Helena walks out of the cafeteria, and through the first floor, and finds herself watching the juniors. Ah, the first year, she muses to herself. The hormones. The lusts. The- through her mental channels she can feel Cordelia starting to froth at her mouth. A mental command later, and she is fine again. I wonder what I am doing wrong– why don’t my creations… unlive?
Of course, it’s not as if she can ask anyone. People like her, who work death-magic, they don’t have communities. Werewolves have packs, the Flight have their Mafia-like social cohesion, the Firstborn ensures that no vampire will want for anything and most magic-users has a relative or two with same kind of magic. But Helena?
Helena has nobody. That feeling is further cemented by a particular nasty memory.
She is fifteen, has recently started her first year at Ochre, and people are whispering about her. She is not just imagining it: atleast three dozen people are whispering and pointing. What have I done, she thinks to herself.
Was it something she did last weekend, at that party they had in Kajsa’s outhouse? Tregaro tried to hit on her with no success– and even if she had liked boys, she still wouldn’t have gone with someone like that. There is something off with him, something subtly wrong.
She passes a group of boys, and overhears several words. “I heard that she did three girls…. looks like one… dyke…..” Her world shatters on hearing that last word. They know. They all know. She turns around and starts to run for the bathroom. The trio of three guys, of which one is Jacob Tregaro starts to hoot. “DYKE!” “DYKE!” “DYKE!”
That’s the last word she hears before the door to bathroom swings shut. She opens one stall, and sits on the unopened toilet, her head between her knees, gasping for air. The black floor of the bathroom, polished to a sheen, reflects a girl with long black hair and grey eyes, eyes filled with panic. She has no choice now. She has to run away. Cross the border to Norway– it’s not that far away. Change her name- how did they know?!
She seizes that thought. How did they know? She stands up. How could they possibly have known? There are two people she has told, and maybe another four that could have figured it out. Six people in total. She immediately discounts three of the six, people that she knows wouldn’t tell, because they too are lesbian. That leaves three people. Out of those three, one is currently on vacation, and has been on vacation for three weeks. That leaves two people. Out of those two select people…..
The realization hammers her hard. She sits down, involuntarily, not just betrayed by someone she thought was a friend, but by her body too. “Of course. It was her.”
She is dragged back to the present by loud screams. Two, no three first years are screaming and hitting each other. Words about a girl and her compromised virtue are involved. Youth, she muses to herself. Youth.
She checks her watch. Her next lesson, Social Studies III, is about to start any minute now. She takes one last look at the scuffle: the two boys are being dragged apart by friends, and a girl is crying. She walks up two floors to the classroom, and laughs to herself.
Ironic- she had a confrontation, just like they had, on that very floor, with the end result of a girl crying….
“Kajsa”, she states, trying to sound tough. “What’s up, Helena?” Helena leans against a locker. She fidgets, not quite sure how to start, where to start. Helena figures that she might as well go right for the kill. “Did you tell people that I am gay?”
She watches Kajsa’s expression closely. And she sees it. She doesn’t want to see it, but she can’t ignore the evidence provided by her eyes. It’s like that saying: who are you going to trust, me or your lying eyes…. That thing people do when they think about lying. It’s deliberate- the start of a mental process when the brain spits out two options. A flicker in the eyes. A tightening of muscles in the shoulder. Touching your nose– that’s what is going through Kajsa’s head.
“What I can’t understand is why, why did you do it?!” Kajsa swallows slowly. She covers her face with one hand, as if embarassed. “I got drunk, okay? I got really drunk and I blabbed.”
Helena stares at her. She doesn’t feel angry. She feels disappointed, hurt, upset and lost even, but right now she doesn’t feel anger.” My secret, my most important secret, and-” she pauses for breath”- you, you told people it, because you were drunk?! Because you couldn’t keep your stupid mouth shut?! Are you fucking kidding-” She halts, midtirade. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. None of this matter. It’s out there now. Nobody can take it back.” The finality of her own words strikes her. People know, they know.
They say that the truth will set you free, but right now Helena feels like someone has just pronounced her a death-sentence. The Sword of Damocles, hanging above her head.
“I am sorry!” Tears are running down Kajsa’s face, and her eyes are contrite. Helena gives her a look that would make a tundra look warm. “So am I.” Without another word, she leaves Kajsa. Leaves their friendship, their shared sorrows, their insecurities told around hot cocoa and marshmallows, pillow-parties and gossip about movies. She discards these things without looking back.
Three days later, she no longer feels conflicted. She feels angry, furious even. She walks out into the forest, murders a squirrel in cold-blood, and then she makes it dance, just for the hell of it. Because she can. That’s the start of it all. But not the end, Helena promises herself. The end will come, and they will all drown in it, she screams to the sky.