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The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Fantasy

Blurb

Bloom the first installment of The Kingdom of Archer tells the story of Lyric Mason and Prince Parker Archer. Caught in the middle of a world where human males can transform into hybrid animals known as Novas and the world is divided in two. The Kingdom of Archer, a fair ruling kingdom and Cray; the kingdom of poverty and dictatorship. When Lyric is found to be the soulmate of not only Prince Parker but the evil Prince of Cray, Max. Lyric is caught in the middle of a tug of war and love.. Can Lyric, who has a painful past she wants to forget fit the role of queen an overcome her past demons and insecurities? Will love triumph over all?

The Way We Began

(Lyric)

*Bump, ba-bump, Bump, ba-bump*

There it was again that feeling at the pit of my stomach. The same feeling that never fades away. My heart feels like it’s drumming in my ears in slow motion. This world wasn’t made for people like me. The fragile, the weak, people who break. Maybe if this was back then, years before the great Nova outbreak things would have been different. Maybe I could have fought back. The sad truth was I was always weak. The Super Nova outbreak happened long before I was born. Years and years ago before any of our parents, or our grandparents and great grandparents were born. It happened at night, there was no scientific way to explain it. The stars all aligned the sky clear the moon shown bright and then a comet hit earth. It was unlike anything earth had seen. It glowed with blue light. Its size half of earth. People waited to die. Instead, it was like it became part of the world. Repercussions followed soon after.

Superhuman males began to rise. They were called Novas. Hybrids born from the collision. Animals. The first to rise, a wolf named Alexander Archer. Not long after more males began to transform. Tigers, Lions, Bears, Hyenas. The list goes on and on. Females on the other hand stayed the same. When the Nova outbreak first happened there did not seem to be any explanation as to why men were the only ones that changed. As the years went on and resources around us changed, and medical science advanced it was proven that all males had a gene that women did not carry that allowed them to change. While women did not change, nor were we affected by the change of earth around us. In a way it was something to be proud of. Women had been strong enough not to evolve in order to survive. We don’t transform into super beings. We don’t have super speed. But we are needed.

Mating or imprinting was the term used in the times of the ancestors. They were connections with a male Nova and a human woman. This connection, this bond was so strong. It was the closest thing to true love. It was said the stars in the sky could link you to your one true love. Your soulmate, as we now called it. For any girl it may sound romantic, and it is. Everyone that finds their significant other lives on cloud nine. You love each other so much that you literally die without them. It’s an intense attraction, Love, lust, friendship all wrapped into one. Before, in the times of our ancestors, it was all determined by the heart. You would go out into the world in hopes of finding that true love. That speck of wishful thinking, wanting to find someone to love you unconditionally. Of course that was back then. Now everyone does it by having their DNA samples sent to our NOVA Research lab. Out of everyone in this huge abnormal world there is only one other DNA that can be a match to yours, your mate. Everyone is destined for someone, everyone deserves love… Everyone but me.

“You’re going to be late for school, you stupid girl!” My father yells opening the panic room. The light hits my face and I squint. My eyes sting while I prop myself up on my elbows trying to get up. Before I can say anything my father is already downstairs pulling me out of the panic room and all I can do is lay there unable to fight. My legs feel like jelly and I can’t get up. How long was I in there? Two days? Maybe a week? I don’t really know.

“I said get up!” My father yells, his tone filled with so much rage that it makes me cringe. Before I know it I’m being kicked in my side. I don’t cry out only let out a small whimper hoping he doesn’t hear. The worse I scream the more punishment I receive. I don’t ask for my mother because I know well that she herself is trapped here. I stand up and my legs begin to shake while I try to find my footing.

I’m so weak and hungry but I need to get ready for school. With weak legs I make my way to the bathroom across the hall holding on to the wall. One foot at a time taking slow little steps with shaky feet. Finally, after what seems like hours but I know is only minutes, I manage to get to the bathroom. Slowly I move to the shower and turn on the hot water letting it steam up the bathroom to give me some sort of warmth and comfort because I feel ice cold. I undress and I try not to look at myself in the mirror because I know how badly bruised I am. Both my arms, my stomach, my legs I can still see all the colors. Blue, green, yellow, purple I know it should hurt but I feel numb.

I no longer feel the physical pain anymore. I’ve learned to tolerate it, I can almost ignore it without complaint or even without crying out. Inside however, inside I feel so hurt. That heart and soul that I have, that I am, is nothing but shambles. A shell of something that could have been. Stepping into the shower I let the warm water relieve the pressure in my back. My muscles feel soar from being in the same sitting position for so many days. My neck burns and I can hardly swallow my own saliva. He likes to choke me until I pass out. I know his hand prints are on my neck but none of that pain compared to all the hurt he’s caused me deep in my soul. I close my eyes trying to relax, to bring some sort of peace in me just for a few seconds because I know my nightmare isn’t done yet. I can’t, I can never hear my own thoughts not with my father’s voice in my head. His angry face looking at me and those angry yellow piercing eyes glaring, Worthless, Pathetic, Ungrateful, and Useless. Over and over those words circle in my head and no matter how hard I try there never is an off button. Maybe because it’s the way I feel.

“Sweetie you’re going to be late for school,” I hear my mother say. Her voice groggy, and I know she’s been crying. I don’t reply but I turn off the shower and reach for a towel. Wrapping it around myself I wince because the fabric seems too rough on my bruised skin. My feet seem to have awoken again because I can now move them without wobbling as much. When I open the bathroom door, my mother is standing there her eyes red and puffy and her face covered in black and blue. I don’t say anything, not because I don’t care but because I never know what to say to her. There are times when I’m angry at her for keeping me here with them, for not saving me. Then I remember she can’t do anything to save us. She herself is trapped here except I can leave to school and never come back and she can’t. In the end however, I always come back not because I’m afraid but because of her.

“Your neck,” My mother says. Although she tries to reach out to me I cringe away. I know she’d never hurt me but still, I can’t bear anyone’s touch. They’d be tainted, cursed.

“I’m fine.” I manage to say and for a moment my mother just looks at me her brown eyes searching for something that I can’t understand.

“Okay.” She finally says, her voice barely above a whisper. There’s quiet again and there’s not much I can say or do that will make her or I feel better. Instead I nod silently and head toward my room. The basement.

My room is big but there’s nothing much there. The walls are coming apart. The paint long gone from the wall you can almost see the wooden material of the house. There’s a washer and dryer to the left. No posters, no pictures, nothing that says someone lives down here other than the small little mattress on the floor. My clothes are neatly piled on one side of the floor and my books are all stuffed in my backpack. Reaching for something to wear I grab an ugly puke green turtle neck sweater and a pair of faded blue jeans.

Everything in my wardrobe I get at the local church because my father never buys me clothes. When I was little my mother and I would go down to church together to get clothes for her and I but now I had to go by myself. Being older meant I could do things on my own and it meant my mother had less freedom and right to go out according to my father.

Getting dressed was always a hard task for me. Lifting my arms, moving around in general, caused my bruising body to ache. Finally, after I was done, I gathered my old brown backpack and walked back upstairs. Before reaching the top I could already see a piece of toast placed on a napkin. Taking it, I stood at the steps for a few seconds securely wrapping it in the napkin and then stuffing it in my pocket. I knew that if I got caught, I’d be in trouble so I simply made my way out of the house.

From outside everything seemed normal. The house looked like any other house in the block. White, green grass, beautiful roses at the front. Picture perfect for everyone to look at.

“Going to school Lyric?” Mr. Able from across the street asked. He was a nice old man who mostly kept to himself. He’d lived across the street from our family for years. His wife passed away a few months ago, but he seemed fine though people knew it would only be a matter of time before he too passed away.

“Yes Mr. Able. Have a nice day.” I manage to say, and though I try to smile it seems neither of us really has the strength to do so. Instead, I make my way to the bus stop 2 blocks from here and I sit by at the bench to wait. Like always, I lean my hair to the front allowing myself to shield my face. Though there is no bruising there I still feel the need to hide.

When the bus finally arrives, I get in paying my fee and sit at the back quietly. No one ever talks here. Not that anyone really rides the bus. Mostly females and the occasional senior nova who can no longer shift. Somehow the area around me feels like doom. It’s bitter and hollow matching the gray sky that has seemed to hover above my head. Closing my eyes, I try to relax knowing what is about to come my way. What always comes my way when I go to school?

“This was life,”

*Bump, ba-bump, bump, ba-bump*

Even before the bus comes to a halt, I can feel it in my chest. My stomach seems to drop and I find it hard to get up. Somehow I manage to find my footing and all I can do is make my way to the door. I don’t want to. I hate school. High School is always hard for anyone. But when you’re new, nerdy, and at a prep school for the rich? You might as well carry a sign that reads “Hit me.” on your back all day. But I guess I didn’t really need one. Walking down the hallway I can’t help but keep my head down. The whispers are always there, the snickering, the staring it never seems to stop.

“Lyric. How was your weekend?”

I can recognize the voice simply because she’s one of the two people that speaks to me. At least, one that wasn’t rude to me. Out of everyone at school she’s the only one that’s different. I don’t know why she talks to me. Crystal Mane is by far one of the most popular girls in school and the prettiest. With her piercing blue eyes, silky beautiful blonde locks and a kind smile. She looks like a beautiful model the way she looks and how tall she is. Offering her a small shrug she smiles at me and continues to speak. I don’t really listen simply because I’m afraid of what happens next. What always happens next…

“I’ll see you in class okay,” Crystal says, her blue eyes lighting up before she walks away. This always happens not because she wants to but because circumstances make it happen. Her locker is on the second floor, mine is on the bottom floor therefore she can’t follow me around everywhere. She can’t protect me all the time.

*Bump, ba-bump, Bump, ba-bump*

Each step that I take I can feel the knot twisting further and further in my chest. I keep my head down trying to protect myself as much as I can. Though I know it doesn’t help, it makes me feel safer. I can hear him first. Parker Archer. His laid back cheerful voice. He’s wearing a black leather jacket and a white shirt, his blue jeans hanging loose across his long legs and a pair of black boots on his feet. His dark hair falling just below his eyebrows. For a moment I see him tense his back going rigid for a second and I know he senses I’m here to. He stops talking, the relaxed expression in his face gone I assume. I can hear him shift his body toward me. Immediately I look down and avoid eye contact my heart still racing.

Even in Super Nova life there is always going to be someone on top. Our world is mostly at peace. No one really fights and there aren’t many wars. Two kingdoms divide this planet which we call home. The Kingdom of Archer and The Kingdom of Cray. The Kingdom of Archer is peaceful, King Thomas is the fair King, Father of Spencer Archer and Prince Parker Archer, my tormentor.

“You know it’s not Halloween yet. Or are you late for the graveyard shift?” Parker says his voice loud and confident wanting everyone in the hall to listen to him. Though I can feel myself shrinking, I try not to let it faze me or at least not show him that it did. I never understood why Parker Archer always made me feel disarmed. Laid bare for all to see. It was as if he could see all my faults, all those flaws, all the ugly that I really was. For that reason, I could never look him in the eyes too afraid of what he might see, what he might confirm. I could always mask my emotions around him, around everyone. Pretending had become a necessity to survive, and I was an expert. Still, the longer I stayed here in front of him the more I feared he would know. Trying to keep my composure I continued to ignore him opening my locker shifting my backpack toward the front in order to take out my textbooks.

“Why do you come here?” Parker asks. His question causing me to still. There’s something different in his voice, an edge to it that has never really been there when he insults me. Usually he only makes fun of my clothes or makes jokes about the way I look. This time. I can feel it in my chest again. This is different.

*Bump, ba-bump, bump, ba-bump*

“Why do you come here?” He asks again but I simply finish emptying my books in my locker, only taking my math book and closing my locker.

“Don’t listen to him. Don’t listen to him,” My head and my heart both chant together. My stomach tightens a knot twisting inside and I try to walk away but his words stop me.

“Everyone at this school hates you.” He says, his words twisting that knife inside my heart further with his words. Though I’m shaken I don’t want him to look at me, for the most part I’m glad my back was to him. Still, he continues to speak.

“You show up every single day. Why? You’re just a joke.” He says and with those words I can feel the hall silence. The whispers have stopped and every single head is looking between us, waiting. My ears go mute to the outside world because now I can no longer hear anything. Anything that is, but my father’s own words ringing in my head over and over like a scratched CD. My chest tightens, and the air begins to lessen in my lungs making it hard to breathe.

*Bump, ba-bump, Bump, ba-bump*

“Parker leave her alone,” I hear someone say, though the voice sounds familiar it fades behind me too.

*Bump, ba-bump, bump, ba-bump*

“Do us all a favor and disappear. The world would be a lot better if people like you weren’t in it,” Parker says. Faster and faster my heart thumps. My father’s voice is now screaming in my ears. I can’t breathe now. There’s no air. Not a single ounce of peace.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump*

My heart is racing now loudly in my ears, wanting to jump out of my chest. No one is saying anything and all I can hear is my own heartbeat.

“You son of a bitch!”

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump*

Like an explosion or a large wave, the silence is suddenly broken by Crystal. I can’t hear what she’s saying anymore my racing heart is too much. I can’t look up and I can’t move it’s only when I feel Crystal take my arm and pull me away that I react. She doesn’t say anything to me and takes me to the bathroom. She’s coddling me like a small child talking to me gently but I don’t understand why. The panic in her eyes confuses me. It’s only when she hands me a tissue that I realize tears are silently falling down my cheeks.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump, Bump, ba-bump, ba- bump*

My heart continues to tick almost like a bomb with a timer. Waiting to explode. Waiting to break.

(Parker)

Regrets. Everyone has them. Some people have many while others don’t. Even the smallest thing you do has an impact. Like a leaf falling into a still lake. The leaf is light delicate and when it hits the water it lands softly in the small pool ricocheting into small waves. No matter what you do any small action good or bad impacts people in so many ways that it almost seems unrealistic. Had I known what future was set for the two of us I would have never allowed myself to go that far….

“Can you hurry up we’re going to be late!”

Groaning, I tried to ignore the pounding outside my room door and simply covered my face with my pillow. I’d stayed up all last night trying to finish an English report on Poe. We were given almost two weeks’ time but English Lit. was not my forte.

“Parker!” He called out again his voice irritating me and making my head pound. Giving up on more sleep I sat up annoyed throwing my pillow at the door.

“Alright already I’m getting up!” I yelled. Moving the bed sheet away from me before getting up. I never really understood the point of going to school it wasn’t like we were actually going to do something after High School that entailed normalcy. The life of a Prince is hard. You have duties to your kingdom and the people in it. Mainly, protecting the people from the opposing kingdom Cray that often attacked Archer. Our life was peaceful for the most part though there was the occasional attack which father would handle with the troops. Spencer and I would be given lessons. Mainly from our father. Ways to act with the people. The laws and history of our world, and of course combat. Normally a prince is home schooled, father however, thought we should interact with our people. Not that I mind, in fact, I prefer it.

“Parker you have five minutes or I’m telling our driver to leave without you!” Spencer yelled again.

“Just go I’ll run to school!” I yelled in irritation. It wasn’t like we needed to be driven around. We were faster than cars in our wolf forms anyways. It was always the same with him. He’s been crushing on Crystal Mane since we were kids. I can remember watching them together when we were young. Thinking of Crystal, I couldn’t help but feel that irritation gnawing away at the pit of my stomach.

“Not again.”

Every time I think of Crystal that little thing she calls a friend comes to mind.

“Forget it. I need to get ready for school,” I mutter to myself before I make my way to my bathroom to shower. Now was not the time to think of that…. Thing.

By the time I arrive to school I only have 5 minutes before the bell, maybe less. I’m quick to go to my locker ignoring anyone that calls my name because I need to hurry. I need to see her. I don’t know why I feel the need to do it every single day. It’s become a habit of mine almost an addiction like smoking. It’s not healthy but I need to do it anyways to feel better, at ease. Once I’m at my locker, I realize she hasn’t arrived yet and I begin to empty the contents of my backpack into the locker as slowly as I possibly can. I don’t want her to think I’m waiting for her.

“Hey man, why are you in such a hurry?” My friend Brad asks coming over to me and patting me on the back.

“Masters is giving us an English test today on Poe and our papers are due you know how she is. If you’re late, you don’t get into her class and I can’t afford another F if I want to graduate,” I lie.

“Relax man. You’re the Alpha Wolf I don’t think graduation will matter,” Brad says.

“Tell that to our father. He’s threatened to hang Parker by his tail if he doesn’t graduate. Something about not being responsible,” Spencer says his green eyes glistening with mischief while Brad himself laughs, his booming laughter echoing out in the halls.

“I take it Blondie hasn’t arrived yet,” I say to Spencer in irritation and he simply glares my way.

“When are you going to ask her out man? It’s getting boring,” Brad says to Spencer.

“When he grows a pair,” I mutter causing Brad to laugh once again and Spencer to glare.

“It’s complicated you know there are rules to this and although some of us don’t follow them as a Prince I have to.” Spencer says his tone accusing. Although I hated to admit it Spencer was right.

In our world there were rules for us. Super Novas were not allowed to date anyone other than their mate. The bad of it all was the fact that you have to be 21 for the process to start. Some Novas like Brad who happened to be a large bear (Fitting for a guy his size who is pure muscle) would sneak around with the females. If you were caught, you would be penalized, nothing major just a few added months to your wait to find your mate. It wasn’t unheard of for Super Novas to go out of their way and date a few females. Other than being able to transform into enormous animals, we’re all still regular teenagers. Just like all teenagers we all have urges.

“Rules are made to break you know.” I tell Spencer who shakes his head.

“And what will you tell your soulmate when she finds out you’ve been unfaithful to her with at least 5 women?” Spencer questions.

“She’ll understand” I say shrugging.

“Father won’t.” Spencer adds.

“Yeah well I not marrying father am I!” I snap, my remark once again emitting Brad’s booming laughter.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

I can feel it. Without even looking I already know she’s here simply because that feeling is gnawing at me again.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

I try not to move and my hands begin to sweat. The urge to readjust my jacket comes and I simply stuff my hands in my jean pockets to stop myself.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

I’m no longer hearing anything being said by Spencer or Brad because all I can think about is that gnawing feeling inside that keeps getting bigger.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

There she was again. She was the quietest and smartest girl in school. Why did I pick on her? Maybe it was because I could. After all, I was older and much stronger. Maybe it was because everyone in town knew who my family was. Nova royalty. I watched her walk down the hallway her head down and as always, she’s wearing an ugly green turtle neck sweater that’s too big for her. Her jeans ripped in different sections, her sneakers covered in dirt and covered in so many holes they look like Swiss cheese. She continues to walk, her head always down never looking up at anyone. She’s kind of small for her frame, delicate, breakable. Crystal walks with her down the hall her eyes fierce looking as if she was shooting lightning out of her ocean blue eyes daring anyone to say anything to the fragile thing next to her. Then Crystals’ eyes land toward me a silent warning.

“Stay away from her!”

Listening to Crystal is however, out of the question. Turning my back to them I wait. Knowing Crystal will leave and she’ll need to come over to me.

Her locker is next to mine. I always wait for her to come. Why? I like bothering her getting under her skin. Maybe it’s because she never reacts. It doesn’t seem to faze her. She never cries like I hope a fragile little girl like her will. Instead she makes me feel invisible, unheard. Because of it, I feel the need to say things to her, to see if it’ll one-day reach her ears. It’s childish I know, but I’ve never liked being ignored by anyone even if it is just her. Though I know who she is, what her name is, how shy she is I pretend to not know anything. To everyone else she is Crystal’s little friend. That was exactly what I tried to keep telling myself. I can feel her moving closer heading toward my direction and my mind concentrating on my task at the moment. What I really want to do I can never accomplish. I want to talk to her, bother her really. Even if she can’t hear it. I always try to see a tear fall. Hoping to get a reaction. Maybe its fascination that I feel or something else I’m not sure. The only thing I do know is that I need it. Whatever it is. Whatever she is I need it. After what feels like an eternity she’s standing next to me and I turn to look at her.

“You know it’s not Halloween yet. Or are you late for the graveyard shift?” I ask her. Still, she does nothing and continues what she’s doing. Opening her locker and stuffing books in and out of them. The people around us laugh and yet she doesn’t say anything. There’s no reaction on her face that I can see either, simply because her silky chocolate brown hair is covering her face. I know I shouldn’t, I know it’s not right. Part of my mind always screams at me to stop while the other part screams for me to go further.

“Why do you come here?” I ask her and for the first time I see her react. If only for a second, her posture goes rigid. Still it’s quick to fade, and she continues to ignore me taking a few books out from her locker.

“Why do you come here?” I ask again before a few moments go by and I wait for a reaction. In the end everything is all the same, her reaction remains the same, nothing. Not a single response as she tries to walk away.

“Stop her!” My mind yells.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

Somehow I can’t stop myself from speaking anymore the voice in my head telling me to stop has already faded in the back overpowered by the need to get a reaction of any kind.

“Everyone at this school hates you,” I tell her. Once again, her posture goes rigid while her back still faces me.

“You show up every single day. Why? You’re just a joke.” I tell her I have the urge to turn her around and see her reaction but just as my hand reaches out to her right shoulder Spencer speaks.

“Parker leave her alone,” Spencer says his eyes angry, but I can’t help what comes out next. It’s too late to turn back now. I’ve gotten this far and I want to keep going.

“Do us all a favor and disappear. The world would be a lot better if people like you weren’t in it,” I tell her, my mind suddenly turning off unsure if those words had really come out of my mouth.

“You son of a bitch!”

Before I have time to react Crystal is already standing in front of me her eyes ice cold with fury.

*Smack*

Though I realize it should hurt to be slapped somehow I can’t feel it. All I can do is look at the girl with her back to me. She’s standing there quietly without a word though everyone else is now whispering around her. I realize she must not be aware of it either.

“You guys are a bunch of jerks! Just leave her alone! She’s not bothering anyone!” Crystal says, her eyes turning to Spencer for a brief second furious at him as well before she takes her friend by the hand dragging her away from everyone’s view.

“Dude,” Brad says though he is no longer smiling and there’s a look of disbelief in his eyes before he shakes his head and walks away.

“What?” I manage to say to Spencer who’s glaring at me. Running a hand though his dark curly hair he sighs in frustration and doesn’t say anything to me before walking away.

Had I known what would happen to her maybe I would have never said anything. I would have apologized to her and tried to make things better. Unfortunately, things never work out the way we plan them to…

How long has it been since I last saw her? One month… Maybe two? Everyone at school thinks she ran away. That makes me feel bad. Other people think she actually killed herself and it’s only a matter of time before someone finds her body. That brings chills to my entire body and I find myself unable to breathe when I think about it.

“Hey Parker!” Brad calls out snapping me out of my thoughts. Closing my locker, I simply turn to him.

“What’s up?”

“You coming down to Devils Creek with me right?” He asks

“There’s going to be girls,” Brad adds when I don’t answer.

“I think I’ll just hang out at my place,” I tell him shrugging.

“Come on man it’ll be fun. I have this girl for you her name is Grace or something.”

“No thanks man,” I tell him.

Had this been any other day before this entire thing happened maybe I would have been up for it, but now? Not so much.

“Come on. I told her friend I’d hook her up with you. Do me a solid,” Brad says and I sigh and nod feeling irritated. Still, Brad simply smiles, pats me on the back and walks away. I make my way out of school and to the parking lot where Spencer is waiting with our driver Neil. I can tell he’s angry at me because he looks like he’s spouting smoke from his ears.

“What now?” I ask in irritation.

“Thanks to you Crystal’s pissed at me again,” Spencer says getting in the back seat of the car.

“What did I do?” I asked getting in the car and closing the door behind me before Neil takes off down the road heading toward our mansion.

“You mean other than insult her best friend,” Spencer says, his voice harsh

“Aside from that,” I say to him trying to sound like I don’t care, but feeling that guilt at the pit of my stomach gnawing away at me. Spencer however seems to buy my act because his glare intensifies.

“They took away Lyric’s scholarship because she’s missed so many classes she’s been expelled from school, and now Crystal is blaming me for not stopping you!”

His words hit me like a ton of bricks, weighing me down further with guilt. I don’t blame him for being upset. I don’t blame Crystal for being pissed either this was all my fault. For the remainder of the ride home we don’t speak. Spencer because he’s too angry and me. I feel too guilty to say anything.

Maybe I deserved what happened next as a lesson, but she didn’t deserve this. No one does…

Devils creek. What was so special about it? Only we Super Novas could ever go down it. It’s almost like going down a large mountain with unsteady rocks. Impossible to scale for a human. You have to be fast and you have to be stealth with the way large rocks fall as you scale down. The creak is a dump filled with trash but everyone goes down there to get drunk and hook up with girls. Most of the time the Novas let the girls climb on their back in their animal form so they can get them down there.

“Where the hell where you?” Brad asks handing me a drink once I’ve shifted back into my human form and changed behind some bushes. Music is blaring loudly a few people are dancing at the far end. Others have gone deeper in to the woods around the large dump that is this place to get busy.

“Sorry. Overslept,” I lied. The truth was I didn’t want to come and spent the past 3 hours staring at my ceiling thinking about what Spencer had said. More than anything, I didn’t want to spend my time thinking about her anymore.

“Do you have any idea how hard it was to carry two girls on my back while trying to avoid falling rocks on my head,” Brad said.

“Anyways.” Brad continued while we walked over to some girls.

One was blonde and was wearing a small little red dress. Her eyes immediately looking me over up and down. Figures, Brad always had a taste for easy. The other one was a red head with cat like eyes she was in emerald green dress. She gave me a soft uncomfortable smile that told me she also didn’t want to be here. Her friend glares at her then nudges her softly in my direction. She only forces a smile and blushes.

“Hi, I’m Grace,” She finally says, extending her hand out to me.

“Parker.” I tell her and she simply nods her head in acknowledgement.

“I know.” She whispers.

“Why don’t you guys take a walk,” Brad suggests. Taking the hint, I nodded and turned to the girl.

“Let’s take a walk.” I tell her and she quickly follows me. The silence around us thick and uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry I really didn’t want to be here,” She confesses and I find myself relaxing just a bit at her confirmation.

“Neither did I.”

“So we were both dragged here by our friends,” Grace say smiling.

“I really don’t get the appeal of this place. There’s something about it that gives me the chills,” She added shaking her head.

“It’s just a hangout,” I tell her shrugging.

“And a place to hook up unseen by Nova officers,” I think to myself though I don’t voice it out to her because we both know well what this place was for.

“There’s nothing here but trash,” Grace added, walking along the edges of the creek.

“It would be a good place to hang out if it wasn’t so dirty,” I added.

The truth was the creek at one point had been clean and some would say beautiful. Now there was nothing but trash floating in the water. Cups of beer, beer bottles, tires, everything and anything that you could think of. The water was murky black and if there ever was any fish, they were long gone.

“I can’t believe people come here for.”

For a moment she grew quiet. Her eyes widening like saucers and she visibly paled. “Oh My god! What is that?” Grace asked pointing to something hidden by a pile of old bags floating around it.

*Bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump*

Approaching it cautiously I froze. All I could see was someone’s foot. It was covered in dry blood and their skin was blue. Bruises and cuts surrounding the leg.

“Go call someone,” I managed to say, my chest tightening so hard I couldn’t breathe. The smell was disgusting. It smelled of decaying flesh and something else that could only be described as death. My heart began to pound hard in my chest with fear now.

“What if?”

“No.”

I couldn’t allow myself to think that way, not at this moment. The persons’ hand was sticking out in an odd angle and there was clear bruising and dry blood on it. It was only then that I realized that this person had deep gashes across the wrist. Across the arm there was a single word carved into the flesh. UNWORTHY.

I couldn’t breathe. My own mind flashing to Lyric and begging that this wasn’t her. That I hadn’t caused this. There was a bag on her head that was covering her face. She had brown hair her clothes were the same as the last day I saw her. That ugly green turtle neck sweater and those cut up old jeans. Reaching for the bag with shaky hands I moved it away carefully.

“No…. Lyric.”

In the back I could hear fast heavy footsteps but they hardly registered in my mind, not with what I was seeing in front of me.

“No. This can’t be her.” I thought to myself.

“Parker!” Brad yelled after me while I backed away from the body unable to take it. My mind was screaming, my heart thumping wildly and my stomach plummeting a hundred times.

“It’s her.”

“Lyric....”

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