The Cab Ride

I wove through the congested streets on the lookout for a new customer, but so far not a prospect in sight. Then I spotted a young woman as thin as the lamp pole she stood beside, gesturing for me.

 The cab slowed to a stop at the curb. She squinted from the glare of the afternoon sun and shoved a gaudy, purse up her arm. The corners of my mouth pulled upward as our eyes met, and I unlocked the door, but her red, lips remained in a tight line. Her head jerked back as if she were looking for someone. She turned back to me, and pulled the door open, and dropped change in my hand. 

“Where to?” I asked

“The airport,” she said softly, as she smoothed the wrinkles out of her black skirt.

“How are you today Miss?” I asked. Her mouth didn’t move as her gaze stayed fixed ahead. I looked away from the reticent woman with the realization that there would be the sole sound of the radio blaring for the rest of the ride. She sniffed, which took me by surprise. “What’s wrong?” I glanced back at her.

“You wouldn’t care.” She shook her head with tears brimming in her honey colored eyes. Although, I wasn’t one to pry, the fact that I had gotten her to talk intrigued me. 

“Lay it on me,” I said, glancing back at her as she twiddled her thumbs.

“That’s what they all say” She laughed, although the timbre of her raspy voice oozed sarcasm.

“Well, I’m not the rest,” I chuckled. 

“Ah, fine.” She chewed on her bottom lip before her mouth parted. “I was supposed to deliver a package, but bailed at the last minute.”

“A package?” My brow rose.

“Six pounds of cocaine,” she said so casually, as if it were no different than a package of textbooks.

“Cocaine?” 

“Yeah,” she sighed, pushing her elbow against the window. In that moment I realized I had picked up a drug dealer on the run and just the thought had my stomach aching. What if one of her criminal friends caught me driving her around, and she had the drugs on her,

“You can have your money back. I’m not getting involved.” I said as my foot eased onto the break at the stop light.

“Please don’t do this to me,” she pleaded.

“Give me one good reason why I should get involved.”

“I’m trying to get out of town and live a clean life.” Her voice cracked.

“Oh, don’t cry.” I said. But her whimper resurrected memories of how I had failed my own daughter, when she tried to escape her abusive boyfriend that murdered her because I was too late getting to her.

“Fine” I sighed. 

“Thank you.” She perked up as I continued to drive. 

“So how long have you been a drug dealer?” I asked.

“Since I was fifteen,” she said.

“And how old are you now?”

“Twenty”

“Well, I hope today you can leave that life behind.”

“Me too,” she muttered. 

“Say what made you decide to deal drugs?”

“I needed to feed my son.”

“Where is he?”

“With my mother in Boston.”  The airport was coming into view, when I noticed a state trooper driving behind me. My pulse lurched as I tapped the break hoping he wouldn’t stop me for going five miles over the speed limit. 

I looked back at the woman. Her face was a blank slate again as she twisted her matted hair around her finger. When I glanced at the rearview mirror, I noticed the officer signaled to pull over. With a gulp, I stopped on the shoulder of the road just a block from the airport and rolled down the window. 

“Maybe you should tell him about your situation and he can help,” I whispered to her. She shook her head against it and I sighed at her unwillingness to get help. 

The officer hobbled around to the side of the cab and leaned into the window.

“Good afternoon folks,” he said. The edges of his dark hair were graying and his breath wreaked off black coffee. 

“Good afternoon” I said. She didn’t utter a sound instead she looked down at her dirty, sneakers.

“You know that you’re driving with your fuel door open,” he snickered.

“Oh, I am?” I laughed as beads of sweat trickled down my neck. The car felt as if it the temperature rose with each second the officer stared at me with his piercing green eyes, despite it being mild outside. 

“I must have forgotten when I pumped gas this morning.”  I said, remembering how I had been in a rush. The officer’s smile faded and his eyes moved from me to the woman in the back. Her eyes remained fixed on the window, ignoring him. 

“It happens to the best of us.” He laughed breaking the silence.

“Thank you for pointing it out,” I said.

“No problem,” he said then started to walk back to his car. I got out and closed the fuel door and waved at him.

“Nice day to you,” he said.

“Same to you, sir,” I hollered back as I got in and drove away.

“Why didn’t you want to get help?” I asked her.

“The less I talk the safer I am,” she said. Her words tightened the knot straining my stomach. 

Three minutes later I swung into the parking lot of the airport.

“We made it.” I smiled at her.

“Thanks.” Her mouth curved into a grin for the first time. 

“You’re welcome, and good luck…?” I paused as I realized I didn’t know her name. 

“Angel” she said, closing the door behind her. I watched her plod away, and I wondered what would become of her. Just as my hand reached for the gear shift, the screech of tires caused my eyes to tear upwards. 

A car with tinted windows was right beside her. She didn’t seem to notice as she meandered along with headphones in her ears. The windows of the car rolled down, revealing a group of masked men with guns drawn. A cry rose in my throat as the sound of gun shots led to her collapse. 

The car sped away, and hot tears filled my eyes as I rushed out of the cab and took her limp body into my arms. There was no response as she bled out. My head dropped as I muttered.

“You were almost free.”

Purple Blood

Frigid air whipped Cara’s skin as she flew backwards out of the glass, hexagonal window. A cluster of black, plastic bags broke her two story fall. She propped herself up, noticing a stream of purple blood oozing from her torn, faded jeans that wreaked of formaldehyde like the pile of body bags she laid on.  Her grey eyes shifted to the yellow sky. The sky’s hue signaled a coming storm. 

Ignoring the sharp sting in her right leg from being struck by an electric whip, she gazed off into the distance. The thick grey smoke from the pockets of labor camps seeded along on the hill curled into the autumn, night air. Such a sight reminded her she was on the wrong side of Chicago.   

 Cara motioned to stand but froze at the sight of the scaly red wings of the horned, serpentine guard woman. The same woman who had sent her flying out the window as she had attempted to scale the back of a warehouse. She laid down again, so that when the guard’s three orange eyes landed on her, she blended in with the corpses. A broad grin spread across the guard’s pointy face. 

“The trash has been disposed of,” the guard muttered to herself. When she could no longer see the guard’s large shadow, Cara sat up, glanced to make sure she was alone then climbed down the dumpster truck. She limped into the empty, street. A puddle of orange, water caused her to freeze. 

A young human woman with long, violet hair, and pale, deep set grey eyes stared back at her. She tore her eyes away from the façade sick of living a lie. Her focus shifted to the wooden lamp poles. Atop each pole were the stone heads of rebels from the last revolt. One of the heads was her father’s. His face was stuck in a terrified scream as Astor the leader of the reptilian army beheaded him.

 Her eyes twitched as her vision blurred from the silver tears forming in her eyes, but she swallowed them not allowing herself to cry. The laughter of a pink alligator couple walking their dog, alerted her, so she staggered into a dark alleyway, and leaned against a wall to gather strength. 

A warm, hand enclosed around her shoulder. Cara spun around so fast her wavy, hair blinded her.

“Shh,” a male voice whispered.

“Get your hands off me!” she said, pushing the figure away. 

“Cara, I want to help.” The low tone of the voice, and the scent of amber indicated it was her best friend Zane. They grew up together working in the labor camp, and bonded after being orphaned after the last revolt. 

She pushed the strands of hair out of her ovular face to see his spiky, blue hair displaced by the wind, and dark, brown eyes staring back at her. 

“Zane?” she said with a shiver. 

“We need to get out of here before the camp notices we’re gone.” he said, tearing the cuff of his black, leather jacket and wrapping it around her injured leg to stop the bleeding. 

“Thanks,” she said.

His square face pulled into a smile. “What are you doing out here anyways?” 

“They captured Mark after he left, so I went searching for him.”

“Alone?”

“What am I supposed to do? Continue to slave, pretending to be something I’m not, while the reptilians live decadent lives, and my brother gets eaten!” she said, shaking her fists.

“I know you want your brother back, but you could have wound up dead going in there,” he said. Cara rolled her eyes at Zane, while she loved him he hadn’t inherited the courage of his father who fought alongside her father in the last revolt.

“He’s all I have left.” 

“You should care as one of the last of your kind.”

“The same goes for you,” she said crossing her arms.

“I’m here because I saw you had left the camp, and I don’t want to lose you Cara,” he said. 

“You don’t have to worry about me, I’ll be fine.” She kept her gaze focused on the iridescent, glass buildings across the street. The lime green light from the moon reflected on the face of them. 

“Cara please, listen.”

“I’m sorry Zane, but I’d rather die trying to find Mark then live another day in fear of them.”

“If you fight, I’ll fight with you,” he said. She looked back up at him as silver tears gathered in his eyes.

The roar of motorcycles hovering through the air, casting pale, blue blight on the streets below caused both Cara and Zane to rush deeper into the alleyway.

A light landed on a human woman across the street as she crouched behind the same dumpster Cara had crawled out of. The motorcycles landed beside the dumpster, and the woman quivered as two muscled lizards with black spikes running down their broad backs pushed the dumpster aside, and ceased her by the wrists.

She pounded the street with her fist, busting her knuckles open. Purple blood spilled onto the pavement.

Cara gasped at the sight,”

“She’s one of us, we have to help her,” Cara said. Zane shook his head against it. 

“My, My Astor is going to love to know we found another one those bastards,” the officer said bringing down a whip on the woman’s back. She howled in pain.

Cara covered her ears. The crack and sizzle of the whip upon the woman’s back laced with her cry brought her back to the night of her father’s execution.

A few reptilian pedestrians including the alligator couple stopped to watch, pointing and snickering at the woman. The guards continued to whip her in the street, her back splitting into pieces of raw flesh until she stopped moving.

“Any takers?” The officer offered the reptilian bystanders. One of the reptilian men shook his head.

“No, that’s way past its prime to eat,” he laughed. The street erupted with laughter. Then officer, scooped up the body like a sack of potatoes, and threw it into the dumpster.

Once, the street had cleared out Zane motioned for Cara to follow him. 

They sprinted across the street, and crept around the brick warehouse.  To their surprise, the back door was ajar. 

When Cara peeked in her pulse drummed faster at the sight of the giant, blue crocodile dangling a man by the collar of his shirt like a slab of meat in front of an iron table of reptiles. She recognized the crocodile as Astor-her father’s killer. 

“Tear him in half!” The winged guard woman pounded the table. The black mold covering the concrete walls mixed with the scent of the man’s fear created a pungent odor that hurt Cara’s stomach.

“Please Master, I won’t try to run away again, the man pleaded. Cara recognized the man from her camp, he was one of the few red blooded humans who knew about her and Zane’s true identity. Her mouth started to open, but Zane covered it, shaking his head against it. Anger filled her how Zane could just stand by and watch such evil happen.

Astor tore the man’s body in half. His red blood sprayed the walls and reptiles’ faces. The reptiles licked the sticky contents from the corners of their mouths before snatching away chunks of his flesh, and sucking the meat off of his bones. 

As the reptiles were distracted, Zane slipped through the door. When Cara squeezed through, it squeaked as she knocked against it from her injured leg almost giving out. All four reptiles in the dining room, heads turned.

“I see Moe failed to do her job,” Astor’s long grey tongue flickered at the guard woman. Moe’s orange pupils constricted at the sight of Cara, and she shook her head, trembling.

“Boss, she went flying out a window and blended in with the carcasses in the dumpster,” Moe said.

“You should have checked again!” Astor slapped Moe in the face and her head collided with the table top and she grunted. The other reptiles slunk away from Astor as his orange eyes burned with anger.

“Where’s my brother?” Cara shouted.

“You want to see him, sweetheart? Millard why don’t you give the poor girl what she wants.” Astor laughed. Zane’s eyes narrowed at him.

A corpulent, yellow lizard hauled out a lanky man in chains with gashes all over his bare torso. A white bag covered the man’s head. He squirmed as he whipped him causing him to move forward. 

Astor withdrew the bag from the man’s shaved head, and his yellow eyes widened at Cara.

“Mark!” Cara shouted, but Zane held her back.

“You shouldn’t have come for me,” he cried. Before she could respond to her brother, Astor handed Millard an axe.

“Millard, why don’t you finish him off this animal, and the rest of them so there won’t be another insurrection.” Astor commanded.

“My pleasure,” Millard said.

“No!’ Cara cried as the blade rose to her brother’s neck. A rush of blood shot to her head, and a current of energy burst through her veins filling her with strength.

She pounced onto Millard’s back. He collapsed to his knees with a thud and the axe slid across the floor. Zane sprung forward to retrieve the axe. 

Cara squeezed Millard’s neck, gritting her teeth. Millard clawed at her hands, tearing into her skin. The scent of Millard’s weakened state fueled her, and she applied more pressure. His body stiffened, and her hands and clothes were covered in both blue, and purple blood.

Her brother dragged himself towards the door, struggling from the weight of the chains upon his back, but Moe stepped on him and he yelped in pain. Zane spun around with the axe and stabbed the grey lizard man in the tongue as it forked it at him. The small fragment of his mangled tongue drew back into his mouth as he garbled on a river of blue blood. He stumbled backwards, and Zane struck him with the axe again, this time deep into the lizard’s stomach. The lizard stumbled backwards roaring. Zane kicked the lizard in his face, and he dropped dead on the floor. 

Cara removed her sticky hands from Millard’s cold neck. She spun around just as Moe swung the electric whip at her head. Cara ducked, and the whip grazed the tip of her hairline. As Moe was distracted, Mark found the strength to turn over beneath her weight and pull her down. Moe fell to the ground, and Cara tore forward, grabbing the whip, and brought it down on her. Moe screamed as it fried her wings. Cara raised the whip again as Moe quivered, like Millard the aroma of her fear was so intoxicating that she could taste it, but Zane caught her hand.

“Cara, that’s enough, we don’t want to be like them,” he said.

“I’m afraid we already are,” she said, dropping the whip beside Moe as the last ounce of blue blood leaked from her tattered wings. Cara turned to check on Mark as he moaned in pain.

“Mark, are you okay?” she asked, taking his hand. He nodded with his bruised eyes half open. 

“We did it Cara,” he whispered.

“Did what?” 

“Continued what father started,” he smiled. Cara stared at him confused. Zane joined her to crouch beside him. She turned to see Astor slipping away.

Astor staggered out of the warehouse abandoning his fellow reptiles. As he pushed open the door a mob of humans with torches, and pitchforks surged towards him. 

From outside, she could hear Astor squealing as the humans dismembered him. She closed her eyes as a slight grin crept onto her face, but when Zane glanced at her it faded. They helped carry Mark out. 

When they stepped outside, cheers from a crowd of red blooded humans greeted them. The surrounding buildings were consumed by white flames, as the crowd paraded not only Astor’s body parts, but other reptilians.  

“The revolution has begun,” one man shouted from within the crowd. Zane glanced at Cara, and while his hands shook and eyes displayed fear, she gazed at the lamp pole with her father’s head on it. Rather than seeing a man who died in vain, she now saw a man who shared the same battle cry that rose from the pit of her stomach. 

It was only the beginning. There was still the rest of Chicago to retake, and beyond.

The Preacher’s Secret

Wedding rings on a dictionary showing the word infidelity

Horacio remembered the day he first saw her at a revival youth seminar. He was busy laying hands on the youth for prayer when he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her long jet black hair and warm set of dark eyes and lively smile caused him to stutter as she asked for prayer.

 After service was over, he caught up to her and the two of them talked exchanging telephone numbers beginning a long distance relationship over the phone since he traveled regularly. When he’d come to town, he would visit her and take her out on dates. At first her parents were skeptical of him, but after they saw how much of a gentleman he was they grew to love him. He proved himself to them by showing them that he shared their same morals and convictions. It also helped he was an upcoming pastor.
She was innocent unlike most women he pursued, which made her a prize to him. At the time, she was the woman of his dreams. He earned her trust by not letting his true colors show and succeeding in marrying a young virgin, but he soon grew dissatisfied with her. He had always been a playboy in his personal life and he was sure that she really wanted him. A long time ago he wasn’t a womanizer and actually tried to have real relationships with women, but when he was mentored by his senior pastor they would sneak out together seeing various women realizing the shameless nature of many he lost respect for them. He knew his senior pastor was constantly cheating on his decrepit wife who was unaware believing she was living the dream Christian life. There was a difference between being a pastor’s wife which was dull and the mistress, which was for having fun with. Catalina at first seemed she could be both since she was physically perfect to him, but she wasn’t sensual enough to fulfill his sex addiction. At first he gave up his aggressive, strange sexual fetishes trying to be a perfect husband, but when Adrian came along he took up too much of her time and his old desires returned and he sought out mistresses that could do the kinky things his wife would never be willing to do since she strongly was against going outside of the natural uses of sex.
When she had that kid, he loved Adrian. He resembled him and it looked like his boy would always love him, but he began to become annoyed of him because he loved to follow him around even when he needed to sneak out causing him to feel condemned. Adrian was brilliant. The kid could read by the age of two and was already starting basic math at a kindergarten age, which brought a great deal of pride to Horacio, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from withholding his rage. Adrian was his shadow quoting scriptures he memorized them like a robot. Those were the days he loved his son then something changed. He met this woman she was everything he sexually dreamed of and she had a few kids of her own and he began bond with them. Adrian soon became a shade of his mother. He no longer minded beating his son it was no different than beating his stupid wife. When Adrian would cry it would make him feel guilty and he would tell him to shut up. After all he wasn’t a bad person, he was a philanthropist having donated money to numerous charities, went on mission trips feeding the poor. Not to mention a pastor. If he were evil he wouldn’t have family’s basic necessities, and provided the extras, but no; of course they were ungrateful and undeserving of his kindness. When his son would say he was an evil man, he would beat him worse. Adrian used to say God wouldn’t like it or be pleased. How did that kid know he was only a child and he was a pastor? In past Christmases he would either beat him and his mother on that day or go on “revival retreats” in which he spent the holidays with his mistresses and their kids instead. Horacio had been through multiple mistresses probably near the hundreds and didn’t regret it, he was a man and he wasn’t getting what he needed at home.

After the Deluge

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“I can’t truly create I can only emulate,” Claudius muttered as he stood beside me.

“What?” I shook my head confused. In my eyes, he was next to a god.

“Art is something unique to mankind. As a Watcher, I can only recreate through a muse,” he said. “And you’re my muse”

“Me?”

“Yes.” He grinned. A heat rose in my face and I turned away to conceal the smile creeping onto the corner of my face.

“Was there any divine intervention with the construction of the ancient ruins? I said.

“After my incarceration, there were a remnant of the Nephilim who took refuge underground since the earth is hollow. The ancients referred to this subterranean paradise as Agartha”

“Get out, the earth has a crust, mantle and core composed of elements. How else do explain the tectonic plate activity?”

“Humans” He closed his eyes and sighed.

“What?”

“How do you explain the earthquake lights?” He said as his eyes popped open.

“A disruption in the earth’s electromagnetic field and ionosphere?” I said.

“You have so much to learn neophyte”

“Occam’s razor, sometimes the simplest explanations are the right ones. People bend their minds way too far out of shape trying to understand the world.”

“And sometimes the strangest conclusions are the soundest. Perhaps, the earth is flat as well.” He grinned.

“Yea right”

“Let’s not argue about the obvious, and I’ll let you in on a little secret.”

“Go for it”

“Ancient ruins like Baalbek was one of the former headquarters of the ancient ruler Nimrod. The first king of post-flood earth. At first he was a foe to my descendants as he was a mighty hunter targeting the remnant of the Nephilim.”

“Why did he hunt them?”

“He had been brainwashed by the doctrines of his grandfather Noah.”

“It sure sounds like it.”

“In the end he altered his DNA and deemed himself the very first god king as it is put in Akkadian lore with the stele of Naram-sin.”

“Wow, a thirst for power will make you do anything,” I said.

“Prior to our imprisonment, we left a series of instructions discovered by one of Shem’s sons. He followed them to revive a post flood society.”

“Explains the post flood architecture” I grinned.

“The remaining fallen angels refrained from sex with women. In place of copulation with humans, there was an influx of genetic altering. It was far safer and less problematic,” he said.

“Is there a consensus among the angels and people who create Nephilim?” I said.

“Sometimes”

“ls in not unethical to conduct experiments on people without their consent? Even if it’s to advance the species.”

“Mankind could use an age of peace that’s all we’re trying to do. The tower of Babel was set to be in modern day Tiwanaku Bolivia, but the never saw the deluge coming.”

“So there was contact between pre Columbian and eastern civilizations long before recorded in modern history?”

“Yes, the Nephilim traveled between continents influencing each civilian.”

“Explains the similarity in the ruins”

“Most ruins gave ancient people a sense of closeness to us. Mountains, hilltops and high places are sacred because that’s where the gods dwelled. The pyramids, ziggurats and temples where their way of trying to capture the idea of ascension into heaven. Nimrod was the closet with the tower of Babel until God confounded their languages.

 

Don’t Shed A Tear

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Horacio slapped Catalina across the face, sending her crashing to the ground. She crawled backwards, holding her stinging face.

“Horacio Please!” She pleaded. Smack! He struck her again. This time she landed flat on her back and looked up at him quivering with tears streaming from her eyes. “I’m sorry, please stop!”

“Shut up you stupid bitch! I caught you kidnapping my son! You thought you could leave me didn’t you?” Horacio yanked her by the hair.

“I won’t do it again!” she sobbed as he slung her against the wall.

“You sure as hell, won’t do it again or I’ll kill Adrian!” he shouted.

Adrian peeked out from his room. His mother had a black eye, and screamed as his father dragged her across the floor by her long hair.

She had attempted to leave his father and take him with her to Texas, but the car had broken down. His father by DNSUnlocker” href=”#65781299″> found them stranded on the side of the highway in New Mexico and forced them to return. Adrian had been ordered to stay in his room while his mother was punished for what she had done, and he was shaking with fear.

As his eyes were wide with pain, his father turned around and looked at him. It was too, late he didn’t have time to hide.

“What are you looking at? This is between me and your mother!” 

Adrian quickly shut the door and choked on his tears. He knew better than to cry aloud or else his father would come for him next. At seven years old everyone at his church adored his father. He was the preacher and no one could fault him. The kids at Sunday, school would say they wish their dads could be like his father. If only they knew his father’s true nature, then they would never wish such a thing. The neighbors loved his father as well, and he’d wave offering to give people a helping hand whenever they needed it, but when it came to him and his mother, his father was short tempered. Nothing he or his mother did was good enough.

Stay With Us

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The glare of headlights in my rearview mirror contributed to the unevenness of my heart. I gripped the steering wheel and squeezed back tears as I sped through the summer night. Ahead were specks of light that sprung up. The tears in my eyes dried as I slowed to a stop.

A couple women stood in the middle of a parking lot and they turned as I pulled up beside them.

“Hey,” one of the women said as she swished towards the car.

“Hi.” I smiled.

“Welcome?” She shook my hand.

“It’s good to be back in civilization. I’ve been driving for days.” I said.

“So what’s your name?” she asked as her manicured nail rested under her sharp chin.

“Destiny.”

“Nice to meet you, Destiny. I’m Wanda,” she said. The sound of another vehicle as it swung into the lot stole our attention.

“Oh look, another newcomer.” The other woman said.

“Interesting, Anette. We don’t usually get many new faces around here.” Wanda replied. Another woman emerged from the jeep. Her dark hair covered part of her face and when she looked up at me our eyes locked. I quickly looked away and pretended not to notice her intense gaze.

“So what’s your name new girl?” Anette said as she crossed her arms.

“Grace,” the girl replied without a smile, then directed her attention back to me.

“Well, Grace and Destiny make yourselves at home.” Wanda grinned and led us inside the salon. My eyes grew wide with astonishment at all the young people chatting and drinking inside.

“Is everyone in this town in their twenties?” I asked Wanda.

“Yes” Wanda replied, and placed her hand on her hip.

“Weird.” I muttered, then I felt something grip my wrist. I turned to see Grace. We stared at one another for an entire minute before she spoke.

“We need to get out of here,” Grace whispered.

“Why?” I shook my head.

“These people are dangerous.” Grace gritted her teeth.

“How do you know this?”

“Don’t you find the whole set up of the town suspicious?” She leaned in closer so no one else would hear.

“If anything you’re the weird one. You followed me on the road. Your brights were blinding me.”

“Someone has to look out for the naive.” She frowned.

“Oh, so that’s how it is. You stalk and defame me?”

“I wasn’t trying to be mean. I’m just really concerned about you.”

“Why?”

“Because I am.”

“You’re a complete stranger,” I said. Grace turned and walked off, but Anette stopped her.

“Hold up Gracie, you and Destiny will be roommates.”

“What?” I said.

“Oh, you girls didn’t think you were just going to stop by and leave. Stay with us.”

“I don’t have enough to afford rent.” Grace answered.

“Don’t worry, you can stay for free.”

“What’s the catch?” Grace said.

“Nothing.” Anette replied. Both Grace and I exchanged glances and followed her to our apartment complex. It was spacious enough, and had a simple design. When Anette, shut the door Grace grabbed hold of my hands.

‘I’m telling you, we need to leave,” she said.

“I still don’t see why.” I pulled away from her. “I’m going back out to explore.”

“Wait!” She tugged on my shirt, but I moved away.

As I walked through the streets, I noticed a bus at the station and I crept closer and watched as a group of basketball players got out. Then I saw Anette and Wanda deep in conversation with them. I plodded towards them.

“Hey Wanda!” I said. She turned and narrowed her lids at me.

“Oh hey, Destiny. I thought you and Grace were in for the night. You seemed a bit flustered by everything.”

“I’m a night owl.”

“Oh okay, well meet our familiar strangers.” She pointed to the team of guys they were now staring at the both of us.

“Hi” I waved shyly. One of them grinned.

“Destiny, I was thinking I could give you a bit of a makeover.” Anette said coming up from behind.

“I don’t think I’m in the mood.”

“Trust me, when I say that I can give you the red carpet look.”

“You’ve got to be kidding?”

“I used to work as a makeup artist in Hollywood before I relocated.”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Go on, try it. Anette is amazing at what she does and she’s quick.” Wanda winked.

“I guess.” I sighed. Anette led me inside and seated me in an empty chair. My heart started to rage again. I tried to ignore it as my hand tingled. Anette applied foundation, and she resumed her conversation with one of the guys as he walked inside to see her. I was nervous since there was no mirror. Then she stopped, and I stood up confused.

“Anette,” I interrupted her.

“What?” She scowled.

“You didn’t finish.”

“I’m done,” she said. The guy she spoke to gaped at me, and the pounding of my heart grew worse.

I rushed to a mirror and my mouth dropped at the sight. My face glimmered as I now possessed the look of many of the women I would fawn over on television, but something was missing. I couldn’t place it and no matter how glamorous I looked, I was disgusted. Then it hit me, it was my soul.

I backed away and dashed to the apartment to collect my things. There Grace waited cross armed.

“You’re leaving?”

I ignored her and continued to pack my bags.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” She snatched my bag.

“Because it’s none of your business!” I snapped at her. She tackled me, and I elbowed her in the face. She fell over and I sprinted outside. A tow truck dragged away my car.

I tore down the street as the entire town was now outside including Grace. Their eyes were solid black as they surged towards me, and I ran out of the town with only the wilderness to hear my cries.