A small wooden jewelry box with intricate flower cravings lay on a table of an old antique store between various other items. Warm brown eyes studied the jewelry box with curiousity.

"Like it?" An elderly lady asked coming up beside the tall girl.

The girl traced the flower pattern lightly. "I have a soft spot for my namesake."

The woman nodded, "You can have it. But it's rather useless since it won't open."

Chapter One

Gifted

The insistent typing of the keyboard seemed to be attempting to drown out the teenage inquiry.

"I don't get it!" A squeaky voice exclaimed. Said voice was coming from a short brown haired, blue jean skirt and pale yellow shirt clad girl. "You two were the perfect couple! Why'd you break up with him?"

The redheaded girl she was interrogating held her ground in a way that might intimidate anyone else but the shorter chihuahua hearted girl. Despite her stance, her tone was soft. "I have my reasons."

Frustration escaped the questioner's lips, "Camellia! I just don't get you! Lately you've been acting so weird! We use to go places, but then you started skipping out on everything! And then you go dump the guy you've admitted to being in love with!"

The insistent typing came to an abrupt stop as the only male in the room reached his maximum annoyance level. "Sara, we're supposed to be working on the yearbook, not putting Camellia through the Inquisition."

Sara's face blushed with embarrassment at the reminder there was another person in the classroom.

"Sorry", she huffed before sitting down at a desk and turning her attention to her lab top.

As Camellia situated herself in front of her lab top, she mouthed a silent, "Thanks Sam."

The hazel eyed teenager nodded slightly before the insistent typing began again.

The clock ticked as the three high school students worked away. Each was adsorbed into their own yearbook editing causing a comfortable blanket of silence that was only broken by the typing and occasional question or comment.

Camellia yawned as she pulled out a pair of headphones. Soon she was quietly humming along to the song. Many more silent minutes passed.

When the hour hand reached six O'clock Sara was the first up. "I'm heading home."

She packed up her stuff and was soon walking out the door. Camellia stared after her friend with a guilty frown as she took her headphones off. Sam raised an eyebrow while the computer shut off.

"She's too nosey sometimes", he commented.

Camellia made no reply.

Sam scratched his head awkwardly, "Well, see you tomorrow."

"See you", she answered as he too left the room.

Camellia placed her laptop in its bag, but when she went to pick it up she stopped short. A warm thumping pressed against her chest. Camellia's brown eyes went wide, and her hand flew to the golden oval locket with a misty grey gem that hung around her neck.

A frustrated breath escaped her lips.


Sam fumbled out his car keys as he tried to push the school door open. The doors didn't budge; frowning Sam tried again but they remained still.

"What?" He questioned since the doors weren't supposed to be locked until the janitor left. Sam turned back around with the intention of finding the janitor only to drop his keys in surprise.

Barely a foot away from him was a young man with long dark hair and red cat-shaped eyes. The man wore torn up jeans and dirty white t-shirt. Grinning sadistically he asked, "Scared?"

As soon as the word was uttered Sam was bombarded with the smell of smoke. He panicked as he started to cough. Sam then felt his body slam into the floor, but couldn't be sure if he had tripped or been pushed. He blinked up at the man yet could hardly see him through the smoke and vague orange glow.

It was then it hit him. The school was on fire.

Pure terror rushed through his body forcing Sam to go into fight or flight mode. He chose flight, pawing uselessly at the door. Between the futileness, overwhelming heat, and sound of euphoric laughter his eyes began to water.

Just as quickly as it appeared, the fire vanished leaving Sam slumped against the door to watch an odd scene unfold.

The man was pushing himself up from the floor with a hate filled grimace directed at a girl Sam didn't recognize.

The girl's long white hair seemed to flow in a nonexistent wind. She wore a sleeveless white shirt and a short skirt with black shorts underneath. Black boots and gloves covered her feet and hands. Piercing gold eyes stared coldly at the fallen man.

"Feeding off people's fears?" The white haired girl rhetorically asked as she walked toward the man. Her hand started to glow, and the light completely ignored the law of conservation of matter creating a large knife.

The man jumped up trying to make a run for it. The girl reacted by immediately throwing the knife at him. It hit him in the back of his calf causing the man to tumble to the floor with a screech of pain. The girl continued to calmly approach him.

The black haired man snarled in a refusal to admit defeat, "What a good soldier you've become Pandora, but we all know you're getting worn out after the incident last week-"

He was cut off by another knife embedding itself in his heart. The girl, Pandora, raised one gloved hand to her chest to touch her gold locket with a misty grey gem. It began to glow.

The red eyed man made a hissing noise as he pulled the knife from his calf and lunged at Pandora. The knife dug into her leg, and she too collapsed to the floor. Their eyes met as he turned into a shadow and was sucked into the locket. The gem turned a shade darker.

After a moment passed Pandora stood back up with a wince and limped over to Sam.

"Are you okay?" She asked in a vaguely familiar voice.

"Y-yeah", he stammered, not exactly sure what to say. "Your leg, you need help."

She smiled slightly as she put a hand on his shoulder seemingly to keep her balance. However, she then pressed down on a nerve cluster causing Sam to fall unconscious.

"Sorry", Pandora whispered as she left the school.


Sam woke back up with a pounding headache and bruised shoulder. He pulled himself up and cautiously surveyed the lobby. There were no psycho guys making him think the building was on fire and no knife loving girls killing said psychos. It was just a normal high school during that strange time before night fall.

"Creepy dream?" He asked himself out loud.

Sam was about to write it off as just that when he noticed something out of place. There was a trail of half dried blood across the yellowed tile floor.

"Or not."

He recovered his dropped car keys before following the trail out the now unlocked doors. Once he got to the parking lot the trail was impossible to find in the twilight. He soon gave up with a sigh deciding to go home.


A small blue car pulled into a parking place of the hospital. Before getting out Camellia checked to make sure her wrapped leg was properly hidden by her pants.

"While you're here, you should have your leg stitched up", a motherly voice suggested. Camellia turned to face the ghostly image sitting in the passenger sit.

The translucent figure looked no older than Camellia. She wore a flowing white dress that matched her long hair, and stared at Camellia with empathically critical golden eyes.

"They'd ask questions." The redhead replied. The young woman nodded before fading away which left Camellia to make her way inside the hospital.

The hospital had that slightly chilly and sterile feel that all hospitals seem to have. Camellia passed various visitors, patients, nurses, and doctors. All the while she vainly struggled to hide her limp, not that anyone questioned it.

"Miss Ayers", a nurse station worker acknowledged her.

"Good evening", Camellia courtly replied as she signed in. She then turned down the hall only to stop at one of the first doors.

She pushed the door open to see a blue pajama wearing middle aged man. His left arm was in a cast with an IV in the other. A brace around his neck held his head still, but his face showed a kind smile.

"Camellia."

"Hey, dad."


Remember any and all thoughts are welcome!