This is my first REAL PJ&O fanfic, so please be nice. Read and review! Hope ya like it! :D
Katie Gardener knew the normalcy in her life was coming to an abrupt halt when the mailman tried to kill her.
Now, you have to understand, weird things always happened to Katie. What with being ADHD and dyslexic, life had been hard. On top of all that, all through her elementary school years, Katie claimed that monsters were always trying to kill her. That's why her third grade classroom was on fire. That's why there's a gigantic hole in the gym floor. That's why her reading substitute (a.k.a the alleged "monster") was hanging from the basketball hoop.
Needless to say, no one believed her. Even she thought she was insane. But somewhere inside of her, she knew something was off about her life.
So, when the mailman's eyes glowed red and he pulled a dagger on her, Katie wasn't exactly "surprised" as much as she was "scared".
Katie did the normal thing a thirteen-year-old girl would do when her usual mailman turned psycho- she screamed and tried to shut the door. But her mailman must've started taking something, because he kicked the door back open, throwing it off its hinges like a toy door on a dollhouse. It slammed into her, throwing her hard against the stairs, knocking the breath right out of her. Gasping, she shoved the cracked door to the side just in time to see the mailman…monster…thing lunge at her, dagger raised. She screamed again and kicked out reflexively, catching the monster right in the chest. It staggered back, thrown off-balance. Katie quickly scrambled to her feet and ran up the stairs, ignoring how she still breathed a little funny.
She heard the monster growl behind her, an inhuman sound from deep in its throat. It was ticked. But she didn't hear it chase her. It confused her, but she didn't focus on it too much. She hit the upstairs floor running, threw open the first door she came to, and dove in, slamming and locking the door behind her. She pressed her back against it, barely noticing that she ended up in the bathroom. She held her breath for a moment, pressed her ear against the door, and listened.
Where did the monster go?
Suddenly her eyes locked on something dark outside the window. Her eyes narrowed and she walked closer. Was that…smoke? Yes. Her eyes followed the wispy strands of smoke, locating someone standing on her porch. No, not someone.
And he was busy lighting matches and throwing them into the bushes surrounding her house.
He was going to try and burn her alive.
Panic clawed at her. She trembled, tears welling her eyes, the urge to scream building in her throat as she watched the creature catch her eye in the window, grin wickedly at her, and run off, disappearing into the fading daylight. Good God, she was going to die.
As more smoke wafted past the window, she gripped the windowsill tighter. The front porch was completely on fire now, eliminating that as a possible escape route. There was no back door. The only phone was downstairs, which she guessed was already starting to be engulfed in the flames. She was trapped.
And then her fingers hit the latch on the window. For a second, she just stared at it. Then, with the gracelessness of a girl frantic with terror, she unhooked the latch and threw the window wide open. She didn't stop to think about how she was two stories off the ground, or how the bushes underneath were on fire. She just knew she had to jump, and jump far. So she did.
She hit the grass hard, barely missing the flaming bushes. Pain shot through her legs and she hit her knees with a cry. The intense heat of the fire behind her made her sweat, and the smoke burned her eyes. Almost blindly, she started crawling from her burning house, crawled until the smoke no longer choked her and she no longer felt the heat. She stopped in lawn across the street. She turned back on her knees, watching with teary eyes as her house was engulfed in flames, all her childhood memories turned to ash.
Then she collapsed into the grass, the world going black.
"Do you know who would've done this to you or you family, Katie?"
Katie sat still in the chair, staring down at her hands. She was at the police station after a few days in the hospital being treated for smoke inhalation. They suspected an arsonist (well, duh! Were these really the professionals?) but they didn't know who. They wanted Katie's help. Her dad hadn't wanted them to question her, but after saying it would help assure her safety, he'd relented and she'd been stuck in an interrogation room.
Like a criminal.
When she was the victim.
"Katie." She looked up at the interrogator's voice. The short, rotund man's blue eyes stared at her. "Did you see anyone suspicious around your house anytime lately?"
Just my apparently-demonic mailman. "No." Like she was really going to confirm to this man that she was a crazy person, like everyone else believed.
The police officer frowned at her response, clearly not believing her. "Honey," he said in a soothing tone, "if you tell us, we can protect you. And your father. They won't hurt you again…"
She didn't believe a word of that. "I didn't see anyone, sir." Anyone you would believe, anyway.
When she left the interrogation room, her father was deep in conversation with a man in a wheelchair. Katie was confused, because she didn't recognize this man as anyone her father worked with, or any of his friends. He had curly brown hair and tan skin, as if he spent a lot of time in the sun. Even though he didn't look very old, something about him radiated ancient, a I've seen and know a whole lot more than you do feeling that Katie didn't like. But when he looked over at her, his eyes said kindness.
Her father walked up to her and put an arm around her shoulders. "How was it, Kates?" he asked, using his nickname for her.
Katie shrugged. "I didn't know much more than they did," she said, trying to keep herself from looking around for more monsters. Since the mailman thing, it had become a bit of a paranoid habit. One her father didn't miss. His arm tightened around her shoulders, a sort of protective gesture that made the fear ease up a little. But only a little.
"Katie," he said, suddenly turning to smile at the stranger. "I'd like you to meet an…old friend of mine."
Katie blinked, having forgotten the man was there. But she quickly recovered, putting on her innocent smile that helped her ease her way through most things. "Nice to meet you, mister…?"
The man smiled warmly and held out his hand for her to shake. "Chiron," he said as she shook his hand. "You can call me Chiron."
Katie frowned a little. Chiron. A strange name…
"Chiron here runs a summer camp not far from here," her dad said, and she looked up at him. "He says, since summer's coming up, and to sort of…help you after this incident, you can go there this year. If you want."
Katie's frown deepened. "It's…it's not like the last camp you sent me to, right?" she asked hesitantly. The last camp had been to help with the creatures she supposedly saw. It had torture, a summer spent with mental cases that nearly drove her to the point of insanity, a thing she'd hoped to avoid.
Her dad shook his head. "No, sweetie. It's just…um, a camp."
Katie looked over at Chiron. He was still smiling at her. He seemed nice, and not like someone who'd try and help her get over her "mental issues." And the possibility of a normal, creature-free summer did sound incredibly good right now…
Without really thinking, she nodded. "Sure. Sounds good."
When the first day of summer came, Katie dragged her packed suitcase outside of her and her father's rented apartment to find that her dad would not be driving her to camp. The camp people would.
A van sat outside in the apartment complex's parking lot, the words CAMP HALF-BLOOD written on the side. Chiron sat in his wheelchair beside the passenger door, waiting for her. He smiled as she approached.
"Hello, Katie," he greeted her. "You ready for camp?"
Katie smiled back. "Oh, yeah." The last few days of school had been torture, kids pestering her with details of the arsonist attack, labeling her as a bigger freak than she'd already been proclaimed by the popular girls. She wanted nothing more than a relaxing summer.
Chiron gestured to the passenger door. "You can ride up front with Argus. I'll get in the back."
Katie paused, unsure how to word her question without offending the man. "Um…no offense, but…do you need help getting in?"
Chiron waved his hand dismissively. "Oh, no. I'm fine."
"Yes, Katie. Don't worry about me. I'm more than I seem."
Katie nodded, but she was still frowning. She opened up the passenger door and set her suitcase in the floor of the van. Then she climbed in, slamming the door shut and buckling herself in. She turned to look at the driver…and screamed.
Eyes. Hundreds of them, all over his body. He smiled kindly at her, but she pressed herself against the door, her heart racing in her chest. Her voice was high-pitched, panicked, when she yelled, "C-Chiron!"
The van's backdoors opened wide. She looked back, seeing the wheelchair thrown into the back. Then Chiron came in…or half of Chiron. Because were his legs should've been was all horse. As he settled in, he grimaced at her petrified look.
"Katie Gardener…there are some things that we need to explain to you."
Did I do good? I hope so. :D