Author: jnl94 PM
Welcome to Shadowland, the place nightmares are made of. So enter at your own risk, because I'm not going to hold your hand. A purpose, a girl and a boy, a love, and things that go bump in the night. Nothing is ever quite what it seems.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Romance - Chapters: 23 - Words: 50,905 - Reviews: 101 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 04-10-13 - Published: 12-31-12 - id: 3087705
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Step into Darkness
Annie was already up and dressed by the time her alarm went off, signaling that it was time to get up for school. She heaved a sigh and pushed her auburn red locks from her face. It was school to most people, but to Annie it was Hell.
She grabbed her backpack off the floor where she had tossed it the day before and started down the stairs where her mother was waiting in the kitchen. Her father wasn't in the picture. He wasn't dead or anything, he just left one day and never came back. Well, Annie mused, she supposed he could have been dead for all she knew.
"Morning, sweat pea," Debora said, looking up at her daughter. "Sleep well?"
Annie forced a smile. "Yeah, great," she lied.
Her mother gave her a long look, as if she knew that Annie was having nightmares and then looked away. "That's good," she said absently.
Annie hadn't told her mother about the nightmares. She didn't know why, but she felt like even her mother would call her a freak if she knew. It wasn't like Debora didn't know a thing or two about weird—hello, she was a Caster—but the dreams felt too…different.
It was bad enough that Annie could see and speak to the shadows, a talent that was most rare and 'extraordinary.' Annie thought it sucked ass. She was never really alone and it had taken her years to get over the whole changing in front of them thing. She felt incredibly exposed and it was still weird at times. But there was no getting away from them.
"I took some pictures," she said, not wanting to bring up the shadows to her mother.
Debbie smiled. "That's great! What were they this time?" she wondered, leaning forward on her elbows.
Annie shrugged and sat heavily across from her mother. "Oh, you know, the usual," she said, waving her hand through the air.
Debbie smiled sadly. "The misunderstood and weird?" she asked.
"You forgot alone," Annie muttered, averting her eyes.
"Why don't you take pictures of your friends at school?" Debbie asked casually, pushing her hair off her face. Annie looked a lot like her mother. They both had the same red hair and high cheekbones. At least, Annie mused, I know what I'll look like if I live past my Unbinding.
Annie stood abruptly, slinging her bag over her shoulder. "Maybe because I don't have any?" she suggested.
"What about Mia?" Debbie asked.
"I gotta go," Annie muttered, slipping out the front door. She sighed heavily and watched her breath puff out in front of her as she made her way to her car. She slid behind the wheel, cranked the heat up, and rolled down the driveway.
It was true that Mia Montgomery was her friend, but that was the problem. She was her only friend. They had met last year when Mia had sat across from her at lunch, something that had surprised Annie. No one ever sat with her.
"Um, are you lost?" Annie asked, looking up at the blond girl.
She shrugged her shoulders. "Nope. I figured you're sitting here by yourself 'cause either you like the solitude or you're a freak."
Annie looked down at her hands.
"I'm guessing freak based on your reaction." The blond shrugged. "I'm Mia, by the way. Freak extraordinaire!"
"Really?" Annie asked skeptically, eying the other girl. The only thing that seemed different about her was the hot pink streak she had gotten dyed in her hair.
"Absolutely," Mia grinned.
"Well it's nice as hell to meet someone who has a polite bone in their body. People have been whispering about the 'new girl' all day and even pointing. So rude. I mean, come on, really?" Mia grumbled, rolling her eyes dramatically.
"Get used to it. They've been whispering and pointing at me my whole life. And I've lived here since I was born. You learn to ignore most of it."
And just like that, Antoinette DuVille had a friend.
Annie parked in her usual spot, close to the front doors of the school so she wouldn't have to run too far if she needed to make a fast getaway. She climbed from the car, drawing stares and even a few glares. She sighed. Didn't it ever get old?
She strode to the front doors of the Oakridge High School with her chin lifted in a defiant position. Still, they called out their insults.
"Hey Devil! Why don't you go back to Hell where you belong!?"
"There goes the witch. I wonder how she hides her warts."
"How's the Haunted Mansion this morning?"
"Hey! Is the broom in the shop?"
Annie ignored them all and let the doors slam shut behind her. Almost immediately Mia bounded over to her, her bag slung over her shoulder. "Piss on them," she muttered the same as she always did. Annie smiled the same as she always did.
"What trouble are you causing today?" Annie asked, casting a glance at her spikey haired friend.
Mia smiled and batted her eyelashes innocently. "Whatever do you mean? I am a perfect lady," she said, with a regal bow of her head, trying to keep a straight face.
Annie and Mia burst out laughing together. "You almost had it," Annie said when she could breathe.
"What are you laughing at, you freak?" Allison Brown, the school bitch, sneered.
"You and that clown makeup, Brown," Mia snapped, narrowing her eyes at the cheerleader.
"Was I talking to you?" Allison demanded, sending Mia a look that would send a lesser girl running to the bathrooms.
"Well you're looking at me," Mia shrugged, her blasé attitude pissing Allison off further.
"Bite me," Allison hissed. Mia snapped her teeth together and flashed a wolfish grin. Allison made a noise of disgust and turned on her heels, stalking away.
Mia glanced at Annie. "Why don't you tell her off? I know you've got it in you."
Annie shrugged. "If I start, I don't think I'll ever stop," she admitted.
"And that's a bad thing because…?" Mia wondered.
"Everyone in town already hates me enough," Annie said as they headed to their first period.
"They don't hate you," Mia said on a sigh.
"Yes they do. And it's only because of my last name. If I was Antoinette Jones, I'd probably fit right in," Annie muttered as they found their seats in the back of the room.
"Hardly," Mia said, leaning in so only Annie could hear her. "You're a freak with a capital F," she said lovingly.
Annie nodded and flashed a grin. "I know," she said.
Mia leaned back in her seat. Annie had told her friend at the end of the summer about the DuVille family secret. She knew all about Annie's 'gifts' and thought it was cool. She didn't have to live with them. Mia was the only Mortal that was in on the loop. It just wasn't safe for a bunch of them to know.
That was how the Salem Witch Trials happened. And it was probably a bitch like Allison Brown who told the first lie.
Mia didn't seem bothered by the fact that she couldn't tell anyone that Annie and Debbie were Casters. She did, however, ask Annie endless questions whenever she could. "So, no brooms?" Mia asked out of the blue.
Annie smiled. "No brooms," she confirmed.
"That's no fun," Mia whined.
"No fun?" Annie asked. "Watch this," she said, turning in her seat. She glanced at the front of the room and pushed a little bit of her power at the chalk on the teacher's desk. They were the only two in the room, so Annie felt comfortable with the magic.
The chalk lifted by itself and wrote the words, definitely better than brooms. Mia giggled and clapped a hand over her mouth. The words faded as soon as another person entered the room and both girls tried not to laugh.
There was still a lot that Mia didn't know about Casters and the DuVille family. There were things that Annie hadn't been able to tell her friend. But she would have to do so soon. Her birthday was only in a few months and Mia deserved to know what might happen.
Annie could die. Cease to exist. Sleep with the fishes.
Or she could become the most powerful Caster in a long time.
She must have sighed because Mia looked at her in concern. "Are you okay?" she asked.
Annie nodded, her eyes trailing over the shadows twisting around the room. She saw her friend Sharyo and smiled, beckoning her over with a slight tilt of the head. Sharyo disappeared in a wisp of smoke, only to appear right next to Mia. She flicked Mia's notebook open, and laughed out loud as Mia's eyes got wide.
"Did you do that?" Mia asked, sending Annie a startled look.
Annie shook her head. "Nope," she answered truthfully.
"So this is the Mortal girl you told me about?" Sharyo asked.
"I like the pink streak in her hair. It's badass."
"Sharyo likes the pink streak," Annie said easily.
Mia swallowed and nodded her head, trying not to look panicked. The gift was cool until the shadows started talking about her.
"Do I make her nervous?" Sharyo questioned.
"A little," Annie said.
Annie laughed, drawing the attention of half the class. She ignored them and turned in her seat to face Mia. At least it wouldn't look like she was talking to herself this way. "Not cool. Don't be cruel."
"I'm hardly being cruel. Naspeth wouldn't allow it. He doesn't tolerate senseless cruelty. And besides," Sharyo said, shrugging her dark wispy shoulders. "I'm just naturally a nice person."
That was another thing about the shadows being in the Mortal world. Annie didn't know what any of them really looked like. She could tell Sharyo had long hair, but she didn't know what color. It was black as of now, but so was the rest of her. She was exactly what her name implied. A shadow.
Annie wouldn't know what she looked like unless she saw Sharyo in Shadowland and Annie doubted she'd ever have much reason to go there. Unless…
A dangerous train of thought, Annie mused. It would do her no good to travel down that road.
"Who's Naspeth?" Annie asked suddenly, looking up at Sharyo.
She gave Annie a startled look and bit her lip. She didn't even bother stuttering an excuse; she just disappeared in a wisp of smoke, leaving Annie clueless. She reluctantly turned her attention to the front of the room where Mr. Peterson was scribbling furiously on the board. Everyone was writing the notes in their notebooks except Annie and Mia.
Mia cursed and started scribbling away in her notebook. Annie didn't normally use her magic in school as a rule, but there was so much on the board that she hadn't written down yet. It would be impossible for Mia and Annie to get it all written down before he erased it. She flicked her fingers and Mia let out a soft gasp as the words began scrawling themselves on her paper. Annie flipped open her notebook and watched the words write themselves in her curling script.
With that taken care of, she was free to daydream and maybe catch a few more minutes of sleep.
Annie snapped her eyes open and looked around wildly. She didn't see anything. She tried to gasp in a breath, but found that she could not.
This can't be happening, she thought to herself.
Slowly, as if torturing her by making her wait, a light appeared a short distance away. It was a small pinhole of light, but it was enough for Annie. She began making her way toward it, her head already spinning from lack of oxygen.
The closer she got to the light, the easier it became to breathe. She forced herself to move faster.
Annie paused, breathing shallowly. Where had the voice come from?
Annie squinted in the direction she had just come from, but there was nothing. The farther back she looked, the darker it seemed.
Annie bit into her lower lip and called out softly, "Who's there?"
Annie shook her head and took a step back, unsure of what to do or where to go. The voice sounded so small, so far away. The light was so warm and inviting.
Annie swallowed hard and took a step into the darkness. Then another and another until she was running.
Annie forced herself to keep going.
The voice was stronger now, but Annie felt weaker.
Just a little farther.
Annie stopped, bending at the waist.
The voice was screaming now.
No! No! No! Keep moving! You have to keep moving!
Annie shook her head. She couldn't go any farther. She couldn't breathe, her chest ached, her legs felt like rubber. She couldn't move on. She couldn't keep going.
Annie tried to take another step and sank to her knees, pressing her hand to her chest. She felt like she was having a heart attack. Who knows, maybe she was.
What's going on?
A new voice. Familiar, yet foreign.
Hey, you shouldn't be here. It's not safe for you.
Annie tried to say that she was following the voice, but she tipped over sideways, slumping to the 'ground.'
Cool fingers touched her forehead and her throat. Annie felt too weak to even bat the hands away. They continued to prod at her, rub her back, gently caress her cheek. The hands were a little rough, but not harsh. Whoever it was, they were being very gentle with her. They didn't want to hurt her.
Then Annie felt cool lips press to her forehead and she completely slipped away into the darkness.
Annie jerked awake abruptly with a sharp gasp. She lifted her head from her arms to see Mia looking at her worriedly. "Are you okay?" she asked.
Annie touched her hand to her cheek. "I'm fine," she murmured. She could still feel the rough texture of the hands. Who had it been? And why did she suddenly feel as if someone had taken a part of her soul away from her and stomped on it?
Somehow she knew that it was her dream boy. The one she never saw, the one she didn't know the name of. So now she knew one more thing about him. He had a beautiful voice, rough hands, and he was very gentle.
Why the hell did she keep dreaming about a man that didn't exist?
bookppl93- As you wish. :)
roseskyangel- By "the other one" I assume you mean Wynter. You'll find out. :)
Writing In Ink Forever- Well of course! I had to show you his side of the dream.
Nyx'sReincarnation- Well it's Cajun French and they speak a little differently. It's like how if you go to two different parts of France, you'll get two different dialects - it's the same language, but spoken a little differently.
AddictedTime- Yes! I'm causing procrastination. Success! I'm not really sure what you mean by "What I don't understand though is why Naspeth would be stopping Annie from going in the shadow." Do you mean the shadow blob thing in the dream? Or...could you explain that please?