Authors: Marian Tee
EVREN: Enter the Dragonette
By: Marian Tee
Copyright © 2012 Faith C. Martin
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
When I was sixteen, I had the emotional depth of a Paris Hilton song. Years and years from now, I know Paris’ legend will live on and you will still understand what I mean. But I digress. Sixteen was pretty much an eventful year for me. Sixteen was the age I first fell in love. Sixteen was the age I witnessed my first murder, and sixteen was the age I turned Evren to continue living.
Pain greeted me when I returned to consciousness. I didn’t need a mirror to know the truth…I was bruised and bleeding all over, and my ribs were broken. Every inch of my body screamed in agony, and I wished I’d had the chance to overdose myself with Vicodin. I’d have done anything just to make the pain go away. If that meant I’d die, it was a risk I was willing to take.
But someone didn’t want me taking that risk. A pair of hands gripped my shoulders and began shaking me. Hard. Each and every shake intensified the pain until I was drowning in it.
I tried to make sense of what I was going through, but my mind could only recall bits and pieces of the past.
The explosion that had turned our car into a midnight pyre of twisted metal…
That first horrible sight of a killer’s face—as if something inside me had been built to recognize evil, no matter what form it took—and the moment of choking realization that there was nothing I could do as he threw me on the ground, battering my body with head-splitting blows and rib-cracking kicks…
The sound of my sister’s screams as they dragged her away—
I forced my eyes open, a silent cry of protest emerging from my throat at the memories. This time, I welcomed the pain. It was better than reliving those moments. I couldn’t think about them. Not now, not just yet.
Everything was blurry but I could discern a face—a guy’s face—looking down at me.
, I wanted to tell him.
Don’t bother waking me up. Just call 911
And hurry, please, because I’m kinda dying here.
But I couldn’t say any of those words because I was too busy trying to keep myself sane in the course of my suffering.
“Are you awake, human?”
Was I dreaming?
“She’s awake,” a second voice confirmed.
Silence and then the other voice again—the one that belonged to the guy still shaking me like a party popper. “Human. Are you awake?”
.” Irritation gave me enough strength to snap at him. I didn’t like the way he called me human. It sounded very insulting. Was that his tactful way of saying I was so flat chested he couldn’t guess what my gender was? Or maybe he was delusional and he thought he was from outer space?
. I did my best to glare at him, deliberately focusing my every thought on staying mad at him. Anger pushed the past away. The pain also helped, every bone in my body blazed in agony with the merest move I made.
Someone chuckled in the background. “She’s got you there.”
I would have smiled if I weren’t so busy finding a way to silence the echoes of my sister’s endless screams inside my mind. The shaking had thankfully stopped, but the pain hadn’t lessened. Not a bit. So this was how a human punching bag felt.
“Do you still want to live, human? Whatever it takes?” The question had a clinical tone to it.
Was he asking if I would accept some kind of surgery? “Yes, alien.” I badly wanted to roll my eyes. What kind of question was that? Of course, I wanted to be saved. Did I look in any way suicidal to him?
I squinted hard, but my gaze remained blurred by pain, and all I could concentrate on was his voice, cold and sharp, like a surgical needle.
“Then it is done. This was your choice. Remember.”
I didn’t bother wasting my effort answering.
And then a roaring fire ate me alive and I screamed.
This time, I really screamed. But my screams abruptly died when I realized the golden fire enveloping my entire being didn’t hurt at all. I blinked several times, but the fire around me stayed, snarling and swirling across my skin but never causing me pain.
It burned away the film of pain that had obscured my gaze and through the dancing flames, I glimpsed the ragged outline of distant mountains, moonlight casting a glow on their peaks against the night’s dark landscape, the unmistakable scarecrow-like shadows of man-tall cactuses, and vast acres of desert land.
The fire slowly lifted me to my feet. What was this? Some painless version of hell? Maybe the Devil wanted me perfectly healthy before he started torturing me? But what had I done to have been sent to—
A vicious-looking creature loomed before me, and I screamed again, forgetting all thoughts about eternal damnation. The huge, unknown animal had a head about eight feet high—I had no problems imagining how easy it would be for Animal X to swallow me whole—and golden scales that glowed like sunlight, almost outshining the crescent moon behind its serpent-like shadow.
Its fierce forest green eyes arrested me on the spot. They were like magical emeralds, ones possessing an irresistible, almost hypnotic, charm. I could only stare back at the nightmarish being in horrified fascination. You know how tigers can be so dangerously beautiful, how their faces can mesmerize you even when you know they’re thinking about chewing you to death? That’s exactly how I felt about the powerful beast before me. This beast…or whatever it was called…looked something like Godzilla but less horrendous and more attractive. If it were domesticated, I wouldn’t have minded having a picture taken with the horrible fiend.
I was definitely losing my mind if I thought monsters were the coolest thing next to Orlando Bloom.
“Are you scared, human?”
It was him. That voice…so he
“Human, are you scared?”
“No.” And I wasn’t. Much.
“If you are, you will die.”
That particular threat should have made me think twice but it didn’t. If there was any truth to the memories in my mind, the memories that I was still unable to bury, then there wasn’t anything to live for, was there? Not if everyone I loved was already gone.
“I told you I’m not.” My voice was stronger now, containing more than a hint of annoyance. The fire made the pain inside me recede, allowing me to be more myself. I’ve never been a coward and I’ve never allowed anyone to intimidate me. That wasn’t going to change now, not even while I was still weak as a baby.
A part of me wondered how this was all happening, but the rest of me ignored that pertinent question. It was a bad habit of mine.
“Then I will try to heal you.”
The alien didn’t give me a chance to answer. The fire around me swirled faster, seeming to have a life of its own. The flames spun around me with such speed that I had to close my eyes.
The fire bathed my skin. I could feel the tips touching my body, filling me, merging with my blood. It was like taking a hot shower that could also clean the veins, the muscles, and the bones under my skin, cleansing and irrevocably changing me at the same time. My throat clogged as the blazing sensations urged me to just…let go. The inferno engulfing me played a seductive tune, and every beat tempted me to lose myself in the wordless, earthly music. The heat inside me intensified, the pressure building and building until I finally lost control of everything I was, of everything I was thinking or feeling. My whole being exploded, lightning streaks of heat splintering out each and every pore in my body. I closed my eyes, savoring every heavenly sensation.
“You are Evren now.”
The fire lovingly circled me one last time before it disappeared bit by bit, the cool night air slowly invading my skin. My body became heavy, and I felt myself falling and falling. But I didn’t crash. There was an invisible force of heat around me, making sure I landed on the ground gently and helping me lean back to rest. I opened my eyes and this time, everything was amazingly vivid, as if the whole world had been polished and varnished from top to bottom.
The beast was gone, and in its place stood a guy about my age. He was tall and lean, but there was a quiet strength in him, the kind not honed in a gym. He was dressed entirely in black and his skin was darkly tanned, like he had lived under the sun throughout his life. His cheeks were sharp and high, and his lips were almost too red. If he didn’t look so harsh, I would have said those lips were kissable. He was beautiful. Not gorgeous or cute, but beautiful.
With the almost-barren landscape of the desert behind him and the fading glow of the moonlight, he looked like an assassin straight out of the action movies Dad loved to watch. He also had the same pair of forest green eyes I had seen in the creature, and I stared at him in wonder. “
Someone choked in the background, and I absently noticed another tall guy standing beside the one I was speaking to. I looked back at the green-eyed man. “
? Wh-what happened back there?”
His mouth tightened at the “Alien” bit but he didn’t answer. He crouched down instead, and with his vivid green eyes now at the same level with mine, I found myself even more entranced. Almost scarily so.
“How do you feel?” Green Eyes scanned me from head to toe. He still hadn’t told me his name and since he seemed to take offense with
Green Eyes was the next best thing. Not that I’d call him that to his face.
“Does anything hurt?” His voice had the same doctor-like quality from earlier. Did he ever smile? And why did I even care? Shouldn’t I be worrying about—I lurched up, or tried to, gasping when everything came back to me—all the ugly memories, every devastating second of them.
The memory of my sister’s screams deafened me, and now, I remembered the last time I had seen my parents, death granting them eternal masks of terror and helplessness.
Mom. Dad. Davie
.” I turned to look at him. “
Where are they
?” I didn’t mean to scream but the tightening of my stomach told me there were things I had forgotten and needed to recall. Another part of me wanted to deny the truth. Because even if the guy with me didn’t answer, that part of me already knew what he would say.
Regret touched his gaze as he spoke. “Your parents are dead.”
A pitiful cry pierced the stillness of the night, the sound rushing out of my throat. I began to sob. Tears never helped change things, but they had been my best friends throughout the years. They made me feel better, and I used them shamelessly for comfort, regardless of what anyone else thought.
I curled myself into a ball, ignoring the hardness of the ground and the rough edges of the boulder pillowing my head. All I could feel was the numbing grief of knowing that Mom and Dad were gone. They’d gone on a trip they could never come back from.
My eyes scanned the seemingly infinite sea of sun-baked land before me. Could their dead bodies still be out there? I closed my eyes briefly, unable to bear the thought that their bodies were lying out there, abandoned.
“Your parents’ remains have been taken away.” Green Eyes had followed my gaze.
He must be a doctor. Or he is studying to be one. How else could he be so perceptive of my thoughts?
“I am sorry for your loss.” His hand almost came close to touching mine before it was quickly withdrawn, as if he had suddenly found physical contact dangerous.
I coped with my parents’ deaths by burying the thought deep inside me. I couldn’t bear even contemplating how life would be without them. “My sister?”
My head snapped up. “You’re sure?” Maybe…maybe my memories were wrong. Maybe nothing had happened to her and we’d be together again.
Green Eyes nodded. “She’s safe for now.”
“For now?” I echoed, my voice rising at the end. “What do you mean
?” If something happened to Davie, I wouldn’t be able to take it. I couldn’t lose them all in one night.
He shook his head. “This is not the time for such discussions. We need to go somewhere safe.”
I nodded eagerly. “Yes, please, take me home. Or better yet, take me to where my sister is or—” The last sight I had of my parents forcing itself into the forefront of my mind. My voice dulled. “—wherever my parents are now.”
“No.” If he thought that the softness and gentleness of his voice would make the word easier to hear, he was wrong. Supremely wrong.
“I want to go home. I want to go to my sister.” My voice radiated both petulance and determination Davie once told me I was probably the only one who could do that, manage to sound spoiled and mature at the same time. Fresh tears spilled from my eyes.
My baby sister.
At least she was alive.
“If you go to her, you put her in more danger.”
His words rendered me speechless for a moment. “Why would I endanger my own sister?” A nasty suspicion entered my mind and I tensed. With my entire family possibly murdered, there was no one I could be sure to trust, was there? “How do I know you’re not making this all up?”
“What would I gain from lying?”