“You could try!”
“Please! For me!”
“L!” He grabs my arm and stops me. I look over at him, bored.
“Caleb!” I mock and he glares.
“I’m serious! Please! If you can just meet up with him, maybe you’d get a better idea on what’s going on!” I don’t reply, too busy scanning the streets around us. This is risky. Talking about my power in public so openly. If someone happens to hear us, they’d might rat us in …
“I’m serious as well!” I finally sigh. “I don’t want to do it. End of discussion.” He glares and then huffs.
“Fine then!” He snaps. “But get another ride home.” And then he storms off. I groan in-awkwardly.
“Caleb!” I moan. “Caleb; don’t!” I go to walk after him but he glares and slips into the car, slamming the door behind and locking it. He glares at me through the window as I groan and hold onto the door handle. “Caleb, let me in.”
“Not until you say you’ll go.” He replies stubbornly. I glare and let go of the handle.
“Fine.” I snap. “I’ll walk.” He turns away from me, shrugging.
“Fine. Have fun.” Then he drives off.
“I didn’t mean it!” I yell after him but he’s gone. He can’t hear me anymore. I groan again and turn round, cursing silently. Why did Caleb care so much about this? Why does he want to know so much about a gift that is life threatening? What is wrong with him?
I turn again and stare down the road, where a big puff of gas follows after his run down car. After a few minutes of hesitating on what way to get home, I turn and start down the road, trying to look unfazed by this whole idea of walking home, but really, I’m going to murder him when I get home.
I didn’t expect to meet anybody on my way home. I really didn’t expect to meet my history teacher.
I step roung the corner of the ally way when someone grabs my arm. I turn, ready to fight when I see her. Miss Fry. I raise both eyebrows
“Sh!” She snaps and I fall silent, quickly. “Look, we don’t have much time! They’re coming for us!” Us? She peers over her shoulder and then over mine. She crouches lower to me and gets closer until I can feel her warm breath on my cheek. “You need to get your family and hide! They’re coming for us!”
“Us?” I finally manage to ask.
“Us! The gifted!” I freeze. How does she know about me? How did she realise?
I pull away, sharply and stare at her, astonished.
“How did you –“ SShe steps closer and shakes her head.
“This is not the time! Come round to mine as soon as you can! Sooner the better! This is very important, Louise! You are in terrible danger!” And then she turns and runs away. I stand there, shocked, unable to move. How did she know I was here? How did she know I was gifted? How does she know I’m in danger? Questions. Lots of questions. Who is coming for us? Who is us? Is she gifted as well? The questions build up, making me more and more anxious to get out of this ally way and run home as fast as I can.
I stumble, blinded by thoughts, and feel my way out of the path. I can’t breathe. I’m choked up. If my history teacher can tell I’m different, how long will it take for everybody else to realise as well? The Watchers? The children at school? … My parents?
I run down the ally way until it comes out to the road where I stop and look both ways. What way takes me straight to my house? Left. I turn and sprint down the road, head full of scary thoughts and images.
Who’s coming? How am I in danger? Where does she live? How did she know I was going to be walking home?
Just need to keep running. Need to get home. Need to go somewhere safe … Get away from everybody. A voice screams in my head. Get away from them! They’re going to kill you!
BEHIND YOU! It’s not my voice. It’s masculine but there is no doubt that it’s in my head. I spin just in time to fall into the arms of a Watcher. She does a double take, grabbing hold of my shoulders and steading me.
“Wooh! Steady there! Are you ok?” I look up into her friendly eyes. I spot my reflection. A scared little girl with dirt on her face and a wild expression.
I nod quickly.
“I’ve missed my curfue! I’ve got to get home quickly!” I lie on the spot and try to yank myself free. She steps closer and grabs my arm again.
“Don’t worry Miss!” She smiles. “I can drive you. It’d be quicker and I can explain to your parents why you are so late. No need to panic.” No need to panic? You’re the people who are trying to kill me! … I assume anyway …
I shake my head quickly.
“No thank you ma’am. My parents will be getting worried. I’ve got to-“ I pull free again.
“I insist!” She tries again, looking a little angry now. I shake my head.
“Listen!” Her voice goes rough and her face turns hard. “You don’t turn down a request to be taken home by a Watcher. Allow me to take you home or be arrested for acting suspicious and under the act of the illness.” I freeze.
“Ma … Ma’am … I assure you, I am not affected by the –“ I stutter but she stands back and gives me a wide, friendly smile.
“Good.” She smiles. “Then get in the van.” I look grimly over at the car and back at her. Her eyes change for a split second again. “Get in the van.” I start towards it, slowly and let my hand rest on the handle.
Is this such a good idea? Should I be doing this? What happens if this is what Miss Fry warned me about? What happens if this is where they’ll kill me?
But what happens if Miss Fry has gone mad and is imagining all of this? What happens if she’s made me act strange and I get arrested for it for no reason?
I swallow hard and duck into the back of the seat.
The chairs stink like sweat, tears and B.O. I gag in my mouth but as soon as the Watcher looks at me, I smile reassuringly and pretend to be admiring the seats. She smiles.
“Good. Now where do you live?” I freeze. Where do I live? Where do I …
“5th Avenue Road, please.” I tell her, trying to stop the waver in my voice. She must buy it because she grins.
“Thank you.” She starts the engine and steers the wheel several times before pulling out of the road. I hold my breath and hope for dear life that she is actually taking me home and not to some prison cell …
The car stops suddenly. I fly forwards, smacking my head against the chair in front of me. She puts her arm round and grabs my arm.
“Are you ok?” I nod, pulling away and sitting up. My head hurts and I wince but she isn’t looking at me anymore. Her eyes are focused on the road. “What the –“ Suddenly, all four doors are thrown off their hinges and a strong gust of wind floods in. The wind screen shatters and the Watcher screams. I swear gently and fumble to take off my seat belt. My fingers fumble to press down on the red button as I look up quickly. The Watcher is suddenly pulled out of the broken window and thrown onto the floor. I gasp and turn back to my seat beat. Got to get out … Something’s going to kill me!
Click! The seat belt lets me go and I scramble to the side. I’m about to jump out when a figure is suddenly standing in my way. I look up slowly and swear.
“Alright Small?” He grins. It doesn’t take long for a big black bird to suddenly swoop down and land on his arm. It squawks enthusiastically and I stare at them.
“How did you –“ I start but Raven Boy shakes his head.
“No time for talking. We’ve got to go. Now.” He turns and walks away without waiting for me. I just sit there, staring at his back before looking over to the Watcher. She slowly sits upp and looks straight at me.
“Don’t!” She whimpers. “Come here!” I get up and run after Raven Boy. She wails her complaint and tries to stand. Raven Boy lifts his head towards her.
“Shadow.” The bird swoops off of his arm and at the Watcher. She screams as Raven Boy turns away and continues walking. I can’t breathe as I walk beside him.
“How did you do that?” I demand. “How did you make all of the doors fly off and crack the window screen?” He looks over to me, surprised. I don’t hold back and glare. “Stop staring at me and tell me how you did that!” He stops and turns to me properly. I stop as well and meet his gaze head on. I listen to the Raven finish off the Watcher and return to his owner, small, beady eyes glaring at me. I swallow hard and stare at them both. They stare back.
We just stand there, staring at each other for a few seconds before he blinks and looks over my shoulder.
“Follow me.” He starts away but I don’t follow.
“How did you find me?” I yell after him. He doesn’t reply and continues to walk. I glare after him, refusing to follow. Just when he’s about to disappear into the ally-way, he stops and cocks his head to aside, staring at the ground where I should be.
“Follow me if you want to live.” He mumbles and then he disappears into the darkness. I swear and turn round to take in the view. The Watcher is dead. That’s clear.
Half her insides spill out across the ground, bright red and staining the ground around her. I don’t feel sick like I should and instead look over to the broken car. I swallow hard as someone opens there front door and looks over at us, flabbergasted. I curse as Caleb’s friend steps onto the street and stares at the broken car and the dead Watcher. His mouth falls open when he sees the Watcher’s body but there is no doubt the fear in his eyes when they land on me. He chokes on fright, staring straight at me, accusingly. I stare back, unable to explain as he shakes his head and looks around again. His eyes fall back on me.
“Louise?” He asks and I step back quickly. He steps forwards again. “What the hell happened?” I step back again.
“I …” I what? I just watched a boy rip the doors off a vehicle and set his mental bird on a Watcher? I just watched a person die once again? I just watched my hope of being normal fade away. “I’ve got to go.” I turn and run after Raven Boy, Caleb’s friend calling after me.