• Eseme awoke in a cold sweat, as she did every morning. She sat up straight in her small bed and glanced around her room. It had been a storage room in the police station…that was until she moved here. It was the only room they had open for her, but she accepted it without arguing. It was small, even for her. Eseme hadn’t ever required much room, but it was about the size of a large walk in closet. The walls were covered with posters of bands and super heroes that she found interesting. It had never occurred to her how used to be, and how much things had changed, until she woke up. It had been nine months. Eseme looked at her calendar that was posted to the right of her bed. It had been nine months...right? Nine months of not talking, nine months of living in the police station, and nine months of haunting.
    Eseme had gotten to bed late and she could feel the groggy wave wash over her. She glanced at her alarm clock. It was 7:30. She was going to be late! Eseme flung herself out of bed, scrambling to get dressed. She grabbed her book bag, stuffing it with her homework and books, and sprinted out of her room. Police Officer Gordy who was her adoptive 'father' stopped her. "Hey! ‘Morning!" He had tried to make his normal morning conversation, trying to coax her into talking. It never did work, but today Eseme was in a rush, and didn't have time to listen to him jabber on. Eseme shoved him out of the way and opened the huge glass doors, nearly knocking over five officers on her way out. The morning air hit her like a brick wall, compared to the stuffy police station. She sprinted her way to school.
    Eseme had gone to North Central High for the past two years, though if you asked anyone they’d probably say ‘Eseme who?’ She had never gone out of her way to meet anyone, or talk to anyone, though she could. She always felt very uncomfortable when doing so. She preferred to stay out of sight. No one could hurt her that way. She ran until her lungs burned. The school was still a few blocks away. She would have to make it. Despite her burning insides, Eseme ran still, clutching her book bag. Suddenly she bumped into someone. She was suddenly flat on her butt, on the concrete, covered with energy drink. Her papers and books covered the street. She immediately scrambled anxiously to pick them all up. Her face wary. She glanced at the boy, giving him a sorry look. "Are you okay?" The boy looked down on her, taking out another energy drink. Eseme gulped.
    She quickly stood after finishing stuffing her coated papers into her bag. He was taller than her with black spiked hair. He wore a dirty t-shirt and jeans. Handsome, she had to admit, looking around her age. “I-I uh…” She could feel herself blush. She wanted to run, but felt herself freeze in place. "I’m Seth Pasternak" Seth said holding out his hand "This is my first year here." Seth finished taking a large gulp of his energy drink. He was trying to be friendly. That was all. Eseme shook his hand reluctantly, her hand still sticky from the drink. She frowned a bit. She felt sick. A huge lump formed in her throat when she tried to say her name. Eseme suddenly sprinted away into the safety of the school. Her lungs were on fire. At least she had made it in time. Eseme got herself together and went to History, her first class of the day before the bell rang, thankfully.

    Seth watched Eseme run inside the school. He shrugged and quietly walked inside, ignoring all the other students around. Seth never liked talking to his classmates. A waste of time. He had better things to do, same with school. He headed for the roof, his only place of solitude, where he wouldn't be disturbed. Seth walked up the stairwell leading all the way up, after another minute of walking up the steps; he emerged onto the roof completely un-noticed. The wind was fairly calm up there at the moment, just the way he liked it. He went to the edge and hanged his legs over the side, taking another energy drink out of his book bag. That girl had made him lose his last one. He sighed, opening it and taking a long sip.
    Call them his guilty pleasures, Seth had at least twenty energy drinks a day. Candy bars was another subject. He hadn’t known what he liked about the roof, besides it being quiet and secluded. It gave him time to think. He thought about his job in the Black Market, how he was a criminal by working in it, buying and selling illegal goods. Seth enjoyed his job, without question. The danger involved in it occasionally. He especially liked trading with his number one supplier, Cat Dupree. He laid down on the roof, his legs still hung over the side of the building, he continued to think about the Black Market, his friends in it, his business partners in it, for all the law enforcement agency cared, he was a criminal.

    Police officer Gordy, once again attempted to greet his daughter this morning, but came up short handed...as every morning. He sighed, pouring himself a cup of coffee, and sipping it slowly, deep in thought. Eseme had never spoken to him. Never. It worried him deeply. Gordy had debated with himself whether or not to take her to a councilor, but finally decided that she would talk when she was ready. Suddenly, the door to his office opened and the new officer walked in. He had been expecting him. Gordy put down his mug to greet him. "Jake! Nice to see you again!" he held out his hand smiling. "Welcome to the force." Jake returned his smile and shook his hand."It’s good to see you too. I’m glad I made it on here, sir." Gordy grinned. “It was difficult to say no.” Jake was tall with black hair that was long in the front, but was shorter in the back. A good looking young man. Jake was only seven teen. There was something striking about him.
    Jake had an amazing set of qualifications. Smart, talented with a sword, kind disposition, but mean when he wanted to be. Seemed like a fitting cop, even at that young age. Gordy's smile widened at the boy's enthusiasm. "Well, I've already found a job for you. You see, we can't have you on the front lines just yet. You're still what we term 'raw meat.' But, you can help us significantly." Gordy sighed picking up a folder off the desk behind him. "Here." He handed it to Jake. "I want you to get us more information from Eseme Atler. You know her don't you? Or heard of her? I believe you two go to the same school.” Jake took it and smirked, then said "I saw her around when I was still going to school. She has black hair. It’s usually down? Big, bright sky blue eyes?" Gordy nodded. “That’s the one.” He sighed, taking a seat in his leather rolling chair, behind his desk. He picked up his mug and took a long sip, while Jake watched.
    “Are you aware of her situation?” He asked, a grim frown forming across his face. “Uh…n-no, sir.” He admitted. “Take a seat.” Gordy gestured to the chair directly in front of his desk. Jake gave a quick nod and sat down. “A year ago…she found her sister murdered in a bathtub. Everyone was home. We had no idea how something like that could take place without anyone knowing. I was investigating the case. The body was so mutilated I couldn’t tell who it was.” Gordy could hear Jake gulp. Jake had lost his sister as well in nearly the same way. ”The only thing we could make out was a pentagram on her hand that seemed to be branded on her skin. We figured it was some sort of signature, or sick gag for whom ever did it.” Gordy continued. “Maybelle Atler was only nine.” He said as he recalled the scene. “Eseme was fourteen. Naturally, the parents were suspected. But, we found no evidence against anyone, so for her own safety we took her into custody.” Gordy shook his head. “I saw her…she was so miserable, and I had never had a child, so I took her in. Her parents moved, and her mother was murdered shortly after. Father is God knows where.
    “I think she’s in a state of shock, Jake. She won’t talk to me, and I haven’t heard but only a few words come out of her mouth. We need her to speak so we could get a lead…” Gordy looked up from his desk to scan Jake’s eyes. They were vacant as he tried to take in what Gordy had just described to him. Gordy picked up his coffee, taking another sip. "That folder has everything you need to know in it. If you get anything out of her you bring it straight to me, got it?" He glanced at the time. "She's probably in history class right now. I've gotten permission from the school to allow you in." He smiled. "Good luck Jake." Jake stood and smiled back at Gordy. “Thank you, sir. I’ll do my best.”
    “That’s my boy.” Gordy said with satisfaction. Jake left Gordy’s office and decided to keep his car at the station and walk to the school. He would walk. He carefully took the papers out of the envelope as he went on his way. First, there was a picture of Eseme. About an eight by ten head shot. She wasn’t smiling, in fact she had no expression what so ever. She was blankly looking at the camera, but Jake couldn’t but help but smile. Jake had seen her in school…a lot in fact. Ever since the death of his sister, he felt a need to watch over girls he saw or met. An urge. His father had shared the same trait.
    Eseme had always been a point of interest. She was beautiful, even at sixteen. She had childish features and huge luminescent eyes. Her pale white skin made her look even more fragile against her dark midnight hair that trailed down past her shoulders, all the way to her waist. There was some essence to her that pulled Jake to her. She was almost too fragile. Jake supposed it was fate that he had been assigned to watch her and get information to help her, though he doubted that she would talk to him. He sighed, and studied all of the information in the envelope, but found himself staring at her picture once in a while.
    Eseme listened intently to the history lesson. They were discussing dictators Like Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin. The monsters they were, and maybe this would help her better understand the monster that killed her sister; the monster that didn’t care whether she had lived or died. Eseme quickly pushed the thoughts from her mind. She had promised herself she wouldn’t think about it anymore.
    “Eseme?” The teacher’s voice startled her. “Eseme? In what time period was Hitler alive?” When she was called on she didn't answer. She just stared. The teacher sighed and continued to call on other students. She allowed her mind to drift slightly, thinking about the boy she had run into earlier. Seth. Her fingers were still sticky from his energy drink. Her eyes wandered around the bleak room. There was only one window, which didn’t provide much light, and the walls were decorated with Uncle Sam posters from the 1940s and propaganda.
    A sudden knock at the door to the classroom caused the students to lose interest in the teacher’s lesson, or whatever they were doing besides listening, to look at it. Through the small window of the door a young man stood. His striking black hair, greenish eyes, and his hard jaw made him seem obviously older then the students. Whispers were exchanged. “One moment class.” The teacher stepped outside. Almost immediately after the door shut the room exploded with gossip. “Who do you think he is?” One boy asked.
    “Probably some student teacher or a sub!”
    “I don’t know…he looks a little young.”
    “Who cares?” A girl snapped, barging into the conversation; a group of girls following close behind. “He’s hot!” Giggles erupted as the girls glanced at the door then at each other. Eseme did her best to ignore the mindless gabble, but glanced out the window every few seconds. She gulped and took out a notebook; scribbling random images inside. The moment the teacher re-entered and the students scrambled back to their seats. The young man took the empty desk right next to Eseme as the teacher continued on with the lecture. She could feel the eyes of her classmate’s looking at them…well, mostly at the man. It made her feel uncomfortable. Eseme glanced over, to find her eyes meeting those of the stranger's. He was holding a thick envelope, and a sword hung at his side. Puzzled, she tried to pay attention to Mrs. Freeman's explanation for Hitler and the holocaust, but found her eyes kept drifting to the seat next to her; where he sat...watching her.
    Eseme shuttered as her eyes met his. As if she didn't feel awkward before! Now she had some 'agent' spying on her. Was it possible Gordy sent him? That might have explained the sword. She couldn't be sure. History ended, and Eseme went to her locker, getting her proper books for math and science. Eseme locked her locker; then made her way to science. Kids didn't seem to notice her at school, which was fine. She didn't mind being invisible, in fact, she preferred it. Eseme glided to science, clutching her books in a white-knuckled grip, and looking down at her feet. She kept a steady rhythm as she walked. 1-2-1-2-1-2...until she made it to the door.
    Eseme looked up and opened the door. There he was. Again. That same man with the sword from history class. He seemed older then her, but not by much. She took her seat quickly, trying to hide the fact she was staring. Her seat was at the very back of the class....right next to him…again. Eseme suddenly wished she really was invisible. He bugged her somehow. He made her want to scream, why? There was nothing hostile about him. In fact, he seemed nice enough. Nothing bad about him. Over all…a good looking guy. Eseme caught herself wondering if he had a girlfriend. “Shut up Eseme…” She said to herself quietly. She was being stupid…that was that. Eseme couldn't help but notice. Was he...staring at her? No, no way. Why was he here anyway? And what was with that sword...and the envelope? So many unanswered questions. It almost made her dizzy. Soon enough the teacher entered the room.
    Jake stared at Eseme, oblivious to the class. He looked at his sword, tapping it to his side, and looked back at the teacher. He sighed and looked back at the girl. He turned away and said to himself, Staring isn’t the way you want to go. If you like her so much then say ‘hi’. Jake shook his head and looked back up at the teacher. Why was she so important? He put the envelope on the desk and looked around. This wasn’t working.
    “Okay class! Today, we’ll be testing the enzymes in cow liver.” The teacher’s voice rang out. Cow liver? Eseme could feel her stomach turn violently.