Nobody quite knows the day that they are going to die.
The mere thought that we should one day perish is a topic banned from social or familiar gatherings, even, quite humorously, in funerals. Thinking of one's death is something that would only bring misery and stress, so the topic itself seems to be banned from everywhere except the houses that the sane labeled an insanity home.
In a quant kitchen seated within the home of a nuclear family, forty-five year old accountant Dan Steward sat at the marble table. His hands danced along the clicking keys of the keyboard as he created a sheet of music that only he could play on the blaring white screen in front of him. Unsuspectingly, the middle aged man continued on with his life - a normal, daily routine - sure that he would be safe behind the doors that he paid for.
At ten o'clock his children came running in - two boys - both rambunctious little scamps. They chased each other around the table, and their father, momentarily drawn away from his flame, laughed and picked them up. He tickled them and kissed them goodnight. Ten minutes later, his wife stepped into the room - Jane Steward. Heavily pregnant with the couple's third child, she scolded her sons - David and Matthew - for disrupting their father's work. The children both apologized, their heads bent like scolded puppies and ran to the bedroom, which is down the hall and the last door on the left.
Alone with each other, Jane and Dan shared a kiss that only lovers will understand. He pecked her belly and murmured something to her.
Our child will be beautiful, he said. So beautiful, she will wipe out these mistakes we have allowed to live in our world.
Dan! She admonished him, but there was no malice behind her words. She agreed with him, blatantly so, and allowed herself to melt into his lap. With one hand he closed his laptop, and with the other he rubbed her belly.
It's only the truth, Jane, he said and laughed again. These dastardly mistakes are ruining our country! They cannot even do anything right! Why, today, I was visiting the school -
Which school? Jane interrupted him, for she had a short-term memory issue in relation to her pregnancy.
Liquizel Elementary, Dan paused to remember. And there was this woman - an odd woman, one of the mistakes. She was young, for sure, early twenties maybe. And she walked like a hag! A hag, Jane, but such a lovely face. A young girl, very young. She should have been a math teacher, I think. Her arms were bent, like the leg of an L dangling off the side of a cliff. And the way she walked! She had no care for her job, Jane. She seemed to drag her feet. She certainly did not want to be there.
These types of people are ruining the future of our children, Jane sighed. But what can we do? The government supports them and their integration into our society. But they will never be like us. They can't.
Certainly not! Dan agreed. Can you imagine? David and Matthew with a child like her? These mistakes are such bad influences!
Yes, they are, Jane agreed without arguing, and she stood from her husband's lap. She pulled her shawl around her shoulders and tucked her hair under the little cave that it makes with her back.
At least she is a servant of the government, Dan continued. Once they grow bored of this new plan, it will be easier for them to send her away. Her and everyone like her.
Exactly! Jane agreed with a snap of her fingers. She went on to add to her husband's words, but four silent eyes watched from behind the white wall that was once yellow. She turned and caught her sons watching their parents speaking. They didn't understand what she was saying. They were too young. Both Jane and Dan knew this. And yet, she shuffled them to bed, leaving her husband alone once again in the kitchen.
Then, it's eleven.
Dan stayed longer on the computer. He was behind on his work and needed to finish an assignment for his boss - the head of Badel Corporations - by tomorrow. What Dan didn't know is that he'd never finish his assignment, and he'd be fired the next day and homeless by next Friday.
On the next-door rooftop was a peculiar sight that nobody could see properly without a flashlight. Crouched by the brick chimney was a girl, covered in dark clothes and a dark pair of boots and a dark mask that came to a point at her nose. A hood covered her head and prevented her silky dark hair from slipping under her eyes and tickling her.
Veera had been watching Dan almost all day. From the side of the chimney, she watched the accountant as he typed away carelessly, unaware of her presence. She liked it that way, though. To be heard and not seen. The antithesis of her mother's motto. The poor, dead woman must be rolling in her grave, Veera thought with a little laugh.
She brought her thumb to her lips and tugged slightly on the magenta-colored nail. Her eyes carefully followed Dan and traced the bottom leather of her mask. His wife had gone to bed, she realized, when the clock struck eleven thirty and the pregnant woman had not returned.
Veera didn't feel the least bit sorry as she closed both of her eyes. Inside of her chest her heart burned as it was doused with the fuel of shame from the morning earlier. She was not doing anything right, by no means, but she wasn't doing anything wrong either - at least, by her standards.
With a big gasp, Veera opened her hands up wide like she was calling to God. A flick of her wrist beckoned the nearby slinking shadows to her, and like a surge of power they were sucked into her body. Her eyes shot open and her body convulsed as her old friends basked inside of her. Like a fireball in her palm, they warmed her hands and created a large, milky black orb in her palm that curly wisps of smoke drifted out from.
"Go," she whispered, bending her hands down like a platform to allow the orb to leave her touch. "Go to my new friend, and show him what happens when you slander Void."
The orb complied obediently. It sank to the ground and bounced like a child's ball down the roof and through the next-door window. Veera knew that Dan Steward would not leave his throne until half past midnight and it gave her plenty of time to get comfortable and wait for the show.
Evidently, she didn't have to wait long. The orb quickly bounced around the kitchen, replicating the fridge, laptop, and dishes in dark, wispy colors and shadows. Dan didn't even notice when the smoky ball finally propelled itself into his chest - not into his heart, but close enough that the black tendrils would be able to wrap themselves around the thrumming organ.
"Ah, now the show can begin," Veera sighed contentedly. Her green eye glowed mischievously and created a small symbol beside her in dark jade light - a skull with two wispy tendrils of smoke instead of bones making a cross.
Veera grinned smugly. "Yes, this will be quite amusing," she decided. "We will help this...mistake, and see how he reacts to his dose of medicine."
In his kitchen, Dan suddenly stopped typing. Like a man paralyzed by shock, he stayed still for a moment. Then, his eyes fell shut and his body slammed onto the table with a glass-shaking thud, but it didn't seem loud enough to wake up his wife or sons, which pleased Veera.
"Good." She shifted in her seat and brought her right hand up. She cupped her hand over her glowing green eye. In her mind, she saw Dan, alone and sweating, trembling in the dark room that she had placed him in. Before he could speak - before he could cry out that pathetic, whimpering, "hello" that happened in every horror movie, Veera swiped her left hand to the side, effectively tossing Dan's body with her.
Dan screamed. He was a loud screamer, Veera had to admit, that rivaled the shouts of his own children, but she didn't relent. Her heart burned and throbbed with this animalistic desire to teach the arrogant accountant a lesson on basic human manners. Her mind ached with the unrelenting, passionate taste of eliciting her revenge - of allowing him to feel the shame and stabbing pain that she had felt that morning when he sneered at her and put his foot in her path, tripping her and sending her rolling down the school hallway with all of her books and papers flying everywhere.
"Let him suffer," she fought herself as she tactically pulled at his limbs, stretching him out like a spider. One of the shadow tentacles covered his mouth like a gag, and with a cackle that could rival an evil scientist, Veera created a scene in her head - or rather, in Dan's dream. She recreated the hallway, except darker and crowded with children. She bent Dan's back, twisted his arms so that they made the dangling L, and made his legs so heavy that he had to drag himself to walk. Then, just as he had done to her, she tripped him and sent him careening to the ground, only this time all of the children and teachers who were there to witness the event didn't rush to his aide. They laughed at him - sneered and scorned him.
Mistake! She told them to chant. Look at the Mistake! The Mistake has fallen! Look how foolish he looks! Look how helpless he is!
Dan resisted. He pulled and pushed and tried to escape. Out of all of her students, Veera had to admit, he was definitely the hardest to hold down. But she willed her shadows to hold on and rose her hands up towards the moon to gather more strength. In his dream, Dan continued to fight, to pull and to cry, but nobody helped him. Nobody came to his aid and all they did was chant the same slurs that he had whispered in her ear that very morning.
And she didn't let him out. No matter how much he begged. Or pleaded. He thought he was going to die, she knew that's what he felt. But she didn't relent. She kept him there, kept him suffering, while slowly trickling out her own anger and resentment.
It was well past midnight when Dan woke up. Sweating from his nightmare, he patted the table frantically and relief swept his soul when he realized that all that he had felt was nothing more than a dream. It felt so real, though! Was that how the crippled girl had felt when he tripped her? When he mocked her and sneered at her? Dan could still feel the embarrassment washing inside of him as though he had walked through his own shadow - a cold, hollow feeling.
Dan? Jane rubbed her eyes as she walked into the kitchen. What are you doing awake? Why haven't you come to bed yet?
Dan shook his head, and Veera watched with rapt intrigue as he stood up, finished his water, and walked past his wife towards the hallway. Second door on the right, she knew, but he didn't enter the room.
Jane...I have to apologize, he murmured.
Apologize? Jane frowned. Apologize to who?
The girl from today, at the school, Dan said. Veera smiled victoriously and pumped her fist in the air. What I did wasn't right at all. I...I can't imagine what she's going through and...I have to say I'm sorry.
Dan, are you feeling okay? Jane shuffled towards him anxiously. Why are you saying this? You have nothing to apologize for, Dan.
But I do, Jane, Dan insisted. I wronged an innocent girl. She didn't choose the life she was given. It wasn't fair of me to judge her like that.
Dan, did you have a dream? A-A nightmare? Jane searched fruitlessly for the answer to her husband's sudden change in heart.
No, I had a wake-up call, Dan said, and left her standing in the kitchen, dumbfounded, as he retreated to their bedroom.
"It worked." Veera's eyes crinkled as her smile broadened. "It worked!" The shadows around her lifted her in the air and she pumped her fist again. "That's one down...many more to go." She sighed, and when she looked down the slope of the roof to the rope that her best friend held her up with, a wave of bitter melancholy crashed inside of her and her eyes prickled.
"They'll all feel it," she promised herself. "They'll all feel the way I felt." She surveyed the glimmering, bright city, determination settling firmly in her gut. "They'll all suffer, just like I did."
First chapter is out! What did you think? Did you like Veera's dramatic introduction? 😂What about her powers? I hope you enjoyed this chapter and don't forget to vote/comment!
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