Claimed *Completed*

"I'm already living on borrowed time. When it comes to it, it will be my time to go."

500 years ago Cathy should have died, but she didn't. She was saved by the Devil.

"I agreed to something ... Something that cant have been important then, it seemed too far away.
I'd agreed, after five hundred years, to hand myself over to the Devil, to become his."

Now her time's up, but back in the city where it all started, things are far from over. Cathy finds out that there is more to the Devil than she ever thought. A new boy, a best friend and a deadly enemy, things are about to get complicated...

"No one's that good or bad, it's not that simple, nothing's that black and white. It's more grey."

*Hi, this is my first Movella, so I'd love some feedback and constructive critsism! Thanks :)

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1. Tuesday, 4th January 2012

This Journal belongs to Cathy Jenks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 20th January 2012

 

  This is my story. Not all of it because that would take too long, but this is last part of my journey. It is the most confusing, troubled part of my life, if that’s even possible, but in these few weeks I’ve also rediscovered love, friendship and happiness. I’m grateful for all of it and I wouldn’t change anything. If I did, things might not have worked out like they did. Like this.

  I don’t really know where to start, but the beginning is a good a place as any; where this all began. That would be five hundred years ago.

  Here goes;

  Some people might say I am honoured with the knowledge of five hundred years of history. I’ve met the most famous names of all time, witnessed discoveries most people have only read about, I have seen the most amazing sights and I have watched the world grow and change into what it is today.

  But only the people that haven’t lived for as long as I that would see it like that. Like everything else in the world, there is a lot more to it.

  I’m always living in a time that’s not mine, living a life that’s not mine. Watching whole ages die and new ones replace them, watching people around me without any worries or troubles, happy and innocent while I’m forever moving from place to place and changing identities.

  But what it really means is death. Watching all the people you love die; friends, family, pets, boyfriends, teachers, colleagues. Everyone I’ve ever cared about – dead. They all die eventually.

  I learnt to exile myself from as many people as I could; to avoid hurting others, to avoid the heart break. Over my life time I’ve hurt far too many people, after a few hundred years I was sick of it, so my solution was to stop loving. I know it seems drastic, and I see now that I was just making it worse for myself, but I thought it would help stop the trauma of death.

  I learnt to separate myself from the world.

  I never thought about any of this when I agreed, who would?

  About to drown at the age of sixteen - an incident that still haunts me – but it’s the face that I remember most, the one that still appears when I close my eyes. The same face that both Saved and Condemned me at the same time. The Devil.

  Jet black hair, pearly white skin and eyes that pierce me as though they’re knifes. And that’s how he spoke to me that terrible night, searching my mind, seeing all the things I still wanted to do, but would never get the chance to.

  He told me, in the moments before I hit the water, that I had a choice. Life or death, he said. That was my choice, to die a horrible death or to live life as I had never seen it before, to get more out of life than anyone else could ever do.

  And I chose what anyone would – life.

  I got what I was promised to me, but my ignorant, desperate sixteen year old self agreed to something else as well. Something that can’t have seemed important then, it was too far away.

  I agreed that, after five hundred years, I would hand myself over to the Devil, to become his.

  Well, after five hundred years he was coming back. Coming back for me; me my freedom and my life.

  I had a few weeks left; I was counting down the days, dreading the day I knew that would come. But I didn’t realise just what was in store for me - it turned out to be a lot more than I bargained for. And so much more complicated.

  This is my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 4th January 2012

 

 

 

 

  I’m going back to high school.

  I thought I’d try for one last taste of normality, because I’m not getting dragged down to hell for a couple of weeks, so I may as well make the most of it.

  I know that it seems mad to want to spend the last few weeks of my life at high school, not discovering new cities or meeting the rich and famous, but, as they say, I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. And as much as it may pain me to be around people whose biggest worry is whether or not their mascara has smudged, it also brings me a sense of normality, as if none of it ever happened.

  So that’s how I find myself in the car park of Cherrystone High School, Toritos, England. I always seem to find myself back in England – I could just as easily live in any other country in the world, speak the language fluently and fit in as well as any five hundred and fifteen year old can. But England is my home country and I always feel the most at home here, so it makes sense for me to end up here in the last, well, normal-ish year of my life. Not that any of the other years have been normal, mind you.

  I look up at the school through my car windscreen; a huge, glass main building stands at the front of the school. Other buildings of various sizes are scattered around it, those, too, are modern and made entirely of steel and glass. They’re connected with a maze of wide paths surrounded by grass.

  I flick through the school prospectus in my hand. There’s nothing special about this school, it’s not the best, but not the worst either. That suits me fine, though: normal.

  I can see students hurrying in all directions, and I still feel a bit shocked by all the people. I haven’t gotten used to the being around so many other people, I’ve practically live as a hermit for the last two hundred years. I hurt too many people if I live any other way.

  But now I’ve come out of hiding for the last three weeks, so I’ll have to get out of my hermit routine and back into the real world.

  I get out of my car with a small sigh and close the door. I’ve got a bright red Mini that I couldn’t be more proud of, so I can’t help smiling when I see some of the other students looking at it with jealousy. Of course, I learnt to drive years ago, but most of the cars parked around me are those belonging to teachers and a few sixth formers. Mine stands out by far as the newest, and most expensive.

  Technically, I shouldn’t be able to drive because I’m officially fifteen. My smile slips, so much for fitting in.

  I tug my bag over my shoulder and head for the school’s main entrance to get my new timetable.

  Toritos is a bit of an exotic name for a town in England, especially as this must be about the least exotic town in the country. The chilly January air is like a slap in the face, and I remember, too late, exactly how miserable the great British weather tends to be. It’s one of the few things about this country that I haven’t missed while spending the last few decades closer to the equator.

  Students are hurrying past me through the gates, eager to get into their warm form rooms. They’re pushing past me with thick coats, hats, scarves gloves and I even catch sight of a pair of bright purple earmuffs.

  I look down at my own clothes and release that I really should have thought about what I was putting on this morning. I’m only wearing a thin jacket, skinny jeans and some boots. At least the boots are fur lined. And I haven’t had to don the ugly red uniform yet.

  I reach the doors and push them open, letting the warm air wash over me. The reception is a large spacious room that has huge windows to let in as much light as possible. On one side is a large desk with several office staff behind it.

  I walk over to a little woman behind the desk with her hair tied in a tight bun and glasses perched on the end of her nose. She eyes me up and down.

  “How may I help you, young lady?” she seems friendly enough, but there is a stiff formality behind her voice. She needs a new job, I think.

  I have this knack for understanding people, I always understood people before the accident (okay, more death), but now it’s almost as if I can hear what they are thinking, but not quite as cool.

   Take this woman; she’s depressed, really depressed. Nothing’s going right for her at the moment; her job, husband, children.

   It’s usually only a vague idea I get off people though, never anything in detail, but some people are easier to read than others.

  I answer as sweetly as I can, “I’m so sorry, but it’s my first day today and I’m supposed to pick up my timetable from here. You wouldn’t happen to have it would you? I don’t want to be a bother.” I give a mental cringe at the tone of my voice, but it seems to have worked; I can see her relaxing slightly.

  “Oh, it’s no trouble dear.” She turns around in her chair and rifles through a stack of papers behind her, “What did you day your name was?”

  I pause, “Cathy Jenks.”

  I lied, my real name is Catherine Mary-Jane Thompson, but I haven’t been called that in a very, very long time. All those who knew my real name have been dead for nearly five hundred years, which is probably a good thing because the last thing I would want is for someone to recognise me.

  I’ve had to keep living under false identities – someone might notice if I didn’t age a day over sixteen.

  I’ve been known by hundreds of different names – Abby, Tabitha, Lucy, Joanne, you name it, I’ve had it – but I’ve never changed my appearance once. It’s probably not the cleverest thing to do, but I can never bear to put a wig over my long, coppery hair or put contacts on my green eyes. Ironically, my near-death experience made me look prettier and not worse.

  “Cathy Jenks... Ah, here we are.” The woman hands me a piece of paper while looking at me over the rim of her glasses. “Oh, take this as well.” I take another piece of paper and see a map of the school on it. A glance at the first paper tells me that it’s my timetable.

  I thank the woman and walk through a door she points out to me. It leads into a wide, deserted corridor, with at least ten doors leading off it, but according to my map, my form room is on the other side of the school.

  I check my watch. Only five minutes until the end of from time and there is no way I am going to find it before then, but I can try.

  I sigh and set off, studying my map. After getting about halfway across the school I’m slightly lost, but I catch sight of a sign on a door saying ‘B14 Mr Charleston Geography’ and realise I’m not as lost as I thought. Mr Charleston is my new form tutor. I go to knock on the door, but the bell rings before I get the chance to and students come streaming out of the room, either talking excitedly about the first day of term or complaining about all the exams coming up.

  I hear a deep voice issuing instructions to their backs, “Sam, keep out of detention today, it’s only the first day back. And for heavens sake Josh, don’t wind up Mrs Cameron just yet.”

  As the flood of students dies down, I stick my head around the door to see a tall man with dark hair and wearing a black suit writing on a white board at the front of the classroom.

  Taking this to be Mr Charleston I say, “Erm, hi, Mr Charleston. I’m your new student, Cathy Jenks.” For good measure I add, “Sorry I’m late, I got a bit lost trying to find my way here.”

  Mr Charleston turns, smiling, and extends his hand to shake mine, “Not at all Cathy. I know how easy it can be to get lost when you haven’t been here very long. Although I should hope you will be able to find your way around better tomorrow.”

  Mr Charleston is the complete opposite of the lady in the office; content with his job and happily married, “But now you better get to your next lesson, you wouldn’t want to make a bad first impression. I look forward to getting to know you better.”

  I return his smile, “Thanks.”

  He looks over my shoulder, “Chrissie! Chrissie, wait a minute, I’d like you to show Cathy, here, around, or at least make sure she knows where she’s going.”

  I turn to see a girl, shorter than me, with brown wavy hair and a fringe with a bright pink streak through it. She’s carrying a large pile of books, but has a bouncy energy about her that doesn’t seem affected by the weight.

  She smiles radiantly and announces, “Hi! I’m Chrissie!” She skips shaking hands and gives me a one-armed hug that I’m too surprised to return. I still haven’t quite gotten used to the carless shows of affection – I mean; we don’t even know each other. But I heave a mental sigh; nobody’s perfect, I guess some things just run too deep. Being a hermit doesn’t help any.

  I nearly have to force myself to smile, but one look at Chrissie’s beaming face and the smile comes naturally, “Hey, I’m Cathy.”

  Chrissie rolls her eyes, “Well, dur.” She grabs my arm and half drags me out of the classroom, with a glance over her shoulder she says, “Bye Mr C”

  “Yeah, bye-” but before either ‘Mr C’ or I can say anything else, she’s closed the classroom door and taken my timetable from me.

  “Oo, we’re both got Maths first! You’re in my class! And for English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Art and History... IT! What are you taking that for? It’s a waste of a subject if you ask me, and photography; all you have to do is take a picture, how hard can that be? Don’t answer that.”

  I listen to her babbling in amusement. I really could have taken any subject and pass with flying colours, somehow I’ve ended up doing Art, History, Photography and IT.

  History’s a bit of a joke, to be honest and Art, I have had teachers like Rembrandt and Picasso, and so that gives me an unfair advantage. Photography and IT are the only ones that are slightly harder having not had so long to perfect them.

  As we walk along Chrissie is still talking, “You should at least have taken something more fun than sitting in front of a screen for an hour. Phutt!”

  I pull a face in mock horror at that, “What could be more fun than sitting at a computer! Anyway, you never know when you might need to use a computer; it might save your life one day.”

  She makes a harrumphing noise, but otherwise doesn’t reply. I can see a smile tugging at her lips, so I take it as a good sign.

  The bell rings, “Uh oh, Miss Damon is not going to be happy. Though I suppose demons never are – come on.” Chrissie links her arm through mine and drags me, with surprising force, toward what I can only hope is my Maths lesson.

  I have only known Chrissie for two minutes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she got us to skip Maths.

  Great, late for my first lesson, but that was the good student inside me talking and I push the thought away, replacing it with, Girl, you have a few weeks left – who cares about Maths? It isn’t exactly the most comforting thought either, but luckily I now find myself being hauled through the door of a classroom.

  The whole class of students, already sitting down, turns to towards us and I can feel a sea of eyes on me. I feel awkward but Chrissie, who evidently doesn’t, ignores everyone apart from the woman standing at the front of the classroom.

  The woman, who must be Miss Damon, is extremely severe looking and not particularly anyone I want to cross, but Chrissie says, in a voice dripping with honey, “Oh, I’m so sorry, Miss Damon. I didn’t mean to be so late, but I had Cathy to show around and...”

  “Yes, okay Miss O’Donald, I don’t need to hear your excuses. Sit down so I can start my lesson.”

  We sit down at the only available desk at the back of the room, and, as Miss Damon starts giving out text books, Chrissie keeps up a running commentary on everyone in the room.

  “That’s Jimmy Holland; nice kid, quiet but gets picked on, poor boy, Annabel Holmes; smart, nice and a bit of a tomboy. Kate Parker; she’s Annabel’s friend, they never go anywhere without each other.” She carries on listing people without me paying much attention until she says, “Oh, now this is the most important bit of information you will hear all year.”

  She points to a girl sitting near us, she’s got long blond hair, straightened without a kink, she’s stick thin, fake tanned and plastered with make up. I’m surprised she can even open her eyes; she has so much mascara on.

  The girl is lounging back in her chair, filing her bright pink nails. As I look at her I realise there is something off about her, and I’m not talking about the fact the total effect gives me the impression of looking at a living Barbie doll.

  There is something in the vibe I am picking up from her, like she is hiding something, but won’t let anyone see past the shield she’s put up for herself.

  “That is Katrina Lily Oswald. The worst and most feared Barbie doll that ever lived.” Obviously the Barbie doll thing is a common thought. “Don’t cross her or you’ll have hell to pay. I’ve seen what she can do – don’t underestimate her. Complete and total social ruin, she once reduced a six-foot-something rugby player to tears, it wasn’t a pretty sight, I can tell you.

  “Her and her ‘crew’,” she mimes speech marks in the air, “practically rule the school.” Chrissie points out more people sitting near Katrina, two girls who look like Katrina’s sidekicks, one with brown hair and the other silky black, and another three boys who look like they’ve come straight from a boy band.

  “Jess and Alyson; they follow Katrina around and do whatever she tells them. I don’t think they have a single brain cell to call their own. They treat Katrina like she’s a Goddess-” I snort at the idea and Chrissie nods, “My sentiments exactly.” She pauses as Miss Damon walk past.

  “Anyway, the Hair Gel Boys –”

  “Hair Gel Boys?”

  “Yep!” Chrissie starts giggling and I throw her a quizzical look.

  “Long story short: I threw Pete’s hair gel at him once and I don’t think he ever got over it, plus they all us a lot of the stuff.”

  I smile, “Which one’s Pete?”

  “The guy with the blond hair. The other two are Will and Richard.” Just then Katrina looks up from her nails and sees us staring. She glares at us. “See the problem with my little stunt,” Chrissie continues, “is that Pete is Katrina’s boyfriend, so lets just say, I’m not exactly in her good books right now, or ever really –”

  “Christina O’Donald, were you listening to a word I just said?”

  “No, miss. Sorry, miss.” Then under her breath, “Old demon that one, needs to get sent back down to hell.” The comment sends a shiver down my spine.

  “Well maybe your new friend could tell me the answer to the equation on the board?”

  She doesn’t expect me to know the answer and thinks she’s catching me out, but one glance at the board and I know the answer. I’ve done it so many times before, and I’ve discovered living for five hundred years has the useful side effect of an amazing memory.

  Or maybe it’s something the Devil did to me.

  Either way, it’s very handy.

  “x = 2 and y = 12.5”

   I see the surprise on Miss Damon’s face but she quickly composes herself and clears her throat. “Err, yes, very good Miss Jenks. I hope Miss O’Donald can follow your lead next time.”

  Chrissie snorts, “Old bat, she’s out to get me.” But I don’t miss the sideways glance she directs at me, and I know she’s wondering how I knew. She knows, as well as I do that I wasn’t paying any attention to Miss Damon. I couldn’t have worked it out that quickly either.

  Except I did.

  Great, she’s suspicious already.

  Normal, act normal, I tell myself this, but I think I may well have forgotten how to act like a normal teenager. Well, you’re going to have to remember.

  For the rest of the lesson Miss Damon keeps a sharp eye on Chrissie and me, making sure that we have no more chances to discuss Katrina and her gang. By the time Maths is over, my head is reeling from re-learnt algebra and I don’t notice the tall blond figure until it’s too late.

  Katrina spins around on the spot and gives me a glare that would probably send most people to the ground, begging for mercy. But not me - I’ve seen worse.

  “What did you just do?” she hisses the words at me, and looks a little surprised when I don’t recoil.

  “Err... Walked into you?”

  I hear a gasp from one of her sidekicks; the one with the black hair, that has appeared at Katrina’s shoulder, “Oo, you shouldn’t have done that!” There’s relish in her tone at the prospect of an oncoming fight.

  Although I doubt Katrina ever gets her hands dirty, she doesn’t need to.

  “Quite right Alyson, someone obviously hasn’t explained to you how things work around here.” Katrina leans her face closer to mine, a hint of malice in her voice.

  I remain nonchalant, “No,” I say, shaking my head, “I’ve been told about you,  and that you think you rule the school. You, your mini-me’s and the hair gel boys, but...” I trail off shrugging.

  “But what? You didn’t think they were telling the truth? Didn’t think it was important? Didn’t apply to you?”

  There is something that makes me feel there is more to this last question, a double meaning, but the sense vanishes as soon as it appears and I tell myself I’m reading into it too much.

  “None of it applies to anyone. You don’t own the school, me or anyone else.” I can feel the tension building up and we have attracted a building crowd.

  Katrina narrows her eyes, “What did you just say?” God, she really does think she owns the school. I can feel it coming off her in waves. Tidal waves.

  “I said you don’t own me or anybody else in this school.” I look her square in the eye, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a class to get to.” With that I push past Katrina, grab a shell shocked Chrissie by the arm and drag her with me. I stride purposely off down the corridor, even though I have no idea where I’m going.

  Chrissie seems to shake herself free of her daze and she looks at me with a mixture of horror, admiration and amusement.

  “You and I are going to be such good friends.”

   Great, a friend and an enemy in one day, no, one hour.

  I don’t know what to make of that. Neither does Chrissie, by the looks of it.

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