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The smoke made screaming harder so I closed my eyes and rolled up into a ball on the floor, my arms wrapped tightly around my legs. Just as I had reached unconsciousness I felt my body being picked up. My rescuers arms were stone cold and sent a sharp pain pulsating through my arm. My eyelids felt as heavy as lead as I fought for a glimpse of my rescuer. The first thing I noticed about him was his livid eyes – a liquid topaz colour that sparkled in the firelight. His dark tousled moonlight shaded hair glinted in the limited light of the flames. His face was set like stone into a scowl, anger filled in his beautiful eyes.
He was wearing dark jeans and a black t-shirt. It was as if he were an ice sculpture, carved by the gods. I reached out to touch the back of his hand but resisted; he looked down at me with intelligent eyes. He looked at me for a second studying my face, my eyes, my hair but then his head quickly snapped back as his eyes locked onto the house entrance. His face hardened back into the infamous scowl. As he stepped out of the house the cold air slapped around my face and arms. I was able to breathe once again. “Thank you for saving our little girl’s life,” a familiar voice spoke.
“My pleasure, I was on my way into town when I heard her scream… ” he spoke, his voice sounding calm and friendly, his voice not fitting in with his emotions. I felt familiar warm hands wrap around me again at last and I snuggled into them, knowing that it was my dad. I opened my eyes again looking for my saviour but he was gone, the cold wind blowed against my face -like his breath- as if this would be the last thing I would remember him by. I closed my eyes knowing I was safe and that everything would be OK. The things I didn’t know were that this was the last time I would see my father.
I didn’t know it was just the beginning. The beginning of a new life of magic and fairytales. Where princes were vampires and damsel’s in distress were gifted with extraordinary powers that everyone had doubted from the very beginning. This was just the end of the beginning. Chapter 1 REPITION I LAY UNDERNEATH THE COVERS LOOKING BLANKLY UP AT THE ceiling listening to the rain drumming against my window, the cold air biting against my skin. What a summer this had turned out to be. I tried to remember what I had been thinking about last night before creeping into a dream; the more I tried to remember the more I seemed to forget.
I gave up and looked at my pin board on the wall next to my bed looking at each picture identifying who was in it. The one that caught my eye was the last picture my dad had taken with me before he divorced mum. My dad had one arm around me and the other around my haughty mother. I looked at my younger self, feeling guilty that I had ruined a perfect picture by scowling at the photographer. Dad had gone to America to start a new life; he got the job of manager at a local convenience store. It wasn’t his ideal job but it did provide food on his table and a reasonable sized house on the edge of town.
He occasionally sent post cards and birthday cards mentioning what he had been up to recently, but these were sent once in a blue moon. “Charlotte! Get up, I need you to look after Sam,” mum shouted from the bottom of the stairs. Since dad, or Freddie as we called him, had left my mum she had it rough. She never remarried; determined she would not make the same mistake or ‘hardship’ again, although she did date. Sam’s father left soon after he was born leaving mum just about bankrupt living in a council flat on the outskirts of Ashington, Northumberland.
We had moved there when mum began dating Sam’s father, he said it would be a different way of life. He had been living there since he was born and was convinced us it would be just perfect, it ended up worse than expected and mum’s boyfriend left. Before she had met Hugh she had been living in London, she desperately wanted to go back there as soon as she could get a well paid job. Ever since Freddie had divorced her she was depressed, she took frequent trips into town to get away from myself and Sam and was an alcoholic. It was hard for her; we were getting older every day.
I sighed and opened my eyes reluctantly and pulled the duvet off me. I wobbled to my wardrobe throwing on black skinny jeans, a grey strappy vest top and a black skull hoodie. I pulled my hair up into a black cap before studying myself in the mirror. My mother was determined to get me wearing short skirts and small skimpy tops, things that I would like dead in. She thought if she pulled off the sympathy trick by buying me a second-hand mini skirt that I would start looking more feminine. She was always wrong though, but she didn’t give up.
It would have to take a lot to make me go back to the good old care free days, when dad had left and I self harmed. I started feeling conscious of the fact that everybody was worrying over my cuts that ‘appeared’ out of thin air. Now it was natural, I had become a worshipper of heavy metal, hoodies that were a size to big and eye liner. I quickly ran mascara and eye liner on my eyes and made my way downstairs. Mum was on the coach, deep purple lines underneath her eyes making her look more like a zombie than a human being.
“I’m going in to town, James said he needed an assistant,” she said wearily stubbing the end of her cigarette on the over flowing ash tray. “I’ll take Sam down to the park,” I replied sounding just as enthusiastic as I felt. “I’ll be out until late tonight so make yourself something,” she said before pulling on a cagoule before slamming the door shut. “Chhh-arrr-lll-iiieee! ” Sam wailed happily tumbling towards me hugging me around the legs. “Come on, I’ll take you to the park,” I replied putting a smaller cagoule on Sam. Outside it was still raining; I looked at Sam who was obviously enjoying himself.
He ran up to each puddle jumping it, splashing himself. The sky was a dark ominous colour above us, a rumble of thunder echoed around the row of flats we were walking past; Sam pulled himself closer to my legs. “Don’t worry Sam, we’re safe. Look – the park! ” Sam ran past me up to the rusty iron gate pulling it open and running inside. It was not nearly deserted as I thought it would be, a couple of small kids were there with their mothers and some older kids were sitting on the benches laughing loudly. I looked around at all the people there keeping my head down, avoiding any sort of eye contact; this was merely a precaution.
I had a bed reputation around here, there were times I just couldn’t help myself – I had to trash the streets around. Just the other day I had been kicking over some bins when I had been caught. Other times I was unstoppable, if I saw something valuable in a shop window I would come back later that night and break in. Ashington wasn’t half bad; I just didn’t like leaving the place I had grown up in with my father. News travelled fast so everyone knew about my occasional break in, mum had no objections, she taught me her tricks in the trade – stealing.
She said when she got a job she would stop. Hardly. I found an empty bench that I could sit on whilst keeping a close eye on Sam. I sat down not bothered if I got wet or not, my clothes were already drenched when I had stepped out of the house. Sam had found some friends and was running around screaming happily, I felt sorry for him never having proper time with his father. I sighed remembering how happy and warm I had felt in my father’s arms after our house fire. I also remembered the cold arms of my rescuer, the exact opposite of my father.
I had been mystified, he had been so beautiful and yet it felt so surreal. My twelve year old memories were cemented in my brain, the house fire, when Mum had met Hugh… I had been grateful and wished to thank the man who had saved me but he had already gone – it was as if he had vanished into thin air. His warm topaz coloured eyes had melted my heart, he was honestly the most beautiful person I had ever met. I also remembered confusion at why his face had seemed unfriendly when he had opened the door, his face set as if it were in a permanent scowl. I woke up from my day dream as I heard Sam crying.
I jumped up from my seat running over to him; he was lying in the mud. As soon as I reached him he looked up, his eyes were puffy red and I noticed the tear tracks down his cheeks, “What’s the matter? ” I asked him. He didn’t reply but that didn’t matter, there was a trickle of blood coming from the corner of his face, near his milky blonde hair. I pulled a tissue out of my pocket and pressed it firmly to his head trying to stop the blood flow. “They pushed me, there they are,” he said pointing to the three teenagers laughing walking out of the gate. “Um… ” I said looking around.