The look on Lao Lao’s face was an image Kallan hasn’t seen in a long time. She remembers Lao Lao looking this way when a being asks about the future. Lao Lao’s face becomes devoid of all emotion. And the being that is in front of Kallan is no longer her Lao Lao. Instead, it is an entity that has existed before time and will continue to exist after everything is gone. To say Kallan wasn’t tempted was a lie. She wanted to know or at least know enough to know for sure if the explosion had been an accident or something more sinister. She swallows.
First chapter: Fire & Rain
Previous chapter: Answers
They were fighting again. Kelsey and Hannah were always fighting. But usually, their arguments were a lot more passive aggressive than this one.
Arthur walked into the room just as Kelsey suggested that her sister leave the premises. He was aware that he should only interfere if the disagreement became physical. Watching the two, he felt rather sure that it wouldn’t get that far.
Kelsey’s eyes opened back up and she looked across at her sister with a sneer.
“So you’re still here. I guess you don’t actually mind being in this ‘hexed-up’ house after all.”
Hannah pursed her lips. Kelsey sighed, twisting her neck until she heard a satisfying crack. Arthur examined his Keepers’ faces. The likelihood of them getting past this argument was high. But there was also a likelihood the girls could end up fighting dirty.
Previous: Chapter One – Part One
I woke up the next morning, or what felt like the next morning in a bright, white room.
My memories were slowly forming in the back of my head when I realized I was no longer in the cave on the beach.
Had they found us? Was my immediate thought. The room I was now in reminded me far too much of the Darose, Zendo facility – only less upscale. There was an odd flicker from the light overhead that buzzed for far too long.
I glanced down. I still had my clothing on so that seemed like a good sign – maybe.
I blinked and scanned the space around me.
There was a large window to my left. The curtains were closed but a small stream of white light encased with slowly moving dust had managed to free itself from the drapery.
Two thin white blankets were nestled over my lap that I slowly peeled back. I pushed my legs off the side to the floor. As I attempted to move a wave of dizziness came upon me. The world tilted to the left and I followed it.
I heard my mouth release a sharp yelp as I threw my body weight into the side of the bed frame.
The walls were probably built thin incase something like this happened. It was only a second after that the doors to the room burst open and two men descended upon me, taking me by both sides.
“No, wait,” I heard myself say and I gently placed back into the bed.
“Easy, Ms. Liu,” said the dark-haired man on the left, “We got you.”
“No, you don’t understand…”
Their shadows had closed in around me. I tried to pull away but found the attempt useless.
“Sara,” A low voice rose into the air.
For a moment I thought my brain was playing tricks on me.
“Sara,” The voice spoke again, this time it appeared irritated.
I turned in the direction of the door, where the voice was coming from.
First chapter: Fire & Rain
Previous chapter: Expiration
It was eerie being inside a near stranger’s house alone. Kelsey winced as she heard the linoleum squeak beneath her sneaker. She made her way towards the living room and tapped on the walls to bring up Barbara’s wall app. She was stunned when nothing lit up. What sort of archaic shit was this woman into?
Kelsey idly glanced towards the candles. The woman had multitudes of those in here. Candles were thought to summon spirits when used correctly or to honour perished loved ones.
She lit some of the candles nearest to her. They were all in a row. She looked at the window. Luckily, this room only had windows facing the backyard. Nobody should notice from the street. Kelsey closed her eyes and calmed her mind. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was trying to do here. She half-expected the house to somehow give her some guidance, or maybe some part of her would explain what the hell was going on.
The flames leapt towards the ceiling with a whoosh! Kelsey’s eyes flew open, worried that something was going to catch ablaze. She looked around the room, but it was silent and still. Until a shadow appeared in front of her. It didn’t have a face but it had the form of something once human. Kelsey chewed on a hangnail. Who was supposed to speak first in this sort of scenario, anyway?
Chapter One – Part One
The funny thing about you being dead, twice mind you, is you get a lot of perspective.
When I first died. I mean, when I first thought I was dead I couldn’t quite cope with where I was in life. Everything, everything I had ever known had gone up in flames. The Past became my Present. My Future, or at least the future I had hoped for was gone.
There was no back button. There was no way to undo our actions.
If you’ve lived the life I had lived up until that point – you might feel like: what was the point then?
You try to make up for a broken childhood. You try to re-make yourself in a better woman who you thought you could be. But what does that do for you? What?
I can’t even say I died. Not yet, anyway. That’s later of course, but you’ve seen that. Or at least, part of that.
But when life or a combusting, anti-matter explosion kicks you in the stomach you don’t slither off into the darkness and give up. No, that’s not how you were trained. That’s not what you know how to do. Giving up is not something you do. You fight. You get up. You shake your fist at the goddamn sky and say you’re gonna make something of your life.
Granted, this was before I had been thoroughly exposed to any form of popular cinema so I had no strong archetype female to compare myself to.
When my eyes opened and I saw the brown world below me my heart lodged itself under my tongue.
They had first met at a coffee shop on a Tuesday morning. Sam was sitting at the table in the corner looking at her phone and sipping a latte when she suddenly felt eyes on her. She looked up slowly and saw a handsome man with slicked-back hair, his hands in his pockets, his eyes smiling, and his mouth with a barely visible smirk.
Sam adjusted her ponytail, even though she didn’t really need to. She pretended like she wasn’t noticing him walking toward her. He stopped next to her table and took a hand out of his pocket and gestured at the empty chair across from her, keeping one hand in the pocket of his black slacks.
“May I join you?” Sam then realized that it was Stephan Miles. His family practically owned the city. His father was the Mayor, so he worked with him. She wasn’t sure what his title was, but he had that look that emanated importance. She wondered why he wanted to sit with her.
Sam nodded and smiled weakly, trying to not blush, even though she knew there was really no way to prevent it. He pulled out the chair and sat down gracefully, unbuttoning his suit jacket with the flick of his fingers. He stretched his hand across the table, offering a handshake.
“Hello, I am Stephan Miles.” His white teeth glowed as he grinned with his mouth slightly open. Sam had seen him on the local news before, in a fourth of July parade, and around town. He was known as the handsome son of the mayor. Sam had thought that Stephan Miles had a fake kind of politician-style handsome. But in person she saw that what she thought was a fake tan, was actually smooth, olive-colored skin. The grease in his hair slightly failed to keep the waves straight and she could see tiny curls at the nape of his neck. His long eyelashes nearly touched his thick eyebrows, framing his dark round eyes. His sharp jawbone and dramatic angular nose balanced perfectly with the softness of his stare.
First chapter: Fire & Rain
Previous chapter: Smiles
Seeing Barbara at 7-Eleven annoyed Kelsey. Turtle Creek was a small town, but it wasn’t that small. Her presence reminded her of what she had said about Kelsey’s parents. The false sincerity. It left a bad taste in her mouth.
Something else was off about Barbara. She seemed vaguely hypocritical. The way she would silently despise Kelsey, but be openly curious about her. Barbara knew Kelsey was different, but how?
Kallan straightens her back and hears her spine crack and pop. Her muscles are both numb and achy for sitting in one position for so long. But at least she’s at home. Her desk is covered in files and her laptop looks as tired as she does. She finishes the last bit of her high-caffeine tea and gets up to walk to the kitchen to fix another cup.
First chapter: Fire & Rain
Previous chapter: Nostalgia
The rain pattered against Kelsey’s bedroom window. A forlorn leaf affixed itself to the lower pane, askew. There would be no sun infiltrating the clouds today. Kelsey awoke uncomfortably. It was a reluctant move on her part. Every day was the same. On her absolute laziest days, she wouldn’t even open her eyes for the first twenty minutes. Instead, she would focus the tiny sliver of her alert mind upon a crumpled t-shirt or a pair of jeans in the corner of the room. On her good days, she could sleepily drag those discarded pieces of clothing towards the bed. On her bad days, sometimes they would catch on fire.
The latter wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She liked timing how long it would take for her sister to smell the smoke and come careening into the room with a fire extinguisher. Only then would Kelsey flash an impish grin and douse the fire herself without raising a finger. She knew Hannah knew. But Hannah was too rigid in her ways. She would never own up to the fact that her sister had an interesting repertoire of skills. Kelsey couldn’t understand her. She would totally be supportive of Hannah if she ended up having superpowers of her own.