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A Demon Made Me Do It

By:Penelope King

guy and not knowing anybody.”

I nod sympathetically while thinking how not at all sorry for him I feel. This is one boy who won’t be lonely for long. Even if the other guys in the class have a hard time accepting this big-city newcomer, the girls will swarm to him like horny bees to a very sexy honey pot. I realize this thought disturbs me.

“I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” I mumble, my mouth suddenly dry.

His eyes lock on mine, and for a split second he sees right through me; his focused attention makes me feel as if I’m standing alone on a stage under a dozen bright spotlights, vulnerable and exposed. I gulp and my heart beats faster.

“Would you like a ride home, or do you have your own car?” His voice is soft, and I’m taken aback at his question—by the way he asks it. Almost intimately, as if we’re already old friends. Many people I’ve known for years don’t talk to me with the effortless ease this strange boy does.

“No…thanks. I mean, yeah, I have a car, but it’s at home. I prefer to walk. The fresh air does me good. But thanks anyways.”

“All right, then. That way, you say?” He motions back toward the buildings. “First door on the right and beware of nasty trolls?”

“Yeah…and if you could do me a favor and not mention that you saw me, that’d be great.” I grimace as I think of the trouble waiting for me tomorrow, let alone what’s waiting for me at home later today.

He arches a dark eyebrow, and his eyes twinkle again. “Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me. Besides, I wouldn’t even know who it was I was ratting out,” he adds pointedly.

“Oh, sorry…My name is Liora. Liora Greyson.” Yes. Manners. I knew I had some somewhere.

“It’s nice to meet you, Liora. I’m Kieron Ambrose.” He holds out his hand and I automatically take it; his large, warm palm makes mine seem cold and tiny. He gives it a gentle squeeze and every cell in my body wakes up on fire. I quickly pull away, not wanting to disturb the real fire inside me.

“Nice to meet you, too. Welcome to Dove Creek…I hope you like it here.” I finally remember my welcome pitch and wish I hadn’t. It sounds even cheesier out loud than in my mind.

“I’m definitely liking it so far,” he says. His eyes never leave mine.

There’s a rolling jostle in my stomach, but I’m not afraid. This strange fluttering isn’t being caused by Her. Nervously, I tuck a stray lock of hair behind my ears and smile at my new friend.

“Good luck in there…I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow.”

******

“Hello, Liora. I was wondering when you’d decide to come home.” Tatiana is hunched over the stove fixing dinner as I walk in. When she turns to face me, I’m relieved to see there’s no sign of anger in her face or disapproval in her milky-white eyes.

I’d spent the rest of the day in the forest, reading by my favorite tree and thinking of Kieron. I knew it was stupid to get all excited over some guy I didn’t even know, but I couldn’t help it. There was something different about him. And the way he spoke to me and looked at me…as if I was normal…as if he actually liked me…as a person…

It had felt nice. Really nice. A girl could get used to it, that’s for sure.

Any girl but me, that is.

“Hi, Tatiana. Sorry, I lost track of the time.” I brace myself for her scolding. She easily senses my presence within a one hundred mile radius and knows exactly where I’ve been all day. But she says nothing. Instead, she continues with the food prep and hums softly to herself.

I take a seat at the table and watch her curiously. Although she’s completely blind, Tatiana moves around with the confident agility of someone with twenty-twenty vision. She perceives objects around her with an inhuman clarity, her ‘inner eyes’ as she calls it. But that’s not why I’m mystified.

“Do not apologize to me. The sun is nearly set. It is you who must hurry if you do not wish to feel ill tomorrow,” she says as she carries over two plates of steaming food.

I quickly scarf down some of the beef and potato stew, and try to figure out a way to tell her about what happened. I need answers, even if she’ll be irritated with me.

“How was your day today?” she asks right on cue.

I swallow and try to read her face. She could have been a professional poker player.

“Truthfully, not great. She showed up again today and got me in trouble in class.”

Tatiana nods. “Was it a full transformation?”

I shake my head. “No, it wasn’t like what happens at night. This was more like…an out-of-body-experience, but while I was still in it. I was aware of everything She said and did…She made me say things…I think her powers worked too, judging from how the people acted. Why is she doing that? How is she even able to? Can you make her stop?”

Tatiana slowly chews her food, and for a moment I think she might not answer me. I know how much it bothers her to always be stuck in the middle of the two of us. Finally, she dabs at the corners of her mouth with a napkin. “I will speak with Her, but I believe she is just reacting to the recent events and heightened danger. Perhaps she is staying close to the surface as a protective measure.”

“She’s not protecting me; she’s getting me in trouble!”

“You know She has difficulty distinguishing the difference. What is right for her may be entirely wrong for you.”

I make a noise that’s something between a cough and a snort. “That, right there, is the understatement of the century, Tatiana.”

“I will have a word with her...”

“Yes, please tell her to butt out of my life. If she does it one more time, I’ll find a way to wake up during her time and make her say and do something really stupid. See how much she likes it.” My threat is hollow and Tatiana knows it. She knows I do everything in my power not to wake up at night and witness the world my demon half inhabits. The only thing that keeps me from going completely insane is not knowing anything that happens from dusk to dawn. Blissful ignorance being my only

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