The wind slid across her face as she ran swiftly down the path; the woods made her feel alive. Nothing else in the world could beat the feeling of racing against herself.
Akita didn't take anyone with her because she felt like a freak. She was the fastest person she knew. No one could run as fast as her! She worried about judgement or the pressure to race professionally.
All that mattered was the way she felt when her bare feet pounded against the dirt, the leaves crunching with each step. Each time she ran, she pushed herself a little harder, just to see how it would feel.
Thirty minutes passed, Akita stopped, leaning against an old oak. Her heart was pounding, the adrenaline was rushing throughout her body. All she wanted was to stand listening to the breath of nature as it surrounded her.
She crouched down next to the tree, examining a paw print in the dirt. It resembled one of a coyote or wolf. Akita glanced around, but the forest was empty. They were probably startled by her madness.
She rose then walked towards the house. She monitored her heart rate while taking deep breaths. To her, it was like meditating while quietly strolling back to the house.
Lacey sat on the couch with her knees curled. Akita smiled, "What are you reading?"
Lacey glanced over, smiling, "The Notebook. Oh, there's a parcel on the table for you. I think it's the book you ordered, but I'm not sure."
Akita grabbed the parcel. "It's finally here; I'm so excited!"
Lacey grinned, "What book did you order?"
Akita ripped open the package, "The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. I've been waiting for it to come." Akita sat next to Lacey, "I think I'll read for the rest of the night."
Lacey sighed, "Sounds good. I think reading's a beautiful way to end the night." She patted Akita on the shoulder before looking down at her book.
Akita sat, feeling anxious. She set her book aside when she heard crying coming from outside. Lacey was sound asleep, her book lying across her chest.
Akita went to the window but couldn't see anything out of sorts. She proceeded to the yard; it was dark, but if someone had gotten hurt or an animal was injured, they might need help.
Akita searched the property, then near the trees. The woods were dark and ominous. Her heart was beating fast, but she wasn't scared. There was something in the air, a sense of not being alone.
Akita continued to hunt for the cry that seemed inaccessible. Then, without warning, something struck Akita in the back of the head. Everything went dark as she fell to the ground. A tall, hefty man in a dark suit scooped her up. He took her to a black van parked on the corner.
An older gentleman sat waiting; he seemed delighted when the man carrying her returned. "Oh, this is good," he said with a grin. He grabbed his bag, then acted quickly. "We need to get this chip into her; get her tattooed and back to her yard before she wakes. Put her in the exact place you took her from. I don't want her to realize what happened."
The thug in the suit cleared his throat, "She'll know I grabbed her."
The aged man looked over at him, "So make it look like an accident." The old guy felt relieved as he injected the chip into the back of her head. After taking a vial of her blood, he tattooed a tiny symbol along her hairline. This brand held all of Akita's personal information, allowing them to get it by a simple scan. "Quick, bring her back to the spot you took her from; don't forget to make it look like she slipped. Once we get back to the lab, we can compare this to her parent's blood. I'm sure we won't be disappointed."
The thug picked Akita up then hurried back to the edge of the woods. He found a large piece of wood to place by her feet. He smirked to himself while making it look as if she had tripped. Once everything looked precise, he ran back to the van. The two strangers drove off into the night.
Akita slowly came too; her head was throbbing from where she was hit. Her surroundings were spinning; she felt uneasy and unsure of what happened. Akita tilted her head, looking around with narrowed eyes, but nothing was out of the ordinary.
Picking up the large piece of wood, she wondered. Akita sighed then threw it into the woods. She rushed back into the house quickly, making sure to lock the door behind herself.
Something didn't feel right. Akita knew something was up; she peered out the window, convinced she wasn't alone. Not only did she have a weird nagging feeling, but how would a stick that was on the ground hit her on the head? What happened out there? Something hit her good and hard. Next, she wakes up by the edge of the woods? That stick wasn't there before; she would have noticed it, and why did her head hurt so much?
Akita walked over to where Lacey lay sound asleep. She wanted to wake her up to examine her head but didn't. She looked so peaceful; chances were, it was just a headache. Akita grabbed her book, placing it in her purse. She would need it tomorrow on the bus.
Akita went to the kitchen; she took two Advil with a glass of cold water. I hope this will help the throbbing. Akita set the cup in the sink, then turned out the light as she headed up to bed. It had been a long day; hopefully, this wasn't an omen on how tomorrow would play out, it being her eighteenth birthday. Maybe she'd get lucky, and her brother would remember to call her.
Morning befell, the sun glared through the blinds. Akita opened her eyes slowly, peering over at the overwhelming light. I can't believe it's morning already.
She groaned loudly as her feet hit the floor. Oh yeah, I'm eighteen today. A smile formed while stretching This will be a good day.
She went to the bathroom to fix her hair. She loved combing her hair, although her head was still sore from the night before. Brushing her hair gave her comfort, not that she needed it. She was a happy eighteen-year-old female; her life was satisfying.
Akita brushed her teeth; she despised having dirty teeth. After spitting out the toothpaste, she smiled into the mirror; her teeth felt different. Nothing major, her gums were sensitive today. It was probably from brushing too much, or maybe she needed a softer toothbrush.
Akita put her toothbrush away then jumped into the shower. The water was lukewarm; she loved the feeling as it blanketed her body. She moved her neck in a circular motion, attempting to get out the kinks. Today was all about relaxing.
Twenty minutes later, Akita turned off the shower. She got ready for her day, then went to the kitchen. The coffee was brewing, the aroma of homemade banana bread saturated the air.
Lacey looked up from the morning paper, "Morning birthday girl. I made your favourite breakfast, banana bread filled with fresh blackberries. I even sprinkled the top of the bread with cinnamon and sugar."
Akita poured herself some coffee." What time did you get up? It's so early; you must have been up since the crack of dawn."
Lacey smiled, "I was up beforehand, but you also slept in."
Akita gazed over at the clock. It was nine am. Wow, she thought, I have never slept past seven am. Akita gave a lopsided grin, "I must have been tired." She reflected to the night before, "I think I hit my head last night."
Lacey looked at her oddly, "What? How?"
Akita sat next to Lacey. "I heard a noise outside; it was crying. So, I went to investigate."
Lacey interrupted, "You mean like a child weeping?"
Akita shrugged, "I don't know. It was just a sobbing sound. I didn't see anything out there, something hit me in the back of my head. I didn't trip! I race through those woods daily; I don't fall. Next thing I know I was on the ground, my head throbbing. I'm not sure what happened. I came into the house right away."
Lacey frowned, "Why didn't you wake me up?"
Akita sat with her fingers wrapped tightly around her coffee mug, "I didn't want to wake you for something silly. So, I took two Advil then went to bed. It was that simple."
Lacey began rooting through her hair, "Where were you hit?"
Akita pointed to the area, "It can't be that serious; I feel fine today."
Lacey examined the area; it was swollen as if a large object had hit her. Lacey went to the freezer to get an ice pack. While placing it on her head, she noticed a tiny tattoo peeking out from behind the hair. "When did you get that?"
Akita felt confused, "Get what?"
Lacey used her cell phone to take a picture of the tiny tattoo, "This!"
Akita stared at the picture for a few minutes before saying anything, "I really don't know. I don't party, so it wasn't put there in a drunken state. This is just odd."
Lacey sighed while combing her hair down with her fingers, "You're right, that's very strange." Anxiety built in her stomach, but she didn't want to make a big deal about it.
She walked back over to the kitchen. "I guess we shouldn't worry about it today; after all, it's your birthday. I want it to be exceptional for you. Tonight, we'll have ribs, potato salad, and for dessert, we have a birthday cake. Are we watching the movie off pay preview?"
Akita nodded, "Yeah. We can just order it when we're ready."
Lacey grabbed the coffee pot, "Do you need a refill?"
Akita tipped back her coffee, "Nope, I'm good. I have a few things to do today. I'll be back in time for dinner. I promise!"
Akita grabbed her purse while heading out the door. She didn't want to miss the downtown bus. Mostly because she was meeting a friend for coffee, someone she hadn't seen in a while. Akita had all intentions of stopping by an old bakery on the way. She did it every year on her birthday. She didn't know why it drew her, but it became a tradition.
Akita watched as the bus pulled up to the stop. It was packed, but she didn't mind.
She was about to sit but noticed a business lady standing nearby. The female stood straight with her shoulders squared off; nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Akita wanted to sit, but a nagging feeling deep inside told her to give this woman the seat. She peered over at the woman, "Excuse me, do you want this seat?"
The woman looked at her curiously, "I'm okay." Moments later, a faintness came over the woman as she stood rubbing her stomach. "Maybe I will if you don't mind."
Akita watched as the lady sat down. "Thanks," she said politely. The woman leaned against the side of the bus, "I didn't feel this coming on. I'm dizzy!" The woman closed her eyes, waiting for it to pass.
Akita often sensed things before they happened. She didn't know how; it just happened. She noticed her stop was coming up. Akita said goodbye to the lady, then yanked the cord. The bus pulled over at the next stop, Akita jumped off.
She walked towards the cafe, which was only a block from where she got off. Akita loved walking through the city centre. Her favourite thing was to watch the families. She always believed you don't miss what you don't know, but she missed having a dad around. Many times, she'd watch the fathers swing the children around, playing with them. The moms would caution them while reaching for the kids. She sighed while pondering how that would feel, wondering whether her parents were like that before leaving.
Akita continued towards the cafe. She looked forward to spending time with her friend. Hopefully, they would remember it's her birthday.
After a long day out, Akita burst through the door. "I'm so glad to be home." She set her purse down by the couch while throwing her body onto it. She popped her head up quickly to see if Lacey was watching. "Just kidding!"
Akita grinned, "It was a long day, though." She leaned against the rear of the couch, watching Lacey prepare dinner. "That smells really good! When will it be done?"
Lacey placed the lid back on the pot, "It won't be long now." She rushed to the deck to check on the ribs. Taking the brush, she covered them with another coating of sauce, grinning while watching the sauce drip down into the flames. Lacey added another layer. "These looks tasty! I can't wait for dinner."
Akita sat in a daydream state. She felt dizzy but brushed it off to an after effect of hitting her head. "Akita!" Lacey yelled as she came over to the couch. "Did you hear me?"
She shook her head, trying to shake it off, "No. Sorry, I was daydreaming. I was feeling dizzy for a second. What did you say?"
Lacey sat on the couch next to her. "Do you think you need to see a doctor?"
Akita shook her head, "No. I'll be okay."
Lacey laid her hand on her knee and smiled, "All right. Let me know if anything changes."
Lacey went to mix the potato salad. "The ribs are nearly finished. You should get that movie ready. We can munch on dinner while enjoying the video. How relaxing is that?"
Akita grinned, "Sounds fantastic!" She flipped through the channels until she came to pay preview. There were quite a few movies to choose from, but she wanted to watch the new vampire movie. She clicked on the preview; Akita grinned while reading it. "That's funny," she said, laughing to herself. "They marked fiction on the bottom, as if anyone would ever believe it was real."
Akita glanced over at Lacey as she brought the food to the living room. "It's ready! I just have to grab us a couple of beers, then we can sit and watch the movie. Did you find it?"
Akita nodded, "Are you sure you can handle it? It'll probably get scary, maybe even gory."
Lacey sighed, "It's okay. I can deal with it; I'm a big girl. If I have nightmares, I'll just crawl in with you tonight."
Akita laughed, "Ha-ha, okay."
Lacey curled up next to her, pulling the table over to reach their food. Akita pressed play then waited for the movie to begin. She took a deep breath, then exhaled; it was nice to chill for the night. She hadn't watched a film with Lacey in so long.
Akita sat, eating while watching the movie. The actors were excellent, the scenes were very realistic. Dinner was delicious, the potato salad was tasty, the ribs were so good; the meat fell off the bone while biting into it. The potato salad was one of her favourite dishes, but the ribs were enticing tonight. Akita grew up eating these types of foods; she loved the way Lacey cooked.
Akita rubbed her fingertips together; they were aching, just as her gums did earlier. She marked it off to sore muscles from overdoing it. What could she possibly overdo at eighteen? Akita licked the barbecue sauce from her lips then took another bite. Tonight, her senses were heightened; there was pain in places where she had never felt it before. Her sense of smell was tremendous; it's as if everything had an odour, but why hadn't Akita notice it before? She hadn't felt this hungry in a very long time, if ever.
Akita glanced over at Lacey, who sat eating potato salad. "Thanks for making this; it's great." She smiled, then it happened. Akita felt her body get faint. It was as if gravity was being sucked back by the universe, but that was impossible! Wasn't it? Her head spun slightly, not enough to make her sick or anything. This made her uncomfortable, more so because of the unknown. Could it be from hitting her head so hard?
She reached over, taking Lacey's hand, but her body was fading. It was as if she was disappearing. "What the hell is happening?" Screamed Akita while quivering.
Lacey set her bowl down, "What's going on?" She stared wide-eyed at Akita, who was screaming with tears in her eyes, "You're disappearing. What the hell is happening? Akita, are you all right?"
She looked down at her own hands; in a shaky voice, she whispered, "So am I."
Akita looked down; she was becoming transparent. It was as if her entire existence was just withering away. She felt her chest get tight; her heart pound against her chest, anxiety swelled within her quickly.
Tears fell down Lacey's cheeks; her heart was beating frantically against her chest. She sat trembling, "Akita. I don't know what's going on. Do you?"
Akita shook her head, she tried to speak, but nothing left her lips. Her stomach was weak, as if she was about to vomit. Her anxiety felt heavy, but Akita tried not to panic. She peered around the room, noticing it was only them, fading.
She wondered if this was it, were they dying? She had never seen anyone die before. Maybe they were only seeing each other's souls. Their bodies might be lying on the couch for the rest of the world to find.
Akita reached to take Lacey's hand, but both girls faded away as she did.
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