It’s a Friday evening and my friend, Molly, decides to drag me with her to a party that one of the student’s from our high school is having. Although I don’t remember who, I think their name is Benjamin. My memory with names is not the best.
I am sitting on her bed with my back leaning against her painted blue wall, arms crossed in front of me, with one of my legs over the other. Molly is rifling through the dresses hanging in her closet, looking for the perfect one.
I have only known Molly for two years now. I am that one introverted kid that Molly, an extreme extrovert ended up liking and friend adopting. Because of her, I end up tagging along to a ton of parties which I would never have gone to if it wasn’t for her.
Molly is insanely beautiful and one of the kindest people I have ever met. She is taller than me, standing at five foot eight and she has an athletically lean body from all the sports she competes in. Her russet brown hair always seems to wave in the most perfect way- I have never seen her have a bad hair day. The tips of her hair gradually lighten and end below her breasts. Her almond blue eyes are hypnotizing to look at. I could honestly go on and on about how perfect she seems to me.
I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite. I am short, being only 5’0 and have a thin body but not a fit type of thin. More like a high metabolism thin. I also have a little pudge on my stomach that seems to have too much of an attachment issue towards me so it refuses to leave. I almost always have my dark brown hair in two french braids and they only reach a little past my collarbone. My eyes are hooded and a dull stormy gray. I am pretty bland looking compared to Molly.
“Are you sure you don’t want to borrow a dress, Des? I have plenty that can possibly fit you,” Molly insists once again. She pulls out a deep red body-con dress with a deep v-neck, straps that crossed over in the back, and half of the back exposed.
Rolling my eyes, I answer her with, “I am fine with the outfit I am wearing now,” I motion down my body. I am currently wearing a mustard yellow sweater with a golden zipper that went down a few inches in the back, dark ripped skinny jeans with the cuffs rolled up below my knees, and a pair of black canvas shoes.
I hear a sigh, “Fine. Whatever,” She acts so dramatic at times.
After Molly changes into the dress she picked out, which stopped above her knees, she grabs a black leather jacket to wear with it, and a pair of black wedged boots. She spins around with a hand on her hip.
“Do I look hot enough?”
“You’re dressed like a prostitute.”
“Do I look like a hot prostitute?”
She fist pumps in the air, “Hell yeah.”
As we near the house, the more clear we can hear the booming music. Luckily, this person’s closest neighbor lives two miles away; otherwise, the cops would sure have been called already due to how noisy it is.
Molly parks on the side of the street, fifteen cars away from the house. My eyes watch her reapply her nude lipstick. Pressing her lips together, she takes the keys out of the ignition and we both exit the car. A small beep is heard, indicating it had just locked.
“It looks like this party is packed. Rumor is that there is going to be drugs, alcohol, and the whole galore, although you are not into that.” Molly explains to me rubbing her hands together, “But I am, although, I have to limit myself since I have to drive back.”
When Molly did not have the responsibility to drive, she went hardcore. The girl would get super wasted and/or would go for marijuana or some type of psychedelic. She would never do anything such as heroin or cocaine though.
I, on the other hand, do none of those things. I do not enjoy Alcohol at all and just never felt a need to try weed or anything else Molly enjoys doing. She jokingly calls me a sore loser because of it but she has never manipulated me into doing them.
“What time are we leaving again?” I ask her.
“I have no clue,” She shrugs her shoulders nonchalantly.
“Great,” I let out a big sigh. I hear Molly laugh at my reply.
We got to the house and I can almost feel the beat of the music in my own chest. Shadows of people are seen moving around behind the curtains and many colorful lights illuminate the home. There are a few people sitting on the front porch chatting away, completely ignoring the boy and girl making out on the other side of the porch. My nostrils fill with the scent of burning wood and I could see some smoke coming up from the house from the backyard. Most likely, a bonfire is going on.
Seeing Molly and I approaching the house, one of the guys on the porch and stands up and waves. “Yo Molls!” He either has no clue who I am or is just completely ignoring my presence.
He is tall and muscular. His sandy blonde hair is longer on top and has waves in it and his eyes were a deep chocolate brown color. He is, what one would call, attractive.
Molly waves back, “Hey John!” she greets him, “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing. Just had some beer. Probably going to drink another,” He tells her. Suddenly his eyes land on me, “Who’s your friend?”
“Oh her. That’s-“
“Desirae. My name is Desirae,” I cut Molly off and give her a quick look, “I can talk on my own.”
John smirks, “Well it is nice meeting you, Desirae,” He then just walks away and back into the house.
I stand there and blink. My mind is going completely blank for some odd reason. I have just met John but he is just giving off this weird vibe. I am broken from my thoughts when Molly grabs my arm, dragging me with her into the house.
I have somehow managed to lose Molly. I try calling her several times but she is not picking up. A thought of her possibly being upstairs and having sex pops up in my mind and I shiver at the thought of it. Ugh, Molly.
‘Where are you?’ The thought keeps racing through my head and I search anxiously through the house filled with people.
When asking a few people if they have seen her, all I get in reply are disagreements and the rolling of the eyes. Yikes.
So, here I am, walking around aimlessly outside trying to find this girl. I am on the side of the house that seems empty and I manage to bump into a person. Not just any person but ol’ boy John from the front porch. And boy, does he look a lot less sober than he did before.
“Hey, there. Desi, girl!” His words slur and his breath smells strongly of alcohol. In his hand is a red solo cup with a liquid in it. More alcohol, most likely.
I back away from him a little, “Uh, hey. Have you seen Molly?”
He shakes his head but he still has a strong eerie smile etched onto his face. He is such a strange, dude.
“No but you know where I see us?” He brings his lips close to my ears and I have to keep myself from puking from the smell of his breath.
Inching to the side, I reply back with, “Uh, now is not the time. I need to find Molly.” I make my way to walk past him. That ends in failure.
His hand grabs my forearm, halting me into a stop. I take a deep breath and turn my head back to the drunk boy. My first instinct was to firmly tell the boy to let go of me but the idea soon dropped when I noticed a confused yet slightly horrified expression on his face. John looks shocked for whatever reason as his mouth is gaped open and his complexion is unusually pale.
He immediately lets go of my arm and bolts away like he is Usain Bolt.
I look down at my hands and instead of seeing the short fingers attached to a small hand belonging to the usual me, what I saw are much larger masculine hands. My eyes gaze up to a window and I am almost shocked when I see my reflection.
The reflection staring back at me is not mine but John’s. I then black out.
When I wake up I immediately shoot up, eyes wide open. I regret it right after because of the light and I make the sound of a dying walrus. My eyes adjust to the light and I immediately notice I am in my bedroom. How did I get in my bed room?
“Look, who’s up!” I recognize the voice belonging to Molly, who is sitting at the edge of my bed drinking some tea.
Groaning, I say, “How did I get here?”
“Well, you see I found you passed out outside so I had to save you. I decided to drive us back to your place and your mom was super cool with me spending the night,” She explains to me.
“That makes sense,” I mumble in response.
“What even happened last night anyway? I know you Des, you don’t drink or do anything fun!” I shoot her a glare, “I am joking! Seriously though, why were you passed out outside?” Her eyes narrow at me in suspicion. Chillax, Molly.
I think about telling her what really happened but even the idea of what happened seems too unreal for me to wrap my mind around. I probably imagined the whole thing. Maybe someone slipped me a drug and yeah. That makes sense.
“I guess I was tired,” Molly gives me a look telling me she doesn’t believe me, “Come on, Molly! It was 2 am when I went out there. I was tired and you know me when I get tired. I pass out!” I cry out, throwing my hands in the air.
Molly rolls her eyes at me and nods her head slowly. Her hair is in a bun that sat messily on top of her head and her face is bare. She still looks lovely though.
I take a look at myself in my mirror. My hair is out of its usual braids and it is the definition of a bed mess. The bags under my eyes are dark and my lips are chapped. I do not look lovely. I don’t think I ever will. Even when I get up and tidy myself up to look nicer, the painful thought of me never being comfortable in my own skin will continue to linger.
I splash the warm water on my face and look into the mirror. Water droplets roll down my face as I blink at my reflection. Molly is downstairs and she left me to get ready for the day. My hair is in its usual braids but is wet considering I just took a shower. At least I smell like coconut though.
The thought of what happened last night is still running through my mind. I was John. I mean, I was still me, but I looked like John! That is not normal! It’s not like I can talk to anyone about it. It would just earn me a one-way ticket to the mental hospital.
My hands turn the faucet and the water shuts off. Exiting the bathroom, I turn the corner to walk downstairs. I am feeling a bit peckish so I definitely want to eat some cereal or something.
However, as I descend the stairs I hear voices. Specifically, the voices belong to Molly and my mom.
“Miss Collier,” Molly begins, “Desirae shifted last night,”
Shifted? What in the world is that suppose to mean? I am usually not one to eavesdrop but I decide to hide on the stairwell. Not a peep is coming from my mouth as I listen carefully.
“Are you sure? She just did turn sixteen…” my mom answers back, “What exactly happened?”
“You see, I found someone passed out outside,” Molly tells her, “But that person was Desirae. She had shifted into a boy but I watched her transform back into herself,”
Wait, Molly knew? Why didn’t she mention anything?
“Was there anyone around?” my mom asks as her voice raises in alarm.
“No. We need to tell her,” Molly says. I am guessing my mom nodded because Molly then says, “I’ll go get her. We can explain everything…”
I swallow the lump in my throat and walk into the room. My arms are crossed against my chest. I nervously say, “Please, explain.”
My mom looks back at me with surprise and Molly smiles calmly at me.
“How much did you hear, Desirae?” my mom questions me.
“All of it,”
My mom lets out a sigh and runs her hands through her hair. Molly puts a hand on my back and walks me over to the couch and we both sit down together. She rubs my back gently.
I watch my mom pace back and forth before she sits in the armchair. She looks me in the eyes directly before speaking, “You have much to learn Desirae.”
“Long ago, when civilization was still anew, there was a group of people with an extraordinary ability. The Navajo people called them Skinwalkers, for they had the power to turn into animals,” my mom explains, “Skinwalkers could only turn into animals at first but through years of evolution, a very rare breed was born. They could turn into other people, and not just animals. You see, Desirae, we are descendants of this rare breed.”
I know my mom is trying to answer me but it is just causing me to think of more questions. Why did she never tell me of this? How did Molly know? My mind is racing.
Molly seems to notice my confusion for she then says, “I have known about your ability as well. The people in my family are called Overwatchers. We can’t shapeshift like yours but we are assigned to keep a close eye on your people.”
“You knew? Why didn’t you tell me? Are you even really my friend?” I shout at Molly. Was our whole friendship a lie? She leans back and her eyes are wide.
“Of course I am your friend,” Molly tells me. She places her hand on top of mine and sends me a gentle smile, hoping to calm me down. It helps me to relax a little, but only a little.
I let out a huff and turn back to my mom, “Why didn’t you tell me? Why did you keep this a secret from me?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I tried. This type of skinwalker gene skips generations…I can’t shift but you apparently can. Besides, shifting doesn’t happen until a little after the person turns sixteen,” My mom takes a sip of her tea, “It was best to wait until you first shifted before telling you.”
Well, that does make a lot of sense. If my mom told me beforehand, I would’ve just laughed and told her she should write a book on it.
“It’s normal for a skinwalker to faint right after their first transformation. Do you remember who you shifted into?”
“A boy named John.”
“Did John see you shift?” Molly asks me. My ears pick up concern in her voice.
I nod and see Molly and my mom quickly look at another in worry. I put my hands in front of me and wave them around.
“He was super intoxicated though! I doubt he even remembers! If he does, do you really think people will believe him?” I say with a nervous laugh right after.
“Regardless, Desirae there are people who hunt our kind. If this John boy says something to the wrong person, it will put you in great danger. You better hope he keeps his mouth shut.”
I guess this is where my worries and training begins.