Sinister: A Paranormal Fantasy (Sinisters Book 1) (5 page)

BOOK: Sinister: A Paranormal Fantasy (Sinisters Book 1)
13.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

The boy gritted his teeth again, irritated by Luke’s half-answers. “Why me?”

Luke’s face had taken on a far-away look. “You are one of the few of your kind. You can do tremendous things--if you are willing. And as I mentioned earlier, you have a unique genetic makeup. You are one of only two people in the world with the abilities you have.”

He frowned. "I thought you said you had a bunch of sinisters working for you."

"Sinisters, yes, but every person is still unique. You have some abilities not even other sinisters have."

"Huh." Matt was nonplussed. That strange new part of him was telling him to agree to help, but he sternly suppressed that part. It had no place in a decision. This required research.

"I can't..." He shook his head. "I don't even know if I believe you. Besides, this whole thing has nothing to do with me!"

Luke cocked his head to the side, studying Matt. "The health of your world has nothing to do with you?"

When he put it like that, it sounded callous, not to mention selfish, but Luke was twisting his words.

"That's not what I meant. I just...I can't save the world. I'm one person."

"Yes, and you are sixteen. You mentioned that already. Joan of Arc was sixteen when she led her people against the English. People do great things regardless of their age. You just have to be willing to try."

Joan of Arc. Why did people always toss out famous people when they wanted you to do something? Last weekend his mom had stopped in front of his Skyrim video game long enough to say that she could guess Bill Gates hadn't sat on his rear when he was sixteen playing video games. Neither she nor Luke seemed to understand that he was just an ordinary kid, not some super genius.

"Well, if the English decide to attack here, sign me up," he answered, not bothering to hide the sarcasm in his voice.

A hint of a smile touched Luke's lips. "Very well. As for Peter Caracalla, what is your answer?"

Matt stared at him. The guy couldn't seem to get through his thick skull that he wasn't the right person to help. Still, it might be nice to feel like he was doing something important...but not without knowing what was really going on.

"I told you, I need more time. And information."

"Information I may not be able to provide. Time I can give, but only a small amount. You have until tomorrow to decide. I will warn you, though, if you decide not to help, you will wake up tomorrow thinking this was a strange dream. Your new abilities—not just to see things ordinary people cannot conceive of but also to move faster, be stronger, and understand more—will vanish. By next week, you will not even remember meeting me. You will give up an entire future without even giving it a chance."

Luke was as bad as a used car salesman. No info and a limited time to decide if he wanted to remember today. Call in the next five minutes or supplies will be gone! Giving up abilities he didn't know he had and wouldn't remember wasn't a great loss. Besides, he reminded himself, he wasn't sure he believed the man.

Ϯ

The scent of buttered popcorn and chattering teenagers restored some sense of normalcy as Matt and his friends got in line for popcorn at the movie theater.

“Did you hear about that old woman?” Sarah asked while the group shuffled forward along worn red carpet. He and Sarah had been friends since before birth, brought together by the close friendship their mothers had shared during college. Sarah had attended a different grade school and middle school than Matt, but when she joined him at West High School, she had brought her friend Rachel to join Matt, Dean, and Jorge. The group now spent nearly every weekend night together.

“What old woman?” Rachel asked, sounding mildly curious.

“Betty Fossey,” Sarah explained over the sound of kernels popping. Matt half-listened as he watched a theater employee frantically scooped popcorn into buckets. The scent of butter wafting from the buckets reminded him that he hadn’t eaten dinner, and his mouth began to water. At least there were only three people in line in front of his group. “She was found dead in Brittingham Park yesterday. Apparently her body had been in Monona Bay and it washed up on shore.”

“Ewwwww.” Rachel’s nose crinkled, her brown eyes showing disgust.

Matt had been distracted by his hunger, but he turned back to his friends now. He usually kept up on the world and local news, but he’d had a few other things to worry about over the past twenty-four hours. He shook his head as he realized how little time had passed; it seemed like a lifetime since he first saw the creature on his mom’s chair. Forcing the insanity that his life had become out of his mind, he turned back to Sarah. For as large of a city as Madison was, unexplained dead bodies were pretty rare. “What happened?”

Sarah shrugged. “The police don’t know. They’re still trying to figure out if it was suicide or murder. My dad said she didn’t show any signs of foul play, but they can’t rule it out yet.” Sarah’s dad was a detective in the Madison police department, so she usually had a pretty good idea of the nefarious goings-on in town. “Their real concern now is that this is the third body in three weeks. They thought the first one was suicide, but now, you know, since they keep turning up…” She trailed off with a shudder. Shoving a piece of dark blonde hair out of her face, she added, “I don’t want these people to be depressed enough to have killed themselves, but I really hope there isn’t some crazy killer out there. I mean, how can you kill someone without leaving a mark?”

“It’s probably just coincidence,” Dean said, sounding confident. He put his arm around Sarah’s shoulders. “Nothing you need to worry about.”

Matt looked back and forth between his friends, bewildered. Sarah was gazing up at Dean as though he’d just said something profound, and Dean seemed to be puffing his chest as though preparing to fight off would-be killers. Sarah must have been more scared than he’d realized.

He glanced around the theater, basking in the normalcy of the crowd milling around him. He spotted teenagers with pink hair and spiked nose rings and tired-looking parents chasing down their sugar-fueled children. He let his gaze roam across an elderly couple getting straws for their drinks and moved onto the next group, where it stopped. Matt’s mouth went dry.

His gaze had landed upon what had to be the most beautiful girl in the world.

Wavy blonde hair tumbled down her back, framing a heart-shaped face that lit up when she laughed and illuminated the dimples that framed her smile. He knew he was staring but couldn’t tear his eyes away. Who could? He wanted to talk to her, introduce himself and find out if her voice matched her appearance, but his heart pounded at the mere thought. He wondered if she went to his school, and if so, could he stage an introduction through a friend?

Another misshapen creature, a brown ball about the size of a toaster walking on at least twenty twig legs, skittered across the threadbare red carpet between them. Matt briefly glanced at it, but his attention quickly returned to the girl. The creatures were becoming commonplace, and the girl held far more allure right now.

The creature had sidled near the girl again, and, with his earlier encounter with the tiger on his mind, he began to worry that it would try to hurt her. He didn’t want to turn away from her, but as the creature crept closer, he needed to keep an eye on it and make sure it didn’t hurt her.

He also could feel a burning desire to get a closer look at the beasts that had been haunting him all day.

Matt started to turn away but froze as he realized what he was seeing. The girl he had been admiring was staring down at the floor, a look of fascination on her face.
There’s no way she can see it
, he told himself. But her eyes were tracing the creature’s path toward the first theater, and even as he watched, he felt his feet walking him over to her without any thought of what to say. He just knew that he needed answers, and if the girl could see this brown blob, she might have some. Luke had told him to talk to other sinisters, after all.

She looked up. Their eyes met, and he forgot why he’d walked over in the first place. They were a shade of green that reminded him of a soccer field right before the game. He was content to gape until a soft giggle snapped him back to reality. Suddenly her eyes were spotlights, pressuring him to say something, anything.

“You see it?” he blurted.

Her eyes bulged slightly as she stared at him. “See it? You can see it too?”

“Yes!” Excitement welled in him as he realized someone else could see his hallucinations. Someone who wasn't going on about good and evil. "When—" He cut off as he caught sight of her friends, unabashedly observing their conversation. He must look really weird to these girls.

“Hi,” the nearest girl said, smiling at him curiously.

“Hi,” he responded, trying to sound casual. “I’m Matt.”

“That’s Anna,” the other girl replied, pointing at the girl he’d initially approached. Her friends giggled.

Anna. A pretty name. It fit her.

“Hi, Anna,” Matt said.

He angled his body away from her friends, but he could feel their eyes on his back. Shrugging off his discomfort, he focused on the kind eyes in front of him. "So..."

He trailed off as he realized he had no idea what to say without making him sound nuts. Anna's friends giggled again, and Matt could feel his face burning. He was sure the temperature in the room had gone up fifty degrees. He could hear a roaring in his ears and wondered if the entire room was jeering at him before he realized the sound was just his blood rushing to his head.

Anna’s face was serious, but her eyes were sparkling with laughter. He hoped it wasn't at him. “I was just going to get some popcorn. Wanna come?”

Relief froze his tongue as effectively as nerves, but he managed a nod.

Anna began walking, her hair swishing hypnotically across her back. Matt followed. When they were about ten feet away, he blurted out, “You really can see it?”

The girl turned to him, and the laughter in her eyes had to be directed at him. “Yep.”

“Me too,” Matt said, then winced. Of course he could, or he wouldn’t have known she could. She must think he was a complete idiot.

She laughed, and it sounded like wind chimes. “I figured. It’s cool to meet someone else who can. All I’ve met so far is Luke.”

They’d reached the front of the line now, and the teenager behind the counter was impatiently staring at them. The popcorn machines made soft popping noises in the background as Matt stared at the guy, trying to figure out why this stranger was staring at him. The day’s events seemed to have caught up with him, and he was no longer capable of the simplest interactions.

“You want somethin’?” the boy asked, snapping a piece of gum and sucking the broken bubble back in with a slurping noise.

“Yeah." Matt finally recalled why he was there. He hunger had mysteriously vanished, but he still ordered. "Popcorn."

“That all?” the clerk asked in the same bored tone.

Matt nodded and the boy shuffled off. "So you believe him?”

She gave a graceful shrug. "Why not? My parents and Jaclyn—that's my sister—had no idea what I was talking about, but Luke showed up and knew exactly what was going on." Her eyes widened. "Plus he can do some realllllyyy cool things."

"Cool things?" he echoed.

She waved a hand. "You know, vanishing and reappearing, that kind of stuff. Didn't he show you?"

Matt shook his head. Luke hadn't done anything beyond show up and tell him he needed to do something. Why would he show Anna proof that he was telling the truth, but not Matt?

"Well, it doesn't matter. I believed him anyway."

He had only known her a few minutes, but he could tell that Anna trusted easily. That had always seemed like a dangerous thing to do, but if she were any indication, it made for a much more carefree existence. She gestured animatedly as she talked, her expression open. Belatedly Matt realized she was talking to him.

"...curious about what he wants us to do. I mean, he said we needed to help him, but he just told me it would be sometime later. I can't wait to get started. Isn't it so exciting?"

Exciting wasn't the word he would have chosen, but he let it slide. "You mean he didn't tell you anything about Peter Caracalla?"

Anna looked puzzled. "Peter Caracalla...isn't he that software dude? What does he have to do with anything?"

It was Matt's turn to frown. "I don't know. Luke told me I needed to do something about him, but not what. I assumed he told you the same thing."

She wrinkled her nose. "He didn't tell me that. Oh!" Her eyes widened. "You have a mission! That is so cool. I want to help."

"You can have it," he muttered.

She cast him a sidelong glance. "You don't want to help? Why not?"

He hesitated. Anna seemed eager to jump on the Luke bandwagon, but even with her confirmation that the hallucinations were, in fact, not hallucinations, some part of him still distrusted the man. A gut instinct told him Luke was holding something back. Based on the facts he had, though, he had no reason to disbelieve him. And he didn’t want to contradict this beautiful girl.

"I just wasn't sure if I could believe him, since no one else could see the weird things I was. But now that I met you..." He shrugged.

BOOK: Sinister: A Paranormal Fantasy (Sinisters Book 1)
13.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

What Women Want by Fanny Blake
Wish by Nadia Scrieva
The Silver Dragon by Jean S. MacLeod
Mending the Bear by Vanessa Devereaux
Rhapsody by Gould, Judith
Soul Broker by Tina Pollick
The Forced Marriage by Sara Craven