The Tomorrow Legion

Fateful Chances or Happenstances
Prologue Page X

Forgive me Matty for I have sinned.

It has been five days since my last confession.

Gah! Who am I kidding!? I’m so excited! I got this weird half-cryptic email last week and didn’t pay it any mind. I intended to write about it just as soon as I got a chance but you know how hectic things have been with that new project at work. It’s kind of funny but I’m actually as busy as I’ve been pretending to be since they hired me. Haha! Shhh…don’t tell anyone!

So I got this email from some guy who calls himself “Spirit.”

It was an invitation to work with other “heroes” he’s gathering in a group called “The Tomorrow Legion.” Sounds crazy right? And why the heck would he want me? I have been leaving a little breadcrumb trail in my travels but it’s nothing serious, y’know? Just to see who bites. Well anyway he has this ominous sounding tag-line: One hero alone in this town isn’t going to be able to make much difference, if at all, and will be quickly overpowered by the overwhelming criminal elements. Apparently he has seen it happen more times than he can count. That’s kind of depressing. We hero-types need to stick together!

(Hazel makes a mocking fist-pump in the air)

He went on to say: But these same individuals working with each other as a team can do so much more good than any of them ever dared dream. Whoa Matty, isn’t that refreshingly optimistic? He thinks I have a unique combination of talents and abilities and he feels very strongly that The Tomorrow Legion and the city itself could benefit from my joining with them. He even teased me with a little tidbit about a group of practicing mystics — holding the information hostage until I agreed to join. Hah! Imagine that! And I thought I was the only one in these here parts. The Shadowboards have been surprisingly quiet. I should have figured that I was missing something. I’ve only been here for six months and I still have so much to learn…

So what’s a girl to do? Of course I wrote him back:

Spirit,

Thank you for your interest in me as a recruit for the Tomorrow Legion. I “think” I’ve heard of you guys but I’m an infomaniac who keeps a very low profile. While your offer interests me I’d prefer a face-to-face before committing. I don’t know how you found me but I’m sure you’ll divulge as much when pressed. I’ve been cyber-diving lately into some shady areas and purposefully leaving a trace for the right person. Are you him?

Thanks for reaching out to me but Email is best left for frivolous communication. If this isn’t some kind of prank I’ll meet you for coffee — my treat. I work in Saratoba at a software firm that will remain nameless. My affiliation with them shouldn’t interfere if we can reach an accord. Let’s meet after work this week…say, Wednesday near the old Dream Garden. There’s a coffee shop by the on-ramp to the 109 that gets a lot of foot-traffic. Public, well-lit, and quiet. It should afford us the opportunity we need to see if this arrangement is gonna work.

Short, sweet, and to-the-point. Guess what, Matty? It worked! I did a little digging on him just to make sure he was legit and he was. He had these dark sunglasses and this covert air about him that practically oozed “super-hero!” It was pretty kewl. You know I’m always a good judge of character — see aura and sense evil notwithstanding — and he gave me some good vibes. Here’s how it went:


Public meeting:

He showed up for the meeting in street clothes. He was tall but not overly so – about six foot even. His dark hair was cut short and simple. He wore dark sunglasses but seemed to see me right through them. He picked me out right away and came over to the table.

“Hazel,” he confidently asserted as he held his hand out to me, “It’s a pleasure to meet you in person.”

I was like, “Whoa!” y’know, like who’s this guy all tall dark and furtive in the coffee shop? Clearly, not his usual element. I was a little nervous, y’know…inside, and he was kinda cute too.

I stood up when he approached and composed myself even as I took measure of the man. Is this “the” Spirit she had heard of? The one who had supposedly emailed her? I took his offered hand gingerly and we exchanged grips. His was firm but not forceful.

I had my hair up that day. It was the usual dark mix somewhere between brown, black, and red — held at bay by a simple cord; I’m such a simple kind of girl. I can tell the first time someone looks into my eyes they are reading me — even without see aura. You know my eyes are a murky gray-green swirl of indistinct colors; it really catches people’s attention and it’s like they’re wondering whether or not they can trust me. I could feel our gazes lock even from behind his dark glasses. This was a man on a mission.

I hope I came off confident but I think I kinda stammered something like, “Thanks for humoring me. Can’t be too careful these days. The metal-detector at the door, the public-venue, your human exterior, your choice of coffee — they breathe reassurance into my reluctance to trust.” Then I pushed one of the two cups across the table toward him. “I said it was on me. I figure, a man like you — all business — black, and just a little sweet. I won’t be offended if you don’t drink it.”

He sat down across the table from me and got right down to brass tacks.

“Let me cut to the chase. I’ve assembled a team of superheroes to help protect the city and I think your talents would be an invaluable addition. What can I do to convince you to join?”

“Convince me?” I snorted (I was kinda LOLing inside but, remember, I’m a big girl now — all of 21 — I have to act like an adult if I wanna be treated like an adult. Gah! Fucking Gerhardt!) “What makes you think I need convincing?” I paused for a moment to let that sink in. This guy had me all wrong.

“First, thank you for the vote of confidence. If you think my talents would be an invaluable addition to your team then perhaps you don’t know enough about my ‘talents’.” I couldn’t stifle a giggle but I tried to maintain my business-woman exterior and gauge his reaction. "If you have nothing to hide then you won’t mind if I perform my own little litmus test. I want to cast a spell that reads “aura’s” — it will give me a little insight into your character. I will also cast a spell that allows me to sense strong evil intentions and motives. I can do so discreetly, right here, with no one the wiser. It would make me feel a whole lot more comfortable before I trust you with my digits. Apart from my magical aptitude, I’m not too shabby with a computer and I availed myself of a little background-check, credit-check, and the standard police files on a John Doe with the alias: Matt Lee River. Century Station can be a very rough place in my short but intense experience. Wouldn’t you agree?"

Matt said “Century Station is a rough place. That’s why I’m trying to form this team, so we can all work together to make it better. Your computer skills are impressive to have uncovered all that information about me. Go ahead and use your magic – I don’t mind.”

He checked out as squeaky-clean as his record — and I really scrutinized him while sitting there. I could tell that his sunglasses were actually a little more high-tech than they initially appeared. I could also see that he was watching my spell casting with curiosity and a little bit of fascination. It was kinda kewl.

When I felt comfortable I opened up:

“Everyone has a past. Mine is a bit more colorful than others. Nothing to get hung up on.” I grinned. “It makes me special. But I’m here out of necessity. I left behind a home, family, friends, and a life that no longer wanted me. They have this perception of me that is incongruous with my own self-assessment. I have…changed.” She stopped for a minute to let him digest that. “On the inside I’m still the same person but, on the outside, the skin-deep sometimes looks very different. My father espouses morals, honor, and a strict code of conduct. He taught and ingrained those values in me and I live my life according to their principles. Spirit…Matt…I have something to prove, and I have nothing left to lose. I’m the best kind of gal to have on your team. Seems to me you’re offering not just a chance to fight crime and be a hero. This looks like an opportunity for redemption. If I accept your offer I expect your other members — my teammates — to understand a few things about me, not the least of which is how I cherish my privacy. This isn’t about the limelight or the glory for me. My motives are too pure…too honest. I want to make a difference.”

Whew. I took a deep breath. I don’t know why I felt comfortable trusting him with even that little snippet. It felt really good to get that off my chest. Maybe it’s not so bad to know a few people in a new place.

As if on cue Matt said, “And with The Tomorrow Legion Hazel you’ll be able to do just that. Why don’t you swing by our headquarters over in Kilgore, on the other side of the 109 from Waingroh, and meet some of the others? A few of them live there, some of the others come and go as they can. We’re very flexible in that regard. You’d be able to see for yourself – few of the others are in this for the glory.”

As if that concluded matters he stood up to leave. “I hope to see you soon.”

I smiled, thanked him, and headed out just a minute after him — taking a moment to collect my thoughts and things before leaving.

Matty, I think this will be very interesting. Maybe I’ll stop their headquarters some time this week. I’ll keep you posted. Now, if I don’t get out of these work clothes and grab my duffel I’ll never make it to yoga on time — and you know how grumpy I can be if I miss my ayur-vedic stretching and meditation. Haha!

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Salvo's Date With Destiny (and Fire)
Mmm Jubblies...

How could these guys do this to me? The police? They involved the god damned cops? It’s like they are trying to make the city worse. GOD DAMNIT. Those low lifes will be on the street again in an hour, killing people’s family and leaving nothing but pain. They should be locked away, eat rats until the end of their days. What is the point of these powers if we still have to rely on the normals and their pretending of the throne to get things done. This is our world now to solve these problems. DAMNIT.

Argh… I should start over.

Signed up with these Tomorrow People. Can’t clean up the boroughs on my own, too much scum. Still not sure what to do with these powers really. I am stronger than these d-bags but I can’t control myself enough.. DAMNIT. Make friends, my mother would say, there is strength in those bonds. But none of my classmates understand, they are.. normal. Look at my hair for christ sakes.. Blue? Really? “Oh Chas that’s a cool dye job, where did you get that done?” “Oh.. that’s just weird you should do something about that”.

These Tomorrow People maybe they get it.. but I doubt it. It’s not like they grew up in this hell hole. THEY DON’T HAVE BLUE HAIR!

Got grouped up with.. some guys. Muscle head is still on my about strength training.. doesn’t he get it? I don’t need it. I have all the power I need at my finger tips. The good doctor needs to mind his own business. Dragging me off while I was telling that god damned pig what’s what. He got what deserved. A blast of SALVOTION to the face. He can S the D for leaving me on that roof. Who the hell does he think he is? All those brains, mean nothing. Just more talk.

Dude though, Flash Fire is totally into me. She whipped those jubblies out and just waved them in my face. I think she even winked at me. Totally gonna get in on that. I knew women love power, and I got power, just didn’t think it would be this easy. Oh yea and the wall of fire thing was cool I guess. Need to remember to request that in the future. Could have some tactical purposes or whatever it is prepoopterous would call it

Oh… right… the squirrel. Yea he can pretty much fry on a power line for all I care. Calling the cops? Giving them MY weapon? I unlocked the case, I deserved the loot! “Oh I am so cute, I am a squirrel!!!” Yea that got old before it started. Seriously though I know Century Station attracts a certain kind of crowd, but no one loves the nuts more than that one. He didn’t even do anything against those thugs, just called in blues. GOD DAMNIT. The police can’t do anything. Can’t save a life, can’t save a family. Won’t even bother to answer a call.

It was a lot of fun stretching my abilities some. Man it was great watching those pieces of crap bounce off a wall from my blasts. Though, Muscle head went a bit far apparently with that dumpster. Not sure we should be brutalizing these people, even if they did shoot me. They probably have some innocent family worried about them.

Tonight was the beginning. We are gonna clean up this city. Then the new order will begin. Gonna run it right. Flash Fire by my side, and a thousand women screaming “Salvo!” That’s the future. No other way this is gonna end.

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The Report of Ever Vigilance
Crushing Defeat

Vigilance

What have I done? Again I have used my strength without thinking things through. I’ve gotten so caught up with becoming stronger that I have forgotten most others are not as tough as me. I feel bad about what happened to that thug last night, but I am not sure how I could handle this if one of my team mates get hurt because of me not “thinking it through”. Word is that the thug….errrr, Brian will live and as soon as he wakens I will begin visiting him and hope I can teach him a better way to live.

While on patrol a group exclaimed “Capes” and ran down an alley. It appeared they had some firearms on them and would not respond to us telling them to stop. Dr. Preposterous was on the roof tops and moved fast enough to jump down into the alley ahead of them. Salvo started lighting up multiple targets at a time while Flash Fire joined into the fun.

Me, I am more of the slow unstoppable guy of the group. Seeing firearms made me have some concerns about my team. As I entered into the alley from the main street I casually took a half empty dumpster with me. I figured it would be good cover in case things got ugly for us all. I ran the dumpster as close as I could down through the alley aiming for the most thugs standing last I saw. Wish I had x-ray vision or whatever to see through stuff. Boy, that would be fun on campus. Oh, yeah back to the story.

Obviously none of my team mates have played football before.

As planned some of the guys scatter. Not according to plan I didn’t knock any out of the game with the dumpster. At least we have cover if any of these thugs start shooting.

So one of my team knocked a thug against the dumpster as I stopped. It happened so fast I am not sure who hit him, but I grabbed him and threw him into the dumpster to his dismay. It was only half full not sure what he was crying about. Bogart came down the building so fast as if I had dropped my bag of almonds. He grabbed a case that was next to the thug and squirreled it away….literally.

At this point any thug that was able to run began to make exit. Instead of thinking it through I just did it. Grabbed the closest thing, which happened to be thee dumpster, and gave it a toss in the direction of one of the thugs carrying a gun running away. Brian crumpled under the weight of the dumpster like an egg. The thug in the dumpster was screaming like a little girl, no offense Miss Fire. I can’t believe I did that.

I miss football.

My furry buddy sure does seem to like the almonds I’ve begun to eat. Funny to watch him inspect the almonds each time as if they may be poisoned. I worry about Bogart the most due to my strength. He is the hero of our adventure and got the authorities plus got the “evidence” safely stashed away. That rifle looked weird and Salvo got a closer look at it while messing with the cops.

Salvo is an interesting kid who’s got big heart under all that baggage. I really want him to start working on his physique and think it may help him shed some of that mental baggage. He is so powerful, but I worry he relies on those powers too much.

I am not sure if Dr. Preposterous will ever open up and talk to me as a friend. He is so closed off, but I really enjoy the books he gives me. He’s pretty mad at me about the dumpster incident.

The dumpster incident…..wait…… what is up with Miss Flash Fire? Her costume has always been a little over the top for showing some skin, but now she is exposing herself in the middle of combat situations? I wonder what her boyfriend is going to say if he learns about that? Maybe they broke up? Maybe the new girl has bigger ta-ta’s and she is upset? Women…….maybe it was just that time of the………..at least we got a show and did not need to shove dollars down her pants!

Ahhh, Ta-Ta’s……..I feel better now……… I miss college & football.

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Volume 1 - Issue 1
First Night on the Town
  • The heroes Vigilance, Dr. Preposterous, Salvo, Flash Fire and Bogart introduced themselves to each other at the headquarters of The Tomorrow Legion and got to know each other a little better. While they knew of each other, they had not formally met.
  • Together they left the headquarters and began a patrol of the Midtown Area.
  • Dr. Preposterous and Bogart took point up on the roof tops while the others remained on the street.
  • A suspiciously large group of people in an alley grabbed the doctor’s attention. He could see they looked armed. He called it out to the others and they all came to investigate.
  • When the heroes showed themselves in the entrance to the alley and called to those assembled, one of the guys yelled “Capes!” and they all tried to run away, further into the network of alleys.
  • Dr. Preposterous leapt in front of them to try and stop them. Flash Fire ran up to try and distract them using her voluptuous assets. Vigilance called for them to stop so that they could talk. Bogart remained squirreled away while Salvo impatiently waited.
  • Seeing they were being surrounded by heroes, the street punks drew their weapons to defend themselves by going on the offensive. This was a mistake.
  • Salvo began letting loose with destructive and concussive energy blasts. Dr. Preposterous began knocking down punks and using them to beat on other punks. Vigilance took a nearby dumpster and used it to try and plow through the crowd. Flash Fire heated things up a bit more with walls of fire to segregate the punks.
  • Bogart kept an eye on the whole chaotic melee and failed to notice that there were two separate gangs here. He did notice that one of the punks who got knocked down and then was picked up and thrown into the dumpster by Vigilance had dropped a fancy attaché case. Bogard ran down the building to the case in order to investigate.
  • A couple punks got a few shots off but they did little more than graze Salvo. The few that were remaining and able to run decided, “screw this,” and took off. Two of them got blasted by Salvo into the street, where they were nearly hit by oncoming traffic. Dr. Preposterous and Vigilance both threw what they had handy at the other fleeing punks – The Doctor threw one of the punks at them, while Vigilance tried to carefully throw the dumpster at another.
  • That punk was squished. One punk managed to get away.
  • Bogart opened the case and discovered a high-tech rifle. He closed and locked the case, and squirreled it away from the combat to keep it safe. Seeing that the punks were under control and just being gathered and tied up, he decided to run to get the police.
  • The police didn’t know what to make of a talking squirrel wearing a fedora and trenchcoat, but eventually Bogart convinced them to take him seriously… or maybe he was too cute to ignore… either way, they followed his directions to where they could pick up the gun-wielding punks.
  • As the rest of the Heroes collected the punks and tied them up, the one under the dumpster was in bad shape. Flash Fire applied her paramedic skills to try and keep him alive long enough for help to arrive. Vigilance told the others to leave and he would stay there to meet with the police and be held accountable for his actions. Dr. Preposterous jumped up on the roof but didn’t actually go away. The others stayed with Vigilance.
  • The police arrived and called for an ambulance. Bogart retrieved the weapon case and tried to show it to the officer, but the case was locked. Salvo came over and managed to jimmy it open.
  • The cop looked at the rifle and the punks being carted into the police transport. He deduced that this was a weapons deal of some kind between two different street gangs. Before he could thank the heroes for their help Salvo started verbally abusing him, and all police officers.
  • When Bogart tried to turn the rifle over to the officer for evidence, Salvo angrily grabbed it and demanded to know why he had to let the incompetent police take it. The others got involved and Salvo angrily threw the case and rifle – Bogart was able to run and catch it, though.
  • Dr. Preposterous got a good look at the notes the officer was taking during all this, as well as a good look at the rifle. He could tell it was an authentic energy rifle but it didn’t look like one of the ones he’d seen before in the scientific journals. When he saw that Salvo wasn’t letting up and was heading towards being arrested himself, the Doctor leapt down from the roof, grabbed the kid and leapt away with him in one swift motion.
  • Salvo responded by releasing a point blank burst of explosive energy that hurt the Doc. Dr. Preposterous threatened to drop Salvo to the pavement but instead decided to just leave him up on a roof to cool down.
  • The officer collected the rifle as evidence and thanked the heroes. He noted Vigilance and Salvo as potentially dangerous but didn’t make similar notes about the others.
  • Bogart finally recognized the colors that the street gangs were wearing, and what stuck out to him was that one of the gangs was from Midtown while the other one was from Brisby. This was a little odd because criminals from Brisby tend to stay in Brisby and not cross the highway to come to Midtown.
  • The Tomorrow Legion regrouped and continued on their patrol. They stopped a few more crimes in progress and potential crimes but those encounters were all pretty banal.

Epilogue

“Where are your friends?”

Jason jumped at the voice. He had made it back safely to his neighborhood in Brisby but hadn’t figured out what to say to his employer yet. It looked like he wasn’t going to be able to put it off any longer.

“A bunch of capes hit us. They tossed us around and then turned them over to the cops,” Jason told the man in the shadows.

“That’s… too bad,” the man replied uncaringly. “Where is my case?”

Jason swallowed hard. “The capes took it. They-” A hand reached out from the shadows and grabbed Jason by the throat, choking off his sentence.

“You little shits had one job. One. Fucking. Job. And you blew it.”

Jason tried to choke out a reply but couldn’t make make even a whimper.

“Your friends are lucky. Do you know why your friends are lucky today?”

Jason shook his head to say no.

“Because they’re going to live just a little bit longer than you.” With that the shadowy man squeezed his hand. Several things in Jason’s neck popped and broke as the life was literally crushed out of him. His eyes widened in horror for the last few moments of his life, then rolled as his whole body went limp; the life drained out of him.

The man let Jason’s body fall unceremoniously to the ground and left it there for someone else to clean up. He had a bigger mess to take take care of.

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Bye Bye Miss American Pie

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

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Matty, y’know that song by that old guy who sucks at country music — the song that Nine Inch Nails made popular and famous? “Hurt” — that’s the one. I think the lead singer Trent “Logan” Reznor went off to do his own solo thing. But didn’t he die a few years ago of…like, a broken heart or something? That’s what happens when you get locked up in Hell — in your own infernal prison. Anyway, that’s how I’m feeling these days. This body is a nightmare, a prison, and the fiend inside wants to get out! It wants to strut around and stick out its chest and wear the skin of TRUTH — wear it proudly! It wants to walk around and talk to boys and buy some shoes! It wants to end the Masquerade!

I haven’t written in almost a month.

It’s been a really tough month. Turns out the broken hand wasn’t too severe for Fraulein Fredericca. She’d have given me the middle finger if she could — right from her hospital bed. But I’m getting ahead of myself. She was taken to the hospital and treated for a broken hand. First, second, and third metacarpals, second, third, and fourth – distal, middle, and proximal phalanges, and…well, I really did a number on her. I didn’t know there were so many bones in the hand and more of hers were broken than not. More than that, I had really injured her pride. In front of a hundred holiday shoppers a woman lost control of her rebellious teenaged daughter and was rewarded with an outburst that might make second page news in Bumblefucksville. It’s funny how the Newspapers glossed over the puddle of my own blood that stained the cosmetics department floor and the crazy demonic mask and the Gandalf-robe that appeared out of nowhere. Some news just isn’t fit to print.

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After Gerhardt beat me near to death he made me write an apology card (my hand was still working enough to write) and deliver it personally to the hospital room the next day. Defiantly, I told him I’d send her a Magical Messenger Bird. He broke a chair over my face in response. It’s amazing how quickly my body was able to heal from that beating; and it’s a shame that my heart never will. I think I will just end it all. There’s no reason to go on. Oh! The agony!

She was kept overnight for observation but the doctors couldn’t re-set her hand without pins and metal and a cast. She declined to have any further treatment, returned to the house, and that’s where Gerhardt forced me to practice my EMT paramedic first-aid in conjunction with casting my heal-wounds on her. Some penance, eh? He said this would be a learning experience. He didn’t know what kind of transformation I had done and he hadn’t experienced it for himself. He kept grilling me and grilling Fredericca and consulting his tomes and books and calling “old friends” and other arcane contacts. I was getting really nervous! I mean, I was already horrified at what was inside me but if even Gerhardt had no idea then maybe no one could help me. Maybe I was some kind of freak…some kind of monster! After a month it hasn’t gotten any easier but if I never transform again maybe it won’t be true. Maybe it’ll stay hidden and stay inside of me for the rest of my life. Maybe I’ll be okay with that. Maybe.

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Matty, he full-on closed-fist punched me in the face. The man who claims to be my father. Then he held me down and screamed at me. I’ll never forget his words or the look on his face. “With great power comes great responsibility!” The look on HIS face as his fist slammed into MINE was one of sadness…or was it regret…he railed at me, "I am stronger than you! Have I ever had to hit you to prove it? I could kill you in the blink of an eye! You are my child. You are stronger than you can imagine. If you do not learn restraint you are no better than the villains that plague our world. I have taught you since you were old enough to learn! I have trusted you with knowledge and with power! I have treated you like my own flesh and blood and this is how you repay me? With a public outburst, violence, metamorphosis, indiscretion! This was a heinous attention-grabbing stunt! You have brought shame on yourself, on me, and on your family! We are all that you have in this world! The family must stand strong together! I was locked in my room, door warded, window barred and warded, and left to ponder the complexities of the situation. It was the worst beating I had ever even heard of — let alone experienced. Roman and Jesper heard my endless wailing and left the house. Roman sent me a “sorry pigeon” — I guess he couldn’t figure out how to slip a note past the wards. Conrad brooded silently, shunned me, and
pretended I didn’t exist. Like father like son.

After three weeks things kind of calmed down. About a week ago Gerhardt confronted me with Fredericca and Conrad. Jesper and Roman were conspicuously absent. I should have known. Those two never did have a stomach for…well, anything that didn’t involve their stomachs.

The old man told me, “Lashe’evadne Sycorax-Circe Griselda Duchesne. I love you with all my heart. You were the daughter I always wanted but could never have. I am sorry for my failings as your father. I am sorry for my failings as your teacher. And I am sorry for what I am about to do. You have one month to collect your possessions, settle your affairs, and leave this house. You are no longer welcome here. I have made preparations for your Early Admittance into the University and it has been Accepted by the Dean of Student Affairs. I have pre-paid for your first year of school. You have my blessing and my well-wishes. You have all the tools you need to begin your journey — out into the world, on your own, and forging ahead through your experiences. You are prepared for this. It is time. I cannot explain your alien-nature and I cannot fathom the demonic metamorphosis and appearance that you have manifested. I know you are still my daughter deep down inside. Perhaps, some day, you will once again be welcome here. For now you must leave. What you do is yours to choose. Your first year of University is paid for and you’ll have room and board.”

And my response, “Uhhh…what?”

Fredericca, ever the embodiment of delicacy, hissed, “pack your things bitch!”

And my response, “Uhhh…what?”

Conrad chided, “Hazel, don’t make this any harder than it has to be…than it already is.”

And my response, “Uhhh…are you fucking kidding me?”

Gerhardt said, “No, Lashe, I am not. You have a month to prepare your things, pack, say goodbye to your friends, quit your job, and leave for school. I’m sorry it had to come to this. You are an intelligent young woman with a bright future. I want to believe that. Right now, you have no place in his house…in this family. You…no. I wish…no. May our paths cross one day when we are all in a better place and working toward a brighter future.”

And my response, “Uhhh…you don’t really believe that garbage do you? Finally gone and drank the Kool-Aid, eh? Good. Go fuck yourselves. Take this, all of you, and drink from it. This is the piss and shit and sugar of BETRAYAL. Our paths may cross again one day. And when that day comes you’d better fucking hope I hate you less than I do right now.”

If I’m a witch. I might as well embrace it.

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Matty, don’t take this the wrong way. I need a break. From you, from writing, from everything. I used my savings to buy a cheap, used, shitty old dirt-bike — but it works. I’m driving myself to school with my every earthly possession on my back and strapped to the bike. I leave tomorrow. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…creeps in this petty pace from day to day.

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Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company
Life must go on

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I hate Christmas.

I can never show my face again in public. My face. My…fac…ade.

I know it’s been a while since I wrote but, well, I’ve been busy. I’m working longer hours at the book store and I’ve been getting really…anxious. Antsy. I dunno, Matty. It’s like sometimes I can’t sit still and my mind is going a mile a minute and these thoughts are racing and my blood feels like it’s boiling. My mom thinks I’m having panic attacks. My dad thinks anxiety is just part of being a woman. I think bleeding every month is part of being a woman and…DAMN IT!!!
(Growl)

Matilda H. Breckenridge Bauerstein,

I, Lashe’evadne Sycorax-Circe Griselda Duchesne, have become a monster. I….I don’t know. I can’t explain.
(Breathe)

I just…I can’t even describe…

(Pant)

(Pant)

(Hyperventilate)

I’M A FUCKING MONSTER!!!!!

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(Vomit)

Awwwwww….ugh. That is so gross.

(Cry)

Definitely not panic attacks. Anxiety maybe…
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. What did I do? I don’t deserve this. I wish I could just give it back. God, if he even exists, has cursed me with some sick…twisted spin on a Hairy Spotter young-adult horror novel. Can you imagine the look on my face when it happened? No? NEITHER COULD I BECAUSE I HAD A FUCKING MASK ON!!! I couldn’t rip it off it was like a part of me!!! This demonic crazy darkness-permeating devil-mask. I kept trying to claw at my face and it’s like…this mask…this, evil THING on my face was suffocating me like claustrophobic. And I had this robe on and it was sweltering and sweaty and I felt so confined! I thought I was dying. But I’m writing this, aren’t I? I definitely wasn’t dying…

Matty, the most terrifying part of the whole thing…

(Gulp)

When I finally got a hold of myself and took a deep breath and found a mirror that hadn’t shattered…actually, the dressing room emptied pretty fast. When I finally saw myself…my heart practically exploded. With joy. It was as if I was seeing myself for the first time. Like I had been living behind a mask my entire life and this was me…the real me…the one who is underneath and who is through-and-through every fiber of my being and every molecule of my existence. Matty, I liked what I saw…I loved it. I was bursting with joy on the inside…while there were screams of panic and chaos and children at Macy’s in the “Young Miss” department. That’s when reality knocked on the front door…slammed the knocker and barged in.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Fraulein Fredericca — the woman whose body I DIDN’T come out of yet she pretends to be my mother — you remember her, don’t you? I thought so. Well she thought it’d just be SWELL if we had a mother / daughter bonding experience buying Christmas presents at the mall for all the testosterone in the family. Whatever! I had to go shopping anyway and I STILL don’t have my own car so I guess going with her is better than paying for a taxi. I don’t even know why I bother getting presents for anyone anyway. It’s not like they ever really think about what I want. I’ve never gotten anything good. A bunch of stupid socks and underwear for someone’s grandma and maybe a book that was on the Best Seller list about vampires and romance and the rigors of being an angsty little teenage heartthrob in public fucking high school! I’m not bitter.

So the fraulein and I were wending our way through the throngs at the mall and we stopped at Cacique to look at some earrings and tchotchke chintzy jewelry and I saw this necklace that looked really cute, y’know? Fredericca didn’t agree but then our taste has never seen eye-to-eye. There were tons of girls and their moms milling about like ants on an anthill and I was getting a little antsy. I recognized a few girls from the book store doing some shopping together and another girl I had seen at one of Roman’s football games. They were public school ditzes and they were older than me. They had boobs and hips and periods and here I was looking like a stupid little home-school girl with her mom trying on cheap jewelery. Gah! I was embarrassed. I did my best to ignore them but I know they saw me. I was tempted to try fitting a sticky rug inside the girl’s mouth but I don’t have that kind of control yet. Twenty by twenty by ten is, um, too big to cast in public.

I’ve never been a huge fan of crowds and Fredericca could see that I was uncomfortable but she took her time really browsing the costume jewelry. I know she was doing it on purpose. My stomach was getting upset and growling at me but all I had for breakfast was Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I needed to get out of there. Something was going on and I was getting more and more uncomfortable and uneasy by the minute. My stomach started to cramp like…like I dunno…gas or something. Maybe I had to fart. I told Fredericca that I was going to step outside for a minute and get some fresh air and that I would meet her at Macy’s a few stores down this side of the mall. She tsked and nodded at me. Hah! And I’m the one with the attitude?

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The fresh air was welcome — crisp, cold, brisk, and settling. It had just begun to snow — a light dusting — but I was thrilled to be out of that sardine can. My stomach calmed down a little bit. Maybe I was having anxiety or something. I walked around the outside of the building to the Macy’s entrance and decided to try on some clothes while waiting for my ride…er, my mom.

The store was decorated so pretty and festive! They even had mistletoe right above the entrance. Maybe it was a gag. Maybe it was a trap! Maybe…It’s a TARP!!!! I walked under it sheepishly. There weren’t any guys like staking out the Macy’s entrance and tryin’ to mooch free smooches. Besides, that’s kinda weird and stalker-ish. I did see some high school guys — they looked like Conrad’s buddies — probably seniors and they were loud and joking about…I dunno, nonsense. Sometimes I just wish I could punch them in the face. But they can be kinda cute…in that annoying jock with big muscles and small brains kinda way. Isn’t that cute Matty?

Matty?

Sorry, I know I can be a bit verbose. But this is serious bidnass! This is an event that has altered my life! Irreparably. Anyway, I was kind of wandering aimlessly through the first floor. Men’s wear, bleh! Teens. Bleh! Cosmetics? Hmm…now I browse a little bit in front of Clinique or Estee Lauder. I was checking out some lip glosses and puckering up for the super blemish-enhancing mirror when I felt butterflies in my stomach. Ugh. What was going on with me? Maybe I was starting to have gas again? Maybe cramps? I looked around like…I dunno…like someone’s eyes were on me. It was such a weird feeling. I remember thinking, “am I being punked or something?” That’s when it happened! I turned back to the mirror to continue admiring my lip gloss application and saw a dark figure in the mirror. The mirror surface moved and swirled like liquid glass or mercury or something. It was kind of trippy but I was held…my gaze was transfixed by this figure in the mirror. I felt almost like I was looking into another world and I could see…I don’t know. I wasn’t afraid…but I could feel my heart racing. It was almost…excitement! I looked around the cosmetics counter guilty, self-conscious, but no one was paying any attention to a homely little girl playing with lip gloss. Amid the crowd it was easy to ignore a bad sale. It’s Christmas! After surveying my immediate surroundings I chanced a glance back into the mirror. This time, the dark figure motioned for me to look closer…as though such a thing were possible in a mirror. Was he calling to me? Beckoning me into the mirror? I squinted my eyes and looked closer into the image and the figure…I shit you not…held up a mirror…within the mirror. I saw a reflection there that chilled me to the bone and sent shivers down my spine. I saw an image there…

gosh…

in the mirror, my reflection was NOT my reflection. It reflected a woman with startling curves. She was beautiful, and voluptuous, but guarded…shrouded and hidden beneath a brilliant robe. It was regal and glossy and hemmed with strange symbols and golden stitching and a long hood. I can’t even find the words to describe it. The garment was beautiful…it was breathtaking…and the woman who wore it was strangely feline…but alluring and attractive and…secretive. My eyes combed and raked every inch of this image in the mirror (in the mirror) until I saw the face. It was evil and dark and shadowy…like demonic looking or something wicked. It had snarls and tangles and tendrils and cast a horrific visage in a frightful glow. There were mystic symbols that I couldn’t fathom swirling about and designs or tattoos could be seen glowing on the woman’s skin where the robe fell short. As she strode confidently I could see the swishing gown reveal a long shapely, athletic leg, tanned and tattooed with cryptic symbols. Her arms and chest, where slightly exposed from the movement beneath the robe displayed arcane runes in swirling hues that dazzled and danced before my eyes. Who was she? She looked beautiful and sexy and…alien. I wanted to look like her. I wanted to be her! I felt myself gazing into the mirror longingly. Wishing I could be there…anywhere but here. I remember thinking, “Maybe I should go check out the Macy’s Intimate Apparel section.” LOL!

(Tap tap tap) Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. Startled, I turned with a yelp! Ack!!! I was so enthralled…so engrossed that I didn’t even know where I was. Had I lost track of time as well? My mom was standing there, looking horrified (what’s new?), and staring at me with her eyeballs threatening to jump out of her head. Her mouth was agape but no sound was coming out. I was still reeling from my shock. Come to think of it…no sound was coming out of anyone’s mouths. I slowly, hesitantly scanned the cosmetics counters. Everyone was just standing still, looking at me, staring. It was dead silent. I started to feel very self-conscious. What had I done? Had people seen the image in the mirror? Was this just a bad ending to an acid trip? What the fuck was going on?!?!

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(Deep breath)

Matty, when I followed Fredericca’s gaze…down…down…my eyes slowly widened and absorbed what I was seeing. Deep crimson. Rivulets, streaming steadily down my leg from under my skirt. It dribbled and dropped and pooled a splatter on the cosmetics floor by my foot. The puddle had slowly spread outward until it enveloped both of my sneakers. The red stream flowed like rain down a gutter and it slowly seeped into my brain. I was going to die. I truly was mortified. It looked like my water had broke…in blood. I closed my eyes against the welling tide of tears. They could be held back. Like a raging river rapid behind a dam, it burst, and with the torrent of emotion I let loose a scream that would make any horror queen proud.

“GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!!!”

The shrill screech of ear-piercing emotion could have shattered the entire cosmetics department. My mom reached out, her face snarled up in anger, and clamped onto my arm.

“Get into the bathroom and clean yourself up you dirty little tramp!” She started to drag me, bodily, while I was screaming and crying. But she only made it about five feet. The puddle of blood was now marred and smeared across the department floor and caked on my shoes. Her nails bit deeply into my skin and drew more blood. And I lost it. At once, and without warning, the scream of a horrified little girl turned into the roar of a huntress, a fierce woman. My voice changed and I could feel my body begin to change as well. I literally felt like I was tearing open a the cocoon of a terrified young woman to emerge as a goddess — the ugly duckling becoming the swan — the black, dark, terrible swan. In a hail of blood and body shrapnel I exploded outwards in the very same image I had seen in the mirror…in that other land…that dark, night land. And I tore Fredericca’s grip from me, breaking her fingernails against my skin and her fingers against my curled fist. I crushed that puny little hand like it was a fuckin’ dorito! It crumpled and I, now standing almost a foot taller, backhanded my mom across the face and she flew — like, Matty, not exaggerating, fucking flew…with her feet in the air and everything…flew the fuck into the cosmetics counter! My adrenaline was coursing! My blood was pumping…right out of me! Gone were all my clothes and that silly facade of a tired, scared, stupid little girl. I had finally opened myself to the possibility of something greater. I was horrified by what I had done to my mom but I felt empowered. It was all over in less than 15 seconds but it was long enough for the Mall Security to be called, the Police, and a hundred people in the store to run amok with panic and fright and abject pandemonium.

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What have I become?

No time to consider that one. I ran…I literally ran all the way home. Faster, and never getting tired…I just ran like a machine. I found out later that Fredericca was taken to the hospital. She would live and her hand would mend…but it would NEVER be the same. That bitch would have to learn to be a lefty if she ever wanted to cook or write or sew…ever again.

Can I forgive myself?

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Why yes. Yes I can.

View
When You Wish Upon a Star
It makes no difference which super-heroine you are

(BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP)

(BEEPBEEPBEEPBEE…SLAMBEESLAMeeeeeewwww.p)

(Silence)

(Yaaaawn)

(Squint)

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(Aloud) “Is it 3 o’clock already?”

(Groan)

(Aloud) “The meteors are supposed to be visible between 3 and 5 this morning in our quadrant, um hemisphere. C’mon Matty, time to wake up sleepy head.”

(Grumble)

(THUD.THUD)

(ShuffleshuffleshuffleBUMP…) “OwFFFFFFFFFuuuu!!!!!!!”

(Hiss) “Shhhh!”

(Aloud) “Where’s my jeans?”

(Sniff)

(Aloud) “Where’s my shoes?”

(Growl)

(Aloud) "I swear clothing is such a hassle! Bras and panties — sorry, (in a mocking authoritative tone) “undergarments” — and all this other crap. Why? Because ten-thousand years ago when everyone was naked ALL the time we decided that covering up what we look like makes us ‘civilized?’"

(Whine) "Where’s my favorite shirt?

(Aloud) "Ughhh! Besides, we all have the same stuff. Boys have the boy parts. Girls have the girl parts. How long ago in my evolution…wait, Gerhardt would say (in a mocking authoritative tone) this is Anthropology — so how long ago did it become a requirement for girls to wear dresses and skirts and makeup and completely disguise everything about our outward appearance? I dunno. It’s like…I wanna look pretty. I want people to look at me and say, “Wow! Look at that girl!” but, if they’re saying that when I don’t even look like…well, me, does it even matter? Besides, if they’re boys and they’re saying, “Wow! Look at that girl” that means, “Wow! I would do her!” and if they’re girls saying that it means, “Wow! She’s a slut!” It’s like this whole thing doesn’t make any sense. This shit — all this superficial surface skin-deep stuff — it’s just a mask. It’s just skin and bones and flesh. The person I am is inside of this…I dunno. What’s the word? Facade? Yeah, it’s just a facade. Why should I have to disguise what I really look like. ‘Cuz that’s not me. You feelin’ me Matty?

(Silence)

(Aloud) “Who am I kidding? This shit is too deep for 3am.”

(Sniff) “Why won’t my brain just…shut off?”

(Sigh)

(Groan) "Why are we up at 3am just to watch a stupid meteor shower on a day that’s “mystically significant” in relation to the tides, the moon, the constellations, and the position of the earth and sun?"

(Aloud) “C’mon Hazey, get up. Remember what Brent Goren said in his book about these days? The solstices and eclipses and Samhain, wait, why is that pronounced ‘Sowen?’ Couldn’t the Celts spell?”

(Whine) “Where’s my favorite shirt!?!? Did I ever tell you that ‘see invisible’ doesn’t help with getting dressed in the dark? Makes no fucking sense. I wish I had Nightvision.”

(Unzip)

(Aloud) “Okay, in you go. I’ll take you out when we’re at the spot.”

(Zip)

(Knuckle crack)

(Aloud) “Alright, now let’s see what we’re dealin’ with.”

(Finger-waggling, muffled sounds)

(Aloud) “Okay, magic detector is picking up something faint over here by my door and over here by my window. Trap detector found a little something too. Gerhardt you sly deevil you.”

(Finger-waggling, muffled sounds)

(Aloud) “Hmm, Decipher makes it look like Magic Tripwire. I’ll take your mystical alert spell and raise you…ah, talisman of negate magic. Betcha didn’t know I had one of these, eh? I may not have a purse full of tampons and a backup briefcase of diapers but I’m prepared for your magical bullshit. Put my damn allowance to good use.”

(Hiss) “Don’t ask me where I got it! Besides, it’s MY money. I have a job.”

(Concentration)

(Aloud) "Okay, Chameleon Camouflage a.k.a.: Blend-In, here we go. And Shadow-Camo a.k.a.: Shadow-flage.
(Finger-waggling, muffled sounds)

(Aloud) “Alright, now we’ll top it off with ‘disappear’ and…wait. I almost forgot. There’s something I have to do before we leave. Matty, sit tight.”

(Click-click. Creeeak.)

(Prowl…Creep…creep…creep)

(Silence)

(Click. Creak)

(Whisper) “Unlocked. Some people never learn. Roman, you naughty boy. Revenge is a dish best-served by a little sister who can cast Wind-Fingers and Phone Stalker Breathing. Sweet dreams, perv!”

(Finger-waggling, muffled muttering)

(Whisper) “Odd, he hasn’t gone blind yet.”

(Prowl…Creep…creep…creep)

(Aloud) “Done. Now to Seal this sucker up. Crack the window. Levitate down to 10-speed locomotion and 2-leg horsepower. Oh wait, I should re-cast ‘disappear’ when I’m on the bike, right? Good call Matty.”

(Pat pat pat)

(Backpack remains silent)

(Aloud) “Actually, I’m feeling kind of…spent. Maybe I should save some of my reserves for the breaking and entering segment of tonight’s adventure. Breaking and leaving took considerably more than I expected.”

(iPood earbuds, finger swipe, shuffle) “Let’s do it…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogMNV33AhCY

(Pedal pedal pedal)

(A while later…)

(Huffhuffhuff)

(Unzip)

(Aloud) “Wow! We’re here. I hope you don’t mind if I just lay here in the grass. Best seat in the house!”

Dear Matilda,

You’re sitting here, in my lap, and I wish you could see the sky. It’s so beautiful. And there’s no light pollution this far away. I read online that this was one of the best spots in all of Bumblefu…er, Diego Verde. Hey, we’re only thirty minutes outside of Ulster so we’re civilized enough for indoor plumbing. Anyway, they call it a “promontory” but it’s got a great vantage for some awesome comet-sightings in the meteor shower.

I…I dunno. Don’t take this the wrong way but…I wish I had someone, y’know — real — to share this with. Not that you’re not awesome. I mean, you’re like basically my only friend. That’ll probably change when I get to college next year. I’ll be living at the dorms and I’m sure I’ll have a bunch of new friends and people to meet and y’know hang out with and stuff. I’ll still be your friend though but we may not be spending as much time together as we do now.

So I broke out of the prison. It wasn’t easy but I’ve got enough tricks up my sleeve and tools in my arsenal to give any parent a run for his money. The trick is making Gerhardt think I’m not as knowledgeable as I really am. These days, Jesper and Roman are so far behind Conrad that their training seems to dominate the old man’s attention. He just gives me the assignments and leaves me to my own devices for…wait, what does he call it? (air quotes) Independent study? Good thinking DAD. Leave an intelligent, curious, young woman alone with a spell book and plenty of psychic energy. Oh, and keep her quarantined in her room with nothing but free time.

Why do Roman and Jesper even bother? Some people just aren’t cut out to follow in the family footsteps. They come home from college 3 nights a week to study spells and incantations and verses and rituals and reagents; and they retain uhhh…almost nothing. What? Community college not good enough an education? They are too interested in parties and girls and video games and sports to excel at well, anything except those things. Besides, didn’t I overhear that Jesper caught an STD or something? I think it’s some kind of seafood bacteria like shrimp or lobster-something — I dunno what they call it but you have to use all this weird soap and this powder stuff. Gawd! Fredericca powdered the whole fucking house trying to get those things out of the carpet and the couch and. Ick! Forget I said anything.

My brothers never pay me much attention; even now that I’m easily surpassing them in magical aptitude (as Gerhardt hates to admit). Not like Conrad. He’s the only one who’ll follow in his father’s foo COMET!!!! I just saw a COMET!!!! Holy shit that was amazing! It was so bright and vibrant and streaking across the sky!

So I spent the afternoon organizing the occult section at the book shop. I like to read the names of the books and Goggle reviews on them and see what people are saying on the forums or in chat rooms — y’know. Saw some weird characters browsing. That’s always a great place to people watch. I wonder what they’re looking for or what kind of weird spells they’re casting. Or what kinds of crazy love potions they’re making. These days of mystical significance always bring out some real crazies. This one woman was looking for a book with a “Love” spell. I helped her with a straight face but I’m like, “uh, lady, it’s gonna take a lot more than a spell for someone to fall in love with your ugly mug!” LOL! Besides, the first rule of the occult is SECRECY! If sharing spells weren’t dangerous then they’d be in books, sure. They’d probably even be in the newspaper! But it’s DANGEROUS! And with great power comes great responsibility. Gerhardt said that…but I think Winston Churchill said it before him. Wait, let’s ask Goggle: Stan Lee, who the hell is that? Franklin Delano Roosevelt, um ok. Winston Churchill, whatever. Francois-Marie Arouet a.k.a. Voltaire. Ahh! There it is! Leave it to the Franchmen to rail against the oppression and injustice and abuse of power and authority of the government and the aristocracy. There’s some wisdom in there I know COMET!!!!! OH MY GOD ANOTHER COMET!!!! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!!

I wanna take some pictures but the comets are kinda sporadic. I don’t wanna sit here holding my camera the whole time and end up missing them anyway because I’m like staring starry-eyed into space and day-dreaming.
So what do you think I should study in college? I’m supposed to be thinking about classes, picking a major, and prepping for my freshman year. Gerhardt says I’ve passed all my Math Pre-Reqs and I crushed my ACTs and SAT’s and SAT II’s so I can basically start wherever I want and pick classes I’m really interested in. How about…hmmm, let’s see: More math. That’s always good and helpful. Astronomy? Sure! I love the skies and the stars and being up way later than I’m allowed to be. Maybe I should study some arcane disciplines. Can I Major in Magic? How about computers? I’m good at computers and programming could be a good choice, what’s the word? Lucrative (in the voice of Gerhardt) for the future. Maybe I’ll take a few writing courses — a Minor. And I’ve gotta do some physical activity. Maybe running or swimming or boxing or something. I dunno…but the Freshman #15 is kinda scary. Maybe I should just do all thrCOMET!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! THE COMETS ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!
(Car door thud // thud)

Uh, Matty, what was that?

(Gravel. Snap! Crunch. Crunchcrunchcrunch)

(Aloud) Shit.

(Crackle)

(Finger-waggling and murmuring) Time to vanish.

(Nasally voice) “Gawd! I can’t believe you dragged me out here in, like, the middle of the night for some stupid stars or something? You’re, like, totally selfish.”

(Hesitant voice) “Uh, sorry Cindy. I thought it would be fun to stay out late and star-gaze. Isn’t it you know, a little romantic?”

(Prowl)

(Inner monologue) Actually, it IS kinda cute…and a little pathetic since someone doesn’t really care.

(Nasally voice) “You can be such a pleeb sometimes, Chucky.”

(Plaintive voice) “Hey, I asked you not to call me that. You know my parents call me that and I hate it.”

(Inner monologue) Wait. That voice sounds familiar. I’ve got to sneak a little closer so I can get a better look.

(Nasally voice) “So, like, what are we supposed to be doing? Just waiting for stars to fly by or something?”

(Inner monologue) O.M.G. I wanna punch this twit right between the eyes.

(Hesitant voice) “Uh, well we can hang out, relax, and watch the STARS stay still while we wait for the COMETS to fly by.”

(Nasally voice) “Whatever. I’m bored. Can we go now?”

(Plaintive voice) “But we just got here!”

(Inner monologue) Beat it! Scram! Skeedaddle! Shoo! You’re ruining MY night too!

(Nasally voice) “I don’t care. Look, if you take me home right now I’ll let you get to second base.”

(Excited voice and Hazel in unison) “Really?” // “Eeew!”

(Hesitant voice) "Did you hear that?

(Inner monologue) Shit. Good goin’ Hazel. You’d better start prowling away from here.

(Nasally voice) “Hear what? All I hear is you breathing, like, super-loud. You sound like a vacuum.”

(Thud. Snap! Crunchcrunchcrunch)

(Hesitant voice) “C’mon Cindy, I think someone is out here.”

(Nasally voice) “Uh, now you’re kinda scaring me Chucky. Look, second-base is gone. I just wanna go home…right. now.”

(Hesitant voice) “Come on let’s go check it out.”

(Finger-waggling and murmuring)

(Inner monologue) Is he casting a spell? Oh shit. This is NOT good.

(Magic Lore)

(Inner monologue) Oh shit. Shitshitshit! He’s casting ‘see the unseen’! I’m a goner.

(Prowl)

(Car door slam // thud)

(Car engine starts)

(Hesitant voice) “Cindy? Cindy! Hey, what are you doing?!?!”

(Car window rolls down) “Chucky, you treated me so badly tonight you can find your own ride home.”

(Plaintive voice) “Cindy! You can’t be serious. You’re just gonna leave me here?”

(Nasally voice) “You really hurt me tonight Chucky. You’d rather sit around outside in the darkness than get to second base.”

(Inner monologue) With her? That’s a no-brainer!

(Apologetic voice) “Cindy! I’m sorry. You know it’s not like that! Wait a sec and let me explain!”

(Car engine rev) “Whatever. Have fun with your stupid little stars.”

(Apologetic voice) “Cindy! Come back! Please, don’t leave me here!”

(Car peels out and drives away)

(Desperate voice) “Wait! Cindy! Come back!”

(Nasally voice fading in the distance) “Second base!!!!!”

(Sad voice // Hazel in unison) “Cindy! Com…MET!!!” // “COMET!!!”

(Sad voice…perked up) “Hey, wait a minute! I knew someone was out here. Show yourself! If you don’t come out I’ll find you eventually!”

(Perception)

(Finger-waggling and mumbling)

(Globe of Bright Light)

(Inner monologue) Oh boy. Is that a sphere of sunlight? This guy has a lot to learn about magic. There goes your Nightvision. Oh, and way to paint a big ol’ target on your forehead.

(Inquisitive voice) “Hello? I know you’re out there.”

(Silence)

(Sullen voice) “I’m here to watch the comets too. I know you’re shy. Or scared. I won’t hurt you.”

(Hazel from behind) “Scared? You couldn’t spot me with a see the unseen spell. I’m not afraid of you. Besides, shouldn’t you be off chasing your girlfriend? Or were you gonna try to steal second base?”

(Startled voice) “Hey! Where did you go?”

(Hazel from behind) “I’m right here.” (Tap on the shoulder) “You should know that a sphere of sunlight will disperse shadows but it also creates MORE shadows so if I were shadow-blended I might not be able to get close enough to you to tap you on the shoulder but you might have given me an escape route that wasn’t there before.”

(Surprised voice) “Ah! What? Oh, I see what you mean. But I cast See the Invisible. I should be able to see you now, right?”

(Hazel, stepping out of the shadows) “Yes, if I hadn’t blended in with the shadows. But I used multiple layers of protection. Just. In. Case. See me now that I’m in the circle of your sphere of sunlight? That’s because of your See the Unseen spell. When I blend in with shadows you can’t see me even with the See the Unseen spell.”

(Inquisitive voice) “Wow…you’re really smart. I’m Charlie.”

(Hazel, now fully visible) “Thanks. I’m Hazel.”

(Charlie, thoughtfully) “Hazel, hazel, hmm…do I know you from somewhere? I could swear I’ve seen you before.”

(Hazel) “Maybe at the book store in town. I work there part-time when I’m not in school.”

(Charlie) “Oh yeah? Ohhh! I remember you now! What college do you go to?”

(Hazel, hesitantly) “Uhh…well right now I’m staying local and living at home to save money.”

(Charlie) "Oh, that’s kewCOMET!!!! // (Hazel in unison) COMET!!!!

(Hazel) “If you wanna stick around and star-gaze I’ll give you a ride home on my bike later.”

(Charlie) “You would? Aww, that’s really nice of you! Thank you!”

(Hazel) “Don’t mention it. I kinda feel badly seeing as how you just got dumped and all.”

(Charlie) “Ouch. Hazel, was it? You’ve got a sharp tongue. I like that.”

(Hazel rolls her eyes) “Yeah, I see that and you can stow it. Second base drove away. I’m just here for the stationary stars and shooting comets.”

(Charlie grinned) “That’s a really kewl shirt.”

(Hazel smiled sheepishly) “Thanks. It’s my favorite.”

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When will it come 2
Hello Matty? It's me Hazel...

Matty, I’m like…super stressed. Y’know I always thought it was weird that I’m sixteen years old and I haven’t gotten my period yet. The Anatomy and Physiology textbook Gerhardt uses for class says that girls can start their menstruation cycle anywhere between 12 and 16. Well I’m sixteen! I must be late! I found a bunch of interesting stuff on Goggle but I don’t know what’s true and what’s bullshit. I tried to ask Fredericca and she just brushed me off saying it would happen when I was ready. Well what if I’m never ready!?!? I’m stuck here in this house like some captured animal. This house is a fucking prison! It’s not fair that Jesper got a car! He’s only two years older than me and he got a car when HE was sixteen! I mean, they let me get a job and thank god for that, but I have to take the bus unless I want Gerhardt to drive me! There’s no way I’m gonna show up at the book store getting out of my “daddy’s car” ugh like I’m some little fourteen year-old shit.

Ooh! Look at this website I found:

http://www.ubykotex.com.au/healthy-vagina/pregnancy/late-menstrual-cycle/

It says,

“Your first period is so special it has its own name, it’s called Menarche (rhymes with anarchy) and it’s the beginning of your menstrual cycle that will be with you for a lot of your life. Waiting for your first period can be a stressful time for some girls – it helps to be prepared with all the relevant facts. It’s also useful to practice with the different period products, like tampons or pads that are available.”

What. The. Fuck.

PRACTICE?!?!? JESUS!!!!! How am I supposed to get stuff to practice with?!?! O.M.G. I’m flipping out! What if it comes and I’m not ready for it!?!?

This website is such bullshit! Look what else it says:

What happens if you are 16 and you still haven’t got your period?

Some girls get their menstrual cycle later in life. In fact it happens so often, to so many girls around the world, that it also gets a special name, Primary Amenorrhoea (doesn’t rhyme with anything). It’s a big fancy name for the fact that your body hasn’t started its menstrual cycle but lots of your friends probably have. It’s not a big deal, and many of your friends might even be jealous that you don’t need to worry about PMS or having tampons with you 24/7 – not that they are likely to admit it!

Why does this sound like it was written by someone who didn’t get their period…like…EVER?!?! Lots of my friends? What friends? People are jealous of me because I don’t have to worry about PMS or having…DIAPERS?!?! Are they also jealous of Fredericca the old hag and her MENOPAUSE?!?! This is such horseshit! Matty, hear me out on this one, will you?

Why though? I need to know WHY? Did I do something wrong?

What causes your menstrual cycle to develop late?

Your chromosomes are tiny, tiny parts of the building blocks of your body (DNA). They tell your body how to develop, how big to grow, what colour hair to have as well as heaps more.

BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH — enough of that!

Chromosomes get passed down from your mum and your dad – so chances are if your period is a bit delayed mum and grandma’s may have come late too. It might be a worry to you now but the truth is your period will no doubt come quicker than Miley Cyrus next single.

Are they fucking kidding me? What was this written in 2014? This shit is so OLD!!! No wonder it’s not telling me anything! This is MODERN SCIENCE!!! Not some stone-age prehistoric bullshit! What’s going on with my…um. What’s going on with me?!?!

Your Hypothalamus (the big bit at the back of your brain) is like a mini control centre for lots of functions of your body. It gets your temperature right, makes you hungry and thirsty and it also controls your period. Heaps of things can mess with your Hypothalamus; like eating habits, too much or too little exercise or lotsa stresses.

Yeah yeah yeah…what of it?

In very few cases there may have been some probs you have had with you your whole life but only start appearing now – so if you are really worried about not getting your period yet its best to chat with mum, your doctor or a close friend.

Hypo-what? Gerhardt’s Anatomy and Physiology class must have missed a few things. I can’t talk to my MUM — what is this a British accented website? My doctor? Hah! I still see the family pediatrician! And he’s a creepy old German dude who smells like soup. How is he gonna know what’s going on with my…uh vagina. Eew. It’s so weird to write that word. I guess I can say it to you because you’re my diary. Vagina. Uh, Matty? Are you there?

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My Parents Suck
I want a car so badly

4) Once you have written out your profile, start writing about your day. In the first entry, when you mention people, write what relationship you have with them: Are they your best friend, worst enemy or crush? That way, in 50 years, you will know.

Today sucked. Gerhardt can be such a dick. Oh, the instructions say that I should explain my relationship to the people I mention. Gerhardt and Fredericca adopted me fifteen years ago when I was…well, zero. They raised me alongside their “real” children as indistinguishable from the ones they actually contributed to making. Three boys! Great! Grand! Wunderbar! Achtung! God must not have wanted them to have a baby girl. Gerhardt says, “He works in mysterious ways.” I wonder what would have happened if they had actually had a girl. I’d have gone to an orphanage or another pair of foster parents. Maybe no one would take me in. What if no one had wanted me? That’s depressing.

I don’t know anything about my real parents. Should I call them “birth-mother” and “birth-father?” That sounds like the kind of crap they teach you about in public school. I call them my REAL parents because they are. I am the result of their…sex. Whatever that’s like. Ugh! I feel so sheltered sometimes. Maybe that’s what I’m really missing by being home-schooled; sex, drugs, and forbidden music! Think of all the bad decisions I could be making! It’s staggering. I bet my parents went to public school. Having four children just seems like a bad decision. Three could have been an accident…maybe. But they had to go through trouble to get me…pay money and stuff.

Gerhardt told me that my mom and dad were drug addicts. They were high as hell when they got into a brutal car accident and were rushed to the hospital. Can you believe that? My mom, nine months preggers, main-lining heroin just a few weeks before she was supposed to be, well…my mom. The shock to her system sent her into labor and I popped out twenty-three grueling hours later. My dad had died on the operating table, not from the crash, but from an overdose. I wonder if my mom even knew. She went into labor I popped out twenty hours later — kicking and screaming and just as addicted to heroin as she was. She lived. I lived. We both did. Isn’t that something to be happy about? Gerhardt never told me what happened but when two years ago I did a little digging (read: hacking) into some deep web stuff. I’d been messing around with the IRC and on some old BBS boards looking for the Shadowboard. I was able to dig up her police record and it said that she had committed suicide on March 1, 2000. She was found in her hospital bed with the bed straps around her neck, hanging off the gurney. I guess she really didn’t wanna be my mom.

Well, however it happened, I hope I was the result of “love” — of two people who are truly, deeply, passionately “into” each other. And I…oh, uh, hah…um. That was a bad pun. Sorry Diary.

Anyway, he wanted me to call him “dad” or “papa” or “father” or any of the other misleading bullshit titles. And I did that…until I found out. I called him “dad” and I called Fredericca “mom” until the day I learned they weren’t my real parents. It was my tenth birthday and Gerhardt and Fredericca threw me a little party. I was so excited! I can still see the gleam of the candles on the cake! The ten little flames danced like will o’ wisps and fireflies before me. My eyes were as big and round as saucers, gray-green pools of smoky, murky water — not the crystal blue of an azure glacial tarn. I was dressed in my best Sunday dress with flowers! Everyone was there. Well everyone in my little world — which didn’t really extend out past the front door. Gerhardt, Fredericca, Conrad, Roman, and Jesper. Conrad, being the oldest and most observant announced to no one in particular. “Hazel is the only one in the whole family who doesn’t have blond hair. Pa? Why does Hazel look so different? Her hair is dark and her eyes are gray…ish. And she’s kinda short and scrawny. Ma?”

They hushed him at the time and I was so enthralled by the presents and the cake that it hardly registered. I hardly noticed that I didn’t look like my family. I was the ugly duckling. My mom and dad were tall, robust, thick-shouldered and blond-haired. Their piercing blue eyes had been passed on to all three boys. Later that evening when the festivities had quieted down I looked at my dad and looked at myself and “measured up.” I asked him point blank. “Why do I look different? Am I ugly?” Gerhardt smiled and hugged me and told me the truth: That I was not his and Fredericca’s daughter by birth but that they had adopted me.

(blot of water // water splotches on the page)

Fredericca and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye but she doesn’t have much time to devote to mother-daughter bonding with all the doting she does on my brothers. Excuse me, “her sons.” They’re NOT my brothers. Roman, Conrad, and Jesper may call me their “sister” but I know better. They are 2 years, 3 years, and 5 years older than me. And they have a lot more freedom. I know I know, Diary, I’m a girl blah blah blah. I can defend myself. I know MAGIC!!!!

I want a car so badly!

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What's in a Name
That which we call a rose by any other name...

Would it still smell as sweetly as me? As little ol’ Hazel? Or would it smell as sweetly Lashe’evadne blahblahblah? Gah, why did Gerhardt care about poetry so much? What about names? You don’t have a name yet. So, Diary, what will your name be? Diane the Diary? Diarrhea the Diary? Diode the Diarrhea Diary? That sounds like alliteration.

What shall I call you? Brunhilda? Esmerelda? Griselda? — that’s my…well, one of my middle names. Helga? Olga? Matilda? Matilda? Hmm…that one might stick. Well, Matilda, as you know, I am Lashe’evadne Sycorax-Circe Griselda Duchesne. Now, I’m not sure where “Matilda” comes from but Goggle says it is Gothic in origin derived from the words mahta (meaning “might” or “strength”) and hildr (meaning “battle”). Might in battle! That’s awfully symbolic! But I think it would get you picked-on at public school.

Just like I named you, Gerhardt says someone named me but he won’t say who; it’s on my birth-certificate though, whatever that means. He says he doesn’t know but assumes it was my parents: Two drug addicts who were dead before I even opened my eyes. What’s in a name? My name doesn’t mean anything as kewl as yours…I’m sure. Let’s pull Goggle up and see what all those different names mean and where they come from.

(humming) Hmmm…Goggle. Whoever invented this thing was a genius! It’s like…the information super-highway is at my fingertips! And I’m wasting all that brainpower on something silly like my name. Ah! Here it is!

Lashe means…well, Goggle says it might not mean anything! Evadne is some kind of Greek woman who had sex with Apollo. Sycorax was a vicious and powerful witch — fiction — in a play called The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Hmm…it says she was banished to an island for practicing magic so strong she could control the moon! Whoa! Maybe one day that will be me! All alone and miserable with no friends except my diary. Hey wait a minute! That’s not fair! Matilda you pulled a fast one on me! Let’s keep going. Circe — ooh! There’s another Greek reference. This one is a goddess of magic. Oh. Um, it says she might have just been a witch. Ugh. Is someone trying to tell me something? Next! Griselda? It was in a couple of stories that I’ve never heard of. Chaucer’s Canterbury tales sounds familiar. That’s in Olde Englishe, though, and Gerhardt has a hard-on for anything old and English.

Speaking of hard-ons. Ick. I saw Roman doing something…weird two nights ago. I woke up in the middle of the night because I had to pee. It was really dark and I couldn’t see the clock but it was probably like one or two. I tiptoed to the bathroom like I usually do because I didn’t want to wake anyone up and those old floorboards creak so badly in the hallway. That’s when I noticed it. There was a small light on in his room — like from his reading lamp — and the door was cracked just enough for me to peek. It sounded like he was out of breath or something. Like he was exercising. Why was Roman exercising in the middle of the night? Why do I have some of the stupidest brothers — sorry, UNRELATED, so step-brothers by well, marriage, nah…adoption I guess. I peered through the crack in the doorway and looked around the room until I saw Roman laying on his bed with his y’know thing in his hand and it was sticking straight up! He was making these grunting noises like when Morgenstern gets all whiny for table-scraps after dinner.

Grosss! It was so weird looking and and…I dunno, I felt like guilty or something…like I was invading his privacy or…I dunno. Why could he just keep the door closed — and LOCKED!

Gerhardt’s version of Health class was like the watered down shadow of Cliff’s Notes. I mean, I’m sixteen years-old so I’m not totally ignorant. I think Roman was doing “masterrbacion” on himself. The book says it’s normal. Sigh. I wish I had another girl to talk to. My female-parent — Fredericca — barely acknowledges me. I feel like she didn’t even want me! Or maybe she did 16 years ago but now she doesn’t…or maybe she regrets adopting me. Maybe god was punishing her by not giving her a baby girl and they just went out and got one anyway. Why is life so unfair? I wish I had a sister. She can be such a bitch sometimes like she’s the queen of the house. I just don’t bow and scrape to her like the boys do. She’s supposed to be the one who helps me out here! Matilda, Matty, we haven’t even had the “woman” talk yet! Gerhardt said in Anatomy and Physiology that Fredericca would be doing my half of the “practical” education. He’s such a wuss. I guess I’ll have to learn it on my own.

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