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A Demon Made Me Do It

By:Penelope King

s great. Absolutely no trouble at all.”

He frowns, determined to solve me…to fix me. Yeah, good luck with that.

“Are you bored in your classes, Liora?”

Why, yes. Yes I am, Principal Winters. I am bored out of my freakin’ mind! This place makes me stupider by the minute!

“No, I’m fine. Academically challenged. Intellectually stimulated.”

He ignores my sarcasm. “I’m going to be straight with you, Liora. I’m becoming very concerned with your behavior lately…”

That makes two of us…

“…this is the fourth time you’ve been sent here in the last two weeks. Skipping classes, the incident in gym…”

“I told you, that fight wasn’t my fault,” I interrupt, but there’s no point in arguing. I’m pretty sure he won’t buy my ‘a-demon-made-me-do-it’ excuse, but I’m half-tempted to say it anyway. But then he’ll just send me to the school guidance counselor again, and she’ll tell Tatiana she’s concerned with my mental health again. Tatiana will have to smooth things over again and get mad at me again. Pass.

He leans forward in his chair and shuffles some papers on his desk. “There is no question you are academically gifted. Your test scores are consistently the highest in your class and your grades impeccable, despite your apparent lack of effort. Your future is wide open for any number of incredible educational and professional opportunities, if you so desired. Yet you don’t appear to care at all, and this concerns me. You seem to enjoy mocking anyone who tries to help you. I just wish I knew where this poor attitude of yours comes from.”

Trust me, you don’t want to know. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better. More caring, less mocking. I promise.” I force a smile and hope that’s the end of it.

But my optimism quickly turns into dread when the familiar stinging creeps up from my stomach, over my chest, and down my arms and legs. She’s back.

I need to get away from here. Unfortunately, Principal Winters still wants to chat. He opens a file and carefully peruses its contents. I shift uncomfortably in my seat and take several deep breaths, focusing all of my energy on remaining present and in control.

I am Liora Greyson… I am Liora Greyson… I am Liora Greyson.

But Her electric threads of fire spread throughout my body like a swarm of army ants marching to battle. A battle I will lose.

“Have you given any more thought to your plans after graduation? Mrs. Collins has reported you’ve skipped all of your college prep counseling appointments. As a senior, you don’t have much time left to get your applications in. I have taken the liberty of finding some schools…”

I am Liora Greyson. I am human. I am here. This is my time, not yours…

My silent chant goes unheeded. It’s futile to ever try to fight Her. Her energy overtakes me and again I’m nothing more than a mere spectator—a silent, powerless passenger in my own body. She fixes my gaze hypnotically on Mr. Winters, who instantly freezes and stares back.

“Mister Winters, excuse me, Principal Winters, thank you for your concern, but there’s no need to worry about me anymore. I have things figured out and will be just fine. I’m leaving now, and you won’t stop me. In fact, you’ll forget you even saw me today. Everything’s cool as far as Liora Greyson is concerned. She’s your favorite student. You adore her.” My voice sounds sweeter than sugar drenched in honey.

Still holding the file in midair, Mr. Winters nods robotically.

“You may speak.”

“Th-th-thank you…th-th-thank you for c-coming in. P-please let me know if I can h-h-help you with anything…anything at all…”

“Thank you, kind sir, I’ll be sure to do that. You have a nice day, now. Ta ta,” I sing and exit his office. One look at Ms. Fleming silences her into submission, and she stares at me like a petrified toad.

Somewhere between the dried-up flower beds outside the offices and the cracked sidewalk, Her invading force recedes, allowing me to regain control. But there is no way I’m staying in school for the rest of the day with Her acting up, regardless of the consequences waiting for me at home.

Fighting back tears of frustration, I weave my way through the collection of old pick-up trucks and rusty hand-me-downs populating the student parking lot, my mind a muddled mess. Why is She showing up when it’s not her turn? Nighttime belongs to her, but the day belongs to me. And why is Tatiana forcing me to participate in this ridiculous charade of being a normal teenage girl anyway? Clearly it’s impossible. I am anything but normal and trying to act as if I am is nothing more than a masochistic exercise in futility.

But despite everything I’m feeling at this moment, it’s the helplessness that bothers me the most. Not having control over my own life. Always being at the mercy of others with powers greater than mine.

I am so freaking over it.

“Hi there, Miss…excuse me?” I don’t even notice the lanky guy leaning against the side of a shiny black pickup truck until he calls to me. I want to ignore him and keep moving, but I can’t. His voice is like an invisible lasso pulling me back.

“Yes?” I turn around slowly, wary of the stranger witnessing my mad escape. If he’s one of the school’s security guards, I’m sunk.

He slowly jogs toward me, and I roll my eyes in annoyance. This whole idea of lame, wanna-be- rent-a-cops actually providing us with any sort of ‘security’ is such a joke. All they do is bust students who don’t follow the rules. They’ll never be able to protect anyone from the real dangers lurking right under their noses.

But as he gets closer, I’m relieved to see he’s just a boy. My age. He shouldn’t care that I was ditching. I give a furtive glance around the parking lot. We’re all alone.

“Hi,” he says.

I don’t know who he is, but he’s not from around here, of that I’m certain. His shiny leather boots appear to be new and expensive and his cable-knit sweater straight off a Ralph Lauren model. But it’s the jeans that give