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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13. Thirteen: Chapter Twelve

I knew I wouldn't sleep that night.
    The image of Scarlett around all that blood kept me awake and my head filled with the information about Soul Suckers.
    Soon, the Soul Sucker would destroy the light and goodness in Scarlett's body and replace it with darkness while feeding on the blood of frightened humans. Soon it would be anything she could get her hands on. And Scarlett would die unless she found a way to fight against it. If it became too weak she'd be able to get it out and kill it.
    But she would only be able to do it.
    Maybe it was too late. The Soul Sucker seemed to have rooted itself in and soon it would force out its image and destroy Scarlett forever.
    The thought of never seeing her again brought tears to my eyes.
    When morning came, Sebastian opened the door to me huddled in the corner of the room with the blanket pulled over my head.
    "Dani!" Sebastian ran over to me but I got up before he could make it. "What's wrong?"
    "Nothing," I sniffed, my voice still raspy from crying, and wiped my eyes. I dragged the quilt onto the bed. "I'm fine"
    "You're obviously-"
    "I said I'm fine!" I hissed. "What do you want?"
    He pulled a slip of paper out and handed it to me. "Doctor Mayhew wanted you to have this" My eyebrows furrowed and I unfolded the paper.
    We have a rumor that a very dangerous portal is opening today and I know you aren't scared to help us contain it, so come to the Conference Room on the first floor. It's very important you attend the meeting.
    I read the note again to make sure I'd gotten it right. "They want to use me?!" I sighed and shoved the note into my pocket.
    "Are you going?" Sebastian asked.
    "Of course," I scoffed. "I get out of this place and I get to see the others. It's a win win situation. There's just one problem"
    "What?"
    "I can't remember where the first floor is"

 

 

 Sebastian led me down a hallway in silence. He seemed to know where he was going so I just followed with my head down. I probably looked a mess and I had a feeling there were deep bags under my eyes.
    "Don't worry about Scarlett" Sebastian blurted. Before I could look up I walked into him and he took hold of my shoulders. I kept my head down, not wanting to look into the endless green of his perfect eyes-
    Stop thinking like that!
    "I can't..." I whispered. "Never being able to see Scarlett again keeps haunting me," I kept my eyes on the floor. "The thought of the Soul Sucker taking over makes me want to scream"
    I felt his stare burn into my skin. "I know you're scared but everyone gets scared sometimes. That's life. But you won't go through this alone; we're here to help" He lifted my chin. He saw my eyes wet with tears and smiled sympathetically.
    "Thanks" I mumbled, and he pulled me into a hug. I buried my face into his chest and breathed deeply to hold in tears, letting out an involuntary satisfied sigh. It felt nice but it also felt wrong.
    We couldn't be together. One, because Lexi would kill us and two, because I would lose him. I was going to live forever and if we were together I wouldn't be able to watch him die, even if he did become an ex. It would be like someone scooping my heart out with a spoon.
    Sebastian pulled away and motioned for me to follow. "Let's go. We're probably late"
    We went a little further down the hall before Sebastian held a battered door open and followed me up the stairs. Once we reached the top he held the door open again and I stepped into a very nice hallway. A lot of scientists were busy rushing about but a few looked at me weirdly but then quickly got away. I just ignored them.
    "This way" Sebastian's voice had gotten darker. Had I hurt his feelings? Or was it being on the first floor?
    He pushed a door open to a room that held a giant conference table, with scientists crowded round it. Doctor Mayhew sat at the head of the table, sifting through papers. When he heard the door open he glared at me.
    "You're late," He scolded. "We couldn't start without you"
    "Sorry, we... got lost" I muttered, making myself look smaller. The way they looked at me, as if I were crazy, made me feel worse. Doctor Mayhew's eyes widened and his glare melted away.
    "Sit down," I took my seat at the other end of the table. "So, Doctor Cerulean's away on business and has left me in charge. He will be back in three days but for now you will be taking orders from me," He scanned the faces of the men and each nodded. "Now, onto the business at hand. We're talking about the rumor of a portal opening today"
    "Yes sir," One scientist spoke and shuffled through his papers. "We've calculated from the instructions we received that it'll open in a couple of hours in the lunch room. We were also given clear warning about the portal; it's very unstable and there's no knowing what might happen"
    Doctor Mayhew nodded. "What have you concluded?"
    "We think-"
    "Excuse me," I raised my hand and everyone turned to me. "Can you explain why I'm here? I thought you decided I was unstable"
    "We did. Something... changed," Doctor Mayhew refused to look at me. "We agreed you'd be the best person to help us"
    I stifled a laugh. "Bad move. And where does this portal go?"
    "No," One of the men answered. "We think it'll be opening into a magical world"
    "You think it's a portal to a magical world?!" I laughed. "Do you even hear yourself; this is insane!"
    "This isn't a laughing matter" Doctor Mayhew's expressionless face made me stop.
    I blinked. "But what do you want me for?"
    "We need you to stop whatever decides to come through the portal," He explained. "You're the only one who can control their emotions long enough to stop anything"
    "Only because I'm forced to" I muttered. If I didn't stay calm I would be fried to a crisp. They knew that; that's probably why they were using me. Because they could control me.
    I listened to the rest of the meeting in silence but I forgot most of it when I left. All I knew was I was to be in the Lunch Room in two hours.
    But the only thing in my head was that I was going to see the others.
    Doctor Mayhew had said I could spend time with the other Subjects because I was doing this for them. They probably thought I was going to die so they let me do something I wanted to do so I would go along with it. I didn't care though.
    Sebastian led me down the hallway as I bubbled and exploded with happiness. Soon I was walking faster than him to get there.
    I pushed the door open a little and saw them all crowded on the two sofas.
    "Do you think she looks different?" Naida asked.
    "How am I supposed to know?" Lexi hissed.
    "But what if she is different?" Rufus counteracted. "What if those months away from us changed her. Would you still like her?"
    "Of course we would!" Candace gasped.
    "Yeah," Lexi nodded. "And as for her looking different-"
    "You'll have to see for yourselves," I cut in, stepping into the room and striking a pose. One second they were staring at me as if I were a ghost and the next I was suffocated in a group hug, everyone else drowned out by each others excited blabbering. "Guys! Let me breath!"
    "Never!" Merlin laughed. But they all dispersed and sat back down.
    "So," Candace started, trying to act casual. "What happened to you?"
    "Maybe pick an easier question, Candace" Abraxas suggested.
    "I have one!" B12 raised his hand excitedly. I sat down in the arm chair Lexi was leaning against and crossed my arms.
    "So you're just gonna ask me twenty question before I go?" I asked, smiling from ear to ear. I was so glad to hear their childishness and their arguing and just them being them. But I was also sad. Being in Nova I'd become dependent on them but when they were taken away I'd become seriously depressed.
    "Where are you going?" Saffron sounded sad as she fiddled with her skirt.
    "You're not going back into therapy, are you?" Rufus asked cautiously. "Because I'm not having my little sis stuck in that room again"
    I laughed. "No, nothing like that"
    "Good," Lexi's expression turned dark. "If you had to go back there without us I don't know what I would do"
    "That makes me feel really special but I'm actually going to a magical planet" I said straight-faced. They stared at me for a while before bursting into peels of laughter. Merlin ended up on the floor and Lexi fell into the arm chair, pushing me up against the side as her loud laugh echoed in my ear.
    "Really?" Abraxas asked, the only one not laughing. "What magical planet?"
    "That's actually not true. A portal is opening in the Lunch Room that leads to a different world and I have to stop whatever comes through," I shrugged. "Same old same old" I looked around and noticed Sebastian had disappeared.
    "Did they say where the portal leads to?" Abraxas pushed the information.
    "Maridia, I think..." I wracked my brain to remember the meeting but it had been so boring my mind had just automatically blocked it out. "But I'm not sure"
    "Hmm..." Abraxas lifted a claw to his chin. "I didn't think they would risk that..."
    "Risk what?" Rufus asked. "What could come through that only Dani could stop?"
    "Anything," Abraxas admitted grimly. "Maridia can be a very dangerous place. That's why only mystical creatures live there. Except, of course, the Royals, but no one would try to defy them. But anything can change. Just please Danielle, be careful"
    I gulped. "I'm always careful but can you guys stay near the door?" My stomach suddenly felt as if it were lined with knives pressing into the skin.
    "Of course," Naida agreed immediately. "We were gonna be there anyway, right guys”
    "I just wanna see what comes out" Merlin shrugged.
    "Thanks, that makes me feel much better" I muttered sarcastically, rolling my eyes and rubbing my arms absentmindedly. The only thing on my mind was the thing making the knives sink deeper.
    What would come out?

 

 

 I stood in the middle of the Lunch room, all of the tables pushed haphazardly to the sides, and stared at the floor where a giant red 'X' was marked. That's where the portal was supposedly going to open and all I had to do was wait.
    Wait for anything.
    "Don't worry Danielle," Derek called and I glanced nervously at the door. Everyone was trying to see but stay outside so their heads were the only thing sticking through the gap in the door. It looked quite comical but I couldn't force myself to laugh. "We're here for you"
    I just nodded.
    "Stop that!" Lexi scolded and my eyebrow rose. She pointed to my shaking hands. "You're making me nervous" I shoved my hands into my pockets and took a deep breath.
    "Sorry, I'm just worried" I admitted.
    "Don't be," Naida smiled. "We'll be here and we wouldn't let anything happen to you" I opened my mouth but immediately shut it when I thought otherwise. Maybe the therapy story was a little touchy to bring up already. I looked at their faces and saw Merlin nod when he caught my eye.
    "Hurry up already," Rufus muttered. "I want to see what happens"
    "Thanks for-" My comment was cut off by a loud electrical spark and a short screeching sound. I looked over at the red 'X' and saw a little purple light dancing just above the floor. I stepped forward cautiously and peered at the light.
    Then it blew up to three times its size and its colour darkened as it made a wide hole of black in the air. I stared as it distorted and contorted. I stepped forward and felt something sizzle, like the sparks when you blew a fuse.
    Suddenly, something shot out of it. The shadow slammed into me, knocking the wind out of my lungs, and slammed me against the wall. I opened my eyes and gasped.
    It was an obviously very cute guy who's dark blue hair fell across one of his bright red eyes. He looked pale, with an angular face and plump lips, and he was much taller than me. But the one thing that scared me the most was the anger blazing in his eyes.
    He grabbed my throat and pushed me further into the wall and I could feel the sharp bricks cutting into my skin.
    "Qui sunt vobis?" He asked, his voice deep and threatening. I stared at him, confusion leaking into my features as he stared back with blood red eyes.
    "Danielle!" Abraxas called. I shifted my gaze to the human-sized Abraxas stood in the doorway as I was shoved deeper into the bricks. "He's asking who you are. He's speaking in Latin"
    "Damn, the one language I can't speak," I muttered. His grip tightened when he asked again. "Can you tell him that I won't say anything until he speaks to my lawyer?"
    Abraxas chuckled but I heard Lexi yell, "Trust her to make jokes!"
    "Euis nomen est Danielle. Tu loqui English?" Abraxas asked him. He raised his eyebrow but nodded at Abraxas.
    "I speak English," He nodded. His voice sounded odd speaking English but at the same time it sounded right. "And I have a proposal for you. But first, would you help a person if they desperately needed you?"
    "Yes, of course. Do you have a... home problem?" I suggested.
    His eyes narrowed and his jaw locked. "That's none of your business!" He yelled and threw me across the room. I curled into a ball and quickly shifted to a crow, flipping over and floating before I hit the ground. Transforming back into human, I sped towards him and stopped in front of him. The expression on his face told me he thought he was out-matched.
    "Sorry, I just guessed," I held up my hands in surrender and looked at him. "If that's not it then what do you want help with?"
    He gave me a skeptical look then sighed dejectedly. "Sorry about that. There is actually a problem going on in my homeland and I was sent to find someone to help. I just didn't expect you to be waiting for me," He smiled down at me, rubbing the back of his neck. "Are you sure you want to help us though? It's quite weird"
    I glanced behind me at the portal fizzling away and laughed once. But on the inside I was panicking; at least I'd been able to stop myself before going right into the portal. "More weird then this?" I asked.
    "Well, I-" He stopped when he heard the floor creak. Turning round, he growled at someone. I looked past him and gawped as Sebastian came into the Lunch Room with a look that if expressions could kill we would all be dead. "Qui sunt vobis?"
    "What are you d-doing to her?" Sebastian's voice was dark.
    "Quod vis?" The man asked, his fists clenching. He stepped forward the same time Sebastian did and both me and Naida shot forward to grab hold of the man. The others had been inching their way into the room and now B12 held Sebastian back as we thrashed about attached to the man's arms. "Salvum!"
    "Aww. Can't fight two girls?" Sebastian mocked. The man growled and lifted our feet off the floor. He grabbed our arms and threw us behind him.
    The last thing I saw was Sebastian jumping at us as we were sucked into the portal.
    I screamed as my body had the feeling of being burned, electrocuted and frozen. My skin was scorched as I twisted and turned through nothing. The blackness surrounded me and shrouded my vision. I rolled through the immense darkness until it blocked out everything, evaporating all the air inside me. I gasped and pulled in a deep breath of nothing, drying up my lungs and burning my throat.
    And then I fell onto hard ground. Naida landed on me a couple of seconds later, knocking the last remaining air out of me.
    "Ow," I groaned and pushed Naida off me. "Where are we?"
    "I don't know, but it's definitely not Nova anymore"

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