“Look; it’s a new kid!” Carrie, another one of my best friends (I don’t just have one; there’s multiple people I consider my best friends, as you can tell) exclaimed as she plopped into a chair across from me.
Shan, Jess, Carrie, and Maggie all sat at a round table in the middle of the huge cafeteria, munching unhappily on the pizza that tasted like cardboard and was soggier than a Louisiana swamp.
The new girl sat broodily at a table about three away from ours. Her sharp features reminded me vaguely of a rattle snake as she scowled down at the cracked table top. Her clothes consisted of a black unmarked hoodie and black jeans, her combat boots reaching her slim knees. Her black hair looked somewhat greasy, like she hadn’t taken a bath recently and her pale, scarred arms were crossed sulkily across her chest.
“Huh,” I gave an un-lady-like grunt before stabbing my pizza to make sure it wasn’t alive. “She looks like she needs someone to talk to.”
“Or maybe she’s scoping out her next human sacrifice.” Cassie, another one of my class mates (Not one that I particularly like or can stand) said in a snide voice as she sat down.
Shan crinkled her nose in distaste at Cassie. “Shut up, you nasty bitch.”
Jess snickered and I coughed to cover my laugh.
Cassie didn’t seem too offended, she calmly flipped Shan off before stuffing her face with a handful of sweet potato fries.
A strange, unexpected feeling washed over me; I felt as if I needed to go to talk to the new girl. She just seemed so vulnerable and… lost. “Guys, I’ll be right back.”
“Where ya goin’?” Carrie asked with a smile, her blonde, curly hair practically bouncing in excitement as she looked up at me.
“Well, I feel kinda bad for the new girl; I was just gonna go talk to her and get to know her.”
My best friends, and the person I really didn’t care for, looked up at me with a weird look on each of their faces.
“Well, we’ll have your back; from here, anyways, I love you and all Shy, but I ain’t going over there so she can suck my blood.” Shan said, holding her neck with protective hands.
“Don’t be a pansy ass, Shan, get your ass up and go with me.” I barked, a joking smile curving my lips as I looked at my wanna-be sister.
“Fine, fine.” She grumbled before jumping up and following me.
The girl looked up curiously and smiled shyly. “Hi!” she said happily, completely surprising me.
“Hi, there. My name’s Shyanne and this is my best friend Shaniqua. We just wanted to come over here and say hello and see if you wanted any help with anything; making friends, finding a classroom… guys that are single…?”
Her green eyes were as dull as a butter knife but there was keen intelligence behind the murkiness. Her eyes practically penetrated me as she smiled. She’s as pretty as father said she was; master is going to be so happy. “No, I don’t need help with anything, Shyanne. Thank you for asking though. But, if I do need something, can I ask you?”
Completely and totally dumbfounded, I stared into her green eyes. What did you just say?
Shan nudged me a little too hard and I stumbled forward, knocking into the table and making the girl jump up. “Are you okay?”
Jerking back quickly, I mumbled, “Fine, back off.” My heart rate started to escalate and my breathing went all to hell. A cold sweat then slicked across my skin and my knees went so weak that I finally collapsed in the middle of the lunch room.
Hushed voices penetrated my sleep. Mumbling cuss words, I rolled to my stomach. “Would ya’ll shut it? I’m tired and I don’t want to hear your annoying voices.”
A hot hand landed on the small of my back, making my muscles tense. “Shyanne, baby, you need to get up.”
The dark and husky voice made me open my eyes instantly. A warm and beautiful feeling drifted through my veins, all coming from the warm hand on my back.
There it was; the most beautiful grey eyes on this earth was so close to mine that I could see the light green flecks in his iris’s. “Hey beautiful; how ya feeling this morning?”
Quit staring at him like he’s a huge piece of damn chocolate, Shyanne. “What the hell happened?”
Mom gasped. “Shyanne Jasmine! I raised you up to be a lady and that does not include cussing like a sailor.”
Dad laughed before crouching beside me. “Rosie, she said one word; one, I might add, that you say more than anything.”
Mom’s cheeks went red and she huffed before turning to a snickering Jason. “Don’t listen to him, Jason; he’s a liar and full of shi- crap. I mean crap.”
Everyone busted out laughing and then I coughed like hell. My throat acted as if there were a billion little fire ants crawling up my windpipe, making me cough like a crazy person.
“What happened?” I asked for the second time when my coughing fit died down a little.
Jason’s hand roamed over my back, soothing me but also irritating. “From what your friend Shan said, it sounds as if you had a panic attack; she said you acted weird and your knees just gave out.”
Remembering the feeling of falling and then the inky blackness…. I shivered. “That sounds about right…” I jerked into an upright position, putting me almost completely in Jason’s lap, which wasn’t all that bad. “The new girl talked to me in my head. At least I thought it was her. She said how beautiful I was; just like ‘father’ told her and how her master would be happy.”
Jason’s whole body went on red alert; his muscles tensing making him sit straighter. “Who’s this new girl? What’d she look like?”
“Like a badly dressed vampire but… her features reminded me of a snake almost. The meanness in her eye and sharp as a tack features.” I said before relaxing back onto my bed.
“Reptile,” Jason’s disbelief was evident in his voice and face. “The birds had almost completely taken them out; I haven’t seen one since you was almost taken when you ran away.”
Mom and dad both jerked. “What does this mean?” Dad asked before standing up.
Jason sighed before standing up with him. “It means her change is close enough that even the lowest of the low can feel it.”
My heart started to race again and I started to shake. My mind then began to dim to where the blackness crept in around the edges. Before I knew it, my mom, dad and Jason all disappeared before the old man from before took a hold.
I looked around to see that I stood up and my body wasn’t sore or hurting anymore. Jeans as tight as a noose around a hanging body. A white tank covered my top and I looked up at the old man. “Why are you here? Why am I here?”
He smiled and stood right in front of me. “Jason Keller was right; your change is close. I just brought you here to ask you a question.”
“Like what?” Wariness coated my words before I swallowed.
“If you were given the chance, would you give up your life for someone? Even if it was someone that you had never met before?”
“Of course I would.” The answer burst from my lips and I frowned at him.
Another one of those creepy-ass smiles graced his lips. “I thought so.”
He put his hand out and shushed me. After I closed my mouth, he stared into my eyes and then calmly touched his index finger to my chest, right over my heart. Pain, worse than any I’ve felt before, tore through my body; my instincts roared for me to step back and get away or just to collapse so he couldn’t touch me. My legs seemed locked into position and I heard him mumbling something under his breath as he traced something on my skin.
“What the hell are you doing to me, you bastard?” I screamed as I willed myself to move away.
“Child, this is needed so you can protect.” He said quietly before lifting his hand from my chest.
Only then did my legs seem to work as I collapsed to my knees in front of him. “Who are you?” I gasped through my pain.
His kind eyes warmed up before he said with a laugh, “Dear child, I thought you knew!” taking my silence as a negative, he crouched again in front of me and said, “I’m Kade; you are my new apprentice and it is such a pleasure to meet you again.”
My blood drained from my face as I looked into his eyes. “You’re kidding me right now, right? The book said you were something of the God’s-”
“Ah, but did you really think that God’s were all meant to look like a model out of magazine? Like something out of a teenagers dream?”
Embarrassment made the blood rush back into my cheeks. “Well, possibly.”
He smiled again before pointing at my chest. I looked down to see an intricate pattern of swirls and curly Q’s. Blood seeped through my pores around the ink and made my white tank as red as a tomato.
Gasping at the beautiful pattern, I looked up into his eyes. “What? Why?”
Pulling the sleeve of his white robe up, I seen tattoos up his forearm, almost as intricate as mine but more masculine; I wanted so bad to reach out and touch them but I wasn’t that brave. “Not all shifters have tattoos; the ones, who do, however, are destined for something. The fates came to me years ago and said that my next apprentice was the one to change the balance of shifters. You’re going to make the poor bastards that I rule rue the day they forgot about being shifters. The closer you get to your objective, you’ll get more tattoos. Each one will describe what hardships you had to endure in order to get closer.” He paused and then he smiled. “Shyanne, your parents are near to killing your future husband; I’ll let you go. But, I must tell you; this will not be the last time I talk to you. See you later.”
Blackness once again claimed me and I thankfully let it happen.