MoboReader> Fantasy > The Ones Who were Chosen

   Chapter 1 One More

The Ones Who were Chosen By Lady Lilium Characters: 37964

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:02


The girl glanced round nervously; wondering that someone was following her. Like a fox leaving a trail for hounds that were near. Nowhere was she feel truly safe, because of what she was.

Her pure white hair lifted as she turned and continued to run. Her matching white dress trailed after her in a ghostly fashion as her bare feet slapped with every step upon the pavement. Always she was searching around her for signs of danger, warnings that her pursuers were nearby. Her grey eyes never rested.

She would run until she found somewhere to hide. Then run again, before she stayed too long in one place and risked being caught.

As was her life. Because of what she was.

The woman slammed the door. Hoisting the strap of her handbag up her shoulder she stormed away down the stairs.

From inside the apartment silence ensued. Lucas aged nineteen stood just inside staring at the closed door. There were sudden hurried footsteps approaching from behind. His brother Reuben burst into the room, two years younger. Similar in appearance to his brother, with the same jet black hair swept back and pretty blue eyes. They were both very handsome.

'What is it? What's happened?'

'She's gone' Lucas replied calmly.

'What, again?'

'Yeah.'

Lucas fidgeted on the spot, sticking his hands into his pockets, shoulders slumped.

'What set her off this time?'

'Just the usual' Lucas replied '…nothing.'

His tone was weary.

'Well…what do we do now?' Reuben asked

There was a pause.

'Lucas?'

Lucas looked back at his brother with a devilish glint in his eye.

'I say we make some fun.'

Drake leant forwards on the desk with a huff, listening to the teacher drone on and on about something he had long since lost interest in. It was chemistry, a subject he usually enjoyed, however lately it had become more and more tedious for him. Now the lessons just dragged.

Drake was an ambitious adolescent nearing twenty, soon to leave the comfortable routine that college offered him. He looked forward to this, and his dreams were big. But nothing his teachers or his career advisors offered him was appealing, and he had yet to find something he wished to pursue. For he had skills that others hadn't, skills he wished to use. If only he knew where.

Drake watched the teacher moving his lips and walking back and forth before the class, waving his arms around as he talked as he always did. Drake found himself wondering then, if he tied the man's arms to his side, would he still be able to talk? His eyes drifted out of focus, as did his thoughts. He snapped back seconds later when the teacher suddenly raised his voice in enthusiasm about a particular point he was making. His lecturer was a fat balding man with glasses, friendly enough, if not a little annoying at times. The other students seemed to be paying more attention; they had their books and pencil cases out and about their desks. The exams were not far off, and most were listening eagerly, save for two girls who were whispering and passing notes.

Drake sighed again, beginning to fiddle with the studs and chains on his leather bracelet. He then checked himself in the reflection in the window beside him, flicking back his light brown hair and admiring his own handsome features. He sighed again, before returning to the doodling in his book. Naturally good at art though not interested in taking it on as a subject, now he added the finishing touches to his picture. A large breasted woman fighting with a sort of giant sea serpent, her hair sweeping dramatically back and spear thrust out at the serpent in mid lunge, its jaws gaping.

'He's up there' Lucas said.

'Are you sure?'

'Positive.'

'How do you even know his timetable?' Reuben asked, climbing up on his brother's shoulders.

'I just know ok' Lucas retorted, rising from his kneeling position to a wobbling stand.

'Stand still' Reuben hissed. 'Get closer to the wall.'

Lucas did so, stumbling as he struggled to keep his brother straight and balanced as he held onto his shins. He gave a cheeky grin through the window they stood before to the classroom inside. Many of the students had noticed them, and more were turning to glance curiously their way.

'Alright up there?' Lucas asked, diverting his attention back to his brother.

'Yeah' his brother called back.

Inside the classroom on the second level, Drake had seemed to have suddenly noticed something drawn on the table. He glanced up at the teacher; then lifted his pencil, contributing to it.

Outside, Reuben fell against the wall, using it to balance himself better.

'Can you see him?' his Lucas asked from below.

Reuben craned his head further.

'Got him.'

Lucas brought out a tiny metal ball from his pocket.

'Here.'

He threw it up to Reuben who caught it swiftly. Reuben held it carefully in one hand as he tapped on the glass lightly.

Drake was distracted from his graffiti by a tapping noise. He glanced around to see the top of someone's head at the bottom of the window, with light blue eyes staring back at him.

He looked forward again. The teacher had his back turned.

Still facing ahead Drake leaned to the side and slowly flicked the latch, pulling the window up by a tiny fraction. Drake silently took the small device Reuben handed him and leant back in his chair, trying his best to look inconspicuous. The teacher was still distracted. Standing on his tiptoes to write on the very top of the white board, book in one hand; pen in the other. Most of the rest of the class were paying attention to the teacher, Drake felt grateful that the whispering girls were distracted too. He quickly wrote a note upon his desk, and then turned his attention to the thing Reuben had handed him.

Drake fingered the device in his hand. It was a curious thing, one of Lucas's own personal creations, for he had many. Many hours Lucas had sat in his room tinkering with toys of scrap metal and his mysterious powers and brilliant mind. And this was the result. A sphere in shape, it had many shallow ridges and grooves running upon it. Drake turned it over. It had what looked like tiny screw heads protruding out from the surface. He tweaked one of these; then sent it rolling across the classroom.

'…and so the hydrogen bonds in water act unusually.'

The ball rolled under the teacher's desk. There was a second's delay, and then it exploded.

The entire class jumped in shock, coughing as the thick purple smoke enveloped the entire front of the classroom. Like a typical smoke bomb, very effective and just as fun as the last one.

By the time the smoke cleared enough for the teacher to realise one of his students were missing, Drake was already long gone.

The lecturer approached the empty chair, and saw the writing on the desk, next to the picture of a man with wings newly added.

Go to work, Go to school, Come home

Obey the law, Pay tax, Eat chips

CCTV

I am free

Running and laughing as they went, Drake raced the brothers out of the grounds of the college, feet pounding on the smooth grass in huge strides. It was far too lovely a day today to be trapped inside. Outside the gates of the college the streets of the town were busy, and people turned their heads as the three sprinted past them. Taking the shortest route from the college they cut across the streets, leaping over railing and darting across traffic causing strife as they went. The three were able to cover huge distances within mere minutes. Jumping impossibly high jumps rolling and running they carried on. They knew the streets well, had been born here, raised here.

It was their home.

They reached the edges of the town, where the buildings became fewer and more spread out. Now there were mostly just homes and a few corner shops. But they kept going.

About half a mile or so beyond the homes and past an industrial estate, was an abandoned building. It had been empty for many years now, and was secured by a chain link fence that ran all the way round. This used to be an old hotel, but the owners had run out of money and the building was never finished. It was just a structure of brick and stone now, the only part of the building that seemed in any sense recognisable as a hotel was the reception at the front. There was a faded red carpet on a finished floor and a half-oval desk in the middle, with little else within the smooth walls.

There was the smallest gap in the fence outside. Lucas glanced about them cautiously as he pulled back the chain links, making the hole big enough to crawl through. Reuben went in first, scrabbling through the dirt as he squeezed through the gap. Drake followed next, holding back the fence for Lucas to follow after him.

The building was the perfect place for what they planned to use it for, however it was dangerous. Drug dealers and criminal gangs often chose this as their favourite spot, and very occasionally the homeless. Though they stayed no longer than they had to, and only if it was quiet. It was said by some that people had been killed here, and it was said by others that there were bodies hidden in the area. Lucas had scoffed at this, dismissing it as nothing more than an urban legend. The hotel was well known of, and people liked to fabricate all kinds of crazy fairy-tales about it, including those that said it was haunted. It was rarely visited by ordinary people. However, the three that entered it now, were far from ordinary.

'Check the area' Lucas whispered to the others as they drew closer, quietening their footsteps. 'I'll go in first, you two scan around the building, and be careful of the windows. Someone may be looking out.'

Reuben and Drake nodded seriously. The three had visited this place often, yet it had become no safer for them. On one occasion several months back, Lucas had rounded a corner within the hotel and been jumped. The man that attacked had seriously injured Lucas, catching him by surprise. Had his brother not been there, Lucas would likely have been killed.

It took only minutes to search though every room, and once the three had determined the building was truly empty, they relaxed slightly.

It was filthy here, the typical used needles and fag ends lay about in many of the rooms amongst other rubbish, even the occasional empty bullet cartridge could be found. The three made their way up to one of the higher levels and situated themselves in the largest room they could find, the one they were most used to. It was cleaner than the others, being brighter and more open. The sun in the sky was in the correct position to give them plenty of light while they worked. The floors were mere concrete and the edges of the open windows were sharp with brick and cement. It was chilly here, most of the building shut out the heat from the sun, yet the open windows and doorways let in the wind. Its howling could be heard throughout.

'Are you ready?' Reuben asked Drake.

'Sure am.'

Lucas situated himself in the usual position by the window and gazed outwards, scanning the environment.

The two took their positions on opposite ends of the room and readied themselves.

'Do you want to go first?' Reuben asked.

Drake cracked his knuckles eagerly in anticipation, sneering at Reuben smugly. He stepped back, making a flourishing movement with his hand. A dark light fell around him.

Magic.

He became shrouded in a dark purple shadow. Long metallic poles of dark metal criss-crossed before him forming a sort of barrier. These metallic things were blunt at one end, and pointed at the other, their sharp ends jutted backwards in a sort of cruel angular hook. They levitated in the air around him, hovering up and down gently.

A flicker of a grin crossed Reuben's face. He thought; then cast his own hand out.

From the ground at his feet lifted great vines, like the wide stems of huge deformed brambles, they twisted and curved in unnatural ways. They very slowly grew towards Drake, curling round themselves and twisting back they writhed, like their own existence caused them pain. They lifted up; touching the barrier Drake had created. Their contact created a series of flashing lights, a zapping sound, like an electrical current.

Lucas meandered around the pair and into the other room.

The vines drew back suddenly as if they had been struck. Calmly they crept forwards again. They were freakish; their relaxed persistent demeanour was almost frightening.

Lucas returned to the room and resumed his stance by the window again.

The metallic stakes lifted higher in the air, lowered again. They shot suddenly straight towards the vines, spinning so fast in the air that they became blurs. Screeching a high pitched sound so horrific it curdled the blood. The vines were struck, and faded out of existence with nothing more than a sigh.

Reuben stared coolly back at Drake, and summoned his next spell.

Lauralie was sitting cross-legged on the college grounds reading. She was learning about Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. She found psychology to be a very interesting subject, and one she was very good at. Lauralie was a very pretty girl, born with natural beauty. She had thick wavy ginger hair tied into pigtails, a rounded face, blue eyes and luscious lips. She dressed tastefully, yet modestly. But no matter what she wore, she always drew attention, from both genders.

It was an all around pleasant day, and the grass she sat on was dry and comfortable. The only distraction now being the small group not far away from her playing Frisbee and water pistol, a girl screamed as she was sprayed with water by her boyfriend. She stormed over and hit him on the shoulder when he complained he didn't do it.

Lauralie turned the page, trying her best to ignore their racket. Her friends were in their classes now, some had gone home; she had decided to stay here. College was a place she really liked, her secondary school had been a bad experience, but here people were nice.

She closed the book as she heard a throng of people jostling out of the buildings. Lessons had ended now, and the more eager ones ran out of the grounds, some jumping on skateboards. Lauralie slung her bag over her shoulder and joined the people as the majority walked calmly towards the gates.

From behind her someone watched; a male character dressed in black and startling red. His leather trousers were red, falling over pointed leather boots that had a slight heel. The rest of him was dressed in leather, and he had black hair spiked forwards. He had a slim angular face of perfect proportion and an appearance that would make most girls swoon. Everything about him screamed confidence and a large ego.

He stalked up behind her.

'Oh my goodness!' Lauralie jumped.

'Hey there.'

'Jacob! You scared the life out of me.'

She took steady breaths to calm her speeding heart while Jacob took up a pose before her, hands on hips.

'Well that was not my intention of course.' He flashed her his most charming smile.

She frowned at him.

'Say' he began casually. 'How do you feel about going out to see a film tonight?'

'With you?' Lauralie asked dubiously.

'Uh, yeah?'

'Sorry, I'm busy.'

'You said that last time.'

'And I'll say it next time.'

She walked past him. He rushed after her, falling into step by her side, walking with his hands in his pockets.

'You might enjoy yourself' he said.

'I might not.'

'You won't know until you try.'

'I suppose you're right.'

'So you'll come with me?'

'No.'

He sighed and made a noise of irritation.

'I have to go now' Lauralie said picking up her pace.

'Where are you going?' he asked looking suddenly and unnecessarily alarmed.

'Nowhere in particular.' She waved him away. 'I'll see you tomorrow' she beamed teasingly.

'I'll keep trying' he called after her slowing to a stop. He slumped his shoulders in disappointment, unable to think of any other reason he had to follow her, and cursing himself for it.

'Good luck!' she called back merrily, turning from him and jogging away.

A seeping mass of gold light grew out of thin air, growing brighter. It was so bright that Drake was forced to shield his eyes. It shot towards Drake, rolling like waves in the ocean and completely shattering the defence Drake had created. The light fell.

'Alright' Drake soothed, 'I guess its hand to hand then.'

'I guess it is' Reuben smiled back.

Drake walked forwards, arms open, almost in a welcoming manner. Reuben curled his fists ready to strike.

'Hold it!' Lucas suddenly hissed.

The fire in Reuben's palms went out.

'What is it?' he asked nervously.

Lucas craned his neck. He spied a figure a distance away entering the grounds. She pulled back a section of the fence and clambered through.

Reuben and Drake came to the window.

'It's Lauralie' Drake said as he recognised her.

'Dammit' Lucas hissed, 'I told her not to come here. Doesn't she know it's dangerous?'

'She must have known we'd be here' Reuben said.

'No' Lucas retorted, 'she's guessing. She has no idea whether or not we would be here today. How many times does she come here when we're not?'

Drake slunk away from the window, sighing with disappointment that their games had been interrupted. 'I guess we'd better go meet her.'

They descended the stairs, meeting her at the reception as she was entering the building.

'I knew I'd find you here!' she cried triumphantly at the sight of them.

'No you didn't' Lucas droned, arms crossed. The three stopped before her. 'What the hell are you doing here Lauralie?' Lucas asked her impatiently.

Lauralie made a pouting face at him.

'There's no need to be like that' she huffed, 'I came down all this way to see you all.'

'Don't you know it's dangerous here?'

'Don't you?'

Lucas dismissed this with a wave.

'What are you doing here anyway?' she asked them all. 'You know I'm beginning to get suspicious, all this sneaking around. It's like you're holding a secret meeting or something. What's really going on?'

'Mind your own business' Lucas spat.

She stuck her tongue out and turned her back on him, speaking to the others like he no longer mattered.

'So do you wanna hang out or what?'

'Sure' Drake smiled at her. 'Come on, let's get out of here before a gang shows up and tries to kill us all.'

'Oh don't' she whined swatting at him. 'You know I hate it when you scare me like that.'

'It's true' Reuben added standing to her other side. 'In fact just last week, we saw a dead hobo.'

'Now you're making fun of me' Lauralie frowned in irritation.

Drake took her by the arm and led her away. Reuben shrugged at his brother as Lucas gave him a sceptical look.

'Come on, let's go, I suppose we've had enough fun for one day anyway' Reuben said.

'We barely even started' Lucas tutted. 'Ever

since she found out we come here she's always trying to find us. It's annoying. Why doesn't she just go home?'

'Shhh' Reuben hissed. 'Don't say that, she might hear you.'

Lucas gave his brother a bored look, but said nothing.

'We're not the only ones who don't always want to go home' Reuben told him in a whisper.

'Why doesn't she hang out with her own friends?' Lucas complained.

'Who knows? Maybe she's attracted to us.'

Lucas groaned at his brother's idiot response as he walked away. Reuben smirked, and jogged to catch up with him.

'Do you think we can come back here tomorrow?'

'Probably' Lucas replied. 'We'll have to skip college again to avoid Lauralie though.'

Jacob knelt in the grass examining the strange markings in the dirt. The busy footpath of the park could be seen not too far away from where he was. There were mostly students in sight, taking a short cut home like he had been. But something had drawn him from the path and to this secluded spot. Everything had seemed normal on this day, except for what Jacob was about to find.

He moved past the strange marking that looked like scuff marks from a boot, and further into the bushes. Jacob pushed back a pile of fallen leaves that looked like they had been deliberately collected together to hide something. He ran his fingers along the earth as he noticed something that glinted. Jacob brushed the dirt away with the back of his hand, gripping the object protruding from the vegetation he lifted it up, marvelling at it.

It seemed to be a staff of some kind. It was short and silver in colour, with wings that curved around a sort of dome at its head.

'What the hell…is this?'

He turned it over. It was engraved with an inscription which ran along its side.

Where I fight I live

'What the hell is that supposed to mean?'

Jacob turned it over to examine it again, when a sudden and sinister voice caught him off-guard.

'I see you've found my weapon.'

Jacob spun round in alarm; startled that he had been snuck up on like that, so engrossed he had been in his find.

He hesitated. His heart began to pace as he drew a deep breath. The man that stood before him was unlike any he had seen before. A normal human, but dressed in the most peculiar fashion.

He was dressed only in three long strips of cloth. One yellow, one orange and one red. They wound over his whole body, tied in knots here and there. The ends trailed loosely from his arms and knees. His eyes were both milky white.

'Who are you?'

'Who am I you ask?' the stranger replied.

He stepped towards Jacob, brushing back strands of hair delicately with a nail. They were six inches long and coloured a deep dark purple. From beneath his black fringe Jacob saw that there was an unusual sort of metallic plate that ran across the stranger's forehead, like a sort of bandana. From one side of the plate hanging down in three separate chains were a line of metallic stars.

The stranger moved closer, uncomfortably so. But shock and uncertainty had frozen Jacob to the spot. The man brushed Jacob's cheek with a nail, caressing him almost lovingly. Like a mother would to her son. Jacob felt a twinge in his stomach, a feeling of unease, was he safe here?

'War brings out my spirit' the stranger said. 'It's who I really am. It is who you will become.'

He smiled, but Jacob could read nothing into it. Was it kind? Was it cruel?

'My name is Venom. I have been watching you closely for many weeks now, and I think you are the one.'

'The one?' Jacob stammered, breaking his silence. He snapped back to himself, slapping the strangers hand away and stepping back.

'Don't touch me.'

Venom faltered for a moment, then regained his original demeanour. He smiled again, this time almost seductively.

'My dear boy, I bestow upon you a great gift. I think you will like it. You will see.'

Venom moved closer again. He embraced Jacob like a brother, holding him close.

'Now your eyes will truly be open.'

Jacob felt a surge of energy shooting through his body like an electric shock. He was enveloped in a great pain that ceased as fast as it had begun. His body felt alive, powerful, he felt liberation. Jacob suddenly saw an image then, a world he had never known. It was vast, with miles and miles of open plains and woodland, and near the coast was a great city made of stone. And at its heart, a mighty palace.

Jacob let out a gasp, stumbling back and away from Venom as he was released.

'I' Venom spoke, 'am a guardian, and I pass my powers onto you now.'

Jacob collapsed, weak and shaking.

'Farewell' the man said to him turning away. 'We will not meet again.'

'…but now I can't say anything because I'm not supposed to know. Honestly as much as I love her she can be a royal pain in the ass.'

'What is it with you girls?' Drake said to Lauralie in a disapproving tone.

'Oh come on' Lauralie winked cheekily at him. 'You've got your interests too. It's not easy being a girl, it's more political than you realise.'

'Mmmhmm' Drake replied.

It was getting late now. The warm summer's breeze had cooled and the sky was now darkening as the sun dipped just below the horizon. The town was winding down, and as they entered the culdasack they saw more cars parked in the driveways. Most people were at home, resting after a hard day's work or study, now they ate with their families. Simple quiet folk when they were at home, but out, like everyone else, life for them was hectic.

'Here's your house' Drake pointed.

Lauralie heisted, staring up at the modern white building, with its neat edges and tidy garden, it looked so tranquil.

'Thanks' she said quietly to Drake.

'We couldn't possibly leave you to walk alone in the dark.'

'I'm not afraid of the dark' she said smiling lightly. She glimpsed the brothers behind him; they waited now at the end of the drive.

Lucas stood with his arms crossed looking sour; Reuben at ease was tapping his foot. Reuben waved at her when she looked at him, and she waved back.

'Goodnight then' she said giving Drake a quick hug. 'And you'll get home safely yourself won't you? And you guys' she called to the brothers, 'see you in college tomorrow.'

'Ok bye' Lucas replied casually dismissive while Reuben waved jovially.

She nodded to them, turning and walking slowly towards the house. Drake returned to the others when she was inside.

'Get home safely she says' Drake laughed. 'If only she knew. I wonder what she thinks is going to happen to us?'

Reuben slapped him on the shoulder. 'We had better be getting back anyway, exams are coming up after all, don't want to be late to college because someone overslept.'

'Don't give me that' Drake huffed walking with him, 'you spend more time out of college than the rest of us.'

'Not just me. Lucas too.'

'Don't drag me into this.'

'That wasn't much of a defence' Drake said looking sceptically at Lucas. 'Don't pretend that you're not as bad as each other.'

But Lucas wasn't listening, his thoughts were far away.

She's starting to get nosey; it's only a matter of time before she finds out.

Reuben smirked at Drake. 'You know you shouldn't be so lovey with her, your girlfriend may start getting jealous.'

'I'm not lovey!' Drake protested. 'I'm just being friendly.'

'That's how it starts out' Reuben teased. 'For you friendly and flirting are the same thing.'

Drake punched him hard in the shoulder and the two began to wrestle. Lucas ignored them as he continued his casual pace, watching Drake and his brother messing around as they teased each other.

It was lunchtime the next day in college, and Jacob had met up with his friends.

'Hey are you alright?' his friend Josh had asked him.

'Yeah I'm fine' Jacob answered.

'Sure, you look a little pale' his friend persisted.

Jacob gave him a cold hard stare.

'Whatever' Josh shrugged, 'not my problem.'

'Why do you have to always poke your nose into other people's business?' Alex said from across the table, jabbing an accusing finger in Josh's direction. 'Don't you know when to leave it alone?'

'Hey!' Josh argued. 'I said it's not my problem.'

The canteen now was brimming with people getting their lunch and talking loudly. As each person speaking contributed, it sounded as one continuous indistinguishable noise over the clatter of knives and forks. People cued at vending machines, some sat in large groups at the tables, a few on their own trying to revise.

'Have you just come in then?' Alex asked Jacob between slurps from his carton of orange juice.

'Sort of, I've only had one lecture…only half an hour though. Just a revision class. Listen, you wanna go outside?'

'Hold on I've nearly finished!' Josh shovelled the last few forkfuls of chips into the hole in his face. 'Ok, I'm done.'

They passed a small group of giggling girls on the way out, sitting around a table by the wall, some sitting on the table itself to see the others better.

'So what did he say?'

'Well he insisted on meeting me after class.' Lauralie answered her friend hesitantly, 'but I don't think I'll be there.'

'But why not?!' Christina demanded. 'He's totally hot.'

'But he's still with someone' Lauralie replied flatly.

'And? If you play your cards right he might pick you instead of her. Hell if you don't want him…'

'You can have him' Lauralie said over the laughter of her others friends beside her who carried on in their own discussion. 'He's not my type.'

'I don't know what your problem is' Christina replied sulkily. 'Everyone has a type, but not you. You don't like anyone.'

'Hey it's not like that' Lauralie argued. 'I like some people.'

'Really? Who do you like now? And they have to be in this college, they can't be famous.'

'Well…I can't really say' Lauralie blushed.

'Oh yeah?' Christina leaned towards her. 'Name me a single guy you stuck with for more than two months.'

'Ray…'

'Ray?'

'Yeah.'

'How long ago was that?' Christina asked.

'Uuuhhh.'

Christina grabbed her round the shoulders with an arm and shook her.

'Ooohhhh' she teased. 'You're terrible, you'll never change you know that?'

Outside the college, in a home not too far away, was a girl sitting inside, alone on her bed with her shoes on. She was seventeen in age and dressed all in black. Her black hair was cut into a bob, and she wore a short-sleeve black top and a long black skirt. Though pretty she had rather plain features, with large hazel eyes and a little button nose.

The bed in her room was against the wall next to the open window, and on the floor were several large boxes left open and half unpacked. They were filled mostly with old toys she had collected from her younger days. A faded multicolour train, a puppet and a pack of tarot cards worn from regular use was in one of the boxes. In one of the other boxes was a bookshelf dismantled, alongside old books of fairy tales and fantasy, her favourite picture of a meadow, and a bedside lamp made of seashells.

As a breeze lifted suddenly through the window, Ebony leaned on the sill, ignoring the rest of the room.

'Such a big town, she whispered, 'I'm not used to this kind of space.'

She saw a small group outside her house crossing the road. They were talking and laughing with one another. Ebony felt a twinge of jealously, and sadness.

She sighed and leant back, falling against the bed and staring up at the ceiling unmoving for some time. Then when she became uncomfortable, she rolled on her side, staring at the open box that contained her soft toys. Something stood out to her then, one of her favourite toys. It resembled a cat-like creature, with little wings and a long tail. It was something she won in a fare some time in her past, with someone she used to know. The toy carried many happy memories with it, that's why it was one of her favourites.

Ebony rose from the bed and took it. Holding it in her hands she stared at it intently.

'I wonder what's it's like to have some company again' she said.

Then just like that, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, the toy came to life.

First its ears twitched, then its whiskers. And then it sprang into animation, leaping out of her hands and into the air.

'Where am I?' the toy said at it landed on the bed.

'This is my bedroom' Ebony replied with a smile.

'Who are you?'

'I am your creator'

'My creator?'

'Yes.'

'….mother?' the toy asked, cocking its head in the most curious way.

Ebony smiled again. 'Yes, I suppose I could be called your mother.'

The toy turned its head and flew to the window, levitating in the air.

'It's nice outside' it said.

'Anything is nicer than in here.' Ebony huffed, turning away.

'You don't like it in here?' the toy asked returning to her side.

Ebony sighed forlorn and hugged her pillow.

'I'm supposed to like it in here, any normal person would.'

'You mean you're different?'

'I'm not an ordinary person' Ebony continued.

'Are you a guardian?' the toy asked her curiously.

Ebony gave the toy a glance.

Of course it knows what a guardian is; it's absorbed some of my thoughts and intelligence.

'No' Ebony explained, 'I'm something else.' She leaned towards the window again, watching the clouds go by. 'I don't want to be alone. Would you stay with me and keep me company?'

The toy stared at her back, expression never changing.

'I will.'

Downstairs were Ebony's parents by adoption. Ebony had never been told about her real parents, and in the end she had stopped asking.

They were both still unpacking boxes, squabbling amongst themselves about what should go where and which box out of the many stacked up they should unpack next.

Ebony stood halfway down the stairs watching them. After several minutes of not being noticed she spoke.

'When's dinner ready?'

'Don't know' her adopted mother replied without looking up. 'Why don't you go outside and play, get used to this place. I'm sure it's lovely.' She ignored her further as she carried a stack of books across the room and placed them where she wanted.

'But I'm frightened' Ebony told her. 'I'm scared people want to hurt me.'

'Don't be stupid' her adopted father retorted, laughing at the absurdity of it. 'Why would you say a thing like that?'

'Because!' Ebony shouted in frustration.

Neither of them rose to it, which infuriated her even more. No matter what she said to them or how much she screamed, neither seemed to even notice.

'I'm going back to my room' she said, not caring for a reply.

'Could you take that box with you when you go?' her adopted mother asked.

But Ebony had already slammed her bedroom door shut.

'They couldn't see me?' the toy asked her, having followed her down and back to her room.

'No.' Ebony went over to the bed again and collapsed onto it. 'Only those with magic can see you.' She sat up and held her knees, shoes again on the bed, though she didn't care.

'Does that mean they can't see you either?' the toy asked coming to rest on her shoulder.

'It means they barely notice me.'

Ebony gazed out of the window again, like she had done so often already in the short time she had been here in this new home.

'I'm tired of running' she pleaded to the air. 'I just wish someone would save me from this cycle. I wish it so badly…'

Lucas stared at the card his brother had put down, placing his own on top of it.

'Snap' he shot, before Reuben had time to think.

'Dammit' Reuben hissed, balling his fist in annoyance.

'Come on' Lucas said throwing the rest of the cards down. 'We should be getting to our lecture now.'

'Yeah I suppose' Reuben huffed disinterestedly, picking up the cards. 'I'm not really in the mood though.'

'I know.' Lucas rose from the grass, brushing flecks of dirt from his jeans. 'But we can't miss too many classes; the lecturer won't be very pleased.'

'Screw him; he talks a load of rubbish anyway.'

'What are you talking about? You like physics.'

'Only at the best of times' Reuben said, putting the cards back in their box.

He handed Lucas the deck of cards as they made their way off. Reuben slinging the bag up his shoulder began strutting across the field.

'You know I think we should go away after the exams' Reuben started.

'Oh yeah? Where did you have in mind?' Lucas asked keeping in line with him as they walked.

Reuben fell silent.

'You don't know?'

'I just think it would be a nice break from this town' Reuben shrugged.

'I thought you liked this town.'

'I do' Reuben said defensively.

They walked up the steps side by side and entered the building, with its cheap carpeted floors and walls filled with pictures and diagrams that were all contributions from every subject. Science with pictures of atoms and body parts, psychology, ancient history, art, even Latin, one of the many languages offered by the college. There was a balcony with glass walls overlooking the lower level, and automatic doors leading to the other exits which opened as the brothers went past.

The corridors now were fairly busy, some of the classes had just finished and people were milling out of a few of the doors set in a row along the wall.

'Well what is it then?' Lucas questioned his brother.

'It's just…' Reuben struggled for words. 'There must be more out there.'

'Is that it?' Lucas scoffed. 'More than what?'

'More than this, here, what we do.' Reuben indicated everything around them as he spoke. 'Our powers certainly didn't come from around here. Not originally anyway. They must have come from somewhere else.'

'You mean another world?' Lucas offered, not bothering to keep his voice down.

'It's not impossible' Reuben shrugged, uncertain for a moment whether or not his brother would laugh at him. But he didn't.

Someone ahead of them in the corridor lit a cigarette, the match burning brightly.

'I mean since we first changed' Reuben explained, 'it's got me thinking, there must be a lot more out there that we don't know about.'

'You're probably right.'

As they talked they passed a small group hanging around outside one of the classrooms. One of the boys blew a cloud of smoke as they walked on. Then suddenly both brothers felt something. A sharp and sudden pain on their hand, like they had been burned. The brothers turned in unison, staring back down the corridor.

Jacob looked back, frozen as he noticed their stares. He stood as part of a circle with his friends. In his mouth was a burning cigarette, in his hand, a shrivelled black match.

Reuben glanced to his brother as Lucas gave Jacob a calculated expression. He then turned and continued walking, Reuben followed suit.

'There must be more out there than just us and Drake' Lucas went on, as if nothing had happened.

'And more keep appearing' Reuben added.

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