A/N: I was bored, and was hit with this awesome idea for a story. I began writing, and within twenty minutes...BAM, first chapter. Read, enjoy, review, tell me your thoughts- and I'll post the next one up.
Don't forget to review, lovies!
- Swan's Catastrophe
Chapter 1: Ghost Town
It's nearly over, the last train is here - Ghost Town, Shiny Toy Guns
And it's leaving behind those tears
This is the badlands
The worst place to fear
Making place for the ones we left here
They're calling, calling
To say goodbye
- Ghost Town, Shiny Toy Guns
Two weeks. There were only two weeks left before I lost everything, two weeks before I was left alone, two weeks before my mother's cancer would win. Two weeks before she died.
I stared at her gravestone, with a sad smile on my lips. That woman sure knew how to drive me crazy. I remember how we argued, when she first found out her cancer was terminal.
She accepted it. She was ready.
When she told me she'd already bought her grave, I had smashed three paintings and pushed over two of her favorite vases.
I realize now, as I'm staring at her hollow grave, that I was being selfish. That I was hurting her more than she let on. Even as she was dying, she was still worried about how it was affecting me.
I sighed aloud and reread the small inscription carved on the tombstone for the seventh time tonight:
Mellissa Kindler,loving mother,
devoted widow,brave fighter,
beloved by all
Somehow, I didn't think it was enough. But that didn't surprise me. Eleven words wouldn't be able to capture what my mother really was. There was only one word for that: incredible.
The wind blew, rustling up the fallen leaves and sending an icy chill up my spine. I shivered, and lifted the collar of my jacket up to cover my chin as I glanced around. It had gotten dark a while ago, now there was a sprinkle of stars dotting the sky and the half moon had taken on a bloody tint. I shivered again, and decided I should be getting out of here.
In our small city in the middle of nowhere, our cemetery had quite the reputation. Its second name is Ghost Town. Kids my age are always whining about seeing someone's ghost whenever they come here.
Of course, no one bothers to ask what the kids were doing out here in the middle of the night, in the first place. Most of the "ghosts," that my fellow high schoolers are seeing, are hallucinations from the drugs they come out here to take. I don't blame them really, if I was sure that I would be stuck here forever, I'd do drugs too. But still, they're all idiots.
I felt warm breath brush across the back of my neck and spun around, a small gasp escaping my lips.
Someone tugged my hair and I spun around again.
"Hasn't anyone warned you about this place, little girl?" came a silky, masculine voice. My eyes came to rest on a guy about my age; only, he was insanely, impossibly beautiful.
His pale skin was like some small beacon of life and vitality in this land for the dead. His hair was white, and falling in his eyes as he leaned casually against a large marble tombstone. My eyes met his and I jumped back with a small start. His eyes were red. Blood red.
"You're- you're- you-" I stuttered, feeling a blush creep up my cheeks when the boy raised a pale eyebrow in amusement.
"What?" He asked, taking a step towards me. "You've never seen an albino before?"
Not a hot one, I thought silently to myself, choosing not to answer the question aloud.
His angular face broke out into a smirk and he cocked his head to the side.
"You really shouldn't be out here right now." The boy sighed, giving up on his scare tactic and resuming his position against the tombstone.
Curiosity won out over annoyance.
"Why not?" I asked, grateful that my voice had steadied.
His red eyes snapped up to mine, and he made a show of deliberately turning his head away to stare out at the sea of graves. The silent treatment.
"Well?" I demanded, bringing my hands to rest on my hips "I'm not going anywhere until you tell me why you want me to leave."
The boy snorted and rolled his eyes but turned back to me. "I'm meeting someone. Someone who shouldn't be within a ten mile radius of a cute little thing like yourself, so scat."
I frowned at the obvious condescension in his voice and raised my chin slightly.
"No. I was here first."
At this, the boy chuckled and turned to me with raised eyebrows "Just because you didn't see me, doesn't mean I wasn't here. I saw the entire little tear fest over by that empty grave." He paused to smirk "Tell me, do you usually come down to the graveyard to cry over graves that have yet to be filled?"
I felt my features harden and I stared at him coldly.
"That grave is my mother's. She's dying in two weeks."
He wasn't even paying attention. Instead, he was glancing around the graveyard with quick, jerky movements as if someone was moving around out there and he wanted to keep an eye on them. Another scare tactic, I assumed. He was trying to make me think that there was something out there, so that I would leave.
"Everyone dies," he replied absently, still scowling at something I couldn't see.
I resisted the urge to smack him, and instead turned to make my way back towards the town. I heard the boy curse behind me, and then I was soaring through the air, heading in the wrong direction. I only registered that I had landed in my mother's grave, before someone or something landed on me, and the ground gave out.
I screamed as red eyes watched me falling from every direction.
This couldn't be happening. Where did my mother's grave lead to, the center of the earth?
After several minutes of breathing heavily I realized that I was no longer falling, but sitting on something solid. Ground.
I opened my eyes to see that I was in a nicely decorated room. Almost like a foyer. The dirt ceiling turning into a regular ceiling shook me from my reverie and I leaped up.
"Settle down there, sparky. You took quite a tumble."
I knew that voice. My eyes zeroed in on the boy from the graveyard and I unleashed my most hostile-looking glare. He just chuckled and leaned back against what looked like a workshop table. Taking another look around, I realized, this place was a workshop.
"What are we doing here, what happened?" I demanded.
"Well, I just saved your ass from being mauled by my former client. The reason I brought you here is because I have a bit of a proposition."
I raised my eyebrows, choosing to ignore all of the buzzing thoughts going on inside my head. This was crazy.
"What kind of proposition?" I asked.
"I save your mother, if you come to work for me," the boy replied.
"Work for you? For how long? Who the hell are you?"
"Yes, work for me. I haven't worked out the specifics of how long yet, and who I am is not important- yet."
"How…there's no way you could save my mother," I said, glaring at him accusingly. His eyes lit up with fiery delight and a slow smile spread across his features.
"Try me. There isn't much that I can't do"
"What will I be doing, if I work for you?" I asked. This was crazy. I was probably just asleep. Yeah, that's it. I'm sleeping.
"Also not important right now," the boy replied smoothly.
"Do I at least get your name?" I asked, frustration leaking into my tone. He rolled his molten-red eyes and sighed.
"Reed?" I repeated.
The boy, Reed, stared at me with a small frown.
"Are you slow or something?" he asked. I felt a very different kind of heat rush to my cheeks at that question. Prick.
"So," he said, quickly changing the subject. Wise of him "Do I have your word?"
I brought my hands to my hips for the second time tonight.
"Shouldn't I be the one making sure that you keep your word?" I argued.
"Fine, how about we sign on it."
I was about to ask him where the hell we could find a piece of paper, but a thick scroll of parchment appeared in his hands, along with a quill pen. I gaped at him as he began writing on the thick piece of paper.
What. The. Fuck?
He handed me the parchment when he was finished. I didn't miss the small smirk on his lips when he noticed my still shocked expression.
"Just sign the dotted line."
I glanced over the parchment to look at him, before giving a defeated sigh, and signing my name. Once I was done, the parchment set on fire and burned in my fingers, yet left me completely unscathed. Stupid, stupid, stupid. This was so crazy.
Reed tsked at me "Hasn't anyone told you to never sign your name on a contract that you haven't read?"
I felt myself grow cold as Reed sighed, as if disappointed.
"I own you now," he proclaimed, and glanced at me, adding as an afterthought "Don't worry, I'll keep my end of the bargain."
I'm Hayley Kindler. And I just signed myself into a whole new world of trouble.