Stage 01: Ariana
"This is the girl that will be coming to your home to live with you," the blonde detective said, placing a photo onto the table and sliding it over to my end. In the photo was a young, pale-looking girl, looking around the age of fifteen, though the dark circles under her eyes made her look a little older than that. Dark hair cascaded from her scalp, flowing down below her shoulders, cut off only by the edges of the Polaroid.
Red eyes stared back at me. It was somewhat unnerving, considering that red was an unusual color for any human. She was adorned with dark-colored clothing, suggesting that she was the "Goth" type, though her smug expression seemed to contradict that very notion. The man in uniform sitting in front of me had told me that they were the worst kind to get involved with. Unfortunately, for me, I wouldn't have much of a choice in the matter.
I suppose you're wondering what's going on. I can't really blame you. Of course, this story may not be all that new to you. In a way, it wasn't all that new to me either. Cases like this had been surfacing all over the world for a number of years now, ever since that first case over in Europe. That case had to be explained to me prior to the one I was about to be involved with.
I had been called down to the local police department of Chicago for something urgent. It wasn't because I had committed anything criminal, though I'd consider this task punishment enough for anything.
Two officers, dressed more like detectives than policemen, had escorted me into an interrogation office, though that had not been the point of my being there. I had sat down at a table and, after they had introduced themselves to me as Detectives Smith and Hannel, they had begun to explain to me my reason for being there.
I was told that a girl had been coming to live with us by my adopted parents- who were actually my aunt and uncle- prior to coming here. They didn't know that I was here, or that my cousin, Mark, was leaning against the wall behind me. As far as they both knew, we were both jogging around town.
The detectives had told me that this was no ordinary girl. They hadn't yet told me the details but I was getting the feeling that I would have been happier not knowing.
"What am I supposed to do? What should I know about her?" I asked warily, glancing up at the detective across the table. If I had to go through with whatever they had planned, then I needed to know as much about it- and her- as possible.
"Her name is Ariana. Her full name is Ariana Erehaha SilverDove Seagull. That name is already enough evidence to support what she really is. She's a half-breed, a dhampir. Her father is a high-ranked vampire named Aro, one of the leading trio of the Volturi clan. He calls himself the king of vampires. Her mother was one of his mistresses and, since Ariana is his only child, she's been named as next in line to be queen. We need you to help us expose her for what she really is," said the brunette-haired one. Detective Smith I believe.
"I'm guessing it's not the vampire part I'm meant to be exposing, right?" I asked. As he had said, the name was already clue enough to what she really was. She wasn't just a dhampir, or a princess. She was one of many of a new creature that had been popping up all over the globe. I mentioned there were these cases, and I apologize for not being able to explain them as well as I'd like. I'm not even sure about them, myself.
Let me back up a bit to explain these cases to the best of my abilities. The first case to have ever happened was years ago in Europe. From what I was told, a vampiric Goth witch entered Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards. It's hard to believe that the school actually exists. What's even harder to believe are the events that occurred when that witch enrolled. Students and teachers began to change drastically, exhibiting behavior that was unusual for them. This behavior was noted as, "out of character."
An even stranger phenomenon is that the people effected not only began to drastically change, becoming what they called "Goffic," wearing black clothes, mascara, and exhibiting masochistic-like behavior. Rules of the school, and the universe for that matter, and the people involved were bended to the will of the mentioned witch.
The name of the vampiric witch was Ebony Dark'Ness Dementia Raven Way. Many of the other cases that have popped up so far also had a similar long, unusual name. The one in this case, for that matter, had that sign.
They were just two of many of this new race called "Mary-Sue". I'd only ever heard of these in fictional writing, and never imagined that they could exist in reality. The cases I were told about, however, proved me wrong.
"That's right, Damien," Detective Smith said. "We need you to help us expose her as the Mary-Sue that she is."
"The cases you've described to me so far have suggested that these Mary-Sues are lethal. I need to be sure of the risks I'm taking before I agree to help you both with this," I replied.
"I understand your concern, Mr. Thorn. I won't lie to you. You'll most likely be in grave danger from this Sue. She'll try to control you and your emotions. She'll have negative effects on the people around you, making them blind and even supportive of her behavior and actions. That is how these Sues work," he explained.
I stared at him, trying to understand the expression on Detective Smith's face. It looked grim. From the way he was speaking, it was as if he had experienced one of these Sues first hand.
"You know an awful lot about these Sues from just one or two cases," I said. His expression turned grimmer, and he sent a glance towards Detective Hannel. I wasn't sure if he'd planned on answering me.
"You don't have to say if you don't want to, Hugo," Detective Hannel said. The one named "Hugo" seemed to think for awhile, seeming to debate on it. I was about to open my mouth to say that I didn't need to know but he beat me to it.
"I know from personal experience," Smith finally said, looking back at me. "My daughter, Joan, was also a Sue."
This made me curious.
"So Sueness is not hereditary, then?" I asked.
"No. It's a strange phenomenon that seems to happen at random, without any reason or explanation. But between Ebony, Joan, and several other cases we've come across we have found one common factor," Smith said.
"And what would that be?" A common factor? If I knew what that factor may be, it would help me understand why this Ariana girl was coming to live with us.
"The Sues are always attracted to supernatural males, be they witches, wizards, vampires, or various other kinds of demons or mythical race. Prior to my joining Brian here on his investigations, Joan was attracted to a vampire and a shape-shifter for the later duration of her case. She effected those around her, even the vampires and shape-shifter involved. Her friends also fell ill to her effects."
I felt quite a bit of sympathy for this man. It must have been hard to find out your child is a demon. Not just any kind of demon, but a Sue demon. Some part of me wanted to ask the conclusion of that case. Another part of me told me that'd be a pretty jackass thing to do, so I kept my mouth shut in regards to it.
However, something about what he had said bugged and baffled me.
"No one in my family is supernatural in any way, though," I said in confusion. Alright, so maybe that was a bit of a lie. However, I couldn't exactly tell them the truth.
"Maybe not in any way that you may know. Right now, as far as we know, you and everyone else in your family are normal. However, if the Sue is coming to live with you, then there must be something attracting her, consciously or unconsciously."
"Is there anything we can do to make sure that Damien and I aren't affected by this Sue and her abilities?" Mark asked. He hadn't said anything up until now. I had been getting worried that he would object to this task completely. Of course, if we had a choice I would have rejected it, too. However, if Ariana was coming, I wanted to be prepared for her as much as possible.
We watched the two detectives glance at each other, and they seemed to have a mental agreement to some silent conversation that passed between the two. Brian Hannel looked between the two of us.
"We have been working with a research department to develop a type of vaccine to guard against the effects of Sues. We're not entirely sure if it will be a hundred percent affective. We could give it a shot to see if it will protect you both from her abilities."
"And if it doesn't work?" Mark asked. "What then?"
"Then we'll up the dosage, or we'll send in replacements."
"Replacements?" I asked.
"We'll talk about those some other time. We'll need you two to sign these before we give you the vaccine," Hugo said, placing documents and a pen on the table in front of me.
"I don't suppose we need parental permission for this, right?" Asked Mark.
"Your parents would not understand the circumstances."
"We're old enough to understand them. We're also old enough to decide if we want to," I said, picking up the pen and signing my name. I wasn't going to be exposed to this Sue unless I had some assurance of protection from her. Without another word, Mark added his signature below mine.
"Alright," Hugo said, collecting the signed papers. "We'll give you the vaccines and then you can go on home. We'll give you mobiles so that you can both keep in touch with us."
Mark and I looked each other and, like Brian and Hugo had moments ago, had our own mental conversation. I searched his eyes for any sign of worry, concern, or hesitation. Believe me, he looked very worried about all of this.
Later, after having received the Sue shots and the mobiles to keep in contact with them, Mark and I said our farewells to Detective Brian and Hugo.
As we headed back to the family mansion, I could see Mark fidgeting with his mobile in my peripheral.
"I'm still not sure if we should go through with this," he said. "Are you?"
"We don't really have much of a choice, do we?" I asked, looking at him as we walked. "She's coming either way."
"Are you sure it will even work? What if the shots aren't effective? And what if you get in too deep?"
"We'll just have to do what we can, Mark. We'll keep in touch with the two detectives. If something goes wrong, we'll at least have them on our side."
"But mother and father don't know what's going on. What if something happens to them?"
"They'll be fine. We'll make sure of it. Besides, they said that Sues only go after guys and only harm people who they view as obstacles."
"That latter thing you said? That bothers me. You or I are supposed to be the guy she'll be going after. The one she doesn't will automatically become the bad guy. Weren't you paying attention?"
"I was, and I won't let that happen. If it comes to that, we have to run." I hated to think it, but I had a really bad feeling that the guy she'd be attracted to would be me. After all, I wasn't exactly human myself. If that were the case, then I wanted to be sure Mark would run if he was ever in the position to need to.
"I'd hate to do that. How long do you think we can keep this act up?"
"For as long as we can. If we have to feign hatred for one another, then so be it. As long as she believes that she has an effect on us, she won't become suspicious until it's too late. Everything will be alright, I'm sure of it."
"I hope you're right, Damien," Mark said, relaxing slightly as we continued to walk in silence.
At the time, I wish I would have known just what we were getting ourselves into. Looking back at it now, I realize how much I wish that Mark and I wouldn't have had to go through this. It was inevitable though. We would have been involved with the Sue no matter what we did, whether we agreed to assist Brian and Hugo with this case or not.
My name is Damien Thorn, and this is my story.
It was the next day, and Mark and I were just finishing up the guest room that would be Ariana's. Using the information that Brian and Hugo had given us, we placed black bed-spread on the double mattress she'd be using. Pink curtains were placed on all the windows and a yellow tablecloth was spread over a coffee table in the corner surrounded by black, velvet lounge chairs.
The room looked fine, which made we wish it weren't being used to accommodate the Sue which would be living with us. What a waste, especially since we were taking her to the military academy with us soon.
As Mark and I headed downstairs we heard a light knock on the mansion's double doors. Mark and I shared a glance. The time had come. My aunt Ann and uncle Richard moved to the doors, with Mark and I in tow.
Ann reached it first, grasping the knob and opening it to reveal a young girl and an older woman, the latter looking just like the photograph that Mark and I had seen the day before. There was a lot about her appearance, alone, that bothered me.
She was beautiful, like a goddess. I wish I was only exaggerating on that. I'd been told that Sues had attractive appearances, which they used to entice and ensnare their prey. I was already mentally thanking Brian and Hugo for providing Mark and I with that shot so that neither of us would be blinded by her outer appearance. Never judge a book by its cover, as they say.
I saw Ann and Richard move forward, enveloping a complete stranger in a gentle, welcoming embrace. Could it be starting already? Could the Sue's abilities already be ensnaring Ann and Richard?
The strange girl glanced at Mark and I, scrutinizing us from head to two. She looked at me with smug satisfaction, and then her expression turned sour seeing Mark. So I was right, the target would be me. I would have to tread carefully from here on out.
"You must be Ariana," Mark said, stepping forward to greet her. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I hope you like it here." Oh, how I hoped he wasn't effected and was merely acting. At least she'd leave him alone, or so I hoped.
"Yes, I'm sure it will be moderately uncomfortable," Ariana said in disdain. It caught Mark and I off guard a bit. She'd only just met us and was already acting like a snob. Was this how Sues usually were? The way she spoke to Mark was baffling, but Ann and Richard didn't see bothered by it one bit. They seemed to already be under her spell. I tried to hide how miffed that made me as I stepped forward.
"Don't keep her all to yourself, Mark," I said, feigning interest as I shook her hand, with extreme caution mind you. I really hoped the Sue-guard was working. "My name is Damien! I'll be very nice to you." For now, I added in thought.
"So, anyway darling, I'll have to go and also text!" Said the woman standing behind Ariana. Everyone seemed to have forgotten that she was there in favor of Ariana. Even after she spoke and started off, no one, not even Ariana, said goodbye to her.
"So, what kind of room would you like?" Mark asked, glancing from the leaving woman to Ariana.
"Don't be so stupid, Mark. You know we already picked out a room for her," I said, with a teasing laugh.
Mark and I led Ariana upstairs, and I glanced back to see Ann carrying a heavy-looking suitcase. Why wasn't Ariana carrying her own stuff?
When Mark and I showed Ariana her new, and hopefully temporary, room, Ariana seemed off-putted.
"Oh, Damien. It's so uninviting!" Ariana said with another look of disdain. Pretty on the outside, obviously ugly on the inside. How was it that Sues could warp the people around them to accept their behavior when they were so detestable?
I sighed, shaking my head.
"I know. I'm very sorry, Ariana," I lied. I glanced at my cousin, Mark. He looked depressed. I couldn't blame him. We worked so hard on the room, and this trollop had stuck her nose up at it. How ungrateful.
"If you want to unpack, we'll let you be," Richard said behind us. "Lunch is at two o'clock. Also, corn beef sandwiches, right?"
"Yeah, that's fine, goodbye," Ariana said, hastily, with a tone that suggested she was annoyed and trying to shoo us out quickly. Grateful for an excuse to flee, Mark and I quickly left the room with Richard in tow. My uncle looked dazed, like he was in some sort of trance. I was right, he and Ann had been effected by Ariana's spell the moment she had walked into our home.
I walked into our library with Mark, pulling out the mobile that Hugo and Brian had given us. I quickly hit the speed-dial for them and waited for an answer.
"Detective Hannel, here," said a voice on the other line. "Everything alright over there, Damien?"
"Yeah," I said. "She just got here. You guys were right. She's incredibly aggravating, but only Mark and I seem bothered by her negative behavior."
"That's the mark of a Sue," Brian said. "At least with the Sue-guard in your system you won't be effected. You'll be able to see right through her. Anything else happen?"
"Yes," I said. "Uncle Richard and aunt Ann were effected as soon as they saw her. And I think the target is me."
"… That's not good. You need to be careful, Damien. She'll latch onto you like a leech."
"That's what I was afraid of."
"Hang in there, kiddo. Is there anything else?"
"No," I said.
"Alright. Keep in touch and let us know if anything else occurs."
"Will do," I said, before hanging up. With a sigh, I glanced at Mark.
"So, now what?" He asked. "We just keep this charade up?"
"Seems like it," I said. "For now, let's go help Ann with lunch. We'll discuss a game plan in private tonight."
When lunch time finally arrived, Ariana came down to join us. With a quit sigh to myself, I looked at her.
"So, Ariana. You'll be staying with myself and Mark at the Military Academy. We jet off next Monday, alright?" I asked, looking at her as if she was a falling angel. Thinking about that line now, I feel sort of disgusted to even pretend to think that.
"Alright, so like," she answered lightly. So like, what? I was confused by her answer, because she didn't continue it. I watched her throw out an unfinished corn beef sandwich without another word. As she left, I looked at Ann and Richard. They had seen, but they kept smiling as if nothing happened.
"Oh, isn't she such a dear?" Ann doted. "I wish she was my child!"
I looked at the trashcan in disgust. I was trying to contain my anger towards this Sue. How ungrateful. How disgraceful. What a god damned snob.
And how aggravating it was to know that it would only get worse from here on out.