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”Everytime I try
to fly I fall,
Without my wings
I feel so small
I guess I need you baby…”

Her soft voice filled the music room. For such a small voice, it was powerful, alluring. Anyone left in the school building at this time would hear this voice, accompanied by the piano, floating along the hallways. Of course, for the teachers who were always stuck in school grading papers etc. this wasn’t unusual, for Anna regularly visited the music room to play the piano, most had grown used to her angelic voice, it wasn’t a disruption.
Anna could be described as one of the weirder girls in school, but maybe the girls called her weird out of jealousy. After all, who wouldn’t want her smooth golden curls, perfect skin and inhumanely beautiful features Anna could take one’s breath away with a simple glance of her clear blue eyes. She was what most people called ‘perfect’. She wasn’t only beautiful, but she was intelligent. Not just a little cleverer than her classmates, she possessed endless knowledge, which seemed very strange for just a seventeen-year-old. It wasn’t just the academic subjects she performed superbly in either, she had many other skills that most people only dreamed of accomplishing in a lifetime, almost impossible for just seventeen short years. But of course, all of this could not come without a price. Anna had a secret, but if exposed, it would probably be impossible to believe. Anna was in fact not seventeen years old, she was over one thousand years old, trapped forever in the body of a seventeen-year-old girl as a punishment for falling in love with a human. Anna was once a Goddess. She frequently visited the Earth to be with this human, but when Demitri, the God who was insistent that Anna love him, found out, he killed the human, and Anna was banished. The first rule, never give your love to a human. And so here she was, searching for the love of her life, the only one who could break this curse, the only one who could take away her immortality and let her become a real human so she can live her life, and die, just like anyone else.
Today had been a particularly hard day, her history teacher had been teaching all wrong, spouting lies. Of course Anna had spoken out, earning herself a detention for the next day, something she was not particularly looking forward to. And then at lunch, a girl had tripped her up, causing her to spill her dinner down her t-shirt and jeans. Luckily, she had a hoodie to hide the stains on her white t-shirt, and the jeans were dark, so it wouldn’t show up, but still she felt dirty, and couldn’t wait to get home and clean it up. To top it all, she had been thinking about that day, so long ago, when everything she knew, and loved, was destroyed. She had been thinking about her love all day.

“And every time I see
You in my dreams,
I see your face
You’re haunting me,
I guess I need you baby…”

Her singing came to an end, but the song kept going. With her eyes closed, one would not see the sadness and the pain they held, but all of that was put into the song, the heart-wrenching music. It was so beautiful, yet so sad.

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It was early evening when Natayla returned to their camp just inside the forest where the trees were still few and far between, but still served as protection. She had been dancing within the city walls all day, raising little money which she had spent at the market on food for her family. Nat, as most people called her, was just 15 and this had been her first time dancing for money, her parents usually only let her dance at camp in the evenings for entertainment. She was such a beautiful girl, her soft voice just as wonderful as her graceful movements. She was born to be a dancer, her parents always told her they knew from the moment she was born, which is why they called her Natayla, meaning ‘dancer’. At this point in the evening, as her mother prepared the meal, her first proper meal in almost a week, Nat had no idea that her first day of dancing in the city would be her last.
It was on that day that the King had been in the city, and he had noticed her wonderful dancing. As soon as he saw her, he was hooked. He needed to have her, if not willingly, he would take her by force, and she would dance for him and whoever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Nat did not know that his soldiers had followed her home, and were now watching the camp and her people going about their business. It was late that night when the soldiers struck, setting each tent and each alight, except hers. The screams woke up, the screams of terror, of pain, and of death. As soon as she climbs out of her tent, strong arms closed around her, pulling her away from the mayhem but not before she saw her father’s throat slit as he fought his way towards her. As she was carried further from the camp, her home, the screams stopped, and Nat knew. They were all dead.

Two years had passed since that awful night, and Nat still dreamed about it, she still woke up screaming. One thing she didn’t do was speak. She hadn’t spoken once in two years. She did obey. When she was called on to dance, she did so, which was almost every night, and definitely at every big occasion when the king had guests and wanted to show her off. Nat had resigned herself to this life, it could be worse, the King could have forced her to do something humiliating for her or worse, he could have used her as a whore as she had seen him use so many young girls. It was sickening. But she was safe from all that, she could not be touched, for she was to be a gift for the Prince who would be returning from battle after two years.
Nat had no idea that he had returned, not until she was given a new dress to wear that fitted her perfectly, letting her move much easier than the other clothes she had been given to wear. This made her suspect that this night was special. Once it got dark, she was taken to wait outside of the great hall where she could hear the King and his men dining. It made her stomach ache. She longed to eat as well as they were, but she did not make it obvious. Soon the noise died down, and she heard the King’s booming voice, “My Son, you have been away from us for too long, but upon returning you have brought with you a great victory. We have for you now, a gift, which I’m sure you will find most pleasing.” The big oak doors opened as the music started, Nat’s cue to start dancing. Her movements were so graceful, it was as if she had practiced this dance over and over again, she looked so perfect but in reality, these movements were coming to her naturally. This dance was not rehearsed.

There was no hesitation as Sophie pulled the trigger, the silenced gun pointed directly at the head of her target. He died instantly, his face a mask of terror and confusion. She had not given him time to beg for his life, Sophie was not like that, she preferred to get the job over and done with, to think of her target as just that, not a person; it was easier that way. At eighteen years old, Sophie was a pretty good ‘Hit woman’ those obsessed with political correctness would call her. Basically, Sophie killed people for big business type men who could not get their hands dirty, and made a big profit while doing so. To be able to kill so many people without being badly affected was something not everyone could do, it was as if Sophie had no heart, no conscience, but if anyone knew about her past, they would maybe understand her decisions a lot more.
When she was ten years old, Sophie witnessed her father murder her mother, and then kill himself. Her life had been hard before that, both parents having an affair, being beaten by her father, the kind of life that only seemed to be in horrible stories, but for her it was true. So Sophie did not trust anyone, could not see the good in anyone; not even herself. That is why she was not affected by the deaths she caused; Sophie rarely felt any emotion.
Before she left, Sophie took a picture on her cell phone, sending it to her ‘boss’ as proof so that he would transfer the money to her account. After that she was gone, leaving no trace behind; she could never be caught. Upon arriving home to her penthouse apartment, she found a brown A4 envelope on the floor as if it had been pushed under the door and would no doubt contain the information of her next target. Sophie decided she would look at it later, it was 5am, she had to leave for school in less than 3 hours and still had homework to finish. Thirty minutes later, after a shower and holding a mug of coffee in her hand, Sophie sat finishing her homework to perfection, and then opened the brown envelope which she had been eyeing for the past hour. She was surprised to see a face she recognised, a boy from school. Sophie knew his parents were rich, but she had no idea he was their only son, and his father was a big business man with a lot of enemies who, instead of taking him out, wanted him to suffer.
Sophie read and re-read the information for the next hour before getting ready and leaving for school. She would have no choice but to get to know this target, for she had no information about his friends or favourite places, things she usually knew and so could find the target easily. This job was going to be big, which is why she was getting much more money than usual. She appeared at school as a very normal teenage girl, although she did not have many friends, and seemed quite intimidating; almost everyone knew her name, intrigued by how mysterious she was. Today she was on the lookout for that boy, her latest target.

Beauty and the Beast
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Shaina sat in the back of the black BMW staring through her bright green eyes out of the tinted windows. Were it any other girl, they would wonder why they were in this situation, but Shaina knew. Her father was a gambler who owed money to a lot of menacing men, up until one night he was approached by a complete stranger who agreed to give him the money to pay off all of these debts as long as he paid him back within two years, or there would be consequences. Her father took the money of course without even wondering what the consequences were, and continued his gambling habit, eventually forgetting about the stranger until one month before the payment was due. Her father panicked and instead of telling his only daughter, Shaina, about the problem, he moved them both across the country hoping the stranger would not be able to find them. However, this man had a lot of people at his disposal and found them easily, the fact that her father ran away just angered him since it revealed he did not have the money. Instead of threatening to kill him, because that would just mean he would never get the money, the man told her father he was coming for Shaina, and she would stay with him until her father could pay him back. The time came when Shaina had to find out, the night before she was going to be taken away. She had not spoken to her father since, not even to say goodbye as she slipped into the car that was sent for her early in the morning.
It was getting late now; they had been driving all day. Luckily, the car was comfortable, and the silent man in the suit who occupied the seat next to her had let her sleep, and when they stopped he had brought her a burger. Shaina had not resisted, and she hadn’t tried to run away during toilet stops. Where was the point in it? They had been found when they moved across the country, it would be easy to find her trying to get home on foot. She had resigned herself to her fate, falling into a silence that she did not break even as the car drove through the gates of the mansion at midnight. Although she felt tired, Shaina was wide awake at the same time, terrified to meet the man who would basically be ruling her life for at least the next year. It hadn’t hit yet, that she would be spending an important year of her life with this man whom she had never once met instead of going to college. After the car came to a stop by the grand entrance, Shaina was ushered out of the car and into the main hall, her bags carried in separately and placed beside her before the silent man disappeared, leaving her to wait to meet her fate.