"All right, is everyone here?" Gary asked the group, his eyes scanned his friends and hovered a moment over Sam, and they shared a smile.
"Well, whose turn is it to tell a story?" Kiki asked, looking around. Tucker (who was sitting next to her) shrugged.
"It's mine," Betty Anne said finally, snapping out of a deep thought. Her face grew a bit scarlet.
"Well, get on with it then!" Frank snapped, acting quite impatient
" I'm getting to it !...jerk," She whispered under her breath. Grabbing the bag, she started her introduction.
" Middle School is a tough time for all of us, we worked hard those years to fit in…" The group nodded, all in understanding.
"….But some of us have a harder time than others, but some people are the reason for the bias nature against those who are different. This is a story of a popular young girl who learned that it's not nice to pick on others, especially if those "others" are not even from this world, "Betty Anne finished, attempting to peak everyone's interest.
"Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story…The Tale of the Black Beast's Daughter."
She threw the dust into the fire and it sparked magnificently.
Kelly Heart was your average antagonistic preteen. She was naturally very pretty with platinum blond hair and icy blue eyes. On the outside; she did alright in school, had a good family life and enjoyed shopping, but she only prided in one thing, her friends, or a least, the control she had over them. At school she was the ring leader of the most popular group of girls in the eighth grade. Because she lived in such as small town, the competition was very limited for her top spot. (Not like anyone had the guts to take it away from her.)
She and her group would pick on all the geeks, nerds and dorks of their school, just because they could, and Kelly enjoyed every moment of it. She and one of her friends Hailey were in the middle of interrogating Marcus Bellent for his class notes, so they could copy them for the test tomorrow when Mrs. Potter made an announcement that would change her life forever.
"Alight class, settle down." Mrs. Potter commanded, and waited until the room was completely silent. Kelly rolled her eyes and sat down next to Hailey in the back of the room. "Now I would like to introduce you all to our new student; Miss Nina Smith. Lets all give her a welcoming hand." The class unenthusiastically complied, except for Kelly and Hailey who just smirked at each other. The girl that stepped forward into the classroom made it hard for Kelly to not burst out in laughter.
Nina Smith had long lanky hair that was such a dingy black color that it almost appeared grey; she wore hand-me-down grey and black clothing that only revealed her less than appealing figure. She was a dull and as bland looking as a dish rag, the perfect target.
From the moment Nina took her seat, Kelly made sure she made Nina's life a living hell; teasing her about her clothing, her quiet voice and her strange habits. Forcing her to complete her and her friends' homework assignments and tripping her in the hallways was all fun and games, but it never seemed enough because of Nina's lack of fear and anger. Every time she was forced to do something, Nina would do it without any complaints. The only thing she would reply with was.
"If that is how you feel everything should be, I will not object."
Somehow Nina managed to weasel her way into Kelly's mind throughout the next few weeks, for some reason Kelly was curious about her behavior. She was even too distracted to talk about boys and such with Hailey when she came over on a Thursday. Hailey noticed her odd behavior right away.
"What is wrong with you? You're acting weird."
"It's that new kid, Nina."
"What about her?"
"Well, she is just so…strange. I mean she doesn't seem to show any emotion, nothing seems to upset her….I don't know..."
"Well, that's not the only thing creepy about her; I get off at the same bus stop with her, and every day she just walks into the woods, and doesn't come out."
"The woods?" Kelly raised an eyebrow. The woods that surrounded their town were supposedly haunted by monsters and daemons dating back thousands of years. Kids sometimes dared each other to go there; sometimes people would stumble out of the woods a changed person, never speaking of who or what they saw. But Kelly wasn't a believer of those stupid rumors, and she wanted to know why Nina went into the woods alone."
"Tomorrow we should follow her, and see where she goes."
"Alright Nancy Drew." Hailey sighed, "I'll as my mom if we can have a sleepover tomorrow night, that way we can hang out after you have figured this "mystery" out."
"Alright." Kelly smiled.
The next day Kelly got off the bus with Hailey and Nina. She followed Hailey towards her house, but her eyes followed Nina as she looked around and made her way into the woods. Once she entered, Kelly and Hailey followed her. They hid behind trees and bushes to avoid being seen. A fog started to form as they walked deeper into the woods. Suddenly Kelly's idea seemed like a bad one
"Come on, let's get out of here…" Hailey started, but stopped as the fog suddenly became a thousand times denser. Kelly could hardly see her own hands in front of her.
"Great, Now how are we going to find our way out of here?" Kelly groaned trying not to let the sudden creepy fog frighten her.
"I can show you the way out." Nina's soft voice suddenly spoke from behind them. The two girls jumped in surprise.
"Where did you come from?" Hailey shouted at the strange girl. "How did you know we were following you?"
"Shhh!" Nina interrupted, which surprised Kelly. "He'll hear you; I can only help you out of here if you're quiet. We will need to take a longer way out. You have to trust me."
He? Who was HE? Kelly wondered, but decided against asking.
Because they had no other real option, Kelly decided they should follow her. But after a half hour of silent walking through the fog, Kelly had had enough.
"WHERE ARE YOU TAKING US? We are only walking further into the woods, what are you playing …..?" Kelly's anger had gotten the best of her, but unfortunately, she wasn't able to finish her rant as Nina's hands covered her mouth
" Please be quiet!" Nina whimpered as a rustling noise came from a nearby bush. All three of them turned around, and what was behind them frightened Kelly. There was darkness behind them, a mass of darkness. It almost felt alive, as though it were watching them, waiting to strike.
"Oh, no." Nina said quietly.
The darkness enveloped them. Hailey screamed , Kelly was too frightened to utter a sound.
"You shouldn't do that."
The voice filled Kelly's head. Do? Do what?
Suddenly her head was filled with memories of being bullied, memories that were not her own. Memories of every kid she had ever brought down with harsh words and menacing glares, she felt their pain, their suffering. Every part of her wanted to cry out.
As sudden as it fell upon her the darkness lifted, and Kelly found her strength. She stumbled as she got back onto her feet and ran as fast as her legs could take her, not ever looking back to see what had become of the strange girl or her best friend.
"Nina" watched as Kelly ran away and sighed. She looked down at Hailey and whined to the darkness.
"Daaaaadddyyyyy….look what you did to these poor girls, I think you hurt them!"
"No Nijira, they brought the pain onto themselves, I only helped them to see it." The dark voice responded as a figure emerged from the black abyss. A human-like creature with black fur covering his entire body and deep golden eyes, stooped down over the young human girl known as Hailey, and stroked her hair almost sympathetically.
"This one has been mortified by her own inner daemons; she will never be quite the same again…how sad." The monster sighed. "Hopefully the other will have learned her lesson a little more safely."
"Daddy, are you mad at me? For being among the humans? I didn't run off everyday to be cruel to you. I didn't mean for anything to happen, I just wanted to see what they were like. I didn't want anybody to get hurt." Nijira cried holding her face in her hands.
"No sweetheart, I'm not mad, just heartbroken that you had to learn about human the hard way. Humans, even their young are mean spirited creatures by nature. Humans fight, lie, threat, mentally destroy, and kill each other without a second thought. It is rare to find a human who understands the cruelty of their race and attempt to change It., but I suppose you saw that during your stay."
"Yes." Nijira sobbed "And those two were some of the worst there; they are the leaders of a terrible group that terrorizes their peers, who are different or strange. They picked on me and had me do their school work and other terrible things. Even when I responded with peace and kindness, they used it to walk all over me."
Nijira's father got up and hugged his daughter.
"Now you see why I both despise and pity humans. Have you learned your lesson?"
"Yes Daddy, Humans are to be pitied and watched from afar, but never mingled with."
"That's my girl." The monster smiled, showing off his sharp canines. "Now, I think it's time you took off that horrid image.
Nijira complied and concentrated hard, her human for s to dissolve into the creature she really was. Her naturally black-grey fur reformed on her body, her now golden eyes were a spitting image of her fathers.
"That's better; now let's get this human home." Nijira's father said, picking up Hailey's shaking form. And then they disappeared into the darkness.
That Monday Kelly arrived at school, timid and shy, a complete transformation from what she had been the week before..
Neither Hailey nor Nina ever returned to school. When Kelly inquired about her whereabouts to Mrs. Potter, her teacher had no idea who she was talking about. In fact nobody in the school had ever heard of her. Rumors started spreading about how Kelly had lost her mind and she became an outcast. She had gotten what she deserved. As for Hailey, she was never the same again, her parents sent her to a mental ward as the only solution. Hailey could only seem to speak the words. "The darkness….." She was dubbed mentally unstable.
"Kelly continued the rest of her school career alone and teased, it seemed as though karma….or the darkness got the best of her." Betty Anne finished.
The group looked at her strangely.
"Nothing. It was a great story." David partly lied. Betty Ann's stories were becoming less and less scary and more just downright weird. He grabbed the rusty pail next to him to douse out the fire, before following his friends into the woods.