Author's note: Wow, been a long time since I posted something other than a running log. Here's a little Demonic U revisited.
The hot California sun sank toward the horizon as Amaranth began another lap on the track. Her skin glistened with sweat as her lithe legs gracefully consumed the distance. She concentrated on her breathing, three steps in, two steps out, deep breaths starting from her stomach. The feeling that someone was watching her started to creep up her spine. She glanced around, still running at her target pace.Brandi?
, she thought, catching sight of her sullen roommate staring at her from the bleachers ahead. The girl was sitting with a strange couple: a plump blonde girl with purple streaks in her hair hanging on the arm of a bookish young man with dark hair and thick glasses. Not at all Brandi's "type", she preferred jocks and wannabe super-models, mostly norms she could try to control. The girl was normal, but the young man... His aura was so tightly shielded Amaranth couldn't make out even a glimmer. He was staring at her too, while the blonde wasn't paying attention to anything but him.Ugh, what the hell is she up to now?
Amaranth wondered as she passed the section of bleachers and headed into the turn of the track. Damn that girl, she's so much trou...
Something touched Amaranth's aura, probing her. Without a thought, her shields snapped into position. Her pace slowed as her attention shifted. What was that?
The touch came again, slipping around shields that had never been breached since her mother taught her how to properly build them. The presence behind the touch felt wrong, tainted... In a panic, she strengthened her shields, layering them and pushing the...whatever... back out of her aura. Her feet kept her moving but her breath was ragged and her left side was aching.
For half a lap, nothing happened. She slowed down to a light jog, trying to breathe out the stitch in her side. Suddenly, she was bumped hard from the side, knocking her off balance as a foot slipped between hers, tripping her and sending her sprawling. She hit the ground hard, rolling to the side as feet slapped the ground passing her. She gasped for breath, the wind knocked out of her lungs by the impact. As she struggled, the presence returned, slamming against her shields like a raging beast, battering them and shaking her to the core of her being. She tried to scream, curled into a ball like a baby, but her lungs still weren't responding.
Amaranth knew she could either struggle for breath or keep whatever was trying to get in out. She threw everything she had into her shields as sparkles filled the darkness behind her eyes. For an eternity, the walls of her mind were battered and scratched. Somewhere along the way, she gasped in as the tightness in her chest released. The presence disappeared. She felt a touch on her arm and heard a frantic voice crying her name.
"Amaranth? Are you ok, hon?" It was Cora, her best friend on the track team. "Come on sweetie, take a deep breath! No, Coach. I don't think we need the stretcher, she just got the wind knocked out of her when she fell."
She sat up slowly, looking around. Brandi and her friends were gone. What the hell is going on here?