Kitsune Chapter 1

Aiden Gannett slinked through the writing, shining mob of the high school dance. The strobes illuminated her outfit, casting shadows on the bottle green top and black velvet skirt she had carefully chosen earlier that day. As she walked under the flashing and sweeping colored lights the hip-hop music reverberated in her eardrums, spreading waves of purple and green motion through her.

Only the dull black-and-white under her feet told her this was where she had spent the lunch hour of each boring day, chatting with her friends about the same old school crap. She felt as if the thick skirt and hat were as formidable as steel armor protecting her and her secrets. Not to mention, they made her appear nice enough that most people would never suspect she was trying to hide anything. She slid behind the booming speakers and sat on the stage, watching the throng. She started to scratch the wood with her nails, leaving bright trails after them in the dim wood.

"What a fox!" she heard a voice behind her and jumped. How did he find out? She thought, all her senses .

"I know that's such an old term," he said. Aiden turned to see a boy in a black button-down shirt and ripped jeans, squatting on the stage with a coke can in one hand. "But it really suits you."

"Really? Greyhound, maybe, but fox… eh…" Aiden smiled. She brushed her hair back, revealing a long nose on an even longer face. Her freckles and thin gray circles under her eyes reminded the boy of whiskers.

"Well, they're close," he said, "You got red hair and green eyes… just like a fox's."

"Uh-huh… and who are you again?" Aiden turned around to face him, looking him over head-to-toe.

"Hehe… sorry if I wierded you out. I'm Scott."

"What?!" Aiden yelled as a particularly deafening song started clunking out of the speakers.

"Scott!"

"What?!"

"Let's go outside!"

Aiden cupped her ear and motioned for him to repeat it. He grabbed her wrist and started to lead her outside. Aiden suppressed a strong urge to chew out the tendons in his wrist and followed.

Aiden looked outside the door to the hallway as she passed by; there were scattered groups of people sitting around talking. She deduced he wouldn't be able to try anything pervy if she came to sit with him. She followed the boy out to the bench, and they sat down. "Is this the first time you've been to a high school dance?"

"Yes, and no." she said. The boy gave Aiden a questioning look. "First time I've been here as a highschooler, second time I've been. Last year, someone invited me."

"So you're a freshman this year?" He asked. Aiden looked annoyed, but nodded. "I'm a sophomore. I'll show you around, if you'd like."

"I think this bench is getting a little crowded." Aiden said, getting up.

"Don't leave yet!" he squeaked, his voice cracking. He coughed, getting back his deeper voice. "I mean, there's still things to talk about."

"Like what?" Aiden asked.

"Like… what's your name?"

"Aiden. What's yours?"

"Scott. Which classes are you taking?" he asked.

"Who cares?" Aiden's eyes flicked towards the door.

Scott nodded his head and sat in a cloud of regret for a moment. "So… would you rather we didn't talk?"

"Maybe. Have you ever gone outside, listened to birds, cats mewing, and water flowing, and come back inside to hear a human talk? It's not a pleasant sound."

"No… I guess you have a point, but talking doesn't have to be all about noise. It could just be about knowing that another person is there, listening. It makes me feel not as alone in this world, you know?" Scott said.

"Eww. Don't get all mushy on me now, we just met." Aiden scoffed.

"Hey, you want to listen to music? I've got my iPod with me." He said.

"Uh... okay." Aiden said. Just then the music turned off and the corridor flooded with students rushing to leave the humid gymnasium. A guard staunched the flow. Standing by the door to the outdoors, he struggled to hold the sign-out sheet steady as pens scribbled over the forms.

"Here." Scott said, trying to put the earbuds in through her hair.

"Hey! Hey, I can do that!" Aiden said in almost a growling voice.

"No, I insist." Scott said with a smile. His black hair slipped, covering one of his eyes as he moved up her head looking for her ears. Then the bowler hat fell off. Everyone stared open-mouthed at the white-tipped, red fox's ears sticking up from under her hair.

"She's not human." Someone said.

"Is she an alien?"

"Or an experiment?"

Aiden ran through the crowd, knocking down a guard who tried to take her name for the list. Scott got up and followed her, but she was two blocks away by the time he got to the door. "It's okay…" he whispered, too late for her to hear.

Aiden swiftly approached her house and rammed the door. She saw the shadow of her brother come. He opened the door a crack, and Aiden tried to ram it again, but he was too heavy. "What are you doing home so late?" he asked. "If you were with a guy, I swear I'll kick his horny—"

"Enough of that, Andrew." Her father's voice. "Let her in."

"Thank you..." Aiden growled through clenched teeth. She stepped into the light of the kitchen and took a seat at a bar stool on the island.

"So," her father continued, "where were you?"

"At a party… don't worry about it, I can take care of myself." she said, staring at the gray marble countertop.

Aiden's mom appeared around the corner. "Oh my god!" she gasped, putting a hand over her mouth, "Where's your hat!?" Aiden hoped she wouldn't freak out again.

"Marie," her father said, "I'd like it if you stayed in our room right now. Let me handle this."

"But Greg, someone must have seen her without her hat if she doesn't have it now. What about her social life? I don't want her to grow up to be a social reject like me…" tears started in Marie's eyes.

"You were never a social reject." Greg Gannett said. "Stop being overdramatic. She'll be fine. We can take care of it."

"Are you sure?" Marie asked.

"Yes, I'm sure. I'll see you in bed." He said with a wink. A pale smile played across Marie's face as she turned to go upstairs. Once she was out of the room, her dad asked, "So, what happened?" Aiden explained the whole situation to him. "Hmm… what are our options?" Greg paused to think. "We might have to move again, unless we could get government backing to erase their minds and keep this quiet…"

"Uuunnn…" Aiden groaned, "Can we talk about this in the morning? I'm really tired…"

"From doing what?" Andrew asked, raising his eyebrows. Aiden rolled her eyes. "You know, when you act like a whore, it makes me look bad too!" he called after her.

"I'm going to bed." She said, dragging herself up the stairs.

"Okay," her dad called, "But you're grounded until further notice. We can't try to deal with the press again."

Growling softly, Aiden went up to her room and flopped onto her bed. She looked up and stared into the vanity. Her fox ears stuck out horribly and her tail swished on the comforter, reminding her of all those times she stayed up doing research on doctors with good reputations for confidentiality and the training to remove unwanted body parts. Suddenly, the plain wooden vanity was consumed in flames as a horned figure appeared in the mirror.

"Damn you to hell." Aiden muttered.

"Kid, I own hell!" the Devil said.

"Just go away." Aiden said and buried her face in the pillow.

"You don't still want to cut your ears off, do you?" he asked.

"Right now I just want to sleep." Aiden said.

"Good. Because you'll need that amazing hearing when you become Queen of Hell."

"Remind me again why I need to stay on Earth if I'm destined to become a demon queen?"

"Because you need to see where all of the sin takes place, and understand human fears." The Devil replied.

"But how am I supposed to do that if everyone here is a freaking mortal?" Aiden asked.

"I stationed a few more demons around your age here that I thought you might like."

"The last guy you 'thought I'd like' tried to kill me." Aiden said.

"I didn't say that they would like you." He said.

"If that's all you want to say, I'd like to be left in peace now."

"Okay." The Devil grumbled, "But we'll talk more tomorrow."