I was never quite what my mother expected. If I were, I'd be home right now with my old friends thinking how we'd spend our senior year.
Instead, I'd moved in with my grandmother in the middle of nowhere in the hill country. We lived six miles out of town. There was a lot of talk about the things that happened six miles out of town. There was an old school house, not far down the road where people swore was haunted. I got a lot of grief at school living out on School House road. You'd thought I was a freak'n ghost by the way they talked.
It wasn't like I wanted any new friends. I'd lost my old ones, all because of a guy named Sebastian. Who was an outsider too. He didn't talk like the kids where I grew up. He might have been bad, but I always thought Sebastian had it bad. Wasn't like I was his girlfriend. He found plenty of those when he came to our small town. It was just those popular girls turned out to be the mean girls. And when they had their fun with him, they really turned him into an outsider. All over a stolen diamond necklace.
I guess that's when we started to talk. He told me what they'd done to him at a private school. There was nothing private about it. It was a bad place. I couldn't imagine living under those conditions. He was cool enough. Possibly, good for nothing. Well, that's what the teachers would say.
But I listened. I watched how his face would change when he'd tell me about this horrible place. The beatings, going hungry. Living in the extremes. "It was like they were getting me ready for something, you know." He'd said once all serious when we stayed behind in the dark empty auditorium.
"Like what?" I wanted to know even if everyone told me he was just a liar. A poor rich kid with no place to go.
"I dunno." I could see in his eyes, he was lost, or something was taken from him. I just couldn't imagine what. But we were friends. I think. Maybe we could have been more if..if he'd stayed.
I went to the homecoming dance with him. Against, my mother's wishes, of course. I really wished she wouldn't listen to those stories about him. How he was a thief. How he'd been in jail before. He was only 16. She believed he was in a gang of some kind.
You would have thought I was doomed, going to that dance with Sebastian. Why do people have to be like that? This negative energy, all around. Maybe that's why the fire started in the gym that night.
We left soon enough. We survived. Can't say everyone did. We were the only two unscathed. I know we should have gone back, but it was just too late. I hate that now, thinking of the blaze in the total darkness. It was a bad night. We were lucky to get out, ourselves.
"Do you have powers?" I asked that night when we peeled out of the school parking lot in his old black Mustang.
"Do you?" I still remember his sly smile. I shook my had, wondering if it was a good idea to even be with him. He was fierce behind the wheel. We fleeted into the darkness as if there was no other alternative.
But I knew why. I knew he thought he was the blame. Who else but Sebastian would do it?
I knew they were idiots at school. Listening to what the mean girls said. How he wasn't to be trusted. The evil he was capable of.
"Who has candles at a dance?" I thought I mentioned, but he was driving so erratic. "Its not your fault!"
But he wasn't listening. The car went faster. My body sank into the seat as he edged sharp corners. It was as if I were woozy from the velocity of the car. Finally, the highest hill on the horizon.
The road curved where the distant city lights shined.
"What are you doing?" I looked over to him.
"NO." But it wasn't like I had a choice. It was as if he willed me out of the car. The force flung me out. I rolled down the steep incline. Next thing I knew, a fireball emerged from the car.