Chapter 1 / Eastport
If there were one place on earth that resembled a knock-off version of hell, it would be Eastport, Maine. At least, that was what Lunette Mayora thought to herself every morning as the dreadful sight of this new town peered at her through her small, bedroom window.
She sighed heavily as she looked out of this very aperture, now clouded over like smoky glass, to the street below. Her soft, ivory hands gripped onto the stained wooden frame that outlined and lightly tapered off the window. The outside was grey, damp, and dreary and she could hardly make out the sea through the dense fog. Her right hand instinctively rose and gripped the silver necklace that rested right past her collarbone. Her index finger traced over the triquetra knot and smoothed over the rounded triangle of obsidian that nestled securely in the middle. The metal of the necklace was warm to the touch from her body heat, which gave her a comforting feeling, like that of petting a cat.
Suddenly, the electrical, overhead light that hung in the middle of the room switched on, causing Lunette to turn. Her pink mouth twitched to the side as she spun her head to look behind her. The shoulder-length, brown curls that extended from the top of her head went bouncing along with her white nightshirt as if they were dancing.
“Oh! You’re awake!” A familiar voice declared with surprise. Standing at the doorway with a startled look on their face, was Lunette’s aunt, Tatiana.
Lunette turned completely to face the older woman then, shifting her weight onto one side, leaning onto the edge of her low set window like a seat. “Well, yeah,” she began, folding her arms over her chest and meeting her aunt’s gaze. “I kinda have to be, school starts in an hour.” The young brunette’s tone was bitter as she spoke of her school.
Tatiana’s face twisted with sympathy, her dark eyebrows lowering and a weak smile forming on her pale lips. “Lunette...” she sighed, straightening herself in the doorway with her left hand still on the brass doorknob. She knew her niece was unhappy, but it was too early in the morning to start with the complaining.
“Don’t bother,” Lunette breathed out with annoyance, standing up fully as her arms swung to her thighs, “I’ll meet you downstairs. Don’t trouble yourself making me anything to eat, you’ll just make me late.”
“Alright…” Tatiana replied uncertainly, her expression forlorn as she moved out of the room and closed the door behind her. Lunette stared at the now closed, chipped, cream-colored slab of wood that separated her from everyone else for a moment before exhaling a sharp breath and walking to the closet.
She hated being here, and her family knew it. There was absolutely no reason to move from New Orleans to Eastport. Just the sound of the town she now resided in made her want to fall into an abyss.
She used to be happy, she used to have a small group of friends back in Louisiana. She even had a boyfriend. Lunette loved everything about her old home. From the weather to the history, she was in love. Now, she was livid living here in this horrible new piece of the world she wanted no part of. The most eastern town of the United States, and the drabbest.
There was nothing particularly exciting or noteworthy in this uninteresting backwater that compelled Lunette to care about it. If anything, Eastport’s only saving grace was its rich history, which Lunette adored, but the population was roughly thirteen-hundred in a city that covered only twelve square miles. Even then, it was mostly just a collection of islands, with a primary focus on the port system. The only thing that was remotely intriguing was the Old Sow Whirlpool off the coast, but even that was in Canada.
Lunette felt so confused and frustrated; out of all the places to live in the entire world, why was her family drawn here? And why did they have to drag her with them? No-man’s-land, Eastport, Maine didn’t exactly scream luxury living—or anything really. It was as grey and mundane as the fog that rolled over it, like a child lazily dragging their blanket across the floor.
Nothing was going to change, however; her family had made up their minds and she knew she wouldn’t be able to sway them.
Upset, but now dressed for school, Lunette did her best to shake off her troubling thoughts and headed down the creaky stairs of the new apartment she was supposed to call ‘home’ and entered the main area. Unsurprisingly, it was still dark. The outside sun had yet to rise this early in the morning; not that it would help any with the haze that was consuming the town.
The old mahogany floors creaked as Lunette shifted her weight across them, the white thread of her socks catching on a few decaying pieces near the corner of the kitchen where the planks met tile. She flipped up the light switch that rested on the wall separating the cooking and living areas, illuminating the space with yellow fluorescence. The living room was painted a sickly sulfur color that wasn’t the slightest bit flattering and already it was chipping at the seams and where the paint was thinnest. The deterioration was worst near the bricked-up fireplace that resided on the far end.
The only appealing part of the area was the pressed tin ceiling which displayed an array of swirls and flower motifs—but even then, it had seen better days and was in desperate need of upkeep. Perhaps long ago, the ceiling would have been a beautiful, pristine white, but now it was a faded, unsightly taupe where the tin poked through at various places.
Ignoring the ugliness, the young girl walked into the kitchen, which appeared as though it hadn’t been renovated since the eighties. Lunette opened the fridge and grabbed the small lunch container she had prepared for herself yesterday.
“Lunette?” A weak voice asked with a noticeable Spanish accent.
“I’m in the kitchen,” the brunette answered, shoving the lunch container into her black school bag unceremoniously. Slowly, but surely, an elderly woman walked into the room. In her frail, wrinkled hand she held a smooth wooden cane. It almost seemed fitting to have such an old woman in such an old home.
“I see,” the woman, Lunette’s grandmother, replied with a bright, playful smile—almost laughing at her own joke. Her sight had left her long ago but being blind never seemed to trouble her. Her once dark eyes were now clouded over, mimicking a pale blue. She stopped her slow hobble once in the center of the kitchen, “Will you please be careful with your locker today?” she asked politely, though, giving no explanation towards what had provoked such a question. Her curled, salt and pepper colored hair fell to her full cheeks and moved as she smiled knowingly.
Lunette nodded but didn’t really understand what the old woman meant, “Sure,” she answered stuffing her books into her bag and putting on her long brown boots.
“Mom!” A shout erupted as Tatiana entered the room with an exasperated expression, “Will you please stop leaving your slippers around the house?! This is the hundredth time I’ve almost died on these.”
The elderly women grinned mischievously as she leaned on her cane. Her daughter, Tatiana, towered half a foot over her, looking down to her mother’s wrinkled features. “Oh, but how can I when I can’t see?” She teased, her accent thick as she annunciated every word. Tatiana threw her hands into the air with a groan, completely unappreciative of her mother’s humor.
The elderly woman then returned her attention back to her granddaughter, “Have a good day! Your choices are very important,” she reminded the young brunette as she was making her way to leave.
“Thanks, grandma Dalia.” Lunette replied, forcing a weak smile. Then, after quick hugs to her family and exchange of goodbyes, she headed to the exit that rested a few steps past her aunt and grandmother.
Lunette opened the cream-colored door with a heavy tug and was greeted with a small entrance way and another set of stairs that led down into the shop her family ran, their only source of income, which the apartment sat atop. She yanked the door shut behind her and readjusted the bookbag on her shoulders as she walked down the freshly painted, chestnut stairs. The steps led her into a storage area at the back of the store that held miscellaneous supplies not ready to be placed out on the shelves.
Her family ran an organic product shop that only used natural materials. Primarily, the shelves were filled with an array of soaps, candles, lotions, and hair washes that were made from the various herbs her family grew in their home. Some of the herbs and plants were even grown right in the back-room Lunette dragged herself away from. It was still too early for the shop to be open though, and it looked like Tatiana was in the middle of organizing a few extra shelves of amenities as there were various items strewn about. Even so, without any customers, the area felt exceptionally stale and stagnant.
Lunette expertly moved towards the fogged front door, staring down at her phone, avoiding boxes and other items that sat on the floor waiting to be put away and displayed. A soft chime rang as she exited her prison and an involuntary shiver traveled up her spine. It had rained the previous night and the air was left frigid and unwelcoming as the young brunette sucked in an icy breath.
Just then, a strong gust of November wind shoved past Lunette and into the shop as she let the door close behind her. She shivered once more and pressed her arms close to her chest as she read through the messages on her phone.
Or rather, lack thereof.
He still hasn’t replied, she thought to herself, disappointed. She didn’t know what she should have expected but it still caused her to heave out a sigh that rolled from her lips, taking the shape of a small cloud as the cold chilled her breath.
Lunette’s mood soured even more, and she pulled her hands and phone into the pockets of her jacket for warmth and began her trek north towards her new high school. There would be no bus to pick her up and drive her to and from her house like in Louisiana. Another of the many reminders she had that she was no longer living in paradise. Walking to school wasn’t so bad, though. The trip took only minutes on foot, she could practically see the bland building from her apartment; one more ominous eyesore looming over her.
As Lunette dragged her feet along, she was accompanied by a few other teenagers who took her same route. However, they walked on the other side of the street, chatting amongst themselves. Purposely putting distance between herself and the others, Lunette groggily continued on the farthest sidewalk, while the teens made no advancements to join or beckon her to come over. Lunette was something they learned to ignore since her arrival. She was adamant about remaining friendless in Eastport; her own form of internal protest towards her family and the city itself.
She just wanted to go home, her real home. There was no point in getting close to anyone, Lunette was a senior in high school. She planned to move back to Louisiana as soon as she graduated and then attend some university in the area. That way she could be with her real friends. And maybe even him...
Lunette squeezed her eyes shut and reopened them, scolding herself for thinking about her now ex-boyfriend. She couldn’t help it though. Back in Louisiana, she had finally met a boy she liked. He was sweet to her and wasn’t superficial or obsessed with the internet and social media.
Last time Lunette had seen him, she was telling him of the sudden move her family decided to make. She remembered his freshly cut hair that formed very tight rings, rich dark skin, and onyx eyes, like her. She always felt she could get lost in those dark pools, especially when they used to express his happiness at seeing her, creasing softly in the corners every time he smiled.
Lunette was a year and a half older than Caleb despite being in the same grade, but he never seemed to mind. The age difference was the result of Lunette’s frail health at a young age, resulting in her falling behind. Even so, she more than made up for the bad start with the dedication to her studies and extra credit. Yet, while Lunette attempted to achieve the best grades possible to recover for the lost time, Caleb wasn’t particularly interested in academics. Instead, he was fixated on different forms of media and games, often sharing his hobbies with her. They didn’t date for long, but it was still enough to be compelled to want him. Lunette was certain Caleb was her first love. She had never met anyone that connected with her the way she did with him. Despite this, their relationship had moved from romantic back to platonic as soon as Lunette confessed her family’s plan to move.
It wasn’t fair, and it never would be fair. Lunette had spent nights fighting with her aunt and grandmother, trying to convince them not to uproot her whole life on such a whim, but it had been decided by Dalia and Lunette had to obey her. Even though she was eighteen, Lunette was dependent on her family, and it wouldn’t have been smart to try and sustain herself while still in high school.
Groaning inwardly as the reality of her situation truly began to set in, Lunette approached the front doors of her school, Eastport High. A predictable name for such a predictably monotonous town.
The building itself wasn’t awful, she supposed; the exterior was made of brick and resembled the structure of a government building. But the student body was small, very small. There were only roughly a hundred teenagers in her senior class. This was much different from the large institution Lunette attended in New Orleans. Although, it was interesting to see how fast news spread throughout the students here.
On Lunette’s first day of class, she ignored everyone who greeted her. Quickly, the students realized the brunette wasn’t keen on small chit chat and forming bonds. This seemed to anger some, a sort of shot to their ego. And while most eventually went on with their lives, the current valedictorian, Erica Riley, began to grow abhorrence towards Lunette.
Every so often, Erica would walk past Lunette in the hall and mutter something loud enough for her to hear, essentially begging for validation. It was pathetic, and Lunette generally ignored her. Sometimes, she was even so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she didn’t even notice Erica had passed by muttered a single word. It was a childish game, and Lunette didn’t want to get wrapped up in petty drama. However, despite her efforts to not antagonize Erica in any way or feed into the Valedictorian’s ploy, Lunette’s silence and general disregard only spurned Erica to try harder.
Today, Erica strode down the hall with a friend, Amber Houston, talking about their upcoming test. Erica flipped some pieces of her sorrel hair from her face, letting it fall in a perfect line, perfect on a good day, the humidity this day caused the bulk to frizz into her face. She glanced away from Amber and smirked as her baby blue eyes caught sight of Lunette’s onyx ones from where she stood by her locker. She returned her attention back to Amber, a shorter girl with chin length golden hair, and spoke loud enough for Lunette to hear just as they passed by.
An obvious, purposeful gambit, albeit an immature one.
“I heard that woman from the hippy store is lesbian, better cover up if you ever go down there!” She joked, pointing a finger at her friend’s low-cut shirt and snickering. Amber laughed along, completely unfazed by the jape; already half the school was talking about it, the product of someone starting a rumor.
Lunette, who normally ignored the pestering of Erica, couldn’t believe what she had heard. The woman from the hippy store was none other than Tatiana, and her personal life had nothing to do with the public. The comment came from such an egocentric standpoint it appeared foreign to originate from such a successful student. Lunette gripped the metal door of her locker, hesitating for only a moment before she whipped her entire body to face the direction the two friends ventured down. Her mouth was open, ready to verbally beat Erica down, but her attention was immediately shifted away to the heavy clang that reverberated through her as something crashed into the metal of her locker door. Her sloe-eyed gaze widened when she looked down.
In midst of her sudden rage, Lunette had propelled her necklace into the seafoam colored locker, sending a deep crack through the obsidian as it slammed into the metal edge; An ever so small piece of the stone flying away towards the ground. Lunette rose the necklace to her face to assess further damages, the center stone had been broken sporting a small hole where the chipped piece was missing. She clicked her tongue to the roof of her mouth with disapproval as her anger fell away into sadness. Her mother had given her this necklace right before she passed away. And whenever she thought of her mother, she thought of her sister alongside.
Lunette dropped the jewelry from her hand, letting it fall back to her chest, and slammed her locker shut. She didn’t want to be reminded of her mother or her sister. It wasn’t that she had a bad relationship with either of them, rather the opposite. But it was for this reason that it was too painful to conjure up fond memories of either; she didn’t want to relive that grief.
Lunette gripped her books tightly to her chest and rushed off to class then, clearly upset. Even more so as her grandmother’s words from earlier this morning came ringing back to her, almost mockingly. Lunette hadn’t heeded the warning, and her gut twisted both from not taking it more seriously and of Dalia having had a premonition of the entire ordeal.
All this just reminded Lunette that she hated being here. Though, today, in particular, proved to be one of the worst she had yet to experience.
After homeroom, Lunette began, nearly, tripping every time she walked between classes. It was amusing for some of the students who watched her tumble her way through the day, but it was embarrassing for her. She wasn’t typically clumsy, and no matter how cautious she traversed the school, it became inevitable that she would slip and tumble. And despite any attempt to uncover foul play, she saw no hidden wires, bumps, slick floors, nothing.
When lunch came around, Lunette examined her knees and shins for the bruises she collected. On any normal day, Lunette would have come to the cafeteria last and found a table that wasn’t occupied. But today, she was one of the first to enter the lunchroom, asserting herself as she claimed one of the rounded surfaces for herself—foot propped up on one of the seats that were connected to the table. Though faint, color had sprouted on top of the lifted mounds of her swelled skin.
This is crazy, Lunette thought bitterly, grumbling to herself about how even more horrendous her day had become.
She sighed, removing her foot and swinging her bag onto the table. Laughter carried over from directly behind her as she rose to get a drink. Wading through the sea of students, Lunette took note of the laughing table’s occupants.
Erica, Amber, and a few of their other friends sat with their lunch trays filled. They snickered amongst themselves as they glanced up and watched Lunette walk past them. She was sure their amusement was at her pitiful state and felt her stomach churn in response. It was like every classic high school cliché, there was an overly pretentious antagonist with a band of followers, and the odd girl out. However, after delving further into the chaos of the student body, it became far more complex. Lunette recalled back to her first encounter with Erica and her friend group as she carefully maneuvered her way towards the vending machine.
It was only the second full week of school and the third week of September when Lunette and Erica began butting heads. Lunette kept her lips shut and her demeanor sour whenever anyone attempted to engage with her. Most students seemed to feel her perpetual teen angst radiate off her body and avoided her as if she were nothing more than air. But, Erica was different. She was a highly successful student with the highest grades in their small class, and the member of both the literature and odyssey club. Erica’s first interaction with Lunette was inviting her to join one of her clubs, an innocent gesture to form a conversation. Although Lunette thought about engaging, the brunette simply turned her head away from Erica, ignoring her. Despite this, Erica desperately wanted the girl to speak to her, or at the very least acknowledge her presence. But of course, Lunette refused. It baffled Erica that Lunette displayed such an attitude, her impolite and almost mocking behavior would drive anyone mad. Erica wanted so desperately to put the girl in her place, whatever place that may have been, and be just as insufferable to Lunette as she felt the girl mirrored. And thus, her little games continued on, taking delight in how Lunette seemed to have an allergic reaction to balance today.
Lunette remained unscathed as she approached the vending machine, pressing her fingers to the dial pad, wanting some ginger ale. All she hoped for was that the device would drop the drink. When the vending machine spit it out, she let out a small breath of relief and walked back to her table. She opened her container from home and took a few simple bites before losing her appetite, something she assumed would happen from the stress. No longer feeling hungry, Lunette grabbed her chemistry homework and reading glasses from her bag and began to work, stuffing her premade lunch back in her black knapsack. It was boring and slightly hard, but the work had to be done. Feeling her stomach continue to grow easy, Lunette pushed down the tab of her drink can, and then let out a sharp yelp.
The soda, as if it had just been shaken nonstop for several minutes, exploded as the pressure was released. The sugary liquid coated Lunette’s homework and her lap, leaving her feeling gross and sticky. She lifted her hands and shook them, her eyes watching as the drink absorbed into her jeans and paper. Her eyes flew upwards when she realized the familiar sounds of the lunchroom had hushed. A great deal of the lunchroom was now watching her, apparently, her scream having caught their attention.
She felt her stomach wrench violently and heat rose to her face. Quickly, she stood up and shoved her things into her bag. The sounds of students murmuring and giggling filled Lunette’s ears as she threw the can away and sped to the bathroom.
Today was officially a disaster.