In many ways Monica was like a normal teenager. She had a few spots, went to school, did her homework and flirted with the idea of flirting with the boys from the local prep school. And like all teenagers, she was different.
A deep ancient magic resonated within her bones – way, way deep down in her bone marrow which coursed with an electric vibrancy. She could feel it tingle on the surface of her skin as she stepped out of the shower and prickled with goose bumps. She could feel it sing as the cool breeze from the open window ruffled the tiny hairs on her arms; and when she spread the coco butter over the mounds of anxiety, calming them with a few strokes and the smell of chocolate.
If you looked closely in her eyes, you could see it glistening in the dark depths. You would fall backwards, backwards into an ancient wisdom that few could comprehend.
This could help explain the deep rooted fear that some felt in her presence, for although they did not know for sure, and they could not prove it, they knew – they could feel it.
They knew that she danced with the devil.
We meet Monica sitting cross-legged on the orange carpeted floor on a crisp autumnal Monday morning, watching breakfast TV. Her hair, scooped up into two neat afro-puffs with a fringe that she insisted on having which stuck up straight into the air like an antennae. Wires of light brown framed her crown as she munched on her soggy cornflakes without taking her eyes off the screen.
Her knobbly knees protruded from her short grey pleated skirt while her shins were covered with straight long white socks. Her mum had bought her round-toed, flat Clarkes shoes, and they sat on her feet – black, imposing and stubborn – hardly the height of fashion, but they were comfortable and ‘gave her feet room to grow…’
She shovelled another scoop of cornflakes in her mouth.
Her West Norwood Girls School blazer lay on the kitchen chair and she contemplated ‘forgetting’ it.
But then, it happened. Almost undistinguishable electric blue sparks shot out from her eyes as she detected trouble – she was needed.
A quick glance in the kitchen told her that her mother was still upstairs – probably still in the bathroom. Like a stone statue, she froze. Her senses heightened. She focused and listened. The shower was on. She could feel the hum of the humid heat on her face. She breathed it deep into her lungs, and saw in her mind’s eye the steam billowing in the small white room. Her mother’s hand wiped the condensation from the mirror with a squeak to see her own reflection. That was enough. She could slip out. She would need her mask.
Her ears filled with the screams of the innocent… there was no time to waste. She grabbed her school bag, flicked open the secret compartment and withdrew her shiny black mask. It fitted neatly on her nose, and using her super speed, she whizzed up to her room and changed from her school uniform to a blue and black cat suit with detachable cape.
Time was of the essence. She knew it and so did he.
Opening the window to their small flat, she let in the chaos of the traffic below. Her cape flapped behind her as she teetered on the ledge that was twenty floors up. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, stretched out her arms and leapt into the emptiness.
The room was still.
Voices from the television told an empty sofa how they could win an amazing £30,000 plus £20,000 worth of modern gadgets.
Steam rolled out from the cracks of the bathroom door, wave after wave of damp curls.
A bowl of soggy cornflakes was left on the orange carpet.