When I wake there’s no light to greet me. The sheets stick to my cold sweaty skin and a draft is wafting down on me from somewhere. Warmth, comfort, safety and even cleanliness seem nonexistent while I lay here.
I’m not sure what time it is, or how long I’ve been sleeping. There’s no way for me to tell time down here and I don’t dare leave the room by myself. I know the cafeteria place is to the right and down the hall but I think it’s better to just wait instead of get caught in something I’m not supposed to.
I looked through my backpack and happened to come across my old MP3 player. I’ve been listening to my ‘Forget Me Not’ playlist for the last little while or so. It’s ironic that I named it that because it’s specifically made to help me forget. Currently, it’s not working so well.
I don’t remember packing it but it’s easy to picture who might have. Plover always knew ways to cheer me up, even when he’s not around.
With everything in me, I hope he’s okay. The longer I think about it my mind either wanders in one of two ways. 1. They let him go because they figured he’s not supernatural, so he’s not dangerous. And 2. They’re torturing him on information about me and treating him exactly how they would treat everyone else who turned.
Why didn’t I just leave the city and not go home? I’m so stupid.
I hear footsteps coming from down the hallway so I turn off the music. Which was currently playing “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse.
Candance enters the room with a pep in her step. She walks immediately over to me and grabs my right wrist, slipping a blue marbled bracelet with a lotus charm on it.
“This is a protection bracelet; it will help so you can’t be charmed by Fae or any other creatures.” She says and smiles at me, a faint curiosity behind her eyes.
“Thank you, you didn’t have to do that.”
“No, I did.” She says with absolute certainty and then gestures for me to follow her out of the room.
I follow her out of the room and back towards the cafeteria. Smells of fresh food wafts up my nose as we enter. Everyone I saw from the night before is sitting around the tables eating. There are three or four more that I don’t recognize. They’re all within the age range, but all so different from each other. Some are tall, short, black, white, Asian, covered in fur, glowing or dragging wings behind their backs. Most of them are wearing dark, tight clothes though some are wearing flowy light pajamas.
My feet gravitate towards the metal table holding food but Candace stops me before I can get close enough to see its contents.
“Miri wants to talk to you first.” She says and leads me down another hall way.
A pout forms on my lips as we exit but goes away quickly when I notice all the eyes focused on me. Almost everyone has stopped what they were doing to look at me in curiosity.
I turn around to escape their site.
We continue walking down the curvy hallway and soon come to an open door. Inside is a small office like space. The walls like the rest of the structure are metal, a red animal print rug covers the floor and against the back wall sits Miri in a much too small wooden desk. There are five or six filing cabinets lined up on either side of her.
“Hello, Lark. How did you sleep?” she asks me, holding the S in sleep a little bit too long.
“Fine.” I reply and go on the wooden stool that sits in front of her.
She smiles at me the reaches down under her desk. When she reappears, she has a tray of breakfast food in hand.
“I thought you might be hungry.” She shrugs and sets it in front of me.
I return her smile then slightly cringe at the food. Not because it doesn’t look good -in fact in looks delicious- but because of how unhealthy it all is. There are two pancakes with syrup and slab of butter, a cinnamon roll, scrambled eggs and a piece of toast.
It’s been ages since I’ve eaten this much sugar… but I need to eat something.
“Thank you.” I say then pick up the fork. “Where did you get all this food? Candace mentioned something about there being little to no food storage.”
“She’s correct, there’s almost nothing left, but I’m not on the run like you kids. I can go out to the store anytime I please and pick up what we need. Also a few of the others aren’t afraid to steal if need be.”
“Oh.” I try to say with a cinnamon roll bite in my mouth.
Her eyes focus in on me as I chew my food quietly. They change to slits and her smile thins to nothing.
“What are you?” I find myself asking.
The pupils of her eyes widen back to normal but her lips remain the same. Almost nonexistent.
“The real question is, what are you?”
“I already told you, I don’t know.”
“That’s why you’re here with me now.” She says and stands up to walk towards one of the filing cabinets. “We are going to figure it out together.”
“But what about my brother? You said I would stay for the night then I could leave to go find him.”
“No, I said you would stay the night and we would discuss your brother in the morning. There may still be a way we can help him but we need to help you first. Without knowing what you are, you have no way to control your new found gifts or powers. You could seriously hurt yourself or others. I don’t think you would want to accidently injure your brother, would you?”
I fold my arms in annoyance. “You make a fair point.” I’m not going to completely admit that she’s right. “So, what would you suggest I do now.”
She sets a large folder down in front of me and sits back in her chair. “Stay here for now. Me and the rest of the guardians will work to help both you and your brother. I must warn you though, I will expect you to pull your own weight-.”
“No problem.” I interrupt her.
“Perfect. Once we are able to narrow down what you are, we will find a place for you.” She opens the file and pulls out the top few papers. “First, can you tell me your family history. Where your ancestors come from on both your mother and fathers’ side. Only if you know of course.”
“I know. My mother is of Irish and polish decent and my dad’s parents immigrated here from Nigeria when he was just one.”
“Oh, so you’re from all over the place aren’t you dearie?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“How about you tell me about your turning. Everything that lead up to it, while it happened and after. I want as much detail as possible.” She gets a pen ready and a pad of paper.
It isn’t hard to recite what happened at the college. I almost never stop thinking about it. The glass sticking out of the other students face and bodies, the loud disembodied voices and especially the bleeding, screaming lady at the front of the class. I will never forget the look of terror plastered on her face.
When I’m finished, Miri sits quietly for a long time. She studies the notes she took while I spoke as well as the papers from the folder. Her eyes flicker from me back to them every once in a while.
I sit semi-impatiently, trying with all the will I have left to not pick at my now raw hands. It’s always been a bad habit of mine since I started gymnastics. Katie use to hit or yell at me if she caught me doing it. My brother did too… and now they’re both gone.
“I may need to think on this for a little longer.” Miri says, jolting me out of my thoughts.
“What do you mean? Aren’t you like an expert at this kind of stuff? I mean you sure act like you are.”
“I’m well versed in the world of supernatural creature but I would not call myself an expert.” She defends and gives me a sharp look, which is almost enough to make me back off. Almost. “You are something I haven’t encountered yet.”
“Well that’s just great.” I comment and sulk into the stool.
“Don’t lose faith, dear. I will consult with some close friends and will hopefully know by morning.”
“What am I supposed to do till then?”
“Relax, pick a room, meet the others. Just try to stay calm.”
“Calm.” I repeat back, knowing that my heart is raging inside of my chest.