The Enigma of Destiny
By: Katie Seals
Chapter 1: Fate
Grasping the small book gingerly, Raine Dawson let out a sigh mixed with pride and uncertainty. She finally did it. She finally caught up with her dream. But something about it all felt empty. She felt as if she hadn't accomplished what fate had sent her to do.
Running her fingers across the smooth cover, a feeling of guilt seemed to wash over her. She promised him she would never let anyone know. Even though she was almost sure that that part of his life had long since passed, she felt like she was breaking a sort of vow that she never verbally kept, but was well aware it was always there.
Finally letting her shaky legs buckle out beneath her, she collapsed on the soft couch, unaware of what to do next. The small feline burrowed in the pillows next to her mewed softly, as if reassuring her. She smiled gently at the animal, stroking its soft fur lightly. As if on cue, the domestic cat climbed in her lap, pushing the cover of the closed book open. She stared down at the first page, her eyes softening at the text written in bold.
'This book is dedicated to Chase Walker, the inspiration that changed my life.'
Squinting the tears away from her eyes, she shut the book again, chucking it abruptly on the coffee table. It skid across the smooth glass, clattering on the wooden floor. Lying open on the floor, the first page seemed to scream back at Raine as she sat restless on the couch, all the memories coming back to her.
It was cold that day... very cold in fact. Many couples had walked by the window of the small bookshop carrying pumpkins and other seasonal items as their children trailed behind, chattering with each other as they planned their plans for the holiday.
Halloween wasn't one of Raine Dawson's favorite holidays, but much like everything else, she still appreciated it. It was nice that people had set aside a day for the deseased, but it would be even nicer if they actually knew the meaning of the holiday. She just enjoyed the fact that she could have a normal weeked without her mother there. Her mother always attended the annual All Hallows Eve festivity, and was never found the whole weekend until she returned Monday, cursed with a horrible hangover and God knows what else. It had been like that since Raine was three, when her father had left the family for a gamble on a million dollar business. Unfortunately, he played his cards right and was practically a millionaire now. Yet he still refused to pay child support. Where's the government when you really need it?
It's not that Raine hated her father. It was more of a feeling of uncertainty to her. Her father was litterally a complete stranger to her. The most she knew was that he was an incognito business man; one who that took gambles with his life for all the fortune. She was often told that she was the spitting image of him with her jet black hair and pale, china doll skin. But she was the only one in both sides of the family with mismatched eyes, one blue, and the other a vivid shade of violet. When her mother was still well-balanced, she used to tell her 'only you hold the eyes of wisdom and tolerance'. Of course, when she was younger, she did not understand what her mother meant, but now that she's older, she realizes that it was all baloney. Yet, she still wished her mother could pretend she was as wise and well-kempt as she used to appear.
Finally shaking herself from her dazed stature, Raine pulled out her familiar wire-bound notebook and set it on the counter, deciding to entertain herself until the next customer came along. Pulling out her usual writing pen, she began scribbling down her thoughts, eyes diverted from the rest of the world.
"Miss Raine, what did I tell you about writing at work?"
Raine glanced up at her boss, a small smile growing on her face by the gentle tone in her voice. "Yes, Ms. Patterson."
Ms. Patterson chuckled. "I just don't want any customers coming up and asking for your autograph. You really suit the image of a famous writer."
Raine smiled back at her, closing her notebook as she watched her boss's retreating back. She always loved Ms. Patterson. She was the only adult she could really confide in. Ms. Patterson was, sadly, the only one that really, truly cared about Raine. She would adopt the helpless teenager in a heart beat if she had the chance to.
Stifling a slight yawn, Raine shoved her things in her back pack turning back to the register. It had been a long six hour work shift, but a pleasant one as well. Most of the people that ventured in the small book shop had beaming smiles and excited eyes, mostly due to the hype of the holiday season. It truly amazed Raine the things that amuse human beings.
Glancing out the large bay window of the bookstore, Raine watched the elated people pass by, bundled in heavy coats and scarfs. She shrugged slightly, her mismatched eyes never leaving the window.
Raine wasn't like many people. She preferred her alone time, rather than having a night out with family and friends. At school, the most she ever spoke was to the teacher, and that was rarely ever. She didn't really mind being the background of high school life, though. It gave her more time for herself, which was what she enjoyed most.
"Miss Raine? You look like you've been stuffed by a taxidermist."
Raine shook her head, adjusting her eyes away from the daze she was currently in. "Oh, um... sorry."
Ms. Patterson chuckled. "No need to apologize. You look good like that, anyways."
Raine smiled back at her, straightening her posture. Ms. Patterson was such a positive person. She wished there were more people like her out there.
"Anyways, hun, your shift is over. You can go home now."
Ms. Patterson waved her dismissal, taking a bite of her usual midday candy bar. She wasn't a totally overweight woman; just a bit plump from all the snacks and goodies she constantly ate throughout the day.
"Thank you, mam."
Raine bowed her head as a polite gesture, gathering her Hello Kitty backpack and heavy, goose feather jacket.
"I'll be seeing you tomorrow after school, eh?"
Raine nodded, chuckling at the way her boss always spoke in a bit of a Canadian tone. It humored Raine to think that Ms. Patterson wasn't even Canadian, nor was her distant family. She just simply loved the country.
Raine bundled up tightly, the heavy goose-feathered jacket falling to her knees around her petite frame. She hated how that coat always weighed her down, but it was the only thing that kept her warm during the winter weather.
Raine turned to leave, waving her boss good-bye as she wobbled like a goose towards the frost-lined door of the small book-store. Heavily pushing the glass door open, a fierce, frigid wind pressed against her warm skin, causing it to tingle slightly in the change of temperature. Raine hunched her shoulders in attempt to cover her ears from the cold air as the wobbled down the sidewalk, Hello Kitty bag in hand.
Despite the freezing temperature, it was a lovely day in St. Albans, Michigan. The sun shone brightly from the cracks in the scattered clouds, brightening the deep blue sky. Everything surrounding Raine seemed to be covered in a soft, white blanket of snow. It almost seemed nothing could go wrong...
"Give me the money you little punk!"
The sound of a furious man's voice startled her slightly, causing her eyes to avert from the bright sunny day to the dark alley beside her, her ears perking up slightly.
"I don't have any money Chase! I'm sorry!"
The sound a piercing slap caused her to jump back, eyes scanning for the two brawling individuals.
"You're lying to me!"
Yet another slap, followed by a distinct yelp. Raine was beginning to worry as she searched her bag for her handy can of pepper spray, eyes still searching the dark alley. Finally laying eyes on the two, she recognized one of them, her mouth dropping at the sight of him. He held a young boy by the collar against the wall, rage preoccupying his usual friendly smile.
Without thinking once about her actions, Raine jumped in the small alley, pepper spray in hand as she dashed towards them.
"Stop it Chase!"
She held the can up to the enraged teen, grabbing the small boy by the arm gently and pulling him towards her. His eyes etched confusion as he stared back at her, loosening his grip on the boy.
She huffed in anger, soothing the small boy by stroking his head as he cried profusely into her huge, deflated coat.
"What the hell do you think you're doing attacking small children?"
She lowered the can, suddendly feeling a bit reluctant about playing super hero. She had never done anything so daring in her entire seventeen years of life.
He ignored her assertion, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his large trench coat. "How do you know my name?"
She squinted her eyes at him, trying her best to look angry and emphatic. "I guess you don't recognize me from English class."
His eyes widened in a sudden look of fear. "You go to school with me?"
She nodded, crossing her arms in attempt to seem completely vexed. "Yeah, I have since kindergarten."
His features softened as he turned away from her, running his hands through his messy, dark hair. "You can't..."
"Yes. I can."
There was a long moment of silence, which would of given Raine the perfect opportunity to bolt away from the pyscho that popular, lovable Chase Walker had turned into. But there was something about the look in his eyes that was drawing her attention.
He turned to her abruptly with a pleading look filling his eyes. "You can't tell anyone you saw me here... I mean ANYONE."
She squinted her eyes again, but this time in attempt to understand why he was acting so odd. She would've never thought Chase Walker attacked small children... for money. He was supposed to be rich, and happy, with this great lead in life. Yet, here he was, dressed in the dirtiest of clothes, scrounging for money.
Noting the reluctant look on Raine's face, Chase took her by the hand, releasing her from the scowling boy at her side.
"Please... you don't understand..."
Raine paused, her unsure eyes drifting to the ground, but stalling at the sight of his hand grasping hers tightly as if he was hanging on for his life.
"Okay... but... why?"
His emerald eyes fell into a deep frown. "I-I can't really say why..."
Raine's eyes fell to the ground again in confusement. She wasn't the type to go around trusting people just because they give you a look of plea. Besides, she had found him in a dark alley, threatening a six, maybe seven, year old. But there was something more in those eyes of his.
After a long, defeaning silence, Raine's voice finally spoke up as she shifted her weight back and forth nervously. "J-Just... just don't threaten anyone else, or I'll report you to the police."
Chase's eyes filed with glee as he leaned forward and gave her a tight hug. "You don't know how much this means to me, and I don't even really know you."
Raine smiled and nodded in reply, though she wasn't quite sure what she had just gotten herself into. He acted as though it was a matter of life or death if she kept silent or not, especially at school.
"I never got your name, I think I should at least know that."
"Raine. Raine Dawson." She smiled softly, pressing a long, dark hair out of her face.
"That's a nice name..." Again... silence.
Chase smiled sadly at her one last time before dashing out of the dark alley and into the street, disappearing from Raine's sight.
The whole situation puzzled Raine. His actions. Her actions. The promise she kept with someone she barely knew. Raine was NOT a very spontaneous person, especially when it came to other people. She usually just kept out of people's business, and they kept out of hers. But this time, something inside of her told her to stop Chase and save the little boy... and the same voice had come back in her head when Chase had begged her to keep his actions a secret.
Feeling a bit foolish for standing in a dark, possibly dangerous, alley, Raine stepped into the daylight, holding the little boy's hand tightly. Sending him a reassuring smile, she kneeled face to face with him.
"What's your name little boy?"
He lowered his head shyly before sending her small smile. "Philip."
She smiled, admiring the boy before her. He was thin, very thin in fact, and extremely petite. His hair was a fiery orange that fell just below his silver, shining eyes.
"You have pretty eyes, Raine..."
"Thank you, Philip."
Philip shifted his weight back and forth, continuing to smile brightly at the raven-haired girl.
"Would you like me to walk you home?"
He nodded, his smile widening even more as she took his hand. Raine wasn't the type to converse with other people, let alone help them, but the whole situation seemed to throw her mind of course. But was it a good thing? She wasn't very sure.
"Philip, may I ask you a question?"
The red-haired boy glanced up at her, a serious look etched on his face. He nodded slightly, before turning away to stare at the snow-covered ground below him.
"H-has... has Chase attacked you more than once?"
The small boy was silent for a few seconds, slowing his pace behind her. "Y-yes... he has."
A slight pang of pity struck Raine, but she kept the conversation casual. "How do you know him?"
Stopping at the crosswalk, Phillip let out a sigh of remorse, almost as if he wished Raine hadn't known about the attack. "He works for my daddy."
Raine bit her lip, finding it harder and harder to keep her question so nonchalant. "Oh? What does your daddy do?"
"He sells artwork."
Raine nodded, smiling gently to reassure the boy. "That's nice. Is Chase a good worker?"
Phillip nodded, continuing across the crosswalk. "You want to know why Chase was being so mean, don't you?"
Raine paused, utterly shocked that the young boy knew where her casual questions were leading. She pulled the young boy to the side of the sidewalk, kneeling before him.
"Only if you want to tell me."
Phillip wiped his copper hair out of his face, taking a deep breath. "Everyday, I meet with Chase in the same alley. I'm told to bring the 'goods', and if I don't bring them..." Phillip paused, lowering his eyes, "I get punished."
I strange pain washed over Raine as she shut her eyes, hiding her emotion from the credulous boy. How could such a small child have to suffer... from Chase Walker? None of the pieces seemed to fit.
She leaned forward, hugging the boy softly. "Phillip, tell me... what are you asked to bring everyday?"
He answered as if it was such a major part of his life, like he woke up every morning thinking about it. It pained Raine to see such innocence wasted by bills and coins.
Standing abruptly, she took the boy by the hand and lead him down the sidewalk, she couldn't talk about such an issue anymore. Trailing close behind Phillip grasped her hand tighter as she quickened her pace. She was so filled with emotion. Anger... pity... sadness... but most of all, curiosity. Curiosity about the second half of Chase that just kept deepening and deepening by every passing minute. But why did she care so much?
Chase was popular... gorgeous... admired by many. In other words, not meant to cross paths with a wallflower like Raine. But it was almost like fate had placed his... secret... directly in her hands. Frankly, she didn't want anything to do with the superficial, football star, overacheiver that Chase seemed to be. But that was just it. SEEMED to be. Seeing him in such a situation was only making her want to learn more and more about the fake mask everyone seemed to see.
Phillip tugged at her arm, shaking her from her thoughts. "This is my house."
Raine's eyes trailed past the electronic fence and tall hedge bushes untill they finally laid themselves on the largest mansion she had ever seen. Her mouth dropped at the lush greeny and large, gleaming windows.
Phillip smiled widely. "You know it?"
She nodded, eyes wide and unaware of what to do next. This boy actually lived in the most successful manor in St. Albans? And Chase was taking advantage of him? Her anger seemed to seethe more than before, overpowering her curiosity.
The red-haired boy stood on his tippy-toes, pressing his face through the cast iron fence that towered more than ten feet above him.
"Steve! I'm home!"
A large guard appeared, greeting the boy with an almost invisible smile. He reached over, typing a few buttons quickly .
"Is the lady here to stay Master Phillip?"
The large gate opened with a slight creek, and Raine could merely watch in awe. This was nothing like the front door of her two-room apartment.
Phillip turned towards Raine, a huge grin spreading across his face. "Do you want to stay Raine?"
Raine had to pry her amazed eyes away to smile at the boy. "I'm sorry, I can't Phillip. Maybe some other time."
"Definitely! We could play Playstaion!"
She smiled at his innocence. "Sure, anything you say."
As he turned to leave, Raine grabbed his arm gently, turning him towards her. "Phillip, don't tell Chase about our little talk. It's best if he doesn't know."
The red-headed nodded, the gate slowly beginning to close. "Good-bye Raine."
She waved one last time before turning away, the frost bite finally catching up to her senses. She burrowed her head farther in her heavy coat, her eyes slipping into a deep frown. She had learned a little bit more than her usual Sunday agenda taught her. But she wondered... is it for the better?
It was strange. One second, she was thinking of the next story she could write, and now? She realized she had dove in a bit farther than she ever hoped she would.
But there was something about the look in Chase's eyes. It was almost as if he didn't want to be there holding the boy by the collar and threatening him. It was almost as if he didn't have a choice...
So many questions raced through Raine's mind as she made her way down the sidewalk, the pink hues of the setting sun greeting her. She decided that maybe, just maybe, a nice hot cup of cocoa would soothe her mind.
Then again, maybe not...
I'm finally done with the first chapter. But trust me, this is merely the tip of the iceberg for this story. I hope you guys liked it, and if not, trust me, it will get so, so much better ^_^.
Please review. Good reviews=incredible updates. I promise!