All I ever wanted was to be normal. Unfortunately, things have a way of never turning out like you wanted them to.
Myself, for instance. I'm uncomfortably tall and skinny, with black hair and emerald-green eyes. I'd consider them rather dull, but most say that they're quite fluorescent. I'm sickly pale. I have thick, somewhat scraggly black hair that I don't bother to cut, letting it freely fall in shaggy bangs across my forehead and curl into a slight cowlick behind my ears. Although I don't like to admit it, I'm wierd. And I'm smarter than anyone I know. I guess that's because I don't know that many people. I have to admit, though, I do some pretty stupid things sometimes.
My name's Obsidian Masquerade. The friends I once had called me Dian.
My life, for another example. I'm different from anyone else. I don't have a huge family, just a mom and a dad. My mother died longer ago than I could possibly begin to remember. My life was never normal. Even before everything became chaotic, emotional, and completely tumultuous. I'd guess it all started when I turned sixteen. My whole life changed when I turned sixteen.
I guess my story started on the run, and it will probably end that way.
Honestly, I don't really remember what happened. I just woke up one morning, cold and alone, sprawled on the ground in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a note and literally the clothes on my back: a black hooded sweatshirt, a white T-shirt two sizes too big for me, and torn blue jeans. I was barefoot.
The note lay neatly folded on the cement, waving gently in the wind. It was weighed down by a pair of untied black sneakers resting conveniently beside me. Bemused, I stood, absently brushed myself off, and slipped on the sneakers without bothering to tie them. I bent to pick up the yellowing sheet of paper. Inside was a pitiful excuse for a note, written in extravagant, twisted cursive.
To my beloved,
I'm sorry that we didn't tell you. Your mother wouldn't have wanted it. We had to keep you safe, and who knows what could've happened if you found out before you turned 16. Very bad. You are causing an imbalance. Can't say too much. Everything started falling apart... Can't protect you anymore. We are both very sorry. Very sorry. You're on your own now. Can't help anymore. We love you.
It was left unsigned. I shrugged and folded up the paper, shoving it in my pocket before finally immersing myself in my surroundings. I was in a town, er, what remained of it anyway. The old place was languished and crumbling, and I started to wonder how many people still lived here. The place looked worn out, clearly abandoned but I couldn't put a finger on why. What could've happened here? Lost in thought, my neck went torpid and my head drooped, sending my sight down to a particular spot on the ground. At a glance, there wasn't anything special about it. But as my eyes focused, I realized something. It was blood. The color was distinct and the stain was quite vast, splattered maliciously across cold stone and pavement. It appeared as if something was crushed here. Or someone. A chill coursed through me all at once, and I backed away from the gruesome spot, holding up my overgrown hands in feeble defense. A horrid screech went off in the distance, and a vile stench rose from the stain. I turned and ran as fast as I could.
After making some distance between me and whatever I just saw, I slowed down to catch my breath. So far, no demons have tried to murder me and devour my soul, so I felt pretty satisfied with slowing myself down. My legs sure hurt, though.
I sauntered across an empty street, ignoring my surroundings as much as possible. I stopped when I had reached a vacant lot, surrounded by large abandoned buildings. Their walls were streaked with scorch marks and graffiti. Not a single tree grew, just lifeless stumps. Skeletons of bush dotted the lot, and blades of grass, their shriveled forms singed black, sprouted from the asphalt. Dark skies made the dismal canvas for this morbid scene. I had no doubts now: a fire started here. Probably a long time ago.
In that instant, the wind picked up, carrying a foul smell in my direction. The smell of... death. B-but that was preposterous! Although, something in my mind was telling me otherwise. A bad feeling racked my stomach and I hightailed it out of there.
This town was starting to creep me out. And I don't scare easily. Many of the buildings here had dark or tinted windows. Some even had smashed windows and holes in the crumbling walls with boards sloppily hammered to the cracked brick. A moaning zephyr slithered past, licking at my open skin. I shivered, absently rubbing my elbows as I stared at one of the many burnt posters along the walls of a colossal building; presumably a former grocery store. The withered paper squirmed in the wind, but I could read it.
I immediately wished I hadn't.
The poster was an advertisement/control message demanding all "members" to assemble. It read 'JOIN THE CULT' and 'SURRENDER YOUR SOUL.' In smaller, less ridiculous text, it said sick things about slaughter to the weak, death to the impure, and the rise of evil. I noticed suddenly that much of the graffiti consisted of foul language, illegible cursive text, alternate languages, and inscriptions of the Underworldly Order. A gawked angrily at a few poorly drawn illustrations of stick figures slicing each other apart with bloody spears. What sadistic people.
Disgusted, I walked over, tore the stupid thing off the wall, (though the contact burned my hand) and shredded it. Then I seized the lighter in my back pocket and lit the cursed paper on fire. I swear, for a second the fire turned completely sable before it scorched the paper and swallowed it whole. I shivered, stuffed my fists into my pockets, and stormed off. Enough with this sick place.
I don't describe myself as religious. In fact, religion sickens me. What a repugnant subject.
I strolled leisurely through the winding streets, dodging upturned cars and dangling wires. Finally, after what felt like hours, I came across an apartment complex. What set this one apart from the others was the windows. They were still intact, on most floors anyway, and light shone through them! I jubilantly sprinted toward the stairs, climbing them and ignoring the squeaking of rusted hinges, until I reached the door. I stepped through with a smile on my face. Naive and completely oblivious to whatever would come from my foolish decision to go in there.
Okay, I understand that it's a bit awkward for a 16-year old kid to walk, uninvited and probably unwanted, into an apartment complex, but what do you expect? I was freezing. With no family, no friends, and no money. At night. In the rain. (Did I mention it was raining?) It's not my fault that I'm wierd and have the paranormal ability to walk right through walls.
Anyway, I aimlessly wandered through the vast empty halls and corridors for a while, silently mocking the bland decor. Small dusty tables lined the wall every ten feet or so, each one half-heartedly decorated with a brutally neglected plant. One wobbly table, dangling on only three legs, carried a plate of ancient oranges, rotted practically beyond recognition and swarmed by hundreds of gnats and flies. The buzzing sound stung at my ears. A mangled vermilion carpet stretched to the edges of the hallway, bordered with revolting cream-colored walls. Peeling wallpaper and the foul stench of old paint made this place unbearable, so I decided to peek inside the nearest apartment; a door was left unlocked.
Inside the quaint little apartment, dimly lit by an old-fashioned lanturn and an ornate floor lamp, I caught sight of the diminutive living room; a caramel coffee table, two overstuffed leather armchairs and a coat stand (upon which hung no coats) were placed perpendicular to each other, leaving about five square feet of room in between. Fine, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but the room was really small.
Sitting in one of the armchairs was a lean, older man who appeared to have definitely lived his life. His grey hair was balding and a narrow scar ran down his left cheek. One of his eyebrows was missing. I estimated him to be in his early forties. He was cross-legged and casually reading the newspaper. Squinting, I could just barely make out the thickly-lettered title of the article the man's eyes were glued to: 'Dead Teen Vanishes This Morning; Townspeople Stunned.' For some reason, that bothered me.
I stumbled, tried to catch myself, and fell through the door, landing on my face. The door squeaked and the man looked up. His eyes narrowed when they met mine. Abruptly, he detached himself from the chair and advanced toward me. Cold, pale eyes searched mine. I whined in feeble response. The old man grunted, then shoved his ugly beak in my face and growled deeply.
"Honey, we have company," the man croaked, then glanced at me reluctantly. "Did you, by any chance, invite someone over, my dear?"
A feminine, gentle voice replied, oozing through an open doorway that most-likely led to a kitchen. "No, my love," she said sweetly. "Perhaps a guest?"
"No guests in years," her husband moaned.
"Hm. Let me take a look."
Audible footsteps shook the fragile apartment as a short, slim older woman entered the room. She had thick curly white hair and freckles. Golden-lined spectacles sat on the bridge of her nose. A green and white frilled nightgown sagged from the woman's tiny body. Her name was Madeline, a miniscule voice told my mind. She took a good long look at me. Stared intensely at my face.
And she nearly fainted. She jabbed a long, trembling finger in the air, pointing to my defenseless heap tangled up on the floor, and shrank away when I untied myself and rose to full height.
"Y-you... Y-you're the dead boy! H-how can you be... functional? How can you be... alive?" The old woman spat the last word in my face, almost nauseated to speak it.
"What on Earth are you talking about, Madeline?" the man asked.
But she was silent. Mortified. Petrified. Horrified to see my face. Was I really that hideous? And who the heck was this 'dead boy'? The kid from the headline, maybe?
"I... I need help," I mumbled quietly.
"Speak up." the husband barked.
"I said I need help. Help with... this." What was I getting myself into?
I stared pitifully into the dark eyes of the man and his wife. I lifted my right hand and spread the fingers. Concentrating, they began to disappear from tip down to knuckle. "Please, you have to help, I don't know what's wrong with me..." I choked out hoarsely. Suddenly, I didn't know what I was talking about. The old woman whined and hid behind the protection of her husband. I would've done it too; he looked pretty tough to me. His short-sleeved shirt and tattoos of guns, blades, and fairly offensive words such as 'Pay no mercy' etched and inked into his skin didn't help either. He gave me a look that stabbed at my soul. If I still had one, of course. I wasn't sure of much of anything anymore. But I knew what that look meant. That same discriminating look everyone gave me now. Those crippling eyes. The look you gave to a venemous snake. A snake just trying to fit in.
"Get out," the man snarled.
"Wait, you have to listen to me!"
The man shot a determined look at his wife. "Call the cops," he said dryly. The woman, visibly trembling, glanced nervously to me, then to the man, and nodded. She bolted toward the kitchen. Faintly, I could hear her fumbling with a bulky device in the other room. Next came three familiar beeps. A dreadful sound to the ears of all.
I started to panic. These people were really gonna call the police on me? What ever happened to empathy? Come on, people.
"Nine-one-one emergency..." the woman began into the receiving end of the telephone. Her quiet voice was shaking.
I was so dumbfounded, I hadn't even noticed her husband snatch a cane from behind one of the two overstuffed armchairs sitting in the living room. Wielding it like a club, he swung at me. Good and hard. All the while battle-crying like a maniac. It actually would've been pretty funny, given a slightly different scenario on my end.
Of course, it went right through me. In one end and out the next. I did apparently lose some of my existence though. A few wisps of green mist separated from my side. The old man shrieked. Literally; a window shattered. Then he had a heart attack. Whatever clairvoyant gift I possessed gave me the ability to see within the poor man. I watched his heart abruptly stop right before my eyes. You can bet that made feel great.
I'm not a doctor. I wish I was, really. Because that was awful. Horrified and mentally scarred, I wasn't given much time before the woman returned. Her face drained away, the reaction turning her pale. I mean, I'm pale too, but that's a normal thing. I felt her turn hollow. She screamed and rushed to her beloved husband. Or at least what was left of him. His veins grew purple, and for a moment I swear I could hear his voice transmit into the deepest depths of my mind, filling it with an eerie static like an old radio tuned to the wrong frequency.
"Burn in Hell, demon."
I went numb.
In a matter of seconds, the door was kicked in. The room was suddenly filled with the ambient presences and sweaty bodies of about a dozen thick-pelted police officers and SWAT team members, seven of them armed with massive assault rifles.
You've gotta be kidding me. What kind of 'emergency' did that lady describe? A grizzly bear? A hungry lion? A freakin' dinosaur!?
A strange buzzing interrupted my thoughts. Turns out the SWAT team was using a hand-held EMF meter, and the annoying beeping sound signaled a pickup in spectral energy. Wait a minute, spectral energy? Like... ghosts?
Ignoring it, I decided to use the shattered window to escape. Climbing up to the windowsill, I craned my neck to glance briefly at the gruesome scene, only to cringe at a shard of glass slicing the tender flesh wrapping my hand. Here goes nothing. After a deep breath, and I leapt from the window. I landed fairly comfortably in the bushes lining the building, feeling pretty triumphant after managing to get up with only some cuts and a bruise or two.
My zest shattered when they tried to shoot me. The loudest noise I've ever heard crashed into the dirt only inches away. I peered at it. The confounded monsters just tried to shoot me, and the evidence was the gleaming bullet imbedded in the dirt! And, I had just killed someone. I just murdered a man. What... what have I done?
My breath snagged on the utter horror that flooded my mind. But instinct took over. Get away. Flee from danger. Run. So I did. Ran like a deer in the headlights. Flew like a petrified bird. I needed to get away, or they'd kill me!
To escape was all I could do now. I may not know what's going on, or even who I am, but I needed to retreat. All I knew was that I was leaving this awful place. I was running away. And I was never coming back.