Real Mirages

Chapter One

The first sign is a desire to run, to run from the noise and the lights and to run away from reality itself. The second is to watch the moon, the beautiful moon with its craters and crevasses. There's something about the moonlight shining down onto your face that's so calming, yet enraging. It feels safe, but deadly, loving but angry, natural yet strange. It's the perfect blend of what is, what was and what will be. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is a regular story, with a beginning, a middle and an end, let's start with the beginning.

School had just finished for the day and I had just started walking home when one of my friends called me over to an alleyway. He took me down to the end and showed me a secret passage behind a dumpster. I followed somewhat apprehensively. We walked for a few minutes before arriving at a large door that seemed to growl. He pushed it open and the door howled as it swung on his hinges. Several others rested on cushions in a circle. Their torn clothes made them look like wild animals but I knew them all. No, not all of them, not yet, I knew some, I had seen them at school. My friend introduced me, one of them seemed relieved by my presence. Another seemed to ignore my presence altogether. But most either simply stared for a few seconds or just gave a slight nod. I had never seen any of them together before and wondered why my friend had joined them and how I hadn't noticed. They made me sit on a cushion next to the one who seemed relieved. The rest was a haze but I remember the scent of burning incense and the sound of them singing strange songs, wordlessly, it was simply noises that reminded me of wolves. After what felt like days, I left the small cave and saw that not even an hour had passed. I hurried home and apologised for being late, my parents simply gave me strange looks. I quickly ran upstairs and took a shower to wash away the smell of incense before my parents get suspicious just to find a strange marking on my back. Directly below my right shoulder blade rested a double helix like shape. I did know whether I had only recently gotten it or if I had simply not noticed it but it intrigued me. For some reason, every time I tried to touch it, an invisible force would push my hand away. I showered and dried myself off before doing my homework. For some reason, my mind kept drifting off and I couldn't concentrate on any one task for long. After a few minutes of trying to focus, I simply gave up and took a nap. I awoke to the sound of my mother calling me to dinner. The sudden awakening startled me and I leapt out of bed and found myself growling at the noise. I quickly stopped before someone entered and I walked to the door before a wave of dizziness came over me and I suddenly lost all feelings of hunger, simply a desire to eat remained. I walked downstairs trying not to collapse from dizziness. Lamb chops, not one of my favourite dinners but I soon found myself tearing at the meat with hands and teeth. "Connor please." my mother said, forcefully but kindly. "Use your fork." she said. I tried to remain civilised but it was proving extremely difficult and after I finished, I still wanted more. I figured it was just part of the dizziness and went to bed with my stomach growling like a wild beast. It was a cold night but I was sweating bullets. I checked my clock, ten PM, everyone else in the house was asleep by now, I usually was. I attempted to count sheep jumping a fence but realised it was a bad idea once I started fantasising about the sheep jumping into my mouth. I tried to think of the plainest most boring things I could imagine to bore myself to sleep but my mind started drifting back to what happened in the cave. I checked the time again, ten thirty. I sighed and simply closed my eyes before hearing an almost silent 'good night'. My eyes shot open and I saw one of the girls from the cave standing over me, a leg on either side of my ribs. I could tell that if I tried to escape she could easily lock me back in place.

"Get up." she ordered with a grin on her face. The forceful tone seemed so strange coming from her mouth. Before long, I realised that I couldn't help but obey her commands, no matter how much I wanted to, so it came as a shock when she told me to jump out the window and I couldn't stop. I landed on the ground completely unharmed but before I could question it, the girl leaped from my window and landed gracefully on my shoulders in a crouched position, I barely even felt it. I could once again control my body but I knew she could easily snap my neck, crack my skull or break my arms at any moment, so I continued following her orders. She took me to a clearing before sliding back off my shoulders, grabbing my arms and digging her knee into my back, forcing me down. I didn't even bother struggling, because despite appearances, she was much stronger than I was. I waited for a minute while she whistled and called. The entire group from the cave appeared from the trees and the one who had ignored me confidently walked up to me. I started to black out as I smelled the burning incense again but before I collapsed, I heard the girl and the boy talking about what to do with me.

"We're not complete animals and you shouldn't turn him into one!" the girl said.

"He needs to pass the initiation." the boy said.

"Initiation?" the girl sputtered. "None of us had to!" she exclaimed.

"He's different, we couldn't track him." the boy said.

"Not until you branded him." the girl growled.

That was when I passed out, but now I knew where the mark had come from, now I had to find out what it was and why I had it.

I awoke the next morning lying on my bedroom floor. I pulled myself to my feet and checked my clock. Ten AM. I quickly had a shower and got dressed. I turned to leave but the girl who kidnapped me was standing there. I gave a quick yelp. She quickly covered my mouth as she looked at the door. Sure enough, my mother came to check on me. She knocked on the door. "Connor? Are you okay?" she asked. The girl removed her hand before placing her finger over her lips to tell me not to reveal her presence.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I replied. "Just hit my toe on the corner of my bed."

"Alright then." my mother said before walking away from the door. The girl waited for my mother's foot steps to fade before speaking.

"Alright Connor, I assume you heard at least part of the conversation last night." she said. I simply nodded. "How much?" she asked.

"I passed out after I heard you say that he branded me." I replied. She bit her lip.

"Alright I can work with this, forget I said that, or at least pretend to, you weren't meant to know that." she said.

"Can I at least know your name?" I asked.

"I'm Nikki, but later I'll be someone else, you'll understand when the time comes." Nikki responded, it really confused me.

"Right, well, this was nice, now if you'll excuse me, I have to get to school." I said.

"Weekend." Nikki said as I reached for the door, I quickly thought this over.

"But yesterday was Thursday." I said in confusion.

"You were passed out all of Friday." Nikki explained. I certainly didn't feel that well rested.

"And no-one questioned it?" I asked, I thought they had cared about me.

"Your mother had to leave early, your father didn't pay much attention to anything before work and your sister is a bitch." Nikki said.

"How'd I get out of school?" I asked.

"You'd be surprised how easy it is to forge your mother's handwriting." Nikki responded as she inspected her fingernails.

"So why me?" I finally asked.

"The big question, finally," Nikki sighed exasperatedly. "You, because none of us could track you." she said.

"How would you anyway? Do you have some kind of radar?" I asked, I now realise how stupid that sounded...too bad it was true.

"In a way, but I can't actually tell you anything yet." Nikki said as she crossed her arms.

"So what can you tell me?" I asked.

"Nothing really." Nikki responded. "I'm not even meant to be here." she added.

"So you can't explain anything to me, because you're not allowed here?" I asked, it was really starting to annoy me.

"Well, not really, but yeah, let's go with that." Nikki replied with a shrug.

"Is there anything you can do?" I asked.

Nikki thought about for a moment. "I could hang out with you while filling you in on the gang." she suggested.

"Okay then, let's go." I said before opening the door.

"Meet you down there." Nikki said before running over to my window and leaping out. I ran over to look out but she was gone.

I ran downstairs but my mother stopped me at the door. "Aren't you going to have breakfast?" she asked.

"Sorry, gotta jet." I said.

"Hey Connor, how was school yesterday?" my sister called from the other room.

"What happened?" my mother said as she put her hands on her hips, she usually does it when she thinks I did something wrong.

"Didn't she tell you about how she didn't wake me up when I overslept? Oh well." I responded before running past and out the door. I knew that'd get my bitch sister an hour long lecture, it usually did. I reached the pavement but Nikki was nowhere in sight. I noticed a note taped to my mailbox so I read it.

Dear Connor, meet me at the library, I need to print off some flash cards and I don't have a computer, sincerley, Nikki, did I misspell that?

I then realised that I had no idea where the library was, so I pulled out my cell phone and called one of my friends. "Hey Lucas do you know where the library is?" I asked.

"Uhh...I know where the school library is..." he replied.

"Not helpful." I sighed.

"Sorry dude, I got no idea." Lucas said.

"That's okay, see ya." I said before hanging up. I then checked the other side of the note and found directions to the library. "Oh." I said before jogging to the library.

"How could I have not noticed this?" I asked myself as I stood in front of the library. I could see my school up the street and laser tag in the opposite direction. "I walk past it every day." I said. I walked inside and saw Nikki curled up on a red chair reading a book about wolves. "Hey." I said as I approached, getting her attention. She quickly closed the book and put it back in place.

"Hey." she responded.

"So you like wolves?" I asked.

"Kinda." Nikki replied.

"Me too, apparently my name means wolf lover." I said, I still don't know why I mentioned that.

"Okay then." Nikki said awkwardly, she doesn't know why I said it either.

"Anyway, the answer is no." I said to break the awkward silence.

"I know, I found a dictionary." Nikki replied.

"So anyway, why'd you need to print out flash cards?" I asked.

"Right, the gang, I had to print out pictures of them so you could associate a name to a face." Nikki said.

"And you just out-smarted half of my friends." I commented, and it was true, half of my friends never would have thought of that. Nikki giggled in response.

"Okay, let's start with Randall." Nikki said as she pulled out a picture of the boy she was arguing with. "He's basically king shiznit in the group." she said. "Don't bother trying to argue or fight with him. He has basically the whole group with him, he only doesn't have me and that's because I refuse to fight with you." she said.

"Then there's Bryce." Nikki said as she pulled out a picture of a boy who looked only about a year older than I was, but his physique said he had been lifting weights that whole time. "Don't mess with him either, you will literally get your ass handed to you on a silver platter, he still has some courtesy and won't ever settle for ceramic." she said. "He'll probably also be wearing a napkin so he doesn't get any blood on his shirt." she said as she stared into the distance, thinking. I simply sighed and rolled my eyes, he couldn't be that tough, but later I found out that he truly was.

"Whatever, who's next?" I asked.

"Well, after Bryce, there's Zöe." Nikki said as she pulled out a picture of the top half of a blond girl with an innocent look on her face.

"And she comes after Bryce?" I asked.

"What you don't see is that she's masturbating." Nikki said. In hind-sight, I really should have been more surprised.

"That's pretty average isn't it?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer. Nikki simply smiled at me before continuing.

"You obviously know Josh." Nikki said as she pulled out a picture of the friend that first brought me to the group. I simply nodded as I became aware of the fact that I haven't seen him since, though he was probably present when Nikki kidnapped me.

"Then Chris." Nikki said as she pulled out a version of a girl with black hair with dark purple streaks. "Well, we call her Chris, apparently her name is Christine or Christina or something like that." Nikki said nonchalantly.

"Second to last is Alex." Nikki said as she pulled out a picture of the boy who seemed relieved when I appeared in the cave. "He was the newbie before you showed up and from my brief naked encounter with him, I'm pretty sure he's a hermaphrodite." Nikki said. If I was drinking something I would have spit it all over her.

"What!?" I exclaimed. Everyone nearby shushed me, after all, it was a library. "You have a girl who masturbates in photographs and a boy who's a hermaphrodite?" I exclaimed in a whisper.

"You get used to it." Nikki replied.

"I don't think I will." I sighed. I did eventually.

"And last but not least, this guy." Nikki said as she pulled out a picture of me. "I don't know much about this guy, but he seems like a dork and between you and me, I think he might be gay." Nikki whispered.

"So you've got a sense of humour." I commented.

"I do?" Nikki asked. She is still a really good actor.

"You could probably be a comedian." I said unconvincingly. I am still not.

"Right, anyway, you know what'd be fun?" Nikki asked.

"Amusement parks, video games, overdosing on candy, having sex, getting high..." I went off a list of things that I thought would be fun, I just threw that second to last thing in to see if she would notice, she did.

"Having sex? No, a sleepover." Nikki said.

"So yes." I said jokingly.

"And you think I could be a comedian." Nikki said as she playfully pushed me.

"Better than me." I commented.

"True." Nikki replied with a shrug.

"So sleepover it is then." I said.

"Yeah, and until then, wanna play games at your house?" Nikki asked.

"Why? Are you afraid to be alone?" I asked.

"Well kinda." Nikki responded. This was not the case.

"Okay then, we can play Cry of Duty: Special Ops." I suggested. Never suggest playing a war game with a girl, Nikki was an exception, still is actually.

"Cool, I've never played Special Ops, but Contemporary Warfare was pretty good." Nikki replied.

"Wait, don't you need to pick stuff up from your place?" I asked.

"No, haven't you noticed that I never change my clothes?" Nikki asked. And it was true, I've seen Nikki wear exactly three outfits besides the one she was wearing those few days.

"Now that you mention it, you've looked exactly the same all four times I've seen you." I commented. She has actually looked different one time before changing back to how she looked then.

"Exactly, that's why motto fits me to the T: Why mess with perfection?" Nikki said. This actually made me laugh, and as much as she will deny it, she actually posed as she said that.

"Alright Perfection, let's go." I said with a chuckle. And Perfection remains my nickname for her to this day.

Everything is © by me, except Cry of Duty which is simply a parody, you can probably guess what of, along with Special Ops and Contemporary Warfare, I honestly don't care if you use Cry of Duty, in fact, I encourage it, just so I can see that people read my junk.