Thirteen

What happens when everything you love changes for the worst?

Danielle Miles wants to be normal. She wants to feel normal.
And yet she can never be normal because of her secret; the one thing she despises about herself most of all.
But what happens when she if forced to use her secret to help others who are just like her?
Who are... different.

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6. Thirteen: Chapter Five

"So he just... walked away?" Lexi's eyebrows furrowed. She'd asked that question over fifty times and I'd answered with the same thing over and over again and she still didn't understand. I sighed loudly and laid my head on the table, listening to the sounds of the lunch room.
    And I was still shaking from the experience with Sebastian.
    I had wanted to die; I had literally heard my voice inside my head yell, Kill me now! I knew what I was, I knew I was a monster, but I'd never wanted to die before. If I had I would've done it a long ago, to be brutally honest. If I'd ever felt like this before I would've killed myself a long time ago and then maybe I wouldn't be in Nova. Maybe I wouldn't be trapped.
    No, I couldn't think that. I was in this terrible place for a reason and I was going to help the others escape. But I couldn't do that if I was dead. I shouldn't have given up so easily; I shouldn't have laid out my life for Sebastian to crush just because I'd maybe scared him.
    Maybe, subconsciously, I had wanted to... die because I didn't want to see anyone else frightened of me. I wanted them to like me for who I was, not scared of what ability I had. But then trying to force myself to stop turning into something to protect myself had almost ruined my mind in return.
    "He just walked away" I said it slowly and deliberately so it would sink in, looking back at Lexi's comical expression. She sank onto the bench and frowned. As she thought, Scarlett flopped next to me with a tray piled high with food and immediately started digging in.
    The door to the cafeteria swung open and Merlin walked in with his hands behind his back and being followed by two huge men. He tried to make it look casual, as if he were used to having large guys following him around, but he did look slightly smug that he had bodyguards. They were obviously escorting him to lunch; they had to treat him just as normal as the rest, but once he saw us and slid into the free seat next to me they walked off to join their own table.
    "Hey," He said offhandedly but I could have swore I heard something in his voice. Looking down at me, he grinned and nudged me. "How was your time with Sebastian?"
    My eyes narrowed. "How did you know about that?"
    "I hear things" His smile turned sad and his eyes burned into mine as I tried to uncover what he meant by that. Had he been there? My eyes never left his as I tried to think and that's when I noticed the hidden... pity?
    I think he realized that I'd seen it for he pulled me into his arms and hugged me tight. He was so warm and comfortable that I found my arms snaking around him to hug back. Did he know...?
    Everything will be alright.
    I gasped. There was the voice again! So I hadn't imagined it. But whose voice was that? It didn't sound like a persons voice; it was just different whispers inside my head.
    "So," Merlin sighed when he pulled away. "What did happen?"
    "He walked out" I started getting slightly annoyed that I had to keep repeating myself. Why was everyone finding it so hard to understand that he'd just walked out?!
    "Are you sure?" Rufus took the seat next to Lexi with an even higher plate of food than Scarlett's. "That doesn't sound like Sebastian"
    "I'm sure!" I exclaimed, jumping up and slamming my hands on the table. "I'm not crazy! He just-" I cut myself off when Sebastian walked through the door. Sitting down slowly, I kept my eyes on my food and refused to look at him.
    Lexi glanced back and suddenly straightened, becoming more alert to her surroundings. She whispered to Rufus and he looked round, not caring if Sebastian saw him. The way they acted around him made me think that Sebastian had done something to try and drive them apart or something. I could tell they didn't like him.
    I gulped. What if he tried to talk to me about it?
    "Don't worry Dani," Scarlett whispered close to my ear, obviously feeling the anxiety radiating from me. "If he tries anything, we'll stop him" Her eyes flashed red and I smiled in thanks. Sebastian grabbed a drink from the fridge and sat down at the far end of the table.
    Everyone was silent. No one wanted to speak and I just sat there feeling more and more awkward. I wished someone would start talking about random crap that I could latch onto to feel less discomfort in the quiet.
    "So," B12 clapped his hands, daring to break the tension. He looked at me and smiled, willing me to help. "Can I ask a favor, Dani?"
    My eyebrow rose. "Sure..."
    "Could you clean my lab after lunch? " B12 asked.
    I blinked. "What?"
    "I'd like you to clean my lab for me please," He grinned. "I'm sure you'll do a better job than the scientists"
    "O... kay..." I agreed. What had he done to his lab that required me to clean it?
    "Is he staring Dani down?" Naida whispered. I peeked out of the corner of my eye and, sure enough, Sebastian was looking at me with his piercing green eyes.
    "Maybe he didn’t kill me then but he wants to kill me now" I murmured. I kept my eyes on my lunch, taking small bites from the dry sandwich.
    "I haven't come to kill you!" Sebastian yelled, slamming his can down and storming out. The contents of his drink ended up over Merlin and I watched as Merlin growled, wiped the beverage from his face and ran after Sebastian.
    "I think Merlin's gone to drop a fridge on Sebastian's face now," Scarlett laughed, lifting her own drink to her lips. "That should be entertaining"
    "He's gotten more pissed off than that," Lexi informed, a hint of pleasure in her voice. "Once he picked up an entire fat guy with his mind and threw him at Cerulean"
    "With his mind?" I asked.
    "He has Telekinesis. He can control and move things with his brain," Lexi glanced over at the door, waiting for Merlin to return any minute. When he didn't show she said, "I hope he doesn't kill Sebby. That's my job" She got up and took off after them.
    "Is this place always so..." I waved my hand in the air, trying to conjure the word I was looking for.
    "Weird. Crazy. Bonkers" Rufus listed.
    "I only needed one"
    "But I could go on all day," He tipped his drinks can towards me and took a sip. "By the way, what made you stop transforming before Sebastian ran away?"
    "The look on his face"
    "What was it?"
    "Pure fear"

 

 

"...So, I want you to arrange the vials as such... are you even listening?"
    "Sure, I'm listening," I twirled around to face B12, dropping the book I'd picked up. He rolled his eyes and placed the vials he was toying with into their holders. I smiled sheepishly and met my hands behind my back. "Don't worry, I know how to clean. I'm not completely useless"
    "No, I mean, yeah I'm sort of worried but I know you can handle yourself. It's just..." He paused and stared at me. "I need you to keep a look out. Someone's been coming in here when it was empty and stealing medical equipment and stuff like that"
    "What would they steal? I'm sure there's enough to go around" I raised my eyebrow, already being plagued by questions.
    "That's what I thought," He shrugged. "Just, please, keep your eyes open. That was another reason I asked you to clean up; I knew you could handle yourself with someone who would steal from a top secret facility"
    "Wait," I raised a hand. "You think it's someone outside? How did they even get in?”
    "It's just a theory. I couldn't even begin to comprehend anyone getting into a place like this and being able to get out undetected but just-"
    "I know," I nodded, smiling up at him confidently. "Keep my eyes open" He grinned and ruffled my hair.
    "Thanks Dani" He then left me to get to work. I tied my hair up and started piling the books on the island into neat stacks. Then, taking them one by one over to their correct place, I was able to see all sorts of things in glass jars in the cupboards. Dead snakes with no eyes, long dragons teeth with a purple liquid still dripping from them, weirdly shaped rotting snouts and other jars filled with things I couldn't even look at without feeling sick. I wondered then what you'd need all these things for and flipped through a random book to see if I could find anything.
    I stopped with my finger pressed against the page when I found something interesting.
    Maridian grass can be used for many different spells, which is why it is the most common and cheapest thing to buy in their world, but it can be used as a sleeping potion when mixed together with one eye of the Peruvian Honey snake, the venom of a Sleeping Dragon's tooth and the blood of a Hardicor goblin. Then, if left for a few days, it can crystallize into a more powerful spell that, when used on a unsuspecting minor, can put them into a deep coma. They will not wake for months.
    I gasped. Had they used this on me? What was this place they called 'Maridia'? Abraxas had been talking about it so proudly that I hadn't said anything but was this the place magical beings came from? How did they get to this world?
    Glancing up, I saw all four items I needed placed helpfully next to each other in a cupboard labelled 'Sleeping Potions'. I looked down at the book and grinned.
    Clearing the island, I gathered the items and the book on the stained surface. Following the instructions underneath, I poured a drop of goblin blood into a beaker and then put a bright white paste-like substance into the beaker. I had to mash them together with a wooden spoon and sprinkle the grass in as I mashed. Once it turned a light blue I added the honey snake eye and mixed that in as well. Then came the grossest part. I had to spit into the beaker and wait for a poof of smoke to tell me it was ready. After the smoke it was supposed to turn green and smell of the dead, which explained why I had smelt decay.
    I lent my palms on the cold table and leaned my weight against my arms as I waited. Bringing my face close to the beaker, I stared into it and tried to see if it was changing. It didn't look as if it were doing anything.
    Maybe I had done something wrong-
    "D-Danielle!" I jumped out of my skin when someone yelled my name. Clutching my chest, I ran over to the door and popped my head out.
    "Y-Yeah?" The hallway was completely empty. Who'd called my name? It kind of sounded like-
    "Hey!" Sebastian appeared next to me. "I've got something to show you!" He yelled excitedly. "Come on!" He grabbed my wrist and dragged me throughout the twists and turns of the corridor.
    "Sebastian! Where are you taking me?" I gasped, my lungs about to burst as I tried to keep up with his long strides. He laughed and pulled me harder.
    "It's a surprise!" He squealed with delight. What had happened to him for his mood to change so dramatically?
    He burst into the gym and looked around, still with a tight grip on my wrist. Turning round, Sebastian's shoulders drooped. "It was here a second ago... where d-did it go?"
    "What was it?" I asked. He shook his head and sighed.
    "I can't explain. It was like..." He wiggled his arms in the air and moved them around in some sort of circle with spikes everywhere and then a kind of triangle above it. He sighed and his expression grew depressed. "It d-doesn't matter" And then he ran off, leaving me very confused and slightly worried.
    I just stood there and stared at where he'd been, shaking my head trying to comprehend what had happened.
    I walked back to B12's lab and still couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me. Sebastian had changed so drastically towards me that it left me trying to understand what he really thought about me. Something was obviously going on with him for him to change so quickly towards me. It was unbelievable.
    When I got back to the lab I saw in the beaker a green liquid bubbling away to itself. I ran over excitedly and caught the scent of death and had to hold my nose as I transferred it to a vial with a cork. Grinning proudly, I slipped the vial into my pocket and reached for the book.
    But my hand just met cold surface.
    My head snapped down and my fears had been confirmed. The book was gone.
    Alarm bells sounded in my head and a panicked feeling started bubbling in the pit of my stomach. I dropped to my knees and searched the floor. When it was nowhere in sight I picked through every single cabinet just in case I'd put it back without realizing.
    But I still couldn't find it.
    I began getting even more anxious, my heart beating like crazy at the thought of B12 yelling at me for losing something when he'd trusted me to clean his lab. I couldn't bear the thought of someone else being disappointed in me when they'd clearly put all their trust into me.
    I got onto the floor again and crawled about the ground, looking underneath the counters and shoving my head into the cupboards trying to find it.
    "What are you doing?" Naida asked and I gasped, banging my head on the top of the cupboard. Sitting back, I glared at her and rubbed the throbbing spot on my head.
    "I'm looking for a book but I can't find it anywhere" She must've heard the despair in my voice because she started picking up books and placing them in the cabinets. "What are you doing?"
    "If we clean the place we might be able to find it" She explained, picking up beakers and going over to the sink. I grinned and pulled myself to my feet.
    I soon got to work tidying the mess I'd created.

 

 

After cleaning and searching for an hour I flopped down into a chair with an exasperated sigh.
    "We're never gonna find it!" I moaned, burying my head in my hands.
    "Well, where was it when you left it?" Naida asked.
    "On the counter" I said, pointing towards it. I kept my eyes closed and rubbed the lids.
    "Right, so what did you do?"
    "Seb-" I cut myself off and glanced at her. She hadn't seemed to noticed my almost saying his name; she just kept scanning over the island. "I had to go check something and I was only gone for a couple of minutes but when I came back it was gone"
    "Was this in the book before it disappeared?" Naida questioned, holding up a scrap of paper between her index and middle finger.
    "I don't think so," I shook my head, unable to recall a piece of paper with scruffy writing. The book had been written in much neater hand so I was doubtful that it had come from the book itself. "What does it say?"
    Naida looked at it and read, "'This book's the first thing to signal your demise. Be prepared; there will be more to come'"
    "What's that supposed to mean?" My eyebrows furrowed and I took the paper from Naida, reading it again and again.
    "Who knows?" She shrugged. "But don't worry about the book; you'll find it. Books can't get up and disappear, can they?"
    "You're right," I admitted. But I was still plagued by the choice of words on the paper. What did it mean by 'your demise'? The book had gone missing while I was supposed to be there so... was Sebastian a part of this? Had Cerulean wanted Sebastian to hurt me but he couldn't because he needed me to find the book? He was obviously not as close to the other subjects as I'd become so maybe he needed me to gain B12's trust and then get me out of the room so someone else could steal the book.
    Maybe I was part of some bigger plot and I didn't even realize.
    Naida nudged me and I shook my head. I pocketed the scrap and turned to her, forcing a fake smile onto my face.
    "Stop fretting. I can see you're worried but he can't hold you responsible for a book going walkabouts, can he?"
    "He kinda can," I bit my lip. "He asked me to clean his lab but also watch out for anyone coming in. Apparently, some of the equipment was going missing and I was supposed to see who'd been taking it. But I wasn't even able to do that!"
    She paused and considered her next words. Naida always knew what to say, I could see that from being around her so much, so she had to think carefully about the best thing to say that would help.
    "Tell him... this is going to sound very irresponsible but don't tell him," My mouth fell open but she rushed what she said next to stop me from speaking. "I mean, if you tell him he'll be disappointed and you'll feel crushed. But, if you don't tell him, then it'll give you time to find it. If he brings it up just tell him that it was there when you left. It may be considered lying but it's the best option for both of you. It'll turn up eventually"
    I carefully mulled over her plan. I had to admit she was right; I would find it sooner or later, so it wouldn't really hurt if I didn't mention it going missing to B12 and then once I'd found it I'd try and sneak in and put it back into it's original place before anyone saw me.
    It was the perfect plot. And I couldn't believe I was agreeing to it.
    "Okay," I let out the huge breath I'd been holding in. "I'll do it. But if he figures me out I'm blaming you"
    She grinned. "Sure," She hit me lightly and linked her arm with mine. "Goodness, you're becoming as devious as me. I think I like that quality in you"
    I shook my head at her silliness as she walked me down the corridor. I couldn't help but look back at the door of B12's lab. I was going to lie to him I hated lying. And I was going to find Sebastian and kill him.

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