Sun-kissed skin absorbed the warm rays beaming down onto it. The day was bright, but her smile was brighter. Immense feelings of love hit deep in Harper’s stomach, but hesitation held her back from expressing her thoughts. Harper loved to admire Mia. Her dirty blond hair, golden complexion, the way she moved, her smile, Harper couldn’t get enough of Mia. Harper herself was short and pale with brown shoulder-length hair. The two were opposites in appearance. Dancing around a dorm room had never been Harper’s thing, but anything was possible with Mia. The song changed to one more romantic in nature and eyes met. Staring into bright green eyes sparkling in the light stopped Harper in her tracks. Never had she been more enamoured with one person. Soon Mia would be the only thing on Harper’s mind. Mia, ever the more confident of the two, leaned forward and placed her hand on Harper’s cheek. Overwhelming emotions coursed through the two as they inched closer to each other. There was nothing smooth about it, but the anticipation felt by the pair left no room for grace. Just as their lips were about to touch Harper was jolted to the present.

“Move! Lights green dumba**!!” filtered into Harper’s ears, a cacophony of car horns welcoming her to the present. Dressed in all black, Harper gently pressed on the gas and continued to her destination. The funeral. Exactly 49 hours and 36 minutes ago Harper Heard the devastating news. Mia, the love of Harper’s life, gone without notice. All Harper could think was that she never got to tell Mia the truth. Sure, after the kiss the girls had started to entertain a relationship, but the L-word was never spoken. Devastation hit like the Titanic to the iceberg. The death was ruled an accident and everyone accepted it, except for Harper. How could Mia have fallen down three stairs and completely twist her neck around? Using her hacking skills learned in middle school, Harper viewed the death report. The pictures were horrifying. The golden glow and brilliant smile were no longer present on the face of her lover. The empty green eyes hollowed out Harper’s heart, and she knew that she had to learn the true story. 

Upon closer examination of the stolen police report, Harper noticed strange marks. Mia hadn’t had scratches on her neck and shoulders that morning. New and deep scratches that must have bled laid on Mia. What could have done that? Harper printed off the report and tacked it onto her wall. As she stared at the papers scattering her apartment she noticed discrepancies daily. The nail in the coffin was the faint hand-shaped bruises on Mia’s neck. Never noticed before, they were so light Harper had missed them until now. Her reluctance to view the pictures made the mistake reasonable, but how could the police not have noticed. They had had the real body! Determined now, Harper knew this was no accident. 

“Just hear me out!” Harper pleaded with Mrs.Bennett. “I know something is going on here! The evidence is there, Mia’s death was not an accident!” Desperate for Mia’s mother to believe her, Harper held the photos out for viewing. Rejection stung in any form, but this one cut deep.

“Now, I know you feel some sort of obligation here doll, but you really don’t have to do this. We all know that your relationship with our little Mia was a mistake. You two obviously confused the platonic love of gal pals with something more. Our Mia would have smartened up soon and come back home. She was going to be married to a nice rich man and be the perfect wife. We don’t need you here sullying her image. How dare you even suggest her death was anything but a tragic accident. Now leave this place and never return, or we’ll tell the police you killed her with your own ‘evidence’.” spat Mrs.Bennett. The malice in her eyes left no room for doubt. Harper gathered her belongings and left swiftly, head held high. She opened the car door and slid in, all of her confidence leaving her. Harper burst into tears. She had no family of her own, all dead or unknown to her. She no longer had any support. If Mia’s family wouldn’t believe her it was their loss. 


Days had gone by and Harper lost herself in research. She was never the person to believe in the supernatural, but now she wasn’t sure. Website after website Harper became more and more convinced. Then one website seemed to hit her in the face. Shapeshifters. They had superstrength and could have twisted Mia’s neck around. That would explain the human hand-shaped bruises, but the scratches? The form of the shapeshifter could have had long nails or claws. Harper lowered her head and read for hours.

  “Unlike most monsters that are driven by their hunger, shapeshifters appear to have purely human drives that can range anywhere from jealousy, greed, to loneliness.” Harper read. That could be it, maybe the shapeshifter wanted Mia and she’d said no. Reason would say this whole idea was crazy. If someone had approached Harper with an idea like this? She would have laughed. Despair had replaced Harper’s common sense. Nothing seemed impossible if it could lead to Mia. Harper spent the rest of the night and well into the next day researching her newfound obsession. 

“Silver bullet or blade through the heart, decapitation are the only ways to kill shapeshifters” Harper knew what she had to do. The next few days were spent cultivating resources. Sleep never came to mind as Harper ran around the city finding everything she would need. The realization hit her and Harper remembered, she had no idea where to find the shapeshifter that killed Mia. When the night came Harper collected her supplies and headed to the scene of Mia’s death. The concrete stairs still had some blood in the cracks. Harper couldn’t be distracted yet, she had business to do. From those stairs, she ventured out in an attempt to possibly track the beast. For Hours and hours, Harper followed any possible clue until she found herself standing in a swamp-like forest. Step after step Harper carefully ventured into the forest, keeping her ears open. Fog rolled in and it became harder to see. Suddenly a branch snapped off a tree and Harper grabbed for the silver knife she’d brought. A humanoid figure stepped forward and Harper tensed up even more. 

“Who are you?” Yelled Harper into the fog. Though visibility was low Harper refused to stand down. 

“Who am I? Well, I’m anyone. I can be whoever you want me to be. Who do you want me to be child?” rasped out a low voice. The figure stepped forward and an older looking man stared back at Harper. His physical appearance seemed harmless enough, but the smirk on his face pointed to the complete opposite. Slowly the stranger approached Harper, the smirk on his face moving to speak again, “If you don’t tell me I’ll find out on my own.”. Oh no, Harper remembered this from her research. Shapeshifters can learn things from human minds so they can better impersonate their victims. 

“Don’t you dare,” Harper said low and seemingly without fear. The smirk on the shapeshifters face widened. Harper dreaded what could happen. Who would this monster turn into? Harper’s dead mother? Her childhood best friend? Maybe Mia’s mother, or worse. Harper couldn’t dare to think that the shapeshifter would do something so horrible, but it was a monster after all. Harper looked up from the ground, having not realized she’d shifted her eyes to the floor, to look up just as the Shapeshifter finished his transformation. 

“No, no! How dare you!” Harper screamed as tears began to fall. Standing in front of her was Mia. Beautiful Mia, in Harper’s favourite dress of hers. Though it looked like Mia, something was wrong. Harper reached Mia’s face and looked into those green eyes that she loved, but they were cold and mean. The usual easy smile that rested on Mia’s face was replaced with the same evil smirk as before. 

“I can stay like this however long you’d like… snowball.” No, how dare this monster use the pet name mia gave her. Mia had had warm golden skin, but Harper was quite pale. One day Mia had joked that Harper was so ‘small and cute’ that she could be a snowball. Rage filled Harper and she knew what she had to do. The silver knife in her hands rose into the air, and she knew that this monster would be stopped.

“Uh, uh, uh child. Look me in the face. Who do you see? I’m too important to you now. As long as I stay like this you can have Mia. She will be alive again through me. How could you pass that up?” stated the shapeshifter as if stating a math equation. Though Harper knew it was wrong, she couldn’t help but consider it. Could she even kill the monster looking and sounding like that? Denial couldn’t last long, Harper felt as if she couldn’t live on if she did or didn’t do this. Though grief pained her, Harper made her decision. Moving closer and closer, harper found herself within arms reach of the shifter. With fake resignation, Harper moved to reach out for the fake Mia.

“Good decision child. You’ll be happier this way.” whispered the monster. With a powerful thrust forward, Harper lodged the silver knife deep into the shapeshifters chest. The wail that exploded from Mia’s imposter screamed in agony. Before pulling the knife out, Harper twisted her weapon for maximum damage. A sharp prick to the neck pulled Harper out of the bloody scene. Determined to finish her mission, Harper pulled her knife out of the limp monster before sudden darkness pulled her into unconsciousness. 

“Harper? Harper Williams, darling, are you awake? It’s me. Doctor Jones. Can you hear me? We had to sedate you.” a feminine voice question close to Harper’s ear. Slowly she opened her eyes to find a woman in a white lab coat and red hair looking down at her. Attempting to rub her eye, Harper moved her arm to find herself restrained. 

“Why am I here? What happened?” Harper questioned groggily. The doctor looked down at her with sympathy obvious on her face. Harper hated that, sympathy, but she didn’t know why. The memory of sympathy filled expressions laid right beneath the service of Harper’s recollection. Like a punch to the gut, all of her memories came flooding back. She hadn’t walked out of Mia’s childhood home. Mia’s mother had called the police claiming Harper had gone insane. The police had arrived and arrested her, then thrown her into the local looney bin as Harper used to call it. Then how did she remember going on her mission? The realization hit Harper like a train, she hadn’t stabbed a shapeshifter. 

“Oh god” was all Harper could manage to whisper out. Who had she stabbed? The doctor above her must have understood Harper’s thought process.

“Harper, do you remember what happened last night? You stabbed your nurse. Unfortunately, she passed away this morning. You’ve been deemed unfit for socialization due to lack of sleep induced insanity. You will now have to be placed into solitary until you can control your violent outbreaks.” Doctor Jones stated calmly, slightly shouting as if Harper was going deaf. Harper didn’t like that at all. The bed started to move slowly, reminding Harper of her restraints. No words came to mind as door after door passed by her eyes. Reaching a door, the nurses pushing her typed in a code and the door rushed open. They situated Harper in the white padded room and placed white boxing like gloves on her hand. As the nurses left Harper looked around, having had the restraints removed from her limbs. The sound of the door sliding closed cemented reality into Harper's mind.

“The price of love…” Harper whispered to herself as she closed her eyes.

January 17, 2020 23:10

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