Ripple Effect

Fluffy, white clouds drifted through the afternoon sky, blocking the sun from expelling its full heat on the plaza. The walkways were made of cracked brick roads, weather beaten marble buildings, and a large fountain in the center which had run bone dry. Several shops lined the sides of the plaza, mostly abandoned with dust settling in each window. Two sisters walked down the brick roads, refreshing ice cream cones held in their hands as they searched for their destination.
“Aww, I wish I would have gotten the vanilla!” The smaller sister whined, looking miserably down at her chocolate scoop.
“Here, we can trade.” The older sister smiled, giving the younger one her cone and trading for the chocolate, she ruffled her light brown hair.
The younger sister smiled appreciatively and began licking the ice cream gracefully. Out of the corner of her eye she glimpsed a dark figure, she widened her eyes and grabbed at her sister’s black skirt.
“That’s a scary man, Hazel!” The girl pointed wildly at the tall, brown haired, middle-aged man. He walked around the farthest shop nonchalantly with a long black trench coat on.
“Juliet. It’s not nice to point.” Hazel replied lazily, glancing at the man.
“No Hazel, he’s a scary man, just like mommy used to say!” Juliet tugged at her sister.
Hazel looked up from her ice cream, her blood turning icy at the mention of their mother.
“Mom was crazy, Juliet. You know that. Don’t talk like that.” The words came out more harshly than desired, yet she just continued licking her ice cream.
“She wasn’t crazy…” Juliet mumbled, but getting the hint, she returned to her ice cream as well.
***
Hazel and Juliet returned to their house, feeling the cool rush of air conditioning as they walked through the door. Hazel looked over and smiled at Juliet’s sticky face, and bent down to her height.
“You can’t say anything about what you were saying in the plaza today, okay? You shouldn’t be saying it anyways but I don’t want dad having one of his episodes.” She looked sternly at her sister as she said the words, Juliet nodded with understanding.
“Girls! I’m in the kitchen! Supper’s ready! Get it while it’s hot!” Their dad yelled from the kitchen followed by a loud banging sound. The girls looked at each other and giggled as they walked into the dining room.
“Ooh pizza!” Juliet cried appreciatively, her stomach grumbling as she ran towards the table.
“How was your day?” Hazel asked, opening the box and pulling out a large slice of the cheese pizza.
“Eh, fine. Burt just broke up with his fiancé so he has been mulling around, slacking off on the job! Those cases are not going to defend themselves, I don’t know what he’s thinking! And Marie is ignoring Bob…” Their father droned on, talking animatedly with his hands. Juliet and Hazel smiled at their dads work drama as they ate.
***
Hazel walked to school slowly the next morning, worried about what her sister had said. Her long dark hair was pulled into a ponytail that swayed back and forth to the rhythm of her pace. Her thoughts overwhelming her, twisting into different scenarios, if it hadn’t been for a tall, blonde, blue eyed boy, calling her name, she may have missed her high school all together.
“Earth to Hazel!” He shouted, dramatically waving for her attention. She snapped out of her thoughts and turned towards him, noticing his hair was messy and his shirt was inside out.
“What did you just roll out of bed or something, Jesse?” She gestured towards his shirt and hair, then she noticed the pink smear on his lips as he put a hand around her waist.
“Hey babe. I missed you, why didn’t you come to Chelsie’s party with me?” He smiled charmingly, kissing the top of her head as she walked. A strong smell filled her nose when a sudden breeze passed them, woman’s perfume. She pushed him away.
“Have you been sleeping with someone?” Her eyes narrowed.
“What? No!” He shifted nervously, running a hand through his hair.
“You liar.” She said the words with as much venom as one could muster, and began to walk away when he grabbed her wrist with a steely grip.
“Look, I’m sorry babe, I was smashed!” He pulled her closer to kiss her but she smacked him with her free hand. His eyes turned dark and Hazel’s eyes widened as she watched his face ripple, revealing a demonic form in its place for half a second, and when she blinked it was normal again.
“Let go of me Jesse. We’re done.” She tried to keep a serious, brave voice, but her words cracked, showing the fear in her eyes. He smiled maliciously, tightening his grip to where her wrist began to hurt.
“Hey, buddy, do we have a problem here?” A tall, dark headed boy with piercing green eyes walked over to them, holding a beaten up skateboard.
“Not that’s any of your concern.” Jesse shifted his dark gaze to the boy, Hazel took the opportunity to knee him in his weakest spot, forcing his grip on her to release as he doubled over in pain.
“Leave me alone.” She spat at him. Then, turning to the other boy she smiled, “Thanks.”
“Thanks for what? You seem to have it covered there.” His eyes sparkled as he smiled at her.
“I took some self-defense classes a few years ago.” Hazel shrugged.
“What made you take those?” He asked as they began walking side by side towards the entrance of the school. Hazel looked at the ground as she remembered why.
Two years ago when Hazel had been fifteen, she began to get the creepiest feeling like someone was watching her. She would catch glimpses of figures but never catch an actual person, when she would look in the direction, they would be gone. After telling her best friend Chelsie about the fear, Chelsie had told a group of people who all thought it would be funny to kidnap Hazel when she was walking home from school. They had shoved her in a van with a bag over her head, talking in fake Latin. The experience had tormented her, and the feeling of being helpless was terrible, so she decided she wanted to know how to defend herself.
“Just felt like I should know how.” Hazel replied after the memory faded. The boy looked at her with a gaze that said, I know you’re not telling me the whole story but I’m not going to push it.
“Well, I think that was a good thing to learn. By the way, my name is Thomas. I just moved here from LA.” He talked casually, his voice steady and smooth. Hazel mentally scolded herself for not asking his name herself.
“I’m Hazel,” She began, but they had just arrived at her class room, “Oh, well this is me, um, see you around, Thomas.” She smiled and walked away.
“See you around, Hazel.” He called after her.
***
“Oh. My. God. DID YOU SEE THE NEW GUY?” A strawberry haired girl squealed excitedly at Hazel.
“Um yeah I just ran into him before first block.” She replied distantly.
“He is just so cute! Did you find out his name?” Her hands fiddled with her hair and she leaned over to show off her cleavage as she spoke. Hazel recognized the maroon hoodie resting on the girl’s shoulders.
“Chelsie. Where did you get that jacket?” Hazel asked the question yet she already knew the answer, it was Jesse’s jacket. Chelsie’s lips quivered, her pink lipstick was slightly smeared.
“Hazel…” She began, but in an instant her face rippled and a darkness was revealed, just like Jesse. Hazel backed away from her, eyes wide, she turned and ran down the hallway, “HAZEL!” Chelsie screamed after her but she didn’t dare turn around.
***
Hazel sat crouched behind the school for the rest of the day. Her jaw trembled as she hugged her knees into her chest, I’m going crazy just like my mom. She thought to herself. The wind began to turn cold and strong, strands of her dark hair which escaped her ponytail blew around wildly. The distant sound of a bell signaled the end of school, yet she remained glued in her position.
“Hey.” A voice spoke, making her jump. She turned to find a pair of piercing green eyes staring into her icy blue ones. He crouched down next to her with an empathetic face.
“Hey.” She replied. Her voice cracked from not being used. Goose bumps rose on her arms as a large gust of chilly wind hit them, her black tank top giving no warmth.
They sat in silence for several minutes. Staring at the tall forest that loomed behind the school, dark and thick, yet green, lush and beautiful.
“Here.” Thomas pulled off his black hoodie he’d been wearing and placed it over Hazel’s shoulders. She smiled gratefully and slipped her arms through the sleeves, it was big and hung loose on her, but it was warm.
“Thank you.” She said the words in almost a whisper, still staring at the forest. The air smelled of fresh rain, and looking up at the sky she saw large storm clouds rolling in.
“I’ll walk you home.” Thomas said as he noticed the coming storm as well. He sat up and offered Hazel a hand, she took it and they walked towards the road.
“I live down 2nd St. and Sherman, is that out of your way?” Hazel asked as she pulled the hair tie out of her hair, which by that point was only holding a few locks of hair.
“Not at all. I live down that road too.” He shifted his skateboard that he’d been carrying, into his other arm.
“Oh okay. Why um, did you guys move to Portland?” Hazel gazed at him as they walked.
“This is where my mom is from. Her and my step-dad were tired of the LA scene and decided to move back to Oregon.” He shook his hair out of his eyes and looked at Hazel, catching her staring he smiled.
“Oh. That must have sucked to leave all of your friends behind.” Her face was red with embarrassment.
“Nah, they were all fake anyways.” An angry looked flashed in his eyes but disappeared in a second. Hazel understood how that felt.
They walked together the rest of the way, saying small talk and laughing at the stupidity of the world. They exchanged numbers as he walked her to her doorstep and as she was entering the house she suddenly remembered,
“Thomas, wait, your hoodie!” But when she turned around, he was gone.
***
The next few weeks Hazel and Thomas walked to school together and back, hanging out on weekends as well, spending every spare moment with each other.
The weather was gloomy and dark, which already put Hazel into a bad mood. Walking into the school and discovering almost every senior had been sent a video of Hazel from her sophomore year, screaming when she was fake kidnapped, was too much for her to bare. It had only been about two seconds of standing in the school to find out, at which point she turned and ran out. Just her luck, it began pouring down rain. She looked around the campus for a dry place to stand until it let up and she could go home, when she spotted Thomas heading towards the woods. Running in his direction she called out for him.
“Thomas! Hey!” When she finally caught up to him she was soaking wet. He looked over at her surprised with a mix of something else she couldn’t quite grasp.
“What are you doing out here?” He asked.
“You haven’t seen it yet?” She had to shout over the loud rain to be heard. Thomas shook his head and waited for her to explain.
“Follow me.” He said after she was finished explaining the video. He took her hand and guided her into the woods where trees made a canopy to shelter them from the rain. Both of them were soaked, their black t-shirts clung to them uncomfortably.
“What were you doing out here?” She asked him, looking around at their surroundings, the fresh smells of rain and pine relaxing her.
“Just getting some fresh air.” He replied nonchalantly. Then his face turned serious, “I need you to tell me what’s been bothering you.” Hazel was taken aback by this, but she knew what he was talking about.
“Okay,” She began, taking a deep breath and finding a dry patch of moss to sit on, he followed her lead, “Three years ago, when I was fourteen and my sister was seven, my mother was institutionalized. She would talk to my sister and I about how she could see peoples dark souls and how we should learn too, that it was the only way to protect ourselves. She would go on and on about it, and when our father found out she was telling us, he put her in the nut house. Two years after she had been there, she killed herself,” He nodded for her to continue as they picked at the moss, “Lately, my sister has been talking about the same things my mother used to, and it’s really starting to worry me…” Hazel left out the part that she was starting to go crazy too.
“I don’t think your sister is crazy, Hazel.” He looked very serious when he said it, like he knew exactly what she was talking about. She sighed, the feeling of a large weight off her shoulders from telling someone was relieving.
“There’s one more thing…” She began, intending to tell him about what she’d been seeing, but was interrupted by the sound of her phone ringing.
“Hello?” She answered.
“Where are you? Your principal called and said you are absent! I will not have you skipping school, doing drugs and having sex young lady! Not while you are living under my roof! Get home NOW!” There was a click and the phone hung up.
“Well, I think I should be headed home now…” She smiled sheepishly at Thomas.
“I’ll walk you home,” He said, Hazel was about to protest when he held up his hand to stop her, “I want to make sure you get home safe, I am headed in that direction anyways.” He gave her a hand and pulled her off the ground.
***
“Wait, I still have your hoodie, I can run in and grab it if you like, I keep forgetting!” Hazel was prepared to run into the house and bring his hoodie but he shook his head.
“No I want you to keep it.” He smiled and leaned in to kiss her.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” She smiled, he smiled back and watched her go into the house.
Walking through the door and into the house she could sense an episode about to begin.
“WHY ARE YOU WET? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I HAVE BEEN WORRIED SICK ABOUT YOU! YOU CANNOT JUST SKIP SCHOOL AND RUN AROUND DOING GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT!” The veins in her father’s head were popping out and his face was beat red. He continued yelling, waving his arms around dramatically for emphasis. After what felt like several hours of him yelling, he finally calmed down enough to remember they needed to pick up Juliet from school. Hazel began to walk away while her father got his keys but he stopped her, “Oh no missy, you are coming with me.” Hazel sighed heavily and followed him out the door, grabbing Thomas’s black hoodie on the way out since she was still freezing from her wet clothes.
“I’m sorry dad.” She mumbled to him as he gripped the steering wheel so tight his knuckles turned white. He didn’t reply and they drove in silence until reaching the elementary school where she went to get Juliet.
Every step Hazel took echoed around the empty halls, and the florescent lights flickered strangely. She finally reached her sister’s classroom and walked in, as soon as her sister caught sight of her she ran over, face white with panic. Hazel’s heart beat fast at Juliet’s expression.
“What’s wrong Jules?” She asked, embracing her sister.
“The man! The scary man is here!” Juliet whispered harshly into her ear. Hazel looked up and around the classroom, spotting a tall, middle aged man with brown hair and a long black trench coat. He stood facing away from Hazel, and in all the ruckus of the elementary kids running around and talking, she couldn’t quite figure out what he was doing there. The man began to turn around slowly to face Hazel, sending an eerie chill up her spine, she turned and ran out the door with Juliet holding her hand before she could see his face.
“It’s okay Juliet, I believe you.” Hazel panted from running out of the school.
“Hazel, the scary man wants to hurt us!” Juliet squealed as they approached the car.
“He won’t, I will protect you Jules, and he isn’t going to hurt us.” She squeezed her sisters’ hand tight and smiled. Hazel watched as Juliet climbed into the back seat and she hopped into the front, her father seemed to have loosened his grip on the steering wheel and smiled back at his younger daughter.
“How was your day sweetheart?” He asked as he started the engine and pulled out of the school parking lot. Juliet looked nervously at Hazel, who shook her head trying to say, no. Don’t tell him.
“Daddy. I saw a scary man.” She uttered the words and with each one Hazel could feel the tension in the car, and her dad’s face turned paper white.
“What do you mean?” He demanded. Juliet kept her eyes down.
“Hazel, can I sit in the front?” Hazel widened her eyes at the random question and she noticed her dad’s knuckles turn white again.
“Um sure.” She replied, unbuckling her seatbelt and climbing into the back. Juliet did the same and climbed into the front.
“What do you mean Juliet?” Her father demanded more urgently. Hazel’s heart beat fast as she felt her father growing angrier by the moment.
“Jules, put on your seatbelt.” Hazel blurted out to distract from the question. Juliet looked back at Hazel and stuck out her tongue playfully but their father persisted the question,
“JULIET LITTLETON, WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” He shouted this time, making Juliet snap back to his attention.
“He was a bad man, with a very dark soul! Ask Hazel, she believes me!” Juliet said defiantly. Hazel shut her eyes in disbelief. Great. She thought. Her father turned to look at her, his face almost purple with anger.
Suddenly Hazel was upside down, the smell of burnt rubber filling her nose, the sounds of glass shattering and metal screeching and filled her ears, and pain shot through her whole body as everything when black.
***
“Hazel. Hazel.” She woke to her father’s voice, cracked and broken, calling her name. Opening her eyes she found she was lying on the ceiling of the car, pain filled her head and limbs, her chest burned as she breathed in thick smoke. Her dad was hanging upside down, stuck in his seatbelt, as she crawled closer she could see that blood covered his face and chest, there was so much that it was impossible to see where he was injured.
“Dad!” She croaked, barely audible. His eyes were drooping open and he turned slightly to look at her.
“You-You have to,” He coughed up his own blood, salty tears ran down his face, “You have to know, your mom, she,” He coughed again, “She wasn’t crazy. It’s real, and they are after you.” He weakly held out his hand to her face, she took it into her hand as he continued, “She thought,” he wheezed, “It would be safer for you and Juliet and her if she was locked away, she wouldn’t bring attention to you and they couldn’t get her in the,” He coughed more harshly, “in the asylum. But she was, she was wrong Hazel, they got her, you have to run,” He wheezed and coughed, “I love you Hazel.” His hand went limp and his eyes shut.
“DAD? DAD! NO STAY AWAKE! YOU CAN’T DIE! DAD!” Hazel screamed as warm tears fell down her face, she shook his hand vigorously but he did not wake, “NO! NO! NO!” Hazel screamed as she cried so hard she felt like she would vomit. She looked at the passenger’s seat but saw nothing, her sister hadn’t worn her seatbelt. Hazel looked through the broken windshield and spotted the small body of her sister in a sea of broken glass on the road. Every part of her burned and hurt but she had to get to her sister, she crawled over the broken glass which tore and shredded her clothes and skin until she reached Juliet. Her sister laid shivering, broken pieces of glass were tangled in her hair and wedged into every visible piece of skin. Hazel rolled the girl into her arms and held her.
“Jules, you have to stay with me, okay? You need to stay with me Jules.” Crying, Hazel reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. There were cracks covering the screen making it difficult to see but she managed to dial 9-1-1.
“9-1-1 what is your emergency?” A cool, relaxed female voice answered.
“My family and I have been in an accident, were on the shortcut through to 2nd and Sherman from the elementary school on 5th Avenue, please, we need an ambulance.” Hazel’s voice felt hoarse and her throat burned from the still smoking car. The sun was dipping into the horizon and a cool breeze was setting in. The forest that surrounded both sides of the little road, loomed menacingly at her, and suddenly she got an eerie sensation that sent chills down her spine. What was big enough to hit us and get away? She thought to herself.
“We will send an ambulance right away.” The woman replied.
***
It felt like she’d been sitting there with her sister curled in her arms for centuries. There was still no sign of an ambulance and she had no idea if her sister would make it. Dark thoughts clouded her mind as she remembered what she’d told her sister, “I’ll protect you.” She failed at protecting her sister when she promised she would, and then she let her sister get into the front seat. It should have been me. I should have been the one to go through that windshield, not my sister, I shouldn’t have let her get in the front seat. Tears streamed down her face like a never ending river of sorrow, her heart beating fast, then she thought of Thomas. Picking up her phone she began to feel spots dancing in her vision, her physical pain didn’t compare to the mental anguish she felt but she still needed to get to a hospital and who knew how long the ambulance would take at this point.
“Hello?” Thomas’s voice answered on the second ring.
“Thomas, my family and I have been in a really bad accident, please, please come! I called 9-1-1 and they still haven’t got an ambulance here, I don’t know how long it’s been but my dad is dead and my sister…I don’t think she’s going to make it, Thomas…” Hazel sobbed into the phone feeling helpless and alone.
“I’m going to use your iPhone’s GPS to find your exact location okay Hazel? It’s going to be okay I’m coming to get you.” Thomas’s voice revealed his panic and the phone clicked as he hung up.
***
Hazel was in and out of consciousness as she sat in broken glass, the sound of a car jolted her awake but she was in a daze. Her head was foggy and her arms and legs felt numb, she could barely panic when a brown headed man in a long black trench coat got out of the car and picked her up, she fell back into darkness.
***
When Hazel opened her eyes she was shocked by the bright florescent lights shining into them. She could feel a large plastic breathing mask over her nose and mouth and the rest of her body felt numb, only the distant burning sensation. Then the world faded once again.
***
Hazel woke again to find herself in a hospital bed, dressed in soft blue pajama pants and a white tank top with Thomas’s black hoodie. Her head was throbbing and her arms and legs stung with millions of glass cuts and bruises. The four walls surrounding her were painted white and she had to squint as her eyes adjusted to the bright lights. The memories of what had happened hit her like a semi-truck, causing a ball to form in her throat and her eyes stung with the threat of tears. A knock on the metal door to the room she was in made her jump, a man dressed in a blue uniform walked in.
“Hello, Hazel Littleton.” The cop said with a deep, gruff voice. She looked up at him and then down at her hands as she played with a loose string from the hoodie. “I’m here to inform you that you were in an accident.” Haze gave him a sarcastic no really? Look. He continued, “Did you see what hit you?” He asked as he pulled out a notepad and an expensive black pen.
“No.” Hazel was shocked at the hoarseness of her own voice.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your father was dead when we arrived and your sister died in the ambulance.” His tone was not sincere but even if it had been, those words were what Hazel had been dreading to hear. She wanted to explode in sadness, to let herself cry out her misery, but she held it in as the cop stood there. Suddenly it struck her, and she remembered the man in the trench coat carrying her into a car.
“What hospital is this?” She asked cautiously. The cop looked at her, and to Hazel’s horror, his face rippled, revealing for a split second, a demonic one in its place.
“I think it’s time you get some rest Hazel. Too many questions for one night.” The cop sneered and walked out of the room. My sister couldn’t have died in an ambulance because we weren’t brought here in an ambulance. She thought to herself. Hazel sat up and swung her legs over the side of the hospital bed, instantly feeling nausea overwhelm her, yet she stayed sitting up. She needed to get out of there and she knew it. Walking carefully forward she peeked through the rectangular window in the steel door, no one was in sight. Quietly she opened the door and slipped outside, heading toward the exit.
***
Just as she was almost passed the doors, she heard it. The faint cries of a familiar voice.
“Juliet.” She whispered, and took off towards her sister’s cries. Running through several twists and turns she finally arrive at a closed door, inside she could see a nurse holding a pillow over struggling Juliet’s face. Anger fired up inside Hazel as she pushed the door open, running in she was able to knock the nurse out with a vase from a small white table. Her sudden shock at Hazel being there wouldn’t last long so she grabbed her sister and ran.
***
With a few close calls she and Juliet finally made it out of the hospital in one piece, but from there she had no idea where to go. They were close to home, but that was the first place they’d be looked for. They had no parents, no phone, no money, no shoes, and it was freezing. No clue where to go or what was happening, Hazel and Juliet ducked into alleyways and side streets heading towards their house. Hazel spotted a group of teenagers walking down the street, dressed up and chatting about Orlando Bloom.
“Hey!” She called after them. One of the girls in the group with short blonde hair, turned towards her. Hazel ushered her sister behind her to be safe.
“Um what?” She called back in a snooty voice. Hazel didn’t like the girl’s attitude already but she needed a phone.
“Can I borrow your phone?” Hazel’s tone didn’t sound optional and the girl rolled her eyes, pulling out an iPhone with a sparkly case from a Prada bag. Hazel knew Thomas’s number by heart and dialed it without hesitation.
“Hazel? Is that you?” He answered on the first ring. How did he know it was me? Hazel quickly dismissed the thought but suddenly it seemed stupid to be calling him, she would sound totally crazy and he would probably hand her right over to the demonic police.
“Um yeah.” The blonde was sighing loudly and signaling to an invisible watch.
“Where are you? Tell me where you are!” He sounded panicked.
“I’m by lucky seven’s grocery. Juliet is with me, they tried to kill her Thomas.” Hazel replied as she glanced at the supermarket next to her.
“I’m on my way.” He said shortly and hung up. As Hazel handed the phone back to the girl she was surprised to see that it was almost five in the morning. Turning to her sister, she hugged her and cried tears of relief and happiness that she was alive.
“Where are we going to go Hazel?” Juliet asked, shivering from the cold.
“Someplace safe. I hope.” Hazel replied.
***
“Hazel. We have to get out of here.” Thomas pulled up in a black jeep and urged her and her sister into the car. She hesitated as the memory of crashing came back vividly, but Thomas kissed the top of her head and she got in.
“The cops, we can’t trust them! They’re…bad. Remember what I told you about my sister and mom?” Hazel was ready to spill everything and hope he didn’t think she was crazy when he signaled for her to stop.
“I know. I know about all of it.” He answered plainly. Hazel knit her eyes in confusion as they turned into the driveway of her house.
“How do you know? And what are we doing at my house? They’ll find us here!” She looked around anxiously at her sister, who seemed just as frightened as she was.
“You need to pack your things, both of you. We have to get you guys out of here, I need to take you someplace safe.” For a moment Hazel thought he was messing with her, playing a joke on the crazy girl, but his tone and expression was completely serious.
“Oh. Okay.” She opened the door and stepped out of the jeep, only to feel a sharp blow on the head cause her to fall on the pavement.
“Good job son.” A voice like nails on a chalk board spoke, a hand grabbed Hazel’s shoulder roughly and flipped her onto her back to face them. Hazel heard her sister scream from the car at the sight of the man. It was him, the man in the black trench coat. Hazel began to see double, her head throbbing from the blow she made sense of the situation slowly as she watched Thomas come into view.
“Step son, I am not your family. Leave her alone.” Thomas said darkly, locking eyes with the man. Hazel’s head still hurt but she began to regain her senses, realizing with a horrible twist what was happening.
“Aw. That’s so cute, you trying to defend her when you are the reason we were able to find her and her family in the first place.” His voice was slick and evil, Hazel got up, her eyes filled with hurt and betrayal, the man snickered, “Oh. Woops, guess your lover there didn’t know that little detail.”
“She isn’t a threat. Leave her alone!” Thomas raised his voice.
“Oh but she is. See, at first, we were just going to kill them all to make double sure that if the father or Hazel had the gift as well as the sister, they would all be eliminated. But then little Hazel here and Juliet decided to go and survive the crash, and so we now have to do away with both of them all over again.” He turned to lock eyes with Hazel, “Just like we killed your mother and your father.” With those words every bit of anger inside Hazel ignited and she felt power like never before. Before the man could register what happened, Hazel’s fist connected with his face, strength like never before caused the sound of broken bones. He collapsed on the floor, holding his jaw, kicking at Hazel’s legs he knocked her of balance. Thomas snapped into action and began punching him repeatedly, Hazel stood and kicked him in the ribs.
Anger fueled her and the next thing she knew, Thomas and her were standing over a bloody corpse. Tears ran down her face as she looked into Thomas’s eyes. He had helped her family get killed, sorrow and hatred overwhelmed her. She walked around the jeep, pulled out her sister and they ran towards the woods, thunder booming and lighting streaking across the sky.
Her heart beat fast and the ringing in her ears roared as the rain began to beat harder and harder down on the earth. Her dark hair blew wildly around her, lashing at her frozen cheeks. Thomas was running after them, his piercing green eyes gazing into her icy blue ones as he stopped them, standing in their path.
“I’m sorry Hazel, I love you, and I didn’t know it was going to be like this. And I’m sorry to you too, Juliet.” He reached a hand out to her elegantly pale face, but she smacked it away with delicate, freezing hands.
“Get away from us, you killed our parents and tried to kill us! You used me!” Hazel replied, yet her voice trembled from the cold rain, soaking into her bones. She knew Juliet must have been freezing as well, the trauma her sister was going through was not fair.
“I didn’t have a choice, he made me do it Hazel! I didn’t think it would matter, I didn’t think I would love you!” His tone turned strict and worried as he gazed at her. For seemingly the first time, hazel looked down at herself, with only those pale blue, cotton pajama pants and a white tank top with his black hoodie, her petite body trembled from the cold. She widened her stunningly large eyes as if realizing she was there for the first time. The boy grabbed her hand, attempting to guide her and her sister away but she pulled back in resistance.
“You did this to us!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, her throat burned, feeling raw from yelling, but she screamed, and screamed, the rain drowning it all out. Juliet just clung to her sister’s legs, crying as well for the loss of their father. Suddenly stopping, her eyes shut in defeat, tears began streaming down her face once again and she locked eyes with him.
“They killed them.” She gave into his open arms, sobbing, Juliet sandwiched in-between them.
***
Hazel’s eyes were swollen from tears, her throat raw and voice hoarse from screaming. She peered at Thomas in the driver’s seat and gave a faint smile.
“I forgive you Thomas. I know it was him.”
He smiled back at her and leaned in, kissing her.
He quickly returned his attention to the road, seeing Hazel’s nervous glances, the trauma of the crash still looming over her.
“Ewe. Get a room.” Juliet taunted from the back seat, they all had a moment of laughter that quickly faded.
“They will never stop hunting us.” Her expression turned stony as she stared out the window.
“Then we will never stop fighting. Together. I’ll protect you when you need to be protected, although it seems you are pretty good at this whole thing.” He smiled encouragingly, “I will never let anything happen to you. Either of you.” He looked back at Juliet through the review mirror.
“Why are you doing this? We’ve only known each other for a month.” She replied. He smiled and said,
“Romeo and Juliet only knew each other for a night.”
Hazel bit her lip and stared down at the freshly washed black hoodie that she wore. She smiled and found strength inside her. Reaching back for sister’s hand, she squeezed it. They would avenge their parents.


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