The Fading | Teen Ink

The Fading

June 4, 2011
By Lovedella, San Antonio, Texas
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Lovedella, San Antonio, Texas
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Favorite Quote:
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do" ~Helen Keller

Author's note: It all started with a dream, or rather,a nightmare. Poppy and her life reflect on the bone chilling nightmare that woke me in the dead of night. The next morning, I wrote everything in the dream down, and spent the next few months adding detail and suspense.

They came from darkness. They are creatures of evil. They feast on our misery and bathe in our grief. They stalk your minds and suck your soul away from your body, that is, if you let them. They are the trymunculi. They are artificial human beings, created to destroy. All have different likes and favors. Yes, they exist. Yes, they are evil. Yes, they wish to kill you. I will now tell you my experience with these demonic creatures.

When I was six, I saw them. I couldn’t see much at first, just dim shadows or faint glows in the darkness. I knew I was different. I told my parents of my findings, but I knew they wouldn’t understand. They thought I was lying. My mother thought it would be good to send me to a psychologist, someone who could fix my brain, someone who could make me normal. That would never happen; I won’t ever get to be normal. As I got older, my sightings got clearer. I could see their silhouettes and sometimes even make out features of their faces. When I turned ten, I heard them. They spoke in whispers at first, but gradually got louder. It wasn’t long before I figured out that they could see and hear me too. They were mysterious creatures, always watching me. One day, I spoke to them.
“Um. Hello, there! My name is Poppy. I have a longer name, but I don’t use it much.” I said cheerily. At the time I was eleven years old and the dangers of the world had not quite registered in my brain.
I felt them move closer to me. The closer they got, the more I could make out their features. There were two of them. One was male; he had vibrant red eyes with a tint of violet. He smirked, white teeth, each as sharp as a scalpel, gleamed brightly at me. His silhouette was tall, in the light, his skin was dark grey. Once darkness came, his skin turned marble white. I studied him a while longer, and figured he was around maybe sixteen or seventeen. I moved my gaze to the other, a girl. She was short, unlike her partner, but had a friendly smile. She seemed around my age, maybe a year older. Her teeth seemed as sharp as her partners, maybe sharper. I noticed her eyes were a light pink-violet color. Her skin stayed a marble color in light or dark. I decided I liked her better. She gave off a friendly aura.
“Hello there, Poppy. It’s nice to know we can finally communicate.” The male said. His voice was deep, and was similar to my older brother’s, James, voice. “My name is Bruce. This here is Mikki.” He said, motioning to the friendly-looking girl.

“Hi Poppy, it’s so nice to finally meet you. I’m sorry Bruce is being so formal, he isn’t used to talking to humans.” Mikki said. I liked her voice. It was soft and tranquil, but at the same time nice to hear.
I gave a questioning look to Bruce. “Not used to talking to humans? What do you mean? Are you not human as well?”
Bruce smiled. It was nice to see him smile. “All in due time, Poppy. All in due time.” He looked at Mikki. “Mikki I think we should head home, it’s getting late and father wants us home in time for dinner.”
Mikki frowned; it looked as if she didn’t want to go home. “OK. It was nice meeting you Poppy. Don’t look so sad, we’ll be back tomorrow for sure.” She smiled suddenly and they were gone.

I decided I liked my new friends.

“Poppy! Poppy, wake up!”

I groan as my warm cocoon of a blanket is yanked from my grasp. Mikki looks down at me with an excited expression. It only lasts a second before she dashes off to my closet and pulls out clothes for me. Bruce is lounging on a chair near the window, gazing outside. Mikki pulls me out of bed, not hearing my whines and pleads, and plops down on a beanbag, patiently waiting for me to change. I, very slowly, mind my tiredness; begin to pull on my day clothes.

“You were dreaming last night. A memory, correct?” Bruce asks softly, not removing his gaze from the scene outside. I sigh; Bruce says I talk in my sleep, and often wants to know, in detail, what my dreams were about. Mikki doesn’t pester me about it though. She says Bruce is just nosy.

“Uh, yeah. I was remembering the time I first met you two.” I reply sheepishly. Bruce looks at me questioningly, obviously wanting to know the whole story. I shrug, and he doesn’t question me further.

“Aw. Poppy dreams of us, Bruce! Isn’t that sweet?” Mikki coos, grabbing my hand and leading me to my miniscule bathroom, instructing me to brush my teeth.

“Can I brush your hair today?” she asks, running her thin fingers through my short, pale blond locks. I smile, “Sure, why not? May I ask what the occasion is?”

Mikki gasps and yanks her fingers from my hair, making me yelp in pain. I hear Bruce chuckling from my bedroom. I pout; they’re laughing at me. Mikki gives her head a sad shake and sighs.

“And to think you would remember your first day as a junior in high school.” She says, placing a palm on her forehead.

See, I’ve known Mikki and Bruce since I was eleven. Both have been with me through thick and thin ever since. Mikki was the older sister I’ve never had, but always wanted, even if she is only a year older. She’s my best friend. Bruce, well Bruce was the obnoxious older brother I’ve never wanted, but it’s nice having him around sometimes. He’s still as quiet as when I first met him. Strong and silent, many would say. He is great at giving wise advice, and even if I don’t follow it, he always ends up being right. I noticed something about Bruce about a year after I met him, something strange. While Mikki ages like I do, Bruce doesn’t. He’s stayed the same age since I was eleven, and now we’re about the same age, even if he acts more mature, he is still sixteen. Mikki, Bruce and I have been best friends since we met. I’m not saying I’m not a people person since my best friends are not human, I do have friends, human ones. I’m not the most popular girl at school, but I have a group of friends. But Mikki and Bruce are the only ones who are always there. The more I think about it, the more I think that they’re my personal stalkers.

Anyways, back to me forgetting about my first day of junior year. That’s not possible. This last week had gone by way too quickly. I look, my mouth unattractively agape, towards my best friends. Bruce just smirked, while Mikki jumped up and yanked me into a chair, grabbing my hairbrush. As she began pulling through my tangled hair, Bruce got my makeup bag from the bathroom. He set it in front of me, very carefully. If I didn’t know better, it would seem as if he thought the bag was deadly. It was almost as if he was about to detonate a bomb. I decide to voice my thoughts to him.

“Bruce, if one didn’t know you, they would think you were placing a bomb in front of me.” I teased, earning a glare from the boy now sitting on my beanbag chair.

“I might as well be. I don’t know what you human girls like to put on your face, but it looks painful, like… radioactive acid.” he shuddered, making Mikki and I giggle. As I began applying the makeup, Mikki curled my long, boring hair to perfection.

“Are you guys coming with me today?” I asked dumbly. They looked at me for a second, and then snickered to themselves. Bruce moved his hand to ruffle my hair, before Mikki slapped it away, not wanting him to mess up my perfect hair.

“Poppy, we always go with you on your first day of school. Don’t you know that already?” Bruce smirks. I pout again. This is so not ‘make fun of Poppy for her slowness’ day.

Once Mikki is done with my hair, she tells me to check it to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. As I look in the mirror, my eyes go round in shock. I decide to do something completely out of character, I squeal. Bruce covers his ears at the noise and Mikki happily skips over to me. I am gorgeous. The outfit Mikki picked out for me was absolutely perfect and the light makeup paired with it was amazing. My jean skirt was innocent but the rhinestones were daring. My white graphic shirt was a nice pair with it. Lastly, nice white Converse sneakers planted on my feet finished off the look. Bruce rolled his eyes as I finished examining the outfit.

“Can we leave now? We don’t have time for you girls to sigh and giggle about how pretty you look.” he grumbles. I stick my tongue out at him, grab my book bag and purse, and follow Mikki out the door. I hear Bruce sigh behind me and start to follow. On my way out I grab a slice of dry toast and say goodbye to my mom. Once outside, opened the door to my car and carelessly tossed my bag inside. Bruce claimed shotgun and Mikki hopped in the seat in the back. The five minute drive to the high school was full of anticipation, for Bruce and Mikki. Mikki is convinced that the first day of school is full of
drama, even if none of it has to do with me.

When we were only a block away from the school, I got yelled at by Bruce about going over the speed limit.

“Poppy, you’re going to hit someone. Slow down.” he whisper/screams. I roll my eyes at him. “Bruce, bro, chill. You would speed too if you were going to be late for first period.” Bruce just cringes…and promptly begins to hyperventilate.

I slow down, trying to avoid giving Bruce a heart attack. Mikki points to someone on the sidewalk.

“Whoa. Poppy isn’t that your ex, Ayden?” she gasps. I look where she’s pointing and the car swerves. Bruce curses, then grabs the steering wheel, getting the car back on track. I smile sheepishly and keep my eyes on the road.

“You’re going to get us all killed. Next time maybe I should drive.” Bruce scoffs. I am tempted to look at him, but decide against it to avoid car crash. I pout, then my mouth curls into a smirk.

“You know, you could drive. But considering no one else can see you, don’t you think that would look a little weird?” I smile, proud of myself.

I pull into the schools student driveway, and gather my purse from the backseat. As I begin to walk away from the car, I notice Mikki and Bruce aren’t following me. I glance behind me and Mikki and Bruce are standing next to my car, completely still. Bruce looks suspicious, while Mikki looks completely confused. I stroll up to Bruce, not wanting to look suspicious.

“What’s going on? Why are you just standing there?” I whisper. A stuck-up brunette looks at me weirdly, and I scoff at her. Bruce stiffens next to me. Mikki’s expression changes from confused to bemused. Bruce narrows his eyes.

“Seems like another one of my kind is here.” he growled. Mikki narrowed her eyes, irises going from pink to violet in seconds. Now I’m the confused one. Another of their kind, here? At my high school? I don’t know whether to consider this dangerous or exciting. From the looks on Bruce and Mikki’s faces, it’s nothing to be excited about.

“Where are they?” I ask cautiously, not wanting to seem too reckless. Bruce just shrugs and motions me to the school’s entrance. I shrugged and walked began pushing my way through the crowd.

My high school is small. We have about two hundred kids in the entire school, and the building itself is cramped. As I make my way through the halls, tripping and stumbling over random people as I did so, I notice my school friends hanging by the cafeteria entrance. I look back towards Mikki, and she just smiles and motions for me to go on. I take long strides to my school acquaintances.

“Yo, it’s Poppy. How was you’re summer, chica?” Cassie asks as I take my place next to her. Cassie is short for Cassandra. She is a petite little thing, but her boldness can be scary sometimes.

“Good, good. How about you guys? Still working with your mom, Ty?” I laugh. Really I’m in no position to be laughing; I worked at a doughnut shop for the summer. Tyler glares at me. He’s rather tall, and lanky. Everyone called him “Surf” back in sixth grade because he was known for having the California surfer look down.

I continued talking to my friends, The Others joining in the conversation every once in a while. The Others are people Cassie, Ty, and I consider acquaintances, but not necessarily friends. The Others consist of Karie from band class, Mark from history last year, and Staci from the pep squad. It’s pretty generic, but that’s how I like it.

We walk into the cafeteria, where the schedules for the year are going to be handed out. Our school is too small and boring for homeroom, so this is how it is every year. Ty and I walk to the table labeled with a large “C”. Carter for me, and Collins for Ty. I receive my schedule fairly quickly, and turn only to get run over by a complete stranger.

We walk into the cafeteria, where the schedules for the year are going to be handed out. Our school is too small and boring for homeroom, so this is how it is every year. Ty and I walk to the table labeled with a large “C”. Carter for me, and Collins for Ty. I receive my schedule fairly quickly, and turn only to get run over by a complete stranger.
“Ugh…sorry about that.”
On the floor next to me is a, very handsome, brunette boy. I haven’t seen him around school these past two years, so he must be new. He quickly apologizes for bumping into me, and begins to gather his things.

“I am really sorry, I can be clumsy at times.” he says sheepishly. I smile at him. I mean, how cute is that?

“You’re such a klutz, Danny.” a rather rude voice sneers. I look behind who supposedly Danny, and notice a young woman is watching us with a scowl. I look at Danny, who has his head bent down in shame. I glared at the mysterious woman. She looks like Mikki, but has curly, silver white ringlets down to her hips. Her eyes, icily glowering at Danny, are a dark violet color. Her skin is dark grey and solid looking.

“Don’t you think that was kind of mean?” I whisper, looking at Danny sympathetically. He returns it with a look of surprise.

“You heard that?” he exclaims, looking at me as if I were mad. I glance at the non-human being behind him. She looks surprised, and it’s understandable. She thinks the only one who can hear her or see her is Danny.

“Yeah I heard that. I have a friend that looks like her.” I explain softly, not wanting to throw it all in his face that he’s not the only one who can see these people. Danny stands up and, realizing that I’m still on the floor, helps me up. He smiles, dimples forming on his cheeks.

“I knew I wasn’t the only one. I’m Danny. This here is Janessa. She’s been with me since I was twelve.” he dimples again, and I blush profoundly. I look at Janessa, and she smirks. She reminds me of Bruce, putting on that calm exterior in public, even if no one can see her.

“Hi, I’m Poppy. Nice to meet you.” I say, sticking my hand out for shake. He accepts it.

“I sensed others here, two of them. Do you happen to know them?” Janessa inquired, looking at me as a detective would look at a suspect. I nod my head, not daring to lie to this girl. She could probably break me in half without breaking a sweat.

“My friends Mikki and Bruce. They were with me earlier, but seem to have been side tracked.” Janessa seemed satisfied with my answer, and left me and Danny to ourselves. I looked at him curiously and he laughed nervously.

“I’m sorry if Janessa came off rude; she isn’t used to meeting people.” Danny said, smiling sheepishly. I almost stared at him, but kept my gaze curious.

“So Danny, what class do have first?” I ask, changing the subject. Danny’s eyes widen considerably and he blushes. He pulls a sheet of paper from his pocket and scans it quickly. He grimaces.

“I have…physics. Just so you know I don’t have the best of luck.” I grin, glancing at my schedule. “Well, it looks like we’re heading the same way. I have physics first, too.” He’s staring. I refrain from squirming under his gaze. It’s just so uncomfortable. “Danny?...Hey new kid, you there?” I say finally. Danny blinks, and for a second I think he forgets where he is. Soon, the smile is back and he grabs my arm and leads me to room 208, a.k.a. Pre-AP Physics.

My physics teacher is probably one of the best teachers in the school. I think the only reason we actually look forward to junior year. His name is Mr. Cook and is the youngest of all the teachers in the school, being only twenty-six years old. As Danny and I walk towards the classroom, I fill him in on what he’s been missing out on the past two years. There’s not much, but the little drama we’ve had here at my school is very dramatic. There is so little drama, that I’m done by the time we reach the physics room.

When we enter the classroom, the whispering begins. You know how I said there’s so little drama. When we get new kids or some people just spontaneously decide to become a couple, everyone knows about it. It’s only relevant that once Danny and I walk into the classroom side by side, rumors start.

“Is that the new kid? With Poppy?”

“I think his name is Danny. He sure knows how to make friends fast!”

“I heard he pushed Poppy in the cafeteria.”

Oh, rumors, how I loathe you. Danny looks at me curiously, and then breaks out into a grin.

“You said the school wasn’t interesting. Sounds pretty interesting to me…” he smirks. I blush and look away. Stupid rumors, always wrong.

“I never said there were no rumors. This is high school.” I pull a face and roll my eyes. I scan the classroom and spot Bruce and Mikki sitting on a windowsill next to a vacant table. Janessa was occupying a tabletop where a couple was seated. Hesitantly, I grab Danny’s wrist and lead him to the vacant table.

Mikki groans at our approach. “I don’t know how you stand this class, Poppy. The students are noisy and the teacher keeps looking at himself in the mirror.” Next to her, Bruce sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose.

“Mik, all you’ve been doing since we got here is complain. I don’t see Janessa complaining.” He says, nodding his head in the woman’s general direction. I giggle as I notice Janessa’s irritated face as the couple in front of her started noticeably flirting. In a swift motion, she hopped off of the table and approached us.

For the first time I can actually take a good look at her. She is very pretty, much like Mikki. Her wavy silver locks fall gracefully at her hips, where a studded black belt holds up black leather skinny jeans. Her black shirt ends a little bit above her, much toned, stomach, where there is an onyx navel ring. I can’t help but notice that Mikki, Bruce and Janessa all wear black clothing, and never any other color. Her skin is much like Bruce’s, marble white in the darkness, but dark grey in the light.

“How did you guys know what class we were in?” I ask. Bruce rolls his eyes.

“How do you think? We found a copy of your schedule in the secretary’s office. You’re school secretary needs to spend less time on coffee breaks by the way.”

Right after he said that, Mr. Cook decides to tear his attention away from his precious mirror and start class. He remembers all of us from the previous years, and greets us all individually.

“Ah, the lovely Poppy Carter. It’s nice to see you again.” Mr. Cook smiles, then turns his eyes to Danny.

“I don’t believe I’ve seen you before.” He says, furrowing his brow. A girl in the front row with bleached blonde hair pops her bubblegum.

“He’s new Mr. Cook.” She drawls with a flip of her fake hair. She shoots a sultry smile to Danny, in which he replies with a slightly repulsed expression. I giggle into my palm, earning myself a glare from the Fake, and an amused smile from Danny. Mr. Cook raises an eyebrow.

“A transfer? We haven’t had one of those in a while. Care to introduce yourself?” he asks. Danny blushes, and rises shyly from his seat.

“Uhm, well, I am Daniel Cester. Please call me Danny. I, uhm, come from Dallas. It’s nice to meet you all.” Danny gives a friendly smile to the class. Queue the girly sighs and squeals. I roll my eyes and Danny sits back down in his seat.

Bruce snickers and I whip my head around to glare at him.


Bruce just chuckled some more and rolled his eyes. Mikki smirks, “Jealous” she mouths. My jaw falls slack. Me? Jealous? I met this guy not even an hour ago, so there is now possible way I could be jealous. No way.

Danny whirls around and looks at me curiously, studying my face. I quirk an eyebrow, daring him to voice his thoughts.

“You look irritated. Are you OK?” he asks, his voice all soft and sweet. Oh dear Lord, don’t tell me I’m starting to crush on this boy. I shake out of my trance, my features softening.

“I’m fine. I don’t like mornings.” I lie. Lie, lie, lie!

Danny looks over at Janessa, whose expression is bored. Not that I blame her, if I was stuck in Physics class when I didn’t have to be, I’d be pretty bored too. I open my notebook and begin my notes in silence. Bruce and Mikki are playing thumb war. It must be a pretty intense battle, Mikki keeps grunting and Bruce as well. Sigh. Bored, I take out my schedule from my binder and start looking at my classes for the day.

1st Period
Physics Pre-AP
2nd Period
Theatre Arts I
3rd Period
Algebra II Pre-AP
4th Period
5th Period
6th Period
English III Pre-AP
7th Period
Athletics- Tennis

8th Period
U.S. History Pre-AP

Much to my surprise, my schedule is not all that bad. Usually every year I request to have it changed. I silently wonder to myself what Danny’s schedule looks like. Giving into my curiosity, I ask him for his schedule. He pulls it back out of his pocket with no hesitation, telling me to highlight the classes I have with him. I, of course, blush at this. Still blushing, I pull out a blue highlighter from my pencil bag and study his schedule.

1st Period
Physics Pre-AP
2nd Period

3rd Period
Pre-Calculus Pre-AP
4th Period

5th Period
6th Period
English III Pre-AP

7th Period
Athletics- Basketball

8th Period
U.S. History Pre-AP

I inwardly beamed at the fact that we had over half of our classes together, including lunch. I grabbed my highlighter and began to highlight Physics, Speech, English, Lunch and History. I slid Danny’s schedule back to him. He glanced at it and his eyes widened. He turned his head to me and flashed me a boyish grin. This small gesture makes me feel all warm inside and I’m pretty sure why. I hugged my arms, wanting the feeling to go away. I’m not used to being in like with someone, and unrequited love is not something that I want to have to endure. I inwardly groaned at my internal battle.

About ten minutes later the lovely bell rang and Danny and I had to part. He had Health next and I had to go to Theatre Arts with Ty and Cassie. Now that I think about it, Theatre Arts is the only class I have with both Cassie and Ty. Ty and I shared Speech and English, while Cassie has Athletics and Algebra with me. I smile to myself knowing that I have at least one friend in all of my classes.

I head into the small auditorium where Theatre Arts, also known as Drama, takes place. Ty and Cassie wave me over from the bench they have been sitting on. Ty had on a lazy smile and Cassie had a full blown grin.

“Hey Pop, we saw you heading down to Mr. Cook’s room this morning to the new kid. When are you planning on introducing us?” Cassie pouts, crossing her arms.

“Well, Ty and I share 4th period with him, so Ty will meet him then. I guess you can meet him at lunch.” I say, trying to sound calm. Really I don’t want Cassie meeting Danny at all. Cassie is a flirt and likes to play with boys’ feelings. I’m not being possessive or anything, I just really don’t want Danny’s feelings to be toyed with.

“Well, Ty and I share 4th period with him, so Ty will meet him then. I guess you can meet him at lunch.” I say, trying to sound calm. Really I don’t want Cassie meeting Danny at all. Cassie is a flirt and likes to play with boys’ feelings. I’m not being possessive or anything, I just really don’t want Danny’s feelings to be toyed with.

Cassie pouts again, and then glares at Ty. He smiles sheepishly back, almost apologetically. I sigh.

“Ty, what did you do now?” I ask. He shrugs. Cassie gasps.

“He called me fat!” she exclaims. She goes on some more, but I’m not really paying attention. Instead, I’m wondering where in the world Mikki and Bruce took off too. If Danny were here I would probably ask Janessa, but Danny has Health class right now.

Thinking about Janessa makes me shiver. Something is definitely off about that girl. She’s always thinking, from what I’ve gathered. I can’t really judge because I haven’t known her for more than an hour, but she’s mysterious. My thoughts trail back to Physics class. When she stood in front of Danny, she looked at him in the most mysterious way. It was hard to comprehend what she was feeling. Love? No, she wouldn’t feel that way about Danny. Lust? That doesn’t make much sense. Something in my mind clicks. Hunger. That’s what I saw. Not the lusting kind of hunger either. It was the inhuman I want to eat you kind of hunger.

Next my mind wonders to Mikki and Bruce. Have they ever looked at me like Janessa looked at Danny? I rack my memory for any sign of this hunger. Nothing comes to mind. Mikki and Bruce have been nothing but kind to me since the day I met them and I should be shamed for thinking they would ever betray me.

Still wondering where they are, I ask Ty who the teacher is. Apparently he took this class last year and failed, still needing a fine arts credit.

“Mrs. Krestie is our teacher. She’s a real crab sometimes, but generally OK.” He explains, randomly pulling a package of crackers out of his backpack.

Cassie snorts. “Maybe the reason you failed last year was because you were eating instead of paying attention.”

I zone out of the rest of their conversation.

Mrs. Krestie strides into the room in less than a minute. I’ve never met her, but I’ve seen her around school. She has a weird wardrobe and doesn’t wear makeup. I catch the first two words of her introduction, but then drone out the rest of her speech. A hand lands on my shoulder.

“You know, if you don’t pass this class, you will end up having to take Drama I next year as a senior.” Bruce says flatly from behind me.

“Shut up. I was paying attention…” I mumble, turning my head.

Bruce sighs, and promptly plops down on the floor next to me. Mikki isn’t with him, I notice.

“Hey, where is Mikki?” I ask

“She went to Health with Janessa. Girl bonding, apparently.” He shudders. I know Bruce and I know that anything feminine freaks him out to an extent.

I don’t question him further and start paying attention to Mrs. Krestie. She’s really quirky in my opinion. She reminds me of Mikki with how bubbly and unpredictable she is. Since this is Drama I, a class either we failed last year (like Ty) or are taking for the first time, she wanted us to have an introduction period. We were to stand in front of the class, state our name, grade and interesting facts. I giggle thinking about what I could say for my interesting facts. “Hey, I’m Poppy. I see people with weird eyes and grey or white skin.” Or maybe “Hi guys, I’m Poppy. My two best friends are people that not everyone sees; only I do because I’m special.” Ridiculous, right?

I try to pay attention to the first kid; some tall freshman girl whose name is Holly. Next is some really short sophomore that I see getting bullied by the senior jocks in the hallways sometimes. The next girl intrigues me. She is also a freshman, and nothing looks out of place about her, she has almond shaped brown eyes and long wavy brown hair, average height, but something is slightly off in her eyes.

“Hello, I am Nadia, a freshman. Some interesting facts about me are that I studied a demonology course last year and I am a witch.” Groans from around the classroom erupt. Obviously they don’t believe her, but who would?

Bruce grunts from next to me. “I don’t like her. I do not recommend you hang around this girl. She’s weird.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed…” I whisper back, slightly annoyed.

Class ends sooner than later, thank goodness. Algebra with Cassie goes by uneventfully, as expected. Next thing I know I’m sitting next to Danny again in Speech. Nadia is in this class as well, secluded in her own corner of the room. Something about her makes me uneasy and Danny as well.

“You know her?” I ask him. Danny nods.

“Yeah, she rode my bus this morning. I think she can see Janessa, she kept looking at me like I’d grown three other heads.”

I furrow my brow at this. “I had her for Drama, but she barely even noticed me, much less Bruce.”

“Mikki wasn’t with you two?”

“No, Bruce said she and Janessa had gone off on their own.”

“Well Janessa went off when I went to health. I didn’t see her again until towards the end of Pre-Calc. She met up with Mikki, perhaps?”

“Yeah, probably.” I say, trying to keep the worry out of my voice.

Danny grabs my hand and gives it a light squeeze, silently reassuring me that Mikki and the others are alright. I almost laugh looking back to this morning when we met. Danny and I became immediate friends, not even bothering to tell the other about ourselves. The only thing we do have in common, as far as I know, led us to this. It seems that I’ve known this boy all of my life, rather than just a couple of hours.

Moments into the speech class introduction, Mikki and Bruce enter the classroom. Janessa is no where to be seen. Mikki stands against the wall behind us, and Bruce perches himself on the side of our table. Danny’s head whips from side to side.

“Where’s Janessa?” he whispers frantically.

Mikki answers him first. “She told me to tell you that school is boring and that she would be back at your house until school is over.” Bruce rolls his eyes.

“Your friend is very straightforward.” He says.

Danny visibly relaxes. I look towards Nadia’s corner only to find her fidgeting with an object worriedly. She’s chanting some words and her eyes are closed. I don’t quite know what she’s doing, for I’ve never studied witchcraft before, but I know something is up. Nadia opens her eyes to reveal forest green eyes. Didn’t she have brown eyes in Drama today? Maybe she used an eye color changing spell, for it had to be the most reasonable. I turn to Danny.

“Hey, you saw Nadia this morning right?” I ask

“Yeah, she was doing some weird chant to herself. Why?”

“What color were her eyes?”

“They were blue at the time, I think.” My eyes go wide at this.

“Nadia has green eyes now. She had brown eyes second period.” Danny’s eyes go wide in realization.

“Does that mean she really is a witch then?” I whisper. Danny shakes his head.

“Maybe she has colored eye contacts?”

“Then what’s with the chant?”

That gets him. He looks at Nadia and she looks right back, locking eyes with both of us. Her eyes are still green. Slowly but surely, her lips move. No sound comes from them, but we can barely see what she’s trying to tell us. Her lips form one word. Danger.

I whip my head to look at Danny. He looks about as shell-shocked as I do. Mikki stiffens from behind us and Bruce is glaring at the back of some student’s head. Nadia has returned to listening to the introduction. Bruce whacks the back of my head and I hit the table. Cursing under my breath I look up only to be met with Mikki’s glower. Bruce’s eyes are narrowed into slits and Danny is rubbing his forehead. Mikki must’ve whacked him, too.

“She’s weird. Why are you even paying attention to her?”

“Poppy, I don’t trust her! Promise me you won’t listen to a thing she says.”

Both their voices collide together, in a screaming frenzy, but Mikki’s hits me the hardest. Mikki trusts everybody. From the moment I met her I knew she trusted me. For her not to trust someone…that’s something out of her character.

I almost ignore their advice and head over to talk to Nadia, but then remember that they are the closest things I’ve ever had to siblings. Danny looks down, his brow furrowed in confusion. Nadia warned us of danger, but we don’t know of any danger at all. Personally, I think Mikki and Bruce are just being unreasonable. So, Nadia is a human who claims to be able to do witchcraft, but who cares. She could be a friendly girl inside. Like Casper the Friendly Ghost, only Nadia the Friendly Witch. I groan in annoyance at the two, and lay my head down on the table; for the teacher’s welcoming speech is way too boring to listen to.

The rest of my day goes by in a blur. Danny has 6th period English with me and 8th period History, but he has other friends in those classes and chooses to sit with them. I guess he deserves to pretend to be normal for now, considering the confusion this morning. I spend my time thinking about Nadia, the mysterious freshman witch. Clearly she has a reason for warning Danny and I of danger. What danger could there be? We are in a small town, in a small nothing-ever-happens-here school, so what danger could there possibly be?

I return home around four o’clock. I don’t usually stay late at school, unless I’m talking to a teacher or something. Mikki and Bruce left early, during athletics. They said they had to be somewhere this afternoon. I didn’t mind. I was kind of mad at the way they were judging Nadia. I left school at three forty-five, without even a goodbye for Danny, my new friend. The school is only about a ten minute walk from my house, but I decided to take a longer route so I could clear my mind a little bit.

Sighing, I toss my bag on the couch when I walk in the door. A familiar voice is chatting with my mom in the kitchen.

“Poppy! Come say hi to your brother. He came to visit!”

James is home? James is my older brother who is currently in medical school out of state. He’s studying to be a surgeon. He is my parent’s pride and joy, always getting good grades and being polite. You would think that I would hate him for being so perfect, but it’s the complete opposite. I love my brother to death and look up to him.

“James! You’ve come to visit!” I squeal, jumping on him from behind. He yelps in surprise and gently sets me on the floor for a proper hug.

“Poppy, sister dearest, you’ve grown. Look at you, becoming a young woman.” He says formally, the corners of his mouth turning up. The way he is so formal annoys me at times, but it’s something that’s grown on me.

After James and I finished our little reunion, my mom took us out and treated us to some Italian food. James and I made small talk and cracked jokes here and there, but that can only last so long. Soon, his features turn stony and his eyes harden noticeably.

“You’re not still obsessed with those imaginary friends of yours, are you?” he says as his eyes darken with suspicion. My lasagna hits the back of my throat and choking sounds escape my lips. “What?!” I sputter. My mother pats my back gently and I turn to glare at my brother. He just stares with an amused gaze.

“That is absolutely none of your business!” I whisper harshly. James quirks an eyebrow, questioning me. “So you are still obsessed with them…Mikki and Bruce is it?” I fume.

“No, I’m not obsessed. They don’t exist.” I mumble, looking down at my food quietly. James does not question me further and our dinner continues without anymore drama. Sooner than later my mother, James, and I are in our old beat up Nissan heading back home.

“Poppy! You never told me how handsome your brother has gotten.” Mikki giggles as I walk into my miniscule bedroom. Bruce rolls his eyes and Mikki pats his shoulder.

James looks nothing like me. He has dark hair like stopped smoke, and these hazel eyes that every girl loves. He’s also very arrogant. That’s all I have to say about my brother. Bruce looks uneasy, and I call him out on it.

“It’s just that, Janessa thinks that Nadia might know something about us.” He explains. Mikki nods and I find my thoughts wondering back to the strange freshman. She certainly did not show any signs that she knew anything, but then again, neither did I.

“Why would she think that Nadia knows something? I thought only certain people could see you?” I ask. Bruce sighs, rubbing the side of his face.

“Yes, Poppy, but Nadia might just be one of those certain persons.”

“I don’t…understand.”

“Poppy, listen to us. Nadia knows about us. She knows that we exist and she knows that you can see us.” Bruce explains lowly. “She could be potentially dangerous. I would like you to have as little to do with her as possible.” I shake my head no.

“Nadia has done nothing wrong, Bruce. I think she could actually be very friendly if you actually try to get to know her. I know I want to try and get to know her.”

Bruce huffs at my explanation. “Understand me, Poppet Cressida Carter. I don’t trust this girl.”

Mikki sighs. “I don’t know, Bruce. We don’t know anything about her. We can’t just take Janessa’s word every time she makes an observation.”

“I agree. So now if you two don’t mind, I will head to bed early tonight. Goodnight.” I huff and stomp to the bathroom to brush my hair and teeth. When I come out, Mikki is sitting on my bed quietly. Bruce is no where to be seen.

“I take it his temper got the best of him.” I say softly. Mikki sniffs. “Bruce and I have never disagreed on anything. Janessa is changing him.”

Janessa is a very strange inhuman being. She seems like the quiet type, so you would never know what she is actually thinking. It’s very possible that she could have manipulated Bruce. She seemed to have some sort of power over him.

“I’m scared, Poppy. He’s always been so tolerant and patient, especially with you and I. What’s making him like this?”

“I don’t know, Mik. I’ll talk to Danny tomorrow. I want to know more about Janessa. Something is definitely off about her.”

“I guess. I should probably head home. Bye, Poppet Cressida.” She smirks. I laugh it off and hurl myself underneath the covers. In seconds, I am fast asleep.

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