Kelly doesn’t know what she is. She knows that she can persuade people to do whatever she wants them to do using only her words. She knows she should have died a long time ago but didn’t. She knows that she should have aged but she hasn’t.
She has never found anyone like herself in her long existence and the only information she has come across has been fictional book or movie characters.
Most of the characters don’t have the power of persuasion. They know how to move around, change their names and appearances and stay out of the spotlight but they don’t have to always be calm and careful with every word they speak.
Some of the characters are written as having power of persuasion or mind control and are supposed to be genetically enhanced in some way; either by natural selection or science lab. They also tend to be written as villains who die before the end of the story.
Neither type of character is particularly realistic but some of her survival tactics have come from these stories and they can be entertaining.
Besides, if they were written in a more realistic way, the movies and books would be quiet and boring; at least for the most part.
She had learned many things in her time; Some of the first lessons were keep moving, change name and appearance, and speak as little as possible. She had also learned to keep to herself. The less people knew about her existence the better. And there’s no such thing as happy endings.
Still, she has a certain appreciation for movies since they didn’t exist before and when you have a life as long as hers, you eventually run out of things to do. Social events used to be all the rage but when you’re words can be dangerous, socializing can be terrifying.
She had learned long ago just how dangerous her words can be. The day her ability manifested was one that always haunted her. It had turned her life into a tragic horror story that she still had nightmares about all these centuries later.
The year was 1671. She and her twin brother, Octavian, were fourteen and fighting. Again. This was not unusual for them since they were constantly together and would just need space from time to time.
What better way to get space from someone than to pick a good old fashion fight? Especially one with a younger brother; even if he was just three minutes younger, he still qualified for the title.
They had a normal life for kids during that time period and they were also best friends. The truth was they adored each other and loved that they always got to be around each other. What other best friends could do that? For that matter, what other siblings could boast such a thing?
All the other brothers and sisters they had ever met were atrocious to one another. They behaved more like enemies than anything else and Octavian and Kelly had never understood it.
She supposed being twins may have played a role. They had literally started life sharing a womb, then a crib and eventually a bed. It wasn’t until they turned ten years old that they began to sleep apart and even that was in the same room; and they still chose one or the other bed to share most nights.
As they got bigger though, sharing a bed became more and more annoying since they had less and less space to get comfortable. The last time they shared a bed was shortly before their twelfth birthday.
Once they turned thirteen, their mother had forced them to have separate bedrooms. They didn’t understand at first but once they were officially in their own rooms, their parents had come in to talk to them.
Her mother had sat next to her and explained certain ‘female complaints’ that were inevitable. Sharing a room with a boy, even a brother was not ever going to happen again. Apparently their father had been explaining the male equivalent of this ‘complaint’ to Octavian at the same time.
Kelly still remembered that day well, it was the most emotional day of her young life. She had gone through anger, sadness, shock, terror and eventually relief. She was glad her mother had forced her into her own room, terrified at the strange ailment her body would someday inflict upon her and sad because she would miss always having Octavian at arms-length.
That day had led to them doing other things separately as well. She and her mother would spend time together while Octavian and their father would do the same. They had begun arguing more when they were around each other and she now guessed it was just the differences between young boys and girls that was the main culprit.
Despite all their differences and time apart, they still considered the other their very best friend and agreed it would always be so.
Their fourteenth birthday party had been the biggest yet. Their parents had invited all the other eligible young men and women, as was the custom then, so that we could all become acquainted with our future pursuits. It was basically a big flirting party.
Kelly had been shyly making eye contact with a boy who she thought to be the most handsome in all the world. Most of the other girls stayed busy giggling over her brother. Octavian was considered the best catch and couldn’t escape all the flirty girls continuously throwing themselves at him.
Edwin, they said, was the second best catch. It was he who had her heart melting in his palm; which was sadly still across the room. The other boys had begun to surround her as soon as she walked into the room and now the group was large enough to make it difficult to catch a glimpse of him.
They had deemed her the most eligible female, which she actually hated. It came with more demands and since she was constantly being watched by someone, she had to mind her every move. Everything she wore was scrutinized, as well as every word she spoke. (This incidentally came in handy later in her life. Who would have thought that learning to flirt and being the cities ‘poster girl’ would save lives?)
She was standing in front of all the boys, some who were rather forward in their suggestions, smiling and giggling over jokes that weren’t funny. She was wondering where Edwin was and why he wasn’t over here trying to talk to her. She was worrying over who he could possibly be flirting with while simultaneously cursing the painful shoes on her feet.
The evening bore on. She was exhausted, her feet hurt and Edwin hadn’t spoken to her once. She wanted to run to her room, pry off the shoes and cry into her pillow. She was beginning to think she would burst into sudden tears any second when a husky male voice spoke softly next to her ear.
“You must be parched.” He said.
It was him! Finally!
He reached around her and presented a glass of cold lemon-aid, her favorite. She smiled and blushed in a way that had the other boys groaning and walking away in defeat.
Edwin was tall, handsome and charming. He was well educated and on his way to becoming a successful business owner one day.
They had talked and danced exclusively with each other for the rest of the party. She had been so taken with him that she had forgotten all about her achy feet. By the end of the night, everyone knew they had chosen each other and would some day be husband and wife. She squealed and giggled every time she thought of it.
Even now in this present time, the memories make her sigh and smile. But the smile is short lived. It fades away as the pleasant memories are replaced by the events that followed.
It had been few days since the party. She and Octavian had spent the day apart, she with their mom buying a new dress and he with their father doing whatever it was men did when there were no women present.
She was admiring herself in the new dress when Octavian entered her room with a sullen face. He looked as though he had just come from a fight. He had a black eye and dirt and scratches all over his face. Concern immediately went through her and she rushed to him to check his wounds.
She was asking him what had happened to him and if he was alright and if father was alright when he took her hands in his and held them so she couldn’t check him over any more.
She had never seen him look so sad before and became afraid of what he would tell her.
“Father and I are both just fine.” he said
“Then what has you in such a state as this?!” Kelly asked.
Octavian took a deep breath and continued. “It’s Edwin.”
The blood drained from her face as all the worst scenarios rushed through her mind. “No” was all she could say.
He caught her as she swayed on her feet but rather than concern he now looked furious.
“No.” he said. “You don’t understand. Edwin is alright too. Mostly.” he grinned.
She was confused now and demanded that he tell her immediately what had happened.
He took another deep breath and began.
“Me and father went to the gentleman’s shop on the corner this evening. While we were leaving we saw Edwin across the street, waiting in front of another shop, we thought for a haircut. But…” his voice trailed off.
“But what Octavian?! What?!” she cried.
“We were thinking to make our way over to greet him until we saw… Julia.”
“And?” Kelly prompted.
“We saw Julia run up to Edwin and throw her arms around him.” Octavian said.
“What do you mean? What are you saying?” asked Kelly.
“It means, dear sister, that he isn’t being true to you the way we all thought he was; the way he made us all believe.”
“You must be mistaken. Friends hug all the time without it meaning that.”
“No. Friends do not hug in that particular fashion. I am sorry to have to tell you this but it is true and I’ll not allow him to make further fools of us. I refuse to allow him to string you along any longer and I personally told him as much.” announced Octavian sternly.
“You did what?!” yelled Kelly in outrage.
“I strolled right over to his face and in front of Julia told him he was a tramp and was to never again speak to any of us, especially you.”
Kelly had stared at her twin in disbelief and anger. The pain welled up inside her and her rage had come out strong. She could no longer recall all of the nasty things that were said, just bits and pieces.
Octavian had called her ridiculous and an ungrateful little fool. She had come back with some of her own name-calling and told him that she would handle Edwin herself and he, nor anyone else had grounds to interfere.
It had gotten heated quickly and many things were said in anger. It had all come crashing down when he said he wished he had just let her fall down the stairs when they were younger because it would have saved him all this grief.
She couldn’t believe that he had said that. That fall would have killed her at that age and they both knew it. He brother and best friend had just wished that she was dead. All of the anger and grief racing through her made her wish the same.
She had never felt so angry, hurt and utterly betrayed in her whole life. Then she said those words. The words that would forever haunt her, “I wish you would just jump off the balcony!”
*Copyright©2019 Jennifer Treece*
*End Part One-Part Two will be published next Saturday!*
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