Charlie walked for a long time before she reached the house. She thought about running back home and sneaking back in her bed before her parents could question.
It was too late. Either way she would be punished if her parents found out. At least she would get Jasmine off her back.
Charlie started walking through the woods to get to Jasmine’s house. Using the flashlight on her phone she walked through ignoring the critters creeping through the fallen leaves and rustling through the bushes. This was her first time walking through them at night but it was still the same forest she had grown up running through. Darker but the same.
Finally escaping the brush she came out behind Jasmine and Weston’s house. She wondered if Jasmine waited on her or not. Walking through Jasmine’s backyard she shined her light on the window but it was too dim; even though the lights upstairs were off. She wasn’t exactly sure how to get a hold of her friend. They had never done this before. At least Charlie hadn’t. Jasmine claimed she had but Charlie knew Jasmine often embellished.
Looking around she reached for the pebbles surrounding the green shrubs surrounding the back of the house. One by one she threw them against the window. The first hitting the siding with a dull thud. She felt weird, like she was romancing her friend but the longer she waited the harder she threw and the more annoyed she became. Giving up she decided to just walk back. Jasmine didn’t even believe in her enough to wait.
Walking wearily toward the daunting woods she peered over at the pool in Weston’s fenced back yard. She thought about going to the party alone, but what if Jasmine wasn’t around, what if she was up there asleep. Walking over to the pool she thought about her adventure the other day. Her first realization her body could become liquid. Tempted to get back in the water she rested her hands against the fence. Could she call it at will? She started to walk toward the gate when she heard a howling noise behind her.
Freezing in her place she became more concerned as she heard it again, knowing it was human. The sound became closer followed by heavy footsteps attempting to tiptoe. Feeling someone’s hot breath against her neck she quickly turned around with her elbow up.
“Wow!” A boy called out catching her elbow with a firm grip and fast reflexes surprising Charlie who had put a lot of force against it.
She couldn’t make out his face as he grabbed her, cupping his hand over her mouth. He was stronger than a boy of her age, perhaps stronger than her father who had taught her how to catch an enemy off guard. Her father wouldn’t even let her out of the house without making sure she knew how to defend herself for moments just like this. If her father could see her now he would be disappointed as she was dragged away kicking and attempting to scream.
“Shut up Charlie!” She recognized Jasmine’s aggravated voice. “Get your hands off her Weston! I told you to scare her not manhandle her.”
“I didn’t know she was going to freak out like that!” He took his hand off Charlie’s mouth but he didn’t let her go. Charlie’s heart was reverberating her body. She feared Weston would let her go and she would fall on her back unable to get up. Or perhaps he would look in her eyes and know her erratic heartbeat and loss of words wasn’t due to the fear of her life from just a moment ago, but the way his strong arms comforted her.
“Are we going or what?” Jasmine pulled at Weston’s arm, letting Charlie to her own staggering self. “I thought you were never going to come Charlie!” She breathed heavily waking ahead as Weston turned on the largest handheld flashlight known to man.
“I knew you’d come.” Weston smiled back.
“How did you escape your drab parents anyway?” Jasmine walked closely to Weston. Charlie had to walk behind them.
“Snuck out.” Charlie smiled proudly as Weston gave a head nod like he was cheering her on.
The light began to flicker out. Weston hit it a few times, swearing at it.
“Great! Now we won’t get lost.” Jasmine sighed. All of them were reaching for their phones when the sound of something scampering in front of them caused everyone to pause, Jasmine’s phone falling out of her reach as she knelt down looking for it.
The trees blocked all light from the stars and moon leaving them in utter darkness. Charlie could make out something moving in the dim light. Jasmine and Weston were both huddled against her after Jasmine gave up on looking for her phone when they heard the shuffling noise again. All three of them stood with their backs against each other looking out. She linked her arms through their’s as if it could provide extra protection to something they couldn’t see.
A creaking above them from a tree branch caused everyone’s breathing to spike. Something was up there, and it was large, perhaps dangerous. Without light they were defenseless. She thought about the wind around her, feeling the light gentle breeze. It became easy to tune out Jasmine’s shivering. The warmth of Weston’s arm on hers was a bit harder to forget but she managed. Levitation was possible for her, she knew that after this morning. Perhaps it was time to move something other than herself, only this time while being conscious. Closing her eyes she imagined the wind becoming harsher, feeling it pushing against her body.
“What’s going on?” Jasmine’s voice shook with each syllable.
A burst of energy pushed from Charlie’s body. She felt the wind rushing around them creating a cyclone. A high-pitched scream faded as the thing she was protecting them from got caught against her cycle.
“What the hell!” Weston’s arm broke from hers. He jumped forward getting caught in the whirlwind.
Charlie tried to break out of this consuming feeling as things took shape without her understanding. She was keeping them safe from whatever was out there. Only now, one of the people she wanted to protect more than herself was no longer safe, because of her.
Unedited by B. Mauritz