Zodiac


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1. Chapter One

The first time they saw Ophelia, she was already practically dead.

The moment she walked through the door, for the first time in that school, stuck in their minds like a catchy song. On repeat. That kind of song that no one really likes but hums to the tune anyway because it always seems to be playing on the radio.

“She’s different. I like the way her hair bounces.” Cara was always something angelic – in the way she saw people and even in the way she dressed. “You don’t know her, don’t judge her just because she looks like the Corpse’s Bride.”

“I was going for Michael Jackson. After the bleaching.” Sam chipped in, raking a hand through his curly mess of mint green hair on the left side of his head. The other side was shaved.

“Whoever she is, she better be ready to get a load of me.” Arthur smirked cheekily, opportunity sparking in his intriguing autumn eyes.

But the truth was: no one could be ready for what was to come.

 

☂ ☁ 🌧 ☁ ☁ 🌧 ☁ ☂

 

“Arthur, I don’t know what your definition of carefully is but that is not carefully.” Since the start of high school, Lili had always torn through competitions with a gold medals and proud smiles but her ultimate ambition was to become student body president and hanging posters, she knew, would do just that. Or at least get the word out.

“If I help you do that pile too,” Arthur eyed a stack of colourful sheets in one of Lili’s hands, “Would you at least consider-”

“I’m not going out with you, especially not to see the new Paranormal Activity movie or whatever.” Rolling her eyes, Lili swiped one of the posters off the stack, she was holding, handing it to Arthur.

“It’s actually the new Chucky film.” Arthur received the poster, exerting all his energy into sighing. “And we don’t have to see Cult of Chucky. We could do anything you want.” Winking, he swept his thick black hair back that began to curtain his vision.

“You are disgusting, you know that? And I have a boyfriend, which you do know.” Just as Arthur parted his lips to reply, Lili added, “And me and Calvin are perfectly happy, for your information. Not that it is any of your business but it would be incredibly unfair on Cal.”

“Calvin’s so perfect. Calvin’s so dreamy with his pompadour hair and tanned skin. Look at me, I’m Calvin!” Arthur tried imitating Lili, childishly, which did make her subtly grin.

“I thought I was Calvin?” The voice loomed over Arthur as he spun around whilst Lili skipped over to the tall boy, pecking a quick kiss on his cheek.

“I was just kidding man.” With a shaky voice, he lightly punched Calvin’s arm.

“Right.” Calvin raised an eyebrow at Arthur, who instantly got the message to scram. “And you look beautiful.” He said, looking down at Lili. “Want me to help you with the posters?”

“No, it’s fine. But, I was actually going to ask…” Lili hesitated. “Would you like to help me out with that speech for the school assembly? The one about the racial equality amongst my fellow dark-skinned teenagers.”

“You know I’d love to…but I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so. That’s it? No excuse like you’re going to be ill that day?” Lili’s tone rose in aggravation as Calvin’s eye drifted off to the ceiling. “You just don’t think so? Okay; I won’t force you into anything.”

“Thank you.” There was a moment of silence. Calvin pulled his fingers through her silky black strands, that went all the way to her waist. “I love you.”

Lili smiled back at him, patted down her pencil skirt and continued to blue-tac the posters onto lockers and walls.

 

Cara chuckled as she glanced down the hallway of red and blue student body president posters. The usual sunshine in her drained out as soon as she saw Scarlet leant against a locker, reading a book.

Why do you have to be here?

Levi noticed this and rolled his eyes as he elbowed his sister’s ribs. The two didn't have similar faces but they did have a few things in common; they both had long blonde hair, except Levi's was pulled into a tight knot.

“How are my favourite twins!?” Sam. It surprised Cara she couldn’t see him coming, what with his crazy hair.

“Aren’t we the only twins you know?” Cara said deadpan at the same time Levi said, full of enthusiasm, “Sam! How was Australia?”

“Dude, it was awesome.” He spudded Levi. “Big spiders there though. You might not like it.” He glanced over to Cara and then down to her petite body. Tension rose between the two and it was Cara’s turn to roll eyes.  

“I love sexism.” Cara coughed, sarcastically.

“Oh, I was gonna ask…” Sam bit his lip. “Have any of you seem Aqcel?”

“Doing drugs? Passed out in an alleyway somewhere? Does he still go to this school? Does he still even go to school?” Levi joked but Sam wasn’t laughing.

“Lucas heard from Pieter that Gena is worried about him. He’s gone missing…again.”

“What has it got to do with you then?” Curiously, Cara asked.

“It’s Gena. Have you seen-”

“Sam.” Chewing the inside of her cheek, Cara contemplated helping, always routing or the morally right lane. “I’m sure he’ll pop up later today.” But she wasn’t.

 

It was lunch and Aqcel still hadn’t popped up.

 “So how long have you been going out today?” With an irritated tone, Sam questioned Calvin and Lili, arms wrapped around each other. Cara and Lili exchanged smirks, aware he was only asking to make conversation instead of actual interest.

“A year.” Calvin responded, tightening his grip around Lili’s waist.

“How have you been going out for a year?” Arthur sneered.

“There’s this thing called commitment and loyalty, loverboy.” Levi stated.

From a distance away, Pieter overheard as he unlocked his locker. “I think it’s really great. A year is something to be proud of.” All eyes shifted focus to the eccentric boy – pale skinned and cotton candy haired. Splattered in paint, his clothes were tatty but he still somehow made it look accepting.

“He’s only saying that cause he can’t even get a girl.” Arthur sniggered, under his breath.

“And you can?” Levi retaliated.

“He doesn’t want girls anyway.” Lili interjected, glaring in Arthur’s direction. “Why are you so close-minded, honestly? It makes you look really...what?!” Lili noticed everyone faces turned in her direction. Just not looking at her. Lili jumped from face to face until she finally turned around to the school entrance, they were standing by.

There was a girl. Her skin ghoulish and hair coal black, flowing messily past her shoulders. Her eyes sunk in her face and from most of the expressions, people found her odd.

Lili trailed her eyes as the girl walked down the hall. After a few seconds, the girl shot her head around, acknowledging the group staring at her. Some in disgust and some with curiosity. In a flash, a mop of platinum blonde swooped in, startling the new girl. “Hi! I’m violet! I’m kind of like your guide for the week as you settle into the school! Wait, you are the new girl right?” Violet followed the girl’s gaze over to us and blushed with anxiety, recalling previous interactions with the group.

“The hell is this new girl?”

“She’s different. I like the way her hair bounces. You don’t know her, don’t judge her just because she looks like the Corpse’s Bride.”

“I was going for Michael Jackson. After the bleaching.”

“Whoever she is, she better be ready to get a load of me.”

“Shut your thick mouth, Arthur.” Levi shook his head.

The conversation turned into nothing but a muffled sound in the back of Lili’s head and she remained fixed on the girl growing smaller and smaller down the hallway. Down the hallway past all her posters, propped on the walls, which she noticed the girl peering at quickly. The posters that felt like nothing now. Nothing but pieces of paper.

It was only until Calvin’s finger dug into Lili’s stomach that Lili began breathing again. She glanced up at her boyfriend, his jaw clenched and eyes suspicious.

“Who is she?”

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