Rain, Rain, come my way, wash these bloody tears away...
Rain, Rain, come my way, wash these bloody tears away...
“What do you like to do for fun?” Kadri asked Akina after school one day.
“Play nazi zombies on wii. Wanna come over later?”
“Uhm, sure, why not?” What’s a nazi zombie? Kadri thought.
“So this is your house??” Kadri gasped. The outside was huge and gorgeous- it had black brick, huge ivory columns with red roses the color of fresh blood with what looked like zebra markings on them growing around them, and stained-glass windows depicting all sorts of African animals everywhere.
“Yeah. It’s a roof over my head. It’s all I need it for, y’know?” Akina said it like it was a cardboard box next to a dumpster in a dark alley. She walked in the huge redwood doors and looked behind her at Kadri, who was dumbstruck. “Well?”
“Oh!” Kadri snapped out of it and walked inside, her boot-heels clacking against the glacier-blue marble tile. She tried not to gape at the elaborate paintings, throw rugs and wooden wall panels.
“The game room’s this way.” Akina led her down a hallway and into a room filled with all manner of electronic entertainment systems- Dance Dance Revolution, shooter games, pinball, all three Playstations, both Xboxes, and every Nintendo and Sony systems ever made.
“Oh my gosh…we never had these kinds of things in Estonia.”
“Yeah? Well, most people don’t have them here in America, either. I’m just…”
And they played DDR, Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox and pinball the rest of the afternoon.
“So this is how it ends….” Kadri thought as she slipped for the thousandth time on wet snow. She had been running through the cold and lifeless forest in the country that was once her home, Estonia, for what seemed like days. Her blue-streaked black hair was almost frozen solid, and the once-thick eyelashes around her bottle-green eyes were reduced to brittle little lines, with only about four remaining.
She tried to get up, but he metal heels on her knee-high lace-up boots cracked and shattered. She fell on her face into a pile of cold wetness. If only her powers were of heat and not of ice, she could save herself. “If only Akina was here….” Her friend had fiery powers and could have saved her. She could feel the cold snow seep through her faux-fur skirt and cape, her arm-length gloves and broken boots. Her blood was cooling, congealing, freezing. Her lungs had stopped functioning properly hours ago, and she wheezed and sputtered with every half-breath. “I’m going to die here…” She couldn’t even remember how she had gotten here in the first place….
Suddenly Akina appeared in a burst of red flames.
“TRIBAL DANCE POWERS!!” She yelled, and zebra-printed flames shot from her heels and upraised hands, melting every drop of snow and thawing Kadri.
“Akina…you-you saved…my life!” Kadri sputtered. Her lungs had started to operate properly again, and she could feel herself warming up.
“Duh. What else are friends for?” Akina smiled, her brown-black hair shining in the light from her powers. “Now c’mon, Kadri. We’re goin’ home.”
I sighed as the alarm blasted a re-vamped version of “Safety Dance” into my skull. Still groggy, I flung the infernal contraption in the general direction of the wall, scaring Salem, my cat. Unfortunately, I didn’t break it. Groaning, I got up and turned the stupid thing off like a sane person.
“I abhor Mondays,” I told Salem. Salem looked like he agreed.
I got dressed in my usual all black-black turtleneck, black micro-mini skirt, black knee-boots-and proceeded towards the kitchen.
“Riana, what on earth are you doing?” I resisted the urge to slap my forehead. My ditzy roommate was attempting to shove an entire frozen pizza into one of the toaster slots. Of course, she’s always trying to invent some new toaster-capable food product, but it’s usually eggs (in the shell), cookies (mixed very badly and poured into the unsuspecting toaster), or some form of fish (like my former beta, Lela).
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m making Hot Pockets!” Riana looked so proud of herself, she didn’t realize that her pizza had snapped in half and got stuck in the toaster slot.
“RIANA!!! Come on, that’s the third toaster this week!” I really hate it when she does this….
“Huh? Oh…” The toaster had started sparking and smoking. “Well, look on the bright side….”
“There is no bright side! You’re paying for this one.” I had bought the last five toasters because this is technically her apartment, but this is starting to deplete my paycheck.
“Come on, Raven. It’s not that big of a deal.” She beamed. Of course she wouldn’t think so, with all her dad-funded designer wardrobe, lavish apartment and near-celebrity social status, she wouldn’t think anything was wrong. I hated her. I actually have to work for my money. Speaking of work….
“Whatever, Riana. I have to go to work. Guess I’ll go to Starbucks or something. There better be a new toaster here when I get back, and not a pink, diamond encrusted one, either.” That’s what she got last time she bought a toaster. It cost like, $5,000 or something, and twenty minutes later she shoved my red beta fish-the aforementioned Lela-into it.
“OK, OK. I’ll even get a black one, just for you, roomie dearest.” She smiled sweetly. I wanted to rip out her blonde extensions. Instead, I left for work.
I rode my llama through the cold desert night, with the moon at my back and the stars all around me. Shaena, my llama, was starting to grow weak, for we had not seen water in days. I knew it was risky to try magic at this kind of location, for if I failed I would surely perish. But if I did not, my llama would die and the llama-fearing nomads who wished to eat my sparse flesh would catch up. I reasoned that the benefits outweighed the risks, so I tried the spell that would conjure up life-saving water.
I drew the sigils into the sand that would summon the Egyptian water goddess Anuket.
“aedgvzcj yivcdx”The symbols surrounded the ankh I had drawn in a circular pattern, and the wind had started to pick up. I had never used this spell before, but my sister Banu had taught it to me just prior to my leaving the temple. She had warned me about the cannibalistic nomads, but did I listen…no.
Of course Banu had always been the better one at spells, and it was no surprise when it was not Anuket who appeared but Nut, goddess of the sky.
“Eboniiiiiiiiiiiii………..why have you summoned meeeeeeeeee??? Do you wish to return to your sister, Banuuuuuuuuuuuu??”
“I would be honored if you would return me to my sister, O mighty goddess….”
“Then go nowww, Eboniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……………..” The next thing I knew, I was back at the temple, where Banu was attempting to eat a rat. Did I mention she was a priestess of Bastet? The cat goddess Bastet?
“Banu! Guess who’s home?”
“EBONI!!!!!! YOU’RE BACK!!!!!! AND YOU’RE NOT DEAD!!” She ran up and gave me a hug. At first glance, you wouldn’t be able to tell we were twins. She had long hair the color of papyrus, and I had short kohl-colored hair. But our eyes were the same Nile-blue, and our skin was the same unusual pale white. But she was the crazy one.
“My, aren’t you a keen observer of detail? No, I’m not dead. And neither is Shaena.”
“…Then, where is she?” Banu looked confused.
“She’s right….not there.” Shaena musn’t have been transported!
“Great. You lost our llama. Way to go, Eboni.” Banu had a fondness for the llama that almost rivaled that of Abayomi, her cat. His name means literally, “he who brings joy”. Speaking of….
“Why don’t we get Abayomi to find her? He’s a spirit cat. He can do anything.”
“How did you lose her in the first place? She’s a llama for Bast’s sake.”
“Uh…Nut transported me here, but must’ve kept Shaena.”
“Well, then there’s nothing we can do. She’s a gift now.” Banu knew everything about the gods, so I can’t really question her. “All we can do is get another llama. But that will have to wait, I have to finish my ceremonial rat.”
“Do you really have to eat that?” I was kind of disgusted.
“Yes, I do. I have to get closer to the goddess for the full-moon ceremony tomorrow. So don’t interrupt me.”
“Fine. I’ll look through the market tomorrow morning, I guess.”
“STARLING!!!! YOU’LL BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!” Robin, my mom, yelled at me this morning.
“I know, mom! I’m out the door already.”
“Oh, no you’re not. Take your sister to the bus stop!”
I groaned. “But mom, she’s fourteen, she can walk herself. Kestrel’s a big girl now.”
“Yeah mom! I can walk myself. I don’t need the freaky Goth girl to muck up my reputation anymore.” Kestrel was the blond, perfect little prep my mother adored. I hated her.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, my little Kessie! I had no idea she was hurting your perfect little crystal image, sweetie. Fine, Starling. Looks like you don’t have to walk her after all. Now go.”
See how quickly my mom changes personas? “I love you too, mom.”
I got the heck out of there, into my spray-paint black Accord, and on the highway in about 30 seconds.
I took the long way so I could pick up my friend, Snow, at her house. In case you can’t guess, we’re not going to school.
“Finally! Where you been, Star? I been wait’n for like, 20 mins, man.” Snow was, well…snow-colored. She had white-blond hair, icy eyes, and was really pale. Me? Well, I’m…pale, like her, but I don’t resemble my namesake. I’m more raven-colored than starling-colored.
“Mother.” I needed no other explanation. Snow knew my bird-obsessed mother hated me. I was an ‘accident’, by the way. Speaking of accidents…!
“OHMYEFFINGGOD!!!!!!!!!!” We were on a collision course for a huge semi tractor-trailer!
CrUncH. Was that the car or me?
It was the car. We were practically swimming in what was either a lot of blood, or a lot of ketchup. Hopefully it was the latter.
About an hour later, we were pulled out of our ketchup-filled car (we had hit a ketchup truck) and swore to never ditch again.