This is a fanfiction about Tam and his past by me, Millie the Froster.
I remember it all, from the petrified looks of my classmates to the pain I felt inside, knowing what I could do. Could. I didn’t want to. My mind wanted to refuse everything about being a Shade but I knew deep inside I had to.
When I walked up the pathway, I thought it was just going to be a simple day, Linh by my side, smiling from ear to ear. Students entered the school, the shining glass a spectacle to see. I tugged at my black bangs until my twin nudged me, laughing at my startled expression. Fiddling with the crest on my pin, I gazed at the bright emerald grass before stepping into the school. Laughter and chatter filled my ears as I longed to find a quiet place where I could think… Was that too much to ask for? I remember Fitz grinning at everyone, the girls giggling and whispering as he walked by. His teal eyes glinted in the light as he walked past, going to greet another boy. He ran his hand through his messy blonde hair and I managed to get a quick glimpse at his face. A wane smile spread across his lips but just before Fitz came, he switched it to a smirk. I tried to recall his name… Cassius? No… Keefe. It was Keefe. For a moment, I felt a pang of sympathy for him. Why did he seem so… sad? Almost immediately, I remembered what my father had told me.
“It’s every man for themself out there,” he’d told me on the first day I attended Foxfire. “You need to be the older brother Linh needs but don’t feel too… sympathetic for others.”
I knew that I wasn’t Linh’s older brother. She was a part of me, a half of me that I couldn’t chase away. She was my TWIN. I wouldn’t get rid of her if I could. I remember scowling at my father, replying with a comment he disapproved of.
“Linh is my TWIN, not my younger sister. Keep telling yourself whatever you want but you will never be right.”
He yelled at me and the noise filled my ears. I tried to remain strong, trying to stand tall and stare him in the eye. But I couldn’t last for long. I shook, tears welling in my eyes as he grabbed me by my shirt and dragged me to my room.
“Don’t come out of there until I get you!” he shouted, slamming the door shut. I heard the mumbling of my mother, trying to tell him to not be so harsh. Darkness was all I saw. I clapped my hands. Nothing. I clapped again but the lights still didn’t turn on. My father must have turned them off for good. A tear trickled down my cheek as I slumped against the door, wondering what my purpose was. My father didn’t love me and my life had to be lived without having my twin remain by my side.
All of this ran through my mind as Linh and I parted, being careful to make sure we weren’t spotted together. Pulling my timetable out of my bag, I checked my next subject. Ability Detecting. Great. Scowling, I shoved what I didn’t need in my locker and made my way over to my classroom. Pushing through crowds, I longed to get away from the noise, people laughing, having a great time. I was so caught up in my angriness that I found myself alone, in a quiet and dark hallway, the only light flickering uncontrollably. Whispers was all I could hear. My eyes scanned the hall but nobody was there. Nobody had been there for so long, by the looks of things. I felt a tug on my sleeve as I pulled it closer to my chest. The whispers became louder until the hall began to spin. It was the shadows. They called for me, begging my to stay. Breathing rapidly, my heart pounding like a band, I sprinted away, dropping a few pieces of paper as I went. When I finally escaped, I ran to ability detecting. A crowd of people stood outside our classroom and the door was opened by a crack.
Nobody noticed as I slipped into their group.
Nobody ever noticed me anyway.
Just as I was about to question why nobody was going in, a young boy whose name I couldn’t recall stepped forwards. “Hey, look, it’s Tam!”
I had been wrong. People had noticed me. All eyes drew to me as I tried to hide. “Come on, go in the classroom.”
“No,” I replied.
“Are you scared?” he asked. Everybody laughed, whispering to each other.
“No! Of course I’m not!” I scowled at him, muttering under my breath. Stepping in front of everybody, I placed my hand on the door knob. Then, I realised why nobody had gone in. The room was dark. Even before I entered, I felt whispers and chills ran up my spine. Closing my eyes for a second to gather my thoughts, I pushed open the door. Click. The boy pushed me inside and the door slammed shut behind me.
I regretted opening that door from the moment I did it. “Hey!” I yelled, yanking at the door handle. It wouldn’t open. Laughter filled my ears but it was cruel and taunting, not the laughter of children enjoying games and jokes. Turning away from the crowd, I tried to navigate the room. I didn’t bump into anything. This way Tam, voices whispered. Shaking my head, I went in the opposite direction. Come here, the begged. I felt the shadows tugging at my shirt, dragging me away. My mind couldn’t stray from them, the darkness laughing quietly.
At that moment, I realised I hated laughter. Why did it exist when it could be used for such evil, for such anger and torture?
They led me to the darkest part of the room. Pain suddenly hit me in my chest and I could feel a slimy but soft substance trying to find its way inside of me. Shouting and yelling, I tried to run but my feet were glued to the spot. My knees collapsed under me and my head was swarmed with angry thoughts until… blank. It was blank and I couldn’t focus. The room span, at least, I thought it had. Flashes and eruptions of light was all I could see until darkness consumed them. I felt like I was falling into an abyss, my life flashing before me.
She was the one thing I remember seeing, her smile and her warm embrace whenever I told her that I had been teased at school. For a split second, I thought I would escape. I was foolish to believe that. Shrieks and screams echoed in my ears and… nothing.
My eyes finally fluttered open and I found myself drenched in tears. When Linh saw me, she wrapped her arms around me until Elwin drew her away. “You’ll be alright,” he told me, patting my forehead with a damp cloth.
“No, I won’t.” I cried and cried until my eyes were sore and all I wanted to do was sleep. But my mind remembered the darkness and what it had done to me. I didn’t want to close my eyes again.
“You will. You will be fixed soon.”
The word fixed struck pain in my heart. Elwin coughed, realising his choice of words had been painful.
Fixed. Was that how bad I was? Would I ever be the same?
My eyes shut once again and I remember waking up in my bed, Linh asleep on the end, a story book in her hands. She had read to me, stayed by my side, even when she knew I was a Shade.
I didn’t want to be a Shade. I didn’t want to be scared of what I could do, of who I was. When I walked the hallways, people stared at me, petrified expressions on their faces. The shadows tried to draw me in and for once, I agreed. I wanted to hide, stop people staring at me. I sat at the back of classrooms, just where the light couldn’t reach. Nobody could see me. I wanted to be forgotten, just like before, but it was even harder than it seemed. Eventually, I faded into nothing. I wasn’t a person. I didn’t exist to anyone but my own family. But… even then, my parents ignored me, nobody helped me. I skipped ability lessons, trying not to use my power. Ever. Linh was the only one who understood me. She would sit by me, her hand wrapped around my shoulder, nodding as I complained or cried into her shoulder, telling her about the people who laughed at me in my dreams.
Laughter had haunted me, taunted me, changed me. It made me a Shade.
I vowed to never laugh again.