Chapter 2: In the Name of Jillian

21-year-old Jillian Burkowitz ran home, feet thudding on the pavement, after a two-hour meeting with the witch coven. Her stomach was swirling inside; someone-- no, not just someone, her master-- asked her to marry him. She ran inside her house, flopped on her bed, and breathed deeply to calm herself. "Okay... think, Jillian, think. Do you want to marry that man, your leader?"

She almost wanted to call out, "Mom, Dad!" and discuss it with them, then make her decision. But she knew she couldn't do that. Her parents had been killed in 9/11/01 in America, when she was 15. Her heart still hurt, and she wished Osama bin Laden would just go to hell, which he probably would anyway, and that was why she joined Yami Marik's coven. She thought it would help her get revenge on the terrorists who shoved her life into turmoil and devastated her home of New York.

She looked up, hearing her name. There was a man there. Yami Marik's light side's sister, Ishizu, had told her about him, once, when Jillian had gone to get water from the museum drinking fountain to water the deadly nightshade plants they kept growing in the coven meeting house. Along with some other information, Ishizu had disclosed that the man sometimes appeared when people needed help, and that his name was Shadi. "Do as you see fit, Jillian," he said. "Say to him what your heart tells you to say, young innocent one." Then he disappeared.

"Yeah, yeah, say what my heart tells me to say." Jillian got up. "What my heart tells me to say? Let me rehearse that. 'Of course I will marry you, because that will further my goal of sending Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to the deepest regions of hell!'" She looked in the mirror. "Look at me. My name is Jillian, and this is how I look." Her long black hair extended to her knees, over which an alarmingly short black miniskirt was fitted tightly. Her black strapless tank top exposed nearly three inches of her waist, which, like the rest of her, was perfectly bronzed, as she was of African descent. She had pale powder dusted on her face, and over that, pitch black kohl heavily lined her eyes, black eyeshadow was layered solidly on her eyelids, and Kiss Me Charcoal lipstick was painted onto her thin lips, making t-

hem look much fuller. Her body was decorated with chains and piercings-- silver and gold literally draped her. Chain belt, five piercings in each ear, a lip piercing, an eyebrow piercing, a tongue piercing, and several piercings on her navel, plus several assorted chains. Yeah, she was a Gothic chick. It was how she dealt with the pain in her heart.

Her mother's words came echoing back to her. "No matter what anyone says, or tells you to do, look to yourself-- only you can decide what's right and how to live your life." She sighed. "Yeah. Pretty words, Mom. Too bad you're not here to tell me that now. Damn terrorists. I hate them."

There was a knock on the door. "Jillian! May I come in?"

It was Ishizu's voice. Jillian sat down. "Yeah, come in, Ishizu."

Ishizu walked in. "Jillian? Are you alright?"

"Yeah."

Ishizu sat down beside Jillian. "I can tell you are not alright, Jillian, and I would certainly reprimand you for lying to me, were it not for the fact I can sense something is seriously wrong. Jillian, you know you can tell me anything and I will not laugh or make fun or tell anybody." She put her arm around the younger girl. "Is there something you would like to talk to me about, Jillian?"

So the whole story spilled out of Jillian's mouth. About her parents, why she joined Yami Marik's coven, and what he'd asked her. "And I don't know what to tell him!" she cried, pressing her face into Ishizu's chest, as Ishizu gently patted her back.

"There, there, Jillian." Ishizu held the younger woman at arm's length and gave her a sympathetic glance. "Do you really like him, Jillian?"

"I don't know!" Jillian grabbed a tissue and wiped off her smearing make-up so she didn't get embarrassed by it. "I mean, I'm in love with him, I'm kind of turned off by him when he's being all gentle and weird and so unlike himself-- Ishizu, what am I?"

Ishizu pulled Jillian close again. She rubbed the girl's back. "You are... confused," she said softly, rocking her friend side to side. She stood up. "Well, you have a week to think about it, right? Just think, as you are continuing with your daily routine, Jillian. When you have come to a decision, stick with it until Saturday and then voice it. I certainly do not approve of this little cult the forty-six of you have going. However, I do not like having my friends in pain. I know you are in pain now. I will come back next Saturday to see how things went. If you need to speak with me before then, just come to the museum. Alright, Jillian?" She smiled. "Is that, er, cool with you?"

She smiled. "Yeah. That's cool, Ishizu."

"Remember, just think, Jillian. Do not let anyone influence your ideas or opinion. Stay true to your own heart, my dear, and no one else's."

"Okay. Bye, Ishizu. See you later.

"Good-bye, Jillian."

Jillian sighed after Ishizu had left. "Man. This really, completely, totally sucks. My life? Yeah, it's a mess."

A little while later, Jillian was settled in bed, reading Queen of the Damned. She was halfway through. She decided to stop and put the book up. It would be hard to sleep when she was scared, and the book was rather disturbing. Then again, most-- check that, all-- of Anne Rice's books were that way.

She covered herself, clicked the light off, and closed her eyes to sleep. She had a nightmare, but it turned out alright. She was in a sort of "fun"-house-turned-reality. It was really scary. When it was getting the most frightening, Yami Marik showed up, rescued her, knocked out all the demons and monsters that were attacking her, and carried her the way out of the fun house, protecting her from everything on the way.

After that, she stayed asleep until her alarm rang.