From “Destiny, Werewolves, and How I Might Have Helped Save the World”
Some people are meant to live happy, but ordinary lives, while some are dragged irresistibly into danger, glory, and the pressures of heroism. It’s Fate or Destiny or Something-Even-Bigger-Than-Both. And there’s nothing that person can do to stop it. Well, in this story, that person whose Fate was sealed on the first day of her junior year of high school was not me. My life is set on a track of the happy, ordinary, and completely free from glory or heroism. The most dangerous thing that I am facing is college applications and I am perfectly happy for it to stay that way.
The girl dragged into adventure and glory and heroism and all that other stuff, the girl with Fate written on her forehead in shining letters, was the new girl at school with the locker next to mine. So I guess you could say I had a brush with Fate, but mostly Fate just glanced dismissively at me before shouldering me aside so that it could get a better look at Katrina Starr. Pretty much like every jock in school would try to do that year.
With a name like Kat Starr, you knew she had to be something special. With platinum blonde hair, blue eyes that blazed defiantly at the world in general, and a tall, slim, athletic build that simply screamed I-take-some-special-form-of-martial-arts-after- school-and-could-kick-your-butt, it was surprising that no one else seemed to notice that she was marked for Greatness. But I guess that’s how it is with these heroes-to-be. They don’t notice Fate until it punches them in the gut. Or kisses them passionately. Fate can be awkward like that.
On the first day of school, when it all began, Kat and I were fiddling with our locker combinations and I was chatting with my good friend Colin. Colin is a girl, by the way, but her parents are that kind of people who think that mixing up names will make their children feel unique and special instead of giving them anger management issues. Colin has an older brother named Ashley.
Colin and I were comparing notes on our summers holidays – she spent half of hers in Europe and I spent most of mine in my room reading (but I still maintained I visited more places) – when a mysterious Entity was suddenly looming behind me. Colin didn’t really pay attention, but I found myself listening in on a conversation between Kat and The Stranger.
“Hello, Katrina Starr,” he began in a deep, sultry voice. I had never described a voice as sultry before, not being a huge fan of soap operas, but his was definitely what I think a sultry voice would sound like. Kind of… throaty.
“Do I know you?” Kat responded, flicking her silvery blonde hair over her shoulder. I wasn’t facing them, but it’s impossible not to catch the shimmer of that hair out of the corner of your eye. “How do you know my name?”
“We know a lot about you, Kat,” The Sultry Stranger continued, sounding pleased with himself. “We’ve been waiting for you.”
“Well, get lost, whoever you are,” Kat challenged. I admired the new girl’s spunk. “Whatever your game is, I’m not interested.” And she brushed past him and walked away.
The Sultry Stranger waited a moment to contemplate her disappearing form, and then stalked off in the opposite direction. I spared him a glance. Oh, it was only Jake, quarterback of the football team and senior stud of Gracetree High School. He didn’t normally sound like that, I thought. What had made him talk so weird to Kat? Probably just an attempt to hit on her. Typical.
“Ugh, this year is going to be awful,” Colin groaned. “I think I can predict the future: homework, homework, and then more homework!”
“I like homework,” I said complacently. I meant it, too. Homework, college, grad school, successful career, book about my successful career, retirement on a beach somewhere. I had dreams of being normal that I was eager to fulfill.
If Kat Starr had any dreams of being normal, though, she was being forced to give them up.
After first period, I ran back to my locker to grab my calculator for my next class and there was Kat, this time with three guys and a girl standing around of her, talking very intently to her.
I sidled closer, unwilling to eavesdrop if I didn’t have to. I’m polite like that. But her locker was right next to mine and Jake was leaning against the door of my locker so I had to request that he scoot over so I could get in. He did, without looking at me.
“It’s impossible,” Kat whispered, sounding upset. I thought about humming, to block out their voices and so they’d know I was there, since Jake already seemed to have forgotten.
“You can’t deny it any more than we can,” said the girl. That was Paige from the cheer squad. Jake’s ex-girlfriend as of last fall. Now she was dating Jake’s teammate Andre, one of the other guys who was looming over Kat. I wondered how they could all still be friends after that much drama, but who was I to judge?
“I’m a clairvoyant,” Paige continued, perfectly serious, “and you’re a hunter.”
“I don’t want to be a hunter!” Kat exclaimed. “I don’t believe in werewolves!”
Want to know what happens next? Find out July 15 if you order a copy of Lantern Hollow Press’s short story anthology, Encountering Otherworlds and the Coming of Age. Read stories of children entering worlds of imagination–and find out if they can make it out alive! We cannot wait to share these wonderful tales, written by our very own Lantern Hollow Press staff. Mark you calendar today!