In many ways, that emotion was the easiest to feel, the easiest to experience. It is the one emotion that can easily make one lose their sense of self, which makes it particularly dangerous to the unnatural forces of immortality.
Henri Anderson was angry. The uncontrollable rage that traveled up his veins was nearly impossible to quell, shaking his immortal body to its core. He knew he needed to control it, knew that he needed to rid his body of it if he wished to be at his strongest.
For days, he locked himself in his chamber, allowing for no one to interrupt him as he battled with the anger he felt at the loss of Roseway. For days, he tried to destroy the feeling, but to no avail. He was at a loss for words, at a loss of how the mortals were finally able to defeat his control over the suburb.
But then, he gained knowledge of her. And just like that, the anger vanished.
The mortals had found a Foreseer, and they had used her to their advantage. Henri didn’t just know of her, but he knew what she looked like too, thanks to Melissa and her strong presence in Marywood. Thus, Henri began to devise a new plan, starting with the Foreseer. In his mind, he conjured up an image of her and began to recite a simple verse in both English and French:
“She can see the future, I know.
Now, her visions will not show.
She will not be surprised
Of Rebecca and her rise.
Elle peut voir l'avenir, je sais.
Maintenant ses visions ne montreront pas.
Elle ne sera pas surprise
De Rebecca et de son augmentation.”
The ICW was only mere weeks away, and for the first time since the mortals had taken Roseway from him, Henri felt victorious, ready. Thus, the war between mortals and immortals had officially begun.
Rebekah was drowning.
The walls of the house at the end of the street started to collapse as more blood seeped through the crevices. Swimming in the pools of the murky depths were decaying bodies of the past victims, eyes full of sorrow and mouths agape. Everywhere she swam, her hands brushed over the cold limbs of the bodies, making it impossible for her to stay afloat. Merciless waves of blood washed over her and forced her to sink downward.
Her burning lungs forced her to inhale, and she began to choke on the blood as gallons of the liquid rushed down her throat, seeming relentless. Yet, she found herself unable to mutter a single scream. Unconsciousness began to take over, and she slowly sunk deeper into a never-ending coma…
The sound of an alarm went off, pulling her out of her dream and back into reality. Quickly, she breathed a heavy sigh as another Roseway-induced nightmare had passed. Checking the date on her digital alarm clock, she realized that it was the fourth of November, and just last week, she was battling the suburb.
Due to the fact that her parents made the decision to move to Roseway, the house in Marywood that they had previously owned was lost. On such short notice, it was impossible to buy another house, so they had to settle on a shabby two-bedroom apartment, of which Rebekah and her two brothers took up the supposed master bedroom, and her parents settled on the smaller of the two bedrooms. This was simply because, since there were three of them, they needed more space.
Both of her brothers’ beds were empty, already up before her and eager to get started on their senior year of high school. She, on the other hand, was returning to her previous school for her eighth grade, and slowly, she left her bed, throwing a random outfit together—one that was purchased a couple of days ago, since all of her previous belongings in Roseway were unable to be retrieved.
After taking a quick shower, she threw on a pair of jeans and a plain black t-shirt and walked a couple of paces, where the small apartment merged into the living and dining area. Glancing around quickly, she saw no sign of any of her brothers; however, both of her parents were in the kitchen, quietly chatting before they had to go to work. She silently approached them, catching pieces of their conversation.
“I can’t believe that we were evicted,” her mother, Katie, said in a rather innocent tone—a different one than what she had in Roseway. “I was certain that we paid our taxes on time.”
“Perhaps we missed something,” came the abrupt voice of her father, Paul, “but it is quite odd how the bank decided to evict us without giving us prior warning.”
Rebekah listened carefully to her parents’ hushed conversation. She remembered the only retained memory she had of Roseway. The others had lost it when they became possessed, and in order to cover up the supernatural elements and the sudden memory loss, a fake memory was implanted for that time period, one that was created by Holly and Andre, the two witches who had helped destroy the curse. Even those in Marywood that weren’t directly involved in Roseway were wiped of the memory of the Jensens moving, something that was instated as extra precaution.
Creating a fake eviction was part of the false memories in order to explain why the Jensens were unable to live in their old Marywood house. Thus, they were stuck living in the shabby, two-bedroom apartment until they had enough money to afford another house.
Rebekah wandered into the kitchen, noticing the sudden silence that her parents created in regards to her presence. Forging around in the refrigerator, she found an apple, quickly rinsed it off, and bit into it, letting the juice flow down her throat.
“Rebekah, honey,” her mother called, approaching her, “would you like to carpool with us today to school?”
Rebekah shook her head. “Jamie said that she’d pick me up,” she said. Jamie Simpson was once the most popular girl at Marywood Middle School and the leader of Eternal Division, and to an extent, she still was all those things. Jamie was another person who had suffered from the memory loss in Roseway, and forgot that Holly, along with Andre, had saved her life. In her eyes, Holly was a toy that she could play with, someone whom she took pleasure in harassing.
Yet, Rebekah would be lying if she didn’t admit she had grown somewhat fond of Jamie while she was in Roseway. After all, it was Jamie who, despite her shallow appearance, had Rebekah’s interests in mind when she had supposedly told off Jake and Mandy for engaging in a lip lock at one of Teri’s parties sometime last December. Rebekah remembered reading an entry of Jamie’s journal that said just that shortly after she was possessed. Therefore, when Jamie had called her last night and offered to pick her up for school, she gleefully accepted Jamie’s invitation and even gave some serious thought to officially joining the clique. Holly will understand, Rebekah thought as justification for officially joining a clique that used fear to its advantage in order to gain power.
In essence, Rebekah was still rather angry at both Mandy and Jake for what they had done to her, but she knew she would have to pretend that nothing was wrong, since the false memories extended before that event.
“I guess that’s fine,” said Katie, quickly grabbing her car keys off the kitchen counter. She and Paul filed out of the apartment, and Rebekah followed shortly after, carrying her backpack on one shoulder.
In the cold, she watched her parents pull out of their parking spot and drive out onto the open road. Scanning the many cars that passed the apartment complex, Rebekah looked for a Jamie’s black limo. Within moments, she spotted the limo as it pulled into the parking lot, and Jamie opened the car door without getting out.
“Are you coming, or are you just going to stand there?” Jamie called, seeming impatient.
Rebekah made her way to the vehicle and piled into it alongside Jamie and the other three members of her clique, who had also received false memories.
“Now,” Jamie started to say once the limo began moving again, “do you all remember me telling you about applying for this year’s ICW?”
The rest nodded reluctantly, including Rebekah, since she knew that Jamie wouldn’t stop taking about it. The ICW, called by its full name the International Clique Wars and of which Rebekah hadn’t heard of until Jamie had brought it up in Roseway, was nothing short of a game show…for teenagers. From around the world, eight cliques were chosen to compete and represent their chosen countries. This year, the United States was chosen as well as France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Estonia.
“Well, I heard from them this morning, and,” Jamie paused as if to create suspense from her clique, “we got accepted.”
The other three members—Teri, Sabrina, and Sam—cheered their leader on, whereas Rebekah, though happy with Jamie’s accomplishment, was more silent.
Not noticing Rebekah’s behavior, Jamie continued, “Now, I haven’t read the letter yet, nor have I opened the package that they’ve sent me, which I was planning on doing today, if you all would be willing to go home with me.”
This time, a chorus of yesses chimed throughout the limo, of which Rebekah was a part of. After all, she had nowhere else to go after school.
“So, Rebekah, we’re all dying to know how your parents managed to get evicted,” said Teri, and all eyes turned towards Rebekah.
Rebekah glanced at them, wishing that no one had brought up that unfavorable subject topic. In no way was she ever as wealthy as the other four members of the clique; she had been to Jamie’s mansion, and Teri, Sabrina, and Sam apparently lived in the same part of town. In fact, she used to live in a rather petite lower-middle-class neighborhood that was closer to the trailer park than it was to where the rest of Eternal Division lived. Now that she lived in an apartment, that put her at the bottom of the Eternal Division standards, a clique that usually in the past had discriminated against poorer classes. Yet, Teri’s question seemed friendly enough, and the group hadn’t revoked Rebekah’s invitation to join yet, so she began her answer.
“My parents forgot to pay a set of their property taxes,” she began. “Now, the bank had confiscated their house.”
“Are you suggesting that you are now poor?” Teri fired the next question.
I never was wealthy like you, Rebekah thought in her head, knowing the dangers of Teri’s questioning. It was as if Teri was testing her worthiness as an Eternal Division member, but before she had a chance to rebut, Jamie spoke to Teri in a calm, but threatening, way.
“Teri, just because Rebekah doesn’t have as much money as us doesn’t mean that she’s necessarily poor. She’s just rich in other ways besides money,” Jamie said, soon turning towards Rebekah, “am I right?”
“Yeah,” was all Rebekah could reply. How else am I rich? For a while, she had dated Jake, one of the most popular guys in school, and in a way, she was still technically dating him because of the false memories, although, she was planning on officially ending that soon after having been practically avoiding him for the past few days.
The limo cruised into the school’s main parking lot, and the clique scooted out of their seats. Rebekah retrieved her crumpled-up schedule from her backpack, and together, the five of them walked through the school’s main doors and into the hallway.
Already, the school was buzzing with excitement. Those who were nearest to the front of the school turned their heads to stare at the new arrivals, and after word had spread, everyone began to clear the hallway and cling to their lockers. Eyes swept over the clique as they made their way to Jamie’s locker first.
Jamie began to open her locker, shoving it inside her small backpack and grabbing only what she needed for her first block class. “Do you guys think that you will be able to come home with me? I realize that it’s kind of short notice.”
“Yeah,” said the others.
“Then, we’ll meet by this locker, and I’ll take you to my house,” Jamie concluded.
Suddenly, two girls approached Jamie’s locker, whom Rebekah had only seen a couple of times.
“Here’s your work from yesterday,” said the first one—a blonde. Quickly, she and her brunette companion handed out papers to Jamie, Teri, Sabrina, and Sam. Rebekah stared at Jamie oddly as she accepted the papers.
“Thank you,” said Jamie politely before turning towards Rebekah. “Oh, and this is Rebekah, the newest member of our clique.”
As soon as Jamie had said those words, Rebekah’s eyes had widened in surprise. After all, she had never officially accepted Jamie’s invitation to join Eternal Division, and it was as if Jamie took Rebekah’s acceptance to hang out with them as an answer. Either that or the false memories gave me Eternal Division membership status, she thought as a gulp ran down her throat. Then, Rebekah glanced at the two girls, still confused. Both of them greeted her, but she didn’t return it.
“Rebekah, this is Hannah Jones,” Jamie began, motioning towards the blonde, and after motioning towards the brunette, she added, “and this is Arianna Campbell.” After she was done with the introductions, she turned towards the two girls and ordered, “Here, you can help me carry my stuff to my first class.” The two girls nodded and when they finally had her materials in hand, they disappeared down the long hallway.
“Those two are, like, the biggest suck-ups,” Teri noted.
“To me,” said Jamie, “whatever I tell them to do, they do it.”
Rebekah barely paid any attention to Jamie’s talk of her “slaves” who seemed to worship her. Slowly, she became invisible to them as she slipped away in pursuit of her two friends who weren’t a part of Jamie’s coterie, one of which she hadn’t seen or spoken to for months and who she was still rather angry with.
The first person that she had run into was Holly, who was waiting patiently by her first hour class. With her orange hair barely resting below her shoulders, she had on a pair of jeans and a blue blouse—the first thing that Rebekah had noticed, since all Holly usually wore were polka-dot dresses that she made herself.
“Did you make that?” Rebekah wondered, glancing at the new attire.
Holly shook her head. “Mandy gave me some clothes after I returned from the battle in Roseway. She stated it was a token of remembrance after everything.”
Rebekah nodded slowly. Besides Holly and Rebekah, the only other one who attended Marywood and retained her memory the months of the Roseway incident was Mandy, a human who can catch a glimpse at the future in her dreams, hence why she was called a Foreseer.
“My parents still haven’t come home,” said Holly. “At this point, I’ll be lucky if they ever do. Andre’s been taking care of me, but she can’t gain legal custody of me until she turns eighteen.”
A few moments later, Mandy had joined their conversation, her long, blonde hair in a disheveled mess. At the sight of her, Rebekah felt her anger resurface, but she did her best to suppress it. After all, if Mandy also had retained her memories, she also would have remembered how she and Jake had betrayed Rebekah at Teri’s party. Instantly, she pulled Rebekah into an embrace, and Rebekah tensed up slightly at the embrace but did her best to somewhat return it. “I know everything,” she cooed, choking on her words. “Rebekah, I’m so sorry.”
Rebekah pulled away. “None of that matters anymore. It’s over.”
Holly shook her head. “Not even for you is it over. We mustn’t be separated again.”
Rebekah turned her heels towards Holly. “Holly, I’ve been dealing with this crap since December. It may not be over for you, but for me, I’m just…done.”
“Do you honestly believe that since Roseway is under Jason’s control that this is going to stop?” questioned Holly, her voice rising. She took a step closer, lowering her voice. “I know Henri’s character, and the fact that he still has my parents is proof of that. He’s planning something.”
“Holly, this is your war. Not mine, and not Mandy’s,” Rebekah scolded.
“This is your war as much as it is mine,” Holly growled.
Rebekah glanced between her two friends. “You’ll have to do this without me. Jamie’s clique was accepted to the ICW, and I’ll be attending it.”
Holly’s eyes never left Rebekah’s, but she didn’t seem shocked that Rebekah just admitted to formally joining Eternal Division. In a way, it was as if Holly knew something Rebekah did not. “Make us a part of that,” she ordered.
Shocked, Rebekah took a step back. Whatever had become of Holly, she didn’t want to be a part of. Slowly, she retreated back to where Jamie and the rest of her clique stood.
The first thing that the clique did after school that day was get passports. “The ICW this year is being held in Munich, Germany,” said Jamie proudly before arriving at the post office. “Therefore, we must get passports.”
In what was one of the most tedious hours of Rebekah’s life, the passport photos were taken and paid for, the clique members loaded themselves back into the limo, and off they traveled to Jamie’s house.
“I must show you guys the acceptance letter,” said Jamie once they arrived at her house. With her clique following, she dashed up the stairs and retrieved an unopened envelope that was on top of an unopened package. She tore it open, reluctant to read it aloud:
Dear Jamie Simpson,
We are pleased to inform you that your clique, Eternal Division, has been chosen to participate in this winter’s International Clique Wars for females. However, there is one problem that prevents your group from participating: you will need two more members in order to compete in a few of the activities, as I am sure you are aware of. As soon as you find two more people who can fill that position, Eternal Division will be eligible to represent the United States.
Jason Speirs, host of this winter’s International Clique Wars.
“We need two more members,” Jamie whispered, obviously flabbergasted. “Who will we choose to be our temporary teammates?”
Teri shrugged obediently before picking up a list, which showed all of the participating cliques from the chosen countries. “Umm, Jamie, you might want to see this.”
Jamie turned her attention to the list of clique participants that Teri showed her. “Great! Les Fleurs Cramoisies is participating!”
“Who?” Rebekah wondered.
“Les Fleurs Cramoisies, or, in English, The Crimson Flowers. It’s a clique from Paris, France,” Sam explained.
“And their leader is Julie Duvall,” Jamie added. “How her clique got in, I do not know.”
“Rebekah, can I see you for a minute?” Teri led Rebekah out of the room. “Please don’t ask about Julie Duvall when you’re around Jamie.”
“She’s kind of Jamie’s arch enemy. Jamie will kill me if she found out that I told you this, but she and Julie used to be very good friends, or pen pals. They had formally met online a couple of years ago, and until a little over a year ago, the two of them were inseparable,” Teri explained. “That is, until the two of them got into a fight about something. Jamie actually never really told us what the fight was about, but it must have been pretty serious for them to end their friendship over it.”
Rebekah pursed her lips together, somewhat speechless. As Teri told the story, she couldn’t help but suspect that there was more to the story than what she was told.
Soon, Jamie exited the room that she was currently in, interrupting Teri and Rebekah’s conversation. “Help me find two more people!” she demanded. “Name some people.”
“Rosalie Franklin and Kendra Laurent,” Teri suggested.
“Oh god no. Those best friends will only ruin Eternal Division’s reputation with their weird rituals and their Eternal Division wannabe attitudes!”
“Sarah Stevenson and Melissa Young,” Teri tried again.
Jamie shook her head making an icky face. “Those two have even weirder rituals than Rosalie and Kendra.”
“Okay how about Arianna Campbell and Hannah Jones?”
“Possibly,” Jamie considered. “But then again, those two are major suck-ups.”
With no more suggestions, Rebekah knew that she had to do something. Holly wanted so desperately for her and Mandy to stay with Rebekah, and she knew instantly who she was going to suggest. Her palms became drenched in sweat, and a lump formed in her throat. In a way, she was scared to see how Jamie would react to such a suggestion, but in that moment, she didn’t have much of a choice. “Holly White and Amanda Palmer,” Rebekah piped up, hoping that Jamie would not take the suggestion the wrong way.
Jamie looked at Rebekah funny. “Why them?”
“Because you’re desperate, and they don’t bother you as much nor do they have any weird rituals.”
“Fine! I’ll ask them! I mean, Mandy, I think, writes, and Holly…isn’t she, like, super nerdy or something? I mean, I guess she kind of has to study so much, since she practically has no life outside of school. That’s it! We can use them for the writing portion and the trivia portion respectively!”
Rebekah flinched slightly when Jamie started talking about Holly in that manner. Then, she took a deep breath, reminding herself that Jamie did have her moments of being a decent person with what she had written in that journal entry, and instantly, Rebekah’s doubts about joining the clique in the first place instantly went away.
The rest of the evening involved digging into the package of ICW materials.
Melissa Ivory Young stood on the outskirts of Seattle with her hands inside her coat pockets, peering into the city that had served as her home for decades. Her hood was pulled over her head, forcing her black hair to spill over her chest, and her eyes displayed a hint of yellow outlining the pupil. Her slightly-grey, pale complexion defined her immortality, and her red-tinted lips were pursed together due to stress. Rain pummeled her from above, which she didn’t think much of. After having lived in the city for years, she grew used to the rain constantly being there so much that not having it felt foreign to her.
She sucked in a deep breath of air as she took a step forward. She knew that she was late for a meeting with the Night Cult, but that didn’t make her move any faster. Even the thought of Cameron Crum, the leader of the Night Cult, conducting the meeting didn’t do anything to make her move faster, someone whom she used to be romantically involved with. Yet, he ended things with her quite some time ago, and now, she knew that she would get no favors from him for being late. She knew that he would hold her to the same regard as everyone else in the group if not a little less, and in that sense, he would find a way to punish her for being late.
Instantly, Melissa shrugged off the horrid thought, knowing that it wouldn’t amount to anything besides a certain amount of humiliation within the meeting itself, something that she had grown hardened to over the years. Cameron Crum certainly didn’t scare her, even if he tried at times to do so through the use of the power and status he possessed within their shared group. In fact, ever since she had gained her immortality, nothing truly scared her except for failure and, more obviously, Henri Anderson.
As she walked quickly and silently towards the headquarters for the Night Cult, her eyes swept towards the ground. In a way, she was not looking forward to this meeting because she knew the topic would mainly be about Henri and the inevitable war between mortals and immortals. Ever since Cameron ended things with Melissa, he kept bringing up Henri around her whenever he had the opportunity to do so, and she knew he did that to instill fear within her, but recently, she just felt annoyed by it. In a way, he was secretly hinting at the fact that the immortal race of magic users must unite behind Henri in order to defeat the mortal threat in the war, which she didn’t much appreciate. She knew her place, just like everyone did, and if anything, Cameron constantly doing that to her made her wish to rebel against Henri even more now.
But she also didn’t want the mortals to win the war.
Within her coat pockets, Melissa balled her hands into fists as she walked at a faster pace. Anger flashed within her eyes, causing her yellow irises to glow, which always happened whenever an immortal magic user fought to experience something that was otherwise deemed as unnatural for them to experience. Immediately, Melissa took a deep breath in order to calm her nerves. Not only would she expose what she was to everyone who passed by her through her glowing eyes, but if she found herself experiencing too much of any emotion, including anger, she would be severely weakened and could also potentially lose her immortality and immediately die. None of those two options were favorable for Melissa, and therefore, she had to fight in order to remain as emotionless as possible.
Soon, she came across the front entrance of a tall, old, and worn-down building that served as the headquarters for the Night Cult. On the outside, the building gave that appearance so that no regular human would go near it. However, the interior looked rather new, complete with a room for each of the members of the group as well as a small basement, where the interns, or human slaves to the immortal magic users, were housed. Melissa did not deny that her group was a very old-fashioned group, for the use of interns was an outdated practice that the Night Cult only really used nowadays. The rest of the immortals stagnantly got rid of any sort of human trafficking throughout the nineteenth century.
Since this building was as much hers as everyone else’s in the group, Melissa pushed herself into the building and quickly shut the door behind her before any of the interns had a chance to escape or someone on the street happened to see her enter the building. Even though each intern wore a bracelet on their right wrists that prevented them from leaving the building lest they get electrocuted, Melissa still took every precaution necessary in order to make sure they all remained in that building.
As expected, no one, not even the interns, greeted her at the door. Instead, she heard loud talking in one of the rooms to the right of the front entrance, indicating that the meeting had already started. Cameron was the one who was talking in the other room, and as Melissa expected, she was late.
She gulped a huge breath of air as she slowly made her way towards the room where the meeting was taking place. In no way did she wish to make eye contact with Cameron, and in order to make sure she didn’t, her eyes stayed glued to the floor the entire time. Instantly, she stepped into the room, and Cameron immediately stopped talking. The room soon was enveloped in silence as all eyes fell on her, and in a way, it was as if time has stopped. Slowly, Melissa’s eyes left the floor and met the gazes of every single person in that room minus Cameron.
Parting his lips, Cameron let out, “You’re late.”
Those two words were enough to deliver an icy chill down her spine as she shuffled towards the back of the room in order to take a seat in between Rhiannon Hansen and Sarah Stevenson. Since Sarah was also enrolled in the same human school in Marywood as her, Melissa instantly felt more comfortable with her.
Yet, Cameron had other things in mind. With a flick of his gaze and with one simple incantation in Latin, he hoisted Melissa up into the air and pulled her towards him before slamming her hard against the wall nearest to him. His eyes never left her as he said his next command: “The rest of you, fill out the back!” A smirk swept across his lips. “This one will have a very special place next to me.”
Instantly, the rest of them scrambled to do what they were told, each moving one seat towards the back of long table that was in front of them. Melissa glanced at all of them in confusion. After all, she wasn’t the only one who has been late to meetings with the Night Cult in the past, and yet, this was the first time Cameron has done anything like this. Then, she felt him yank her away from the wall and slam her down onto the newly-opened seat that was directly to the right of him.
Melissa glared at Cameron as she barred her teeth. Her eyes flashed yellow once again, and it was evident she wasn’t amused by Cameron’s attempt at humiliation. “Thank you, Cameron,” she spat at him.
Cameron didn’t seem to acknowledge her words and instead turned towards the rest of the group in order to resume the meeting. “Like I was saying before,” he began, therefore silencing Melissa, “Henri has specifically asked for our group’s aid after the battle for Roseway was unsuccessful.” Then, he glanced at Melissa and smirked slightly at her. “Soon, he’s planning on hosting a meeting in Greenwich where not only are the Dark Rulers and the Dark Guard expected to attend, but us as well.”
“What exactly is he hoping that we’ll be able to help him with?” someone asked from the back, and it took Melissa a second to realize that the voice belonged to Sarah.
“He hasn’t particularly disclosed all the details yet, but he did tell me this.” Then, Cameron leaned forward, his hands resting on the table. “Jason Speirs is for sure hosting a human competition this year. One of the cliques that was accepted includes three of whom Jason has sworn to protect since the incident in Roseway. Therefore, what better way to further the war then to strike at the venue of the human competition?”
Melissa’s eyes widened at what Cameron had told the group. For the first time since she arrived at the meeting, she became hopeful. The fact that the Night Cult had been specifically invited by Henri to attend his next meeting, allowed her to ask him for a favor. She had a desire for him to transform someone into an immortal witch for her benefit, and she knew exactly who she had in mind for such a feat.
It was no secret that Melissa had a certain amount of animosity towards Henri, and for a while, she envisioned herself as the immortal ruler. Such a thought continuously appeared in the back of her mind to the point where she had a desire to stage a rebellion against him. However, she needed to gain support before she officially started the rebellion, and one of the supporters she wished to gain was the one whom she hoped Henri would make into an immortal witch.
The rest of the meeting was a blur, and once it concluded, Melissa wasted no time teleporting back to Marywood with a single thought in mind: her plot to lure the human she had in mind to Greenwich.