Abel saw the girl before he knew her face. He didn’t acknowledge women much anymore, and when he did they had to be eye catching enough for him to actually give them a second glance.
She sauntered toward him in a cat-like way, trying to hide her bright hair under a hood that could not contain the untamed dreads.
“Ira,” he acknowledged.
“Please, don’t address me so formally brother,” she suggested. “I go by the name Logan now.” He nodded.
“Logan, then.” She smiled eerily.
“I’ve come to ask a favor.”
“If it’s a favor you want, then you shall get it, if it’s reasonable enough.”
“Now, now brother. You know you owe me quite a bit since the last time we met. Remember that girl? What was her name? Alice, that’s it. Sweet, devious little Alice. You couldn’t bring yourself to rid of her. You made me do it. So I would say brother, that my request as of this moment should be quite reasonable considering the circumstances.”
“What is it that you want?” Abel asked cautiously.
“I was recently in Japan with a good friend. The Japanese are...a cultured people. I thought it would be a good idea to get out of the United States. I turned out to be very wrong indeed.” She pursed her lips. “I met a boy and ended up in the much like the same situation you did with Alice. Except this man...” She bared her teeth. “Told my secret. So I did what any sensible person would do: I annihilated him and every other person he told.” She adjusted her hood over her head. “So now you see my predicament. I need to lay low for some time. I was hoping you could provide that kind of place for me.” Abel rocked back on his heels.
“I suppose I owe you this much. I’ll make arrangements.”
Logan looked excited as her bright blue eyes flared, an icy fire dangling in the midst of an untold secret. This was not Logan’s true eye color. Underneath the contacts she wore, her eyes were a very dark red. “The people will feel it,” she said as they started to walk, her long skirt dragging behind her. “The people always feel when there are more than one of us.”
When Lila saw Abel with the girl, she felt more scared than relieved. The girl was terrifying to look at. She had a hauntingly beautiful look about her that sent chills through the skin. Candice saw her staring and cut into her reverie. “That’s the new transfer. Her name is Logan.”
“She’s...terrifyingly stunning,” Lila breathed, turning to her locker.
“No one has talked to her yet. I think it’s her style choice that sets people off.” That was only partially true. Logan had bright orange dreads with a mess of beads and string running through the intricate tangles that she pulled back with a black bandana. She wore a blue jean vest over a black tank top and an ankle length black and white aztec skirt. But Lila wasn’t convinced it was her style that was keeping people away.
It was her perfectly sharp angled face and her dazzling ice blue eyes that told people there was something dangerous about her, just like with Abel. In fact, they happened to look like perfect versions of each other in different genders. Lila concluded that they were siblings at the very least, if not identical twins. The only difference she could see was their hair color and the very different color of their eyes. Abel’s were dark green. They both eyed Lila from around the corner. “What else do you know about the girl?” Lila asked quietly, grabbing gym shorts.
“Nothing, really. No one has talked to her.”
“Strange,” Lila murmured, kicking her locker when it wouldn’t shut all the way.
“I guess,” Candice said dismissively. “Greg asked me to prom.”
“Greg with the weird hair?” Lila asked, wiping at a piece of lint on her jeans.
“His hair isn’t weird!”
“Well, my Geometry class is all the way on the other side of the building so I have to go. See you!” Lila waved goodbye and thunked her head against her locker, wishing she didn’t have to pretend like everything is normal. Because Lila remembered the parking lot, and it’s a memory she wouldn’t soon forget.
Behind her, she heard the sound of arguing and then gentle, lilting footsteps coming her way. She turned around.
It was Logan, who stunned her with a beautiful, dazzling smile that was just the right amount of cautious, friendly, and heart stopping. Her eyes looked kind as she stepped forward, outstretching her hand for Lila to shake. Lila took it heedfully and tried to force a smile, but it came out more of an unsure half frown. “I’m Logan,” the girl offered.
“Um...” Lila blinked a couple of times. Logan laughed.
“I do hope you know your own name.”
“I do,” Lila said quickly. “It’s Lila. Lila Nevins.” Logan smiled.
“It’s nice to meet you Lila Nevins. Perhaps I can walk you to your next class? I’m in no hurry to get to mine.”
“S-Sure,” Lila stuttered, starting to walk towards the gymnasium. Logan followed with graceful, coordinated feet that carried her around like royalty. Lila’s heart ached at her perfection.
“So you know my brother, Abel?” Logan asked with excited eyes. Goosebumps raised on Lila’s arms and she avoided the question, instead concentrating on taking confident, sure steps that wouldn’t let her fall. “Have I said something rude?”
“No, it’s not you,” Lila offered, trying to not offend Logan, but also not trying to get on her good side. “It’s just that...Abel and I’s relationship isn’t as positive as he might have let on.”
“What do you mean?” Logan asked curiously, her eyes darting around every other step, always searching for something exciting that her eyes might land on.
“Well, you see, Abel and I don’t have much of a relationship at all. In fact...” Lila swallowed and stared into Logan’s bright, intrigued eyes. “I’m convinced that he’s stalking me.” Logan laughed, an evocative sound that reverberated off the walls and back into Lila’s ears, sending chills up her spine.
“I’m sure that’s not the case. My brother Abel, while a very greedy, selfish person, is very shy. He’s not so upfront about what he wants, so he creates a plan that may seem...very alarming to others, but I assure you he’s just unsure how to advance you. So while he may not approach you with words, I’m sure he’s hoping just that you’ll notice him.” Lila gave a nervous laugh, not exactly sure how to respond. A thought sat in the back of her mind, and she dared to pull it out into the open.
“So what you’re saying is I have something he wants.” Logan beamed with dark eyes, showing a perfect set of straight, white teeth.
“No, my dear. What I’m saying is you are what he wants.”
Lila ended up being late for her gym class, but only received an angry glance from the teacher instead of the lecture followed by a write up she had expected. She warmed up while everyone started on the treadmills and benches, spotting Faye Evans huffing and puffing away on a machine, mopping the sweat from her forehead with her clammy hand.
Lila smirked. Seeing Faye Evans struggle like a dirty pig sent a jolt of smugness through her that gave her devious thoughts. She pictured herself sitting on a throne among a whole group of Faye Evans, doing her dirty work while she watched from above, cracking the whip at one of them if they refused to comply.
She snapped out of her dream-like trance, wondering what was wrong with her, and headed for the bench nearest to her, which was suddenly occupied by an overweight red-haired boy. She groaned and took for the last treadmill, only one over from the empty one beside Faye.
Faye glared at her as she passed, increasing her MPH to seven and huffing louder, her eyes daring Lila to beat that.
If Faye wanted a challenge, she was going to get it. Lila started off at a steady eight, four higher than her usual start off, and extended her legs, forcing them to comply with the demands of the speeding treadmill or be thrown off. A pool of sweat started at the back of her neck and she wiped it off with her shirt. Faye increased to nine, her cheeks turning red and her breasts bouncing cheerily up and down. The boys started to stare from their respective corners. Lila turned up to ten and started to feel lightheaded. Her body was not prepared to go this fast.
No human body should be prepared to go that fast, Lila concluded.
Suddenly, a feeling of victory and extreme strength washed over Lila. She turned her treadmill up to twelve, smirking at Faye when her legs didn’t complain and sweat didn’t threaten to plaster every ounce of fabric she wore to her skin. She felt like she could go fifty if she wanted. She had no idea where the sudden power came from, but she used it to her advantage, increasing the RPM as well. Faye tried to outdo her, but quickly gave up with a groan and turned her treadmill back down to five.
There were collective claps which were quickly interrupted by the sour gym teacher who was secretly marveling at Lila from the doorway of the Fitness Center, a gentle smile plastered on her lips. The only smile Lila had ever seen the gym teacher give anyone, ever. And it was at her.
Lila was all smiles for the rest of the period.
“So you think manipulating her energy will get her to like you?” Logan asked as they watched Lila from the Fitness Center window in the hall.
“Aren’t we all entitled to our own beliefs?” Abel asked arrogantly.
“She’s a mortal,” Logan hissed into his ear. “Soon she’s going to understand the things you’re making her capable of aren’t the norm for any human being on earth.”
“I’m trying to show her I can offer her things outside of her boundaries. Things that will make her superior. That’s the point.” Logan glared at his excited eyes and turned back to Lila, who was talking animatedly to the gym teacher.
“You’re an arrogant fool,” she whispered.
“And you’re a loveless shrew,” Abel snapped.
Lila sat in her room, wondering why she was slowly slipping away from the girl she had so carefully composed at the age of thirteen: gentle, kind, ambitious. Where was this competitive streak coming from? Why were her thoughts rearing towards evil?
And why had she been able to go so quickly on the treadmill without breaking a sweat?
She had ruled out adrenaline.
What rush had she felt besides the rush of competitiveness? The pressure she had felt to beat Faye?
Who was she becoming?
There was a quick knock at her door and she jumped, dropping her head into her hands with a gentle, “Come in.”
“Dinner is in fifteen minutes,” her mother chimed. When Lila didn’t respond and instead drew her knees up to her chin and stared at the window, her mother came in and sat down next to her. “Are you okay Lila?”
“Yeah...I’m just not feeling myself today.” Her mother patted her hand.
“Is it that time of the month again dear?” Lila drew her hand away.
“No!” She said with a groan. “I’m just...Weird today.” Her mother gave her a sympathetic smile.
“You’ll get over it dear. Everything always works out in the Nevins family.” She looked at her mother’s gentle face, a perfect copy of her own, and honestly tried to believe what she was saying was true, but she just couldn’t. She just gave her a nod and concluded that she wouldn’t understand.
“You’re right mom,” she said falsely as she stood with her. “What’s for dinner?”
Lila’s heart was hammering against her chest as she descended the stairs during second period to find Logan waiting for her at her locker. They were all alone in the corridor. She forced a smile and hugged her laptop to her chest. “Logan,” she acknowledged.
“I heard you made the track team,” Logan said with a gentle grin that stopped Lila’s heart.
“Well, I didn’t really try out...” Lila said bashfully. “I was invited.” Logan’s hypnotic blue eyes flicked to Lila’s face with deep interest.
“Invited? How did you manage that?”
“Um...” Lila bit her lip while she spun the dial on her locker. “I had a good hustle in gym class I guess.”
“Interesting,” Logan concluded. “Have you seen my brother around lately?” Lila nodded. In fact, between the fifty minutes she’d already been in school, she’d seen him three times, watching her. “I haven’t the faintest idea where he’s gone. He’s been avoiding me all day.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Lila quickly offered, grabbing the folder she had forgotten to pick up this morning.
“It’s not big deal to me, but I’m afraid he’s gone off in one of his fits again.” She laughed. “And hear I thought I was the one with wrath.” Lila turned around with a confused expression.
“What do you mean?” Logan blinked a couple of times.
“Huh? Oh, nothing. Just talking to myself again,” she said too cheerfully, trying to dismiss it with a smile. “Anyways, I was wondering if you’d like to come eat lunch with me. After all, it is the social hour I hear. I’d love to get to know you more.” Lila swallowed her cowardice.
“Why me?” Logan smiled as if she were expecting this question.
“If my brother is mad about you, I’d love to get the time to see what all the commotion is about. Unless my ears deceive me, I do believe I’ve heard that you are the most popular girl in school. It’d be an honor,” she started, beaming with her dazzling smile, “to sit with the most popular girl in school.”
“Why do you talk like that?” Lila wondered. “Like you’re from some other time all together?”
“I grew up in a very proper home Lila,” Logan said, dusting her hand along her skirt. “And I’d be overjoyed if you not bring it up.”
“What’s the big deal?” Logan asked, examining her apple. “This lunchroom is boring. It’s nothing compared to the other affairs I’ve been to.” Her legs were propped up on the round table and she was laid back in her chair, her dreads falling over her shoulders. The only people sitting at this table were her, Lila, and Lila’s best friend Candice.
“And what affairs have you been to?” Candice asked, peering at Logan with wonder. Logan stared at the ceiling.
“I used to travel a lot with my family. My father was a rich man, overwhelmingly rich. He often took me to balls and charity dinners. Things like Applebee’s,” she smiled ruefully, “Didn’t apply to my life.”
“Wow,” Candice said aloud. “I wonder what that must be like.”
“Boring,” Logan answered, still examining the shiny red skin of the apple before taking a bite into it.
“Where did you get your sandals?” Candice asked enviously, eyeing down the shows Logan wore on her petite, bare feet.
“I don’t know. Somewhere online I think.”
“How much were they?” Candice mused.
“I never buy anything less than three hundred dollars,” Logan yawned, neglecting the browning apple. She turned to Lila, suddenly more interested in what she was doing than answering Candice’s awe-inspired questions. “So where do you come from?” She asked, propping her elbow on the table and cupping her chin in her hand.
“I was born here,” Lila said bashfully, hating that the spotlight was on her. Her attention turned to the other popular people who were watching her every move around Logan.
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?”
“I’m an only child,” Lila said, taking a bite into her sandwich.
“How easy that sounds,” Logan said dreamily. “I have six other siblings.” Candice almost spit out her milk.
“Your parents were busy,” Candice said, her eyes bugging out of her head. Logan examined her nails.
“Indeed. Most of us are twins, like Abel and I.”
“Who’s Abel?” Candice wondered.
“My brother,” Logan said as if Candice were stupid. “Don’t you know him?”
“I haven’t seen anyone new except for you.” Candice furrowed her brow.
“I’m newer than him,” Logan stated, the corner of her lip pulled down. “You mean to tell me you haven’t the slightest clue who Abel is?” Candice shook her head.
“Never seen him.” Logan pursed her lips.
“Well...” She muttered, looking off to the side. “How very rude of him.” Her eye started to twitch and she rubbed at it quickly, trying to rid of the violent shaking.
“Is there something wrong?” Lila asked. “Can I help?” She offered useless, outstretched hands to Logan, but she swatted them away.
“No, it’s just...My eye. There’s something in it.” Lila offered her a napkin, but Logan was trying to hard to force whatever was in her eye out to notice the gesture.
A clear dome dropped to the table.
Lila stared at it for half a second before looking up into Logan’s true eye, the eye that withheld no contact.
The eye that was a deep shade of red.
Logan dropped her bag on the table and hunted down Abel, who was sitting at the computer desk in the study. “What a fool you made me look!” She cried. “What a horrible timing for me to find out you really had been stalking the girl!” She clenched her fist. “When I saw that you had brainwashed her friend to get information...” She growled. “I could’ve killed you! I thought you knew Lila! I thought maybe you had met, and...and you were watching her on the side! Stalking her as she had put it. But you’ve never even said hello? And I talked as if you two were good friends! You made me look idiotic!” The house started to shake and Abel pursed his lips in a frown.
“Where did your contact go?”
“Shut up you retched man! You horrible, retched, no good--”
“I told you not to talk to her,” he stressed. “I said specifically ‘It’s not a good idea to talk to her Ira’ and you didn’t listen! This is all your fault you imbecile girl!” The house shook with brute force as if there were an earthquake, picture frames and vases quickly falling to the floor.
“I’m not an imbecile! You’re just a coward! A terrible coward!” A small crack worked it’s way up the wood of the windowsill. “You got me so worked up that my contact fell out! And now they’ve seen!” Her hands started to shake rapidly until her whole form was unrecognizable, shifting and vibrating into something inhuman. “You know I hate to look like a fool you idiot boy!”
Abel stood. “I don’t care what you hate! I don’t care about you at all! I should’ve never let you come here!” Logan’s dark form rushed at Abel, but he held her back with two hands, though if she didn’t calm down soon he knew she could tear him to shreds. “NOW STOP TRYING TO BREAK MY HOUSE AND GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF!” The form started to vibrate a little less, until some remnants of a girl were visible. “We’ll just wipe Lila’s memory,” he soothed. “And Candice’s again if we have to. They won’t remember a thing.” The force against his hands weakened, and he visibly relaxed along with Logan. “No one will think you a fool, I promise my dearest Ira.”
A pulsating Logan came back into view, and she took a deep breath through her nose. “Stop calling me Ira,” she mumbled as she started to pick up the glass shards from the floor.