Page 1


2

ALYCIA LINWOOD

Human Alycia Linwood


HUMAN

3

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Copyright © 2012 by Alycia Linwood First Printing, 2014 Cover Stock Images Copyright: © Can Stock Photo Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from the author.

ISBN-13: 978-1502457943 ISBN-10: 1502457946


4

ALYCIA LINWOOD

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been working with me to get this story ready to be shared with the world. I love each one of you, and I have no idea where I would be without you!


HUMAN

5

Chapter 1 My fast footsteps echoed down the school's empty hallway as I made my way to the classroom. The stupid bus hadn't arrived on time, and I'd spent a full fifteen minutes standing in the snow. I could still feel the goose bumps on my skin, and a cloud of fresh air seemed to cling to me, making me pull my long dark brown tweed coat tighter around myself. Maybe I should have listened to my mother when she'd said I needed to put a shirt under my beige wool sweater, but the memory of Brenda, one of the most beautiful girls in my class, telling me I'd gained some weight when I'd last worn that many layers of clothing, still burned in my mind. Glancing down at my black boots, I noticed that my dark blue jeans were soaked all the way up to my knees. The fact that I didn't feel it at all told me how cold I actually was. I ran a hand through my brown curls and realized my hair was damp from the melted snowflakes. It was definitely not a good day for me, and the last thing I needed right now was to see my teacher's suspicious face


6

ALYCIA LINWOOD

while I tried to explain why I was late again. The janitor glared at me as I neared the classroom, leaving snow and mud on the floor he had probably just cleaned. Well, there was nothing I could do about that, so I knocked once on the door and went inside. The teacher was writing something on the blackboard, and my classmates' curious eyes turned to me for a moment. Then everyone resumed what they'd been doing, clearly disappointed that it was only me. Some even shot me an angry glare because they thought it was so unfair that I could come late to class without any consequences. But hey, their clothes were at least dry, and they didn’t have to wait for the bus to come every day. I ignored them and went to my seat at the back of the classroom, next to my best friend, Italia Marlowe. Yeah, her parents adored Italy that much. She flashed me a smile as I got comfortable in my chair, trying to make as little noise as possible. If this were any period other than the first one, there would be a lot of chatter, and I wouldn't have to be so careful. "Miss Danrews, how nice of you to finally join us," the teacher said as she turned to face the class. "I'm sorry," I said. "The bus was late." Someone in the front snorted and Brenda rolled her pretty green eyes. The teacher pressed her lips in a tight line, jotted something down in the class register, and started talking about the types of rocks. I looked at Italia, who was absently playing with a lock of her long straight black hair, and then an unknown voice caught my attention. The teacher must have asked something because a boy was answering. A boy I didn't recognize.


HUMAN

7

"Who's that?" I whispered to Italia. She focused her big brown eyes on me in surprise. "Who?" "The boy who's talking," I said, wondering why they would introduce a new student in the middle of the school year and not even announce it beforehand. "You mean Devin?" Her eyebrows shot upward. Was I supposed to know him? "Is he new?" I was a hundred percent sure it wasn't possible that I’d forgotten someone who was in my class, because that would mean there was something wrong with my memory. "Umm, do you have a fever or something?" Italia frowned. "You're joking, right? It's impossible to forget someone as hot as Devin Teneroli." "Miss Marlowe!" The teacher raised her voice, annoyed by our whispering. "Pay attention to class, please." Italia simply smiled, concentrating on the blackboard and whatever the teacher was saying. I was still in shock and considered pinching myself in hopes that it would wake me up from this nearly nightmarish experience. The boy sitting three desks in front of me occupied my attention. His short jet-black hair was messy, falling into his dark blue eyes. He was wearing a black leather jacket and dark blue jeans with a shiny silver chain attached to the belt. His back was resting against the wall and his left leg was draped over another chair. I had no idea how the teacher let him sit like that. The boy's dark eyes turned to me, an amused expression on his face. I realized I was staring, so I quickly averted my eyes. There was absolutely nothing familiar


8

ALYCIA LINWOOD

about him, but no one else seemed to pay him any special attention or watch him any differently. He was just like any other student; someone I should know very well. I put my hand on my forehead, checking for a fever, but my skin was more cold than warm. Opening my favorite yellow notebook with a picture of a blue butterfly on it, I found a folded piece of paper. I didn't remember putting anything in my notebook, so I unfolded the paper to see what it was. My heart skipped a beat when I read the title and the names underneath it. It was a short composition on Shakespeare's King Lear, and apparently, Devin and I had written it together. I stared at the paper so intently that I was surprised I didn't make a hole in it. But no matter how much I blinked, Devin's name didn't vanish from it. There was no way I could forget the one person who had been working with me on a paper, or someone I had been going to the same class with for at least a year. I didn't even want to think what it would mean if he'd been here with us for all three years. No, someone had to be messing with me. Everyone knew I was usually late, so they'd probably assumed I'd be late today and decided to trick me by placing this in my notebook and pretending Devin wasn't a new student. But why would my best friend be a part of it? Of course. I wouldn't have believed it otherwise. Anger started welling up inside of me. What were they thinking? That it would be fun? That they would have a good laugh when I started thinking I was losing my mind? Oh, they so weren't going to get it, because I wasn't willing to humiliate myself that way. I'd just play their game and pretend everything was fine. Folding the paper, I tucked it


HUMAN

9

in the back of my notebook and focused on the class. When the loud ringing of the school bell announced that it was time for lunch, I expected Italia to come to me and explain everything, but she simply followed me to the lunchroom, talking about everyday things. Ah, so they were still waiting for my reaction … or maybe it was all Italia's idea and she had already forgotten all about it. We sat at our table with our trays of food, and Italia immediately grabbed her hamburger, barely chewing it before she swallowed. "Ariel, you comin' to Deeli's this week'd?" she asked. "You're going to choke on that, Ita." I shook my head at her. She placed the half-eaten hamburger back on the tray and wiped her mouth. "Right, sorry." She smiled. "But this cold weather is making me hungry. I could eat a horse!" "Yeah." I played with my fries, suddenly not interested in food at all. "So, you were saying?" "Ah, I wanted to know if you’ll go to Deeli's." She doused her fries in ketchup and popped one into her mouth. "My brother's band is going to perform. I kind of have to go. You know, a sister's duty." "Wow, nice," I said, taking a sip of my soda. "I think I’ll go with you." "Let me guess." A smile curved her red lips. "You're not coming because of me but because of my brother." "Hey!" I tried to keep my face serious but failed. Italia's brother was three years older than us, and he had such gorgeous, shoulder-length dark brown hair, and breathtaking brown eyes. Besides, he was an excellent


10

ALYCIA LINWOOD

singer. "Oh, don't worry." Italia laughed. "Everyone wants him. Soon I'll have to defend him from all the fangirls. But I'd totally let you get to him." "You didn't tell him anything, did you?" Not too long ago, I'd confessed to her that I liked her brother. A lot. "No, I promised I wouldn't," she said, leaning forward so no one else from the other tables could hear us. "But I can ask him if he likes you." "No!" I nearly yelled. "You can't! He'll suspect something." "Whoa, calm down. I haven't said anything yet." "And don't." I gave her a warning look. It would be so embarrassing if her brother found out I thought he was cute. Then I'd definitely have to leave the country or the continent. Especially if he thought I was some silly schoolgirl who fancied him only because he was older and a singer. "Oookay," Italia said, opening her blue backpack and rummaging through it to find something. I used that moment to look around, but everything seemed to be just like always. Devin was sitting at the table in the far corner of the room, surrounded by three guys from my class, but he wasn't talking to them. He was carefully observing what others were doing, and then his eyes met mine. I looked away, startled. "What?" There was concern in Italia's beautiful dark eyes. "Is something wrong?" "No," I lied. "I just hate being late for class, and my clothes are still wet and ‌" "Yeah, that sucks." She reached for my hand and


HUMAN

11

squeezed it. "But you'll be fine. Winter will be over soon, and then we’ll actually be wishing for it to come back!" "Not me." I smiled. "I love warmth." "And I love to wear dresses and miniskirts," she said. "So summer is my choice!" "Spring is the best." "Whatever you say, girl." She suddenly got up. "I have to go ask Devin something." "Wait, what?" I said, surprised, but she didn't pay any attention to me. She just started walking toward Devin. I sprang to my feet, grabbing her arm, and she turned to look at me, confusion written all over her pretty face. "Why do you have to go talk to him?" I asked, looking into her eyes. "I have to," she said, smiling, and I let go of her. What game was she playing? If this was all an attempt to confuse me, then it was working perfectly. Except that didn't make any sense. I sat down and watched what she was going to do. When she reached him, he got something out of his backpack and gave it to her. She took it, smiling all the time, and came back to sit with me. "What was that about?" I said as she focused on her food again as if nothing had happened. "Oh, nothing," she said dismissively. "Devin wants me to write my project ideas in here. You know that our History teacher paired us for that stupid paper." I blinked. No, I had absolutely no idea about anything that included Devin. Before she could try to stop me, I grabbed the notebook he had given her. Just as I was about to open it, I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my temples. The intensity of it nearly blinded me and images started to fill


12

ALYCIA LINWOOD

my mind. A black-haired woman in a long red gown stands on the edge of a cliff. The cold wind twists her dark curls and tries to lift her gown, but she ignores it. Casting her look down, she sees the immense sea and the huge waves crashing against the shore. She senses movement behind her back and turns around immediately. There is a man standing not far from her. His hair is short and black, his eyes shining like black obsidian. He is wearing a black trench coat and, underneath it, a black shirt and gray jeans. There is something shiny tucked into his black leather belt. A dagger. The woman gasps when she notices it, nearly taking a step backward, but then she remembers she could fall and face her death in the waves. "You can't have him!" she yells, placing her hand on her swollen belly. It seems as if she could give birth at any moment. "Don't be stupid, Melissa." The man approaches her slowly. "You know I can." "No." A pair of huge red wings flutters behind her back, and her eyes go completely black. The already clouded sky darkens, announcing a storm is coming. "Are you going to fight me?" The man looks amused. Then in a flash, his own red wings come out of his back, strong and elegant. "I thought you loved me." Her voice is empty of all emotion. She doesn't want him to know how much it hurts her that he wants to do who knows what with their unborn baby. The fruit of their love. "I do love you. That's why I can't let you bring a demon into the human world." He reaches out to her, but she slaps his hand away. "You know what they will do to him in Hell!" She feels a familiar sting of tears in her eyes. "So? You and I will live," he says. "It's a small price to pay." "Small price to pay?" she snarls at him, anger distorting her


HUMAN

13

beautiful features. "How can you say that about our son?" "Melissa ..." He sighs, looking defeated for a moment. "Is it wrong of me to want you to live?" "You don't feel anything for me! You care only about yourself! I should have known it." She closes her eyes and he leaps forward, grabbing her into his arms. She struggles, but his grip on her arms is way too strong, and she suddenly feels dizzy and weak. She shouldn't have let him upset her so much. "I truly love you, Melissa." The man looks deep into her eyes, and for a second she believes it. Maybe it hasn't all been a lie ‌ Excruciating pain spreads through her chest like fire. She looks down and sees the hilt of the man's dagger; he has stabbed her straight into the heart. She has only enough time to look into his dark and unforgiving eyes. Then she falls to the ground, her empty eyes staring into the nothingness. When I came back to my senses, I realized I was lying on the floor with my head resting in someone's lap, most likely Italia's. She was trying to move my hair out of my face. I slowly opened my eyes. What had happened to me? "Ariel? Are you okay?" There was an edge of panic in Italia's voice. I blinked, trying to get up, but the world was spinning around me. Maybe I should just stay down for now. A group of students gathered around Italia and me, the looks on their faces varying from amused and curious to annoyed and suspicious. One of the teachers was trying to get through to us, but that wasn't easy at all. I managed to sit up with Italia's help, and my eyes caught a movement behind the gawking students. Devin stood there, waving the notebook I'd touched, a knowing look in his cerulean eyes. Then he disappeared


14

ALYCIA LINWOOD

from view. There was something about him that reminded me of the man I'd seen in my dream. No, not a dream; it was more vivid than that, and I hadn't been sleeping. The teacher finally reached us and helped me up, telling everyone to go back to what they'd been doing. A few moments later, I was lying on the bed in the school's infirmary. Italia had gotten permission to stay with me while the nurse checked my heart rate, blood pressure or whatever. I tried to find a logical explanation for what was happening to me, but I couldn't. Why would I forget someone, faint, and then have a vision of some kind about him? And all that because I’d touched some stupid notebook. No, this simply had to be a long and exhausting dream. "Is Christina still sick?" Italia asked. "Maybe you got it, too." "Umm, yeah," I said. My younger sister was at home because she had the flu, and our mother didn't want her to get worse, so she was most likely going to stay in her bed for the whole week. I was no longer cold and I didn't really feel like I did when I had the flu. Oh God, what if it was something serious? What if I had some weird brain disease? "Your heart is beating like crazy, sweetie," the nurse said, putting away her stethoscope. "I know," I said. "I've never fainted before and ‌ it was weird." "Maybe you just need to rest," Italia said, holding my hand in hers. "I'm going to call your parents," the nurse said. "It would be better if you went home." "No, don't." I shook my head. "My dad is at work and


HUMAN

15

my mom is with my sister. I'll be fine." "All right, but you're staying here until it's time to go home," the nurse said. Then she looked at Italia. "And you should get back to class." "Yeah, right." Italia didn't sound too happy about it. "But I'm coming for you later and my brother will take you home in his car." "No, I can't ‌" I protested, but she interrupted me, squeezing my hand. "No is not an option." She smiled and went for the door. "See you soon!" I sighed in defeat. When Italia got something stuck in her head, it was impossible to dissuade her. The idea of going home by car instead of by bus was very attractive, but the thought of Italia's brother, Amadeo, driving me home was scary. I could already picture embarrassing myself in front of him. "Do you need anything?" the nurse suddenly said, bringing me back from my thoughts. "Umm, are there any new students in our school?" I figured she would know if she had done any checkups recently. "No," she said. "No new students at this point of the year. It would be impossible to catch up. Unless you're asking about the beginning of the year ‌" "No," I said, trying to keep my voice even. "I was just wondering. Thank you." The nurse smiled at me and left the room. I sat up, my heart threatening to jump out of my chest, my hands sweating. If there were no new students, then how come I didn't know Devin? I slid off the bed and looked around


16

ALYCIA LINWOOD

the room. There was a big shelf with all kinds of books, medical stuff, and files on it. Right next to it, in the middle of the white wall, was a huge AIDS poster and something about how to prevent it. I glanced at the door, listening for any kind of movement from outside. When I was sure the nurse wasn't coming back, I padded over to the shelf. I picked up a few files, inspecting them for a moment, and then carefully returned them to their right place so no one would suspect anything. There was nothing interesting, only some useless files about possible diseases, warnings, prevention, and treatment. I was just about to give up when another file came into view. It looked a little bit different from the others, its yellow covers fresh and untouched. I opened it and found myself staring into Devin's cerulean eyes. It was his file, a small picture of his pretty face attached to it. My pulse sped up as I scanned through the file to find the date of the inscription. I froze. No, it couldn't be. The date was exactly the same as mine. I blinked, stared at the file again, but nothing changed. I couldn't have been going with him to school for three years and not remember him! The file stated that Devin's parents were Valdas and Melissa Teneroli. I frowned. Melissa? The pregnant woman I had seen in my vision? But she was dead and some weird being with red wings. There was no indication that Devin's mother was dead. It was just another stupid coincidence. It had to be, or I was completely losing my mind. Maybe it was time for me to find a lawyer and sue the school for all this stress. Yeah, that sounded like a good plan. I looked back at the paper. Apparently, Devin's


HUMAN

17

birthplace was Salem, Oregon, and that didn't mean a thing to me. The current address field was empty. Great, these files probably hadn't been updated. I returned the file back to its place and went to sit on the bed. Closing my eyes, I tried to recall as many things about this school year as I could, but none of my memories included Devin. God, I even knew some of the old exam questions, funny things people had said during class, the titles of different projects ‌ but no Devin. Was I having selective amnesia? Just thinking about it made me laugh. My life wasn't some movie where aliens visited our planet, kidnapped someone, and returned them after wiping their memory clean. I was sure aliens hadn't kidnapped me. Except I wouldn't know it then, would I? Uh oh, and what if Devin was an alien and had everyone else under his spell? Maybe I should go up to him and ask him ‌ and embarrass myself till the end of days. I sighed; I was most likely losing my mind. Yeah, that would just be my luck.


Chapter 2 Italia and I walked out of the perfectly warm school building into the freezing winter air. No matter how much I pulled my coat tighter around myself, I was still feeling as if I had fallen into an icy lake. A snowball flew inches away from my face, and I gasped, wondering why everyone seemed to love snow so much. Italia cursed at the person who had thrown the snowball, taking me by the arm, and she quickly led me toward the black Honda Civic her brother was driving. She opened the front passenger door, smiled at her brother, and stepped aside. I must have looked completely shocked, because she actually rolled her eyes at me. "Come on! We're going to freeze!" She made a motion with her hand for me to get inside. I couldn't


HUMAN

19

believe she was forcing me to sit right next to her brother. Not to mention I was already embarrassing myself by hesitating. Ugh, she was going to pay for this later. I got into the car, and she closed the door, trapping me inside with her gorgeous brother. "Hi, Ariel," he said, a lovely smile stretching his lips. "Heard you passed out. Nice way to avoid class." "I wasn't really avoiding class," I said, blushing like an idiot. Luckily, I could blame the cold air for the redness in my cheeks. Italia slid into the back, placing our things on the seat next to her. With all the excitement about seeing her brother, I'd totally forgotten she had both of our backpacks. "Sure you weren't." The tone of Amadeo's voice was telling me he didn't believe me. Oh, well, it would have been so much better if I had been faking it. "You know where Ariel lives, right?" Italia pushed her head between the seats as I fumbled with my seatbelt. "Sure, sis," Amadeo said, bringing the engine to life. "Would you mind putting your seatbelt on?" "Yeah, whatever." She settled back into her seat. "You can take me home first, because I need to do something, and then you can take Ariel." "No prob." He steered the car out of the school's parking lot. I glanced back at Italia, trying hard to calm


20

ALYCIA LINWOOD

my jumping heart. How could she do this to me? There was no way I was going to stay alone in the car with Amadeo. Just no. "Isn't my house in the wrong direction?" I said. "I mean, you'll have to drive back and all." "It's fine. I have to do something out of town, so your house is just on my way," Amadeo said, his warm brown eyes melting away all the coldness I was feeling. Why did he have to be so handsome? His skin looked tanned even in the middle of winter, his cheekbones high and his lips so kissable. But what I liked even more than his full lips, thick dark eyelashes, and brown eyes was his soft wavy dark brown hair, which always looked like he had just washed it. He was born to do a shampoo commercial. I bit my lip, wondering what it would be like to run my fingers through his hair and pull him in for a kiss. When Amadeo gave me a curious look, a playful smile curving his lips, I realized I was staring. I looked away, focusing on the scenery outside. Oh my, this was going to be a long ride. Italia jumped out of the car, grabbing her backpack, and said goodbye to us. She winked at me before she disappeared behind the front door of their


HUMAN

21

huge white house. The car suddenly seemed too small for Amadeo and me. "Time to get you home," he said, getting the car back on the road. I kept my mouth shut, unsure what to say. Luckily, the radio was on and the music didn't leave any room for awkward silence. "Are you feeling all right?" Amadeo glanced at me, concern glowing in his eyes. "Umm, yeah," I said. "I'm fine. It's just something that happened at school and ‌" "What happened?" "Nothing special," I lied. Why did I always have to blurt out something stupid? "It is something," he said, his face serious. "You don't look like the fainting type." "Is that a compliment?" I smiled, trying to change the subject. I wasn't going to admit to this hot guy that I was becoming a lunatic. "Yeah. But I still want to know what happened." Ah, great. I was sure that if I opened my mouth, I'd say something that wouldn't even make sense; a lie that would only bury me deeper into the ground. "I was worrying too much. It's just ‌ my classmate," I said, playing absently with a lock of my hair. Couldn't this damn car go a little bit faster? "Love trouble?" He chuckled.


22

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"No!" I was glad that the seatbelt held me in place or I might have jumped. "Nothing like that. I just can't remember hi‌ something he said." "Ah." Amadeo eyed me suspiciously, his face darkening. Had I done or said something wrong? Well, I was saying wrong things all the time, but why would that bother him? "What's his name?" he suddenly asked. "My sister talks so much about school that I kind of know most of your class. Not to mention they also come to see me perform." "Devin," I said, carefully inspecting his face for some kind of sign. If he knew the guy, then I might as well start Googling my symptoms as soon as I got home. "Devin Teneroli." "Never heard of him." Amadeo frowned. "What does he look like?" "Umm, short black hair, dark blue eyes ‌" "Impossible. Ita would have told me about him." He tightened his hands on the wheel. "You said dark blue eyes?" "Yeah," I said. "I mean, more like sky blue going to darker blue in the shadows." "So you've been hanging out with him?" There was something strange in his voice, but I dismissed it.


HUMAN

23

This day was already full of strange; no need to add to the list. "Not really," I said. "Except we wrote a paper together … I guess." "Maybe you should stay away from him." "Why?" I looked at him in surprise. He didn't know the guy, so why would he tell me to stay away? "Well, you fainted because of him," he said. "That can't be a good thing." "I didn't exactly faint because of him." I wanted to bang my head against the wall or something. While trying to avoid telling what had really happened to me, I’d managed to make Amadeo think I was obsessing so much about Devin that I'd fainted to get his attention, or God knows what he thought. "I know," he said, pulling the car into my snowcovered driveway. "But he must have added to it. Made you more upset than you’d already been." "Possible, yeah." I nodded. Amadeo's concern for me touched me deep inside, chasing away all the uneasiness I'd been feeling. "Then stay away from him." He smiled. "Ignore him. Don't let him drive you mad." I looked up into his warm dark brown eyes, suddenly feeling like he knew what was wrong. But how could he?


24

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"Thank you for the ride," I said, unfastening my seatbelt. "Are you coming to see my band this weekend?" he asked so sweetly that it was impossible to resist him. "Sure," I said, getting out of the car and grabbing my backpack from the back seat. I offered him a smile as he brought the engine back to life and waved at me. This turned out better than I'd expected. Amadeo wasn't thinking I was crazy, at least not completely, and there was a chance that maybe, just maybe, Devin was some creature from out of space who had toyed with people's brains this morning before I got to school. "I'm fine, Mom," I said for God knows how many times. "It was nothing. I was cold and wet, and got into the hot classroom and fainted. The nurse didn't want to risk anything, so I just stayed in the infirmary. But I'm fine, really." "Are you sure, honey?" My mom's green eyes were full of worry. "Your sister is feeling better, but maybe you got it from her ‌ We should take you to the doctor." Yeah, probably. Just not to the ordinary doctor, more like a psychiatrist or something.


HUMAN

25

"No, there's no need," I said, breaking off a big piece of chocolate and stuffing it into my mouth. "I'll go if I start feeling sick." "All right." My mom sighed, heading for the stairs. "I'm going to check on your sister." I settled on our soft cream couch in the living room and turned on the TV, switching through the channels. But I couldn't get Devin out of my thoughts. Who was he and why had he come here? And more importantly, how had he made people believe he'd been with us all the time? I closed my eyes. Did I believe in magic? I wasn't sure. What if things like this had happened before and I wasn't even aware of it? A beautiful woman with long red hair and huge blue wings with golden stripes walks across the white marble floor, her long white dress fluttering in the wind. She looks up at the clear blue sky, the sun caressing her olive skin. A tall man with wings identical to hers and short dark brown hair approaches her, wearing something similar to a toga. "He's working on it," the man says, putting his hands around her waist. "I don't want our son anywhere near that demon," she spits out, her body shaking with anger. "He won't go near him, but he'll get the girl." "Good. But do you think she'll believe him?" "He is smart, our boy. He'll know what to do."


26

ALYCIA LINWOOD

She turns around, her violet eyes boring into his. "Why did it take us so long to find her?" "We couldn't have known. She was too young, our blood in her veins too weak to show." He runs a finger down her face. "But what bothers me is that we can't find out who her parents are." "What about her sister?" "We don't know. Our son hasn't been in contact with her yet, and I doubt they are real sisters." "The girl could well be a half-breed. Our kind loves to mingle with dirty humans." She snorts. "Maybe that’s why she wasn't raised here or made known to us." "We'll find out, my dear." The man kisses the top of her head. "We just have to be patient." "I only hope demons won't get to her first. There's a rumor they’ll try to take an angel to Hell. And what is easier than getting an unprotected one from the human world?" "True. It can't be a coincidence that a demon appeared there right now. But there is nothing we can do if we don't want to start a war. We can only put our hopes into our son. After all, he grew up in the human world. He'll know what to do." "I have a feeling we are being watched," the woman says, shuddering. I woke up with a gasp and found myself still lying on the couch in the living room. What was going on with me and winged creatures? Just who were these people and what had they been talking about? It must


HUMAN

27

have been a dream since my mind was still stressed out from today's events. I got up and went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Christina was sitting on her bed in her favorite pink pajamas with little red hearts on them, looking healthier than ever. "Were you actually really sick at some point?" I frowned at her. Mom was downstairs making dinner, so we didn't have to worry that she would overhear us. "Of course I was," she said indignantly. "I'm feeling much better now." "Your friend called you, didn't she?" "So? She just wanted to know how I was feeling." She crossed her arms defensively. Oh yeah, there was more to this. "Did she tell you about a certain party this weekend?" "Party? What party?" Her face looked completely innocent, but her eyes betrayed her. "You know what I'm talking about. Ita's brother sings in the band that will play there." "You're going, right?" She looked at me hopefully. "Yeah, I am. But that doesn't mean I'll drag my little sister with me."


28

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"Don't worry," she said, reaching out for her pillow and squeezing it. "I'll be with my friends anyway." "Do you really think Mom's going to let you go?" I raised an eyebrow at her. "Sure she will." "Well, I'm glad you're not sick anymore." I smiled and went for the door. Just as I was about to close the door behind me, I glanced back at my sister and froze. Her green eyes were violet, almost identical to the eyes of the people, or whatever they were, that I'd seen in my dream. Only a heartbeat later, her eyes were back to normal and assessing me curiously. I closed the door before she could ask anything. I was trying really hard to concentrate on studying when my cell phone rang, its distinctive melody announcing it was my best friend, Italia. Instantly relieved that I could pause my studying for a moment, I grabbed my cell phone in a flash and answered it. "Hey, just wanted to check how you're feeling," Italia's cheerful voice filled the line. "I'm fine," I said, feeling like a parrot. Maybe I should get one and teach it to repeat I'm fine all over again. But the question was, was I really fine? "Glad to hear it." There was a short pause. "Umm, listen, my brother mentioned something related to Devin."


HUMAN

29

"What?" My shoulders stiffened instantly as I waited for her to say something. She hesitated, and that couldn't be good. "Just tell me." "This might sound crazy," she said, "but my brother asked me who Devin was, and I must have mentioned him to my brother at least a thousand times. I remember it. Besides, I wrote this paper with Devin and I have it here, but my brother swears it was Alice who worked with me and not Devin. He actually remembers Alice being here at my place, but I don't." "Did Amadeo tell you anything else?" I didn't know what to think. If Amadeo was sure of what he was saying, then there really was something strange going on and not just in my head. "No." She sighed. "I'm waiting for Mom to come home so I can ask her what she remembers." I bit my lip, debating whether I should tell her or not. After all, she was my best friend and would do anything to help me. So even if I were losing my mind, I wanted her to be my support. "There's something I need to tell you," I said, "about Devin." "What?" Her voice was spiked with curiosity. Was she going to laugh at me when I told her? Well, there was only one way to find out.


30

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"I don't remember Devin. Not even a tiny little detail," I said. "I don’t think I’ve seen him before at all. That's why I asked you if he was new." There was no laughter on the other end of the line, but there wasn't any sound either. I had to strain my ears to hear Italia's soft breathing. "What do you mean you don't remember him?" she finally said. "I don't know him, and I don't know anything about him. It's as if he appeared out of nowhere and everyone seems to know him except me." "I know what this is," she said, annoyed. "You and my brother decided to play a trick on me! I shouldn't have left you two alone in that car, should I? Well, you almost had me fooled." "Ita …" "Oh, you're not going to convince me the whole school is under some kind of a mass spell except you." "I'm telling you the truth!" I said, feeling a bit desperate. "If your brother is lying, then I might as well be having memory problems or losing my mind. I’ve also been having these weird dreams or visions or whatever they are, and it's all freaking me out. You have no idea how that feels!" There was an edge of hysteria in my voice, and I was confident Italia knew I wasn't a good enough actress


HUMAN

31

to pull that off, not even over the phone. Every time I tried to play a prank on someone I ended up laughing like a maniac and ruining everything. "You’re having visions?" I could almost picture Italia's eyebrows shooting upward in surprise at that. "You're joking, right?" "I wish I was," I said, sprawling on the bed. "So, what did you see? The future? Is the world going to end? Oh, the questions of our next exam?" She sounded hopeful for the last one. "Nothing like that," I said. "Only some creatures with red and blue wings, with feathers and all." "Angels?" "Could be, but these didn't look friendly," I said, the image of that man killing Melissa still fresh in my mind. "They didn't even seem angelic." "Doesn't mean they're not angels. It's not like someone has actually caught one on camera or anything." So she believed me or at least pretended to believe me until she figured it out. Yup, she was a true friend; there was no way she'd ever hurt my feelings. "It's probably a product of my imagination." I sat up, running a hand through my hair. "Do you know of any brain diseases that make you see things like that?" "You're not ill, Ariel. We're only seventeen!"


32

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"Yeah, like you can't get anything if you're young." I was beginning to feel weary and tired. "Hey, you're having some awesome visions! Maybe you're a witch!" Italia said, genuinely excited. "I'm not a witch, psychic or clairvoyant!" I yelled. "Those things don't exist. Period." "Oh, don't be so sure about it." She wasn't fazed by my skepticism. "Don't you believe in magic and supernatural beings? Come on! Maybe there's more to all those inexplicable events." "Okay, let's just consider for a moment that I have supernatural blood in me." I sounded ridiculous to myself as the words left my mouth. "Why would it show right now and what does Devin have to do with it? Do you think he triggered it?" Suddenly all the supernatural talk made much more sense. And yes, I'd rather be a freak of nature than have a brain disease. "It’s possible," she said. "But what is he then? And why did he come? Of course, that would mean I'm under his spell or something. God!" "Wish I knew. But it's weird. What do you actually know about him? Do you know where he lives?" "Let me think." The line went quiet for a minute. "Well, I know he's seventeen like us, goes to class with us like everyone else ... He's an average student. I worked on that paper with him and I've seen him a


HUMAN

33

couple of times at Deeli's ‌ Actually, I don't really know much about him. It's strange. I thought I'd know more about a guy that hot." "Umm, it's not like we're close friends with everyone to know so much about them," I said, "but yeah, you should be able to tell me more about him." "Yeah, I should. And I can't even remember how we wrote that paper. I only know I wrote it with him and that he came over, but I don't actually remember it happening, if you know what I mean." "So, no idea where he lives? Where he goes after school?" I went over to my chair where my backpack was and rummaged through it to find that mysterious paper I'd supposedly written with Devin. We all seemed to have written a paper with him. How had he managed to make that paper appear in my notebook in the first place? That was definitely more than some mind trick. "No, not at all." Italia sighed. "How can that be?" "I have no idea, but I'm going to find out." I felt the paper I was looking for under my fingertips and pulled it out, hoping I wouldn't have a bad reaction like I’d had with that notebook. Nothing happened. Oh well, maybe that thing with the notebook had been accidental and totally unrelated to my fainting. "How? Are we going to talk to him?"


34

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"Talk?" I said, surprised. "And what would we achieve with that? Get a nice mind wiping? I'm sure his spell or whatever it was didn't work on me because I was late to school." "Oookay, not gonna talk to him then. But what are we going to do?" Indeed, what were we going to do? We couldn't ask him and we certainly couldn't tell anyone else. We had no idea what we were dealing with. "Observe him, I guess." And hope he wouldn't notice it or realize we knew there was something off about him and his presence at our school. I had no idea why anyone with powers strong enough to make at least a hundred people think they knew him would need to go to school, but maybe the school's magic appeal was hidden from me. "Yeah, but that could take months!" Italia whined. "And I really want to know!" "In my vision, I saw a guy who looked a lot like him, and he killed some woman," I said, determined to stop her from any rash decision that could get us both in trouble. "Oh." Italia's enthusiasm slowly faded. "You think it's him?" "I don't know. That man was much older, in his thirties, I think," I said. "But if Devin is this wizard,


HUMAN

35

winged creature or whatever, then he might be able to change appearances." "What if he's a reincarnation of that man?" "That doesn't explain the mind games," I pointed out. "I don't think reincarnation is supposed to give you any special abilities. Besides, at what point in history did people actually have wings?" "Maybe he's a reincarnation of an angel, so he got to keep some of his powers." Her voice had an overly excited undertone in it again. "An angel who murders pregnant women?" I snorted. "Yeah, right." "He did what?" Italia yelled, making me cringe and move the cell phone away from my ear. "Not Devin. The man who looks like him. He actually stabbed a pregnant winged woman, who sort of ‌ Wait, I almost forgot. They mentioned Hell, a demon, and the human world. The woman was pregnant with a demon." "A demon baby?" Italia said incredulously. "And the man and the woman both had wings?" "Yeah, huge red wings," I said. "And for some reason I know that the man was the baby’s father. So, does that make both of them demons?" "Yep," Italia said, as if she were a hundred percent certain of it. "Why don't you believe in what you saw?"


36

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"Maybe because it might be my imagination or brain damage?" "Oh, stop it!" she said. "And what about the bluewinged creatures you mentioned? Did they kill someone, too?" "No, they were just talking," I said, trying to recall as much of that dream as I could. "Something about their son being in the human world and finding some girl before a demon who just appeared got to her. I believe they might be real angels." "Oh my God," Italia breathed. "Oh my God!" "What?" I was getting slightly irritated. "Don't you get it? You're seeing angels and demons! It just has to be related! Maybe Devin is a demon and you are an angel." I laughed. Now that was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. "And what exactly makes you think I'm an angel?" I said. "Do I have blue wings or violet eyes? No, then I don't fit that angel profile at all." "Then Devin really might be a demon?" She actually sounded scared. "I don't know. He doesn't have black obsidian eyes, and he certainly doesn't have wings," I said, even though there was no way for me to know for sure. The


HUMAN

37

wings of that pregnant woman had actually been hidden at first, but her eyes had been dark all the time. "Huh, then I have no idea what's going on." Italia sounded tired. "We're going to figure it out," I said reassuringly. "I promise. Just don't do anything stupid." "Why would I do anything stupid?" she said, offended. "I mean, don't try anything that might get you in trouble just to find out who Devin really is." "Fine, but the same goes for you," she said. "Oh, and if you have another vision, please call me immediately. Even if it's in the middle of the night. Promise?" "Yeah, promise," I said, but I didn't mean it. I wasn't crazy enough to wake her up just because I'd had a damn vision. "Great! Well, I need to get back to studying, so ‌" Italia said, "talk to you later, okay?" "Yeah, bye," I said, and ended the call. Placing the cell phone back on my nightstand, I reached for the paper that had magically appeared in my notebook. It was just black letters on white paper, neatly printed out. I turned on my laptop and searched for that file in my documents. If I had really written it at some point, I'd


38

ALYCIA LINWOOD

have a copy of it. And that could also mean that something entirely else had happened. Just as I was thinking of other possibilities, my search for the file returned nothing. So I hadn't written it. Of course not. But who had the power of making perfectly written compositions appear out of nowhere? Because, hey, that kind of power would really come in handy for any high school student, and it was far cooler than stupid visions. I left my laptop to shut down and went to the bathroom. Maybe all of this would be gone when I woke up the next morning. I splashed some cold, refreshing water on my face and looked at myself in the mirror. My eyes were still hazel, no strange color changes or flashes. Good. I only hoped sleep would clear my head and not burden me with more dreams of unknown creatures.


HUMAN

39

Chapter 3 The annoying buzzing of my alarm clock brought me out of the world of sleep. Pressing the right button to switch it off, I slowly got to my feet. Luckily, I hadn't had any strange dreams, or at least I couldn't remember any. At this point, I wasn't sure if not remembering something was a good thing, but I was still hoping things would go back to normal. I considered calling Italia and asking her whether she could remember what we had talked about last night. No, it was too early for such serious conversations. After a quick visit to the bathroom and putting on my favorite blue jeans and a warm green sweater, I picked up my backpack and started stuffing books and notebooks into it, examining each one for any mysterious papers. There was nothing out of the


40

ALYCIA LINWOOD

ordinary, but Devin's damn paper remained where I had left it. So much for my wish for normality. When I was ready to go, I nearly bumped into my sister in front of the door of my room. Judging by the white wool cap covering her brown curls, warm black leather jacket, and black boots, she was going to school again and didn't show any signs of the flu. What I wouldn't give to have my sister's talent to fake anything she wanted! "Wow, isn't this a miraculous recovery?" I said bitterly. She just rolled her eyes and walked past me, mumbling something under her breath about having an annoying sister. I followed her down the stairs, wondering how she always managed to make Mom believe her every word. She went to the kitchen, probably to grab something to eat before the bus came. I could never eat so early in the morning, so I went outside into the freezing air and nearly slipped on a thin layer of ice on our driveway. Stupid winter. A soft humming sound drew my attention, and I ended up walking toward the street. My breath caught in my chest when I recognized the Honda Civic that was parked by the curb. What was Amadeo doing here? I casually walked over to the car, my hands sweating in my pockets despite the cold. Amadeo opened the door and gracefully got out of the car, flashing me a smile.


HUMAN

41

"Hey, Ariel," he said, walking toward me, his black boots crunching on the snow. He ran a hand through his tousled dark brown hair, making my pulse speed up. Why did he have to be so damn hot? I finally found my voice, which was a bit shaky. "Hey, what are you doing here?" I asked. "I'm going to drive you to school." He came to a stop only inches away from me. I tried really hard not to get lost in his gorgeous brown eyes and stare like an idiot. He smelled of summer and salt and the ocean ‌ "Did Ita send you?" I asked, concentrating on his full lips instead of his distracting eyes. Only that was probably even a bigger mistake, because my mind started wondering how kissing him would feel. "Yes, she did." He seemed to be embarrassed about it. "Oh," I said, "you don't have to ‌" "But I want to." His hand ended up on my shoulder, his touch sending warmth all over my body. I was going to have a serious talk with my best friend because I didn't like the way she was trying to set me up with her brother. "Umm, thanks," I said, and his long fingers curled around the strap of my backpack, pulling it off my shoulder. I let him take it, instantly feeling relieved when its heavy weight left me. Sometimes I wondered if my


42

ALYCIA LINWOOD

books magically turned into stone when I put my backpack onto my back. "Is your sister coming?" he suddenly said. "I'd love to meet her." "Christina will be here soon," I said, shocked that he actually knew I had a sister. And he wanted to meet her. Oh. Maybe he had seen her somewhere and thought she was pretty. Who wouldn't? She seemed to have this charming personality, as if she radiated cheerful and friendly feelings all the time, except when something wasn't the way she wanted it to be. Then she would just get grumpy. "Good." He carried my backpack to the car, motioning for me to come with him. Exactly at that moment my sister walked out onto the street, looking great despite all the layers of clothes on her. Amadeo stopped and turned his head to look at her, his mouth slightly open. Then his eyes turned violet. I gasped, my head suddenly spinning. "What's going on, Ariel?" I heard Christina's suspicious voice. She stopped where she was, away from Amadeo and me, and I willed myself to look away from Amadeo's violet eyes and turn to her. But when I did, I thought I was going to faint, because her eyes were violet, too. I blinked, and her eyes were green again.


HUMAN

43

"Hi, Christina," Amadeo said. "I'll be driving you and your sister to school. I'm Amadeo, brother of your sister's best friend." "Oh, great!" Her face lit up, but she didn't seem as fascinated by Amadeo as I was. "Ariel, are you okay?" Amadeo asked. I nodded and started walking toward the car, feeling as if my knees were going to give out under me at any moment. What was wrong with me? Why did I keep seeing these things? "Are you sure? Maybe you should stay at home," Amadeo said, his eyes their normal brown color. "I'm fine, really." I got into the back seat, since my dear sister had already settled herself in the front. Maybe that was good, because I wasn't feeling like talking to Amadeo or anyone else. My Physics class was the most boring thing ever. I kept staring through the window and hoping the bell would ring soon. Italia was drawing something on the desk that looked like a bird, her face serene and smiling. Did she even remember what we had talked about last night? I tore a piece of paper from my notebook and wrote my question on it. When I was sure the teacher's attention was focused elsewhere, I passed the note to Italia.


44

ALYCIA LINWOOD

She took the note, hiding it under the desk. A few moments later, she scribbled something down and handed me back the note. I immediately read it and felt as if I were going to be sick. She thought we had talked about her brother, going shopping, and her paper. So whoever was messing with students' minds had somehow found out about our conversation and done his little trick again. But how could I still remember everything? The bell rang and I sprang out of my chair, heading for the door. I didn't stop until I reached the girls' restroom. Splashing some cold water on my face, I looked at myself in the mirror. A few drops of water ended up in my eyes, making me squint. I could hear the door open and close, but I couldn't see who it was. Someone handed me a paper towel, and I took it gratefully, wiping my eyes. "Thanks." I finally opened my eyes and found myself only an inch away from Devin. He was dressed in blue jeans and a black wool sweater, which seemed to be completely new. "Hey! You can't be in here. Wrong door." "Oh yeah?" He smiled. "Are you going to kick me out?"


HUMAN

45

"Whatever." I threw the wet paper towel into the trashcan and started going for the door. In one smooth movement, Devin stood in my way. I glared at him. "Get out of my way!" My heart started jumping in my chest, my hands shaking. "Not so fast," he said as his eyes turned from cerulean blue to obsidian black. Was he going to kill me? No, I wasn't going to die in the school's dirty restroom. I backed away from him, looking around for something I could use against him. Just what exactly do you use against someone with supernatural powers? Yeah, I was out of options. "What do you want?" My voice sounded so small and frightened, but I couldn't help it. He simply came closer to me and my back hit the sink. There was nowhere for me to go. No escape. He reached out and placed his hand on my cheek. I wrapped my fingers around his wrist, squeezing with all the strength I had in me. Dark. It's so dark around me that I can't see anything no matter how much I try. Something is cutting into my back. A sharp edge of a rock. A cave. I'm in a cave. My pulse speeds up as I hear two voices yelling somewhere nearby. He'll be mad at me again. I know it. Fear ripples through me as something clicks, and a large stone covering the door moves. Firelight spills through it and I close


46

ALYCIA LINWOOD

my eyes, not brave enough to look into his eyes. A dull thud of boots echoes through the small space. My breath catches in my throat as he painfully grips my wrist, his fingernails digging into my flesh. I found myself staring into Devin's now blue eyes. He was looking at me with a shocked expression on his face, his pupils slightly dilated. Somewhere during my vision I'd let go of his arm. "What are you?" He glared at me, his beautiful features distorted by anger. I raised my eyebrow at that. Maybe I should say I was a vampire. That one seemed to be popular these days. "I should be asking you that." I held my hands at my sides, ready to reach out for him and distract him, even if it meant having another vision. He obviously didn't enjoy me doing that, but I didn't know if it would work. "How can you still remember everything?" He frowned. "That wasn't supposed to happen." Huh, nice to know. I wasn't just a freak in the human world for having visions; now I was a freak in the supernatural world, too. The only thing I needed to figure out was what kind of a supernatural world we were talking about. "Are you a demon?" The factor of weirdness in this question was huge, but I just had to ask. Something


HUMAN

47

flashed across his face, and he hesitated, observing me so thoroughly as if he were trying to see through me. Could he do that? Could he read my mind? Damn it, I was watching too many TV shows. But his silence confirmed my thoughts; he was a demon, and those people with black eyes were probably all demons, too. Ah, great. Now I could film my own show. "What do you know about demons?" he finally said. "Nothing." I swallowed, realizing I must have said too much. Fear spread through me like fire, destroying any hope that I would come out of this unharmed. Devin's attention turned to the mirror, which now had a faint glow upon its surface. This was my chance to run, to get out of there, but my feet were glued to the spot. "Whatever happens, don't move," Devin ordered, his eyes transfixed to the mirror's shiny surface. I stared at the mirror, unsure of what exactly was supposed to happen. Devin probably knew, so I figured it was best to do as he said. I could see in the mirror that Devin's eyes were black again, but then his features became distorted. I realized it was the mirror's surface that was changing, almost melting away to let something red pass through it. Okay, if a demon walked out of it, I was going to bolt no matter what.


48

ALYCIA LINWOOD

A pair of black obsidian eyes stared from the mirror, which was surrounded by red mist. I didn't dare to move as those creepy eyes turned to me. "Is her mind frozen in time?" a deep masculine voice asked. "Yes," Devin said. I'd seen movies and read about demons communicating through mirrors, but that definitely hadn't made me ready for this. It was becoming harder and harder to stay calm and unmoving. Not to mention the fact that Devin was a demon and a liar. What if he planned to sacrifice me or let this other demon possess my body? "Did you fix the mistake?" the voice said, black eyes now focused on Devin. "Yes. She only arrived late at school, so the magic didn't work. But it's all fine now." "Any sightings of the angel girl?" "Not yet. But she goes to school here. I'm sure of that." Devin looked a bit nervous, almost as if he wanted this conversation to end immediately. "Try to find her," the voice sighed, "and be careful. The angels know you're here." "I will." The mist started retracting, and the black eyes were gone. I let out a breath I hadn't even known I'd been holding. The mirror looked normal again, without any trace of the demon mojo. But there wasn't


HUMAN

49

time to relax because another demon was standing nearby. Just because he came in a pretty, human-looking package didn't mean he was harmless. In fact, it was most likely the opposite. "Did you see that?" Devin asked, startling me. Was that a trick question? Should I pretend I hadn't seen anything? "It was hard not to," I finally said, hoping it was the right answer. "Are you a demon?" That question sounded so odd coming from Devin's mouth. His face lit up with wonder. "Only demons can see through the demon magic and be unaffected by mind spells. But why aren't your eyes changing?" I gaped at him, my mind trying to process the information he had just given me. So according to him, I was a demon. Now that was just plain ridiculous. I had to force myself not to burst out laughing because that might piss him off. "I'm not ‌" And what if I was? It was true that I could see demons and that I’d been having these weird visions, but that was all because of Devin. Besides, he could be lying about it all, only I couldn't figure out what he would get out of it by convincing me I was one of his kind. Except if I belonged to the other side. "You have to be," Devin said excitedly.


50

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"I don't believe you." The demons were looking for some girl who was also an angel. Maybe I was ‌ No. What was wrong with me? How could I even for a second consider that? Me being an angel? Yeah, not likely. Demon was more plausible, but I didn't consider myself evil. Nah, I was just human with a bad reaction to demons. "Then what are you?" Devin's face was serious, his body suddenly rigid and ready for a fight. "Human." As far as I knew. "No, you're not," he said confidently. "I know you're not." "Look, I was just a normal girl until you showed up." I crossed my arms. "And it doesn't really matter whether I'm a human, a demon or a damn vampire. All I want to know is who you are and what you want." "What's a vampire?" he asked, confused. Oh, so there were angels and demons, but no vampires? No mysterious, super-hot bloodsuckers who would love you forever? Now that was totally unfair. "Never mind." I sighed. "How old are you anyway?" "I'm seventeen." "Umm, is it like seventeen forever or something?" "No." He frowned. "I don't think that's possible."


HUMAN

51

But forever twenty-five or thirty probably was, unless they continued counting their years no matter what. However, I was dealing with an inexperienced demon, and that was good for me. The only problem was that I knew nothing about demons. I highly doubted my Religion classes would be of any help. "What is Hell like?" I blurted out before I could stop myself. Damn my curiosity. "You've never been there?" He eyed me suspiciously. Yeah, I went to Hell every summer for vacation. "Of course not." I scowled. "I'm not a demon, no matter what you think." "Maybe you're a half-demon." He shrugged. "But you're not human." "And what do we do now?" I said, not convinced. No matter what he said, there was no way I was going to believe him. I believed my parents more than some demon. Unless my grandmother had meant it literally when she'd said I was acting like a little demon when I was a child. "Admit you're a demon," Devin said darkly. "Or I'll have to kill you." "What do you get if I admit that?" I stared at him incredulously.


52

ALYCIA LINWOOD

"I'll know I didn't make a mistake when I risked my life to hide the truth about you." I opened my mouth, then closed it. What do you say to something like that? And what did he mean by risking his life? Wasn't he, like, immortal? "I guess I'll have to ask my parents," I finally said, trying to buy some time before I decided what to do. "If you really know nothing, then they probably won't be able to tell you," Devin said. "The demons who want to hide their children in the human world can easily do so by replacing the real children. The parents will never know because the demons carefully choose those of similar features. Even a blood test won't show anything suspicious because there's a spell for it." "What happens to the real children?" I was in shock, wondering how many demons were hiding in our world. It was a creepy thought. And I might be one of them. Oh God. Wait, could I even think about God? Wouldn't I burst into flames or something? He didn't answer me, which was probably a sign I didn't want to know the truth. "What do you want from me?" I asked for who knows how many times. "Your help," he said, and I gaped at him like a fish. A demon needed my help? Ah, awesome. What could I actually do that he couldn't?


HUMAN

53

"How could I help you?" I searched his face for any indication that he wasn't telling me the truth, but I wasn't a lie detector. "You know this world, and I don't have to hide who I am in front of you. You can show me things ‌" His face darkened a bit. "But if you tell anyone about me, I'm going to tell other demons about you, and then you'll see what Hell looks like." I shuddered because there was something in his cerulean eyes that told me he was serious and that I wouldn't like Hell at all, even if I were actually a demon. "All right," I found myself saying, "I'll help you." The bell rang, announcing the end of our short break, and I wondered how no one had managed to walk in here and interrupt us. Devin must have been using his demon powers to keep everyone away because I couldn't imagine girls not coming to check on their makeup or hair. Devin was already at the door and held it open for me. I was still a little bit shaken by everything that had happened that I didn't even think how awkward it would be to walk out of the girls' restroom with a boy. Brenda's angry face greeted me as soon as I stepped outside. She opened her mouth probably to yell at me for locking myself inside, but then her emerald eyes widened as she saw Devin behind my back. I could only guess what she


54

ALYCIA LINWOOD

thought we'd been doing and I felt myself grinning at her. She abruptly turned around, her curly dark brown hair fluttering behind her as she hurried back to class. "Why did she stare at us like that?" Devin whispered as we neared the classroom. The hallway was mostly empty, but I still looked around before answering. There was a good chance Brenda was jealous and wouldn't tell anyone about what she had witnessed. We didn't need anyone else to find out. "She thinks we've been making out." "In the restroom?" He looked puzzled. So the making out part made perfect sense to him and the restroom was a problem? Oookay. "Yeah, people do that sometimes." He didn't say anything because we had reached the classroom. A few students gave us strange looks but probably assumed we had run into each other at the door. Brenda's lips were pressed in a tight line and she clearly wished me to drop dead. No matter how much I enjoyed pissing her off, I didn't want her to become my enemy. Maybe I should have asked Devin what he'd put in her mind. I just hoped he hadn't made her think he was her ex or something. Italia's dark brown eyes regarded me curiously as I sat down. I knew she probably had tons of questions for


HUMAN

55

me, beginning with my hasty leaving without a word to her, but that could wait until the end of the class.


56

ALYCIA LINWOOD

Want more? Get Human now! Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks Kobo Smashwords


HUMAN

Also by Alycia Linwood TAINTED ELEMENTS SERIES DIFFERENT INVISIBLE ELEMENT PRESERVERS SERIES DANGEROUS RUNAWAY DIVIDED NO ONE RESTLESS INDESTRUCTIBLE More information: www.alycialinwood.weebly.com

57

Human - Excerpt  

Ariel is a seventeen-year-old girl whose life takes a completely different turn on the day she comes late to school. There's a new, very han...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you