CHAPTER EIGHT

"Who the hell are you people?"

Cassie raised her head and looked at the guy in front of her who was catching his breath after running for his life. She caught Alex's mouth twitching, lying at her feet. She smiled. Alex distastes foul words. His exhaustion was the only reason that stopped him from lashing out at the guy.

"We should be asking you that question," Cassie said all knowingly.

"What?" the guy looked at her with his brown eyes. He had nice, warm eyes, which didn't suit his foul mouth personality at all. His long black hair which he tied in a pony tail was messy after the run. And he had an earring of a skull on his right ear. There was only one word that came across Cassie's mind when she looked at the guy: cool.

"We are locals. And you clearly aren't." Cassie smiled at him. Another score for photographic memory which enabled her to memorize all the inhabitant of this small town.

"How do you know I'm not just freakin guy who had live here all his life?" the guy demanded, clearly did not want to lose to a girl.

"Never seen you in school," Cassie shrugged.

"And there's only one high school in this town, bud," Alex said matter of factly, finally having his breath to lash out at the guy. He sat up and leaned on the fountain beside Cassie. "And don't even bother to deny it," he said before the guy could breathe a word. "She has a photographic memory. Knows every single person in town."

Cassie let out a grin at the guy who was staring at her like she was some kind freak of nature (which she was). "In your face, dude."

The guy opened his mouth, and when no words came, shut it. He was clearly overwhelmed with this whole thing. First the gun shooting, next a girl who probably knew everything that was going on in the town. Cassie could see that he was getting uncomfortable, though he tried to hide it in his all-tough exterior slash attitude. Feeling sympathetic, she offered an introduction. "I'm Cassie Veil. And this is Alex Dillon," she nudged Alex by the ribs. "And who are you?"

"Cassie," Alex hissed. "How can you just give our names like that to a stranger?"

"What?"

"Don't you what me? He could be dangerous, or a stalker,"

"Yeah, dangerous enough to get shot," Cassie snorted. "And we did the stalking, Alex. Remember?"

"Hey!" the guy bellowed which made both Cassie and Alex jumped. "Stop talking like I'm not fu*king standing right in front of you guys." Alex frowned, Cassie looked a bit guilty.

"Sorry," Cassie said sincerely. The guy glared at them like a mother to her children who were caught stealing cookies from the jar. Then his face turned hard.

"You guys stalked me?" he said coldly. Like icy cold.

"Well...," Cassie looked at Alex, who also looked ill at ease. Usually when Cassie saved someone's life, they were too grateful to survive a near fatal accident to ask her how she could possibly know about something impossible, like how the wood shed was going to fall apart, or how the chandelier was going to fall any time soon.

"Well?" the guy asked with folded arms. He was winning the fight.

Seconds ticked by. And Cassie thought, "What the hell. Might as well tell him the truth." She cleared her throat and looked the guy dead in his brown eyes with her own mismatched blue and green ones. "I saw a mirror image of you with bullet holes all over him," she said very seriously.

The guy did not say anything. Just stared at Cassie. Alex beside her gaped at her, also not uttering a single word. So, she continued.

"He was following you. The mirror image, I mean. That's why I followed you back at the alley way because I know somehow you're going to get shot. Not once, but many times. And you will die."

"What?!" two consecutive voices exclaimed. One was from Alex who could not believe that Cassie had told the guy the whole truth without even covering up a little bit. The other was from the guy himself whose eyes had turned so big that a golf balls could have replaced it wonderfully. "Hm... Should I be scared of Alex or him?"

"Are you crazy?" Alex shook her so hard she got dizzy in the head.

"She is nuts, isn't she?" the guy voiced his own opinion. "Look, I don't care what you're trying to play at. I'm not stupid. I'm not taking a shit about seeing a figure of me who... has gunshot wound all over me..., I mean him, following me around like some revengeful ghost," he waved his hands imitating one. "You both are insane, and mentally retarded!" he finished off, shouting the last two words. A few people stared at them.

"Hey! Watch what you're saying," Alex growled, and got to his feet. His face was inches away from the guy's.

"Oh yeah? Make me." The two guys had a staring show down. Daring the other to blink first or something. Neither was backing away.

Cassie shook her head. She knew for the fact that the guy would not believe her. It was too insane to be the truth. As people grew older, their minds were squished off from all the possibilities and make beliefs they used to have when they were just kids. That was why a five years old Alex took the news of her seeing death much better than this rude teenager. Who in their right mind would believe a girl could see death before it even occurred? That was totally outrages. Still, seeing the way they reacted when Cassie told them her ability, it was priceless.

Cassie sighed and stood up. She had to do something before her friend and the guy started punching each other senseless. "Hey!" she snapped her fingers. They both looked at her. "I lied okay. I saw you across the road and I thought you were...,"

"Yes?" the guy asked. Alex stared at her.

"Please God. Don't make me say this. Don't make me say this!"

"That I what?" the guy was losing patience.

"That you're hot and I just wanted to get to know you!" Cassie said it too fast and she didn't care if either boy caught it or not. She almost gagged but restrained herself from doing so. "Oh, I'm going to be sick," and turned away from them to look at the fountain. There goes her pride of not liking someone based on their looks. Even if it was a cover up and not true just so to save herself from being labeled as a retard. Just to make a point, Cassie liking the guy was fiction. Nay sir. Not true.

Cassie felt her back being stared at. Once more, she summoned all her will power and held back the urge to run far, far away from them. She wished for a hole to open up below her so that she could be swallowed by it. Or better yet, a wicked shrill witch whopping down from her broomstick and snatched her from the face of the earth, dumping Cassie in her nasty, boiling cauldron. Now, that would be nice.

"O...k...," the guy said slowly. He was shocked. Dumbfounded actually. "Thank you, I guess." And he was quiet.

Cassie turned around and actually saw a blush on the guy's cheek. Was he embarrassed? She was the one who actually spilled her guts to say such things and HE was nervous. But he was cute though. Cassie didn't know he had it in him. All in all, Cassie was glad that he didn't question further. About saving his life that is. Cassie caught Alex's eyes. He had a very tiny smile on his lips. God, he was not going to cut her some slack after this. She could already see it, how Alex was going to torture her about how-the-firm-Cassie-actually-confess-to-a guy-and-said-he-was-hot. Boy, her life was not going to be at peace now.

"Ok," Cassie said shyly, trying to break the silence. "You still haven't told us your name."

Just like that, as if something inside him snapped, the guy turned sour again. "None of your damn business." And Cassie had thought he had a cute side. What a shocker.

Not giving up or feeling rejected by his words, Cassie pressed on, a realisation came over her. Snapping her fingers, she said, "You were the one who moved down the street at Lakeview Drive, aren't you? A couple of days ago!"

The guy looked bewildered. "Ho... how did you know that? Are you really a stalker? Should I be scared?"

"No to the second and no to the third," Cassie grinned. "As for the first question...," she tapped her head.

"Photographic memory," Alex finished it for her. He grinned at Cassie. He seemed to enjoy unnerving the guy so much.

"Welcome to Raven's Gate, neighbour!" Cassie smiled broadly. "I live right across your house." She almost laughed at the stricken face the guy had, which he tried to hide unsuccessfully. Secretly, Cassie was glad it was this long hair dude who was her new neighbour and not Damien who seemed to give her butterflies in her stomach just by being close to her. Sure she would have to revisit this day about her confessions every time she looked at the guy, but it was way better than feeling mysterious discomfort on her stomach and heart.

"Whatever," the guy muttered and shuffled his feet away from them, as if they had disease which was highly contagious.

"So," Cassie walked abreast him with a cheerful attitude. "Where are you heading, Mr Leonidas?"

The guy looked at her, annoyed. He also looked like he could strangle her. Cassie was amazed that he had the strength not to do so.

"Don't call me that," he snarled. The guy apparently had acknowledged Cassie's awesome photographic memory to even argue how she knew his surname. He was also careful not to let flow his fowl words less he wanted to be hit by Alex, who was now walking closely with Cassie, keeping an eye on the new guy.

"Well, you wouldn't tell us your name," Cassie said thoughtfully. "So I'm gonna use your surname instead, Mr Leonidas." Now Cassie had to jog to keep up with Mr Leonidas since he was going fast himself. "Wait Mr Leonidas!"

Mr Leonidas turned around so suddenly that Cassie almost hit her nose at his broad, hard chest. Almost.

"It's Zander. Ok? Now leave me alone," and Mr Zander Leonidas trudged on with his shoulders hunched. He put his hood back up.

"Short for Alexander?" asked Cassie who was tailing him like a lost puppy. It seemed that she had taken an interest towards Zander Leonidas. And it was not because of his good looks.

"The only thing short is my temper," Zander growled and walked on.

"Cool," Cassie said. "So what's in the back pack? The thing that's worth two grand and being shot for?"

Zander touched his back pack defensively on his back which he had been carrying all this while. He whirled back around yet again, eyes flashing daggers at Cassie. "Is this some kind of a Raven people thing? Nosing around in other people's business?" his voice leaking acid. "Since the last two days the neighbours can't seemed to stop knocking the door just to say hello! And now here you are, asking what freaking things are there in my back pack."

Cassie stared at Zander but not wavering at all with his tone. "Undoubtly, he is a touche person."

Alex, who had grown very defensive beside her stood in front of her. "No. It's just a Raven people thing to be nice with your new neighbours," he said quietly though there was no mistaken the iciness in his voice. A starring show down occurred between the two guys again. If this went on, it will become a habit of theirs.

Cassie rolled her eyes at the both of them and did the only thing which she thought could put a stop at their show down efficiently. Taking a very deep breath, she shouted at the top of her lungs, making Alex stumbled and Zander closing his ears instantly.

"What the fu*k?" Zander stared at her as if she had gone mad.

"Are you guys done acting childish?" Cassie put her hands on her waist. "Stop staring at each other like lovers. It's very disconcerting. And people are looking this way." It was true, all the people present at the square were goggling them as if they were animals out for display in the zoo.

"I think they are staring because you suddenly shouted like a mad woman," Alex said unfocusedly and shook his head as if clearing his mind. "Good God Cassie. You almost deafened me."

"But I didn't," she smiled. Then she saw Zander was not with them anymore. He had made a quick exit and was heading towards the place where Cassie saw him for the first time.

"Hey, Zander! Wait up!" she called out and jogged after him, Alex behind her heels.

Zander gave them no signs of acknowledging them. Which hurt Cassie feelings, a bit. Then, they came to the place where Cassie had stashed her back pack and Alex his bike and camera gear. All the items were arranged neatly near the wall.

Cassie took her back pack from the ground and sling it on her right shoulder. Alex examined his camera to look for any kind of damages, which had none.

Zander took on the situation with his eyebrows raised. "Un-freakin-believable," he muttered. What was so unbelievable was that the things that Cassie and Alex had left were, unbelievablly,not stolen. Yup. Everything was there unscathed. That was the good thing about living in a small town. The people look out for each other. Someone had taken their time arranging the items in the middle of the pavement to the side, making way for people to move.

Alex mounted his bike and looked at Cassie. "Do you want me to take you home?"

That was when Cassie realised that she had left her skate board in the alley after knocking 'bald dude' with it. Her face froze. "NO!!!" If she could kick herself, she would already have done it. Her priceless item in the world, her mode of transportation, gone. And she bought it with her own money too.

Then she saw Zander walking away from them to the direction of their neighbourhood. She turned to Alex.

"It's okay Alex. I'll just walk with Zander," she smiled. Alex was about to protest but Cassie cut him. "You live over that direction," she pointed at the square. "And I live at that direction," she pointed away from the square at where Zander was walking. "I don't want you to make double journey for my sake. It's okay."

Alex nodded, but he still did not like the idea of Cassie walking with the person who almost got her killed. "But if anything happens, you put as much distance away from him as you could, you got it?"

"Aye, dad," Cassie did a mock salute and grinned. "Now get going. Go on."

Alex cycled away looking very concerned. Cassie waved at him then turned around. She skipped towards Zander who was steadily trying to ignore everything around him, including her.