My name is, was, Eleanor "Elle" Orson. Lame right? I had wondered why my parents named me something that was so ordinary. I now realize that it was the best name that anyone could have given me. Something ordinary, something commonplace, something that won’t get you hunted by your father’s enemies. I had a normal if boring life. I was in my freshman year of high school, and change was in the air.
"Hey Elle," I heard a male voice call out.
I looked around the crowded hall for the owner of that voice, and eventually my eyes settled on a lanky sophomore. The boy had an androgynously feline, symmetrical face; one electrum and one blue eye; blue-black hair; pale skin; and a slight, cat-like, I-am-better-than-you-but-you-still-kick-butt smile at the edges of his lips. Even though he was thin, the muscles on his body had a slight definition and rippled under his hoodie, blue jeans, and graphic tee shirt as he slinked over to me. His beautifully uneven eyes were partially covered by his straight, surfer boy haircut. I smiled as he arrived at my side.
"Hey Sam," I casually greet him with a smile on my face, "What’s new with you?"
"Nothing much Elle, only the world ending – again," he replied, copying my smile with a hint of arrogance added to his own and pronouncing my name like the letter "L".
I laughed in response and we began to head toward our shared study period down the hall, in the Library.
"Now really, in all seriousness," I ask with frank tone, "What is going on with you?"
"Ah, nothing really. I’m really kinda boring when you get down to it," Sam answered me, shrugging, "I got my character in COTS to 15th level, and that took effort."
COTS was the online game that we loved to play. The name stood for Children Of The Stars, and in the game you played a half human, half angel who was fighting the binary coded forces of evil. I was a cleric-mage in the game named Celeste, and I had reached 20th level a few days ago. The game was one of the many things we enjoyed together since we had met each other at the age of 9. We had immediately bonded and become best friends to the point of being inseparable.
The door to our Study Hour was to the immediate left and we entered. Both of us aced our classes due to our near genius IQ’s (my IQ was 134, Sam’s was 138) and didn’t need to take the class. The only reason we had marked the classes was to have time together without our parents. Since we had nothing to do in the class, we played The Image of Star, the game that COTS was based on, and talked about our lives, dreams and anything else that we wanted to. It was our own little paradise, free of burden and trouble.
The library was spacious and maze like with tables interspersed through shelves of literary tomes. Sam and I moved over to an ornate table made of dark wood to the left. The table’s smooth surface had been polished smooth by hundreds of arms, notebooks and backpacks, and oiled by thousands of hands and snacks. We loved the table, and even though there were no assigned seats in the class, that table was understood to be ours. Sam and I pulled up chairs, sat down at our table, spread out our Image of the Star materials, and began to game.
During the session’s second battle, Sam stopped and looked down, his silent signal that he wanted to ask a question but feared my response. I stopped and looked at him. His eyes had a distant look in them and he had folded his hands, showing that my answer might change his life. I carefully considered what I should say that would tell him of my willingness to answer. I settled on silently taking his hand into mine and smiling. Sam gave a soft sigh and opened his mouth to speak.
"Elle," Sam hesitantly asked, "When you went through that craze about the supernatural that you experienced in middle school, did you ever actually contact anything or anyone?"
I was taken aback by my best friend’s indiscreet question. My craze had nearly destroyed every relationship in my life and had resulted in a month long stay in a mental hospital. Afterwards, we had sworn never to mention the event ever again.
"Yes," I confessed with a tremble in my voice, "I did, once."
I still remembered the beauty of the spirit as it tried to kill me, the hint of music in the air when it appeared, and the absolute bliss I felt in its presence. The one séance that worked. The only séance that something tried to kill me. The séance that convinced me to give up the supernatural. Sam had found me and saved my life from the spirit. I had then sent myself to the mental hospital for help.
"I know that this might be hard to talk about, but what exactly did you see?" he asked.
I took a deep breath and recounted that night.
" I don’t know what it was that night that made the séance work. I called for a spirit, any spirit to come. When it came I tried to speak to it. It refused to communicate, but started to manifest in front of me," I described to Sam, "It looked like a man created with spider web-like strands of light. He had long hair and his face reminded me of the face of a fox or a cat. Thinking back he looked like he might have been related to you, He smiled when he saw me. I smiled back and he placed a hand on my chest. When he pulled his hand back I felt like my soul was being ripped out. I didn’t fight back; I felt bliss that dulled the pain. As I got weaker and weaker, I began to hallucinate that I was in a field of white grass. You were running towards me, and I blacked out as you said something. I woke up to you sitting on the edge of my bed praying that I would wake up."
Sam nodded and the edges of two fingers in the shape of a gun on his lips in a thoughtful pose. His brow crinkled, and he looked at me intensely.
"What do you think it was that you summoned?" he asked.
"I don’t want to know," I growled. Sam was pushing the topic a little too far.
Oblivious to my hostility, he continued.
"Have you ever heard the legends of the Fallen Angels?" he probed.
I nodded and glared at him.
"Their children, the Nephilim?" he inquired.
"What??" I shouted.
I had never heard of Nephilim. The other students glared at us, but I didn’t care. Sam had officially crossed The Line. It was enough that he had pushed about my experience, but now he was talking about nonsense theory about what had happened. I stood up, pushed in my chair, and started to walk away. Sam almost stood up and followed me, but he knew which line he had crossed, and that I needed alone time.