Issue 83 Apr 2020
“You sure you want to do this?” Kai asked. “If you don’t, just say. No pressure.”
We sat facing each other on the bed in his room, with heavy, black curtains drawn closed. Zombies, ghosts and aliens stared from a hand-painted wall mural, but the only human eyes were ours. Kai tried to meet my eye, but I dodged his gaze, my focus drifting down his bony frame to his waist.
“Be sure,” he said. “Once this happens, it can’t un-happen.” He tugged a loose thread on his jeans. “It might change how you feel about me.”
But I was fourteen, sure about everything and Kai was going to be my soulmate. I reached for his belt.
I loosened his jeans and he inched them down just a little. As he exposed goose-pimpled flesh, my heart fluttered, then it thundered as black and silvery ink appeared. Beside his hipbone sat a gun tattoo, glossy and shadowed, perfectly realistic.
“Katha, what have you done?”
A hand gripped my shoulder and shook me, pulling me from sleep. I scrunched my eyes closed and attempted to roll over, but the grip on my shoulder tightened. Squinting, I could just make out my mother standing over my bed. One hand was grasping my shoulder, while the other held a book. A blue book. A book I’d hidden in the far reaches of my closet so no one would find it.
Suddenly wide awake, I pushed myself into a sitting position, shoving my hair behind my ears.
“Why were you going through my things?” I asked, my voice still scratchy from sleep.
“You’ve been acting weird for the past few weeks,” retorted my mother. “I knew something was wrong, and you wouldn’t tell me what it was, so I had to find out however I could.”
I didn’t appreciate that she’d gone snooping through my things, but a small part of my mind could understand that when you were worried, you looked for answers. And she was right; I hadn’t told her what had happened…how I’d discovered just a few weeks ago that I could use magic. I’d wanted to, but I hadn’t known how. And I’d been afraid of her response.