Scarlett knew today was different. She could feel it--the almost tangible air of change. Something was going to happen today.
The angels chattered incessantly in her head. She wished she could turn a knob and switch stations like a radio. Maybe the demon channel was less noisy. Or perhaps there was a nice static channel out there...
Ignore them, she told herself sternly as she focused her attention back on getting her History book out. It landed in front of her with a thud and she opened it up to the page that the teacher had written on the board.
Scarlett, the person you've been waiting for is here. You must speak to him and tell him that he has a great responsibility, an angel said, just as the other voices faded out.
I haven't been waiting for anyone, she thought. And I don't have to talk to anyone either. Everyone already thinks I'm crazy, I don't need to give them more reason.
You must. This is not a request, Scarlett.
She rolled her eyes but didn't respond. There was no point in arguing with the angels. They couldn't be reasoned with. Besides, she didn't see anyone new around anyway.
The bell rang overhead and her classmates dispersed from their groups and took their seats. The seat next to her remained empty, as it did day after day. For some reason, her peers didn't want to associate with 'the demon killer'. Unless, of course, they were making fun of her, then it was perfectly fine to talk to her. But only then.
Mr. Gonzales got up to close the door but just as it locked into place, it was pushed opened again. There was a boy at the door. He towered over the teacher, who he looked down on with his deep set eyes. His hair was slicked back messily, one strand hanging over his forehead. But his most dominant feature was a large, deep scar that ran from the bottom of his left eye down to the corner of his jaw.
He handed a note to Mr. Gonzales. "Class, this is... Is this your real name?" he asked the boy, who responded with a nod. "This is Phoenix Rise... Interesting name... You sit over there while I get you a book." He gestured to the seat next to Scarlett.
As soon as Phoenix's eyes glazed over her's, the angels went nuts. That's him. That's the savior. Enoch. Metatron. He's here, were all said simeataneously.
It was hard to hear over the excitement, so when she noticed Phoenix looking at her expectantly, she knew she missed something. "Huh?" she mumbled, not sure what was happening.
He laughed. "I said hi."'
The girl sitting in front of Scarlett turned around. "Listen, Phoenix, I know you're new so you don't know any better but, I don't think you want to be talking to her," she said with distaste, pointing at Scarlett with a grimace.
"Why is that?" he asked with humor.
"She killed a guy. She's crazy. She's the demon killer." The girl gave a snarky laugh.
Scarlett looked down at her hands. The blood rushed to her face. Heat tickled her pores from within as she sunk lower in her desk. "Me too. I just got out of jail for killing a guy. Where do you think I got this scar?" he said. Scarlett looked at him in surprise just as he winked at her.
The girl in front of her made an unsatisfied noise and whirled back around. "Thanks," Scarlett whispered, flicking her eyes back to her book. She could feel his eyes on her while Mr. Gonzales brought his History book to him.
Scarlett wondered where he really got that scar. Ask him, the angel said. Scarlett laughed out loud and in turn, everyone turned around to stare at her.
"Hearing voices again?" a boy called out from across the classroom.
Scarlett leaned back on her desk hard, wishing with all her might that she would dissolve into it, disappearing forever. She wanted to sneak a glance at Phoenix to see if he was gawking at her in pity and horror, but she couldn't make her head turn. She was too embarrassed.
Thanks, she sent to the angels sarcastically.
He doesn't think you're crazy Scarlett.
No matter how much Scarlett wanted to believe those words, she couldn't.
The rest of school passed in a haze. Scarlett couldn't stop thinking about the incident from History. She had a tendancy to dwell on things. She still hadn't stopped seeing bright red eyes behind her eyelids at night before she slept.
Scarlett scoured the parking lot for her sister's car with heat still in her cheeks. The whole lot was a wash of expensive, shiny cars, aside from a bright orange 1978 Ford Pinto that belonged to her sister's 'stalker'. Finally, she spotted her sister's Range Rover. Scarlett had to rely on Violet, who was a year younger than her, to drive her everywhere. Her parents didn't think driving would be a good idea with her condition.
"Go home, Rick!" Scarlett heard her sister say as she approached the vehicle. There she was, in her long cardigan and bowler hat which covered the crown of her sunny locks that matched Scarlett's own. Stood next to her was her stalker, with his non-prescription glasses and skinny jeans.
"I'll see you at karate later," he said with a smile that looked painful. After running his hands through his black hair, he turned around and headed to the Pinto.
"Yeah, sure," she mumbled, throwing her bookbag in the backseat.
Scarlett climbed into the passenger seat while Violet started up the car. "I wonder if the day will come when he finally leaves me alone," she said with a sigh, backing out of the lot. "How was class?"
"Uneventful," Scarlett lied. "You?"
"Same. I heard that there's a new guy, though. Someone told me that he just got out of jail for killing someone and has a scar to prove it."
Scarlett laughed. "So I heard. We should get along great."
Violet looked at her sister, her eyebrows knitting together with worry, before quickly turning back to the road. "So, it's Wednesday, right? Gotta drop you off at Sunny State?"
"Yeah..." Mondays and Wednesdays were her therapy days at the psychiatric hospital where she spent a good chunk of her childhood after that charity dinner so many years ago.
Scarlett turned her attention to the window, watching the buildings blur. The car slowed down as they approached a stop sign and a 7-11 came into focus. There, leaning on the brick wall behind him, was Phoenix with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
His eyes found her's. He pinched the cigarette between his index finger and thumb and took it out of his mouth, blowing the smoke out in a ring before molding his mouth into a smirk. Scarlett looked away abruptly. The intensity in his stare made her uncomfortable. She wasn't confident enough to keep eye contact longer than a few minutes.
But that meant that he obviously didn't think that she was insane. Her eyes grew wide as she stared ahead. "What is it?" Violet asked, noticing her sister's expression.
Scarlett debated whether or not she should tell her sister the truth. In the end, the truth won out. Violet was the only one who didn't judge her. "Well, the angels have been telling me things about the new guy...Phoenix... It's strange... The thing is, he only said that he killed a guy because someone told him that I did... And then he...winked at me."
"Oh my God, he likes you!" Violet squealed. "No offense but I honestly didn't think this day would come! At least not until you left high school! Oh, I'm so happy."
She jumped around in her seat, wafting the smell of her floral perfume in Scarlett's direction. "Don't get ahead of yourself, Vi," she said, holding her hand up. "The angels are saying he's someone important... Someone they've been waiting for."
Violet groaned. "Not this whole 'saving humankind' situation again. Maybe you should talk to your therapist about this today. Maybe it would help."
"Sure," Scarlett mumbled.
The thing was, she knew, no matter how insane it sounded, that the angels were telling the truth. And no therapist could ever prepare her for what was coming...