I refused to speak to anyone in my family the next day. Everyone tried, Villy even attempted an apology, but I just ignored them. I went to school, blocking Lumie from my head and going straight for my friends. I didn’t tell them what happened since I suspected they’d just find me crazy too. Maybe I was just crazy.
When I got home from school that day, the police were there. Not the same from before but a young woman and older man, in regular clothes. I didn’t know they were police till they introduced themselves. I was immediately suspicious.
“Your Dad and I called them,” Pa said anxiously. “About your stalker.”
My eyes narrowed even more. “What stalker?” I asked and the officers frowned. “Because, you know, according to you two and everyone else in this family I don’t have one. I’m just crazy. I’m imagining things.”
“We do believe you,” Dad said a bit stiffly. “To an extent.”
“To an extent!” I echoed. “Oh, that’s nice. Thanks–thanks for that, Dad. I’m not crazy but only to an extent.”
“That isn’t what I meant, and you know it.”
“Look, Zaid…” The woman cleared her throat and indicated for me to sit, but I just folded my arms. “Do you have a stalker? Because really, we can’t go chasing shadows.”
“No. I mean yes. I mean… I have a stalker,” I said, rubbing my forehead and then tipping my hat back. “It’s just frustrating because nobody seems to believe me.”
“Tell us everything,” the male officer said.
So I began explaining. I told them about Hidden Springs (leaving out Rhoen and everything she said), and then I skipped over the vampire girl and mentioned the haunted house, and then that the three guys had been beaten up. I told them that I often saw someone in black hanging around. “I’ve seen things in the woods. Out of the corner of my eye.”
“Now, what happened last night?”
“There was a face at my window,” I said. “I’m on the second floor and there’s no tree out there where someone could be. But there was a face there. Dad and I went out but there wasn’t any evidence…”
“Did you get a good look?”
“Yes we looked all over for footprints–“
The woman chuckled gently. “No, I mean did you get a good look at the face?”
I flushed red. “Not really. I think they’re white… male. Dark hair. I don’t know, I was scared! Middle of the night, face in my window. I was scared.”
They took down notes and then I showed them first my room and then outside below my room window. They asked tons more questions. I answered to the best of my ability. They talked down at me, though. I felt a bit foolish, especially since I couldn’t give them any real description. I wasn’t sure how much they believed me but they promised to look into it. I didn’t really trust them though. Probably because of how the police force treated supernaturals, I wasn’t even sure they’d do anything with this.
Once they left, I gave my dads dark glares. Pa hugged me tightly but I didn’t hug back. “I thought you guys didn’t believe me,” I said, trying to squirm away from Pa’s arms. “Why’d you call the police? If I’m–“
“We do believe you,” Dad cut in. “Maybe… uhhh… Chance, you take this one,” he snarled, scowling at nothing in particular.
Pa held onto my arms. “We do believe you, Zaid. Maybe not completely… but we understand something is going on. If you do have a stalker, the police will find him, okay?”
I looked at him, then over at Dad. “But how come you don’t believe me? How come… you said the things last night that you did? That I’m imagining it??”
“Lumie says you’re… making it up…” Pa said slowly.
I narrowed my eyes, glaring at the stairs. “She does, does she.” Her barriers were up so I couldn’t complain at her for this. “Well. You believe her over me, then?”
“It’s not that we believe her over you,” Pa said, “but you two have that psychic link. If–if she says–I mean, she’s–“
“The person I’m psychic with doesn’t believe me, so yeah,” I said, feeling frustrated once more. It wasn’t fair. This wasn’t fair at all. I felt like I was drowning and nobody was throwing a lifesaver. “Nobody believes me–“
“We believe you,” Dad grumped. “Just… just…”
I managed to pull away from Pa. “No, it’s fine. Really. Forget it. The police will find evidence and–and you’ll see. You’ll see!”
What happened next was the longest two weeks of my life as the police investigated. Valentine’s Day came and went, with a big group date out that resulted in Kim and I making out in the back of the movie theater. It resulted in something else though not in my group. Lumie began hiding something from me. Now, over the past few weeks our range had been growing steadily wider and every second that we were within range of one another, she kept the barriers firmly up. I had no idea what she was hiding exactly but I didn’t find out till later what exactly the problem was.
Before that happened, the police came back with their results of their search. They had talked to Clay and everyone (I had the feeling I knew when that happened since all five of them started giving me strange looks though none of them asked, and I never offered any explanation), and even to Patrick, Joe, and Barrie. They even contacted Hidden Springs police force. And they returned to us with their opinion.
“THERAPY?!” I screamed, staring slack-jawed at the two disgusting officers as they stared blankly back. “THERAPY?! WHY THE HELL–“
Pa put a hand over my mouth and held onto me, trying to keep me calm. “I’m sorry, but what do you mean ‘therapy’?” he asked, sounding less like Pa and more like Dad. “My son doesn’t need therapy.”
“There’s no stalker,” the policewoman said, looking a bit sheepish. “Hidden Springs informed us that there was a dead animal and nothing else in your report. We spoke to your friends, Clay, Steve, Tryshya, Trinity, and Kim. They informed us they never saw anyone following you. I asked specifically about the haunted house, and they said nothing strange happened that night.”
“We spoke to the three young men who you beat up–“
“I didn’t beat them up!”
“–and they said there was no other person involved,” she continued, ignoring me. “They said you beat them up and they were making up the other person all along.”
The woman shrugged and looked at Pa. “I’m sorry, but from what we’ve seen there is absolutely no evidence of anyone stalking your son. We believe most likely it is his imagination. Now all we can do is give our suggestion of having him see someone professionally. This shouldn’t be taken lightly. Maybe he’s making up stories–“
“–but that’s our suggestion.”
Pa tightened an arm around me. His body was stiff and I could tell he was angry. “My son is not a liar,” he said. “He’s not making it up.” Interesting words considering he didn’t believe me the night I saw the face in the window, but I kept silent. “If he says he seen all the stuff he says he see–seen–then he’s–saying… uhh, saying right.” He fumbled with the words, getting tongue-tied, and made a face after.
“We’ve informed you about our results, that’s all we can do,” the male put in. “If anything else happens then inform us but for the time being all we can say is there is no stalker.”
More words were exchanged between them and Pa, but I wasn’t listening. The police left and then Pa tried talking to me but I just kept shaking my head. Words weren’t hitting my brain right. All I heard was the police saying over and over that I was making it up. No evidence. The other kids involved either don’t remember anything weird or were making up another person involved.
I grabbed my phone and called Clay, not even caring. Pa stopped trying to talk to me and just gave me worried looks as I listened to my friend’s phone ringing. Finally he answered. “Hey man,” he said in a strange tone. “Wazzup?”
“Did the police talk to you?” I asked and there was silence. “I know they did.”
“Yeah, uh, the other day,” he muttered. “Er, so, uh, you thought you were being stalked or something…? They asked about that, if we ever saw–“
“They asked about that night at the haunted place,” I cut in. “Right? I know they did. Remember we saw that guy who seemed to be staring at Kim? Well I was right at Kim’s side all night, he could have been watching me–why didn’t you tell them about that?”
“Dude, take a chill pill!” Clay snorted. “Nobody was watching us that night. Not really sure what you’re talking about–“
“Whoa, what? Clay, you pointed out someone was watching Kim and not to look, he was uh, by the tree and I turned to look and put my jacket around Kim and–“
“Zaid! Calm down! You sound like, hysterical.”
I gripped my phone and took in a few deep breaths. I needed to stay calm. I didn’t want everyone to think I was going off the deep end. “Sorry,” I said as politely as I could. “I’m just a bit confused. I remembered something happening that night but…”
“Yeah, no one else remembers that.”
Freaking Grim Reaperin’ LIARS! I snapped in my head but all I said was, “Freaking Grim Reaperin’ liars.”
Wait, I hadn’t meant to say that out loud. Crap. “N-not you!” I said, panicking a bit. “Uhhh the police. They said, er, some stuff that was just you know, lying. When, uh, they started this they said they had a solid case but then that changed. Sorry. Not you.” Man the crap was just pouring from my mouth but I didn’t want to ruin my friendship with Clay. Even if he was a liar.
“Dude, sorry,” he said and then there was a scraping sound as I guess he covered the speaker because I could hear him talking to someone but it was too muffled. Then he came back. “I gotta go. Uhhh, mom needs me to, uh, do the dishes. I’ll see ya in school Monday. Yeah, see ya later.”
He hung up before I could say anything. I stared at the phone then hung it up, feeling angry. “They’re lying, my friends are lying. I–I don’t understand why they did this?”
Pa’s arms went around me and he hugged tightly. I didn’t really want a hug but I didn’t have the energy to push him away. So I just stood there till Pa released me. “It will be okay,” he said, fixing my hat.
Can you promise that? I asked silently. My friends are lying, and the police think I’m a fruitcake. “Thanks. I–I need to lay down. Um, you’re not gonna send me to a therapist, are you?” I asked, biting my bottom lip.
“Only if you want to go to one,” he replied.
“I don’t want to.” I went up the stairs, yanking my hat off and tossing it to the side before I crumpled to the ground. Why did my friends lie? I wasn’t even sure why the basketball trio lied. I mean, saying I sent someone after them seemed to be their story… very adamantly their story. Had they been lying in the first place? That didn’t surprise me, but I knew that my friends had seen some guy staring at ‘Kim’. I knew that had to be my stalker. Why did my friends lie…?
I barely talked to any of them over the weekend. I tried calling Clay a couple times but he only answered once and said he was busy. I talked to Kim twice and both times were only for a few minutes. I thought we were going out on Saturday night but apparently not, none of them wanted to go out. I began to feel suspicious. Were they distancing themselves from me? Or was I being paranoid?
It seemed I wasn’t being paranoid, because on on Monday at school everyone was calling me ‘The Private Lie’ and random kids would stop me and tell me that someone was following me, before going off laughing. I was beyond angry, and yelled at Clay who yelled back and said he never told anyone. I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe him but then at lunch there was a HUGE row between Trysh and Steve. Apparently Steve had told people about what the police questioned him about. I wanted to beat the snot out of him but he had enough problems since Trysh exclaimed very loudly that they were over, since he was a backstabbing… well… words I didn’t want to repeat.
“I am so sorry,” Trysh said after school since we hadn’t really had much time to talk since lunch. “I can’t believe Steve did that. He’s so full of it.” She glared at a group of people who walked past us giggling, and we could hear ‘private lie’ quite clearly. “SCRAM!” Trysh yelled since they had paused to whisper. “You know, the only thing worse than some shithead lying about his friends are the shitheads who believe the liar in the first place!”
The kids scurried off and Trysh spun around, scowling. “You just called Steve a liar?” I asked.
“Well, doesn’t matter, he shouldn’t have told anyone about the investigation that happened,” she said.
“If he didn’t tell people then I’m sure Barrie and them would have said so.” Though I wasn’t sure exactly if they knew the police investigation had to do with me. Apparently not, as the next day just when people were believing Trysh’s statement that Steve was lying… Barrie, Joe, and Patrick announced that the police had questioned them about the fight they had with me. Soooo the private lie thing stuck and everyone continued on with pointing out ‘stalkers’ whenever I walked by. Out of all my friends, Trysh was the one that seemed to stay by my side the most. The other still talked to me and stuff but I could tell things were a bit awkward now. Even between me and Kim.
“Does she hate me?” I asked Trysh several days later… after two canceled dates (“I’ve got a bad cold today…” and “Mom wants to take me shopping.”). “You’re her bestie. You–do you know?”
Tryshya shrugged one shoulder. “I dunno, to be honest. I’ll talk to her tonight. But…” She stopped and bit her lip, eyes sweeping down to the ground.
“But?” I asked anxiously.
“What if she is?” Her eyes swept back upwards and met mine. “Zaid, can I ask you something?” Them without waiting for a yes or no she asked, “Do you love her?”
I gave a short laugh. “I’m fifteen.”
“Do you love her?”
I flicked back my hat and frowned. “I don’t know. Maybe. I–I care about her. But we’re fifteen, I’m not–I don’t know if it’s love.” I felt uncomfortable with this question, mostly because I didn’t know how to answer. Love? At this age? “Look, I don’t know!” I strained since she was giving me a side-eye. “Love is a big word!”
“I think she loves you. Actually, I know she has. She told me just after your birthday. Did she tell you?” I swallowed, head shaking just a bit. I tried to speak but my mouth and throat felt dry. Trysh waited and when I remained silent she said, “I’ll take that as a no. She hasn’t told you. Two canceled dates…”
“W-well, she–I–you’ll talk to her tonight? Right?
She brushed back her hair, letting out a very loud sigh. “Maybe. Yes, yeah I’ll ask her. But what if she says she’s not into you anymore? Will you be sad?”
“I see,” she whispered, eyes gleaming in a strange manner. “Maybe you two should call it quits before things get bad. If you don’t love her…”
“Watcher, I’m fifteen I don’t know. I guess some people might know? But I don’t. I–“
My words were cut off as she kissed me.
She. Kissed. Me.
My immediate reaction was to jerk back but Trysh put her arms around my neck, yanking me back against her. She pressed her lips harder, making a quiet sound as she rose onto her tiptoes, mouth smashed into mine.
Then slowly she pulled away, releasing me from her grip. Her eyes were dark as we just stared at one another, me in shocked silence. Her tongue darted out, licking her lips in an entrancing way. Then she smiled, probably from seeing the minute (minute, teensy, barely there, NOT EVEN SOMETHING I HAD CONTROL OVER) response to seeing her lick her lips. Then she turned and began walking off. I tried to speak but once more found it impossible to talk.
Trysh paused then turned. “I’m not talking to her tonight. You should talk to her. Not me. For obvious reasons. And don’t tell her I kissed you. Please.” Then back around she went, walking down the sidewalk.
“………..oh……” I finally managed. Barely a squeak. “Oh,” I repeated. “Oh.”
I wasn’t sure how I got home. I wasn’t sure how I got up the stairs to my room. I just fell on my bed and stared at the ceiling for a long time. Lumie and I didn’t have our barriers up but she was too distressed about something to worry about me, and I was too distracted to worry about her. All I could think of was that kiss. That really nice, sweet, awesome kiss…
It certainly was different from kissing Kim. Better…? I wasn’t sure. Different though. Absolutely. More…. passionate… perhaps…? I could still feel it. I wanted to kiss her again. But that was wrong! I had Kim. I couldn’t kiss anyone else. I shouldn’t want to kiss anyone else but here I was feeling all keyed up from kissing someone else NOT MY GIRLFRIEND what kind of guy was I?
Do I love her? I picked up my phone and scrolled to Kim’s last text to me. sry cant tlk bsy w/hw. Hmmm. I scrolled to Tryshya’s last text to me. lol bro all mad cuz i 8 last piece o 3.1415. I smiled at that, then went back to Kim’s texts. Then Trysh. Then Kim. Then Trysh. Kim and I’d been together for a couple months now, and things had been great but–but now that everyone at school thought I was a looney tune she was almost backing out of our relationship. Maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she really was busy. And Trysh, she–she was kind’ve a jerk sometimes though not to me anymore since we became friends. But she literally just broke up with Steve…
“WHY ARE GIRLS SO COMPLICATED?!” I screamed at the ceiling.
“I DON’T KNOW, I’M GAY!” Pa called back from the other room and I nearly fell off my bed laughing. Lumie began laughing from her room, and downstairs I could hear Gladdy’s muffled laughter. Best part was later when Pa said he was a bit confused since he was being completely serious, and we all just laughed again.
The next couple days were very… rough. I tried talking to Kim about things but she was always busy. I avoided Trysh as much as I could, and she seemed to understand as she did not bother me too much. Just the occasional text asking if I had talked to Kim yet. The kids at school continued to bother me, except one person who left a note in my locker saying they believed me. The day after that, the same handwriting on a note that was asking if we could meet at the baseball field.
“Should I go…?” I asked Clay.
“Maybe it’s your stalker,” he said with only a slight amused smile. I rolled my eyes and he held his hands up. “Sorry, man. You know I’m on your side.”
“I don’t know if Kim is anymore.”
I whirled to face him, as he had stopped talking. “What? What did Trinity say? Clay, you gotta tell me. Kim’s barely speaking to me.”
Clay ran his fingers through his hair and sucked in some air through his teeth. “Trin told me that Kim told her that she’s worried you’re a bit…” He stopped once more and I waved my hand to indicate for him to keep talking. “A bit loony. Weird. She’s, uh, concerned.”
“Concerned.” I grit my teeth, trying not to get angrified. “I’m too weird for my girlfriend. Fine, that’s, uh, that’s fine.”
“No, really. It’s fine. Thanks for telling me.” I tipped my hat and walked off, trying to turn in a way to get my coat to swish. Clay didn’t follow me and I just headed to the baseball field even though it would be a while before I was asked to meet this person. I stopped at a store on the way, buying a candy bar, then stopped at a cafe for some hot coffee. As I sipped my drink I pulled my phone out to text Kim. we need to talk 2nite. By the time I was done with the coffee, I had heard back.
It didn’t go well.
I got up, threw out the empty cup, and headed off to the baseball field. I doubted this was the best frame of mind to be meeting some stranger but meh. I got to the field and found there was someone already there, standing near home plate and messing with a phone. I knew vaguely who she was, one of the goth kids that nobody really cared about.
She looked up as I approached, her eyes widening slightly. “Hey,” I said, waving the paper. “You wanted to meet me?”
“Y-yes,” she said uncertainly, looking around and then shifted her weight to her other booted foot. “Um. I’m AZ.”
“My real name is Maisy but I hate that. I prefer AZ. Please.” She looked around nervously as if expecting someone to pop out. She’s crazy, I thought. She thinks she’s being stalked too and wanted to compare stories or something. “You’re Zaid. Danevbie-Greyson.”
“Yes. Zaid’s fine.” I looked around now too. There was someone way off in the distance and I squinted, trying to see them. My stalker or some innocent bystander? “Why did you need to see me?”
“I’m a witch.”
I blinked, stepping back in surprise. I knew there was witches and wizards and such at the school but I didn’t ever expect any of them to properly ‘come out’ so to speak. Except now she looked so nervous I realized she didn’t want to ‘come out’. “I won’t tell anyone,” I said, smiling when I saw relief flooding her face. “My brother’s a werewolf.”
“I know. That’s why I figured you’d be okay with, uh, me being a witch.” Her gaze darted around and she moved closer to me. “I know the stories. About you and–…. who you are. In the witching world.” Her phone went off and she jumped in surprise. After a quick swear word she pulled it out of her bag. “Oh. I–I have to go I’m sorry, I–I thought I’d have more time. Look. I believe someone is following you. I don’t know who it is but… be careful. There are some… my family is nice and good, but there are magic-users who would do what they can to stop someone who might destroy them.”
“I’m not gonna destroy–“
“I have a theory about that, I believe you won’t destroy anything personally.” She bit down on her dark-stained lip. “I have to go. Please, can we… meet again? I want to talk to you about this. P-please…”
“Sure, uh, yeah.” I gave her my phone number and programmed hers into mine under the name of AZ. She reached over and gave my wrist a squeeze before running off. Theories? I wondered. That I won’t ‘personally’ destroy stuff? I was dying to know what the heck she was talking about but I had to wait… ugh.
On my way home I thought about her. Her words… the possibilities if she was right… the way her hand felt on my wrist. I never really thought about the ‘creepies’ as they were often called. Maybe they weren’t so bad… and maybe she could help me.
I was still deep in thought when I went reached the two mile mark to our house, and Lumie’s thoughts slammed into my brain so fast that I staggered backwards. Our reach had only just recently extended to two miles and we were currently working towards two and a half. >Whoa what’s wrong?< I asked but she was too panicked to answer. Her thoughts were going a million miles an hour and it literally gave me a headache. One emotion really stood out though: fear. >Hey, I’m on my way!<
I began jogging at a steady pace, though it would be a while. I put up my barriers to maybe get rid of the headache and even then I felt her practically clawing at my brain to get back in. But I needed to focus on getting home. I was scared. What was wrong? No, just get home, THEN worry. I was afraid I’d see an ambulance there or maybe the police but the drive was empty. I burst into the house, looking around for my twin. Upstairs. I flew up the stairs and fell face down twice. I scrabbled on my hands and knees the last couple of steps then made a beeline for her room–until I realized no, she was in the bathroom.
I pounded at the door. “Lumes? You–“
“Get in here, Zaid!” she sobbed. “Please!”
I opened the door and the second I stepped through she was right there, slamming the door shut behind me. Her face had mascara running down from all the crying and her hands were red for some reason–which became clear as she began wringing them. I grabbed her shoulders, trying to look into her face. “Lumie?” I whispered.
“Zaid,” she cried and flung herself at me, burying her face into my chest.
“Lumes what’s wrong?”
“Zaid–I need you to go t-to the store for me,” she sobbed and I realized with an uncomfortable jolt that her, er, ‘time’ was at hand.
“I thought we had plenty of supplies…” I muttered, feeling uneasy talking about this.
“No, no, no, not th-that,” she said as she withdrew from me, hunching her shoulders and wrapping her thin arms around her body. “Actually th-the complete opposite of that. Zaid, I–I–I think I might be pregnant…”