Delude

Casey just wanted to have a normal life. She would only be so lucky. She despises school, especially after she meets Evan Fynn. In seconds, he's undone everything she's worked hard to maintain; he's taken everyone from her, filled their minds with lies to drive them away. She is desperate to find out why, even if the truth is more terrifying than she expected.

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30. Truth.

Nixon’s job was done, as Noah had said, and he was right. I hadn’t seen or heard anything of my protector in four months, following my meeting with Noah in the woods. Sometimes I wondered where he was, but then I figured he was probably off watching over some other misguided girl.

School went by quickly and graduation with it. Before I knew it, I was standing on my porch with a box in my hands and my mom was crying, leaning against one of the columns. She was sniffling so much that Noah handed her a tissue and sat on the steps beside me.

“Mom, it’s gonna be okay,” I said. “It’s a Community College.”

Noah smiled encouragingly at her.

“You’re a good boy,” my mom said, reaching down to pat Noah’s shoulder. “You’ll take care of her, won’t you?”

“I’ll make sure to bring her home in one piece after her first day,” he said, turning his head and grinning at me.

“I’ll call you when I get there,” I promised.

My mom trusted Noah. As it stood, when he modified her memory, he made it seem as though we had been dating for a long time; he made her believe that we grew up together, that we fell in love, and had been with each other for years. The ideas, though false, made her happy.

Who was I to take that away from her? She would think I was crazy, and sometimes I thought I was, because what happened was not possible.

“Anything is possible,” Noah said, standing next to me. He took the box from me, and, flicking his fingers, sent it gently across the air and into the truck of my car.

“Show off,” I muttered.

He grinned and bent down to kiss my cheek. “Want me to make you forget what you went through?”

I thought about his question before shaking my head.

“It would be a nice story to tell people,” I said, laughing. “Though they wouldn’t believe me.”

“I’d believe you,” he said, nudging me.

“Of course you would since you were there,” I said, rolling my eyes. We left the porch and leaned against the car. “Can I ask you something?”

He nodded and pushed his hair, which was now brown, out of his eyes.

“How come you can still, you know, use your powers?”

He smiled. “I was waiting for that question. I’m surprised you hadn’t asked sooner. But the truth of it is that I don’t know. I’ve always been about to. I guess for me, using them doesn’t stop. I think you were only given them in a desperate time of need.”

I understood.

“Do you miss them?” he asked, tilting his head at me.

“I miss Jade,” I said, frowning. “I try not to think about it. She shouldn’t have died.”

“No, you’re right, she shouldn’t have.” Noah reached down and linked his fingers with mine. “What she turned into wasn’t her fault.”

“It was mine,” I said.

“Casey.” Noah sounded wounded.

I closed my eyes for a moment and rested my head against the side of the car. “If I hadn’t hit Evan with my locker that first day, none of this would have happened.”

Noah sighed and stepped in front of me. He held my face in his hands and frowned. “It wouldn’t have mattered, because Evan had a way of finding people, and making them do horrible things for him. He thought he was doing this all on his own. Abby was that strong.”

“I wish I could have killed her myself,” I said.

“I think that was a shared opinion,” he said, letting me go. Then he turned around to look at the house. “Should we get going before your mom hugs you and refuses to let you go?”

“She’ll do that anyway.” I shrugged.

He started forward, gripped my hand, and pulled me along.

“Let’s go say our last goodbyes.”

“It’s not goodbye,” I said, as we walked up the steps. “I get to start over with new people. I don’t have to worry about someone kidnapping me, or my best friend dying.”

Noah’s fingers swept across my right temple. “A few seconds and I can erase all of that for you.”

I shook my head. “I want to remember. It would be like getting rid of a part of my life, doing that.”

“I think I understand,” he said as we entered the house. “I had the unfortunate experience of Abby having wiped my memory, but she was never able to get all of it.”

“Noah,” I said cautiously, “how did Evan get you to come with him?”

He stopped by the kitchen sink and gripped the counter top. He was staring at the faucet when he spoke. His voice seeming far away.

“He found me, I don’t know how, and invaded my house one night while I was watching a movie with my parents. He didn’t waste any time in destroying everything he touched.” His voice shook. “He killed my sister first, then my dad, and finally my mom. I tried to get away but he held me against the wall, his fingers around my throat. I thought he was going to strangle me.”

He was levitating a plate in the air, and as he spoke, his anger spun the plate faster before it fell, shattering on the floor. He didn’t apologize. I was okay with that.

“When he let me go, he told me that he had been looking for me, and I was supposed to come with him. He asked me what I had left to live for, then he smiled, tapped a fingers against my temple, and that’s all I remember before waking up in that fucking room.”

His story brought me to tears before he was even finished. I stepped toward him and wrapped my arms around his body. He was warm as he buried his face in the crook of my neck.

“I miss them,” he whispered, tightening his grip on me. “I should have been able to save them.”

“We can’t save everyone,” I said.

The truth was real, bitter and hard, right there in our faces. The truth played a part in everything we had done, ever did, or thought about doing. The truth was that we survived, even at the cost of having lost others.

“You were right,” he said after a moment. He pulled away from me, his eyes glassy. But he smiled, his words soft. “It was always me, Casey.”

 

END

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