After about an hour of crying my sobbing begins to subside and I am finally able to pick myself up off the ground but as I’m pushing myself up a crippling pain shoots through both arms. They give out and I let out a cry. With wide eyes I look down at my arms, finding black lines running up and down my skin. Tentatively, I move one of my arms, scared that I will once again be in agonising pain, and gently trace my finger on the lines. They are hard, incredibly hard, and even the slight touch of my fingertips sends pain ricocheting through my arm, although far less intense than before.
It’s a struggle to get up and by the time I’m on my feet, my body is swaying, left to right, from the pain of moving my arms. I stagger out my place of refuge- the girls’ toilets- and drag myself to the school office.
When I show the receptionist at the desk my arms, she freaks. Her eyes widen with so much shock and so much disgust, I’m positive the little pair of round-framed glasses that perch on the tip of her nose should be broken. She ushers me out the room, poking me with her ruler to shoo me out her office, like some sort of infected ‘thing’. I’m pretty sure that’s child abuse.
She recommends I see a doctor as she leads me outside, onto the bustling street, making sure I’m out of the school. As soon as I’m outside the receptionist wishes me well and then locks the door, double checking it to make sure I can’t get back inside.
The bus ride home is spent with me trying desperately not to cry though some tears have still fallen and some strangers have stared at me but none have been kind enough to ask if I’m ok. Even if they did, it would be pointless. I would just tell them I’m fine and they would be on their way, back to their lives.
There really is no need to cry though. It’s not like Rolan and I are in a romantic relationship. I have no need to feel jealous, to want so desperately to switch places with Mrs Barnett and yet here I am crying my eyes out over some stupid boy. I mean sure, he is my mate but what does that mean to me, it’s not part of my culture. Up until now I thought that I would have to experience several heart breaks before I found someone decent enough to share living space with. But to him, I should have meant everything, at least that’s how Ethan described it to be like anyway. Rolan should have made the word ‘mate’ mean the world to me but instead I am left with the measly human definition of it meaning, a friend. Because that’s what we are just friends. And I need to get that through this thick skull of mine. I wipe the tears from my eyes with fierce determination and sit up straighter in my chair, feeling a surge of happiness ripple through my chest.
I open the front door of my house slowly and flick my shoes off. I take my time going up the stairs, careful not to move my arms too much. I open my bedroom door and immediately my eyebrows furrow. On top of the covers of my bed lays a cane. Its colour obsidian, making the bed look as though there’s a strip in the middle that is missing. On the tip of one end of the cane is a diamond. It glistens under my bedroom lamp, refracting the light so that different coloured streaks of light stream out of it.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” A smooth, deep voice says from behind me. I jump in fright and turn around, holding the cane out in front of me as a weapon, ignoring the pain in my arms.
A man in a crisp, stark white suit -ironed to perfection- stands before me. He regards me with a vehement look but the harshness is not what steals my attention. It is the colour of his eyes that does. They are luminous green and they glow with the intensity of a hundred thousand stars. Something in my brain clicks and I suddenly remember where I last saw him.
“You’re that-” He interrupts me.
“Allow me to introduce myself, Princess Mae.” The man in the white suit says, dropping into a deep bow, hand extended out to take my hand into his. I grit my teeth as pain slivers up and down my arm. It seems my reaction has distracted the man in the white suit from his task, as he finally sees the black lines marring my skin. A smirk forms on his lips as he whispers under his breath. “Someone’s been naughty.” I furrow my eyebrows at his strange sentence, going to say something before he stops me by saying, “I am Lycurgus. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, your highness”
“That’s nice. Now get out!” I yell, withdrawing my hand from his grip.
He pouts, “That’s no way to treat a guest.”
“You forgot to say an unwanted guest. Now get the fuck out!” I retort, holding the cane higher so that it presses against his neck. Lycurgus pulls the cane out of my weak grip easily and smiles, a threatening smile.
“Mae,” he says, “I have no quarrel with you. In fact, I’m here to warn you.”
“Warn me? Warn me about what?” I ask, intrigued though still skeptical.
“The people you have decided to associate yourself with.” He replies, happy that he has peaked my interest.
“You already know. You are very smart after all.” I ignore his flattery and say,
“Ok. So what do you want to warn me about?”
“They are not good people. They will cause you tremendous heart break an unneeded hassle.”
“And how do you know that, Mr Crazy eyes?” I ask.
“Oh please,” He says chuckling lightly, eyes running over the black lines, “Your arms are proof enough.” Just as he says this the door down stairs opens and my mum’s voice soon follows, “Mae, you there? The school messaged me earlier saying something about your arms. I’ve booked a doctors appointment so get ready! Mae?”
“I believe that is my cue to leave.” Lycurgus says, stepping forward so that his freakishly tall, lanky body towers over me. “And Mae.” He says, putting his finger under my chin. I immediately start shaking as his fingertip exerts some sort of force that paralyses my limbs. Pain cascades down my arms and around my body. I try to let my torment out with a scream but my throat fails me. “If you ever mention to anyone that I was here, I will not hesitate to kill you and the people you love. Do you understand?” Lycurgus whispers menacingly in my ear, tone low and deadly. He raises an eyebrow, awaiting my answer. I muster just enough strength to give one firm nod. Lycurgus smiles and lets go of me, letting my body fall into a heap on the floor.
“Good,” He says before disappearing in a cloud of green and black smoke.