Two weeks later
"Bring me your destiny, cold as it is
Call me your lover, and darling, know this
I will unveil your hidden hopes
And show you things you never have known
The words slid from Casady's tongue with ease, and only when he finished Singing the words did he realize that his eyes had been closed the entire time.
Now, when Casady opened his eyes, he found that everyone who was practicing "Sweet Love" was staring at him, their eyes wide and unblinking.
Shifting awkwardly, Casady muttered, "Is everything okay?"
Trace was the first to speak. "That's the best you've ever executed that song, Casady. It was remarkable."
Casady looked to Vinnia for approval, but Vinnia's eyes were averted.
From behind, Casady heard the chorus begin to clap. Whirling around, he saw his teammates applaud his beautiful strains. In reverence, they watched him, and it was then that Casady realized, just a little, that his voice was truly unique. Truly...dangerous.
The past two weeks had been strenuous, to say the least. Every day, Casady and his fellow trainees reported to the practice room, where they learned their notes and the eerie choreography that went with each beat, each harmony. And as the song progressed, Casady knew, deep in his heart, that the Force had never seen anyone like them before.
Casady and his team personified the meaning of "The Monster Within."
The costumes themselves were simple but divine. At first, the costumes were white, but then a shade of grey crept up the hemlines, growing darker and darker until the entire costume was edged in a smoking, curling blackness. There was no face paint, as Vinnia considered it "vulgar and grotesque," but the make-up was hazy and chilling.
No, the Force had never seen anyone like Vinnia's team.
Leaning over to Trace, Vinnia whispered something in her assistant's ear. Casady hoped that Vinnia's blank face would break out into some emotion that showed how she felt about Casady's solo, but no such luck. Instead, Trace called out, "Practice is finished for today. You are all dismissed, except for Casady Conlin."
Wondering what was going on, Casady watched his teammates file out the door. He shuddered when the door closed behind them.
"You can leave, too, Trace," Vinnia said quietly.
Trace looked stricken for a moment, then followed Vinnia's instructions.
"Casady," Vinnia said, and it was then that her face turned vividly pale.