Chapter One- What the Wind Blows in
If Cáit Quinn had known what was awaiting her at the end of school, she probably would have taken a different route home. No scratch that, if she'd even had a clue how her day was going to turn out on a whole, she wouldn't have gotten up in the morning.
School had been a bust that day. She hadn't had her French homework done; she hadn't realized that 'next' Friday was today. The rain had been so hard that morning; it had lashed down without any warning and soaked her to the skin as she rode her bicycle. Of course, if her father hadn't had a date last night with that cow Nadia; then he would have driven her to school. Then lunch had resulted in a detention because Carl Gillespie had insisted on picking on some poor first year and she'd belted him one. PE had been cancelled, the music teacher hadn't bothered showing up, the computer teacher was PMSing and Maths had been spent doing sums she didn't understand. What was the point of her coming to school when there was nothing to be done there? She'd learn more from the TV at home, plus she'd stay out of trouble that way.
Drumming her fingers against the desk, she looked at the clock once more. Three thirty-five. Five more minutes and she was free. Slumping in her seat, she rested her cheek in her upturned palm and watched as Sean McNeal stuck his chewing gum in Nancy Frissel's long wavy hair. If she had been in a better mood, she might have got some satisfaction kicking his chair and alerting the teacher to his sticky fingers, but she couldn't be bothered. It was as though the life was just sapped right out of her.
A commotion rose in the class as they began to pack away their stuff as the clock slowly counted down to home time. Scooping up her folder and dumping her pencil case into her school bag, she shot to her feet as soon as the bell rang and followed the flow of students out of the classroom, dismissing the frantic call of the teacher as he tried to explain their homework to them. Was it any wonder that she never had her homework done when teachers seemed to have developed the notion that they were psychic and able to remember the homework the teachers gave, after they'd left the classroom.
Scowling, she meandered her way down the stairs, skipping down two at a time as she fumbled in her bag for her mobile phone, ducking past a student passing his folder down to another on the level below. Entering the main throng of students, she jabbed and elbowed her way through to the girls' locker room, pausing only to grab her denim jacket before she about turned and headed back out for the main door. As soon as the warm sunlight hit her face, a burden seemed to be lifted off her shoulders. The day suddenly seemed brighter and her cares and woes were washed away. No more school for another couple of days. It was time for her to indulge in some serious Cáit time.
Pulling into the sun bathed alcove, she threw her bag into the corner and ran a hand through her long straight brown hair, a rich colour that reflected the light in umber, copper and bronze. She'd been tempted to dye it over the summer but since that would mean she cared about her appearance, she dismissed it but, she was toying with the idea of blue hair extensions. It would give her teachers a headache and cause some controversy. There was nothing she liked more than a good fight, physically or verbally, though she preferred the latter.
Turning on her bulky Nokia, she began to tap in a familiar number only to break off on a disgruntled squeal as something prodded her sides. Wriggling away, she whirled on the culprit and glowered into the laughing eyes of her childhood best friend Aaron Hamilton. His vibrant red hair was styled in the modern 'do' and brilliant blue eyes assessed her as he grinned at her.
"Don't do that." She snapped sulkily as she leaned back against the railing and studied him. "I was just about to ring you."
"Needn't have bothered, I always know when you want me." He wiggled his brows at his innuendo and chuckled when she skewered him with a look before jabbing him in the arm. Rubbing his arm for show, he placed the other around her shoulders and picked up her bag before guiding her back onto the path. "You look down, Nymph, what's up?"
She glanced warily around at the many people walking past them and shook her head. "Not here."
He nodded in understanding. "Ok, how about I tell you about my day."
"I know you went with that thing at lunch time today."
He looked at her sharply, barely able to control the wince. He knew she didn't approve of the girls he went out with, particularly since they weren't girlfriends as such and they weren't very nice to her when he wasn't around. He didn't go out with them because he liked them much and that bothered her too, but he just liked girls on a whole. There was no big reason. He wasn't searching for the one. Unlike his friend, he just enjoyed girls. He liked how they looked, how they smelled, how they thought and how they felt. There was no divine reason. It was the one thing he and Cáit did bump heads over, so as long as he kept his business private, she wouldn't nag him. So how did she know?
As though hearing his question, she gave him a grim smile. "Carl told me, this lunchtime in detention."
He hissed in a breath. "You were in detention?"
She bobbed her head and tried to remain callous but he caught the way her muscle twitched, a good indication that she wasn't happy about having been in detention. She wasn't a bad person, just misunderstood, he knew.
"Carl was bullying a first year outside the canteen. I saw him; I gave him some verbal abuse and pushed him… into a bush. Actually, he was pretty pissed about that since Caroline, that blonde he has his eye on, was walking past and she laughed. I think she agrees with me about his twerp status because she congratulated me for kicking him in the knee."
"You kicked him in the knee?"
She smiled grimly now. "He said it was the only part of him I could reach. So I kindly proved him right. If I had been in a bad mood, I would have aimed higher."
Aaron pressed his lips together and assumed that nodding would be the only safe thing to do. Still, he couldn't help but imagine the scene as they walked down the street towards the town passing by Leonard Miller and his gang of miscreants, sitting on the wooden fence, with their shirts open over t-shirts and bad attitude expressions. Most of the first years kept their heads ducked as they passed, avoiding eye contact but he nodded to the lead boy and barely suppressed a smirk when Leonard's eyes glittered with anger. Having dated his ex-girlfriend shortly after they broke up, he'd fast become one of Leonard's enemies, though the boy wouldn't do anything since Aaron was bigger than him and had bigger friends. Present company excluded, he added silently.
Turning down a by road, they enjoyed the silence and the feel and scent of autumn in the air. Golden leaves fluttered to the ground, swirled and danced in the soft breeze and hid behind the wheels of stationary cars along the pavement.
"So do you want to tell me what's bothering you? Is it those dreams?"
Cáit stiffened before nodding her head softly. "They're getting more vivid. Last night… Last night I could make out the detail on the, whatchamacallum, fly things? The heads of the arrows, you know the coloured bits?"
"Yeah… But…" he trailed off unsure how to put his question. "Ok let's start from the beginning. You're standing on a cliff, overlooking the sea."
"It is and it isn't. It's like a world submerged in water. The sky is so blue and so bright and the grass on the cliff is this vibrant green. It's so clean and fresh. There are these white towers, like ruined buildings bleached by the sun and they have this green stuff creeping over them like moss. Only half of it sticks out of the water, it's beautiful but tragic." her slate blue eyes became morose. "And I'm standing there on the cliff and everything's bright and warm. I feel so right there. I want to swim in the water but then… then I'm somewhere else. And it's not bright; it's dark, like a cavern and cold. All I know is that there's a bow in my hand, and I have an arrow ready to release. And when I do, it splits into several and they soar in an arc and pierce… they pierce someone in the back. I don't think they're real arrows, though… Oh I don't know. I keep dreaming of water though."
She sighed heavily and felt everything settle inside her when his arm came around her and gave her a cuddle. That was always the way. He'd always known when she was upset when they were younger and as they grew up he'd become more in tune with her. Now there was nothing that comforted her more than her best friend.
She'd never really liked female companions, they always lacked something and she always felt like they should be something else. The girl friends she did have in her life, well she had always expected them to act a certain way, almost as though she had phantom ideas in her mind of how they should be and they always fell short. So she became closer to Aaron relying on him and the handful of other friends she had were kept at arms length so that she wouldn't end up wanting something she couldn't have.
"Poor baby." he consoled in a mocking drawl, squeezing her shoulder gently but inside he was worried about his friend. She had always had strange dreams, flashes of things that made no sense and of people she didn't know, particularly of three girls. She didn't remember how she would wake up crying when she was over at his home or how she'd climb into his bed with him and mourn the loss of her 'sisters'. After a while she forgot them but continually over the years, she'd confided in him what she wouldn't in anyone else.
However even if she had forgotten, he remembered everything she told him. He always did have a better memory than her. Hers always needed to be triggered by a place or a smell or a sight, he remembered fondly, but he filed things away.
But the water was something that really bothered him. She always had an affinity with that element. When they were younger, their mothers would take them to the park. There was a pool there for children, a paddling one that went to their knees that they always went to. Cáit would demand to be placed in the pool, she was never happy until she was seeped in water and then the games would begin. With little or no effort, she would create little figures out of water and she'd move them and play with them like dolls. At first they were simple match stick figurines but as she grew older, they became more detailed. Then when she was old enough to realize what she was doing wasn't right, she became spooked by them and blocked how to do it and the other neat little tricks that had come so naturally to her at one stage.
However she couldn't lock away the dreams, some of them were blocked out; the most harrowing were but not the ones dealing with water. It was almost as though, for her peace of mind, she was allowed to block out some of them but something wouldn't let her forget it completely. He just wished he knew what it was that was tormenting her. He hated feeling so defenseless when it came to protecting his Nymph, a nickname he'd come with since they were Greek spirits of water and since she'd grown up into a beautiful young girl, it seemed apt.
"I just don't know what it's trying to tell me, Aaron."
"Don't think about it too much, Nymph, we'll figure it out when it's time. Hey, maybe it was a previous life, you never know."
She curled her lip in disdain. "Whoopee. In my previous life I shot people with arrows. I'm so thrilled."
Her faked cheerful tone caused his lips to quiver. "I hope I did something that cool in my previous life."
"Nah, you were probably a woman and had to stay in the kitchen, only living to serve your big cave manly husband with a baby glued to your breast."
Aaron winced and grimaced. "Do you have to put those images in my head?" Absently, his hand reached up to rub his chest and a gurgle of laughter bubbled out of her.
"What's wrong? Are you feeling swollen? Or are you feeling for leakage?" She sniggered at his pained expression.
"Shut up, Nymph!"
With a cackle she skipped ahead of him. "You know, you really recovered your shape very well after the baby."
"No more." he snapped, more than terrorized by the images flashing through his head. The last being the worst, the memory of the video they watched in science class of a woman having a child. He paled visibly and his stomach churned. "I'm going to be sick."
Cáit giggled then slowly began to sober, as if by telepathy, the image in his head formed in her head. "Oh, yeah, me too." She breathed in deeply then let it out slowly as she smiled at him. "Thank you."
A brow arced over his blue eyes as he surveyed her and he smiled. "No problem, Nymph. That's what I'm here for."
Shielding her own blue eyes from the sun, she looked up at the sky. "God, it's warm."
He nodded, shrugging off his beige v-neck sweater to tie it around his waist. "It's ok for you, you have short sleeves."
She looked down at the similar beige vest she wore over a short sleeved white blouse. "Hmm, I guess. But it's hardly practical when it's cold. You just have to take the good with the bad, the hot with the cold. Besides guys can at least parade around bare-chested, girls can't do that." she pointed out.
"You can if you want to, I'm all for women's rights."
She rolled her eyes at him. "Oh aye, you're a real feminist."
He grinned brightly at her and easily side stepped her punch. "Violence solves nothing."
"Nope, but it makes me feel better. Besides, why else do you think you were put on this earth? You're here to be my human punching bag." She chuckled as he groaned and raised his eyes to heaven.
"That was lame."
"But the truth, so-" she broke off as a sharp wind kicked up out of nowhere and pressed forcefully against them. It whipped around them, tossing her hair into her face and causing her skirt to fluttered wildly about her legs. Shielding her eyes, planting her feet and pinning her skirt with one hand, she focused on the source of the wind.
"What the hell?" Aaron yelled over the roar of the wind.
She couldn't form a reply as her eyes zeroed in on the form beginning to materialize in the eye of the almost miniature tornado. As suddenly as it came, the wind swept away and they stood blinking at the figure of a young girl, not much older than them; sprawled out in the centre of the street.
"What the-?" Cáit whispered.
"Did she just appear in the-?" Aaron began, not taking his eyes off the girl.
As though hypnotized by the appearance of the girl, Cáit, blindly, stumbled forward. Aaron's hand fell on her shoulder and he stepped in front of her.
"Take it easy. We don't know who she is, or how she got there."
"Yeah but what if she's hurt?"
He inclined his head at her question and eased forward towards the fallen girl, eyes wary for any sudden movements but the girl seemed to be shaken up.
A groggy moan caught their attention as the young girl sat up and placed a hand to her head, squinting against the bright light and wincing. "Itai." she croaked.
"What was that?" Cáit asked. "Excuse me, are you alright?"
The girl looked up sharply and cried out in pain. "Nani?" she questioned in a lilting tone.
"What did she say?" Aaron asked as they crept slowly closer to her to get a better look.
"I think that was Japanese maybe Chinese." She answered, recognizing the fast paced language from the video games she played.
"Great, what is a Japanese girl doing in the middle of the street?"
"And a school girl at that." She added, noting the plaid skirt, white socks, flat soled brown shoes and sailor top. Her shiny black hair was tied into two bunches with wisps falling over her brow. Dark almond shaped eyes were narrowed under knitted brows and her mouth was moving over inaudible words.
Suddenly the strangers' head jerked up to stare at them and then it whipped up to the sky that was suddenly over clouded. The thick volatile clouds began to swirl menacingly. Her eyes widened and she jumped to her feet, shouting something boldly in Japanese.
"What the?" Cáit demanded as her eyes zeroed in on a large clawed hand slipping through the cyclone of violent black clouds. Her hand immediately clamped onto her friends' arm as she gaped at the hand that was attached to an arm.
Yet again, the girl spat something Japanese over her shoulder, then looking at them irritated, she scanned their faces. A flicker of shock moved over the pretty face; then she composed herself. "Please go away! For your own safety, please leave here."
Aaron simply gaped, unsure what to do about the cloud that was giving birth to what looked to be a shadow version of the Yeti. It reached for the young girl but she ducked out of its way easily with a back handspring.
"You can see that thing, right?"
Aaron nodded dumbly. The spit had dried up in his mouth and his heart had taken up residence in his throat so its pounding sounded louder in his head. When the hand grabbed just a little closer to them than he liked, he grabbed his friend and tugged her down the street away from the hairy humanoid.
"Oi!" Cáit shouted. "We can't just leave her."
"She looked to have a good idea as to what was going on." he called back as he continued to drag her down the street. He cursed when she snatched her hand from his and wheeled round to race back up to where the girl was avoiding the great lumbering beast that was sweeping its arms out in hopes of hitting her.
"Dammit, Cáit, I'll be hitting you in a second."
"It's bigger than her."
"Aye and it's bigger than you." He snapped before diving and grabbing her around the waist, hauling her behind a couple of plastic rubbish bins that hadn't been pulled in since the visit from the garbage men.
Cáit gagged. "Oh god, that's foul."
"Well maybe it'll keep that thing away from us." he muttered in a harsh whisper from behind his covered mouth.
She scowled, but peeked up and stared in shock at the girl. "Hey check this out." she ordered him quietly.
Well review and give me a heads up on what you think of it. Personally I like it, then again, I like most of my writing, lol.