Queens

Ever heard of that joke about the lion amongst the wolves? No, well, neither has Vivienne. How was she supposed to know that her life would be the punchline?

Vivienne is a little special. Turns out, her best friend Casey, is also a little special. According to a local legend, they're part of a group called 'The Ascended', who's purpose is to reunite werewolves and wereanimals together.

Can they do it? Can they do what no other person has done and be the heroes that everyone wants them to be? Or will they crumble and fail?

[Cover made by me, but the picture isn't mine. Found it on tumblr]
[COMPLETELY UNEDITED]
[not your typical werewolf story]

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18. eighteen

"See?" Dawn says, before taking a step inside. "Nothing's wrong."

When we got to the front door, the door was slightly ajar. Exactly like my mother told me that she would leave it. She said that we would have to shove it a bit, which Phil took as to mean 'shove-it-with-all-your-strength' so he shoved it a bit too enthusiastically. Dawn walks past the broken door, still swinging wildly on its last hinge.

I know that my parents aren't here, even though I wish to run into their arms. I know that they're somewhere far away from here. My mother urged my dad to take the scenic route because she claimed that she always wanted to see the surrounding landscapes but from the way her voice choked, I know it was because she wanted to prolong the time before she went home without me. She tried so hold back the tears as she lectured me, cupping my face gently each time she stuttered on her words.

'I love you' was the last thing I heard her say to me, before Nelson's men shoved me in a car and slammed the door in my face. I heard her screaming at him for handling me roughly but her screams were ignored as he just sat in the car and drive off. I couldn't even respond to her – I tried, but the windows were locked so I couldn't even say goodbye. I didn't get to say that I loved her too.

I don't know if I ever will.

The windows are the first to catch my attention. When I left, the curtains were closed. My mother wouldn't leave them open, she thinks that opening the curtains just attracts thieves. I peek into the windows to see the whole room is black.

Something's not right. I can feel it in my gut.

Dawn comes rushing out, grasping at her throat as she inhales and exhales erratically. Her eyes are watery, the tears dripping onto the concrete steps as she falls to her knees. When we ask her what's wrong, she points inside, unable to answer us. My eyes drift upwards and I see it before anyone else does. I let out a gasp as plumes of black smoke billows outside, drifting into a something that resembles a tail. It then dissipates into the sky.

No.

Dawn struggles to speak, dragging my eyes away from the smoke drifting out of my house. Her hands are still clawing at her throat as she stutters, "F-fire."

Reality settles in. Fire. My house is on fire. The same house that apparently stood the tests of time in the Great War, is now succumbing to ashes. Fire is the only word I need to start running. The atmosphere is almost unbreathable as the smoke now reaches my lungs, and claws its way down my throat.

I knew that we couldn't have gotten here before Nelson's men did. Hope is such a slow killer.

"Vee, no!" Phil screams out behind me.

*

She stops outside the house. Her friends speak in hushed whispers to each other, knowing on some level what is about to happen. She raises her arms so that her palms are facing the sun and the neighbour's pool water rises above the fence. She twists her arms, creating a swirling motion in the water. As she brings her hands towards her own body, the water rushes at her at an amazing speed, forcing her friends to quickly scamper out of the way. The way the water twists in mid-air is executed perfectly – not a single drop falls on the ground. As she walks further into the house, she stretches out her arms towards the fire, forcing the water to spray on the engulfing flames. The white glow emitting from the marks on her creates a beacon of light in the smoke-created darkness. Her breathing is unaffected as the smoke slowly starts to envelop her body, leaving only the glow shining to show her outline in the smoke.

She walks further into the house, a trail of puddles following her. Her friend runs inside, despite the warnings given to her. She uses her sleeve to cover her nose and her mouth and follows the trails of water following her best friend. The smoke has lessened considerably, and she can see a bit clearer now, even though her eyes are still watering. The flames have disappeared, at least the huge ones. Her attempts at helping are almost futile, only managing to fan the smaller flames a tiny bit and not eliminate them completely. She watches in awe as the water pours out of her friend's hands, twisting in mid-air and spraying on the small flames.

The fire ceases completely as the glow from the marks on the girl's arm fades slowly. Her friend removes her sleeve from her nose and mouth, instead turning around and gazing around at the charred walls.

*

The marks on my skin are itchy, and I can't help but scratch at them. Why am I so breathless?

I touch the skeleton remains of the walls that once stood proudly in front of me, flinching when my fingers become charcoal grey. The same sofa that my mother tearfully hugged me on, lays on the floor in dusty pieces at my feet. The only skin left is the black floral pattern, falling apart at my touch.

"How do you do that?" A voice makes me jump.

Turning around, I see a very shocked Casey with her mouth slightly open and her arms drooped to the side of her body.

"Do what?"

She doesn't respond. Her fingers simply point to the darkened water stains on the ashy floor.

"That." She murmurs.

"I..."I look down at my hands, watching as they glisten with water as if I'm a leaking tap that refuses to shut, "don't know."

Casey is about to say something but she falters, closing her mouth abruptly. She cups her ear and puts a finger to her mouth when I begin to ask her what's wrong. She shushes me, silently telling me to be quiet. I obey her, although I throw her a strange look but either she ignores me or she doesn't see it. I wait, crouched down on the floor, trying to resist the itchiness coming from my arms. It didn't feel this itchy before, so why now?

"There's someone here." She whispers as I rub my arms, trying not to let my nails drag its way through my skin.

The atmosphere is still a little hard to breathe in, since the smell of burnt paper is still in the air. Yet Casey seems fine, like the air she's breathing in is completely pure. I follow her, trying to make sure that my footsteps are as light as hers. Her feet don't make a sound as she runs lightly through the hallway. In the dark hallway, Casey's outline almost glows in the darkness.

I look closer. Wait, she is glowing.

"Uh, Case?" I call out her name, as quietly as I can muster.

My voice still echoes but she ignores me. She runs towards the staircase, jumping over the missing stairs with ease. Me? I have to hold on tightly to the bannister, even though it isn't stable, so that I don't fall through and get stuck.

"Casey?" I whisper her name. "Casey? Could you slow down please?" I beg her, watching as she disappears from my sight.

I try to climb up the stairs but my foot gets stuck in one of the holes in the staircase. I trip, hitting my face on the stairs. Her face pops up as I lift my sore cheek from the ground. She's definitely glowing, there's no doubt about that. I can see the glow shining out of the tiny holes in her clothes. She extends her hand towards me and for a minute, I think she's about going to try to pull me up. Boy, am I wrong. Suddenly, I'm not on the ground anymore. I've never been afraid of heights but there's something about not being able to touch the floor below that unsettles me. She draws her arms towards herself and I'm floating in her direction. I don't know how to describe it but it's as if my legs are numb and I can't kick out in any direction. Dragging my finger across the high ceiling, feeling the ridges and the texture of the art etched on it, I try to avoid looking down at her, out of fear.

She drops one arm and the wind is immediately knocked out of me as I start to drop quickly to the ground. Her eyes are glowing too – they're no longer the familiar forest green that I'm used to but they're now a glowing, emerald colour. I brace for impact, squeezing my eyes shut but the crushing impact of my nose meeting the floor never comes. My heart is racing, as if it wants a running start to jump out of my chest.

I'm hovering. My body is hovering above the ground. My nose is inches away from the ground and I can smell the charred pieces meshed with the cream carpet. Casey giggles at my misfortune, her playful laughter is a lot more thunderous as it rings down the hallway.

She drops her hands gently and the floor cushions my face. She creeps down the hallway, pushing her back as close to the wall as she can. The shadows created by the immense glow pouring out of her body runs down the rest of the hallway.

It isn't until I push myself up and onto my feet that I realise that my hands are still leaking. Each drop makes a dark stain on the floor, each one following another, showing exactly where I've been. Well, isn't that useful. The voice mutters.

I hear footsteps trod behind me, and I whip around to see a seemingly fully recovered Dawn who is staggering up the stairs, with the whispering Phil and Marissa closely following behind her. She seems to be following the dark stains on the floor, her eyes trained on the ground. She looks confused when the dark puddles start to merge into one much larger one, exactly where I'm standing.

"Vee!" I'm attacked in a hug before I can answer her.

I move my arm to pat her but then I realise that I have wet hands so I stand there awkwardly, with my arms at my side. She gasps and takes a step back away from me, pointing in Casey's direction.

"Yeah..." I drag the word out, not really knowing how to explain the whole situation.

The marks aren't itchy anymore but I can't help but claw at the marks, hoping with time that they'd fade away. Something in my gut tells me that they're not going to go away anytime soon, despite my hopes. I know better than to ignore the warnings that my gut gives me now.

Dawn tilts her head slightly, so I turn around to see Casey standing in front of a door. She presses her ear close on the door, and then suddenly takes a few steps away from the door. She stands a couple of metres away from the door and spreads her legs slightly apart as she makes a pushing motion with her palms. The door slightly opens but immediately shuts again. She huffs loudly. She leans forward on her right leg and pushes the air forcefully, her palms outstretched. The power from her hands pushes us back a bit but the effect that she has on the door is huge. It rips the door off its hinges and the door hits the opposite wall with a resounding bang.

She's panting and looks totally overwhelmed as her hair sticks to the sweat that's running down her face. Yet she soldiers on into the room. I run to catch up with her, slightly out of breath, peeking around the door frame. She moves her hands in a small circular motion, her hands circling each other as she stands directly in front of the bed. The bed shakily starts to be lifted in the air, its legs hovering slightly over the ground. She circles her hands faster and the bed starts to balance.

"Holy shit." It's the only phrase that makes sense to me.

Phil rushes in, bumping my shoulder as he does so, and steps over the make-shift barrier of furniture. Whoever is in this room desperately wanted to keep someone out. He crouches down to the level of the bed, and peers underneath. He lays on his front and crawls underneath the hovering bed. He must have seen something that I haven't seen, but all my focus has been on Casey doing this thing with her hands. She's doing the same thing that I did, earlier with the lake.

Phil crawls back out of the bed with two familiar, blonde haired bodies on him. He grunts as he struggles to stand up under the weight of the unconscious bodies. Instead, he sets them on the ground and rolls them over so that their faces are upwards. My heart plummets once I realise who they are.

Alex and Ally. It's the twins. Ally's eyes are fluttering open and her expression is confused. Alex's eyes are still closed but his breathing is a lot more stable. I rush inside, just as soon as she tries to make a run for it. Phil holds her body down as she jerks against his grip. Casey sets the bed on the floor, as she drops her arms in front of her.

Casey starts to raise her arms again.

"Stop!" Someone chokes out.

We pause, looking for the source of the voice until the wardrobe door is pushed open. It's Mori. She's clutching her head in pain (?) but then she turns towards us, her blonde hair matted and I realise that her hands are covered with dried blood.

The glow coming from Casey starts to fade and her eyes are slowly returning to their original forest-y colour. She sways on her feet a bit and starts to crumble but I manage to catch her before her body slams to the ground. She uses me as a support, leaning most of her weight on me to steady herself.

"What the hell?" Mori asks, after a long, tense moment. She stares at me for the longest time, watching me struggle against Casey's swaying frame. "Why are you dripping?"

"We've been asking ourselves that question the whole time." Dawn pops up, from somewhere on the floor.

Mori turns her attention to Dawn, who is now helping Ally to her feet with Ally's arm around her neck. Ally's tall for a fourteen year old, but then again Dawn is quite short for a sixteen year old. She gets crap for her height all the time. "Who the hell are you?"

"Friends." I interrupt her, gaining a glare from Dawn. I know she wanted to snap back but I don't have the time for arguments. Mori relaxes her guard and now only one fist is curled up into a ball. "Is there anyone else here?"

She's about to answer me but then her eyes stare daggers at my arms. "What the hell happened to your arms? Did you draw on your arms?"

Gabe falls into a heap on the floor, as the wardrobe door swings open, banging on the wall. He gets up, and wipes his face. "Wasshappentoerarms?" The words come out in a garbled mess.

"Wasshappen to your face?" Casey murmurs, drowsily.

His entire nose is bloody, and the area above his left eye is slightly darker than the other one. He looks sheepishly at the floor while Mori tuts.

"Stupid boy tried to kiss me and I punched him in the face." She says, like it's no big deal." That's not important, what the hell happened to your arms?"

"Psh-wha-what?" Phil splutters before bursting into laughter.

Mori stands with her hands on her hips, her blonde ponytail swinging as her foot taps impatiently. "Who are you?"

Casey seems to be returning back to reality as she starts to lessen her weight on me. She's still gripping my arm as she steadies her feet. "There's someone else here." She whispers to me, then turns her direction to the other wardrobe behind us.

She leads me, digging her nails into my arms as she drags me to the wardrobe. Her sleeves fall down as she tugs on the doors to the wardrobe. Her arms show the exact same markings that are on my body. The wiggly line on my wrist is nowhere to be found on hers but instead in its place, is a black spiral.

The door swings open and out tumbles Adele and Jamie, both panting for air. Casey helps them to their feet, still a bit visibly dizzy as she stumbles on her feet but apart from that, she seems fine.

Marissa lets out a loud, frustrated sigh, turning our attention to her. She digs deep into her pockets and makes a disgusted face as she slowly removes her hand out her pockets. Everyone in the room lets out a disgusted low groan. Melted stolen chocolate covers her fingers, sticking them together.

"What the hell?" She says as she tries and fails to separate her fingers.

Everyone in the room is tense as we hear footsteps coming in our direction. A guy with blonde hair runs into the room, skidding to a stop in his socks. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite make the stop.

He stumbles into Marissa, making her trip on her own two feet since she was so focused on separating her fingers. In slow motion, I watch as Marissa brings her hand to her, out of habit, as she falls to the ground. I try to resist the giggles building up in my throat as Marissa removes her hand from her face, leaving a chocolate stained handprint on her face.

I giggle, trying to cover it up with a snorting cough. The giggles escape out of my mouth and I can no longer contain it. I can feel everyone's eyes staring at me as two very unattractive snorts escape from my throat. I don't know whether I'm laughing at Marissa's fall, Gabe's sucky attempt at playing seven minutes in heaven with Mori, or the entire craziness of this entire situation. I'm brought to my knees and there's a severe cramp in my stomach but I still can't stop laughing.

I look up to see, through my watery eyes, a confused Sly standing at the entrance to the room. He steps over my body and Marissa's body, and I immediately stop laughing. He weaves his way through the crowd and strolls into the middle of the room.

He looks around at all of us for a long time before uttering, "What the fuck is happening here?"

 

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