There are people among you who aren't quite human. Do not cease to read here, my dear viewer, at this new and unbelievable knowledge. In this piece of writing, you may just learn how to identify, avoid, and rid yourself of these terrible humanoids - who wish only to torture and destroy you, and everything you hold dear. One of them may be your best friend. One of them, dare I say it...
may be you.
Our story starts on a fair spring afternoon in the beginning of April, 2012. Sixteen year old Leala Offkins is celebrating the second anniversary of her mother's death by avoiding her father and his girlfriend. She sits on her bed upstairs in her room, plaiting a braid into her usually frizzy hair while simultaneously chatting with a friend, who happens to be in Scotland for the week.
"I don't even know how he got over it so quickly to find another woman," Leala scoffs, adjusting her glasses on her nose.
"It's probably just a coping mechanism," Bianca Cousare, Leala's friend, says for the hundredth time. She twirls her coarse hair around her index finger, "He's probably still in grave denial. Oh...no pun intended. Sorry."
Leala puffs out her cheeks and lets out a heavy breath through her nose as she finishes her braid and carries her laptop over to her desk, sliding into the creak-y old swivel chair. "If he marries that woman, she won't be called 'mom'."
"Come on, Lee," Bianca sighs, "I've know you a whole three years - enough to make the observation that she's as kind as can be to you and you're too sweet to hold a grudge." Bianca smiles warmly at the camera.
Leala props her elbow on the desk and rests her cheek against her fist, "I know. I hate that about me." She frowns, blowing her bangs out of her eyes.
There's a tinkling-tapping sound, and Leala turns her head to see Christopher Malone, her romantic interesting, standing on the wing of the downstairs roof outside of her window, grinning in at her. She rolls her eyes and groans, "There's bad boy. I've gotta go."
Bianca frowns and reluctantly nods, closing the call. Leala exits out of the application and slips her sneakers on, waving to Chris, "Using the front door like normal people."
Chris gives her a thumbs-up and Leala can't help but feel uncomfortable under his gaze. His brown eyes had always crept her out, having a reddish tint to them. Yet at the same time, it drew her in even more. She couldn't tell if it was a peak of her interest or if his eyes simply made him appear to be more attractive.
Leala creeps down the stairs and into the kitchen, stopping at the front door. "Daddy, I'm going out with some friends," she calls. Her father immediately enters the kitchen, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Lee," he says, eyebrows knitted together in a sober expression of genuine concern, "You know I love you, right?"
Leala frowns and replies, "Of course. I love you too, daddy. ...But can we not have this conversation right now? I'm going out."
Her father studies her for a moment before withdrawing his hand and nodding, "Okay, but be home by nine."
Leala nods, "Yes, sir," and heads out the front door, shutting it securely behind her and wishing her father would give her a later curfew. Standing on the porch, looking around for Chris, Leala spots him already in the driver's seat of her car - an old 1990 Volkswagen Jetta. She holds up her hand and twirls the car keys on her index finger. Chris shrugs and points to the passenger seat, then signs, Are you coming?
Leala nods and jogs lightly to the vehicle. She'd known Chris since they were twelve. He'd been born deaf, and when Leala met him, she immediately set about learning sign language. Most of the time, though, Chris could read lips, and sign language wasn't necessary from Leala. Leala had never been book-smart, and it took her nearly a year to become comprehensible.
Chris grins at Leala when she gets in the car and immediately snatches the keys from her grasp. Leala scoffs and signs, Where are we going this time?
To see my sister, he replies. Lela presses her lips into a thin line and stares straight ahead as they pull out of the driveway. She remembers the day Charlotte Malone died, and she remembers Christopher's hysterics. He'd trembled and wept silently for hours, and then wouldn't come out of his house for days. She remembers being in the back seat. Her mother and Charlotte laughing in the front.
She remembers a car horn.
She remembers jerking.
She remembers blood.
God, there was a lot of blood.
Leala is snapped back to reality when she feels a hand on her arm. She instantly signs, I'm fine. Chris frowns but doesn't remove his eyes from the road as they drive. Leala pulls down the car mirror and stares at her reflection. At the web of scars surrounding a milky pale-green eye.
Oh, does she loathe those scars.
There is no such thing as "bad art", regardless of talent or skill. For every craft or drawing you create, is a creation from your mind. Whatever it depicts, it is immensely beautiful.