Author's Note: I don't want to say too much up here before the story even starts, but basically this is a rewrite of a story I posted and finished in early 2011. This is the same original story location, so it says this was published years ago but this copy is starting today, April 11, 2012. I hope you like it! (it's much better hopefully!)
Check the bottom of this chapter for more information
All that existed was a pain; a pain that rang alarms in my ears and radiated through my limbs in the most horribly uncomfortable way. I could hear the distant creaking of metal and then shattering glass, all muffled by the constant pummel of rain striking my body and metal, and obscured by blinding darkness.
My face was pressed hard against the wet, rough concrete and I could smell everything—gasoline, smoke, wet dust. As my throbbing head eased off, I managed to remember the last moments I could, and it came to me: a car crash.
I opened my eyes and my surroundings slowly formed in front of me. The blinding light of the moon and streetlights reflecting against everything wet, and the impenetrable darkness of the night. The deformed metal carcass of a car was reflected into the road. It was night but everything seemed overwhelmingly vivid.
Then I saw something move and my eyes frantically searched for details, but all I could make out was what seemed to be the head and shoulders of a man walking towards the wreck. I called out for help, but no noise came out. I couldn't talk. Sirens sounded in the distance and I cried silently to myself, tortured and alone.
The paramedics ran to the car, calling something to whoever was in there still, ignoring me or not noticing me. Firefighters came. Jaws of life pried the metal away as easily as peeling an orange. They looked around, all of them did, but nobody saw me.
Then I woke up. I sat up straight in my bed sweating and breathing heavily. The early morning sun poured in through the window of my dorm room, and it took me a moment to realize that it had all been a dream—the same dream I always had.
I sat up for a minute, gathering my breaths and feeling actual tears forming in my eyes. Then my alarm went off and it was time to get ready for class.
It was as average a day as any other as I walked across the campus to get to the main building of the school. It was the first warm day of spring, with wet grass and a blinding sun. I walked in a scattered herd of my classmates, all of them chatting eagerly as we headed in for lunch. I zoned out, not focusing on anything and letting my mind drift. I expanded my thoughts around me and enveloped the people I was with until something caught my attention.
"I mean, look at her," the voice whispered cynically. "She's always so grumpy looking, and you can tell she's so rude."
"But you don't think Helena's actually what they say she is…" Another voice replied. "Do you?"
Helena. That was my name. I didn't know what they were referring to, but I definitely wanted to find out.
"She's definitely a monster of some sort," The first voice snickered.
My palms itched and I turned on my heel, facing the girls in an instant. They looked up at me with wide eyes, frightened. I tried to calm myself down, but it just wasn't in my nature to back away. I couldn't glance away from them. Something cold seeped through my body, tugging down to my fingertips, wanting to be released.
"If you have something to say, I'm right here," I said plainly.
The first girl who had spoken had light brown hair in perfectly placed ringlets and flawlessly applied make up. Mia was her name. She scrunched up her nose and put her hands on her hips, and I began to sense the people around us pausing to watch.
"We were just saying that you're…weird," she said, attempting to sound confident. She seemed surprised with herself, and I'll admit, I was surprised, too. She seemed to get ahead of herself, lost in her brief bravery. "Your parents wouldn't have wanted you even if they were still alive."
Instantly she seemed to regret what she said, not for the shame of insulting someone's dead parents or the moral aspect, but mostly because she seemed to be afraid of my reaction. Everyone around went silent and the air felt tense. My expression remained indifferent, but inside I was raging.
"Why's that?" I asked, shaking with the effort it took to stay calm. Somewhere in my head I was pleading with myself to not make a big deal out of it, but the voice was buried under my anger.
"B-because you're...you're a…a monster." Mia stomped a foot to the ground and stuck her nose up in the air with vicious delight. "There! I said it! You're a freak and nobody likes you! You make all of us look bad." She looked around at the crowd that had formed, hoping for supportive nods. Everyone seemed stunned. Mia pressed on. "You don't even belong here at all!"
Before she could say another word, my fist flew through the air and punched her square in the nose. I couldn't stop myself and in an instant I was on her, punching her more. Voices called out around me and the girl whimpered below me.
"Fight back!" I screamed. "What did you expect! Fight BACK!"
Suddenly I was being pulled off by a teacher, my body no longer cold and angry but somewhat…relieved. I relaxed my muscles and let myself be pulled away, and the brief relief of getting my emotions out was replaced by guilt and fear for what the teachers would do to me. I was dragged to the office where I was told to sit and wait for the principal.
I sat there in deafening silence. Everyone must have been outside helping that girl, Mia. I felt angry because I knew they'd all take her side despite the awful things she'd said to me. But I also felt guilty and upset with myself, even if I felt she deserved it just a little. Or a lot.
Distantly a phone rang a number of times, and nobody answered it. I stretched my legs out in front of me and crossed my arms, waiting. The anxiety built up within me. I closed my eyes and tried to relax, tapping my foot, biting my lip, anything to distract me from the upcoming punishment.
"Helena?" A voice asked, forcing me to sit bolt upright. But it wasn't the principal or any other teacher. The low and comforting voice should've been a giveaway, but maybe I was too distracted.
Oliver Grant stood in the doorway, his rosy cheeks and big brown eyes exuding warmth. He had sloppy, light brown hair and the best smile ever. I couldn't help but feel happy when he was around.
But he looked wary of me. He didn't know why I was here, but he knew it couldn't be good.
"Hey," I tried to grin, then patted the seat next to me.
He sat down and looked at me over suspiciously. "What are you doing here? Please don't tell me you've done something again…"
I frowned and shied away from him. "I, uh, kind of got in a fight…but she was asking for it, honestly! She called me a monster and brought up my parents and everything."
He sighed with exhaustion, like he was my babysitter and I'd caused another big mess. "Helena…that doesn't mean you can just beat her up." He paused. "Who was it?"
"Mia-something. She's a year younger than us."
"For God's sake, Helena, a year younger? Come on, you didn't need to use physical force on her."
I shrugged and looked away. In my own head I was capable of coming up with reasons to qualify what I'd done, but Oliver always managed to make me feel terrible about my actions, even if he didn't mean to make me feel so bad.
After a moment, I spoke again. "She was talking about something…like there was a rumour about me being evil…" I cast Oliver a sidelong glance and he looked fidgety. "What's she talking about?"
"I don't know," he said quickly. "Probably nothing."
"You know!" I leaned closer to him, trying to get it out of him. In a boarding school, everyone knew everything. Oliver would know for sure, and he was a terrible liar. "What is it? What's the rumour?"
"It's nothing…it's…I don't know. Probably nothing." He stood up and seemed disoriented as teachers began returning. Somehow I felt bitterness at the way he stood so quickly, like he didn't want to associate with me, the delinquent. It made sense, but still. We were supposed to be friends.
"Tell me, Ollie, please. C'mon, I'm your best friend. I won't be mad or anything."
"I can't," he said, a sad look in his eyes. He paused, then followed it up with "Because I don't know what it is." He was obviously hiding something, but I couldn't get it out of him at the moment—the secretary was glaring at us.
Oliver left at the same moment Mr. Moreau, the principal, came in. He was imposingly tall with salt-and-pepper hair, icy eyes, and unnaturally tanned skin. He didn't say anything, but did glance at me darkly and gesture for me to follow him. I did so without question, and sat across from him at the large mahogany desk in his office.
"So, Miss Callisto," he said with a judging glare. "I'd like you to explain to me what happened today with Ms. Ivans."
I shrugged uncomfortably. "She was saying things about me..."
"That's what it always is, Helena," he said with a disapproving and annoyed sigh. "People are always whispering things about you. Why do you constantly feel the need to hurt them in return?"
I frowned. "Whenever I beat people up it's because they had it coming. The majority of the time people are saying things about my parents, and I can't take that. Who does that? Says things about dead people…"
He nodded and leaned back. "Helena, tell me…do you miss your parents?"
"What?" I furrowed my brows. "I mean…well, I guess. But I didn't really know them, did I? Anyway, that's not the point."
"I'm worried about you, Helena," he continued. "You were quite young when your parents were killed, and you were in the car with them when the accident happened. Do you think about that a lot?"
My frowned deepened as I became thoroughly confused. "What are you getting at? I don't even remember the crash. I was two. I shouldn't have survived, but I did, and that's that. Are you trying to say that I'm acting out because my parents are dead?"
"Are you?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, don't act like you're a therapist," I heaved a sigh, now just plain annoyed. "No, I am not acting out because of my parents. I am acting out because my classmates are unbearable and inconsiderate."
"I understand you may be sensitive about things, Helena, but you've sent six people to the hospital wing since the school year started. This can't continue."
I closed my eyes for a moment and leaned back, crossing my arms. "I guess I got angry. I didn't intend to hurt anyone."
Mr Moreau stayed silent, glancing at me hesitantly.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" I asked quietly. There was something unsettling in his silver eyes. I didn't like it. "Am I a monster or something?" I asked it off-hand, because it was fresh in my mind and something in his glare made me feel like something really was wrong with me.
"Rumours are rumours…" He said idly, stacking up some paper. He didn't give me time to question what he meant by that, as he was assigning my punishment.
"I'm sorry to say you'll have to do evening janitorial duty until Friday, starting tonight." He said briskly, standing up. He was obviously eager to get me out of the room.
Monday 'til Friday janitorial duties. Not the first time I'd been given the glamorous job. I exhaled heavily but held my tongue, knowing I would just get a worse punishment if I argued. But it was safe to say I would have little time to do homework and definitely wouldn't be eating dinner with Oliver this week.
I sulked back to the lounge of my dorm building and found Oliver on the couch, writing in a workbook. I sat next to him and sighed.
"What's the verdict?" He asked, closing his books.
"Janitorial duty 'til Friday," I grumbled, leaning on his shoulder. He put his arm around my shoulders and I closed my eyes. "Not too bad, I guess."
Oliver was silent for a moment, and when he spoke his voice was distant. "You have to stop lashing out like you do."
"I don't try to, Ollie," I said eagerly, sitting upright. "They provoke me."
He looked at me, and I sensed a hint of disgust in his eyes, like he had suddenly realized how cruel I was, or like those weird rumours were true. He pulled his arm back and I was nearly positive he was feeling exactly that.
I pushed back my hair and glared at him. "What's the rumour?"
He groaned. "Helena, get over it. People make up rumours all the time, you're just a prime target because of all this stuff you've been pulling and because of your parents. It's just an easy thing to pick at."
I tried not to dwell too much on my parent's death and Ollie knew that, so it was strange to have him talk about it so casually.
"I don't know what's up with you, Ollie, but you're being weird," I said flippantly, simply annoyed with him now. "If you were really my friend you'd tell me what people were saying. It's not like I'll be offended any more!"
He rolled his eyes. "Get over it, Helena! Nobody's saying anything that matters!"
I gave him a distasteful look to make sure he knew exactly how I felt. "Thought you had my back, Oliver," I grunted, then stood up and swiftly left the lounge, heading straight for my room to wait for janitorial duty, hoping to see nobody in the time between now and then.
Author's Note: As I said, this is a rewrite. The reason why is that I suddenly figured out a plot line for a sequel, but I simply could NOT post the new one without updating this! In the original, Helena and her school were vampires, but that was overdone and unnecessary, so I decided to cut that out and make her plain old human. There are several other small changes, but cutting out the vampire thing changes a lot of scenes, so if you've read the original copy I would recommend reading this again! If not, that's alright. You won't be confused much in the sequel.
ALSO! If you had this on alert you'd notice I had an update in February. I started posting the rewrite then but I panicked and decided it wasn't ready so I deleted. Also, I deleted all of the chapters in this original copy, which I wished I didn't do, but oh well. There were 39 chapters originally. I expect this copy will be about the same.
One last thing: I have a few chapters written already but as of now I'm still in the process of going through it, but hopefully the space between updates won't be too long. I don't think it will.
Okay! Thank you so much! (especially if you read all of my author's notes eek!) Let me know what you think of the chapter, reviews are super appreciated!