“We have been worried about you lately, Anezvae. The teachers have been telling me you have been acting a little… different.” Mr. Terk paused, trying to think of a term that wouldn’t offend me.
“Uh huh,” I replied. I twirled a lock of my jet black hair around my index finger, not the least bit interested in the bull Mr. Terk was saying. Not that it wasn’t true.
Mr. Terk dropped his meaty fists down away from his double chinned face. “ From your unmotivated attitude, I’m going to assume you do not want to seek out help for yourself. That is why a few staff members and I have enrolled you into a school forced self help group.”
My jaw dropped, giving my gum an opportunity to escape from my mouth. “What! You mean like, a summer school for Goths, cutters, homosexuals, freaks, and everything I’m not! I understand that I went through mild depression; but that doesn’t mean I am going to commit suicide!”
Mr. Terk jiggled his wobbly neck from side to side. “I think that you have had a little misunderstanding. Self help groups aren’t always a bad thing. They can be for anyone who is having a little difficulty.”
I couldn’t believe this. Me, the popular cheerleader who everyone loved was going to have a jolly old time with a bunch of gothic emo freaks who quoted Shakespeare. Wait ‘till the squad hears this.
“ Mr. Terk, I have cheer camp and a whole bunch of competitions over the summer. I can’t go.” I decided to pull the pity-me-pretty-pretty-please face, which worked on most people. Apparently, Mr. Terk was not most people.
“The subject is not up for debate.”Mr. Terk stated with a stern composure. “ We will call in your parents and let them know that you must attend summer school in order to graduate.”
“I can fail if I don’t go to some stupid camp?” I squeaked. There was pretty much no way out of this. I could choose not to go, but that wasn’t very smart seeing as how I could fail.
Mr. Terk got up, making his flimsy swivel chair whine under his weight. “You may head back to class.” He mumbled, handing me a late pass. I snatched it from his sausage like fingers and stormed out of the room.
Angry and frustrated, I looked over my shoulder to watch my summer’s demise being plotted by Mr. Turk, talking to my parents on the telephone.
Three Weeks Later
“Anezvae, get up!” My mother called from the bottom of the stairs. I caught whiff of mom’s agitation as she pounded up the fluffy carpeted steps.
I reluctantly pushed the inviting quilt off my aching body. Sitting up, my joints felt even worse. One of the many perks of cheer practice. I rolled off of my extremely girly bed and my feet were met by my even girlier plush rug.
My mother whipped my bedroom door open, greeting me with an annoyed expression. “I’ve been callin’ you for over twenty minutes. Get up or your gonna be late.” She shut the door behind her as she left.
I ran my hands through my hair as I stood up. I shuffled across the room at a decrepit zombie pace.
At my mirror, I attempted to mat down my frizzy mess of black hair. My face didn’t look too bad. Deep jade eyes stared fiercely back at me through the mirror, complimenting my pale skin and small nose. I had always been tall and thin, and now was no exception. 5.8 and 111 pounds was my stature, and I was proud.
I pulled on a random pink t-shirt that showed off my shoulders and a pair of skinny jeans that I found on my bedroom floor. I dashed on some mascara with a little eyeliner. I didn’t really need to wear cover up.
Today would not be one of my favorite days, considering the fact that I had to start the day with a long dreaded activity. Self Help summer school. Whoopee.
On my way out of my bedroom door, I grabbed a pair of leather knee high combat boots. When I shut the door behind me, a wonderful smell reached my nose. I pounded down the stairs into the kitchen.
My father was bent over the stove, flipping bacon. A pile of bacon had already been cooked, and was lying on a plate beside him. I sped beside him and snatched up a heap of bacon off the plate. “Dad,” I asked with a mouthful of bacon, “Could you give me a ride to my self help group?”
“Sure.” He mumbled. My dad scooped up a nearby mug of coffee and placed it to his well groomed mouth.
I took another helping of bacon and put it on a plate. Sitting down at the table set for four, I shot a menacing glance at my little brother Wyatt. His annoying little pug face returned the gesture. I poked a decorative fork into my mountain of food, spurting grease across the room at Wyatt.
“Hey, watch it you b-“ Wyatt hollered, but trailed off when catching a look from dad.
I glanced up at the Winnie the Pooh clock hanging from the wall. Six O’clock.”Dad, we need to head out now.” I called in a voice to catch his preoccupied attention.
Sitting up, I grabbed my bookbag off the back of the chair and headed out the door. Outside was my father’s preferred car. The Volvo. Sometimes I thought he loved that car more than he loved me, which doesn’t take very much. I opened the overly buffed door and climbed inside. Dad climbed in beside me and started the engine.
“Ahh,” Dad said sarcastically “Listen to that engine purr.” He pulled out of the driveway and made a U-turn in the other direction. After driving for about ten minutes, and made an effort of conversation.
“You know honey;” He started, “This group you’re going to could really help. After all, you have witnessed a murder and went through depression. You’re a pretty tough trooper.” He reached over and patted me on the shoulder.
“The road, dad.” I replied nonmalancholy. “Whatever.”
I could see the senior high building up ahead, and I dreaded going in there. I hopped out of the Volvo without a further word to my dad. Pressing the call button that would let me in, I stepped inside with a feeling of fear eating away at my stomach. My footsteps echoed down the wide hallway as I slowly made my way down to the entrance to the hallway. The entire building was eerily quiet due to the fact that everyone was on vacation. At the top of the stairs, I looked both ways in search of Mrs. Lovancy’s room.
I shut the stairway door behind me and headed down the hall to the newly discovered room 308. I gulped in anticipation, fear, and a little bacon aftertaste as I stood in front of Mr.Lovancy’s room. A little sound squeezed its way through the cracks of the dull purple door.
“I do not put up with any nonsense of any sort. If any of you has any complaints or comments, keep them to your juvenile delinquent selves. I expect utter silence and cooperation from this group, or there will be consequences.” A shrill, annoying voice ranted from the room. I could tell right away that me and this person wouldn’t get along.
I shrugged away the voice screaming in my head as I pushed open the door. I was taken back a little as I saw the people gathered around on yoga mats on the floor. My gaze met with a piercing covered; dark haired chick who I guessed was a cutter due to the gashes on her wrists. A skinny boy with pale skin with light hair in his face looked pitifully at me. His mouth and fingers twitched slightly, apparently from meds. A group of severely Goth teens huddled in a corner, looking at me with very disapproving eyeliner smudged eyes. They all looked like people who I would usually shove into trash cans. One person, however, caught my attention.
Flawless, porcelain like skin dawned the boy I couldn’t take my eyes off of. He had extremely black hair that was cut short in the back , but had long bangs that were flipped to the side and came down to his chin. His eyes were a greenish, hazel color that seemed to bore holes into my soul. He was beautiful, but not in a girl way. He was slouched over in a lazy position and wore all black. Black also was the color of his knee high chain boats. Wow.
I snapped out of trance, embarrassed that I was thinking of adjectives that you would find in a lame vampire romance. “Miss Perpetelli, I would expect for you to take a seat now. Since this is the first day, I will provide some lenience. Tomorrow, however, you must arrive on time.”
I turned around at the voice that I heard previous to my entry. A shriveled up old hag glared at me over the tops of her old fashioned spectacles. Rolling my eyes, I took the nearest seat on the floor beside the twitchy boy. After adjusting my designer bag beside me, I took another look at the boy who earlier caught my attention. He was sitting beside a chick that appeared to be some Gothic princess wanna be.
She was sitting practically on his lap and was groping at his thigh. Ugh, get a room. I tossed my hair over my shoulder in mock disinterest. I glanced over at the spaz beside me. He gave me a nervous smile, so I glared the other way. Mr. Terk was so gonna pay for this.
Mrs. Lovancy continued the rant I had previously interrupted. “I would like to begin to start off this session with a group activity. I will call off numbers for each of you. People with the same numbers will be put in the same group.”
A loud groan erupted from the room with me included. I so did not want to share an even closer space than I was already in with these tards.
“Do not interrupt me when I am talking. That is strike one for this room.” Mrs. Lovancy squeaked in an irritating voice. Strikes, seriously! My first grade teacher did that, and it was old then.
She glared at me. ”Starting with Anezvae, one. Arraine, two. Fell, three.” Mrs., Lovancy started calling off numbers for our groups, but I tuned her out. I felt like a major outcasts among these misfits, and besides Mr. Twitchy Mc Smiles, I doubted any of them really wanted to be put in a group with me.
When Mrs. Lovancy was finished with her number call, she said “Group ones, left bottom corner of the room.” She pointed to a mat in the corner of the room. I stood up and headed over, along with two Goth girls and a boy. The boy who I had been staring at. This was going to be embarrassing.
I sat in the very corner and made eye contact with the two girls. The one seemed nice, and she was very pretty. I think her name was Rashel. The other girl was far less nice, and I didn’t care to see what her name was. They decided to sit on the sides of me while we waited for our other group members to grace us with their presence.
The boy with the black hair and black clothes bowed over to sit down in front of me. While doing so, I noticed a chain necklace with a twisted, small metal arrow decorating the front. I tried not to stare, but I had never seen anything like it before. It was not something you could just go buy at a store.
As he sat down, I focused my attention back on his face. This time, he caught me staring and glared at me profusely. I was taking back a little by the gesture. I quickly looked away, doing so seeing someone that had not caught my attention before.
Some dude with short brown hair stared at me until shivering point. The first word that came to mind when I saw him was creeper. He was dressed in a pink shirt with dark designer skinny jeans and high tops. He seemed friendly, and he was smiling. Not friendly smiling, but smiling like he had just found a cookie on the floor and wasn’t going to share.
I forced a smile back and looked away. “ Now that we are in our groups, I have an activity I want us all to do. Everyone, we are going to share our problems with the rest of the room. We will all tell the class the reason why we are in here. Oh, and by the way,” Mrs. Lovancy went on. “The groups you are in now are the ones you will be in the rest of the year.”
Are you kidding me? I was not up for sitting in a friendly little circle to share why I was stuck in this loony bin. And I really didn’t care why everyone else was here.
A squeaky annoying voice interrupted my mental yakking. “Anezvae, you may go first.”
I reluctantly stood up and eyed the people gathered around me. All the Goths glared at me profusely, while the mismatched problem kids stared off into space. The light haired late arriver raised his eyebrows at me. I didn’t even dare look at the dude that keeps catching me staring at him.
“I’m here because…” I trailed off, eyes on cute dude. “I watched a friend of mine get murdered when I was four years old. Later, I went through mild depression. Nothing serious.”
I sat back down and ignored the look I got from Mrs. Lovancy. I sneaked a peak at Cute dude’s face, who was already looking at me unfazed. I stared back down at my hands.
“Okay…moving on. Drace, you next.” Mrs. Lovancy managed through her forced smile. The light haired creeper stood up and smiled his cookie grubbing smile again.
“Obviously, I am here because I am openly gay and seem to creep people out.” He smiled yet again and skipped back to his seat.
Mrs. Lovancy had no comment on that one.
Instead, she stood up and told the next person to come up. “Vectar, commence with your turn.”
For some reason I already knew who Vectar was without him getting up. The guy that I was apparently obsessed with staring at was Vectar. He stood up and shot me a quizzical look, apparently irritated with his task.
He stomped across the room, chain boots clacking due to the black chains dangling from the tops. He seemed extremely tall, reaching roughly about six foot three inches. He had a little bit of a slouch, and he always had his hair covering his eyes. Just my type.
Reaching the middle of the room, his dark eyes briefly fluttered across the rows of people. He seemed to act like he owned the world, and didn’t seem to like what he was looking at.
“I’m here,” Vectar started in a rather superior tone, “Because of people like you all. None of your slow and ununiformly developed minds understand or take appreciation in true art or it’s mindful creators. Any distaste in what people call “smart” or “fun” in the modern day results in the protestor being evicted from social standards.”
“Now Vectar,” Mrs. Lovancy soothed in a reproachful tone.
“Shut up!” Vectar raged as he continued. “I try to bring the real definition of creativity, and I am sent here.”
During his little rant, I had received a painful headache and dizziness. The room started to spin at an uncontrollable rate, and I could tell I was about to faint.
“Anezvae? Anezvae!” A voice shouted beside my ear, but seemed to be very far away. I could see flashing lights and pretty stars…
Clank…clank…clank! I heard dull thumping approaching. It sounded almost like someone was clanging a hammer off of stone, and it was slowly making its way towards my head.
Opening my eyes, I could see that my prediction was pretty close.
A twisted demon like creature was crawling towards me at an unnatural speed. Its legs were bent at an angle, and it’s limbs were twisted and broken. The mouth of the creature was sewn shut, exception to a few loose seams with white liquid fog seeping out. It’s eyes were slanted in determination to reach me. Crappers.
I jerked myself up sped towards the nearest tree. I figured I could run up the tree and do give the creature a backwards kick. That wouldn’t be very hard, thanks to cheerleading and my superb flexability.
Before I could reach the tree, the demon just disappeared. All that was left in it’s place was a pair of eerie gray mushrooms.
Taking a few steps away from the tree, I took the opportunity to look around. My gaze was met by a disturbing view. Both dead plants and people alike littered the ground, heaping on various broken trains and houses. Gray mist fogged up my eyesight and lurking shadows seemed to follow me.
How did I get here? I questioned. This place was like no amusement park ride or Halloween haunted house. This place was just freaky.
I brought you here. A voice whispered in the back of my mind.
“Whoa! What was that?” I yelped to no one.
A land I have created, to share with those who under stand. And you understand.
“Understand what? Who are you? Why am I here? Where is everyone?” I yelled at the invisible entity. I was so confused, and extremely outraged. “Take me back home right this instant! God as my witness I will tear you into bits if you harmed anyone!”
I barely knew anyone in that room, but that didn’t mean I did not care for them. Whoever this entity was, however, obviously had no feelings for anyone. And I had no mercy for people like that.
No mercy? Are you kidding me? What do you think you would be able to do to me? I shall admit you are quite a humorous young lady. To bad your jovial nature will not be your successor in these choice few trials I have created for your enjoyment.
‘ Is this Vectar? If so, your good looks will not make me feel bad for you! You’re just a narcissistic jerk who can burn for all I care!
You will regret your decision.
“Yeah, whatever!” I hollered in my loudest voice. Thank goddess for my cheer vocals.
I heard no reply from Vectar, but in his place a loud screeching sound. It very much resembled a road kill bound cat.
It continued on for a few more minutes’ along with a low rumbling sound that was slowly approaching through the mist.
I darted off in the opposite direction, fearful of the demented sound. I sped through a group of decapitated animals and wilted trees. At the very end of the small forest, I met up with a clearing. Carefully, I scanned my surroundings. Around me I noticed I was in some kind of boulevard. Out of place lamp posts leered over me, letting on some very dull light.
In the center of the boulevard, There was an overgrown garden with an assortment of weeds. I had thought I saw it move slightly, but it could have been my mistake.
Clink clink CLINK! The sound of chains behind me brought me back to focus. I whirled around to find a gruesome sight. A group of creatures of different varieties were looming behind me. A tall troll like thing had chains flung over both shoulders, while a large demon with cracks on its porcelain skin twitched furiously. A couple “things” with axes were swinging them blindly.
I tried to take off running, but the chain wielder caught my foot with his instrument. I fell to the floor heavily, wriggling for freedom. The demon that attacked me earlier must have narked to his friends.
I felt a sharp pain in my back as if something pinched me. Cackling laughter was all I heard as an axe was shoved wildly into my back.
Game over, Anezvae.