“Hi!” My new housemate greeted me cheerfully. She smiled brightly as she opened the door for me and helped me with one of my smaller bag.
“Uhm--you don’t have to--” I stuttered but she was already making her way up the stairs towards the bedrooms.
The place was beautiful. It was a block of student apartments and each apartment had three housemates sharing the lounge and kitchen. So, it reminded me of home. The sitting room were open plan and I fell in love with the kitchen straight away. The black and red gloss finish was something I would do in my own house. There was a large corner sofa facing the suspended flat screen television and just behind it was a dining table. Everything was tidy and in place.
“Come on up!” my housemate called out to me.
I rushed up the stairs and entered my new room. The pale pink on the walls was already talking to me.
“I am Katty, by the way.” She sighed softly and placed her hands on her waist looking around the room. “I thought you were not going to show up. You missed two weeks of school.” She explained.
I gave her a pained look. “I am Olivia. I pretty much started seeing crazy things last week.” I touched my forearm, glad I wore a long-sleeve t-shirt that hid the nasty claw and burn marks I got when a draykois attacked me after I disturbed him while he was feeding on a homeless man.
The memory made me shiver.
“Oh.” Katty pursed her lips. “You never get used to it. The draykois I saw followed me home and killed my dog then hung his head outside my window. It was the most horrendous sight I had ever seen. I still have nightmares about it.”
Draykois were basically demons that found a way across the veil between earth and the underworld. To most humans, they were like normal people but were able to influence the humans to do all sorts of thing including unexplained killings. They fed on the human’s pain and fear but when that couldn’t satisfy their hunger, they fed on human flesh.
Two weeks ago, I would have thought all this was just some made up story because I had never seen or heard anything fishy but one evening as I was returning home and I distinctly heard the crunching and slurping sounds of something behind one of the dumpsters in an alley. As curious as I was, I went to look thinking it was just a street dog gorging on spoiled meat that had been thrown out but boy was I wrong!
The thing looked like a person who had oversize arms and legs. His eyes were as dark as the starless night and his teeth were sharp dripping with blood and saliva. He crunched through bone and ligament of a homeless man who had a mask of unadulterated fear on his face.
The sight brought bile spewing into my mouth and a scream followed right behind it. I found myself letting the ear-splitting sound out, catching the draykois by surprise.
‘Ah....’ a growl escaped his distorted mouth. A long black tongue came out and liked away the blood that was dripping from his chin. 'A gifted human.....delicious.....′ he hissed and his tongue shot out wrapping itself around my hand.
I screamed because his saliva burnt through my skin. He pulled me in and not matter how much I struggled I couldn’t dislodge him. As I reached for the penknife in my jean pocket, he yanked me forward and clasped his claws around my hand. I was able to pull out the penknife and stab his corroding tongue.
His shrills were enough to make my ears want to bleed but he let me go. I didn’t stop stabbing his tongue until I finally dislodged it and started running without looking back. His wails were horrible and I knew that was going to be a murder scene come tomorrow morning.
“Didn’t you find it weird how the school representatives came to see you the next day?” Katty asked. “I keep on asking myself how the fuck they found out about me being gifted in less than twenty-four hours.” She ran her fingers through her light brown hair and clasped her hands together. “Well, I will show you around the apartment and afterwards I can take you around the school because I have the afternoon free.”
I gave her a small smile. “Thanks.”
She got up suddenly and opened the door that led to the bathroom. Each room had its own bathroom and toilet which I loved very much. It seemed that the school had invested so much to make their students feel comfortable, especially since these were very special students.
I wondered just how many gifted humans were in that school. I was also surprised that just the next day, a few people came to see me. They explained to my mother and father that I was one of the few gifted children in the world and that I needed to be located to a place where they would protect me as well as protect my family. Seeing beyond the veil meant that my life was in danger.
“This is our massive fridge!” Katty finally took me downstairs and opened the double-door fridge revealing the different compartments inside. “Impressive huh? This is Andie’s and I suggest you don’t touch it. All her stuff and containers are labelled.” she said then laughed. “What a paranoid psycho. I am actually contemplating out filling one of these with slugs.” she dangled a plastic container clearly labelled Andie, in front of me.
I grinned at Katty. She had such as bubbly personality. The exact opposite of me. It was natural for her to flow from one topic to the other and she talked for the both of us which didn’t look like it bothered her.
“She managed to penetrate the popular kid’s clique in just the first week. She is quite beautiful but her attitude sucks. Don’t take anything she says personally.”
I couldn’t understand what Katty was saying because as it was I thought she was really beautiful. She was tall with a bronzed complexion. It looked like she loved the outdoors a lot. Her light brown hair was shiny and thick, coming around her face in broad waves.
“There is that here too?” I asked her suddenly.
“Yep. Since you are late and everyone has already made cliques, it will be difficult for you to enter a group...but don’t worry. I will watch out for you till then.” She assured me with a chuckle.
“Which clique do you belong to?” I asked her as we moved into the sitting room.
“The super geniuses, of course.” she smirked. “I am a super-nerd. Don’t let this exterior fool you. I am a sucker for technology. If you behave...I can teach you a few hacking skills. They may come in handy when you need to blackmail the examinations department.” She winked at me as color leeched from my face. “Well, that is the house. The laundry room is through the corridor near the pantry. I will give half an hour to freshen up so we can go the school. It about a fifteen minute walk from here.” she sighed and jumped on the couch before she switched on the television.
A smile appeared on my face as I made my way upstairs. I could see myself getting along with Katty because of her nature. I was a bit nervous about meeting Andie because I was never the popular kid in school nor had I ever had the opportunity of sharing housing with one.
In fact I was always the kid who got picked on because I was shy and timid and I didn’t know how to fight back. I loved keeping to myself. I never had people I could actually call friends. My older sister was always popular but she too never even hung out with me at home.
I loved my new room. Though it had the view of the street, the window was large and it brought in a lot of light. It was plain at the moment and most of my things were arriving in the evening so I had to do with what I had at that moment. There was a double bed, built in wardrobes on one side and a desk with empty shelves above it. The floor was a light brown wooden one but it had a gray rug covering the bed and desk area. I was definitely going to change it, I thought as I started unpacking and stashing my things into the wardrobes. I was the kind of person that loved everything to be in its place. I didn’t have time to arrange my clothes according to color, occasion, season and trend so I just took my towel and went to get a quick shower before changing into a pair of pale blue skinnies and a white long-sleeved t-shirt with my favorite turquoise cardigan over it.
I tried to tame my tightly curled hair into some form of order but it wouldn’t have it. It remained curled around my head like a halo that brushed my shoulders. I was not much of a makeup kind of girl. I only had lipgloss going for me. For one I had really thick eyelashes that didn’t need mascara and my eyebrows were the source of envy from my sister. One thing I was proud of about myself was that I never spent absurd amounts of money on makeup.
When I was done, I got my phone and house keys and stuffed them in my handbag together with my wallet and went down to meet Katty.
Several hours later....
The sun was already setting by the time Katty was done showing me the school. It was as large and for some places she just pointed and we went on our way. It had everything a school could possibly have and more. I wondered why it had a helicopter pad, why it had security that could rival with the pentagon and places that were off-bounds to students.
Thanks to Katty, I had my timetable my school identity card was being processed and my student account was being activated in the IT department. It seemed that most of the issues were done online so activating my student account was very important.
“We are in a lot of classes together.” Katty noted as she looked through my timetable. “You are lucky.”
Indeed, I was. She was closest thing I had to a friend.
“Hey Katty!” a guy came walking towards her.
I quickly looked down at my feet because I was a nervous wreck when it came to talking to guys.
“Leo.” Katty said and her expression went icy. “I don’t want to hear your excuses so please leave me alone--”
Leo rolled his eyes. “My mom was in town. I couldn’t just blow her off for you.”
Katty gave Leo an acid smile. “I bet she did. Stay out of my way before I hex you, you demon spawn. Come on, Olivia, let’s go.”
“Katty!” Leo groaned. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”
“Why? So, that you would date her behind my back? I told not to even look my way, what are doing talking to me?” Katty asked angrily.
“Come on, Katty, don’t be like that. I will stop by your place in the evening--”
“If you so much as show your face at our doorstep, I am going to shoot you.” Katty assured him and grabbed my hand before she started walking off the other direction.
I remained a silent doll beside her being dragged across the field where several students were practicing all sorts of sports. I couldn’t help staring at four guys in black collecting what looked like baseballs from the field. One of them stood out tremendously.
It could have been because he had a broader body than the other three. Or the fact that I caught the strange tribal tattoo that ran down the length of his arm, disappearing under his t-shirt before making an appearance again on his nape and vanishing once more in his thick black hair. It looked as if he was quietly instructing the other three guys about something and I couldn’t see his face but I could see how serious whatever it was they were discussing from the expressions of the other three guys.
I was never a person to stare but I found myself not being able to tear my eyes off. They stood out from the rest of the students because they had the forbidden vibe. I bet they were very popular among the girls because they had faces borrowed from the Greek gods, bodies you only see on television in action movies and an aura that screamed danger.
True enough, there were several girls around giggling and looking at them with dreamy expressions on their faces. Two girls approached them and made conversation with them but the disinterest was very visible in the guys’ faces. Those were the kind of guys I loved to avoid because they always brought nothing but trouble.
Suddenly they all turned our way making my heart stutter and my feet suddenly stumble against each other. With a short scream, I stumbled unceremoniously onto the grass.
“Oh goodness!” Katty exclaimed as she tried to grab me before I hit the ground but I almost took her down with me.
I gritted my teeth with embarrassment when I heard a couple of laughs around me. The guys must have been laughing their heads off. I thought as heat crept up my neck and cheeks. This was something I was always doing but I could never get used to. Basically I was the most clumsy person in the whole world.
I bit my lower lip as Katty helped me up and I dared to take a quick glimpse towards the guys, expecting to see them in fits of chuckles and laughter but that wasn’t the case. I regretted looking their direction again because all their eerie eyes were on me--eyes so predatory that I found myself wanting to run away from that field without waiting for Katty. The two girls looked at me as if I had just stolen their favorite toys. The venom that had in their eyes was enough to dry me in place.
“Are you okay, Olivia? I am so sorry. I was too concentrated on getting as far away from Leo as possible that I forgot I was dragging you with me.” Katty rapped her way through the apology.
I couldn’t tell her that I was staring at a bunch of guys because it was embarrassing. “It’s alright. I am fine. Let’s just get out of here.” I smiled up at her, hoping she didn’t see how humiliated I was. I brushed away the grass on my skinnies and kept my head down as we quickly rushed across the field. I didn’t look anywhere else but I could still feel eyes beaming at the back of my neck.
Their eyes were the strangest thing I saw. The broader guy who stood out more than the others had violet eyes and his face made me think of things I never thought I could concoct in my small head. He literally made my jaw drop but I recovered quickly because of the intense gaze that he gave me. Deep in my heart I prayed that I never got to meet them again.
I couldn’t believe just how many gifted children there were. This meant that everyone in that school was able to see the draykois, including the four guys who had me very queasy. Then what did this mean? Was it because the veil between the two worlds was tattering? Was that the reason why draykois were able to enter our world?
Most of the times they took a human face but they were not good at keeping themselves hidden when they were hungry. The school representatives who came to my house on the morning after my attack showed me a couple of photographs they were able to get of the draykois and it was baffling at how normal they appeared in one photo and hideous in the next. Their pitch black eyes where what gave them away at first sight.
“Are you sure you are not hurt anywhere?” Katty asked as we walked slowly towards our apartment. She looked so guilty that I ended up laughing.
“It’s not your fault, Katty. I was busy staring at a couple of guys in the field that I wasn’t looking where I was going. I was just too embarrassed to tell you in the beginning.” I assured her.
I watched as the guilt melted away and a coy smile appeared. “Don’t tell me you were staring at Rayne and his gang of fine-ass male species?”
“Rayne?” I echoed.
Katty sighed wistfully and nodded. “Yep. You will be seeing him twice a week during combat training.”
My face lost color. “He is a teacher?”
Katty scrunched her face in confusion. “He is not a teacher but a specialist in combat training. I hear he comes and goes. No one knows for sure what he truly does but people say he might be in some special operations team in the military for draykois. Everyone says we are lucky to have him because apparently he is the best there is when it comes to combat training.”
I gulped hard. Here I thought I was never going to see them again. “What about the other three?”
“Maverick, Chaser and Kenzo are his star students. In the two weeks that I have known them I have noticed how quickly they catching things. They are exceptional and very close to Rayne.” Katty explained.
“We are in the same classes as them?” I exclaimed. This was where my social life took a sudden drastic plunge into a bottomless pit.
I had already committed social suicide in front of the school. There wasn’t anything else I could do about it. I already figured out which clique I belonged to....my, myself and I.
“Of course but I should warn you, Andie and her clique have been interested in those guys from the word go. They barely mix with other students but I think it will be safer for you to ignore them.”
“That is one thing I am actually good at--being invisible.”
Katty laughed out loud and looked at me. “You are cutest thing. I will let you hang out with me for as long as you need, okay?”
“Thank you. So, were you and Leo an item?”
Her smile suddenly fell and I wanted to kick myself for it. “He’s an asshole. He and I clicked the moment we met but he after the popular girls showed interest him because he was quite good in sports, he suddenly started distancing himself from me and making shitty excuses about why he was blowing me off.”
“Oh.” It was all I could say.
“He wouldn’t dare come this evening if he knew what was good for him. I do own a gun and I could always tell the school administration I shot him thinking he was a draykois!” she laughed.
That scared me a little. “You are kidding, right?”
She just smiled at me but didn’t say anything else.
That kind of crept me out....