I can't remember the last time things were normal, or where I felt normal. What is normal anyway? Is it a feeling, or just a cheap way to make someone feel like less of a human? Either way, normal is a word that has no place in this town. See, this town is the center of a magical war, and while everyone else in this town knows nothing about it, I am the resident expert.
My name is Samantha, but you can call me Sam, and I protect this town. Not that long ago that I realized the forces against this town and the people in it, and that I was the only person to stop it. It was simple, really, after that. Monitor and protect. That was my job. My duty. Maybe even my destiny. For now, it's why I'm here.
"Oh, look who it is," Tammy says, walking up with Denise and Sara. Great. I may be different, but Tammy sure knew how to make sure I knew it. Every. Day.
"I see you're putting more words together. Soon, you'll be able to speak in actual sentences" I say, snapping my notebook closed. There is no way Tammy could find out what I really do around here.
"You have some nerve, Sam" Tammy grits through her teeth as she pokes me in the forehead and pushes my head back. Sorry, no button there to press.
"Actually, I don't have 'some nerve'. What I do have, is better things to do" I snap back as I walk past Tammy and her entourage, swinging my backpack over my shoulder than the other. Tammy may be able to throw some words around, but she can't do much more than that. Not in the middle of C hall. Earlier this year, she was suspended for starting a fight with Jessica, and she's on her "last leg", or so I've heard. None the less, here, within these walls, she's powerless and I love it.
Outside, the sun is bright. In a few more weeks, the school year will be over. This will be my last summer vacation, as I will be a senior next year. Not too far from me, buses begin leaving the front of the school. I can hear one bus driver already yelling at kids, and she hasn't even left the parking lot yet. It must make for a long day. I don't live too far from school, so I walk. It's easier for me to keep an eye on things when I'm in control of my movement. Bus drivers don't stop at a moment's notice to let you off when you ask. Or when you demand. They don't like that too much.
As I see Principle Pernell about twenty feet to my left, I can't help but grin at Tammy, who is further away glaring at me with frustration. As I release a happy sigh and turn to begin walking home, the day quickly becomes overcast.
As I look up in the sky, a single cloud is covering the sun. They are wasting no time, aren't they. I reach into my backpack and put on my glasses, then throw my hair up in a loose pony and begin looking around. Who are they after? Across the parking lot, in between some trees, Stephen is staring up at the cloud blocking the sun.
I grab my backpack and run towards Stephen. "Hey, Stephen" I shout, slightly out of breath. He doesn't even respond or acknowledges me in any way. Yep, he's the one.
As I get closer to him, his blank stare up towards the sky is something I've seen all too often in this town. It won't be long before they come for him. I kneel, opening my backpack and take out my kit. My kit has everything I need for situations like this. A few bottles, some empty, some with mixtures in them already, a silver necklace and cuff. As I begin to regain my breath, I hear the footsteps approaching, and the unmistakable growl that makes me grin as I stand up, cuff in hand.
"It's been a while," I say, as I slowly turn around. Across from me, no more than fifteen or twenty feet, a visible wave begins and blasts out in a radius of about one hundred feet. Slowly, the being I heard fizzles into existence, next to a tall, slim, being. A gargoyle and its master.
"The boy. We want him" the master says. His form is human, but he, like the rest of his kind, is all but. His eyes, emerald green, captivate any human who looks into them. This is where my glasses come into play, as he does not affect me, which will force him into taking what he wants a different way.
"Aww man, this boy? He's off-limits to things like you and your pets" I shot back, sarcasm at full strength, as I take a step in front of Stephen.
"Get out of my way, witch," the master says as his Gargoyle takes off towards me at full speed. Quickly, I throw one of the mixture bottles to the ground as the gargoyle leaps at me and I duck and dive to the left. The bottle hits the grass, causing an opening in the ground and the gargoyle, helpless in mid-air, goes through the portal and it closes.
"My my, where are your manners?" I say to the master, as I leap up and slap the cuff around my right forearm. A golden light emits from it, and it's glowing makes it's way up my arm and engulfs my body, then fades within a few seconds. Now it's time to do what I do best. As I turn to look at the master, he shoots his hands out in front of him and red and orange orbs manifest from the palms of his hands and head my way. I lift my right arm and the orbs hit my cuff, which absorbs the blast. I take a step towards the master and run full speed at him. Just before I reach him, I slide as if I'm coming into home plate, hold my arms out and two blades of yellow light appear in my hands. As I slid under the master's body, I connect on both shins, bringing him to the ground.
As the master hits the ground, I stand up and place my right foot on it's back. "Today is just not your day, is it?" I ask.
The master, slowly fading from visibility, beginning at the feet, laughs. "Little girl, this isn't the last you'll see of me, or us for that fact. Your time here has come to an end, and we are taking back this town. The master's legs disappear as his face goes from laughter to calm, accepting the fate coming his way.
I put pressure on the master's back "Little? I'm saving this town from the likes of you and your wet rats on steroids daily. I'm sure by now I've earned some sort of reputation to advance from "little".
The master looks at me, his upper chest up all that is left. "You've been put on notice, witch. Your time is up. We…" The master completely fades as he speaks.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Were you saying something?" I say as I remove my cuff, put it in my kit, and walk back over to Stephen. I take another mixture bottle from my kit and pour it on his head. A purple hue coats him from head to tow with a glimmer that still takes my breath away.
As his eyes begin to blink, I pick up my backpack, stand shoulder to shoulder with him and look up. The cloud has gone and the sun has returned, shining through the trees around us. "What are you looking at, dude?"
"Oh, hey Sam. I…I don't know, I guess I thought I saw something" Stephen says a bit unsure of himself.
"The only thing you're going to see if you keep staring up there is black spots," I say, rolling with the conversation.
Stephen lowers his head to look forward and rubs his eyes. "I guess so."
I reach over and slap Stephen on the back "It's Friday, want to see what kind of trouble we can get into tonight?" I wouldn't call Stephen a close friend, but we've been known to terrorize the local bowling alley with scores that would make a first grader laugh.
"Um, yeah, yeah. That new movie came out today, we should check that out while we can" Stephen said.
"That works for me. I'll catch you later man, and keep your eyes off the sun for a while before you go blind" I say back as I walk away heading home.
Stephen looks my way as I head away from him and smiles. His blue eyes, bright in the spring sunlight, briefly glow emerald green, before he turns and walks in the other direction.
I couldn't stop thinking about what happened earlier today. It's not uncommon for an attach in the middle of the day, but it is uncommon for it to be in such a populated area. They are getting desperate. And they should be. They are going up against me. As I walk into my room, I open my closet and set my kit on the shelf, then close the door, locking it. I walk over to the bed and flop down face first, before propping myself up on my hands and elbows.
"Stephen is an unknown at school, mostly. What could they want with him?" I ask no one in particular. I jump out of bed and over to my desk and take out a notebook. It's important that I log incidents like this as soon as they happen, so the details are fresh in my mind. That master was easy to take out, I think as I stare out the window into the distance. I close the notebook and go back into my closet. In the closet, I get a few more mixed bottles and put them in my kit. I wrap my shoulder strap around one shoulder, then leave the closet and head downstairs.
"Excuse me, young lady? Aren't you even going to say hi to your mother?" Judy asks. My mom is… well she means well, but she would never understand the weight on my shoulders.
"Oh, hey Mom, I'm sorry. I'm just getting ready to head out for a bit," I declare.
"Off to slay a giant, Sam the Great?" Roger says.
My older brother has a way with words, or at least he thinks he does. Any chance he can, he slings something my way, except they always miss. Even if he has something good, I always have something better.
"Don't you have better things to do, like lie around in the basement and leach on our Mother, Roger the Lazy?" I ask.
Roger, red faced stands up and throws his arms in the air. "Oh, come on!" he yells as he exits the room. Sam one, Roger big fat zero!
"Oh, Sam. Can't you be more kind to your brother? He's struggling, you know," my mom pleads.
"Struggling at what? Staying awake? Seriously Mom." I respond as I take an apple from the large bowl on the kitchen island. I throw it up in the air, catching it, then raise my eyebrows at my mom as I leave to the front door.
"What the…!" I yell as I open the door, as Stephen is standing there on the porch. "What are you doing you big goon? You scared the life out of me!"
"Sorry, Sam. I just thought I'd you know… stop by. For our movie"
"That isn't until later, I thought. I just got home and had some things to take care of first" I saw as I instinctively put a hand on my kit, as if to secure it to my body.
"That's… that's fine, Sam. Say we meet up at seven outside the theater?"
"Sounds fine, " Stephen says as he smiles and turns around, slowly stepping off the porch and down the sidewalk.
I head out and shut the door behind me, walking in the opposite direction of Stephen. Up the street is the rail tracks. It's been a while since a train has passed through these tracks, so I always use them as a shortcut. Grass and weeds have overgrown the rocks and wind around the wood and steel of the rails. I step up on a single rail and extend my arms for balance as I walk one foot in front of the other. Today's events still heavy on my mind.
"The last time I encountered a master was a few weeks ago outside of the bowling alley. I still don't get what prompted the appearance in front of the school. That's open. A ballsy move, but I've been protecting this town for a couple years now and they've yet to get the upper hand…" I state, again, to no one in particular when I hear a rustling in the trees to my left. As I come to a quick stop, I lose my footing and slip off the rail, catching the side of my head on the rail. As I use my hands to try to push myself up off the rocks, I see feet walk up next to me and the unmistakable growling of a gargoyle. I reach back for my kit and I fall back to the rocks, my body giving away to the bump on the head as everything fades.
As I slowly open my eyes, the first thing I notice is I'm not on the rocks anymore, but in the grass near the tracks. I turn my head slowly and notice someone knelt down next to me. It's Stephen. What is he doing here?
"Sam, what happened? I was walking by and I saw you lying on the ground. Are you okay?" Stephen asks, with a genuine look of concern on his face, as he grabs my hand and helps me to an upright position.
"I fell. What are you doing here?" I mumble.
"I saw you laying there, was I supposed to just walk right by you?" Stephen asks. He has now pulled me up onto my feet. "Come on, let's get you home".
My legs feel like spaghetti noodles and I'm having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other. What time is it? What happen… I heard something in the trees. My head darts around to the trees next to us as I grunt from a sharp pain that shot down my neck.
"Hey, take it easy. Let me help you, " Stephen says as he continues to help me me forward.
"Where are we going?" I ask.
"I'm taking you home, you're in no shape to be out, " Stephen says. As he continues to help me walk, I regain more and more of my senses. He's taking me home? Home is the other way.
"But…" I say as I try to turn around and Stephen just spins me in a circle and keeps moving in the other direction.
"Calm down, Sam. I'm trying to help you. You are bleeding and need not be out here on your own, " he says. I reach up and touch the side of my head and wince, blood on my fingertips.
"Yeah, but we…" I try to say, but I'm cut off quickly.
"Sam, you're hurt. Your time is up. Let's go home, " Stephen says firmly.
My eyes widen and I feel complete fear fall over me as I manage to drop and fall backwards, landing on my rear and my hands. As Stephen stops and looks down on me, his face is blank, full of curiosity. I try to get my legs moving and scoot backwards a few feet.
"Sam, what are you doing?" Stephen asks.
Keeping my eyes on Sam, I reach over with my left hand to grab my kit. My kit! Where is it? I frantically look around as Stephen just stands there. I turn over onto my hands and knees and look around. It must be back where I feel. A hundred feet at this point.
"Where are you going…" Stephen says in a rather monotone voice. "witch?" As I turn my head to look behind me, Stephen is standing there, eyes an unmistakable emerald green. No, this is impossible. As he grins at me, I hear growling coming from his direction.
"No!" I yell as I crawl, rotating my hands all over in a circular radius trying to find my kit when suddenly, I'm picked up and thrown about ten feet to the side. My already trembling body kicks it up a notch and fear turns into a panic.
"I told you your time was up, witch, and now here we are. At the end." Stephen says. Is it even Stephen anymore? I took care of that master. How can he be back? And the gargoyle? Impossible. As I try to crawl away, I am grabbed by the ankle and dragged back by an unseen threat; the gargoyle.
"Stephen, snap out of it!" I yell as I'm tossed aside like a twig. The landing knocks the breath out of me. Stephen, though grinning, extends his hands and closes his eyes. Suddenly, the light poles in our immediate area go dark. Great, that doesn't help me any with finding my kit! I get to my feet, running on pure adrenaline and take off running. An orange orb leaves Stephens hands and strikes me from behind, sending me to the ground in a quick fashion. By the time I'm able to turn around to look at him, he's just inches in front of me, almost instantly.
"We've waited too long to do what needs to be done, witch. Tonight, we put an end to this and take back this town, and there is nothing you can do about it" Stephen says, as he reaches down, lifting me off the ground with great strength, his hand gripped around my neck.
As I struggle to breathe, I punch him in the chest and arm, with no success. Then, I kick my feet, over and over I connect with his midsection, then land one kick low and he releases me. As I gasp for air, I realize that he's not hurt in any way, just surprised. I turn around and scamper a few feet as I'm tripped and go crashing into the rocks next to the tracks. As I look up, the full moon catches my kit in its light, about two feet away. As I reach for my kit, I am kicked in the stomach, causing me to fall over and onto my back. My kit is just within reach. I roll back over and grab a large rock, get to my feet, then turn around and throw it at Stephen. He dodges the rock, and it bounces off of thin air with a whimper. I hit the gargoyle. It's in that moment that I turn around and dive for my kit. As Stephen reaches me and turns me over, his hands flaming red, he swings towards me just as I put my cuff on. His punch ricochets off my forearm and I scream, sending Stephen flying backwards about twenty feet.
As I stand to my feet and put my glasses on, I slowly turn my head to look behind me and I see Stephen getting off the ground and his gargoyle fizzles into view next to him. As the gargoyle leaps, Stephen extends his hand to hold it off. Stephen then launches a red orb at me, that barely misses me to the left. By the time I re-fix my focus on Stephen, he's in front of me, again, almost instantly.
"Witch!" Stephen yells as he takes a swing at me.
"I thought I told you this is my town," I say heavily exhausted as I block his punch. In my left hand, a blade of yellow light appears as I swing, slashing Stephen's chest with the light, staggering him backwards. I take another swing to the right shoulder, then again to the left thigh, causing him to collapse to a single knee.
"I told you witch, we are taking this town back, and we'll do so any means necessary" Stephen snickers as he swipes at my face, sending my glasses flying to the ground, breaking.
As I reach down for the glasses, Stephen extends his hands and I lift off the ground. He stands up in front of me, wincing from the pain of my previous assault and extends his arms out.
"Witch, the time has come to rid this place of your existence, " Stephen says as his eyes glow emerald green. I can feel myself being pulled into his dark magic. I feel it consuming my entire being, and I feel the power slowly draining out of me.
"This… is… MY… TOWN!" I manage to get out as I reach out and grab both sides of his heads with glowing yellow hands. His hold of me drops me to the ground and I keep my hands on him as he screams. As the gargoyle launches at me, a wave of energy shoots out from our position, throwing the gargoyle back. The magic within me exits my hands and the darkness within Stephen leaves his body.
As Stephen's body goes limp, I let go, and he collapses to the ground while I drop to a single knee. I reach into my kit and pour a blue mixture over Stephen; a forgetting potion. As I place the bottle back in my kit and throw it over my shoulder, I stand up and look around. There are more eyes than I can count watching me from a distance, as gargoyles line up just outside of the safe radius my energy wave has created.
I bend over and pick up my broken glasses. This will be a problem, but I tuck them inside my kit, turn around and take off for home.