Inhuman, dazzling, with skin that shimmered like starlight and strands of hair as fine and smooth as silk. Long and lean, well toned, he had the body of an athlete.
And his eyes, oh his eyes were like a tumultuous storm of colors no human was ever meant to see. An ageless abyss of wisdom that had seen horrors and felt the losses of multiple eternities.
I immediately looked away, wiping at tears I didn’t know I shed and sinking further into my seat at the horror of it all. He was like the sun and if I stared any longer I knew he would blind me.
Everyone else saw what he wanted them to see, a perfectly executed glamour. Eyes the color of the Caribbean oceans. Skin burned to a sweet caramel by the sun. Wisps of sandy blonde hair that fell across his brow with effortless appeal.
“Class,” Mr. Collins said, reading from a folded piece of paper. “We have a new student joining us. His name is Adam. Please make him feel welcome.”
I hid behind my open textbook. Bodies shifted, desks squealed against the floor as nineteen students turned to follow his every step. He came as close as my protective runes allowed, scribbled in pen across my forearms, on the white base of my converse sneakers, and scratched along the edge of my desk.
The iron bracelets on my wrists burned from his proximity. I knew he felt them. He tossed daggers from his eyes that pierced the 322 pages of American History between us.
You treat me as an enemy? He spoke into my thoughts, his voice a silken whisper.
I cringed. Even knowing what he was, his unnatural allure did not diminish. Twisted fantasies burned in my mind’s eye, confusing my memories. I clung to what I knew was truth. The harsh press of his lips. The demanding touch of his hands as they brushed across my thighs.
Tears burned my eyes. How did he find me? Hadn’t I run away from the safety of my mother’s house? From him?
I looked away, shamed by the images his very presence conjured. I hated him. And I hated myself. He’d taken everything from me. My life, my happiness, my innocence, and gifted me with sight.
As though I wanted it. As though having it would help me see how special he thought I was. It wasn’t a gift. It was a curse. I saw the real world, beyond the veil, at the monsters that lived in plain view among us. At everything they could do. Would do.
As the entire classroom obsessed over his mysterious appearance, the females filled with rabid lust and the males struck with jealousy at their sudden emasculation, I sat alone, peering over the edge of my book, able to see him for what he really was and loathing his very existence.
No more running, he whispered into my thoughts. It’s time, Cassandra.