I couldn’t get “Funkytown” out of my head. I’d been singing it in my head all morning. Which was awful because I had homework that was due, and it was due in five minutes. I was already grounded, and if I failed this homework I would collapse in agony. I’d lied to my mom about several things I’d done, but still got grounded. I didn’t even mention that I’d drank alcohol. My head was spinning, and I could barely take in the fact that I didn’t even remember half of what had happened last night.
The bell rang at the exact moment I did my last problem for Algebra 2. I grinned, hoping that somehow luck was on my side today. But then Ashley grabbed my arm. She was my friend, but right now I just really needed to get to class and she was in my way. “So I heard what happened at the party last night, Millie” she said, raising her eyebrows at me.
“What’d you hear?” I was concerned about the rumors. I couldn’t even trust my own account of what happened, so I had no clue what other people were going to be saying. “That you, Ms. Goody Two-Shoes, drank alcohol.” I sighed internally that she heard one of the only things I actually remembered doing. I was tempted to point out that I was not in fact a goody two-shoes, but I realized I didn’t have time. “I did,” I replied, and turned around, leaving Ashley to gasp dramatically and giggle to herself.
I got to Algebra on time, and sat with Gabriela, the person I had been partnered with at the beginning of the year. I knew she’d been at that party, but I didn’t think we’d talked a lot. “You remember what you did at the party, right?” Her words seemed a little slurred and her hair was a mess. I barely kept my grimace in. “I don’t remember much of what I happened at the party.”
She grinned, “You’re joking.” I shook my head. She took in a long breath. “Where do I start? You punched a guy in the face when he insulted this girl you were talking to, you jumped into the pool fully clothed, and you screamed at someone over something they said. I mean like you were really arguing with them. I heard you did other stuff but that was all I saw personally. I wasn’t really around you during the party.”
I felt myself go numb. I knew I’d done some pretty screwball stuff, but I didn’t even remember doing the things she said. I knew one of the things she had said was true because I had woken up the next day with wet clothes. I only snapped back to myself because Ms. Granstaff began speaking to the class.
I drifted through the rest of the day. I really didn’t remember much–how ironic–other than people asking me about the party. Not many people did, to my surprise. I thought I’d be more popular if I’d jumped into a pool fully clothed. I couldn’t focus on talking to people much anyway. I was too busy worrying about the fact that I was grounded.
I tried not to think about the fact that I’d lied to my mom to sneak out and go to a party that I knew would have things like alcohol. I had broken several important rules she’d set for me. I felt really guilty because I knew she was trying her best after my dad left. I pushed that out of my head as I hopped on my bike and started to ride home. I didn’t ride the bus because my house was right next to the school and my mom couldn’t pick me up because she had to work.
My phone buzzed as I was riding home. I’ll just check it when I get home, I said to myself as I felt it buzz again. It didn’t buzz again for the rest of my ride home. Once I had parked my bike and grabbed the spare key under the mat, I fished my phone out of my pocket and looked at the texts I’d gotten. They were from a person named Michelangelo. All they said was, Hey and Who is this? Also there was a text from last night that said, This the right number? And me replying that it was.
My reply to Michelangelo’s most recent texts were, I’m Millie Jones. Who are you? They replied almost instantly. I’m Courtney Black. Do you know why I have your number?
I didn’t recognize her name. I don’t. I assume you don’t either.
I don’t. Do you think we met at Brandon Noel’s party last night?
We probably did. Do you remember much of what you did at the party? Because I don’t. Courtney said she didn’t either.
Do you know why your name is Michelangelo in my phone?
Yeah I remember that. You said I reminded you of him. I laughed at that.
I realized after I looked up from my phone that I was still outside. I walked in and sat my stuff down. I sat in the kitchen after I got my homework out and started to work on it. After a few minutes I gave up and scrolled through my phone for more evidence about what had happened with Courtney at the party last night. As I looked through my pictures, I found some selfies with a girl I assumed was Courtney.
Then I felt myself slammed into a memory. I was at last night’s party, I knew that much. I looked over to see Courtney standing beside me. A man–who was, in my opinion, actually handsome–standing before us. He was dressed in a suit and tie and carried a staff with a swirling orb attached. His eyes were completely black except for his golden irises.
Courtney gasped. “We banished you!” A serpentine smile crawled onto his face. “Your parlor tricks can’t keep a demon trapped forever you know.” He turned to me. “I’m here this time for you,” he hissed at me. “No! She doesn’t belong to you!” Intense light began radiating from Courtney. I shielded my eyes. I heard the man–demon?–hiss and groan. When the light ceased, I looked up to see that the man had disappeared. Courtney looked at me and frowned before saying, “I’m sorry.” Then everything went black.
I woke up sweating. I was soaked. I whispered curses to myself. I couldn’t process what I’d seen. Maybe it was roleplay, maybe it was just my imagination, that couldn’t have actually happened. I couldn’t think about it anymore because my doorbell rang. My mom never rang the doorbell. I walked up to the door and looked through the peephole and saw an eye look right back at me. “It’s me, let me in,” I heard Courtney said through the door. I spoke before I could think. “I will if you tell me the truth.”
“What do you mean?” Some part of me really didn’t want to open the door. “I said, tell me the truth.” I heard her scowl even from the other side of the door. “You don’t want to know, Millie.” I crossed my arms even if she couldn’t see me. “I’m pretty sure I do.”
I heard the click of the door unlocking and the swing of it open before I could move. “I have some explaining to do, then,” she said. Her eyes had changed color, but not like the man-in-the-suit’s had. Her’s were completely, blindingly white. Light was practically coming out of them. She walked through the house with authority, like she was used to commanding others. I followed her and she told me to sit on the couch. I did as she said because I was still scared of her.
Then she started talking, and what she said would have made my legs fall out from under me if I wasn’t already sitting. “You’re half angel and half demon. A powerful hybrid. Which is why you’re being hunted. The demons want you, the angels want you, and before you ask, you do not get a say in the matter. I was sent to the party to retrieve you for the angels. I still had fun when we hung out, though. Loved when you jumped into the pool. But a demon I had previously banished showed up at the party, so I had to deal with it. I’m sorry, but I just had to erase your memories because I couldn’t trust you with that knowledge.”
I just sat there. I couldn’t react. How am I supposed to respond to that? “Prove it,” I said. I couldn’t hear any emotion in my voice. She sighed. “I don’t know how to do-” she was cut off by a crash. “I know you're here, cross-breed.” I recognized the voice. It was the demon that Courtney had attacked. I stood up as she bolted towards the voice. I looked to see the demon push past Courtney and head straight for me.
He pushed me into the wall. His arms were like bars of steel. I screamed, but it did no good. I tried kicking but couldn’t move my legs enough to kick. He brought down his mouth to my arm and bit me. I screamed again, louder this time. Blood was trickling down my arm where his teeth had punctured. “You taste wonderful, and I am ravenous,” he hissed. I saw my blood coating his much too sharp teeth. I couldn’t help but feel powerless and stupid. He was going to kill me and there was nothing I could do.
As if my despair activated something in me, my hands were instantly coated with burning light. The demon growled at me, but kept his hold. I grinned at him. Then I pushed more power into my hands from wherever it was coming from. Now it was his turn to scream. I glanced at my hands long enough to realize they weren’t just white, they were gold. I smiled, baring my teeth as I pushed him to the ground.
I made eye contact with Courtney and she just stared. “Wow,” she whispered, “I didn’t know you could do that.” The grin was still on my face as I whispered back, “Me either.” She paused, sniffing. Her face went tense. “You need to control yourself, bring it back in, Millie.” At the sound of my name I stiffened, but didn’t come back down completely. She walked up to me and grabbed my arm. “Millie. Are you calm?” I nodded. “Okay. Um, after what happened, I guess we should go meet the rest of my cadre.” She didn’t make a move for the door. “Hold your breath,” was all she said before we descended into darkness before emerging into a different room. I felt a woosh of air caress my face and I heard someone swear.
I looked for the source of the voice and saw a boy, who looked about my age. He was wearing what I’d call blacksmith’s gear. “What was that?” I asked. “Teleportation,” said the boy. “And who are-”
He held up a finger. Courtney started to giggle. “I’m Jacques Smith. I’m an angel too,” he said. His hair was almost as black as the void I’d just been in. It was the opposite of Courtney’s. I’d never gotten a good look at her until now. She had blue eyes and her lips were smooth. She had a pretty face, I realized. A small grin came back to my face. Jacques coughed and my gaze snapped to him. “If you’re gonna ogle her, ogle me, too.”
“You haven’t even met David or Shelby yet,” Jacques said. “I can’t wait,” I muttered. They both laughed. I said, “So, I’m still wanted, right? That’s not gonna go away anytime soon is it?” That dropped the mood of the room fast. “Yeah, you are,” Courtney said, “But we’re gonna teach you how to defend yourself.” Jacques raised a brow at that and she shot him a look.
“Well, I guess I’ll be staying with you guys for a while, but I have to call my mom.” Courtney nodded. “I bet you can do that, angels can’t triangulate your location based on your cell records.” For some reason I thought that was the funniest thing, so I started laughing, which caused the others to laugh, too. I’ll fit in here just fine, I thought, and that made me really happy.