If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
leave old pictures in the past
donate every dime you had? - Nickelback If Today Was Your Last Day
It was almost disappointing really. Both girls had lived in this sleepy little mountain town since birth, and in the last 17 years almost nothing had changed. Sure there were a few new buildings, town hall had been rebuilt a few years back, and there was that fancy new police station with the special cells for Freaks, but otherwise everything was the same. Same faces, same neighbors, same dreams and fears.
The girls sat on the same bench as the day they became friends almost eight years ago. Since then, Erisia had helped Dawn control her healing, and Dawn had kept Erisia’s secret well. Even during their petty teenage fights. Graduation was only a few months away, and then Erisia would be leaving just like the majority of graduates did.
Dawn still didn’t want to believe it. “So your dad’s really letting you move to Bridgeport after graduation? All by yourself? Isn’t he worried about you being found out or something?”
“It’s not like I can’t control myself.” Erisia points out. “Dad says I can take care of myself just fine, and he likes the idea of me getting out and seeing the world. He feels guilty for never giving me the childhood he had, jetting all over the world with his dad and little sister. I just wish you’d at least consider coming with me...”
“I can’t do that...” Dawn smiles, knowing full well she could. “Dad’s got mayoral elections coming up this year and he can’t have his daughter disappearing off to follow a silly dream in the city, and mom needs me to help with her catering. I’ve got a good life here, I don’t want to leave.”
“My dad says you don’t have to hide who you are in the cities. No one cares.”
“I wish that were true...” Dawn sighs, looking off into the distance. “I’m going to really miss you when you’re gone. Nothing ever happens here, and its going to be unbearable without you to liven things up.”
Erisia stands up, pulling Dawn up after her. “Listen, no need to start crying now. We’ve got until June at least, and maybe you can visit me or something in the summer.”
“That would be fun.” Dawn agrees, already deciding to never visit. Erisia was the wild one, the Disney princess who always wants more. Dawn had a good life here, and she was perfectly happy to live and die here. The feeling was even stronger after learning about her gifts. Growing up it had been hard to hide her healing, but people had grown used to her cuts and scrapes disappearing quickly. No one thought her weird, but if she left how long could she really hide who she was?
They head back to Erisia’s house around lunch, after eating at the local diner. Usually they don’t head home until after school hours but there was a break in at the grocery store last night, so Erisia’s dead, the chief of police would be home late.
So of course today he shows up early, completely unsurprised to see them. “Girls shouldn’t you be in school?”
“Welcome home, daddy!” Erisia says with an innocent smile, standing up to greet him. “You aren’t going to believe it! The whole school was FLOODED! No school for the rest of the week! Unbelievable isn’t it?”
“I’ll say...” He mutters before his eyes land on Dawn. “Come here, kiddo. Lemme hear you say it.”
Dawn’s heart just about stops. Evan was given the job of chief of police for his ability to catch lies, and half the time he didn’t even need to use his mind reading! He couldn’t read his daughter very well since she’d adapted to his techniques and learned to block his mind reading, but Dawn...
“I uh... yeah its like Risi said... and... uh... water, everywhere... it was gross.”
Erisia makes a mental count of the weekends left before school ends. She’ll be grounded for at least 60% of them...
“You’re going to be the death of me, Eris.” Evan groans, pulling his daughter in for a hug. “I’ll let you off the hook this once, but if I catch you again you’re both grounded for life. And I will be letting your father know as well, Dawn.”
Getting away with murder? Erisia’s speciality. Dawn doesn’t know how she does it... her dad yelled at her for months when she got her ears pierced!
Sometimes Dawn wishes her family were more like the Johnsons. Sure they were weird and crazy, but they were fun and they really cared about each other.
Her parents weren’t awful, they were just cold. Everything had to be perfect with them, picture perfect. If either of them found out she were a Freak... even as a child Dawn had known the truth would have killed them.
Her father, Kurt Woods was the Mayor, already serving his second term and trying for his third. He came from the east coast, meeting his wife Lillian while she was in Redwood Harbour with friends. They’d fallen in love and married within a few years, and a few years later they’d had Dawn. Their only child.
Lillian had refused to have more children, claiming Dawn had been a demon baby. Constantly acting out and crying, terrorizing her poor parents if they ever put her down. The day Dawn started school was without a doubt the best day of Lillian’s life.
Dawn more than made up for it now, even cooking dinner whenever her parents were too tired from their long days at work.
Today, trying to be the good daughter might not have been the best idea in the world.
Lillian is no help whatsoever. Simply standing there and whining over how the imported counters are going to get ruined while her daughter grabs a fire extinguisher.
Kurt grabs the second extinguisher from the shelf and chips in to help.
They manage to get the counters put out, but the emergency isn’t over just yet. Dawn gets too close, and her clothing catches on fire. She tries to put it out but its no use. Within minutes she’s completely engulfed in flames.
The pain itself was unbearable, her skin burning and then healing with every pass of the flames. It takes a well trained fire fighter to put her out, her father falling into tears when he believes she won’t survive. Instead, she stands in front of them completely unharmed, her body covered in soot and hair a lot shorter than it was this morning.
She could run, but it won’t do any good. She can’t even bring herself to look at her parents, see if they were willing to put up with her being a freak. She can see the firefighter’s face from the corner of her eye and he’s angry. No, the time for running is long gone, and now her life as a normal girl is over.