CHAPTER 1: Friends
It was a dark and stormy night and Stormy Night was huddled in the corner of her bed. She was under a blanket reading. She had one of those tiny book lights that clip to the cover of the book. It was a holiday gift from her moms. Stormy has two moms. Two very loving, synchronized, organized moms that would do anything for her. People always ask which one is her real mom.
“They’re both real,” she’ll reply and walk away.
She wasn’t supposed to stay up late reading. She was supposed to be asleep. Stormy is only fourteen years old. Like most fourteen year old girls she thinks she’s very mature and should have more freedom than she does. Every girl she has ever met has more freedom than she does.
Reading in the dark, is one of her guilty pleasures because she doesn’t like people and doesn’t feel she fits in. When she was in kindergarten she got in trouble because she couldn’t stand as still in line as the other kids, none of whom stood still. When asked why she could never stand still she said,
“Humans make me itch.”
“You are a human Stormy Night,” her teacher insisted. Cool is not a word anyone will ever use to describe her. People usually referred to her as different.
Stormy is tall, unusually tall for her age, with long very straight brown hair and large dark brown black eyes. She’s what you might call lanky and perhaps awkward, clumsy even. She’s not exactly a gazelle which is what her mothers call her. According to them she will one day be a swan which is ridiculous. People always say to end up a swan you need to start as a duckling. In reality you need to start as a cygnets. Saying baby ducks grew up to to be swans was one of those adult sayings Stormy wasn’t ready to appreciate. Regardless, you can’t go from gazelle to swan.
“You will, other girls can’t but you will,” her mothers would always say. “It will all make sense someday.”
It will never make sense to her. Right now she doesn’t care if it ever makes sense. She hates school and she’s scared to go back. Her mothers don’t need to know, she thought.
Last week, one of the girls put pudding on her chair. A big pile of chocolate pudding and she sat in it. Today they did it again. As soon as she felt the awful squish she knew knew things wouldn’t end well. She jumped out of her seat. Stormy is starting to have trouble controlling her temper and when she loses her temper confusing things happen. It’s as if there’s a war going on inside of her. Unfortunately it’s not a quiet war. She knew what was coming and braced herself.
As soon as she jumped up the lights flashed. A light bulb exploded and someone screamed. The universe made sure everyone saw the brown mush on her shorts and they all laughed. You would have thought it had never happened before. But it had. She might have been able to handle that but everyone knew what was going to happen next because it kept happening. It wouldn’t stop happening. There was a crack of lightning and then a storm.
“Freak,” someone muttered under their breath.
Maybe she could have handled that but then there was more. It was a more that other people didn’t seem to notice. It was the digital clock on the cafeteria wall. It always flashed numbers when there was an incident.
The janitor Mr. Murphy had installed it when the old analogue clock broke. He was an unusually short and stout man shaped like the bin he pushed from room to room emptying trash baskets. Mr. Murphy didn’t say much. People were scared of him but not Stormy. He always seemed nice to her.
“Watch the clock,” he would always say to Stormy, “You don’t want to be late.”
Liking the school janitor doesn’t raise your social status much.
The numbers on the clock flashed 11:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55. The sequence was always the same. It was a rapid flash. When it first started happening she wasn’t sure what she was seeing. A symbol would appear, a small one, as if it was burned into the air.
Stormy had never told anyone about the numbers or symbols. She thought no one would believe her or they would think she had a mental illness.
“I’ll cover you,” said Stella and wrapped her sweatshirt around stormies waist. Stella was Stormys best friend, her only friend. She was a small girl with redish hair and green eyes. She had rosy cheeks and and a pinched nose that would twitch sometimes. She licked her lips a lot. She was a rather odd girl who was always offering to do things for Stormy, but Stormy loved her the way she was.
She didn’t mind that Stella was odd even though she once caught her licking her arm when she thought she was alone in the girls bathroom. Speaking in rhymes was another one of her quirks.
Agility and grace where some of her other gifts. She was a fast runner and on the track team. The mothers always made Stormy rearrange her schedule to watch her track meets.
“It’s her thing. Everyone needs their own thing,” the mothers said.
Stormy and Stella really stuck out when they walked down the hall together, but they didn’t notice it. That was everyone else’s job.
Stella helped Stormy clean most of the pudding off of her shorts but there was going to be a stain. She wasn’t worried. Both her mothers had magical abilities when it came to getting chocolate pudding stains out of clothing. She had a change of clothes in her locker as this was becoming a regular occurence.
While Stormy changed her clothes Stella ran to the front office to call their collective moms. She didn’t really need to call them but sometimes when it rained the mothers would check both girls out of school and go for ice cream. Today was no different. They must have been nearby because they arrived immediately and the girls were on their way to an ice cream shop. Days like this one were becoming more frequent and usually ended in ice cream.
“Have you ever noticed how it always stops raining when we start eating ice cream?” Stormy asked. It was almost as if sun was required to enjoy ice cream and the clouds knew to clear.
The moms were two very unique women but similar enough to be like two sides to the same coin. They were tall with long strawberry hair and fair skin. They both had something very statuesque about them and they walked in unison as if they were connected. When Stormy looked at them she sometimes saw them as two candles that flickered in unison. It wasn’t a vision so much as their essence.
They all ate their ice cream in silence on their way home.