Part One: New Revelations
The train slowly pulled into the station. The platforms were haunted by the few travellers that dared coming out so late at night. No one seemed to notice as a small, cloaked passenger disembarked from the back car as they tried to find the best seats. The figure casually moved through the halls of the station and up the stairs to the outside world. The individual lifted its head to look up at its new surroundings. Light from an overhead streetlight cast down on the being revealing the small round face of a young girl. Her cheeks were covered in curved black markings that extended down from her, still shadowed, eyes. She closed her eyes and breathed in the cool night air, "I'm finally back." She muttered to herself as a small smile played across her face, then she spun around to find the lights of Whispering Hills Academy in the distance. The smile was quickly replaced by a frown as she remembered the true reason she was there. Rapidly, the girl moved through the night with her new destination in mind.
Chapter One - That Familiar Pain
Jenn lay upon a grassy hill. Her eyes lightly closed against the sun beating down upon her small body. A cool breeze swept by, ruffling her short black hair and jean shirt. She reached up to push a strain of hair out of her eyes and blinked up at the fluffy clouds as they drifted in front of the sun. A smile crossed her face as she enjoyed the weather.
Kimberly lay curled up beside Jenn with her head resting upon the girl's stomach. Jenn set her hand upon her friend's soft, long red hair. A fleeting memories of their first kiss still fresh in Jenn's mind, and a love flowing through her heart. For the first time every she felt at peace. Her mother was not around to yell at her, the breeze was sweet and she was in love. Sure she may have met Kim a couple of days and they were merely eleven years of age, however, it felt like this was how it was meant to be. Just herself and her love resting on a grassy hill with no one to tell them they were doing something wrong. No one to try to explain that they could not be in love or try to pull them apart.
Jenn's beamed as she thought about how perfect life was when Kim began to stir. She sat up and stretched, then turned to glanced down at Jenn, love in her eyes and a smile upon her face. Kim reached out a hand and softly caressed Jenn's warm cheek. Jenn closed her eyes as her skin tingled against the girl's touch. She could feel her heart pounding as Kim drew in ever so much closer. Her red hair brushed lightly against Jenn's face. Jenn felt a longing grow in her heart, and she wanted to savour those lips again. She reached out a hand to run it through Kim's hair, brushing it out of the way so she could look into those beautifully mysterious red eyes. Jenn licked her lips in anticipation of a kiss. She did not have to wait long as Kim lightly brushed her lips against Jenn's, then leaned forward to deepen kiss until they both embraced one another. Jenn wrapped her arms around the girl and pulled her in close. Her entire body was washed over with warmth and a hunger for those lips. When they parted, Jenn could feel a flush of heat throughout her entire body. She glowed up at the girl.
"I... I love you, Kima." Jenn said, letting out a deep shivered sigh.
Kim grinned down at her first love. Her eyes filled with life and affection. Suddenly the winds shifted, picking up in pace, dragging dark clouds to block out the sun. The moment the sun's light faded away Kim's smile abruptly twisted to a harsh frown, "I'm not disgusting like you." Kim unexpectedly glared at Jenn as the winds whipped her hair about her face.
"What?" Jenn frantically scrambled from beneath the girl.
Kim got to her feet and stared down at Jenn, "I said I'm not like you." She shouted, there was anger in her eyes, "Never touch me again!"
""What are you talking about, Kima?" She asked in complete confusion of the change of events.
Kima clenched at her body as if suddenly disgusted by touching Jenn, "Don't call me that!!" She demanded, "Never call me that again. I hate you!!" She screamed.
Jenn clammed her hands over her ears in disbelief, "This can't be happening." She clenched her eyes shut against the image, "How can you say that? You said you loved me?" Her questions were drown out by the howling winds as it picked up pace and assaulted Jenn with leaves. Then the winds died down a bit. Jenn's eyes fluttered opened to find Kim no longer standing before her. The red head had been replace instead with a salutary large tree.
"And you always told me you loved me."A voice drifted on the breeze. Confused Jenn looked all around her in search of who could be speaking. "You said that you would never leave me." The voice continued, "And yet..." The voice continued. Jenn glanced up into the dense branches of the tree to see Kris sitting upon the thickest limb. She was clad in stark white dress clothes. Every article was gleaming, her dress shirt, vest, neck tie and long skirt that covered her legs entirely, it all made her look very angelic.
"Kris?!?" Jenn looked upon her friend in bewilderment, "What are you talking about?"
Kris turned to face her friend, Jenn could see the hurt and mournfulness in those eyes. Kris leaped down from the tree. Suddenly a pair of very large wings spread out behind her and she drifted to the ground landing in front of Jenn. Jenn found it impossible to take her eyes off those shimmering wings. So majestic and beautiful, the arch of the wings were high over Kris's head while the primary feathers lightly brushed the grass at her feet, it was as if they were glowing. Kris reached out and ran a hand through Jenn's hair, "I love you with all my heart." She pulled her hand back, took hold of one of the wings near her shoulder, "and here you are with another girl." She violently tore the wing off. Blood spring forth from the wound in her back splattering crimson across her white clothes.
Jenn stumbled backwards dismayed by what she was seeing, "Kris, I'm sorry... I just... didn't remember..." She explained frantically, her eyes not moving from the twitching wing that Kris held in her blood soaked hands.
"You are sorry?" Kris gave out a tired laugh, " I gave up everything to be with you and you forgot." Kris returned as she proceeded to tear off the other wing and handed the bleeding wings out to Jenn, "How could you forget?" Anger filled the girl's eyes and she hurled the wings to the at Jenn's feet, "I stayed beside you no matter what and you ran off with someone else." She moved close to Jenn, her eyes peering deeply into Jenn's making it hard for the girl to turn away. She set one of her hand crimson covered hands upon Jenn's cheek, leaving redden finger prints upon Jenn's paling skin, "You never understand the pains you've caused me." Kris suddenly kissed Jenn, a kiss that made Jenn's knees feel weak, then Kris swiftly turned away from the girl, "I'm sorry... good-bye..." She said as she walked away, blood could be seen dripping down the back of her clothes soaking the green grass.
Jenn lightly touched her lips as the memory of Kris's kiss flickered through her mind. She pushed passed her fear and ran after her friend, "Wait, Kris!" She called out, reaching out for her, "Don't leave me!!!" Just as her hand was about to touch Kris's back Jenn was suddenly hit squarely in the chest by a powerful force. She felt herself being hauled backwards, off her feet, she landed hard on her right shoulder blades. She skid along the dirt ground, her legs swung over her head causing Jenn's entire body to flip end over end and she came crashing down directly on her chest, nearly knocking the wind out of her. Barely phased by the attack, Jenn immediately pushed herself to her knees and frantically searched for her friend only to see that Kris too had disappeared into the darkness surrounded her. Jenn began to tremble and wrap her arms around her waist as nothing but blackness surrounded, "Don't leave me..." She whispered in the gloom.
Abruptly a hand burst through of the ground in front of Jenn causing her to fall backwards onto her butt in the dirt. The hand was caked in mud and clots of blood. Jenn could see a deep angry slash mark cutting across the wrist of the arm. Another hand quickly followed the first as they clawed at the soil trying to escape their earthen prison. A tangle of blonde hair could be seen breaking through the soil and an eye was peeked at Jennifer through the hair and dirt, "Jenn...ifer..." The ghoul reached out and grabbed the frightened girl by the ankle.
"N... no..." Jenn stammered as she struggled to free her foot.
"You betrayed me..." A deformed May snarled as she pulled her body out from her burial ground, "I'm the only one who cares for you." She brought up her other hand to reveal a long sharp knife clenched between its muddy fingers, "I'm the only one who understood you. The only one who loves you." Before Jenn could react, the knife plunged through the air and sliced its way through Jenn's stomach, deep into her flesh.
Jenn awoke to the rude realization that she had been having yet another nightmare. Slowly Jenn looked around her surroundings as her mind began to wake up. No longer was she in her room at home. Nor was she standing on a hill, like in her dreams. Now she found herself sitting upon a small bed in her new dorm room at the mysteriously unexplainable Whispering Hills Academy. A small digital clock on the dresser at the foot of her bed told her that it was a little past two a.m. She rubbed her head as the past couple of days began to invade her mind once again, along the multitude of emotions that came with them. Fear, pain, sadness, happiness and many more. She looked around the dark room with only the moonlight to guide her. Across the room she could see Kimberly soundly sleeping. The girl was curled up in a tight ball against the wall almost as if she was cowering from the creatures that lingered in the shadows. Jenn recalled the feeling of the girl's kiss and the sensitivities that stirred within her heart.
(I'm not disgusting like you.)
A frown crossed Jenn's face as the ache in her soul returned. She tried to shake those complicated feelings from her mind. When a wave of stabbing pain impolitely reminded Jenn as to what woke her in the first place. She clenched her stomach with one arm as she threw the blankets off with the other. Quickly, she dropped her feet into a pair of fuzzy tiger striped slippers that she had found in the mysterious box that had appeared in their room upon her arrival to the dorms. Carefully she got to her feet and took a moment to look down at the redhead that shared her dorm room. She began to reach out to pat Kimberly's head, then stopped herself, remembering how the girl reacted to Jenn's touch the last time they were curled up together. It was torture enough trying to talk to the girl that Jenn would rather save herself as much grief as she could.
Jenn grabbed one of the white terrycloth house coats off the hook on the back of the door, silently stepped out of their room and carefully closed the door carefully behind her. She looked up and down the hall as she pulled the house coat over her blue striped pyjamas. She was not sure what to do, but needed to hurry before it was too late. Finally she decided to ask the only person she could think of. Venturing through the dark halls of the Western Dorm Jenn found herself standing at the door to Jessica and Kris's room. A small light shone from under the door and took some of the worry from Jenn's mind, she did not want to disturb the girls at such a late hour. She was about to knock when she wondered if it was Kris who was awake. What would she say to the girl if it was? Kris had been avoiding Jenn since they had escaped the horrors of the Western Woods. Her discovery of the fact hat she was in fact Kris's lover, who got amnesia, made things even more uncomfortable. That Jenn was the one causing the sad tormented look in Kris's eyes that Jenn had always seen since the day they met, or at least as long as Jenn could remember. That she was the very girl that broke Kris's heart and Kris has been waiting all that time for Jenn to return to her. No matter how much Jenn tried to remember dating Kris she found her mind clouded and fussy only added to that awkward feeling Jenn had when she was around Kris. Jenn backed away from the room as she tried to think of another alternative when the door suddenly opened and Jessica stood before her clad in only boxers and a black sports bra. She scratched the back of her crew cut hair and fixed her glasses to get a better look at who could be visiting at such a late hour.
"Hey Jenn." Jessica said in a surprised, yet soft, tone, not wanting to disturb any of the others who might be sleeping, "I thought I felt someone standing out here." The Dorm head explained with a warm smile that made a lot of Jenn's discomfort melt away, "What brings you to visit so late at night?"
"I... I..." Jenn nervously stammered while playing with the belt of her housecoat. She didn't know what to say. She suddenly felt embarrassed for interrupting Jessica. Then another attack of cramps began. She clenched her teeth and clamped her arms around her stomach in an attempt to stop the agony, however it was so intense this time that her eyes blackened and she staggered backwards against the far wall of the hall to keep herself from falling to the ground.
Jessica rushed to the girl's side, "Hey! Are you alright?" She inquired worried for her friend.
"It... hurts..." Jenn panted against the pains.
Jessica nodded knowingly, "You have been in the dreams to long. You probably forgot all about having your period." She stated simply.
Jenn looked up at the girl in shock, "How..?"
Jessica gave the girl a knowing smile, "It happens to all of us. I'm guessing it is because we don't have a period in our dreams and when we return to reality it hits us kind of hard. You probably don't have any tampons or anything, am I right?" She inquired.
Jenn simply nodded. She was still not used to the idea that she had been trapped within a dream for the passed year or so. She thought for sure that she had her period during that time, but then again she could not remember much of anything very clearly. Everything was still a daze. She was still piecing the puzzle together in her mind and very little made any sense.
"One sec." Jessica disappeared back into her room. Jenn felt relieved that she choose to come to Jessica's room. She was glad there were people like Jessica at the Dorms. Jessica was very nice to Jenn from the moment she arrived with Kim and Kris. She was rather flirty, but friendly all the same. She did not look down on Jenn for her slashed wrists or for being caught in her own dreams. She always had a warm smile upon her face and seemed to know the right thing to say. Jenn wondered to herself what could have caused the dorm head to be in such a place like Whispering Hills. So far as Jenn could tell, everyone in the Western Dorms had some sort of issues to deal with, which was why they were there in the first place. What could Jessica's problems be? So far as Jenn could tell no reason fo Jessica being at the academy. As Jenn was pondering this Jessica returned with a small box in one hand and a bottle in the other, "Here, I just got some more so you can have the rest. Also, here are some pain killers. Your first after returning is going to be a doozey so you are going to need these." She handed the items to Jenn.
Jenn took them gratefully, "Thank you." She looked at the box of tampons, "Ummm..." She flushed ever so lightly in embarrassment.
"You never used one?" Jessica wondered.
Jenn's blush deepened, "I just used pads and not... for very long." She admitted shyly. Jenn was a late bloomer and was rather sheepish about the fact that she only got her period a little over a year ago. Or was it two years now? She was not even sure if she was fifteen or sixteen anymore. She glanced at the side of the box and read the top headline, "What is Toxic Stress Syndrome? Is it dangerous?" She queried feeling a little nervous.
"Don't worry about it." Jessica assured with a grin, "There is a note about it in the box if you are interested in learning more. Don't worry too much. It is rare and if there is a problem we always have Doctor Amy to depend on." She half joked.
Jenn looked in the box and her eyes came across something pink among the few remaining tampons. She shook the box until the object moved to the side, her flush brightened to the point of covering her entire face and she could feel heat rising up around her neck, "Ummmm..." She stammered then pulled out a small pink cylindrical object with a Hello Kitty hugging a teddy bear on top, "Is this...?" She hinted with a swallow.
"Oh that..." Jessica swiftly took the object from the girl's hand, "Sorry about that." She apologised with slight crimson to her cheeks, "It is just a toy... you know..." She nervously rolled the object between her hands.
"Does that actually work?" Jenn inquired curiously.
"Ummm..." Jessica looked at the thing in her hands, "Sort of... here..." She gripped the cylinder with both hands and twisted the top half. The object came to life in the girl's hand with a low humming sound, "It is kind of creepy seeing as the Kitty at the top is what vibrates, but it works when needed." She admitted awkwardly.
Now Jenn could feel the heat rise up all over her body, "Ohhhkkaaayyy..." She was not able to take her eyes off the strange toy, then, with a shake of her head, she looked down the hall, "I need to go. Thank you." She gave Jessica a weak smile.
"No problem." Jessica assured, "Oh, come to the office later. We have your first allowance for you. You can buy more tampons or whatever you need."
"Thanks." Jenn hurried backwards down the hall, giving the girl a quick wave then disappeared around a corner.
Jessica stood in the door watching her go then remembered that she still had a vibrator humming away in her hands and shut it off before returning to her room.
"How is she doing?" Kris asked from her place on her bed. She had the blankets pulled up to her chest, a magazine rest upon her stomach and her hands were placed behind her head, under the pillows.
"You going to just avoid her from now on?" Jessica returned as she crossed the room to her desk and dropped the toy in the top drawer then turned to face her roommate, "You can't just hide from her forever you know?"
Kris rolled over on her side with her back to Jessica, "Why does it matter? She has Kim now. She doesn't need me." Kris stated in a sad tone, "I'm responsible for destroying her entire live. I can understand if she hates me."
"So you plan to just suffer from now on is that it?" Jessica sat backwards on her chair and crossed her arms over the back, "What am I to do with you, girl?" She asked her roommate's back. Kris did not respond. Jessica let out a frustrated sigh and flicked off the light before dropping into her own bed.
Jenn exited the washroom, relieved to find she had not started to bleed, yet. The tampon turned out to be easier to use then she thought. However, Jessica was probably right and this was going to be one hell of a week. She stared down at the pills and decided to go down to the cafeteria for some water. She crept silently through the halls, down the back stairs which lead directly into the cafeteria dinning hall. She wove her way through the tables and overturned chairs till she found a water cooler against one of the walls. She pulled a little paper cup off the side and filled it. Taking two pills from the bottle she popped them into her mouth and downed the entire cup and made a face at the awful taste of the pills . She crumbled up the cup and dropped it in a nearby garbage pail, then moved towards the lobby when she noticed sounds coming from that room. She cautiously pushed through the double doors to find Natalie laying stretched out on the couch in a pair of black jogging pants, a white t-shirt and a long thin rectangular metal object attached to her right forearm that Jenn remembered containing a deadly blade within.
"Natalie, you're up too?" Jenn remarked while approaching the couch to see that Natalie was watching MuchMusic and currently they were playing Cory Heart's Sunglasses at Night video.
Natalie stretched and sat up straight, "Yeah, I can't sleep. How about you? Your time?" She asked nodding at the box in the girl's hands.
"Yeah," Jenn moved around the couches and sat at the opposite side of the one Natalie sat upon, "I forgot how much of a pain it is." She grumbled, placing the pills in the box and setting both on the coffee table, "What about you? Why are you up so late?"
"Too much on my mind." Natalie admitted with a sigh and running a hand through her long wavy blonde hair, pushing her bangs our of her eyes and letting them fall back in place again. "Say, how are your friends doing?" She inquired genuinely concerned, "The ones from Eastern?"
"Oh Tanya and Cherilyn? They are doing alright, I guess." Jenn remarked and shrugged, "The headmistress scolded Tanya a bit for entering the woods, but that was about all."
"She got off lucky then" Natalie commented bluntly, "I'm not sure to consider her lucky or stupid, sorry to say."
"Yeah." Jenn agreed, remembering the other day and a shudder ran across her spine. She never wanted to return to that nightmare ever again. She rubbed her forehead, she truly hoped that was all it was, a horrible nightmare.
"Things sure have been busy this week." Natalie stated as she glanced out of the window, illuminating about the passed events, "Fall has really sprung up since we've returned." It was unusual. They had only been in the woods a few hours at the most and yet outside it would appear that had shifted dramatically . The sunny skies had been replaced by clouds and the nice cool breezes were instead replaced by a cold wind rattled at the windows and nipped at their skin. "After those woods I don't think there will be much that will scare me any more." Natalie continued.
"No kidding." Jenn commented with a nervous laugh, "By the way, You and Kima were amazing." She exclaimed excitedly remembering the way the two girls freed them from the woods' dreamworld, "I don't think I told you that. I can't believe you two took on that man all on your own." Her eyes fell back to the retractable blade upon on the girl's arm as the memory of Natalie slashing through Akaime entered her mind.
Natalie did not seem to notice Jenn's interest in her weapon and her face grew long with despair, "She is something else alright." There was a strain in her voice as Natalie's mind drifted to the red headed girl.
"Is there something wrong?" Jenn asked moving a little closer to Natalie and crossing her legs under herself, "You want to talk about it?" She inquired gently, given Natalie room enough to decline.
"Its... I... I don't know..." Natalie stammered.
"Girl problems?" Jenn probed already knowing the answer. She could see the way Kima acted around Natalie. It was the same way around Jenn. The girl had a way of toying with them and making it so hard to pull away. She was not sure what it was about Kima that made it so difficult and knowing that Kim or Kima was the first girl she ever kissed made her situation with Kris even more unstable. She was not sure if she could trust that memory. She could understand fully why Natalie would be having troubles sleeping. The fact that Natalie was rooming with Kima must be making things increasingly more difficult.
"You could say that." Natalie replied with a sigh. She had been milling over her thoughts for hours before Jenn arrived and still could not sort things out for herself. Kima was so much like Kimberly and at the same time so different. The fact that the girl was actually Kim's suppressed emotions made things even more complicated then there was Kima's sexual nature. She was a ball of sexual tension waiting to explode and Natalie did not want to be around when that happened. She was already in the dog house with Alyson after the first incident with Kima. She let out a agonizing sigh at the memory of Kima's kiss. So light and powerful. It made Natalie yearn for more and this only added to her guilt because she wanted Alyson to be her first... everything.
"Seems to be going around." Jenn remarked dismally, turning to glance up at the ceiling, "I always thought I'd just have a problem finding one girl. This is beyond belief." She shook her head ever so slowly, "Do straight people have this kind of trouble?" She wondered.
"Kim still giving you troubles?" Natalie raised with worry in her eyes.
"Not really." Jenn lightly closed her eyes and leaned her head on the back of the couch, "My memories keep confusing me. I don't know what I feel anymore. I didn't even know I'd kissed a girl until a couple of days ago." She rubbed her forehead, "It is maddening. Why can't I remember anything clearly?"
"At least you remember your first kiss,." Natalie muttered and curled her legs up beside herself. "even if it is only partly."
Jenn rolled her head on the back of the couch to look at Natalie, "What about that Alyson girl?" She inquired curiously.
Natalie set her arms on the arm of the couch and buried her face in them, "I... I don't know... The one girl I want to kiss and I haven't got the courage to yet." The memory of Alyson discovering herself and Kima together and the argument that ensued afterwards entered her mind again, "Now I think she hates me even more." She mumbled into the crook of her arm.
"You lived with her for a while didn't you?" Jenn pried interested to learn more about her new house mates.
"Only for a year..." Natalie admitted timidly, "We slept in the same bed, but nothing more. She never showed me much affection. The most she did was give me a necklace and it was only to protect me from evil." She muttered. She had thought it was much more then just a protection against evil, but the more she thought about it that was all it was and nothing more.
"Oh..." Jenn stared back up at the ceiling, "I'm sorry."
Natalie glazed over at Jenn, "Tell me something?"
"Hmmm?" Jenn sleepily replied.
"Why did you call Kim's reflection Kima?" Natalie questioned interested to learn more about her redheaded friend. Natalie was starting to realize that she knew very little about Kim. Both before she met Kim and after her disappearance.
Jenn's eye fluttered open and she stared up. Thoughts rushing through her head, "Why did I call her Kima?" She muttered more to herself then anything else.
"I'm starting to discover that I know very little about Kim or Kima." Natalie explained gloomily, "I've spend a year searching for the girl and I never knew the nightmares she lived with." She sat up, her eyes scanning over Jenn, "Never mind the fact that she had a girlfriend before we ever met. I knew she liked girls, but finding out about you was a complete shock to me."
Startled Jenn faced Natalie, "We weren't... that is..." She blushed deeply, "I don't think you could call us girlfriends."
"You don't have to tell me you if you don't want too," Natalie eyed Jenn, watching the girl nervously play with the hem of bathrobe, "but don't tell me that you too did not have some kind of relationship going on. We were all in the woods with you."
Jenn let out a deep sigh in defeat, she knew when she had been caught, "We were young. Maybe eleven or twelve." She finally admitted, "I didn't remember it until we entered that forest." Actually she hardly remembered anything before that moment. It was like the branches of the woods clawed away at the plug in her mind prying it partly open, "I guess that was when I gave her the nick name. I just remembered it when I say her reflection. I don't know why." She thought back to the first time she met Kim's reflection. There was something there in her eyes that was missing from Kim's. Was it the reflection that she encountered all those years ago? Again she remembered the feeling of Kim's kiss and her heart fluttered causing her to flush, then as quickly as the memory appeared it vanished, "Dammit!" Jenn hit herself in the head, "I wish my mind would stop playing with me."
Natalie patted the girl on the shoulder, "It will all come too you when you are ready." She indicated softly.
All of a sudden the front doors to the dorm opened and a cool breeze brushed through the room. Natalie and Jenn turned around on the couch to see who could be intruding upon them. There standing in the foyer was a darkly clad person in a long cloak, the hood pulled far over its head so Jenn and Natalie were not able to see the person's face.
Natalie was the first to spring to her feet, throwing daggers ready in hand behind her back, "Who are you?" She demanded the shadowy figure, "How did you get in here? The doors are locked after eleven."
The figure turned its head to face Natalie, "There is no need to be hostile." A bare arm emerged from under the folds of the cloak, it was covered in a dark flame tattoos that wrapped its way from under the cloak around the arm and to the person's fingers. Carefully, as to not cause any more distress, the person pulled the hood off to reveal a girl maybe a year or so younger then the Jenn and Natalie. She stood a tad smaller then Natalie and there were more tattoos across the girl's face. Strange curved triangles that merged and circled the girl's eyes in blackness making her yellow eyes stand out even more. Her face was surrounded by brown ragged hair, cut just below her ears. "I am not here to harm you." She illustrated with a light smile, "I'm only looking for my sister."
To be Continued . . .
Note: The world of the shadowlands, Its stories, Characters and ideas are a copyright of Kathryn K Williams.
This story is based upon my manga of the same name. If you wish visit my site and see some of the art based on this series at http://www.shoujoai.ca
Also if you spot any typos or other errors please contact me at KathrynKatAndNekoManga.ca