This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
THE MEGA CUP of coffee in my hand is cold while the sun shines hot down onto my shoulders. I put my feet up onto the supports of the chair across from me, and I keep my face in the shade because the brightness makes me pull my eyes together and it gives me a headache.
I have been lost in my own thoughts, dreaming of my past, for hours, looking absent-mindedly at the people walk past me. A million faces, all of them unfamiliar.
Then I see him and I sigh despondently while my eyes follow him sadly. His dark hair falls across his brow, and his eyes look at me, but they do not see me. He walks past me and toward the group of kids standing in front of the cinema. They greet each other laughingly. He must feel my eyes on him, as he turns and looks over his shoulder. I continue staring, but still, he does not see me.
Although I am only sixteen, I have never experienced romance. I have seen it many times, have experienced it through the people I see walking along a river, have longed for someone to look into my eyes and know they only see me. Someone to whisper softly in my ear they only want me, and they love only me.
I have an instinct which tells me it would be great to have someone love me. I wonder what it would feel like to grow old. To be like the meagre mortals around me, to roll a die, to live on the edge, to be daring and know it might kill me. I have been around the world, have seen the world change, have had a million different hairstyles, fashions. I belong a hundred miles from anyone, but there is a yearning inside of me and I need to know what it feels like to fall in love. To tumble head over heels in love, and to have someone stumble for me. I wonder how it feels to love someone unconditionally as I have read so many times in books.
The server walks to me again and this time she smiles when she catches my eye. She has been around to my table a few times this morning, but I have ignored her on purpose.
I smile up at her now. “The bill please.”
She opens her leather folder and she places a slip on my table.
I lean down to get my bag, where I left it laying on the floor next to my table and I pick it up onto my lap. After pulling the zip open, I dig into the bag, which is hopelessly too big and impractical. Eventually, I find my handbag and then I take out a few notes and smile at the server who has stepped away. She comes toward me again and I give her the money.
She says friendly, “Thank you. Please come again.”
Smiling in return, I push the chair I am sitting on backwards and then I get up.
If Shayne could hear my thoughts now, not that he can, he would be upset. He loves his extended life, but I am bored and lonely. There is nothing I can do, nothing exciting. What fun is there in bungee jumping, when you know you would never die? Is the action of jumping down an impossibly high bridge with only a rubber band attached to the ankle, not ultimately, purposefully defying death?
I walk away to the parking area and toward my car. When I am close enough to my car, I press the button on my remote and I can hear the doors unlocking from a distance away—a loud popping noise. I get into the car and back it out of the parking spot. After I pay for my parking ticket, I drive the short distance home.
We live in a gated security estate. We moved here a month ago. After we came here on holiday, a year ago. The crime is so high and nobody seems to care if people go missing, it does not even reach the newspapers, so it is easy for us to maintain our lifestyle without suspicion falling on us too quickly. It is not so difficult getting what we need to sustain us in modern times. It used to be that people were more frightened and wary of strange things, but these days there are actually people who want to be like us. There are people who commit worse crimes on a daily basis. We kill for survival. There are those who kill for absolutely no purpose.
I stop in front of our house. It is a double-storey building and the neighbours live hopelessly too close. The spaces the houses are built in are limited, and sometimes I miss the wide-open spaces of long ago. Peering briefly into the large Koi fish tank standing to the left of our house, I walk to our front door, which has a large elephant carved into it. I push the heavy door open and I can hear the television on in the back.
I walk through the house toward the sound.
In the living room, I see Shayne sprawled across a chair. The large brown leather chairs are wide enough to sleep on and you cannot help it when your body naturally gravitates horizontally onto them.
I look at Shayne amused. Sometimes I think he is only fooling himself, saying he is still enjoying himself. I am sure sometimes though he must also feel that sense of purposelessness and now I can see the boredom on his strong face. He has a prominent nose, which he always refers to as his Roman-tic profile. His clipped reddish brown hair is short in the back and on the sides, and then he likes to gel the front so it looks like bed hair. I have told him a million times this has gone out of fashion, but he likes to say he does not follow fashion and he is a trendsetter.
“Where is Amanda?” I ask him.
He looks up lazily. “Didn’t you see her at the mall?”
“She left about an hour ago, to go shopping. I do not know what she wants to do with more clothes.”
“You mean shoes.” I sit down on the single chair.
He is watching a National Geography show about sharks and I join him, but I only stare blankly at the screen. I have swum with sharks before, so the show is uninteresting. I know everything there is to know about sharks already.
I hear Amanda arrive, even before she stops in front of the house and I unfold myself from the chair, stretching my legs.
The many packages in her arms hide her when she walks into the kitchen. She near drops them onto the counter and then I start rummaging through the bags looking for a mini-size chocolate mousse container.
While I am looking through the bags, Amanda says, “Susanna! Stop that. Pack away the things instead of just pushing them aside.”
Usually, I am just Susie, so now I grunt and start packing it away. She is obviously in a foul mood. Shopping has never had a calming effect on her. She is from an era where food magically appeared on her plate, presented by servants.
I find the mousse, but leave it to one side, while I continue to pack away the groceries, which is mainly meat.
Amanda stands just outside the back door and she lights a cigarette. She hates the newest craze where people have decided smoking is bad for you and she could no longer smoke where she wanted. When she goes off on one of her rants, she always insists, mockingly, smoking only harms her. Her second-hand smoke is no worse than pollution – surely. She does not smoke inside the house because admittedly she also thinks it smells awful and it is a bad habit. A bad habit she does not even get any enjoyment from at all.
She finishes her cigarette and then she comes in. Her addiction fed, she is calmer and she smiles. “Thank you, Susie. You must come see what I bought.”
I pick up the chocolate mousse from the counter and I follow her out of the kitchen and up the stairs to her room.
She up-ends the bags one after the other onto the bed in her room and then she ruffles through the pile. She finds what she is looking for and holding it up in front of her from shoulder to shoulder, I see the green top. It is nice, but not something I would wear. Amanda likes bling and shine, whereas I like to wear whatever the latest fashion is. I do not prefer designer to department store for everyday clothes, but it is always nice when the clothes have a fitted feeling.
I say, “It’s nice. The colour suits you. What else did you get?”
I look through the pile of clothes on her bed with one hand and then I sit back against the headboard, with my legs pulled up in front of me. She shows me what she bought and I eat my mousse. Although I cannot taste the decadent chocolate, I love the texture on my tongue. I love the way my tongue folds into the curve of the spoon when it licks the dessert off it.
Later when she has squashed her clothes, labels and all into her overfull closet, she changes the subject from clothes to me. “Are you enjoying school here?”
“I suppose so. You know kids are also home schooled here and nobody will come knocking on our door when I do not go to school?”
“Yes, but it gives you routine.”
I hate it when she assumes the mother figure; she is only twenty-six and we are not even family. “Yeah, I know and a sense of routine gives me a purpose.”
She smiles. “There you go. We all have our purpose. Shayne works at the University as a History Professor and you go to school.”
I interrupt her, “And you keep us all together—the hardest job of all. I know, don’t remind me again.”
They have promised me this will be our last move for a while and I only have to go to school for the next year and then university – again. This time around, though, I can start working. People stay younger looking for longer these days, so it will be safe for me to join the workforce. I am looking forward to not moving too soon again. It is getting more and more difficult moving around with customs, passports and transfer cards. Also, the invention of networks and the internet has restricted our movements slightly. I have had so many forged birth certificates I cannot remember the real year I was born.
Maybe I will be able to make some friends, where before I had to avoid them or when I did make friends, I had to leave them behind like junk collected along the way.
I have lived with Shayne and Amanda since the day I turned sixteen, two hundred years ago.
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...
Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...
amarin8388: Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction. During my reading, I thought many times that this would make a good story for a movie. It reminded me of the StarWars movie franchise, not because of the plot but because of the diversity of chara...
Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...
JONANNA: As an avid reader it is not often I say that about a book. The plot is what was different and the twists where unexpected. This book is defiantly a page turner and enjoyable read. I can't wait to reread this novel after a little editing to finish off the shine on this wonderful novel.
Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...
SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...
Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...
zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...
emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...