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|This was written with the permission of Saara-Elina Ropanen, inspired by her photomanipulation, Good/Evil. It has been edited (by myself and my good friend from school, Richard).||
The fallen leaves crackled underfoot on the pavement as I treaded through the abandoned park. Other than my labored breathing, and the leaves, nothing made noise on this uphill stretch. It was so quiet. I hadn't realized yet what this meant, but something told me it was important. Barren and old stood the tall oaks amid the evergreen pines, and the light that filtered through the few remaining leaves was cold and desolate. A foreboding wind whistled through the lonely treetops, and I looked up at the sound of rustling feathers.
I blinked, jumping backwards, as a feather made an attempt to land on my nose. I know, this is impossible because feathers don't have brains, but this feather seemed determined to hit me. It brushed by my hand and then fell to settle on the ground at my feet. I squatted, and reached out to touch it. Mere inches from it something sparked from my hand to the feather and I fell over on my butt, looking at the feather in perplexed curiosity. A slight breeze pushed it across the pavement towards me, and I picked it up.
Nothing happened this time. I put it in the pocket of my jacket, and continued up the hill. By this time, I knew something was going on. So, keeping a close eye out for anything out of the ordinary, I made for home. As I came upon the front steps of my townhouse, I saw a girl, sitting quietly on the concrete. The air faintly shimmered around her, so I stopped and looked closely. She was dressed as a girl of this age would, at least one who didn't favor pink and frills. She wore torn up, but well-loved jeans, and a black hoodie.
She looked up at me and I took an involuntary step back. Her face was a hard mask, cold and forbidding. Her hair sparked as she narrowed her eyes. Then I blinked. Normal as could be, she looked. And she was smiling. Standing, I could see she also carried a messenger bag. She stepped towards me, and I felt frozen, confused. Then she spoke, and my whole world crumbled around me.
"Are you Melody?"
Her voice was harsh and cruel, unlike a voice I had ever heard. As she spoke, I noticed the feeling rush back into my cold-numbed limbs, and then shooting pain as I felt the icy wind crush against my nerves. I rubbed my hands together and then tucked them under my arms, staring at her. My worst nightmares flashed across my mind and I knew, in that instant, that she was evil.
In my pocket, the feather sparked electricly, and I looked up at the girl. She was still smiling. I blinked again, attempting to clear my head. Then I nodded, and motioned to the door. I went up to the townhouse and I unlocked it. Whatever possessed me to let evil into my house, damn you. The girl followed me in, and as the door shut behind us, I felt chill. Cold air seeped in around the cracks of the door and I shivered. I turned around and then made a strangled noise of fear.
My cat, Sebastian, was bottle-tailed and hissing with fear. The girl had one hand reached out to him, the other reaching in her bag for something. She caught sight of me out of the corner of her eye and her hands dropped to her sides as she swiftly stepped back. In that instant, I had seen a terrible blackness surrounding her – a horrible darkness that engulfed her soul, if she even had one. Once again, however, she looked perfectly normal to me. I saw nothing wrong with her – except that her pupils were overly large. She kept gazing at me unblinkingly, so I turned away. I mumbled an invitation for her to sit down, and flopped down into my desk chair, putting my feet up on the desk.
The girl smiled – a smile that sent a shock of paralyzing fear down my spine – and took a seat on the futon next to the door. I coughed and inclined my head, indicating that she should state why she was there. She pretended to take no notice and just watched me. I squirmed under that never ending gaze, a gaze that stared straight through my flesh. It pierced my soul with daggers like ice.
“Why did you want to see me?”
She smiled. I shuddered as my eyes refused to tear away from that malicious, seemingly kind smile. My heart skipped every other beat as she spoke again. The voice grated on my ears, causing me to wince involuntarily.
“I heard you were a fairly good guitarist and I was wondering if you could play this melody line I wrote.”
Something told me it was more than a melody line. Logic told me to shut up, so I listened.
“I’ll take a look at it.”
She pulled a piece of paper from her messenger bag. It was seemingly ordinary, and when I took it from her, it felt that way. I read it, and frowned.
“It looks fairly complicated. I’m not that good…”
I trailed off as her gazed hardened and another spike of excruciating fear penetrated me. I swallowed hard.
“…but I’ll give it a try.”
She smiled again. I realized I preferred her anger to that smile. That smile lied to me, deceived me into thinking she was friendly and terrified me all at once. I got up and went across the room to where my guitar was hanging on the wall. My hands were shaking as I took it down from its peg, and I sat down on the floor as my knees turned to jelly. Somehow I disguised my fear and managed to sink to the floor gracefully.
Setting the paper on the floor, I settled the instrument familiarly across my knees and set my fingers gently on the cords. I then began trying to play the tune. It seemed to flow through my fingers, and soon I was playing the song by heart. My nerves vibrated, and a sudden discord sent my hands flying from the guitar as my fingers screamed in pain.
I looked up in horror to realize that the girl was standing next to the window, smiling. A black nimbus of hatred and deception wove itself about her as purple-black wings unfolded with a thunder like snap. Her expression was malevolent, her black, black eyes staring at me.
She walked across the room and I was paralyzed with fear. Her feet burned holes in the rug, and she crushed the guitar as she reached for me. I wailed in anguish – this was my death facing me, my destiny, and I did not want to face it. Claw-like fingers reached, reaching for my throat, for my eyes, and –
The feather in my pocket did not bother me. It was pretty, ebony and red-violet light reflecting off of it. I enjoyed the cool autumn air, the brisk pace set as the sun shown down on me. I loved this time of year, right before it turned cold, right when the whole world seems still and calm, waiting for something.
I walked down the sidewalk towards the townhouse, humming. Silence greeted me, but that was okay. I reached the steps to my home and saw a girl. She was fairly pretty, black hoodie, worn out jeans, and a beaten up old messenger bag. A cold feeling washed over me as I realized with fear that something was very, very wrong…
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