Under the October Sky
By: Dianesa Sanon
Lighting flashed and it lit up the dark night sky. October was making her way out of DeadsMill cemetery. It was going to rain but she didn’t care. The air was warm and damp nights usually led to the kind of rain that came down in warm drops.
October was visiting her family. She liked to bring in white roses, one for each of them and sit leaning against their headstones. Memories would flood into her mind of how happy she was, how they all were, before the house fire. She’d often talk to them and; she’d talk about how much she missed them and how life was for her now that they were gone. She wished that they could answer back. October was grieving. It had been almost a year but October was stuck in the past.
October pushed her way through the rusted gates that barred the cemetery; they screeched loudly in protest. It was drizzling and the water had her hair clinging to her skin, pasting it there.
Night always felt like a safe time for October. She went everywhere during the night; movies, parties, games, you name it and she was there. She sometimes would just wander nothing a specific place to go. October realized where she was. She’d let her mind wander while she was walking and didn’t even realize that she was nearing closer to where she was staying with her new “family.” She started to drag her feet. October didn’t feel welcome to her adoptive family. She’d been bounced around with so many different foster families before she was adopted by the Yestrigalls. It wasnt the fact that they were unpleasant people it was the fact that she had gotten used to not opening up to anyone due to the fact that every time she gets to likeanyone she get sent away.
It was raining harder now. The warm drops that feel after the drizzle had quickly turned to goose-bump raising drops. Completely drenched she reached into her pocket for her recently acquired house key. October reached out to slip the key into the keyhole but the door swung open. Standing there with frustrated expressions, staring her down were her parents.
“Where have you been?!” Brooke all but shouted.
Ignoring Brooke’s question, October slipped past her “mother” and headed for the stairs.
“Young lady, why were you out so late? What in your right mind possessed you to be walking around in the dark of the night?” Daniel asked to her back, following her to the stairs. “Amberlynn Marie Cowlings, you look at me when I’m speaking to you!”
October scowled at her name. She stopped using that name almost a year ago. She hadn’t realized, though, that she’d stopped climbing the stairs or that her hands were clenched onto fists. Locking her jaw and biting back harsh words, she started up again. They didn’t stop her this time; instead they stared after her and watched her turn the corner. October knew the argument was far from over but she wanted to enjoy the silence for now. She went to her room, closed the door behind her and went to stand in front of the mirror. She stood there criticizing the way she looked and decided it was best to say that she was looking likea half drowned cat, staring at her reflection she noticed that her face had gotten thinner. When had that happened? October studied her face a moment longer and finally, too cold to do anything else, she chucked off her wet clothes and slipped into a camisole and a pair of cotton bottoms.
She crawled the length of her bed and curled up underneath the quilt she and her mom had took up most of the winter sewing and patching together, it was the only thing she had left from her old life, and stared at the ceiling. The ceiling was bare and had a crack running through it. She realizes she was looking at herself. Bothe her and the ceiling had nothing and a crack through them. Seeing this it made October felt alone. A tight feeling in her chest made it hard to breathe suddenly. She clutched at the quilt and fought to bring air into her lungs. October felt like she was being strangled. October tried to turn her thoughts in a different direction. Thinking about her family always hurt like it was hitting her for the first time.
Her chest started to loosen its grip on her. Finally able to breath, October started to wonder how quickly she was falling to pieces and how no one was there to pick her up and put her back together.
October started to cry. She turned her head into the pillow under her head to stifle the sound, not wanting Brooke to come in and try to speak motherly-like. Ew. She knew that Daniel and Brooke would try and send her to that stupid therapist. No way. Feeling alone again October cried herself to sleep, staining the quilt with her saltly tears.
Smoke covered the celling and crept through the small slit under the door. The smoke alarm was blaring throughout the house. Startled awake Amberlynn leapt out of bed and stopped short taking in the sight of the smoke that was lazily creeping closer to her by the second. She then came to a horrible realization. Quickly Amberlynn, shot out of her room shouting for her family as she did, ignoring the sweltering heat.
“Everyone wake up! The house is on fire! Wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!” She yelled loudly.
Amberlynn raced to the babies sleeping in their bassinets. They laid there unconscious, the color gone from their cheeks and faces. She quickly scooped the babies into her arms and raced down the stairs towards the front door and into the heart of the fire.
She protectively arched her shoulders over the twins to protect them from the flames. She made it to the door and grasped the handle. Blazing hot! Amberlynn jerked her hand back instinctively. She set the infants down and pulled off her shirt and wrapped her hand with it. She picked up the twins again and with her wrapped hand she opened the door. Amberlynn ran a safe distance from the house onto the lawn and she set them on the dew-wet grass outside. She didn’t want to leave them but the rest of her family was still in the burning house. She bolted across the lawn again and into the scorching house. She could start to hear the wood breaking and crashing into the floor, windows bursting, and metal creaking as if straining to stay upright. The flames had intensified and were making their way upstairs. Breathing deeply through the shirt wrapped around her hand she ran through the fire and managed not to get her clothes ignited. The upstairs hallway was covered thickly with dark smoke. Amberlynn could not see anything in front of her.
“Wake UP! THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!! Wake up!” she shouted hoarsely. The smoke was starting to get to her. Amberlynn heard small coughing noises coming from behind her. She whirled around and strained her eyes to see through the smoke. The coughing continued and she finally realized who she was hearing.
“Ethan! Ethan where are you?!” Amberlynn shouted into the smoke.
“Amber? Sissy? Where are you?” His voice was feeble.
Amberlynn followed his voice and caught him in a hug.
“Ethan. Ethan listen to me,” She told him urgently, “Run as fast as you can outside. The twins are outside. Check on them, okay? Everything’s going to be alright.”
“Ok, Sissy.” Ethan answered his big sister.
“Okay, go! Stay close to the ground, go!”
She watched him go into the smoke until all she heard were his footsteps on the stairs. She listened a half a second longer before turning and heading for her parent’s room. She threw the door open.
“MOM! DAD! GET UP THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!” Amberlynn screamed straining her already hoarse voice, sounding like a broken record.
Amberlynn raced to their bed to wake them up but the bed was empty. The bed looked like no one had been in it. Wasting no time, Amberlynn ran to the living room where she’d left them before going to sleep. They were lying on the floor completely engulfed in flames. Desperation filled her; it was too late to save her parents. Amberlynn turned and left the room. Sirens blared in the distance, Amberlynn dashed outside to the front lawn only to find it occupied by the on-lookers and the twins. A horrible realization dawned upon her. Ethan. He was still in the house.
Amberlynn dashed back in to the house. Everything was crashing down now. She leapt over burning pieces of wood and went to the stairs. Looking carefully she found him lying limp at the foot of the stairs. She grabbed him and with one last look at the living room, left the house.
She laid her brother on the lawn and had a coughing fit. The smoke had almost choked her to death. She looked back at the house and watched the dark, heavy smoke creep slowly upward towards the sky as if trying to reach the clouds.
Turning back to her brother she started CPR. Her brother didn’t respond. She check his pulse, there wasn’t one. Amberlynn started to frantically give her brother compressions, counting them out and giving him breaths.
“Come on! Wake up!” she cried, “WAKE UP!”
A paramedic came and pushed her away from the unresponsive corpse that belonged to her brother. The paramedic check his pulse.
“He’s dead.” He mumbled to himself.
Amberlynn chocked back an anguished sob that threatened to escape. She turned to look at the twins just in time to see the paramedics covering them up with a dark body bag.
“No, no, no,” Amberlynn repeated, “NO!” Tears streamed down her ash covered face leaving clean streaks.
“Amber. Amber!” someone was calling her name.
“Amber, wake up!” Brooke called, “You’re going to be late for the first day at your new school. October moved slowly dressing herself for school, trying to forget the nightmare.This was going to be a long day, she thought.
“Amberlynn, I mean it. Now get out here right this second!” Brooke’s muffled voice continued to pester her through the wooden door. Irritated, October flung the door open.
My name is October.” She said with deliberated slowness, staring Brooke down. October pushed past Brooke and stomped down the stairs.
The rest of the family was sitting and eating breakfast. They were laughing and rubbing dry oatmeal into one another's hair. With a disgusted glance in their direction, October started for the door.
“October?” Brooke called after her. “Aren’t you going to stay and eat something?”
“I’m not hungry.” October said. But her empty stomach clenched tightly in disagreement.
“Well, I packed you a lunch.” Brooke pestered.
“I don’t really eat much. I’m rarely ever hungry actually. In fact I’m not a hungry type of person.” But her stomach betrayed her and growled.
“Go ahead and take it anyway. You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to.” Brooke said to her pleading with her eyes.
October stared at the lunch bag debating with herself. Reluctantly October took it and mumbled thanks to her foster mother and left the house. October started for the side walk and felt Daniel shadowing her.
“Where are you going?” he demanded.
October shot Daniel a look of confusion.
“Um, I’m heading to school.” October answered him a way someone would retort; “Well, DUH!”
“You weren’t planning on walking the whole way there, were you?” he asked incredulously.
“Honestly you don’t have to take me to school if that’s what you’re getting at. I’ll be fine,” October panicked, “also to get places you have to move your feet.” October unnecessarily enunciated her words like she was talking to a slow person. She scoffed, turned away, and started down the sidewalk. She got about a few feet away from the house when Daniel called after her.
“Fine! Walk to school, I guess you don’t want your car. I guess we’ll just have to return it or sell it on the Black Market or something. Oh, well!”
October stopped walking. “What was that?” October called back without turning to look at him.
“Oh, Brooke didn’t tell you? Well, we got you a car, so you wouldn’t have to ride with us…but you seem to prefer walking and” –big sigh- “I don’t know what to do with it.”
October turned to look at his face. Daniel shook his head and looked solemn. He sighed a big theatric sigh, throwing his hands in the airbefore turning back to the house, shaking his head.
“Hey, wait!” October called out, “What? Are you serious?” She trotted back towards the house.
Daniel walked to the garage, disappeared into it, and a few seconds later the garage door slid up. Daniel's face wason the other side trying to fight a smirk.October walked over to the garage and sitting in front of her was a black and red Hybrid.
“Its used but it runs great. We figure you didn’t need to be driven around the place by your parents.” Daniel explained but October couldn’t hear a word of what he was saying. She was trying to figure out why they really gave her a car. Last night they were furious with her and although the thought was nagging at her, she let it slide and let herselfrealize the factthat she had just gotten a car. October’s face broke out in a smile so wide ithurther cheeks.
“What do you think?” Daniel asked nervously. She hadn’t said anything since he had showed her the car.
“It’s the perfect car! Thank you, Daniel.” October answered gratefully.
“No problem. Here,” Daniel placed a set of key in her hand, “Now get to school before you’re late.”
October stood there for a long time before awkwardly hugging her foster dad and hopping into her newly acquired car. She drove away thinking that maybe the day was starting to look up.
Trigonometry was difficult, the class seem to last forever; but other than that, October’s morning went to quicker than expected. People stared at her, the “New Kid”. All day only a few people were brave enough to make conversation. When teachers asked her to introduce herself, she introduced herself as October. The teachers, of course, had to mention that the name October wasn’t listed on the roster but the name Amberlynn was. At that October flushed crimson. She had to explain more than one time that she preferred October to her real name.
Lunch time finally came around. October dreaded this part of the day.Knowing she didn’t have anyone to sit next tomade hernervous. October decided to skip out on going to the lunch room and just eat in her car but on her way out she was stopped by a thin, tall girl with jet black hair that hung strait and nearly covered up her face like a curtain.
“Hey! My name’s Raven. You’re October, right?” Raven said.
“Yeah. In kinda new here.” October said back, stating the obvious.
“We know. Oh, I almost forgot- these are my friends: Shadow, Skipp, and Starr.” Raven motioned behind her with the sweep of her hand. While Raven was talking October took note of the people standing there. “We were all just wondering if you’d like to sit with us today.’
“Err. No not today. I have to be in the library. Tomorrow maybe.” October lied.
“Sure, tomorrow then. Bye, October.” Raven looked disappointed when she turned away to leave. October had hoped that she didn’t hurt Raven’s feelings because of how niceshe was so nice to her. Skipp and Starr followed Raven but Shadow stared at October a moment longer than everyone else before turning to follow his friends. October watched them go before turning and making a quick run for her car. October finished eating and when she finishd reluctantly went back inside to face the tourtures of school.
The day, for October, had just taken a turn for the worse. After she got home from school she found Brooke and Daniel waiting for her in the family room. As predicted the argument form last night was not forgotten. October took a deep breath before sitting in an armchair across from the both of them.
“You know, October,” Brooke started, “ You left the house for the longest of times yesterday night and we still don’t have an answer to where you’ve been…” Brooke left the end of the sentence hang, her voice insisting.
October set her face, determined not to say anything. What she did when she left the house was her business. She didn’t see why she had to say anything. Besides it wasn’t like she was out drinking. October shook her head a stiff no at the expectant face of Brooke.
“Now, October,” Daniel said gently, “Please just tell us where you were. We promise not to get mad, we just want an explanation, you owe us that much.”
Daniel was right, but whenOctober opened her mouth to lie but the truth spilled out instead.
“I was at the commentary visiting my family.” October confessed in a whisper. She dropped her eyes at the floor not wanting to see the expressions on their faces. “I left them all white roses I picked up at Posey’s flower stand and I spent the rest of the time talking to their bones. I sat there, crying,wishing that I was with them too.” October’s eyes were brimming with tears and she noticed how completely morbid what she just told them was but she didn’t care.
Brooke and Daniel looked as if their legs were knocked out from under them.
“Honey, if you want to see and talk about this to Mr. Shields, I can set a...“ Brooke started, casting a sideglance at Daniel who looked ashen.
“No.” October interrupted, “I do NOT want to go back to that thick headed man who thinks he understands what I’m going through! He doesn’t! No one does! No one knows what it’s like to lose your whole family in one night. No one knows what it’s like to beliveing my life!”
October stood abruptly, left the room, and stomped up the stairs to her room. She slammed the door behind her and threw herself across her bed and pressed her face into the quilt. October tried to stifle her sobbing. A soft knock came from behind her.
“October? Do you want me to come in?” It was Daniel.
“No, Daniel. Just please go away.” October said mournfully.
October listened to his footsteps hesitate than walk away from the door and down the hallway. October, still crying, had a good feeling she was going to like Daniel.
October cried until her eyes ran dry. Then she just lay in her bed and stayed there till dark.”
Day two of school was not as bad as the first. Not as many people stared at her. Lunch time rolled around and October decided she was going to eat in the cafeteria.
The place was packed! October let her eyes sweep the cafeteria, looking for an empty table or seat. She was worried about not finding a seat and started to turn around to leave when someone called her name.
“October! Hey, October come sit with us!” October followed the voice to see someone flailing wildly at her. October couldn’t place the name with the face, but she went over anyway. “Sit with us!” October sat down and studied the tiny chirpy girl who’d just waved her over. Her excited pale-blue wide eyes were thickly decorated with eyeliner and mascara. Her eyelids were covered in a dark teal, making her eye color stand out.
“Um. Hey, guys.” October felt so out of place.
“Heylo, heylo, heyloz! I’MSOHYPERRIGHTNOW!” The tiny girl literally was bouncing in her seat..
“Starr! God dammit! You’re scaring the new girl,” Raven scolded, “Hey, what’s new?” She said talking to October now.
“Nothing much, and you. What’s new with you?” October responded.
Starr answered for Raven. “Omigosh! I saw the coolest cute shirt at Hot Topic while shopping last night…” Starr went on. October tuned out of the conversation, but she nodded every once in a while to make it seem like she was following the story. She glanced at everyone at the round lunch table.
October observed everyone and made little notes on who’s who. Starr was the jumpy one; Skipp was the one in auburn hair that was constantly in his face. Shadow, if she was getting this right, was the amazingly gorgeous one. His dark hair blocked his eyes and unlike Skipp, he didn’t flip his head to clear his face. October couldn’t see what color his eyes were and felt kind of disappointed. She let her eyes linger on him before turning back into the conversation just listening and not really saying much.
October was tracing invisible lines on the fake wooden table when she felt someone watching her. She slowly looked up, glancing at the most interesting pair of eyes she’d ever seen. The electric thunder-blot blue eyes staring into hers belonged to Shadow. Shadow didn’t drop his gaze when she stared back at him and neither did she. He looked at her intensely as if she had something important that he’d lost but found out she stole it. October stared back at him mystified. Why wasn’t he looking away?
“Hey. What’s up with you guys? You’re staring at each other like you’re having a telepathic conversation.” Raven noticed, “Oh my goshness, are you really? That would be awesome.”
“Please, do shut up, Raven. No, we are not having a telepathic conversation,” Shadow answered, still not looking away from October, “If you must know we’re having a very-cool-very-awesome emo no-smiling contest.” October giggled at what he said. Shadow chuckled and looked away, teasing October by saying: “You lost, Newbie.”
Grateful that Shadow had stopped staring at her, October nibbled at her food not exactly hungry anymore. After a few minutes of fake listening and agreeing, the table suddenly became hushed.
“Don’t look now, but those hard-headed douches are coming over. Remember: ice them out.” Raven warned and instructed in a whispered voice. Shadow looked like he was going to comment on what she said but he seemed to swallow his words.
“Hey! Yo, Cutters!” October looked back. A built jock in a letter jacket was weaving through the lunch tables to them, his friends flanking him. He was clearly their leader. October narrowed her eyes at them and turned back to her table. “HEY! We’re talking to you!”
October shot a look at Raven; a look that asked: “Who is that jerk?” Raven rolled her eyes, indicating that there wasn’t much to say.
The jocks made it to the table October was sitting at. October was surprised that he didn’t get lost on the way there; seeming as he looked and sounded like an oaf. The group of jocks had surrounded the table making some type of wall.
“C’mon. Let’s dump our trash.” Raven insisted, ignoring the idiots behind her. Everyone at the table stood and stalked to the trash bin. The intruders made way for them to get through. Skipp raised a questioning eyebrow, making it apparent that the whole thing was too easy. October followed but the single-minded clones closed her in.
“Excuse me, you’re in my way.” October said, staring the idiot in front of her in the eye.
The guy who she assumed to be the leader stepped in front of her. “So, you’re the New Girl?” he asked her.
“So, you’re the jackass.” October retorted, staring at his beefy head showing no emotion.
Beef Head either didn’t hear her or ignored her comment. “What are you doing hanging with the freaks?” Beef Head’s mindless friends chuckled and created a closed circle around October, and Beef Head moved closer to October until he was inches from her face. October glanced down. His jacket read: Bruce.
“What’s your name?” Sean asked, lifting up her chin with his pointer finger. October jerked her head away and glared at him.
“Don’t. Touch. Me.” October said frostily. The group around her rumbled with laughter, humored by her response.
“Aw, c’mon, baby! Don’t be like that!” The idiots laughed harder. “Let’s make a deal, you-“ Bruce started.
“I don’t make deals with dick-faces. Let me through, and I’m not your “baby”.” October interrupted coldly.
“Whoa, let me finish.” Bruce continued obnoxiously, “The deal is: you tell me your name and I’ll let you through.”
October was staring to get freaked. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep the façade up for long. Where were Raven, Skipp, Starr, and Shadow? Where the hell is the kitchen staff?! There is no way this is going unnoticed. I’m not about to give this idiot my name, October thought to herself. She pretended to think about what he said.
“My name is, Margret.” October said bluntly, “Satisfied?” October tried to shove her way through only to get bounced back. She was shoved into the wall of bodies. They shoved back and they continued the pattern, passing her back and forth as if she was a Ping-Pong ball. October was bounced into Bruce and her grabbed hold of her waist, pulling her to him.
October pounded and pushed on his chest. “Get off me, freak!” She cried, still shoving.
“Hey! Let her go!” someone ordered. Bruce didn’t let go of her waist and October continued pounding.
The tight circle around her melted away. All of the faces that were a second ago staring at her, turned to look at the person who interrupted their fun. It was Shadow. Standing there like an angry avenging angel.
“What did you say, Goth Boy?” Bruce growled. October noted his reaction and took it that he didn’t like defiance.
“I said: ‘Let her go.’” Shadow repeated through clenched teeth. God, he’s beautiful, October thought to herself.
Shadow, moving forward and grabbing October’s arm, yanked her away, and pulled her to his side before taking a protective stance in front of her.
Bruce walked until he stood toe-to-toe with Shadow. Bruce glared at Shadow and Shadow stared back with eyes like burning coals. “Stay away from her, or, I will not hesitate in breaking your ugly little face.” Shadow threatened. The two glowered at each other a while longer and October noticed for the first time that the whole cafeteria was silent. How long were they watching? The tension was thick enough to choke someone.
“This,” Bruce said tightly, “This isn’t over.” Shadow’s stare didn’t waver but it was clear on his face that he was calming down a bit. “We’re done here; let’s go.” Bruce said to his friends, walking away. His single-minded friends followed single-file.
Once they were all gone, Shadow relaxed from his stance in front of October and turned to face his friends.
“That was crazy fierce, Shadow!” Raven enthused, sounding a lot like Starr.
Murmurs started up in the cafeteria and students stared at the five.
“Let’s just get out of here, okay?” Shadow said, moving for the doors. Raven, Starr, and Skipp followed him with adoring faces while October stood rooted to where she was standing trying to make sense of it all.
What the Hell just happened? October asked herself. Trying to concentrate on what happened was not easy, what with everyone’s stares boring into her back, side, and head. October uprooted herself and moved quickly out the cafeteria doors and out to her car. She slammed the door behind her. October sat there wondering: what the Hell did the universe have against her? The car’s dashboard claimed it was 12:45. October sighed, climbed out of her car and headed back inside the school to finish out the rest of the already ruined day.
“Um…tonight? I don’t know Skipp. I’d have to asked Brooke and Daniel. Hold on, let me ask.” October said into the phone. “Daniel! Brooke! Can I go to the Evanescence concert?” October called down the stairs.
Daniel’s voice carried up the stairs. “Are you sure you want to leave tonight? Family night is tonight, Amber. You don’t want to miss that.” Daniel was the only one allowed to call her Amber.
‘Yeah, I don’t want to be here tonight on account of that; so, yeah, I’m sure I want to go to the concert.” October said. October stood at the top of the stairs now and could see Daniel thinking it over.
“Okay. You can go. But when is curfew again?” Daniel asked October, caving.
“It’s 12:45. I know my curfew. I’ll be home before that anyway. Thank you Daniel! You’re seriously the cool side of the pillow.” October heard Daniel chuckle before she put her phone to her ear. “Skipp? I can go with you. See you in ten. Bye.” October pushed the end button on her brand new phone.
October applied some eyeliner and mascara, checking out her reflection in the mirror. Satisfied, October skipped down the stairs and hugged Daniel on her way out.
“Have a good time and be safe. Bye, October.” Daniel said to October’s back as she left the house.
“Where are you going?” October shut the door behind her on Brooke’s question.
“Hey, Skipp!” October greeted, “I am so psyched!”
“Hey, October, come on in. My parents are gone for the night. Hey, who’s Amber? I heard that name while we were talking on the phone. Is that your foster sister or something? I thought you had all brothers.” Skipp asked her.
“Amber? Amber…is no one.” October lied quickly. “Are you ready to go?” October said, avoiding a conversation.
“Yeah, almost.” Skipp answered back.
They went into the living room and on the couch waited: Starr, Raven, and Shadow.
“Oh, hey guys. What’s up? I didn’t know you were coming.” October said conversationally, surprised.
“Hey, ‘Tober! Yeah we’re going too! This is going to be EPIC.” Starr bubbled. Then she turned and chatted away with Raven. Shadow sat at the end if the couch silently watching the two. Skipp moved over to where Shadow was and struck up a conversation. October sat on the armchair and watched all of them. She didn’t know how to join the conversation and she didn’t know where her place was. October wasn’t sure she wanted to stay anymore.
“Guys?” October pretended to check her phone, “I just got a text message from Daniel. He says he wants me home. Says he wants me to reconsider going out tonight. I think I might go home. You guys go on without me.” October started to back away towards the door. “So, bye. I guess.”
October turned her whole body to the door and started to walk but someone caught her elbow.
“Where are you going? Never mind, stupid question. Why are you going? He said he wanted you to reconsider, that doesn’t mean you should go.” It was Skipp.
October hurried to come up with an excuse. “Um… I’m just going to be in your way and besides, odd numbered groups are just weird so I’m going to bail.” October explained and tried to pull away.
“No, you’re not going to be ‘in the way’, and, seven is a lucky number and its odd.” Skipp said, trying to convince October.
“Yeah! Stay October! You’ll miss the fun if you go.” Starr agreed. October turned her head to look towards Raven to find her nodding furiously. October looked at Shadow who raised his shoulders and let them fall. October stood battling with her mind.
“Are you guys sure?”
“YES!” the three of them answered. Shadow nodded once to show he was on board with her going.
October thought for a minute, judging their sincerity. “I guess I’ll stay.” October said smiling.
“YES!” Skipp exclaimed, “Hey, who has the biggest car worth of space, ‘cause mine is way too small for all of us.” The four followed the ecstatic Skipp out to the driveway, stopping only to lock the door behind them.
“We could all go in my Hybrid. It’s got lots of space. If you guys want…” October offered, letting her question hang.
“Sounds like a plan to me.” Raven said walking to October’s car.
“Cool.” October said, heading for the driver’s side. She only made it about two steps before Shadow stepped in her way. “Whoa, pony! Shadow you’re kinda blocking me there. I almost ran into you.”
“Hand over the keys.” Shadow said, holding his palm up flat, eyes expectant.
October stood looking at him to see if he was joking. She giggled. Was he serious? “Yeah. I’m going to let you drive my car.” October said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. October shook her head and tried to step around him. Shadow blocked her again and silently held his hand up, his face now petulant. October stared at him searching his face trying to understand. October looked into Shadow’s eyes. She could see sadness behind them but that was nearly impossible to see because of the graveness sitting on top of the sadness. What is your secret October wondered.
Reluctantly October placed the keys in Shadow’s waiting palm.
“Thank you.” Shadow said. His hand closed around the keys and he turned for the car.
“I’m riding shotgun though.” October called after him unwilling to completely give up the car.
October took that as a go ahead and followed Shadow to her car. The rest followed suit. The car chirped and the locks slid inside the doors. Everyone had sat down, buckled up, and Shadow already had slid the key into the ignition when Skipp exclaimed: “I forgot the tickets!” Starr claimed she had to go potty and Raven said her makeup was not decent and she needed to fix it. The seat belts clicked again and the back of the car emptied faster than it was filled. October watched the trio disappear into the house.
Shadow sighed heavily and slumped in his seat.
“Okay. What just happened here?” October asked aloud. Shadow didn’t answer her question. October turned to look at him and he seemed distant. “Yo, Shadow.” October said trying to get his attention. It worked. He turned his head slowly to face her, his eyes sad.
Seeing this October became sympathetic. “Shadow, are you okay?” Shadow looked away a guarded expression falling into place before answering her question.
“Depends on what your definition of okay is.” Shadow answered after a while.
October pretended to think her answer over. “Are you okay, as in, are you okay.”
“So we’re going to be smart, aren’t we?” Shadow asked, “Actually, no I’m not okay. Do I look okay to you?” Shadow turned his face to October and she could see the guarded expression completely feel away. His face was so torn that October didn’t know how to answer him. Pity filled her for him.
Before October could even think about what she was doing, she reached over and gave Shadow a tight hug around his neck. Shadow stiffened in her arms. October let go immediately.
“Sorry.” October apologized. Her face flushed crimson red in embarrassment. Shadow didn’t say anything but a small smile crept onto his face.
October noticed the sky was starting to get darker but it was Shadow who called out on it.
“What’s the hold up?” Shadow wondered aloud.
“I’m going in.” October said. She clicked herself out of the seat and hopped out of the car, slamming the door behind her. The sound of the car door echoed as Shadow got out of the car to join her. October glanced back at him and started walking for the house.
October reached the door and pushed it open. She could hear some scuffling upstairs.
“Hey, guys?” October called up. Louder sounds. Something heavy seemed to be moving around. There was a crash. “You guys?” October shouted now concerned. October turned to Shadow. His face mirrored her startled expression. There was another crash and October bolted up the stairs.
October ran down the corridor towards the noises. The door was jagged and splintered like someone ninja kicked it in. October threw the remaining of the door open.
“Get out, October! Get away from here and get help!” Skipp shouted in her direction. Cheerful Skipp had lost his smile and it was replaced by a horrified grimace. He held his arm and October could see it was bleeding. Skipp’s horrified face was an exact copy of the ones on Raven and Starr’s faces.
October ignored Skipp’s warning and stepped more into the room moving towards her friends. The ridiculous looking door swung shut behind her but she hadn’t been the one to close it.
October whirled around to face her advancer. It growled. A scream, caught in her throat, choked her. A monster that could only be imagined in the worst possible nightmare was standing in front of her, baring its teeth. Its mouth was filled with razor sharp teeth, stained a brown-red from something it had devoured, its back was hunched, and its eyes were blood shot with the pupil as wide as the eye. It stood on its legs and October saw that his skin was puckered (which reminded her of wet dried leather) and was colored a sickly pale-grey, as if it were dead for a while. Its claws dangerously glinted in the light that came off the small lamp in the room.
October feet were planted, terror gluing her feet to the floor. She wanted so bad to run to her friends huddled in a corner of the room, but she couldn’t will her body to move. She could smell the raw breath of the creature standing not a stone’s throw away from her. October stared at the thing and it stared back. October suddenly figured how to move and took a tiny step back; the thing caught the movement and lurched at her.
A scream rang out, whose she wasn’t sure, and a crash. The thing was sitting on her glaring down. October blindly searched with her hands above her head. Her hand closed around a splintered table leg, she assumed she crashed into when the thing attacked, and jabbed it into Its side. It screeched. Its voice sounded sharp like nails going across a chalk board.
The thing was stunned momentarily; long enough to give October room to move out from under it. October grabbed another splintered table leg and took stance in front of it in a crouched position. The monster overcame it shock and advanced again for October throwing itself at her another time. But October was ready. She moved out of the way at the last second causing the Thing hit the wall full force. Enraged the beast clawed at her ripping through her thin shirt and slicing her belly, leaving a tingling sensation.
The door exploded open. October glanced over. It was Shadow. Where the hell has he been the whole time? October thought.
Taking advantage of the distraction the Thing tackled her to the floor again. The monster snarled above her and opened its mouth to bite down on her neck. Shadow rushed over and threw the beast off of October. It hit the wall where Skipp, Starr, and Raven were watching on with matching horrified expressions. October remembered the crude weapon in her hand. She ran forward before it had time to recover and slammed it into the middle of its chest.
The beast screamed again and went limp. But is it dead? October asked herself. For good measure, October picked up a lamp and smashed it onto its head.
The beast didn’t move. Starr and Raven ran and hid behind Shadow abandoning the corner. Skipp walked over to where October was still standing in front of the thing. The thing shimmered and changed form. It suddenly became a man in his late forties. October was stunned. She took five steps back in amazement before falling to her knees.
Skipp joined her on the floor. “He’s dead,” Skipp said reassuringly, “That was amazing, October. You saved our lives, thank you.” Skipp’s voice was grateful but October could barely hear him over the rushing of blood in her ears.
“Who was he? I’ve never seen him before. Why would he attack us.” Raven asked Shadow. Wait, what is she talking about? What does she mean “he”? She surely has to have seen that monster. October thought to herself, since she wasn’t able to talk yet.
Shadow was quick to answer. “I don’t know who he is. Your parents probably pissed him off, Skipp. How’d he get in in the first place?”
“I don’t know. All the doors were closed. When he got in here he kept asking for you October; do you know him?” October answered Skipp question by slowly shaking her head back and forth. Skipp turn and faced away from her, “Are you girls okay?” Skipp said directing his question to Raven and Starr. The two nodded.
“Well now we have a dead body on our hands. What are we supposed to do with him?” Skipp asked no one in particular. Shadow took control with ease.
“Let’s first call the police, no one touch the body. Can you do that, Raven?” Shadow instructed. Raven nodded her head and left the room quietly.
October was still sitting in front of the monster that morphed into a man when suddenly, the monster turned man’s eyes flipped open. He wasn’t dead was the first thought in October’s head. October was going to scream for help but her scream caught in her throat choking her again. The monster/man turned its eyes slowly to look at her. A grim and menacing smile slowly crept across its face. It caught flame then exploded. A pile of ashes sat in place of the beast but they weren’t there for long. The ashes seemed to drift away in an invisible wind and through the closed window. The others didn’t seem to notice what was going on. October sat and watched on in awe.
“It’s gone.” October said softly. The chattering stopped immediately although October only spoke barely above a whisper.
“What was that?” Raven asked her voice confused. Raven had come in from the hallway, the phone still in her hand.
“It’s gone. He’s gone” October stood gingerly, her head swimming furiously, to turn and face Shadow and Raven. Shadow’s face wasn’t the least bit surprised. “I. Want. To. Know. What the Hell just happened?” October said in her scary-calm voice, directing her question towards Shadow.
“How can he be gone? October just shot him in his chest. No one can walk away from that. How’d he leave with us all still standing here?” Starr asked perplexed, still half hiding in Shadow’s side.
October was shocked. So they didn’t see the beast that charged her.
Sirens wailed in the distance. Skipp came in from the hallway. October didn’t even notice when he left. “The police are on their way.” Skipp took a look around and realized the body was gone. “Wait guys. Did you hide the body?”
“It’s gone. Poof! Like magic.” Raven told him.
‘What do you mean “gone”? Things that aren’t living don’t just up and leave like: ‘Oh, yeah, I’m just going on a walk.’” Skipp said; panic beginning to show on his face, his voice skeptical.
October saw it happen. If she said anything it would just make her seem like she needed some re-wiring done? October’s head felt heavy. Her whole frame was weighted down. October could feel the warmth of her body fall away; the blood moving through her veins felt like ice. October opened her mouth to say she wasn’t feeling well but before she got a chance the floor rushed her face and she blacked out.
October woke up in her room. She could hear someone mumbling something over her; a male’s voice. Something was poking at her stomach. October’s eyes felt clamped shut.
“Hey,” the voice was quiet, “How are you feeling? October couldn’t place the voice. She fought her stubborn eyelids and opened her eyes. Standing over her was Daniel.
Daniel? October tried to say. But her mouth was drier than the Sahara. October tried to sit up but Daniel pushed her shoulders down gently back onto the bed.
“No you don’t,” Daniel said in his rarely used parenting voice, “You need to rest. You’ve been through a lot. You’re a hero ya’ know.”
October’s eyes closed somewhere while Daniel was talking, flung open.
“What did you say?” October’s confused voice was hoarse. She cleared her throat and tried again. “What are you talking about?”
“You saved your friend’s lives. That gun man you shot? He was identified as mass murderer. If you hadn’t shot him he would’ve killed you all.”
October shot up into a sitting position in her bed, ignoring the wave of dizziness that hit her almost immediately. “They caught the guy? When I was in the house his body was gone.”
“Yeah, your friends mentioned that to the police and they found him fleeing the scene.” Daniel informed her sounding a lot like a reporter.
"Daniel, im not a hero." October said shaking her head. "I just dont want to talk about that anymore. can you do that?"
Daniel watched her face and caved. "Sure,I'll mention that to the others." Daniel stood up carefully as to not move October. He was going to leave the room but he turned to October who was watching him.
“I’m proud of you.” Daniel said before softly closing the door behind him.
October slid back down into her bed and closed her eyes, letting Daniel’s last words bounce around in her mind like a ball in an empty room.
Eyes turned to stare at October as she moved for her first hour class. Everyone seemed to hush their conversation which she was undoubtedly the topic of. October picked up the pace and nearly ran the rest of the way there. Mr. Parker’s room wasn’t any better than the hallways. Eyes were trained on her as she moved to her seat in the middle of the classroom.
The bell rang signaling that class was in session. Mr. Parker wrote the word ‘Hero’ on the board.
“Today’s topic: Heroism. I’m going to call everyone up here one at a time, and you are going to do your very best in trying to give your definition on what you think makes a hero.”
If looks could kill, Mr. Parker would be lying on the floor with his eyes rolling around aimlessly in his head. If Mr. Parker noticed October’s death glare, he did a good job pretending as if she wasn’t there.
“Valerie, you’re up first.” Mr. Parker said holding his attendance chart.
Valerie looked sheepish as she moved slowly to the front of the room. She cleared her throat before she started. “Um. I guess that a hero is someone who acts out of instinct. Like when someone decides to help save someone even while everyone around is just standing there watching.” Valerie took a dramatic pause and started again. “I think anyone who risks their lives for others is someone who deserves the title of hero.” Valerie ended.
As she made her way back to her seat she was rewarded with scattered applause. The rest of the class went the same way. All of the students basically saying the same thing. Mercifully the bell rang before she could be called to the front. October was the first one out of the room.
October was halfway to her second hour when she decided she was going to skip every class until lunch. Glancing nervously side-to-side, October briskly made her way to her car trying her best not to be noticed. She reached for her keys and slid it into the lock. The lock made an aduible sound as it clicked open. October sat in the driver's seat before deciding that she didnt want to leave the school. She didnt need to give Brooke any more of a reason to make her go to a shrink.
October climbed out of her car. locked the door and reluctanly made her wayback to the school entrance, dragging her feet as she went along. October reached the doors of the school and took a deep breath before going in. I just got to make it through the day October thought asshe shoved the doors open.
October lifted herself off the cool dirt ground. She wiped her fists accross her eyes. She felt numb after crying for so long. Ocober arranged the flowers before leaving the cementary. She thought in disgust about going home. Brooke was probably planning a family fun night that was to be extreme torture. October briefly thought how maybe if she wasnt being forced to be all chummy she would've gotten along with her new family a heck of a long time ago. Daniel seemed to be the only one okay with her goingat her own pace.October climbed the stairs to her house. Taking a breath befroe going inside, October swung the door to see what horrors awaited her.
Surprisingly the house was quiet. She couldnt hear Brooke screaming at Jack or Gage to pick up a mess they'd left on the floor.Ocotber entered with caution. she walked in to the kitchen to find the stove still on and spaghetti sauce bubbling overthe top of it. She went over and turned off the burner before leaving the kitchen in seacrh of the missing family.October frowned and went into Daniel's den. Papers were scattered everywhere. The only sofa chair in the room was tipped over and askew. It seems as if Daniel was fighting somthing in here Octoeber thought, smiling at the thought of Danie ever being violent. She went upstairs to the boy's rooms and they were as empty as the rest of the house. Octoeber went to her room. She ignored the fact that no one was in the house. Brooke is a BLONDE Ocotber thought. Of cousre she'd forget to turn off the stove. She probably went out with the family somewhere.
October changed into her sweats and plopped down into her bed. Her head landed on something that crinkled. October reached her hand up and pulled the piece of paper out form behind her head. The paper was carefully folded and felt like heavy parchment. October frowned and worried lines creased her forehead. She carefully sat up and held the heavy paper in her hand.
"What is this?" October wondered aloud. Did Brooke leave a note? October carefully unfolded the note.
October sat in awe. The card read:
"i have taken your family from youand the only way for you to get them back is to follow my simple directions. I want your power and the only way im going to obtain it is if you bring me all the neccesary items for the ritual. Bring me the items and the power you posses and your family will be returned to you. A small word of advice: if you plan on skimping out on the items i require, keep in mind that each item is a "free pass" for a member of your "family". Fail to bring me all and your whole family dies. Slowly. Painfully.
Bring me the onyx gemstone, the moonstone, the sacred angel's pendant, and death's dagger. You have four weeks.
-The Deadly Trickster"
October read the note over again and by the fifth time her hands were badly shaking. She became numb and