I'm thankful for my family and friends. They love me no matter what, faults and all. "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." — Oprah Winfrey
Happy birthday! Are you celebrating up there? You're probably having White Castles like always. :) I know that you're watching over us still. It's a comforting feeling by the way. We're all good down here even though we still miss you (and we always will). Are you telling some new jokes? :D You're probably having everyone laughing. Here's a joke for you: Q: Why can't a blonde dial 911? A: She can't find the eleven. Lol.Well just wanted to say happy birthday, that I miss you, and love ya Stevie Wevie! Love, Lena
Chatting like an excited child, Shadow was talking nonstop to Anna all the way to the school, asking her question upon question. She wanted to know everything. Anna didn’t know what to think of this strange girl yet but she was grateful for the help with Lynn and Kayla. She also always felt sympathetic for the new people at school. Her classmates were brutal sometimes. It was like the new students were just fed to the wolves of the hallways. She was going to make sure that Shadow at least knew some people who she could trust. She was going to introduce to her circle of friends.
They walked through the double doors of Salem High School. Shadow saw the long, almost never-ending looking hallways with rows and rows of metal cabinets, which she soon learned were called lockers. It felt like she was in a maze, hallways connecting to other hallways. Dozens of teenagers were rushing up and down the hallways, slamming their lockers shut, chattering loudly with each other, and pressing the buttons on their peculiar portable phones and music devices. It was chaotic and confusing but yet Shadow was amazed by it all.
“I think that you have to go in the office to check in and to get your schedule since you‘re new,” Anna told her, breaking her sense of wonder.
“Schedule?” Shadow said with puzzlement.
Anna chuckled and said, “You know, your school schedule.”
“Oh,” replied Shadow, still not understanding but acting like she did, “of course, my schedule. Where is the office?” Anna directed her down the busy hallway.
As Shadow went to the office, her eyes darted vigorously, observing her surrounds.
Anna said to herself and chuckled, thinking that Shadow just had the jiggers from being at a new school, “Her nerves are so rocked that she can’t even think straight.”
Shadow walked into the office, which was more subdued than the hallway. Teachers, students, and some parents were going in and out in a rush but quietly. The walls were black and white and dozens of colorful posters hung randomly throughout the office. The posters advertised such things for school clubs, after school prep rallies, and warnings against drugs and bullying. Shadow didn’t quite understand it all but figured that she would soon enough. At a large desk, a chipper looking lady with gray hair, who seemed to love what she was doing, was greeting people, answering the phones and typing on a machine, which the Veiled Women told Shadow was a computer. The words formed and appeared on the screen as the lady quickly pressed the keys and Shadow couldn’t help but to stare for a moment. It was so intriguing to her.
Finally the lady saw her and said, “Can I help you dear?”
“Yes,” Shadow replied, choosing her words carefully so she wouldn’t sound clueless, “It’s my first day here…Here to check in and to receive my schedule.”
“Are you Shadow Ryannon?” asked the lady.
“Yes, my name is Shadow,” she replied, being taken aback and arching one eyebrow suspiciously.
“Your mother Linda called earlier to make sure you made it,” said the lady, reading Shadow’s perplexed face, “and you’re the first new student in months. Besides your name is so unique.” The lady then chuckled.
Shadow smiled and thought, “Hmm, I guess that humans have more than one name but I guess not magical names. how amusing, I’m also using Ryannon’s name!”
“My name is Mrs. Goldy, the main secretary,” said the lady bubbly, “I treat all of the kids that come in here like they’re my own. If you need help with anything, I’ll try to help. Welcome to Salem High.” She then handed what Shadow figured was her schedule, a list of subjects and times, and some type of a paper book called a manual.
“This manual has all the rules of the school but most students don’t read all the way through, just try to know the basics,” whispered Mrs. Goldy.
Shadow said, “Thank you, Mrs. Goldy” and was about to leave when a big, pump man came in the office.
The man looked quite unpleasant with his mean scowl on his face but as he approached her, she saw a fake smile that was amusing but still somewhat disturbing. Shadow already could tell that no student liked him or rarely took him seriously. It was obvious that he was going to be an enemy.
“So you’re the new punk?” he said with pretend playfulness, holding out a hand for her shake it. She shook it with hidden degust and quickly pulled back.
“Punk?” she exclaimed, bewildered.
“I’m just playing with you kid,” he said, “My name is Mr. Coalings. I’m the principal. I call the shots around here. I make sure that all of the rules in that little manual of yours are followed.”
“Oh, I have to read it all the way? But Mrs. Goldy said…”
“Yes, thoroughly,” Mr. Coalings replied, smirking wickedly, “If you don’t, I’ll know and trust me, I’ll make you sorry that you didn’t. All of the punks here know who’s commander and chief at this school. I‘m always watching!”
Getting annoyed with him, Shadow lied and said, “I better get to class. I don’t want to be late.”
“Yes, very good,” replied Mr. Coalings, chuckling, “You’re a well-trained punk but remember, I’m still watching.”
“He doesn’t mean it Dear,” whispered Mrs. Goldy.
Shadow was at the door now and Mrs. Goldy was waving goodbye. Mr. Coalings, meanwhile, was just standing there with an evil look on his face. She could see the loathing and smugness towards all the students in his eyes and it repulsed her.
“What a vile man,” she thought, “Why is he looking after young people?”
As she waved back at Mrs. Goldy, she cast a spell on him. With a swift rotation of her wrist, his belt became undone and his pants instantly fell to the floor, revealing yellow smile face boxers. Just then, several students and teachers walked in. Some gasped in shock but most just laughed to themselves.
Holding back laughter herself, Mrs. Goldy exclaimed, “Oh my!”
His face being beat red, Mr. Coalings swore underneath his breath and quickly pulled up his pants. He shouted angrily to everyone, “Nothing to see here, move along!”
Walking out, Shadow giggled to herself. Anna was by a locker across the office with two other girls talking to her. Anna waved at her to come by them. “Hello, I’ve got my schedule and my manual,” said Shadow excitedly, walking over.
“Hey…okay,” said Anna, being slightly taken aback by her excitement,
“cool…I guess. Oh, these are my friends Rose and Courtney.”
“Hello,” said Shadow happily.
Shadow silently studied the girls. Courtney was fair skinned and had light colored freckles on her cheeks. The black eyeliner that she wore heavily made her coal black eyes very noticeable and gorgeous. Her long hair was ebony but there was also a green stripe in her hair on one side and Shadow thought that this stripe was strange. Shadow then noticed that she was holding a large case which held an instrument that they called an electric guitar. She seemed extremely introverted and awkward at first but when Shadow asked her what type of music did she play, her eyes lit up slightly and said, “Punk rock. ” Then, she played some cords to one of her songs. Shadow thought that punk rock was raw, loud, and thrilling. She loved it.
“Awesome song Courtney!” exclaimed Rose.
Rose had brown eyes and beautifully braided, black hair. She wore a purple, round hat that tilted to the right on her head, halfway covering one eye. Her brown skin was stained with ink or paint and that told Shadow that she was some type of an artist. Shadow also noticed that she was a ball of passion, (be it sadness, anger, or joy) in the group by the way how she was engaged in conversation.
“So where are from?” she asked, “You gotta be from another country cause your name sounds so unique and exotic!”
Shadow had to think fast but she could only remember one other country besides America at that moment. “My mother is from…Europe,” she quickly replied.
“United Kingdom,” Shadow replied and hoped that what she said was actually in Europe.
“Cool,” Rose said, confirming that Shadow’s answer was correct.
“What kind of artist are you?“ Shadow asked abruptly.
“How did you know?” Smiling, Rose showed her notepad of her drawings.
There were vivid drawings of dark, gothic creatures and other fearsome monsters. Shadow saw a drawing of what was supposed to be a female ‘evil fairy’ with fiery red eyes, a distorted face, torn wings, and what looked like fangs protruding from her mouth. This depiction was wrong but all of the pictures were amazingly drawn and greatly detailed. It reminded her of home and she smiled.
Just then, a tall, skinny, and pale boy with long, brown hair, black and narrow-framed eyeglasses, and all black clothes ran up to them with a smirk on his face.
“What’s up with the weird face Jeff?” Anna asked the boy.
The boy, who Shadow assumed was named Jeff, then burst into complete laughter. He said, “For the time in my crappy life, a visit to the office gave me something besides an invitation to detention.”
“And what would that be?” she asked.
“A chance to see o’ Coalings make an absolute ass of himself,” he said,
“Dad and I were in the office because he dropped me off. I guess that Coalings’ belt finally gave way after another month of abuse and his pant fell around his ankles…smile face underwear!” They all laughed at this.
“He deserved that humiliation,” laughed Jeff, “after all the crap that he gives us.”
“I agree,” Shadow replied without thinking.
Jeff looked at Shadow, kissed her hand, and flirtatiously said, “Ooo, Hi there. who are you? My name is Jeffrey but friends call me Jeff.” Shadow giggled at this ridiculous boy.
Anna intervened and said, “Her name is Shadow. She’s cool so keep your eyes in her head Jeff!”
“Don’t mind her,” he told Shadow, sounding mischievous and almost arrogant, “She’s just jealous. See, we used to date and I don’t think that she never quite gotten over me.”
Anna rolled her eyes.
“Um, Jeff,” Rose said with amusement, “You two dated in junior high and I don’t think that doesn’t counts, considering your parents went with you on your so-called dates and your voice still squeaked like Mickey Mouse.”
Watching them for a few minutes, Shadow noticed that these four friends were like a family, all having some connection with something. She could sense that this thing might be significant and tragic from their past that tied them together. It seemed like they have been through thick and thin.
“Where did you meet this beauty anyway Anna?” Jeff asked.
“Shadow scared the crap out of Kayla and Lynn in the cemetery,” said Courtney softly with a grin. Jeff looked inquiringly at Shadow and Anna.
Anna then told him the story of how she was visiting her mother and how when Kayla and Lynn came to tease her, Shadow sneaked up on them with a mask. “They ran like dogs with their tails between their legs,” laughed Anna.
“Can we see the mask?” Courtney asked Shadow.
“Yeah, let’s see it,” they all exclaimed.
“If you like.” Not panicking, Shadow reached a hand into her bag, hiding from view, and in her mind’s eye, she envisioned the terrifying and twisted face of the evil fairy in Rose’s notepad and a startling looking mask materialized in her hand. She took it out and showed them. They all jumped back for a second.
“Geeze,” exclaimed Jeff, “if I saw that in a cemetery, I would run for my life too!”
“No doubt,” agreed Courtney.
“Funny,” Rose mused, “That mask looks so familiar.” No one else commented or noticed though.
“Do you think that Kayla and Lynn will tell anyone?” Courtney asked.
“What do you think?” said a voice behind them. They all turned around. It was a muscular boy with forest green eyes and the most alluring smile that Shadow ever seen. She caught herself getting extremely attracted to him and licking her lips with lust for a moment. He wore a blue sports jersey, blue jeans, an old, dirty green baseball cap, and a silver cross that dangled from a chain around his neck. This boy seemed different, out of place from the group of Anna’s other friends. Shadow couldn’t point out the quality that differed from others but it was obvious. She felt that the only strong connection that he had was with Anna.
“Hey Joey,” said Anna welcomingly, her face brightening up.
“Hi Anna,” Joey replied with a warm smile, giving her a tight hug, “By the way that Kayla was talking, I guess that I should be overwhelmed with joy that you’re alive.”
Shadow wasn’t sure but she thought that she had seen Anna blush a bit. Anna then laughed and asked, “What is she saying?”
“That a ghost of the car crash was after them and you,” he replied. Her smile fading, Anna let out a sigh in aggravation.
“What crash?” thought Shadow with great curiosity, “And why do they think that ghosts are bad?”
“Oh come on,” exclaimed Jeff, “I know that we live in Salem and all but aren’t they too old to believe in ghost stories?”
“Who wore the mask?” asked Joey. Anna then introduced Shadow to him. He shook her hand, smiled pleasantly and stared at her with absolute awe. Anna saw his reaction and did not like it.
“Why does he have to look at her like that?” thought Anna with discontent.
Since Anna and Joey became friends, they could almost read each other like book. They both hated labeling and always ignored people when the untrue high school cliché of the cool jock pitying the insignificant emo, gothic chick was pointed out. She knew that he was a guy of substance but the type of a girl that he dated was so typical. His girls were usually skinny, sexy, popular, and looked like they should be a Barbie doll. Shadow was exactly those things. She then reminded herself not to act like a little catty girl. He could look at or date any girl except for her of course.
“It’s for the best…I guess. He wouldn’t look at me that way even if I had a nice, juicy stake around my neck,” she thought dryly.
“Well it was cool that you helped out our girl Anna,” Joey told Shadow, “Those two are jerks.”
Just then, Kayla and Lynn came out of the nurse’s office down the hallway. Kayla held an unopened carton of orange juice, looking very pale. Lynn’s clothes were soaked with sweat and he just looked worn out.
“I guess that I should tell them the truth,” sighed Anna in a melancholy tone.
“Why?” said her friends in unison. Ignoring them, Anna approached them and Shadow followed.
At first, Kayla and Lynn just stared at her silently but as she began explaining and as Shadow showed them the mask, things got ugly and Lynn got in Anna’s face. Seeing this, Joey ran as fast as he could towards them and shoved him away from her. He stood between Lynn, Anna, and Shadow, while Rose, Courtney, and Jeff rushed to Anna’s side. Other students slowly gathered around and watched in shock.
“You witches,” yelled Lynn, “my sister almost fainted and missed before school track practice because of that freaking trick!”
“Maybe you two shouldn’t be so scared of masks then,” smiled Shadow, making Anna giggle in her throat.
“Think that’s funny,” Lynn sneered, “do you emo girl? I’ll show you what‘s hilarious!”
With furious eyes, he raised a hand to hit her and Joey and Jeff lunged at him violently, knocking him over but Shadow already secretly cast a spell, making his arm cramp up and freeze in mid-air. Kayla tried to grab Anna but Shadow cast another spell, causing Kayla to slip and fall onto her back. Every time that she would try to stand back up, Shadow made her fall again. Then, with a teacher finally watching intensely from their classroom door, Anna and Rose stopped the brawling boys before they all got into trouble.
“Calm down guys,” Anna exclaimed, “Get off of him!”
“Just kidding around,” said Rose to the observing teacher, faking a smile. The boys separated, the other students pretended that they didn’t see anything, and even though they got a disapproving look, the teacher didn’t confront them.
“That was close,” whispered Courtney. She tried to talk Anna into walking away but she didn’t move. The two bullies, Anna, and Shadow stared each other down, looking like enemies who about draw their guns. Then, the earsplitting bell to be at class went off.
“We better get to class,” coaxed Courtney.
Kayla and Lynn were walking away but abruptly stopped. “You’re gonna be sorry that you messed with us,” said Kayla, suddenly stepping forward. She then opened her orange juice splashed it on Anna and Shadow.
“Oops,” she said sarcastically, “sorry.” Rose wanted to attack but Anna stopped her. The teacher was watching them again.
“It’s only orange juice,” she told her friends.
“This isn’t over,” threatened Lynn, as he and his sister finally walked away.
As they were departing to class, Shadow blinked, making both of them walk into lockers with a loud bang. Laughter then roared throughout the halls.
“No, you’ll be sorry,” whispered Shadow.
Anna’s friends made sure that both she and Shadow were alright and even offered them shirts to borrow but they both declined.
“Want my jacket?” Joey offered her again.
“No, I’m fine,” smiled Anna warmly, “thanks Joey.” She always secretly adored his protective nature. Then, saying their goodbyes, they rushed to their classes. While walking back to her locker, she took off her t-shirt, now only wearing her gray sweatshirt.
“Are you sure that you don’t need a new sh---?” When she looked at Shadow’s shirt, she almost gasped. It wasn’t stained or even wet.
“How in the…?” asked Anna, pointing at Shadow’s clean shirt.
“She missed me,” lied Shadow. She really used magic to block the juice from hitting her and tried to protect Anna but it was too late.
“Well, I gotta go to class,” she said, grabbing two books from her locker, “Do you know where you’re going?”
“No,” said Shadow, showing her schedule.
Anna quickly looked and said, “You have the same classes as me. Just follow me.”
Their first class was algebra with Mrs. Poppons. Mrs. Poppons was a forty-year-old plain woman with brown hair, dress, and shoes. Her voice was slow, expressionless, and sounded as though it was set at one low tone. When she introduced Shadow to the class, it was brief and without enthusiasm. Then Shadow was given an old textbook and was told to find a seat. The classroom was large and square shaped. There were six straight rows of chairs and desks and Shadow saw Kayla sitting in front of the first row and Lynn sitting behind her in the next row. They glared at her as she walked by.
“I forgot to warn you about them,” whispered Anna, who already took a seat in the fifth row, “sorry.” Shadow just smiled.
“It’s perfect,” she thought devilishly. She took the first seat of the last row and watched Kayla.
When the lesson began, there was a hush over the room. Only the dull sounding teacher was heard but it seemed like she never faced the class, only looking at the board as she was writing problems and talking. “Awful teacher,” thought Shadow.
Some wanted to learn but most students were only halfway listening to her, doodling, daydreaming, or taking a nap. Anna was surprisingly focused on the teacher’s lecture and taking notes but Kayla and Lynn were sleeping. Shadow saw Kayla’s long ponytail swaying back and forth and a pair of scissors sitting in a cup of pencils and markers on the teacher’s desk, giving her idea.
With no one paying attention, she pointed her finger, making the scissors go up out of the cup and go under the teacher’s desk. Staying close to the floor, they hovered to the desks. When they were next to Kayla, they rose up to her ponytail. Moving her two fingers together in a scissoring motion, Shadow made the scissors swiftly cut off her ponytail and it landed on Lynn’s desk. The scissors then dropped into his left palm.
Next, curling her finger in a beckoning gesture, she made a permanent marker (not really knowing that it was permanent) fall onto the floor. Mrs. Poppon heard something fall and turned around but Shadow made it roll away before she could see. Not seeing anything, the teacher just turned back to the board and began talking again. Once she knew that it was safe, Shadow rolled the marker to Kayla and using her mind, it levitated to Kayla’s head. It opened its cap and wrote the word MONSTER in big, cursive letters on her forehead. Then, Shadow let it fall in Lynn’s right hand. Anna looked up just in time to see the state of Kayla and covered up her laughter with a notebook. Shadow giggled with her.
Finally, the loud bell rang again, indicating that class was over. The room became alive but the actual sound of the bell couldn’t be heard over Kayla’s bloodcurdling scream. As she woke up, she had combed her hand through her hair and felt that something was wrong. She frantically dug in her bag and pulling out a mirror, she gazed at herself with horror. Lynn was just confused as to why his sister’s ponytail was on his desk and why scissors and a marker were in his hands.
“What’s wrong with you,” she cried, “How could you?!”
“It wasn’t me,” exclaimed Lynn. The whole class was laughing hysterically and Mrs. Poppon looked baffled.
“Why?!” Kayla screamed again.
“I didn’t do it,” shouted Lynn, “Look, that’s not my handwriting on your head!”
“Kayla, Lynn…office now,” ordered Mrs. Poppon, not knowing what else to do. They ran out of the room while everyone still laughed nonstop.
The morning then went on and Shadow and Anna moved to class to class. They went to English, science, history, health, geography, and music apperception. Shadow thought that these classes were fascinating and that the other teachers were better than the first one. It was now lunchtime and the lunchroom was buzzing about what happened to Kayla this morning. Shadow and Anna was sitting with their friends.
“I wonder why he did that to his own sister,” said Rose. Anna shrugged, stuffing a fork full of salad into her mouth.
“Um, maybe it’s because he’s demented,” said Jeff sardonically.
“And it’s karma baby,” added Joey, “for the both of them.”
“Karma loves torturing them,” smiled Shadow. They laughed at this.
“I haven’t seen them since this morning,” said Anna after swallowing, “Maybe Coalings sent them home.”
Just then, Kayla and Lynn walked in. Kayla was wearing a knitted winter cap and it looked like she tried to roughly scrub the writing off of her forehead but the word was still faintly there.
“You spoke too soon,” remarked Courtney. Kayla and Lynn walked over to Anna with evil looks on their faces.
“We know that you or your new friend did this to me,” Kayla said with a horrible snarl.
“How,” exclaimed Anna, “when Shadow and I were sitting in the back?! You saw us.” In reality, Anna did suspect that Shadow had something to do with it somehow but she didn’t say anything.
“We don’t know,” replied Lynn, “but I would never do to that to my sister!”
“I think that she looks better that way,” mocked Shadow, “It fits her.”
Becoming irate, Kayla swung a punch at her but she used a defensive spell and made Kayla lose her balance. She almost fell on the table and Lynn caught her just in time.
“Come on Sis,” said Lynn, “We’ll get those losers later.”
Getting annoyed with him calling her new friends names, Shadow took a small bowl of noodles from her lunch tray and threw it at him. It hit him in his face. Angrily wiping the noodles away, he then picked up a bowl of pudding from a nearby table and flung it at Shadow. She quickly ducked and it landed on Jeff. Jeff lifted up Anna’s salad and chucked it. Before they all knew it, a food fight broke out. Food was flying every direction. Students were hollering, laughing, running, and hiding behind now tipped over tables. Teachers tried to stop the madness but they only got plastered with food too. Anna, Shadow, and their friends were having a blast. They were running across the tables that weren’t knocked over and using their trays as shields. They were throwing any food that was left. Shadow, of course, made the most hits and didn’t get a drop of food on her.
“She got some guts!” exclaimed Joey.
“Yeah…,” replied Anna, noticing the way that he was looking at Shadow again.
Suddenly, Mr. Coalings burst in the door and screamed, “ENOUGH!” Everyone abruptly stopped. Jeff wanted to throw some peas at him but Courtney stopped him.
“You punks think that you are so cool,” yelled Mr. Coalings, his face looking purple, “but do you know what I see? Wild animals that need to be tamed! All of you will spend the rest of the day cleaning this mess without talking and if I hear anymore stupidity, all of the school will have detention. Understand me? Oh, and if your clothes are all dirty, too bad. You can wallow in your own filth!”
“But it was so worth it,” whispered Rose.
After school, while Christine and her dad were still at work, Anna invited Shadow to her house. Along being kind, she thought that Shadow was cool and fearless but there was also something odd about her. Weird things happened around her today and she was intrigued.
Shadow was so happy that they became friends so fast. She always knew that helping and being companions with humans would feel satisfying. She also liked Anna’s house with the fancy furniture and all of the pictures on the walls. She wondered if Anna’s deceased mother was the woman in one of the pictures but before she could ask, Anna said, “I’m gonna get a snack for us. I don’t know about you but I’m starving.” Then she went into the kitchen.
While Shadow was waiting, she made herself comfortable. Her wings ached so without thinking, she took off her jacket and unfolded her enormous wings. She went to a mirror, gazing at herself. She was cheerily thinking that everything was going as planned and that’s when she saw Anna come back into the room. Shadow quickly turned to face her.
“What…in the hell…are you?” Anna asked fearfully with her eyes bugging out, dropping a bag of chips onto the floor.
“Uh oh.” Shadow knew that she better think of something fast before everything was completely ruined.
Hi, my name is Lena Holdman. I'm 31 years old. I'm an unique, fun, and a very imaginative person. I'm a writer: a poet and an aspiring author. I'm working on a young adult novel, which I hope to get published in the future. I also post short stories and poetry online. I love writing, it's my passion! I've been writing short stories since I was 9 and poetry since I was 13. I have cerebral palsy and I'm in a wheelchair but I believe that there's no such thing as "disabled", only different ways of living. I've been published in such anthologies as "Make Some Noise II", World Poetry Movement's "Stars In Our Hearts", and Story Write's "Page Dancers".