of something that she can do. She’s not a sister, or a mother, she’s a protector.” I looked up at Adam.
“Tell me something, James, what exactly happened before she left?” Adam asked as he came and stood beside me. I knew he was wondering about what happened at the airport, but I can’t tell them about it; mostly because I have no idea what happened.
“I honestly don’t know. Caiity and Grace were talking about the baseball game they played; Grace and Darius were trying to get her to tell them how she learned how to pitch, and she was trying to get out of it for some reason. I basically had no control of my hand, but I was reaching towards her; she noticed and looked at my hand, Grace did the same when she heard Caiity’s heartbeat speed up and her breathing stop. Next thing I knew Caiity went completely still and her eyes went blank; Grace did the same. The sisters were watching Caiity and we were watching Grace. Grace saw Caiity in a field or something during a full moon, three people were in front of her and someone else was behind her, apparently she was protecting that person; Caiity was getting ready to fight. When Caiity snapped out of it she grabbed Grace by the shoulders and demanded for her to say when the next full moon is like she saw the vision for herself. Grace told her and she shoved from the table and ran to the parking lot.”
“I also had that other vision, James.” Grace chimed in looking at me.
“Yes, Grace had another vision last night about Caiity. She was fighting those three people and they were stronger and faster than her; then the vision took another course. Caiity was beating them, they would try to break her bones, but they couldn’t even pop her joints.” I told Adam, he nodded in assessment.
“Could you tell who she was fighting, or protecting?” He asked Grace.
“All I could tell was that she was protecting a young woman with black hair and very pale skin, but I didn’t get a good look at who she was fighting, they blended in with the darkness.” Grace told him, and he nodded again. I realized what time it was then.
“We need to go now; the sisters want us to go over to their house so they can tell us a story. You’re welcome to come as well.” I told Adam and Kaylie; she smiled and nodded, but Adam grimaced
“I wish I could, but I’m supposed to go to the hospital tonight. Please tell the sisters my reason for not being there.” I nodded to him as he walked towards the garage. I was lucky that the Audi could fit six people so Kaylie didn’t have to take a car by herself; she was excited that she now had the opportunity to meet the sisters, but a little disappointed she doesn’t get to meet Caiity yet. I drove down the drive and across the highway to get to their drive; I parked outside their garage. We walked up to the front door and I knocked; Sara was the one that answered with a smile. Her black hair was braided into a bun and her dark blue eyes gleamed in the porch light.
“Come on in, we’re glad you could come.” She told us pushing the door wide and stepping aside; we smiled and nodded, before I walked in I felt the need to introduce Kaylie.
“Sara, this is our mother, Kaylie Caxton.” I gestured to her.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs. Caxton.” Sara said taking Kaylie’s hand.
“I feel the same way, but please, call me Kaylie.” She smiled back.
“Kaylie it is then.” Sara smiled and nodded; she gestured for us to go in and we did. Sara walked into the living room with Kaylie and me following.
“Carlie, Jewels, this is Kaylie; she’s their mother.” Sara told them, they both said a quiet hello to her and Kaylie smiled back and nodded to them. Julie was French Braiding Carlie’s flame colored hair while her long platinum blond hair rested on her shoulders. Julie and Sara both had blue eyes, but Julie’s were a light blue. Carlie’s eyes were piercing green, reminding me of a dragon from a child’s storybook.
“So, you guys still want to hear the story of the black rose?” Julie asked when we all took our seats; we all nodded to her and waited for her to continue.
“Well, um, you see some people believe that the black rose signifies death or hatred, but it means something else to others. To our family it means an ultimate strength or the most dangerous thing on Earth.
“So, why did Caiity get it on her back, if that’s what it means?” I asked.
“Caiity isn’t what she appears; she’s stronger and faster than she looks. She’s the strongest and fastest out of our entire family, and what she’s capable of is unbelievable.” Sara said slowly.
“What do you mean ‘unbelievable’?” Ash asked her.
“She has more abilities that you can even dream of.” Sara said.
“Can you give us an example?” Rose asked.
“Well, there are things that many people can do, but not like her; then there are things that are hard to describe.” When we all looked at her confused she continued. “Okay, one thing is her voice, not when she’s talking, but when she’s singing.” She said as she walked over to the stereo in the room, she grabbed a CD off the shelf and put it in. “This is what we listen to when she’s gone and we miss her voice.” She quit talking so we could listen; the first thing that came on was a piano and a voice humming with the tune; then the voice started singing an Irish song. When the song ended we sat there silent for a minute.
“That was Caiity singing?” I asked.
“Yes, she learned the song at a very young age; the song is called Sleepsong.” Sara told us as she went to turn the CD off. “Something that Caiity can do that is hard to describe is kind of like a way we can communicate.”
“We can kind of hear Caiity in our minds; like when she really needs to tell us something or warn us of something she does this. We don’t know how she can, but we do know that we can’t; we all say that she has the ability to put her thoughts in other people’s heads, but that’s not possible.” Julie told us trying to find the best way to phrase it.
“What does this have to do with the black rose?” Darius asked.
“Because of all the things Caiity can do, she considers herself one of the most dangerous things on Earth; since she’s the strongest and fastest one in the family, she also considers herself to have ultimate strength.” Julie told him he threw his head back and laughed.
“Yeah right, I’m stronger than Caiity is, heck even Grace is stronger than Caiity.” Darius roared, the sisters looked at each other and then at him. “What now?”
“I told you, she’s not what she appears; she’s spent years building her strength to protect anyone who needs it. She’s nothing like you think she is.” Sara said with a slightly sad look on her face.
“Why does that upset you?” Kaylie asked.
“The three of us see her as one thing, but she sees herself as something else.” Julie told her.
“What do you see her as?” Grace asked them.
“We see her as everything good in the world, but she sees herself as a monster, a murderer; she doesn’t get that she has do what she needs to so that she can live!” Carlie exploded; Sara and Julie both hit her with their elbows. “They have a right to know this.” She said to them.
“If Caiity wants them to know this then she can tell them.” Sara said to Carlie, and then she turned to us. “I’m sorry, but we can’t say anymore on the matter.”
“That’s fine I think we understand the black rose part, but none of the rest.” Grace said; they nodded and changed the subject; we ended up talking about school and sports. As it turns out, none of them really like sports; so Caiity is the only real athlete in the family. I didn’t talk much after that, I couldn’t help but wonder about Caiity more. Why does she see herself as a murderer or a monster, more importantly how? She’s beautiful and she cares about everyone she knows; she even said that Grace is like another sister to her, and that she loved her.
We stayed at their house for another hour before we left; Kaylie was rejoicing in the car that she finally got to meet them.
“You were right, Grace, they are so nice.” She said to Grace with a smile. “They’re very unique as well, I’ve never met a family that stands together like them; I can’t wait to meet Caiity when she returns.” I looked over at her then Grace; Grace was grimacing. “What’s wrong with you two?” Kaylie asked, Grace looked at me and I nodded.
“You might as well tell her.” I said to Grace facing the road; she took a deep breath and sighed.
“Kaylie, I had a vision today on our way home and it was about Caiity.” She paused trying to phrase it right, but Kaylie interrupted her.
“Did something happen to her?” Kaylie asked in alarm glancing at me when she did, Grace shook her head.
“I didn’t get a clear view of her, but she’s coming home soon and there’s something different about her. It was like she was a completely different person, she seemed angry or something. The only change I could really register was that there was something on both her arms.” Kaylie told her.
“You couldn’t see anything more?” Grace shook her head. “Well, what do you suppose we do?” Kaylie asked me.
“The only thing we can do, wait and see.” I said as I pulled into the garage.
When Adam got home Kaylie told him everything that happened, from the black rose story to the vision Grace and I told her about. I sat at the piano remembering the song that Caiity had sung on the CD; I compared her voice to the voice I heard in my head, they were similar but there were differences. While everyone else was planning a hunting trip, Grace and I talked more about the vision she had today. She told me about Caiity’s arms and how they looked like they were wrapped or something; she also said that Caiity was very upset about something. I kept thinking that she might be upset because of what happened at the airport; I tried to find other reasons, but I kept coming back to that. I’m going to have to ask her, Caiity never does what I expect.
Los Angeles, Nebraska
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