Monday. Oh how I dread thee, Monday. I shuddered at the thought of having to face Tessa for the first time since the accident, especially if she knows that Riley keeps spending time with me, regardless of how adamantly against it I may be.
Speaking of Riley, I was already out of the house and halfway to school and still had not seen her, which is unusual. Lately I can't leave the house without her being somewhere nearby. One day a bat was following me on a walk around the neighborhood and though I'm not sure if she possesses such an ability, the bat was blushing with every passing look I gave it. I let out a long sigh as I thought of what awaited me as I stepped onto the street leading to school. I wonder if Tessa really will end my life. It would be a bit convenient, honestly. First period is math... Missing that to attend my own funeral wouldn't be too bad I guess.
The moment I opened the door to class 303 a textbook flew across the room and buried itself in my forehead. I fell to the floor and just listened to the sound of footsteps slowly approaching me. Tessa's disappointed face came into view.
“Were you... Were you just standing there waiting for me to walk through the door?” I asked.
“That's for almost getting Riley killed,” She said.
“I also saved her life, you know,” I replied.
“That's why it was a book and not a spear,” She said as she sauntered back to her desk.
Riley was looking at me longingly.
“Is there something on my face?” I asked as I took a seat.
“You're bleeding...” She said. She looked like a wolf eyeballing a dying sheep... A sheep she really loved, but a sheep no less. She gently brushed her fingertips across my lips, wiping the blood from them.
“You better not-”
She stuck her finger in her mouth and smiled a cheeky smile.
“...That's how it is then? Just gonna switch from kinky to cute like it never happened?” I asked.
“Is it working for you?” She said with a sly grin.
“Hey Tessa can I borrow that spear...?” I said turning to Tessa who was not amused. “No?... Alright then...”
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a girl standing patiently by her desk as two boys were talking and laughing with one another. One of the boys was sitting at her desk and didn't even get up when she approached him. They rudely carried on their conversation while she waited, and only moved away a few seconds before the bell rang for class to begin. She quietly put her books down, and took her seat.
It baffled me how rude people could be. She's short, for sure, but her long brown hair tied up in pigtails was definitely something to catch the eye. That being said, it's also not my problem she can't stand up for herself. Grow up kid. No pun intended.
Class began and ended without further incident, although Tessa did demand I trade books with her, as my blood was on her own, and apparently it was my fault.
“Isaac, it's your turn to feed Rasputin,” Said Mrs. Suzette. 'Rasputin' is our homeroom's school pet. I didn't even know high schools still did this sort of thing, but it meant getting away from these two for a few minutes. I welcomed the break as I headed down the hall towards the room the pets were in, which, funny enough, used to be a biology lab. I wonder if the ghosts of dead frogs still haunt the living animals within...
As the door shut behind me, the sounds from the hall were shut out with it. It was a kind of peaceful quiet that I rarely had, and always treasured. I looked around the room. There were a few hamsters, gerbils, and our rabbit. Our school has a rodent problem. Then again if the snake gets out I guess that problem will just solve itself.
I walked over to Rasputin, a cute, fat little bunny rabbit, and started putting his food in his cage. I stood there idly watching him nibble on it for some time, but was startled when someone next to me spoke.
“I prefer the gerbils,” Came a soft voice to my left. I looked to find the girl with pig tails standing there, looking into a cage where two gerbils appeared to be wrestling.
“You shouldn't sneak up on people,” I said to her.
“You should be more aware of your surroundings,” She retorted, but she said it so sweetly it almost didn't feel chastising.
“It's not my fault you flew under my radar,” I said, peering at her out of the corner of my eyes.
“Is that a short joke?... I'm pretty sure that was a short joke,” She said.
“Well it definitely wasn't a tall joke.” I said.
“You're a tall joke,” she said flatly. Did I just get verbally annihilated by someone with the anatomy of a ten year old?
“I don't have to stand here and take this from you,”
“Would you prefer to have a seat?”
“I'm going to feed you to the snake...”
She looked me in the eyes, at first she seemed doubtful, but then I suppose she began to see the black pit of hatred that is my soul and suddenly she seemed a bit uneasy. I had her on the ropes now. This was my moment to strike, but I couldn't. She was so small and helpless.
“Why don't you say anything to those guys in class?” I asked. She looked at me curiously, as if she was unsure what I meant.
“I'm talking about the one who sits in your seat before class. He ignores you because you let him,” I said. It's not that I cared, it's just that her being spineless bothered me.
“I don't talk to anyone in school,” She said. “I used to try, but no one ever really noticed me.” Her gaze had turned back to the gerbils as she spoke. Her eyes seemed distant and sad. “I was actually kind of surprised you didn't ignore me, too.”
I can't believe I'm about to say this... “Don't give up on tomorrow because of what happened in the past,” I said. Wow let me just pull the knife out of my bleeding heart and slice all that cheese I just laid out.
“That was really lame, but it made me happy,” She said without looking at me. “Can we be friends?”
She said it so plainly and suddenly that at first I was a bit caught off guard. I was inclined to turn her down just to be on the safe side, lest this be some fetish comedy brewing, but before I knew it-
“Yes,” I said. “I mean... Does that mean I have to push you on the swings at recess or like... what?”
She was leering at me. “I'm not a child. I don't have recess, and I will punch you really, really hard,” She said.
We walked back to class together, but didn't get any of the curious looks I was expecting. Nobody was eyeballing us, wondering if we were a couple. In fact, when we walked back into class, only Riley peered past me and looked in her direction, but only briefly. It's as if everyone had unanimously decided to reject her. It made me wonder what she had done to be cast out in such a way.
The day continued on as school days often do, and finally the lunch bell rang. Riley and Tessa had invited me to come eat with them outside, and by “Riley and Tessa” I mean Riley. She wanted to talk to me about something, and while I would prefer to distance myself from them, I think I'm pretty much beyond the point of no return.
We found an old looking table out by the woods outside the school, and took a seat. Tessa was eating and doing her best to look disinterested in whatever Riley was about to say, and Riley herself made sure to seat herself on my side of the table.
She turned to me and said, “So.. hey, remember that time we got hit by a car and you gave me your blood?”
“Sounds familiar. Those sure were the good old days,” I answered. I don't always try to be sarcastic, it's just sort of who I am as a person now.
“I knew you would say that,” She said.
“Am I becoming predictable?” I asked.
“No, I mean I knew it before you said it... Like, I heard it when you thought it... am I making sense?” She asked.
“Do you ever make-
“-any sense, Riley?” She finished my sentence. Precisely the same words, and precisely the same tone as I was going to.
“You can read my mind now, can't you?” I asked sadly.
“Well, more like hear your mind. I hear your thoughts, and feel your feelings,” she said, twiddling her thumbs. “It happens whenever I drink someone's blood, but normally it's just people's thoughts, and it's only when they're nearby. I hear you no matter where I am.”
Riley, if you're hearing me right now, thump Tessa in the nose.
She looked over to Tessa, who looked up at both of us with a blank stare, as if she knew what I was up to. Riley looked back to me, and shook her head.
Riley looked up at me with puppy dog eyes.
“Ahem... I know what you two are doing, and this wagon doesn't need three wheels,” Tessa said. I waited for her to get up and leave, but she didn't. It dawned on me that she was insinuating I was the third wheel. I looked back to Riley.
You bite her yet?
You can read her thoughts?
She nodded again.
Does she really hate me?
She nodded vigorously.
“Tessa, me and Riley were talking, and as you can see, she agrees. Your outfit looks stupid,” I lied.
“That is NOT what we were talking about!” Riley exclaimed.
“Of course it wasn't I look fantastic today,” Tessa replied.
I'm slowly getting drawn into the world I've been trying to avoid my entire life.
For the rest of the school day I was very careful about what I thought about. Occasionally Riley would laugh under her breath at something she heard me thinking of. Randomly laughing to yourself is something insane people do, and though I know the reason, it didn't make it less creepy.
The final bell rang and the students began to rush out of the place like the building was on fire. I caught a glimpse of the short girl with pig tails. I still haven't gotten her name. As we made our way outside, Riley began her walk home, and looked at me expectantly. I looked over at the short girl heading in the other direction, and told Riley I needed to head somewhere else first.
She looked towards the girl, confused, and then back to me. She nodded a little sadly, and headed towards home. I would worry about that later, as I'm sure I'll have to shoo her out of my room anyway. I jogged in the direction pigtails went.
I quickly caught up to her and said, “You move fast for someone with such short legs.”
She turned her nose up at me. “I have great legs, thank you very much. My body is short,” she said.
It's true, she did have great legs. Her face turned red as she caught me looking, and she tried to hide them, though she was wearing shorts.
“Don't be a creep,” She said.
“Weren't you happy I noticed you a few hours ago?” I asked.
“This is different. Notice other parts of me... Actually, just look away and talk to me,” She said.
Our back and forth banter went on for our entire walk. She was funny, and reminded me a little of myself. Eventually we stopped outside of a small house on the edge of town. It was sort of old, but I didn't say anything. She turned to me.
“Thanks for walking with me. Do you live around here too?” She asked.
“Not at all, no.” I said. “I followed you on a whim, and was too committed to finishing to turn back mid-way.”
She just shrugged and turned to head inside.
“Hey, by the way, my name is Isaac,” I said.
She looked over her shoulder at me and smiled.
“Quin,” She said. “My name is Quin.”
I spent the whole walk home thinking about that name, and how it sounded when I said it.
The next day came and went like any other. I watched Quin be shunned by everyone around her, I ate lunch with Riley and Tessa, and when school let out I began the walk home with Riley. Tessa was with us today. She was going to be studying with Riley tonight.
“Tomorrow can Quin eat lunch with us?” I asked. Though I'm not sure why I asked. I fully intended to bring her regardless.
“Sure. Who the hell is Quin?” Tessa asked.
“She's in our class. She sits in the second chair on the first row. Its over to our right,” I said.
Riley and Tessa looked at one another, then back at me.
“What?” I asked.
“No one sits there, Isaac.” Tessa said. “And there's no one in our class named Quin.”
I just stared at them for a moment, confused. “Of course there is. Riley tell her, you saw her that day. You looked right at her.”
Riley just shook her head. “I only knew of her because I heard your thoughts. I can't see her either,” She said.
A tingle ran up my spine as I realized what was going on. I didn't say another word, I just turned and headed straight to Quin's house. I didn't stop for anything. I knew exactly what Quin was, and I knew what I had to do. My heart began to hurt as I thought about it...
The old house she lived in came into view, and when I got close I noticed the door was slightly open. I didn't even knock. I walked in to see Quin sitting alone on the floor of an empty living room, of an empty house. She looked up at me, and I at her. I put out my hand to her and said,
“I'm here to take you home.”
She just looked up at me with suspicion.
“I don't think that's a very good idea,” she replied.
“Neither do I, but if you are really dead, as you clearly seem to be, and you have to haunt a home, as you are now, then it may as well be mine. There's a room there, just for you,” I said.
She wiped a few little tears from her eyes and said, “That was lame, but it made me happy.”
“Take it while you can get it,” I said. “and don't tell anyone how much of a softy I am.”
Quin took my hand and stood up.
“You say it like they would hear me if I did,” She said through a little smile.
“I have a reputation to keep,” I said. “If people knew I ran across town to keep you from being lonely then I might have to make actual friends.”
“Then why did you come?”
“There's someone I've been trying to forget, and you reminded me of her.”
I fumbled with my house key in he dark as I tried to figure out what I was going to say to my parents. They can't see her, but let's be honest, if she's going to be living here I'm sure they'll notice when she starts doing whatever ghosts do. I decided to go with the straightforward approach as I opened the front door to see my mom and dad curled up on the couch watching television together.
They looked up at me and dad said, “I thought you were home already? I heard a noise in your room.” He looked around quickly and then continued, “I guess it was Rory.”
Noises coming from my room? Somehow I feel like I'm going to find Riley waiting for me. I'll worry about that later. For now:
“Hey guys, is it cool if a ghost lives in our guest room?” I asked.
“Yea... Should be fine,” Dad said.
“ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Mom gasped.
“Come on now, babe,” Dad said trying to comfort her. “I went through that phase when I was a kid, too.”
“You had a ghost living with you like a roommate?” She said skeptically.
“Well, no, but I was weird. I meant he's weird... he's going through a weird stage...” Dad mumbled.
All the while this was going on, Quin was watching the tv drama they had been watching. She could care less what the verdict was going to be here, she was more concerned about whether Kate was going to catch Jared in an affair.
“Wait... is he in here right now?...” Mom asked, horrified.
“He is a she, her name is Quin... and yes, she's standing next to me watching tv,” I said, shrugging in Quin's direction.
They both looked in her direction, clearly unable to see her.
“Hello?” Dad said to the direction she was in.
Quin looked at him out of the corner of her eyes.
“Ahem... Uh... sup?” She said, awkwardly.
“She said hi,” I relayed.
“If we say no are you still going to keep her?” Mom asked.
“I mean it would be easier to hide her than that pet raccoon I had for a week when I was eleven,” I said.
“And cleaner,” Mom said with a shudder.
“Can she move things? Like... will I see a glass floating through the air?” Dad asked.
Good question. I remember she had books and things in class but no one ever seemed to notice flying literature. I looked at her for an explanation.
“Well,” She said. “They probably will, since they know I'm here. Let's test it,” She said as she gently pushed a lamp off of the counter and watched it land softly on the carpet. She looked back to my parents expectantly, who were looking at the fallen lamp.
“Did you guys see that move?” I asked.
“So we went from a raccoon to a ghost cat,” mom said.
Quin began to purr softly.
After showing Quin around the house, and to her room, I took a long hot shower and just thought about what I had done. I've spent seventeen years avoiding the thing I dove headfirst into today, but how could I not? From the moment I first spoke to her, memories of the past have been clawing their way out of the hole I buried them in. If I left her, knowing that she would be alone in that house, I could never live with myself.
I stepped out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and made my way to my room. I'll just have to avoid doing anything with her that might put her soul to rest or something. Sounds very cliche and exactly what a main character would do.
I turned the knob to my door and stepped inside, closing the door behind me. It wasn't until I reached my bed that I noticed something move in the corner behind me. I wasn't even surprised to see Riley sitting at my computer.
“What are you doing?” I asked hotly.
“Just looking through your web history,” She said offhandedly.
“Oh... Alright- Wait you're what?!” I gasped. “That's not-”
“'Cute furry girl pics,'” she quoted as she clicked the link. I was mortified as the screen displayed dozens of pictures of anime girls in adorable animal style.
“I can explain... It's... I uh... Yea, actually it's exactly what you think it is, I got nothing.” I stumbled all over my words.
“Hmm...” Riley was surveying each and every picture there. “Is this what you're into, Isaac?”
“I mean I wouldn't say 'Into,'” I said nervously. “There was an ad, I clicked it, and bam there it was you know how it-”
“You clicked the ad thirty-seven times? Says here you're a member,” She said without looking up.
Check-mate. Riley turned around to me finally with a devious look in her eyes.
“Is that all it takes?” She asked. “Would you like it if I wore some kitty cat ears and ended all of my sentences with ~nyan?”
“Ahem. No, I really just...” I would die standing up if she did. In fact, I could almost picture it now. Then the thought occurred to me that I was still only wearing a towel, and my face almost exploded. I made a break for my closet, but she cut me off.
“Isaac,” She said in a whiney voice. “Won't you pet me, ~nyan?”
She shook her hips as though she had a tail as she sauntered towards me, pawing my bare chest with the tips of her fingers. She brushed the top of her head against my neck as she nuzzled my chest, purring. I was about to lose it. I was on the verge of giving up, and giving in when I heard my door open. I looked over, mortified.
Standing in the doorway was Quin. She looked at Riley as she nuzzled my half naked body, and then to me. We were frozen in place, I in shame, Riley in curiosity.
Quin cleared her throat.
“Sorry to interrupt. I was running a bath and I noticed we don't have any bubbles... so...” She said with a poker face.
“I...I... ahem.. I uh..” I was lost for words entirely.
“This is sort of an emergency... So if you guys could just wrap this up.” She said, slowly closing the door.
A moment of silence passed as Riley and I just stared at the door.
“Riley...” I said.
“~Nyan?” She said.
“Get out,” I said. “Before you give me a heart attack.”
She looked disappointed as she headed over to my window, opening it, and jumping out.
I leaned out of the window and whispered down to her, “That was easier than I expected.”
“Vampires can only enter homes they're welcome in,” she said. She had her arms crossed in a rebellious way.
“Really? So wait, how did you get in the first time? I didn't invite you in,” I said.
“You left your window open,” She said. “You were inviting anyone in like that. You're lucky it was me and not someone creepy.”
Apparently a vampire sneaking into bed with me isn't creepy. I slammed the window and shooed Quin out of the bath so I could take a cold shower...
If you liked it, leave a comment at the bottom, please. I have no way of knowing if people are reading and enjoying any of this otherwise!
Isaac was born to be the main character, and
he knows it. Though, were it up to him, that would
not be the case.
He wants a quiet life. A normal life. For seventeen
years Isaac has done everything he can to avoid
the lead role.
Supporting characters practically throw themselves
head on into Isaac's path as he desperately tries to
derail whatever Pilot Episode, Prologue, or Opening
their "Chance Meeting" might result in.
Isaac Gray might not be a bad guy,
but he is certainly
No One's Hero.