“She did what?!” Thomas demanded when Melissa brought him the news.
“She joined the Shadow,” Melissa repeated. “I went to her house to see how she was doing after last night and her sister told me to go away because Erin would not be happy to see any of the Light there.” Melissa choked back the strange emotion she was suddenly feeling. Erin had seemed okay yesterday, why would she suddenly go and join the Shadow? Melissa had come to Thomas as soon as she had found out, even interrupting a moment between him and Leah, hoping that maybe he could explain. Leah had left in a huff, so Thomas was free to speak to Melissa.
“She’s trying to save her parents,” Thomas said tiredly after a moment of silence. “The Shadow holds them at the brink of death. Erin doesn’t know the Shadow as well as we do, though. She doesn’t realize that once she’s in too deeply, they’ll kill her parents anyway.” Melissa heard a new emotion in her best friend’s voice. Worry. Thomas often grew concerned about things, but he never truly worried. Not since Andrea had he truly worried. “But why would they want her within their reach?” he continued, wondering out loud. “Not unless they have some way of controlling her to make her conversion complete….” He trailed off in thought, brow furrowed. Then he reached a conclusion. Melissa saw it in his eyes, and saw terror quickly come. “If they got the necklace…. Come on, Melissa, we have to get to Erin’s house quickly!”
Melissa did not argue as Thomas dragged her out the door and to his car. Whatever it took to stop the Shadow, she was willing. Continue reading
It was almost four o’clock, Thomas noted as he and Erin entered one of the more secluded training rooms. It was a simple room, with four walls, three chairs, two bookshelves with books, and a table. It was perfect for a learning environment, and Thomas often wished school could be this straightforward and comfortable.
“So. What am I going to learn?” Erin asked him. “Defense? Offense? History?”
“Whatever you want,” he replied. “I’m only the teacher. The student needs to decide what and how much to learn.”
She looked at him thoughtfully, and he found himself becoming a little uneasy. Those blue eyes of hers held unfathomable power, yet there was something almost vulnerable to them. The conversation he and Melissa had had in the gym was echoing in his head. Maybe he should try to get to know Erin, and not just the Lady Blue Rose. Although he could not see how they could be separate people, since she was standing right in front of him.
“Anything, huh? I want to learn how you keep showing up at my house in an instant when I don’t expect it. It unnerves me sometimes. And I also want to know how you do that singing thing.”
He almost smiled with the memories of learning how to “sing.” That particular talent belonged only to a few, a few that were born with it. “I don’t know if I can teach you how to sing, but I can teach you how to ‘bubble’.” Continue reading
“Hold your concentration,” Melissa was telling Erin as Thomas walked quietly into the training gym. Both girls were standing on the far side of the gym, right at the edge of the pool. He stared as he watched Melissa at work. She sure did know how to train a new recruit. Pale winter sunlight filtered through the glass greenhouse that enclosed and warmed that end of the gym. A single beam of sunlight rested on Erin for a moment as the December clouds outside broke, and her face glowed with a tranquillity he had never seen. He was taken aback slightly at her beauty, and her calmness. She was, at this moment, the perfect embodiment of everything the Light hoped to accomplish. His breath caught in his throat, all other thoughts gone except how much she looked like the Light itself.
Erin woke up with the sun in her face and a sore neck. Had she really fallen asleep on her desk like that? It wasn’t like her to do that. She looked outside and smiled. It had snowed during the night, and the sun was glittering off the new-fallen snow like diamonds.
She looked over at her clock. It read nine-thirty. Great. She had half an hour to shower and eat breakfast before Thomas arrived. That wasn’t much.
She hurried through her shower, not enjoying it as she usually did. Then she rushed doing her hair in a ponytail. It didn’t look the best, but it didn’t look bad either. It would have to do. She hurried down the stairs for breakfast. Melody was there, reading the paper, but Mom and Dad had left two hours ago to catch their plane. “Good morning,” she told her older sister as she bustled about the kitchen
“What’s your hurry?” Melody asked.
Erin walked quietly past all of the other students on their way to the lunchroom. She didn’t want to attract attention, not after last night. She had no way of knowing who belonged to which side. Sure, Aryn’s memories offered some ways of telling Shadow and Light from neutral, but they also guaranteed that if she used her powers to do so, they’d all be all over her. So, she was just lying low as Ryan had advised.
Ryan. She smiled. She liked the junior with the friendly manner and sense of unswayable purpose. He was exactly the kind of guy she could confide in. He was probably far too nice to be a good leader in battle, but she would follow his advice in matters of between battles.
She stepped into the cafeteria and ran into Samantha Reynolds, her best friend since sixth grade. Now, she even suspected Samantha. This wasn’t right. She shouldn’t be suspicious of her best friend! “Hey, Erin,” Sam greeted her as always. “How’s it going?”
“I’ve been better,” Erin replied quite honestly.
Erin looked out her large south-east-facing window at the winter night sky. Orion was there, and she took a bit of comfort from that fact. When her entire teenage life had just turned upside-down, she needed that bit of reassurance that everything else in the world was still the same. She shook her head, then went to the door and turned her light back on. As much as she loved looking at the stars, she still had homework to do. She needed to start now if she was to ever get it finished and not get sidetracked thinking about the events of the day. Continue reading
Erin Allen rubbed her eyes tiredly. The fluorescent lighting of the mall was getting to her, making her eyes sting. “Can we go home yet?” she asked her older sister, Melody. “As much as I love shopping, I think four hours during the unbearably crowded Christmas shopping season when I still have homework to do is quite enough.”
“Stop whining,” Melody replied. “There’s just one more thing I need to get at the music store. That new CD I was talking about earlier, remember? Then we can go home.”
“Yeah, I remember,” Erin answered resignedly. She sighed and looked at her reflection as they passed a mirrored glass window to one of the trend stores. She was pretty, with her dark blond hair and deep blue eyes, and she knew it. However, she was three days from sixteen and had never had a boyfriend. She was just waiting for the right guy to come along. She knew she would know him when she met him. Only problem was, she hadn’t met him yet and was beginning to doubt she ever would. So much for patience. Something else was waiting for her right now, though, was the feeling she was getting. But what? Continue reading