I had a nightmare. The type of nightmare where you couldn’t possibly get out of it no matter how hard you try, until something atrociously horrific and terrible was about to happen to you? And just in case you were thinking, no, it isn’t reality. Or my reality, come to that. But to stop my rambling on, that night I had a nightmare.
I found myself walking through Liverpool where the streets were desolate, looking as though there had been no sign of years. To my left, there was a Ferrari crashed against a lamppost, with its glass smashed and scattered all over the inside, and surrounded the car, with spots of blood splattered across the concrete. I didn’t want to be the hapless unfortunate owning that car. Well, maybe, pre-apocalypse.
I quickened my pace, with the hope that I would find some survivors in the midst of this post-apocalyptic city, and turned a corner into what seemed to be the ruined remains of St Matthews street and, to my horror, a giant pile of mutilated human bodies. My body trembled at the sight of these poor men and women, their eyes staring motionlessly back at their own eyeless bodies, as every single pair of eyes were separated from their bodies in their own pile, like this was part of a satanic ritual.
I wrenched, staggering to the side and using the building next to me for support. Nausea hit me as I tried to make sense of this nightmare. My eyes darted around at the grey atmosphere until a dark figure came into my field of vision.
Like a deer in car headlights, I froze to the spot and waited for the dark figure to make its move. It had the same shape as the figure back at college, but this one looked taller and this time, the dark figure didn’t run away from me. In fact, it was running towards me, getting faster and faster with each stride. It got closer and closer towards me, and out of the shadows into the sunlight so I could see it.
I turned to run; I didn’t want to meet the same fate as these poor people just carelessly throw into piles like clothes waiting to be washed. Before I could bolt down Matthew Street, a hand clamped itself around my arm like a powerful vice, jerking me back to the building and flinging me against the wall.
My heart sank in a sea of pure terror, as Radko pressed my arms against the wall with his massive, bear like hands, smiling at me with malicious intent. His amber eyes, like two pieces of flaming coals, drilled into mine as he locked onto his target, like a jet bomber.
‘Radko! Please don’t hurt me! Please don’t hurt me!’ I pleaded, my heart beating furiously in my mouth, as Radko grinned to reveal a set of pearly white teeth, with a pair of long canine teeth waiting to sink into my skin. He must have indulged in my terror.
I looked around for something to push towards me with my feet, and, to my horror, caught the horrific sight of a little girl lying face down in a gutter, with her face staring at me with cold, dead eyes. My eyes traced along her white skin until two small holes could be seen where her jugular would be.
I knew my fate.
‘No! No! Please, no!’
Radko smacked his hands against the sides of my face and turned my head towards his, making me stare into his bloodthirsty, killer eyes, burning with hate and murderous determination at the deed ahead.
‘No! No! No!’ I repeated, my body shaking ferociously, as if my body had gone into an epileptic fit. I closed my eyes, with Radko gracefully allowing me to do. I didn’t want to see death as it occurred. I shivered as I felt his cold teeth brushed along my skin and towards my jugular vein. Slowly, I could feel the pressure against his sharp teeth as Radko began to take the first bite.
But suddenly, a bright light….
I woke up, breathing heavily. Had that actually be a dream? Or had some sort of SWAT team discover me and come to my rescue? Had I fainted, sedated for my own good? I brushed the back of my hand against my forehead, feeling the beads of sweat catching the hairs of my hand. Joe and Rafe were already at my side.
‘Oh, thank God!’ Joe sighed with relief. ‘I thought you were…having a…seizure in your sleep or something!’
‘What? What was happening to me?’ I said, actually stopping for a moment to catch my breath as I had just run a marathon. Joe shook his head and took a deep breath.
‘You were talking – well, babbling like a nut in your sleeping. It was like hearing one end of a conversation…then you started talking random for a bit, and then you started screaming, and everything!’
‘Oh!’ I slapped my hand against my forehead. ‘That must have been a spectacle to watch. Well…what was I saying?’
Joe only shrugged his shoulders. ‘Dunno how to explain it really…err…well, you were talking about some lad named Raidcow or Radko or something…is that some weird band or something? Then…you started saying stuff about vampires…and that’s when you started screaming...about dying…Reallyloud. Scared the bloody hell out of both of us.’
My mind was like a stampede of wildebeest. Thousands and thousands of different and unconnected thoughts ran through my mind about these last few days.
‘It…it was just a really bad dream. I don’t think I know anyone called Radko Domev.’
Joe’s eyebrows rose. ‘I didn’t mention anything about a last name to this…Radko person.’
I took in a sharp intake of breath, and closed my eyes, wishing that this conversation was part of the nightmare too, and I would wake up to Joe being none the wiser about Radko.
‘Tell me everything you know, and I want to hear the truth this time!’ Joe demanded, putting a serious face on. ‘And no more lies this time! I don’t see why you need to lie to me in the first place.’
I sighed, closing my eyes for a second, then I opened them again, starting anew.
‘Me and…George Olsen, we…we…went to the Pier Head, like you said I could, after college…we talked for a bit…about the weather…and –’
‘Oh, please don’t say you…didanything with him. I know you’re better than that, Darcy!’
‘No! We talked about the weather…and about ourselves –’
Joe’s eyes widened. ‘What? What?! You told that…b…person about yourself?! What did you tell him?’
I knew no good would come from this, but I continued anyway. ‘Well…err…I told him…about my parents…and how they died…then I told…I told him a little bit about you and what happened to…your son…’
‘You told him aboutmyson?!’ Joe growled. At this, Rafe looked up and whined, his head on Joe’s knee.
‘Well…I said just a little bit! I just said he died young.’
‘Darcy, you don’t go around telling people stuff like that! Especially people who’ve only known for less than a bloody week!’
‘But I feel as though I could tell George anything. Isn’t that something you’d want to explore?’
Rafe whined again, as if he had understood every word that was being said.
‘And what’s wrong with him?’ I enquired angrily, watching Rafe walk gloomily out of the bedroom, hearing his thick claws scratching against the carpet as he ran down the stairs.
‘It…it’s nothing,’ Joe answered, as if for Rafe himself, ‘he’s just really…really…hungry,’ then he left the room without a word more.
The next day, I woke up earlier than usual: half-past six! The sun had just peeked over the clouds and a wave of light pulled the city from the night. College wasn’t open for at least another two hours, and I highly doubt Joe or even Rafe would be up at this time….yay!
Wrapping my coat around me, I stumbled out of the door and walked up the road. Clouds of steam blew out of my mouth, as I watched the world go by. I pushed my cold hands into my warm and deep pockets, and felt something brush against my fingertips.
‘What the-’ I pulled the object out, finding myself holding the strange pair of ordinary looking sunglasses Amyas – or whatever his name was – had given me. I hesitated, looking back reluctantly at that horrible day. I didn’t know what shocked me the most: the vicious monster, the fact that George actuallyshotandkilledit with agun, the fact I had travelled into a different dimension, or seeing Amyas produce a ball of flame from nothing but air. I shuddered at the memory and tried to shake it off by thinking of next Friday’s English exam. I looked up from the sunglasses to see a small bin next to the bus stop. I paused for moment, wondering if this piece of eyewear would be the key to a life of adventure, like in the films. But adventure would also mean danger…and the only danger I had to worry about was getting a bad grade at my A Levels.
‘Oh, screw it!’ I muttered, then threw the glasses into the bin, walking quickly back to the house.
‘So, are you going to get, like, special treatment or something, from now on?’ Lottie asked, making her way through a cheese sandwich.
‘For the millionth time, getting knocked unconscious in a gas explosion doesn’t make you Barack Obama,’ I replied, taking a large bite out of my tuna salad baguette.
Lottie gave me a funny look. Reflecting her confusion, I shot a glance back.
‘What?’ I finally asked.
‘Don’t you ever, you know, shut off?’ she answered, making this whole conversation seem like an interrogation, than a simple chat between friends.
‘What d’you mean?’
‘Imean,you’re already working your arse off like you’ve been here for ages!’
I sighed, and put my work back in my bag.
‘There, I’ve shut down. So what exciting things are going to happen now? What do normal girls about town do?’
Lottie raised her eyebrows, probably catching my fake enthusiasm, but then grinned, baring her white stripped teeth.
‘Well, step one: boys!’
I leaned my head against my fist. This was going to turn into a long conversation about Disney channel generated boy bands, soap dramas and what Peter Andre will be doing next after Katie.
‘Yeah, you do know about boys, right? The opposite sex?’
‘Well, I do live with one. Two if you count my dog.’
I don’t think I should’ve said this, since Lottie gave me yet another confused, and concerned, look before carrying on:
‘Well, boys are the second most important thing to girls, especially if you want to bag a footballer and live in a mansion by the time you’re twenty five.’
I smiled. ‘I’m guessing that your dream, right? To be a WAG?’
She beamed. ‘Too right!’
‘And what about the second?’
‘Shopping, oh and I forgot to mention parties too! Right, for boys, it all depends on the looks.’
I looked around at the boys in the cafeteria. ‘But most boys look similar in Liverpool anyway. Are you asking who the best looking black tracksuit wearing skinhead is?’
Lottie ignored grand opening for my stand-up comedian career. ‘Well, if they have a spot problem, then bin them.’
‘But…doesn’t that mean that…that we should bin them all?’
‘Ya what?’ she asked, with a strong Scouse accent.
‘Well…we…we all go through puberty, yeah? And get spots, so, by your logic, all boys are…, well start off as, losers.
Once again, my excessive urge to logically correct someone in an informal conversation still managed to get one step ahead- of me, and embarrass me in the worst of situations.
I don’t think I would be good fodder for her popularity, since she gave a quick sideway glance to see what other people were doing. The hottie with the nottie, maybe? Not that I thought Lottie was sexually attractive. But I just said ‘hottie’….oh forget it!
Lottie did nothing but sigh.
‘You know, not all of us really listen to what they say in those bloody sex-ed presentations. I believe the best way to learn is through practice.’
‘Practise? What, in a dingy hotel room or behind the bike sheds?’
‘Are you a virgin?’
An awkward pause followed after this. ‘Is that a bad thing? (Another pause followed) Are you…a virgin?’
She gave me a look that suggested she obviously wasn’t, and that losing your virginity wasn’t one of the worst things to happen to a seventeen year old in her prime, and that it would be the morally accepted norm to do so.
I leaned forward with perverse interest. ‘So…with someone in this college?’
‘Yeah, with George.’
My eyes widened. ‘What?’
At this, she laughed heartily. ‘I’m joking, you dope! Oh my God, look at your face! You so fancy him, don’t you?’
‘No, I don’t –’
‘Yeah, you do. You wanna marry him and have tons and tons of his babies!’
‘There’s a difference between liking someone as a friend and fancying someone. Besides, I think he’s a big dickhead now,andthe reason why I freaked out just then, was that…I do know that George wouldn’t be the kind of boy who sleeps around.’
I realise I had said something so wrong, my stomach turned at the thought I would get a manicured hand to the chest. She narrowed her eyes.
‘What you trying to say? Saying I’m a slag?’
‘Course not; I’m just saying I’d see George being more of a…celibate kind of guy.’
‘What? Is he a monk?’
Another awkward silence rained over us for ten more seconds.
‘Sorry, I’m just not…that good when it comes to talking about boys, and that…kind of stuff.’
‘Sex,’ I whispered, as if whispering secret codes.
‘Oh…oh!Darcy…you’re not…you don’t, you know…bat for the other side, do you?’
‘Cos it’s okay to tell me, you know. I’ve got tons of lesbian friends, and I never judge them because they like a bit of-’
‘I will stop you there.’
I turned away for something to grab my attention until, all of a sudden; a very familiar face stepped into the cafeteria. I snapped my head back to my food.
‘Oh, my God! It’s George!’ I whispered under my breath. ‘Don’t let him see me!’
‘Thought you said he was a dickhead.’ She placed her delicate oval face into her delicately hands, staring at George in total admiration. She looked as though she was in a lovesick trance.
‘That’s not the point!’
‘We should bring him over.’
‘No, we shouldn’t.’
‘He’s so fit.’
‘Bloody control yourself, woman.’
‘You two were mates the last time I saw you two. Thought you two made a nice couple actually.’
I turned to her in interest, giving another glance back at George, who was weaving through the crowds of students, looking like a little lost lamb.
‘Really? No, just don’t say anything. I’ll eat my food quickly, and then we can crawl out of here, okay? Let’s go on my count. Lottie?’
Lottie wasn’t listening, her eyes gazing at George and possibly trying to imagine him naked, but then she leaned back against her seat, smiling the smuggest smile in the history of smug smiles.
‘Well, I don’t think your plans will be going the way you expected it to.’
I froze, and then slowly turned myself around to meet with the most beautiful pair of eyes I’d ever witnessed. No…they weren’t beautiful….not…no! They were like…swamps! That’s it, swamps!’
I actually gulped. ‘George…what do you want?’
‘It’s not what I want from you that has brought me before you today, Miss Ward.’ He sounded like something out of a Jane Austen novel.
‘He may be fit, but he talks weird,’ Lottie whispered.
‘Shush!’ I snapped.
George shot Lottie a brief glance, as she flirtatiously twirled a strand of red hair around her fingers, giggling shyly. Unaffected by this, he turned back to me. In my fleeting time knowing him, I had never seen him so sweaty and anxious.
‘Actually, no,’ George continued. ‘I was going to say that…I don’t think we should be friends anymore. You’re a…shallow friend. I’m terribly sorry about yesterday, and if you’re willing to forgive me, and if I’m willing to forgive you, then I’m sure we can be firm friends…but at the moment…our relationship shall remain professional.’
I didn’t understand what I had done wrong to deserve this, and in front of a growing audience to, who watched George walk briskly out of the cafeteria. He was the one who fuelled my head with questions he wouldn’t even have the courtesy to answer.
‘Still talking weird,’ Lottie’s high pitched voice whispered to me. ‘Oh, God, everyone is looking.’
I groaned, and stormed out of the cafeteria.
‘Now, class, make a note of this: every action has an equal and opposite reaction, was Isaac Newton’s third law. Darcy!’ Mr Williams bellowed across the science lab.
‘Can you give me an example of Newton’s third law, please?’
‘A jet engine, sir?’
‘Oh, yes?’ A wide smile spread across his beautiful face. ‘And how does a jet engine apply to this law?’
‘Well, a jet engine produces thrust and the exhaust gases are flowed to the back of the engine, while another force is working in the opposite direction.’
I just caught someone at the back of the room commenting that I may as well have been teaching the lesson.
‘Couldn’t have said it before myself, Darcy, now…Richards! Explain another law of Newton’s.’
Natalie Richards, an emo kid who spent most of her school time listening to Screamo and Black Sabbath on her stupidly large Skullcandy headphones and was one of those people who you wonder why they’re more popular than you, searched her brain for a possible answer.
‘Err…to avoid sitting under trees, and…getting hit by apples?’
The whole classroom roared in raucous mirth, except for Mr Williams, who straightened his tie awkwardly and cleared his throat.
‘Quiet down now! Richards, see me after this, please. Now, pair up all of you, and follow the instructions on the worksheet.’
I couldn’t be bothered moving, or even looking over my shoulder to give my chosen partner a quick nod to say you’re with me. My mind was elsewhere, drifting off to the other day with the strange monster…and George and Amyas. As I daydreamed, I noticed a figure standing opposite the table in front of me. I looked up at the partner who was the last person I wanted to see.
George stood before my table, his arms folded.
‘Darcy?’ George asked. ‘What are you doing? Are you alright?’
I shook myself of this dreamy trance. ‘Oh…I’m fine, thanks…I was just…err…daydream.’
He raised his eyebrows. ‘That wasn’t even a sentence.’
‘Oh, get off my back, grammar Nazi.’
‘That wasn’t being a grammar Nazi, you mong. Why are you taking English?’
‘Shut up, George. I’m not in the mood. Why are you talking to me anyway? Thought I was a swallow friend.’
He sat down next to me. ‘You are a shallow friend.’
‘You didn’t give me time to explain myself.’
‘How could I? I thought you were making fun of me.’
George placed his hand on mine, looking at me honestly. ‘I would never do that to you. If only you let me explain.’
‘What, about how dragons and morphing black lion beasts and throwing fireballs like you’re playing a bloody game of cricket. And what’s with your gun? You haven’t – oh, god, please don’t say you haven’t killed anyone.’
‘Not a human being.’
I punched at the table. ‘See that’s what I mean. I’m not a little girl.’
There was a long pause between us, until I finally said something. ‘So…about this…thing, then-’
‘It’s called a Fiend.’
‘I don’t ca – I… (I sighed)…I…I’ve been thinking about it…all day.’
George only nodded. ‘Of course you’ll be thinking about it. Not something you’re going to forget, is it?’
‘But that doesn’t…make anything better. What the hell are you? You are human, right? But you can travel through portals and kill demons and stuff.’
George smiled at my interrogating, I, on the other hand, was having any of this. ‘You can grin and smile all you want, that doesn’t clarify an answer!’
I stopped as I realised I had shouted this down George’s ear. Richards, and the boys she was flirting with, and the rest of the class turned to us, and the room went silent. Crier just stood there, his perfect, muscled arms folded.
‘Darcy, do you mind not shouting in my class please? George, don’t you go down with her as well.’
‘Sorry, sir,’ we replied simultaneously.
‘Please, George, you are human, right?’
George stared at me for a few seconds, and then smiled. ‘Of course, I am. I’m as human as you.’
‘Then please explain why you were involved in all that? And what about the fireball?’
‘God, you’re so annoying with your questions.’
I punched him in the shoulder. ‘I’m being persistent. Do you know how far it can get you to places nowadays? Now, come on.’
‘If I tell you the truth, you’ll probably think I was lying and go off in a strop-’
‘Just tell me!’
‘Amyas’s parents used to be flamethrowers, all right? Amyas is very smart actually, and knows how to produce fire and makes it seems like he’s conjuring it from the air, but he has secret special lighters hid under the cuffs of his shirt.’
‘Alright, then. I’ll just pretendthat’strue. And what about Radko? The golden eyed guy at the hospital.’
‘What happened to him?’
‘A few friends of mine…sorted him out. He’ll be just fine.’
‘Good,’ I said. ‘There’s something else too. Well…I had this weird…dream about him the other night. It was strange…cos it was so…real, as if I was actually there,’ I explained.
George’s eyebrows pushed together.
‘Really? Well that’s peculiar, but…you kissed him-’
‘Gavehim mouth to mouth, I prefer, thank you!’ I growled, under my breath.
‘-gave him mouth to mouth, sorry…oh! Ooooohhh! That’s it! It was a bio-switch, of course!’
The whole class, once again, turned to our table. With a warning from Mr Crier, they turned back.
‘A what?’ I whispered, covering my mouth with my hand.
‘George!’ Crier bellowed. ‘Darcy! This is your final warning! I’ll give you a referral!’
‘We’ll talk about it in break,’ George continued quietly.
‘But…a bio switch…whatever that is…that sounds…serious! Shouldn’t I be worrying? I mean, this switch thing could be inside me now…messing about with my organs. He’s not inside me…is he? What if I’m pregnant?’
George stifled a laugh. ‘No…no, you’re not pregnant. Nothing is going to mess with your organs.’
‘DARCY! GEORGE!’ Crier thundered. ‘Obviously, you fail to understand the rules of my classroom. Unnecessary bantering is prohibited! I’ll write a referral for you both and you can report to the Headmaster’s office.’
Wasn’t it a little harsh to write a referral to someone on the first go? In my old college, we just had a card system where if you got a red card, after getting a green and an orange one, you would be sat in front of the Head and you would be interviewed on whether you should go or not. Swallowing my pride, I started to gather my books and pencils away, and then started clearing away the apparatus when George stopped me before I could put away the spare Petri dish.
‘You go, let me take care of this,’ he said, with a friendly smile.
‘Darcy, George! What are you waiting for? Katie Price’s long term relationship?’ Crier shouted. ‘Get a move on!’
Sitting outside the Headmaster’s office wasn’t as horrifying bone chilling as the rumours foretold: you would be sitting in a cold room, with a wall of framed certificates of school achievements, then a long gangly old man would slither out of his room, like Dracula with his victims, regarding with a ‘You’re a disgrace’ look, and you’d feel that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, with your heart beating rapidly.
No, this was nothing like St Georges’.
‘-and don’t expect me to give you a penny more than what I estimated for you,’ Mr Lovejoy’s voice roared from side. ‘There. Done. Bye!’ The sound of a slammed phone echoed through the corridor, and then all of a sudden, the door swung open, making me jump out of my skin. Mr Lovejoy stood at the door, staring at me with a Killer Instinct glare.
No, the rumours were true.
Another beautiful figure to grace these halls.
‘Right, Ward, right?’
God, you only met me a week ago.
‘Yeah…it’s Darcy, sir,’ I answered, nervously. ‘But…yes...’
‘Oh yeah…the new girl. Now, what are you doing here? I have a lot of my plate this morning.’
‘Mr Crier sent me and George Olsen here from Biology for talking in class. George should be here by now.’
Lovejoy’s eyebrows narrowed, and then snatched the referral slip from me. ‘George Olsen, did you say?’
He only briefly glanced at my slip, and then shoved it carelessly into his pocket. I wonder how Lovejoy managed to keep his job. ‘Right, come on in then.’
I followed Lovejoy into his office. The room was adequately large and good enough to live in. A bookshelf stretched across the entire left side of the room, filled with books that concentrated mainly on crime and thriller novels. A small desk sat in the middle of the room, before two chairs. The expensive looking Persian carpet adorning the floor reflected the elegance of the room, and of the college itself. The smell of lavender and roses cushioned the air. Mr Lovejoy sat at his desk, watching me as I admired the décor.
‘Take a seat, please. Mr Olsen will probably be here in a moment,’ Mr Lovejoy said, offering me a chair. ‘Now, Miss Ward (at that very moment, the door locked by itself. My heart leapt) you’ve recently been in contact with Delfan, am I correct?’
I did not reply. ‘What…what are you going to do to me? What…what are you talking about?’
‘You will not leave this room until you have explained everything!’
‘What…what are you talking about…sir?’
Lovejoy slammed his fist against the desk, creating a small crater in the polished wood.
‘You know damn well what I’m talking about! Now tell me how a human cross into Delfan!’
My heart was beating rapidly, as I felt hot tears welling in my eyes. I felt like running, but it felt impossible. I felt too scared that I found myself nearly forgetting to breathe!
Just then, a doorknob rattled wildly, and George’s voice came from behind the door.
‘DARCY! DARCY!’ George’s voice had been silenced by a long growl from outside, and seconds later, there were sounds of struggle, a fist being thrown, someone being forcefully pinned against the wall, making a few books fall out of place.
An antagonising moment of silence followed, until it broke with the painful sound of groaning and retreating footsteps.
Hearing this, Lovejoy grinned. ‘Looks like Lover Boy isn’t going to much help, is he?’
Lovejoy launched himself at me, knocking over everything that got in his way as he flew gracefully towards me from across the office, and took a firm grip to my way as he carried us both into the wall. I screamed in pain, as the rippling agony coursed slowly through my spine. Lovejoy seethed, as he took a tighter hold on my neck.
‘Tell me where Delfan is!’ he howled ferociously.
‘I-I-don’t-know-know!’ I croaked between sobs, my tears streaming wildly down my cheeks as I tried to pry his strong hands off my neck. ‘GEORGE!’
With all my strength, I lifted one leg and pushed it against Lovejoy’s chest as hard as I could and, amazingly, he began stagger back and loosen his grip on my neck. I coughed as oxygen was introduced back into my body, and then backed away towards the door.
I regarded his next move in horror. Lovejoy’s human form altered dramatically, as every muscle and bone in his body reshaped and pushed against his skin, as if some creature was trying to break free from its human body prison. Bones reshaped and pushed against Lovejoy’s olive-coloured skin; small black strands of hair sprouted from his body, covering his whole body until his skin had been concealed in a blanket of rugged black fur; his nose broke itself and reshaped into a shiny, wolf-like nose along with his face which morphed and lifted into a long muzzle. I rattled the doorknob furiously as the wolf creature observed its surrounding with its black eyes.
‘GEORGE! GEORGE! ANYBODY!’ I screamed, shaking the doorknob frantically then attempting to kick the door down with my foot. ‘HELP!’
‘There’s no use crying for help, Darcy Ward!’ Lovejoy bellowed in this new, deep hellish voice. ‘The whole room has been placed under a Silencing, thanks to my receptionist Mary, of course. Did you know she’s from America? Salem, to be specific. Witches can be very useful if you want to have a…little meal during school time. Now, tell me where the Delfan portal is, or I’ll flay the meat from your bones!’
A spark of confidence shot out of my mouth in words. ‘Well, even if they can’t hear us, everyone will be able to hear what’s happening just outside! Then-then they’ll come and rescue us from you!’
But Lovejoy only shook his head. ‘Oh, my dear child, Mary’s a good thinker. You see, the human mind is a very easy thing to manipulate and control, so ignore what they said on those science channels. Mary is able to make to manipulate the human mind into turning away from my office and walk back to their lives. And if they need something, Mary simply places the information in her mind. It’s like…Inception, but possibly a little less complex.’
The deep, hellish voice didn’t scare me as much after this, until Lovejoy stormed away me, snarling deafeningly as, once again, his vice-like hands were clamped around my neck, except the pressure, as he pressed his clawed fingers into my windpipe, was more awesome than before whilst Lovejoy lifted me into the air, like a weightless feather, as his eyes started to burn like two blazing fires. My legs kicked and struggled, as they tried to find ground. I couldn’t move anywhere else. Why should I? If I moved, he’d break my jaw as easily as breaking a matchstick. I closed my eyes.
What should I do now while I stood at the end of the abyss? As I was about to die? I would scream probably, so I did. I screamed to the top of my lungs, thinking of Joe and Rafe, and George and Amyas, and the strange monster that I would never find out about, and then I thought about my parents. If I could ever look at the bright side of Life, I would keep repeating in my head that I would be with them in eternity, but being an atheist, I strongly doubt it, but it was comforting.
The very fact I was still alive to be thinking all this baffled me, expecting to be interrupted mid-sentence when I first started thinking about Joe and Rafe. Then suddenly, I heard Lovejoy’s shrieking cries of pain, and the force of his fingers against my neck loosening. I flung my eyes open, and my body shot into a state of panic.
A shining light gradually worked its way up my legs, eventually all over my body, like I was a star emitting my own glow. After that moment, the office seemed bigger than it used to be, and all the gracious reds and yellows and greens all seem to lose their colour, transpiring into an emotionless grey.
Even Lovejoy regarded me with – what I could see through the thick fur – confusion, making a wary growl as he watched me closely, like a wolf preparing to take down an elk.
‘Amyas! Dieter!’ George’s voice boomed from outside the door. He was alive! ‘Get in here NOW! I’ll get the lights!’
At that moment, the lights in the room began to flicker and die out, which was followed by the most excruciatingly agonizing scream of pain I had ever heard in my life.
‘DIETER! NOW!’ The flamboyant screaming slowly transpired into a long howls. ‘GET OUT THE WAY OF THE DOOR!’
I did so, and dived behind the desk, concentrating on whatever was going to come through that door. Suddenly, the door exploded out of its hinges, and a large creature stampeded into the office, destroying everything in its path, flying books and chairs into the air, and launched Lovejoy into the wall with impossible ease, which then shot at the creature and, with all his anger and strength combined, dug his knife-like claws into the creature’s left shoulder blade. The creature roared a painful howl and slashed across the face with its deadly claws. Lovejoy gave out a thunderous cry as he fell to his knees and covered his blood-soaked hands against his bloody face. Four vicious scars slashed diagonally across his face.
As the large creature stared down at Lovejoy in ravenous hunger, Lovejoy reverted back to his human appearance. I couldn’t see his godly beauty anymore because of the blood that caked his face, as fresher blood oozed from his wounds. His clothes were now ragged and torn, and his tie was now degraded to small shreds of cotton on the blood stained Persian carpet. Lovejoy tried to stand up to fight back, but staggered at the immense loss of blood and, after a long and confused stare at me, he fell to the floor and blacked out.
Assuming it was safe, I stepped out from my hiding place and faced the creature, hoping it would carry me out of this hellhole and to somewhere safe and discreet, but then horror struck me as the black wolf-like creature was spiralling out of control, until it took one glimpse at its new prey with blood red eyes.
George and Amyas charged into the office, and George, armed with a syringe containing unfamiliar light blue liquid, stabbed the creature’s leg with it, but then when the pair turned to look at me, they repeated the same look of confusion Lovejoy had given me before.
‘Darcy? Is that you?’ George asked warily, approaching me slowly.
‘What are you talking about?’ I replied. ‘Of course, it’s me, you complete idiot!’
‘It’s a shame we don’t speak dog, or we’d know whether this is her or not.’ George said, completely ignoring what I had just said.
Amyas ran out of the room and brought back a large Adidas bag with him and placed it next to me. He unzipped the bag and pulled out a headset that resemble a headphones you would get on an airplane, plugging into an IPod Nano.
He pointed the IPod towards me, and then looked down at the screen as it beeped.
‘Yes, this is Darcy, George.’
Amyas turned to George, giving him a cold look; obviously he wasn’t the type to kid. He turned back to me.
‘Darcy…look at you han-paws!’
‘Paws?’ I looked at my hands; theywerepaws. I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice this sooner; I tried to turn my head to see my long tail. I had a tail! I had a tailandpaws! ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’
George and Amyas came to my sides, both patting my head and stroking me to calm me down. I knew it would be a girl’s dream to have two good-looking young men stroking your hair or wherever, but I couldn’t care less at the moment.
‘Let me talk to her, George. I only have one translator.
‘Oh, that’s bloody useful!’ George replied sarcastically.
‘I don’t know how to tell you this, Darcy,’ Amyas said uneasily, ‘so I’ll just say it hopefully in a way that won’t offend you much, but you’re a dog. Golden Labrador, to be precise.’
‘Do you think this is funny?’ I screamed. ‘I’m a dog! A bloody dog! I don’t know how to tellyouthis, whatever your name is, but how the hell are you going to change me back? I can’t live the rest of my life like this, in this dog body! Seventeen is like granny age to dogs!’
‘Okay, okay, let’s just calm down. What made you turn? What was the trigger of your transformation?’ Amyas asked.
‘Well, Lovejoy was about to rip me into little pieces, and I just started glowing!’ I replied.
‘Well…were you thinking about anything before this happened?’
‘What’s that got to do with anything?’ I snapped.
Amyas sighed. ‘Well, I’m no shape shifting expert but-’
‘Hang on! Shape shifting?’
‘Yeah, I’m not an expert in this field but I think thought may have triggered your transformation into a dog. Do you have a dog?’
I nodded, but tried to overcome the new, intoxicating smell that invaded my nostrils left, right and centre.
‘I thought of my uncle…then of my dog…Rafe…dunno why.’
‘Well, there you go! Classic case of a shapeshifter who can turn into animals. Right, what I want you to do now, is to do the same thing again…expect think of you. Try and imagine yourself in this form, then imagine your legs growing back into human shape, your arms turning into normal human arms, and keep doing that until you’re you again.’
I closed my eyes, and pictured myself, concentrating furiously on each part of my body. After a while, I opened them again and found myself back to normal in my normal, boring school uniform as if it had never been affected by the transformation.
‘So…am I a werewolf?’
‘No, you’re not a werewolf.’
‘So, what does this mean?’
‘It means…that you’re a Searcher.’