Author’s note: sorry it took so long to get this out. There aren’t quite as many pictures in this as I normally would have done–let me know if it’s okay or not. Because of my job taking energy I thought having not quite as many pictures might work but if you guys don’t like it let me know and I’ll go back to having more.
No horrific visions, thank the Watcher; I woke up feeling pretty okay albeit a biiiit nervous about my first day of classes. Sam had woken up long before me, judging by his state of fully dressed for the day. I got dressed as well and grabbed my backpack before heading down to the dining room for breakfast. This time we sat with Booker who had fallen asleep against a table at some point in the morning. He woke up when we sat down and decided he’d join us for classes that day.
I picked at my breakfast, feeling more and more nervous. I couldn’t remember public school very well. I remembered the feelings of isolation and loneliness which I wouldn’t have here, thanks to my friendship with Sam. Still… what would this place be like? Hogwarts?
At eight-fifteen we left for the first class of the day. Algebra. Some of it made sense but some of it seemed a bit confusing to me. Grandpa had never really liked math or any of the subjects in that line so going from essentially self-teaching myself to having someone passionately going on about it felt a bit odd. On one side of me Sam doodled on his paper and stared out the window longlingly; on my other, Lilah took flourishing notes while her wings fluttered quickly giving a nice breeze. I tried to take notes too and stared at the book quite a bit but nothing really came out of it. Maybe I wasn’t advanced enough for this school. What if all the classes were like this? What if I failed all my classes and had to drop out because of stupidity?
The bell rang and I gladly gathered my things together to leave. “I have no idea most of what he said!” I groaned after we left the classroom.
“It’s okay, most of us don’t anyway,” Sam laughed. “Professor Bingham is like that. Next we have chemistry, that’ll be awesome. Mr. V is amazing.”
Mr. V–Mr. Valadez–turned out to be a vampire and the class held down in the basement, in the vampire section. He gave me a quick introduction and told me to call him Mr. V like everyone else did. He then gave an outline about what we would be learning and began teaching us about some of the equipment we would be using. He had us partner up for the first term and I felt a bit thankful that Sam asked me right away since Kiley was giving me a look and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to decline if she asked me.
After learning as much about our chemistry equipment as we could and making sure we knew basic terms, Mr. V let the class out a bit early. Though he asked to speak to me privately for a minute.
“It’s nothing bad,” he said after everyone else left. “I just really wanted to make sure you were settling in all right. I know this sort of change can be difficult for some people…”
“I’m just sorta… soaking it all in, I guess,” I replied. “Sam’s been awesome.”
“Samuel is a good kid.” He slid his hands in his pockets, forehead a bit wrinkled. “I understand you had a bit of a run in with Casimir Ashen?”
“Oh. Um…” I almost started to tell him what happened when Sam’s warning about snitching smacked my brain back into silence, so I just stood there uncomfortably.
Mr. V smiled gently. “I see. I know this sort of thing isn’t very easy. On one hand you don’t want to make someone angrier by handing them in… on the other hand, letting a bully get away with things just reinforces their attitude.” He lifted one hand, carefully brushing his bangs back. “If you ever need to talk about anything, you can find me either here or my office which is the door just to the left when you leave.” He moved to the door so I followed. “And, Apollo?”
“Yes, s–uh, Mr. V?”
“In case you are unaware of it, many supernaturals hero-worship your father. When the other kids here find out who you are there will probably be a few who will shadow you around or even hound you for a bit. I just wanted you to understand and prepare.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
“See you this afternoon.”
“At lunch?” I asked, surprised that a vampire besides sleeping Booker would show up to a meal since I couldn’t really recall any at breakfast.
Mr. V grinned broadly now, showing off his fangs. “P.E. I’m in charge of that, too.”
Of course Sam and Lilah wanted to know what Mr. V wanted to talk about; I just told them about the first bit of our conversation, leaving out the part about my dad. I wasn’t sure how they’d react to finding out that I was Zaid’s son… I should tell them before they find out through someone else but maybe not quite yet.
Our final morning class was actually a magic one so I didn’t need to go. I would be taking potions, but magic control wasn’t on my personal schedule. So while Sam and Lilah headed off I just went to the library to chillax for a bit. I wandered up and down the aisles till I found an interesting book to read and then a comfy chair to sit in. As I sat down I felt my pocket vibrate. A text from my grandpa.
angel and i miss u! along with a picture of him and my baby sister. Smiling, I started typing out a reply.
“No cell phone use in the library.”
I jerked, nearly dropping my phone. “Oh s-sorry, I guess I didn’t think.” I swiftly hit send before jamming it back into my jeans as I stood up. “Sorry,” I said again as I looked up to see one of my classmates. She had been in math and chemistry but I hadn’t really met her yet so I had no idea of her name. My mind ran through the names Sam had given me that weren’t male. All two of them. I took a gamble. “Morgan?”
She raised her eyebrows a bit. “Romance,” she corrected me with a sniffle. “Morgan is in class along with everyone besides us and Chase.”
“Ohh.” I offered my hand. “Erm, Apollo.”
For a second I thought she’d just walk off but finally she allowed the tiniest of smiles to appear on her face. “Nice to meet you.”
“So you don’t use magic?”
“Oh. No, I do. I am a witch.”
Now a proper smile. “I’m a bit more advanced with magic so I take that class with group C.” Suddenly she looked embarrassed and turned away. “So who were you texting? A friend back home?”
“No, my grandpa,” I said without thinking. Then I immediately felt rather dweebish.
But instead of snickering she said, “Oh that’s neat. You’re very close with your family?”
“Yeah. Grandpa homeschooled me since I left public school back as a little kid, so it’s weird going so long without seeing him,” I admitted. “Plus I have a baby sister so he sent me a picture of the two of them.”
“Baby sister?” Her eyes lit up. “How old is she?” I told her seven months and she looked so interested I opened my phone to show her the picture of Grandpa and Angel. Romance stared at the picture for quite a while. “She is so cute.”
I beamed rather proudly. “She’s really smart, too. Do you have any little siblings?” I asked, assuming that had to do with why she seemed interested in mine.
Romance slowly shook her head. “I’m an only child. I’ve always wanted brothers or sisters though. I guess it’s…” She trailed off, pressing her lips tightly together.
After a few seconds of awkward silence I coughed. “I, er, have three older siblings. It was so weird going from being the baby to having a baby sister.”
“Oh, I bet,” she said with a laugh that sounded just a bit hollow. “Still, it must be really nice having a close-knit family.” Her head cocked to one side. “Danevbie, right?”
Mr. V’s warning rang in my ears. Did Romance hero-worship my dad? “Uhhhhh, y-yeah.”
She just continued staring at me until it got to the creepy point then she looked away. “It’s been nice chatting with you. I should finish what I was doing. I’ll see you later.”
“Oh! Uh, okay. Um. B-bye!”
She walked off, barely making any sort of sound on the tiled floor. I just watched her go, unable to look away until the doors closed behind her.
“Romance?” Sam squinted at his food. “I dunno much about her. She’s a pretty private person.”
“And she’s like, just plain pretty full stop,” Lilah giggled. “Is that why you’re asking?”
I didn’t mean to blush but couldn’t stop a bit of red. “No! I mean, uh, she is pretty but uhh–hey! S-stop giggling! It’s not why I asked about her. She seemed a bit odd.”
“She’s like a whisper of winter wind through the bare tree branches,” Sam said. Lilah and I just stared at him and he went even redder than I had. “What?! I didn’t come up with that! That’s what Cordell said about her.”
“Ugh. Cordell’s, like, totally full of himself.” Lilah tossed her hair back and sighed. “Though I guess he’s kinda right, that does seem to be like, kinda fitting for her.”
After lunch we had English Literature which was taught by Artemis Webb, the berry pixie that had driven the bus the first day. He swooshed into the room brandishing a book and quoting ‘Hamlet’ in an intoxicating voice that grabbed my attention so completely (though later Sam told me it was just the teacher using some pixie magic to mesmerize the class). Mr. Webb explained what we’d be learning that term, went over the syllabus, gave us a reading assignment, then swooshed out a good thirty minutes before class should have been over.
Sam, Lilah, and I went outside and watched some of the older magic-users flying around on brooms until our next class–P.E. Down into the basement we went where Mr. V let us choose how we wanted to spend our energy. Sam, Lilah, and I stripped down to our bathing suits along with most the other kids and jumped into the pool. A few stayed in the exercising room including Romance. I occasionally saw a glimpse of her doing yoga.
Kiley had decided to get in the pool too, wearing a rather revealing bikini. But instead of throwing herself at me she suggested we all play Marco Polo. I figured out why after a couple rounds when I was ‘it’ and my outstretched hand met with something rather… err… well. Her boob.
I opened my eyes and yanked my hand back. “I am so so sorry!”
Her smile made me realize she had placed herself in the position for it not to be an accident. “It’s fine. No harm, no foul. But I guess now I’m it, eh?”
I put as much distance between us as I could and tried to get how her boob felt out of my mind, though that wasn’t very easy at all.
Health and Arts finished off my first day of classes, then a big dinner in the dining hall, and the rest of the evening free. Sam wanted to go for a walk alone so I retired to our dorm room to get a jump on the reading assignment for Lit. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ which didn’t seem very interesting to start and after only about a page in someone knocked at my door. I set the book down and cautiously went to open the door, a bit afraid of it being Kiley.
Someone burst the door fully open and tackled me to the floor. I yelped in fear and tried to fight them off when I realized they were licking my cheek rather frantically. “Oh Watcher, Cliff, get off of me!”
“Apollooooo!” Clifford slid off of me, looking uber excited. “How was classes? Classes was great for me! It’s kinda a lot though, yeah? I really miss home. Wanna play fetch later? Zaidy-waidy won’t play with me!”
I wiped my cheek off, getting painfully off the floor. “Thanks for practically breaking my back there, buddy. Hey, get out of there!” I grabbed him as he tried opening the wardrobe.
“I’m bored. Zaidy won’t play with me. Nobody will play with me.” He looked exceedingly injured at that so I sighed and agreed to play fetch. He perked up and began wiggling his butt (as if he had a tail in human form, which he didn’t making the whole thing a bit disturbing). We went outside into the fading evening light and began playing fetch. Other students gave us weirded out stares but I ignored them focusing only on how happy doing this made Clifford.
Finally he collapsed in front of me. Not really tired since his lycanthropy gave him seemingly endless energy but despite his weirdness he understood mortals tired out and wanted to give my arm a break. I sat down next to him in the grass, watching the sky changing color…
Then it rained. Heavy, heavy rain that slammed against my skin sending shivers down my spine. It was raining a lot harder than it should have been for it being a clear sky just a moment ago. In fact it seemed wayyy too dark… night must’ve hit hard out of no where.
I looked over at Clifford and realized with an extremely unhappy jolt that I wasn’t at Hunter’s anymore. A field–I was in a field. There had to be something nearby so I began stumbling through the blinding rain. I began to hear voices.
“–going to stop it!” someone shouted angrily. “It’s for the best!”
“How is this for the best?!” Slightly closer… a male, this one familiar. Very familiar.
I froze as I nearly ran smack into someone. Myself. I nearly ran into myself. A much older version of myself. My older self had more muscles, stubble, a terrified expression on his face. Mid-thirties? I tried to see who he–I–was yelling at but all I could see was a glimpse of black hair and a glint of glasses. “This is going to destroy the world!” My older self cried out. “You are going to destroy the world!”
The bespectacled man’s reply was lost in the wind that kicked up. I then saw someone else. A woman with black hair and glasses. I couldn’t make out many features but I did see scarily icy green eyes, like mine only they seemed colder. She yelled something too but I couldn’t make out any words.
“YOU–ARE–GOING–TO–KILL–EVERYONE!” My older self screamed, pronouncing each word carefully. “FUCK IT!” He made a beeline towards something….
I then noticed a strange contraption that sat surrounded by chain link fence. There were some hoops, a sorta aqua glowing thingie to some parts of the thing, and electricity crackling through the heavy rain.
“YOU–NEED–TO–STOP–THIS!” My older self screamed as he tried climbing the fence. There was a bright flash along with agonizing screaming and what sounded like the loudest thunder in the world, crashing into my ears and sending me flying back–
And waking up on the darkening lawn of Hunters. Clifford was on his knees looking very worried. A few other students were surrounding me, some looking interested and some looking frightened. I heard someone yelling… Sam. Sam’s voice. He shoved past some of the staring kids and hauled me to my feet. He yelled something about it being rude to stare and helped me inside with Clifford following, growling at the staring students.
“I was coming back when I heard you shouting,” Sam explained once we got inside. “You fell asleep out there?”
“Y–yeah, I–I sometimes just f-f-f-fall asleep.” I still could feel the cold rain and wetness. At least on my face. No… wait, the wetness on my face was real. Tears. “Oh Watcher. Oh hell. Oh hell.”
“What happened?” Clifford asked, tugging at my sleeve.
I swallowed and nearly collapsed. I would have if Sam didn’t have a hand under my arm. “I think I saw how I die.”
Mr. Hunter remained completely silent as I told him everything about the vision. The near-blinding rain, my future self, and the lightning that seemingly hit the metal fence my future self had stupidly tried to climb.
When I finished Clifford said, “He usually relates his whole visionfuturesightthing but this time he only said one thing though he kept saying it over and over.” I blinked at that, shocked that I hadn’t been shouting the entire thing. Clifford allowed a dramatic pause before, “He kept shouting over and over ‘You are going to destroy the world’.”
Sam confirmed that that’s all he heard. “I just wanted to get him away from everyone, though, so I assumed I tuned other stuff out.”
Mr. Hunter folded his hands together, looking worried. “And you did not see who your future self fought with about the end of the world?” I shook my head. “Just black hair and glasses… both the male and female?”
“And pale green eyes? The same as yours?”
“Yes, sir.” I tried not to break down in tears again. I just kept seeing the lightning striking the fence, hearing the thunder, and the screaming. My screaming… Sam reached over and grabbed my wrist, squeezing in a comforting manner.
Mr. Hunter mumbled something that sounded like ‘I always thought she might’. Then he cleared his throat and stood up. “Thank you for telling me this. I am so sorry that you went through this. Samuel, why don’t you take him back to your dorm for some sleep. If you’re not feeling better in the morning, Apollo, you can skip your first class and sleep in.”
The three of us got up and left the office. Clifford licked my cheek slowly. “You okay, Apollo?” His eyebrows were all furrowed in concern.
“I–I think I’ll be okay,” I lied. Clifford frowned but accepted the lie, giving my cheek another lick before hurrying off. Sam began guiding me through the school. Thankfully our dorm was only one floor up so it didn’t take too much time.
Mid-thirties, maybe early forties. Thirty more years at most… I got on my bed, body shaking, stomach churning. Sam said something but I didn’t hear it. I just kept replaying the scene over and over.
“Apollo!” I jerked a bit and turned my gaze to a glaring Sam. “You can change things, right? Don’t climb the fence! Hell, don’t even go out in that storm!” I just rolled over, facing the wall. I heard him typing something out on his phone, the quiet clicky sounds that his smartphone made. Then, “Look at this, more people survive lightning strikes than die. Look!” He thrust his phone in front of my face. “Four out of five people.”
“That means one out of five die,” I said flatly. I could hear the screaming again.
“You don’t even know if it hit you. Maybe you jumped off the fence before it hit.”
“Maybe pigs fly.”
“You know, last year Blake snuck over to one of the mortals’ farm and enchanted all the pigs to float around.”
“….” I sat up, a bit curious. “What happened? Did he get caught?” I hadn’t formally met Blake Rice yet, one of my winged classmates, but I knew he liked playing practical jokes.
Sam shrugged. “Yeah. He thought it was so funny he was still there laughing when the farmer got up. Mr. Hunter was contacted and Blake got in a lot of trouble, especially since one of the pigs got sick from stress. Blake had to help out on the farm every Saturday for two months. Can you imagine him, standing in manure and mucking out stalls?”
My lips twitched. “I bet he hated that.”
“He was so mad but not mad enough to stop doing stupid tricks.” Sam gave me a very gentle smile. “You know, Mr. Hunter seemed to know the woman you mentioned. Maybe he’ll stop the whole thing before it happens. You might see future events but–how can you even tell it’ll happen?”
“I’ve seen events happen on TV, true to my dreams,” I whispered.
“Yeah but the ones you can change…? The ones you are in? You should be able to change them. I don’t believe everything is set in stone.”
I didn’t really know what to say in response to that so I remained silent. Maybe I could change it or maybe I didn’t–don’t?–get struck by lightning but it felt like I did. The screaming, the crashing, the flashing. It felt… so… real.
That’s because it will happen, my brain reminded me. It felt real because it is real, or at least will be real.
Then I began thinking of what else happened. Someone trying to destroy the world. My future self seemed pretty dang sure they were going to destroy the world. How? How could someone do that…? S’not like it partially was attempted before. Ah yes. The magic-user wanting to get rid of almost everyone and take over the world and all that.
My father had died saving like, most the world.
Was I destined to do the same…?