Watch My Back

I've never written anything like this before so work with me a little here. I'd love to hear any feedback.
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I was taught from a young age that the world was full of monsters; that any creature that isn't strictly human should not be trusted. I was trained to fight, to assess my enemy and always have the upper hand. Imagine my surprise when I was abruptly informed that I myself am one of those creatures to be feared, to be hated. All because of my "tainted" blood, I would become someone dangerous and inherently evil as well as a target. It's a good thing no one knew. For a while anyway...

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It's amazing how your mind and senses come alive in the dark. Hearing is amplified, I hear every drop of rain; I can smell chalk, mildew, and one thing I can’t quite place. Even my vision is improved, or distorted if you choose to think of the twisting shadows and shapes in that way. All of those things may be caused by the dark, or, maybe the awareness derives from fear. The heavy despair that’s resting on the back of my tongue, bitter and inconsolable, has the feel of terror. I suppose my shortcut through this dark alley really wasn’t the best idea; I, of all people, know what lurks in the shadows. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end and any normal person would dismiss the instinct as a misplaced worry or the slight chill in the air but I know better. Humans have been ignoring their instincts for as long as they’ve had them, not knowing what lurks in the dark, not having been accustomed to being the prey until recently. The back of my neck is burning and it takes everything I have not to look behind me although I have no doubt I’m being watched. I don’t speed up because running would be the worst thing to do right now. Running would be suicide; after all, hunting is never any fun if there isn’t something to chase. That’s the first thing you’re taught.

As I near the end of the alleyway, I feel, rather than see, the shadows just to my left begin to take form but I’m ready. I stop walking and pull two thin blades from the sheaths on my sides, moments before the demon fully materializes. Demons look nearly identical to humans and you would never be able to tell the difference if you didn’t know what to look for unless, of course, one of them appeared directly in front of you. This particular demon smirks at me and then pouts. Yep, he actually stuck out his bottom lip and had the audacity to look offended. I scowl at him and halfheartedly swipe at his chest with one weapon. Unfortunately, he dodges gracefully and plucks the dagger from my grasp before putting his arm around my shoulders.

“Damn sis, that’s the third time you’ve tried to stab me this week. I’m telling dad.” “I’m not your ‘sis’, Roth.”. I grumble as I step away from him. Technically, I am his half sister, we share the same father but different mothers. Our dad is a demon. My mom is something that his mother is not; human. I know it sounds weird but despite my whining and arguing otherwise, I do enjoy his company. Demons aren’t the emotionless embodiments of evil they’re made out to be. Sure, they can move around as a shadowy mist, have an unholy captivation with souls, and tend to gravitate toward tragedy and disastrous events but who doesn’t? Have you seen how humans surround crime scenes and revere death at funerals? Anyway, humans haven’t always known about demons and shifters and vampires; it's a moderately recent thing. The fae on the other hand, that’s a completely different story. The humans have been aware of their kind of magic for centuries. The whole “dark side” thing though, is completely foreign to them and they hate the fact that they weren’t informed of it sooner. Some humans accept it, even expected it; you know, the whole ‘light needs dark’ balance thing. Others fight it and because of that, anything supernatural has a target on it’s back. It used to be possible to hide but it’s definitely become more difficult ever since the government decided to start keeping records. They say it’s to “cut back on crime” or “make note of special cases”, but I think the list is just to keep track of who they can blame.

The list doesn't help those with magic, it’s more like a death sentence. Especially since no one seems to give a shit if names get leaked. Names get leaked and whether it’s direct or indirect, we do get targeted, being known by the public is a danger. None of us would be stupid enough to leave any evidence pointing towards a magical being and yet every time something bad happens it always seems to point to one of us. Magicals have been hiding their presence from humans for centuries, they certainly wouldn't leave obvious trails. I, being only half demon, slipped under the radar so as far as everyone knows, including me up until last month on my seventeenth birthday, I’m completely human. This stroke of luck allowed me to stay off of the list and, in turn, away from any immediate threats.

I now see the irony my father alluded to years ago in having the school system coddle me and teach me how to fight. One of the dreadful creatures they so deeply fear, and I know everything they teach the humans about avoiding my kind. In today’s world, it’s normal to be taught self defense and what to do when confronted by a demon. They teach you to carry a weapon at all times, not to go out alone at night, and definitely not to walk down dark deserted alleyways. Well, now I had two of three, although for some reason I don’t think my teacher would consider my demon half-brother acceptable company. I look up at Roth and smirk, waiting for the usual crudely worded insult or mocking commentary. When nothing comes and he doesn't seem to notice my look, I stiffen. Normally when he shows up he just walks along with me and we trade sarcastic remarks but tonight I can tell something is wrong. He’s tense and even though he’s always pretty aware of his surroundings, tonight he’s glancing around and standing almost protectively in front of me. I reach out and take my blade from him and slowly look around, trying to determine what has him so worked up. I raise my eyebrows at him and nudge him with my foot. He shakes his head. “Come on Kate, I’ll walk you home.” I didn’t realize how serious it was up until that moment. Roth never calls me by my real name, he always uses some obnoxious nickname that makes me want to smack him.

He starts walking at a fast pace and because he is freakishly tall I struggle to keep up. The first few minutes we spend in silence. I figure he’ll tell me what’s going on while we’re walking but when we get to my street and he still hasn't said anything, I grab his arm, forcing him to look at me. “What the hell is going on?” I ask. He turns and motions for me to keep going and then opens his mouth to speak. “Kate, they found out about you. You’re on the list.” My heart drops and my blood turns to ice in my veins. “Shit.”

 

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