T R A I T O R
Lisa thinks she knows everything about her new life. She can deal with the boundaries and even being torn away from her family. But Alex withheld more than she ever expected. Like, what happens when you lose control? How about when you begin to realize just how trapped you are? He leaves out a lot of stuff about himself too. He doesn’t mention the dangers of some of the others—or of what she herself can do…
Lisa lay across my lap as she scratched under Rat’s chin. He purred and kneaded his paws into my shirt. “Get that ugly cat off my bed.” I hid my face behind a Scott Westerfeld novel.
“If he goes then so do I,” Lisa decided, tugging at the corners of my book. “Is that what you want?” I touched a strand of her black hair. It was soft and silky—just like her flesh.
“Sometimes I’d like to be able to breathe.” I held back a grin. Really, I would. She was always around.
“In that case,” she sat up, “Rat and I will be going.” Lisa snatched her Himalayan cat and headed for the door. I grabbed her around the waist.
“I changed my mind.” I whispered in her ear. She giggled, falling backwards.
“Alex,” she sighed, “This is getting too intense. “I think you and I need some space.”
“Oh do you now?”
“Don’t you think that would help us out?” Her fingers intertwined with mine. “A little down time might give you a break from my new found neediness. I’ve never been like this before in my life I swear!”
“I can barely breathe without you, Lisa.” She couldn’t get away from me even if she tried.
“I hate when you say things like that.” She complained, tightening her grip. (That’s because it made her want me even more.)
“Why?” I smiled. It was almost easy to forget her faults when she pouted.
“Don’t play dumb, Alex.”
“Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.” I cradled her in my arms. Rat hissed, wriggling free. He flicked his tail and disappeared from sight. She was warm and I liked that she still trembled whenever I touched her.
She laughed, tossing her head back. “This is the smallest room on campus. It barely holds a bed.”
“I like it like this. Then there’s only one place for you to sit.”
“What, in your lap?” She rolled her eyes, resisting me. “Sometimes you make me mad.”
“Good, I like it when you’re feisty.” I bit her on the neck. She squealed, bending forward.
“Why can’t we close the door?” She smelled like Vanilla. I wanted to explore her even more.
“Because I don’t trust you,” she admitted. “I’m not like the groupies.”
I pulled away.
“Sorry, but I’m not.”
“I never said you were, Lisa.” Too bad you weren’t though…
“Listen, Alex.” She placed her hand on my heart. Her thoughts invaded my mind. She loved me. I was hers’. “Don’t you understand?” She asked. I hated when she pushed her thoughts into my mind. It was one thing when I wanted to know what she thought—it was another when I didn’t.
I hated to admit it but I made a mistake. My emotions got the better of me when I changed Lisa. Why didn’t I let her go; leave Lynn with her mother when she had the chance? Now, I’d imprisoned here with me. Her life was fragile and any hope for her survival—
“Alex,” my sister, Ally, banged her fist on the open door, “It’s time to go.” Her hair used to be red but now it was long and blonde—nearly white—just like mine. Her eyes were about as pale as mine these days too. Rarely did I enjoy being interrupted to help Ally. But, today, I wanted nothing more than to get as far away from Lisa as possible.
“What are you guys going to do?” Lisa questioned, jumping up.
“We’re going to sift through some old boxes.” Ally answered. “Is that the same shirt you wore yesterday, Lisa?” She rolled her eyes, “That’s gross. There’re a million shirts in our room. You could change your clothes every once in a while.”
“You act like I can stink.” Lisa laughed. She loved the fact that when she was hit by lightning her sweat glands no longer emitted an odor.
“It’s about proper hygiene.” Ally argued. “Do you think Alex wants to see you in the same shirt every day? Do you even change your undergarments?”
“Of course I do!” Lisa frowned. “What’s your problem anyway?”
“I don’t have a problem.” Ally narrowed her eyes. “Alex, let’s go.”
“Let me get my shoes.” Lisa dug under the bed. “I’ll be ready in just a minute.”
“Please don’t tell me you invited her to help us.” Ally groaned. I shook my head.
“Lisa doesn’t want to come with us. You told me you were going to hang with Donna today, right?” Maybe she’d get the hint.
“Well, I want to be with you, Alex.” Her hands rested on my hips. “Don’t you want me to come?”
No. I don’t want you to come. Can’t you take a hint?
Lisa jerked back. She’d heard my thoughts. (Another thing the lightning gave her—great.) “Fine, that’s all you had to say.” She brushed past us and stood at the stairwell. “I can’t believe you lately. You’re acting weird.”
“She’s getting annoying—almost worse than Donna.” Ally said under her breath. “If she’s this annoying now what will she be like in ten years—or a hundred?”
“Stop it,” I ordered, motioning for her to leave. “I think I’m going to move back home. I need more space.”
“Does this ‘space’ have a name?” Ally teased, racing ahead. “Why don’t you call it what it is?”
I ignored her. There was nothing I could do now. This was my fault.
“I used to like Lisa too before she started transforming.” Ally led me out the front entrance of the C I N boarding school. We headed around the lake towards our little shack. We needed to hide some very crucial evidence of our past from a very meddlesome girl. She never stopped. It was an invasion of Lisa all the time. She was in your thoughts, in your stuff, in your heart, in…
“Stop picking on her,” I said. (Ally was right though—she had become annoying.)
“Why?” Ally pouted, “Because she’s the only person you can touch without being in excruciating pain?”
I froze. “Don’t make this a bad thing.” That wasn’t the only reason I liked Lisa.
“You don’t really love her, Alex. You should’ve let her and Michael have each other. Why are you doing this to yourself?”
“I do care for her—a lot.”
“But, not the way you did for—”
“Shut up!” I screamed. Why did she have to bring up the past?
“It’s the truth,” Ally shrugged, “Isn’t that why we’re doing this?”
Ally and I twirled around. Lisa stood behind us. Tears brimmed in her eyes.
“Who do you really love, Alex?” Lisa’s bottom lip trembled. “I thought you couldn’t touch anyone besides me? I thought you never felt the way you feel about me before? I don’t understand. You said there was never anyone else. Who or what are you hiding from me? You think I’m annoying now?”
“Lisa,” I tried to speak. Words were never my thing. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about her. I knew I desired her but was I in love? Plus, which question did she want me to answer anyhow?
“Answer me, Alex.” Lisa wiped away a stray tear. Which question Lisa?
“And say what?” I shouted. “Go back to school and leave us alone!”
Lightning crackled in the sky above. Donna and Big Al sat on a bench by the school’s entrance. They raced inside. From the other side of the lake I could hear the sound of the door slam shut.
Dark clouds covered the skies. Lisa glanced at them. Before she would’ve raced away too—frightened at what I could do. Instead, today, she stepped forward, ready to fight. “Why are you threatening me?” She asked.
“I want you to go home.”
“This isn’t my home!” She cried, “I’m your stupid prisoner, remember? A girl you thought you liked but now are getting tired of. Besides, that lightning crap won’t work on me now. You can’t tell me to ‘hurry on home’ anymore.”
“Stop acting like a twelve year old.” Ally said, hands on hips. “He’s not tired of you. I’m not tired of you either. Sometimes you’re just a bit clingy and nosy. Give us a break already. We went from having no one to you—who happens to be in our face all the time.
“I thought you said you wanted me to know all about you?” Her eyes set on mine.
I stared at the ground. Little red ants climbed over my bare feet. If they were biting me I couldn’t tell. I just wanted her to shut up and leave. Everything she said started to sound like garbled static.
“Alex!” Lisa yelled. Her fingers twitched, sparks generated then electrical currents shot from her fingertips disintegrating a tiny anthill between us. I frowned at the pile of ash.
“That was mean.” I announced, turning my back to her. “Go home before you lose control and kill something else.”
“What’s the big deal if I do?” Lisa wouldn’t budge. This wasn’t normal. Had she already begun transforming? Panic raced through me. It usually took over a hundred years to transform. If she kept changing at this rate there was no telling whether she’d survive.
“Do you want to kill someone?” Ally questioned, invading Lisa’s personal space. That just screamed ‘bad idea’.
“Ally,” I warned.
“No,” Ally refused. Lisa wants to see what will happen. I think it’s time she got to see what happens to her when she loses it.”
“Stop,” I began. “We don’t know how much she can handle yet.”
Lisa’s hair rose and so did Ally’s. Sparks flew from their fingertips and the sky rumbled above us. The grass below them blackened turning to smut.
“I can’t control her, Ally.” I reminded her.
“So what, I know what will happen in the end to her.” Ally’s eyes danced.
My feet stood frozen in place. Lisa was more powerful than Ally and I combined. She petrified me. Electrical currents beyond anything Reginald ever measured in Ally or me were alive in Lisa. It was as if she weren’t human anymore. Each day she changed more and more. Her powers were going to overtake her soon. The last person who lost control ended up killing—
“Calm down!” I stood between them. Pig growled, tugging on Ally’s pant leg. Lisa grinned, picking her Boston terrier up. He kissed her face and narrowed his bug eyes at Ally.
“Why didn’t you just let me go away with my mom? Why’d you have to trap me?” Lisa cried. “I thought you guys wanted me around. Now I’ve got to stay here with people who hate me!” She raced through the tall grass around the lake towards C I N. She didn’t look back. My heart pounded and every fiber in my being yearned for her touch.
I kicked the pile of ash (that was once an anthill) and called out, “I hate you!”
“A little dramatic, don’t you think?” Ally grumbled, “She’s not that bad.”
“I don’t hate Lisa.” I told her.
Ally’s eyes widened. “You don’t mean—”
I took off, running as fast as I could. I needed to get away from my sister, from Lisa, from everyone. This is why I liked living alone; too much drama, too much talking, too much of everything.
“Alex!” My sister chased after me. Lightning crackled above us. “Don’t push me away again!” Her words stung. “What are you running from? It wasn’t your fault. You’re not the one who is to blame!”
What was I running from? How about the fact that I’d fallen into the same trap again? This time, though, I was falling for someone even worse than Amie. And, what did Ally know? It was my fault; all of it was.
© Copyright 2012-2016 Christina Leigh Pritchard. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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