About twenty-four years ago, Michael and Lily Preston received good news.
A newborn girl was going to complete their family.
Despite having a strong desire to have a child of their own, they had been unable to conceive. Thus they were overjoyed when they first held her. They named her Elisabeth.
At the age of four, Elisabeth was a towhead with golden eyes. She loved ballet and fingerpainting. With the resources accessible to the Prestons, the couple gave her the best possible education and encouraged her to pursue the arts.
As the years flew by her passion for dance had evolved into a zeal for athletics. Elisabeth tried them all; from soccer when she was in kindergarten to swim when she was in high school. She was constantly on the move. She needed to or she felt like she would implode. One of the ways she relieved her boundless energy was by running.
On the day of her high school graduation, her emotional mother hugged her. "I can't believe how fast you grew up." Lily sobbed. Her little Elisabeth now went by Beth. She stood at five foot six. Her white blonde hair had darkened to a caramel shade that was similar to the color of her eyes.
Beth smiled, "Mom, it's just high school graduation!" She squeezed her mother's hand as the camera her father was holding flashed.
"Michael! Don't take a picture of me crying!" Protested Lily as she wiped her tears from her cheeks.
"Ok, one more." Chuckled Michael.
Beth hugged her mom tightly as her dad took the photo.
Two months later, Beth moved from her home state of Idaho to California to go to University. Over the course of three years, she changed her major three times and switch between track and swim. Finally she decided to major in Studio Art and Art History.
Before starting her senior year, she moved off campus with four of her closet friends. While she wasn't on any of the athletic teams this year, she continued to be close with some of her teammates. One in particular was her dearest friend, Jessica.
It was the day before the first day of classes, Beth was in a bar with her roommates discussing plans after graduation. Just a few feet away from them, a fight between two men began. As Beth jumped up from her seat to back away, one of the men morphed into something else. His nose was flat and his lower jaw protruded, revealing sharp canines.
Beth covered her mouth in shock to muffle a scream. The creature make eye contact with her. "Grimm." He hissed before lunging at her. Two men grabbed him as Jessica's boyfriend pulled her backwards. "Let's go." He said.
As the group left the bar, Jessica leaned towards her. "Are you okay?"
Her eyes were watering, but she nodded.
"Are you crying?"
"No, no." Beth said. "I mean, it was just a shock."
"Ya, he started going for you!" Jessica exclaimed. "Do you even know him?"
Beth shook her head. "No, I don't."
As the months progressed, she saw more abnormalities.
Every night Beth was online trying to figure out what was wrong with her. The only thing that made sense was onset schizophrenia. Pride and fear kept her from opting to see a psychiatrist. Jogging became an outlet for her stress and drawing the monsters helped ease her fear. Slowly she began to accept the fact that she had nothing to fear. Although the faces were disturbing, they weren't demonic. The only bad encounter she had was her first encounter.
Yet, right before final exams as she began to walk to her front door after a night of studying at the library. Something knocked the wind out of her. She barely had time to react to her attack. She knew it wasn't human. She was screaming at the top of her lungs.
Her roommates ran out. Immediately one of their boyfriends ran to her defense only to end up spending several nights in the hospital as a result. The police questioned Beth about the attack. They concluded it was a random attack. Without any evidence to go off of, her assailant was still on the loose.
The attack caused Beth wondered if what she was seeing was real in some way. Could her attack have happened because she was seeing these strange faces?
A month later, she was in South America with her friends celebrating their graduation. Jessica looked over her shoulder as she drew in her sketchbook. "What's that?"
"Just a face." Beth shrugged. She paused and looked at her sketch of the human oddity she had seen the other day.
"I miss your old artwork." Mumbled Jessica as she started to play with Beth's hair.
Beth nodded in agreement. "It's just a phase."
After a moment, Jessica spoke up. "Hey, I was thinking, I know you're adopted, but do you know your real parents?"
Beth shook her head. "No. I mean, I guess it something I think about once in a while, but my parents were always enough for me."
Jessica ruffled Beth's hair. "C'mon. Let's go to the pool and get drinks."
Before having the chance to change clothes, she got a phone call at the front desk. There had been a gas leak in her house the night before. Her parents had died.
It was an awful feeling. She was an orphan.
She sobbed uncontrollably as her friends tried their best to comfort her. The next day she was on a plane back home where her extended family and friends greeted her with support. In spite of the sympathy she received, she felt numb. It didn't feel real.
In a matter of days, she was attending the funeral for her parents. A friend of her mother's was crying and her face became disfigured. As she scanned the guests, she saw a handful of other creatures. One stood out in particular. It looked similar to whatever had attacked her at school.
Beth knew whatever was happening was not good. She began to wonder if her parents' death wasn't an accident anymore. The thought overwhelmed her. Any feeling of security she had vanished. A few hours after the funeral, Beth left her hometown, knowing that she would die if she stayed there much longer.
After three years of being a vagabond, she was greeted warmly by Jessica after going off the Greyhound bus. "It's been too long!" She squeezed Beth tightly.
As they drove back to their hotel, they caught up on each other lives. Jessica was working on establishing her career in Eugene while Beth traveled and sold her artwork. Being reunited with Jessica was refreshing. She hadn't realized how much she had missed her until Jessica had called her several months ago asking if she would want to attend her cousin's wedding with her. "Are you sure they won't think we're lesbians?" Quipped Beth.
Jessica snorted. "Probably, but I know you like to travel and you haven't been to Oregon yet and we're long overdue for a reunion!"