I know I haven’t posted a chapter in awhile. I had so many commitments! If you want to read the first Chapters, you can find them on my blog! Enjoy!
Ana and I walked out of Biology class, and I looked back with a shudder. We had just finished dissecting a cow eyeball. I could still smell the formaldehyde. Ana, with a skip in her step, was about to walk past Cole who had been leaning up against the wall next to the door. “Hey,” he said to us, and we both responded “hi” back. He walked with us over to our lockers, which were on the same wall only a couple of feet apart. As I turned the combination on my locker, he leaned up against it, next to me. I shoved my biology book and IPad into the locker and grabbed my bag lunch and looked over at him.
“What’s up?” I asked quietly, trying to be low key. After our discussion yesterday, I felt even more nervous around him than I did before. I mean, here’s this guy, who is totally cute, can play Air, Water and Earth like they’re instruments, and who is also my own personal bodyguard? I didn’t know how to act around him, but I was determined to not let that nervousness show, so I straightened my spine.
“I thought I’d walk to lunch with you guys,” he said, looking down the row of lockers towards Ana. I looked over and saw her grab her lunch bag out of her locker and shut the door. I noticed, once again, that her skin tone had changed colors, making her blend in slightly with the beige wall.
“Sure,” I said, and we headed down the hall towards the cafeteria. As we neared the Quad, I saw Summer and Ben sitting under a tree in the shade.
Ben looked up. “Cole!” he yelled. Summer looked at us and waved. We walked past a couple of kids who were throwing a football to each other. As one boy threw to the other, the ball started to sail straight towards Summers head. I started to take a breath to yell at her to look out, when Ben, swiveled his head to the side slightly and leaped straight up from a sitting position, his hand reaching up and scooping the football to his chest. He landed standing up and threw the ball back to the other guy.
“Thanks, sugar,” Summer said, reaching her hand out to hold his as he sat back down next to her. Ben grabbed a French fry off her plate and stuck it in his mouth.
Wow, that was an incredible catch! I looked around at my group of friends for a reaction, but noticed nobody seemed surprised. Apparently, Cole and I weren’t the only ones who had some unique gifts.
“Ok,” I said to the group, “Is there something you’d all like to share with me?” Yesterday, when Cole and Brenna told me about my background as the daughter of a Seer and Elemental, that I might develop powers, and that Cole, being an Elemental, already had powers, I wondered about some of these unique abilities I kept seeing in my friends. Brenna had mentioned Others, but didn’t really get past Cole’s background and mine.
Cole, knowing what I was going to ask, leaned over to Ben and said, “Show her what you can do.” Ben looked at me and blinked. His blink was not like my blink, which was normal with one eyelid moving from the top to the bottom of my eye. He had two lids, one that blinked from the top, and one from the bottom of his eye, and met in the center. He looked over at Summer’s plate of food and I noticed a French fry fly into his mouth. He chewed slightly and grinned.
“What,” I asked, my mouth hanging slightly open, “was that?” Ben’s tongue unfurled from his mouth and zipped over to grab another fry from Summer’s plate.
“Watch the tongue, Ben!” Summer laughed, biting into her cheeseburger.
“Guys, throw the ball over here again!” Ben called over to the two boys throwing the football. The ball was thrown our way and Ben leaped from a sitting position and scooped the ball up again. This time, he didn’t throw it back, but turned his hand over. The ball stuck to his hand.
“Take it from me,” Ben said, as he held the ball out towards me. I tried to take it, but it was seriously stuck to his hand! Ben curled his palm in slightly and the ball released from his palm with a small sound and jumped into my hand. I stepped towards him and said, “Let me see your hand.” He held his hand out, and flexed his palm slightly. When he did that, these little suction cups popped out. When he curled his hand in slightly, the suction cups disappeared. He took the ball and threw it back.
“Stop playing with her,” Summer laughed. “Ave, Ben’s dad is a frog shifter and his mom is human.” She reached out for Ben’s hand again and tugged him down next to her.
“You mean, his dad can turn into a frog? Like at the full moon or something? Do you do that too?” I asked in amazement looking at Summer. Everyone laughed.
“Nah, I don’t shift into anything, but I have inherited a little bit of his traits.” Ben said nonchalantly. “My dad’s family emigrated here from South America a couple of generations ago.”
“Pretty cool! No wonder you are such a great goalie!” I laughed.
I turned to Ana. “Okay, you’re next. Don’t think I haven’t noticed your skin changes color!” I said to her. As we all watched Ana, I noticed that her hand, which was resting on the ground at her side, had turned a slight green tint, blending in with the grass.
Ana smiled shyly, “You’re right, I’m a Chameleon.” She held up her hand, and I saw little swirls appear on her skin and then separate into groups of freckle clusters. The color of her skin had turned back to a beautiful peachy tint. Her eyes turned a warm shade of brown. Ben let out a soft whistle and Summer slugged him in the arm.
“That explains why no one ever seems to remember you.” I said to her, nodding towards Summer and also thinking back to my first day of class when Mr. Newsome argued with her about whether she’d been in class before.
Summer also chimed in with, “Sorry about that, Ana!”
“No problem, Summer, my instinct is to always blend in,” Ana said quietly, “but I can also change my skin color at will.” She put her hand in front of Summer’s brown leather purse, and the freckles in her hand swirled and disappeared, her skin tone changing to an almost exact match.
“Ok, so we have Frog boy, a Chameleon, and what are you?” I asked looking directly at Summer. Summer held out her arm and fur started sprouting from the top of it. I watched in amazement as her arm was soon covered with golden fur. Her nails were now long claws that looked like they could shred through steel, the tips still painted with red polish. Her nose had flattened slightly and I could see ears peeking through her still long blonde hair.
“I’m a cat shifter.” Summer yawned, showing a mouthful of very sharp teeth that hadn’t been there a moment ago. “You know the full moon thing is just creative storytelling.” She stretched her arm back out and the hair, teeth, and nails receded back into her human form.
“Shifters have lived in this area for a couple generations. Everyone in my family has cat like traits, but my immediate family more closely resembles a mountain lions. Of course we don’t completely shift into a mountain lion. We still walk on two legs.”
“But didn’t Ana say that you moved here only a few years ago?”
“My father is from this area and went away to college in Georgia. That’s where my mom and her family is from.”
“That does explain your super speed and how athletic you are on the soccer field.” I pictured Summer playing soccer with a family of cat shifters. Each one fast and having great foot, hand, and eye coordination.
“But, isn’t it hard to hide what you are from everyone here?” I waved my hand at the other kids throwing the football around, and eating lunch. Everyone laughed, and Cole pointed out a girl sitting at the table under the tree close by. She had been talking to a friend and at Cole’s whistle her head spun around on her neck, so that it was looking at us, but her body was still facing in the other direction. Her eyes glowed yellow, and then she gave a long slow blink, and her head twisted back around. I gasped, and Cole said, “Ayla is part Owl. Dover is filled with kids who are a little Other.”
Knowing that everyone was a little different made me feel less anxious about sharing my story with them. I looked at my friends and started talking.
“Well since you all have been straight with me, I have something to share too.” Cole and I took turns re-telling my story and also what happened in the store yesterday. They were already aware of Cole’s powers, but were impressed that he had been assigned as my Guardian.
Ana, who had been quiet up to that point, asked the question: “So, this guy in the store belongs to some group that wants to hurt you?”
“Well, we don’t really know.” I answered, looking at Cole to see if he had any information to add. During our conversation, I had noticed that Cole, even as he contributed to the discussion, was scanning the area. He normally had his hands in the pockets of his hoodie—today’s was red and black with the school’s logo over the chest—but his hands were out of his pockets, in preparation for action, I guess. I glanced around, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Well, more extraordinary, anyway, I thought.
Cole looked at the group. “I think we can expect trouble. Avery’s powers are supposed to kick in on her birthday.” He looked at me in question.
“In two weeks,” I said, “on Halloween.”
Ana gasped, her freckles whirling madly, and her skin changed to the color of the tree’s bark that she was leaning against. “Samhain!”
Summer looked at her curiously, “I’m not liking the sound of that gasp, Sugar. Why don’t you fill us in?”
Cole spoke before Ana could, “it’s the longest day of the year, and the one day of the year that the veil between our world and another is really thin.” Ana nodded in agreement. “But in addition to that, legend has it that a couple hundred years ago a pair of evil Spell Castors named Atticus and Gaea cast a spell at 12:01 a.m. on Samhain, trying to bring forth the Demon Avadar, a Grand Duke of Hell. No one knows why they were trying to summon him, but when they did, they were not able to hold him and he escaped into our world.”
“Dude, what happened to him?” Ben asked.
“Well, if that legend is true, then he is still loose in our world.” Cole stretched the fingers of his hands out, knuckles lightly popping. “There is a second part to the prophecy Avery’s grandmother foretold. Remember the first says that the child from the union of a Seer and Elemental will have tremendous power unheard of before, but the second part said that that child would have the power to return the Demon Avadar back to hell.”
Surprised, I looked around at my friends, wondering, just as they were, I’m sure, if I was actually that child. I mean, I didn’t feel like I had some kind of incredible power that could strike against a demon, sending him back to hell.
“Well, I guess that gives us an idea of what that man wanted.” Ben said, and the bell for fourth period rang.
I ran backwards keeping pace with the girl dribbling the ball towards me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see another girl wearing a blue jersey moving into an open space between two of our defenders. As her leg went back for the kick to her teammate, I changed direction, moving forward and into the lane to intercept her pass. Running forward, I tapped the ball with the outside of my foot, ran around a blue jersey, and glanced across the field looking for red and black jerseys. Summer was being covered by two players, but I knew she’d free herself up for the pass. The girl defending my advance was the same girl I had just stripped the ball from the moment before and saw she was looking at me in intense concentration, like she had something to prove. As my toe hit the ball to send a pass across the field to Summer, the other player slid through the grass in a tackle that should’ve taken me down, but without a thought, I gestured towards her and her slide stopped abruptly, like she had hit a wall. Her body crumpled up into a standing position, with her face pressed to the side against that invisible wall, and then falling backwards into a heap on the ground. As I stood there staring at what had just happened, wondering if I’d had anything to do with it, I heard my teammates yelling. Summer had just put us in the lead, taking my pass, and with one tap placing it in the goal.
The player on the ground stirred and looked over at a spot on the ground, searching for the reason that her tackle stopped abruptly. Seeing nothing, she shrugged it off and limped over to the sideline, where she was subbed out of the game.
I ran over to Summer to congratulate her and saw Cole, Ben, and Ana standing on the sidelines. They were wearing their black and red jerseys, as the boys’ varsity team had played the game before ours. I saw Cole was staring at the spot on the other side of the field, but Ben, as if he knew I had created that invisible wall, was looking directly at me and smiled, “That was Lit, Avery!”
As Summer and I approached the side of the soccer field, the referee blew his whistle, signaling the end of the game. Cole, Ben, and Ana congratulated us with pats on the back. As we headed towards the locker room, Cole asked if we all wanted to meet up at Gino’s Pizza to celebrate.
“I could use a slice,” Summer said, and I agreed. We had gotten into the habit over the last couple of weeks to go for pizza after a game. Summer was always starving and could usually finish a Meat Lovers pizza by herself. We all agreed to meet up at Gino’s and Summer and I walked off towards the locker room.
As the two of us entered the locker room, I glanced up at a sign posted to the wall inside the door. Dover High Sadie Hawkins Dance, it read. The sign had a couple dressed up in Elvis and Priscilla Presley costumes, dancing under a full moon. There were jack-o-lanterns decorating each corner of the poster, and there was the image of a witch on a broomstick flying across the front of the moon. “Are you and Ben going to the Dance?” I asked Summer, nodding towards the sign as we passed it. This year the dance fell on October 30, and was being treated as more of a Halloween party, but the tradition of the girl asking the boy still applied.
“I asked him today at lunch and he said he’d like to go. He mentioned doubling with you and Cole. What do you think?” She laughingly looked my way. Ana, Summer, and I had gone shopping the other day and I had fished around for information on Cole. I thought I’d been pretty casual about it, but apparently I hadn’t been casual enough.
I shrugged in embarrassment. I wasn’t sure how I felt about asking him to the dance, and said as much to Summer. I thought initially there had been a little bit of chemistry between Cole and me, but since his Guardian secret was out, I wasn’t sure if hanging out with me wasn’t just a job.
“I’m not sure I should,” I answered. “Maybe he’s not allowed. I mean, it’s not like he’s hanging out with me because he likes me. He kind of has to, you know?” I pulled my towel out of my locker and started going through my gym bag looking for my clean clothes.
“Ben wouldn’t have suggested it if he’d thought Cole wouldn’t go for it. I know Cole takes this Guardian job seriously, but I think there’s more to him than just that. Since I’ve known him, he’s never shown any interest in a girl, and he’s had plenty of chances.” Summer grabbed her entire bag and headed towards the shower, but threw a comment over her shoulder on the way out of the room, “You’ll never know unless you ask him!”