Chapter One

 

Annabelle Charles wasn’t a bad girl. Or should I say angel?

She was perfectly sweet to everyone. Well, if you include just herself.

So this is Annabelle’s story…

 

The Day Annabelle Died

            “Annie! Cross the street for me honey! You can do it! Come on! Come on!” Annabelle Charles’ mother beckoned her little five-year-old across the street.

            Annabelle’s mother was all the way across the busy street and she had just taught Annabelle to walk across it on her own. Annabelle was scared, but reluctant to reveal her insecurity. So, to get rid of it, Annabelle walked over to the 7Eleven a few sidewalk squares away.

            Entering the store, Annabelle could already hear her mother yelling, “Annabelle! Bad girl! Come back to Mummy!”

            Annabelle walked right over to an unoccupied cash register and climbed onto the counter. She started banging on the register and pressing all the buttons until, finally, a little bang and some smoke came from the register. She had broken it. Annabelle smiled.

            “Annabelle! Little girl come here!” Mummy yelled.

            Annabelle crawled right off the counter and over to the occupied register. She bit into a man’s leg and he screamed. The customer ran away before sliding her credit card and threw her bags on the floor from fright.

            Annabelle clung to the man’s leg as he started running wildly, dragging his foot behind him. Mummy was getting nearer, so Annabelle let go of the man and ran to the aisle of sweets. She ran to the back where the Slurpees were located and she jumped onto the counter.

            Annabelle pressed on the button for a long time until she realized the bin was all out of cherry. She put her mouth under the Blue Raspberry nozzle and pressed on it. She must’ve drunken half the bin.

            “Annabelle!” Mummy screeched. She snatched Annabelle from the counter and carried her squirming daughter outside. At the curb, Mummy put Annabelle down and held her daughters hand firmly and began walking across the street. Cars screeched to halts and Annabelle pulled hard on Mummy’s hand, pointing a ‘pretty’ Cadillac.

            “Look, Mummy, look at the pwetty Cadiwac,” Annabelle said. “MUMMY LOOK!” Annabelle demanded loudly.

            The honks erupted and the Cadillac lurched forward. “ANNABELLE!” Mummy screamed.

            And then Annabelle was blasted with pain. She screamed, but too late. She was dead.

            Mummy mourned. She grieved. She regretted handling her little baby too harshly. Annabelle was rushed to the hospital but it was no use. Her heart faltered right after all the tubes and needles were stuck into her. Mummy kissed Annabelle’s head and blessed her with motherly love. It was the only way Mummy was sure her baby would be sent to the Lord.

 

Present Time In Heaven

Annabelle shook her head slowly at her outfit in the mirror; her white tank top was too long, she wanted to show her belly button, her jeans were too casual, she should just use short-shorts, and her black moon necklace was too…fallen angel-like.

            Shaking out her golden hair from its ponytail, Annabelle took her white tank top off and cut it just enough that it’d be a few inches above her belly button. She wriggled out of her jeans and slid on olive green shorts and stepped into her white flats. She took out her yellow star necklace and unclipped her black moon one.

            “Perfect.” Annabelle grinned her beautiful smile.

            “Annie, come on!” Annabelle’s friend Stelle prompted her.

            “I’m finished and coming, geez, Stelle.” Annabelle growled. Stelle was an Italian name, meaning ‘star.’ Annabelle was partially cold to Stelle because she had such a beautiful name.

            “Pardon me.” Stelle growled back. Stelle was wearing a white mini-dress that when down just above her knees. Pearls lined the straps and the hem of the dress. Annabelle mentally sighed and realized how beautiful Stelle looked. Like a real star.

            Annabelle hissed like a cat and then pushed herself in front of Stelle. They entered the temple together and many waiting angels were staring as they walked down the aisle and slid into their seats.

            “Thank you for finally joining us dears.” the head angel, Muriel, smiled kindly. Her tone was sincere and she didn’t sound like she was trying to acknowledge the rudeness of Annabelle and Stelle’s arrival.

            The friends nodded.

            “This Friday is the day of Deciding. Does any Virgin Marys know what the date of Friday is?” Muriel continued in her musical voice.

            Many Virgin Marys raised their hands (Virgin Marys are like juniors in high school, they are one step away from becoming Living Christs. Living Christs are like seniors. Disciples are sophomores and just Angels are freshman).

            “Yes, Becki.” Muriel called on a pretty dirty blonde in the back.

            “The 26th of the Month of Danger.” Becki answered smoothly.

            “Excellent. You all know quite well, I’m sure, that the Month of Danger is the month to be most careful and cautious of your actions. Even angels are not perfect, my dears. Remember, our Lord is coming this Friday and he will be sending some to fall. I’m sorry but I cannot give any hints of who shall be falling.

“I want you all to know I love you. You are my children and I am your mother. For now, I am the closest angel to Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow. Mary will be filled with grief when her sons and daughters begin to fall.” Muriel explained. Her face saddened as she asked her next question. “Do any Virgin Marys know what next month will be?”
            Again, Becki raised her hand, but this time, Tommy was called on. “The Month of Mourning.” he said in a deep, attractive voice.

Annabelle turned her head and gave a thumbs-up and winked. He blew a kiss to her (yes, they’re together) and she caught it. Muriel cleared her throat.

Immediately, the couple turned their attention to the front. “Correct. Excellent job, Thomas. Next month, we will all go into mourning for three and a half weeks. We will all eat one meal a day.”

The crowd of angels nodded solemnly.

“I wanted to know if any angel had a question about the Day of Deciding, that’s why I called this meeting.” Muriel lifted her beautiful head.

No angel raised their hands. Annabelle picked at her French manicured nails. Stelle kept her full attention on Muriel.

“None? Okay, well, my dears, you may all go back to your houses, rooms, apartments, condos, trailers, or many places I have left out. I love you and God bless.” Muriel smiled. A tear rolled down her cheek and looked straight at Annabelle.

Something about Muriel always weakened Annabelle’s knees and made her feel powerless, so Annabelle smiled.

Muriel smiled sadly this time and called to Annabelle. “Beware of your regularities.” Muriel walked away.

Annabelle was left puzzled and worried. She simply shook it off and set out to her room, but instead of walking all the way over there, she instead started calling for red paints and super glue. In her outstretched hands appeared super glue and Dutch Boy paint. Smiling, Annabelle set off for her math teacher’s office.

 

Annabelle took the Dutch Boy paint bucket and poured the red paint all over the math teacher’s desk until it was all gone. She then put super glue on the seat and glued his favorite pencil to the desk.

            Grinning deviously, Annabelle had totally forgotten Muriel’s warning. She wiped her hands on her jeans and zapped back to her room. Stelle was lying on the couch reading a GL magazine innocently. “We have to go shopping. I really want some yellow tights.” Stelle gushed.

            “Done.” Annabelle nodded. She collapsed onto her bed and then got up again. She laid out her clothes for Friday. White Gap jeans and a white collared shirt with a dark blue sweater-vest over it.

            “Don’t forget we have to wear our Apostles pendant.” Stelle yawned. The meeting had started at 8:30 and ended at 9:00, so plenty of angels were getting ready for bed. It was 9:30 at the moment and Stelle had already changed into her orange satin pajamas.

            “Right.” Annabelle nodded. She was somehow nervous about the Falling Angels ritual, but she knew that she wasn’t going to be picked to fall. It was impossible.

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Chapter One

 

Annabelle Charles wasn’t a bad girl. Or should I say angel?

She was perfectly sweet to everyone. Well, if you include just herself.

So this is Annabelle’s story…

 

The Day Annabelle Died

            “Annie! Cross the street for me honey! You can do it! Come on! Come on!” Annabelle Charles’ mother beckoned her little five-year-old across the street.

            Annabelle’s mother was all the way across the busy street and she had just taught Annabelle to walk across it on her own. Annabelle was scared, but reluctant to reveal her insecurity. So, to get rid of it, Annabelle walked over to the 7Eleven a few sidewalk squares away.

            Entering the store, Annabelle could already hear her mother yelling, “Annabelle! Bad girl! Come back to Mummy!”

            Annabelle walked right over to an unoccupied cash register and climbed onto the counter. She started banging on the register and pressing all the buttons until, finally, a little bang and some smoke came from the register. She had broken it. Annabelle smiled.

            “Annabelle! Little girl come here!” Mummy yelled.

            Annabelle crawled right off the counter and over to the occupied register. She bit into a man’s leg and he screamed. The customer ran away before sliding her credit card and threw her bags on the floor from fright.

            Annabelle clung to the man’s leg as he started running wildly, dragging his foot behind him. Mummy was getting nearer, so Annabelle let go of the man and ran to the aisle of sweets. She ran to the back where the Slurpees were located and she jumped onto the counter.

            Annabelle pressed on the button for a long time until she realized the bin was all out of cherry. She put her mouth under the Blue Raspberry nozzle and pressed on it. She must’ve drunken half the bin.

            “Annabelle!” Mummy screeched. She snatched Annabelle from the counter and carried her squirming daughter outside. At the curb, Mummy put Annabelle down and held her daughters hand firmly and began walking across the street. Cars screeched to halts and Annabelle pulled hard on Mummy’s hand, pointing a ‘pretty’ Cadillac.

            “Look, Mummy, look at the pwetty Cadiwac,” Annabelle said. “MUMMY LOOK!” Annabelle demanded loudly.

            The honks erupted and the Cadillac lurched forward. “ANNABELLE!” Mummy screamed.

            And then Annabelle was blasted with pain. She screamed, but too late. She was dead.

            Mummy mourned. She grieved. She regretted handling her little baby too harshly. Annabelle was rushed to the hospital but it was no use. Her heart faltered right after all the tubes and needles were stuck into her. Mummy kissed Annabelle’s head and blessed her with motherly love. It was the only way Mummy was sure her baby would be sent to the Lord.

 

Present Time In Heaven

Annabelle shook her head slowly at her outfit in the mirror; her white tank top was too long, she wanted to show her belly button, her jeans were too casual, she should just use short-shorts, and her black moon necklace was too…fallen angel-like.

            Shaking out her golden hair from its ponytail, Annabelle took her white tank top off and cut it just enough that it’d be a few inches above her belly button. She wriggled out of her jeans and slid on olive green shorts and stepped into her white flats. She took out her yellow star necklace and unclipped her black moon one.

            “Perfect.” Annabelle grinned her beautiful smile.

            “Annie, come on!” Annabelle’s friend Stelle prompted her.

            “I’m finished and coming, geez, Stelle.” Annabelle growled. Stelle was an Italian name, meaning ‘star.’ Annabelle was partially cold to Stelle because she had such a beautiful name.

            “Pardon me.” Stelle growled back. Stelle was wearing a white mini-dress that when down just above her knees. Pearls lined the straps and the hem of the dress. Annabelle mentally sighed and realized how beautiful Stelle looked. Like a real star.

            Annabelle hissed like a cat and then pushed herself in front of Stelle. They entered the temple together and many waiting angels were staring as they walked down the aisle and slid into their seats.

            “Thank you for finally joining us dears.” the head angel, Muriel, smiled kindly. Her tone was sincere and she didn’t sound like she was trying to acknowledge the rudeness of Annabelle and Stelle’s arrival.

            The friends nodded.

            “This Friday is the day of Deciding. Does any Virgin Marys know what the date of Friday is?” Muriel continued in her musical voice.

            Many Virgin Marys raised their hands (Virgin Marys are like juniors in high school, they are one step away from becoming Living Christs. Living Christs are like seniors. Disciples are sophomores and just Angels are freshman).

            “Yes, Becki.” Muriel called on a pretty dirty blonde in the back.

            “The 26th of the Month of Danger.” Becki answered smoothly.

            “Excellent. You all know quite well, I’m sure, that the Month of Danger is the month to be most careful and cautious of your actions. Even angels are not perfect, my dears. Remember, our Lord is coming this Friday and he will be sending some to fall. I’m sorry but I cannot give any hints of who shall be falling.

“I want you all to know I love you. You are my children and I am your mother. For now, I am the closest angel to Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow. Mary will be filled with grief when her sons and daughters begin to fall.” Muriel explained. Her face saddened as she asked her next question. “Do any Virgin Marys know what next month will be?”
            Again, Becki raised her hand, but this time, Tommy was called on. “The Month of Mourning.” he said in a deep, attractive voice.

Annabelle turned her head and gave a thumbs-up and winked. He blew a kiss to her (yes, they’re together) and she caught it. Muriel cleared her throat.

Immediately, the couple turned their attention to the front. “Correct. Excellent job, Thomas. Next month, we will all go into mourning for three and a half weeks. We will all eat one meal a day.”

The crowd of angels nodded solemnly.

“I wanted to know if any angel had a question about the Day of Deciding, that’s why I called this meeting.” Muriel lifted her beautiful head.

No angel raised their hands. Annabelle picked at her French manicured nails. Stelle kept her full attention on Muriel.

“None? Okay, well, my dears, you may all go back to your houses, rooms, apartments, condos, trailers, or many places I have left out. I love you and God bless.” Muriel smiled. A tear rolled down her cheek and looked straight at Annabelle.

Something about Muriel always weakened Annabelle’s knees and made her feel powerless, so Annabelle smiled.

Muriel smiled sadly this time and called to Annabelle. “Beware of your regularities.” Muriel walked away.

Annabelle was left puzzled and worried. She simply shook it off and set out to her room, but instead of walking all the way over there, she instead started calling for red paints and super glue. In her outstretched hands appeared super glue and Dutch Boy paint. Smiling, Annabelle set off for her math teacher’s office.

 

Annabelle took the Dutch Boy paint bucket and poured the red paint all over the math teacher’s desk until it was all gone. She then put super glue on the seat and glued his favorite pencil to the desk.

            Grinning deviously, Annabelle had totally forgotten Muriel’s warning. She wiped her hands on her jeans and zapped back to her room. Stelle was lying on the couch reading a GL magazine innocently. “We have to go shopping. I really want some yellow tights.” Stelle gushed.

            “Done.” Annabelle nodded. She collapsed onto her bed and then got up again. She laid out her clothes for Friday. White Gap jeans and a white collared shirt with a dark blue sweater-vest over it.

            “Don’t forget we have to wear our Apostles pendant.” Stelle yawned. The meeting had started at 8:30 and ended at 9:00, so plenty of angels were getting ready for bed. It was 9:30 at the moment and Stelle had already changed into her orange satin pajamas.

            “Right.” Annabelle nodded. She was somehow nervous about the Falling Angels ritual, but she knew that she wasn’t going to be picked to fall. It was impossible.


Chapter Two

 

 

Thursday came and went for Annabelle, and pretty soon, Friday evening had come. She and Stelle had finished their homework out of anxiety, and even double-checked their answers.

            “Let’s go, Stelle.” Annabelle announced. She pulled on the clothes she had lain out on Wednesday night. Clipping on her Apostles pendant lazily, Annabelle glanced over at Stelle.

            Stelle was wearing white Capris and a white tank top with a light, pink-pearl colored sweater on top. “You look fine, Annabelle.” Stelle smiled.

            Annabelle smiled back graciously. “You, too, Stelle.”

            “Thanks.” Stelle blushed. The girls linked arms and walked to the temple.

 

“Thank you all for joining us today, daughters and sons. The Lord is present this fine evening, as you see, and his light is flowing through us all.” Muriel walked out and bowed at the altar, then folded her hands together.

            “Amen.” the crowd muttered.

            A bright light coming from the tabernacle glowed throughout the room. Gold glitter sprinkled angels’ wings and made their hair shimmer. Many laughed with joy.

            “My children,” bellowed a deep voice. “My children, welcome. Welcome to my church. Today we gather together for the ones who have not honored me to fall. I have a list for my high daughter, Muriel. I love you all, even those who fall. I am watching your every move, sons and daughters. I know everything about you.”

            The light flashed, practically blinding Annabelle and Stelle, and a piece of paper floated down into Muriel’s hands.

            She could barely stifle her gasp. “When…I read your name…please come to me immediately. I will count to 3 and you can squeeze my hand as hard as you want. At 3, you jump and you begin falling.”

            “Hills, Geoffrey,” Muriel began. Every time someone’s name was called, they’d jump and scream.  “Richards, Christina…(scream)…Parker, Juliet…(scream)…Ch-Charles…Annabelle.”

            Annabelle wanted to scream, ‘WHAT?!’ but instead she stared straight ahead at Muriel. Annabelle turned to Stelle. Stelle had a bewildered look on her face, so she had heard too. It wasn’t a nightmare. It was real.

            “Charles, Annabelle.” Muriel said again, this time more smoothly.

            “C-c-coming.” Annabelle muttered. Stelle rubbed Annabelle’s hand and shook her head.

            “I don’t know what you did, but what the heck am I gonna do without you?” Stelle’s eyes watered up and eventually she started crying.

            “I love you, Stelle,” Annabelle squeezed Stelle’s hand. Tommy was at the aisle and pulled Annabelle into a passionate kiss. “And I love you too, Tommy.”

            Tommy almost laughed, but only a half-smile made its way onto his face. “Love you.” he muttered sadly.

            Annabelle walked down the aisle to Muriel, finally. “Muriel? There has to be a mistake…”

            “No mistake. I told you to watch what you do, daughter,” Muriel sighed. “I loved you Annabelle. You were the only one who understood me. You died at 5, also, and I felt like I could tell you anything. I felt as if you were my daughter, and I was your mother.”

            “Yes. I never knew well enough what it was like to have a mother.” Annabelle nodded. She remembered her mother screaming her name when she ran into the 7Eleven and when the Cadillac had run her over.

            “You have a visitor.” said an echoic voice.

            “M-mummy?” Annabelle twirled around.

            “My daughter.” a ghost-like figure floated toward Annabelle, pulling her into an embrace.

            “When did you die? How come you aren’t with me?” Annabelle asked.

            “I live at the Heavenly Village. I died a few months ago. My daughter, you really did need me these years. You are falling today and I’m afraid I’m quite disappointed. But Annie, my daughter, I still love you.” Annabelle’s mother smiled.

            “I still love you, too.” Annabelle sniffled. Her mom kissed her hair and then shoved her toward the black hole.

            “Take my hand, dearest, and let me count to 3.” Muriel held out her hand.

            Annabelle squeezed so tight she thought she heard Muriel whimper.

“3.” and Annabelle automatically jumped into the whole. Pain struck Annabelle in every possible way. Her heart ached, her side shed blood and her ankles felt as if they were broken. Her clothes were ripped from her body and her hair was contorted this way and that. Annabelle could barely feel her hands.

            Her limbs grew skinnier and she suddenly felt sleepy, maybe even drugged. Annabelle felt bags grow under her eyes. Then her hair was pulled out of her head and grew back, but instead of golden hair, she had midnight black hair, with no moon or star to sparkle it.

            Dark clothes were wrapped around Annabelle’s chest and waist and legs. Knee-length leather boots, a ripped up black skirt, and torn leather tube top with a black moon brooch stabbed into her chest. Annabelle didn’t bleed. Annabelle didn’t even feel the pain she would have felt in Heaven.

            Whump. Annabelle crashed to the ground. “Another one?” a voice cackled. The person (or dead thing?) started dragging Annabelle by her ankles. Still, no pain.

            “Welcome, Fallen Angel, to the Underworld. No, there is no fire or ice or all that crap. It’s just a smelly place but with good cooks. I see you are one of our new ones? Along with Isabella Zagala and Reise Maron. I see that Fallen Angel clothes fit you nicely.” the ‘dead-thing’ revealed himself.

            He had a bony face and it looked like he was sucking in his cheeks. His hair fell around his face loosely. On the last remark the man made, he glanced at Annabelle’s chest. Crossing her arms, Annabelle said, “What’s your name, pervert?”
            “Drew.” he laughed. “And yours?”

            “Annabelle.” Annabelle said simply.

            “I understand. Well follow me, Annabelle. Your roommate is waiting.” Drew grabbed Annabelle’s arm. Seeing it stick out like that, she noticed how visible her wrist and finger bones were, and how thin and frail the arm looked. Drew’s arm looked the same.

            Annabelle then noticed the pale white skin. It was white, but kind of warm.

            They passed bubbling purple swamps and green flowing rivers. Annabelle saw a girl that looked like Persephone, the Goddess of Springtime, sitting under a pomegranate tree, reading. Drew tugged her arm harder and Annabelle almost fell forward.

            “Careful.” Drew grumbled to me. Annabelle glared back at Drew, saying with her eyes that he had been the one to pull me first. He rolled his eyes.

 

“Now that you’re settled in, dinner is ready at 4:30 AM. Our time is different from Heaven’s. We’re up doing the night and asleep during the day. Hope you’ll get used to it soon.” Drew clapped his hands.

            Annabelle nodded to him and then grabbed her suitcase, practically shooing Drew out. She wondered how all her clothes had gotten here and how they’d all turn black and gray. Annabelle just pulled on some black sweats over her skirt and a gray jacket. If she hated black, she might as well be lazy and wear hideous clothes too.

            “Hey, you’re my new roommate?” a girl walked out of the bathroom. Annabelle was intimidated immediately.

            “Um, I guess. My name’s Annabelle.” Annabelle nodded.

            “Ah, so…angel-like. I’m Satin. Our names are changed after one week of being in the Underworld. After one week, you are for the Underworld forever. Being sent back up to Heaven is possible, but it rarely ever happens.” Satin said.

            “What will my name be?” Annabelle asked curiously. She tugged on her shirt nervously.

            “I dunno. Morticia, maybe. Coldkissa.” Satin shrugged.

            “What was your old name?” Annabelle took a step toward Satin, almost fully regaining her confidence.

            “Rainia.” Satin said. Satin was wearing a strapless, black, well, satin dress and black boots. She had a gray shrug tied around her shoulders and black hair cut to her chin. Around her neck was a silver chain with a black pentagram hanging off it.

            “What grade does the pentagram represent?” Annabelle asked.

            “Junior. You’re one, too right? You’ll get yours after dinner.” Satin didn’t let Annabelle answer.

            “Yeah, I’m a junior…did you immediately go to the um, Underworld or did you fall first?” Annabelle looked around the room.

            “I fell first. Only three Fallen Angels went straight to the Underworld. They’re the Satan Followers, as everyone calls them.” Satin’s face hardened. She glared at the ground for a moment.

            “Scary. So…what time is it?” Annabelle said.

            “You’re full of questions aren’t you? I feel like I’m being interrogated by a policeman…it’s 4:20. Ooh, we have to get to dinner in ten minutes. Better get going.” Satin stood up. She seemed to hesitate at grabbing Annabelle’s hand, but took it anyway, and tugged hard.

            Again, Annabelle almost fell forward. “Whoa.”

            “We can’t be late for dinner, especially since a bunch of new fallen angels are coming down. Blackwing will freak.” Satin started running with Annabelle.

            “Blackwing?” Annabelle raised her eyebrows.

            “The head of our whole…thing. He’s the closest thing to Vampyra.” Satin explained.

            “Vampyra? I thought you were ruled by Hades.” Annabelle frowned.

            “We were, but Vampyra trumps Hades. She was his most recent wife, too recent to be put in books. And she is not a vampire. She got her name Vampyra from Christina. She was immediately sent down from earth to the Underworld. That’s how evil she is.” Satin said, out of breath by the time she finished.

            “Wow, I never knew.” Annabelle said with surprise. Satin pulled Annabelle even faster and they burst through the doors and into the dinner hall.

            Luckily, the welcome service hadn’t start yet, so Satin and Annabelle ran down the aisle to their seats. The kids were arranged by their grades and roommates.

            Right when their butts touched the cold, glossy surface of the bench, an extremely loud voice blasted and bounced off the walls in the room. “Welcome back students, and welcome to your new home, Fallen Angels. After our meal, I will explain and answer your questions. So, eat.”

            And immediately, out of fear, the students began eating their meals. It seemed so long, and Annabelle wasn’t hungry. She spooned out mashed potatoes with some kind of red sauce on it. The food tasted odd but good. She’d have to get used to it anyway.

Chapter One

 

Annabelle Charles wasn’t a bad girl. Or should I say angel?

She was perfectly sweet to everyone. Well, if you include just herself.

So this is Annabelle’s story…

 

The Day Annabelle Died

            “Annie! Cross the street for me honey! You can do it! Come on! Come on!” Annabelle Charles’ mother beckoned her little five-year-old across the street.

            Annabelle’s mother was all the way across the busy street and she had just taught Annabelle to walk across it on her own. Annabelle was scared, but reluctant to reveal her insecurity. So, to get rid of it, Annabelle walked over to the 7Eleven a few sidewalk squares away.

            Entering the store, Annabelle could already hear her mother yelling, “Annabelle! Bad girl! Come back to Mummy!”

            Annabelle walked right over to an unoccupied cash register and climbed onto the counter. She started banging on the register and pressing all the buttons until, finally, a little bang and some smoke came from the register. She had broken it. Annabelle smiled.

            “Annabelle! Little girl come here!” Mummy yelled.

            Annabelle crawled right off the counter and over to the occupied register. She bit into a man’s leg and he screamed. The customer ran away before sliding her credit card and threw her bags on the floor from fright.

            Annabelle clung to the man’s leg as he started running wildly, dragging his foot behind him. Mummy was getting nearer, so Annabelle let go of the man and ran to the aisle of sweets. She ran to the back where the Slurpees were located and she jumped onto the counter.

            Annabelle pressed on the button for a long time until she realized the bin was all out of cherry. She put her mouth under the Blue Raspberry nozzle and pressed on it. She must’ve drunken half the bin.

            “Annabelle!” Mummy screeched. She snatched Annabelle from the counter and carried her squirming daughter outside. At the curb, Mummy put Annabelle down and held her daughters hand firmly and began walking across the street. Cars screeched to halts and Annabelle pulled hard on Mummy’s hand, pointing a ‘pretty’ Cadillac.

            “Look, Mummy, look at the pwetty Cadiwac,” Annabelle said. “MUMMY LOOK!” Annabelle demanded loudly.

            The honks erupted and the Cadillac lurched forward. “ANNABELLE!” Mummy screamed.

            And then Annabelle was blasted with pain. She screamed, but too late. She was dead.

            Mummy mourned. She grieved. She regretted handling her little baby too harshly. Annabelle was rushed to the hospital but it was no use. Her heart faltered right after all the tubes and needles were stuck into her. Mummy kissed Annabelle’s head and blessed her with motherly love. It was the only way Mummy was sure her baby would be sent to the Lord.

 

Present Time In Heaven

Annabelle shook her head slowly at her outfit in the mirror; her white tank top was too long, she wanted to show her belly button, her jeans were too casual, she should just use short-shorts, and her black moon necklace was too…fallen angel-like.

            Shaking out her golden hair from its ponytail, Annabelle took her white tank top off and cut it just enough that it’d be a few inches above her belly button. She wriggled out of her jeans and slid on olive green shorts and stepped into her white flats. She took out her yellow star necklace and unclipped her black moon one.

            “Perfect.” Annabelle grinned her beautiful smile.

            “Annie, come on!” Annabelle’s friend Stelle prompted her.

            “I’m finished and coming, geez, Stelle.” Annabelle growled. Stelle was an Italian name, meaning ‘star.’ Annabelle was partially cold to Stelle because she had such a beautiful name.

            “Pardon me.” Stelle growled back. Stelle was wearing a white mini-dress that when down just above her knees. Pearls lined the straps and the hem of the dress. Annabelle mentally sighed and realized how beautiful Stelle looked. Like a real star.

            Annabelle hissed like a cat and then pushed herself in front of Stelle. They entered the temple together and many waiting angels were staring as they walked down the aisle and slid into their seats.

            “Thank you for finally joining us dears.” the head angel, Muriel, smiled kindly. Her tone was sincere and she didn’t sound like she was trying to acknowledge the rudeness of Annabelle and Stelle’s arrival.

            The friends nodded.

            “This Friday is the day of Deciding. Does any Virgin Marys know what the date of Friday is?” Muriel continued in her musical voice.

            Many Virgin Marys raised their hands (Virgin Marys are like juniors in high school, they are one step away from becoming Living Christs. Living Christs are like seniors. Disciples are sophomores and just Angels are freshman).

            “Yes, Becki.” Muriel called on a pretty dirty blonde in the back.

            “The 26th of the Month of Danger.” Becki answered smoothly.

            “Excellent. You all know quite well, I’m sure, that the Month of Danger is the month to be most careful and cautious of your actions. Even angels are not perfect, my dears. Remember, our Lord is coming this Friday and he will be sending some to fall. I’m sorry but I cannot give any hints of who shall be falling.

“I want you all to know I love you. You are my children and I am your mother. For now, I am the closest angel to Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow. Mary will be filled with grief when her sons and daughters begin to fall.” Muriel explained. Her face saddened as she asked her next question. “Do any Virgin Marys know what next month will be?”
            Again, Becki raised her hand, but this time, Tommy was called on. “The Month of Mourning.” he said in a deep, attractive voice.

Annabelle turned her head and gave a thumbs-up and winked. He blew a kiss to her (yes, they’re together) and she caught it. Muriel cleared her throat.

Immediately, the couple turned their attention to the front. “Correct. Excellent job, Thomas. Next month, we will all go into mourning for three and a half weeks. We will all eat one meal a day.”

The crowd of angels nodded solemnly.

“I wanted to know if any angel had a question about the Day of Deciding, that’s why I called this meeting.” Muriel lifted her beautiful head.

No angel raised their hands. Annabelle picked at her French manicured nails. Stelle kept her full attention on Muriel.

“None? Okay, well, my dears, you may all go back to your houses, rooms, apartments, condos, trailers, or many places I have left out. I love you and God bless.” Muriel smiled. A tear rolled down her cheek and looked straight at Annabelle.

Something about Muriel always weakened Annabelle’s knees and made her feel powerless, so Annabelle smiled.

Muriel smiled sadly this time and called to Annabelle. “Beware of your regularities.” Muriel walked away.

Annabelle was left puzzled and worried. She simply shook it off and set out to her room, but instead of walking all the way over there, she instead started calling for red paints and super glue. In her outstretched hands appeared super glue and Dutch Boy paint. Smiling, Annabelle set off for her math teacher’s office.

 

Annabelle took the Dutch Boy paint bucket and poured the red paint all over the math teacher’s desk until it was all gone. She then put super glue on the seat and glued his favorite pencil to the desk.

            Grinning deviously, Annabelle had totally forgotten Muriel’s warning. She wiped her hands on her jeans and zapped back to her room. Stelle was lying on the couch reading a GL magazine innocently. “We have to go shopping. I really want some yellow tights.” Stelle gushed.

            “Done.” Annabelle nodded. She collapsed onto her bed and then got up again. She laid out her clothes for Friday. White Gap jeans and a white collared shirt with a dark blue sweater-vest over it.

            “Don’t forget we have to wear our Apostles pendant.” Stelle yawned. The meeting had started at 8:30 and ended at 9:00, so plenty of angels were getting ready for bed. It was 9:30 at the moment and Stelle had already changed into her orange satin pajamas.

            “Right.” Annabelle nodded. She was somehow nervous about the Falling Angels ritual, but she knew that she wasn’t going to be picked to fall. It was impossible.


Chapter Two

 

 

Thursday came and went for Annabelle, and pretty soon, Friday evening had come. She and Stelle had finished their homework out of anxiety, and even double-checked their answers.

            “Let’s go, Stelle.” Annabelle announced. She pulled on the clothes she had lain out on Wednesday night. Clipping on her Apostles pendant lazily, Annabelle glanced over at Stelle.

            Stelle was wearing white Capris and a white tank top with a light, pink-pearl colored sweater on top. “You look fine, Annabelle.” Stelle smiled.

            Annabelle smiled back graciously. “You, too, Stelle.”

            “Thanks.” Stelle blushed. The girls linked arms and walked to the temple.

 

“Thank you all for joining us today, daughters and sons. The Lord is present this fine evening, as you see, and his light is flowing through us all.” Muriel walked out and bowed at the altar, then folded her hands together.

            “Amen.” the crowd muttered.

            A bright light coming from the tabernacle glowed throughout the room. Gold glitter sprinkled angels’ wings and made their hair shimmer. Many laughed with joy.

            “My children,” bellowed a deep voice. “My children, welcome. Welcome to my church. Today we gather together for the ones who have not honored me to fall. I have a list for my high daughter, Muriel. I love you all, even those who fall. I am watching your every move, sons and daughters. I know everything about you.”

            The light flashed, practically blinding Annabelle and Stelle, and a piece of paper floated down into Muriel’s hands.

            She could barely stifle her gasp. “When…I read your name…please come to me immediately. I will count to 3 and you can squeeze my hand as hard as you want. At 3, you jump and you begin falling.”

            “Hills, Geoffrey,” Muriel began. Every time someone’s name was called, they’d jump and scream.  “Richards, Christina…(scream)…Parker, Juliet…(scream)…Ch-Charles…Annabelle.”

            Annabelle wanted to scream, ‘WHAT?!’ but instead she stared straight ahead at Muriel. Annabelle turned to Stelle. Stelle had a bewildered look on her face, so she had heard too. It wasn’t a nightmare. It was real.

            “Charles, Annabelle.” Muriel said again, this time more smoothly.

            “C-c-coming.” Annabelle muttered. Stelle rubbed Annabelle’s hand and shook her head.

            “I don’t know what you did, but what the heck am I gonna do without you?” Stelle’s eyes watered up and eventually she started crying.

            “I love you, Stelle,” Annabelle squeezed Stelle’s hand. Tommy was at the aisle and pulled Annabelle into a passionate kiss. “And I love you too, Tommy.”

            Tommy almost laughed, but only a half-smile made its way onto his face. “Love you.” he muttered sadly.

            Annabelle walked down the aisle to Muriel, finally. “Muriel? There has to be a mistake…”

            “No mistake. I told you to watch what you do, daughter,” Muriel sighed. “I loved you Annabelle. You were the only one who understood me. You died at 5, also, and I felt like I could tell you anything. I felt as if you were my daughter, and I was your mother.”

            “Yes. I never knew well enough what it was like to have a mother.” Annabelle nodded. She remembered her mother screaming her name when she ran into the 7Eleven and when the Cadillac had run her over.

            “You have a visitor.” said an echoic voice.

            “M-mummy?” Annabelle twirled around.

            “My daughter.” a ghost-like figure floated toward Annabelle, pulling her into an embrace.

            “When did you die? How come you aren’t with me?” Annabelle asked.

            “I live at the Heavenly Village. I died a few months ago. My daughter, you really did need me these years. You are falling today and I’m afraid I’m quite disappointed. But Annie, my daughter, I still love you.” Annabelle’s mother smiled.

            “I still love you, too.” Annabelle sniffled. Her mom kissed her hair and then shoved her toward the black hole.

            “Take my hand, dearest, and let me count to 3.” Muriel held out her hand.

            Annabelle squeezed so tight she thought she heard Muriel whimper.

“3.” and Annabelle automatically jumped into the whole. Pain struck Annabelle in every possible way. Her heart ached, her side shed blood and her ankles felt as if they were broken. Her clothes were ripped from her body and her hair was contorted this way and that. Annabelle could barely feel her hands.

            Her limbs grew skinnier and she suddenly felt sleepy, maybe even drugged. Annabelle felt bags grow under her eyes. Then her hair was pulled out of her head and grew back, but instead of golden hair, she had midnight black hair, with no moon or star to sparkle it.

            Dark clothes were wrapped around Annabelle’s chest and waist and legs. Knee-length leather boots, a ripped up black skirt, and torn leather tube top with a black moon brooch stabbed into her chest. Annabelle didn’t bleed. Annabelle didn’t even feel the pain she would have felt in Heaven.

            Whump. Annabelle crashed to the ground. “Another one?” a voice cackled. The person (or dead thing?) started dragging Annabelle by her ankles. Still, no pain.

            “Welcome, Fallen Angel, to the Underworld. No, there is no fire or ice or all that crap. It’s just a smelly place but with good cooks. I see you are one of our new ones? Along with Isabella Zagala and Reise Maron. I see that Fallen Angel clothes fit you nicely.” the ‘dead-thing’ revealed himself.

            He had a bony face and it looked like he was sucking in his cheeks. His hair fell around his face loosely. On the last remark the man made, he glanced at Annabelle’s chest. Crossing her arms, Annabelle said, “What’s your name, pervert?”
            “Drew.” he laughed. “And yours?”

            “Annabelle.” Annabelle said simply.

            “I understand. Well follow me, Annabelle. Your roommate is waiting.” Drew grabbed Annabelle’s arm. Seeing it stick out like that, she noticed how visible her wrist and finger bones were, and how thin and frail the arm looked. Drew’s arm looked the same.

            Annabelle then noticed the pale white skin. It was white, but kind of warm.

            They passed bubbling purple swamps and green flowing rivers. Annabelle saw a girl that looked like Persephone, the Goddess of Springtime, sitting under a pomegranate tree, reading. Drew tugged her arm harder and Annabelle almost fell forward.

            “Careful.” Drew grumbled to me. Annabelle glared back at Drew, saying with her eyes that he had been the one to pull me first. He rolled his eyes.

 

“Now that you’re settled in, dinner is ready at 4:30 AM. Our time is different from Heaven’s. We’re up doing the night and asleep during the day. Hope you’ll get used to it soon.” Drew clapped his hands.

            Annabelle nodded to him and then grabbed her suitcase, practically shooing Drew out. She wondered how all her clothes had gotten here and how they’d all turn black and gray. Annabelle just pulled on some black sweats over her skirt and a gray jacket. If she hated black, she might as well be lazy and wear hideous clothes too.

            “Hey, you’re my new roommate?” a girl walked out of the bathroom. Annabelle was intimidated immediately.

            “Um, I guess. My name’s Annabelle.” Annabelle nodded.

            “Ah, so…angel-like. I’m Satin. Our names are changed after one week of being in the Underworld. After one week, you are for the Underworld forever. Being sent back up to Heaven is possible, but it rarely ever happens.” Satin said.

            “What will my name be?” Annabelle asked curiously. She tugged on her shirt nervously.

            “I dunno. Morticia, maybe. Coldkissa.” Satin shrugged.

            “What was your old name?” Annabelle took a step toward Satin, almost fully regaining her confidence.

            “Rainia.” Satin said. Satin was wearing a strapless, black, well, satin dress and black boots. She had a gray shrug tied around her shoulders and black hair cut to her chin. Around her neck was a silver chain with a black pentagram hanging off it.

            “What grade does the pentagram represent?” Annabelle asked.

            “Junior. You’re one, too right? You’ll get yours after dinner.” Satin didn’t let Annabelle answer.

            “Yeah, I’m a junior…did you immediately go to the um, Underworld or did you fall first?” Annabelle looked around the room.

            “I fell first. Only three Fallen Angels went straight to the Underworld. They’re the Satan Followers, as everyone calls them.” Satin’s face hardened. She glared at the ground for a moment.

            “Scary. So…what time is it?” Annabelle said.

            “You’re full of questions aren’t you? I feel like I’m being interrogated by a policeman…it’s 4:20. Ooh, we have to get to dinner in ten minutes. Better get going.” Satin stood up. She seemed to hesitate at grabbing Annabelle’s hand, but took it anyway, and tugged hard.

            Again, Annabelle almost fell forward. “Whoa.”

            “We can’t be late for dinner, especially since a bunch of new fallen angels are coming down. Blackwing will freak.” Satin started running with Annabelle.

            “Blackwing?” Annabelle raised her eyebrows.

            “The head of our whole…thing. He’s the closest thing to Vampyra.” Satin explained.

            “Vampyra? I thought you were ruled by Hades.” Annabelle frowned.

            “We were, but Vampyra trumps Hades. She was his most recent wife, too recent to be put in books. And she is not a vampire. She got her name Vampyra from Christina. She was immediately sent down from earth to the Underworld. That’s how evil she is.” Satin said, out of breath by the time she finished.

            “Wow, I never knew.” Annabelle said with surprise. Satin pulled Annabelle even faster and they burst through the doors and into the dinner hall.

            Luckily, the welcome service hadn’t start yet, so Satin and Annabelle ran down the aisle to their seats. The kids were arranged by their grades and roommates.

            Right when their butts touched the cold, glossy surface of the bench, an extremely loud voice blasted and bounced off the walls in the room. “Welcome back students, and welcome to your new home, Fallen Angels. After our meal, I will explain and answer your questions. So, eat.”

            And immediately, out of fear, the students began eating their meals. It seemed so long, and Annabelle wasn’t hungry. She spooned out mashed potatoes with some kind of red sauce on it. The food tasted odd but good. She’d have to get used to it anyway.

Chapter X

 

When the news of Dawn’s departure reached Conner after he stepped out of his uncle’s bedchamber, he was devastated.

  “What?” he said.

  “I am sorry, sir.” the servant bowed and left quickly to inform the other servants and kitchen hands.

  “Gone…?” Conner fell against the wall. “Oh, good gracious.” he said bitterly.

  “Oh, I do hope you’re happy, Conner,” Austin spat the name. “My plan is rotten now.”

  “Plan?” Conner stared into his younger brother’s eyes.

  “Yes, plan! But it’s ruined, because of you! I need Dawn.” Austin sighed annoyingly and loudly.

  “I suppose I am sorry, then, Brother.” Conner bowed his head.

  “How is uncle?” Austin asked quickly.

  “Not well. I do not suppose he will be living much longer.” Conner said gravely.

  “Excellent,” Austin said under his breath and grinned. “Devastating indeed.”

  “Yes,” Conner’s voice cracked. “Mother ordered me the clean out Dawn’s chamber. Good day, Brother.”

  “Don’t turn into a peasant, High Brother!” Austin called after him.

 

When Conner finished Dawn’s bedchamber, which was quite soon because Dawn mostly slept with her was-to-be husband, he picked up Ruby and told her the news.

   What? She’s gone? I don’t believe it. What had gotten into her?

  “I am not sure, Ruby. We shall live, though. I do have duties to take my mind off her. I will miss her, but I suppose she’s just another bride that rejected the coldness of my brother.” Conner said.

  I agree. I know you…liked her, Conner. But at least you still have me. Ruby licked the side of Conner’s face.

  “Yes.” Conner said simply. He began to stand, and Ruby slid off his lap.

  Perhaps she will come back to visit? Ruby asked.

  “Perhaps…” Conner nodded and held out his arm for Ruby to scurry up on.

  Do not act like this forever. You have duties, and you mustn’t hide yourself from the people that enjoy your presence. You should visit your mother everyday, your uncle twice, make newsletters to the town once a week, and make sure you get every meal. Speaking of newsletters, I believe you should make one about Dawn. The people have the right to know. Ruby soon gave Conner plenty to do.

  “Thank you. I shall get on to that now.” Conner hurried to the castle and began his work. He knew he would soon forget about Dawn, and plus, he had much to do, much to catch up on. And he also needed to keep a watchful eye on his little brother Austin.

  So Conner began the rest of his life, without Princess Dawn of Bluesky Valley.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Years Later


Chapter XI

 

Prince Conner woke up that morning and found his ferret, Ruby, snoozing by his feet. He turned to put on his morning glasses and fetch his robe.

  “Good morning, Chris.” Conner bowed quickly to his chamber servant.

  “Good morning,” Christopher bowed back slowly. “How are you?”

  “Quite tired.” Conner slipped on his velvet robe and let Ruby climb up to his shoulder.

  “This was dropped off by your door this morning.” Chris bent and picked up something that looked like a picture frame.

  “I was expecting it.” Conner nodded and took the picture frame. He turned it over to see the picture. It was of a beautiful girl, with jet black and white highlights you could barely see. Her deep blue eyes were, well, deep and dark. Her lips were in a straight line. She was simply beautiful.

  It was Princess Dawn. Conner had not forgotten as he had hoped he would.

 

“’Morning, Brother.” Conner said to his younger brother, Prince Austin.

  “Good morning.” Austin did not look at Conner, for he was too occupied with his new fiancée, Princess Sabrina of Greater Greenfields.

  “Good morning, Conner!” Sabrina chirped joyfully.

  “Good morning, Sabrina.” Conner said calmly. Prince Austin was still rude, cold-hearted, and mean, don’t forget that, but Sabrina had distracted him, so he didn’t have time to be rude.

  Conner did admit, Sabrina was pretty. Her long and wavy reddish-brown hair, big brown eyes, and joyful attitude made her very nice to be around. Some people say she should have been for Conner, but Conner did not accept anymore marriage offers, to his mother’s dismay.

  Oh, I forgot about King Ray! Yes, King Ray died, and Queen Imani could not find anyone who was brave enough to rule in his place, so Conner took his duties, as a Prince and a King. Now, Queen Imani mourns over two deaths. Yes, she is still mourning over her old husband’s death.

  Conner still had Ruby and he could still talk to her. Of course Conner wasn’t happy. He hadn’t seen Dawn in three years, and the whole castle had hoped he would have. Everyday Conner walked to the very willow tree where Dawn had scraped her cheek. The branch was stained with her blood, so Conner broke off the branch and preserved it in his room above the fireplace in a glass case.

  “Mornin’ Prince Conner.” Cook Devon said.

  “Good morning, Sir.” Conner said quietly.

  “What would you like?” Devon asked.

  “What’s available?” Conner replied.

  “Eggs, bacon, pancakes, pumpkin juice, sweet rolls—”

  “I don’t want anything, thank you.” Conner interrupted abruptly and left. Ruby shrugged at Devon and jumped after Conner.

  What’s wrong, Conner? the ferret asked.

  “I feel that something will happen today.” Conner said.

  You say that everyday. It’s probably a false alarm. Ruby looked at Conner.

  “Yes…you’re right. Shall we go to the willow garden?” Conner nodded.

  Yes, of course. Ruby jumped off Conner’s hand and bounded in front of him.

 

Conner and Ruby had a picnic under the tree they called Moonlit Dawn. Moonlit, because every night the moon would shine through the leaves, and Dawn after the princess that had climbed up the tree one wonderful evening.

  Did you hear the recent news? A princess from the west just died. I believe it was one of Dawn’s sisters. Tragic, is it not? Ruby nibbled on a scone.

  “Yes, very.” Conner’s face lighted up at the mention of Dawn’s name.

  They were planning to have the funeral here. They said these gardens were more acceptable for the funeral. Plus, there’s a graveyard here also, and plenty of people from other districts are buried here. Ruby thought casually.

  “Are they?” Conner asked.

  Ruby nodded and glanced up at Conner.

  “Splendid,” Conner smiled. “Did I not tell you something was going to happen today? Oh, I do hope Dawn will be there.”

  I never said we were invited. It was Austin’s bride, not yours. I do not think Queen Imani could stand another funeral.

  “But I am in the king’s place. I should definitely be there.” Conner said arrogantly.

  Now don’t get haughty, Conner. You still are considered the rank of a prince, you know. Ruby warned.

  Conner sighed. “I will be there, Ruby. I will.”

  Of course you will…Ruby grumbled.


Chapter XII

 

Princess Dawn began to dress in her black clothes. Her step-sister Martha had died of a terrible sickness last night, and to Dawn’s dismay, the funeral was being held at a neighboring kingdom. That neighboring kingdom was where Prince Austin’s family resided.

  Dawn was also engaged with another prince. It was arranged, and she did not think she could come to love the man, which Crimson, her pet raccoon, confirmed.

  I know you still remember him. Crimson said.

  “Well of course I do. He was the only man there that I would’ve been able to come to love!” Dawn exploded. She pulled her black dress over her head and tied the gold rope around her waist. She then braided a few strands of her hair and then laced up her black boots. 

  “Miss Dawn, it is time to go. They are loading the coffin into the carriage now. Please come quickly.” Dawn’s servant called through the door.

  “Coming.” Dawn sighed.

  “Quickly, now.”

  “I said I was coming.” Dawn snapped. She hurried out of her bedchamber and joined her other family members.

  Queen Aria was weeping and her second husband had his arms wrapped around her and his face was buried in her hair.

  “Mother, Scott.” Dawn curtsied twice, once to each. Scott was Dawn’s step-father; Aria had lost her first husband in a war.

  “Dawn, will you please start thinking of Scott as your father?” Queen Aria said between sobs.

  “Mother, I only love one father, and that was my real father. Give it up already.” Dawn kept her head high and shot King Scott a hateful look. He didn’t notice, just kept his face in his wife’s hair.

  “Fine!” Queen Aria sobbed harder. Dawn joined her favorite sister, Emilie.

  “Good afternoon, Dawn.” Emilie sighed.

  “Emilie, I know you’re sad. I am, too. But I’m still worried about going to Austin’s kingdom.” Dawn wrapped one arm around her sister’s waist.

  “It’s okay, Dawn. You’ll get through it. Did you get the black roses?” Emilie asked.

  “Yes. Here is yours.” Dawn pinned a small black rose to Emilie’s chest.

  “Thank you.” Emilie nodded and embraced Dawn.

  Dawn hugged back and whispered, “It’s going to be all right. Martha will be taken to Heaven and rejoice with our Lord.” but that wasn’t what Dawn was worried about.

 

On the way to Queen Imani’s kingdom, Dawn, Queen Aria, and Emilie were put in a carriage together. Emilie had her arm around her mother’s shoulders as she cried on Emilie’s shoulder.

  “Mother, calm down. You’re supposed to cry at the funeral, not before hand.” Dawn rubbed Aria’s knee.

  “I know, I know.” Aria nodded sadly.

  “It’s okay, Mother. Martha’s okay. Her spirit still lives.” Emilie comforted.

  “Thank you, Emilie.” Aria lifted her head and sat up straight, dabbing her eyes.

  “It’s true, though.” Dawn agreed. Dawn remembered Crimson on her lap, who was snoozing. He planned to stay awake for the ceremony, but Dawn really needed to talk to him; she poked his stomach twice, but Crimson didn’t budge. Dawn picked him up, lifted him a few inches above her lap, and then dropped him.

  Ahhh, Dawn! Don’t do that! You could’ve given me a heart attack.

  We need to talk. Dawn thought to Crimson.

  You’re still worried about Conner aren’t you?

  Don’t say his name! Dawn winced.

  Sorry. Crimson apologized feebly. Just try to ignore him. I’ll keep my eye on him throughout the ceremony. Anyways, who knows, he might not be there.

  I hope so. But I’m sure he’s eager to see me. Wouldn’t you agree? Dawn looked at Crimson’s deep black eyes.

  Perhaps. Crimson nodded thoughtfully. How much longer?

  “I think we’re almost there…yes, there’s the castle.” Dawn said aloud to everyone, including Crimson.

  Aria sniffed and said, “I shall be strong. Let us join the family who is hosting this sad funeral.”

  “Good, Mother. Just calm yourself. You can get through this.” Dawn nodded.

  Emilie nodded at Dawn, and they stepped out of the carriage together, linking arms. “This is so sad.” Emilie noted.

  “So you noticed.” Dawn said sarcastically.

  “Dawn, this is serious.” Emilie said.

  “Sorry, I’m just worried.” Dawn looked across the flowery garden. The sky was gray and it was cold and windy. Emilie and Dawn parted and took Queen Aria between them.

  “Mother, it’s going to be okay. Don’t worry.” Emilie said for the millionth time.

  “I think she knows, Emilie.” Dawn said.

  “Dawn, remember, serious.” Emilie hissed.

  Dawn looked down and gave Emilie an apologetic look.

  “Girls, don’t get in a fight. Not when the Lord is going to take a body into heaven. Not when He’s going to be here.” Aria scolded.

  “Sorry, Mother.” the sisters mumbled.

  “Ah, I see the gathering! Such a small royal family this kingdom has. The castle is bigger than ours, yet they only have three people.” Aria exclaimed.

  “Yes.” Dawn agreed and searched for the gathering. Sure enough, Dawn saw the back of Queen Imani, Prince Austin, and the back of a princess Dawn did not recognize. Prince Conner seemed to not have arrived.

  Speaking of Princes, Dawn’s betrothed could not make it, which was good, because Dawn did not want to see Conner’s hurt face.

  “Queen Imani!” Aria gushed and hugged Austin’s mother.

  “Welcome, Aria,” Imani smiled hugged back. “I am terribly sorry for the loss of your loved one.”

  “Do not worry. Martha’s spirit still lives. This is my eldest daughter, Emilie.” Aria stepped aside and brought Emilie forward.

  “Good afternoon, Emilie,” Imani hugged Dawn’s sister. “I am sorry about Martha.”

  “It’s a pleasure to meet you. It’s all right, Imani. It was going to happen someday.” Emilie smiled sadly.

  “Dawn! A pleasure to see you again.” Imani shook Dawn’s hand.

  “Hello, Imani.” Dawn smiled weakly.

  “Austin, Dawn is here.” Imani tugged at her son’s sleeve.

  “Dawn! Hello, Dawn. Welcome back!” Austin turned and greeted Dawn eagerly.

  “Who’s this?” Dawn shook Austin’s hand and looked to the princess.

  “This is my new wife, Sabrina.” Austin grinned at Princess Sabrina.

  “Hello, Dawn.” Sabrina smiled warmly and met Dawn with a hug.

  “It’s so nice to meet you. I’ve been wondering who Austin’s new bride was.” Dawn couldn’t help but return the smile.

  “I am so sorry about your step-sister. It must be hard for you.” Sabrina said sympathetically.

  “Don’t worry, Sabrina,” Dawn nodded solemnly. “Has Conner joined another kingdom? I haven’t seen him anywhere.”

  “I was sure you were going to ask about him. He’s coming down right now.” Austin looked as if it were a bad thing.

  Dawn eagerly turned to see the tall and handsome Prince Conner walking across the field with his hands in his pockets. Dawn could see an animal on Conner’s shoulder.

  It’s Ruby! Crimson said excitedly.

  “Oh, it is!” Dawn whispered.

  I haven’t seen you this excited since you were ten-years-old when you met me. Crimson noted.

  Dawn ignored the comment and turned when Conner started lifting his head from watching the ground. Queen Imani met King Scott and the other daughters and when Conner arrived, Dawn ran off to the other side of the gathering to meet the servants and to greet them.

  Dawn watched Conner meet Emilie, and saw him look admiringly at her. Dawn almost panicked, but then reminded herself that she wasn’t in love with him.

  I can tell you envy Emilie. Crimson bared his teeth in a grinning way.

  “Hush up.” Dawn hissed.

  Crimson quieted and the ceremony began. Dawn took her place beside between Aria and her other step-sister, Lina.

  There were prayers and each person from Martha’s family gave a small speech about her. Dawn had said, “Martha was a sweet girl. She was very generous, and helped the servants out in the garden without being asked. She would do things for my family and I. I wish she was still alive.”

  “Thank you, Dawn. Lina, would you please say yours.” the minister asked.

  Dawn was silent and listened to her step-sister’s speech, which was more heartfelt and long. Dawn felt tears coming on, but not because of her dear sister, because of Conner. She wanted him by her side more than anything, right then and there, but she didn’t. She didn’t want him to love her, but she realized she loved him. Crimson nuzzled Dawn’s neck in a comforting way, and Dawn looked down at her hands. I love him, she thought just as the gathering departed for lemonade and food.

  Dawn look. Crimson said urgently.

  Dawn looked up to see Austin pulling Conner by his neck ferociously farther away from the gathering. “Come on.” Dawn began to walk quickly over to Austin and Conner. She listened closely behind a tree.

  “Your time has come, Conner.” Austin said.

  “What do you mean?” Conner growled. It didn’t sound like a question at all.

  “What part of ‘your time has come’ don’t you understand?” Austin asked coldly.

  “Never mind. Well, I don’t think you can do it.

  Crimson. Dawn whined in her head.

  We can’t do anything. Just listen, but if you can’t bare it, I’ll tell you what happened. Crimson said sadly.

  No. Dawn thought simply.

  “Conner, I could’ve done this when Uncle died. I was the one who killed him. I was the one who poisoned his food. It was me. And I killed Father.” Austin said.

  “Y-you?” Conner’s voice was weaker and horrified.

  “Yes, I.” Austin said. Dawn heard him pull something out of his back pocket.

  “Austin, why are you doing those things? Why are you doing this?” Conner asked, and Dawn heard him fall back onto a tree.

  “Power,” Austin said with an obvious tone. “I will kill Sabrina by the time I’m king anyway. No one can rule with me. I rule alone.”

  “Power? What can you do with power?” Conner asked with his voice cracking.

  “Everything.” Austin stepped forward, holding whatever it was in his hand, which was raised above his head.

  “Austin, please. Please, no. Are you going to kill Mother, too?”

  “Of course. I shall rule faster.” Austin stepped again.

  “Austin! Austin, no!” Conner pleaded. “Austin—!”

 “Any last words?” Austin asked frostily.

  “Dawn!” and then Conner’s voice was cut off by a slicing noise and Dawn’s scream.

  “CONNER!” she screamed. “AUSTIN WHAT DID YOU DO?”
  “I did what I had to.” he had a bloody knife in his hand

  “CONNER, NO!” Dawn screamed. Crimson was hissing and chirping at Austin.

  “Get that filth away from me!” Austin said.

  “NO!” Dawn cried. “No…”

  “Aw, is the poor girl sad that her love is dead?” Austin asked.

  “AUSTIN, I HATE YOU!” Dawn screamed. She lay her sobbing self over Conner’s limp body.

  “Um, I already know that.” Austin looked over at Dawn. He stroked his chin thoughtfully, and then raised his knife.

   “NO!” Queen Aria screamed, but it was too late. Austin plunged the knife into Dawn’s back, and the couple lay on top of each other, dead.

  “AUSTIN!” Queen Aria tore the knife from Austin’s hand and raised it.

  “No, please, no.” Austin fell to his knees, begging.

  “Aria!” Imani yelled surprised. She looked at Austin who’s hand were covered in blood, and then she saw Conner and Dawn. “Austin…?”

  “Yes!” Aria dropped the knife and began crying. “Austin did it.”

  “Austin!” Imani glared at Austin. “You are no son of mine.” she grabbed Austin’s collar and dragged him to the court room.

  Aria lay sobbing on the ground with the bloody knife next to her. She peered at Dawn and Conner. There was Crimson, weeping small tears.

  “Crimson…” Aria started and dried her eyes, but still the tears rolled down.

  Can you hear me? Crimson asked.

  “Yes.” Aria breathed. She grabbed Crimson onto her lap. Ruby crept over and joined the queen and Crimson.

  Can you hear me? Ruby asked.

  She can. Crimson nodded. Ruby did a quiet sigh and curled up by Crimson. The raccoon put his paw over Ruby, looking like he was taking her as his.

  “My daughter…my son-in-law…” Aria cried.

  Many spirits’ bodies have been taken. Today has been a sad day. May our loved ones rest in peace. Ruby and Crimson thought together, crying.

  “Yes…” Aria nodded, and began sobbing.

 

The End


Prince Austin was sentenced to death by his own mother. He was beheaded in front of a crowd, throwing tomatoes and rocks at him. Queen Imani showed no mercy, when he was. She is in mourning, and believes she will never leave it. Queen Imani does not rule alone. She joined Queen Aria and her family in Bluesky Valley. Bluesky Valley is the first kingdom to be ruled by two women.

For Dawn and Conner, they were another Romeo and Juliet.

 

Chapter 1

 

Brooke Gonzalez sat up in her bed and pulled on her clothes. It was the second day of school and she needed to make an entrance. Yesterday didn’t go well; first, Brooke’s friend Amber broke her mom’s favorite cheetah print heels on the edge of a locker (I know, what the hell?), and then Tess slipped on the waxed floor in her flats and fell on her butt. Brooke stayed perfect and strutted in the halls, trying to ignore the fatality of her friends.

  “Brooke, Vatina is coming up with your breakfast.” Mrs. Gonzalez said through Brooke’s door. 

  “Ugh,” Brooke groaned back through the door. “Ugh, whatever.”

  “Brooke, your eggs and whole wheat pancakes!” Vat came inside.

  “Knock, Vat!” Brooke screeched at her face.

  “Sorry, Brooke.” Vat bowed quickly and left.

  “Whatever.” Brooke rolled her eyes. She ate one bite them shoved the plate onto the floor, ignoring the mess.

  She brushed her teeth then pulled on her flip-flops.

  “’Morning, Brooke.” her mother said in her Spanish-accent.

  “’Morning,” Brooke said dully. “I seriously don’t approve of the school bus. We deserve to have a high-class double-decker. I simply don’t understand why Dad can’t drive me school either.”

  “Brooke, there’s no need to even go to school in a bus! You can just walk on the dirt-road! So bus, or no bus, your choice, pequeño estimado.” Mrs. Gonzalez said.

  “Mom, please don’t call me little dear. I’m not little any more.” Brooke groaned and grabbed her book-bag.

  “Hmm…¿Joven mujer? Mi hija? Can I call you any of those?” Brooke’s mother asked.

  “How about Brooke?” Brooke asked and stepped out of the door.

  ¡Adiós, el caramelo!” Mrs. Gonzalez called.

  “Mom, you did not just call me caramel! Ugh, oh well, bye.” Brooke blew a kiss to her mother and strutted onto the bus.

  The bus driver politely tipped his hat at Brooke then shut the doors.

  “Move!” Brooke barked at a classmate she didn’t like.

  “Good morning?” the kid moved to the next seat behind.

  “Yeah, whatever. I so care.” Brooke was amazed how her accent sounded so California-ish instead of Mexican. Brooke didn’t even live in California. She lived in New Mexico, where the dirt roads and little one stories houses were. Brooke was considered rich, with a cozy two-story house, one maid, and a single mother. Amber and Tess had big one-stories.

  “Brooke!” Amber squealed.

  “Amber, hey.” Brooke smiled politely at her friend. Amber got too excited over things.

  “You look great. Nice jeans.” Amber toned her voice down a bit and settled down next to her friend.

  “Well of course they look nice, they’re on me, duh!” Brooke rolled her eyes.

  “My bad!” Amber sarcastically hit herself in the head.

  “Whatever,” Brooke yawned. She turned her super dark brown haired head to the window to see her friend Tess walking out of her house quickly to catch the bus. “Omigod, Tess is wearing her tennis shoes again!”

  “God, does she have to be such a tom-boy?” Amber agreed.

  “I don’t know, but I’ll scold her for that.” Brooke glared as the doors opened. They needed to make a good entrance looking as beautiful as possible, yet casual. Tennis shoes were way too casual.

  “Hey guys.” Tess fell down on the seat across from Brooke’s and Amber’s.

  “Tess, I can’t believe you wore tennis shoes. You could have at least worn fancy Vans!” Brooke said.

  “I couldn’t find my Vans. My madre mala made me wear these ‘cause we were in such a hurry. I was lucky to even be ready to catch the bus.” Tess was known for using insults in Spanish as she just did, calling her mother evil.

  Brooke rolled her eyes and then threw a you-better-look-nicer-next time look at Tess.

  “Well, sorry for having strict parents.” Tess brought up her book-bag and began searching in it.

  “You’d think strict parents would have their kids dress nicely, don’t you think?” Amber put in.

  “Shut up, Amber.”

  “Whatever.”

  “Girls, calm down. Don’t make your cheeks all read before we make our entrance.” Brooke wiped her palms on her typical blue jeans.

  Amber and Tess both rolled their eyes at the same time. Brooke was always harsh and mean, but her weak side was imperfection. Brooke needed everything perfect and beautiful, and if it wasn’t, it would be held on Brooke for the rest of the year.

  “We’re almost there.” Brooke pointed out.

  “Don’t get so worked up about that stuff. It’s stupid. Everyone knows we dominate and they obey us,” Tess said.

  “Yeah, and you’re always perfect anyway.” Amber threw in.

  “Thanks, guys, you’re right. Those losers won’t ever get the chance to dominate until were gone.” Brooke nodded.

  “No problem.” Amber shook her head.

  “Well, it’s time for your ‘big entrance.’ ” Tess put quotes around ‘big entrance.’

  “Ha, ha,” Brooke smiled sarcastically. “Okay, girls. Let’s dominate!”

  “The Domination has arrived.” Tess and Amber nod.


Chapter 2

 

Tess, Brooke, and Amber jump off the bus, straighten their clothes, then start strutting to the double doors that entered into the middle school.

  Here we go! Don’t be nervous, Tess. You’ve done this so many times it’s stupid, more stupid than it was when it started. Tess thought. Her dark skin and black eyes shone as the sun bounced off.

  “Girls, let’s go!” Brooke started walking faster.

  “Chill, Brooke, we’ll get there before we die.” Tess said.

  “You’re going to die if you don’t do what I say.” Brooke growled.

  “Sorry, My Queen.” Tess said in a fake and high baby voice.

  Brooke muttered something to Amber, but Tess showed no interest. She didn’t give a darn what Brooke thought, and Tess knew that Brooke just used her ‘cause how pretty and talented Tess was with a pencil and paper. Tess had posters up all around the school, and was famous for being top yearbook editor.

  “Let’s do this.” Amber said.

  “Can we do it already and stop saying we’re going to?” Tess snapped.

  “Shut up, Tess. No one asked the female dog to speak.” Brooke said.

  “I’m not a beep, Brooke. I’m a human being with feelings.” Tess replied.

  “Aw, she has feelings. Aw, she sounds like The Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. How sweet.” Brooke smiled gleefully.

  “Brooke, shut up. We’re at the doors.” Tess slapped Brooke lightly.

  “I’m not an idiot.”

  “Maybe you are.”

  “You don’t mean that.”

  “Maybe I don’t.” Tess retorted, and Brooke replied just as cruelly.

  When the friends step across the threshold, they breathe in the scent of their middle school halls. It smelled like new shoes and magazine pages.

  Some girls chortled at Brooke in Spanish, and Tess translated for her friends: “Buenas tardes, Brooke. Bienvenido. ¿Oye, Tess, está bien su extremo?

  “Good afternoon, Brooke. Welcome back. Hey, Tess, is your butt okay?” Tess said to her friends quietly.

  “Whatever, dogs.” Brooke spat.

  The girls chortled and then began speaking to each other in rapid Spanish.

  “Beeps.” Tess rolled her eyes as if she’d seen them all.

  Is your butt okay?” Amber joked.

  “Oh, shut up.” Tess mumbled and hid her smile.

  To the girls’ pleasure, everyone was marveling at their muscular soccer legs, perfect clothes, and good facial appearances.

  Buenas tardes, girls.” a teacher that Tess didn’t remember hurried by.

  Brooke totally ignored the teacher and just walked forward as if no one was there.

  Tess and Amber quietly said, “Move.” to everyone in their way, and Brooke would give her icy stare to whoever didn’t.

  Overall, the girls did well. Much better than yesterday, and was better than last year, which was simply perfect. I guess you can go over perfect. Well, Brooke sure can.

  Tess settled down in class and the day ticked by, the girls going to separate classes, eating different foods, and thinking different thoughts.

 

When Tess arrived home she was greeted by her mother.

  Bienvenido a casa, el bebé. ¿Cómo fue su día?Mrs. Russo spoke in rapid Spanish.

  Welcome home, baby. How was your day? Tess translated in her head. “Fine, thanks, Mom.”

   Bueno. Su bienvenida. Los platos están listos, así que va seco ellos por favor. El papá volviendo a casa para cenar, así que mira su mejor, mis jóvenes uno.’’ Mrs. Russo grinned.

  Good. You’re welcome. The dishes are ready, so go dry them please. Daddy’s coming home for dinner, so look your best, my young one. “Yes, of course,” Tess nodded. Tess’s dad was divorced, but he dropped in every month or so. “And Mom?”

  Sí?” Mrs. Russo looked up.

  “You can talk in English.” Tess smiled.

  “Oh, sorry dear. I thought it made you feel at home like Mexico does,” Mrs. Russo blushed deeply and brought her hand to her chest. “Forgive me.”

  “It’s okay, Mom, chill. You’ve committed no crime.” Tess kissed her mother on the cheek and then ran off to dry off the wet dishes.

 

When Tess finished her duty, she dragged her book-bag across the carpet to the living room where her little brothers were playing.

  Buenas tardes, hijos.” Tess said in Spanish. Junior and Carlos were supposed to grow up learning Spanish, but somehow they got around to learning English, too.

  Buenas tardes.” they said in unison.

  “Be quiet ‘cause I’m doing my homework.” Tess said quickly before Carlos pressed the button on a fire truck for the siren.

  Sí.” they said again together.

  Tess laughed then started on her arithmetic. The whole time she was thinking about Brooke and Amber. Tess was more of the nicer ones of the girls. She didn’t mean any harm to the other kids at school, but Brooke’s reputation made Tess’s, so Tess just looked like another mean girl. It was like being trapped in a mean girl’s body. Tess thought “The Domination” for the group’s name was pathetic and stupid, which made sense because Amber was the one who chose. Amber’s brain was filled with cobwebs and bubble gum. A.k.a. nothing.

  Tess pitied Amber because she wasn’t smart enough to stand up for herself, and always had to take the blame for Brooke’s mess ups, which made Brooke even more perfect.

  It’s a cruel world, Tess thought. Cruel because people like Brooke live in it. Uncivilized people like Brooke.

  “Tess!” Carlos screeched.

  ¿Qué?” Tess jumped and looked at her brother.

  ¡Usted aplasta nuestro juguete del estrujón!” Junior exclaimed.

  Crushing your squeeze toy? What squeeze— “Oh. Sorry.” Tess said in English. She dropped the squeeze toy that she found in her hand. She was apparently ‘crushing’ it, or that’s what Junior said.

  Gracias.” Carlos thanked Tess calmly and began squeezing it, making sure it was okay.

  “You guys are too loud. I’m going to my room.” Tess stood up and dragged her book-bag down the hall and to the right where her room’s door was. Tess’s room was medium sized and it had one window, a huge bookshelf, a tall dresser, a closet, and a twin-size bed. Those were the main things that you noticed immediately. Tess also had a big jewelry box filled gold jewelry from her mother and grandma.

  Just as the girl was about to settle down in her chair by her desk, Tess’s phone beeped wildly.

  It was from Brooke:

 

Brooke: Tess, did U finish your homework yet?

 

Just asking for answers. Tess would give her right ones and wrong ones. More wrong than right so Brooke would get a D.

 

Tess: Yeah. Here, lemme give U the answers.

Brooke: Thanks. Mom will kill me if I fail the class.

Tess: Sure thing.

 

So Tess gave her ‘friend’ mostly wrong answers on the homework, and as she did, Tess marked the right ones on her paper. Just at the last few questions, Tess’s mom called, “Mi’jita! Daddy’s here!”

 

Tess: Gotta go. Figure the last three out yourself. My dad’s here.

 

And Tess shut her phone quickly, blocking the next messages that came from Brooke.

  “Daddy!” Tess squealed and jumped into her father’s arms.

  ¡Pastel de Cherry!” Mr. Russo hugged his daughter. He called Tess ‘cherry pie’ because when Tess was a baby, her cheeks were as red as cherries, and Tess’s favorite food had always been pie.

  Papá,” Junior and Carlos ran out of the living room and to their father.

  ¡Mis hijos! Los que yo no he visto en para siempre.” Mr. Russo grinned as he lifted the two brothers up in his strong arms.

  “How are you, Rico?” Mrs. Maria Russo asked.

  “Fine.” Mr. Rico Russo nodded and set down the boys.

  Tess picked up Carlos, the younger of the two, and walked into the kitchen. “Carlos is hungry, Ma.”

Chapter 1

 

My name is Noelle Erin Chappue. Chappue is a French name, but I’m more Irish than I am French. I’m still referred to as ‘that French girl.’ I like France better than Ireland anyway, so I don’t correct them.

  My life is boring. A typical eleven-year-old girl’s life. I’m going into fifth grade, and school starts in four days. I’m not as psyched about it anymore, but I still can hardly stand the hot summer days.

  I have blonde hair with natural highlights: gold, white (only a little), brown, black, and dark blonde and light blonde. All natural. And yes, I like spelling blonde with an ‘e.’ Then I have gray-blue eyes, the only color I could ask for. I wear glasses and braces, and still the most popular dude in class loves me. Sometimes I think I am kinda pretty. That feeling doesn’t last for long.

  My dad tells me my legs are long and muscular, thanks to basketball and track & field. My arms are finally developing muscles, which is a relief, ‘cause now I think I can challenge a boy to an arm wrestle match. My neck is long and you can see my collarbone clearly. You can see my ribs clearly, too.

  My legs are bruised, scabbed, and always has some kind of dirt on them. I hate showers, so I only take them every few days. I used to hardly ever take any, and got away with being dirty for a month! Then I thought how dirty I would be and how smelly my armpits are, and my mom also made me, so I started taking showers.

  I have no style. I don’t care. I just throw on whatever’s available. Yet, it ‘always looks good on me’ not matter what. That’s what my sister says. I do love ripped jeans and ripped tank tops over plain black t-shirts. I like those rebellious clothes, they’re so awesome. Right now I’m wearing a white t-shirt with a sun and flowers on it. It’s sorta shiny at places. My skirt is a blue plaid one. Do you think a white, pink, and orange t-shirt would go with a turquoise-blue plaid skirt? Not really. But my sisters say it’s cute on me.

  I think I’m boring you, so let me start on some other people; I have my mom Diane Chappue, my dad, Christopher Chappue, my oldest sister, Kathryn Chappue, and my next oldest, Nicolette Chappue. I’m the youngest, whoop-dee-doo. It’s not so great.

  I can’t wait for Nicolette to go to college. She’s only a sophomore in high school, and Kathryn’s a freshman in college. Well, Kathryn isn’t entirely a freshman yet. She starts in September 20th or something, I don’t know. So she’s been taking care of me this whole week. My mom works everyday of her life, except the weekends as an engineer up in Menlo Park area at SLAC Stanford. My dad’s a teacher and Archbishop Mitty High School, and Nicolette goes there for her ‘education,’ as my father put it. Kathryn used to go to Presentation, and now is starting her college at UC Santa Cruz. Just about an hour-and-a-half away from San Jose and I’m sure she isn’t happy about that.

  I forgot to tell you, my family lives in San Jose, California. I go to Saint Leo the Great School for my… ‘education.’ Hee, hee. San Jose is the city with the third highest population. It’s seven hours away from L.A., but I’m not sure how far away it is from San Diego.

  Anyways, since I’m only eleven, you’d expect me to only be allowed to stay at home alone for an hour, right? Well Kathryn left about an hour ago to her friend’s house, and I’m not supposed to tell Mom about her leaving me alone. She better be back by lunch time, ‘cause I don’t know how to heat up soup on the stove. I can take care of myself pretty well, but once I was stupid enough to touch the banana bread pan right after it came out of the oven. I knew I was going to drop it, so I set it down on the ground in the middle of the floor, and was dense enough to touch the side. OW! Uh-huh, ya think? Dad doesn’t like me using the oven very much any more.

  Yes, I made the banana bread myself. No, it was very easy. And still is. Dad got me two cans of delicious soup, beef barley and chicken noodle. I haven’t had either in a while.

  My thoughts were interrupted by the TV: “I DON’T BELIEVE IN THE DENTIST!” I groan and lower down the volume. The lady wasn’t actually yelling the line, it’s just Kathryn likes to have things on really loud. Music, TV, radio, et cetera, et cetera.

  Speaking of which, I love music. My favorite band is Secondhand Serenade, and my favorite artist is Avril Lavigne.

  Again, my thoughts are interrupted. The double-doors to my parents’ room opened and closed with a slam. There it is again. I check to see if someone’s in the house, and find nothing. It’s probably the wind. It is a windy afternoon today.

  It’s Thursday, August 21, 2008. I start school on the 25th. I’m very bored right now, and I’m not showing any of the Olympics. The only event I enjoy watching is gymnastics, and I get tired of it after a half-hour or an hour. I’m not sure if I’m watching Apparatus (whatever that is) or jump-roping. I’ll look it up later.

  I’m not like other kids. I like to be able to understand things other kids forget about. Sometimes I search online and take free math quizzes on long division and multiplication, and I reread my summer reading books, just so I’m ready for the reading test we have at the beginning of the year. I might have to write an essay on it, too, but that would be easy, ‘cause I’d be able to take it home and look in the book for answers.

  I enjoy school ‘cause of the boys. They’re all hilarious, and the girls are sweet. I hope we get a new girl, ‘cause I want to move on from my friends Amelia and Marissa. Amelia and I are the closest friends in the class. We both want to, well I know this sounds harsh but I can’t find any other words, get rid of Marissa. Shake her off our shoes, you know? Marissa is a backstabber, secret-telling, self-absorbed, jerk. I do not enjoy her company. She’s always bringing up the past when I hurt her feelings or something. Well, Marissa makes little dents as life goes on, and it all values up to a huge one. Some friend…

  If I can’t get rid of Marissa, then I’m gonna find a way to make friends with the new girl, if we get one. I hope Amelia will stay along and help, but she might not. She can be too nice, and I know it’s hard for her to try and tell someone whose been her friend since kindergarten, but Amelia gets annoyed by Marissa, too. Marissa copies Amelia’s every move, every drawing stroke, every decision, and Amelia can get fed up with it.

  Marissa stops for a day, then goes right back to it. Marissa also tells all of Amelia’s secrets. So Amelia doesn’t trust Marissa either. This whole thing is confusing, I know. So, Marissa worships Amelia, and shows it by annoying her, being untrustworthy, and doesn’t act like a friend to her.

  I don’t like sounding selfish and proud, so I try not to take any part of the conversation if Marissa and Amelia are mad at each other. Sometimes, when I do sound selfish and proud, I get disappointed in myself.

  I don’t have much else to say, so I guess I’ll tell you about what happens at nighttime. My parents and Nicolette go to bed around 10:00 PM, and I usually settle down for sleep around 1:00 AM. Late, I know, but I only get tired around then. When school starts, I get up around 6:00 AM, so I’m going to have to fall asleep around 10:00 or 11:00 PM. What do I do from 10:00 to 1:00? I read, watch videos on the computer, surf online, sit down by the window and let the breeze flow through my hair.

  Dad makes really good dinners. Since I’m so used to it, I don’t get excited about steak and lamb chops. Most people do, ‘cause my baby-sitter was always so surprised by the kind of dinners I tell her about. Dad makes this Italian spaghetti, with thin noodles, Japanese long beans, expensive bacon, egg and cheese for coating the noodles, and cut up little grilled onions. It’s my favorite dinner he makes.

  He made homemade macaroni and cheese three times, which always lasted for the whole week. Everything in the macaroni was exotic. Bacon imported from Italy, bread crumbs from France or something, the macaroni from somewhere in Europe, and the cheese is from Europe, too. That whole thing was a very European dish. Dad makes all-American dinners, too; white corn still on the cob, butter for the corn, delicious rib-eye steaks, and tomato salad which is sliced tomatoes bathed in red wine vinegar with garlic and salt and pepper sprinkled over it. It’s delicious. I also love artichokes. We used to have artichokes for dessert, taking off the leaf (or whatever you call it) and dipping it in butter sauce, then scraping off the flesh with our teeth. Mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm, GOOD! Hee, hee.

  Now that you know pretty much everything about me, let’s start on the next chapter with people talking.


Chapter 2

 

When I woke up this morning, it was like, I don’t know, 6:55 AM, and Dad and Nicolette were getting ready to leave.

  Nicolette almost lost her ride to school ‘cause she had to brush her teeth and Dad doesn’t like waiting. She is such a drama queen. I’m not afraid of her. All she can do is give me bruises and call me stupid and swear at me. Wow, so scary. It might sound scary to you, but I’m sorta used to it. The only person who punishes Nicolette for that stuff is Dad, who is a pushover with me. Hee, hee.

  I don’t know when Mom leaves, ‘cause by the time she does, I’m already asleep again. So, I fall asleep at 7:00 AM or something, then wake up at 10:30 AM. I don’t know when Kathryn wakes up, not that I care really, ‘cause I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself for a whole day as long as I have food that can be cooked in the microwave, or can be made without heating up needed.

  When I wake up, I automatically pull on my robe and go downstairs, whether it’s hot or not. I guess that routine sorta worked itself into my system. So, downstairs I open up the cupboard and look at the cereals available. Most of the time there’s Honey Nut Cheerios or Multi-Grain Cheerios. Those are both okay. If there’s Mini-Wheats then I try to just eat a banana. I love bananas…tee, hee.

  Anyways, moving on. After that I go upstairs, watch TV or read. I try not to go online ‘cause I know I shouldn’t be on all day, and I hate lying to Mom when she asks if I’m on the computer all day. I just recently finishing reading a book called Haters. Um, I don’t think it was made for pre-teens, ‘cause it was in Nicolette’s bookshelf, and it has swear words and inappropriate scenes in it, but Dad says I’m a mature eleven-year-old. I’m not entirely sure that’s good though…

  Haters was a good book, that’s what I’ll say. It’s cool. I liked these Japanese twins Kerani and Keoni. They were funny. Umm, I just noticed Kathryn isn’t home yet, and it’s 1:05 PM. I’m gonna call her.

 

Please Stand By

Okay, Kathryn’s coming home now. Yay, I get my soup! I think I’ll have chicken noodle first. Wow, I’m boring. Well, I warned you.

  I said I have a typical eleven-year-old’s life. I’m in love with a kid named Scott, who has a twin named Daniel. I have one best friend named Amelia. I hate the guy who loves me, who is Jack if you’re wondering. See? Very typical and boring. I guess I’m interesting ‘cause I’ve practically traveled to all the countries in Europe. Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and England. I know there’s more, but those are the main ones everyone knows about. Is Iceland in Europe? Yeah, I don’t know either.

  I’ve traveled ‘cause of Dad. His brother and my uncle is a pilot on Delta Airlines, so we get huge discounts and we go traveling in Europe and South America every summer. Next time, I wanna visit Iceland. Ooh, or Finland! Hah, yeah, let’s hope.

  My house is a two-story house with several little attics. One down in the garage, and another in the laundry room upstairs. I know there are more, but I don’t know where they are. I have my own room, and it’s the biggest out of my sisters. Odd, huh? I have the biggest, Nicolette has the medium size, and Kathryn has the smallest. I’d be more than happy to move into Nicolette’s room. It’s really nice and where her bed is you can see through the window. I don’t know I just love her room. Maybe we can move next summer.

  My parents have a huge room. A queen-size bed, a desk with all of Dad’s teacher stuff, two bathrooms, one with a Jacuzzi tub, a shower, three mirrors, and two sinks, one for each of them, and the other one with a toilet, a magazine rack, and a trash can. Very small. Mom has her own hamper and dresser, and they both share a big walk-in closet.

  Nicolette has a nice room with a twin-size bed, three kinds of dressers, a closet with lots of space, a small book shelf, a couch, a desk, and a toy-box. Well, Nicolette calls it a trunk, but it’s filled with stuffed animals and binders. Weird? Yes.

  Kathryn has a queen-sized bed right smack in the middle of her room with a fluffy comforter and awesome pillows. Her white dresser is huge, it’s taller than me. On top it has jewelry boxes with hunks of gold chains hanging out of the side and fake roses sprinkled over everything. She has two candle holders which never have been lit, and incense burners. Kathryn has a big closet with lots of clothes and shoes. She has an easel to paint with and lots of watercolor pencil drawings on it. She also has a desk with money and papers and old college apps scatter over it. CDs and books are under it. I’m not sure why, but when I’m writing it down, Kathryn’s room sounds great, but when you really see it, its small and there’s a very small amount of ground you can see. Right now you probably can’t see any of the floor ‘cause of clothes and binders et cetera, et cetera.

  My room is nice. It has a huge book shelf, one dresser with four drawers, and then three more built in with my bed. I have a tiny desk that I don’t sit in anymore, ‘cause I can barely fit in it, a toy-box made of yellow-heart and purple-heart wood, a closet with dresses and coats and scarves, and shelves with beanie-babies, a special music box, a Winnie-the-Pooh coin saver, and lots of other knick-knacks. I have a basket full of old dresses from Mom and Halloween costumes, and a small horse stable with horses. The walls are covered with pictures of different kind of horses, drawings from Amelia (she’s very good), and two huge pictures of flowers; a Birds of Paradise, and another one I don’t know what it’s called.

  Sounds nice? It is. But I really like Nicolette’s room better. I didn’t go into detail with hers, but oh well. I still like it.

  There’s Kathryn. I’m gonna go have lunch. Catch you later!

  “Oh, Conner.” was the simple, frosty, unhappy tone.

  “Why are you not happy to see me?” Conner searched for the source of the sour voice.

  “Oh, I don’t know. I think it is because the night before someone found me on the edge of the forest looking like the horrid monster I am!” Dawn said sarcastically, with an edge of frustration.

  Conner chuckled.

  “Dawn, I do not care for what the other side of you is,” he looked around in the trees. “all I care for is you.”

  “Huh.” Dawn was not asking a question. She was stating her interest.

  “I can do that only if you tell me the truth…and where you are in this forest.” Conner asked.

  “Turn around.”

  Conner turned after he finished staring in front of himself.

  “Now turn back.”

  Conner turned back and to his amazement, Dawn was sitting on the grass with a patch of daisies around her. “The truth?”

  “I never intend to tell you, Prince Conner.” Dawn stood. She did not smile, but her face was grim and dejected.

  “Will it ‘hurt me?’” he asked with his face unhappy now.

  “Hmm…yes.” Dawn nodded. “I do not want any pleading from a prince. I am sure you would be disgusted with yourself afterwards when you received nothing but unpleasant scowls from the one who you begged.”

  This angered Conner. “You cannot trust me.” it was not a question.

  “Why need I?” Dawn asked coldly.

  “If you’d like to start a relationship, then you—”

  “Excuse me? Relationship? Closest thing I was to a nice and calm relationship was when I was destined to marry that fowl Prince Austin. And I still am. Should you not interfere with your brother’s brides?” Dawn cut Conner off.

  “I—”

  “You will not be able to bribe me with jewels, either,” Dawn continued. “I am not drawn to much, honestly.” she reached up to an animal on her shoulder. It was Crimson.

  Conner jumped, realizing Crimson had been on the princess’s shoulder the whole time.

  “Does he scare you?” Dawn laughed. It wasn’t a happy laugh. It was a cold, heartless laugh.

  “No,”

  “Oh?”

  “You do.” Conner said darkly.

  Dawn laughed the scary laugh again. “How?” she asked, seeming to know the answer.

  “You have let the other part of you take over. You let the scary, monster-like part rule over the calm—but cold—and normal attitude you have. I mean, had,” Conner shook his head in disgust.

  “How is any of that scary?” she stopped smiling and narrowed her eyes in anger.

  “I have no idea.”

  “Huh…” Dawn nodded. She stroked Crimson, and thought that she felt evil; all she needed were black nails. They were already extremely long. “Well, you have not changed the way I am. Come back tomorrow and try again.” Dawn said sarcastically.

  “Oh, I will.” Conner began to back away. “I will.” he breathed and ran off.

 

“Crimson, that boy never gives up. Am I really that intriguing?” Dawn asked sourly. She sat back down.

  Dawn, forgive me, but were you born yesterday? During the night, you’re a…a monster! How interesting is that?

  “I do not know.” Dawn said simply.

  Do not lie. Crimson hissed.

  Dawn sighed. “I am upset. You called me monster. So I must be one.”

  You are being ridiculous. You are making everything harder than it has to be. Relax and let things flow. I know we planned to tell him that you…change during the night every second Saturday of each month, but he’s seen what happened. We just have to explain to him now.

  Have to? Why do we have to?” Dawn asked.

  Because he already knows…what happens to you! He’s seen it, which is even worse.

  “You are right, Crimson. But you have to admit, I am a monster!” Dawn sighed again.

  I could not think of any other word. Have you not remembered? No one has a name for what becomes of you at those times. And Conner was right, you do not have to let misery and inhumanity take over you.

  “I do not. But it is easier if I do.” Dawn insisted.

  You disgust me. Crimson lightly scratched Dawn’s face. It’s easy either way. You just cannot believe in yourself.

  Dawn winced as the thoughts burned along with the scratch. “Hmph.” she glared and crossed her arms.

  Crimson climbed off Dawn’s shoulder and to her hands. He lightly nibbled the black moon ring.

  “Don’t touch that!” Dawn snapped. She pulled her hand away and shined the black ring.

  You are scared. Crimson stated.

  “I am, Crimson.” Dawn sighed for the third time.

  You’ll get through this. Just try. Crimson jumped back onto Dawn’s shoulder.

  “What now?” Dawn stood.

  The willow garden. We will wait for him.

  Dawn nodded reluctantly and grabbed a bag of honey cakes and pumpkin juice. She ran off to the maze of shrubs.


Chapter VII

 

Austin awoke that morning much later than everyone else. His chambermaid was standing at the door.

  “Fetch my slippers!” he snapped.

  “Yes, Your Highness.” the maid bowed.

  “Where is my robe?” Austin demanded.

  “Right here, Prince.” the maid said quickly. She got the robe and put it around Austin’s shoulders.

  “Dismissed!” Austin spat in the maid’s face.

  She nodded and returned to her spot.

  Austin cursed under his breath as he passed maids gossiping in the hall.

  “Prince Austin!” “Your Highness!” “Sir!” were the greetings that Austin received. He merely grunted.

  “Devon! Give me some eggs.” Austin demanded rudely as he sat down on a chair helplessly.

  “Yes, Prince.” Cook Devon sighed. He got a plate and poured eggs on it and brought it to Austin.

  “Where’s the salt?” Austin snapped.

  “Right here.” Devon placed it by Austin’s plate.

  “Where’s Conner?” Austin asked.

  “He went to the rodent pen.” Devon grumbled.

  “Has he come back yet?”

  “Yes.”

   “Where is he now?”

   “I do not know.”

   “Alright then.” Austin shoved the eggs away. “These are awful. Worst you’ve made Devon. Give me a banana. Make sure its yellow.” Austin made a face.

  “Yeah, okay.” Devon took a banana and handed it to Austin. “Be off.”

  “I’m going.” Austin snapped. He left the castle abruptly and ran to the willow gardens.

 

“Dawn!” he called, as he did the night before.

  Dawn froze in the trees. “Crimson!” she whispered urgently.

  Hush. Do not worry.

  “Alright.” Dawn nodded.

  “Dawn!” Austin called again. “DAWN!”

  “Crimson…” Dawn hissed.

  Shush. And Crimson climbed up the tree. Dawn followed. “Crimson, I swear you’re going to pay for this dress.” she hissed.

  “Dawn, if you’re here, please answer me,” Austin pleaded. To the silence, Austin said, “I know you are here. You just disgust me. I’ll leave you then, in your dense silence.”

  Dawn made a face, but Crimson, lightly biting on her finger, held her back from screaming at Austin. “I can’t believe Mother actually made me marry the dim-witted prince. This whole place is dim-witted.” she said sourly.

  I agree. Crimson nodded.

  “I don’t believe Conner is coming,” Dawn paused. “Crimson, I’ve thought about this for quite sometime, and I think we should just leave.”

  But the marriage. Your mother would disinherit you if you back out. It’s simply not an option. Crimson said.

  “She may disinherit me, but I’d accept it. I do not want to live under rules anymore. It’s absurd to me. Simply absurd…” Dawn’s voice trailed off.

  I daresay you are absurd. What about Conner? I can tell you have feelings for him. Crimson shook his head.

  “What about Conner? He was just another man that was interested in me. I say, he’d most certainly try to forget me if I leave. He’d most certainly want to. Who would want to be engaged with a monster like I?” Dawn wondered aloud.

  Rubbish. But if you insist…Crimson said.

  “Yes, I do insist. It would be for the best.”

  It shall be settled. You must tell Queen Imani at once.


Chapter IX

 

“Tomorrow? Are you saying that you are withdrawing your part of the marriage?” Queen Imani asked astonished.

  “Yes, Your Ladyship.” Dawn curtsied quickly.

  “Well, then,” Imani turned and looked at the awaiting servants. “Please call Dawn’s guards. I’m sure the carriage was stored in the barn.”

  “Thank you, My Queen,” Dawn curtsied again. “Do you wish for me to go fetch my clothes?”

  “I do.” Imani said and turned her back, bowing her head as she resumed her place at the thrown.

  “Good day.” Dawn rushed out of the room, Crimson trailing at her heels.

  Are you sure you are doing the right thing? Crimson asked.

  “Yes, I am sure. But I do hope I do not run into Conner. I hope to not have to bid him goodbye.” Dawn said, picking up the gray skirts of her depressing and tore dress.

  I believe you still have feelings for him, despite the fact you wish you didn’t. Realize it, Dawn. Crimson ran to be at Dawn’s side.

  “Hush up, Crimson. I do not believe I asked for your opinion.” Dawn snapped. When she reached her bedchamber, Dawn threw her clothes into the leather suitcase and soon was packed and ready.

  You are very dim. Crimson insulted his mistress.

  “Why, thank you,” Dawn said sarcastically.

  Ridiculous…Crimson thought.

  “I do not love him, as I’ve said plenty of times.” Dawn spat. She was getting angry now.

  Settle down now, Miss Dawn. I shall stop nagging you about your truthful love for Prince Conner. Do forgive me. Crimson bowed.

  “Oh, hush up,” Dawn glared. She pulled the hem of her dress over her black boots, and began lacing them up more securely this time. “My guards are waiting with the carriage. We cannot waste time, for I will not tolerate having to say good day to Prince Conner.”

  Whatever you say, Princess. Crimson mocked.

  Dawn growled as she grabbed her hooded-cloak and draped it over her shoulders, tying it under her chin.

  “Good afternoon, Princess,” Dawn’s first guard stepped forward. “I believe Prince Austin is coming to bid you goodbye.”

  “Did message get sent to Prince Conner?” Dawn asked.

  “No. Do you wish for it to be sent to him?” the First Guard asked, pausing from turning the handle on the carriage door.

  “No, no! Please, let us get this over with. I would also much prefer not to have to say goodbye to Austin, but if he has already been sent for…” Dawn said quickly.

  “Yes, he has arrived.” the First Guard gestured behind Dawn.

  Dawn looked straight ahead and turned. “Prince Austin.” she curtsied.

  “Princess Dawn,” Austin did not bow. “I am very sorry to hear that you are leaving my family and I. ‘Tis all too early. What made you think this way?”

  “I did not feel the love from you as I wished I did.” Dawn said flatly.

  “Oh,” Austin said. “Certainly, you will visit?”

  “Perhaps.” Dawn nodded.

  “It was a pleasure to meet you, but I daresay, despairing to see that you have withdrawn yourself from the marriage. I shall always remember you, as I have the many other betrothals that soon declined my marriage.” Austin put his hand on Dawn’s cheek.

  “Thank you, for the pleasure of meeting your family.” Dawn pulled away.

  Austin bent down and kissed Dawn’s cheek, then stepped back.

  Dawn curtsied and then said, “Please tell Queen Imani, King Ray, Cook Devon, and Prince Conner I say goodbye, and I give them my luck.”

  “Of course.” Austin waved as Dawn closed the door to the carriage, and stepped back again.

  Dawn ignored Austin and waited for the carriage to take her home.

  She couldn’t wait. Of course, she knew she wasn’t going to be welcomed warmly. Let alone welcomed at all…