-FROM MERCURY TO VENUS-
-SIGNS OF LIFE-
It was almost 3 A.M. when Marianna looked up from her journal that she had been writing in for the past hour. Her roommate, Cynthia, hadn't returned home yet, and it started to worry her. The only thing she could do to quell her anxiety was to write. She reflected back on her life, only now realizing how far she had come.
A lifetime ago Marianna was an heiress, but after she lost her parents things changed. Seeing her mother murdered before her very eyes did some major damage to her psyche. Her mind had split into, creating an alternate personality. Marianna did eventually recover, but at times she still felt like two people. She never truly put her demon ways behind her. She only silenced them in the hopes of hiding it from the rest of the world.
It had been two years since that hell had ceased. She fell into the life of a college student quite easily. She felt that resuming her education was the best decision she ever made. It started out with her wanting to gain enough knowledge to cure her afflictions, but it wasn't her past mental illness that scared her. It was the creature that was borne of it. She feared the destruction she might cause while lost inside her rage.
Her classmates jokingly commented on how even-tempered she was, but they were ignorant of her shady past. And even though she chose to be addressed by her given name of Marianna, inside her true identity remained as Fanta. She was the culmination of two different parts of a girl who died without ever being born.
She fought too many battles, mostly with herself. It was what lied beneath the skin that was the most terrifying. Once taken over by a vindictive entity, she feared its return most of all, although there had been no sign of Siercy for these passed two years. She was determined to put that life behind her.
She felt odd at first wearing her protective glasses, but a professor took a liking to her and became intrigued by her situation. Doctor Brenda Dare quickly became friends with Marianna. She even helped Marianna develop a more discreet way to hide her intolerance to light. Contact lenses were more a hassle to care for but less noticeable.
It was one of those quiet nights when Marianna sat alone in her dorm room. Her roommate, Cynthia Daily, had yet another date. She tried many times to set blind dates up for Marianna, but she wasn't interested in dating. She spent her days studying and her nights contemplating on her true purpose. Since saving Ty from the Circus, she heard destiny's voice calling her to do more for the Sadian race. She knew there were others out there like herself and Ty, and she was determined to find them and help them if need be.
Most people never realized their true purpose until they were too old to pursue it, but Marianna was one of the lucky ones. She knew what she was and not only accepted it but relished in all of the possibilities. The world needed heroes, but she never saw herself in that role. She only did her best to continue the lifeline of her race.
At 3:04 a.m., Marianna looked up from her journal once again to see Cynthia staggering into the doorway.
"I take it you had a good time," she said, relieved that her roommate was safe and sound.
"Spectacular," Cynthia said, falling onto the bed.
Marianna laughed, standing over her and witnessing her passed out friend. She spread the blanket over her and prepared to turn out the lights and steal a few hours sleep.
The next morning Marianna traveled to the downstairs hallway. She descended the staircase and made her way to the first floor. The vending machines held the promise of breakfast. A plain yogurt and a glass of orange juice were all she needed to get her going. It was so quiet in the dorm that she would have been able to hear a mouse scurrying about, but at six a.m. signs of life were hard to find.
The only other person she saw was fellow bookworm, Dennis Faylorn. Rumors had escalated around campus about a romance between the two, but a platonic friendship is all that reality brought.
"Morning, M.J.," he said, taking a sip of his coffee.
"You, too, D.C.," she said, teasing him by using his nickname. "So, why are you up so early?"
"I've got a lab session today," Denis grumbled. "What's your excuse?"
"I'm always up early," Marianna said, taking a spoonful of her yogurt. "Early to bed, early to rise, isn't that the saying?"
"Yea, if that were the case," Dennis said, pointing a finger at her. It's something he always did when he knew someone was lying to him. "I heard you and Cyn talking. About three o'clock, wasn't it?"
"Maybe," she said, knowing full well that he knew the truth.
He raised his hand up in the air and spoke in a fake English accent. "What other scenarios could there be besides the truth I speak?" It made Marianna laugh.
"Only a twisted version of it, Shakespeare" she said, teasing him for his dramatic antics. Marianna rose from the lunch table to throw out her trash. "Cynthia woke me up when she came in from her date with Boyd and passed out drunk."
"But in reality, were you sleeping when she came in or writing in that silly book of yours?" He passed her a disapproving glance as if he was the parent and she was the disobedient child.
"I guess I'm busted," Marianna said, holding her head down to hide the redness in her face.
"So, why do you write in that stupid book?"
She sat down again, pointing her pupils upwards, thinking of her answer. "Therapy, I guess. It gives me hope."
He looked shocked. "You need therapy? Get out of here. You're the most together person in this entire university. Look at you, nineteen and already a senior. When did you graduate from high school? When you were like twelve."
"Sixteen actually, and I'm not as together as you think. I had a whole other life before I came here, none of it to be proud of."
"I'm sure," he said with just a hint of fright in his eyes. "Look, Marianna. I'd love to sit here all day and shoot the breeze with you, but the lab awaits."
"Don't build any bombs before lunch," she teased.
"No way," he said, laughing. "That's a dinner project."
Dennis Faylorn's humor kept Marianna afloat. A comic relief she once called him, but date material, no. After her failed relationship with Peter Briggs a few years back, she vowed never again to get involved with a Normal. If she were ever to get involved again it would be with someone of the same heritage. Dennis was many things, but he had no signs of being among the new species. She didn't believe that any Normal could accept much less understand her situation. At times, she didn't understand it herself, so she didn't dare travel down that avenue.
Marianna only had two classes that day, both in the morning, so she decided to spend the afternoon at the local coffee bar. She had grown an affinity for restaurants as long as they didn't serve meat in their salads. Always the vegetarian, Marianna never put up with the snickers from meat-loving waiters and waitresses.
Marianna sat at her usual booth when Cynthia walked in and spotted her. "Hey, M.J., I heard you and Dennis were getting pretty cozy downstairs this morning."
"Cozy?" Marianna shot at her, a shocked look on her face. "Cynthia, be realistic." She took a mouthful salad and swallowed. "Dennis and I share an enthusiasm for science, nothing more. A relationship beyond friendship would be illogical."
"Oh, I get it," Cynthia said, winking an eye at her. "You're fire, and he's earth, clearly not a match. I see."
"The stars lie, Cynthia." She took a sip of her coffee. "Destiny is of our own making. Don't depend on the teachings of mystics. Want and need are a matter of perception."
"Yea, yea," Cynthia said, shaking her head. "Whatever."
Marianna leaned in towards Cynthia, trying to keep her attention. "You wish not to be in control," she remarked, "so you choose to believe. Simple as that."
"Not so. I can handle my own life just fine, M.J. It's yours I'm worried about."
"And how are you planning to save me?" Marianna laughed in amusement.
"I'm glad you asked," Cynthia said, an excited look on her face. "You see. Jamie and Carolyn are planning a camping trip. You're invited if you want to come. Maybe you'll meet someone nice."
"Not interested," she said, finishing off her salad.
"Yes, you are," Cynthia insisted. "Marianna, you never do anything but study. You never go anywhere but to class. You need more."
"You don't know what I need," she said, rising from her seat. She had her half-drunk cup of coffee in her hands. She turned and walked towards the exit door.
Cynthia followed her. "Yes, I do," she said, running towards her in hopes of keeping up.
Marianna stopped and turned towards Cynthia, who nearly tackled her. "And what's that?" Marianna asked, a hint of cynicism in her voice.
"A weekend of fun," Cynthia said excitedly. So much so that she was jumping up and down. She pointed a finger at Marianna. "You're coming whether you like it or not."
"You're not doing to take no for an answer," Marianna said, seeing that determined look in Cynthia's face. "All right," Marianna grumbled in defeat. "I'll go, but I won't like it."
"That's the spirit," Cynthia said with a smile on her face. "Be ready Friday morning. That gives you two whole days. We're going to have so much fun. I can hardly wait."
Marianna wanted to join in her enthusiasm, but she found it hard to get excited over a night in the woods. A place that held such horrifying memories, but if she was determined to put the past behind her. She knew she must face the demons that sought to destroy her.
That night she laid in her bed thinking about the predicament she had gotten herself into when the phone rang.
"Who is it?" she asked, after picking up the phone.
"Mary, did I wake you?" a woman's voice came over the line.
"No, Carla," she said. "I was just thinking. I do a lot of that these days."
"Mary, are you all right?" She could hear the concern in Carla's voice. "Since you decided to go back to school, you seem different."
"Good or bad, Carla? Not so long ago I was a different person, or should I say people. But don't worry, I'm doing fine."
"Then how about coming home this weekend," Carla said, sounding hopeful. "Ty and I both miss you."
"Oh," Marianna moaned. "I can't. I promised Cynthia I would go with her on this stupid camping trip."
"Sounds like fun," Carla said, a slight perkiness in her voice. "Have a good time."
"A good time? Carla, I really don't want to go."
"Why not? Mary, you're a young woman now, and you should be having fun with your friends."
"Fun?" She groaned "What does the word mean?"
"Why don't you find out this weekend," Carla said. Marianna was truly defeated. She felt both Carla and her roommate ganging up on her.
"Now, you're sounding just like Cynthia."
"Smart girl," Carla said which made her groan even more. "Now, go and have a good time."
Marianna agreed and ended her conversation with Carla. She thought about it for a while and realized that for the first time since Cynthia mentioned the trip did Marianna start to look forward to the trip. She fell into sleep dreaming of the possibilities the future might bring.
If you thought the first book was crazy, just wait. This story has more twists and turns than you can even imagine. Please review and give me your thoughts, this story is only half written and I would love to hear any suggestions.
Next up: Unexpected Pleasures