Home > Unraveling the Threads of Fate

Unraveling the Threads of Fate
Author: Alice Winters


CHAPTER ONE

 

 

ALEX

 

 

Now


Some days are absolutely shitty… like this one, when I learn that the man standing across from me is destined to kill me.

Talk about a horrible way to start off the day.

“Alex?”

My eyes are transfixed by the man while my brain is telling me that I can hear him talking and that I should respond instead of standing here slack-jawed, surrounded by a group of students who are looking at me like I’m the most interesting specimen in this place.

What makes me different from those standing around me is my ability to see a thin red string tied around the finger of others. It’s not always there, and it’s not always visible to me, but it didn’t take me long to realize that the end of the string, no matter how short or long it was, reached out to the person they were destined to love.

Seeing things like that is supposedly a “gift.”

But what kind of gift is it to see the black thread wrapped around my finger, the black thread that’s stretched across the table and connected to the man I’m facing—the man who is clearly, at some point in his horribly annoying life, planning to off me.

Fortunately, I seem to be the only person who sees this. And while I feel like this should be enough of an excuse to be shocked, it’s the red string of fate connecting my finger to his that pushes me right over the goddamn edge.

Some people are born lucky.

Then there’s me. Destined to be loved and murdered by the same man. The one who knows my darkest secret and who I’d hoped to never see again.

And the same man who has now repeated my name at least five times.

“Fuck,” I say.

“Ohhhhh! Mr. Coleman just said the F word!” one of my students shouts.

That gets the whole group of ten going as they laugh and create a racket that gets drowned in the chaos of the university gymnasium littered with tables that we’re in the process of visiting for a school trip career day. Each table is attended by a local businessperson or someone out to talk about the different careers in the area. I’m far enough away from the others that as long as my little pests will keep their mouths shut, no one will know—

“Mr. Coleman?”

I freeze as I hear the principal’s voice behind me. I feel like a teenager again as I plaster a fake smile on my face and turn around to face the crochety old man who should have retired at least twenty years ago. “Principal Newell—”

The look on his face tells me he knows exactly what I did, and without skipping a beat, he ushers me off like I’ve committed the gravest of sins. “Was that necessary?” he asks.

I can’t stop looking at my hand. It doesn’t matter how far I go, I can see those goddamn threads wrapped around my fingers. And why the hell can’t I tell which one is worse?

Falling in love with Bishop King might be even worse than being killed by him.

“Yes,” I say.

“Explain to me why,” he demands, but I can’t because he has no idea about the strings. Hell, he doesn’t even know that I’m gifted. Hardly anyone does.

“I hit… my… toe on the table leg. It was… extremely painful,” I say to the clearly unimpressed man.

“Yeah, well I served in the military, and I didn’t let out a peep when I was shot right through the leg.”

“Wow, that’s… impressive.”

He preens a little. “Thank you.”

The timer sounds for the groups to rotate, which at least means I won’t have to see Bishop again and can hopefully spend the rest of my days (before he takes it upon himself to murder me) oblivious to his existence.

“We’re going to break for lunch before starting back up at 12:45,” the woman making the announcements calls as the students are ushered out the door to the cafeteria.

“You’re going to apologize to Mr. King and sit with him for lunch to assure him that our school is not disgraceful,” Principal Newell says.

“Anything but that,” I beg.

“You can be gently let go?” he suggests.

I grimace at him because while I’m aware he can’t fire me for simply accidentally saying “fuck” in front of sophomores, he can make my life miserable. “I would absolutely love to sit with Mr. King and tell him all about our wonderful school.”

With the principal appeased, I head for the food line. The guests and the teachers not tasked with making sure the students don’t start a riot all get to eat together and are served in a room separate from the students, which means that I can’t even let myself get distracted by them. I stand in line and grab my tray before turning to face the room packed full of people.

With my bottle of water in hand, I discreetly pull out a baggie of pills that I carry in my wallet for moments like this. Grabbing one of the anti-anxiety pills, I turn away from the crowd and pop it into my mouth before washing it down. I’m not actually an anxious person, but I found the pills made my gift dull and made the godawful threads of fate bullshit disappear. Of course, it doesn’t work immediately, so for now, I must suffer as I sit with the enemy.

I don’t even have to look for Bishop, I can simply follow the red and black strings that intertwine with each other like some sick joke. They stretch across the room, past other threads that I can simply ignore as I pass through them, and over to the table where he’s sitting surrounded by people. Bishop has always been able to grab the attention of others, which is a good thing for me because right now, it means that there’s absolutely no room for me at the table.

Bishop looks up at me, immediately catching my eyes and giving me that huge smile. “Alex!”

“Well, I need to get back to my table,” the guy talking to Bishop says as he stands up, leaving me an empty spot right across from Bishop. How generous.

“Have a seat,” Bishop says as he waves to the newly vacated spot. I glance around, hoping someone is breaking their neck to take it from me, but everyone seems quite content where they’re at.

“I’m only sitting because my boss is forcing me to,” I say with a smile. If Principal Newell looked at us now, he’d see us beaming at each other like a couple of weirdos.

“Really? You didn’t miss me?” he asks, voice almost toying, like he wants to get something more out of me.

“Nooooo, not at all. Did you miss me?”

“I actually forgot you even existed! Funny, isn’t it?” he asks, still smiling. I’m starting to wonder how long we have to hold on to these awkward smiles.

“Absolutely hilarious,” I say.

The others seem to realize there’s a bit of… tension between us and stare at us like we’re new entertainment.

I met Bishop when we were both fifteen. But that was a long time ago and it ended up leading to that night. The night that changed the course of the rest of my life.

I used to look up to Bishop. I used to care about him more than anything in the world. It’s interesting how fast things can change.

Bishop had all the right cards growing up. He came from big money with a promising future, while raised by two parents who gave him absolutely anything he ever wanted. He was placed in private schools where he was molded into the perfect student destined for greatness. He had the looks to back him up, and I don’t think he ever went a day without a girlfriend in the two years I knew him.

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