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[Fiction] Homecoming Queen

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  • [Fiction] Homecoming Queen

    Beast focused fiction I wrote. Thought that sharing it here would not hurt. Criticism, in all senses, is really appreciated.

    Chapter 1

    Sixteen years ago

    Summer was about to end.

    It was only the middle of August but, for what concerned Mother’s Hollow, the season was living its last days. It was in the wind, cold and restless, and in the warmth of the sun, slowly but steadily becoming weaker. Helena did not mind. For starters, it would have meant that she would not have to spend her days dealing with Tim and his friends. The lack of school meant they all had too much free time to spare and it seemed that their favorite hobby was to pick on Helena and Polly. The fact that Polly was Tim’s sister only made things worse, because the little girl could not avoid him, and thus Helena was always forced to go help her friend. Something that had begun to tire her. Even at such young age, Helena could tell nobody had the right to torment others like that.

    “Aren’t you scared?” gasped Polly, her breath cut short from running.

    “No” replied Helena. She was scared of things that had nothing to do with a bunch of bored ten-years-old kids. She opened a way through the corn stalks and kept it open until Polly passed through.

    “But they might hurt you! They really seems to have bad intentions this time!” babbled the little girl.

    “I don’t think they will”. Tim did that, once. He pushed Helena down because she did not want to give him the toy horse she was playing with. Considering he had the tendency to break his sister’s toys on purpose, Helena could not see that as good idea. He told him, calmly, and after ten seconds of muted anger, he charged at her and throw her to the ground. Helena did not say a thing, but her parents did. They had Tim and Polly’s mother called before she could finish doing the laundry and warned her, angrily. She apologized to Helena’s parents and promised she would take measures. Polly later told Helena that once home her parents scolded Tim for hours and punished him for the following month. She mentioned they said many times “you can make your family lose their jobs”, but she did not understand what that meant. Helena did.

    It was not something the others explained to her, but she figured out herself. The fact that Polly’s mother was only one of the many that cleaned Helena’s house, that her father worked the land Helena’s father lend him, and that they both called Helena’s parents “Mister and Mrs Prescott” while they replied to them using their first names and giving them orders meant something. The fact Helena had better toys and dresses, lived in a bigger house and that she was treated like a princess meant something. The fact that her family’s name was on a good portion of the town buildings meant something too. Not that Helena cared, Polly was her friend and once upon a time even Tim was nice to have around, but she could see. See the reason why Tim was always so angry at her even if she did nothing, which was also the same reason he would be punished if he had touch her. Most importantly, she could also see that Polly was beginning to notice that too, the gap between them that was widening with time. There was a look in Polly’s eyes sometimes, when she had to leave the Prescott estate and get back home, or that time she had to watch when Mrs Prescott brought her daughter to ride one of their horses, that Helena could not help but to notice. Boundaries, growing. Not a nice feeling, especially when you feel helpless about it.

    “But you’re scared and I don’t want them to hurt you, so we’re running” she finally added.

    “Thanks, Lena” said Polly, panting but smiling.

    Helena replied to to that smile with one of her own. Polly was her only friend. Care, not the only girl of her age she spent time with, but her only friend indeed, at least for how she saw it. Helena’s parents were always worried about her meditative attitude and the fact that she loved to spend so much time alone, thus regularly presented new people to socialize, possibly not coming from the families of the staff members. Helena always complied and, to be honest, she was brilliant at it. All the mothers called her the perfect girl, well-taught and charming, and the other girls just adored her. But that was just Helena doing her thing. The others were not necessarily bad (most of them, at least) and it would not be true to say she did not like their presence, but they came looking for Helena Prescott. Only Polly was there for Lena.

    “You know where we are going?” asked Polly, her voice betraying again her rising preoccupation.

    “Not really” admitted Helena. They were running through an old corn maze not far from the Prescott estate, but while Helena had explored a remarkable amount of surroundings, especially considering her tender age, she always steered clear of that maze, for reasons she found herself unable to explain. Not that day. “This seemed a good place to hide, so here we are”


    “We won’t get lost” interrupted Helena. She meant it. Somehow, she did not know where they were headed, but she was adamantly sure that she could not lose the direction here.

    “I heard them, this way!” screamed a voice behind them. Teddy, if Helena was correct. Tim’s best friend and the one Helena despised the most. Before Teddy, Tim was merely a lump of anger and frustration, but one that would sometimes fade and show the friend he once was, both to Helena and his sister. Someone you could deal with and made him remember that they used to spend entire days together, just the three of them. Not always, but still. After meeting Teddy though, the Tim Helena used to like became a rarer and rarer apparition.

    “Hurry” she whispered to Polly

    The little girl just nodded.

    The two kept running across the maize, Helena opening the way effortlessly while Polly tried to follow. Eventually, the distance between the two grew too much.


    Helena turned around. Polly was nowhere to be seen. How could she leave her behind and not notice? Despicable. truly despicable. Helena had not enough time to recriminate before a scream cut the air.

    She run straight into a direction she knew to be the right one, only to find Polly kneeled down crying, with Teddy holding pulling her hair.

    “Once I’m done with her, I’m going to take your golden hair as well and..”

    Teddy could not finish the phrase because Helena had already landed a punch right between his eyes. He fell down, not sure whether to feel the confusion or the pain first. He went for both.

    When he managed to get up, the two girls were gone.


    “Lena, that was awesome!” shouted Polly.

    Helena found herself in agreement, that felt great, but said nothing. “We’re almost there, Polly”.

    “There where?”

    Good question, one Helena could not reply to. No matter how much the situation seemed dangerous at the time, it was as if them being chased by a bunch of boys armed with sticks was not the most pressing matter. There was something bigger happening in that maze, something Helena kept thinking about but could not identify. Not yet.

    When the seemingly endless stalks of corn suddenly ended, she could not hide her surprise.

    Helena and Polly ran all that time only to end in a small circular clear within the maize. But they were not alone: in the middle of it, crudely impaled on a rusty iron bar, there was an old scarecrow. The odd figure had known better days but somehow time had not diminished the effectiveness of its appearance. The stitched features, tattered clothes and dark sockets it had for eyes were exactly as scary as they originally were, perhaps even more. Time turned it from a puppet into a something that was more akin to the corpse of something that was never born.

    Helena felt a shiver down her spine when she looked at it, but found herself unable to look away.

    “Lena, they’re coming, we should move” said Polly. She probably was not wrong, but Helena ignored her suggestion, slowly moving towards the center of the clear.

    “We’ll be fine, Polly. Nothing will happen to us” said Helena coldly.

    “I would not be so sure about that” commented a voice coming from the maize. Teddy Merril made his appearance. He carved a clumsy path through the corn by swinging the crude duck-taped hockey bat he carried around when he wanted to look tough. It was not a property of his, but rather a dismissed thing from his own big brother which looked too big for him, something nobody dared to underline. “Hey boys, I found the lost puppies!” he screamed with all his lungs. Soon after, Tim and the others arrived.

    Helena and Polly were surrounded.

    “Hey Tim, your sister is crying. And we have not done anything yet!” he mocked. It was true, Polly had begun sobbing quietly, still trying to not disappoint her older brother.

    Tim said something under his breath and then walked forward towards Polly “You idiot should not had run. You made this worse now” he barked at the little girl.

    “Stop and I won’t hurt you, Tim. Last warning” said Helena.

    “Shut up, Helena. It’s my sister.” replied Tim.

    “Yes, she is. Which means you should not be doing this. And if you do, I will hurt you.”

    Tim looked at Helena, his mouth distorted in a struggle. For an instant, he looked at the crying figure at his feet and Helena saw an opening. But then Teddy took the helm.

    “Come on Helena, we’re just playing. We’re the soldiers and you’re the enemies on the run. But we caught you and this mean we get to torture you. Those are simple rules, aren’t they?”

    “Neither I or Polly ever agreed to play. We were just hanging around until you all arrived, looking for trouble. When Polly said she did not want to have anything to do with your games, you chased us” replied Helena. “And you won’t torture anybody, Theodore”. She knew well he hated being called like that.

    Teddy’s face quickly became red, losing all the pretense and attitude he had. “Well, you’re not in the position to choose, rich bitch. There’s nobody around and while Tim might be afraid to hit you, I am not. My father’s is not on your payroll and I would not care anyways!” he shouted. “Tim! Pick up your stupid sister and make me space!”

    Tim grabbed Polly by her arms and lifted her. He whispered a faint “sorry sis” that Helena managed to hear, but Teddy apparently did not.

    Teddy tried to make a great scene of moving his bat around, trying to intimidate the Helena and even his own friends. To be fair, most of them were already tense because the situation was slipping out of hand but none of them had the courage to say or do anything, to speak against Teddy and the group. As for Helena, she was not impressed. Teddy made a few fake swings at her, stopping right before hitting her slim figure, but Helena did not flinch. Teddy laughed at this, but to Helena this was clearly a nervous laughter.

    Teddy stopped and looked around. Grey clouds were covering the sun, the wind moving all the stalks around them. Everyone was looking at him. It was getting cold. He swung another time. Helena noticed this one was different and quickly raised her arms to cover her head. It still hurt a lot and she still kneeled down.

    Teddy laughed again.

    It took a while for Helena to regain control and suppress the pain enough to move again. Her left arm pulsated and she could feel she scratched her knee when she fell down. Her dress was covered in dirt now. Aside from some almost silent gaps of pain, she did not say a word. Teddy was not even looking her at, being fixated on the others in some sort of search for approval and admiration. Helena kept her gaze on him at first but then something happened. Helena felt the need to look up and she saw the scarecrow, towering over like the guardian he was supposed to be. She then looked at the seemingly endless maze of corn around all of them. There was something there, walking behind the rows.

    That’s when Helena remembered she had already been here, many, many times. That, or rather a place, an ideal of that location, was where she ended up in her nightmares. She just forgot about that every time she woke up. But now she was here, and she felt at home.

    Helena stood up, taking the dust off of her dress. Teddy turned around.

    “Damn, you there’s nothing that scares you, am I right?” he asked, frustrated by the fact that Helena seemed even more calm than before.

    “That’s not true” she calmly replied “I’m scared of this place, for example. I’m scared of this scarecrow, I’m scared of all the crows that are flying above us and I sure am scared of the thing that is circling around us, drawing closer. That is what scares me, not you. But I do believe you should be afraid too”

    As Helena finished saying this, it was as if something broke in the mind of the boys around. The air grew still and the wind died, leaving place only to the rare screeches of distant scrows and the unexplainable but undeniable sensation that something huge was getting closer.

    Most of them ran away immediately. Teddy remained for just few seconds more, unable to look away from Helena and the scarecrow over her, as if the two were a single that was staring deep into his soul, tearing apart all the pretense of toughness he tried to put on both for himself and the others, leaving behind only a terrified kid. He then fled away as well, screaming loudly.

    Helena looked at the scene, cold yet satisfied, and moved towards Polly and Tim.

    “Leave. You don’t want to be make my Mother angry, Tim” said Helena.

    “Y-your m-mother is not h-here” he stuttered while soiling his pants.

    “She is.” she replied with her glacial eyes fixated on him.

    Tim attempted to reply but the words died in his throat. He hastily left.

    Polly hugged Helena with force. “Oh Lena, I was so scared! I don’t know what you did but I’m glad you were here.” She cleaned the tears away from her eyes and said “We need to get home, Lena. Our parents will be worried.”

    She then looked at Helena and just smiled before turning around and beginning to walk.

    Helena returned the smile this time too, but it was not a sincere one this time. As soon as Polly was not looking anymore, she quietly whispered “I’ll return home, someday”

    After all, her Mother had just come to check on her and be sure she was doing well.
    Last edited by Cinder; 11-23-2017, 07:11 AM.

    Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

    I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

  • #2
    Gonna edit because the forum killed my paragraphs. Be a little patient, please.

    Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

    I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


    • #3
      I assume that this is yours


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
        I assume that this is yours

        Yup, you got me

        Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

        I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


        • #5
          It's been a while since I checked in on your stories, again. I can't wait to see what else you come up.

          "My Homebrew Hub"
          Age of Azar
          The Kingdom of Yamatai


          • #6
            Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
            It's been a while since I checked in on your stories, again. I can't wait to see what else you come up.
            You've been following my stuff? Thanks man, that means a lot. I know I need to improve my fiction writing and it's good to know you're interested

            Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

            I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


            • #7
              Well I've been thinking of doing some fiction of my own based on the stuff I've been posting here, whether it's my Homebrew or contributions to LostLight's. That said, I'd be happy to collaborate with you if you ever ask.

              "My Homebrew Hub"
              Age of Azar
              The Kingdom of Yamatai


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                Well I've been thinking of doing some fiction of my own based on the stuff I've been posting here, whether it's my Homebrew or contributions to LostLight's. That said, I'd be happy to collaborate with you if you ever ask.

                Heck, the whole reason I bought any of the books was for fiction material. I don't have the attention span for memorizing all the mechanics, and I don't know anybody who I could play with. But I love the theme and the setting of the franchise.
                Last edited by Nyrufa; 01-15-2017, 03:39 AM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                  Well I've been thinking of doing some fiction of my own based on the stuff I've been posting here, whether it's my Homebrew or contributions to LostLight's. That said, I'd be happy to collaborate with you if you ever ask.
                  I appreciate. I'm trying to improve my fiction writing (something I really need to do, considering the fact people don't seem to like my fiction threads much), but most of my homebrew efforts go towards the games I run, so on that side I don't offer much. Plenty of ideas outside of that, but I never sit down and put them on paper.

                  Speaking of fiction, I created this Beast-focused setting I have fun with, but all is good as long as I make practice.

                  That said, you people only have to ask. I'm up for anything, to be honest.
                  Last edited by Cinder; 01-23-2017, 08:15 PM.

                  Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                  I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                    (considering the fact people don't seem to like my fiction threads much),

                    Well, I was disappointed that the first story turned out to be focused on a Hero. I kept thinking it was a homecoming story in which he was going to become a Beast eventually. Frankly, I think the Brood should have just saved themselves a future headache and just offed the kid.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

                      Well, I was disappointed that the first story turned out to be focused on a Hero. I kept thinking it was a homecoming story in which he was going to become a Beast eventually. Frankly, I think the Brood should have just saved themselves a future headache and just offed the kid.
                      Got plans for him, I hope that perhaps you'll like him more next time. But the current story is Beast-focused all around

                      Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                      I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


                      • #12
                        Seven Years Ago

                        Principal Mason was skimming through the files, carefully looking at the pages as if each of those held secret revelations to which only him had access to. It was a tactic developed after years on the job whose purpose was to scare the students in front of him and make them think twice about what led them to the principal’s office. A tactic that, by all accounts, rarely failed. After a minute of strategically uncomfortable silence, he finally talked.

                        “Polly Perkins...” he started.

                        “I’d rather go with my second name, Sir. I…” she interrupted.

                        The principal raised a finger to silence her, glanced again at the files and said: “Annabelle Perkins then. Though you can imagine we’re not here to discuss to which name you answer to. Am I right, Annabelle?”

                        Annabelle, once Polly, looked down, both embarrassed and nervous.

                        Principal Mason put Annabelle’s papers to the side, ready to get to the point. “Annabelle, you and I never had reason to find ourselves in this sort of situation. Your grades are average, some worse than others, some better, but nothing out of what is acceptable. On the behavior side, there’s nothing negative worth mentioning. As far as I can tell, this is the first time you truly step out of the line”.

                        A pause of a couple of seconds was enough for Annabelle to sense that the real part of the whole discussion was about to come. She could not help but to raise her eyes and see that the principal was staring at her like an eagle. Another little trick of which the girl could not be aware of.

                        “That said, don’t expect me to overlook your actions just because this is your first transgression. It's my job to be sure this step on a bad road was both the first and last you’ll take.That’s exactly the reason I’ll be even clearer than usual with you: what you did was both a transgression, offensive and extremely stupid. An awful idea all around to which there will be consequences.” Principal Mason stood up and turned his back on Annabelle, looking outside the window, yet another move in his repertoire. Mason took no particular enjoyment from this, the parts of his job that he loved were far different, but to him part of the deal of being a school principal was punishing those who break the rules and maintain discipline with the tools he had. Besides, he believed, being sure teenagers felt a certain degree of fear towards the authority could not hurt anyone. A single visit to his office was usually enough to minor transgressors to get the idea and behave. Polly Annabelle Perkins was one of those: a dumb idea (no doubt the result of the rebellious years of adolescence and a dose of teen drama) followed by a stern lecture from the principal and a minor but severe punishment would be enough to instill enough discipline into her to teach the girl to not break the rules anymore.

                        Or so he thought.

                        As a pair of auburn autumn leaves carried by the wind flew near the window, Principal Mason was considering how many weeks of detention would be enough to teach Annabelle a lesson. Just a handful of seconds before he could turn to her and announce the punishment, Annabelle could not help but to blurt out: “This would not be a deal this big had I not did it to Helena Prescott...” It was a rather timid statement made in a hush tone, but one that could be heard clearly in the silence of the office.

                        Principal Mason was quite shocked by the lack of respect and apprehension it took to say that. Kids these days. “Excuse me, young lady?! I would not allow you to insinuate God knows what about my integrity or that of this school!”

                        Someone knocked at the door.

                        Annabelle, knowing that things had reached a point where there was no turning back, shouted back: “I’m insinuating that if a stupid joke made to someone that was the daughter of the richest family in town would have not led me into the principal office!”
                        They knocked at the door again.

                        “Oh, is that so?” replied Principal Mason. “And thus writing “HELENA PRESCOTT IS A SLUT” on her locker is a stupid joke? I assure you, Miss Perkins, that’s the sort of transgression that would lead anyone to my office, no matter the specific target or locker. Especially if that person is so careless in doing so that the janitor catches her while she’s finishing the job.” His face as red as the leaves outside, the principal sit down in his chair and pointed a finger at Annabelle. “I was willing to go easy on you, young lady, but this attitude will not stand. This will teach you that there rules and consequences to those…”
                        Another knock at the door.

                        “What the hell is it?!” he shouted.

                        Nancy, the principal’s secretary, opened the door. The look on her face clearly told that she did not appreciate being talked that way, a mistake Principal Mason was quick to notice. He might not have been afraid of students and all the teachers knew he was the one in charge, but Principal Mason would not dare to anger his secretary.

                        “Oh, ehm, Nancy...sorry. It was...what can I do for you?” he asked, slightly blushing.

                        The secretary adjusted her glasses and said: “Miss Prescott is here, Sir. She’d like to come in”

                        The principal was still a little flustered. “Prescott? Helena Prescott? No, it is not appropriate for her to do that. Please, tell her to go away, Nancy.”

                        “I could try to do that, but she does not seem the type that would accept that as an answer”. Nancy was not one to be fooled by teenagers. If she said as much, she meant it.

                        “Well...if that’s the case I suppose we could allow to let her in…” the principal. Annabelle could not believe to her ears.

                        Nancy nodded and closed the door. It opened a handful of seconds later as Helena entered nonchalantly. She sat on the free chair with a fluid movement, adjusted her skirt and said: “Principal Mason, thanks for allowing me to take part to the conversation. It means a lot to me”

                        “Miss Prescott, I hope you realize this is highly unorthodox…”

                        “Oh, I’m absolutely aware of that, Sir. Which leads to me add how much I’m thankful to you for generously deciding to grant me my request” interrupted Helena, her left hand resting on her heart.

                        Annabelle snorted, but Helena kept on talking before the principal could comment on that. “The reason I’m here, Sir, it’s because I’d like to ask you to forgive Polly for this little misgiving so that we can all forget it happened in the first place.”

                        “What?” asked the principal confused.

                        “...what?” asked Annabelle coldly.

                        Helena kept on going, not clear if she prepared her words beforehand or she was just improvising. “I know Polly well and I’m sure she’s aware that what she did was a mistake and that she regrets it.

                        “I…” added Annabelle, but Helena placed a hand on her shoulder and kept on talking.

                        “As I’m sure you’re more aware than us, Sir, we students don’t always think about the gravity of our actions while we’re doing it. I’m guilty of that too, sometimes. And while I agree that is right to administer proper solutions to the problems we might cause, I’m here to say, as one of the parts involved, that I don’t mind nor have issues with Polly.” Helena delicately moved her long blond hair to the side and added: “Wouldn't it be easier for everyone to just leave this mishap behind us?”

                        Principal Mason did not know what to say. The script he mentally prepared for this sort of things, the results of many years of work, had gone completely off the rails. This was not how it was supposed to go and, worse, he had lost control of the situation. “Miss Prescott, I find your...tolerance commendable, but this is not up to you to decide. Miss Perkins here committed a violation of the school rules that goes behind you and her, which leaves me with my hands tied”

                        Helena smiled and, with a sweet and endearing tone, asked: “You really can’t untie them just for this time, Sir?”

                        The principal was adamant though. “I’m afraid I cannot, ladies”

                        When she heard that, there as a subtle shift in Helena’s attitude. The moment she understood that just asking was not going to get her what she wanted, Helena had no choice but to abandon that line of action and resort to something else. In the instants that took her to realize this and react, she dropped the act for a second. It was just for a quick moment, the principal too distracted by the situation to notice. Annabelle caught a glimpse of it, but instantly silenced her perception. What she saw could not possibly be Helena Prescott, most popular girl at school and princess of Mother’s Hollow. What she saw was angry and untamed, something not even Helena was consciously aware about.

                        The young girl adjusted in the seat and, with a rather different tone than before, said: “Well, that’s a pity. I actually asked this to avoid embarrassment both to me, Polly and the school”

                        “The school?” asked the principal, visibly puzzled.

                        Helena let the the shadow of a smile slip. “Of course! I mean, by making a big deal out of this not only the story will reverberate enough to complicate my life and Polly’s more than needed, but it will also inevitably reach the people outside of the school. It’s a little town after all, sir.” No more theatrical hand gestures; now Helena words were enough. “When my parents know about this, they’ll naturally want to speak with you about it.”

                        “Your...parents?” stuttered Principal Mason.

                        “Naturally, Sir. Now, we all know what Polly wrote was just a small, forgivable mistake but, my parents being the attentive and doting people they are, won’t see it that way. And knowing them they’ll report their worries to whom they see fit to hear them.”

                        The principal had no words. Annabelle might have hated the circumstances, but she was still enjoying the show. “I...would...rather avoid that. To spare your parents from any unnecessary concern, obviously.”

                        “As would I Sir!” gleefully said Helena.

                        The principal looked around, pointlessly adjusted the papers scattered on his wooden desk and said “Then I guess that, due to Miss Perkins otherwise clean conduct and your generous offer to forget what happened, we could let everything slip, just for this time.”

                        “Thank you so much, Sir. Polly and I are grateful for this decision!”

                        Principal Mason opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to find something else to say, but in the end it all reduced to a simple “You’re both free to go. But I don’t want to see you again in this office, Annabelle!”

                        The girls stood up and Annabelle could only nod before Helena dragged her away while saying “I’m sure you won’t, Sir. Thanks again!” She almost slammed the door behind her, leaving Principal Mason not sure about what just happened.


                        Annabelle and Helena now stood in the hallway outside the principal’s office. A couple of students could be seen walking around, but most of the people were having lunch, leaving the two girls basically alone with each other. Homecoming posters and announcements were all over the place, giving the hallway a distinct festive appearance.

                        The celebrations were scheduled to have place in four days, with a parade across the town before the Hollow Knights game against the Green Cove’s Corsairs and a school dance following. The rivalry between the two teams was generally friendly yet always fierce, like only that between the teams of two small nearby towns could be. This year to have the Homecoming football game to be against Green Cove meant all the celebrations surrounding it would be one of the major events of the year for Mother’s Hollow. Just as important as the Summer Fair a couple months prior or as the beloved Harvest Festival that would follow later in October. Perhaps even more important, depending on who you asked to. What was certain, though, was that neither Helena nor Annabelle wanted to talk about Homecoming.

                        Nobody talked at first, a cold silence dotted by noises of steps and distant words enveloping the hallway. It was Helena who broke it. “Soooo...I’m actually not sure I’m “the daughter of the richest family in town. We might the second richest, or even the third. It all depends on how the market is going this year.” She knew this was a forced joke but felt she needed to break the ice.

                        “You expect me to thank you?” replied Annabelle while ignoring the rest.

                        “I don’t expect you to do anything. I just want to talk, Polly.”

                        Annabelle could not bear it. “It’s Annabelle, ok? Annabelle. It’s been years since I decide I prefer Annabelle. Not even my parents call me Polly anymore” She glanced at Helena. “Which of course goes a long way to show how little we have to do with each other these days!”

                        “Alright, alright, Annabelle. Sorry. Look, I’m not trying to make you feel in debt with me, it’s just that...we used to be friends not even that long ago”

                        “Used to. Now we aren’t and what I do is none of your business”

                        “Well, I’d normally agree, but if one day you decide to write that kind of stuff on my locker while we haven’t talked in years, then I’d say some of it is my business indeed!” said Helena widening her arms in a nervous gesture.

                        Annabelle had nothing to say.

                        “I mean…” Helena stared at her feet, unwilling to look Annabelle in the eyes. “What happened to us, Annabelle?”

                        For a moment, Annabelle looked at her old friend and wished things went differently. A sensation of unease rose in her throat, but she managed to shut it down. “I have no idea, but it happened. We just...I don’t know. We grew and you...I mean, look at you!” she said pointing at the other girl.

                        Helena adjusted a lock of hair behind her right ear and asked: “What are you talking about?”

                        “I’m just saying that you look like model and, what the hell, your damn shoes are probably more worth than everything I have on right now, including the books in the backpack and my telephone” pointed out Annabelle. Helena sneered at the remark and was about to reply, but Annabelle did not let her. “Then there’s the fact that everyone seems to love you because of course you’re so fucking perfect and adorable, how could not they? Or the fact that your surname alone is enough to make the principal do what you want or that…”

                        “Have I ever have treated you differently?” interrupted Helena.


                        “Have. I. Ever. Treated. You. Differently? Have I ever made you feel inferior, made fun of you or was I ever mean to you? To anyone? Was I ever cruel to somebody just because I had nothing better to do?”

                        Annabelle snorted. “That’s not the point”

                        “That’s exactly the damn point! I’m not gonna apologize to you just because I like to wear pretty shoes. What have I done to deserve all this hate?” asked Helena, her tone not allowing to dodge the questions.

                        Annabelle throw a glance at her. “Just because you hide it well it does not mean it did not happen”

                        “Give me examples then!”

                        “People talk, Helena. You can’t control them, they talk” said Annabelle.

                        “Who? When? Just allow me to defend myself!”

                        “Oh piss off! I can’t remember any specific episode right now but you get what I’m saying!”

                        Helena inhaled deeply and then exhaled. “Our differences and some gossip can’t be the only reasons you decide to write I’m a slut on my locker. Please, let’s get over with this.”

                        Annabelle threw her hands in the air and said: “Fine! You know Andrew Wilson, right? I have a crush for him since middle school. Then this morning I hear that Andrew has been telling everyone he had sex with you at a party Saturday night”

                        “I did not…” tried to say Helena.

                        “You were not at that party in the woods Saturday?” asked Annabelle.

                        “I was but…”

                        “But what? You had not sex with Andrew? Please, Helena. You have a reputation, there’s a reason the boys like you so much, One can hear only so many stories before she accepts there’s an evident truth behind!”

                        Helena hands shaked, yet she managed to ask yet another question. “So what people I don’t even know about say count to you more than my word?”

                        “I have no reason to trust you, Helena fucking Prescott. So yeah. I just felt that somebody had to point out what you are, hence me writing on that stupid locker”

                        Helena nodded. “Very well. Let’s start by saying that who I have sex with or is not something that should concern you and that I could have had the entire school inside my bed and it still would not give you the right to judge me. A point I believe you really have to get inside your head.” Annabelle eyes widened.

                        “But most importantly, knowing that all days we spent together and and the things we went through matter so little to give me a far too detailed idea of the kind of person you are today”

                        Annabelle’s face was red as humanly possible: “Listen to me, you nasty…”

                        “I think I’ve listened enough for today. Next time you decide to mess up with somebody, try to be less stupid about it because I won’t be there to help you if you get caught. Farewell, Polly” said Helena, turning around and walking away.

                        After the girls was already across the hallway, Annabelle shouted “Well, fuck you too, Helena!”.

                        What Annabelle did not know was that, while Helena walked away from her, warm and painful tears were descending from her eyes.

                        Helena Prescott had hazy memories of the day when, back when she was only eight years old, she walked into a cornfield while running away from a bunch of bullies that wanted to hurt her and her friend. At her core, she never truly forgot what happened in the heart of the cornfield, about the thing that came looking for her and the sense of belonging it brought along, but nowadays it all resembled a distant dream more than anything. That’s a property unique to childhood memories: powerful, important and clear as the events that created them might be, time and maturity will wash them away like photos left under the sun. Adult memories are not like that, both more reliable and sterile. But those from childhood? They slip away whether you’re careful or not. But sometimes, just sometimes, they come back, carrying forgotten secrets and meaningful lies with them.

                        Helena’s memories were coming back, though she could not fully grasp them yet. They did so in her dreams, appearing like persistent ghosts. Each night they gained a clearer shape. What first began as a host of vague sensations now had become a vivid array of haunts that prospered in her sleep. Screeching crows and empty fields, running away from a menace that stalked her through the corn.

                        It was getting increasingly harder to deal with the restless nights, especially combining them with all the other worries Helena had. She only wanted to rest and keep the world away for a day or two, but that was a luxury she did not have. When she walked into the school’s mess hall, looking for her friends and sitting at their table, Helena allowed herself to hope they’d notice something was amiss and ask her if she wanted to run away from school for the day. Perhaps they could go for a walk across the dam over Adder Lake and enjoy the view. Even taking the car and go camping in the woods would have been a welcomed option. Anything that offered Helena the way to not think about school, grades, gossip and the preparations for Homecoming. Maybe get some sleep too.

                        Cara moved her bag to the side. “Hey Helena, I kept you a place near me so we can check everything is in order for the dance.”

                        “You managed to bail Annabelle Perkins out of trouble?” said Barbara.

                        Helena suppressed a resigned sigh. “Yes, all is good.”

                        “I don’t know if I would have done the same had I been in your place, I’ll be honest” commented Barbara.

                        “I just wanted to avoid any more drama” said Helena while massaging her temples.

                        “Weren’t you friends some time ago?” asked Samantha while carefully approaching the table with a tray in each hand. “Here’s the lunch, sweetheart. I did not want for you to wait even more before eating”

                        Thankfully nodding at her friend, Helena replied: “A really long time, yeah”

                        “Don’t bother with her, Helena. She clearly is scum for writing that nonsense”

                        “Can we talk about something else?” pleaded Helena.

                        “Right, we have more important things to discuss” said Cara while taking out a notebook filled with notes from her purse. Cara had a notebook for each school event her and the girls helped organize. Once done, she’d archive it with the others. This one was dedicated to the Homecoming and she had worked on it for weeks.

                        As Cara began to talk, Helena could not help to space away. The girls were not bad friends. They cared about about Helena and she cared about them. All those things that they enjoyed, the social activities, the nice clothes and having a role in Mother’s Hollow High School’s daily life, were things that Helena enjoyed as well. The fact is, she could not remember how honest that enjoyment was.
                        Helena had not lost her talent to see through the patterns of people’s behavior while growing up. Instead, she refined it year after year, allowing her to notice the things people usually don’t mention. One of the most enduring lesson Helena learned was that there’s almost always more to people than it looks on the surface, for good or ill. She knew, for example, that Samantha was a huge Western movie geek, that Barbara wanted more than anything else to become a famous fashion stylist and practiced constantly by sewing actual dresses and that Cara’s parents were too busy dealing with making war at each other to think of their children and that she took to herself the duties of taking care of her sisters and brother in their daily life. Helena knew that having a public persona was a defense mechanism born out of fear: fear of being rejected, fear of not fitting in. Fear of being alone. Being aware did not help: Helena was guilty of that too, as everyone. It was easier, safer. Everything Helena did, the good grades, the impeccable looks, the extracurricular activities, the parties and even the attitude, everything Helena taught herself to do without blinking, it was all part of a frenetic attempt to meet expectations and not be left out.
                        Yet, even knowing the unwritten norms of social interactions, Helena could not help but to wish to find someone, some place she could lower her defenses with. What happened with Annabelle was perhaps the decisive strike to the appearance of control and calm Helena maintained, something she could already sense. Worse, while she had always been able to somewhat silence that desire, nowadays it was growing into something else. Something restless and hungry, a feeling of being disconnected from others that went beyond what Helena could deal with. It was howling and, to Helena’s chagrin, she could hear it. She wanted to scream in response.

                        “Helena, are you listening?” Helena snapped out of her thoughts. Cara was looking at her. “You feel ok? I was not going to say anything but your eyes don’t look alright” A side-effect of tears, Helena thought. No chance she was gonna tell to the girls. Her friend closed the notebook and asked: “You know you can tell us if there’s a problem, right? Even to just talk about this morning is totally fine.”

                        Helena looked around. Barbara and Samantha were waiting for something to happen. Embarassed? Worried? Probably both. “I’m...fine, thanks. It’s just that I’m having trouble sleeping lately. Sorry for not paying attention. Please go on”

                        “Are you sure?” The expression of Cara’s face meant she did not buy that, at least not completely.

                        “I am”. Two words, but said with a friendly tone that at the same time did not allow exploring the topic further.

                        Indeed, Samantha changed the point of the discussion almost immediately. “Come on, Cara. She’s probably just excited about the Homecoming. Knowing you’ll be elected queen will do that to you”

                        “You can’t be sure about that…” smiled Helena.

                        Samantha jokingly snorted. “Pfff, we all know that’s what going to happen. I bet the whole school does, so can you please stop being so damn annoying?”

                        The four girls laughed.

                        “Besides…” kept going Samatha “is not about time you tell us who are you going at the Homecoming dance?”

                        "Believe it or not, nobody has asked me yet. So I guess that at this point, unlike you fair ladies, I’ll have to go alone”

                        “What?!” exclaimed Samantha. “That makes no sense. Like, not at all! I swear that’s not going to happen, no matter...”

                        Barbara, who usually had the duty to calm her exuberant friend, intervened. “Sam, chill. There’s still time and the boys are probably just gathering the courage needed to ask her.”

                        “Am I that intimidating?” scoffed Helena.

                        “Sweetheart, you know I love you, but you are. I’d be terrorized to ask you out if I were a man, not to mention you’re more the type that does the asking. But that’s gonna happen” Barbara leaned up and looked over Helena’s shoulders. “And, if you ask me, it’s gonna happen pretty soon judging by the way Scott Delaney is looking at you”

                        They all turned around but Helena. Scott Delaney was effectively looking towards their table. Scott, captain of the football team and star of the Mother’s Hollow High School, was the closest thing to a male equivalent to Helena in the social ecosystem of the town’s youth. The two were considered by many to be a couple in the making and a natural match, but so far all they did was talking whenever the chance happened. Not that Scott was not interested to upgrade their relationship, everyone could see it, but Helena never gave him an opening to introduce the topic. He seemed a nice guy and she enjoyed the time they spent together, but Helena was in no hurry for the things between them to change. She was not sure about the reason for that.

                        “You’re gonna tell him yes for the dance, Helena?” asked Cara.

                        “Probably.” replied Helena, nonchalantly busy at cutting her steak. The perspective of spending the Homecoming dance in Scott Delaney’s company was good enough.

                        “His friend looks soooo hot. I almost wish to go to the dance with him instead of Jerry…”

                        “Sam!” laughed Cara.

                        “What? I’m not saying I will, foul woman. But I gotta be honest about what I see”

                        Helena finally lifted her gaze, confirming her suspects about the identity of the other boy. Theodore “Teddy” Jones, an old acquaintance of hers. After their little discussion in the cornfield nine years before, Teddy steered away from Helena as much as possible, a favor Helena was happy to reciprocate. He always seemed tense in her presence, indicating that, like Helena, some aspects of their shared history still burned bright in his mind. Though, in Teddy’s case, it seemed those aspects were nothing but pure, burning, fear. To his credit, he never bothered Helena and Polly anymore after running away screaming.

                        People sometimes grow up. Sometimes they learn their lesson.


                        Mister and Misses Prescott bought Helena a car for her sixteenth birthday. Not a cheap car, obviously: a dark blue convertible BMW which attracted the envy of pretty much everyone at school, students and teachers alike. The car was at home right now.

                        A little pleasure Helena allowed herself was walking to school and then back home instead of using the car. She liked walking. Step after step, combining her thoughts with the music in her ears and the panorama. The route between her house and the school, a fairly long one to do on foot, was the only time she managed to leave everything else go. At home there was her family, outside the other people. While alone, she had to deal with herself. But walking? That allowed Helena to focus on the simple goal of getting to her destination and not worry about other things. It was a luxury Helena knew well to savor: the cold days of rain and snow looming in the future would not allow her to enjoy her walks as much as she did until spring.

                        Walking around Mother’s Hollow was not a harrowing experience for sure. The town somehow managed to strike a balance between modern and ancient, a little gem hidden between the vastness of the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Helena’s father often complained that the town could have been much more relevant and big, a feeling several others shared, but their complaints never managed to have a practical impact on the life of the little town,something Helena was secretly grateful for.

                        Helena had just crossed the bridge she usually used, the old one in red bricks near Wellman Square, when the battery of her phone died, taking the music with it.

                        “Well, fuck.” Another little freedom Helena gave herself only when alone: cursing can go a long way to make someone feel better. She folded the headphones around the telephone and put it in her purse. Below her, the Snake Horn River ran lazily, making little noise. All appearance, thought Helena: there were many occasions when rain made the river grow and flood the whole town. Today it was a sleeping serpent, but the waters under her were dangerous enough for the citizens to ask the government to build a dam between Upper and Lower Adder Lake, the lakes from which the river came forth, back in the Forties.

                        “Helena, I found you!” A voice called for Helena, a male one. One of Helena’s pretenders. Not Scott Delaney, though: Andrew Wilson. The Andrew Wilson for which Annabelle had a crush. The one that told half the school he had sex with Helena and a good part of the reasons why she had to go to the principal’s office today and argue with Annabelle, after years of silence.

                        Andrew was panting. He made a wide smile, showing too many teeth. “I knew it was you when I saw you”

                        “Yeah, that tends to happen when you follow people. I know you live on the other side of the town, Andrew. What do you want?”

                        Andrew ignored her quip. Another smile. “I thought you’d get home with your car.”

                        “I like walking. What do you want?” asked Helena. She did not move a muscle, only throwing a glance at the young man.

                        Andrew adjusted his hairs with both hands, then laid one hand on Helena’s left shoulder, saying: “I was know about Homecoming, right?”

                        Helena pushed away the and replied: “The Homecoming the whole town is waiting for and which celebrations I’m organizing at school? Yeah, I heard about it”

                        Again, Andrew did not seem to register Helena’s words. “Has someone already invited you to the dance?

                        “Not yet, but I’m not going with you”

                        This time it worked. “Why not?! I’d make you have a good time! Are you waiting for someone better, uh?”

                        “What I’m doing is none of your business. Now I gotta go” said Helena.

                        She tried to leave when Andrew said: “Hey! Don’t you dare to turn on me, bitch!”

                        Hearing this, Helena turned around. Andrew’s right hand was slightly raised, enough for Helena to notice that the thought of doing something really stupid had crossed his mind. Narrowing her eyes and clinging her arms to her chest, Helena said: “Let’s be clear about this: the only reason I haven’t destroyed you already is because I tend to have a high tolerance for people’s bullshit, but you just proved yourself dumb enough to cross the line”

                        “And what is this supposed to…”

                        “It means that you telling everyone that something happened between us like a good little idiot was despicable, but I was willing to give it a pass”

                        “I don’t know what you’re talking about...and complaining about that to the teacher or your parents is not gonna do a thing” he said, nervously looking over the bridge.

                        Helena’s stare never left him. “Teachers? My parents? I don’t need them to deal with scum like you. People listened to you only because I was not talking. You matter shit. The fact you have to lie about having sex with someone is just proof of how much pathetic you are. I only need...what, two texts? With only that by tomorrow the whole school would look at you the way I want to look at you and want your head by the end of the week. The term “public humiliation” does not even begin to describe what would happen to you if I decide to focus some days of my life at demolishing you.”

                        “But I…”

                        “I’m not done talking, Andrew” she silenced him. “I try so hard to be the patient one, to be nice, to think the best about people and not hold grudges and all I get from my efforts is you insulting me? You wasted the goodwill I assigned to you and you have no idea how precious of a commodity is was. We barely know each other, but if this is the way things are gonna go between us, so be it.” Helena made a pause and poked Andrew in the middle of his chest with so much unexpected force the boy faltered. “Consider this the last warning I give you. I’m not the bitch of the two here, have I been clear?”

                        Andrew looked away, biting his lips. His hands were clenched and trembling.

                        “Have I been clear?” asked Helena again, her finger still planted in Andrew’s chest.

                        “...yes” answered the boy, overcoming a considerable effort.

                        “Good” said Helena, moving her hand away. “And just so there’s no misunderstanding about this…” She waited for Andrew to look into her eyes. “Lay a hand on me or one of my friends ever again and I’m gonna gut you. Physically, painfully, gut you”.

                        Andrew stuttered a little, trying to find a response of any sort, but then just left.

                        Once he was out sight, Helena could finally breathe again. She leaned on the bridge’s wall, her face planted in her hands, and let out a scream which combined fear, anger and relief. Yet deep under those there was also something else. Satisfaction, perhaps? To remove all her self-limitations for a while, to make Andrew afraid of her, to make him pay, felt undeniably good. It hurt him, it hurt her and was not an experience Helena was eager to make again, but it still felt good.

                        Like feeding after a life a starvation.


                        “Hey you!”

                        The police car had drawn near Helena and slowed down. She tried to pretend it was not there, but when the window lowered and the driver shouted at her, it became impossible to do otherwise. She had almost arrived home, now walking on the road that connected her mansion to the town, passing close to fields and woods.

                        “Girl, I’m talking to you” shouted the driver while stopping the car right near to Helena. She had no choice but to stop and talk. “I’m Robert Holloway, the Sheriff.”

                        Helena inhaled, in a show of open emotions she was not used to give. “Sheriff Holloway…”

                        “You can call me Buck” he said while turning off the car.

                        “Sheriff Holloway” she said without losing a beat “It’s been a really long day and I’d want nothing more than to get home. I’d be thankful if you let me, I’m in a hurry.”

                        The sheriff made a faint smile. Helena could not be bothered to decipher if it was real or not. She was done for the day. “Aren’t you the daughter of the Prescotts?”

                        “Yes, Sheriff. In fact, my parents are waiting for me right now” she tried to cut short.

                        “Aren’t you supposed to be driving home in a nice, fancy car?”

                        “I. Like. Walking.” Goddamn.

                        “Oh, you sure do.”

                        “What is it Sheriff? Have I done something wrong?” she asked. Had Andrew go to the police because of her menacing him? No, that made no sense, an exaggerated concern Helena quickly dispelled.

                        “No, I was just passing by and you looked distressed, so I thought of checking out if everything was ok” said the Sheriff.

                        That caught Helena off guard. “Oh. I...I don’t know. I mean…”

                        “Because I might not know much, girl, and I don’t expect for anyone to trust a stranger with my good looks…” He let out a little good laughter “...but I know that when you have a problem sometimes it’s easier to talk with someone who does not know you rather than to your friends or parents. Just so you can let everything out and not worry about being judged or disappoint. You get what I’m saying?”

                        Helena found her words missing. A lock of hair got in front of her right eye, but she did not move it away. “I...I’m ok, Sheriff. I just want to go home." She was almost trembling. "Please”

                        Had she been able to look at herself, she would have seen what the Sheriff was able to see. The man nodded and said: “Alright, good. But if you ever need some help or just someone to chat with, I’d be glad to provide. I like to think someone would do that for my children once they grow up” He then turned the engine back on. “Even an idiot would find it easy to contact me in this town and you sure don’t look like one”.

                        The Sheriff stepped on the pedal and, right when he was about to leave, he said: “Sleep well, Helena”

                        As the car disappeared in the distance, Helena could have sworn she never told the man her name.


                        Night. Cold. Darkness. All around her only trees. The woods. A forest. A sea of trees. Where was she? How did she got here? She could not stop to think because she had to run. Something in the woods was trying to get her. She did not see it nor heard it, but she knew.

                        Run. Run for your life.

                        She ran in total darkness yet she was able to see enough to go forward. That made no sense. No sense at all. And yet, there she was. Running. Suddenly, a loud noise (a howl? A roar?) arrived from behind, echoing throughout the entire forest. The thing was drawing closer.

                        She turned her head back and saw it approach. It was still far behind the trees but a blazing inferno surrounded it as it stalked it prey, burning all in its path but leaving everything else untouched. The sound of heavy hooves resonated in the darkness. She kept on running.

                        Dozens of crows flew down from the sky, the distant and impossible to see sky, and guided her path. She was tired and terrified, but to stop would have meant to surrender and be torn apart.

                        She noticed the end of the road just in time, avoiding to fall off the cliff. She looked down. Hundreds of feets high, under her only emptiness. In the sky, storm clouds and remote lightnings. But, in the distance, a familiar place. An abandoned farm, its ruins overrun by age and nature. Near it, great corn maze, not the one she sometimes visited during the day, but a different one: bigger, crueler, more primordially savage.

                        She immediately knew her only hope was to reach it and hide from the thing. No hope outside it.

                        But how to get there? She could not survive the fall. She looked down. Death. She looked back. Horns, fire and death.

                        She looked up. Crows, circling above her.

                        Fly or die.

                        She jumped.

                        Helena woke up screaming.
                        Last edited by Cinder; 11-25-2017, 08:12 PM.

                        Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                        I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


                        • #13
                          Alright, I somehow managed to find some spare time and felt like picking up the story again. Since I posted it the first part, I thought that at least finishing the job would not hurt.

                          Which means, the second chapter is above. Thanks for your consideration and eventual criticism.

                          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                          I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot


                          • #14
                            While I'm glad to (finally) see another chapter of this, I feel I have to point out that there are a lot of typos and grammar errors with this one. I'ms sure the first chapter had some here and there (pretty common occurrence in writing), but I don't believe they were nearly this bad.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                              While I'm glad to (finally) see another chapter of this, I feel I have to point out that there are a lot of typos and grammar errors with this one. I'ms sure the first chapter had some here and there (pretty common occurrence in writing), but I don't believe they were nearly this bad.
                              Really? I copied it after several rereads from a page that I had checked with automatic controls and it seemed fine. Nobody said a thing about that in the other places I posted this.

                              I'll check if the forum killed the work in the process, it does that kind of thing from time to time when I copy stuff from outside sources

                              Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                              I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot