Allure | Teen Ink


January 24, 2011
By Anonymous

Death is the end to all. But the beginning to some.

Demi faded. In the blackness her friends stood, bathed with a pale light. Some laughed. Others teased. But only one had reached their hand out. She took it. Then, the keeling pierced. Sliced. A wailing voice; sorrowful. She died.

Demi’s eyelids fluttered open. In an instant everything flashed white, but as it waned, the mortal world nudged at her. A room. Walls enclosing her like a prison. First, a white counter next to her. A daisy in a glass was placed on it. Then the windows, channeling in winks of light that made Demi squint. And the bed. A creaky, metal contraption; she was in a hospital.

The light was warm on Demi’s face. Her wrist, grappled by a strap, connected to a tube that snaked above her head. Her head was a feather. She wriggled her toes, and her foot tingled. Her fingers, numb. Everything after that had sped in a quick flurry. The door had clicked open. Demi’s mother peeped behind it, brown cropped hair, slightly tousled. Then a wide smile smoothed out her wrinkles, “Demi!”
Demi remembered. A car. The pain. Screaming. They had given her a pill. Then they had asked her questions, which were stupid, but were answered comprehensibly. She had been sedated to sleep. “Mom” she gasped out. Demi didn’t realize it until she felt the wetness trickle down her cheek. A crystal bead rolled down. It was hot, infused with confusion and fear. Demi wiped it off with the back of her free wrist.
“Mom!” she broke out, “What happened?”
Demi’s mother slumped, collapsing effortlessly by the side of her bed. She cradled her head. Her hand was cold. “Demi…do you remember” Demi nodded softly, under the tiny basket of her palm. She had stopped crying. She gulped down the confusion, “I remember the car and…” The emotion returned to her. Pain. Her mother’s eyes glittered. In both relief, and a strong hint of sadness. “Don’t worry” she said,” Rest”
Demi nodded softly again, agreeing. The light beamed in front of her.
“Mom, can you close the curtain, please?”
Her mom looked backwards, “Ok”. She stroked Demi’s hair when she said that, hand sliding out; weakly emerging from her slouch. The blinds were pulled down, closing with a quiet shutter. The room dimmed. Cool.
“Is that okay?”
Demi nodded. Nothing had seemed clear at the moment. All of it was unreal, Demi being whisked along a concatenated chain of events .that had somehow brought her to hospital. Nothing hurt. Nothing was in it’s place. Nothing mattered, except—
“Where’s dad?”

Her mother’s face died. She walked over to the bed again, eyes ferreting nervously. She clasped Demi’s hand. It was still cold. “Your father”, she tried to smile, but Demi could clearly see the agitation shrouding it. “Your father went out of the country with Sam”
The words came unprocessed at first. She would ask her mother. She would figure out what to feel. But nothing came out, only thoughts streamed. But her mom interjected,
“Don’t worry it’s not him. It’s me. I didn’t tell him yet, or anyone else for that matter” She bit her nails when she said that, clearly out of guilt. Then looked at Demi. Her eyes were asking for approval. “I’m sorry I was just..”, She stopped when Demi flickered a smile. Demi was relieved. It would have been worse for her father to know she had been hurt and not come. Her mom smiled back, “Thank you for understanding.”
Demi had understood. She had felt sympathy for her mom, talking to dad after what had happened. It was hard for her. Demi understood. Her mother patted her head, fondly stroking out strands of her auburn hair; the silence was peaceful.
“How’s Cody” Demi said, almost in a whisper. The question seemed to make her mom beam, crawling out of her guilt.
“He’s been howling every single day since you were gone. He misses you.”
The image flashed again. A car. The pain. Screaming. Demi was reminded. She had been hurt. Her lip quavered at the thought, then she asked softly,” How long was I gone”
“It happened on Tuesday”
“And what’s today?” Demi said.
“Wednesday,” her mom assured.
Demi nodded. Her mom smiled. Then, silence. It dragged on. Demi, now subtly surveying her environment, without the confusion and fear to jab at her. Seeing that the informatory had walls painted white, and a door which she assumed was the entrance. The room smelt of medicine and antiseptics, discreet, but still pungent. Her mother sat. Watched her, with a scrupulous smile, and the same sadness and relief making her eyes glitter. There had been nothing more to talk about. Demi didn’t want to use her sustained curiosity as an impetus on asking why her father hadn’t been told she had been hurt. Talking about her father would make her mom glum. The silence was calm, but Demi prayed for someone to come in and break it. A doctor or a nurse. A low thrumming, a bird chirping; all those sounds that Demi heard had made it awkward. Sometimes, silence shifted into awkwardness. And that was what it had become. Awkward. But Demi’s mother broke it,
“I’m gonna call your Dad now”
In a lot of ways she had been like Demi. Always confronted with awkward silences. Always had said something to weasel out of it. And she did. Demi’s mother stood up, and without blinking, headed to the door. Demi felt a cold draught torpedo in as it opened. But she liked it. Hearing the revelry of people for just a brief second, then it closed shut.

There had been more to remember. School, home, Dad. Demi had fiercely resisted it’s oppression, but being alone in the room had allowed her to let it seep in.

Demi wasn’t sure yet, but sometime this week her class had watched The Taming of the Shrew in the video room. She had sat with Mace, but thirty minutes into the movie, the whole class had become restless. Buzzing. Then Mace had turned to her. They had talked about the prom, but somewhere along the conversation line, had diverged to talk about a new movie that had become a worldwide phenomenon. Mace had recited events from both the book and the movie in an exuberant and breathless timeline. Demi’s sole tingled, menacing pins piercing her foot by the million. It irritated. She wriggled her toes, but it was immune. The only way to make it go away was to scratch her foot. The medical equipment above her could collapse on her, so she endured the painful tingling instead.

The accident had seemed surreal. Demi remembered a car. A loud thud. A painful throbbing at the side of her stomach. And the screaming. She shuddered off the memory. She had survived. The thought normally had to be soothing, but instead made the fear jab at her again. She could have died.
Demi heard fragments of her mother’s conversation outside. A string of “Yes’s and Uh-huh’s, that lovingly provided assurance that whatever danger Demi was in, had subsided. She was back in the land of the living. Hearing her mom say, “Yeah she’s awake,” muffled, but near enough for Demi to assume she was at the door. Demi could also hear a bird chirp. A low ringing, deep in her ear. Then, a stubborn longing to hear human voices.
The thoughts were debilitating. A car accident, being away from home, Dad’s absence. But what scared Demi the most was going back to school. She was certain that she would be the subject of gossip, a vortex she would be sucked in, until there was something new to talk about. She tried not to think about that. Distracting herself, by straining to eavesdrop on her mother’s conversation. But it was silent. Demi breathed. The thoughts were overwhelming. The door creaked open.
Her mother’s face lit up, shaking the phone in her hand, “I talked to him!”. This was said through a wide smile. Demi was sure that their conversation with Dad had by, without any arguments. She liked that. “And?” she said, sustaining it into a girly giggle.
She sat once again by her side, stroking her head. She smirked. Demi liked that too.
“Your father says that Sam left him” The smirk was forced back, “Says that, they encountered some ‘problems’ with an old flame of Sam’s”. Demi gawked. Although she rarely acknowledged it, her resentment for her Dad’s girlfriend pulsated every time something bad had happened to her. A rush of satisfaction had sent her floating into bliss, one that was too heavenly to allow her to feel guilt. Demi’s mom watched her expression, amused, and struggling to break out a giggle. Demi returned it, smirking.
The giggle broke out, Demi’s mother, widening open to reveal a set of dazzling white teeth. The laughter was mirthful. Demi straightened up from her bed, pushing the pillow into a makeshift chair. “So what happened?” she prompted, “Where’s Dad?” Her voice eased into an undertone on his mention. Her mom, shrugging softly.
Demi didn’t hear the door open. She had just seen a young woman, clad in a short nurse’s outfit, glide in. Her face, ruddy; She smiled. “I see you’re awake!”
Demi nodded. She was graceful. Gliding off to Demi, hands disappearing amidst the equipment hanging over her. Demi cringed several times, when the shuffling above her, burst into a loud rattle. A brief thought of the equipment collapsing over her, had somehow seeped in. She was massaged back into comfort, as the nurses hands slipped back into view, clutching a thin wooden slab. It took Demi a while to realize it was a clipboard.
Still graceful, she glided off to the white counter and set the clipboard down. Demi and her mother honed along with her actions. Both silent. Both anxious. Demi heard the counter click open. The nurse bent down. Emerged with a sharp needle in hand. She threw a quick glance at Demi, then flashed a smile that was rebuked to obscurity by nervousness. “I hope you’re not scared of needles?” Her voice was soft. Demi shook her head. A few years back she had scorned at their sight, but after a few measles injections at school, accustomed to them for what they were. A small prick in the skin. Demi’s mother encouragingly took her hand. ]They exchanged a long smile. Demi breathed. The happiness was ebbing away.
A car. She could have died. Everything could have been all over. But she had survived. The nurse pushed the syringe. A liquid squirted out, streaking across the room. The nurse walked over to Demi’s bedside. Her mother backed off, now smiling at her from a dim corner. Her smile dazzled.
It didn’t hurt. Demi had felt it slide under her skin. A pain which made her cringe. It lingered and eased. The nurse strewed it over wrist; the friction between her palms was hot. “That should numb out the pain, “she said, “But I think the sedatives you were given had already done that” Demi had only understood that she had been given something to kill her pain. That had explained why she felt numb.
The nurse swerved away, graceful. She opened the door and loped outside. Demi’s mother came, “How was it?”
“Good” Demi said.
The draught rushed in from the door, left ajar. Demi had seen a flurry of people shuffle by. Heard their voices. She liked it. But the nurse came in, slamming the door shut. Demi was shattered back to her informatory , and just then, got flashed at, by her memories. She had been hurt. A car. Pain. The room was warm. Demi sighed.
Her mother took her hand, and stared at her without blinking. Her face was mundane, lost in a deep train of thought.
Demi had let her think. Her head was a feather. The accident; surreal. Demi would find out how she was hit. She would ask her mother. But she was passive. Demi hesitated.
“Mom?” Demi snapped her back to attention.
“Yes, dear?”
“Who was I with…when it happened?” Demi picked at her fingernails when she said this. Her mom paused. Demi swiftly avoided what she saw of her glare. She regretted asking her.
“I don’t think you want to talk about that” Her voice was calm. But it pierced. Demi faltered. She would turn to face her mother. And she did.

The car whooshed, it’s bulky tires, beating the wet along the road. Demi leaned sideways on the door, hand clutching her chin. The window was damp. Beads of raindrops dotted its surface. Now and then, Demi would follow one, softly trickling down. Disappearing ,to where the window jammed into the car door. She followed another one, with her eyes. Then, another. And another.
The rain had made Greenwald beautiful. The trees, a fierce green, with a sheen of wet to their ochre bark. They too, glided past, as the car cut through the shower of wet drizzle. Houses were derelict, broadcasting remnants only in tricycles and beach balls, neglected on green lawns. Demi had always thought of Greenwald’s residents as summer people. Even a sky, leaden with black plumes of clouds, hadn’t stopped them from taking day swims, and sending their children out to splash on inflatable pools. But nature had won. Their defeat, now glorified in bicycles, and a beach ball sadly rolling on a wet lawn.
The car was lulling. Looking outside the window had grown monotonous. Demi was dragged back in, seeing her mother with a jaded look also facing the window. She switched to seeing her father, nonchalantly slumped in the driver’s seat, twisting the steering wheel just a little. The silence shrieked at Demi. A deep, nostalgic part of her, wanted to scream at her parents for not talking to each other. But logic reasoned otherwise. The only topic that rang to be talked about, was who Demi had been with when it happened. She knew that it had been what was churning in her mothers head. She excluded her father, who appeared more calm. She forced herself to become grateful for the silence. It didn’t work. Please just kiss and make up, she thought, for me
As much as she tried to fight it back, her own guilt had brought back the night, as vivid as ever. She had gone to Kendra’s party, an exploit she had been forced into by Mace. She had been reluctant, but then Mace had said, “If you don’t go, I’ll never forgive you for it!”
She had miserably watched her friends drink alcohol from red cups. She had watched in discomfort, and glided off to a secluded patch of grass, below a tall widow. She had longed for home. But her mother didn’t believe her! “Mom, I didn’t drink,” she had said. But her mom’s blaring glower had been too rebuking. She had ferreted out of her glare in shame.
Her mother hadn’t spoken ever since. She now sat, staring out of the window. Demi hated that. From the corner of her eye, Demi saw her father’s hand twist the knob on the radio. It awakened to a snappy 90’s tune, which Demi had known the words to. Her father hummed along. Her mom, silent. Demi sang the words in her head. But she forgot a line when the memory blinked. A car. The pain. Screaming. She would go back to school and face the gossip, and stares of the other kids. Demi sighed. She hated that.
Demi heard the window slide open, and instantly, an icy breeze rushed in. Demi squinted, lifted her hand from under her chin, and tightened the suave of her pink hoodie. The breeze splashed at her face, but she liked it. It was cool. It also beat at her dad’s dark, curly hair. Her father still hummed. Her mother, seemingly oblivious to the lively tune, spoke “Please close the window Carlos?”
“But the breeze keeps me awake!” he protested.
“Demi is sick!”. Her mom’s voice was icy. Like the breeze that sliced through her father’s dark, curly hair. He sighed, defeated. The window was rolled back up. Demi’s father, pausing a while, then resuming on his jolly hum. Her mom ignored it, and stared out the window.

Despite, that his girlfriend had left him, Demi’s dad had returned with a wide smile. He had given her mom a hug then said jokingly, “ Well. Shouldn’t you say I told you so!” Her mom was intolerant, brushing him off with a frown. Demi wished she could be more like her dad. Placid. Zany. Life had been good to him. Demi had friends she didn’t want to be with. She wondered if it had been the same for her dad. High school kept rules. If you keep friends that are reasonably accepted around you, then you would be accepted too. It didn’t matter if they liked you or not. Why does being young have to be so hard?, Demi thought. The rain intensified, showering with a swirling breeze. It didn’t matter if her friends were a bad influence; just their presence had made her accepted. Demi wondered if it had been the same for her dad too. Demi had always felt that she didn’t know how to communicate with people, which would explain her fear of awkward silences. But the fact that she had friends who were ‘accepted’ in high school rebutted that. Demi wondered if it had been the same for her dad too. Right now, school had been a personal war. Demi couldn’t wait for the senior prom, and see if the rest of her life as a student would be hard. She wondered what it had been like for her dad.
The car squeaked into the garage. For what felt like the first time, Demi saw her house; a tall, wooden cottage, where she was chilled by the cavernous darkness, peeping out the windows. The roof had been slanted, guarding a behemoth of blackened clouds, that crawled ever so fast to Greenwald. The pitter-patter of rain stopped, as the car was safely settled under shelter of the warm garage. The rain was faint outside, and the garage door, grinding to a close.

Home welcomed her with warmness. The lights blinked the room into a dim florescence. Demi’s father threw his jacket on the beige sofa. She looked at him and smiled. They both exchanged silent, “Welcome home’s”. Smiling. Her mother’s steps clacked on the wooden floor, as she walked to the kitchen. Demi saw the T.V, the dust around the edges was enough for her to know it hadn’t been turned on in a very long time. Just then, her mother came back. Demi froze.
“Sit!” she said firmly. Demi shivered back, hesitantly settling on the sofa. Her dad watched this in gaping awe. Her mother whipped him back too when she said, “You too Carlos” He nervously eased back to the couch. Her mom remained standing, pale. Demi saw as she sourly gulped down something, then she spoke,” I’m very shocked at what I heard about you Demi.” Demi was quick to her apology, but it came only in a whisper
“I’m sorry”
Her father’s eyebrows met, in a worried muse.
Her mom’s eyes twisted into Demi’s. She endured the pain, then slid out of their tenacity. She regretted apologizing. I won’t say a word, she thought, I’ll agree to what ever she has to say
“I don’t even want to talk about what happened, “Her voice wasn’t as firm. Only now Demi had felt guilt, when she noticed a sharp stab of hurt in it.
Demi simply nodded, faithful to her promise.
“I don’t even know what to say”. The defeat in her tone plummeted Demi’s guilt.
The silence was taught, making Demi both petrified, and struggling to hide her own embarrassed and heavy breaths. She didn’t look at him, only had heard his voice say, “Look, Erica I’m sure Demi is telling the truth”. Demi could almost hear her mom shake her head. Then her dad continued, “Why would she lie to us anyway? She’s never been a dishonest child” Sagely. Reasonable. It was comical to see her dad out of his giddy, and humorous self. But Demi looked up at him, grateful. He nodded his head in another silent gesture, You’re welcome Demi imagined him saying. She was certain too, that he would have said it if her mother hadn’t been there. His face reddened, Demi looking down, guessing that her mother had glared at him. She spoke, “How would you know if she’s a ‘dishonest ‘child, Carlos? Huh?” Demi imagined her father bending his head in embarrassment. She hated this.
“You spend all of your time in God knows where, and only come back once a year, and here you are, telling me that this child, which you rarely even see ISN’T DISHONEST?”
Demi’s eyes flicked towards her mother and saw that she was icy. She retreated back to staring at the wooden floor. The silence was deadly. Nerving. Cold. Demi’s mother cut through it, “Demi go to your room. I don’t want you out of the house without my permission. And let me see you talking to that Mace girl and it would be the death of you!”
Demi nodded and humbly stood up. She didn’t turn to face back, just kept walking steadily enough to hide her urge to run. She reached the tip of the stairs, blinked once, and scampered up. A quiet sniffle was heard, surely it had been crying.
She hadn’t been as glad as she would like to, when she saw her room. It welcomed her with it’s green walls, large pink bed, and her study area; simply a computer with a lamp placed next to it. It wasn’t how she would like it to welcome her; it now seemed a shattered memory. A hollow shell, devoid of her presence once surfing the internet in it. Once sketching down her homework in it. Once had been on the phone with Mace, reciting out “Uhu’s and Oh’s”, and annoyingly wished for the conversation to be over. It wasn’t how she would like it to be. The rain feel in a downpour outside.
Demi sat on the edge of her bed, feeling the emptiness of her room crawl over her. She wasn’t sure what she was doing. Just sat. She would get her suitcase when her mother was sleeping. Her dad was not as cumbersome. She wasn’t afraid to walk past him. A low drumming of thunder could be heard outside. Demi would survey her wound. And she did.
Sliding her sleeve up, Demi saw that her skin was pallid. But the pain was healing, now fading into a wire thin streak that bulged to look as if her skin had been made of plastic. It didn’t hurt. It must have recovered when she had been in hospital. When she had been visited by Uncle Stephen. She twisted her hand, there were no other scratches. Domi slid her sleeve back up. Vacantly walked to her computer. It blinked on, and made a beeping sound. It had been like she left it. Documents sprawled all over the desktop. And an ABBA wallpaper. She opened a program, and scrolled down to her favorite playlist. The song had been about a heart-broken girl, carried along in a lively electronic beat. She turned the volume down, shut her eyes. The lyrics soothed her, and she allowed them to slowly punch at her guilt.
“Hello” Demi heard her dad say, followed by a faint tap at her door. She shuffled out of her seat, muting the volume and jumping to the bed. The door flew open, Demi’s father, peeping at first, then discovering there had been nothing to peep behind. He came in. The door was shut.
“Hi!” Demi had welcomed with a breath.
“Hi” he said.
He put his hands on his waist, “how’s it goin?’”
Demi looked at him, then burst into a quiet chuckle as her Dad guessed her answer, also beaming.
“Not well I guess” he had said, amidst mirth of silent giggles.
Demi looked at him, and he smiled back mockingly”
Again, she wished she could be like her father, joking his way through life. The giggles ebbed. His father’s face collected, firmer. Again Demi had seen it enigmatic, comical.
He can’t help but be funny Demi thought. She hadn’t tensed, when she looked in his eyes. She had seen the gleam in them. Demi liked that.,
“Honey,” he said, “I believe you”
Demi nodded, “Thanks Dad.”
“Your mother will too. Just give her time” His eyebrows arched. Encouraging.
“Thanks Demi said again.”
He then stood, surveying Demi’s room, hands now folded across his chest.
Demi would hum when the silence came. Distracting herself, from her ridiculous fear. But she was relieved when he said,”…Well see ya’ kid, and just hang in there. I love you.”
Demi smiled, “love you,
He was gone. He hadn’t been excessive. Just had offered consolation where he needed to, and left before a spell of silence could settle. But Demi liked that. Despite what he had put her mother through, she did love him. Forgave him. She was glad Sam was out of his life. She knew she shouldn’t have been happy, but she was. Demi hadn’t bothered to explain to her mother. She trusted her dad when he said she would soon forget it. Outside, she heart Cody bark. She would go to his doghouse and ruffle his white fur like she used to.
Tomorrow she would go to school. Demi breathed. She stood up. Sat at the computer again . School was a personal war. Demi reached for the sleek mouse. She would have to face the stares of the other kids. Her hand quavered at this. She forced the thought out, by focusing on the guilt she felt for her mother. But the memory of school was stabbing back. She would go to the bed and force herself to sleep instead. And she did.

Demi had a small family. The girl they were reading about in class, had none. Mr. Denby had allowed them to read. Silence. But this kind didn’t bother Demi. This kind, hadn’t forced her to say something to weasel out of it. She glanced at Mace, who had the novel firmly in her grasp, staring at it, but obviously not reading. Demi retracted her gaze, when Mace threw one in her direction. She could feel it battening her down.
Mr. Denby sat at the front of the class, busily flipping papers. Demi knew he had brushed them off to reading the book, just to attend to his own paperwork. She didn’t take the reading seriously. Just had stared at the lines of words in front of her.
The stares hadn’t been as awkward as she thought. Demi had arrived at school, casually stepping out of her mother’s car. She had muttered brief hi’s to people she knew, and allowed the ones who didn’t to stare at her. Then she had seen Mace. She had strained a smile, and Mace had lifted up a hand, “Hi”.
Now she had blended into her normal routine. It was nearly lunch and her friends would sit at their normal table. The ‘red table,’ they had called it. By a hill, that sloped into the tall school fence. Demi liked it, that her friends hadn’t chosen to sit in the cafeteria. Safe from the stares of students divided into jocks, and boys that were obsessed with anime cards. Safe from the exuberant chaos, that scurried in it’s echoic halls.
The clock clicked. Clicking. Clicked. It lulled Demi into fatigue. She turned the page of the novel and read at a random paragraph. She traced the twisting hair patterns of Victor Langerak, who sat right in front of her. Then looked at Mace’s long, dark braids. Before, Mace had styled a bushy afro. She gingerly studied her, and after feeling that she had looked too long, resumed to the novel. “Vienna was a small country…” It read. Then, Demi drifted.
School had lazily galloped by. The sun, a scorching orange; despite the cold of winter.
Demi walked, with her bag slung across her shoulder to the red table. Jenny a red haired girl like her. Kwezi, a dark haired girl with cropped hair. And a dark-skinned boy named Lestie. All of them had consolidated their attention from her. All of them had gestured with their hands in exuberant chatter, but one. Mace turned to face Demi, shifting sideways on the red table to make space for her. Lestie welcomed her with a smile, “Where were you?” Demi liked that.
“I had some assignments to catch up on, “she lied, “Mrs. Baliey has been pestering me since the morning”. Demi had felt guilty for lying. Lestie was a lot like her dad. She sat down He doesn’t deserve to be lied at she thought He’s a good guy. The only one I can call my friend here. Demi knew she had contemplated not sitting with them today. She would have sat with the boys that played anime cards instead. Her mother had said, “If I see you with Mace again, it’ll be the death of you!” Demi shuddered at the memory.
Kwezi poked a finger at Jenny, “ You might act all innocent, but once the lights turn off, you become an instant party animal” This was said through a wide smile. Jenny laughed, dramatically rolling her eyes, “I’m not you guys, seriously.” Kwezi’s finger rested, but the laughter between them was whimsical. “I’m not a party animal you guys,” she said.
Ugh! Demi thought, How stupid can this conversation get? She had imagined jeering at Jenny and sarcastically chiding, “You don’t have to act nice around them you jerk. I know what you are!” More than once Demi had seen Jenny snickering with Cassy Ritchie. She had smirked every time Demi had greeted her. In Biochemistry, she had heard them whispering. Demi had pretended not to hear them. “She’s only fooling herself” She had heard them say.
Lestie pulled at a braid if Mace’s hair. “What are you doing? She said, jerking back. Lestie exaggeratedly sniffed at her hair, sending the whole table into laughter. Demi flickered a soft smile. “Smells good Mace” he said, “But the real question is…has deodorant boy taken a whiff.”
The whole table was cackling. Demi exchanged a long look with Mace, then veered away from it. She heard Kwezi’s voice come from her right ear. “Do you know about him Demi?”
“Who?” she said, slightly startled.
“Of course she doesn’t!” Jenny teased, “Demi’s just came from hospital”. She nibbled a carrot stick when she said that. Demi forced herself not to look at her. Amidst, the silence that followed she saw Jenny leer at her from the corner of her eye. Kwezi was her savior, taking Demi by the hand, “ So Mace and I went to the Pier a few weeks back. “
Demi nodded to her story. She allowed her to continue.
“There’s this new shop called Pout so like normal, curious girls, we decided to go in.” She took a gulp of air when she said this, too enthusiastic for her mouth to keep up. “So we go in” she continued, “And see this guy, dark hair, nice body, enough to melt any girl!”
Mace bobbed her head in agreement. She liked that. At least it made Demi hopeful, that she would recover from their awkward situation. She swerved back to Kwezi’s story, and heard her say, “ So Mace called me and said that he was there. Again! And always buying the same thing…Blue Moon”
Demi tried to search her mind for the name. The memory nudged at her, but she had to push further to remember. She smiled when she did, Blue Moon was a fragrance.
“So every Saturday Mace and I go into Pout and see him”
“And you try to flirt with him!” Lestie said, waving his hand in the air. (Bored)
Kwezi glowered at him for finishing her story. But the smile returned, “Right! And we try to flirt with him all girly girly” Kwezi’s forehead creased then; she also sucked in another gulp of air.
“But he doesn’t even talk to us! He just looks at us with this…strange expression and takes his ‘deodorant’ and leaves.
The whole table had listened to her story in monotony. But Demi was expected to be attentive.
Kwezi’s eyes widened, waking up the whole group by slamming her hands on the table,”You guys I’ve only told Mace this, but one time, I stalked him out of the shop. Not taking my eyes of him for one second. The door opened for him, and when he got out he was like, gone! A finger snap soon followed “Like that!”
Demi heard Mace sigh, “I’ve told you a dozen times that he was lost in the crowd of shoppers! You watch too much fantasy Kay!”
Kwezi opened her mouth in protest, “No! I swear to you I didn’t take my eyes of him for a second. A second! I was right behind him, and he just vanished in a second!”
Jenny vacantly bit at her nails, the others shared the same look, forcing Kwezi’s energy to deface the entire ‘red table’. Demi was expected to be attentive,
“Whatever” Mace had said.
Demi was glad to see her talking again. It gave her hope for them to part ways, without any tension between them. “Do you believe me Demi?” She had heard Kwezi say. Demi folded her arms across her chest, paying no attention to the discomfort her strapped bag caused her. “I think Mace is right…you probably lost him in the crowd of people. Honestly, I don’t care! Demi thought. But a smile slowly spilled, when she saw Mace smirk at her. She liked that.
Lestie intentionally changed the subject, “ So…Mace any luck with V.K’s project. Mr V.K was their computer teacher. Hearing his name had made Demi feel as if she was looking at an old photograph. She unfolded her arms, and set them on the metallic, red table. She put one hand under her chin. She was late in listening to the conversation, only had heard Mace say, “But on Friday I’ll work harder!”
The sun was bolstering. Dry. Despite it being winter, the weather had been uncomfortably hot. The grass was dried out, shriveled under the heat of a winter sun. It was on this grass she had grinded her foot on, when she felt that her shoe had stuck something. She didn’t bother to look. It would draw attention to her. She sat. Comfortable with watching her friends talk about new T.V shows, and downloading music.
Demi saw her dad come from the kitchen, a small bowl balanced in his hand. “How was school” He said.
Demi threw her bag on the couch “Same old, same old!”
Demi, tired, sat on the couch. The T.V went black at first, the image trailing behind the sound of someone saying, “And it is put with the screws horizontal to the measurements, you have just drawn”. Demi didn’t bother to change the D.I.Y show. Her father sat on a single couch, slurping from the bowl. Demi would chuckle at her dad’s simplicity. She did, but it was silent enough for her dad to remain oblivious. Good old dad she thought doesn’t get bothered by anything. He had probably spent the whole day watching T.V and eating any thing he could get his hands on. His leave from New York, didn’t seem to bring boredom to him, while staying at home. Demi liked that.
“Watcha eating dad?”
“Broth” he said innocently.
“What” Demi was shocked. When it would die away, she would chuckle.
“It’s better than meat. Less calories. Less fat!”
Demi’s father had never bothered himself with weight. It must have been because of Sam. She had been young. She had had a model figure. Demi would have tried to force the thought of her out. But her father set the bowl on his lap and grimaced bitterly,
“I gotta admit…it doesn’t taste very well”
“So why are you eating it?”
“Sam used to make me take it” He stood up when he said this. Walked to the kitchen. Demi heard his voice muffled, and assumed he was at the fridge, “She said it helps you lose weight! I don’t know why she wanted me to lose weight anyway!”
Demi smiled softly then. She looked without watching, at the T.V. She sighed. At least school had blown over. But still, cold chills had run at the thought of going tomorrow. Graduation had been some few months away. The prom, a few weeks earlier. Demi stood up. Pulled her bag from the couch. The thought of ‘Deodorant Boy’ flashed then. She shook it off, trotting up the stairs. Kwezi sounded pretty serious she thought But boys don’t just vanish into thin air. Making up stories doesn’t sound like her. Demi drifted, pausing outside her room. Frozen. A chill lashed at her. Greenwald high school had been the only school in town. It had been combined with elementary. If there had been a boy, shouldn’t he be in school? Maybe he’s too old Demi thought, but logic dawned on her. Kwezi and Mace would never try to flirt with someone out of their age. The brief suspicion was shaken off. Demi twisted the doorknob, and her room welcomed her with a cool draught. She threw her bag on her bed.
That night, dinner had been small. Her dad was out, so she had eaten silently with her mom. Demi buried her head in her pillow, trying to block out Cody’s shrill yapping. She thought again What could he be barking at? Again, she pushed herself off her bed. Parted the curtain just a little, not wanting the night to glare at her with it’s starry eyes. It’s vastness sucked her in. The wind, rattling at the trees, ghoulishly blew like an angry spirit. Again, Cody barked, at some distant object only he could see. Below her bedroom window was a garden, devoid of any grass, just a carpet of rich dirt. She caught sight of Cody’s pen, and saw his tail wagging vivaciously. He was facing The Wolf Range, what was seen by Demi, as a stony road, snaking in one direction, to a fortification of tall oak trees. Behind them Demi knew, was a fairly small cottage, home to the gleeful staff of the Greenwald Wolf Range. Demi knew, that it was once where her father had worked, before moving to New York to be an architect. She knew, that it was once where she had spent her time as a child, listening in on the conversations of the staff. The nostalgia was warm. The wind blared at her, howling like an angry spirit. She wistfully closed the curtain.

The Wolf Range, had offered an afternoon trek, allowing tourists to go and see the beautiful encampment of wolves, in Greenwald park. But it was closed now. “Greenwald’s wolf population is near extinction!” It had been announced. Now they had kept the wolves, in a small forest, near the Greenwald Park. Tourists hadn’t been allowed to see them anymore, so Demi had been delighted at her habit of sneaking to the forest, and perch on a craggy boulder. She’d listen to music on it. She would think on it. She had wanted to go there after school.
A sheet of gray loomed over the sky. Demi sat comfortably in her desk, behind Victor Langerak. She had been early for school. Found the class empty, with the janitors still mopping the gleaming halls. She had put her bag and went to the bathroom. Was slightly shaken to see Victor sitting, his face red. He looked as if he’d been crying.
He slouched, looking downwards in deep thought. Demi had let him think, and distracted herself from the silence by reading a novel. The clock clicked. The class had been neater than yesterday, all evidence of her class observing a live cow heart, cleaned away. The door opened, and Mace came in.
She glided of to her seat, throwing her bag.
Demi’s book slipped from her hand, when Mace came over to her. Dropped clumsily to the floor. “What’s wrong with him?” Mace mouthed silently. Demi shrugged. The book was picked up. Mace sat on the edge of Victor’s seat, he didn’t seem to mind. Demi flipped at a random page. Her eyes met Mace’s.
“How are you adjusting?”
“Good” Demi said, obviously sensing, Mace’s attempt to make friendly chatter.
They hadn’t talked about what had happened. Demi didn’t want to blame Mace, but her heart was too oppressive. Something had lingered, and because of it Mace and Demi had felt guilty. Demi searched for anything to talk about. The silence was creeping on her. She wanted to smack it back. She searched. Anything .She found it.Mace had peered over her shoulder at Victor. They spoke in unison, words crashing together.
Mace smiled sheepishly, “You first.”
“It’s fine” Demi had said, “I just wanted to know if you’ve given up on deodorant boy”
The words hadn’t come out correctly. But Demi was relieved when Mace understood.
“What can I say” Mace said with a smile, “In Kwezi’s own words…some guys are hot, but don’t want to share their gift to the world” She imitated a pose that reminded Demi of a Shakespeare scene. They both giggled. Demi liked that. The door flew again, Jenny came in.
“It’s cold outside” she said. All her red hair was fastened together in a ponytail, cascading down the nape of her neck. Mace simply nodded, “Yeah we’ve gotten used to it.
Mace and Demi watched her, as she put her bag, unzipped to open a tube of lip gloss. She turned to face them, readily puckering her lips. Her eyebrows were lopsided when she saw Victor, “What’s wrong with you” Demi shrugged. Mace shook her head.
“Oh well” Jenny said blithely “Leave a person to their own troubles I say.”
Demi forced a smile, Mace chuckling. She looked at Jenny as she smeared her lips. Flipped open a small mirror. You’re so insensitive she thought, so vain. MORE HERE
Mr. Denby was discussing their book. “What do you think of Jane’s situation” He asked them. Demi had paid attention, hands clasping each other on her desk. She recalled the book’s events, as several hands jerked up, erect. Mr. Demi’s eyes scanned over the whole class, “Scott?”he said.
Demi hadn’t heard what Scott had said. She had looked out the window to see a robin, oscillating it’s chest rhythmically. It’s weight didn’t seem to affect the bough it perched on. Shouldn’t it be in hibernation? Demi thought. It’s song was shrill. Demi swung to look at Mr. Denby when it flapped away.
The sun seemed to break through the black clouds, filtering out in a heavenly light. Demi was hopeful. She would wait just a few more hours to go home. If the sun would have broken through, then she would go to The Wolf Basin. She hadn’t been there since the accident. She eagerly knotted her fingers, palms sweating.
Mr. Denby gave them a long lecture. Demi tried her best to pay attention, and was satisfied when she answered a few questions correctly. School was monotonous. Tedious, and still a war. Slowly, Mace and she had started to talk. In the first break, they had talked about movies. It had been brief. Demi had lied, saying “I have go to the cafeteria and find Janos.” Mace had nodded. Demi had imagined her being relieved like she was. Mace and her, had been friends only by name.
Mr.Denby scribbled on the blackboard. The class autonomously flipped their notebooks. Demi elegantly wrote a line, and looked up to see Victor’s freckled face peering back at her. “What’s the date? He whispered.
“Twenty forth”
Demi wrote the second line. MORE
The bell rang then, and Demi slowly packed her books. People filtered out the door, and Demi, trudging felt a hand grab her arm. She looked back, and behind the shuffling faces, saw Victor smiling pleasantly at her. “Hey, you” he said. Demi stepped aside, making space for the people behind her. She stood behind the door. “Hi”, Demi said .
Mike leered over to Mr.Denby’s desk, who had just slid a pile of papers into his back. Without looking at Demi and Victor, he lumbered to the door. He was gone, but his voice came from the outside passage, “Turn off the lights you too” Demi tensed as she heard the words, “You too”
Mike smiled. She could see the triumph in it. Demi, awkwardly pressed her back on the wall, subtly trying to tell Victor that she did not want to be here.
“So!” he said, “How do you like school.
Demi had thought she had shaken her head, but she felt her mouth force a smile, “Great!”
He nodded. “Good” he said, somewhat satisfied.
He rubbed his hands together. Demi watched this in discomfort.
“So!” he said again “Prom”
The word flooded images in Demi’s mind. Her. And Mike. Dancing. Dating. She shuddered. Again, she feared that she had shaken her head. Again her neck muscles tensed. Demi gulped, P-Prom?” she stammered.
Mike nodded hesitantly. His eyes were darting then. He could already guess Demi’s answer. He had regretted asking. “I already have a date!” Demi lied, desperately trying to spare his feelings.
He nodded understandably, “Right….” Demi hadn’t seen it coming, but she was whipped back when he said it “With who?”
The names overwhelmed her in a rapid flash. She rummaged through her mind, and without thinking blurted out, “Larry Posner…” she flipped through her alibi, “He’s a junior”
Demi had regretted her excuse, she flushed,
Victor looked at her, confused. “Ok” he said, dubiously. Victor was gone. Demi had imagined him scratching his head in confusion. She sighed in relief.
The wind had blown Demi’s hair across her face. Annoyed, she held a tuft of it and held it firmly on her chest. Jenny took out a small fedora out her bag, and fit it on. Lestie winked at Demi from under his hood, “So what did Vic wanna talk to you ‘bout?” Demi smiled bashfully, “Wanted to ask me to prom”. Kwezi gaped, “sVic?”
Demi nodded softly, she had shared the ridicule on her face with Lestie and Kwezi. Mace slid a rubber band around her head, tying her hair into a ponytail. Demi had thought she’d been bothered by the wind too, but assured herself Braids are heavier. They won’t be blown over by wind. The clouds drove somewhere west, chased away by the blueness of the sky. Demi liked that. She would go to The Wolf Basin. But the sun scorched her cheek, It was almost white, silently blaring at the world.
Jenny spoke to Demi, “Maybe he was crying cuz he was scared to ask you out!”
Demi was hauled from her reverie, “What? Oh….Vic. Yeah”
Jenny eyed her suspiciously, and again, smirked. Demi hated that. She pretended not to see it.
The wind blasted at Demi. She knew that the others had felt it’s chill when they cringed. Jenny was the first to speak, “Don’t know ‘bout you guys, but I’m going to the Caf”
“Yeah” Mace agreed, “It’s too cold out here”
They all stood up. Demi pulled her bag, and cowered at the thought. The cafeteria. All the people she had avoided seeing this week would stare at her. The awkwardness would be exhumed. With her breath held tightly Demi walked into the halls. The noise came first. Chaotic. Revelry. Barbaric, chatter. Then Demi went in. Tables lined with people. Some turned to face her. She dropped her hair in a curtain, and hid behind it. It smelt of her lavender shampoo. She walked behind Kwezi, and past a huddle of boys who threw a basketball that bounced with hollow thudding, towards her. Demi hurried forward, not wanting to pick it up. The plastic table they sat on was untidy, trashed with hot dog serviettes stained with mustard. Demi grimaced. She saw as a group of brawny boys, signal an invitation to Lestie. “See ya guys later” he said, hopping off to them. Demi hid behind her hair. She felt the stares drill her in the back. She endured this in pain. Agonizing. Pounding pain.

Her mother’s silver Mercedes, glided in the driveway. She didn’t park under the trees like the other cars. Demi left the busy dispersion of students, eagerly longing for the isolation of home. She pulled the door shut. “How was school”, her mom said with a smile.
“Good” Demi sighed out. Her mother twisted the keys. The car streaked on the open road. Greenwald School faded quickly then. The car darted past a small bistro, owned by a man named Klein. “Uncle Stephen is coming” her mother said, over the steering. So Demi thought he always comes. She spoke, saying just that “Doesn’t he always come”
“Yeah. But this time he’s coming to stay.”
Demi took the news with relief. Her father was leaving in a few days. At least Uncle Stephen would come in his place, filling the vacuum quiet dinners. Demi put a hand on the back of her mother’s seat. “He’s living with us.” It wasn’t a question.
“Yeah, He’s coming on construction work, on a new museum”
“A museum?”
“Yeah” her mother said, “There’s most definitely going to be a new museum in Greenwald.”
The relief shone on her. Then she looked out the window. The car glided. A museum in Greenwald. Demi nodded, considering the thought. Her mother wasn’t a fast driver. This slightly annoyed Demi, she wanted to make it in time to go The Wolf Basin. She flicked her eyes to her, and had imagined saying “Go faster already!” But she didn’t want to arouse any questions. At that, the thought violently jabbed at her. Her mom had clearly said that she wasn’t allowed out of the house without her permission. She sighed. Discouraged. The task was ominous. Demi had thought of sneaking out, but it wasn’t like her. She hadn’t had the courage to do it. Especially after she grounded me She thought, strengthening her reason. She would have to tell her that she was going to Greenwald park, and hope she would trust her. Demi sighed. Defeated.
She opened the door, Demi following behind. Demi kept her bag slung on. Hesitantly shot glances to her mother, who pecked some digits in the security system. She would ask to go, before it darkened outside. She would ask. Demi drew the courage from her memories in the basin. Listening to music. Thinking. Sitting on a big rock. “Mom?” she squeaked.
She struggled with the security system, so this was said blankly, “Yes, dear”
It’s too late to turn back now Demi thought. The words poured out in a perplexity, too fast for even Demi to understand what she was saying. Her mom turned to her, eyebrows arched. Demi knew then that she hadn’t forgotten the punishment.
“The Wolf Basin?”. Demi hadn’t detected any emotion in her voice. Indifferent.
Before Demi could explain, her mother had smile. “Of course…the fresh air might do you good”
Demi jumped to excitement, “Thank you thank you!”
Her mom hugged her. Her shoulder smelt of peaches. Demi liked that. Then she heard her voice in her ear, “And for the record…I believe you. I’ve always had”
It took a while for Demi to find what she was talking about. It came. The party she had gone to with Mace. Demi hugged her mom tighter.
Demi trotted up the stairs. She opened the shelf, pulling out a puffy jacket, and struggling into it. She peeped cautiously out the window and saw that the sun had splashed the world with orange. She hurried. It would soon hide behind the mountains.
When she came down, Demi saw her mom blowing over a steaming cup of tea. Lodged in the single couch. The talk show cut to commercial, and Demi’s mother turned to look at her. “Don’t be late”
Demi nodded softly, allowing the faithfulness in her smile to show, “I wont”
She hurried now. She had to go before sunset. She had thought of taking her water bottle, but threw the plan off. It was unnecessary. The door was flung the door open.
“Have fun!” were the last words she had heard her mother say.
Demi walked without turning back. Her shoe snapped a twig, the stony road winded like a snake. She walked without turning back. She had sauntered in Greenwald park, and after the guard, Mr._______ had gone from his post, went in. Opened the small gate, no higher than her waist. Now she walked on the stony road, without turning back. She kicked astray an orange stone, and saw that it had another diamond-opaque side to it. Without thinking, she picked it up and slid it in her pocket. Without turning back she walked. Demi sighed. She walked without turning back, past the green ferns. The grass unfurled then, moist. Beautiful. Shee walked, past the daisies, violets, and daffodils that sprouted from the ground. Fairies of dandelions floated then, wisps that enchantingly lured Demi to her destination, floating delicately. And there it was. The glade that beckoned, with familiarity to her.
The glade, encircled with drooping willows that undulated as a calm zephyr stroked through their tendrils. The grass, moist, had been greener than ever. The nostalgia was blissful, as Demi got engulfed by her Eldorado. A clarion of bird songs, swept through. A canopy had protected the glade with tall oaks. An air of green filtering the air. And Demi breathed it in. It came fresh. Cool. She walked without turning back to see her memory. The glade had been surrouned by mountains, a few kilometers away. A sierra with it’s peaks jutting out to the sky, where she saw a V-shape of birds fly away from them. Demi had remembered the legends. That deep within the mountains there was a chamber, preserved for the time when evil came to the earth. But Demi liked it. The story had spread good Goosebumps across her skin.
Demi walked, and saw it. An outcropping of craggy rock. Rough, and unusually gray, erected from the green grass. It seemed to Demi that it had whispered to her, welcoming her with it’s stillness. Demi traced it’s dents, and the dampness was wet on her finger. She sat. Comftorbly, looked out scanning the jagged mountains with her eyes. She shut them. The glade was hers.A bird chirped. The rock was hers. Demi hadn’t been afraid of the wolves, “They usually don’t come down from the mountains” Mr. Nolan had said. He didn’t know that Demi came here. No one did.
Demi opened the small gate. The orange sun gilded the mountain peaks. She would have to walk fast, to get home before dark. She rattled the chains that held it to a short post. Yanked. Tying it into a firm knot. She had to make sure not to make it look as if someone had opened it. She was safisfied, to see the gate held in place. She turned back, and teetered down the edge of the rocky escarpment. It sloped down to the first entrance of Greenwald Park. Demi slid dow, tottering, feet grinding the rock. She almost fell, but she balanced back into place. With a thump, she was back on flat ground.
The gate had been opened. Demi didn’t have to worry about locking this one; Mr. Nolan regularly came through it. Leaving it ajar, wouldn’t draw suspicion. She jogged then, hearing the sound of laughter being carried from the park. But then a generic voice called out to her, it was familiar. “Demi!”
Demi swereved back and saw Mr. Nolan, fingers tucked in the belt of his navy uniform.The voice came like static through his walkie-talkie. He pulled it out of his pocket, and said to it” Thirty-minutes going. I’ll report to you at the station”. The device was tucked back in. Demi could feel her heart thudding in her chest. She was relieved to see Mr. Nolan smile.
“Wow. I haven’t seen you in quite a while”
Demi smiled back, “Yeah…You too”
He walked to Demi, taking off his cap and letting out his brown, ruffled hair. “Where’ve just come from?”He said, his eyes doubtful . Demi opened her mouth, searching for an excuse. Stroked a strand of hair from her face. She would have stammered in her excuse, but then he said, “Hope you weren’t down at the wolf basin” He tilted his head when he said this. Demi had thought she was surveying her expression.
She flushed. She tried her best to flicker an innocent smile, and say something convincing
“No”. The attempt had been mocked at, Demi’s eyes now weaseling.
He knew that Demi was lying. He had once seen her sneak to the wolf basin. Strained the same expression he had now, eyebrows lopsided. He said the same thing he had said then, “There might be only one pack of wolves in there, but that’s enough take out a whole army”
Demi flushed. She nodded bashfully,
“Demi” he said, “Wolves are not dogs. Dogs are peasants to them. Wolves? They’re the real deal!”
“I’m sorry” Demi said, “I won’t do it again”
His eyes had been rebuking. Mature. “You better not. For your own good”
Demi nodded, but she hadn’t agreed.
“Well let me get home now”, he said, “You should hurry home too. Erica will be worried.
Demi lifted an apologetic hand, “Thank you. Bye”
His leather boots scrunched on the stony ground.

Demi satisfied, opened the door. The room was now dark to her. She had to blink once, to brush off the greenness of The Wolf Basin. Her mother was on the phone, and waved to her. She nodded at her, a gesture that told her it had gone well.
Demi collapsed tiredly on her pink bed. She allowed her eyes to close, and was pulled in the gloomy realms of sleep. She felt her thoughts fade. Into darkness. She floated. Into sleep. Demi faded .
The man had dark hair, and a loose shirt with frills. Demi saw his eyes and they were fire. He growled to the heavens, standing on Demi’s rock. “I will destroy it!” he hissed “Everything you love will be killed! They will all be killed! Demi heard a clarion then. From the willows, a light emerged. It waned and Demi saw a man with wings, “Come with me he said. Redemption has eluded you. They lunged, crashing together in an epic explosion of light. Demi’s eyes snapped open, shattering the dream. She could feel the sweat in her palms and her breaths heavy. Fast.

Demi’s mom lifted her hand, looking at her watch. Demi sat, an elbow rested, deep in the arm of the sofa. She sighed. They had waited for one hour. Her mom had called twice. The cartoons on the T.V shot bolts of lightning from their hands. Demi’s mom looked at her wrist and said again “He’s always late”
Just then the door opened. Her mother’s face lit up. Demi smiled. Uncle Stephen, rotund, had a small suitcase, and a flowered T-shirt hung over his arm. He closed the door with his foot.
“You’re late!” Demi’s mother said with a smile.
“Look at you sis!” he said, giving her a one-armed hug. He looked at Demi, and his face was bright, “And you…so tall. Demi stood up and allowed him to examine her. Smiling. She had imagined herself, curtsying. Demi embraced him. His chest was warm. “Look at you” he said, stepping back to examine her. “Wow” he said, gleefully.
Demi’s mom cut in, “How’s Faro. His baby-face turned around. Then, an expression Demi hadn’t expected from him. His face died. “It didn’t go very well”
Her jaw fell, “Sorry”
He nodded and turned back to Demi, “Would you mind putting this for me in the guest room?
“Sure” Demi hadn’t been surprised at her uncle’s relationship. He’s always been bad with girls She thought. Demi took the suitcase from him. Clutched the shirt under her arm. The bag felt light, but Demi still had to drag it up the stairs. She threw the luggage on the guest room bed, and shut the door.
Her mom and Uncle Stephen had talked about, his new job. “It’s a month” Demi had heard him say. Her mother nodded, “Yeah”. He sat on the single couch, while her mother stood. The cartoons on the T.V sparred with poles. Demi lounged next to her uncled. She noticed a silver dog tag, dangling to where his shirt had been unbuttoned. Demi stared at the T.V without watching. They would soon have to go. She would see the museum. She would go to the Pier.
As the car hummed, Demi paid attention to the People that scampered. A woman, walking on the gray sidewalk. A man in a suit, emerging from his car. A girl. A man. Woman. The sky was blue, but a gust wind had sent another woman’s hair in a ruffled frenzy. A dust tornado, sent trash flying, one plastic even zooming past the window Demi stared through. Her uncle was driving, and her mother, on the seat next to him. The car was flying. Demi had sat through the talk of her relatives, and several funerals of people, both her uncle and her mother knew. As always, she sat, hand clutching her chin. She hadn’t looked forward to going to the Pier. The construction site was manageable. Demi heard as her uncle said, “Hey those are the wolf Basin mountains right?” Demi’s attention swerved then. The window was unrolled, her uncle’s finger peeping out. She followed it to The Wolf Basin mountain range, what she saw as a line of rocky peaks erected from the green labyrinth of forest. In the mouth of the forest was her glade. Demi knew this, and the fondness tugged at her heart. She had wanted to hear at what her uncle had said before, but had only caught him when he said, “…has a very gloomy legend”
“What?” Demi had said, with intrigue.
His head tilted back in his seat, withdrawn from the traffic bugging on the road
“I said, a friend of mine in Tampa, told me that the mountains Greenwald had a scary legend. Satanic”
Demi’s memory flashed. Mr.Nolan. Long ago. He had told her about a chamber deep in the mountains, preserved from the time when evil came to the earth”. But a chill ran in a torrent, when she heard the ‘Satanic’ part.
His uncle smiled smugly, He must have seen the paleness washed on Demi’s face “They say that there’s a chamber one thousand miles beneath those mountains. And that The Devil himself comes there sometimes, and harvests souls”
The things’s people do to draw in tourism” Demi’s mother said.
Demi shuddered at his version of the story. The image morbidly, screeched at her mind. She had thought of a lonely moor, serving a playground to an angry wind that raced ferociously on it’s black soil. Demi had thought of descending deep in the mountains, and seeing the Devil himself, a sinister tail, hissing. She had thought of the Devil harvesting souls, and blood being spilled. She had shivered as the chill snaked under her skin. It’s just a story she thought. But Demi had always believed that there was a secret chamber deep in the mountains. She had always thought that it was there to protect her, from all the evil that would come to her while she lay thinking in the glade. She had thought of the legend as hers, wanting to believe that an angel had secretly guarded her. But the thoughts had been entangled by darkness. The thoughts had been possessed.
Demi was hauled back to reality, her mother’s words breaking in. She grievously lamented at her memory. Secretly believing that the mythical chamber had protected her. The memory had shattered. The car was drawn in, on the white sand. Parking next to a gray tube. Demi looked up from the window. The contraption of wood and metal, clanked , several workers hammering at joints. There had been a heap of gray cement, piled up next to where Demi’s uncle crawled out the car. He lifted a hand, at some people he knew, and some that carried a long metal beam. The sand on the ground sifted through Demi’s shoes, so they all trudged to where a group of workers’ sat on bricks. They were probably on their lunch break. “Hey ho” one shouted, with a mouthful of sandwich. Demi saw her mother grimace, Demi smiled. The shade under where the worker’s sat was cool, although it had made the breeze colder. Biting.
They talked about a shortage of bricks with Uncle Stephen. He nodded apprehensively. Demi’s mother sauntering off to the pile of cement. Demi jogged to her, and she spoke, “Stephen said he wanted to show me a finished portion, but I can’t see it anywhere.
Her finger scanned the horizon of Cement trucks when she said this. Demi folded her hands across her chest I should’ve stayed she thought I’d rather be in my glade rather than this. Demi sighed, “Let’s look around. This, a desperate attempt to kill her mounting boredom. They walked around the quiet construction site. Demi, despite her boredom, had looked for the finished portion. Behind a tall mountain of sand, pepped a structure, wooden framework, springing up to the sky. “There it is” Demi said, poking out a finger. The wind touched her lips in a biting frost. Demi saw that the structure, had a doming roof, broken where a large plastic sheet beat in the gale. Hollow.
Demi and her mom walked under a stone arch, and admired the nearly finished art gallery. The floor squeaked with clean. Tessellated with gleaming, diamond slabs, which gyrated to a glossy union. Demi followed the pattern with her eyes. Hypnotic. The dome’s walls were still layered with thin dust, but Demi could clearly see that once it was brushed off, beige masonry would be vivid. Her mom, arms hugging her shoulder’s looked up. “Beatiful” she said, “Very nice work here”
Demi walked a few steps in front of her. Paused where the diamond slabs poured into the circular tile. She felt the emptiness of the hall, enclose her. Chill her. Then, suck her in. She breathed. It was going to be beautiful. The hollow steps of someone coming, soon tapped. Demi’s uncle stood next to her mother, both admirably tracing the tiles on the floor. Demi hopped to them
Her mom nodded to word which had been to fast for Demi to hear. She pointed at the ground, “Stephen I’ve never seen this material before, what is it made of?”
Demi’s uncle peered over her mother’s shoulder. Knowingly arched his eyebrows, “Imported from Italy these ones. I think their made of granite”
It was autonomous when Demi nodded. Just blankly agreeing because something had been said. She sighed, I can’t wait to get home. Even from miles away, the glade had called her. She snapped to attention, hearing her mother say, “Italians have always made stunning décor” Feeling a need to give input, Demi weaseled in, “Italy?”
Both their faces whipped up to her. Demi flushed. She was relieved when her mother deviated to her uncle, “So why are they so shiny if their made of granite?”
He scratched his head, “It’s covered in this greasy liquid…umm…” He snapped his fingers then, probing his memory, “Sorry I can’t remember, I’m new on the job y’know.”

Demi saw the sign that welcomed her to the park. The trees seemed to dance to the rhythm of her scurrying feet. Under their shades, long benches stretched, watched by the occasional bin that was placed a few steps back. Demi scurried. She saw two children playing in a sandbox. Her memory as a child blinked. But she ran it off, now passing two men hugging each other lovingly. It was the first gay couple she had seen in Greenwald.
She saw Mr. Nolan’s post, and glided behind the canopy of branches. The bark was rough on her back. Mr. Nolan stood under the doorframe of his guard house, stretched his hands in a yawn. The gate swayed ajar, Demi sized it like prey. Heart pounding. Adrenalin bolting. She feared that her breaths had been too loud. The voice came through his device like static. He said something to it, without pulling it out of his pocket. He stepped out of his house. The sun scorched him, and he succumbed, taking off his blue hat. His boots crunched the stone, heading off on his daily patrol. Demi bit her lower lip in triumph. He had disappeared. Demi had had tiptoed around the stones, and wedged through the gate. She had climbed up the escarpment, look back, and saw the park. Enveloped with brushy branches. Elevated on rough tree roots.
Today the willows were still. Today Demi lay on her back, cushioned by the moist grass. Under a willow that hung tendrils over her, almost trying to crawl out of the ground with gnarled roots. Demi lay, a daffodil sprouting next to her. She looked at the sky, and it was peaceful. Demi knew that heaven was up there, with angels living in eternal come. She knew that angels’s flew there, watching the world, and thinking of how foolish humans were. Silently rebuking, those that stole. Those that murdered. Those that had snickered behind Demi’s back.
She breathed. Inhaled an aura, that came in a cool zephyr. Demi’s finger’s danced on her stomach, and she slid a hand under her head. But the loneliness strummed it’s harp. Demi shut her eyes. She would go to the Pier. She would have to buy cosmetics for her mom
The steering had been cumbersome. Every time Demi had swiveled around a turn, an unknown gravitational force had veered it away. Her movements were cautious, lightly pressing her foot on the accelerator and releasing one on the clutch. It’s probably because I haven’t been driving for so long she thought. The window was a seeing glass, hauling inside the world of zooming trees, and buildings that Demi had once gone to with her mom. The car was pulled to a stop, on the gravel, between two other small cars.
Demi saw the sign, Pout emblazoned in glitzy font. She saw that it was a wall of glass, attracting buyers with it’s mannequins, and an aroma of perfume welcoming her. The doors had slid open Demi, trudging off to a display of cell phones, next to a clothes hanger. She sifted through the textile, pulling out the price tag on some with bright colors. She heard the doors slide open, but she had already stridden between compartments with tall racks.
She saw him then. A sleekly muscular boy leaning on the till counter. Demi could see that he had ¬¬liquorish black hair. Every stroke of it saturated with what looked like frost. Demi saw that he wore a gray shirt, rolled up, to reveal his pallid skin. Demi’s breath caught in her throat. She stood. Frozen, to numbness. Frozen, to him.
The store. Cold. Had dissolved somewhere in the corner of her eyes. Blurry. But she could see him. She could hear him mumbling. Vibrating his voice to the chubby clerk. She could see him. Gray shirt. Raven hair. Saturated with ice. Demi, her head ethereal, grabbed a shirt on her left. She hadn’t seen what it looked like. She had just seen him. She hadn’t thought. She had just walked. Walked. Just had walked
She placed the shirt on the till. Clutched it’s cold edge. Hesitation had clamped her head, Demi, forcing her eyes to stay fixed on the clerk. But the boy’s presence nudged. She could feel his aura. Demi could see him. Fingers drumming in a flurry on the lacquered till. Then she heard his voice, “I told you. It was stolen. It’s your job to see that customer’s are happy.” The voice had been coaxed, by slight agitation. Demi fixed her eyes on the clerk. She saw the ruby tainting his cheeks, dissolve into white, “But you just bought it yesterday. And the day before—“
The boy’s voice snapped, “I’ll go to another store then” It hadn’t been threatening. Just had trickled like water. His speech. Perfect. Demi shot a glance at him. But she ogled , and her palms trembled with sweat. Her palms trmbled withsweat, as she his smell came. A raspberry slowly drowning in thick chocolate. Or an exotic fruit------ She saw that he had fiery eyes. His hair fell in a shadow, slanting across his forehead, veiling his left eye. Demi saw his muscles, writhe softly under the texture of his gray shirt. Demi would hug her waist. She would try to suppress the hair-raising chills that raced under her skin. She forgot to retract, when his head snapped to her. He glared at Demi with shadowy eyes.
Demi shuddered. She had seen his jaw tighten. Grasped a small deodorant bottle. Her heart thudded then. His fiddling finger’s died, fading as his hand glided to his pocket. He looked at Demi. Jaw tightened. Demi had imagined him, clutching his fist. He made an imperceptible movement, which had seemed wraithlike. He loped behind Demi. The boy was gone. Demi would turn her head and feel the remnants of his aura, dissolve outside. But the clerk’s voice broke in, “Yes miss?”
Demi’s attention fumbled to him. She flickered a smile. Pushed her shirt to him. She glimpsed at it, as it was registered into her ownership. She chuckled softly What was that? She thought I bought an expensive shirt just to get close to a guy? The clerk’s expectant hand folded out then. Demi groped for her mother’s credit card, slid in her pocket. She wouldn’t mind she thought. The card was placed in his hand.
The clerk’s face hardened. He lifted up the card to his eyes and shook his head. Pressed a few buttons that beeped on the register. Shook his head. “There seems to be a problem” He walked to a door, with a golden knob. “I’ll be right back” his voice was deep inside the room, when he said that.
Demi nodded. Eyes, bounced around the store. She saw it had gleaming tiles. White. Smooth. She saw that the door the clerk had disappeared in, cascaded out darkness. Rumbled out a few shuffling noises. Demi had imagined it being, boxes tumbling.
Demi heard the door slide open.
By her side. He leaned again. The boy. Raven hair. Saturated with frost. Demi’s breath didn’t come out. She saw him, fix a fiery glower on the open door. She saw him tighten a pale hand around the tube of deodorant. He placed it on the counter. Demi saw the clerk emerge back, her mother’s credit card in hand. He closed the door, and his eyebrows arched, at the boy that stood by Demi. Her hair fell in a curtain. She was safe. But his shadowy eyes had burned with ardor.
Demi breathed. Hearing his voice say, “It’s empty”. Demi had heard the bottle being shook. She saw the clerk place the card on the till. Demi would not get it. Just ogle silently. Peering between her curtain of hair, for the boy. She hadn’t heard what the clerk had said. But the boy spoke again, “Thank you for understanding” Demi saw the clerk’s eyes gleam. Apologetic. He raised a hand. “I’ll be with you in a sec”
Demi nodded. The deodorant bottle disappeared with him. Demi’ left alone with the boy. Silent. Demi’s breathing was too loud. She clenched her fists. Her palms, sweaty. She tried not to breath. Anything, that could have made it quieter. Anything.
She almost sighed in relief, when the clerk came back. He handed the boy the ‘new’ bottle. He acknowledged it with a nod. Demi thought she saw a grateful smile, flicking her hair over her shoulder. The boy could have been friendly. But his eyes whipped to Demi, and she was taken aback, by their fire. She raised her hand to him. Slowly. Demi had feared that it was quavering.
He didn’t answer. Didn’t move. Just glowered at Demi, forehead creasing. Demi regretted that. She saw the crease lines deepen, as the boy groped through his pensive mind. Demi’s hand quavered down, and she tried to force the most rested smile, she could. The clerk had looked at them. Demi felt that he had allowed the awkwardness between the boy and her, to fizzle. The crease lines on his forehead eased, and he seemed to shake off an indifferent emotion from his face. His hair ruffled slightly when he did that.
The clerk’s voice came, “Miss?” he said innocently. Demi turned back to him. But she could feel the boy’s shadow eyes breathe on her. A breath was pulled out of her. Like ribbon strummed out, to untie a package . She stammered.
Her hand nervously reached for the card, but the clerk’s hand pulled it in. Her hand was rebuked. “There’s seems to be problem, with this credit card not being eligible to the store” This was said with confidence that knowingly made him nod his head. Demi hadn’t understood what he said. She could feel the boy’s eyes intensify.
Her mind fumbled again. She nodded, “Yes”
The clerk’s eyebrows twisted. Confused. Demi felt her cheek throb. She had imagined them blushing. Demi fluttered a smile. She eased, when the clerk continued. Card in hand, he typed on the register. Demi’s urge to look at the boy pounded. She could feel the shadow in his eyes snatch her heart. She had been sucked in the boy’s enticing aura. Demi looked.
She saw his gaze still. Firmly imprisoned on her. He didn’t move. Passive. Just stared at Demi. But his forehead was calm, pale hand slid in his pocket. “Can I have your name?” the clerk said.
Demi hadn’t understood. His words had hazed. They came. Surreal.
“What?”, Demi said.
“Can I have your name?” The clerk said, intently
“Sure,” Demi smiled, “Demitria Giovanni”
The clerk’s eyebrows arched at it’s complexity. He gave a soft smile. But Demi’s eyes had teetered by the boy’s aura. She had been scorched to ask him approval of her name. Her head blinked towards him. His had creased again. His jaw, tight. She had seen him grind his teeth, behind his lips. Demi saw him grimace. He spoke, “You’re Demi Giovanni?”
Demi saw him. Agitation. Or Pain. He was a perplexity.
Demi nodded softly. She stammered. “Uh-huh?”
Demi hadn’t heard what her mouth had produced. She had just seen the boy’s chest bulge. He looked as if he was swallowing something. Sour. His eyes had made Demi swelter.
It was very slight. More in a flurry. He had seemed to shake his head, slightly, but in more like a flurry. Demi saw him sidle behind her. It was silent, when she saw him walk to the door. Demi breathed. His aura, dispersing. The door had slid open. Demi hesitated her head back, and she saw that he was gone.
The clerk smacked the table. Demi was attentive. But dazed. He looked at Demi, his eyes disapproving. Again Demi had imagined blushing. “I’m afraid you’ll have to pay cash” But I don’t have any cash she thought I just took this because the boy. He. My name. he asked…Demi breathed. She closed her eyes, bracing for the embarrassment.
“I don’t have the cash” she said, “I’ll take it back”
The clerk hesitated in his nod. He took Demi’s shirt, and placed it behind the till. Demi’s eyes had ferreted away from him. Lips sucked in, she pulled the card to her. Slid it in her pocket. Deodorant boy she thought who’d knew he’d be so…beautiful.
Demi, neck stiff. Tentatively, trying to keep her head forward walked out the shop. Demi thought, pale skin. His eyes .his wet hair. Those seem weird. But they fit perfectly on him. I’ve never seen a boy like him. but I think he’s the most beautiful boy I’ve seen. How did he know my name? if he heard about me or Demi’s heart was warm on the thought. She drifted; I wonder if I’ll meet him again. Mace said he always comes here. I hope I have the guts to return and…and see him.

Demi walked with her neck stiff, tightened the strap of her bag. A still winter settled outside, nestled under the dome of a gray sky, with clouds streaking morbidly across. In the morning, school was hollow, the only sounds coming from the squeak of mops in the halls. Demi walked, opened the door to her homeroom.
Victor was in his seat, and as usual, head stooped low, deep within the confines of his mind. “Hi Victor!” Demi said, fitting herself in the seat behind. Victor was silent. Demi slid out a novel out of her bag. Flipped to a random page. She read the first line, “…After all, she was an orphan”
The clocked ticked away the minutes. Soon Mace would come in. Soon Demi would force her eyes to look away from her. She would probably succumb to the awkward silence. She would helplessly allow the chill to prick over her skin. Watch helplessly as her friendship with Mace, cracked to a shattering break. She would watch Mace as she sauntered in. And she did.
Mace walked with her black braids curtailing the side of her face. Threw her bag on the chair. Demi heard her take one huffed breath. Then she walked out the door. Demi felt a chill, menacingly pricking her across the skin. She breathed from the disbelieved shock, the split-second silence had caused. She breathed with overwhelm, as the remnants of their friendship scattered right in front of her. Demi had wanted this. But the events had played out all wrong.
Lunch. Demi’s heart punched through her chest. She endured another one. Then another. She walked past the school office, when she felt another punch. Mace and the other’s were sitting on the red table already. And Demi, left walking like a lost soul, traversing over the jabbing footsteps of students in the hallway. She thought this in distaste, the cafeteria. Not again. I hate jenny for doing this. I hate life. But she had to. She would sit with the boys that played anime cards. She would sit through an hour of lunch, and hope to scurry to the blackness of seclusion. Where no one will see her. Where no one would talk to her. Where she could be herself, without forcing herself to sound ‘cool’ to the others. I miss the Basin she thought. And she did.
Demi walked with her neck tight, past the tables. She had only felt a couple of stares bore in on her. She had felt a strong impulse, to drop her hair again. But she walked with her neck, tight. She saw a group of boys, and certainly, they had been the ones she was looking for. Most of them had greasy hair, most of them had glasses, a few wore shirts with cartoon characters, a few had their teeth clamped with braces.
Demi sat on the edge of the seat behind one that said, “Final Fantasy is hard!” But all of them turned to look at Demi, some creeping their eyes over their glasses in schoking scrutinization. It was easier to be herself with these ones. Demi would smile. She would revel in the feeling that washed over her now, that she had had a higher social stature than them. She would wave a hand. And she did.
They continued blithely. Demi liked that. But then she remembered. Jenny had kicked her out. She hadn’t had any real friends. She had wanted it to be that way. But the events had played out all wrong. Demi remembered, thoughts flooding in a torrent. Demi’s palms tensed into sweat. She had been in the glade. Something had watched her, jumping smoothly through the bushes. Or maybe it had been someone. A wolf couldn’t jump into trees. And a person couldn’t make Demi’s ears hurt. Unless by magic. Jenny had kicked Demi out. A person…maybe watching her? Ready to pounce on her as she thought in her glade. Demi’s head was a drunken frenzy. Her life, a tornado of disorder and misfortune. Demi was a lost soul, treading through society. Unaccepted. Rejected. My God…nothing could be worse than this! Demi felt the tears brim in her eyes. She blinked them back, fighting a dull pain tight, in her throat. Demi was scared to think, but she had fallen now. Fallen into helplessness. Depression. She thought then, I’ll be damned if my life could get worse.

School had been tedious. Demi had played rounder’s in gym. She had batted. Mace had run the third base. Demi saw Lestie, swaggering to her. His hood looped over his head. Demi stopped next to the vending machine, watching amusedly at Lestie. He greeted Demi by smacking her palm.
“Hi” Demi said, pulling the strap of her bag with both hands. She glimpsed at Freddy, who darted past. Fal, who dawdled a soccer ball between his feet. She saw that Lestie was looking at this too. He shook his head and Lestie’s attention was reminded to her.
“Did you polish up V.K’s project?”
Demi nodded, “Yep!” The locker door she leaned on was cold.
Lestie looked in Demi’s eyes. He smiled, “I asked Jenny to the prom?”
Demi forced the glee to evoke her , “And?”
Lestie grinned. Conceited. “She said yes”
Demi had struggled into a smile, “That’s great!”
Lestie bobbed his head with pride. Demi had imagined him beating his chest. Good luck with her she thought.
Lestie had talked about the prom. Demi had felt awkward. Standing next to the lockers. Still. People she knew passing them with gawking looks. She had tensed at this, but after looking for_________ in Lestie, saw that didm’t notice this. His mouth ran, making gestures with his hands. It was far too passionate for Demi’s interest. She had “Mhmm’d in parts that she felt she had to. Made a brief comment, that made him repeat the sentence that had drifted past her ears. The bel lrescued her. A metallic drill. Demi had been the first to ferret. Deismising him, by raising her hand, “Bye”
Demi had sat in class. She intertwined a smile with Mace, who sat across her. It lingered. Mr. Denby’s booming voice broke in. Demi faced the black board, explanations in chalk, scribbled on it. She felt the sun blanket her with warm. Streaming through the window. Touching her cheek. Shoulder. Thigh.
Summers in Greenwald had been the only season with constant warmth. Winter’s had danced eerily, to a rhythm of morbid gusts. Pranced to the vibrancy of a scorching sun. Very rarely, the winter had waited. It had danced, before it put on its dress in fluffy confetti of snow.
Mr. Denby pointed at the board, and Demi thought. It had been numbing, feeling her hand slide under her chin without her permission. The boy had had pale skin. He had looked at Demi. Called her name. She had been overwhelmed. His physique. His eyes. Hair. Voice. Demi’s body embraced the sensation, shuddering to the exhilarating chills.
Demi’s hands patted her desk. The rhythm had lured Mace to glance at her. She saw a blank look on her. Demi awkwardly hid her hand under her desk. Mr. Denby talked about a debate. He had encouraged some of her classmates to go and observe it after school. But Demi would go to The Wolf Basin. Maybe my second love will shake the crush I have on the boy off. His aura lingered. Demi had remembered his smell. A raspberry, slowly drowning in thick chocolate. Or an exotic fruit, studs of water, dotting its lush surface.
The store had been colder, than the last time Demi had been in it. It had also trapped a few shoppers, mostly women, into its intriguing maze of clothes. Demi had kept her grip firm on her bag strap, entering the sliding doors. He had seen the clerk. Still, chubby. Still explaining account issues to a concerned customer. Demi waited for the woman in front of her. The woman had understood what the clerk had said. The woman had taken her dress and went to the changing rooms. Concealing somewhere amidst the tall rack of cosmetics. It had been Demi’s turn then. She had smiled a silent Remember Me? To the clerk. His eyes had glistened with familiarity.
Demi would ask. She blushed instead, rehearsing the sentence in her head. The clerk’s eyebrows distorted again. Again, confusion. Demi had remembered the boy’s aura. She had remembered his hair. Voice. Physique. She had remembered the exotic smell, of a fruit mottled with water droplets.
Demi’s voice was a scramble then. Her breath. Heavy. The memory of him jarring her thought. Speech. Heart. The clerk looked at her in a child’s confusion. Demi saw this and spoke, “Hi”
He raised a hand, “Hi”
Demi rested her elbows on the till. He had once done that. He had once tapped his finger’s on the glazing ceramic.
Demi hesitated to continue, but she fidgeted against her thudding heart. She forced her voice to crawl out of his memory. Out of the memory of his presence, “Ummmm….I was asking about. But then it came. Logic. She had come here to ask about him. Demi silently mocked herself for trying to block him out. She succumbed.
“I was asking about the boy that came here”
The clerk’s face was questioning. Demi, feared that the words hadn’t come out right. She scratched her head, “When I last came to the store there was a boy standing next to me. I lost his number, so i was asking if you’ve seen him?”
The feat had been celebrated with a sigh of triumph. Demi was confident that the words had flowed. But she saw the clerk frown, and still, his eyes were questioning.
“You mean, the one who always buys deodorant?”
Demi nodded slightly. Suspicion had tainted his voice. She had regretted allowing the feeling to tantalize her. She had regretted allowing it to shove her to the store. What am I doing here she thought?
Demi was snapped back, when she saw the clerk’s baffled face ask her silent questions. Demi nodded them off, and drew the bravery from her urge to scurry out the store. “Well?” she said “Have you seen him?”
The clerk’s frown hardened. For the first time Demi saw the sinews on his face stiffen. His baby-face, forgotten. “He doesn’t come here anymore” the clerk said. Demi still heard the incomprehension in his tone. He continued, “The last time I saw him was then…when you were here. He pointed at Demi when he said that. She flushed. She had ran after the boy, and Demi had imagined the clerk mocking her for it. She flushed. Demi had imagined the boy thinking she was desperate. Demi flushed. She had had a high-school crush on the boy. But it was stronger. Made her heart pump. Faded as the last thought she had, before submerging into sleep. The clerk’s eyes were intent on Demi’s. She had seen her helpless reflection in them. Awkward. Demi blushed.
“That’s all” Demi poured out, “Thank you”
The clerk nodded. Demi hurried to the door. Slid open. She walked through. The revelry in the Pier, were hurrying. Demi walked, past clothe shops, and a few fast food ones. Demi walked. Breathed, tucking her shoulder in, for the man who pushed a baby-stroller behind her. Demi saw that his shoes had been untied. Demi walked, past a home décor store, past a computer store, past a restaurant. She slid her hands in her pckets, then she saw Mace.
Her elbows locked with Jenny, arms hugging each other. Demi tensed, and she saw Mace’s face die when she saw her. Jenny smirked. Released her elbow from Mace’s lock and waved to her. “Demi!”
Demi waved a hand. She hugged Jenny. She tried not to look at Mace from over Jenny’s shoulder. Jenny released her, and she saw Mace smiling. She saw that Jenny tied her hair in a ponytail. She saw a sly smirk, still on Jenny’s face. Then she spoke,
“Hey wanna join us?”
“Where?”. Demi said, seeing Mace nod her to an agreement.
“Mace and I were just poppin in for milkshakes” Her hand pointed somewhere left. Demi followed it to a candy shop.
The shop, maces of cotton candy, and crystal balls, with marbles of bubblegum forced in them. Whimsical. Demi, Mace, and Jenny sat on the red leather seats, poignant with unbranded bleach, and a faint smell of melted ice cream. Demi sat, one hand resting on the clean table. Mace at her side. Jenny smirking, in front of them. Chest hiding behind her purse.
“So Demi where were you?”
“At Pout” Demi shot. But her gaze ferreted to the floor when she remembered. Pout was the store where Mace and Jenny had seen him. They would know. They would accuse. They would know that Demi’s heart bubbled when she allowed his memory to haze inside her.
Jenny’s face had been sustained. Curious. She would ask the question. And she did,
“Did you see him?”
Demi had seen Mace shake her head beside her. She imagined her chiding at Jenny. Demi. A bashful smile. Then, without looking at Mace said, “No” Jenny’s eyes lingered on her. They were still greedy. Still unsatisfied with the answer. Demi’s head dropped down. Tracing along, the contours of wood, embedded on the clean table. Demi would think. She would ferret away from the awkward silence when it came. It did. She hadn’t looked up to see if it had crept on Mace and Jenny. She hated it. The silence was awkward. Silence. But Jenny spoke.
Her eyes were intent when she said it, “So..Mace and I were talking”
Demi felt the dread wash over her. She looked at Mace, and saw that her head was drooped low. Picking at her long fingernails. She was attentive when Jenny continued,
“I don’t know how to put this…I think”
Jenny groped for the words. Her usual smirk had stiffened. Demi could see it’s remnants, although they had been forced down by the hardness on Jenny’s face. It was unusual. Whatever Demi was about to be told, had made Mace’s head drop. Whatever Demi was about to be told, had Made Jenny’s eyes dim. Intent. Demi breathed.
The waiter pireced in. a young man, pressed in the traditional candy shop uniform. He set a tray down, wobbling with tall glasses, heaped mountains of skimmed cream. Demi nodded gratefully. Jenny’s hand lifted up the glass, and put it next to her handbag. Demi had forced herself to avoid looking at Mace. Demi sucked in the thick strawberry liquid, grained with cold crystals of ice. Demi would lean in for another sip, but Jenny’s voice came.
“Mace is throwing a party”
Demi’s head was flashed at. The drinking. The car. Pain. The hospital. She sourly swallowed spit. Throat, tight. She heard Mace draw in a heavy breath. Demi would look at her. A silent cry for mercy. A confirmation of what her ears had just bitterly absorbed. She would look in Mace’s eyes. And she did.
Demi saw it. An expressionless face, all but the eyes. Weakly giving a tiny sparkle of guilt. Mace’s eyes were weak, betraying her obvious effort to keep her face as mundane as possible. Demi swallowed it again. Spit that sourly slid down her throat. Jenny’s voice had been the finishing strike. She didn’t turn to face the speaker. Hadn’t turned to see her mouth formulate the words,’….I’m sorry Demi…You can’t come.
That night, Demi had place dher face, deep in the cotton of her pillow. The hot tears had srtemed. Cascaded into the fabric of the pillow. It had made it dank. A well of tears Demi thought. She thought. Jenny had said she didn’t want to hang with her. Mace had kept silence. Demi thought. The tears rolled faster. Hotter. She thought. She had wanted to leave Jenny, Nace, Kwezi…and now she had done it. She would have been satisfied, but Demi wept instead. She hugged her pillow, tighter on her face. Pressed her tears in the damp fabric. It seemed the tears wouldn’t stop. Demi’s heart had been stabbed. She had darted out the candy shop. She had shown emotion to Mace and Jenny for the first time in her life.

The night had cast a dark pall in her room. She hadn’t bothered to turn the lights off. Just had lay over her bed, crying the pain she felt in her heart out. But the tears were calm now. The pain was ebbing. Demi would wipe them off with a tissue, in the box placed next to the computer. She would. But then, she felt something vibrating at her feet. Her phone vibrated and burst into a shrill tone. Instinctively, she reached for her feet and picked it up. Pressed it lightly on her ear.
“Hello?” Demi could hear her voice crack a little when said that. She would smooth it out the next time she spoke, but the phone had been unresponsive. Silence. Demi spoke again into it, “Hello?”. But there was nothing. She pulled it away and examined it. Saw that the call had dragged on to 30 seconds, progressing, but still silent. She placed it on her ear again, “Hello? Who’s there?” Silent.
Demi felt the irritation pulsate. She pressed the button, and threw the phone back to her feet. It was probably a wrong number. The tears were left dry on Demi’s cheek, leaving behind faint stinging. Demi slid up to her pillow. Her body was numb. She closed her eyes. Writhed smoothly over her bed cover’s. She had thought, until her own ‘mind words’ didn’t make sense to her anymore. The sleep was hypnotic. Numbing. Eerie. It crept over her, and gradually her conscience slipped.
Demi awoke into bliss. Bidr’s chirping. Sun struggling to stream through her drawn curtains. Making them glow instead. Demi awoke. She yawned off the fatigue. Pushed the cover off her, and embraced the cool air of her room. She would feed the hunger that growled in her stomach. She could clearly remember some eggs being left from the previous morning. She would sit at the table. Watch uncle Stephen as he came in. Said, “Good morning” It would be a long while until her mother crept out of sleep. Part the living room curtains, examining the blue morning outside. A cold, piercing breeze making it’s trees sway.
The thoughts all flooded. Mace and Jenny hadn’t accepted her. She hadn’t been invited to Mace’s party. Jenny had said, “We thought it would be better, hearing it from the horse’s mouth itself…” Demi’s heart had plummeted into heaviness. Demi frantically snapped her mind to think of any other thing. Anything except Jenny and Mace. She snatched the thought of deodorant boy. Thought of his exotic smell. Enticing voice. His hair that slanted, ever so stylishly across his forehead. Demi thought. She thought and imagined.
Demi imagined talking to the boy, ans seeing him smile. She had imagined talking to the boy, and seeing him laugh at her jokes. She had imagined sitting with him, in Klein’s bistro, sharing a milkshake. She had imagined drowning in his eyes. Then, he would touch her. Hold her close to his perfect chest. And tell her words of love. Demi imagined, but reality mocked. I’m so pathetic she thought, desperate.
Demi plodded down the stair case. She had put her slid her hoodie on, the one she wore when she’d been admitted out of hospital. Today was Sunday. Demi walked to the fridge. She would go to the basin. Opened, to take a carton of milk out. Cold to her touch. Demi would lay on the grass. Poured the milk into the bowl. She would forget about Jenny and Mace.
The cereal had been cold. Demi liked that. She sat on the couch, watching morning movies with people flying on dragons. She slurped the milk. She would change the channel, but she saw a shadow fall over her.
It was uncle Stephen, in a blue morning robe. He smiled a “Hi” to Demi and slumped, throwing himself on the single couch.
“I’m on leave today” This was said from across Demi.
Demi looked into his eyes, “Why?”
“Tuesdays, Thursdays, Friday’s Saturday s”
Demi nodded, “Oh”
“Yeah” he said, “Thought I’d just chill at home, and maybe possibly go out with a friend…ain’t much to do here.
Demi nodded. Realised that her uncle had been right. The only place she entertainded herself wasx the Wolf Basin. Other than that, there had been nothing.
“You can go to Klein’s” Demi said encouragingly.
“And do what?” he said, “the only interesting thing there are the waitresses”
Demi chuckled softly, and said jokingly, “Then do that then…get to meet the interesting waitresses”
He flashed a beaming smile, then it melted, “Nah! I’d think of Faro too much”
Demi saw the weight on his face then. She saw him clasp his hands into each other. Demi had allowed her face to show sympathy for him. The silence would come…but Demi didn’t allow it, ferreting by saying, “You miss her don’t you?”
He made a soft nod. Sad. Tired. And heart-broken nod. “First your father and now me…y’now that all the men in this family are single?”
Demi flickered a sincere smile. Uncle Stephen continued, “And we’re supposed to be freakin’ Italian! Women are supposed to be bawling over us!”
Demi chuckled, but as she remembered burst into a peal of laughter, choking into giddiness, drawn from her stomach. Uncle Stephen wasn’t Italian. His obliviously stern face, played the comical thought on Demi even more. He looked up at her. He hadn’t expected Demi to laugh that much at his matter of fact.
“You-“ Demi laughed, “Uncle Stephen your’e not Italian!”
He chuckled too. Demi saw him dazzle a white smile, like her mother’s. “yeah well I could at least feel like it.” The mirth in Demi waned. She saw it fade from her uncle’s face too. The footsteps of someone coming clacked. Demi’s mom greeted them with a smile, “Am I too late on the joke?”
Demi and her uncle exchanged a gleeful look. Smiled softly. Demi’s mom raised a submissive hand, “Well don’t mind me…I’m just passing through” Her steps quieted to the kitchen when she said that. Uncle Stephen hollered his voice to her, “Erica!”
“Yeah!” she said, her voice just as loud.
“I’m not going to work today. I’m on leave!”
“Good!” Demin heard her mom say.
Uncle Stephen stopped to a beat, seemingly trying to survey the tone in her voice. He seemed satisfied with it, because he spoke again, “I was thinking I could go to The Metals today”
Demi interjected with a jump of surprise, “The Metals?”
Over a lush landscape running from Greenwald, was a five hour drive to a small town nicknamed ‘The Metals’. Its industry was heavy, but it’s nightlife had been notorious. Bars, prostitutes, and hooded criminals lurked in the murky, steam hissing, streets.
Demi thought of her uncle, walking with the short-skirted women. Guzzling down cold bottles of beer. She heard her mother’s footsteps tap disapprovingly to the room. Then she said, “Who do you know that lives in the metals?”
Demi saw him press his back in the cushiony sofa. Trying to slip out of her mother’s concerned glare, “A few guys” he said in a squeak, “Mori Handler. I used to work with him at the bar”
Demi watched ith knowingly as her mother shook her head. Like her uncle, she had once been chided too. “Mori Handler? C’mon Stephen…I’m not two!”
“Ok!” he defended, “I’ll go to Klein’s”. He sucked his lips in, “The waitresses are still an option,” his eyes flitted to Demi. His voice was huffed. Demi waited until the silence drove her mother to the kitchen. She waited for the heartening music on the T.V to dissolve to the credits. She waited until her mother walked back in the room, upholding a small bowl to her nose. She waited to confirm her that her uncle had listened on her conversation. Demi hadn’t minded, and spoke anyway, “Mom…Mr. Nolan said he wants to see me”
Demi followed the lie to her mom’s face. She had a stern face. But the lie seemed to seep through, leaving a trail of arched eyebrows instead. “When, Now?”
Demi nodded, “Yeah…I have to help out with his paper work. Figured an Accounts student should do it” The eyebrows were still arched. But now, a bewildered frown.
“Take a shower first Demi…you can’t go to the park looking like this!”
Demi lifted a grateful hand to her, “Mom I’m fine…I wanna get this over now, so I can do my homework”
Demi’s mother hadn’t understood, but she had allowed her to go.
Outside, the sunlight crept. Intertwining with the blue morning, weaving out a frost-bitten breeze that made Demi hug her waist. Demi stepped. Walked between two trees that let whistling wind seep through them. She jogged, past benches. Past the emptiness of Greenwald Park, at eight ‘o’ clock in the morning. Demi walked. Stopped. Slid behind the rough bark of her tree, protecting her from Mr.Nolan with it’s thickness, and a brushy canopy of leaves. She saw his post now, door shut tight, gate next to it, held loosely with a bundle of chains. Demi knew that if she would stick a finger through one of it’s knots, she would yank it. She would make it drop clumsily to the floor. Then she would open it a little, slyly wedging through it. She would close it, and stick her hand from the other side, through it’s barricade of wire thin crisscrosses. She would tie it again, and bite her lip triumphantly. And she did.
Demi’s glade welcomed the morning breeze with serenity. And Demi, seeing her bodyguards of willows wave good mornings with their grassy tendrils. The grass, dew settled on it, was wet when Demi walked to her rock. Her glade was awakening now. Birds tittering vivaciously. And the treetops, now allowing the sun to filter it’s rays with green, through. Demi touched her rock, feeling it’s rough dents. She sat at a small hollow in it, facing the mountains with familiarity. Running her eyes over the their earthy peaks, forged by some awesome force before civilization swamped Greenwald. She remembered of how her uncle had updated the legend. Demi shuddered.
The chains around Demi broke, and now her mind roamed. She slid her hands in her pockets and pulled out her headphones. Demi would think of the boy again. She inserted the devices in her ear. She imagined seeing him smile. Seeing him reach out to her, and hold her to his smooth chest. The music played faintly in Demi’s ears. She imagined him whispering words of love to her. Demi would imagine a lecherous thought, but she heard it then. A shrill beep that blasted through her ears with seething might. Demi frantically fumbled her earphones off. Threw them to the floor. Her ears throbbed with heat. She sprang up from her rock, and heard the tress rustle. She heard a faint whir, as if an insect had been running through the air with light-speed. Her eyes darted at the treetops above then. They darted. She swerved. They darted. She almost slipped on the grass when she swerved. They darted and saw a shadow swift, from the willow. Swiftly, through the foliage. Demi strained her eyes to see then. She would move closer, but her heart was screeching. Her breaths anchored. The leaves rustled. Demi saw them move. Then, silence. It had stopped. The shadow had either been still, or escaped somehow. Was someone in her glade? Demi had thought it had been an animal, but it had moved to fast. Too shifty. Demi tightened her palms into a fist. She had tried in vain to resist the thought. Her breaths had refused to come out instead. Maybe it was wolves? The thought played on her, and she shuddered. Demi knew that she would scream, if anything were to happen. She knew that she would call someone on her phone when the shadow pounced. She knew that if there was danger, she would fight. But she also hideously knew that she was not alone.

The moon was watchful, mottled with dark stains. Silhouette, outlined with a ghastly glow. Watching the night. The cricket chirping, and deadly silent night. A cat sauntered by, loped to a tall wall. It balanced on it with its soft paws. Now it stood, overlooking a doghouse. And the dog was caught its glowing eyes, tensed before barking with a shrill arguing.
The house was hollow that night. Dewi, curled in a ball, on the soft couch. The T.V flashing out the only dancing’s of light in the darkness tinged room. Silent. Black. Demi curled on the couch, watching T.V with the remote, mundanely pressed on her chin.
She breathed. Now and then, Demi had stolen a ginger look over the sofa’s head. The darkness seemed to be creeping. And she remembered with shuddering fright when she heard sounds in the glade. If something were to pounce out of the darkness that hung now, Demi would yelp. So she peered over the sofa instead, squinting cautiously at the pattern of moonlight splashed on the floor.
But what was it? What was the shadow that had stalked her in her glade? What was the pain in her ear she had felt just seconds before? What was the-
Demi heard it then. Up in her bedroom. Something fell on the ground. Something with a loud clang, jingling the chandelier above her. Up in her room. A sound clanged, on the wooden floor. Demi snapped up, her heart blasting her eyes to the ceiling. Clutched the edge of the sofa, fingers screwing into the cushion. She stood up. She would go and see what it was. The darkness had invited evil. A Burglar? A Ghost? Demi reached for her phone in her pocket. Looked at it’s blue wallpaper, and dialed her mother’s numbers. Placed her finger, readily on the ‘call’ button. She would go up the stairs, and face the unknown. And she did.
Demi reluctantly, dragged a finger along the wall of the hallway. She strolled deeper into the darkness. Deeper into the unknown. She clutched her phone, readily on her hip. Kept a finger, readily on the ‘call’ button. Demi walked. She walked. Inhaled a breath, that slid with quavering oppression, down her throat. Demi breathed. Walked. She breathed. Demi walked. Walked into the unknown.
Her skin was cold, when she opened the door. Nothing. There had been nothing in her room. Her bed, still left with magazines sprawled over it. The floor, no signs of someone drooping an object. But her computer was on! Demi jerked back into the fear. She hadn’t left her computer on. It was clear and sure in her mind. She could swear on her life that she didn’t. But it was on now, letting out a light that splashed the floor with the colors from a page that had been opened on it.
Demi walked. Placed her hand over the mouse. Shook it, and felt her face ripple into the paleness. There, placed with horrific stillness on the screen. A picture of Demi at nine years, hugging a teddy bear she had forgotten the name of. Her long her falling over her face, smiling happily into the camera. Demi saw it. The picture. Her blood was hot, rushed in a torrent inside her. There it was. And Demi had seen it. Realized with shuddering horror. Someone had been looking into her files. Someone had booted up the computer to look at pictures of her!

Someone had been interested in her. Demi knew this, and her heart thudded, walking to a slope that elevated a rough tree, large and old. Demi pressed her back on it’s grating bark. She didn’t turn to look at his post. She would think about the intruder first. How had they snuck in her room? Demi felt, as she instinctively shook her head. The thought, animating her into fear. Into a gloomy confusion.
She pulled her hands a tight ball. Biting her lip, pensively as it played in her head. Had she been imagining things? She thought, if only I could go back in time, and confirm what I saw. The gentle wind nudged her cheek, and Demi peered at his post. Demi looked under the armpit of the swaying door. Seeing him slumped in his chair, neglected a cup of cold coffee on a small desk.
Demi saw him scrunch up. She liked that. He was going on his patrol. Spanning out his arms, fingers knotting in a tired yawn. He yanked up his belt, and unfurled to the sunlight that baked his red face. He looked up at it with squinting eyes. You beat me Demi had imagined him saying. Yet another battle loss for him, from the scorching winter sun.
Demi was careful not to crunch the rocks, and stones grained into the sand. She stepped slyly. Loped swiftly. Snuck with agility through the leeway between the gate and it’s wooden counterpart. Once again she had done it. She had escaped to solace. Escaped to freedom.
The air was fresh, when it splashed her on her face. Demi reveled in the greenness of her glade. Skipped to her rock, jarring out of the ground, an unusual gray, merging into the green of the stream of sunlight. The willows whispered, soft songs of friendship and compassion. Demi couldn’t help it, but stretch out a warm smile. But then she remembered.
The last time she had been here her ears had exploded into heat. She had seen a shadow, jumping among the trees. Demi hugged her waist, and suddenly her rock had grown uncomfortable. Pressing her butt with it’s sharp edges. And Demi, see that the whispers of the willows plummeted into chanting. Maddening, and eerie chanting. Her glade had been snatched from her. It had been possessed. Her consolidation had kept her safe from the possession of Uncle Stephen’s legend. But it had shattered now. The shadow she had seen. Her hurting ears. It was a dangerous sphere, intensified by the sound Demi heard now.
Demi wrenched up from her rock. Swerved back, and saw it. A wolf, glaring at her with beady eyes. Brown coat of fur, rippling under the shadow of the depressed willows. Demi saw as it prowled closer. Beady eyes. Bristling fur, smoothly sliding over it’s nimble bones. The wolf prowled closer, and now a green light settled on it’s wet nose.
The pangs of fear pinched Demi. Pangs. Jabbing. Demi clutched her panging heart. She would cry. Would die right here and right now! Demi’s mouth gaped, and her own head was a bewilderment. Demi would cry, but from the corner of her lashes caught a glimpse. Another one! Peering through the moist foliage on her right. It emerged from the green, and Demi saw with horror as it prowled from the bushes to her. She realized with a defeating thriller that one stood in front of her, and one at her side. She would have thought of death, if only she hadn’t heard a low growl behind her.
Death was inevitable. Demi remembered. Her mother. Her father. Friends. Uncle. Faro. Sam. Her mistakes. Sins. Deeds. It was too early for it to end now. So Demi would fight. She would fight for life. Fight for her family. A mindless creature couldn’t kill her. She wouldn’t allow it. Demi opened her mouth, and forced out a hoarse cry. Hearing it echo between the mountains of the Wolf Basin.

The one in front of her jarred it’s teeth, and a low growl escaped from deep in it’s chest. A snarl distorting its face. The pangs intensified. Demi wavered back, balancing with her hands to make sure she wouldn’t trip. She couldn’t hear the one behind her. But if she would turn to look, the one in front of her might pounce. They converged in on her, growling, snarling. Wolves threatening her life like hellish monsters. Demi would cry again. She would refuse to let the thought of dyeing, seep through. She would-----
A wind swept, when they came. With what looked like a quick surge of power, he was in front of Demi. Now she looked at his muscular back, writhing smoothly under the texture of his gray shirt. Demi saw his feet wide. His pale fists clutched into a ball. She saw as he stood beteen her and the beast, snapped his head to the second one, didn’t heed to the one behind her. She saw as the wolf stopped, and its menacing snarl melt. The second one did this too. The third was a mystery.
The boy exchanged penetrating looks with the animals. They seemed to survey him with beady eyes, surprised at the new addition to the meal. Demi shudder as she trailed the word, A meal. Demi’s pounding heart was now deafening. Loud, banging. Demi heard, as it echoed in her ribcage. Thudded with loudness, until it seemed to reverberate in the glade. The breaths were thin, coming out of her mouth only in strained quavering.
The boy was statuesque, and the wolves for a long while, assumed the same position. It seemed to Demi that mutiny would erupt. She imagined the beasts tearing his perfect body into red chunks of flesh. But amidst all the fear, and surrender she had planned to show to the wolves, Demi ogled subtly. A hint of happiness had tinged her. The thought of him in her glade. The thought of him protecting her. Demi liked that.
It was in confusion, when Demi saw this. The first wolf retracted back. The second one did the same. The third was a mystery. Then, it turned around, tail now wagging daintily to the boy. It skidded off the grass, scurrying to the willows. Deep within the green of trees. Yelping, Yapping, Squealing. The cacophony of terrified dogs faded quickly then, deep within the green of tress. A serene silence settled, and Demi released a breath of relief.
His hair was frosty when he turned to Demi. His body turning to her, pale face shadowed stylishly by his hair. He slid his snow hands into the pockets of his black jeans. His expression was unreadable when he sauntered to Demi. Then her eyes caught in to his. They burned her back, and Demi felt her feet wobble slightly. She would fall. The attractive boy now looked at her. And she looked at him. The attractive boy was now glorified by the warm, green tainted light. Deodorant Boy.
His expression was blank. But then Demi saw, as he seemed to swallow something sour. A grimace, then a soft frown. His eyes searched over Demi. She had imagined being nervous of his words of approval. It was autonomous when she did this. Jerked her hand in front “Hi…I’m Demi”. But he was silent.
Silence. Demi would escape from it. She did. “We’ve met before,” She said, forcing the surprise in her tone. His face was still. Icy. Demi flushed. She would accept that she’d made a fool of herself. But he spoke, creeping his hand out of his pocket to revive Demi’s, “Hi Demi…I’m Skythe!”
But the sentence was forced. Demi was hit by his mystery. Lured by his handsome voice. It took her a while, to fumble back to reality. She saw his hand, and quickly reached out to it before it dissapeard. It was cold. As if he’d dipped it in a freezing pool. Demi feared that she had gaped. She looked into his eyes, “Hi...S? She forgot his name!
Demi groped frantically in her mind. She was sure that she was blushing now. She realized with shock, that he had saved her. He was smirking, a small smile flickering, “Skythe” he said. Demi saw a white smile. She liked that. “Umm…Yeah, sorry Skythe” The name touched her with allure. Skythe. He sounded like a movie star. Demi liked that.
Demi was releived to see the smile linger. She looked into his eyes when he said, “Don’t worry…It’s not a common name. Even Demi”
Demi hadn’t heard what he had said, but she nodded. His eyes were fierce. Beautiful. “You seem pale Demi…come” Demi’s breath was cut when she felt his hands soft around her waist. She would fall. The crush was overwhelming. His presence. The way he led her to her gray rock, hands soft around her waist. She smelt it then. Exotic fruits, chocolate. He was perfect. Demi sat on her rock, and she saw a satisfied smile spill on him, now standing a few feet away from her.
“There!” he said, “The shock will die away now. You’ll soon forget about those mutts”
Demi’s heart leaped. She remembered. The wolves. She could have died. But he had saved her. She had to rehearse the sentence first, before she could say it, “Oh! I’m so sorry. I don’t know…Thank you! You don’t know how grateful-thank you…Skythe.”
He smirked again, “Don’t worry. The damsel in distress usually is swept away by the hero, before she can thank him” Demi flushed. He knew. He had seen. Demi’s attraction was broadcasted. She would cover up the embarrassment on her face, with her hands. But this was all she was saying, “Thank you.”

The feelings had spun in a drunken frenzy. Demi sat on her rock, silently watching him. And he observed her, the blank expression settled again. His eyebrows struggled to meet then. Hands tucking in his pocket, “I’m so sorry Demi…for coming to you like this, you must be wondering how on earth I could have known that you were in danger”
The words provoked Demi to a real curiosity. The only feeling that had defaced her frenzied crush. “Yeah…so how did you know?”
He peeped out his white teeth, “I’m a super hero. I heard you with my spidey-sense”
Demi chuckled, “A superhero?”
“Yeah” he said, “But his voice was soft again. Apologetic, ”Yeah I just joking there. But I just heard about this beautiful clearing in the middle of the Wolf Mountains. I’m sort of..what you may call a ‘nature fanatic’
Demi’s eyes sprang up, “You like nature! Me too!”
He smiled. But he didn’t look surprised, “You like nature too!”
Demi nodded enthusiastically, “I study Biology in school” This was said through a wide smile.
Demi saw him walk closer then. He said this in an audible whisper, “Figures.”
“Demi…You spend all of your time surrounded by nature, don’t tell anyone about it, and study Biology in school. You are the type of girl who is oppressed by society…I bet you haven’t told anyone that you want to be a biologist”
Demi’s head bent to his truth. “Right” she mumbled. But the thought punched her. How did he know she came here? He had said she was ‘surrounded by nature’ not telling anyone. Demi spoke, saying just that, “How did you know I come here and not tell anyone?”
Demi had thought he would smile, but she saw a slight frown, “I came here and hadn’t told anyone too” Demi saw the smile grow. She liked that. “I know a person who sneaks to fantasy when I see one!”
The conversation between them was warm. The boy…deodorant boy, was sweet. Demi smiled at his truth, “So you and I are both alike in that way”
Demi liked it when she saw a warm smile, “Hm! And we only just met”
“And we only just met” Demi assured. She felt as her body was warm. The feelings that had overwhelmed her were dyeing. But then she felt them surge, as she remembered again, “How did you scare away the wolves?” The chill lashed at her. The snarling wolves. The ones that could have attacked her. Killed her. But he had saved her. He had scared them away. Demi hadn’t heard what he had said. She only snatched him when he said,
“I learnt it some few years back. Animals are easy to manipulate with a little research.”
Demi smiled, “That’s nice”
Skythe leaned in on Demi. Trudged forward. The smell came to her. An exotic fruit, decorated with water droplets. At that, the adrenaline rushed in her blood.
The silence came. He looked Demi, eyes searching. Demi looked helplessly back at him. Silent. His forehead was taught when he said this, “How would you take to a little story?”
The impromptu question fuddled Demi at first. She trailed behind it, and made sense of it. “Ok?” she said, as it finally lodged in her mind. She breathed. Like him, slid her palms in her pockets,
“I know it mind sound bizarre, but what I’m about to tell you is true”
“Ok” Demi said, ready to dive into his words. It was in a quick movement when he clapped his hands together,
“Right…The story I’m about to tell you has a name…Forlorn”
Demi’s eyebrows arched. That intriguing she thought,
Demi hadn’t anticipated it, but she saw the frown again. This time suffused with a look of worry and concern. He began, “After the creation of the earth, humanity has strived through, life’s ups and downs. But there are people who experience more pain than others. Not physical, nut mental. And we all know that mental pain is the most maddening type of pain there is…” He trailed off. His forehead. Creased in pensive thought, as if he was drawing on some painful past experience. The seemed more like a lecture. But Demi had been spellbound to be attentive to it. Attentive to him.
“There are other’s who have more faith. And pray to…your God, hoping that he’ll get them through. But there are others, who see no significance in the teachings of God, and resort to other options” His voice was grave when he said this. Demi hugged her waist. The chills that ran over her were tittering. Religious stories had always terrified her. She knew that they were always real. She knew that if Skythe’s story was of religious gloom, surely it had to be real. And she would be terrified.
“You must wonder what these option’s are…Demi?”
His eyes burnt through the question. Demi would fall of her rock. They were fierce. Beautiful. But she resisted, and forced herself to say in a squeaky, and helpless voice, “Yeah”
“The other’s, who have become an outcast to the holy, are offered another option. To sell their soul to the Devil”
Demi shuddered. He continued, “He comes, and uses the name of Lucifer, appears to you in the most human form he could manage.” His voice was grave. Intent. “Lucifer promises them a second chance of life, eliminating their emotions, which he belives is what causes them pain. Pulling them out of humanity, bu giving them hellish abilities. And asking for their servitude, in return for an eternal life on earth”
Demi listed to this in gaping awe. She saw as he swallowed something sour, his chest bulging. The gleam desperation on his face was pitying, but beautiful. “These people, servants to the Devil, they call themselves…Forlorn” He grimaced when he said that. Then. Silence. Demi had contemplated ferreting out of it. Silence. It took her a while to realize that the story had come to an end. Now his eyes scorched on her, asking for feedback.
“Wow” was all Demi had managed to say.
“Demi..I trust you have listened carefully, because this concerns you”
Demi’s finger stabbed her chest, “Me?”
He nodded. Walked closer to Demi. Poured his face to hers. She looked deep in the shadow of is eyes. Smelt his enticing scent. His warm breath, stroked her nose. His firm arms supporting their muscle on the rock, both imprisoning Demi’s tiny waist. It was in a whisper when he said this. But Demi heard every velvety word, “If you believe me, come here tomorrow. Same time, same place. …listen with all your heart, and turn your back from the ignorance of reality. Demi

The words rang like a siren. Demi was in danger. She sat in her car, her mother accelerating casually through the bawling sky. Through the dark morning. Through the teardrops of mother nature. A rumbled of thunder growled, encouraging more rain to hit.
But the car was warm. And Demi thought, leaning on the rain decorated window. The news read were read out on the radio, and Skythes words were stubborn. A religious tale. Those were usually true. In them, there were devils, and saints. Things that happened that were too mythical to be real. Demi had been baked by these tales as a child, each holding an important moral lesson. These had been recited to every child in the world, for all of time. But now it had involved Demi. That was what Skythe had said.
It was with fright when she had the epiphany. Friday. There had been someone looking at her pictures. Sneaked in her room. She had felt the chill. Sunday. She had gone to her glade. Wolves had attacked her. Skythe had come. Saved her. But how did he know she was in danger? Unless he had been watching Demi. The chills were colder. If he had been watching Demi, then he was probably the one whos snuck in her room. Why?
Demi’s palm slipped from under her chin. Fright. She traced patterns on the squeaky synthetic covers of the seats. The wet world was a honking blur outside. A familiar feeling tainted her then. Nostalgic. Warm. She almost succumbed to a faint smile, but it was shadowed by her shrieking heart. She imagined Skythe watching her, silently peering from her guards of willows. She imagined Skythe longing for the chance to meet her. She imagined Skythe thinking in his heart, that she was the most beautiful girl he ever met. Then he would kiss her. Her lips pressing against his soft ones. And he, whispering words of love.
Her mother’s voice shouted through to her thoughts, “Winter is just so gloomy here, makes me wanna wish I was back in Italy.”
Demi knew her mother said that just to break the silence. Italy was just as rainy too. But that silence hadn’t mattered. Her thoughts had pulled her away too tightly. Too mystically. Demi simply nodded. Flashed a smile.
“I miss Italy” her mother said.
Italy was her fathers home country. Demi knew that her mother wouldn’t mention it because it had been linked to him. Surely, she had said that to ferret out of the silence. Nice try mom Demi thought, but I am not fooled. She had accepted an answer out of her. But the thought of Skythe blinked. Demi wanted to think about him. Of how he would kiss her. But also, of how he had said she was in danger. The explanation was slipping. Skythe? Would he really stalk her? But even so, Demi now knew, how she would react to it. She would like it. The car, hummed into the driveway. Demi was quick to scamper out the car, and envisage her bed. She would throw herself on it, and think. Danger. Demi had been in danger. But could she trust Skythe?

Demi would go to him. He had said she was in danger. She could feel her stomach ticklish. Soft. Her bones, shivering softly under her skin. She threw one wide step over a rock. Then, a carpet of moist grass, mapped out before her. The sky, ashen, rumbling out distant thunder.
Demi walked. Into the glade. She saw as the vegetation readied for sleep. The green light was replaced by the shadow of the hanging clouds. Soon, the rain would come. Demi walked, and caught sight of him first. Back turned towards her, h stood by her rock. He stuck out one arm, and just like Demi had done, traced it’s hard dents. Even on the soft grass, he had heard Demi’s footsteps, because he turned to her. The bewilderment in Demi nudged at the sight. His raven hair had looked as if it’d been saturated with frost. Like before, his skin was still a snowy pale. But fondness pulsated at the realization. All that. And his hair, that slanted stylishly over his forehead. It had made him attractive. Handsome. Demi would have fallen in awe, when she saw him smile welcomingly. Then he spoke,
“Demi!” His face lit up with a hint of glee at that. Demi liked it. He stepped over a tuft of lilies, and acknowledged Demi with a nod. She ogled helplessly at him, “Hi Skythe” she squeaked. She smiled victoriously, when she had remembered his name. A rumble of thunder. Struggling to burst through the gray sky. Demi was the first to speak, her face stern, “You said I was in danger…please tell me what you meant”
Demi had imagined him smiling. She had imagined him blushing and saying that it had all been a joke. She had imagined him admitting that he had only said that to see her again. But that had been only her imaginings. In truth, his face hardened. Frown. Eyes, burning. Demi’s heart was loose. Prancing with adrenaline.
“It’s true Demi” he said, “You are in danger”
Demi’s voice broke when she said this, “From what?”
He crept closer to Demi. Looked down at her, his chest, desperately wanting to merge with hers. Their noses barely touching, she inhaled his warm breath. His strong smell. “Not ‘what’…But whom.” Demi looked up at him. Trapped. Dazed. “Who am I in danger from then?” Bile formed in her mouth. She struggled to swallow it with bitterness. He was in a gloomy whisper when he said this,
“I told you. About the Forlorn”
Demi remembered. Wearily. Puzzlement shrouding the memory. She nodded. And he spoke, “the only way is to show you” His eyelids pressed together. Tight. Then a sour grimace. He turned away on his heels. Slid his hands in his pockets. Walked.
He walked to the edge of the encirclement of widows. Demi was awed by his beauty. He went. Under a widow, that stroked his muscular back with its hairs. He was under its green fountain. And Demi saw him put one hand on it’s rigid bark. He put another one, and it took a while for Demi to realize what he had been doing. He pushed against the trunk with both palms, a few grunts, escaping from his clenched teeth. He was pushing against the bark, with all his might. The sight was macabre.
Demi heard a loud crackling noise. She searched over the tree and looked up, to see that it came from its green canopy. He pushed, and Demi saw the treetop. Lean sideways. Crackling. It crashed down, with tremendous buoyancy. Demi saw it’s huge trunk, laid flat on the green grass. Gnarled roots, weeded out the ground, lumps of dirt, still hanging. Sktythe, clapped out the dirt on his hands. Stood victoriously, with one foot on the trunk. Smirk. Demi’s willow had fallen, it’s thick mane of green hair, poured out on the ground.
Skythe had pushed down a whole tree. She saw his eyes force a firm lock into hers. She looked with shock. Heart banging, with exhilaration. “How-How did you?”
He edged closer to Demi. Leaped over the trunk. “That’s exactly the question I wanted you to ask.”
He was surreal. He had pushed down a whole tree. Demi stuck her palm out to him, not sure if she was protecting herself, or asking him absorption of what she had just seen. He had pushed down a whole tree. With his bare hands!
“So?” he said, “Want me to explain that, or will you try?”
“What I just did there…it wasn’t normal…can you guess why?” He forced a smile. But it flickered away quickly.
Demi shook her head, but the words only came later, “Cuz you’re not normal.”
Demi looked at him. Suddenly, all the tales he had told her fidgeted to life. Lucifer. Some people who had been called Forlorn. She had seen it. The mystic truth was coming alive. Demi would ask. Fear had pierced her heart to the question. It was in a whisper when she said it, “What are you?”
He looked at Demi. Eyes, scorching. His forehead creased, “I am of the Forlorn. Demi…I have no soul”
“That’s not true” she said, “Your stories are not true!” Demi swerved away from him. Frustration. Folded her hands. She was fazed when she felt a cold hand grasp her by the wrist. It guided her to face him. Skythe. Eyes burning, but concerned.
“I was born Luke Hamman…” He cringed, “1867”
Demi shook her head, but she couldn’t escape from his tentative grip. Cold. “Stop playing games…this is not a joke”
He didn’t seem to hear what Demi had said. Just kept talking, eyes firm, “My father, he was a useless drunk. He beat my mother, and my sister and I”
Demi would have refused to listen to the joke. But she saw the fire dim in Skythe’s eyes. His face, doleful. She saw it in him then. Sadness. Skythe was telling the truth! Demi would listen. And she did.
“But my mother…she played the villain, almost as much as my father had. She didn’t love us. I hated both of them. Many a time, I would think vengefully of the day they would die. Once I even thought of killing them myself.”
Bile was bitter in Demi’s mouth. She didn’t swallow it. She had feared that she was gaping. Skythe continued to strum out his story, “It was torture. One night, I planned to run away. I was tired, a-and angry! So I took some food at midnight, and snuck out. There were woods nearby, a bit like here”
He ran his eyes over Demi’s glade when he said that.
“I hid in them for months. But then he came.”
Demi had clung on to his words when she said this, “Who…your father?”
He shook his head. His frosty hair. Ruffled. “No…Lucifer”
Skythe’s story was crawling to a gloomy climax. She knew that she was involved in it. But she also knew that she wouldn’t like it.
“Lucifer came to me…and at the time I was scared. He had disguised himself…but I could clearly see that he wasn’t human. He reached into my heart, told me that I was hurt…and he could fix it.”
Skythe paused. He seemed reluctant to continue. He looked at Demi, and seemed to run some rigorous thought in his mind. Whatever he saw in Demi’s eyes, seemed to encourage him. He continued, “He promised to take away the hurt. I agreed. He…Lucifer, he…he made me sign a blood pact with him. After that, my body started to behave very strangely. The first anomaly was my emotions. I had none…like I was completely empty. It’s difficult to explain. But I had no emotions at all! Except one. Anger. It would come very rarely, but when it did, it was incredibly strong!”
Demi was dazed. He was hurt. But still beautiful. He threw a finger behind him. Demi followed it to the fallen willow.
“The second anomaly” he said, “is strength. Lucifer removes all boundaries of physical pain, that prevent you from pushing your strength to an alarming stratosphere!”
His voice boomed then. Demi cringed when she realized that he was shouting. Clearly he was icy. Strangely, his gestures were flinging. Skythe was angry.
“The third is eternal life! When I came back from the woods I killed my parents. I hadn’t felt remorse! No regrets! I lived with my sister for a while through bitter distrust. She hadn’t forgiven me. And I didn’t give a damn!”
Demi shivered at the tenacity of his words. He resumed on his angry lashing, “I left her when I realized one very strange thing…I didn’t age. Lucifer had given me eternal life!”
It was abstract. Demi let the thought of the story being a joke, disappear from her mind. She realized with awe, that Skythe had been telling the truth. The boy who looked at her, eyes waning as the impromptu anger dispersed. The boy who had saved her from a wolf attack. The boy she would day dream about. Handsome. The boy who wasn’t human. The boy who had been a Forlorn.
Demi would search for what to say. The silence crept. Her palms, slippery with sweat. Demi’s breath was heaving closer to hyperventilation. The days events had gone too fast. She hadn’t got the chance to make sense of them. She would search for what to say. Demi found it,
“Well…how does that concern me?”
Demi saw his hand. Stretch to her. Calmly, clutch her wrist. She forced back the lecherous emotions. Demi had feared that she was hyperventilating. She looked in his eyes. Skythe.
“I ran away from Lucifer Demi. I wanted to feel…and be human. I left!”
The anger returned. Demi’s hand trembled. Annoyance. Frustration. She boomed her own voice then, “It doesn’t make sense Skythe! I asked you how it concerns me!”
He shouted, “Let me speak!”
Demi bowed back to his refute. His hand slipped from her wrist. He calmed. Looked sternly at Demi. “I’m sorry. But it’s very frustrating. I’m trying my best to make you understand.
Demi nodded. She breathed.
“ Lucifer, gives us these abilities, or gifts, in return that we serve him for all eternity. But I ran, and I’m suffering the consequences right now”. The silence was mutely deafening then. Demi heard her heart stomp. “It is said, when the soldiers of the devil rise to mutiny, a curse shall be inflicted on him. As a result of it, I am neither human…or Forlorn.”
Demi shook her head. The words were heavy. Rattling. The titters run over Demi. What was Skythe saying? Demi would speak, saying just that. “What do you mean?” It hadn’t come out right. But he seemed to understand.
“Because I ran from him, I am cursed. I am deprived of what a Forlorn may consider their nature, and given something much worse to replace it. I punished with emotions far stronger than any human. Than any living thing on earth. My happiness is exaggerate. My anger, and Pain.”
“But you haven’t answered my question…how does that concern me?”
“Before I left, the whole Forlorn army had been desperately looking for someone. You!”
Demi burst up, “Me?”
Thunder crashed. A rumbling tempest. A globule of rain wetted Demi’s head. And another. And another. The rain whooshed then, Demi sheltering her head with her palms. Skythe did nothing. Eyes, burning on Demi. His hair was glistening. Black. A picturesque model. He spoke, “Let’s save the story for another time. Same time. Same place. Demi would protest. But he pattered off, into the thickness of trees. Skythe was gone, and Demi. Left Dry. She walked.
Jogged off to where she knew the stony road lay. Where she knew the thick raindrops speared the ground. Sending teardrops of brown mud, jumping excitedly in the air. Demi ran. By the time she slid through the park, it had caked on her trainers. She had left Skythe behind, and could only wonder what he had been doing.

Demi sat at the front desk, a maneuver she had executed, to bar herself from the grouping of her friends. She forced her eyes to lock onto a pacing Mr.Vk, hair in a light buzz-cut. Demi had finished scribbling the last sentence of her test, sealing the fate of a good report card. But Demi was in danger. The thought of good grades drowned deep, in a black ocean of mysteries.
The flapping sound of papers licked at regular intervals, Demi put her pen on the desk, and it dropped to the floor with a quiet tinkle. She stole a weary glance to it, and saw that it had rolled back. Past the ceramic. Halting by a desk, behind her. Mace’s desk. She would get it when the bell would ring. When the students left the class, hollow. When nothing made sense. When she would play the possibility of Skythe’s ‘danger’ in her head. When she would think of Skythe. Handsome. Perfect. She would get her pen, when the world around her distorted into a meaningless conundrum. And she did.
The clock stroke out tiny jumping jacks. Still, papers flapped. Still an awkward silence, only this time, pouring unrealistic thoughts into Demi’s head. Skythe had told Demi of a legend. He had said its name was Forlorn. About Lucifer taking away peoples emotions. Taking their souls. Somehow it had been linked to Demi. She was in danger. That was what Skythe had said.
The drilling bell had juddered the whole class to an eruption of noise. Lunch. Demi would sit with the boys again. She would listen monotonously to their talk of cards, and videogames. Talk about girls was rare. About class; frequent. But mostly they talked about thing, that Demi hadn’t heard before. A LAN party. That was what they had called it. But Demi was in danger. That was what Skythe had said.
Demi scuffed past the corridors, edging closer to the hall of barbaric chaos. A jungle of student’s messily leaving food wrappers on the floor. Mustard stained napkins. Half bit, hot dog rolls. Demi would grimace when she saw this. And she did.
Demi had been glad to trudge through the cafeteria without anyone looking at her. Last week, someone had asked her if she had been the one who’d been hit by a car. She had feared that she had shaken her head. Embarrassment. The car. Party. Pain. A lugubrious voice, pulling her up to the ambience of a white hospital room. Demi sat on the edge. Cautious, of the huddle of boys, who still peered over their glasses at her. She smiled again. Tried to batter her eyelashes, just like she had seen Jenny do when she was flirting with a boy. She was triumphant. Seeing a good number of them grow red in a sweet blush. Demi saw, as they turned their heads back into their conversation. Here she had been accepted. Here, she had been in control.
Demi would have imagined herself being like a queen, but then someone tapped her shoulder. She swerved back on her seat, and looked up at Kwezi’s betrayed eyes. His frown stiffened, and he said in a voice that was too low for the boys to hear, “What are you doing here?”
Demi stammered, “Kwezi…I…”
Before Demi could finish, he presented a hand that signaled an expectant, “Come with me” Demi reached out and grabbed his soft palm. He hauled her up from the red sandwich of a table and a chair. She looked at Kwezi’s gaping mouth. The walked out then. Leaving the sound of a clamorous dining hall, buzzing behind. Under the cool silence of the arrangement of lockers, Kwezi leaned. Shoulder support. Looking at Demi, eyes asking for an explanation.
Demi stammered. But he spoke, “You haven’t been sitting with us” The sentence suffused with hurt. Accusing. Demi had imagined, stooping her head down low. She did it. Kwezi had been like her father. He was tolerant. Calm. There had been no use lying to him. He wouldn’t mind. Demi would tell hi the truth. And she did.
“It’s difficult to explain…I” Demi’s words fell.
“Well make me understand…I thought you were my friend”
Demi looked in his eyes. They looked like a six-year olds’. Innocent. Curious. Subtly, hurt. “You are my friend Kwezi, she assured, “Just that…when I found out I hadn’t been invited to the party—“
He interjected with shock, “What!? She didn’t invite you!”
Demi reluctantly nodded. She saw, as Kwezi clamped his waist with both of his hands. Forehead, hardening with concern. But it unwove, “Demi…I’m so…sorry, I guess”
Demi hadn’t wanted to go to Mace’s party. “Thanks” she said to Kwezi. If only he knew, she thought. Demi had wanted to avoid Mace’s party, but not at the cost of their friendship. Kwezi nodded. Without saying anything, he crept out of the conversation. Demi watched him. Steps, lightly pressing on the ground. She had imagined him, contemplating not to leave her. Not to leave her alone, without any friends. Demi’s eyelashes were wet. It was with regret when she allowed the tears to brim.

The rain was drumming hard against the window, when Demi sat in Darkness. When she lay in her bed. Drowned. She slid her hands under her head. Looking at the ceiling with unblinking eyes. The pillow was soft. Smelt of bleach. Skythe wasn’t human. Demi breathed. He had said he was cursed. Demi breathed. He had pushed down a whole tree. Her breath was thin, when she breathed. Forlorn had been looking for her. That was what Skythe had said.
Demi had forgotten to ask Skythe if he had snuck in her room. If he had been the one running like a swift shadow in her glade. But it was rhetorical. He had snuck in her room. He had watched her while she was in her glade. Skythe had saved her from wolves. All this, to tell me that I’m in danger.
Demi’s phone vibrated then. Humming. She wrenched up, and scanned her eyes over to where it batted its lightened eyelashes. She crawled over her bead. Reached out to it. It was cold on her ear, “Hello?”
Silent. She would speak again, but a voice came,
It was Skythe’s voice. Smooth. Her heart pulsated. The smile was warm when it danced.
“Skythe? How. How did’ya get my number?”
“Listen…I just wanted to make sure that you arrived safely”
Demi died into fear. “Why?”
His voice was smooth. But indifferent. “I told you…you’re in danger. I need to see to it that you’re safe at all times”
Demi wouldn’t speak. She was in danger. Forlorn. Lucifer. Skythe had said that they wanted to harm her. “Please Skythe…are you serious?”
“What?” he chirped.
“Am I really in danger?”
“You think this is a hoax” he accused.
Demi’d face hardened, “Yeah…you got to cut me slack here. Lucifer? Stuff like that doesn’t exist in the real world. It’s just…unreal”
“Demi…I broke a whole tree for you. I shouldn’t have done that. I even told you the most guarded secret of all time. I shouldn’t have done that. But I did.” A pause followed then. “Because I care for you”
The phone would slip from Demi’s hand. Her blood was warm. She smiled fatedly Good thing he can’t see that! She thought. She had imagined giggling. Surprisingly it crept up from her throat, and was choked out. She disguised it with a cough.
“I’m sorry” she said., “Then maybe it is true…I’m sorry I didn’t believe you”
“No. You still don’t believe me. I’m sorry to waste my time

The author's comments:
This chapter is in the sequel of the novella. Just a preview to all you guys of what lies in Demi's destiny

Skythe took Demi’s hand into his. “I’m asking you to come with me, to Africa”
“Africa? Why are you taking me that far?”
He shook his head, “Because I’m searching for a place where we’ll have enough time! Your blood rushes with all the attributes of the Alitueta’s destiny. You are safer in their hands, but they’ll force you to become like me”
“Then what?” Demi said, “What happens when we get to Africa?”
“I don’t know. All I know is that we need to get out of here”
His eyes were ebony. Thick. Hypnotic. Demi liked them. She wished that she could see them everyday for the rest of her life. She thought of going with him. Strangely, she liked it.
“Why are you doing this Skythe? Why do you feel that you need to protect me so bad?”
“I told he” he said, tightening his grip around Demi’s hand. It was cold. “I’ve been cursed, and I have emotions far stronger than every living thing on this earth. Because of that…I love you. More than every living thing on this earth”

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