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Tabitha woke with a start; sitting up in her bed. Alert. She still tasted the horrid smell of garbage on her tongue; making her stomach do queasy flips. Her head was throbbing and sweat ran down her face. She stretched out her arms and legs feeling the soreness in them, climbing out of bed she winced, it felt like she pulled a muscle in her leg. Tabitha let her black and white checkered cover fall to the hardwood floor without bothering to pick it up. She yawned, while wiping away the sleep from her eyes. She looked at her reflection in the mirror that was attached to the green wall in her room. Her bright orange hair brushed to the left side of her head, blond hair shown underneath the orange, which her guardian didn’t much approve of, but Tabitha loved it. Eyeliner was smeared under her stormy blue eyes from recently crying.
She had her father’s eyes, everyone told her so, but she didn’t remember much about her father and didn’t know her mother for that matter, just memories from photos around the house was all she could remember of him. A memory of him that stuck with her was when he left their house on the night before Christmas. Tabitha didn’t hate him like most children would have for their parents leaving. She loved him and wished he could be there with her every second of the day. But her father was in a better place now, if there was one. And no one really knew who her mother was; she disappeared right after Tabitha was born.
She groaned as she detached herself from the mirror. Opening her window to get some fresh air and letting it fill her lungs. She heard voices nearby coming from outside. She smiled as she thought back on something that happened seven years ago. That was when she found out she could talk to animals and not just speak with them, but have an intelligent conversation with them.
Tabitha looked over at a picture frame that held a photo of her aunt; she frowned. Tabitha blinked, snapping back into reality. Thinking about Rosie still saddened her because her relative was diagnosed with cancer three years back and was now in the hospital fighting it. Rosie was a healthy, strong woman, but this cancer was taking over her, she was on the edge of giving up. Her aunt had been in the hospital for about four and half months. Tabitha hadn’t gone to see her yet. She had talked to her on the phone plenty of times, but that’s all. She kept trying to push herself to go, but she never made it there. She would get halfway to the hospital, and then change her mind and go back home, she would run back to the house each time.
She grabbed her cell phone off the floor, looking at the time. It was six am; she decided to call her friend, Octavia, who happened to be telepathic. What are the odds that Tabitha would meet someone different like her? Octavia discovered it when she was ten, also. It had been two months after Tabitha learned her ability. She thought it was somewhat funny how Octavia found out she was telepathic, but it also freaked her out as well. Octavia and Tabitha were hanging out with Hayden, Octavia’s older brother, when Octavia started hearing their thoughts. She thought she was going mad, but soon after she began to realize she was able to hear thoughts of those around her. She allowed herself to get used to it through the years; growing up.
“Hey Hayden, this is Tabitha. Is Octavia there?” Tabitha asked, after Octavia’s older brother answered the phone. Tabitha heard Hayden yell for Octavia and soon after she picked up the phone.
“Hey, good morning O.” Tabitha was trying to hide the shakiness in her voice. On the other line, Octavia asked if Tabitha had the dream again.
“Yeah and it's freaking me out, it seemed so real,” Tabitha exclaimed. “The thing that bothers me is that it happens every week, it’s crazy, and I don’t understand it at all.”
“Octavia Blackstone! Where the hell are you?” Tabitha heard Octavia’s dad yelling in the background, his voice had so much anger built in it, he sounded like he was going to snap. Tabitha was terrified of Octavia’s father, but she hadn’t always been afraid of him.
“I’m in the kitchen!” Octavia yelled, pulling the phone away from her ear. When she put the phone back to her ear she said, “I have to go, see you at school.”
Octavia had already hung up. Tabitha threw her phone on her bed as she sighed; she wanted to lie back down, but she had to get ready for school.
She went to the bathroom and jumped in the shower, washing away the sticky sweat and the smell of death from her. When she was finished, she put on a pair of blue jeans ripped at the knees and threw on a black t-shirt that had DFTBA printed on the front that showed a tiny section of light skin above her waist when she would stretch. She slid on a black wristband and ran a brush through her hair. Tabitha put on eyeliner and brushed on gray eye shadow. She slipped on her fat green and black Vans and she fed her Siberian husky, Dae.
“Be a good girl, I’ll be back later,” Tabitha told Dae and she barked back in response. Black fur covered the dog’s entire back and the top of her head and white fur under her belly. Her ears pointed up with her face painted white.
Tabitha grabbed her green messenger bag when she heard a beep from outside. Running out of her house, locking the door behind her. She began walking to a sapphire-colored Honda Civic. The windows were tinted, making it difficult to see who was driving the black machine.
A rustling of leaves brought her to a sudden stop. She turned around and thought she caught a glimpse of something through her window. She started to walk back to her house to see if she was being paranoid or not.
“Tabby, come on. We’re going to be late for school,” someone called from the car.
She looked back at the car and made her way back toward it, again. She jumped into the passenger side, looking over at the driver of the car, and saw her good friend Isaac Williams. He was wearing blue jeans with a red alien workshop shirt, with one hand resting on the steering wheel. He drove her to school every day until she could afford to buy her own car. She looked in the back seat and saw Isaac’s younger sister Abbie, who was fixing her slightly, curly, brown hair. Abbie smiled at Tabitha with braces on her teeth. Tabitha returned her with a smile.
Isaac pressed a heavy foot on the gas pedal. They moved forward with a screech of the tires. He grinned at Tabitha and she smiled as she shook her head at him. She looked out the side window and zoned out. She was thinking about the dream, it kept repeatedly playing inside her head like a movie. She couldn’t make it go away.
“How are you?” he asked as if he had already questioned her once before, he was looking at her from the corner of his eye.
“Huh? Oh uh, I’m fine,” she answered, staring down at her hands then back out the window. She watched the trees flash by as they drove past them; they were more of a blur as she continued to watch the trees pass.
“I know you’re lying to me,” he said, running his hand down the front of his brown shaggy hair, getting the pieces out of his chocolate brown eyes. He always could sense how she was feeling. She hated the fact that he would know if she planted a fake smile on her face, he would see right through it. They grew up together. Their mothers met at the hospital before they went into labor with Isaac and Tabitha, they knew each other since birth. They sat in silence for most of the drive. Isaac finally broke the silence between them; they were close to the school at this point.
“Tab, please tell me what’s bugging you,” he said with a hint of begging in his voice.
“Nothing’s bugging me, um I can walk the rest of the way, the school is right there,” she said, changing the subject. She jumped out of the car quickly as he was slowing down, but he didn’t stop completely. She didn’t even give him the chance to. Tabitha didn’t like talking about how she felt; she liked to keep her feelings to herself.
“Tabitha!” Isaac shouted as he saw her run toward the doors of the school.
“She just ditched you,” Abbie giggled, covering her mouth to hide her laughter.
“Shut up,” Isaac commanded, throwing her a look.
Tabitha was already at the doors of the school before he could say anything else to her. She walked through the metal detectors and it beeped, but she continued to walk because she wasn’t paying attention and it usually didn’t go off on her.
“Stop right there, ma’am,” the security guard demanded, she stopped in her tracks and turned around to look at him. He was a scary, bulky guy with too much muscle for one person. He took her messenger bag from her grasp. Making eye contact with him, she saw that the kindness in his grey eyes, made him less scary.
“It’s probably just my belt,” she exclaimed, taking off her new pleather studded belt handing it to the guard. She also gave him her keys just in case and grabbed her bag, she went through the metal detector, again and she was right it didn’t go off.
“Sorry about that, ma’am,” he exclaimed as he handed her, her belt and keys back to her.
She smiled. “It’s alright; you’re just doing your job.”
Tabitha stuck her keys in her pocket; she put her belt back on afterward. She walked to her locker and saw Octavia running toward her. “Hey! You missed an awesome party Friday night. I’m so glad we had Monday off,” Octavia smiled, her chocolate brown eyes lit up.
She was wearing a green t-shirt that had ‘Aeropostale, printed down the side of it and blue jeans tight around her hips. Tabitha was always a little jealous of Octavia. She had a perfect body, perfect smile, and perfect hair, perfect everything. She was biracial, her father was Caucasian and her mother was African American. Octavia looked a lot like her mother, who was also beautiful. Tabitha had only seen pictures of her because her mother died soon after having Octavia. The doctors tried their hardest to save them both, but they could only save one and her mother told them to save her daughter because she felt that she lived her life and that it was time for someone else to live theirs.
“Yeah, everyone is talking about it,” Tabitha rolled her eyes, grabbing her Algebra II book from her locker. “Sorry I had a huge history project to finish and missed out on getting sick and rubbing against some guy I don’t know,” she said with annoyance in her voice, slamming her locker shut. Octavia and Tabitha began to walk to class.
“I don’t get why you don’t-” Octavia started, but was cut off by Tabitha.
“Did you do the homework assignment that Mr. Messer assigned?” Tabitha asked, looking over at Octavia as they continued to walk.
“Uh… no, why would I do homework over the weekend?” she retorted, taking her hair band from her wrist and throwing her long, wavy, dark hair into a messy bun.
“To pass the class and um, maybe become a senior next year,” Tabitha answered at the same moment someone knocked into her, causing her to drop all of her books.
“Excuse me! Freak,” Zoey yelled, looking at her hand flatly, checking her gold polish on her fingernails.
“Aw, did the little princess break a nail?” Octavia asked, grinning. Zoey ignored her smart elect remark and walked in the same direction Octavia and Tabitha were heading, while her caramel colored hair swayed from side to side as she walked away ahead of them.
Tabitha picked up her books in frustration and began walking with Octavia, again. The bell rang for class to start as Tabitha settled herself behind Octavia. Isaac was forced to sit in the back of the room with talkative Pete.
Tabitha and Octavia had every class together; they were in Algebra II AP at the moment. Algebra was Tabitha’s weakest subject, but she managed to understand it enough to pass it. To Octavia math came really easily for her. As they waited for class to start, they continued to talk along with everyone else. People were also throwing things across the room such as; paper balls and erasers.
“I can’t believe you didn’t say anything to Zoey,” said Octavia. “You’re way too nice.”
“It’s not worth the energy to argue or to say anything to her,” Tabitha sighed, opening her black, bound sketchbook revealing a drawing of a pixie that she recently drew. The pixie’s skin had a greenish tone to it, with beautiful wings that were a clear green color with a darker green on the very tips of the wings. Her hair was a reddish orange, in a long braid lying on her shoulder. She wore two silver long wrist bracelets and a silver armband; she also had a silver headband. Tabitha drew her with a short sharp green pixie dress with green shoes that tied up each leg. The pixie was sitting on a purple flower in the middle of the night in a beautiful forest. Her name was Bellatina.
“I hate it that she thinks she’s better than everyone just because she’s loaded with money and her daddy’s the president of the bank. Woo hoo, he can count money. No one cares,” Octavia ranted on.
Zoey must have heard Octavia because she looked back at her and gave her an evil glare with her grey eyes. Octavia stuck her tongue out at her.
“Attention class!” Mr. Messer commanded with deepness in his throat. People continued to talk and throw things across the room. “Am I teaching a freshman class or a junior class? I thought you guys were juniors and the couple of seniors in here.” He slammed his fist on his desk, Octavia jumped and everyone went silent. His face was blood red. He looked like he was going to pop like a balloon. His blond hair streaked with grey was sticking in every direction as if he had tried to pull his hair out from frustration before class started. “We still have two months of school left, if you haven’t noticed,” he continued, his dark brown eyes looking furious. “And pass up your homework assignment.”
That’s all Mr. Messer does is lecture day after day, I wonder if he knows no one listens to him, blah, blah, blah, that’s all I hear, that’s what we all hear, thought Tabitha as she handed Octavia her homework. Octavia turned around and snickered at Tabitha’s thought.
What? You know it’s true, thought Tabitha. Octavia smiled and nodded. Since Mr. Messer was going to be lecturing the whole class time and not give out an assignment. Tabitha decided to the lay her head down on the desk and dozed off.
The bell rang to switch classes. Tabitha raised her head quickly and jumped up, grabbing her books from the floor. She and Octavia walked to their next class, which was Environmental Studies.
“Why did you rush off out of my car?” Isaac asked Tabitha, sitting beside her.
“I was in a hurry,” she hesitated.
“You could have gotten yourself hurt,” he asked, looking sternly at her.
“But I didn’t. Can we not talk about this right now,” she retorted, getting her notebook out for class. Isaac sighed.
“You really shouldn’t hold things in the way you do… it’s unhealthy,” he said with a egotistic smile. Tabitha made a face at him, but showed him a smile.
“I am fine, Isaac. Let’s just get the school day over with,” she said and he gave in, finally deciding to go to sit in the back.
* * *
After school, Isaac dropped Octavia and Tabitha off at Octavia’s house. Abbie jumped in the front seat. “See you girls later,” said Isaac as he drove away. Tabitha looked up at the grungy, white house. There were vines crawling up the side of the house. The grass was always long, it never got cut, ever since Octavia’s father picked up drinking and has this crazy schedule with work, the house never got any work done on it. And Hayden was too lazy or too busy with Zoey to do any work around the house.
They walked inside and Octavia took off to the refrigerator to find something to eat.
“Iced Tea,” said Tabitha, smiling.
“Here,” said Octavia, handing her a bottle of Raspberry Lipton ice tea.
Octavia went back to the refrigerator to grab a pepperoni pizza out, while sitting on the couch, listening to the radio, she let it cook in the oven. Tabitha pulled her sketchbook and coloring pencils out of her bag and started adding the finishing details on it. She was continuing on her pixie. She finished the last minute touches on the pixie and the flower.
“What’s today’s date?” Tabitha asked, not looking up from her sketchbook.
“April 8th, I think,” Octavia answered.
“Thanks.” Tabitha signed and dated the finished drawing. She turned it to the next page. She had no idea what she wanted to draw now. Octavia went into the kitchen to get her pizza out; she put it on a plate and walked back into the room with Tabitha.
Hayden walked into the living room where Octavia and Tabitha were sitting. He ran his fingers through his short brown hair. He threw himself onto the couch and sighed. Tabitha always thought Hayden was cute in a way, but he was like a big brother to her, an overprotective brother.
“What’s wrong with you?” Octavia asked, taking a bite of her pizza.
“Heh, it’s nothing, it’s just Zoey hasn’t called me and I can’t get a hold of her, we’re supposed to be going to Pete’s house later,” Hayden answered, sticking his cell phone in his pocket. “No big deal. Can go hang out with Pete without her. Shoot some hoops.” He smiled, recovering quickly.
He should be glad he can’t get a hold of her; she’s a skank, thought Tabitha. She smiled as she began to sketch out the beginning of her new drawing. Octavia started laughing as she was eating her pizza.
“What’s so funny?” Hayden asked, looking at them both.
“Nothing at all,” Octavia answered as she quickly stopped laughing.
“O, when it comes to you it ain’t ever nothing,” Hayden told her. “You’re talking to each other through your minds, again. I hate when you two do that. I remember when we first found out that you could do that, freaky!”
“It’s our specialty,” Tabitha laughed as Octavia’s calico kitten, Stormy climbed up on the arm of the couch, sticking her claws in the fabric to help her get up.
Tabitha petted her. “Hey Stormy.”
‘I hungry,’ Stormy meowed, rubbing her head against Tabitha’s hand. She could feel the cat purring. Stormy was a small kitten, she was the runt of the litter when Octavia received her. Her ears were black and the fur around her eyes was different colors, one was black and the other was orange.
“Stormy is hungry,” Tabitha told Octavia.
“All right, I’ll feed her,” said Octavia as she walked into the kitchen. Stormy jumped off the couch, her white paws hitting the carpet softly. Octavia threw away the paper plate that her pizza was recently on. Stormy meowed up at Octavia as she grabbed her kitten’s cat food from the cabinet; she ate as soon as Octavia moved her hand away from the bowl.
“It’s so weird how Tabitha knows everything that bothers Stormy,” Hayden exclaimed. “Remember when you first got Stormy, she had that weird stomach virus and Tabitha knew there was something wrong with her stomach.”
“Yeah weird, but anyways Hayden, why do you even like Zoey?” Octavia asked, changing the subject.
“What is there not to like?” he responded, smiling, leaning back on the couch, putting his hands behind his head.
The real question is what is there to like about her? Nothing! thought Tabitha.
“You’re right, Tabs,” said Octavia, getting up. “Come on; let’s go to your house. I think I’m going to get sick, if we continue to talk about that slut bag.”
“Sounds good to me, I don’t want to get sick either,” Tabitha agreed as she looked at the drawing and she drew nothing, it was just a collage of lines that were leading nowhere. She snapped the book closed out of frustration more than anything else.
Tabitha put her sketchbook in her bag and stood up with Octavia. They walked to Tabitha’s, which was two houses down from Octavia’s. They live so close, but Octavia’s dad was so strict that Octavia couldn’t really go anywhere because her so-called father didn’t trust her. The only way she could go any place was if she snuck out or when her dad was on one of his business trips. Her dad even made her ride to school with Hayden, how boring for her. She couldn’t even go to school with Tabitha and Isaac, mostly because Isaac was a guy. Her dad used to be cool; he would let Octavia and Hayden do whatever they wanted. It all changed when Octavia turned thirteen.
“What do you want to do for your birthday?” asked Tabitha, looking at Octavia as they sat on her bed.
“I’m having a party of course,” she grinned. “Like I do every year.”
“Why don’t we just hang out?” suggested Tabitha as she started petting Dae behind her ears.
“What?” she asked, looking at Tabitha with an ‘are you crazy?’ look.
“Yeah just you, me, and Isaac,” she answered. “That sounds like fun. We could stay up all night, watch movies and eat popcorn. Talk about everything that comes to our minds.”
“No, come on Tab, I only turn 17 once. And it’s not like we are ten anymore, Tab.”
“I just turned 17 two months ago and I didn’t do anything for my birthday,” she said. Dae nodded her head at Tabitha. “See Dae agrees with me.”
“You chose that. You didn’t even hang out with Isaac, which you guys do every year, since you both were born on the same day. And I even tried to get you to do something, but you said you just wanted to be alone,” she explained. “And don’t drag Dae in the middle of this, she’s just a dog.”
“Dae is the most intelligent animal I know and the dreams were extremely bad around my birthday, I couldn’t stand it,” Tabitha defended Dae, who laid her head in Tabitha’s lap. “And okay O, you can have your party it’s your birthday, I can’t tell you what to do,” Tabitha gave in. If Octavia wanted a party to make her happy, that’s what she’s going to get. Tabitha wanted Octavia to be happy even if she wasn’t.
“Party planning time!” Octavia screamed, turning on the radio in Tabitha’s room and began to dance to the beat of the music. Octavia grabbed Tabitha’s hairbrush from the dresser. She loved dancing and singing. Tabitha smiled and shook her head. The words to the song began to play and Octavia sung along with them in the bristles of the brush.
Octavia pointed at Tabitha when she sung the last part of the verse beckoning her to sing the next verse. Tabitha jumped off her bed. Octavia held the brush close to Tabitha mouth as she began to sing the verse. Tabitha hated her voice; she thought she sounded like a broken record. Octavia thought otherwise as she put the brush between them and they began to sing the chorus of the song together. And suddenly Tabitha’s cell phone began to ring, cutting them off. They both stopped singing and Octavia grabbed Tabitha’s phone and pushed the talk button.
“Hello, Octavia Blackstone here, Tabitha’s best and only friend,” she giggled into the receiver. “Oh calm down; it’s only a joke, Mr. Grumpy!”
Octavia handed the phone over to Tabitha. The music continued to play.
“Oh hey Isaac, what’s up?” she asked, sitting down on her bed, crossing her legs.
“You want to hang out at the skate park?” he asked quietly.
“I would love to, but we’re planning Octavia’s birthday party,” Tabitha answered with a frown. She’d much rather be skating then planning a party.
“Okay, maybe another time,” he replied, sounding as disappointed as she felt.
“Tell him to come over,” Octavia suggested in the background.
“You want to come over and help? We’re at my house.”
“Sure, I’ll be over soon,” he said, sounding extremely relieved that he wasn’t entirely rejected.
“We can’t afford that deejay, O,” Tabitha admitted, putting her hand on her forehead. Isaac and her were sitting on the couch together with Octavia in the comfy chair beside them, contemplating on the music for her party. Tabitha had her legs propped up on Isaac’s. Her bare feet tucked under a pillow on the other side of him.
“But he’s the best there is.”
“Do you have $600 dollars?” Tabitha asked, looking at her questionably. Octavia shook her head, sadly.
“Stop arguing,” Isaac cut in, holding his laptop in his lap. “How about this guy? He seems just as good. His name is Jack Nelson. He has played at almost a hundred parties and also the guy deejays at a night club every other night.”
“For how much?” Tabitha asked.
Isaac put his fingers to his lips, scrolling, trying to skim down to where he saw the deejay. His eyes lit up as he spotted the name again. “Umm… $250.”
“Alright, we’ll go with him,” Octavia sighed. “Hand me the phone, Tab.”
Tabitha handed her the phone that was on the end table. Octavia dialed the number for the deejay, while Isaac was telling her the number. Octavia talked to the deejay and he agreed to come Friday night.
“Hey O, have you been practicing moving things with your mind?” Isaac asked, looking at her, after she hung up with the deejay as he rested his arm on Tabitha’s legs.
“Yeah, but I still can’t do it,” she answered. She raised her hand and stared at a cup on the counter. She moved her hand, but the movement was barely noticeable.
“You’re concentrating more with your hand, than with your mind,” Tabitha told her.
“What do you know? All you can do is talk to animals, it’s not like that’s really a superpower anyway,” she snapped, then looked at Tabitha and knew she hurt her feelings. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that.”
“Yeah you did, but it’s alright because you’re right, all I can do is talk to animals. I’m fine with that; I don’t want to be a superhero like you do.” Tabitha smiled at Octavia. “I hope you get that down.”
“Thanks,” said Octavia with a smile.
“Hey Tabitha, can we go to the skate park Thursday?” Isaac asked, looking hopefully at her.
“Promise?” he asked, giving her a puppy dog face
“I promise, gosh Isaac,” she replied, smiling, moving her feet at him playfully, and laughing. He took advantage of the moment and began tickling her sensitive feet.