Angel Evolution - David Estes Page 0,1

mom was watching. A sign that she had not gone astray. A sign that her mom was proud of her. A sign that she was not alone.

Of course, she was never really alone. She still had her dad, her brother. And there was always Sam, her best friend and roommate.

Since she had arrived at The University of Trinton, or UT as the students called it, two weeks earlier, she had enjoyed herself like most college freshman do, especially because classes hadn’t started. Yet, she had never felt fully comfortable. She was acutely aware that her lingering unease was inexplicably linked to her failed search for the Holy Grail of all clovers. Time and time again she had plucked tiny greens from the earth; with each attempt her heart had skipped a beat, only to discover that the chosen clover had a mere three leaves. Or, freakishly, the clover would have a fifth leaf, an atrocity of nature. Sometimes Taylor was tempted to remove the unwanted extra appendage, thus creating the object of her desire. But she never acted on these urges, knowing full-well that you can’t force fate.

Now, wrenching her eyes from her cherished ring, she tried to concentrate. Taylor was glad for the light rain; it cooled down the muggy, late summer’s day. And it generally kept other students inside and off the lawn. She didn’t want any distractions.

As she focused on her task, an unwanted vision was shaken from her memory tree. In her mind she saw her dad reprimanding her. He had not understood why she got the tattoo. He had been furious with her. How could she be so immature? Taylor truly believed that her mom would have understood why she needed the tattoo. As long as she could remember, Taylor had had a recurring nightmare about a vicious black snake with red eyes. Many times it was the main subject of her bad dreams—she would be trapped in a room without doors or windows, with only the snake as a companion—and other times it would unexpectedly appear in her good dreams, creating chaos from beauty.

However, regardless of its form, the beady-eyed snake would eventually sink its razor-sharp fangs into her flesh, and then drip black blood from its mouth, causing her to wake up to cold sweats and blood-curdling screams. So she got the tattoo when she was sixteen. Not to be cool, or weird, or sexy; the tattoo symbolized her conquering of the snake—proof that she wasn’t scared anymore. She still had nightmares, but now when she woke up she could cope. Fear of the snake no longer kept her awake at night. A six-inch, red-eyed, black snake rested on the back of her left shoulder, and was visible now because of her tank top; the serpent was maliciously cut in half by her shoulder-strap.

Even with the evil-looking tattoo, she didn’t consider herself to be Goth—black was not the only color she wore—and she didn’t affiliate herself with any groups. She just liked certain accessories that were considered to be Goth, or maybe Emo or Punk. She considered her look to be The-Taylor-Look, what you see is what you get. She didn’t wear any heavy black makeup either. In fact, she hardly wore any makeup at all. Her slightly-wet jeans were ripped, but not in the trendy, I-bought-them-like-that way; in her case, the tears, frays, and holes were all natural. She also wore a bright red tank top, which coincidentally matched her red flip-flops, but seemed disjointed from the rest of her look; namely, the collection of rings, skull-and-cross-bones necklace, and tattoo.

Her choice of best friend seemed even more contrary to her look. Samantha Collins, or Sam as her friends’ called her, was the typical cheerleader, prom-queen, date-the-high-school-quarterback, subject-of-a-school-boy’s-wet-dreams type of girl. Taylor, on the other hand, hated the spotlight, dated even less frequently than she wore makeup, and had likely never been included in anyone’s dreams, girls or guys. But somehow she and Sam just clicked. She valued Sam’s opinion above anyone else’s, and they harbored no secrets from each other. Sam had been Taylor’s shoulder to cry on when she lost her mom; she might not have made it through the ordeal without her. She hoped to be able to repay her one day.

Still sifting through the grass, someone caught Taylor’s eye, in her peripheral vision. Up to this point, only a few students had walked past her, but she had barely noticed them as they hurried along the sidewalk, clutching umbrellas