1 New Beginnings
I watch the plume of smoke rising over the flames flickering across the old abandoned factory. Threatening to become a part of me. One would think I would feel guilt or fear but the rage scorching through my veins is far more overpowering. After all the problems this place has caused me, I’m glad to see it in such disarray. In fact, I revel at the sight of the blaze destroying everything in its path. It calls to me cheering me on and tempting me down a dark path.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath letting the smell of burning oil and dog food enter my lungs. This is what victory tastes like. It’s not sweet like a precious little strawberry, its fiery and powerful able to take out entire city blocks without batting an eye. I turn the rock in my hands, a small token of how far I’ve come. A reminder that I am strong, and I am capable of anything.
“Brann? Brann. I need you to snap out of this okay? I need you to come back to me,” I cock my head to the side lost in the flames before me. His warm arms wrap around my waist pulling me into his familiar muscled chest. I lean into his embrace and he immediately calms my erratic emotions cooling me down and clearing the plume from my mind. I’m no longer consumed by the flames threatening to conceal the true me. In his arms I gain sight of who I am.
“Thank god you’re okay,” I murmur nuzzling into his chest. The one place where I feel like I belong. Where there are no judgements or expectations. The one place where I can be myself and be loved for it.
“It’s okay baby girl. I’m here now and they can’t hurt you anymore,” His lips kiss up my neck starting at my collar bone before working his way up to my pulse igniting a different kind of fire inside me. Lust and desire overcome me, taking away any other thoughts. I need him more than I need air to breath. In a crazy world where everything is changing, and nothing makes sense he is my anchor keeping me steady and showing me everything is okay.
Gripping the steering wheel I slam on the break peddle barley missing the car in front of me. My heart beats wildly in my chest, my palms sweating against the leather of the steering wheel. Gone are the flames trying to consume me as well the arms that hold me steady. I don’t know what any of it means except for the fact that I must be crazy.
I’m nowhere near that old factory and I’m completely alone, driving no less. But it felt so real. The heat of the fire against my skin, the smell of chaos thick in the air. I swear I can still feel the warmth of his arms surrounding me. I don’t know who he is or why he gave me so much comfort either.
The daydreams started over the summer, getting stranger and stranger throughout the year. It wasn’t until winter break that they started to feel this real. Where before they were just dreams I watched like movies, these were much more. It was like I was living through them. I’ve thought about telling my parents about them, but I just couldn’t. They would have me locked in the loony bin or worse. No these dreams are my little secret.
A horn blares behind me, bringing me fully back to reality. The lights turned green and the cars ahead of me have already left the intersection. Taking a deep breath I ease on the gas determined not to let this fuck up my day. It’s the first day of the semester and I refuse to be that loser who’s late on the first day. Especially due to something as stupid as a daydream.
I pull into the already crowded lot, circling around until I find an empty spot. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who wanted to be early. I jump out of the car snagging my backpack from the passenger seat when another car slides into the spot next to me damn near sliding against my ass.
I turn around slamming my door behind me only to find the intense stare of Shayne Paune looking back at me. He sits in the passenger seat of Jack’s car just as he always did though this time is different. His bright blue eyes bare into me, pinning me to the spot. Chills run up my back spreading goosebumps across my skin.
Up until today the basketball jock never gave me a second glance and yet here he is staring like you would at a freak show on the side of the road. Though in his defense my ass did just brush against his window. I know I should just ignore him and walk away but there’s just something about his eyes that keep me in my place. I’ve never seen gold specks like that before and the sight was mesmerizing. Though just as they had shown up they disappeared again.
God I have one weird day dream and I start to think the world around me is changing. Shaking me head I break his gaze hurrying towards the school. Why would someone like Shayne Paune pay any attention to me? The guy was one of the prized gems of the school and could get any girl he wanted. So why would he waste his time with a band geek like me?
I make my way up the concrete steps like many times before though something feels different about it. Almost like a sign that life really is about to change. A tingle runs up my spine once again only this time more intense and cold. Almost like a warning of something bad to come. Part of me screams to go home and pretend school starts tomorrow, but I know that just won’t do. Admitting to these crazy feelings would only prove that I’m crazy.
I pull open the light wooden door glancing around at the various cliques inside. The room is loud with chatter of everything from Christmas break to the potential of our basketball team. Nothing strange or new there. I stroll past them to find my first class pausing as the room nearly grows silent. Several pairs of eyes look back at me, much like Shayne’s had in the parking lot.
I’ve only been here for five minutes and I already feel like this is one of the longest days of my life. The idea to stay home is looking better and better by the second. Or maybe this is just another one of those strange daydreams. I give my arm a firm pinch though it doesn’t seem to change anything. Half the students still look back at me with odd glances cocking their heads to the side as if they were trying to figure me out.
A girl changes her appearance just a little and its like the world changes on its axis. All I did was add a little make up and straighten my hair. Yet these people act as if I walked in here with clown shoes and a coconut bra. Choosing to take the high road, I walk past the rest of the students towards my locker.
The second I make it around the corner the chatter picks back up only not quiet as loud as before. God only knows what their muttering about now. Rumors fly through this school faster than the speed of light changing as they go from person to person. I’ve never personally been on this side of them before but I’ve heard how many of them grow from seedlings into tall trees.
I pop open my locker changing out my books with high hopes that things will change. Though something in my bones tells me that’s not going to happen. These small changes can’t be all in my head can they? I slam the door shut, the clanging of metal hitting metal echoing throughout the hall.
“What’s got your panties all in a wad?” my best friend asks coming out of nowhere.
“Damn it Kylie you scared the hell out of me!” I squeal nearly jumping out of my skin. If there were ever time I could use a chill pill now would be just perfect. I toss the straps of my backpack over my shoulders and start to walk down the hall though she doesn’t follow. She stands in place staring at me like a weird science experiment.
“Okay now who’s acting weird,”
“Did you get a haircut or something?” I run a hand through my hair feeling the healthy ends where a whole two inches were cut off. Not that she would notice such a minor difference.
“I got a trim and ran a flat iron through it if that’s what you mean,” her eyes look me up and down once again slowly taking ever inch of me in.
“No that’s not it. There’s something different about you though. I just can’t put my finger on it,” the random stares from half the student body was one thing but the last person I expected to get shit from is my best friend. We may not be the greatest of friends but she’s the closest thing I’ve got.
“There’s nothing different about me. Maybe you just need to get your eyes checked,” I chuckle turning to head to class. On the outside I’m as cool as cucumber pretending everything is find. Though on the inside I’m sort of freaking out. Maybe the world around me really is changing, or better yet maybe its just me.