• I remembered the ground beneath me violently shaking. I had pushed myself up against the walls of the now abandoned building. I looked around frantically as pieces of ceiling collapsed near my head and body. My brother Darien was nowhere in sight.
    “Darien!” I screamed. I was gasping for air as tears streamed down my face, “Darien!”
    Darien burst into the room, but he wasn’t there to help me. He was fighting with someone. The man with whom he fought punched Darien as soon as I called out to him.
    “She’s mine, Darien.” He sneered, looking in my direction.
    I gasped. His brown eyes had turned red right in front of me. Darien grabbed the mysterious man’s foot when he tried to get near me.
    “Corinna, run!” Darien shouted.
    “Not without you! No!”
    “Cory, run! I’ll come back for you! I’ll find you, I promise!”
    The last thing I saw was the mysterious man shoving a knife into my brother’s chest.

    That was nearly two years ago when I was sixteen. I lived a short period of my life thinking that my brother was dead. I had no reason to believe otherwise. After all, I did witness his stabbing. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel some hope of his existence...

    “Happy birthday Corinna!”
    I turned to see Violet standing in the doorway to my room. I have lived with Violet since my brother’s death. She took me in after she saw me motionless on the corner of the street pressed up against a garbage can. I reminded her of the daughter she never had, but always wanted. In the two years I’ve been with her, she managed to make me feel like I belonged with her. She even gave me anything my heart desired, but there was something she could never give me… my brother. She knew bringing him up in conversation hurt. It was the reason she left her husband. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut about… Darien. So, she packed up his s**t and tossed him to the curb. She would do anything in her power to keep my mind off him, even if it meant giving up her husband. Her generosity never ceased to amaze me.
    “You’re finally eighteen, Corinna! How do you feel?”
    “Like nothing has changed.”
    “Oh come now, let’s not be pessimistic Peggy. I want to make this one of the best birthdays.”
    I shook my head, “You don’t have to.”
    “Too bad for you, my dear. Breakfast in twenty.”
    Throughout the years, I’ve known Violet, I learned to trust her, but some part of me remained skeptical of her motives. I pushed those thoughts out my head. I couldn’t be that way with her. Her intentions were good. They had to be.
    I heard a tap at my window. I hardly had any friends, so I didn’t know what to expect when I went to my window. I looked down. Nothing, just the wind.
    “Darien.” I whispered, looking up at the sky. I suddenly remembered that night. To this day, I still never found out who that man was and why he wanted me.
    “Corinna! Breakfast is ready!”
    I blinked hard, “C-coming!”
    “Corinna, must you eat so fast? You act like that foods going out of style, silly girl.”
    “I’m just real hungry.” I mumbled, shoving more eggs and bacon into my mouth.
    “Are you going to school today?”
    “Do I have to?”
    “Then, I choose no.”
    She smiled, handed me another piece of toast and rushed to her room to answer her cell phone. I sat there, scratching the plate with my fork, staring at the empty seat across from me. Darien’s shadow filled the space. I gasped, letting my fork fall to the floor.
    “I’m leaving now Corinna.” Violet said, coming out of her room.
    I shook my head, “I uh, thought you didn’t have to work today.”
    “The office called, there’s a crisis that they can’t handle by themselves,” She bent down and kissed my forehead, “Love you, rock star.”
    “Back at ya, groupie.”
    She paused at the door and pointed at me, “Be good, be careful.”
    The door shut behind her, followed by the sound of jingling keys drifting down the hall.
    “I thought she’d never leave.”
    Lillian, my best friend, took the seat in front of me. She started chowing down on my mother’s uneaten breakfast. Her hazel eyes looked up at me through her brunette bangs.
    “What?” she asked with a mouth full of food.
    “How’d you get in?”
    “Uh, I tapped on the window first before coming up the fire escape. Then I climbed through your window, and now here I am!” she smiled.
    Hmmm, I don’t remember leaving the window open, I thought. I shrugged I must be hallucinating.
    “Happy birthday to you.”
    “No. No. No.”
    “Happy birthday to you.”
    “Oh come on!” I groaned.
    “Happy birthday dear Corinna!”
    “Happy birthday to you!”
    I buried my face in my hands, “Stoooop. Are you done?”
    “And many more!”
    “You suck. But I love you.”
    Lillian smiled, “And I love you bestie,” she grabbed my hand, “Come on! I got a present for you! A little birdy told me they were your favorite.”
    She pulled me to my room and handed me a blue box with yellow ribbon.
    “What is this?” I asked.
    “Open it.” She whispered.
    I looked into her cute hazel eyes. I was nervous about opening the box. Lillian was my best friend and I knew I could trust her, but something about the twinkle in her eyes made me worry. I knew Lillian like the back of my hand, but sometimes she could be a little… eccentric. Those tendencies were coming out now.
    “Open! Open!” she shouted
    “Remind me to switch you to decaf.”
    She giggled, “You’re gonna love it.”
    My eyes went from hers to the box, to hers, then the box again. Her smile stayed the same. She didn’t even blink. I did what any teenager would do; I shook the box.
    “No!” she shouted.
    “It’s an antique, don’t shake it.”
    “Okay okay okay.”
    I removed the top part of the box and the squishy foam on top of it. Attached to a chain, was a moon pendant, with a black gem tucked neatly in the crescent.
    “Put it on! Put it on!” she insisted.
    “But I didn’t get to finish-”
    “Put it on! Put it on!”
    “Okay Okay!” frantically, I took the necklace from the box and fastened it around my neck, “Oh it’s so pretty! How much was-” I looked over at Lillian, who was now silent. I went over to her and put my hand on her shoulder, “Hey, is everything okay?”
    “Lillian? What’s wrong?”
    Lillian gasped, “They’re coming.”
    I looked at her, “What are you talking about? Who’s coming?”
    “Soon.” She whispered.
    “Coming, they’re coming.”
    My heart began pounding against my chest. I could feel my blood rushing to through my body and heating the surface of my skin. I heard a knock at the door. My body tensed and a searing chill covered me. I could hear Lillian breathing heavily. My eyes followed her. She stood at the foot of my bed with her hands wrapped around her. I took a step toward my bedroom door, but Lillian’s hand stopped me. She shook her head from side to side and took a deep breath. She placed her index finger against her lips. Her eyes were fixated on the moon pendant around my neck now. She was staring at the light coming from the black pendant.
    “They’re here.” She whispered.
    “Who is here?”
    “It’s time.” She looked at me as if she wanted to cry.
    I looked down at my now glowing necklace. Another knock at the door made me jump. I was seriously getting scared. I creeped closer to the front door, ignoring Lillian’s whispers. I pressed my eye up against the peephole. There, with his arms crossed, stood a blonde haired man dressed completely in black. He stared at the peephole.
    “I told you you’d be mine.” He called.
    Where had I heard that before? My mouth dropped open. I made my way back to my room quickly and looked into Lillian’s eyes.
    “It’s him,” I breathed, “It’s the man who killed my brother.”