When I got home, everything was put in its place, and I ran up to my room before Mom could ask how school had been. I changed into a burgundy halter top and a pair of tight black jeans with a long slit up to the knee of my right leg. My black espadrilles were perfect for this outfit, and I opened the shoebox and dug around until I found them. I pulled my hair back into a messy bun and applied glitter to my exposed neck and upper chest. I then drew little swirls along each eye with my eyeliner, and applied my sparkly golden eye shadow and long-lasting gold lip-gloss. I wanted to look completely vamped for the party at Planet Bang tonight. Seeing myself in the mirror made me shiver. I was a goddess. I hadn't believed it until now. Dark goddess, something said in my head. I shook it away and heard a horn beep outside.
"Who could that be?" I heard my mother say.
"New friends; gotta go!" I yelled, running out the door before she made me change my clothes. I got into the car, squeezing in the backseat. Serena moved to the middle so I could fit, with Catty on her left. Jimena was driving and Tianna was riding shotgun.
"Does she have her license?" I asked Serena. She just smiled and buckled my seatbelt for me. Jimena pressed on the accelerator and squealed away from the curb. What would my mother say if she knew we were driving illegally? But then I realized: this daring feeling felt good. I was born to rebel and never realized because I never tried before now.
The music flowed through me as we walked into the club. The night was just getting started; they were just pumping a CD right now. The live music would start later.
"It's millennium night!" Vanessa yelled.
"What?" I yelled back.
"They're playing songs from 2000 to 2003!" she yelled. Intuition by Jewel started, and I smiled at her. They mixed it with her other song, Yes U Can, and I started dancing in line. A boy caught my eye and winked. He had short blond hair, spiked perfectly. He was very good-looking, but I was frightened. The other Daughters didn't seem to notice. We entered the club and I began to jump up and down in time with the beat. They cheered me on. Serena left mysteriously, causing the others to roll their eyes. Catty looked furious.
"Where'd she go?"
"A Follower of the Atrox. Serena believes he isn't completely evil, but..."
"He's using her!" Catty yelled.
"Catty! She trusts him!" Jimena said.
"Serena wouldn't put herself in danger," Vanessa said. Catty just huffed and walked away. The guy I saw earlier was scanning the crowd and I went over to him as Vanessa and Tianna met up with their boyfriends and Jimena went to get a drink.
"Hi," he said seductively, brushing my hips as we danced.
"Hey," I said. He seemed to shy away from my amulet, but I didn't take much notice.
"I'm Lydia," I said.
"Tymmie," he said succinctly, kissing me on the lips. I barely knew him, yet I was already infatuated with him completely. I didn't understand where these feelings were coming from, but I let him lead me to the tattoo stand in the corner.
"Can I brand you as mine forever?" he asked. I giggled, not knowing why I was being so bold (unless I was just being stupid).
"Of course." He whispered something to the man, and he began tattooing a flowery design on my lower right arm.
As we left the club, Vanessa grabbed my arm.
"Where'd this come from?"
"Tattoo guy. Why?" I asked curiously.
"A flame in my house once caused a design similar to this to form on my arm. It was going to bind me to a moon demon forever. I don't want you binding yourself to something evil," she said sadly.
"It's just a tattoo."
Tymmie ran up to me and admired it. The Daughters lined up around us and held hands.
"Lydia, run!" Vanessa yelled.
"He's a follower!" Tymmie just laughed and held me. He didn't feel dangerous, and even if he was, who cared? I didn't feel like a goddess anymore. There was too much good in this world, and it always made me sick. Hearing Mom say how wonderful the twins were and how evil I was towards them, it was about time I made it the truth! Tymmie took my hand and without talking, told me where we were going. I accompanied him joyfully.
"Lydia! No!" I turned around and tore the necklace off and threw it at them.
"I was never a goddess!" I screamed.
"Oh yes you are," he said.
"I don't want to be one anymore."
"Then become a Follower. Immortal. Forever with me." I noddded eagerly.
"Lecta," he whispered. I smiled. A fire on the beach greeted my eyes, and we started running. I stopped before it and the crowd began chanting.
"Lecta! Lecta! Lecta!" The lunar eclipse was almost complete, and I felt strong and impulsive. The fire was cold and I stepped into it willingly. It caressed me and pulled me closer. The tattoo glowed brightly. I felt my mortality melt away, replaced with a strong immortal part of my new soul. I felt powerful. This was so much better than being a mortal goddess with an expiration date.
I ran across Chinatown, not knowing where I was going. In a nearby shop, I saw Simone and Jessica. Perfect. I walked through the wall towards them.
"What are you doing out this late, Ly? Won't mummy worry?" Simone mocked. I just smiled. Tymmie materialized next to me and they screamed and ran out of the store. We followed. Soon we were chasing them on the dunes. Tymmie was joined by another Follower, Karyll, and at once we entered their minds with a force so powerful it numbed them.
We left them lying there and went out for ice cream as if we were normal teenagers. While I consumed my cookies 'n' cream, my old conscience took over my brain. I felt guilty. Whatever they had done to me, I had no right to put them into a permanent coma like that. But I knew no medicine would cure them now. They were as good as dead, and it was my fault. I suddenly wanted to go home, have this all be a dream, not be a Follower. The Daughters were a force of peace and I destroyed that harmony. Because of me, a Daughter turned Follower; there would never be peace in the world again. I was officially made to kill, and could never go back. My eyes turned black as my new soul took over, and I never let emotion enter my being again.
We were still standing outside Planet Bang an hour later, shocked that one of our own had turned so quickly. Vanessa was the first to regain her speech.
"We did shove the goddess bit on her unexpectedly," Serena offered.
"We should go after her," Tianna said.
"It's too late. She's a Follower now. She hadn't been a goddess long enough when he found her. She hadn't even practiced her power! Persuading her to join him was probably effortless. She'll never be a goddess again. Oh, she'll be immortal, but without a soul," I said.
"Won't she think she still has a soul? She's kind of new at this whole thing," Vanessa asked.
"Yes. The power of the Atrox will make her believe she has a brand new soul, but her shell is empty. If anything, he'll put hatred into her. If she has any compassion left it'll be gone in the next five minutes," Serena said.
"You know a lot about this, Serena," I said, eyeing her carefully.
"Stanton and I have spoken about it."
"Someone say my name?" We jumped at the sound of Stanton's voice. I glared at him accusingly.
"Lydia is safe. She just put her cousins into a coma, but they should be alright. I took them to a hospital after going into their minds and bringing them almost to consciousness. The Atrox is after the Daughters of the Moon, not mortals. For now."
"They probably deserved it, the way they treated her this morning!" Jimena said, cracking her knuckles.
"Honestly, it's not funny. I've never seen a Lecta take on power like that before," he whispered.
"Did you see Maggie's eyes when she first saw Lydia? I thought she was going to have a stroke, she looked so scared," Vanessa said.
"Now I know why I thought she was strange this morning," I said, "It was the evil kind of strange that masquerades itself as beautiful. We're so used to spotting Followers, we didn't know she wasn't one of us until she ran away with Tymmie."
"She's with Tymmie?" Stanton said, starting to disappear.
"You didn't know?"
"Tymmie will try to make her hatred stronger than the Atrox would prefer," Stanton gargled as he disappeared completely.
"The Atrox has a limitation to hatred?" Tianna asked, crinkling her nose in confusion. We glanced at her and burst out laughing.
"Tymmie may think he has taken a Daughter, but she was never one of us. Whenever I wake up and put the amulet on, it brightens for a moment as if greeting me. When Maggie put it on her, it didn't do that. It didn't recognize her at all," Vanessa stated.
"We should go home," I said, "It's late, and tomorrow we'll have a new enemy to fight."
"One named Lydia," Serena finished.