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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5. Thirteen: Chapter Four

We played Just Dance for ages. Scarlett was amazing and Candace moved so elegantly it was unbelievable but she only won occasionally. I didn't even match up to their scores but I didn't mind.
    I also noticed that I'd just met Candace and Scarlett and they were already treating me like family; as if we'd known each other forever. I felt like I belonged.
    I was... home.
    When we were swapping the game to Mario Kart after Scarlett got bored Naida came in looking for me. When she saw the Mario Kart menu pop up she got distracted and started paying more attention to the game. She glanced over at Scarlett and smiled sheepishly at the spare Wii remote.
    "Go ahead" Scarlett gestured vaguely, never taking her eyes off the glowing screen. Naida grabbed the remote before anyone could change their mind and started struggling to get it into the wheel. While I watched her I only realize then that she was still in her Water Nymph form and that she barely noticed when Candace looked up and raised an eyebrow. But she was probably only looking at Naida because she was grumbling and growling at the controller not going into the wheel case.
    She finally got it in and jumped about in triumph, making Scarlett giggle at how excited she was. As the game loaded Naida kept jumping all over the place, unable to stop or even sit down. I wasn't sure if she was excited about being able to play with us or about how big the TV was.
    When the character selection finally appeared I had to sit down when they started arguing over which character they were going to be. I 'd already chosen and no one had a problem with me being Toad.
    "Could you please get them to stop arguing?" A deep voice complained from behind the sofa. I didn't want to take my eyes off them in case they started fighting so I turned my head to the side slightly.
    "Nope. They'll be like that until one of them wins. And then the other two will be left to quarrel about the other winning" I sighed. Hot air blew my hair forward as the voice sighed as well.
    I froze. What was behind me?
    Naida heard me gasp quietly and turned around but froze too when she saw whatever was behind me. Scarlett glanced back and rolled her eyes at me.
    "Hey Abraxas" Candace smiled brightly. I slowly turned and covered my mouth to stop myself from screaming when I saw what was freaking Naida out.
    It was huge dragon! It's deep purple head was about the size of half the sofa, its long neck making its head almost hit the ceiling, and it's long lilac body curled around the back of the sofa, twisting at the end and wrapping it's spiked tail around the leg. Its claws were crossed at its chest, sharp and pointed enough that just looking at them made me feel intimidated, and its gigantic faded blue and violet ragged wings were tucked safely away, the tips also having sharp talons on them.
    I fell very unladylike off the sofa backwards onto the floor, my legs dangling on the cushion, from the shock of seeing a dragon just sat behind me so causally. I heard Scarlett giggle.
    "Dani, this is Abraxas. Abraxas, Dani," She paused for a moment before adding, "She's new" Abraxas nodded his head and lowered it to the floor, a thin trail of smoke spewing out of his nostrils as he sighed contently. I scrambled onto the sofa and sat cautiously. Scarlett, Candace and Naida went back to arguing, though Naida kept taking nervous glances in my direction.
    I heard Abraxas lift his head and held my breath. "Why are you scared?" His wise voice emerged from behind me and it took everything I had not to stiffen up. I slowly moved myself round to face him and raised an eyebrow.
    "You're a dragon!" I exclaimed. When he didn't understand and moved forward slightly I accidentally flinched. "You could eat me whole without even moving an inch from the position you're in!" He laughed and the laugh that escaped his mouth was a deep throaty chuckle, one that seemed to seep through carelessly though the air.
    "I'm not going to eat you," His features took on a darker tone and his voice deepen with menace. "I only eat people I don't like" He lifted his head and glared at something behind me. I looked back and saw Sebastian lingering in the doorway. When I spotted him however he slipped out quickly.
    "Yay, I have a stalker. Brilliant" I sighed, sarcasm leaking into my words. Abraxas laughed again.
    "I haven't laughed this much in years" He smiled widely, showing off his incredibly sharp, very white teeth.
    "I have that effect on people," I shrugged and looked back at the TV. They were still arguing like siblings but now it was about the level they wanted. I rolled my eyes; at this pace we were never going to play. "Can I ask you a question, Abraxas?"
    "Of course"
    "Is Candace a..." My voice trailed away when I felt guilty about talking about her.
    "A Vampire? Yes, and she is one of old legends" He nodded slowly, his eyes falling on Candace. He obviously had a great respect for her the way his eyes seemed to change when they befell on her.
    "So... she sucks the blood of humans and burns in the sun and lives forever" I listed them off the top of my head, trying to remember the traits of Vampires trying to sound casual about it.
    "Yes, but she was only sixteen and a half when she was... turned. That's why she looks so young. She was left on the side of the road when the Vampire bit her and scientists found her, dying on the muddy ground and losing a lot of blood. Candace told me that when she recovered she attacked everyone for their blood," He kept his voice a low whisper that I found myself leaning forward to hear him better. "She can control herself now but if she gets too thirsty she could become... unstable"
    "I suppose her life changed dramatically when she was turned" I whispered, half to myself. Thinking about Candace having to go through the change and the scientist's and the Vampire attack itself all on her own and still having a smile on her face made me develop a great respect for her.
    Even now when she was arguing with Scarlett and Naida she still had the same grin. I found myself beaming proudly when I looked at her shining with happiness in a place full of darkness.
    "So how did you find yourself here?" Abraxas changed the subject hastily.
    "My bus was attacked by ninjas. Their faces were hidden by masks," I explained absentmindedly. I was too busy watching the red in Scarlett's eyes grow as the others continued to argue. "They got me the same time as Naida"
    "Oh yeah, I forgot about that!" Naida exclaimed. "I told you it didn't feel safe, but did you listen to me? No!" I tried to keep a straight face but a smile still managed to play across my lips at the look on her face.
    "I'm sorry. I didn't think you'd bring it up again," I hissed, attempting to look angry. "I didn't think we'd see each other again," She crossed her arms and looked skeptical. "I'll make it up to you, okay?"
    "How?" A mischievous grin bloomed on her face and I realized that she'd only been pretending to be mad just to get something out of me.
    "I'll think of something. Now can I get back to talking to Abraxas?" I held out my remote, hopefully indicating that I didn't want to play anymore.
    "Yeah, sure" She took the remote, still with a huge smirk plastered to her face, and put it near the other games.
    "You two have a different kind of friendship, one I haven't encountered before," Abraxas mused. "How long have you known each other?"
    "Only two days" I turned back to the dragon and rested my chin on my crossed arms. Abraxas had that air about him; I'd just met him and I was already comfortable talking about things I hadn't even thought yet. Just meeting him and he already knew more about me than Derek or Lexi.
    "But you have a kind of connection. Like you were long lost sisters, or something to that extent"
    "That's not possible. Shapeshifters can't have siblings" I informed him. But he did kind of have a point; I felt close to Naida and felt I could tell her anything. We weren't even related and I already felt like she was my sister; the best friend who was always there for me and who I would always be there for in return.
    "So you're a shapeshifter! I've met many strong and knowledgeable shapeshifters in my years who've dedicated their time to learning everything about the human world. One even discovered the method to curing most cancers," He nodded appreciatively. "He was very smart indeed. It was a shame he had to be cut down in his prime"
    "What happened?" I asked, intrigued by my kinds history.
    "Other doctors got jealous. Tragic really; they couldn't handle him being so honored. Of course they passed it off as suicide to make him look as if he couldn't take the pressure" Abraxas explained bitterly. He must've really liked that shapeshifter for him to talk about the other doctors like that.
    "Do you know a lot of shapeshifters?"
    "Quite a few," He nodded. "But I'll always remember one. She was lovely; the nicest person I've ever met. She used to live in Maridia, the place I'm originally from, but left when she stopped believing in the shifter ways"
    "Was her name Elizabeth by any chance?" I asked excitedly. His eyes scrunched as confused.
    "Yes it was. So you know Elizabeth?"
    "She's my mother" I smiled. I always smiled whenever I talked about her, which was a lot. She'd told me that she'd followed the shifter ways her whole life. Just to clarify our ways, you were born to a family who thought they couldn't have children, you lived throughout their life and then when they died you were born to another family. That's how shapeshifters lived forever; shifting into one person to the next. But my mother hadn't liked that system because of all the 'unnecessary precautions' so she left. She'd never told me fully how she'd been able to get out and not be reborn but I knew she was glad she'd done it.
    "So she passed off as a human after all! That's wonderful," He grinned. "If I ever see her in the future I'll tell her that she has raised the most respectable shapeshifter I have ever met. You're very polite, my child"
    "Thank you, Abraxas. If any of my old friends saw me talking like this though they would've made fun of me" His eyes brightened, probably picking up on my use of the word old.
    "So we're your 'new' friends?" He laughed.
    "I guess so" I grinned.
    Suddenly, the door to the room burst open and Doctor Cerulean stormed in, not looking very happy, with Sebastian following closely behind.
    What have I done to upset him now? I thought, holding in the reflex of rolling my eyes. I tired to force down the images of our last encounter when he stopped in front of me. Scarlett, Candace and Naida shrank away from him, moving closer to Abraxas.
    "What are you doing?" He demanded furiously. I looked around then back up at him.
    "Sitting, breathing, talking to you," I paused when I heard the girls giggling. "Anything else I'm missing?" He grabbed my wrist and pulled me roughly to my feet.
    "You're supposed to be in room one-oh-one" He hissed. I bit my lip to not laugh at the expression on his face. He was upset I wasn't scared of him anymore.
    "Well, no one told me where I was supposed to be so do you want me to go now?" I suggested. He growled and dragged me towards the door. "Bye guys! I'll see you if I live through this!" I moaned dramatically, putting on a show for them, and they burst out laughing. At least I could leave them happy. Except for Abraxas, who looked as if he wanted to rip Doctor Cerulean and Sebastian apart.
    He wasn't sure what Doctor Cerulean planned for me, and neither was I, but knowing him it wasn't good.

 

 

Doctor Cerulean shoved me into a wide room once we had walked down many, many, many different corridors, each passing like a dozen scientists in lab coats and even more white doors hiding God only knows what behind them.
    "Stop shoving me!" I screamed at the glass, which had cut the room in half, just like the first room I had woken up in. Except this glass was completely black; I couldn't see anyone or anything on the other side. Maybe this was probably how the others felt too; being forced to live in a cage and being examined because of what they were.
    Now it was my turn to feel their pain.
    "We'll be conducting an experiment to test your physical strength" Doctor Cerulean's bored voice boomed through speakers around the room. I raised an eyebrow and crossed my arms, sitting on the floor.
    "No" I replied simply. If he thought I was going to do as he said just because he'd scared me the first time he was hugely mistaken. I'd already been scared when we'd met so obviously he'd added to the nightmare, as well as that bearded man.
    I wasn't scared of him and he knew it too.
    He chuckled at my display and I glared at the glass. "I don't think you have much choice," As he spoke the door unlocked and Sebastian walked in, a smug smile painted on his lips. I jumped up and bolted for the door but he shut it before I could make it. "Don't try to escape; it locks from the outside"
    "Bastard" I murmured. Sebastian glared at me and opened his mouth to speak, but Doctor Cerulean silenced him.
    "Don't get involved in her petty fights," He instructed. "It's not worth it" I could hear the amusement leaking from his words.
    I already knew what he was trying to do; he was doing everything in his power to make me transform again. He'd obviously been told about my little episode in the hallway and had been upset that he'd missed it so he wanted me to do it again to see for himself.
    "I only transform when I'm in danger" I smiled smugly. Then, with crushing realization, I sighed at what I'd done. My hands dropped to my sides and my head drooped as Doctor Cerulean's laughter surrounded me.
    "Oh really?" Sebastian stepped forward and I immediately moved away from him, pulling my hands in front of me.
    Whatever he was going to do I was going to be ready for it.
    He smirked and ran at me. I covered my face and he slammed into him, knocking my feet from underneath me and crushing me into the wall. The air left my lungs, bringing them a burning sensation, and I growled. Grabbing his shirt, my mind screamed at me to stop but I pulled his face close to mine.
    "You seriously don't want to push me" I hissed, my voice deep and threatening. My hands were slowly growing tufts of soft yellow fur as they tightened around the fistfuls of fabric and I could feel my hair exploding into a mane. Nose twitching and long silver whiskers growing, I started shaking and my vision blurred. My instinct tried to take over.
    But I couldn't let it.
    Sebastian's eyes widened in terror as my features shook violently and my claws dug into his skin. I forced him around and shoved him into the wall. I released my grip reluctantly and my knees buckled. I could feel my shape changing but I had to control it; I had to stop it. He watched with confusion as I curled myself into a ball and breathed deeply, my lungs pulling against my ribs uncomfortably.
    My body wanted to transform to protect me but my mind didn't want to shift into a monster. It didn't want to have to deal with the look of fear in another person's eyes as I turned myself into a freak just because I got pissed off that someone thought they could hurt me. I didn't want to see the horror in another persons face just because of what I was.
    A miscreation; something not belonging in this world. Something that should be destroyed because of what they could do.
    "She's trying to control her form. How pathetic," Doctor Cerulean's smug voice blasted through the speakers. I had no idea how I was still able to hear him through the mush my brain was turning itself into. "Here's your chance!" Sebastian stood towering over me but I continued to shake, the look in his eyes unreadable and adding to the panic bubbling in my stomach. I wasn't shaking because a lion was trying to take over but because he was going to kill me.
    I was going to die.
    I shut my eyes, not wanting his face to be the last thing I saw, and waited for the worst.
    I waited for the pain, ready to welcome it. Ready to finally be free of my curse; to be free from the monster I was.
    But nothing came.
    All I heard was the sound of breaking metal and a crash as something heavy hit another solid object. I opened one eye to see that Sebastian wasn't there. Turning onto my stomach, I saw the door had been forced off its hinges and had been left lying on the floor. I could hear Doctor Cerulean yelling something but I couldn't move. My breathing was coming out in sharp tugs on my lungs but I continued to stare out the open door, almost willing Sebastian to come back and tell me what happened.
    "What the..." I whispered.

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