I didn't know
what was happening anymore.
hands were cold and I couldn't see. I could or couldn't be dead.
I wouldn't be able to tell anymore.
the palm of my right hand I could feel a soft satin-like object.
It changed harshly to thorns as it ran down the back of my wrist.
The side of my face was wet, the other half frozen. That was all
I could feel.
only sound was my raged breath and the slight movement of
something ‒ or someone, for that matter ‒ next to me. I attempted
to twitch my finger, open my eyes, something. Something to prove
I wasn't dead yet.
Because I didn't believe I was alive. The dark was too pronounced
and the pain too real. This was what I would've believed as an
eternal afterlife, the one I'd wished Daniele didn't have or
was that? They sounded familiar. Weak, yet familiar.
wanted to say something to the voice. It wasn't that I wouldn't,
but the fact that I couldn't. I'd realized that any movement or
sound would be the end of my control. If I said something now it
would all be over.
thorns were scratched from my arm. I could feel the blood.
Honestly, go away. . .
eyes flew open as I remembered who was talking. I kept my eyes
forward, scared of something that would happen if I looked to see
the damage. Nathan didn't look so bad sitting in front of
knew I was worse.
"What happened?" I managed. I was cold.
"They came back. They wanted to get you for taking me. Though of
course, I told them I didn't want back and I got attacked. .
eyes were on my face. Probably waiting for me to drop dead, I
suppose. It wouldn't be the first time I got a death wish.
noted that it was dark out. Twilight had grown into full-blown
darkness while we were attacked. Now it was cold and I didn't
know where we were. How couldn't this get any worse? There're
real wolves out here, for crying out loud.
didn't think of what else could be out there.
the silence that had blossomed, I was intent on the sounds around
us. There were crickets in the bushes, owls in the sky, chipmunks
and squirrels on the floor, and the sound of flowing water. That
didn't seem too bad.
After that smart thought, there was a howl that's seemed a bit
closer than I would've liked.
Damn it. This was bad.
"Nathan, we have to get out
of here. There're actual wolves out there. And I heard they
voice sounded extremely frail even to me. Nathan could tell what
I was thinking; I could see it in his face. He knew I was crazy.
I suppose I did go crazy once, though, after the mother had left.
. . . But that didn't matter. I was going to get him out of
"Why?" Nathan demanded.
took a deep, shaky breath. I knew what he meant. How could I
explain this to him? I'd barely known him for six hours. What
would a wolf do if I told them that I didn't want them to get
hurt because they were the only ones who'd ever stuck up for me?
Was that even true?
never hurt me," was all I managed to whisper. I closed my eyes. "Now, we
have to get out of here."
eyes opened and I attempted to prop myself up on my elbows. Some
strange force of nature seemed to allow it. Nathan's lips were
pressed in a hard line as he watched my progress. I happened to
let my gaze wonder down towards my legs, where it stung the
I saw didn't please me. I had scratches all along my legs, and my
left ankle was pretty bloody. I saw a little hole on my other
ankle that was already clearing up, and I refused to think what
would have caused it. I didn't remember anything.
the wrist that the thorns had cut into wasn't bleeding anymore. I
could only see the scars, and as I watched the scrapes and cuts
on my legs were fading away as the bleeding slowed.
took another shaky breath and looked back at my new
"What happened to me?"
Nathan didn't answer. He became very interested in the scattered
leaves underneath us. There was pain in his eyes, which I could
see and he thought I couldn't.
couldn't he just tell me anything? The way he acted around me, it
was like he knew everything about me, more than even I did. What
if the wolves still owned him, and he was faking? Was he shying
away from me because he was a spy or something? It's not like I
was a monster, right?
just like that, I could see everything around me, like someone
had turned on a light that left a gray aftereffect. The river was
next to us, explaining the damp moss and dirt, and there were
bullet holes in the trees that I knew were the wolves' doing. A
brown owl flew above the trees, the moths were trailing around to
find a light to eat at, and my eyes spotted four squirrels in the
lower branches of a few oaks and pines. But there were also my
red roses, the ones I loved the most, in a beautiful clump in
front of a pine a couple yards away.
Nathan shifted next to me but still didn't meet my gaze. I was
right; he wasn't as bad as I was a few moments ago. His face was
cut and his right arm had been shot. But that made me feel even
you've done it," he whispered.
what? "You don't know what you're talking about," I retorted.
"I've been out there in the dark for as long as I'm concerned and
you sit here, knowing everything about me that I'd never
discovered. Think about that and tell me what I've done."
Something said something in my head at that instant. You've
done it now, Annabela. You'll never find me.
snarled to myself. I knew the voice in my head.
That's what you would love me to believe, I thought
back. I didn't care if the voice was real or not, but if it heard
me. . . You know I'll find you. You just wish I would stop.
You just wish I would stop putting my life on the line. You know
that after you left, we never stopped believing we would find
you. Put away your dream Mother.
the voice responded: You just wish someone would've loved
got up and ran, ignoring the hope I was leaving behind, not
caring if I was fast or if anyone was following. If my mom could
talk to me, she was alive, and if she was alive, so was I.
You can't run, she said.
Shut up. I was running, wasn't I?
wasn't done with me. And where will you go when you get
there? What will you do? Why can't you except the fact I'm
Because you're talking to me! I shrieked the words in my
head. If you don't want to come back than stop! You think you
helped with your disappearance? You didn't! You blew out
the last candle we had! We died that day!
pace slowed dramatically and I came to a halt. Traitor tears
blurred my vision and spilled over, obscuring the pathway's new,
clear sight. I didn't know why I was crying. I didn't even know
if the voice was real or not.
I cared about was that it hurt.
"Bel? Are you done running?"
unwillingly turned around to see Nathan leaning against a tree,
looking quite sulky. He stared at me with his bright green eyes,
and the look bore a hole straight through me. I could see the
hate that had suddenly caught up with him.
"About time," I muttered mostly to myself. "Finally came back,
can run pretty fast. It wasn't hard to keep up, though. You
should work on that. I suppose you can see everything now. Am I
head bobbed in a yes. I wasn't going to ruin his streak. After
all, he was telling me something.
"Thought so. Don't know what your gift is. . . Mine happens to be
the useful gift of knowing everything and anything about any
person who comes in my view, so I knew you were one too. . ." He
seemed to be talking more to himself than to me.
"What am I?" Ice hung in the atmosphere as the words came out. I
hope Nathan felt it burn his skin.
looked back at me, more curiosity in his eyes than hate now.
"Siren, more or less."
took me a minute to understand what he was saying. If the stories
were true, then that would explain the wolves. If they weren't
true, that would explain why I wasn't dead yet. But if it was
true, and I was still alive, then wouldn't that mean that I was
supposed to be dead, but had cheated my death and ended up being
human and now, since I cheated death again, does that mean that
I'm one of those things now? In reverse to the original
head swam like I had fallen down and landed on a rock. This
shouldn't be happening, this shouldn't exist, and it was
certainly confusing me beyond a point where I don't want to be
associated with any of this anymore. I didn't even want to be
associated with this at all.
sank to the ground and wrapped my arms around my knees, hiding my
face from the Siren next to me.
I hope you're happy now, I thought viciously towards
anyone who was listening, because I wasn't.
After all that I'd been through it was all happening now. My life
had taken its turn and I was paying for it. My tears wouldn't
stop. I thought about Daniele, and a small whimper escaped
"Daniele? Oh, she didn't expect you back for a while."
looked up ruefully and found Nathan sitting across from me,
staring intently at my face. He didn't seem to have any
problems with this. And he didn't say he could read others' minds
in his whole 'gift' crap.
"Suppose I didn't." He half-smiled. "Come with knowing everything
and anything. Quite useful, really."
face returned to its position. So why don't you tell me
everything I don't already know, O' Psychic One? I asked
Nathan laughed. "Well, it's actually very interesting. When I saw
you earlier, I could see your past. I really did know how much it
hurt you when your mother left, because I can feel the pain
others feel when I see them in that pain and hear what they were
thinking. And then I saw your mother in your mind, and I found
out everything about her that you didn't know, even though I'd
never done that before.
"What I saw was more interesting than you ‒ but don't get me
wrong when I say that. Your mother has a very . . . mystifying
mind, so to speak. Before you were born, your sister Katrina"‒ I
jumped at the name ‒"had already discovered her new life, where
your mother kept it from you as to ensure it never happened to
you, since it was affecting Katrina so much. So, after that, she
inevitably knew that she would have to leave you if she really
wanted what was best for you.
"Right now, you probably don't think it's that important now, do
shook my head and thought my answer, knowing that either way he
would still know the true. I mentally asked him to tell me about
the Sirens instead.
is important to learn what you really are," he agreed.
"When you turn go into your new life, you stop aging until you
find your gift, and even then you never die. You keep growing
older every day, just like a normal person would, but you still
look the same, and you never die. What you really have
to be careful of is your gift, because if you use it wrong it can
example: If your gift was singing, like the mythical Sirens do,
then if you meant to show off your singing, you could actually
end up drawing people in and ultimately kill them without even
knowing it. Sometimes, with gifts like mine, you can't help it
and your mind automatically accepts your gift and uses it when
you don't want to. Those are more dangerous, because if you see
someone who killed others and they know you know, they will set
out to kill you instead. I can see what others know and what
they're going to do, but I can't change the future.
for you, Annabela, you have to be extremely careful with
what you do. All you would have to do is get mad or be possessed
by someone and that could set you off. There are awful gifts out
there, and from what I've seen so far, you don't seem to fit
those, so don't worry. It would be very convenient if I could see
your gift, but unfortunately I can't. So we just have to wait and
There was a dead silence that ebbed the night, and I sat there,
wondering about all the things that I could be. If I did happen
to have a bad gift, then what would happen to Lizzy and Daniele?
Would I be responsible for their deaths, if worst came to worst?
And how long would it take to find out?
Nathan didn't answer any of these questions. He just stared at
the empty sky with a pained expression on his face, like his only
family had died and no one ever found out why. I think it was
because he could feel the pain I was feeling now.
what happens now?" I asked this out loud, fearing he would be to
deep in his thoughts to hear mine,
looked back at me, his face now blank. "Now," he said, "we decide
what what's going to happen now. Do you think you can talk to
your mom again?"
tried, calling out in the only way I knew how. Are you
there? I couldn't think of anything else.
Yes. I'm here.
eyes focused back on the Siren in front of me. "Answer your
question? Or do you want more?"
would love more. Like what world your mom is in."
heart skipped a beat. I could only imagine the look on my face
right now. I'd spent my life searching for my mother, and now I
know I could finally discover where she'd been hiding all these
years. . . .
what if she wasn't really anywhere? If she was somewhere,
wouldn't Nathan have seen it or heard the name in her
"That's the problem," he sighed. "She blocked it from her memory.
That's her gift. She can manipulate others with her mind."
must've stopped breathing then, because I couldn't remember
anything else after he said those words.
She can manipulate others . . . with her mind.