By LC Piper
By LC Piper
“Hottest guy ever?”
Angel froze at the sound of the voice. She barely heard it over the ruckus of dozens of teens moving through the halls. Her ears still hurt and her mind swam in the chaotic mix of sounds.
“No way…” another voice began.
Angel eased her locker door shut just enough to see the two girls. They didn’t look familiar, but there was something about the voice of the first that dug at her inside.
The first girl dropped her backpack and a box of pastels fell to the floor. They scattered across the industrial tile of the high school hallway. Angel could hear each stick snap in slow percussion. It was almost musical. She smiled at the clarity she now found in sound. Before it would just have been a clatter and crash, but now it was a chorus of hollow thunks, crisp crackling snaps and a crescendo of chalky tinkling.
“I wouldn’t know,” she spoke. The girl knelt down to pick up her dropped art supplies. Leaning over the mess, her hair fell into her face. She pushed it back, smudging red pastel from her finger along the top of her cheek.
It was a welcome imperfection to her smooth light complexion. Like a streak of war paint it made her look primally attractive and a little dangerous, Angel noted.
“Hurry up,” painted girl’s friend said, glancing over her shoulder.
Angel ducked back behind her locker swinging it to hide her face. She had been caught staring. Her breath stalled in her throat. She waited for a moment, both fearing and expecting she’d been discovered eavesdropping. No one came. Angel relaxed her grip on her locker door and pulled her fingers free. Three spiraled silver metal filings fell to the floor from where her hand had dug into it.
“You could help.” Painted said.
Angel peeked around her locker again. Her embarrassment at being caught lingered in her face and she blushed, but curiosity compelled her to look again.
The painted girl crouched there with her friend collecting her things. Something about this one spoke to her.
Was it her voice? How she fussed over the broken colors? Her worries are so inconsequential, Angel thought.
She had felt like her before and ached to be carefree again. Overwhelmed by the desire for her past life, her heart skipped a beat. Suddenly she was short of breath and had to inhale deeply. Things would never be the same for her. She was a fallen being now. Twisted by darkness and bathed in corruption. Doubt ruled over her. It told her she was beyond redemption and she believed.
Watching painted girl, Angel was reminded of who she had been. How similar they were! She could smell the memory of it. It’s the scent of how she was right before a single bite corrupted her.
This girl’s life was about to change.
Finished, the two stood and left. Angel couldn’t resist and crept after them. A short distance later they came to a classroom door. She stopped across the hall to watch.
Angel sensed him before she saw him. Tiny hairs on the back of her neck flared. A wave of alertness fueled by adrenalin surged through her body. A growl grew under her breath. Muscles in her arms, chest and back spasmed. Angel fought back the growing change in her, searching for her calm. There was no doubt he also knew she was there, but he didn’t show it. He knew that he was being observed.
Friend of the painted girl gestured to him. He was dressed in a ragged t-shirt and jeans. Or what was left of them. His dark black hair hung down just enough to obscure his face and hide bared and gnashing teeth intended for Angel.
Painted girl’s eyes narrowed in offense. Ever more she looked dangerous and native from the red pastel on her cheek.
“Excuse me, you’re in my spot.” The painted girl said.
Instantly he soothed himself and looked up. His hair fell back from his face revealing a small, practiced smile.
The growl quieted in Angel’s throat and her limbs relaxed. She felt her inner wolf lay to rest.
“Then you must be Grace,” he said.
Deep inside a portion of hope for herself and the savage Grace failed. There was nothing she could do here. Everything was already in motion.
Oh Grace, Angel thought. You have no idea how he’ll change you.