Chapter 1

She was used to change now. After being kicked out of four foster homes and running away from three others in the last twenty months, change was the one constant in her life.

It's better this way, she reminded herself.

She felt sorry for them—each and every one of them. They all had high hopes of helping a troubled teen, and when she drifted in like a shadow, it was like a bad omen came in with her. There was a darkness about her that went beyond appearance or attitude; there was an aura, a sense, a feeling of something incredibly sinister that sent shivers up spines. Of course, she couldn't allow them to get close. Of course she couldn't be friendly. Of course she couldn't form relationships, bonds, or even think about changing for the better. That was absolutely absurd.

Because getting close to Mikayla was dangerous.

But only she knew why.

It had to be that way.

This new family seemed nice. It was blatantly clear from the décor that they held strong Christian beliefs. She noted a cross depicting the crucifixion in every room of the house.

These Bible-thumpers have no idea who they have invited into their home, she thought as she studied the cross above her bed. Her new bedroom was a generous size, albeit the smallest bedroom in the house—which was fine. The Wright family had two children and a three-bedroom house. The twelve-year-old boy would have to share a room with his nine-year-old sister, so it made perfect sense that they should have the bigger room. Still, Mikayla's room was big enough for a single bed, a small desk and a medium-sized dresser for her to put her clothes in. Ample space for the likes of her.

She wondered if they would mind if she removed the cross from the wall. This was her room now (for the time being) and the cross just wouldn't do. Clearly this was the little girl's former room. Mikayla could handle all the pink, but the cross would not garner the respect it deserved from her.

With a sigh, she began to unpack her meagre duffle bag that contained all of her belongings. Her life, her identity, was all carefully wrapped inside.

She gave the Wrights until Christmas—if they could manage her that long.


Hushed voices from the kitchen reached Mikayla's ears as she made her way silently down the stairs. Morning sunlight streamed in through the front windows ahead of her and to the left. The kitchen was just around the corner of the wall that concealed the stairwell and she knew that they had not heard her approaching.

"I don't know about her, James..."

"Now, Ann, we have to give her a chance."

"I know, but… something's not right about her."

Mikayla reached down and grabbed a hold of her baggy pants a few inches above the knee. With the thick material in her hands, she rattled the chains that dangled from the front of her black bondage pants and looped around to the back of her legs. For good measure, she stomped a few times on the step before going down the last two. Strolling nonchalantly into the kitchen, she saw her foster parents immediately draw away from each other at the table.

Anna-Marie Wright went to the sink and pretended to look busy cleaning a glass. James Wright, sitting at the table, looked preoccupied with the morning newspaper. He sipped at a steaming mug of coffee in one hand as the other held up the edge of the paper. He looked up at her, stared momentarily at her long-sleeved black t-shirt and crisscrossing silver chains and zippers on her black pants, and forced a smile at her. "Good morning," he said in an attempt to be pleasant.

"Morning," she grumbled crossing her arms in front of her chest as she stepped toward the table.

"All set for school?"

She grunted and shifted her gaze from the table to Anna-Marie.

"What would you like for breakfast?" Mikayla detected a higher than normal pitch for Anna-Marie's tone. "We have cereal, eggs…"

They're trying too hard. She grunted, "Nothin'. I'll just go now."

She stomped out of the kitchen, the smell of coffee and toast dissipating as she went. Grabbing her leather jacket from the closet, she pulled it on, and thrust her feet into her heavy knee-high boots. She buckled them up before tugging on her leather gloves and snatching her helmet from the shelf above. She quickly glanced at her appearance in the reflective visor before storming out the door.

Disgruntlement was the image she projected, but she didn't really feel that way.

It was all just a façade—to protect them.

Kicking her motorcycle up, she roared out of the driveway and sped off into the early morning glare.


Isaac climbed out of his buddy's "shitbucket" (as Brandon lovingly called his hand-me-down '98 Sunfire) in the school parking lot and slammed the door shut. For once it didn't stick on him. Turning toward the bright early October sunlight, he shielded his eyes as a black motorcycle pulled into the parking lot.

Brandon met his gaze to the black-clad biker. Neither one of them recognized the figure. His attire was completely black, right down to the last detail, with a spiffy-looking helmet. He was maybe six feet tall and lanky, wearing black bondage pants and a form-fitting black leather jacket.

"Is that a new guy, or something?" Brandon asked as he watched the biker dismount.

"Must be. I've never seen him before. Kind of a weird time to change schools though, huh?" Isaac asked as he watched the biker reach up and take his helmet off.

Straight, long, raven black hair spilled out from the helmet before she threw her head back. The movement, mixed with the faint breeze, brushed her hair from her pale face.

Their mouths became unhinged.

"Shit," Brandon murmured like he had been holding his breath and it suddenly all came out with the first word on his mind. "That biker dude is a chick?"

"Yeah, looks that way, doesn't it," Isaac said, catching himself and shaking his head to clear his mind.

"She's fucking hot!"

Catching their dazed gazes, she shot them the darkest glare they had ever seen before she turned away and walked toward the school.

"Woah… what the fuck? Did you see that? Dude, she looks like a real piece of work!" Brandon exclaimed in excitement as he laughed.

"Yeah, no kidding."

"Bet you can't crack this one, Isaac!"

Isaac grinned at his best friend since childhood. "Is that a challenge?"

"Damn right it is!"

Isaac studied the mysterious new girl curiously as she pulled open the school doors and walked inside. Whether it was intended or not, she definitely drew attention to herself. It wasn't every day that a tall, black haired girl came riding into school on a motorcycle, dressed all in black leather and bondage pants. Although relieved, he was somewhat surprised that she didn't paint her face entirely white. She did seem to have some heavy black eye makeup on, but luckily she didn't wear black lipstick too. He never could figure out why anyone would want to wear black lipstick. He was a little too far away to get a good look at her face, but he thought she had an attractive face with high cheekbones and large eyes—but maybe that was the eyeliner, or whatever makeup she had on.

"Alright Mr. Psychiatrist, let's see you work your magic on this one," his best friend Brandon said, slapping him on the back and laughing.

Isaac smiled back at him as they began walking towards the school doors. "I'll try my best."

"Good luck man. You might need it with her." Brandon guffawed and waved at their group of friends just a few metres ahead of them "Hey, did you guys check out the new chick?"

"Fuck, yeah!"

The pair joined their mixed group of friends, slapping each other on the back in greeting, while exchanging animated words about the new girl. Rather than partake in the gossip-swap, Isaac glanced at the school doors that she disappeared through and wondered what her story was.

He had no idea what he was getting himself into with her.

Death was not what he envisioned.