Prologue

The Story of Shadowe Rose

When the biggest day of your teens goes horribly wrong...

Life. What is it truly? I can’t help but wonder what the point is in living such stresses constantly? Such a heavy question for someone who hasn’t even graduated yet. Prom, finals, graduation — these are the things a normal teenage girl should be worrying about. I guess I pulled the short straw. My last memory of normalcy had to be my 13th birthday.

 I was officially a teenager! My mom let me host my party solo this year because she’s awesome like that. My birthday fell on a Friday, which couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun started to set over my quaint little suburbia that I have known since I was tiny, energetic thing running around in pink overalls. Checklist. Decorations, check. Food and drink, check. Party patrons... A playful rap came at the door, and when I opened it, there stood my two best of friends Morgan and Kate standing at the front of pack. The rest of my class of 20 kids stood behind them decked out in a variety of costumes. Between my girls was a slim, dark-haired boy who made direct eye contact with bright green eyes. I paid him little mind and invited everyone in. 

“Welcome everyone, to the spider queen’s lair,” as I made a grand gesture with my arms motioning everyone to enter. Several kids, including Morgan and Kate, cheered in excitement and strolled inside. The girls and I embraced as the flood of students entered my lair. The living room had been transformed into the perfect dance lounge with a black and purple webbed disco ball lighting the walls. Further back in the kitchen, through the hall of bones, was bobbing for apples at the base of the spider queen’s throne. The throne was covered in webbing, and the queen had the head and torso of a woman but the face and rump of a spider. The murmurs of my classmates told me they thought she was creepy. Mission accomplished!

As if on cue, I heard music begin to play. Entering back into the dance hall, I saw Kate slipping in one of her homemade Halloween mix CDs. A couple of button pushes and a knob turn filled the house with the Munster’s Theme. I couldn’t help but smile. “You rock, you know that,” I yelled over the tunes to her. She threw up her rock horns up, with her tongue sticking out, then turned back to her task of being DJ for the moment. I rested against the nearest wall taking in the spectacle around me. As I watched the laughing faces that flit past me, I couldn’t help but feel complete success. Everything was going perfectly! It was everything I could have hoped for. I had officially hosted my first party. If only I knew that it was going to be my last.

Some time passed and my mom entered in her work scrubs. She wore an orange top and black pants with a little orange and purple spider head bopper thing. She shut the door with a smile as I approached her.”Nice turnout, love!” I smiled, but only for a moment.

“Mom, I thought you were going to use the garage door?” Her eyes shut in remembrance as her palm met her face. She slid her hand back through her hair as she spoke. “It was like I was never here.” She slinked her way up the stairway like a snake.

 “Hey,” a voice said behind me, tapping me on the shoulder. I turned to see the scrawny boy with green eyes from before. I didn’t know how close he was until our faces were inches apart. There he stood, only an inch or two taller than me, with his green eyes sinking into mine. I stumbled back from the sudden realization that I had never been so close to a boy before. Before I fell into the door, his hand reached around my waist to steady me. As I felt his strength pull me toward him, I couldn’t help but blush. He perfectly portrayed Frankenstein’s monster, bolts and all.

 “Thanks…” His eyes gleamed from the purple lights of the disco ball. “What’s your name?”

“The name is Jason, or the Frankenstein monster works, too,” he said in a playful tone. I went to pull away—my hand moving his from my waist—but he was bumped into me from behind, closing the little space we held between us as we fell into the spindles of the staircase. I didn’t mind much, as I was hypnotized by his eyes, but apparently he did. His gaze broke from mine to identify the culprit.

A kid dressed as Scooby Doo was sneaking back toward Morgan, who was Glenda the Good Witch. There she stood, giggling away at the moment she enjoyed ruining between Jason and I. My hand quickly left his as a nervous laugh played through my lips. “I should check on the kitchen crowd.” I slid past him, taking in his sweet musky scent that smelled like an autumn sunset. His eyes followed me as I went down the hallway with a look of disappointment on his face. Once I was out of sight of Morgan, I turned and shot him a wink and smile. His spirits seem to rise a bit as he moseyed onto the dance floor.

A roar of voices funneled through the hallway from the kitchen. In the kitchen, a group stood around the bobbing apple cauldron, cheering for the current bobber. I squeezed into the crowd to see Kate in her pirate outfit practically submerged. A moment later, she whipped her head out of the water with the green apple that was at the bottom, but got her costume completely drenched by doing so. The laughs and cheers of the group filled the whole house.

A few more hours passed and the party began to die down. At half past 10, only a few party goers were allowed to stay any later. Those who could stay were Jason, Morgan, Kate, a girl named Tara, and a few others who I can’t recall. We all relaxed in the dancing room as the music continued to power the webbed disco ball. No one spoke much, and they all looked pretty bored. Not good! I shot up, grabbing everyone’s attention.

“So, who  wants to play a game?” No one showed much enthusiasm. I was determined; this night wouldn’t end on such a dead note. Attempt number two. “What’s a good Halloween game? One of you has one, I know it.” 

I heard murmurs arise. Murmurs were good; that meant they were thinking. “What about Bloody Mary?” We all looked toward the one who suggested; it was Jason sitting on the arm of the couch acting so cool. But he was! The murmurs grew into excitement. The party was back on! 

“Sweet! Who wants to go first?” I said looking around at everyone. They all grew silent again. 

“What about you Morgan?” Jason suggested. His voice was so smooth, I could’ve listened to him all day. Her eyes grew wide and her face flushed red as all eyes were on her, without her permission. 

“Why do I have to go first?!” One of the random kids stood up and offered to go. Morgan shot a look at him. Apparently, that was enough motivation for her to get up and walk down the hall to the bathroom. We all followed.

When she reached the bathroom door, she took a deep breath and shut herself inside. We stood in the kitchen waiting. The bathroom light shut off and Jason crept to the side of the door. He put his ear to it as he pressed a finger to his lips. I waited in anticipation, while some giggled and mumbled under their breath. There was still silence.” Come on! You have to say it.” 

The boy who volunteered earlier jeered and said, “I would’ve done it by now.” I’m guessing Morgan heard him. Her hands slammed down on the sink and she began to speak.

 “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody…” Jason’s hands began banging on the door fiercely before she could finish. It must’ve been payback from earlier as he shot me a wink right beforehand. Everyone began to laugh until we heard a simultaneous crash and grunt from inside the bathroom. No one moved except Jason. He opened the door to reveal Morgan on the floor clutching her hand. He picked her up like a princess and carried her back to the couch, apologizing on the way.

 As she passed me I noticed something was off. The smell of the room had changed. It tickled my nose a bit. I tried to dismiss it, but as I followed them, the smell grew stronger. From the bathroom to the couch where Jason had rushed her, there was an invisible, hazy trail that my soul seemed to yearn for.

There I stood behind Morgan’s sympathizers, unaware of my loss of consciousness. The haze dissipated from the hallway and began to surround her. Jason had set her down on the couch. I could see her blood seep through her fingers as she clutched it tight to stop the flow. Next thing I know I hear footsteps thudding down the stairs toward the huddle of worried teens.

 “What’s going on here?” came my mom’s voice as she made her way through the huddle without acknowledging me. To be honest, I barely noticed her appearance at all. All I felt was the shift of the cluster when she broke through the ranks. Everything became cloudy as my gaze focused on Morgan. Mom sat beside her, taking in the situation. She instantly entered nurse mode, as that is what she did.

“Who can tell me what happened here?” Morgan couldn’t answer as tears streamed down her face and faint whimpers muttered from her lips. The dark-haired boy who was responsible stood there with his head down. The invisible fog wrapped around him as his head rose cutting off my view of Morgan.

 “It was my fault. We were playing a game, and I thought it would be funny if I scared her. I’m so sorry.”

“You can apologize later. First things first.” Mom took the crying girl’s hand and began to examine it, twisting it left to right. “Kate, can you go get the first aid kit from the bathroom down the hall?” Kate dashed through the crowd, and returned seconds later with the standard white box with red lettering. Mom took it from her and turned back to Morgan. As she unwrapped the gauze, a calm, peaceful voice flowed through my mom’s lips. “Honey, I need you to open your hand for me. Can you do that?” With my mom’s assistance, Morgan slowly flexed her hand open. My heart rate accelerated and my body seized up as I saw the crimson liquid bubble from Morgan’s pale skin. 

A sense of hunger, that I had never experienced, began to take over my thoughts. My head was spinning and my eyes started to burn. I forced them shut hoping it would relieve the pain. When I opened them again, I had a clear view of what happened. Morgan’s left hand revealed a bloody gash between her thumb and index finger. Watching the blood run down her arm as my mom took medicated wipes to begin cleaning the gash. My eyes zoned in on the thick stream sliding down toward her elbow toward the ground. 

As gravity pulled it to the floor, I could feel it reverberate through my entire body. Suddenly, everything fell silent. The fog overtook the room, that is, except Morgan, who remained a crisp vision. From that silence, a rhythmic beat began to fill the room. It started as if it was really faint and far away. Thump- thump…thump-thump… thump-thump… The sound didn’t seem to grow louder, but clearer to my hearing. The haze that surrounded her turned a translucent red. My focus on her was as sharp as a sniper waiting for their victim, while the rest of the room became nonexistent, and that unnerving feeling of hunger kept growing more and more intense inside me. A muffled voice echoed through the room. It sounded like my mom, but I couldn’t focus on it enough to be sure. I felt like I had been hypnotized…

 “Angel!” the voice boomed as the rest of the words trailed off into the haze. I was torn. A part of me wanted to obey, and answer the voice, but the other part of me was being drawn to Morgan’s blood. In the moment, I couldn’t really understand why, but I was terrified. What was happening to me? I began to back as far away from everyone as I could, shaking my head furiously from side to side to rid my head of these insane feelings. Panic took over as the hunger grew inside me. “Angel?” the voice called again.

 Everything stopped. I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t move. I stood there frozen with my gaze locked back onto Morgan’s wound. No more thoughts, and no more confusion. Hunger was my only priority. The clump of hazy figures stood facing Morgan, except for one with bolts coming from his temples. His green eyes shot toward me and bore into mine. “What the!?” was his frightened reply. In an instant, all the eyes of those hazy figures turned from Morgan to me. Including the tall, dark brown eyes of my mother. She handed my prey to Kate as she approached me, her eyes full of worry. She stopped right in front of me blocking my view of Morgan.

“Angel, love?” Her voice was sturdy, but shaken with fear. I heard a mess of mumbles and whispers arise from the others. “Love, talk to me. Tell me what’s going on.” Her voice was faint, even though she stood only inches away from me. I had no interest in speaking to her. I took a step left in attempts to dodge past her only to be instantly countered. I attempted to the right with the same outcome. My brow furrowed as my frustration merged with my hunger, creating an irritation that was lethal in my eyes. She placed her hands on my shoulders, trying to calm me with words. Big mistake. 

My focus may moved from my prey up to my obstacle. Without a thought, I swept my hand up removing her hold of me. “Get away from me!” The words ripped through my lips as more of a monstrous snarl than the voice of a 13-year-old girl. That was the defining moment. The scream that erupted from behind us was mom’s cue to remove me from the situation.

I remember a strong arm wrapping around my torso and hauling me up the stairs. Moments later, we came to an open door. She set me down in the dark room while blocking the exit so I couldn’t try to escape. I only had a small amount of light from the hallway lighting the space I was now confined in. Trying to get my bearings in the darkness, I notice the intense hunger began to subside and the red haze begins to dissipate. I started to feel like myself again as the tension in my body softened. My mom was focused on me with pained eyes, but I could hear her heartbeat slow ever so slightly as if a sense of relief came over her. 

Her calm voice brought a feeling of serenity to my hectic mind. “Love, I need you to stay here until I come to get you. Can you do that for me?” My will was regained, but my thoughts returned with a vengeance. Why did I have to stay in this dark room? Was I in trouble? Was she going to ground me?

 “Nod if you can hear me.” It felt very foreign, but I did as she asked. She knelt in front of me, kissed my forehead, and stood to exit. “I love you, but stay here”, and with saying that she shut the door and left me to my thoughts.

I got to my feet by finding the ledge of the sink and pulling myself up. Once I found my ground, I flicked on the lights to reveal what had everyone so scared. Staring back at me in the mirror was a red eyed monster in my body!

 I gazed in disbelief for a moment, examining my eyes in the mirror. Suddenly, a surge of energy rose from the pit of my stomach, through my lungs, and into my eyes. I clenched them shut afraid of what was to come. A moment later, I opened them only to be sucked into a dark space. Did the bulb blow? Was I still at home? 

A quick look around revealed that I was now in a damp, creaky warehouse with rusty walls. Standing a few yards in front of me was a man of a light olive skin tone. His clothing was dark, with short slicked-back hair to match. His face was young, and clean, except for the thick, red liquid that ran from the corners of his lips.

As he stood there, a look of confusion washed over his face. My breath quickened as I stared down this man who looked a puzzled as I was. He wasn’t very frightening, except for one detail. His eyes were the same shade of red as mine! I tried to scream, but no sound came out. His lips began to move As I was sucked back into darkness. A deep, ghostly voice echoed through the darkness. "Evelyn?” 

The vision went as abruptly as it came, and when I came to I was back in the bathroom. I had control over my mind again, but unfortunately not my legs. As soon as I let go of the sink my legs became noodles and I dropped to the floor. My head was spinning and the room swirled around me. Everything seemed to fall out of time, and the darkness clouded my sight.

I could hear my surroundings, though my ability to respond was gone. I’m not sure how long I lied there in the darkness, but after a while, the door creaked open. Her peaceful voice broke through the darkness. “Angel? Love, how are you feeling?” I tried to make words, but my lips wouldn’t move. I couldn’t even lift a finger. I wanted to wrap myself in her arms as she told me it’s all going to be okay, even when we didn’t know what was happening. I felt her arms slide under my back to lift me up. She carried me to a nearby bed where the warmth of the sheets nulled my senses and my remaining strength was tucked away as sleep took over my will to think.

***

I awoke the next morning facing my still sleeping mother. Her face was frozen with worry, even asleep. I couldn’t bear to wake her up as that meant we would have to talk about what happened. There was no way I was ready for that. Maybe we could pass it off as a dream. Yeah… a dream.

When Life Takes a Supernatural Turn for the Worst