Saturday, 26 September 2009
04:48:24 PM (GMT)
Title is kinda ironic, since there are no rivers in this book. ^_^'
Chapter One: The Best
The mall was crowded with pretentious teenagers, all drooling in the window of
one store or another. All general cliques, from Goths and nerds to peppy and popular,
gathered in the food court. This mall was restricted to the high school-ers who
attended one of the five surrounding schools. Rivals argued and trash talked in
corners. They were practically animals.
With one outstanding exception.
Raven Glissen, fifteen years-old, waist-length hair the color of her name, was
tall and proud as she glided to the food court. Her outfit--comprised of a black mini
skirt and spaghetti-strapped blouse--hid an arsenal of weaponry. Not that weapons
were what the multitude of boys she passed were thinking of when their heads turned.
She knew she was considered pretty. She knew that the contrast between her
ivory skin and black curtain of hair made her skin look pearly. She knew her face was
considered flawless, that her lips were a faint pink and eyes an emerald green. She
knew that she was skinny yet somehow managed to retain curves.
But in the mirror that morning, before she had left, that hadn’t been what
she saw. She hadn’t seen any ounce of that supposed beauty. Raven saw a girl with
horror inlaid in ever feature, with dark history in her shadowed eyes. Raven saw a
girl who had known violence and death. Someone who had caused such destruction since
such a young age most people would be moved to tears, would want to take said child
in their arms and say that everything was alright.
However, that mirror girl just looked on grimly, her lethal hands splayed out
on the countertop. That girl had gone numb long ago. All emotions beyond anger,
irony, and wry amusement failed to touch that girl. She had stopped hurting in time.
She had stopped dreaming at night. She had stopped…caring.
All those teens, all those boys, all those girls, and all those people they
considered friends…cared. They were attached to one person or thing beyond
themselves. Raven was an only child, and she was an orphan. She was not a heroine.
How could she be, when she herself had killed her parents as young as six?
She shrugged off the thought, a fake smile forming around her lips now, strappy
heels clicking after her. Her parents had got theirs. Any other child in that
predicament wished they could do what Raven did. That first time had scared her into
others, until finally she was numb like she was now--until it was almost a game.
She sat in a shady corner where two others were already in wait. Raven had no
friends, but if she had to pick two people to gain the title, it would be Millie
Carson and Daryl McKay. They recognized also that this arrangement was merely
convenient, and that anyone of them could turn on another, and the third person would
side with the winner. Millie had hunted down Daryl and Raven the first day of school,
as they were all assassins. Now they were teammates in this little game of theirs.
“Raven, hello,” Daryl greeted, nodding. He was Asian, with black curly hair
and a thickly muscled body. His unidentifiable accent was heavy in his voice.
“Daryl,” Raven acknowledged wryly, “Millie.”
Millie, a medium height girl with curly, red hair pulled into a long ponytail
and freckles speckling her cheekbones, sniffed. “About time you got here, Glissen.
We’ve been waiting over an hour.”
Raven ignored her jibe. “Who’s the mark?”
“You, if you do not pay more attention to your texting,” Daryl threatened
Raven glared at him. “I was in the shower.”
“Convenient,” remarked Millie.
Raven replied swiftly, “Shut up, Carson. If you are implying that I am going
soft, you’ve another thing coming, darling. Shall I skewered one of you mongrels
through the heart to prove my point? Or would that prove an unsatisfying
“We are quite aware you can kill us, Raven,” Daryl murmured, “No need to be
melodramatic, as you sometimes get. In truth, no mark has been settled on, and
Mildred was eager for your suggestion.” Millie frowned as he spoke--she hated her
Raven pursed her lips and looked around her. Before long, she spotted an
“See that track runner over there, with the buzz cut?” Raven said, gesturing
in the direction of a squad of athletes from Tendril High.
The specified track team captain was grinning and laughing as his buddies
exchanged jokes and stories. Perhaps sensing her gaze, he turned his head and locked
eyes with Raven. His toothy grin froze in place. She gave a small smile and waved her
hand slightly. Taken by surprise, he waved back and took a second before thawing out
and winking at her.
Raven’s lips were pulled back into a dangerous smirk. She winked back before
whispering to Millie and Daryl. “That guy spilled his drink on me at the track meet
and looked where he ought not.”
“Sounds like a death warrant,” Millie commented wryly.
“Indeed,” Daryl acquiesced. Then he continued with more vigor, “He should
be fast. That will give a chase. Let him run, Raven, though you are fast. Give us a
chance to enjoy ourselves.”
“Of course,” she replied, eyes still trapping the athlete’s. She stood,
still looking at the boy, and made a small motion with her hand as if summoning him.
From her peripheral vision, Raven watched the boy named Trent get up and follow
dazedly after her. She could sense Millie and Daryl hanging back--letting him get out
of the public eye.
Raven had to glide through the entire mall. The food court was in the dead
center of the complex. This was set up so one had to pass all the wonderful stores
nearest the exits before they could get to the place they intended to. This way all
the customers had time to figure out what they all of a sudden could not live
The building was brand new, and ideally placed in the middle of Tendril,
Washington Capital, Gregory, Red Road, and Titan high schools. There was no dirt on
the winds, and everything was perfect and well-made still. In some places, Raven
could smell fresh paint hanging in the air. The stores all had shiny displays and
fresh styles. Rogue Mall was aptly named, as it was most likely the most unique mall
in existence. None of the stores in it had ever been previously heard of, and if they
had, not in this country.
Raven strutted at a placid pace down the passages, paying attention to the
eccentric stores she passed while her track runner stalked her impatiently. There was
a store called Llamallama that had odd outfits thrown together on models whose
pictures hung in the windows. Others had strange names and styles as well--Murder (a
clothing store where an unusual amount of Goths were gathered), Faintest Paint, The
Lounge House, Midtown Coffee Places, The Bird’s Wing, Mirror|Rorrim, The Beast
Raven noted the store Mirror|Rorrim as she passed. The clothes there had a
certain style she appreciated.
Then she was at the door, and she slipped out. Before doing so, Raven risked a
glance back, a mischievous smile splayed on her face. Sure enough, Trent was there,
looking dazzled afresh by her smile. That, however, was not what she was looking for.
Behind him, Millie nodded, and Daryl gave a discernable thumbs-up.
She led Trent to an alley she quickly found and leaned against the brick wall.
She did her best to ignore the rotting trash smell that filtered to her from the
dumpster in the corner. The track star did not break pace and her marched up to her
and placed his hand on the wall on either side of her. His breathing was uneven, and
the look in his eyes was wild, longing.
She giggled under her breath as she pressed her back into the wall and placed a
hand on his chest.
Raven could practically feel his heart start racing as if it were her own. His
eyes were brown, like his hair, and they bored into her. He was searching, she
realized, searching for something he apparently could not find in her eyes.
“You wanted to see me?” he asked, his voice incredulously even despite the
havoc Raven just knew was going on in his head. As she simply smiled, he continued,
“You know, I think I’ve seen you somewhere before. The meet last Saturday, I
know. You’re Red Road, aren’t you?”
“Mmm,” Raven hummed. She played with his skirt collar gently. She ran her
free hand down his chest, feeling him shudder at the touch, and then she moved that
hand to cup the back of his neck possessively. “Yes,” she finally purred.
“You know,” he confided, “I don’t usually give girls from that school
the time of day. Rivalries and all that. I mean, you just have to have a school
Raven smirked, flicking the collar of his shirt up. He really was quite
attractive. It was such a pity what his future held. She sighed once before replying
to his statement. Her eyelids drooped. “Ah, hm, well, maybe you shouldn’t have
broken that rule of yours so quickly. It could end up…” she let the sentence
trail off, staring at him.
“Could end up what? What do you mean?” His voice was more shaky now. This
was moving too fast, going by too swiftly--it was obviously confusing him. That did
not matter though; there were the footsteps Raven had been waiting for. Daryl and
Millie were approaching the alleyway, and Raven had promised a chase.
She pushed Trent away, and he stumbled in surprise. It took a moment for her to
realize why--she was much stronger than she looked, she shouldn’t be able to throw
a big guy around like that. He stared at her, awestruck. “You--who are you?” he
“Name’s Raven Glissen,” she said brusquely. “But I’m the least of your
worries right now. If I were you, track star, I would start running, and fast. Go on,
get the hell out of here before they see you.”
“Run!” she screamed, pushing him away and smiling internally. Just as he
turned around, trying to regain his balance, Millie and Daryl stepped from the
shadows. Millie unsheathed a knife from her belt, laughing maniacally, glaring. Daryl
flashed a violent smile, holding in his hands a metallic baseball bat. Raven wondered
for moment where he got it from.
“Hey there buddy!” Daryl cried out, smashing his bat against a nearby
trashcan. “Hope you are as fast as they say you are! You are going to need every
ounce of that speed to get away from us, baby!” He leaned his head back and gave a
true-blue hyena laugh, making a total fool out of himself. Raven rolled her eyes in
disgust. Those two had absolutely no suaveness, no pride, or respectability. They
looked and acted like buffoons! It was no wonder Raven always had to be the one to
get to the mark, to bring him or her out by themselves.
Millie joined in Daryl’s hysterics, slashing her blade across the air, again
and again. She was barely coherent under the rush of adrenaline. “Cut you up! Cut
you up! We’ll kill you and make track star stew! Yummy, yummy Trent track star
stew!” Now that was just gross.
“What? What’s going on?” Their mark didn’t appear to be getting the
memo. Raven motioned this to Daryl, who immediately resolved to fix this problem.
“We’re going to kill you, buddy, that’s what’s going on! Got any last
requests? Want us to tell your mommy you’re sorry about burning down her house?
‘Cause that’s next, you know. First you, then your pretty little house, then your
pretty little family, then your pretty little school. Ain’t that right, Millie?”
he asked. All he got in way of reply was another frantic bout of laughter.
Finally, the message seemed to get through. Trent started to get away for a
split second, frightened by the insane expressions and dangerous accessories. Then he
stopped, and, unexpectedly, he spun around and shouted, “Raven!”
Daryl stumbled, obviously caught off guard by the word. Millie even glanced at
the sky, as if searching for a bird prepared to give away an aerial assistance.
It took no time at all for Raven to realize what he was shrieking about. How
very chivalrous, the girl thought wryly, but very useful in terms of
enjoyment, no matter how idiotic. So, okay, I’ll play. Hiding her grin, she ran
after her track star hero, carefully forming her features into a mask of fear, shock,
Trent grabbed her hand as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Then he
surprised her again, by pulling her close and scooping her up into his arms. She
gasped, clutching his shoulders for balance. How dare he touch her! But it was too
late for anything more than a startled outburst as Trent took off down the alleyway.
Doesn’t he know there’s a dead end that way? Raven thought as he
pounded down he pavement, driven by the unintelligible shouts of Millie and Daryl as
Apparently not, as he stopped with a curse as he came to the brick wall. He
glanced around, searching for something. Raven wriggled in his arms, trying
desperately to get free. That got his attention. He looked at her, fear plain in his
delectable eyes. “They’re coming,” he told her, as if she was some idiot who
needed to be informed of this. The shouts really were deafening. “Oh, God, Raven,
they’re coming, and we don’t have anywhere to go!”
She slipped out of his arms, back onto the hard ground, looking at him with calm
eyes. She gave up the charade; her face was placid, her eyes deadly, her balance
perfect. “You,” she corrected him calmly, matter-of-factly.
“What?” he blubbered.
“Oh, you moron,” she exclaimed, exasperated. “You. You have no where to
go. I’m not in this. Well,” she paused, tilting her head thoughtfully to the
side, “not on this end of the predicament, true. But I am afraid I am involved in
this. You see, I simply promised my…colleagues, shall we say…that they would have
a chase this time. Now that I think, though, I never said their chase would come to
fruition. So, shall I kill you now? Or do you wish to wait for Daryl and Millie to
come and murder you like two Neanderthals. Personally, if I had been given the
choice, I would have gotten the civilized executioner to do away with me. At least
they have some dignity.”
Now Trent was staring at her in a sicken sort of way, backing slowly away. She
watched him, only mildly interested. His death would come soon, no matter what action
he took now. And he knew that. He must have, because all hope fell from his face as
he realized he had brought the most deadly of the killers here with him. Carried her,
in fact. Spared her the exertion.
Footfalls sounded behind her, and Raven turned to greet them. As the two came
into view, it was clear the run had taken a lot out of them. Too bad, thought
Raven. They should not have asked for a run if they could not handle it.
After that, everything was easy. Millie and Daryl made quick work of Trent,
while Raven stood to the side, disinterested. It could only have been a matter of
minutes until the scene was properly cleaned and devoid of evidence, rid of such
troublesome things by three practiced hands. Then Raven stretched, sighed, and
glanced at the sky.
“I think it must be getting late,” she remarked to Millie and Daryl, who
looked at her oddly. The sun was still positioned on the western side of the heavens,
not yet showing signs of setting. They both stood up from where they had been going
back over the alley, and walked up to her.
“Are you sure you aren’t going soft on us, Glissen?” Millie asked
suspiciously. Her blue eyes drilled deep into Raven’s but for all they’re anger
and violence, could not hold a candle to the depth of Raven’s threatening, cold,
million-mile stare. After a moment, Mildred shivered despite herself, and looked
“No, I am most certainly not. But in hopes of some elements of a true game, I
had asked should he rather be killed by the two of you, or would he rather I took
care of it.” Raven swished her hand from side to side, closing her eyes.
“And he chose us?” Daryl asked.
“No. He didn’t answer, just backed away. I took it to mean he choose you,
Millie sneered. “How sportsmanlike of you, Raven Marie Glissen. Now, I don’t
know about the two of you, but I’m heading home. Miss Glissen, if you wouldn’t
mind getting rid of the body.” She gestured with her head to the black trash bag
laying on the ground.
Raven rolled her eyes and nodded. Millie then Daryl filtered out of the
passageway, leaving her to her own devices. When they were gone, Raven closed her
eyes and tried to think around the scent of litter and dead rats. She was jolted
aware again by someone clearing their throat again in the alley.
She spun, eyes wide. No one had been able to sneak up behind her in years--she
was much too gifted to allow that. But here she was, staring at empty space,
searching for the source of the sound and finding none.
Raven spun again, and this time found the troublemaker. He was tall, thin, pale
with snow white hair flying out in wild directions from above two playful cerulean
eyes. He looked young, no older than Raven, and was smiling, decked out in white
jeans, white shoes, a white dress short. He seemed like a gleaming snow prince, come
from his castle of ice, and his arrogant air was already grating Raven’s nerves.
“Who are you?” she snapped, voice hostile. Her eyes narrowed.
The boy threw back his head and laughed, a trilling sound. Then he looked at her
with a kind of distant amusement. “Fierce little one, aren’t you?” then he
added, almost to himself, “That’s very good. A very good sign.”
Raven glowered, then collected her cold attitude. “Indeed, but not for you.
Now answer me before I am forced to resort to violence.” She gazed at him levelly,
and he just smiled wider.
“Right, and I’m sure you would just hate that, after what happened to your
friend there in the bag. And the girl behind the supermarket earlier today.” Raven
stared at him, trying to hide her shock. How had he found out about the girl? But he
was continuing on. “Anyway, my name, Miss Raven Glissen, is Neferentanti Tnlymod.
That’s a bit of a mouthful, though, so I won’t blame you if you decide to call me
Raven smiled wryly. “What do your friends call you?”
“Friends? What friends?”
Raven laughed. She couldn’t help herself. After the tentative sound faded
away, she smiled falteringly at Neferentanti. “Okay, Neferentanti,” she said,
sounding the name out. “Why don’t I just call you Nef for the time being?”
“I’m cool with that,” he said, shrugging. “So, do you want any help with
Trent there? I mean, I could give you a ride to the cemetery, and help you break into
a family mausoleum, like you did with the last victim. Brilliant, by the way. Hiding
the dead with the dead--very smart!” He was still smiling at her, and it was
“How did you know about that?” Raven demanded angrily.
Nef sauntered closer to her, eyes dancing. “Simple,” he said. “I’ve been
keeping tabs on you, Raven. All day. Since you got out of bed this morning. I would
have started earlier, but I was delayed from meeting up with you by…something.
I’m not sure what, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m hear now,
and I’m afraid you have been passing with flying colors.”
Last edited: 26 September 2009