Copyright 2016 Michaela Lafferty
Published by Michaela Lafferty at Shakespir
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Of all the things Clara expected her research to uncover this wasn’t one of them. Although her past was cloaked in mystery she’d always assumed that her biological parents were high school sweethearts who couldn’t handle the pressures of raising a child. This, however, definitely wasn’t the case.
Her day had begun like any other, she’d shrugged on her apron and begun serving the people of Creed town their morning coffee. It was just then as she poured Mr. Earls second dose of coffee that she noticed the handsome stranger entering the coffee shop. When her eyes fell upon him Clara couldn’t help but notice that his presence seemed to fill the place causing all females and males alike in a one-mile radius to turn in his direction. In the back of her mind she couldn’t help but feel as if she knew the stranger who was sliding into the booth at the far end of the room.
Clara made her way towards her co-worker, Celine, who seemed to be applying coat after coat of chapstick. Grinning, Clara moved behind the counter and began to brew a new batch of coffee. Grabbing a mug she poured herself a cup as Celine flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder and put on her best pouty expression.
“I’ve got table ten covered.” She declared before snatching up her notepad.
Clara opened her mouth to protest but she decided to just raise her eyebrows and send Celine a questionable glance.
“I’m a free woman, no more Sam.” Celine beamed before moving towards the handsome stranger.
We’ll see how long that lasts, Clara thought as she moved to the bottom of the breakfast bar and she began to rake through the research she had accumulated over the past few months. This hadn’t been the first time she’d slumped over the remnants of her past. In fact, she’d read over the information so much so that she had memorized it word-for-word.
Clara Smith; birth date unknown, parent’s unknown and foster daughter of Betty Smith. Placed into the foster system at age, unknown.
All of her research seemed to highlight the same word over and over again – unknown. Her whole existence was chalked up to a number of unknown variables from the get go. It wasn’t as if she needed to desperately know all about her past, but there was part of her that needed to know what she had missed out on. She also wanted this whole ordeal over and done with because she couldn’t lie to her mother any longer.
Betty Smith had been there for Clara since the day she had tripped over at age five. Not long after that Clara gained not only a mother but also a home. It was emotionally crippling to think that she was deceiving the woman who took her in and treated her as her own.
It was the shadow that loomed over Clara that brought her out of her daze. Looking up, her eyes locked onto a set of brown ones that seemed to be the exact same shade as her own. For the second time that morning Clara opened her mouth, but no words seemed to come out.
“You dropped this.” His voice was low as his eyes dropped to the documentation in his grasp.
Clara watched patiently and reframed from letting out a plea of protest, however she wasn’t about to let a stranger read about her past, no matter how vague it was.
“Thank you.” Clara cleared her throat before reaching out for the papers.
From her right she could see Celine shooting daggers in her direction and Clara couldn’t help but think that if the mystery man was always this noisy then Celine could have him. She collected the scattered documents surrounding her and placed them in her shoulder bag while the stranger analysed her. Placing the bag behind the counter she edged away from the stranger and began to fiddle with the items dotted all over the counter.
The stranger seemed to realize Clara’s movements as he slid into the stool directly in front of her.
“Healers, huh?” His voice proposed.
“Excuse me?” Clara’s eyes moved away from the containers to the stranger before her.
The strangers gaze remained locked on the menu below him allowing Clara the opportunity to finally give the stranger a once over. Strands of loose hair fell over his forehead as his brown eyes seemed glued to the menu as if was the most interesting thing in existence, next was his lips that seemed to be stuck in a permanent pout as light stubble blurred his strong jaw line. One of the most prominent features of his physique was the tattoo that peaked from below his cotton t-shirt. Clara’s eyes remained steady as she reframed from moving over to her bag and removing the collection of sketches that she had doodled over the past month. It was somewhat unnerving to see images of her dreams inked on the skin of a stranger.
“I’ll have a black coffee, no sugar. If the coffee is any decent then I might just tell you all about your past.” He teased, his eyes locked on Clara’s as if he was challenging her gaze.
“I don’t appreciate the cryptic threats so if you aren’t going to be forthcoming then you can finish your coffee and get the hell out of here.” Her tone remained light but the threat behind the words was clear as day.
The corner of his mouth tugged upwards as he lifted the mug to his lips, his gaze remained on Clara the whole time. It was in that shared look that Clara knew a whole world of trouble was heading in her direction. Her fingers tapped rhythmically against the wooden countertop as she raised an eyebrow in his direction.
“What I’m about to tell you only a few civilians know so I need you to listen closely.” His eyes moved around the room as if someone would be listening in on the conversation but everyone seemed more engrossed in their own lives.
“Over several centuries ago the human race was on the brink of extinction, millions were being wiped out at alarming rates and whole countries turned to rubble. Such things were caused by both man made and supernatural forces. It was a small group of individuals who worked together to eliminate this evil and separate the mundane from supernatural.” The stranger stopped for a pregnant pause as if he was waiting for Clara to take off screaming.
Clara seemed glued to the spot as if she was debating whether she should wrap this conversation up and summarize today’s events as plain weird or remain where she was and learn more about her past. The latter thought won as she gestured the man to continue, it seemed that her curiosity had won once more.
“This group of individuals spread out over the globe and planted themselves into mundane societies. It went like this for a while until the biggest threat humanity had encountered reared its ugly head. This group didn’t have the resources or power to stop it and just when all hope was lost it’s believed that something or someone came to earth and bestowed upon the true of heart great power both mentally and physically.” His voice seemed to haunt Clara.
Clara tried to convince herself that the stranger before her was only messing around but all the research she had accumulated or lack of it seemed to be far too coincidental. Only one word seemed to form in Clara’s mind.
“Healers.” Saying the word allowed felt too real and sharing it with the stranger confirmed that all the thoughts she’d chalked up to her imagination running wild was true.
“And we have a winner.” The grave tone he had moments before had vanished and now it held a tone of amusement.
Clara moved away from the stranger and made her way towards the back of the store. Leaning against the wall she allowed her mind to process the words. The idea of there being a secret society out there who protected the human race from things that went bump in the night was plausible, however, her involvement in this seemed far too much to deal with.
Clara stared off in to the distance as she leaned against her bedroom door and dropped to the floor with a sigh of relief. When entering her apartment she was met with the concerned expressions of her roommate, Cherry Bishop and her best friend, Tyler Walker who sat huddled together on the sofa. Clara had brushed them off as she made her way hastily towards her bedroom feeling guilty for giving them the cold shoulder.
Letting her mind wander her thoughts fell to her ongoing battle of figuring out who her parents were. Out of all the things she expected to uncover the discovery of a secret society wasn’t one of them.
It was the movement coming from the opposite direction of the room that caused Clara’s head to snap upwards. She was on her feet and pressing herself against the door before she knew it. Her hand moved around in search of the door handle while her eyes remained glued to the stranger.
“If you want to know more about your parents then running away is a terrible way to do so.” The stranger from the coffee shop chimed as he moved around Clara’s room.
Clara’s hand grasped the cold metal as she tried to weigh out her options. Removing her hand from the door handle she not only indicated to the stranger but herself that she was staying. In that moment Clara cursed her curiosity and the need to know who her birth parents were. This was one chapter of her life that she wanted to slam the door on.
Clara’s eyes stayed glued to the figure as he picked up one of her many stuffed animals that dotted her bed. Her cheeks reddened as the stranger dropped onto the mattress. From the door Clara shifted from foot-to-foot as a sense of discomfort washed over her at the strangers appearance within her personal space.
“Talk before I call the police.” Clara cursed herself at the lack of authority in her voice.
“No need for threats. I’ll tell you what I know but I have one condition.” A menacing expression fell onto his lips as his eyes seemed to be analysing Clara for any sudden movement.
“Considering you broke into my apartment I feel like if anyone should have conditions, it’s me.” Clara’s hand feel to her hip as she glared at the stranger from across the room.
Clara expected the stranger to leave at that moment but instead his grin grew wider.
“Well how about I tell you everything I know and you let me ask one question? Seems like a fair trade.” He cocked his head to the side as he gave her a once over.
A stubborn part of Clara wanted to protest but logic won her over as she gestured to the stranger to continue.
“Before I begin I should probably introduce myself, I’m Kian and your Clara. Now that the pleasantries are over let’s get down to business. I belong to the society of Healers and so do you.” He paused as his raked over her face.
“There must be a mistake.” Clara declared, moving towards the bed in fear of passing out.
“I’m just surprised as you are. You couldn’t be any more human and the Healer trace on you isn’t even a blimp on the society’s radar. “
“Gee, thanks.” Clara muttered.
“Listen, I’m doing this as a favour so hear me out then you can freak out later.” Kian answered, his voice sounding bored.
Shaking her head she slumped against the wall as Kian turned around to face her allowing Clara time to take in his appearance once more. There was no denying that he was attractive but his personality seemed to diminish the appeal of his appearance.
“Here’s the footnotes version, half of you comes from the Healers genetics and I’m assuming it’s from your father’s side. You’re half human, half Healer, now this is that part you’ve got to understand. Within the Healers society human and Healer interaction is banned unless necessary. There’s a reason for this though, if a human and Healer conceive a child together it doesn’t end well. The outcome actually ends with either a miscarriage or the child slowly becomes, how do I put this lightly? Insane…” Kian trailed off as he waited for Clara’s reaction.
“So you could say this clubs exclusive.” Clara joked as a dry laugh emanated from her lips.
Kian raised an eyebrow in her direction, it certainly wasn’t the response he was expecting. In his mind he imagined a lot more tears or for her to be in shock.
“I know this is a lot to take in but this isn’t a club. There’s a reason humans and Healers can’t produce because only the true of heart can take on the mental and physical powers of a Healer. Even as children humans are tainted with desire.” His words hung in the air.
“You realize you sound crazy, right?” Was Clara’s only response as she stood up and paced the length of her bedroom.
“Too a human, yes but I gain nothing from telling you. I’m doing this as a favour so whatever you decide to do with information is purely your decision.” He finished, standing up and adjusting his jacket.
Clara hadn’t realised how much he towered over her until he stood a few inches away from her. Shaking the thought aside she focused on the subject at hand and it was then the anger began to build up in the pit of her stomach.
“Listen closely, you do not get to waltz into my life, drop all this information on my lap about secret societies then run off. So sit down and shut up.” Clara felt relieved that she’d finished the sentence without her voice wavering.
He raised his hands in mock defence before dropping onto the spot he occupied moments before.
“I can believe secret societies exist, the world is full of unknown things but where do I fit into this?”
Kian let out a chuckle as he moved his hand across his face.
“Typical human behaviour, always looking out for number one. Themselves.”
“What else should I ask? Do you have any holidays?” Her tone was dripping with sarcasm now as her hands formed fists.
“You should be asking what happens now and yes we do.” His gaze seemed to be locked onto her ever movement.
Silence engulfed the room as Clara’s breathing turned erratic while her feet seemed to stop mid-stride. All of this information was far too much to handle and if Kian continued to talk anymore about secret societies she might just lose her mind. All of this was because she had decided to learn more about her heritage but it wasn’t anything like she’d expected. Clara had only wanted to know who her biological parents were: not to unravel the secrets of the universe.
“You need to decide what your next move is.” He continued, his voice sounding sincere for the first time since they had met.
It was a question she had been asked so many times in relation to her future. The question had brought up waves of anxiety and unease to the surface over the past few months and now she could add fear to that list. Kian’s voice had sounded so genuine the she knew this was a question that needed serious thought.
Her fate was entirely in her own hands and she felt torn in two. There was part of her, no matter how small it was, that wanted to know where she came from, but at what cost? Clara wasn’t sure if she could leave her current life behind, no matter how life changing the new one seemed.
The life of a Healer sounded fast and dangerous. It was no lie that they did good but Clara knew she was far too selfish to spend her life protecting the human race. Another part of her knew that she could never give up the family she had gained over the years. They had chosen to be her mother or friend and that kind of love was unconditional, something that she had been searching for in her past when it existed it existed in her present.
“I want to stay.” She had never been so sure about anything in her life.
Kian looked taken back by her response and it looked like he wanted to delve further into the topic but he simply nodded his head. His eyes moved away from her face and wandered around the room as if he was contemplating his next few words.
“By staying here you need to know that the people you love might be in danger. Although the trace on you is light it doesn’t mean that they still won’t discover you.” His voice sounded grave as he stood up and made his way towards the window.
Clara knew there would be risks to her staying but if there was some way that she could remain where she was and protect those around then she would find it.
“Is there some way I could remain hidden?” She pleaded.
“You’re already safe. I only discovered you because I knew where to look.” He said sincerely.
“Thank you…” She trailed off.
“I’ll be around if you need me.” He answered quietly as he ducked through the window.
Clara waited a moment to see if he would return but she was only met with silence.
The opening of her bedroom door caused Clara to turn on her heel to face the intruder. Her smile grew as she noticed her best friend, Cherry hovering at the edge of her room.
“Who were you talking too?” Cherry asked, her gaze dancing around the room.
“No one.” Clara grinned as she moved towards the doorway and hooked an arm over her best friends shoulder.
“Let’s get some pizza.”
About The Author
Michaela Lafferty is a full time student from Scotland who is currently studying the media industry in hopes of achieving a career within publishing.
When she’s not studying she likes to spend her days reading and writing. From a young age she has always longed to write a novel of her very own. At age nineteen she hopes to one day publish a book of her very own.
In terms of the future she would like to gain her diploma within the media industry and hopefully go on to attend university to study either English literature or the publishing industry.