“Anika Melevanos,” the 8th period literature teacher calls out for the last time before everyone, except for me, leaves for college.
“Here!” I yell over the constant whirring of the classroom electrical sharpener and the shuffle of people’s feet. Twelfth grade. The supposedly mature group of kids...ha, not.
Mr. Pierce continues calling out names as I look out the window of the room, thinking about how I’m already living by myself, no relatives to support me, working at instant food restaurants after school to earn enough money to survive and get an education. Not that the pay is good, since the androids are mostly taking over the jobs. Life is just great, isn’t it? But it also helps that my whole family is dead, and all of my relatives hate me. And yes, that was sarcasm.
And then there’s the college that I’m never going to because I WON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!!! Three months of summer and everyone will be leaving for college while I stay in some boring town called Vilis in the Rucianoc Empire to work and try not to die of hunger or something because I have no money. Why does my life have to be so horrible?
After forty minutes of Mr. Pierce lecturing about reading over the summer to maintain reading levels, school's over.
RIIIINNNGGGG!!!!!! Everyone jumps up and starts packing things.
“Have an awesome summer everyone!” Mr. Pierce yells and everyone dashes out the door. Except for me, of course.
“Anika? You can leave. It’s okay, there’s no extra work needed to be done anyways tonight, and have a good summer,” Mr. Pierce says. I stare for a second and then answer quietly,
“Okay...have a good summer,” and I gather my things and walk out of the room slowly.
When I reach the doors of the Building 12 my best friend, Serafina Ferise, is already waiting for me. She is the quiet, but intelligent one in the grade. And plus the fact that she's one of the hottest girls in the school, every other girl envies her, while all the boys drool at her feet. She would ask for a pencil in class and legit every single boy in the class would jump up and start fights over who's pencil Serafina gets. It's honestly so ridiculous, but somehow Sera manages.
"Hey Nika," Serafina waves when she sees me.
"How did you get away from all those aggressive boys, I wonder?" we both laugh and walk to Sera's car.
"I kind of hid....up in a tree...," Serafina admits sheepishly, and I giggle when I see a golden-brown leaf in her hair. I sigh, wishing I was as pretty as her. Serafina reads my mind.
"Stop Anika! You're gorgeous, only the boys are too blind to see it. The technology these days are making their vision crappy," Sera flicks me in the head for a good measure. We laugh again and slowly melt into a silence, while I think about my black hair, weird but cool violet eyes, and pink heart-shaped lips. An unusual combination of colors, but I guess it's kind of pretty after all.
I sigh, thinking about having to work again for the whole summer, no time to hang out with friends, just endless hours of boring work at restaurants. And of course, being the great friend she is, Sera offered to ask her parents to adopt me. And of course I refused. I didn't want to bother her parents, and give them even more work to do.
"Hey Anika, have you changed your mind about me adopting you yet?" Sera asks as we get into her shiny, dark blue transport pod.
"Dear baby muffins, Sera, stop asking, you know that I won't let your family adopt me," I say, exasperated. Ever since Serafina came up with the idea to adopt me last year, she's been bothering me every day about it, and I know she means well, but sometimes you just have to accept the fact that someone's not going to change. Sera sighs in response.
"Having you as a sister would be nice though. We could be the Ferise sisters."
"True...but no thanks."
"Will you believe me if I said I'll drag you to my house if you don't agree?"
"Pfft. Of course you won't. You love me."
Sera sighs again and chuckles softly.
"No I don't."
"Yes you do, and you know it," I smirk at her and she nods, rolling her eyes.
We arrive at my house that I inherited from my parents, and I hug Sera as I get out of the pod. After all, I probably won't see her for a long time.
"Thanks for everything," I whisper in her ear, and then I turn away quickly to hide the sudden, burning tears that spring into my eyes.
"The aliens are gonna conquer the world, and we are all gonna die...," I sing along to my light screen's music program as I clean my bedroom. Yes, I clean, unlike other slobs that don't give a crap about their home's well-being.
I freeze and turn off the music. I wait a few more seconds but nothing happens.
"Stop being paranoid Anika, it was probably just a creaky floorboard," I whisper to myself. But the thing is, there were no creaky floorboards in the house. It was all just carpet and tiles. I continue wiping my windows when I hear it again.
CRAAACKK!!! Louder. Or maybe a window? I feel my heart thumping as I slowly walk out of my room, cautiously opening the door. I peek out, preparing to come face to face to a living horror.
Nothing. I walk towards the living room and peer inside. Again, nothing. There can't possibly be someone in my house. I head towards the kitchen next, but suddenly I hear quiet footsteps come up behind me.
I turn around to face a masked creature with black slits as eyes, and I step back, terrified. How did he even get in my house? I'm sure I locked everything. He raises a knife and I drop onto my knees, holding up my arms as a barrier to protect my head. What if I die here? Murdered in my own once-secure house? And who even uses a knife anymore? Those were from a few thousand years ago!
Just as the knife comes down, a light yellow glow covers me and stops the knife inches from my head. Then a bullet comes whizzing towards the man and shoots him through the forehead, and he falls down, blood pooling around him. Okay then.
I don't move, still shocked from my near-death experience. The blood spreads around the carpet, staining the already red carpet even more.
"Hey, are you okay?" I look up to see a guy about my age, blond hair and piercing green eyes staring back at me.
"Um.....I don't think anyone could be okay after what just happened," I laugh shakily even though there's nothing nice about almost being murdered, running my hands through my hair to calm myself. What the heck just happened?! Then I remember the guy who saved me.
"Who are you?" I turn around to look at him suspiciously.
"My name's Aaron Ivanov, at your service," Aaron flashes a wild grin at me. I fight the urge to smile back by looking back at the corpse bleeding in front of me. It works. Then I notice a broken window by the kitchen, and shards of glass on the floor beside it.
I don't tell Aaron who I am, and he has the sense not to ask. We sit in silence for what feels like forever, until I hear myself ask,
"Seriously though, who actually are you? What was that barrier? And why did I have to be the one to almost get murdered?" I bring my hands to my face and massage my temples, tired of life and all the bad luck.
"Do you really want to know...? I mean, people aren't supposed to know about this stuff," Aaron asks quietly after a moment of hesitation.
"Did you really expect me to go on living my life after this happened to me?" I laugh even though there's nothing funny to be laughing about.
"It's just.....I don't really want to get you into this complicated mess. I don't want you to lose anyone or get hurt because of me...," Aaron murmurs. He looks so sad, I almost reach over to give him a hug.
"Well, I don't really have a lot of people to lose, except for my best friend, and I don't really care if I get hurt, life's pretty horrible anyways," I feel my eyes burning, giving me the signal that I'm probably about to cry again. I quickly wall off my feelings. I look over at Aaron and catch him gazing at me sadly. He looks away as soon as I turn to him.
"Okay, if you insist on knowing," he sighs and leans back against the wall. I sit up eagerly, like a dog waiting for its meal.
"First of all, you should know that there is more than one universe. Second of all, I'm from another universe. And third, you are too. Those are the main points of this conversation, okay?" I stare at him blankly.
So. I almost got murdered about half an hour ago, and now apparently I'm a descendant of someone from another universe called Cynthia. Life is just great!
"So...you're telling me that my great-great grandmother stopped telling her children they were aliens because she didn't want them to feel left out....but isn't not telling someone something leaving them out too?" I rub my pounding forehead, confused.
"Yeah.....you're the last descendant of the Melevanos family, and the most powerful family tree in the universe. I still can't believe that you were left to fend for yourself, and had no idea of how powerful you were," Aaron stares at the bloodstain on the carpet. We took the corpse out into the wasteland to bury it a few moments ago since it was pretty unsettling, but there's no getting the stain out of the carpet by myself, and of course if I contacted someone, they probably would think I murdered someone, and that's not very fun.
"So basically I'm capable of a bunch of stuff, like moving stuff with my mind and throwing balls of energy at people?"
"Yup, but I don't think your skilled enough to actually hit the person you're aiming at with a ball of energy."
I glare at Aaron, and he smiles at me again, chuckling softly.
"I have perfect aim, thank you very much," I cross my arms.
"Maybe you do, but remember that the human universe is different from ours. Anything can happen," Aaron explains.
"But what if I use my powers in the human world?" I ask.
"It depends on you. The more you concentrate, the more your goal will be easier to achieve," Aaron responds. He lets me take a minute to ingest all the information, and then he gets up, walking around my house.
"Nice house," he compliments as he walks through the various doors and rooms.
"Thanks..." I reply, unsure of what to do. It would be rude to tell him that I don't want him looking through my stuff, but it is my personal space. I decide to let him explore and I organize some things that got scattered around in the last hour. Something gleams on the blood-stained carpet.
"What's that?" I bend over to pick it up. I wipe some of the blood drops off with my sleeve and inspect it. It's a sapphire pendant. I don't know how I knew it was a real sapphire, but I just had a feeling.
For a second, I gaze at it, thinking how rich it could make me. Then I realize that it was sitting right where the dead guy's neck was earlier. I quickly drop it, because aren't all the things like the pendant possibly traps in the movies? I mean, it's not a movie, but still.
"Aaron?" I call out.
"Hmm?" he walks back into the living room, eating an orange pine-peach that most likely was from my fridge.
"I found this...," I point to the pendant on the floor, but when I look at it, it's glowing and shooting tiny sparks everywhere.
Aaron leaps towards me right when the necklace explodes, and the peach he was holding collides with my face. I squeeze my eyes shut, wondering if this is the end of me, if this ending is good, if it's worth it. I hear a popping sound and everything is silent. No exploding sounds, no yelling, nothing. Not even pain.
"Are you okay?" I jump at the sudden sound of Aaron's voice right by my ear.
"Yeah...well, besides the smashed peach on my face," I wipe the gunk off and open my eyes. A bright sparkling meadow greets me.
"Where the heck am I?" A ruby ladybug lands on my hand and I stare at it, a million thoughts and questions running through my mind.
"The land of the demons."