Procreation with mortals is illegal under the immortal law.
A Correction will be sent after the 16th year to erase both the suspected teen and their entire family line. There will be nowhere to run and no place to hide. You won't even know they're coming. This is the last day of your life. Where will you be when the Correction comes?
Take a peak at The Children of Ankh series Merchandise
In every lifetime there is a moment. A moment so
clear, so profoundly unique that it stands out against billions of other
moments. When you find a moment such as this one, you pay extra close attention
to it. It will usually contain something that defines you in the future.
“Are you sure that she’s the one?” Lily
replied softly, “Pretty sure, she even looks a little like Freja. How old do
you think she is? Four, maybe five?”
the playground, came something amazing. A little duplicate of the child lying
in the grass. The other little angel plopped herself ungracefully onto the
grassy bed next to her sister. They were mirror images of each other. Frost’s heart constricted in his chest. This,
he would always remember as a defining moment in his life.
of the freckled little girls saw them standing there. She jumped to her feet
and ran over to the fence, and stood on her tippy toes. With a giant grin, she
stuck her chubby little fingers through the rungs of the fence. “Do you want to come in and play with us?”
fought the urge to giggle, “She has the cutest voice.”
your name? You sweet little thing,” Grey said with his thick Aussie
Kayn, that’s my sister Chloe,” she pointed a little finger adorned with messy
sparkle nail polish at her sister. The little girl had sand on her beautiful
white frilly dress and grass in her hair. She had a sticker of a frog on her
cheek and she radiated joy.
sat up now glaring at them, yet not moving a muscle. Chloe was obviously not
going to be the one out of the two abducted by a random stranger.
Frost was so captivated by this
little girl in front of him that he couldn’t even speak. He just stood there
grinning at her. He found himself wishing that he could come back when she was
sixteen, and hide in her closet as her body guard to protect her.
guys look like movie stars.” Kayn gushed, and then turned her attention to her
own hand, “I have nail polish on, see?” she said, her beautiful eyes gleamed
with pride as she displayed her wiggling fingers for the rest to see.
“Very lovely,” Lily appraised. Just as
a little boy with a mess of dark curls came running up to the fence and grabbed
Kayn’s arm. He glared at the group, then leaned over and whispered in her ear
assertively, “Chloe says you’re not supposed to talk to strangers.”
then, leaned in and touched Kayn’s dainty little finger through the fence.
Frost Knelt down and met her gaze, marveling at the innocence and vibrant
intensity that shone back at him through the chain link barrier. His expression
changed briefly, as he spoke to her under his breath. “It’s very important that
you become strong.” He touched the tip of her nose with his finger gently.
Moments Before She Sleeps
humming of Kayn’s blood as it coursed through her veins seemed to sing along to
the steady, almost tribal, beat of her feet as they pounded rhythmically into
the dirt. A veil of earth flowed behind her. She resembled a flaxen haired
angel attempting to outrun a cloud. The cloud of dust seemed to follow her for
a moment or two longer than it should with not one whisper of wind in the
afternoon air. The smile that spread over Kayn’s lips while she trained showed that
her heart was overflowing with so much joy that it could not be contained
beneath her serious competitive demeanor.
Watching Kayn run was a
beautiful experience. People would stop
by the track after school simply to watch her before beginning their walk home.
Kevin left class quickly every single day, rushed to his locker, and fumbled
with the lock in a desperate attempt to get up the hill where he would watch
Kevin shoved past the herd
of students trying to pry through a single doorway. He was accidentally shoved
by a girl up against the wall. His bag dropped and his books fell out. His
organizational skills had always left something to be desired. In the congested
school hallway, after taking a moment to collect his papers, he zipped up his
bag. Kevin ran up the hill and unceremoniously plopped himself in his usual
spot in the grass.
There Kayn was, kicking up
dust like a champ. He would time her next lap. Kevin clicked his watch as his
best friend flashed by him. Kevin smiled at her even though he was certain she
had not even noticed him sitting there yet. Kayn just oozed happy vibes when
she ran; it was contagious. Her body, lean and freckled from exposure to the
sun, glinted with sparkles in the sun’s rays. Kayn did love that coconut sparkle
tanning spray. Kevin grinned as he thought about the list of strange little
rituals that his best friend had on her daily to do list. At the beginning of
her run she did look magical, all glittery like that, but by the end that
glitter tanning spray would cause the track’s dust to stick to her whole body
in an extremely comical way.
had always thought that Kayn was beautiful, but of course that was something he
would never say to her. She would probably be creeped out if he ever uttered
words of admiration in her direction. He knew that they’d always thought of
each other as best friends, nothing more.Plus his best friend had a twin sister he’d been
addicted to the mere sight of since kindergarten. Chloe was his fantasy.
Brighton was a pretty girl, but she really had no clue how beautiful she could
be. Her naturally curly, wheat colored hair hung damp with perspiration in a
messy pony tail. Kevin often had thought that with Kayn’s pretty face gently
speckled with freckles and her cute nose streaked with mud, she resembled an
Amazonian-sized forest nymph.
sat listening to his music, plucking the long, green strands of grass out of
the ground by their roots. He glanced up the next time he saw Kayn approaching
and waved, displaying a giant toothy grin—a funny thing that he had done since
kindergarten to make her erupt in laughter. She passed Kevin and acknowledged
that she had seen him sitting there being a goof by shaking her head and
smiling with her eyes. It sure is a
beautiful day, Kevin thought, as he looked up at the vibrant blue sky.
took off her blinders, allowing herself to appreciate the sun’s rays gently
whispering across her skin, she experienced a feeling of pure joy that was
transcendent. She kicked up another cloud to outrun as she rounded the corner.
Then came that pleasurable jolt of electricity that surged through her brain,
ignited her soul, and set her afire with insurmountable joy. This moment in her
run had always left her with the feeling that she had been given a gift, or
anointment of physical power. Her adrenaline rippled a winding path of pleasure
underneath her skin.
the straight stretch feeling such unimaginable, euphoric, physical ecstasy that
she felt baptized by the sweat trickling down her forehead to the sides of her
face. She was alive in that moment in a
way only a runner could comprehend. She was thankful for that moment and every
single time the experience had overwhelmed her as it had today; her soul felt
nerve ending was humming, “Faster, Kayn, go faster.” Kayn was an athlete born
to push the limits of her body, programmed to be a powerhouse. Runners were a
breed of their own; they had their incredible days and their horrible days in
competition. Every day on the track, trail, or wherever a runner chose to run,
there was always a feeling of spiritual completion.
Call Me Baby,” by Madison Avenue was cranked in Kayn’s ears. She kept pace to
the beat, feeling powerful and strong. She grinned and made eye contact as she
ran past her best friend Kevin, signaling her acknowledgement of his presence.
started walking to cool down her overheated body. Her heart began to thump and
pound in her chest like an act of defiance to her now walking feet. She licked
the sweat from her upper lip, tasting its salty, pleasurable reward. She took
her track dust covered hand and wiped her forehead to keep the stinging sweat
from her eyes. She wiped the sweat on her shorts noticing the streaks of dirt
mixed with sweat and wondered if she had a streak of dust across her forehead.
turned in one fluid movement to greet Kevin, whose grassy scent signaled his
arrival by her side. His giant grin told her that her face was most certainly
covered in dirt, but he didn’t mention it to her. Kayn smiled at him as he
valiantly attempted to jog as fast as she was walking. She loved how he always
looked like he was coming to congratulate her after she had won the Olympics or
something equally spectacular. Kevin had been in a painfully awkward, acne
covered stage for at least three years now. He was still adorable, although
possibly only to her. However, she did notice that Kevin’s skin was looking
pretty clear today. Kayn yanked the earbuds from her ears.
crap,” Kevin yelled. “That’s your best time this year. You are going to kick
serious butt at the finals next month.”
know my earbuds are out, Kevin. I can hear you.” Kayn spoke quietly.
think you’re pretty cool because you’re fast. Well, young lady, plenty of
people are fast, but how many people can do this?” Kevin retorted. He did a
strange dance move involving a twirl and some kind of running man move as he
laughed at her mortification.
stop,” Kayn said as she surveyed the track and surrounding area for witnesses.
jogged beside Kayn now in order to keep up with her and was struggling because
she walked with long, model height strides. He used to be the most adorable
little boy on the planet, but there was a point where he stopped feeling
adorable. That was when his best friend Kayn had surpassed him in height by the
end of seventh grade. As a joke, their mothers had been planning their wedding
since the second grade so that was a complication that they had not
awesome. I mean that, and I’m totally not saying that to butter you up so
you’ll put a good word in with your sister,” Kevin said with a grin that spread
from ear to ear.
loved him to death, but she had been letting him down easy for ten years now.
She gave him a pat on the shoulder and then flung her arm around him and
sweetly said, “There’s just this one problem, muffin. My sister is way too
advanced for you.”
That’s what you say to all the guys stalking your twin sister,” he countered
with a grin.
choked back a laugh and said, “Yes, as a matter of fact it is exactly what I
say to every single one of them.” With a sugar-filled tone in her voice Kayn
added, “I was forced by the numbers to come up with a token line that I just
say to all of them. It just saves time, darling.”
face crinkled into a dimpled grin and he shook his head. He retorted in an almost
flirty voice, “I can’t believe that after all these years I am merely a number
to you, Kayn.”
displayed a giant smile at his attempt at innuendo. She would have been
flattered had he not kept the conversation directed toward her twin sister.
Kayn gave Kevin a friendly pat on the shoulder and said, “Just do yourself a
favor and take the hint before she pushes your sanity right over the edge and
you become nutty and obsessed like her last boyfriend.” Kayn slapped him on the
butt and added, “At least have the decency to warn me if you ever find yourself
feeling like you want to wear my sister as a skin coat so I can get you some
let out a small yelp and jumped from her slap and shot a dirty look back in her
took on a fake serious tone and said, “How hard could it possibly be to arrange
an intervention or a creepy exorcism or something to help you regain your
sanity? I would hate to have to visit you in a padded cell somewhere.” She sent
him a sweet, innocent look and waited for his inevitable comeback.
really very funny, Candy Kayn. Maybe you should have a comedy show or
something,” he shot back at her.
would be way funnier if it wasn’t totally the truth,” Kayn challenged.
twin sister, Chloe Brighton, was the perfected version of her. She was stylish
and always the picture of popularity and perfection. People described her with
words like captivating, stunning, and provocative. Kayn, on the other hand, was
blandly described as cute, funny, and a good runner. It didn’t seem very fair
as they were identical, but she loved her sister with blind acceptance. They
had always been extremely close, but definitely did not hang out in the same
crowd now. To be honest, Kayn had no crowd at all. It was really just her and
boys who’d ever shown an interest in Kayn were usually after her sister Chloe.
Kayn, being a tad less worldly than her sister, would always fall for them,
thinking maybe this time the guy actually liked her. Kayn would talk to them on
the phone for a while, then inevitably they would ask to come over to hang out
or maybe do homework together. Kayn would invite them over and right when her
heart would begin to flutter with the romantic possibilities of a goodnight
kiss or how incredible it would be to have an actual boyfriend, it would
happen. They would make their intentions obvious by saying something like,
“Because we are such good friends could you introduce me to your sister Chloe?”
Friends…it was a simple word, a word that Kayn had begun
to hate at a very young age because of her sister Chloe. That one simple word
had felt like the wind from a breath that would blow out every single candle
she had kept lit inside of her heart her whole young life.
would be blatantly lying if she said that the constantly repeating scenario
didn’t breed some resentment toward her sister. Still, she would never let it
show. Not once had she ever freaked out at her sister for stealing her
imaginary boyfriends or simply for being completely morally bankrupt.
learned at a very young age that Chloe didn’t follow the same ethical or moral
codes that most people followed. Kayn had this thing called a conscience which
included guilt and a little voice in her ear that repeated until she chose to
listen to it, “Don’t do it, Kayn.” She was pretty sure the voice talking to
Chloe said, “Do it,” every single time and there was really no need for
sentiment or morality in Chloe’s universe.
giant self-contained universe that seemed to revolve completely around Chloe
was simply amazing. One could stand with mouth agape for hours simply listening
to the stories of horrific events that Chloe had caused during a twenty-four
hour period. It was as though her sister were in her own little snow globe
completely by herself and life surrounded her. Once in a while someone stirred
up her water, but it simply revolved around her like everything else did, never
really touching her or swirling her around to lose a second of her control.
Chloe was completely unaffected by the world around her and stood unwavering
through life’s currents.
couldn’t get really get mad at the boys who fell for Chloe because she truly
believed her sister had the mythical powers of a siren. Chloe was alluring,
enticing, and seemed to have catnip for men on her somewhere. Kayn often had
felt like patting her down and checking her pockets. She wondered how all of
this game had ended up in one of the babies and not the other. They were in the
same womb after all and it didn’t really seem fair.
the one guy whose opinion she cared about the most, was even holding a candle
for her sister and he had known her his whole life. Kevin threw out comments on
a regular basis saying they could not be more different and how he could not
believe they were twins. Put Chloe in a ten-foot radius of Kevin and he
couldn’t tell you his own name.
Chloe has mad skills in the driving men insane
department, thought Kayn. As she stopped walking and looked behind her, the track
was empty, yet she shivered a little feeling like someone was watching her. She
watched as a gust of wind seemed to run a trail down the track behind her
stirring the dust up into the air. She needed a rest. I overworked myself today, she thought as she shook her head,
thinking, It’s smoking hot out and not
windy at all. Kayn turned her attention back to Kevin who seemed deep in
thought as well.
someone walk over your grave?” Kevin whispered in Kayn’s ear, breaking the
silence. Whenever anyone had shivered around them it would bring up the quote
that was the token statement Kevin’s grandmother always used when someone
shivered in her presence.
granny would always say a sneeze was a ghost walking through you and that you
shivered every time someone walked over your grave. The retort would always be,
But I’m not dead, Granny. Granny
would answer with, If only you knew how
irrelevant the word dead actually is. Kevin’s grandmother had always acted
as though she had a direct line to the spiritual world and as spiritually
enlightened as she was, when she uttered those words it made it extra creepy.
his grandmother would spend hours just talking to Kayn about her dreams. Granny
Winnie was a quirky, warm, funny woman that loved her from day one. Kayn hated
to admit that most of the time she was on Team Granny because for some reason
she seemed to absolutely despise Chloe. Granny Winnie couldn’t even breathe
when Chloe was in the same room. Granny would pretend to gasp for air or make
some kind of foul stench related statement referring to Chloe and on occasion
be believable enough to cause a perfect
in her own mind, Chloe to smell her own armpits. Chloe, being completely
void of respect for her elders or pretty much anybody else, would refer to her
as a crazy old bat or a witch. Often Granny Winnie would call Chloe out on an
evil deed or two as if she could read her mind.
Strange weather we’ve been having lately, Kayn
thought, as she watched the clear blue sky change in a matter of moments from completely
cloudless to a powder of fluffy white clouds. She could smell the scent of the
fresh cut grass. It was almost overpowering her senses. It was so potent that
it was a little strange that she hadn’t noticed it until right this second. The
pair walked quietly for a second more when Kayn looked down at her feet. As she
shuffled through the grass the sounds seemed to amplify. She could hear the
grass rustling under her feet. It crackled loudly and whispered softly in her
Something feels off today.
feet came into her line of sight. She raised her eyebrows at him and pointed to
his untied shoelaces. Kevin bent over in front of her, fumbling quickly to tie
his shoe before she could think up a smart-assed comment about him trying to
late,” Kevin said smiling. It was almost
as if he could see the little light bulb above her head light up with a funny
began to speak as if she were reading his obituary. “I can see the paper now.
It would read something like this: Kevin Smith was a wonderful boy, so smart
and good looking but a little clumsy. Had he simply tied his shoes he never
would have tripped down the stairs and found himself impaled on a janitor’s
broom. Remember kids...tie your shoes...safety first.”
told you yet today that you’re an asshole?” Kevin stated as soon as she
finished her version of his obituary.
didn’t have a comeback. She glanced behind her and then from side to side. She
couldn’t shake the unnerving feeling that something was coming.
leaned in to Kayn’s ear and whispered, “You sure you’re okay because you’re
starting to creep me out with this cagey behavior.”
warm breath in her ear made Kayn shiver again and she replied, “No just over
tired I guess.”
you’re swinging your head around is frankly a little creepy,” Kevin said,
raising his eyebrows in her direction in a moderately concerned fashion. He
twirled around in a circle and added, “Nobody is coming, I swear.”
know,” Kayn answered, “I’m feeling a little off. Maybe I’m coming down with
should be more worried about you ending up with a nasty case of whiplash than
me impaling myself on a janitor’s broom.” Kevin flung his arm around her
shoulder and gave her a buddy-like squeeze. “You go have a shower, muffin.
You’re kind of sweaty and sticky. What do you do…cover yourself in honey before
you go for a run?” Kevin chuckled, as he smelled his hands and groaned, “Eww,
that’s not honey.”
you go talking all dirty again, literally. It’s kind of hot, all this talk of
toxins and waste.”
were your boyfriends’ names again, Kayn?” Kevin retorted sweetly.
should call up your invisible girlfriend and ask her what her name is, love
monkey,” she said, as they had a grinning face off.
a girlfriend, Kayn. Her name is Chloe. She just doesn’t know it yet,” he
smiled. He couldn’t help himself—he knew it irritated her to no end.
know what the difference between you and a stalker is?” she replied sweetly.
tell, oh wise and mighty stalking connoisseur,” he sighed.
or not you’re wearing my sister’s stolen thong underwear right now,” she said,
wrestling Kevin down and trying to look down the back of his shorts to see if
he were wearing Chloe’s thong.
hey, simmer down. You don’t want me to yell rape, do you, Candy Kayn? And I
happen to be going commando, so pulling off my shorts is not a great idea
today,” he chuckled, fending her off.
Kevin.” She backed away laughing.
I’ll have you know that I have been going commando since my first wedgie in
fifth grade. Once they grab for underwear and don’t find any, they get very
afraid and back right off,” he chuckled.
doubled over in fits of giggles. “I may actually pee myself!” she managed to
gasp through bursts of hysterical laughter.
learn lots of little things that help you maneuver through geekdom unscathed if
you’re crafty, you know,” he said as they started walking together again.
she wished that he would make some kind of move on her, just so they could see
if there were more between them. She never could say it or try anything out of
fear of rejection because she could never take that from him. He had to know
logically that Chloe would never go for him, not in a million years.
starting to grow tired of the fact that more and more of the conversations they
had were centered on her sister. She shot a slightly disapproving look at Kevin
and said sweetly, “Let’s stop talking about Chloe all the time. Frankly, I’m
sick of it.”
he said as he put one finger directly over her pursed lips. “You know not to
speak of her voodoo powers.”
phrase Chloe has a boyfriend was
similar to a swear word in her house. Chloe found herself running from every
boy she’d ever attempted to date. The boys would be sitting in cars outside of
the house in the middle of the night making sure she was really at home.
Sometimes a random guy would break into their house to steal things that
belonged to Chloe. In the beginning the police thought her sister must be doing
something to bring this on herself, but after she went in for a couple
interviews at the police station and full grown men couldn’t help but fawn all
over her, they understood what Kayn already knew.
shouldn’t be joking about this stuff. The situations with Dave, Mark, and
Ian—they were all pretty harsh,” she said in an almost whisper.
turned and gave her a strange look that said, think about what you just said for a second, and they both broke
into a fit of giggles.
stinging slap followed on her spandex-running-shorts covered butt. There was
her sister in all of her glory smiling at her and giving a slight acknowledging
glance toward Kevin who turned ten shades of red as though she had whispered
something dirty in his ear. He’s
completely pathetic, Kayn thought, shaking her head.
threw an arm around her, then jumped away saying, “Eww, yuck, gross, you’re all
sweaty. Listen, you backstabbing witch, I’m not feeling that hot today. I’m on
my way home. Do you need a ride?” She said it sweetly and of course, Chloe
always wore a giant, beautiful, show stopping smile, like every moment of her
life was one strange, endless, beauty pageant.
a sarcastic sense of humor that Kayn never took seriously. “Nope, I’m fine. Just going to go and shower
up and go to Kevin’s for dinner,” Kayn replied.
leaned over and kissed her sister’s sweaty cheek, quietly whispering, “Yes, go
have that shower.” She sighed, “I’m grounded again for no good reason so I will
see you later.”
Kevin whispered as they walked away.
sure that sometimes Chloe got grounded on purpose to get a break from her
social responsibilities. If there were a world record for groundings in a
three-year period, her sister had it.
Kevy.” Chloe yelled behind her as she flounced away.
voodoo powers,” Kevin whispered to Kayn.
that, you little stinker,” she yelled back.
smiled at Kevin, casually adding, “I bet when you thought of sexy nicknames she
would call you in your fantasies, little stinker wasn’t one of them.” She
couldn’t help herself. He’d left it wide open and she was on a roll.
turned around and socked her in the arm.
stopped, turned around, and said, “Seriously, you hit me. I can’t believe you
would do that.” She glared at him and feigning pain rubbed her arm looking
just kidding. I didn’t actually hurt you, did I?” Kevin whispered with a
serious look crumbled into a grin and she said, “Woman abuse,” she smoked him
on the arm twice as hard.
woman? I don’t see a woman anywhere around here. Oh, you mean you?” he
countered as he rubbed his still throbbing arm while looking around for a
butt you out like a cigarette, little man!” She jokingly made two fists.
scowled at her.
no—the look. Game over. Whoops, she knew she had gone too far. It was all fun
and games until she made one too many short jokes with Kevin.
not little,” he stated, almost stomping toward the covered entrance to the
how about vertically challenged,” Kayn said innocently. She was digging her own
grave and she knew it. Kevin could argue for hours. He could debate something forever
and wear anyone out.
look short to an Amazonian like you,” he countered.
she said smiling. She did know better than to push it anymore because if he
kept it up, the laughter she had been trying to suppress would escape.
still growing,” he said as his voice cracked a little. Kayn doubled over
laughing. She couldn’t help it with the well-timed voice crack.
please be done laughing now,” Kevin said as they walked into the fitness
see you outside in fifteen minutes, you sexy stud,” she whispered, sultry as a
porn star. Kayn was still grinning as she pushed through the door to the girls’
mocking me, Amazonian woman,” he yelled dramatically. He smiled, wishing she
would start using that voice all of the time. He actually felt a stirring
of...dare he use the word, lust, for
entered the changing room, Kevin’s last joking retort bounced off the amazing
acoustics of the concrete and tile floor. Her feet were throbbing a bit from her
shoes and the tiles felt icy on her hot feet. In a matter of months she had
already worn her shoes out from running. It had to drive her parents completely
crazy having to replace her running shoes so many times in a year. She decided
she would wait awhile before telling her mom. She dropped her shoes. The
thumping sound on the floor echoed from wall to wall.
just dying to sing in the shower but was afraid that someone would walk in on
her. She pulled her tank top and bra off and looked into the mirror. With a
clear view of the room around her she could see that nobody else was there. She
was alone. She thought of Kevin waiting. Then she remembered that there was a
coffee machine in the lobby by the pool. Kevin was probably having a coffee and
watching the girls swim team. He was fine.
stripped down and stood naked in front of the mirror for a second. She pulled
her hair out of her pony tail and it fell in damp loose ringlets across her
bare shoulders. She tilted her head to one side and posed seductively with a
smile as she surveyed her reflection.
Brighton was not hard to look at and she knew that she was a pretty girl. Maybe I should start wearing makeup to school,
she thought. It frustrated her a little, being the funny, kind of, dorky twin.
Her face was freckled and tanned from hours upon hours of training in the hot
sun. In the winter time all of her freckles went away and her skin was
porcelain white. I could look just like
Chloe if I wanted to, Kayn thought, sucking in her cheeks and then
plastering a giant pageant style smile across her face.
walked toward the shower stalls. She stopped and glanced over her shoulder at
her reflection in the mirror. The conversation with her sister flashed through
her memory. Chloe was feeling sick today. That’s what was going on then. Why
she felt odd. Kayn often had sympathy illness whenever her twin wasn’t feeling
one hundred percent.
turned around, pulled the plastic curtain to the shower, and leaned in to turn
on the water. It began to tap dance against the bottom of the stall and when it
was just the right temperature she stepped inside. She smiled as the water beat
against her weary muscles and she began to lather herself up with the lavender
scented pump-soap. Today was her lucky day. A fresh, full dispenser of soap,
shampoo, and conditioner. She didn’t even have to reach down and find her own
in the bottom of her gym bag.
favorite running song still going through her mind, she started humming a few
bars and then began to sing the words. Just then she heard the door open and
she went silent. She hurried through, rinsing herself off, and towel dried her
hair. She ran her brush through her hair and put it back in a ponytail. As she
passed by the mirror again, she wondered if Chloe ever felt like she wanted to
be more like her. She quickly blew off that completely nutty thought.
five minutes younger than her sister Chloe, but her twin acted five years
older. Kayn had no voodoo powers with men. She was awkward and definitely had
no game at all. She wondered if she asked Chloe how she did it, if she would
she teach her something…anything, just to have someone ask her on a date before
she was out of high school.
to admit that it bugged her how Kevin obsessed about Chloe. Not that she
seriously liked him or anything, because that would probably not be a good move
friendship-wise. There was that ominous word again…friends.
towel dried her back again, feeling trickles of water from her still damp hair
trail down her back. She stood in her underwear and thought, Do I really like Kevin? Kayn shook the
thought out of her head and whipped her clothes back on. She grabbed her bag
and hurried out the door, hoping he wasn’t too frustrated waiting for her. She
forced open the door with an over-exaggerated grunting sound.
was sitting on the railing waiting patiently and looking up at the sky with his
mouth agape in a totally comical way. Kayn walked up beside him and teased,
“Trying to catch flies?”
Kevin sparred with a dimpled grin and quick wit.
are we looking at?” Kayn said as she stared up toward the heavens.
with me,” Kevin laughed. He grabbed her hand and they started to walk toward
the field. It felt like they had done this same thing a thousand times. Kevin
lay down in the grass and she lay beside him.
wow. I get it. Look at how fast the clouds are moving. I noticed that earlier.
It’s almost creepy. I wonder if there’s a storm coming or something,” Kayn
lay peacefully in the grass, suddenly a sharp pain seared through her core. She
grabbed her stomach, sucked in a deep breath and gasped, “What the hell was
okay, Kayn?” He sat up and touched her arm.
winced again and doubled over, her insides afire with another penetrating pain.
placed his hand on her stomach, watching her face calm.
disappeared again as quickly as it had begun. He looked at her and stated, “You
probably need a big glass of water, maybe some dinner?”
stood up, trying to shake off a feeling of impending danger that had been
replaying in her mind. With the pain suddenly gone, she said, “Yeah, that’s
skip lunch again?” he scolded with a disapproving look on his face.
believe that I did not eat lunch today.” There was a very simple explanation
for the sharp undefined pain that she had experienced. Kayn was often
practicing at lunchtime and would forget to eat. She felt the urge to look
behind her again. She looked around in every direction trying to shake off the
uncomfortable feeling that had been plaguing her all afternoon. Something in
her mind was still saying, Be careful,
shook it off again, remembering that the last horror movie that she had watched
with Kevin days earlier had taken place at a lake. There they stood by the turn
off to Lakeshore Drive. It’s all in my
mind, Kayn thought. She started to laugh a little at her seriously
overactive imagination. Kevin had looked a little concerned earlier, but he now
had obviously recalled the hillbilly cannibal movie that they had watched the
week before. He kneeled in the grass and picked up a handful of it and he
what I thought,” he said looking seriously concerned now.
it?” she asked.
hillbilly urine. We’d better get home before they come to eat us,” Kevin said,
pointing toward home, proving, if there was ever any doubt, that he had no
acting ability at all.
get out of here, you geek,” Kayn said shaking her head at him and smiling.
let’s go to my house. It’s got to be like five by now and dinner’s probably on
the table,” Kevin said.
smiled at each other and started running through the field that led to Kevin’s
backyard. This was the same race home they’d had since they’d first been
allowed out of their yards alone as children. Kevin, always sneaky and knowing
with fair play there was no possible way to beat Kayn in a running race, shoved
her over per usual and she fell with a gentle thump into the grass.
she yelled, out of breath as he kept running away from her. She lay sprawled
dramatically in the grass laughing.
was laughing hysterically as he covered a good twenty feet.
she yelled again and slowly rose to her feet spitting out the freshly mown
grass from her mouth. She would let him win. It was good for him to win
sometimes. Kayn could take one for the team today, especially to see him this
let out an obnoxiously loud cheer as he vaulted over the fence to his yard. He
raised his arms in a silent fake fanfare and took a bow. He had never once won
graciously in the whole ten years of their friendship.
enough, they walked inside Kevin’s house to the amazing smells of his mother’s
cooking. Her stomach started to grumble the second the delicious aroma filled
mom greeted her with a giant bear hug and said, “Hello there, beautiful. Go
wash your hands and I’m not going to ask you why you are both just covered in
grass.” Kevin’s mom raised her eyebrows curiously and added, “We are at the
table ready to eat so hurry up, you two.”
glanced into the mirror and pulled the grass out of her hair letting a little
smile escape as she washed her hands in the bathroom sink. She started giggling
as she thought about how bad it looked when two teenagers of the opposite sex
showed up covered in grass. Well, anyone else—with them platonic wrestling
would be completely normal. Kayn was sure that if her dad walked in and they
were wrestling on her bed he wouldn’t even flinch.
at her usual spot at the table with his family. They mirrored her own strange
personality, wisecracking jokes and talking loudly about their day.
loved everything about the Smith house, from the mismatched frames filled with
family photos in the dining room to the extremely outdated green shag carpet in
the living room. The living room was completed with a mismatched, yet cozy,
couch set decorated with two fluffy lounging felines that could be easily seen
from the dining room table. It was as if the cats were stuffed because she
swore they never moved.
granny sat at the end of the table, her wispy white hair wildly untamed. Kayn
could easily picture Kevin’s granny as a beautiful younger woman. There was a
black and white picture in the hallway. Beautiful didn’t quite explain granny
in her youth, for she had been enchanting. With rich red curls that had framed
her narrow, aristocratic face, Winnie had looked as thin and frail as a fawn,
but there had been something dark and treacherous in her eyes. Granny had worn
the same shade of dark blood burgundy lipstick even then. She always wore
lipstick ten shades too dark and her teeth were worn, yellowed from age, always
seeming to have something stuck in them. If she got some false teeth it would
make her look ten years younger, but she didn’t seem to care in the least.
stared at Kayn the whole meal without speaking a single word to her. It was
very unusual. Kayn couldn’t help herself, she asked, “Is there something
feel something wrong, don’t you?” Granny whispered. It was as if she were
afraid of the words that might slip from her lips.
had some stomach pain earlier. She’s probably coming down with the flu or
something,” Kevin answered for her.
Granny Winnie said as she glanced back down at her plate looking like she had
more to say. Then she looked up and directly into Kayn’s eyes with unmasked
sadness and said, “Always listen to your instincts, child.”
was preparing to leave, Granny stood up and made her way over to Kayn, hugging
her so tightly that she had to squirm away in order to breath. She leaned in
and whispered something in Kayn’s ear, “You survive. You fight hard.”
once again felt like she had received some kind of warning, but blew it off
deciding that she wasn’t into a three-hour conversation with Granny about
spiritual things right now.
excused herself to go to the bathroom. She tried to call home on her cell. It
went straight to voicemail. Chloe was probably on the phone. Never mind, if she
should ever have an emergency and need to talk to her own parents. Chloe had a
cell phone, too, but was always grounded from it. Yet her parents still let her
talk on the landline, which meant nobody else could get through. Heaven forbid, someone spend two dollars on
an extra line or call waiting.
on the toilet trying her mom’s cell. Voice-mail. So aggravating! She left a message. Kayn
wanted to punk Kevin. She sneaked down the hall to his room. Kevin’s dad yelled
for her to come on if she wanted a ride home, and she ran down the stairs
laughing at what Kevin would find later.
mom gave her a bag of fresh eggs for her mom. She thanked Kevin’s parents with
a big hug each and climbed into the car. It had been raining while they were
having dinner and was starting to get dark. The air smelled amazing tonight,
like cherry blossoms in full bloom.
they arrived at Kayn’s driveway she said, “Just drop me off here.”
good night Kayn.”
Kayn stepped out of the car, into a puddle, and twisted her ankle.
Of course, she thought. Soaked foot,
eggs and school bag in hand, she started limping up the steep driveway. She
turned around to see that Kevin’s dad had driven away.
almost dark outside. She stopped again for a second time, feeling uneasy for
some reason as she walked up the long gravel driveway. Her heart felt tight and
her chest felt hollow as she paused again. The surrounding giant trees made it
extra dark in her yard. Slivers of light flashed through the trees as they
moved in the wind.
felt off, apprehensive, as she walked toward her front door that seemed to have
a life of its own. The door shifted from cracked open to shut in the wind. She
looked at her cell phone. It was a quarter after eight. She thought they were
playing a game on her, leaving the door open and lights off to freak her out.
Chloe was probably hiding around the corner. Practical jokes were the norm in
lived in a beautiful area but very isolated. Kayn shoved her cell back in her
pocket and dialed Kevin by accident. She stepped toward the darkened doorway’s
threshold and paused for a moment again before pushing the doorway completely
home,” Kayn yelled as she walked in the door, kicking off her shoes and
dropping her school bag. She tried clicking on the front hall light but it was
burned out or something. Kayn had seen lights on upstairs as she walked up the
driveway so she knew the power wasn’t out. It’s
just a burned out light bulb, she thought.
tried to pull off her wet socks, she tried to balance on one leg, but a small
stab of pain from her freshly twisted ankle caused her to put her hand against
the wall in order to balance herself. Her hand slid off the wall and she
struggled to pull her second soaking wet sock off. She massaged her ankle for a
second and noticing it was swollen, said aloud, “Great, there goes the track
mom gave us eggs,” she said, speaking in almost a whisper, suddenly aware that
she seemed to be alone in the house. Where would they have gone this late? Her
mind began to sort through the possible scenarios.
she called out from the front doorway.
answered by silence, and then touching the wall, she felt the stickiness on her
hand. She held her hand up to the faint sliver of light streaming through the
trees that made it to the doorway. There was blood on her hand, a lot of blood.
Ripples of adrenaline crawled through her body. She felt as if thousands of
spiders had run across the surface of her skin.
froze for a split second, paralyzed with fear, shivers of terror crawling
across her flesh. She started to gingerly step backwards out the door. She saw
movement in the form of a dark figure in the hallway.
She heard her sister’s voice scream, “Run,
Kayn.” It was raw, primal, and shrill. She turned and ran, bringing the eggs
with her. There was someone right behind her. Kayn could sense him there.
there was no time to look behind her. Kayn ran with no rhyme or reason in the
direction that she was pointed in. She slipped in the wet grass, turned around
somehow, and then she saw the opening to the trails in the distance. It seemed
to beckon her toward its mouth.
neighbor behind them was closer than the neighbors on either side of them,
making the trails a somehow logical yet illogical split second decision. Kayn
wasn’t able to think or breathe and her basic animalistic instinct for survival
was guiding her.
let go of the bag of eggs halfway across the back lawn, throwing them behind
her, hoping to slow her attacker. Kayn sprinted toward the trail’s opening, its
entrance overgrown with foliage. She burst through the branches which had
partially hidden the familiar pathway. The branches of the prickle filled
blackberry bush tore at her flesh as she pushed through. The pain heightened
her survival instinct which now possessed her. It was only that which drove her
barreled into the overgrown trail, forcing her way through where she
instinctually remembered the trail had been. She had played in these trails as
a child and she knew every hiding spot possible. There was no time for
strategies or thinking. The crunching of leaves and twigs in the pathway behind
her told her he was close. Far too close to do anything but react.
slipped in the mud again, skidding yet not falling. She ignored the stinging of
her knees, thrusting her body with a violent jolt as if starting a run on the
track. Kayn had now lost that precious half a second lead. It had allowed her
hunter to close the space between them.
heart pounded in her chest like it would burst right through her skin as her
tired legs propelled her body through the winding bike trail. The rocks and
clay mud cut her bare feet. The twigs and branches whipped at her legs and the
prickle bushes sliced at her flesh.
have to run faster, Kayn, run faster,” her sister’s voice screeched inside of
Kayn’s terror driven mind.
heard the branches crunching behind her. The dark figure’s rhythm, as steady as
the rhythm of her running. He was so close behind her that she could feel his
breath on her hair and neck as he panted. He was almost touching her. He was so
fast, inhumanly fast. She needed a rush of adrenaline to edge her ahead.
could see lights from someone’s house peeking through the trees. She was going
to make it, she thought, as her bare feet pounded over the rocks and twigs
slashing at her ankles and legs. She was almost there. She drove herself
forward knowing she had only a half second lead from the hunter that pursued
her. She was almost to safety…just over the creek. Her bare feet hit the small
wooden bridge…she was almost there.
felt the elation of victory as she was about to burst through the bushes when
she felt hot fire plunge into her back. Her eyes widened in terror as the knife
plunged into her again. Its blade seared a molten trail of excruciating pain
through her body. A sweaty hand muffled her gasp of shock as she sunk to her
knees in disbelief.
captor’s arms were slick with perspiration and like a python, they constricted
around her neck crushing her larynx. Screaming and pleading for her life would
now be impossible. He continuously brought her to the brink of strangulation
and then shook her awake, harshly reviving her.
tried to close her eyes so maybe he would believe her to be gone. He would
leave her in the trails to bleed alone, allow her to slip peacefully away,
becoming one with the forest floor around her. Instead every time her eyes
slipped shut she felt the slicing, searing pain of his knife again and again in
her stomach and chest until her eyes opened wide with terror. The next pain
stole Kayn’s breath causing blood to sputter from her mouth. She gazed ahead of
her and through the trees which were glimmering in flashing flickering light.
She saw a figure in the distance.
Help me, oh, God, please help me! See me,
please, I’m right here, Kayn’s mind screamed. She could see his shadow
on his patio through the trees in the luminescence of his porch lights. He was
so close. A man was on the back porch having a cigarette.
punched her stomach or cut her…she was unable to distinguish one kind of
brutality from another…only that something was searing a hot excruciating fire
through her stomach. He’s killing
me…please, her soul pleaded as her vision blurred from her tears. Kayn
couldn’t speak. She tried to scream, but with her throat crushed the only sound
she could make was a gurgling as she choked and sputtered out her own blood.
Why, why are you doing this to me? Her
mind cried to the stranger who breathed quickly with joyous excitement in her
ear. She felt the competing rhythms of their pounding hearts, her back against
his chest. She saw the twigs and rocks on the forest floor around her. Kayn
could smell damp moss and the scent of tree sap and the sweet metallic taste of
her own blood.
hands she could feel the warm stickiness that she bled out into the dirt,
trickling down her arms as it escaped from her body. Her clothing was heavily
soaked in her essence that moistened the earth around her.
her go for a second. She landed on all fours and tried to crawl away, but she
couldn’t will her body to move forward. She couldn’t breathe. She was on her
knees taking small shallow breaths, clawing at the ground. His hot repulsive
breath and quiet laughter was in her ear again and then he began whispering
things that Kayn couldn’t understand. His hot sweaty body was behind her
pressing against her back. She felt her stomach churning, revulsion mixed with
tried one last struggling movement to get away from his grasp, and then
suddenly felt some horribly blinding pain across her head and face. The lights
flickered and then went out.
woods lay a bleeding angel in all her glory. Her arms posed gracefully above
her head and her hair soaked in the mud, blood, and feces in which she lay.
Dying, fading into the other realm, her form was christened by the rain as
though the trees had begun to weep upon her for the brutality she had endured.
was someone waiting in the trails. A dark presence lingered nearby waiting for
her to regain consciousness.
awoke in frigid darkness. The pain that pulsated through her seemed to recycle
in waves until it began to slowly dull and became a tolerable numbness. She
struggled to open and focus her eyes. She could smell a familiar scent. It
smelled overpoweringly sweet, but somehow like metal. Kayn could taste the
sweet repulsive flavor of it in her mouth. It made her want to vomit.
lying in mud and she felt hot stickiness behind her. She suddenly remembered
what that taste had been. It was her own blood that she could taste inside of
her mouth. Kayn could barely breathe. Shuddering, she began to remember the
brutality that she had endured. Her mind began feeding her slivers, flashes of
inhuman violence. Her mind numb and confused from blood loss clicked through
scattered memories from her childhood.
Help me, please, her
mind pleaded into the forest through the tapping sounds of the rain hitting the
branches above where she lay. They seemed to be shielding her and as her vision
came into focus she imagined the lush green branches above as giant arms. They
protected her, covering her from the elements allowing her one last peaceful
moment. They are beautiful, she
thought. Her mind wandered through mystical visions of the majestic cedar trees
alive and somehow capable of offering her protection.
suddenly peaceful smile on her face that had been contorted by pain signaled
his essence back to her. Her vision came into focus and again this time the
trees crackled and mocked her. You’re
going to die, you silly bitch, they seemed to chant. They waved their
branches, howling, as the wind whistled through the trails which had suddenly
grown icy cold. Kayn’s mind snapped back to reality. She had lost a lot of
blood…none of this was real.
stood by that same tree whose imaginary arms had shielded her from the rain,
still waiting, veiled in mist. The change in temperature had caused the forest
floor to come alive with a dancing mist that seemed to add a thickness to the
tapping sound of the rain drops. Writhing in the mud, Kayn willed her body to
move. Her fingers clawed at the ground around her until she was spent. She lay
in stillness for a moment, feeling like a half dead animal waiting to be
finished off by its hunter. She concentrated on each breath…in and out…a little
air. She was alive. It felt like she was breathing through a straw and somebody
had pinched the end.
streams of light from the moon that had been dancing through the dark stormy
clouds had now disappeared, leaving only a cold dark night with no final
visions of beauty. Kayn longed for some light, but was left with only the flickering
of blurry dark images. She couldn’t see anything in the absence of light and
began to panic again, for she could feel her grasp on her life being absorbed
into the mist. I’m so scared. I don’t
want to die. Please help me, her soul sobbed. The only answer was the
crackling quiet sound of the rain.
couldn’t see anything at all now with her vision clouded with tears, so she had
to stop herself from crying. Her head pounded with the blinding pain that had
abruptly returned. She could sense that he was still nearby watching her. His
dark shadow loomed in the distance as it had in the hallway of her house.
Please, please, no more, Kayn
begged in her mind as he came closer to her, standing a few feet away from her
now, watching with his head tilted to one side. Her heart was begging, please don’t hurt me anymore.
trying to wriggle but no movement came from her now. She willed herself to
grasp at the moist cold earth with her fingers. She was unable to move at all.
Now her body was nothing more than a broken shell. How cruel for her mind to
still see...to still desire life at this point. Kayn looked into his eyes and
pleaded through her mind again, why are
you doing this to me?
so cold her body gave an involuntary shudder. Kayn realized then that she was
naked, completely exposed to the elements. Why was she naked? Her eyes were
full of tears again and she felt instant, almost overwhelming shame.
could still feel the sticky heat behind her as her blood drained from her body,
soaking into the dirt. The pain in her head began to numb as the lights through
the trees began to flicker again.
mass of her violator suddenly appeared beside her, leaning in so close that she
could smell his putrid breath, moist over her face. Every hair on her body was
standing on end. The electrical power between Kayn and the man in the dark was
like a charge. He ran a finger over her exposed breast saying, “You were never
to be born. This situation had to be corrected.”
his knife glint in the light from the moon. It was raised above her chest. Yes, she thought, let it be over now. She shut her eyes as the knife sliced into her
chest. Kayn opened her eyes again with acceptance. She felt no more pain. She
stared deeply into his eyes as hers filled with tears.
“From this life unto the next,” He whispered
as he slowly began to cut some kind of symbol into the skin on Kayn’s chest
above her heart. She lay limp in his arms, still conscious of what was
happening, yet free from the pain and fear now. He pulled her close to cradle
her naked body in his arms like a baby, rocking her broken, violated flesh in
his arms, stroking her blood soaked hair. He began to sob as if he were
repentant in some way for how he had tortured her.
vision flickered one last time, the man was gone. It was her mother looking
into her eyes.
mother’s eyes were filled with so much love that it seemed to release her from
her pain and fear as it had when she was a small child. Her mother cradled her
as a baby, rocking her back and forth. She was safe now in her mother’s arms.
She was at peace. Mommy, her heart
sang, you’re here to save me.
warmth of her mother’s love enveloped her tortured soul. She looked into her
mother’s eyes. She touched Kayn’s face and started to sing a song that she had
sung to her every night when she was very small.
Sleep, sweet sleep till the morning
Just dream away and close your eyes
My love you’ll be safe until the morning
Sleeping in my heart, all through the night
Although bad dreams come to scare you
My love will scare them all away
lights flickered, the pain went away, and her mother was holding her, singing
“Sleep, sweet sleep.”