Haven Shorts – Chapter 4 – Episode 9 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on September 6, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 4 – Episode 9

The light changed. Sarah crossed her arms and turned toward Angelo’s Bakery. Maybe she should just get Sam something there. After all, lunch at the school cafeteria was always bad. There was no telling what leftovers they would be serving on the last day of school.

Sam was still her brother, even if he was a giant pain most of the time. He annoyed her, but not for the reasons most people thought he did. Sam had it easy; life just rolled off him. He blended in, he was under the radar, and no one ever noticed him. It was like he was invisible. And because of that, people were not always expecting things from him like they did from her. He could be himself and not what everyone expected him to be. Sam didn’t need to put walls up for protection like she did. He had everything—a great life, a best friend, and things were probably only going to get better from here.

Sarah, on the other hand, had none of that. Her friends could not be trusted; they were only her friends because she was popular, and she was only popular because of the way she looked. She could never call one of them up and confide in them, like Sam could Travis, without the whole school finding out. They were all superficial wannabes, pretending to care as long as she stayed popular. She hated who she had become, hated that she had to be so mean to everyone, including her own brother, but that’s what was expected—that was the price of popularity. She couldn’t even be normal in her own house anymore; she couldn’t remember how. She walked around so frustrated and angry all the time. The only restraint she could show was to her mother, because she was all they had left.

Every day she felt like she was getting closer and closer to the edge. She was scared of what might happen if she reached a breaking point. It was hard keeping it all bottled up inside. But what choice did she have? Who could she really tell? She knew the answer to that question—no one. She couldn’t tell her friends that there was more to life than being popular. That there was socializing for the simple purpose of getting to know someone and enjoying their company instead of how they could help you climb the social ladder. Going to the mall with your hair up, no makeup, and eating a big fat pizza without worrying about the carbs. She knew they would never go for that. They would just say that’s what ugly people do. Which was fitting, she thought, because she felt ugly inside, even though people thought she was so pretty. She wanted to tell them she was lonely for a real boyfriend; one that she could trust, not one that liked her for her looks and then cheated on her. She wanted someone to care about her and to like her for who she was as a person.

But again, what chance did she really have? She knew she would never let anyone inside the emotional walls she had built. The risk of being hurt was far too great. Her past choices in friends and boyfriends had taught her one thing—no one could be trusted. Perhaps she couldn’t be trusted to make the right choices either. After all, she was responsible for choosing her friends and Barry. Sarah walked toward the bakery and glanced over to see someone lurking in the alleyway. It was Marcus. He had a roguish smirk of his face.

“Well, well, it looks like the queen might have lost her king, and all because of her jester brother,” he said, laughing.

Sarah was not laughing. She loathed Marcus Snider. He was a bully and a pig. It made her angry just to look at him. For four years students had endured his rude and crude comments and for four years she had done nothing.

The jocks stayed away from him because he was rumored to have stabbed someone in a fight once. Whether it was true or not, Sarah didn’t know. But people had seen him fight on campus many times and he always won.

Sarah was not scared of him; she was more disgusted than anything. Someone needed to teach Marcus a lesson, and maybe the last day of his senior year was a good place to start.

“Keep your mouth shut, Marcus!” she said, her fist clenched at her side.

“Or what?” he shouted back. “Are you gonna call Daddy? Oh, no, wait,” he said putting his hand to his mouth like he was surprised. “You haven’t got a daddy, do you? Maybe your mommy is a little too prissy like her daughter, and no one wants a Dalcome woman!” he said, laughing.

Sarah began to walk toward Marcus, her ice blue eyes narrowing on the filthy, long-haired boy. To talk about her and her friends was one thing. To talk about her mother and father, that was something totally different.

“You had better shut your mouth, you creep!” she said, advancing on Marcus. She wasn’t sure what she was doing; she was no longer thinking straight.

Marcus laughed louder, and backed up into the alleyway.

“Come make me, pretty thing. We can talk about your daddy issues in here. I can be your daddy,” he said with a wink.

Sarah could feel the anger welling inside of her. It was the same anger her mother was always telling her to suppress.

Strange things happened when Sarah got angry. She didn’t know why or how, but sometimes things would break around her. It started about a month ago when she cut her finger on a kitchen knife while unloading the dishwasher. She winced in pain, mad at herself for not paying attention. Sarah became angry. It was at that point the glass of water sitting on the kitchen counter began to rattle. Then, suddenly the glass exploded, sending shards of glass in every direction. She had screamed and ran out of the kitchen. Another time, while she was in the garage looking for a school yearbook she had accidentally backed up into the yard tools hanging on the wall. They came crashing down. She shrieked and clenched her body tight as they fell to the ground around her. That’s when it happened—all eight sprinkler heads on the side of the house burst. Thin jets of water shot into the air nearly ten feet high. Prior to that the sprinkler system had not worked in years.

At first Sarah lied about what happened. She did not want to tell her mother—it just sounded too crazy. In the end, the truth came out, but to her surprise all that her mother said was “Suppression keeps you calm; calm places you in control.” But she said it as if she was thinking out loud, reciting it from memory or something. When Sarah asked if she believed her story, her mother replied, “The pipes are old; the whole house is falling apart, Dear.”

Sarah didn’t press the issue. Her mother had to be right. There was no way Sarah had anything to do with that.

Too much had happened this week with finals, finding out that Barry cheated on her, and worst of all, her so-called friends knowing what Barry had done and never saying a single word. Apparently, getting sick the day of a party was unacceptable girlfriend behavior punishable by cheating. If she had not overheard Blake Miller talking about it to one of the cheerleaders in the hallway, she would have never known. As it was, it took her a week to find out. Her girlfriends hadn’t said anything; they probably enjoyed humiliating her, and they couldn’t wait for the fall-out between her and Barry to happen.

So now, on top of all this, she had to deal with Marcus too. This creep, this low-life who was going to insult her family! Insult her dead father and the only parent she had left? No. Not today. Today she would not be calm. Today she wanted to be angry. Her anger was like a caged lion—beautiful, powerful, and dying to be set free.

Sarah walked between the two buildings with her hands clenched and knuckles white. She was determined to make Marcus suffer for every innocent kid he had ever picked on. For every girl he had ever humiliated. For every loathing comment that had slithered out of his mouth.

Marcus continued to laugh and motioned for her to come closer. Sarah kept walking until she was consumed in the shadows between the two buildings. She stopped to face Marcus.

“Take it back, Marcus!” she said. She was so angry that her hands were shaking. She let her backpack slide off her shoulder onto the ground.

Marcus was still grinning, as if he were a cat and she was a small, pathetic mouse.

Her anger was fueled by his vile remarks about the father she had never known, and her mother who tried so hard to take care of her and her brother. He had no right to cheapen that. She wanted to wipe that pathetic grin off his face.

Sarah reached down and picked up a rock the size of a baseball.

“You’re joking, right princess?” he said, looking at the rock.

“Shut up, Marcus, I told you to shut your mouth!”

“Or what? You’re going to throw a rock at me? Sweetheart, you’re gonna have to do a lot more than that to shut me up!”

Sarah reared back, and with all her might threw the rock as hard as she could. The rock soared through the air, but fell far from its intended target. It landed several feet to the left of Marcus.

He bellowed with laugher. It was a deep, gravelly, smoker’s laugh. To Sarah it was like nails on a chalkboard. It made her skin crawl.

Marcus bent over and picked up a rock of his own from near his feet. He had stopped laughing; his wicked grin faded into a taut thin line across his sallow face.

“Guess whose turn it is now, princess?” His stare narrowed and his eyes met Sarah’s. She could see the malice in his eyes. He hated her as much as she hated him.

Sarah stood her ground. She was breathing heavily and she could feel her pulse pounding in her head. She clenched her fists until her fingernails dug into her palms. She could feel her arms tremble.

Suddenly, there was loud rumble and several things happened at once. Deep cracks began to spread from the edges around a manhole that was between Sarah and Marcus. The cracks spread across the ground and up the sides of both buildings in the alleyway. Water burst from the manhole sending its enormous cover twenty feet into the air. The heavy steel lid came crashing down near Marcus. The cracks in the walls sprayed water through the crevices, and the sounds of pipes bursting and buckling behind the walls rang out.

Marcus fell to the ground, his eyes wide and face pale. “Earthquake!” he cried out. He got up and began to run.

Sarah could barely see him as he ran farther down the alleyway. She could feel the ground shake beneath her. She stumbled and fell to the ground, landing on her side. Water rained down on her and bricks fell from the sides of both buildings onto the street. She let out a loud scream.

Quickly, she got to her feet, turned, and began running as fast as she could toward school. She didn’t stop for her backpack or the traffic light at the end of the alleyway. Latecomers who were gathering across the street parted as a drenched girl ran past them, terrified. Sarah ran to the back of the campus toward the gymnasium. She didn’t stop running until she reached the back door. Quickly, she opened the door and closed it behind her. She looked down the hallway. No one was there. Everyone was in class. Sarah turned around, looking through the two small windows of the door. Fire trucks had pulled up next to the alleyway.

She leaned her dripping head against the door and tried to catch her breath. Her body was still trembling.

What in the world did I just do?

**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.

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Like many who enjoy the fantasy genre, Akers started reading it as an adolescent. He was fascinated with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Bram Stoker's Dracula. He currently enjoys reading works by Dean Koontz, Heather Brewer, J.K. Rowling, and Rick Riordan. Akers enjoys creating a fantasy world with compelling storylines, while injecting humor and a touch of drama into the action as he did with his first book Terra Vonnel and the Skulls of Aries, which has received rave reviews. "I start every story with this thought: Where can I take my audience now? To me it's about the journey, the escape into a world filled with the fantastic and the unexpected. There is nothing like an adventure that takes you further from reality with every turn of the page." D.C. Akers was born in Texas and after spending several years working in accounting, Akers began to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a writer.

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