Genre: YA - Sci Fi/Horror
The old Boeing from McCarran International finally touched down in Burlington Vermont after several pre-flight hiccups, in-flight hiccups, post-flight hiccups; some things just never changed. Science fiction had always envisioned the future as either technologically advanced or burned out and dystopian.
Science fiction was cute that way.
Evangeline Aster relaxed immediately after the plane took off. Something about leaving the Earth felt comforting to her. She zoned out during the bumpy flight; even through a rather nasty patch of turbulence outside of Chicago, only to feel the heat of Morgen’s unblinking face an inch from her own.
“Quit it,” she mumbled.
Morgen’s pupils constricted back into place.
“Just checking to see if you’re still breathing.” She sounded disappointed. Her face lingered as she studied Evan’s mouth. “Nice snore by the way.”
“I wasn’t sleeping.”
Evan shoved the airline pillow between them, and pushed her off. Of all the things Morgen did to bother her, this creeped her out the most.
“If cats can steal a baby’s breath, imagine what I could do,” Morgen had once said.
She was six.
Evan often wondered if her twin was trying to reabsorb her, ex utero.
“Grab your sad little backpack,” her sister drawled, “we’re here.”
Evan didn’t budge. She glanced at the happy faces flurrying about the cabin. They all had something to look forward to; better yet, someone. She sighed and pushed up the window cover, but the layers of filth blotted out the view.
She cringed at the iconic cult nightmare waiting for her; boarding school...in the middle of the woods...with Morgen.
It was the stuff that crappy movies were made of. An exhumed story from cinema’s graveyard came knocking on the Aster’s door late last week, stealing away their father and sealing her fate. The tired cliché of orphaned-teenage-girl-attends-
She released herself from the faded blue seat. The stiff belt buckles clanked to either side, but Evan couldn’t move.
“Who’s picking us up?” she stalled, already knowing the answer.
“I told you,” Morgen snapped, annoyed.
Her sister reveled in being a know-it-all, and Evan lived to provoke her.
“Aunt Daphne will be waiting for us at the gate. We have the prerequisite family dinner before-”
“Wait. Who’s Aunt Daphne again?”
“Dad’s sister,” Morgen seethed. “We’re staying with her . Then we go to Aldebaran.”
Aldebaran. Aldebaran Academy. Their new home sounded more like a mid-century insane asylum than a progressive institute for academia. The online site for Aunt Daphne’s alma mater reeked of nouveau riche preppies from all corners of New England. Blond kids in cardigans were not what Evan had in mind for her thirteenth year of high school. Most kids their age got to choose what to study during their transitional year. Engineering, politics, agriculture; whatever they could contribute to society, that’s what they would do. It was all determined by their strengths. Since neither twin had any, it had been chosen for them.
Morgen took the news surprisingly well. Expectant, even.
Evan had never heard of Aldebaran Academy. Or her Aunt Daphne, for that matter.
Three months. Three more months until I’m nineteen, and then I can legally do whatever the hell I want.
“Let’s go!” Her twin snatched up the backpack, and plowed her way through the laggers, still struggling with the overhead.
“Dammit, Morgen.” Evan hopped up quickly to chase after her. “Sorry,” she mouthed, as she passed the indignant faces her sister had just mowed down.
Morgen stood at the end of the boarding bridge, twirling Evan’s bag by a loop at the top. She grinned and twisted the zipper, taunting her; threatening to reveal its secrets.
“Give it back.” She held out her hand.
Morgen barely shook her head. Her eyes narrowed, and her mouth twitched up at the corners.
Evan’s hand began to shake.
Oh God, not here, not in the middle of a crowded airport.
Morgen tilted her head, enjoying the show. “Careful sweetie. You don’t want to give yourself a nosebleed, do you?” She stepped forward and dangled the bag on one finger.
People claim to see a metaphorical red when they’re angry. Evan saw blue; actual blue.
The blue flash zigzagged across her line of sight. She squeezed her eyes shut, trapping it inside.
Don’t get mad, don’t get mad--
“What’s wrong sis? Should I get your inhaler?” Morgen tugged the zipper down an inch.
Evan shook her head. “N-n-n--”
“No? Hm,” she teased. “Still...I wonder what Leeny’s hiding. Let’s have a look, shall we?”
“Sttt-stop it, Morgen,” Evan stuttered as she fought against the rush of adrenaline. It wouldn’t be long now. They both knew what was coming next.
“Sttt--sttt-,” Morgen pushed. “Pa-pa-pa-thetic.”
Evan tightened her body, bracing for the inevitable.
Maybe no one will notice.
“Loony Leeny, she can’t cry. Loony Leeny don’t know why. Loony Leeny go bye-bye,” Morgen sang loudly in her face.
Evan clenched her fists. Bright halos of light burst into her peripheral vision. They swallowed her sight, replacing her eyes with two headlights. It spread to her skin, sharpening her delicate features. Bathed in eerie blue light, her tiny frame creaked in objection.
Her eyes flew open and fled Morgen, searching for something that might take her mind from her wicked sister. Anything to calm her down. They settled on a young man kissing his lover near the magazine snack/rack. His lips began to smolder and glow blue.
Oh crap, please don’t leave a mark.
They quickly darted away, to a woman peddling roses from a beat-up satchel. The roses turned blue, and started to wilt.
Crap, crap, crap...
All the while, Morgen chanted, “Loony Leeny, Loony Leeny.”
She frantically scrambled her attention towards something she couldn’t hurt. Out of the giant window and onto the tarmac, the runway, the airplanes, all began to shimmer in a hot blue haze.
“No,” she gasped.
Her gaze lifted to the shadowy outline of the distant Green Mountain Range.
Focusing on the furthest peak, she slowly released the tension in her body.
Too fast, and she might detonate.
It burned as it passed through her. Evan winced at the sensation, at the hot chemical pain that seared another hole into her shirt. It didn’t matter. Things like fashion lost their meaning a long time ago.
She sighed her relief when the blue cloud mushroomed off the distant peak and smothered the sun.
“That’s good, Leeny,” Morgen muttered over her shoulder. “Except for all the hikers you just barbecued. Nice work.” She snickered into her sister’s ear. “You really should control that temper of yours.”