Tainted Wings – Chapter One

Tainted Wings
Chapter One

Have you ever had the sensation where you’ve felt someone watching you? It’s something Hekate has felt her entire life. She always looked over her shoulder to find no one there but felt the eyes regardless. There was always something in the corner of her eye that could never been seen. A white blur that would disappear before she had a chance to get a glance of it.

Hekate ran through the doorway of her house, in a breathless panic.  She called for her mother, but there was no answer. Just the sounds of the air conditioner kicking on thanks to the warm September air.

Mom must still be at work, she thought.

Despite the excitement she felt from winning a couple of ribbons from a gymnastics meet earlier in the evening, the same feeling of being watched hovered in the back of her mind. That same white blur had been in the corner of her eye the entire ride home. Even from the car to the house, she felt the eyes on her. It was nothing new. But it still left her unsettled.

Locking the door behind her, she ran up the stairs to take a shower and change. As she made her way to her bedroom, her hand froze on the door handle.  Slowly, she turned to search for the eyes she could feel on her. A chill ran through her body when she realized no one was there. She reached back to press the hairs on her neck back down and attempted to shake the feeling.

The cold sensation only spiked as she opened her bedroom door. Her computer was turned on, with a document sitting brightly on the screen, waiting for her.

“I know I turned you off,” she murmured to herself.

As she stepped closer to the document, she could see the words clear as day:

Be ready. It is almost time.

In a panic, Hekate fell to the ground before crawling underneath her desk. She searched in the dark for the power cord and yanked it from the tower. The sweat from the gymnastics meet returned, covering her body with a moist due causing the chill to worsen. The message had no meaning to her, but the fact that it was there scared her enough.

Hekate pulled herself out from under her desk and stood in the dark room again. She stared at her computer as if waiting for it to suddenly return to life, despite the lack of power. Finally, she attempted to shake off her fear and grabbed her sweat pants and tank top off the bed. Just in case, she also grabbed the large pocket knife that usually sat on her nightstand as she took the skin tight leotard off.

Even after her hot shower, Hekate couldn’t shake the nervous feeling. Normally, the feeling would subside, as it always did. The eyes always on her never necessarily frightened her, but for some reason, they did now. Something had changed. And it wasn’t just because of the strange message from her computer.

After slipping into her pajamas, she glanced at her computer again. Deciding it could have been a fluke, she crawled under the desk again, and to reattach the power. As she plugged it in, a voice echoed from downstairs, causing her to jump and slam her head on the desk.

“Hekate!  You home?”

“Yes mom!” she yelled as she attempted to rub her new bruise away.

Her eyes met the computer again as she crawled out from underneath the desk. It was still off. She glared at it, almost daring it to turn back on. Satisfied after a few seconds, Hekate made her way downstairs to see her mother pulled out the bag of chicken nuggets and a pot of macaroni.

“Long day?”

The tall, thin woman turned to see her daughter, completely unaware of the fear that was hiding beneath the surface. “Pretty much. I have a whole new order of clothes to fix. And I have to turn in some sketches before the end of next week.”

Hekate pulled her long, wet chestnut hair into a ponytail and jumped onto the kitchen island. Her legs folded as she watched her mother’s own matching ponytail bounce around the kitchen. “You’ll get it done. You always do.”

She leaned back and looked at Hekate. “How was the competition?”

“It was all right. I won a few ribbons, so it’s an improvement from the last meet.” She attempted to sound a little excited about the achievement, but it was difficult. In the end, she came off apathetic.

It went unnoticed. “That’s great! Did one of those ribbons come from the bar routine you had been working on for weeks?”

Hekate chuckled. “Yes. I still stumbled when I landed, but the score was higher than the last time. Almost a 9.4. Much better than barely hitting 9 like last time.”

Her mother finished cooking while Hekate watched and listened to her stories from the day. Because her father had run off a few years ago, it had only been the two of them. She was extremely grateful that Hekate was pretty much an independent teenager. It allowed her to work late nights and earn what was necessary to keep the house and keep her daughter in a private school. Although that left Hekate feeling lonely sometimes, she knew why her mother worked so hard and was grateful for it.

Even after eating dinner, and spending some time together watching their shows, the memory of the computer couldn’t be shaken. Hekate was nervous to go to bed, afraid she’d find another mysterious message. She ended up staying downstairs longer than she intended before her mother noticed the time.

“Good grief, I didn’t realize it was already eleven. You have to go to bed and I have to get started on some of this.”

Hekate groaned before standing. “Fine. Don’t stay up too late.”

Hearing the irony of her own daughter saying those words, her mother chuckled. “Go to bed.”

The walk to her bedroom was a slow one. The sensation of being watched returned sometime during their bonding. Wanting to be cautious, Hekate shut the door to her bedroom before checking every nook and cranny of the room, searching for the eyes she continually felt. But there was nothing. Despite her nerves, she could feel exhaustion beginning to overtake her. Crawling into bed, Hekate turned on her radio to try and drown out the feeling before falling asleep.

The next morning, Hekate awoke to the sound of her alarm screeching by her ear. Slamming her hand down with a groan, the alarm stopped and she slowly began to sit up. It took a moment for her to fully wake up and remember the strangeness of the night before. The eyes she had felt before seemed to be gone, for now.

It was Friday, which meant she didn’t have to wear the normal plaid skirt and polo to school. She could wear a pair of jeans and a comfortable t-shirt, and she felt relieved. Although wearing a uniform wasn’t the worst thing in the world, Hekate hated wearing the polo shirts. They always left her sweating by the end of the day. She felt like the walking plague with the end of the day smell.

After throwing on her favorite jeans, she changed into a purple t-shirt her mother had made a week earlier. The material was thin, but with a small sewn in crescent moon on the bottom corner. It was simple, and Hekate liked it that way.

Quickly, she french braided the top layer of her hair, leaving the rest to lay on her back. Her mother had already left for the day, leaving a note on the counter, telling her to have a good day, and she’d be home late tonight. It also noted that she could go to the bar she had asked about a week ago.

She was surprised. Her mother usually didn’t like it when Hekate went to Shadows with her friends. She was always nervous about Hekate being downtown that late at night. But the club would occasionally have a night where underage teens could get in for the dancing.

A voice and a car honking its horn from outside pulled Hekate from her thoughts. “Hekate! Come on, girl! We’re going to be late!”

Quickly, Hekate pulled on her tennis shoes and ran out the door with her book bag. “We’re only late because you’re always late.”

Her best friend, Marcia, merely rolled her eyes. “You see these curls?  You think I can get these things tamed in five minutes? Please.”

“My mom left me a note. It looks like I can go with you to Shadows tonight,” Hekate said, knowing she should plug her ears.

Marcia screeched in excitement. “Yes! It’s been ages since you’ve gone. We need to run to the store and grab some more makeup beforehand. Is it okay if we get ready at your house tonight?”

The memory of the computer kept haunting the back of Hekate’s thoughts. But she tried to push it aside. “That’s fine. What’s wrong with the make up I have?”

Marcia reached over to grab Hekate’s chin. “You mean eyeliner? Eyeliner is one piece of the process. You need to let me do your actual makeup.”

Hekate jerked her head from Marcia’s grip. “Yeah, yeah. I go for the simple look. That, and I’m too lazy to mess with the rest of that crap.”

Marcia chuckled. “Don’t worry, I will take the time to educate you.”

School, thankfully, went by fairly quickly. Most of the students had already checked out for the weekend, and so had the teachers. Besides a test she had forgotten to study for, the day was an easy one.

It was after school that had Hekate chewing her fingernails. Shopping with Marcia was easy enough. it was easier to let her pick what she wanted and just going along with it. Going home, however, was another story.

Opening the door to her house, Hekate made a point not to walk into her bedroom. Marcia dropped the bag of new make-up onto the counter. “Come on, let’s do this.”

As if she were an art project, Marcia began to paint her face. As the colors and brushes flashed across her face, Hekate began to feel nervous. Marcia made it seem effortless, but Hekate was aware of the headache involved. She preferred the natural look or to wear none at all. But when Marcia was determined, she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Every new tool that was aimed at her face cause Hekate to flinch. Only when Marcia grabbed the finishing powder did Hekate exhale in relief. They were almost done. Finally, Marcia handed her the mirror. “There. Perfect.”

Hekate’s face was covered in concealer, hiding every blemish and scar she had. It felt caked on, but she chose not to comment. Marcia had been able to pull off the shadowed eye look flawlessly with the dark blue eye-shadow and black eyeliner. If she wanted, Hekate could have passed for a twenty-one-year-old in the club.

As she stood, Marcia slapped her ass. “Go get dressed. I have to fix some of my make up, too.”

When Hekate walked into her room, she sighed in relief when her computer was still off. No weird documents or words in sight. Nothing. Obeying Marcia’s request, she focused on switching into a pair of skinny jeans along with a pair of ankle boots. Reaching into her closet, she pulled out another shirt her mother had made her a while back. It was a black tank top that was tight at the top, but loose at the bottom. The design across the top was sewn in with gold threads. It was another simple piece by her mother, but she loved it.

Marcia had gone in a different direction. Her choice of a short black shirt with a gold halter top contrasted Hekate’s simplistic outfit. She walked towards Hekate and slammed her hand onto her collarbone. “Some glitter for extra effect!”

Hekate groaned. “Seriously? Why?”

Marcia grinned. “Because, I want to. Now, let’s go!”

“Great, it’s going to take forever to get this crap off,” Hekate mumbled.

By the time they had arrived, the line was already beginning to wrap around the building. Thankfully, it looked like it was moving fairly quickly. Once Marcia parked across the street, she ran to lock arms with Hekate and pull her faster towards the line. It didn’t take much to see why. Erik, a senior in their school, was standing in the back. Marcia wanted to make sure we were standing with him.

“Hey Erik!”

It wasn’t a mystery as to why Marcia wanted him. He was taller than most in our class with short blonde hair and a muscular build. But to me, his arrogance was too much for me. He attempted to reel it back most of the time, but he had his moments.

Erik turned to see us practically jogging towards him. “Hey. Looks like you’re finally able to make it finally.”

Hekate rolled her eyes. “As long as I’m back by curfew, I should be able to continue to go out, too.” The last time Hekate had gone out with Marcia, she was home three hours late. The moment she walked through the door, her mother started in on her and lectured her until the sun had come up.

He laughed. “Set an alarm on your phone. Might prove useful.”

Marcia rolled her eyes. “Are we going to continue talking about freaking curfews, or can we start dancing already?”

She swayed her hips, bumping into Hekate, forcing her along. Erik grinned as they started to dance to the beat. His eyes followed Marcia’s movement, following her plan exactly. It wasn’t long before the three of them were inside. Hekate could feel the music boom through her body, as the lights flashed across the room. The glitter Marcia had put on her earlier had begun to shimmer as the two of them began to dance in the middle of the club.

Marcia’s eyes lit up as she felt Erik’s hands move to hold her waist. She winked at Hekate before turning to dance with him. Marcia had always had a crush on Erik but it seemed as though it would always go nowhere. Neither of them would admit their feelings to each other, putting them both in a weird limbo of flirtation. Between his arrogance and her stubbornness, it was always weird.

Hekate was drowning in the sea of people around her, moving to the beat of the music with an endless amount of energy. She danced alone and she liked it that way. Although the number of people was suffocating, the music helped to divert her anxiety and enjoy the night for what it was. Freedom, if only for a time.

The crowd roared when a newer Eminem song blasted through the speakers. It was during that moment of chaos that Hekate felt it. The sensation of being watched by those same eyes returned. She jerked her head, viewing any direction she could for the source, but no one was watching her. There were only teenagers meshed together on the floor, jumping to the music as it echoed through the room.

One of their friends from school noticed. Marcus leaned in to yell, “You okay?”

Plastering a fake smile on her face she nodded. “I’m good!”

He grinned and nodded before getting lost in the crowd again.

When her phone vibrated to indicate the time, Hekate felt relief. Though the eyes never left her, leaving the crowd made her feel grateful. Pushing her way through the crowd, she found Marcia, still close up to Erik. Hekate leaned in behind her. “It’s almost eleven. I have to go!”

Marcia turned around, disappointment painted her features. “You can’t stay just a little bit longer?”

Hekate shook her head. “I’d rather not get grounded again.”

Over the music, Erik yelled. “I can take her home.”

Marcia’s grin widened as she pulled her keys from her purse. “You can take my car! I’ll just get it from you later!”

Hekate glared at him. “Are you sure?”

She winked. “Completely.”

Erik raised his eyebrows to her feigning innocence. Although she knew he wouldn’t actually hurt Marcia, she worried he would still do something stupid to hurt her feelings again. Last time, he ditched her to make out with another girl. He wasn’t a bad person, just an airhead who let his penis drive his actions sometimes.

Her tongue pushed into her cheek, nervous about leaving Marcia. But she didn’t have long to consider the consequences. Raising the keys into the air, she turned to leave. “Thanks!”

The moment she set foot outside of the club, her body broke into a cold sweat as the unseen eyes seem to be bearing into her. There was still a line of people waiting to get inside, and a security guard standing by the front door. It could have been any of them, but the feeling caused her to break out into a sweat, regardless.

Quickly, she made her way across the street. She was almost at the car before a sound from behind made her turn. Standing not three feet from her was a huge wolf. It’s white fur and yellow eyes contrasted the shadows from the night. It was the white blur she had always seen in the corner of her eyes. The eyes that felt so familiar yet terrifying.

Hekate’s entire body had frozen. Her mind was screaming at her to run, or jump into any of the cars. But she stood there, staring back into the eyes she had felt on her for her entire life.  Before she could even flinch, the wolf suddenly burst into a run. She watched in horror as the large paws of the wolf came flying at her. Then suddenly, there was nothing. Only darkness.

Tainted Wings – Chapter Two

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