Hunted

Leo is an outcast. He was already not popular after standing up the most popular girl in the school but ever since he had a seizure at school everyone is freaked out. Rolling into school late, the school receptionist - his auntie - gives him the task of looking after the new girl, Cassie.

Cassie is anything but ordinary. She is a witch but after an accident which resulted in her mum falling into a comma she has transferred to her dad's home town and Priory High School. Cassie continues to practice without her mum's guidance which can only result in trouble.

Due to her natural good looks she attracts the bitter dislike of the jealous girls and Leo becomes the only friendly face. Despite his instinct to push her away, she is the only one that could ever understand his unusual gift; a gift that could save Cassie's life from a spell cast in anger.

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3. Leo

 

Chapter 3 (Leo)

        I was not looking forward to returning to school.  I guess you could say I was a bit of a loner.  When I was eleven things got difficult for me.  I met Kali.  She was one of the most gorgeous girls I had ever met.  She smelt sweet like strawberries and her golden hair was stunning and her spinning ringlets spun my mind.  She had these big blues eyes that pulled a voyeur in until they were drowning in her beauty.  She had a gentle pink aura that oozed romance.  Her best friend Madison told me that Kali liked me back. 

        It should have worked out.  We should have been together.  Whenever we got close I could feel my heart racing.  All the chemistry was there.  Then I had my first attack.

        I can’t imagine how scary it must have been for Kali.  One moment I was looking longingly into her eyes and the next thing I knew I was unconscious on the floor.  My conscious self running as fast as I could down the corridor, out of the school building away from the crowds. 

        “Leo!  Leo!  Are you alright?”  I could hear her sweet voice calling me back.  She shook me gently, trying to bring me back to.

        Just as suddenly as it happened I was back.  The room was in commotion.  Everyone was in a panic about my attack.  I was immediately directed to Reception.  Aunty May was really worried about me.  She called the ambulance and when it arrived she came with me to the hospital.  I didn’t understand what had happened to me.  I was really scared.  May stayed with me the whole time, reassuring me everything would be alright. 

 

*****

        Unfortunately this was the start of many attacks.  It always happened when I got close to Kali.  I started to avoid her realising we couldn’t be together.  Then I noticed her appearance had changed. 

        Her pretty pink aura no longer shone as bright for me.  When she looked at me I couldn’t see her blue eyes. They were surrounded in a grey aura.  As she spoke I saw tiny wisps of  black smoke spiral out from her mouth in different directions.      I had never seen an aura like it before.  I worried what it might mean.  The dark colours reminded me of Uncle Sunshine when he got ill.  I hoped that she wasn't in some kind of trouble.  The very idea that she might be suffering or dying made me feel even worse. 

        Her effect on me was dampened and I was pleased that this change meant it was possible to approach her without my heart going into overdrive.  I began to rekindle what we almost had.  I hoped I had not lost ground by keeping my distance.  In my haste I acted quickly and bravely asked her out.  I was overwhelmed as she accepted my offer. I thought things were looking up. 

 

*****

 

        I was only twelve but making a big impression on Kali Saunders was important to me.  I wore my best jeans, my favourite trainers and a brand new football shirt.  I even stole some of my dad’s aftershave to splash on my face despite not yet needing to shave.  I put gel in my hair and hoped that my efforts would impress her.

        I made my way towards the cinema but half way there I felt my breaths shorten.  They were coming short and quick.  I tried to ignore it but I could feel my vision blur.  My legs felt limp as I began to crumple into a lump on the floor. 

        I wasn’t going to stand Kali up.  My mind willed my body to get up and continue to the cinema but my flesh remained motionless on the floor beneath me.  I decided to head on without my body.  My conscious spirit hurried through the streets to make up the lost time.  Somehow I would see her all dressed up and find a way to tell her I was not letting her down.       When I arrived at the triangle, a concrete landmark for the centre of town, I found myself frozen on the opposite side of the street.  She was looking cute, as she anxiously glanced at her Mickey Mouse watch.  She wore her black jacket and a pink ruffled skirt over black leggings.  She looked up and down the street with a sad look on her face.  She reached into her bag and pulled out her mobile phone.  I could see her pushing some buttons, selecting a contact from the list of names.  Then she held her mobile to her ear. 

        “He’s not coming!”  I heard her say.  I could see her eyes slowly well up with tears.  “Madison, he stood me up!”  She then listened to her friend and nodded and whilst on the phone began walking off down the street.

        I felt a sharp strike to my stomach.  I tried to yell to tell her, to let her know I was here but I couldn’t make a sound.  I thought for a moment she sensed me as she turned her head and looked in my direction.  Her eyes stared through me and then she tossed her beautiful hair around and continued on her way.  As she went, what was left of her pink aura faded completely and she began turning a very dark shade of grey.

        I ached as I felt her pain.  She was so engulfed in her own sadness she was unaware of mine and unable to sense my presence.  It felt like a kick to the stomach.

        I felt the sensation again, harder this time.  The sharp pain made me choke.  That really was a kick to the stomach.  My spirit spun backwards so rapidly the buildings and roads were just a blur of colour.

Back in my body, I came round to find a lad not much younger than myself, kicking me in the stomach.  “Are you dead?” 

        “I wish.”  I sulked, curling into a ball.

        The kid gave another kick.

        My patience was thin.  “Get off!“  I growled through gritted teeth and began pulling myself up from the ground.  The kid looked scared and quickly scampered, leaving me alone with my pain and misery.

 

*****

        When I returned to school everyone knew I had stood Kali up.  It didn’t do my popularity much good.  I was that strange kid that had fits and now they thought I was gay or stupid for not turning up to my date with the most beautiful girl in the year.  Kali seemed to revel in the sympathy, moaning about how much I hurt her and indulging in the comforts other boys offered her.  Kali quickly managed to find herself a selection of new boyfriends that were willing to be manipulated.  She told them how much I had hurt her.  For a while her favourite pastime seemed to be arranging for her new boyfriends to carry out her revenge.  I seemed to be constantly in detention, suspended or on report for fighting on school grounds.

        I quickly learnt what that grey smoke was.  As Kali told people her sob story the smoke spiralled out from her lips and wormed its way into their ears.  From that day forward I often saw Kali generating and spreading her grey smoke; poisonous lies and deceitful gossip.  

        I discovered that if I kept out of her way that grey smoke wouldn’t be to my detriment.  I found myself cutting class and registration so I didn’t have to remind her of my presence.  I didn’t want to inspire her smoke of vicious stories.  She fast became my least favourite person and I was happy not to spend time with her. 

        Aunt May wasn’t happy with my change of character.  It embarrassed her.  She begged me to please be good.  She came up with excuses for me, telling the school I was having a difficult time accepting my epilepsy.  I had to attend a counsellor.  The bonus was that they were more lenient towards me and I played this to my advantage.  I discovered I could get away with more as they tried to be ‘supportive’ and ‘understanding’ of my condition.  A condition, I am not entirely convinced has been correctly diagnosed.  

 

*****

        I was at last in my upper school and just had to make it through the final two years of high school.  My tactics would be no different than before.  I enjoyed the leniency the school gave me and the ways other perceived my enigmatic character that my actions portrayed.  I had learnt that as long as I studied hard and produced good quality work the school would keep me on as they knew I would achieve good grades. 

        I had started smoking to pass the time whilst I stood in the alley way waiting to hear that bell that signified the end of registration and the start of class.  I heard it chime and stamped on the red light to ensure the cigarette was out and then headed towards the school building. 

        I didn’t want a scene and hoped Aunty May would let me just sign the late book and go.  I saw her sitting behind the reception counter, immaculately made up as always.  At first she had been sympathetic, she felt sorry for really did believe her story that I was having difficulty coming to terms with epilepsy.  As I continued to be the bad boy of Priory High she started to get embarrassed of me.  She did as much as possible to ensure she did not draw attention to the fact that we were related by making our chats less personal.  Those that did find out, she would stress, our relation is through marriage only. 

        This was why as I approached the counter we exchanged very few words.  I indicated that I needed to sign in the late book.  Aunty May passed over the familiar black book.  My signature was the last in the book for previous term and we both knew that once again it would be a regular occurrence.  I found an element of pride in that fact which I knew Aunty May would not be pleased about.

            To my annoyance, someone had beaten me to it.  'Cassandra Davies' I frowned at the name.  Scribbling my name beneath hers, I found myself annoyed at myself for being too late to be the first late.  I handed the book back to Aunt May. 

            She pursed her lips together in her unimpressed manner as she recognised that I was not planning on improving my behaviour.  Then her face lit up and Aunty May smiled.  “Leo, can you show Cassandra to her Maths class.  She is new.”

        I looked over at the girl next to me, the earlier late arrival.  Her aura was a light yellow and sparkled.  I could feel my breath shorten and knew I could not stay around this girl for long.  It had been a long time since an attack but I knew the signs.  I quickly glanced at her planner to see what room she needed and stormed out of the Reception.  I moved as fast as I could so that the time I endured in her presence would be limited to as short a time as possible. 

            How could my aunty do this to me?  

            I was quite agitated at the thought, I could collapse at any moment,  “Come on  then.” 

            I didn’t dare glance back at her.  I walked quickly to keep myself focused on moving and being physical.  I hoped that she was keeping up.  For ages now I had been in control of my condition and knew how to take charge when it happened, but being near this girl made me feel like I could lose control at any moment. 

            I was relieved as we arrived at her class room “Here you are.”

            I took a deep breath and dared to glance at her again.  My eye brow rose.  There were very few people whose auras sparkled and I had never discovered what it meant.  She looked special and she reminded of the sun, so bright she was almost blinding.  She sure was beautiful. 

            I wondered if I was now old enough to handle a girl with such a potent effect on me.  My legs began to feel light beneath me and I knew I had to get moving.  I had got her to class.  My duty was done.  I found myself trying to walk calmly down the corridor but as I turned the corridor I allowed myself to slide down the wall.  I could feel my head spinning in and out of consciousness as I tried to fight off my attack.

         I missed my first class as I sat in the corridor trying to pull myself back together.  I wasn’t too bothered about that.  It was only maths and I could easily find out what had been set and complete the work on my own.  What troubled me was Cassandra. 

            I hoped she would not be in any of my classes.  I’m not ready to be exposed to a girl like Cassandra; not with my ‘condition’.  My only option is to keep my distance.

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