(To read the Prologue, follow this link).
I felt different. Like only I could see the true color of the world. Like only I could see the lighthouse through the storm. I felt like this for as long as I could remember, since my sister and I were carefree children, killing the hours with our stupid games of fantasy and adventure. I would like to say it set me apart from everyone. That I had a special gift that others respected and envied. That they cherished my insight and opinion. That I had purpose in this sad, short existence which plagued our kind. But I can’t. It set me apart, but not in the way I desired. The first time I discovered my gift, I was ten, too young to know what happened to me. Life-changing moments or turning points in our history don’t always come on the crest of a tidal wave, sometimes they sneak in under the guise of a perfectly normal day.
I awoke to Lorelei twirling around our bedroom in her pink satin Sunday dress, singing a made-up song. I moaned and rolled over, pulling my pillow over my ears. Her singing grew louder and her twirling more violent. She annoyed me in the mornings. Despite the fact that she preceded my birth by two years, I felt older and more mature. Perhaps because I tended to see the darker side of things, while she flounced around in unending optimism. Even as a ten-year-old, my mind leaned toward the macabre.
I’ll never forget the time Lorelei and I found a baby bird lying dead on the ground. Lorelei sobbed, but all I could do was stare helplessly at its naked little body with its tiny beak parted slightly open. Our cousin, Elijah, happened across us while we grieved over the loss of life. Lorelei and I were debating on where we should bury it, when Elijah kicked it with his foot. I watched in horror as its limp, little body flopped in the grass. He laughed coldly.
“Disgusting little bird,” he picked up a twig and walked over to it. “I wonder if it’s just as ugly on the inside.”
Lorelei screamed and ran toward our house, but I sat frozen on the ground, watching in horror as my cousin brutally dissected that baby bird with a stick.
When he finished mutilating its body, he turned to me, bloody twig in hand, and said, “Want me to find out if you’re just as ugly on the inside as you are on the outside?”
My heart raced as he stepped slowly toward me. “You’re the disgusting one,” I spat angrily as I stood to my feet.
“You little brat! How dare you speak to me like that!” He quickly grabbed my arm, tightening his grip painfully around my thin wrist. “You’ll wish you never said that.”
I squirmed furiously, but could not loosen his grip. He was older and stronger. I felt completely helpless. He lifted the stick to my wrist and scraped it slowly across my skin, drawing blood. I yelped in pain.
“I don’t think you’ve learned your lesson yet, maybe I should go a bit deeper.”
“You’re sick!” I screeched. Bringing my other hand up to his face, I dug my nails into his cheek and dragged them down as hard as possible. His grip on my wrist immediately loosened. He stumbled back, dropping the twig as he put a hand to his cheek.
Lunging toward me, his bloody hand swiped the air as I ducked away.
Turning, I sprinted for the house.
to be continued . . .