I sighed and turned back to Phoebe. She rushed at me and had her arms around my neck again. "Oh Lori, I'm so glad you're b-back!" she cried. I didn't realize how much I missed Phoebe while I was with the Hunters. "I'm sorry, th-that I c-called you an idiotic m-meal," she sobbed loudly. I laughed soggily, and I noticed that I had started to cry too. Aren’t we just the most emotional, crybaby girls ever?
"It's okay, Pheebs," I murmured. She pulled away from me and sniffled again.
"What happened to you?" she asked holding open the door, and taking a tissue from a box sitting on a small wooden table just inside the doorway. I followed Phoebe into the living room, and we both flopped down on the couch. I took a deep breath and thought back to the night before.
"I guess it was last night after you left. I heard this tapping sound coming from my bedroom." I swallowed sullenly and continued, "Some guy jumped through my window and knocked me out with chloroform." Phoebe gasped.
"Who...Who was it?" I shook my head.
"Could've been a number of people..." I said. I counted off my fingers with each name I said, "Colten, Malick, Cedric, Jason, and some guy I don't even know the name of." Phoebe's eyebrows climbed up her forehead as I said the names.
"Zane 'saved' me," I said, making quotation marks in the air with my fingers. "Attacking a few of my friends in the process." This time Phoebe looked confused.
"Zane hurt someone?" She asked.
"Understatement," I said in a dark voice. Phoebe looked shocked. Seriously he's a vampire what did you expect? I wanted to say that but I didn't.
"Zane threw Malick about fifteen feet across the room; he banged into the wall so hard it cracked." Phoebe's eyes widened in terror and amazement. "Zane also slammed Colten into the floor hard enough to make the tiles fly out of place." She let out a squeak of compassion for Colten. It felt good relaying Zane’s crimes to someone other than the person who committed them.
"Wow," she said.
"Yeah, but I stopped the fight before anything else happened," I said shrugging as if I talked about things like this all the time.
"How'd you do that?" Phoebe asked leaning closer to me eager to hear the rest of the story.
"Well, it'd be cool if I could say I used my awesome Kung Fu skills to make 'em back off, but I just yelled ‘stop’," I said grinning.
Phoebe giggled, "Yeah, everyone underestimates the value of a good yelling voice." We both started laughing, and once we started we couldn't stop.
It had been a long time since Phoebe and I had laughed so hard. What we were talking about wasn't even that funny but we laughed anyway. We did more than laugh; we chuckled. We chortled. We guffawed. We giggled. We snorted. We laughed so hard we started to cry. By the time we finished laughing we were both laid out halfway on the couch halfway off it, gasping for breath.
"So what about Zane?" Phoebe asked still smiling hugely.
"What d'you mean?" I asked, looking slightly confused. Phoebe's smile faded a bit.
"Well you guys seemed a little awkward around each other," she explained.
"Oh, I guess it was a little weird between us. I just let Zane know that he can't follow me everywhere and expect me to be okay with it," I muttered. Phoebe nodded in understanding.
Suddenly there came a harsh knock on the front door. Phoebe and I got up off the couch and walked curiously toward the door where the vicious knocking was coming from. I opened the door cautiously and was surprised to see Phoebe's parents.
"Uh, hi Mr. Hallman," I said indifferently. Phoebe's hulk-like father shoved his way into my house, his mousy little wife scampering behind him.
"Phoebe Annabelle Hallman!" Phoebe's father bellowed. Phoebe shrunk back and seemed to become very small. "You are never allowed to see this girl again!" he said jabbing a fat finger in my direction. I glared angrily at him but he didn't seem to notice. I saw tears start to well up in Phoebe's eyes. "Now get your stuff and go home!" he commanded.
"Why?" Phoebe cried.
"She's irresponsible, Phoebe. And she has no parents to enforce certain rules. And you told us she was missing for nearly 24 hours!" He tried to sound friendly at the beginning but he ended his sentence with a roar.
"But she's my friend," Phoebe sobbed.
"I don't care. Now go back to the house," he said. I saw Phoebe clench her fists, and she screamed, "No! I won't go back home ever!!!"
The noise began as a slight rattle and I dismissed it as any normal person would have.
"What did you say to me?" her father asked angrily, raising his fist and shaking it in the air. The rattling became louder.
"I said...NO!!!" Phoebe hissed in a cringe-worthy voice. I glanced around as the rattling became even louder and noticed objects shuddering fiercely, and some were even levitating a few inches above the surface they were originally resting upon. Phoebe's dad came closer and grabbed his daughter roughly by the shoulders, shaking her. She stared daggers at his hands.
"DON'T! TOUCH! ME!!!!!" Phoebe grabbed her father's arms and for one prolonged moment, her hands glowed fiery red and her father's jacket sleeve caught fire.
I was so shocked I couldn't speak; I just watched the flame creep up his arm with astonishing speed. Phoebe sprang back from her father and the floating objects crashed to the floor. I looked back and forth between Phoebe's shocked expression and Mr. Hallman's frightening attempt to swat the fire from his jacket. What the hell just happened? My thoughts were panicked. Phoebe's dad just caught on fire. That was weird, even for me. I watched Phoebe's father wrench the jacket from his back and stomp out the fire. Mr. Hallman gave his daughter a frightened look and started backing quickly down the hall towards the door. Phoebe's mom gave Phoebe an apologetic glance and scurried after her husband.
When the rest of the Hallman's were out of the house, I walked over to Phoebe and thought: How can she possibly be related to those people? She looks absolutely nothing like them, and God knows she doesn't act like them.
"Pheebs, you okay?" I asked in a quiet voice. She looked at me, tears leaking down her cheeks and she shook her head.
"Come on," I whispered, and I lead Phoebe back into the living room. I pushed her gently onto the couch and sat down beside her. She swiped the tears from her face and hugged her knees to her chest. After a while of just sitting there staring at the wall I was about ready to burst with questions. Phoebe glanced at me, sighed and asked, "What?"
I turned quickly to face her. "By the gods!" I whispered in an urgent voice. "How'd you-I mean that was...By the gods!" I flustered, convinced that Phoebe had made her father catch on fire. Phoebe looked at me in an annoyed way then went back to glaring at the wall. "How did you do that?" I asked softly.
She looked at me. "You think I did that?" she said and I could swear I detected the slightest hint of excitement in her otherwise uncharacteristically bleak voice. I nodded my eyes wide with amazement. She sighed.
"All I remember is being really mad and then poof!" She gestured with her hands. "Flaming father," she murmured. I couldn't help but smile.
"Hmm, it's definitely not something you see every day." Phoebe shrugged and muttered, "Unless, of course you're us." I let out a short laugh.
I guess Phoebe had run out of things to say because she continued to stare at the wall. Though I too had nothing to say, I sure had enough to think about. How did Phoebe do that? I mean she set her father on fire. And I'm guessing that if she did that then she was also responsible for the floating objects. Spontaneous combustion and levitation it was like...MAGIC!
"Phoebe!" I yelled springing up from the couch.
"What?" she asked in a panic.
"You're a witch!" I said, filled from my toes to the top of my head with excitement. Phoebe's face fell.
"Lorelei, I didn't mean to hurt him. I don't even know how it happened!" she cried.
"Pheebs, no! That's not what I meant," I said, more excited still. "I mean you're a spell slinging! Curse casting! Wiccan badass!" I insisted in a voice that sounded as if I was a coach giving a pep talk to a losing team.
Phoebe smiled. "Really? You think? Is that-is that even possible? I mean I know I read about Wicca a lot but there’s nothing in the books about randomly setting people on fire," she asked. I shrugged and plopped back down on the couch.
"I don't know! I mean vampires and Hunters are real; so why not real actual witches?" Phoebe's eyes widened.
"Let's put it to the test," she said, smiling mischievously. I returned her smile and nodded. She sprung up from the couch and skipped over to the window, her usual perkiness back in her step. There was a white candle sitting on the windowsill, which Phoebe grabbed and skipped back over to the couch. She sat down and placed the candle in the middle of a glass coffee table stationed in front of us.
I kept quiet and watched Phoebe concentrate on the candle. After a few minutes, I started to get bored and I had to stifle a sigh. My eyes were just beginning to droop shut when I heard a gasp. My eyes popped open and I glanced at Phoebe. She was staring at the candle, her mouth hanging wide open. I saw her fingers twitching with power beneath the candle, which was hovering several inches above the tabletop. Her hand moved out from under the candle seeming to have a will of its own and she briefly touched her index finger to the candle's wick. The air seemed to grow thick with electricity and the wick sparked into a flame.
My jaw dropped so far I'm pretty sure it touched the floor and I gasped. The candle dropped through the air landing hard on the coffee table and the flame dissipated. Phoebe blinked out of the weird power haze she had somehow found her way into and mumbled, "What-what happened?"
"Pheebs!" I squealed bouncing up and down on the couch in excitement. "You did it! You made the candle float and then you...you lit it without a lighter! That is so flipping awesome!" By now, I had jumped up off the couch and was dancing around the room in amazement.
Phoebe looked purely stunned. She touched her finger to the candlewick once more and it lit. She let out a surprised squeak and jumped back into the couch. I paused in the middle of my wacky happy dance and stared at the flame flickering wildly atop the candle. I giggled madly and continued dancing. Wow! A day of sleep really did the body good.
"Oh my goddess! I'm a witch!" Phoebe burst out, eyes wide. I rolled my eyes in the middle of my dance and breathlessly said, "I do believe I just said that!"
"This is so insane!" Phoebe cried, joining me in my dance of wacky happiness. I grinned.
"Vampires! Witches! Hunters! Werewolves! Demons! Who knows? They could all be real!" she said. I stopped jumping and my grin faded. "What's wrong?" Phoebe asked, confused by my sudden dour mood.
"I was just wondering why we think it's so cool that these things are real," I insisted. Phoebe stopped bouncing,
"What d'you mean?" she asked.
"Well...All witches can't be good. Not all vampires can be like Zane. And the Hunters don't seem very friendly," I murmured. Phoebe sighed and sat back down on the couch.
"That's a good point," she said, staring at the flickering candle. I sat down beside her.
"Maybe we think it's cool because we're freaks," I stated. Phoebe giggled.
"Yeah, a couple of freaky supernatural weirdo’s are we." I nodded in agreement. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and glanced at the time as I often do.
"Whoa," I said quietly.
"What?" Phoebe asked peeking over my shoulder at my phone; the screen on my phone read 1:44am.
"How'd it get so late? Early? Whatever," she asked. I shrugged. "Well I'm tired," Phoebe stated, getting up off the couch. "I'm going to sleep." She trudged upstairs. I heard Phoebe flop down on her bed and then things were quiet.
I sighed and stared into the dancing flame on top of the candle. I was just way too wired to sleep so I just sat there, alone, in a dark room but for the flicker of a candle that was lit by magic. I can accept the fact that Phoebe is a witch. I'm cool with it and not at all jealous...I mean why couldn't I be something like that? Instead, I'm supposedly a Hunter, which would be kind of cool if I had super strength, and super speed like the rest of them. But I don't! I am utterly pathetic! It seems like all my friends are super heroes and here I am-the damsel in distress-thinking that I belong.
I curled up on the couch and stared at the flame perched precariously on top of the white candle. I chewed my bottom lip as my suddenly depressing thoughts raced through my mind in a barely coherent fashion. I must have been more tired than I thought because I felt myself drift off into an uneasy sleep to the angry buzzing of my thoughts.
A nice dreamless sleep would've been too good to hope for two nights in a row but somehow the hope weaseled its way into my heart. As it had many times before, my hope went ignored.
It started out like all my other nightmares. It was an icy October night, I was twelve years old and engrossed in a hand held video game. I was sitting in the back seat of my parents' car and they were sitting in front. Everything seemed completely normal; they were listening to music and laughing.
Suddenly some guy came out of nowhere. The car swerved to avoid hitting him. The tires hit a patch of ice and the car spun out of control. The video game flew out of my hands and my body jerked forward because I had neglected to put a seat belt on. The car rammed into the side of the bridge we were passing over breaking the railing. The car was perched in mid-air for a split second then it plunged into the ice-cold water, which made the air whoosh from my lungs. I remembered water flooding into the car through some unseen opening, and floundering around trying to roll down a window or open a door but it was futile. As my lungs began to burn for oxygen there came a muffled crack as one of the windows were smashed open and I was yanked from the drowning wreckage of my parents' car. I kept my mouth and eyes shut and let some invisible savior drag me from the water.
As abruptly as when the car went off the bridge I was out of the water; painfully cold air tearing through my throat and searing in my lungs. I saw a gorgeous teenage boy hovering over me. He was soaking wet and had the most memorable eyes; they were the color of thunderclouds. There was something more fighting to break through the wall I put up around the memory of that night but I forced it back into remission.
The nightmare suddenly flashed to the morning after the accident. I woke up fully dressed in my bed. I was thinking...Hoping...Praying that all that had happened last night was just a dream; the man in the middle of the street, driving off the bridge, and abandoning my parents as I was saved and they weren't. I walked slowly into my mom and dad's bedroom trying to prolong the moment because somehow I knew that they weren't going to be there...They weren't.