Blood Will Tell
“Miss Winslow!” Miss Travis spun on her, her eyes sparking furiously. “You will report to this classroom after school!”
Sure, Maria makes a jab and gets told to shut up; I make one little crack-whore joke and I get detention.
Another reason she didn’t have any friends. People just didn’t like her.
It was probably the whole ‘Blessed’ thing. She gave off vibes.
Yup, it was true. No matter how much Eden tried to get her head around it, she couldn’t quite believe she was one of the bad guys.
Eden had been aware of the screaming that came up from the basement of her parent’s mansion for as long as she could remember. It only ever happened when someone opened the huge iron door to her father’s private room. The terrified, exhausted cries for help would rip out through the open door to haunt Eden. It had fallen to her brother, Stellan, to explain. She had been six years old, he only nine, as he held her close and told her a story of the gods of ancient Egypt. It was a story he’d had to tell a couple of times more later on because she hadn’t fully grasped it then. Now she knew that because some Pharaoh’s wife, Merneith, had manipulated the goddess Bat into helping her take revenge against the man she loved (the Pharaoh - her brother, ugh!) and the mistress he loved, the Blessed had been born. And Eden was one of them.
“When the hunger awakens in us, Eden, we’ll have to do what mom and dad do and feed off human souls. It’ll make us even stronger than we already are, and we’ll never get sick.”
It had never occurred to her then to ask about the screaming – what exactly did it mean? She’d assumed it was a part of the soul-taking. There was so much more to it than that in her house, as she came to realize on her ninth birthday. Her parents had never exactly been the loving kind. Celine, although always careful of her, was just… indifferent. Ryan was overprotective (hmmph, that didn’t even cover it) and he had a temper. But he liked to be kept updated on Eden’s life. It wasn’t love, not like Stellan (who always had time for her), but it was something. Her parents were usually too wrapped up in one another - they loved one another with a violent, jealous intensity, and there just wasn’t enough room to love their kids. Having Ryan show a little interest now and again was something Eden clung to. For instance, he never missed a birthday. So when Celine told Eden on the morning of her ninth birthday that Ryan had a business meeting, Eden had been so disappointed she’d turned around and headed back to her room. That’s when she’d heard the screaming from below...
…She remembered how the nightmares had come that night, of the woman begging her for help, her father’s vicious face screaming into her own, dripping blood and gore. Nothing but Stellan could keep the nightmares at bay, which he did, rushing to her room to shush her so her parents wouldn’t hear how traumatized she had been by her findings in the basement. She was one of the Blessed. The torture and killing of a human shouldn’t affect her as much as it did. But Stellan protected her, keeping it from their parents. And now… no matter how much she wanted to fight it… she was getting hungry.
As she walked out of class, in a daze as per usual, Maria tried to slam her into the lockers. Eden didn’t budge under what was a supreme effort from the stocky girl. Maria gaped at her in disbelief.
“You better watch your back, Winslow,” she finally spat before pushing her way through the crowds of school kids.
Eden snarled at her. A ten, definitely a ten, she thought. Over the past few months, as the hunger grew stronger and it became more and more apparent that at some point she really was going to have to do something about it, she’d starting scoring people out of ten on whether she’d willingly suck their soul out of them or not. One being ‘definitely not, dude is cool’ and ten being ‘hell yeah, dick deserves it’. Still, the thought of having to get close enough to Maria to do it… Eden shuddered.
Her cell buzzed in her pocket and she stopped glaring at Maria’s departing back. It could only be one of five people. Her Mom, Dad, Stellan, Noah or Teagan. She shivered at the thought of the latter. She didn’t even want to think about him.
She tugged out her phone and grinned.
Hey Paradise, how’s skool? Class sucked so I bailed. Guess who stole ur Wii :-p
Laughing, Eden began texting back. Stellan was twenty now, and attending the local college, which he hated. He could have gone anywhere with his grades. Unlike Eden, he’d actually liked school and, with his looks and charm, had been pretty popular. Eden had no idea how he managed it, but he did. His future had looked bright; any college, anywhere, away from their psycho family. Eden had been scared of being alone without Stellan, but she’d also really wanted him to be happy. That’s why she felt so guilty all the time. Stellan hadn’t left because of her. Technically, Stellan hadn’t left because of Teagan and his haunting Eden’s every move. Like always, her big brother was protecting her.
School sucks. Got detention 2day. U can have the Wii, just don’t delete any of my scores like last time :-s
As she made her way into the library, her phone buzzed again.
Too late :-o
The Serpent and the Apple
Elbowing her way past a huddle of cheerleaders and jocks outside the cafeteria, Eden ignored the grunts and ‘hey, watch its!’ that followed her into the caff. She brown bagged it so no need to wait in line, although her eyes washed the line for Noah. He wasn’t there.
Immediately her eyes tracked to the back of the caff to their usual table. There he was, smirking over at her.
Noah was a one. Definitely a one.
As she made her way through the tables and the bustle and crowd, her heart started racing a little faster as it always did when Noah was around. At first she had thought it was because she’d never had a friend before, let alone cool, loner, senior, transfer boy. It didn’t take Eden long to realize it was more to do with Noah’s delicious little soul. The idiot had awoken her hunger.
A freshman girl suddenly stopped in Eden’s path to talk to some other person Eden didn’t know or care to know. She waited a moment for the freshman to apologize for her rudeness and move. Not happening. True, she could turn back and head around one of the tables, but that was beside the point.
Eden cleared her throat.
The girl looked up now, wide eyed. Eden was kind of notorious for being a loner and somewhat scary when crossed. Everyone had been surprised by her friendship with Noah. “Yeah?”
Eden raised her eyebrows. “What, did your mother never teach you any manners? You’re in my way, Freshmeat. Move.”
The girl paled and stumbled out of the way, her mini carton of milk toppling off her tray along with a cookie. Without thinking, Eden snapped her hands out and caught them before they hit the ground. Grumbling under her breath, she slapped them back on the freshman’s tray.
“Wow,” the girl squeaked. “Fast reflexes.”
Eden shrugged and headed towards Noah. Stupid. She shook her head. Stupid, stupid. Sometimes it was hard not to act naturally. Naturally to her involved superfast reflexes, super strength, and the ability to compel humans. She had to keep those things under wrap and never let the humans see. Sometimes she forgot about the reflexes but she was careful with the compelling stuff.
OK. She wasn’t going to lie. She may have compelled Mr. Durham last week to change her grade after she fluffed her French test.
“Terrifying toddlers still, I see.” Noah threw her a reproving look as she slid into the seat opposite him.
“What.” She shrugged, pulling out her sandwich. “I saved her milk and cookie. Jeez, what is she five?”
“You had to save them because you caused her to drop them.”
“Look, Mr. S.A.I.N.T, she was rude. I called attention to the rudeness and moved on.”
He chuckled before chugging back some Coke, his Adam’s apple bobbing with the motion. Eden’s chest grew tight watching him, her stomach clenching, her heart racing, her throat growing crisp and hot. She dropped her eyes, willing the hunger away.
Last year, at the beginning of her junior year, Noah arrived. Not only was South Salton High buzzing with the news of his arrival because he was a senior, and wasn’t that weird and cruel of his parents to move him here at the end of his high school career, but Noah was also kind of swoon worthy. Tall. Built. Dark blonde. Amazing violet eyes. And a face that would make angels weep. In fact, he kind of reminded Eden of an angel. A dark angel with a wicked smile and a twisted sense of humor. At first Eden had ignored Noah, like she did every other person. Plus, he was a senior. But a couple of weeks in and everyone was talking about how weird Noah was. He didn’t talk to anyone. He turned down a date with Lucy Stevens, the hottest senior at SSH and head cheerleader! Was he gay? Nah. The girls of SSH refused to believe someone that cute was gay. Instead they’d decided he was just a freak. But a straight freak. For starters, they didn’t know who half the bands were he wore on his t-shirts. Yes, Eden thought wryly, at SSH the level of freakishness is directly related to your sheep factor – super freak being someone who is a billy goat (has their own mind), and popular and normal being a sheep (just another one of the flock).
Today his t-shirt had Biffy Clyro scrawled across it. Eden smiled. Dude had good taste in music.
Still, Eden hadn’t cared. She hadn’t actually given much thought to the guy other than that he must be smart as hell to have turned down Lucy Stevens. And then one day near the end of October, she was sitting in her favorite hangout, The Coffee Shoppe (Saltonians weren’t big on originality), reading Shonen Jump for the latest on Naruto when a voice at her ear made her jump out of her skin.
“Are you reading a kid’s magazine?”
Not only had she been shocked by Noah’s ability to sneak up on her, she just couldn’t believe he was actually talking to her. She’d glared at him as he slid into the seat beside her. “It’s manga.”
“Ah.” He’d nodded. “Never really got into that crap.”