Pitchwars Mentee Bio

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Hi guys! Let me start off by saying I love writing and reading. As if y’all didn’t already know that. My name is Raven Hudgins and quite frankly I’ve been writing since I don’t know how long. I bet a lot of you are like that, so I know I’m in great company.

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Something else y’all might notice…I love Teen Wolf and cats, but I’ll get to that later.

I’ve entered a couple contests so far like Pitchslam, Writer’s Voice, and Query Kombat. Sadly I was not picked for any of them. Why not, you ask?

http://gph.is/18KCcr0

I’m hoping I can make it into Pitchwars. If not, I’ll keep trying.

Strawberry? U crazy? Cats! That is all. I also I like video games =).

http://dcmorin.blogspot.com/2014/08/2014-pitchwars-contestant-hop-now-its.html

WIP Lost Souls: Excerpt

Chapter 1

6th Century BC

His hands were rough and calloused as they wrapped around my neck, lifting me off the ground. His skin was golden brown, his eyes were dark as night. As his grip tightened, I reached into my belt and pulled out a jagged dagger. The hilt glistened with a thousand jewels. I held it taut and thrust it into his gut. His eyes widened as his hands scrambled to pull out the blade. I crashed to the rocky ground. Pain reverberated through my legs. I clenched my jaw as I looked over at him. He stumbled backwards, hitting one of the columns.

His coal black eyes glanced from me to the dagger then back again. Blood seeped through his wound, caking in the dirt. His breathing became ragged as his hands fumbled to find the hilt. He slid down the pillar, leaving a smear of blood on the column. His movements became sluggish. He coughed, spewing blood and spit. It dribbled down his angled chin. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. His arm fell away from his stomach, falling to the dusty ground. I stared at his body, limp in the fading light. His once rich blue aura dimmed, flickered, and then was gone. I had done it again. I had killed the one person who could have made me happy. I had killed my soulmate. His death was on my hands once more. Nothing, I felt nothing.

I picked myself up, dusting away dirt from my blue peplos. My sandals scuffed against the ground as I walked away from what I had done. I could have ended my life then like I had in Egypt, but there would be no point. As long as I lived, the cycle wouldn’t restart. I wasn’t sure why, but nevertheless I wasn’t going to kill him again. I couldn’t, unless I had to. I would end this cycle…. I shuffled through the columns and down its steps toward the city below. A warm breeze rustled my hair. It tickled my face. The sun cast its last rays as I reached my destination. I kicked away scattered rocks as I came upon one of the many homes of the city, my home. I ran, my sandals pounding against the dusty street. As the distance between my safety and my body lessened, I jumped.

My hands latched onto the clay roofing. I pulled myself up and scrambled toward the courtyard. I jumped, tucking and rolling as I landed. I walked over to the stone fountain. The water glistened in the moonlight. The pool rippled and pulsed as fresh water ran down the second tier. My reflection shimmered and flickered. My face was pale, my eyes too big, and my once flawless neck was marred blue and purple. I sat down on the stone, tucking my feet behind me. The cold seeped through my thin peplos. I ran my hand through the water, my skin prickling as it lapped against me.

Strands of red trickled through the crystal blue. The water was tainted with blood, like my soul. I shivered. My deep blue aura gleamed against the lightness of the pool.

“Sybil, is that you?”

I looked up to see my sister in the doorway. Her bare, bronzed skin shone like the sun in the moonlight. Her long, black hair cascaded down her back, falling just short of her waist. She was three years younger than my sixteen years. Her aura was a soft yellow, matching her kind nature.

“It is, sister. You should be sleeping like mother and father, Daphne, why are you awake?” I asked.

“I couldn’t sleep, not without you.”

She cast her blue eyes down, shuffling her bare feet in the dirt. I sighed, drying my hand on my dress before getting up. I walked over to her and rested a hand on her shoulder.

“Come then, let us sleep,” I said, leading her back to our room.

“Why were you in the courtyard, sister? Was it the dreams again?” she asked.

I looked down at my younger sister and nodded.

“Yes…they leave me shaken. I watch the water flow from the fountain; it calms me.”

I didn’t lie, but I didn’t tell the whole truth either. I had woken from one of my nightmares, but I hadn’t gone to the courtyard. I went to the temple, to pray to Athena for wisdom and guidance. I had found none; instead I was attacked. I knew I shouldn’t have been out after the sun had started to set, but I had a sudden urge. I had to; there was no stopping me. I had climbed the hill towards the Parthenon and marveled at its magnificence. My sandals had just touched the stone when I saw him.

My eyes cast around at the columns, wondering if she would hear me. I took a step toward the inner sanctum. Dirt crunched under my feet. I scanned the pillars, feeling eyes watching me. He came out behind one of the inner posts like a panther stalking its prey. My heart stopped then sputtered back to life. I stood immobilized as he crept closer. I was a mouse caught in the grip of a snake. His coal black eyes ravaged my body with a mere look. I shivered, feeling cold in the dying summer light. His blue aura stood out against his tan skin and dark hair. The same color as mine. It rippled and pulsed around him, clinging like a second skin.

He wore a green exomis that was fastened on the left shoulder, leaving his right bare. The exomis reached his knees and was cinched at the waist. I bit my lip, afraid to move. I should have run the minute I saw him, but his chiseled face and muscular build drew me in. He took a step towards me and smiled. His lips crept up into a smirk that would make any woman swoon. I would have if I didn’t already know where this was heading. I screamed at my legs to move, to run. Instead I stood as still as a statue.

“What do we have here?” he laughed.

His voice wrapped around me, caressing my body. His dark eyes shimmered as he came ever closer. My heart thrashed against my chest. I was a deer caught in headlights. My voice clung to my throat, unable to produce a sound.

“Speechless I see. No matter, you don’t need to speak, just feel,” he said.

His words were laced with hidden meanings. He was inches away from me by the time I found my voice.

“No,” I managed to say.

He laughed, but it held no humor. I tensed, clenching my jaw. He raised his right hand and stroked my cheek. He left a trail of heat as his hand went lower. I was paralyzed, unable to do anything but watch. His fingers were rough and calloused as they caressed down my neck to my shoulder. My clasped left shoulder strap followed his hands down my arm. Instinctively I wrapped my arms around my chest, covering them from his greedy eyes.

He frowned and grabbed both of my arms, yanking them away from my body. With one hand, he gripped both of my wrists behind my back. I whimpered. His grip only tightened as his other hand brought my other shoulder strap down. My dress fell to my wrists, revealing my bare breasts. His eyes devoured my skin, scorching it. Without skipping a beat, his lips crashed against mine, rough and needy. I gasped at his intensity and insistence. My insides turned to mush the minute his lips touched mine, his body pressed against me, and his hands groped frantically.

I was speechless and feeling like he had wanted. I couldn’t let this happen, despite his aura. I wasn’t going to allow this man to assert his dominance on me, not like this. His hand fell away from my wrists as he held me against his chest while his other played and fondled my breast. I took the opportunity to kick him. My sandal collided with his privates. He groaned, falling back a bit. I made my escape then, fumbling as I tried to pick up my dress and run. I dashed into the inner sanctum of the temple, hoping to hide. He cursed, rocks clattering as he came for me again. I straightened my peplos and stopped, listening for his breathing. Everything was quiet.

My eyes scanned the columns again. I let out the breath I was holding about to take a deep one when he lunged. He had caught me off guard. His calloused hands wrapped around my neck-

“Sybil!”

I jerked, turning to my sister. Her blue eyes were wide, staring through me.

“Sorry…,” I said, looking down.

We had reached our room a while ago, yet I had been so wrapped up in my thoughts I hadn’t noticed. Daphne had.

“I’ve been calling your name, but you didn’t answer. I was worried.”

Her pale lips curled down into a pout. I rolled my eyes and pat her head, leading her into the room. Our bedroom consisted of two beds and a wooden chest for our clothes. The only light in the small room was an oil lamp atop our chest. Despite her age, Daphne preferred to sleep in my bed with me. I didn’t mind on cold nights as her warmth added to mine.

She crawled into bed, curling up on her side and waited for me. I stripped quickly; my peplos pooling around my legs. I picked it up and laid it on the bed then unraveled my shoes. I licked my index and thumb before snuffing out the flame. We were cast in darkness. I crept into bed, wrapping my arms around Daphne as I pulled what used to be my peplos over our naked bodies. The dreams came soon after….

The sand sifted through my toes as I walked, burning slightly in the midday sun. A soft breeze caressed my skin. Even with the wind, the air was hot and sticky. Mini sand tornadoes blew passed, swirling in the sudden gust. I smiled, picking up speed. I muscled through sand dunes, using my hands and feet until I reached the top. Below me was the city. The pyramids cast shadows across the land. I skidded down toward the village.

Monuments of past pharaohs guarded the entrance to the city. I stared up at them as I passed. The streets bustled with people meandering around: women gossiping, children chasing each other, and men trading what little they had. I slipped passed them unnoticed. My dress brushed against the ground, kicking up dust and sand as I walked. My eyes roamed the city, searching. I caught a flicker of blue pass through one of the alleys. My pulse quickened.

I scrunched up the bottom of my dress and ran towards him. I brushed passed onlookers with only one person on my mind, Ini-herit, my twin’s husband.

Chapter 2

Present Day

“What the hell, Harper?”

“Huh?” I said, lifting my eyes from the sheet music.

“You played the wrong note. That’s a low G not an E. You would think after four years of band, you could tell the difference.”

I sighed and tried again, holding the flute against my lips. I blew air through it, moving my fingers to match the notes I needed to play. All else disappeared around me except the sheet music. B flat, A, C, G, F, B flat again: notes played in different succession, creating a song.

“Better, but you’re mixing up eighth notes with triplets. We have two weeks left to perfect this one song before the first game, and I’d rather not look like a fool out on the field.”

“I’ll get it, Chanita, trust me.”

“I’m not worried about you getting it sitting down. I’m worried about you playing it on the field. Learning the music is the easy part, marching to it is where everything goes to hell.”

I rolled my eyes. Chanita was being melodramatic. We would pull it off. There was no doubt in my mind that this year we would surprise the crowd. I’d be damned if we messed up my sophomore year. Being a band member was bad enough, but if we screwed up, we would be the laughing stock of the school.

“Well I’m starving and tired of listening to you play, horribly I might add.”

“You could have left a long time ago.”

She feigned hurt. “La gasp, and leave my poor, defenseless best friend alone in the band room and let who knows what happen to you, certainly not!”

I laughed. “You act like I can’t hurt a fly let alone a human being.”

“Well duh, because you can’t. Why else would I stay by your side?”

“Oh, you know, I thought maybe it was because you actually liked me as a friend, but I guess not.”

She laughed and stuck out her tongue. I smiled, rolling my eyes again as I put my flute away. She jumped up, knocking over one of the music stands. It clattered to the floor.

“Oops, anyways, hurry up before I leave your ass.”

“I thought you said you wouldn’t leave me defenseless?”

“That was before my stomach started to eat itself, now come on!”

I sighed, collecting my stuff before following after her. We walked down the hallway, passing one of the side gym doors and the boys’ locker room. The smell of rotten fish and dirty socks wafted through the closed door. I almost gagged as we picked up our pace, cutting left then straight. Chanita skipped ahead, swinging her ebony arms as her black hair bobbed up and down.

I smiled as I trailed behind. We cut right, passing rows of lockers on the right then slipped through one of the archways into the cafeteria. Tables upon tables could be seen as we walked to one of the vending machines. Chanita held out one of her hands as the other pressed against her hip.

“Seriously? Do you ever carry money on you?”

“Hell no! If I did, I surely would get robbed.”

“Robbed in Mathews? I highly doubt that,” I said, pulling out a five from my jean pocket.

She snatched it out of my hand, grinning. The machine buzzed as she inserted the money. After much debate, she picked A4. She ripped open the hot fries’ bag as soon as she pulled it out. I rolled my eyes and collected my change. A crunch could be heard as Chanita popped them in her mouth.

“Is that all you wanted?”

“Of course not, I want a drink too,” she said, holding out her hand again.

“You really need to carry money or at least a purse.”

“Why would I do that when I have you, a walking piggybank?”

“Sometimes I hate you.”

“Awe thanks, I love you too, Harper.”

She smirked, her brown eyes bright. Her pink aura was just as light. I smiled, bumping into her. She laughed, pushing back. I stumbled backwards, falling onto my ass. Chanita snorted, squealing like a pig.

“Thanks, you’re such a great friend.”

She continued to laugh as I picked myself up. I rubbed my behind as I walked away.

“Hey, wait! I need your money!” she called.

I stopped and looked down at my hand. The change I had received glistened. I clenched my jaw and turned back toward Chanita. I pulled back my arm and let them go. Quarters flew in every direction. Some pinged to the ground while others bounced off the tables then hit the tiled floor. Chanita stared, gaping. I walked back through one of the big archways and turned right, passing the glassed, outdoor area. I heard her call out again, but I ignored her. I strode through the science hallway. I was halfway to the end of the hall when I heard them.

High pitched squeals, giggling, the clapping of hands, and the unmistakable aroma of cotton candy were the only warning I had before walking right into the jaws of the cheerleading squad. I froze, blinded by the array of colors flashing before my eyes only I could see. I had two options: creep behind the beehive, pressed against the lockers or go all the way around and pass Chanita on the way.

I didn’t know which was worse: facing the queen of the Blue Devils cheer squad or dealing with my best friend who had plucked a nerve. I could have gone with the lesser of two evils and gone back to Chanita, but my pride said otherwise. Instead of clinging to the lockers like I had planned, I walked straight through them. Blondes and brunettes stumbled backwards, cursing and pushing each other. I kept my head down, my face hidden by my brown hair and continued walking. I had almost made it to my turn, passing the gym, when she spotted me.

“Who do you think you are, interrupting my girls’ from learning this cheer?”

Her voice was icky sweet but held a note of malice. I cringed. I was screwed; no one escaped Adalyn. Her viper green eyes locked onto me. I was her prey, caught in a trap. Her blonde ponytail swung behind her as she sauntered toward me. The squad spread out until I was the only one in Adalyn’s line of fire.

“Oh, it’s just Harper Smith,” she said, her voice coated with venom, “just one of the many unimportant, unpopular, band geeks.”

I clenched my hands, holding them firmly to my sides. She wasn’t going to spark anything; I wasn’t going to beat her to a pulp despite what my thoughts hoped. She circled me. Her neon orange aura flickered in and out of my sight.

“Have you lost weight? Oh wait, you can’t. All you can do is put on more; soon you will look like Big Bertha.”

Her minions laughed, exposing their necks. I fought the urge to fight and ran. Their laughter followed me, taunting me. I turned sharply to the left, tears streaming down my cheeks. I didn’t bother to wipe them away, what was the point when more would show up. My sneakers squeaked then lost traction. I pitched forward. I threw out my hands, catching myself in the nick of time. The impact jarred my arms. I took a sharp breath as pain radiated from my right wrist. I sat up, tucking my knees, and surveyed the damage. Nothing seemed out of place. I twisted my wrist back and forth, wincing slightly.

“Hey, you okay?”

I nodded, catching the sight of cleats. My eyes traveled upwards, passed tight yellow pants, bare abs, and stopped at his eyes. They were brown yet green. His eyes reminded me of the forest: green leaves against brown bark. He held out a hand. I took it cautiously. His fingers wrapped around mine. I winced as he helped me up.

“You sure you’re fine?”

“Yeah, just landed on my wrist wrong, no biggy.”

I shrugged it off, looking away. I frowned, realizing he was still holding my hand. Before I could snatch it away, his grip tightened. I gasped as a surge of pain went up my arm.

“Seems to me like you aren’t fine.”

“What’s it to you?” I said through clenched teeth.

“You know what, forget I even cared,” he said, letting go.

I stood frozen as he brushed passed me. I hadn’t noticed his aura until then…a rich blue, like mine. I turned, about to say something, when she appeared. Cotton candy laced poison. Adalyn materialized out of thin air.

“Jaxon!” she squealed. Her spray tanned arms wrapped around his neck.

I felt like throwing up. I must have actually made the noise because her viper eyes locked onto mine. She smiled. My chest tightened at the sight of the glint in her eyes.

“Harper,” she enunciated like she was talking to a child, “will you be a dear and scramble back into the hole you came from, thanks.”

I held my tongue, fighting the urge to claw out her eyes. I looked away and caught Jaxon’s eye for a split second. He was the first to advert his gaze. I turned and walked away. I straightened my shoulders and held my head high. I wasn’t about to let her win. I left only because I wanted to, not because of her.

“Now where were we?” I heard her say.

“Not now, Adalyn.”

I smirked. I could only imagine what her reaction was. I pictured her being detached from his neck, her throwing a hissy fit, before storming off. I wished I could have seen it for myself, but that would have put me higher on Adalyn’s hit list. I made it halfway to the band room before I heard his voice again.

“Hey, Harper?”

I turned, meeting his gaze.

“Yeah?” I called back.

He opened his mouth to say something, but he never got the chance. Football players burst out of the locker room.

“Hey, Jax, you ready?” one of the guys’ said.

He glanced my way then at one of his buddies.

“Yeah.”

“Unless you like broken bones, I don’t think so. You don’t even have your shoulder pads on. Come on, Bro, get your head in game, or are you too busy thinking of Adalyn naked. I know I would be if I had a smoking hot babe like her.”

I didn’t stick around to find out what happened next. I bolted to the band room. I pushed open the double doors and went straight to my usual seat. There were only a few band members present. When I said only a few, I meant over half of the band was here. Disadvantage of living in a small town, small band.

“Hey, Harper.”

I looked over to see Danny waving his hand. I smiled.

“Hey, Danny, what’s up?”

“The sky,” he said, grinning, “actually nothing really, unless you count being man-handled by quarterback Jake.”

“That’s horrible.”

“Nah, it wasn’t all bad. He got man-handled by coach when he saw us.”

I laughed. “Well, I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.”

“Me, get hurt? Nah, I have tough skin, nothing can hurt this body,” he said, punching his chest.

He winced. I rolled my eyes.

“That’s good to know. At least I can count on your thick skin to protect me,” I joked.

He grinned, pushing up his glasses. His blue eyes magnified in the lens, matching his crystal blue aura. I looked away and concentrated on putting my flute together. The clinking of metal soothed my raging heart. I pressed the flute to my lips; the cold metal was like a balm. I closed my eyes for a second, savoring the moment. I took a deep breath and started on my scales. B flat scale: b flat, c, d, e flat, f, g, a, b flat, then back down. I repeated the notes in my head as my fingers glided over the keys. Next up was the C scale, and then E flat.

I went through each scale with precision. There was no room for mistakes. I finished the A flat scale, when Chanita waltzed in. She walked with the confidence of one of the populars instead of one of the band. I knew that look: eyes twinkling, reapplying lip gloss, tousled hair. Chanita just got back from a make out session. I wasn’t privileged enough to have experienced one, but I knew the signs from watching the popular crowd. She took a seat beside me. I didn’t say anything. I knew in a minute she would be gushing about this guy, so I waited.

A minute passed then five, and still nothing. I frowned. Why wasn’t she blabbing? Maybe she just wanted to build suspense. I waited a little bit longer until I couldn’t take it anymore. I laid my flute on my lap and glared at her.

“So you going to tell me or not?”

She glanced at me then away. “Tell you what?”

“Um, about the boy of course.”

“What boy?”

I clenched my jaw. “The boy you were making out with before sauntering in here.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She wouldn’t look at me.

“Oh come on! It’s written all over your face.”

She shook her head. I sighed, giving up. I thought best friends told each other everything, I wanted to say. I couldn’t though. If that were true then I wouldn’t be hiding my secret. Ever since I could remember, I’ve been able to see a person’s aura. Everyone had one. I was just now figuring out that two people could have the same aura. I just didn’t know what it meant.

Pitcharama

Tags

Death Callers

Raven Hudgins

YA Paranormal Romance

51,000

Knowing someone will die is easy; trying to save them is the hard part.

Eighteen year-old banshee, Aislin Gray is experiencing the worst thing in her teenage life, having premonitions of her true love’s death. Kaelin has come back into her life after leaving

so long ago only to be pushed away by Aislin with each new vision of his death. Instead of watching from the sidelines like her nature entails, she fights to save him. As the visions

change with each decision she makes, she grows more desperate to alter his fate, inadvertently telling him about the supernatural world. The Court, the lawmakers of the paranormal

world, is out for their blood as the existence of the paranormal is revealed to a human. Aislin will do anything to prevent his demise even if it means starting a war between the

supernatural beings.

 

 

Write Club

Image

There is a new contest that I’m about to enter! I’ve entered quite a few lately with great feedback from all. I’m currently entered in Query Kombat and soon to be entered for this. I can’t wait to get started =). There are a few rules:

1st RULE: You MUST talk about WRiTE CLUB – Spread the word far and wide so we can involve as many writers as possible.  Display the WRiTE CLUB banner prominently on your own blog.  Write a post about it.  Tweet it.  Mention it on Facebook. Heck, send up smoke signals if you can.  

2nd RULE: You DON’T talk about WRiTE CLUB – Once the competition begins you are not allowed to solicit votes.  All of the writing entries are anonymous, and we want it to stay that way. This is not a popularity contest!

3rd RULE: If someone taps out, WRiTING is over – Tapping out means a WRiTER can decide at any time during the 8 week competition to withdraw their name from the pool. If that happens the next writer from the pool with the most votes will move into that spot.

4th RULE: Only two people to a WRiTE – This is a head-to head competition, no ganging up allowed.

5th RULE: Two WRiTE’s per week – No matter how many submissions I receive this year, there will only be two WRiTE’s per week.

6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes – Come on, tell me you didn’t giggle at that one.

7th RULE: WRiTES will go on until Aug 18th – On that date the 16 winners will be matched up against one another on daily posts until the ultimate WRiTER is chosen. At some point an advancing WRiTER will be asked to submit TWO new 500 word samples.

8th RULE: Anyone can WRiTE, but you have to have your submission in by May 31st. – No late entries will be accepted this year.

I hope to see many others there too!

Kiwaku Query

 

Dying is one thing, but soul transference is a whole other issue.

Seventeen year-old Max has lived a normal life up until Caleb arrives in town. His life is flipped upside down

when after being rejected by his true love, he ends up in a car crash. His soul is

transferred into his spirit animal, a white fox, while his body is locked in a coma. If that wasn’t

bad enough, Caleb is trying to steal his love’s soul to stay young. Now Max must find a

way to get his soul back into his body to save her. Max must fight to save the love he knows may never love him back.

 If he can’t, her soul and life will be lost along with any chance of ever living a normal life in his human body.

Kiwaku is a 51,000 word YA Paranormal Romance loosely based on Pawnee mythology.

 

kiwaku excerpt

 

Chapter 1

The engine revved, feeding my anger and hurt as I pressed on the gas. The car jerked to the right without warning, fishtailing. My heart slammed against my chest. The tires screeched as I tried to brake. I had barely gotten control when my headlights caught the glint of yellow-green eyes. I swerved. My last thought before the impact was I wouldn’t be able to save Rylee from him. Forever, by Papa Roach blared in the background as darkness engulfed me.

Three Months Earlier

A light breeze tickled my skin, sending chills down my arms, as I walked to my Mustang. My strides quickened at the prospect of seeing Rylee’s radiant face light up. The car was warm as I slid across the hood to the driver side and jumped in. She sauntered down the steps when I pulled up to her two-story Victorian-style house. She wore a low cut, white and green button up shirt with a matching skirt that barely covered anything.

My heart pounded like a bass drum as she walked towards me. Her shoulder length brown hair lightly bounced while her emerald green eyes pierced my heart. There was no calming my heart, as soon as she smiled it soared, taking me with it.

“Hi,” she said as she opened the car door and slid in, “so I hear that you are going on a date with Kali.”

I groaned to myself. It was another chink in my armor at the way she said it. Why did it have to be the first thing she said? Couldn’t we have a nice chat without mentioning the date I regretted ever agreeing to?

“Yeah,” I said. But I wish it was you instead.

I mean sure Kali was pretty, hell she’s hot, with her long golden blonde hair and crystal blue eyes.

Rylee was the only girl who had actually captured my heart though. Awkward silence hung in the air. Any other day she would be talking non-stop. I enjoyed those times. It gave me the chance to watch her. She had a habit of talking with her hands, but today was different.

I glanced over at her and in an instant I was captivated by the different hues of green in her beautiful eyes. Rylee turned away. I took two deep breaths. Today wasn’t going to be a good day.

As soon as we pulled up to my parking spot, Rylee jumped out and bolted to the school. I just sat there, my mouth hanging open as I turned off my car. Well that was weird, I thought as I got out and started toward O’Neil High School, home of the Asses, oops I meant Donkeys. I walked up the steps with my hands in my pockets and saw an ass, literally. In front of the school entrance there was a crude drawing of an ass on the side of the building with a signature that read, “Signora He honk.”

I laughed and kept on walking, my spirit lifted for the moment until I ran into Kali.

“Hey,” I mumbled as I kept on walking.

She kept pace with me draping her arm across my shoulders.

“I so can’t wait until our date tonight,” she purred, running her hand down my back, under my book bag, then around to my chest.

  1. I gulped and tried to calm my thrashing heart as I walked to my locker. Goosebumps rose on my skin.

“ I-I’ll see you at lunch, okay,” I said.

My breath hitched as I turned away from her to open my locker. She pressed against my back. I was thankful I couldn’t feel her chest. Where our skin met, it burned.

“Okay,” she whispered against my ear, nibbling on my earlobe.

I grabbed my books quickly and bolted to English. My heart was still racing as I walked into Mrs. Diggs’s classroom. I ambled to my desk in the back of the room next to Rylee, who ignored me. Two could play that game. I angled my chair away from her, hoping she would notice. She didn’t even acknowledge me.

I tapped my pencil on the desk. Why was I getting the silent treatment? Had I somehow insulted her? My grip tightened on my pencil until an audible snap echoed through the room. Eyes stared back at me. It’s not like they hadn’t heard it before, pencils broke all the time. I scrambled for another as my cheeks heated. A pen was the only thing I found. The hair on the back of my neck tingled.

I turned my head and met Rylee’s glare.

What,” I mouthed.

She just shook her head. Her hand flew across the page as she wrote. Rylee thrust it toward me with such force that I received a paper cut. I opened it up reading, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT YOU AND KALI ARE DATING!?

I flew out of my seat. My chair sailed backwards. Mrs. Diggs and the rest of the class jumped, turning to look at me. Mrs. Diggs had stopped her lecture in mid-sentence, giving me a disapproving look.

“Um, I.., ugh, excuse me,” I mumbled, walking out of the classroom.

My feet pounded against the tiled floor as I ran. Soon I came upon the side doors. A gust of wind slammed into me as I opened the doors. I closed my eyes, letting the cool air wash over me. Why was she mad? Was it because I didn’t tell her first? Was she jealous? My heart sped up at the thought.

I took a deep breath, shaking my head and walked back inside. When I strolled back to class, I noticed that my seat had been taken.

“Excuse me, but that’s my seat.” I said, walking over to him.

He looked up at me, smiled, and went back to talking with Rylee.

I clenched my fists but went to the empty seat beside him and tried to control my anger. Rylee giggled at something he had said. My stomach churned. I needed to play nice. I needed to gain her attention again.

“Hi, I’m guessing you’re new here, I’m Max.” I held out my right hand. He turned, looked at me then my outstretched hand and smiled.

“I’m Calib, it’s nice to meet you,” he replied, fitting his hand into mine, shaking it.

I smiled back on the outside, but on the inside my body was on fire. I took my hand away quickly.

“I see you’ve already met Rylee.”

I looked over at Rylee hoping to catch her eye. She didn’t even glance my way. Her eyes were focused on Calib’s hazel ones.

I looked away. I didn’t want to see how close they were or hear her tinkling laughter. Pain seized my chest. I was glad when the bell finally rang for second period. Calculus went by quickly, along with the rest of the day. Lunch was just as boring, but I was glad Calib wasn’t sitting with us. I finally had my chance to talk and laugh like old times. Of course it didn’t last long once Kali opened her mouth.

“Where are you taking me: movies, dinner, bowling?” Kali asked leaning towards me.

Her boobs were pressed against the table, almost popping out of her dress.

“It’s a surprise,” I said trying to look her in the face, but my eyes kept straying to her huge chest.

She leaned even closer, stretching out her fingers to touch my hand, and purred, “I love surprises!”

I smiled weakly and looked over at Rylee to see her reaction, but she wasn’t sitting by me anymore. She was across the room, talking to Calib. My heart sunk. Why now? Why did someone have to come along, I was so close. Red hot anger pulsed through me.  I was just about to get up and leave when I felt hands brush against my clenched fists. They were cool against my burning skin.  I looked up into Kali’s sparkling eyes as she looked me over, a small smile playing across her lush lips. I didn’t think, just acted.  I leapt at the chance to escape, grabbing the only option I saw. If Rylee thought I was dating Kali then so be it; I had officially made up my mind that I would play it off.

“Come on, Kali, let’s get out of here and find a private place,” I said.

My voice echoed off the walls. I grabbed Kali’s hand and slowly led her away from the table and through the cafeteria doors. Students stared, whistled, and shouted. I played it off as best as I could. Cool in the face of danger, that’s what I wanted to be. I wasn’t sure if it worked, but I never looked back. My heart pounded in my ears with each step. As soon as we were through the doors, Kali pushed me up against the wall and smiled a grin so devious and scary it was like a predator that just caught its helpless prey. She was going in for the kill, the kiss of death, but I wasn’t ready for it, not yet at least.

“Whoa, um, Kali, this is a little fast for me, we haven’t even gotten the chance to go on our date yet, how about we save this for tonight.”

“Awe, but didn’t you say you wanted to find a private place?”

“Y-Yeah, but now that I think about it, it would be better if we wait for tonight when we can really be alone.”

She giggled flipping her blonde hair back and nodded.

She kissed me gently on the cheek and whispered in my ear, “I’m all yours tonight,” and walked away.

I gulped feeling the blood rush to my cheeks and other areas as I imagined what she would have in store for me tonight. Why the hell didn’t I take it then? Was I such a dork that I couldn’t even make out with her? I lowered myself down on the floor. Maybe tonight I wouldn’t be the geeky nerd anymore. Maybe tonight I could forget about Rylee’s bright green eyes and heart-stopping smile.

I wasn’t going to be the nerd, not this time. My acne was gone and I had finally gotten contacts. Rylee might not notice me, but at least someone did. The only real thing I had going for me now was the fact that I might actually get a girlfriend, maybe not the one I wanted but a girlfriend none the less. She may not be the girl I loved but lust could do a hell of a job for me. Love wasn’t everything right? She was my only option; I was sick and tired of the lonely feeling that kept creeping up on me unprovoked just because I couldn’t get the girl I wanted. I pushed hair out of my face and shoved myself off the wall, walking with a purpose to my locker. I shoved all thoughts from my mind as I concentrated on walking to History and not on the fact that I would probably never date the girl of my dreams.

As soon as I ambled into History, I was glad that Rylee and I didn’t have the same class. I didn’t think I could handle seeing her and knowing it would never work. History was never my favorite subject, but now I was kind of glad for the distraction of listening to Mr. Noel drone on about Alexander the Great and his many conquests across Europe and the Middle East. I faintly heard a bell go off yet I was too far gone in my mind to even acknowledge it. It wasn’t until someone tapped me on my shoulder that I came out of my zone coma. I looked around the room to find that everyone had left except Mr. Noel who was glowering at me from across his desk and a student scurrying out the room.

I bolted from the classroom, so I wouldn’t have to endure anymore of Mr. Noel’s glowering glares, to my car. As I was about to drive away, I remembered that I had taken Rylee to school, crap. I looked around the parking lot trying to find her white and green mini skirt in a crowd of denim skirts and jeans. Maybe she had gotten a ride with another friend, but I wasn’t willing to feel her wrath. I had felt it on more than one occasion since knowing her. I did the only thing I could think of, I called her. When she didn’t pick up, I grew anxious thinking the worse, but that soon passed. I texted her instead.

I sighed, knowing I couldn’t stall any longer. I backed up slowly and almost ran over Rylee, but she wasn’t alone. I bristled when I saw him already knowing where they were going. Calib was taking her home and she didn’t even tell me! It was like he knew I was staring as he put his arm around her waist. Hot acid coursed through my veins; I couldn’t watch this any longer.  I floored it as soon as they were out of the way. I booked it to my house not caring that I was going over the speed limit; all I cared about was taking out my anger on something. I peeled into my driveway slamming on the brakes. I got out of my car slamming the door behind me as I walked up my driveway.

My family really wasn’t that rich compared to all of the other old families around the town; my family has lived on this land for thousands of years, making the money they could. It wasn’t until my Mom met my Dad that our family’s wealth blossomed into what it is today yet it didn’t beat the Preston’s fortune, Rylee’s inheritance. The Ashworth and Preston families were the richest families in the small town of Hickory Falls. My family could never compete with them, who would, yet money was never really a big thing to my grandmother who lived on the land like her people used to. Native Americans thrived on the land, understanding nature like no one else could. I walked into my moderate sized home with its bleach white walls and pale green shutters.

“Mom, I’m home!” I called out as I removed my black sneakers.

My mom sauntered into the room, her long raven black hair swaying against her back as she rushed over to me. She bent down and kissed me on my cheek.

“How was your day, sweetie?” she asked mushing up my hair like she used to when I was younger.

I shook my hair out of my face. “It was fine, kind of boring, but I’m kind of beat so I’m going to just go lay down, okay,” I said hugging her and scampered up the stairs to my room.

I pushed open the door to my bedroom barely getting it open all of the way. My clothes were spread across the room in different piles.

“Ugh, I guess that means I should probably clean it,” I muttered to myself kicking over the pile of clothes beside my door.

It was a mess; clothes scattered all over the floor and bed, papers thrown across the room, missing the trashcan by my desk by a mile, video games strewn across the floor as piles toppled over from being stacked too high. It was a sight to behold and not the good kind. I brushed it off telling myself I would clean it later knowing full well that I probably wouldn’t. I could barely see the red carpet underneath the different assortment of items dispersed around the room. The walls weren’t any better; the once ivory walls were covered in posters from Iron Maiden and Metallica to Einstein sticking out his tongue. There was even a periodic table of elements right above the headboard.

I flopped onto my bed resting my head on my hands as I stared up at the ceiling thinking about all that had happened today. Ugh I can’t believe she let him take her home. It was all I could think about; my mind was plagued by thoughts of what could be happening. Were they holding hands, kissing? While my thoughts were being dogged my phone went off with a little beep letting me know that I had a text message. I was afraid to look at it; I didn’t really feel up to talking to Rylee just yet. Stop being a coward, be a man you can do it, it’s just a text message. I took a deep breath and flipped open my phone to find a text message, but not from Rylee. The text was from Kali.

Hey, pick me up at 8 ok can’t wait to c u!

It was the last thing I needed to be reminded of, my date with Kali. I still didn’t know where the heck I was going to take her. I looked at the clock on my phone trying to figure out how much time I had left to spare. It seemed I had been staring at the ceiling for a while because it was almost six o’clock and I had gotten home at four, a two hour lapse of time. I had two hours to figure out where the hell I was taking Kali. Places ran through my mind as I tried to figure out which place she would like to go and how much money it would cost me. Movie theatre, bowling, dinner, all of these possibilities entered my thoughts but I figured the movies would be the safest bet. I just had to figure out what was playing tonight. I rolled off my bed, my navy blue comforter falling with me wrapping around my body.

I untangled myself from my comforter and went to my piece of crap computer, which I rarely ever used since my internet connection was dial up making everything drag and slow. It was a pain in the ass since everyone else had Wi-Fi. It took me half an hour to connect to the internet then almost fifteen minutes to bring up the Theatre’s website. I looked through the list of movies trying to figure out which one Kali would like more. I figured a comedy would be the safest thing to go see so that I didn’t give the wrong impression, oh god I really didn’t want to give the wrong impression. The only comedy playing was, “50/50”, so I reckoned that was going to be the movie we were going to see I hoped it was a good choice.

I shut down my computer, pushing away from my desk, and walked to the adjoined bathroom across the room. I checked the time on my phone to find that I only had an hour left to get ready and find Kali’s home. I checked myself out in the mirror looking from my misty gray eyes to my black hair and bronze skin. I ran my fingers through my hair brushing it out of my face while contemplating if I should really be going on this date ,it wasn’t even my idea, damn you Kali. It was she who had forced me into the date.

She had made me so flustered when she showed up at my house in a tight blue shirt with straps tied around the neck and a tight black mini skirt. Her hair had framed her face, giving her a kind of halo with her white blonde hair. It didn’t help that her shirt had been cut so low that I could see the curves of her boobs. What guy would say no to a busty girl, especially a desperate one? I had looked down, already knowing what I would find and she knew it too by the devilish grin that had spread across her red lips. I had known before she had even asked that I would inevitably say yes because I could never say no even if I wanted to, sometimes I hated being a nice guy. Someday I would say no.

“Um, Max, I’m sorry to intrude on your home, but I was wondering if you would go out with me,” she asked her big blue eyes staring up at me with a small pout to her lips.

“I, ugh, um, sure I guess,” I replied shifting uneasily from foot to foot.

“Really, you mean it? Yay, I can’t believe you said yes,” she said excitedly, jumping up and down, and all I could see were her boobs bouncing up and down. Oh god I need to stop this train of thought.

“Oh I can’t wait for our first date!” she gushed.

I should have known then that I had fallen into a trap, but I was too captivated by their bounce that I didn’t even pay attention to her wording, which I should have. Damn her bouncing boobs. If only I hadn’t been distracted maybe I could have gotten out of the mess that I was in now.

I took care of all of my personal hygiene; I brushed my teeth, put on deodorant, washed out my mouth with mouth wash, and sprayed an extra dose of body spray in an X. Once all of that was taken care of I walked down the stairs not even thinking about what I was wearing until I mentioned my date to my mother.

“Is that what you are going to wear? Honey, really now, you need to at least look presentable.” I looked down at what I was wearing, fitted dark jeans and a simple black shirt.

“What’s wrong with what I have on?” I asked her still looking myself over.

“It’s just this Kali girl seems kind of sophisticated what with her family having stacks of money; I just think you should look classier.”

“Mom, weren’t you the one who said looks shouldn’t matter?” I asked scrutinizing her.

She brushed it off, swatting her hand in the air. “This is a completely different matter, now go back upstairs and change.”

I gawked at her; I couldn’t believe she was making me change my clothes. I sighed and shuffled back upstairs. I gave the room a once over then looked at the many different piles of clothes and went diving. I searched through every pile until I found what I was looking for, a dark blue polo. I picked it up and gave it a once over making sure there were no stains on it then I put it against my nose taking in a good whiff. Once I was satisfied that it was clean, I took off my shirt revealing my somewhat muscular chest and put on the shirt I had found. As I left my room and went down the stairs, I considered not showing up at her house, but that would make me a jerk. I knew by then that there was no way out. I would just have to deal with the consequences of my actions.

When I reached the last step, I stopped and called out to my mom, “Mom, I’m leaving!”

“Have fun, Honey, don’t be out too late you still have a curfew,” she said as she bustled around the kitchen probably making herself dinner.

I took my navy blue jacket off the coat hanger and left. I got into my mustang and was about to start the engine when I checked my wallet just to make sure I had enough money. I opened it up and found two twenties. Whew, thank god hopefully it doesn’t cost more than forty bucks. I turned the car on and sped off hoping I remembered where she lived. I drove around the block passing Rylee’s house into a blocked off area with a big black fence with a grand A on it. I presumed this was the Ashworth house, more like a mansion.

My jaw dropped; I knew that Kali was rich but so was Rylee the only difference was that Rylee’s family didn’t flaunt it. The house was enormous; it was two stories high, with as many windows as there were rooms, and it even had a roundabout driveway with an angel fountain in the middle. I saw all of this from between the bars I had no clue what it would actually look like on the inside. I looked around me and found a small black intercom button. I pressed it lightly not really knowing what to do. A little beep went off and I heard someone say, “Ashworth residence how may I help you?”

“Um, I’m here to pick up Kali for our date tonight,” I replied nervously.

“One moment please,” he said as the gate creaked open allowing me to enter. I drove in cautiously pulling up beside the mansion and just waited not knowing if I should knock or just wait. I didn’t have to wait long for my answer. Kali came sauntering out in a tight white sleeveless shirt that barely covered her chest much less her flat stomach. The skirt was even worse; it was pure white, barely reached mid-thigh, and I guessed it probably barely covered her bottom. My pulse sped up a bit as I gawked at her; she was basically wearing nothing. Oh God, please don’t let it rain tonight I don’t think I could control myself if it did. This wasn’t going to end well I kept on thinking as she got closer and closer until she was at the passenger’s side door.

I gulped while reaching across the passenger’s seat to open up the door for her. As she got into the car, her skirt slipped up further revealing more thigh than I really wanted to see. Keep your cool, Max, you can do this without doing something you will regret. I tried to tell myself that I was in control but I was sorely mistaken as my eyes kept on drifting to her thighs.

“Um, Max, hello?” My head snapped up at the mention of my name. I looked up into crystal blue eyes looking at me innocently.

I gulped. “Hmm?”

“I asked where we are going,” she said studying me with a tilt of her head causing her blonde hair to shift so that it looked like a waterfall of light.

“Oh, um, it’s a surprise,” I replied looking away so that I could start the car. An awkward silence seemed to hang over us just like this morning with Rylee. I didn’t want to have to go through that again so I just picked something off the top of my head and went for it.

“So, what kind of music do you like?” I asked as I flipped through the stations.

“Oh, all kinds really but mostly hip hop, it gives me something to dance to,” Kali answered as she flipped her hair to one side showing off her bare shoulder.

I kept my eyes on the road as I flipped the dial to a popular hip hop station. Kali hummed along to the song twirling a strand of her hair around her index finger. I focused all of my attention on the yellow and white lines on the road until we had finally reached the only movie theater in town. I parked a few blocks away since the sides of the road beside and in front of the theater were already taken. The theater was a historical place in the town like most things around here. The building was made of brick; I was surprised it had lasted this long most of the old buildings were falling apart.

I looked across the street making sure there was no oncoming traffic before I got out of my car. I straightened my shirt and grabbed my jacket before I went around to the passenger’s side to open the door for Kali.

“Thank you,” she said as she got out of the car with some help from me since her shoes really weren’t meant for stepping up on a curb. Her skin was like ice as I helped her up on the curb.

“Um, are you cold? If you want you can wear my jacket,” I said shifting my jacket to my right so I could hand it to her.

“Oh, there is no need for-,” I stopped her mid-sentence as I helped her into my jacket.

“There, isn’t that better?” I asked.

She nodded vigorously and beamed at me, her smile lighting up her face like I had just given her a diamond or something. She pulled my jacket closer to her covering herself up. I held out an arm to her like I’ve seen in movies, waiting for her to take it. When she did, chills went through my body like I had just gotten doused in ice, cold, water. When I looked over at her, her whole body seemed to be giving off a faint light then in an instant it was gone. Kali tilted her head studying me as I stared at her dumbfounded.

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Oh, yeah, it’s nothing I just thought I saw something. I probably just imagined it,” I said.

“Um, two for 50/50, please,” I said to the guy at the ticket booth.

He seemed familiar somehow, but I knew that I had never seen the guy before with his red hair cut in a buzz and deep, intense, green eyes. I brushed off the feeling thinking I was just imagining things again and reached for our tickets. My hand brushed his fingertips as he gave me our tickets and I got that feeling again like ice, cold, water was being dumped on me. I snatched my hand away quickly while saying thank you to the guy and shuffled into the crowded movie theater.

Query Death Callers

Tags

Raven Hudgins

YA Paranormal Romance

Knowing someone will die is easy; trying to save them is the hard part.

Eighteen year-old banshee, Aislin Gray is experiencing the worst thing in her teenage life, having premonitions of her true love’s death. Kaelin has come back into her life after leaving so long ago only to be pushed away by Aislin with each new vision of his death. Instead of watching from the sidelines like her nature entails, she fights to save him. As the visions change with each decision she makes, she grows more desperate to alter his fate, inadvertently telling him about the supernatural world. The Court, the lawmakers of the paranormal world, is out for their blood as the existence of the paranormal is revealed to a human. Aislin will do anything to prevent his demise even if it means starting a war between the supernatural beings.

Death Callers is a 51,000 word YA paranormal romance where fate meets defiance as love is the catalyst between life and death. There is potential for a series.

 

Death Callers excerpt

Chapter 1

 

My mother had always told me that when I turned eighteen and had my first death call it would change my life; I just didn’t know how right she was. “I, Aislin Briella Gray, am a banshee, and I see death.”

“Happy birthday, Aislin!” my best friend Kaydynce said.

  Kaydynce was only a few inches shorter than me, yet she acted like she was six feet tall. Her short, golden blonde hair bounced as she swept me up into one of her bear hugs. Kaydynce’s arms were boa constrictors. We were both laughing by the time she let go.

“Thanks, Kay,” I said, out of breath.

My hands fumbled with the lock on my locker.

 Kaydynce smiled. Her sapphire blue eyes twinkled with mischief.

“I can’t believe you’re eighteen now! You are so lucky! I can’t wait to turn eighteen so I can do death calls with y’all!” Kay squealed then sighed.

She leaned against the locker beside mine, one hand pressed against her forehead like the women in black and white movies. I rolled my eyes at her antics. Out of my peripheral view, I noticed a tall, lean figure with reddish brown hair. My heart skipped a beat.

“Don’t get too excited…it’s not what it’s all cracked up to be,” Teagan, the third to the trio, said bitterly.

Her tone snapped me back to reality. I glanced at her then again to the crowded hallway, but he was gone, like a mirage.

Her green eyes were filled with something I didn’t recognize, never recognized until then. I had seen that look before…in my mother’s eyes, the look of utter desolation.

Teagan was the oldest of my little banshee group while Kaydynce was the youngest. Both Kaydynce and I looked at Teagan, our brows scrunched. I had never heard so much resentment in her voice before. Kaydynce brushed it off like it was nothing.

“Don’t listen to her, Aislin; you should be overjoyed that you finally get to be a true banshee!” Kaydynce replied.

She put her arm around my waist and pulled me away from my locker toward first period.

 I smiled, thinking maybe she was right. Nevertheless I had a bad feeling that something horrible was going to happen, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to like it. Teagan shook her head and followed close behind us with a subdued look on her face.

I wondered what had happened to make Teagan look so sad and out of place; it wasn’t like her. She used to be the fun one, until her eighteenth birthday, then everything changed. I had a sickening feeling that the same thing was going to happen to me. I tried to think positive as we walked into our first period, Chemistry. Kaydynce, Teagan, and I sat all the way in the back of the room as to not draw too much attention to ourselves.  Yet even sitting in the back we got looks and stares.

Don’t get me wrong I liked being ogled and admired, what girl wouldn’t, it had gotten worse as my banshee powers came into play. Banshees were naturally beautiful women, and become more so when they reached maturity. My once boring brown hair shone in the fluorescent light as my pale blue eyes glanced at the girl across from me. My classmates looked me over, their faces filling with lust. Teagan had already experienced the constant stares, glares, and jealousy from the whole student body even the faculty couldn’t keep their eyes off her.

It was now my turn to be the talk of the school and the envy of everyone around me. It might be cool for a few days yet I didn’t think I could handle too much attention. I hid behind my books as class rolled on; I couldn’t wait until this day ended. The black tabletops were cool against my warm skin. I looked over at Teagan for some guidance, but she just stared off into space, lost in her own thoughts. I sighed; I guess I had to deal with this on my own since I knew Kaydynce wouldn’t be of any help to me. I looked over at her anyways. She was fluttering her eyelashes at some freshman boy who couldn’t take his eyes off us.

I nudged her. “Kaydynce, stop messing with the poor boy you might give him a heart attack.” She just laughed it off.

 Kaydynce loved being a banshee and getting all of the attention from boys and girls alike. She reveled in her powers of seduction, but that might also be caused by being part succubus. Her mom was a banshee while her dad was an incubus. Weird combination if you ask me.

“Aislin, you’re over reacting. I’m just having a little fun is all,” she said.

 Her eyes twinkled while a smirk played across her pink lips.

 I shook my head knowing I would never be able to sway her away from her flirting; instead I tried to concentrate on covalent bonding. I got maybe half of what Mr. Cole was saying before the bell rang for second period. Everyone rushed out of the room like they were all on fire. We were the last to leave, but before I could walk out the door Mr. Cole stopped me. Teagan and Kaydynce had already ditched me.

“Ms. Gray, may I have a word with you for a moment?”

I nodded, wondering what he wanted to talk to me about.  I walked back over to his desk.

“Well, Ms. Gray, I’ve noticed a slight drop in your grade in this class. If you want to bring it up surely I can tutor you after school to help bump up that grade,” he said casually yet I knew what was on his mind as he hadn’t looked at my face since he started talking.

 He was giving me that slow once over like he was seeing me for the first time. The offer was tempting. I did need a boost in my grade and Mr. Cole wasn’t bad looking for his age with his rich brown hair and dark green eyes. However he was in his forties and I was only eighteen plus it would just be plain wrong.

“No thank you, Mr. Cole, but thanks for the offer I appreciate it,” I replied, briskly walking out of the room yet not fast enough.

He grabbed my arm and yanked me back, pulling me close to his chest. His hands seared my skin. I struggled against him, not believing that this was happening to me. His grip tightened as he held my wrists together. I pushed against him. His breath stung my face. It smelled of coffee and loneliness. My heart thrashed against my sternum as I fought. I then did the only thing I could think of; I brought my knee up and nailed him in between his legs. He let go quick enough, crumbling to the ground. I sprinted out of the room not even looking where I was going. I just wanted to get away from this nightmare.

My mad dash to the door didn’t last long as I ran into someone who immediately put their hands on my shoulders to steady me. I didn’t have time for this; I looked back at Mr. Cole to see him getting up. I let out an involuntary yelp and tried to push through whoever was in my way. I guess they understood because the next thing I knew I was through the doorway but couldn’t go any further as someone had ahold of my wrist. I looked up to find that I was behind whoever got in my way and they had a firm grip on my wrist. I tried to pull away, to be free, but I was involuntarily pulled back.

“What’s going on here?” the guy said.

 His voice was rough and deep like thunder; it made my body weak just hearing it.

 I shook my head and tried to control this sudden feeling while looking passed his arm to where Mr. Cole was.

“Nothing that concerns you, Mr. O’Neil, now why don’t you run along and let Ms. Gray and I finish our conversation,” he said, sternly.

I started to shake uncontrollably at just the thought of being alone with Mr. Cole again. The guy looked back at me, studying me closely from my wide eyes to my shaking body.

“Oh I’ll leave Mr. Cole, but not without her,” he said.

 His strong arms wrapped around my waist and led me away. I looked back to find Mr. Cole standing by the doorway glaring at me. I should have reported it, but I didn’t. Despite his flaws Mr. Cole was a great teacher. I shook my head then looked up at my savior, studying his features. He had reddish-brown hair that covered his ears and a lean but muscular build. He must have sensed me staring as he looked down at me with a small smile. I was momentarily stunned by his honey colored eyes. He was the guy I had glimpsed or at least I hoped he was.

I felt a blush creep up my cheeks as we continued to stare at each other, which probably wasn’t the best idea when walking through a crowded hallway. I tripped over my own feet and almost fell if it wasn’t for the tight grip he had on my waist. I looked down at my feet, embarrassed by his presence and the constant stares we got.

“Th-thank you,” I stuttered under my breath.

 He stopped, and I could feel his stare even though I couldn’t see it. I felt two warm fingers touch under my chin and lift it up so that I could look him in the eye.

“What happened back there?” he asked, concern coating his voice as he studied my face.

I slapped his hand away and looked down again.

“H-he wanted to bring my grade up…but not by tutoring…”

“Oh,” was all he said before pulling me against his chest and holding me tight.

I let myself relax into his arms feeling safe for the first time today. I knew I should have pushed him away, but for some reason I couldn’t. We stayed like that for a while until the bell rang for second period to begin. I didn’t understand my reaction to him.

“Let me take you to the nurse,” he said suddenly, picking me up and cradling me against his chest.

I was completely stunned that I just went limp in his arms and let him take me to the nurse. If it had been anyone else I would have made a fuss, yet I felt calm in his arms; it was a feeling I wasn’t used to. I was lolled to sleep as his arms rocked me back and forth as he walked. I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew I was sitting up in one of the nurse’s beds gasping for air.

“Shh, it’s alright now. You’re safe here,” a feminine voice said, pushing me back into a laying position.

 I looked around the room at the white walls and posters of diseases and infections. I shuddered just looking at them; this wasn’t a place I wanted to be at all. I looked around until I spotted my savior. I gave him a small smile.

“Hi,” I said a little groggily.

“Hello to you too,” he said with a grin playing across his lips; lips that seemed to tempt me.

“How long have I been asleep?” I asked, trying to find a clock.

“I’d say you’ve been asleep for maybe thirty minutes or so,” he replied, “but don’t worry I told the nurse to let all of your teachers know that you weren’t feeling good.”

Interesting, I thought as I looked him over once more.

            “So what shall I call you since I don’t think savior would be the best thing?” I asked playfully; I was starting to like this guy despite barely knowing him.

            “Kaelin O’Neil and who might you be?”

I knew that name, have always known that name yet it had been so long since I had heard it.

            “Oh my god, Kaelin, it’s Aislin, Aislin Gray! We used to go to grade school together before you moved,” I replied, unbelieving that the little, goofy boy I knew as a kid had grown up to be a handsome teen.

Kaelin’s smile widened at the mention of my name.

            “Aislin, I thought I recognized you. Wow, you’ve grown since the last time I saw you,” he joked, giving me a slow once over that made my skin tingle.     

I smiled up at him finally feeling happy since the incident with Mr. Cole.

            “When did you get back? I haven’t seen you in any of my classes so it had to be recent, right?” I asked, curious.

            “Actually I just got back yesterday,” he said his body shaking lightly with laughter as he walked over to my bed.

            “Oh, well then that means you need someone to show you around the town again since you’ve been away for so long,” I said a little flirtatiously.

I couldn’t help it there was just something about him that drew me in.  His golden eyes lit up along with a broad smile that spread across his face.

            “That sounds like a plan,” he replied, holding out his hand to me.

 I blushed and took it. He wrapped his hand around mine and helped me get out of the bed. We smiled at each other and walked out of the nurse’s office then the school to my car. We walked through the parking lot, reminiscing on old times like when we used to dare each other to run around the neighborhood naked. Those were the best days of my childhood.

            “So why did you come back?” I asked, jokingly, nudging his shoulder.

            “You.”

He said it so seriously that I was caught off guard. We had been friends since we were little, but I had never expected him to feel anything more than friendship for me. I laughed it off like he had said a joke; the look in his golden eyes though said something else entirely. I still couldn’t believe that Kaelin had come back, and he was the same old goofy boy that I had known all of my life though now it looked like he saw me in a different light. Yet things have never been perfect in my life so why start now?

            I felt a tingle in my throat and my vision started to go blurry; I knew then that it was about to start, my first Death Call. I closed my eyes wishing it away however wishes rarely ever came true. A loud screech erupted from my lips as my eyesight turned into a vision of death. The premonition played out, then just like that it was over. I crumbled to the ground with tears streaking my pale cheeks.

            “Aislin, what’s wrong?” Kaelin asked.

He fell to his knees beside me probably in the hopes of helping me, but no one could help me. I now understood Teagan’s bitterness and what my mom hadn’t told me. My Death Call had been of the last person I had ever expected, and the one person I had fallen for despite only getting to know again. I saw the death of Kaelin Quinn O’Neil, my first love.

Chapter 2

 

 “Aislin, please tell me what’s wrong,” Kaelin pleaded, putting his hands on my shoulders and looked at my tear streaked face.

 I shook my head. I couldn’t tell him of the horrors I had just seen, especially since they involved him. I wanted to scream at the world at how unfair this was; I had found him again, and now the universe was going to take him away. I couldn’t handle it. I got up on shaky legs and tried to run away from everything. I didn’t get very far; I fell, tripping over my own feet, and crashed to the pavement.

My hands skidded on the gravel. I felt the sting of rocks as they sliced through my palms; I didn’t care. Kaelin was close behind; I could hear his heavy breathing and footsteps pounding against the pavement. I just laid there with unshed tears blurring my vision until Kaelin reached me. He scooped me up into his arms without a word and started walking toward his blue, beat-up, pickup truck. I didn’t say a word as he opened the passenger’s door, rust falling lightly on my head. He set me down in the seat. His truck smelled like old leather and the woods in autumn. It smelled like him.

I didn’t know if I could handle being around him, surrounded by his scent, all the while knowing that he was going to die soon. I didn’t know when it would happen, yet I knew death was waiting for an opportunity to strike. We rode in silence with me balled up in the passenger’s seat, looking down at my shoes with hollow eyes. I felt his hand, feather light, touch mine; I cringed away like I had been bitten. He backed off with a sigh probably thinking I was psychotic or something. Before I even had to think how he knew where I lived, we were pulling up to my driveway.

  “Thanks,” I muttered as I opened the door and got out of his truck. I had made it to the steps before I felt a hand on my shoulder. I could feel the heat from his palm through my blue blouse. Just his touch made me feel all warm and tingly. I shrugged his hand off, not wanting anymore contact than I had to.

“Aislin, wait. I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday.” 

That was the icing on the cake; I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had completely forgotten that it was my birthday after the Mr. Cole incident, and now it was ruined. This had to be one of the worst birthdays I had ever had. I almost broke down in front of him yet I was saved as my front door opened, revealing my grandma. She looked from me to Kaelin then ushered me inside without a single word. Kaelin was left just standing there on my porch looking utterly confused.

“Cassidy,” my grandma called, “can you usher this boy off our property?”

My mom came running down the stairs and was out the door in a flash. I could hear her talking through the door.

“I’m sorry, but you have to leave. My daughter apologizes and thanks you, but I think we can handle it from here,” she apologized.

I sighed, knowing I would have to deal with the same problems tomorrow, but I had other things to deal with at the moment. I could hear his sneakers scuffing against my steps as he walked away probably with his head hung low. The minute my mom entered the house again I attacked.

“How could you? I can’t believe you didn’t tell me!” I screamed looking straight at my mom, “You’re not getting off easy either, Grandma,” I growled turning to glare at my grandma’s retreating form.

 I still couldn’t believe that they both didn’t tell me who my first death call would be. I think I had a right to know that I would be seeing the death of my first and only love.

“Sweetheart, it’s not like that. We couldn’t tell you; it’s part of our code to let the young ones find out on their own. It’s what makes us banshees; we are keening women who mourn the loss of someone dear to us while seeing the death of others,” my mom replied.

“How am I supposed to go to school knowing that he is going to die at any moment?” I said, balling up my fists, not understanding how this could be happening to me.

 I paced around the room, running my hands through my hair.

“You must cut all ties with him it helps to soften the blow when it finally happens,” I heard my grandma say as she busied herself in the kitchen.

 I knew what she was saying was true yet I didn’t know if I could. I mean sure I didn’t want to see him anymore yet I had a feeling that that wouldn’t be possible.

“She is right, you know. Mother always knows best. Though it may hurt at first, time heals all wounds,” my mom said.

 Grabbing my wrist, she stopped and embraced me. I hugged her back knowing they were both right despite how I felt at never seeing Kaelin again. She let go and smiled sadly at me with her big night blue eyes. My mom and I looked alike with the same dark brown hair and pale skin yet we had a different shade of blue eyes. I had pale blue eyes like my dad while she had dark blue eyes that sometimes looked black.

“Well, I think I’m going to head off to bed it’s been a very long day,” I sighed and was almost through the living room’s doorway when my mom stopped me with her big puppy dog eyes and pouty lips.

“Awe, but sweetheart I’m throwing you a birthday party. You can’t miss that; I invited all of your friends from school.”

 I groaned knowing there was no way I was going to be able to get out of it especially since my mom loved throwing parties. She loved parties so much that she actually started a business called Party Time. I know not very original, but it works. I hadn’t noticed before, but the air was filled with the scent of nutmeg and vanilla. My only guess was that my mom or grandma was baking me a cake.

 I might have thought it was bad now, but it only got worse as my classmates started arriving. Crap, I thought as the first of my classmates arrived, and I wasn’t even ready. Ugh, seniors…I glared at my mom then rushed to the stairs that were in a little hallway between the kitchen and living room. The stairs were white like everything else in the house except my room. I was the only one who had wanted a splash of color in their life. My house happened to be the only white house on my street; all of the other houses were brick red, brown, or a darker hue. There weren’t many other differences besides our house having a substantial amount of backyard and woods combined. We were pretty much the last house on the block; the street ended with our house.

I dashed up the stairs to find something more flattering to wear though I knew it wouldn’t matter much; I would still be the center of attention. I still wanted to look my best, though. I raced into my room and ran straight to my closet, throwing the doors open. I searched through the many shirts, dresses, skirts, and jeans that were hanging up until I finally found something I liked. I pulled out a tight, low cut, royal purple dress that barely covered my bottom but showed off all of my curves. It had sleeves that scarcely covered my shoulders; it was a very simple and elegant dress. When I put it on I was satisfied with how I looked though I needed to do something with my hair.

My long brown hair hung loosely down my back, looking plain and boring. I needed to spice it up a bit. I went to my vanity, sat down and looked at myself in the mirror deciding that I would curl it instead. I reached across my vanity to my dresser where my curling iron was and snatched it up. I turned it on, and while I was waiting for it to warm up, I opened my makeup kit. I browsed through the different shades until I came upon a deep purple that would go perfectly with my dress. I applied the eye shadow then a light blush to add color to my pale skin. I looked at myself in the mirror again and smiled; I was almost ready though I had a sudden sinking feeling in my gut screaming for me to listen to it.

I shook my head; I was just being paranoid, nothing bad was going to happen. I just needed to calm my nerves. I took a deep breath then let it go slowly, feeling all of my worries disappear or at least for the moment. I picked up my curling iron and tried not to think of all of the people that were probably downstairs waiting for me to make an appearance. I set the curling iron down and studied my handy work. My chocolate brown curls bounced around my face as I moved my head to make sure I had gotten every spot. I got up slowly, satisfied, and went back over to my closet to pick out the perfect shoes.

I settled on a pair of black heels that wrapped around my ankles and calves then walked out of my room to the daunting stairs. I picked my way slowly making sure I didn’t fall and make a fool of myself. As soon as I took the last step, I heard whistles and cheers aimed straight at me. I walked into my living room to find the whole room packed with sweaty bodies as they pressed against each other.

“Happy Birthday, Aislin!” a cheer went out saying my name over and over again until that was all I could hear.

 Everyone cleared a path as I walked by. I smiled awkwardly as I walked through the crowd and felt light taps and heard happy birthdays from every person that I passed. Ugh, I couldn’t believe my mom had done this. The whole house was covered in blue and purple streamers and balloons that said happy birthday all over them.

“Alright, everyone, it’s party time! Everyone through the backdoor and let’s get this party started!” I heard my mom yell from the kitchen.

The crowd rushed out of the room in a flash, dragging me along with it. I followed them out into my backyard, which had been decorated with Japanese lanterns and lines of Christmas lights strung up across our patio. I smiled; I had to admit mom had done well. The place looked amazing, and mom had even gotten a real DJ who was sitting in the corner with his CDs beside him.

“Aislin, oh my God, your mom is incredible! I can’t believe she did all of this by herself!” Kaydynce squealed running up behind me and hugging me with a death grip.

“Yeah I know,” I said, pulling her off of me. Her grip was strong; it was like detaching a leach that had just latched on.

“So…I heard you got your first death call! How was it? Oh my God, I bet it was awesome! I can’t wait to get mine!” she said with stars in her eyes.

She gazed longingly for a moment before snapping back to reality. Ugh, I didn’t know what to tell her. I couldn’t tell her the truth according to my mom since it was “against the code”.

“Yeah, it was amazing,” I said, sarcastically, hoping she would get it, but of course she was too delusional to even pay attention to the way I said it. All she heard was, “It was amazing”.

“What was amazing?” I heard someone ask.

My heart sunk as I recognized that voice. Just the sound of his deep, raspy voice made my heart speed up and my skin tingle. My gut had been warning me, but I hadn’t heeded it. Now I had to face the one person I was trying to avoid, Kaelin.

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