Authors: Lissa Bilyk
Tags: #urban fantasy, #demon, #paranormal, #young adult, #supernatural, #teen, #musical, #young adult fantasy, #demon hunter, #woman warrior, #behind the scenes, #young adult urban fantasy
TAKE THE STAGE
A Tina Storm Short Story (2)
* * * * *
Take The Stage
A Tina Storm
Short Story (2)
2011 by Lissa Bilyk
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* * * * *
this story really starts at the beginning – where
ll good stories start.
It was two weeks into the school year when the audition notices for
the annual musical started appearing. It was my first year at
college, and with no school uniform to hide behind I had taken to
the disguise of a ‘goth’. Real original, I know. It’s not like I’m
disguising myself because I’m being chased by the police or
anything quite so dramatic.
hiding because m
comes from a long line of demon hunters.
parents were blue-black haired demon hunters, and both Storms, but
my mother came from a small offshoot from Germany and her parents
had immigrated to Australia during the war. They’d lost the name
due to marriages, but they were still recognised as Storms, and
you’d find them on the family tree (if there was ever one big
enough). My father’s side of the family had managed to come with
the First Fleet to help keep the new settlers safe. It’s not like
the two Storms were inbreeding or anything. That’s a gross idea.
But when they met each other at a work ‘do’ they instantly
recognised the hair, and the crackling of power that we Storms can
feel whenever we’re gathered in a small space.
Storm knows their heritage. We’re not allowed to adopt because we
don’t want the name being passed on to mortals without any power.
Granted, there are some people around who are Storms and aren’t
they’re the people that were destined to be something else –
politicians, lawyers, police, and other people who help cover up
Storm involvement when a hunt gets messy. And there are demon
hunters who aren’t Storms, but are still part of the family. And
then there are the regular demon hunters. My brother Teddy and I
are born Storms. Born demon hunters. Gifted with incredible power
and cursed to use it to hunt demons. Sort of like a superhero, I
suppose. Not that I fancy myself as a vigilante: most of the time,
the demons find me.
easy life, what with
being a teenager and all. I have to worry about math grades and
pimples and boyfriends – and demons trying to kill me and my
family. I think that’s why I find it easier not to have friends at
school. It doesn’t help me in an educational sense, but it does
save those hypothetical friends from being hurt because of who I
was born to be. Sometimes the Council of Elders (all annoyingly
related in one way or another) send us on missions, like this one
time I hunted a nix all the way from Germany to the arse end of
Australia. She was honing in on a young musician so I enrolled at
his school and quickly made friends. I suppose you could say we
were ‘going out’, but Micah never knew I was a demon hunter until I
vanquished the nix in front of him. I hadn’t seen him since, though
sometimes I think I would have liked to look him up. See how he was
Anyway. I seem
to have forgotten what I was talking about. My first year of
In one of
my numerous attempts to appear normal, I had decided, against my
better judgement, to sign up for the school’s annual musical. I’m
not particularly musical myself. It has been said that I am
tone-deaf, and when I attempt to sing I sound like two cats in a
tumble dryer. Not my fault. I can act well enough to pass an
and I’m a decent dancer. So I was put in the dancing
chorus. This suited me just fine. The singing chorus would cover us
during numbers, leaving us more breath to dance with.
part of that cast? An interesting experience.
Almost like a team environment, but with
politics and reputations and egos to contend with. The two leads
were beautiful people. The female, Sarah: tiny yet curvaceous with
big brown eyes and long curling blonde hair. The male, Nick: tall
and slim yet muscular with green eyes. I’ll admit, I was jealous.
I’d love to able to sing like them, to convey that kind of emotion
with my face and my voice.
rehearsal was OK. A gathering, a little get-together so we could
learn everyone’s name. Normally it doesn’t bother me when people
think I’m strange or aloof or hard to get along with. At my high
school, people thought I was a lonely nerdy bookworm. Mostly
because I spent a lot of time in the library researching the demons
I was hunting.
it bothered me.
though I wanted to be a part of this group talking about harmonies
and method acting and other stuff I had no idea about, and other
things I did – like breath control and stretching.
I was in
awe of the principal actors. They were all so confident and
beautiful and charismatic.
The girls in my dancing group were all lithe and little,
the singing girls were loud and likeable - except for one sullen
brunette, hiding behind her vociferous personality and mediocre
voice. Not good enough to dance, she was put in the singing chorus.
Clearly she thought herself better than chorus material, and tried
to boss the other singers around. I tried not to judge.
things started happening.
almost like it was straight out of
Phantom of the Opera
. Things started to go missing – scripts
disappeared, bus passes mysteriously vanished from wallets with
cash left in tact. Accidents onstage were narrowly avoided. A light
fell off the rig and smashed into the stage floor, where a few
moments before, one of the chorus girls had been pirouetting. The
other girls freaked, and not just because she was Sarah’s
understudy. There wasn’t a backstage techie up there playing with
the lights, nor had they even been adjusted recently.
fateful day, S
beautiful blonde lead was hit by a car as she was leaving
rehearsal. It was speeding through the school zone, and she ended
up in hospital with a broken leg, broken ribs, and a smashed
to say, after a suitable period of mourning, we all expected her
understudy to take her place. But no.
the only one surprised to see the sullen brunette strut into the
auditorium one day, dressed in knee-high boots, a
black leather miniskirt, and a
tight white t-shirt. Her hair swung brilliantly around her waist
and glittered with copper highlights. Her eyes shone piercing blue
as she took her place next to Nick, who seemed as surprised as
anyone to see her there. Her skin, previously suffering from mild
acne, was completely clear and glowing with its own luminescence.
She was beautiful and confident of her own place in the
director cleared his throat. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the
role of Belle will be played by Julia Hathaway. We are all thinking
of Sarah and we hope she makes a speedy recovery. In the meantime,
let’s get to work!”
Julia made my
spine tingle in a horrendously familiar way. While I had no doubt
she herself was human, I suspected foul play behind her
uber-makeover and Sarah’s hospitalisation. My suspicion increased
when she opened her mouth to sing: Suddenly she wasn’t simply loud
and airy, but controlled and strong with vibrato, a magnificent
range and beautiful timbre. It wasn’t her voice any more. It was
he problem was
her ego. I know decent singers can get up themselves, but this was
taking the piss. She seemed to think her sudden promotion to lead
actress made her some sort of demi-goddess. She assumed she was
entitled to applause after her solos (there weren’t many, but there
is only so many times one can listen to ‘A Change In Me’ without
going insane) and if she didn’t get that attention, she’d get
shirty and stomp offstage to sulk. The director spent most of his
time soothing her. It was ridiculous.
all this was playing out behind the scenes, I was researching in
the library, trying to figure out what kind of a demon would give
her a makeover and send Sarah to hospital (for I was sure there was
demon or some sort of demonic pact seemed my best bet, but from
what I could gather, Sarah was one of those annoyingly beautiful
and annoyingly nice people. It’d be tough to justify vengeance
against her. I’d have to do some snooping around Julia to find an
amulet or something from the dealmaker demon.
wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be.
Unlike the rest of the cast, who kept their bags
in the greenroom, Julia insisted on having hers backstage. While
she and the director and the rest of the cast were taking notes on
the rehearsal before going home, I – knowing it was totally wrong
and that I shouldn’t be doing it – searched her bag. Of course, if
it was an amulet, she could have been wearing it, but I hadn’t seen
a necklace on her at all. So unless I wanted to break into her
house, which I wasn’t so keen on, I would have to find something
among her personal possessions.
othing but books,
make-up, a drink bottle, a phone, wallet, keys, another drink
have we here?
second seemingly innocuous drink bottle was glowing. It was one of
those metallic ones, and it tingled in my hand as I pulled it
“What the hell
are you doing?”
round. Julia stood before me, hands on her hips. The theatre was
now empty, waiting for the night janitor to come and shut off the
house lights and lock the doors.
said, trying to hide the bottle behind my back.
“Give that to
me,” she replied in a low voice, stepping forward.
I told you I
was a bad actor. I stepped away from her. “I know what you’ve done.
You were the one who hurt Sarah.”
“Sarah was hit
by a car. Not my fault.”
It is if
you wish it. Using a djinni.”
me. “Give me the bottle…” She seemed to hesitate at the end, like
she wanted to say my name but couldn’t.
“You don’t even
know my name, do you?” I demanded.
cleared and her eyes hardened. “So what? You’re just
chorus. You’re a nobody. I’m the lead and you have to do what I
say, or you will regret it.”
isn’t royalty,” I snapped back. “You’re not really some princess.
I’m not afraid of you or your empty threats.” I twisted the cap of
the bottle open. Soft pinkish smoke spewed forth from the neck and
twisted in on itself, spiralling and twirling and warped with
purple and green. In the middle of the smoke a figure appeared: a
very beautiful and exotically clad yet strangely androgynous youth
with longish light brown hair and oddly purple eyes. A djinni. A
faster than I did, leaping forward to attempt to snatch the bottle
away. However I have demon hunter reflexes bred into me. I twisted
out of her way, and in her sudden rage, she yelled at the djinni.
stood perfectly still and blinked slowly as I grappled with Julia.
“I can only grant wishes, mistress.”
weight on me and I tumbled to the hard theatre floor. I refused to
give up the bottle.
“I wish that
she were dead!”
“I am afraid
you will have to be more specific, mistress.”
Her! The one I’m-” I cut her off with a hard knee into her stomach
and threw her off me. Gasping for air, she demanded of the djinni,
“I wish for more wishes!”
djinni turned his… her… its head and regarded her with indigo
feline eyes. “You have forfeited your wishes.” And then the
mystical smoke overtook the djinni again, in wisps of purple and
pink and green, as it disappeared back into the bottle I was