I stopped and stood still as I gazed up at the house that I grew up in. Inhale. Exhale. I haven’t been back since the winter of my freshman year of high school.
“Go get your things packed Katarina.” My mom looked at me with no emotion in her eyes. We had just arrived home from Milo’s funeral, still dressed in our black clothing.
I looked at her with my tear-stained face. “What?”
“You heard me. I can’t handle this behavior from you anymore. You just bring trouble around with you everywhere. I’m ready to move on with my life and I think that you should do the same.” She looked at me as if I wasn’t her own flesh and blood.
“I bring trouble around with me? What about you? Milo is dead because of you!” I screamed, tears flowing down my cheeks.
“He died because of you. He shouldn’t have been here Katarina and you know it.” She walked closer to me with a hard look in her eye. “The social worker will be here soon. I’ve already had people call in complaints about you so they’ll bring you to a group home instead of adoption. Wouldn’t want you to ruin somebody else’s family.”
“Fuck you!” I pushed her back. “You rather sell your daughter’s innocence than pay up to your own mistakes. You rather snort coke with some loser guys who tell you they love you when they only care about what’s between your legs!” I scream and push at her, forcing all my frustration out.
She slaps me hard across the face. She laughs out, “I sold your innocence? Katarina, you would have spread your legs open for a man sooner or later in order to gain something. You want to know why? Because we’re more alike than you think.”
I think back now to that moment. How naive I was to think that she cared about me...about Milo. And all I can think about is, was she right? Am I just like her? I’ve used my body to gain things before. Whether it be pain or pleasure. I shook my head. No, I would never do what my mother did to me. She betrayed me and I wouldn’t even consider coming to see her again if I didn’t need something in return.
I raised my fist and knocked on the old, wooden door of the 2 bedroom, 1 bath, house. I waited, hearing footsteps approaching. The door swings open to my mother. She’s a beautiful woman and it’s still apparent even after the years of drug and alcohol use.
She squinted her eyes at me and took a puff on her menthol cigarette. “Katarina? My, my, how long has it been? A year?”
“Four,” I responded with a blank face.
“Well, well, it’s good to see you. I was wondering when you’d show up again.” She looked down at my ripped dress and messy hair. “You look about how I thought you’d turn out.” She gave me a cruel, missing teeth smile.
“Well, considering I thought you’d be dead by now. I can’t say that I would say the same.” I looked at her with a pissed-off expression.
“You’ve obviously come here to say something, so spit it out, girl.” She turned away, walking into the house, leaving the front door open. I sighed, feeling like I went back in time as I walked around my old living room. There were no pictures of me or Milo anywhere in the house.
I picked up a picture of my mother and father. They both looked so happy together at the time. “Julie, what happened to dad?” I looked over at her while holding the picture.
She scoffed, “So you call me Julie but you call him dad?” She shook her head as if she cared. I knew that she was just avoiding the question.
“What happened to him, mother? And don’t fucking lie to me. I’m really not in the mood today.” I looked her dead in the eyes with the coldest look I could give.
She glanced at me, flicking her cigarette ash onto the carpeted floor. “Well, your father was into some shady stuff. He was a bad man and hurt a lot of people, Katarina. I didn’t want him around you and Milo.” I couldn’t stand hearing her say my brother’s name after everything that she did. And I knew every word she was saying was a damn lie.
“I’m gonna ask you again dearest mother,” I said in a falsely sweet voice. “I’m not in a good fucking mood today... So tell me what happened and where he is, or I will paint these grey walls with your fucking blood.”
We’ve been driving for an hour now as we make our way to New York. Easton’s sitting in the passenger seat holding the map as we follow the roads leading to Kaia. I feel Hayden’s hand land on my shoulder as his other one points to the road in front of us. “Hey, there’s police and ambulances up ahead.” We pull up and stop since the cops are blocking the road.
“Excuse me, officer. What happened here?” I ask the cop standing by the road.
“There’s been an accident. Don’t worry kid, we’re moving the car now to let you by. Just pull in the other lane and go around.” He said as he tapped the roof of my car and walked away.
I move into the left lane, bypassing the ambulances along the side of the road. “Oh my god, Asher.” I head Mia’s voice in the backseat. I look over and see an overturned bus on the side of the road. “Kaia…”
“She’s not here. Her scent is too weak, she’s been gone for over an hour now...D-D….Do you think that she did this?” I asked, worried about the answer.
“I think so. I knew she had a lot of magic...but I didn’t know it was this much. Her emotions are too wild right now. She doesn’t know how to handle them which will make controlling her powers harder.”
I rolled down my window, stopping next to an EMT. “Excuse me, ma’am. Were there any deaths in this accident?”
“I can’t disclose that information kid. You’ll have to wait for the bodies to be identified and released to the public first.”
“Excuse me.” I hear Mia roll down her window and speak to the lady. “It would really mean a lot if you told us,” Mia spoke in a calm and alluring voice. I look in the rearview mirror and see her hand holding her crystal necklace as her eyes shift into a shiny, bronze color. “Tell us if there were any deaths and how many survived.” She looked the EMT straight in the eyes.
“There were nine deaths. None survived.” The lady said in a monotone voice as her eyes glazed over.
“Thank you.” Mia smiled, her eyes returning back to their brown color.
“Shit, babe, that was fucking hot. You just compelled her... magic is fucking crazy. Wait a minute, you don’t secretly do that to me do you?” Hayden looked at her with wide eyes, to which she just laughed like a psychopath.
“Shit, nine people dead?” Easton broke their conversation off.
I sigh, “Do you think she even knows what she’s doing?” I wonder aloud, scared at the thought of what Kaia is going through right now. I drive by the wreck and continue to speed down the road getting closer to Kaia.
About an hour later we approach a dead-end road and stop the car. “It shows that we should be here. I think it’s that house,” Easton says as he points to a small one-story home. We all exit the car walking towards the front door.
“Wait, what are we going to do? Just walk into the house? We don’t even know who lives here. They’re more than likely human and will probably call the cops,” Hayden said looking tense.
“Hang on lads, do you smell that?” Sebastian said, sniffing the air.
“Blood.” We all said in sync.
What do you guys think really happened with Kaia’s dad?
Whose blood is it that Asher and the guys smell?
*Side note, I did change the book cover in case you were confused*