Deja Vu

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Original Post

FORWARD

What? You don’t think that the supernatural exists? Well, I suppose your belief is we founded if you’re an atheist, since the supernatural is inextricably tied to theology, and before that…how early humankind related to Nature. If you take a cruise through the annals of world religion and social anthropology, you are likely to find demons, vampires, witches -maybe all relatives of the Prince of Darkness who is none other than Lucifer. Also, known as Satan.

Many different religions have special names for a Lucifer, Outcast Angel, Fallen Angel, King of Hell. So much has been written, so much is being challenged and fought over. So, despite what people claim or believe in, get ready for an adventure! We’re going exploring. Join Matt in his journey at rebirth and his journey at self-discovery! Get ready for a ride into the VAMPIRE STORY for an experience you won’t forget!

Chapter 1

Deja Vu

However, I don’t see how we can claim one way or the other. People always claim to be superior to others. Stronger, faster, smarter, more logical. They claim that people don’t know what’s going on within the mind of others. I can’t fully say that vampires, or witches or even the gods exist in this world. But, how can I deny they exist? People say that there is evidence of aliens or life out in the universe. But, again, where’s the proof? I guess you can say that the only proof is that what you believe.

I can’t fully claim one way or another. But, I am open minded to the point where I guess I can wrap my mind around the truth if confronted by it. The world is now too judgmental, and they hate those who are different from us. The other kids in my school are truly against homosexuals. And other people with diseases that aren’t able to be explained or cured. Diabetes, depression, anxiety. These are all things that aren’t capable of being battled over and fixed.

I liked to be alone when it came to these people. I only had a couple friends, and one ended up getting taken away from me. He left with his father after he confessed to his parents for being gay. It didn’t bother me, though. He was more like a brother to me than anything. The other one was an okay friend, but he wasn’t too reliable. He wasn’t too trustworthy when it came to secrets and personal information. I brushed my hands through my straight brown hair and put it in a tight ponytail. I grabbed my books and closed my locker. “So, are you going to the park after school?”

I turned to see my classmate, Shana looking at me in a weird way. “I don’t know. I may. But, you know how John is. He has a giant list of chores for me to do,” I enlighten. “You always do so much work. Why don’t you skip out on those chores for one day and come over to my house,” She said. She rubbed her hands over my chest and went behind me. She began to give me a shoulder rub. It felt really good, but I wasn’t sure why she was doing this. I usually wasn’t on her top lists of guys to talk to, let alone touch.

“Shana, what are you doing?” I ask. “Did you know, that you’re tense?” She asked. “I figured that, but why are you…” I couldn’t finish the question. “Oh, you know why, I think. You’re a smart kid,” She said. “I don’t know what you’re insinuating,” I said. “You don’t?” She asked, and she reached into my pocket and began to grope me with great focus. “What are you doing?” I demanded. “Well, you seem nice and judging through clothes, bigger than your brother,” She said. I blushed. “He’s not my biological brother, you know,” I say. She gave me a wicked smirk.

“I know. But, he’s still family. I want to give you a test run,” She said, and I gently but firmly pulled her hand out of my pocket. “Look, you’re beautiful. But, I am not ready for this,” I said. She gave me an unnerving look. “I’m sorry for that. But, I just don’t see it,” I said and began to walk away. “If you refuse me, I’ll tell the entire school that you’re gay,” She said coldly but with a calm tone. I turned to face her again. “You blackmail to sleep with people? I don’t think that’s right,” I tell her sharply.

“You know; I don’t know any guys besides you that would turn away from sleeping with me. You must be gay if you don’t,” She said. “No, I can assure you that I’m not gay. But, that shouldn’t matter to you. I won’t sleep with you because you don’t mean anything to me. I’m sorry. I won’t be harassed or bullied into doing something I don’t want to do. I was raised to have a connection with someone. I know this may sound like a lot of worthless garbage to you. But, it’s the truth. Tell people, whatever you want. I’ve been dealing with a lot worse since my mom left ten years ago,” I told her.

Then I start to walk away. “Matt, I’m not going to say anything about you. I just thought I could intimidate you. But, I should have known better. Your brother told me that you were a stubborn kid. And that you don’t intimidate very easily. But, he said it in a way that you’re close minded and rude. I don’t see it that way. I see it as a strong-willed young man and one who will have no problem with being independent,” She told me and walked away, and I still had ten minutes of my last class.

Study Hall was a very boring day, and it was a large class that was in the library. Most of the people talked to each other or played card games or other activities to pass the time. Some even passed a foam football around. A teacher’s aide even allowed small groups to go outside, and they didn’t even care about texting. I went out and sat in the shade of a tree where no one was around, and I pulled out my notepad and started jotting down ideas for the song I was working on completing. Not too many people know about my hidden talent.

The choir teacher did because I’m the one who gave her some songs. She ended up taking a few ideas from songs, and a lot of them ended up getting used for the younger kids. “Hey, what are you doing?” My head snapped up, and I closed my spiral quickly. “Tom,” I Said. He gave me a wicked grin. “So, working on your weak poetry or something?” He asked. “Something like that,” I said simply. “Let me see. Maybe I could use this in English. I have a poetry reading coming up and you know I don’t have a way with words,” He told me.

“Well, have you ever thought about looking up suggestive words and using that in comparison to the words of the poem? Maybe trying to cause the words to rhyme and have the same kind of word with a different meaning?” I asked. “Um…” He didn’t know what to say. I sighed. “I see, well then have you ever thought of this? Did you ever think that you’re a pedestrian of faking conglomerating intellectual constipation?” I asked. He just looked at me in shock and confusion. I picked up everything and walked away from him. I looked at my phone and saw that there were only a few more minutes left in class. Oh, thank God. I thought.

I don’t know if I could take this any longer. I despised this school and the people in it. I don’t like how they singled each other out and how they thought they were above the others. “Matt! You stop your scrawny ass right now,” I stopped and whipped around. “What do you want Trisha?” I asked. “Tom sent me a text of what you said. Of course, he couldn’t spell the words correctly, but I could figure out what they were,” She hissed.

I grinned. “Well, that’s because you’re the smart one,” I said. She glared at me. “You don’t accept the compliment?” I asked. “No, I don’t. You insult my brother. He isn’t as dumb as you claim him to be. You don’t know anything about him,” She snapped. “No? I know you’re both cruel, abusive siblings. You insult me at every turn. You think of me as your slave and not as your equal. You never respected me. Why should I not think the worse of you? I have done nothing to you. I have done everything you asked. Suffered through your insults and punishment,” I started.

And I finished before she could comment, “And yet you still insist on bringing me down and trying to get me to end my life. Forgive me if I don’t understand why I shouldn’t have a little animosity towards you,” She took a step back in shock. “You feel that we hate you?” She asked. “Well, you haven’t given me much room to doubt that,” I say. She took a deep lungful of air and then gave me a pained look. “You don’t understand,” She said. “You’re right. I don’t. But, why don’t you fill me in,” I demand.

“I can’t. You don’t know the half of it. I can assure you, though. We don’t hate you,” She said, and she walked away. How could I believe her? They haven’t given me a reason to trust them. I took in a deep breath and felt relief when the bell rang. I didn’t have to go to my locker, so instead of going to the library again, I just walked around the school and went to the sidewalk next to the road and began to walk home. I could get a ride home from Trisha or Tom. But, they were always demanding stuff from me. Even though taking me to and from school wasn’t going out of the way. I didn’t feel like paying their toll.

I walked the two miles and by the time I made it home, the sun was low in the sky. I unlocked the door and stepped inside. No one has been home yet. John had to work late, and Tom and Trisha had basketball and volleyball practice. I quickly put the bag and books in my room and climbed back up the steps from the basement. I then started to clean and around nine o’clock, when I finished cooking supper, the others came home.

“Well, it seems like Matt’s cooking skills have improved based on the smell, don’t you think?” I heard John’s voice. Tom snickered, and Trisha didn’t say anything. “Oh, you don’t have a comment?” John turned to his daughter, but his tone was light. “I do, but I’m just tired. I just want to get something to eat and then do some homework. Hopefully, I won’t have late night again,” She said. “Oh, you know you’re smart. You won’t have to do that,” He said. “What about me?” Tom asked. “You… have your strengths. You have a ‘way’ with the ladies. You can sleep with whoever you wish. I’m proud of you son. You’re so much like me,” He complimented.

I couldn’t believe a father would be pleased that his son was a whore. But, if he only knew about his daughter. I highly doubt he would be as proud of her as he was of him. But, I couldn’t say anything to them. John wouldn’t, believe me, one way or the other. Even if he did, it would just make my life a living nightmare, and it could put my life in danger. So, I kept my mouth shut. I always wondered why I didn’t break the rules.

My mother wasn’t around anymore. She couldn’t be ashamed of me anymore. I’m not fully sure of why she left in the first place. I did have my suspicions, however. The only thing I could think about was that she didn’t want me anymore. I guess I was a mistake. I placed the food on the table and then waited in the kitchen. I refilled their glasses when they needed it and the rest of the time I stayed out of their way. “I think those culinary classes was paying off,” Trisha said. “I agree though I hate to admit it,” Tom replied. Well, at least, he admits it. I thought.

“You two must have a dull taste. I think this could use a little spicing up, but it’s okay for what it is,” John said. I could have it tested and liked by the most famous chef in the world, and John would still hate it. I didn’t care one way or the other. He was a major dick, and I don’t know how he found a woman to sleep with him. “Hey, boy! Get over here!” John snapped. I walked with him to refill his glass. “Yes?” I asked. “Does it look like I want another drink?” He screamed and tossed the half-full glass in my face.

I could feel my blood pressure rising, but I didn’t let it show. My hair dripped with the soda that John tossed at me. I saw that my two step-siblings were looking at us wide eyed. Trisha looked like she was trying not to laugh. But, shockingly Tom didn’t seem like he was laughing. He seemed angry about something. I don’t know what. Why wouldn’t he laugh at me? “So, what’s the matter?” I asked. John stood up so fast that I flinched and took a step back. “You think this is a joke? I support you, and I buy you everything you need. You take away from my kids, and this is how you act?” He shouted.

He spat in my face. “I’m sorry John? I don’t know what I did,” I confessed. He backhanded me hard. “I didn’t tell you to speak,” I just gave him a wide-eyed stare, “You wipe that stare off your face before I knock it off,” He threatened me. I just fixed him with an evil glare. John went to smack me again. “Dad, hey. Why don’t we play chess? I know how much you love that game,” John stopped his attack mid swing and turned to his son. Did Tom just protect me?

John didn’t seem to know how to react. Attack, or follow through with his son’s idea. Personally. It didn’t matter to me what he did. I wasn’t one to give up, but I don’t think I could live in this world like this much longer. I mean, I wasn’t the one person people came to seeking a friend. Also, people didn’t seem to care about me. I fixed Tom with a questioning stare. He gave me a quick nod. John turned to glare at me, and Tom mouthed later. I didn’t say anything. “Fine, go to your room. I’ll leave the dishes in the sink, and you can wash them later. I want them to fucking shine kid,” He warned.

“Yes, sir,” I said. I turned and went to my room. I closed and locked the door from the inside and turned on the multi-colored lights that flashed at different speeds. They were a mixture of Christmas and Halloween lights, but I rewired them and strung them together. They have little hollow outlines of witches, ghosts, Frankenstein, Santa, wreaths, presents, reindeer, Christmas trees and a bunch of other decorations that made little colored rotating outlines on the walls and ceiling.

I started working on my English paper and after an hour worked on the questionnaire from Crime and Punishment. The teacher made them challenging, and I know a lot of people were working together to discuss the answer, but I was alone. I had to do it alone. Sighing, I finished the next ten questions and then I looked at my phone and saw that it was a little after two in the morning. How long have I been working? Well, I guess it makes sense. Dinner was finished a little after ten, and I had a lot of reading and writing to do.

A knock came on the door. My heart leaped into my throat. Who could that be? I wondered. I went to the door and asked, “Who is it?” A deeply annoyed voice came back. “Tom, open up damn it,” I unlocked the door and let him in. He stormed past me and went down the steps to sit in the old but comfortable dark violet velvet wing chair that my mom used to sit in and read to me. “I’m sorry you had to protect me earlier,” I said. He glared at me. “I don’t know why I even bother,” He said coldly.

I fixed him with a blank stare. “I don’t know either. Have you ever thought about allowing me to press my luck and see if John will finally kill me? Or maybe somehow slip me some pills and I can overdose?” I snap back. He stood up and shoved me hard against the wall. Pain shot up my back, and I hit my head hard. “You think I want you dead? Are you some fucking idiot?” He snapped. “Hey, keep it down you two!” Trisha came walking down the steps then. “Normally I would demand that you knock, but since you don’t have respect…”

Tom decked me hard on the jaw then. “You think we are mean to you because we have no respect?” I didn’t bother to react. “No. I think I know the true reason. It’s because you’re doing everything your father tells you to do so you don’t get beaten yourself. Also, you think somehow I’m potentially going to take your place. I don’t see how that’s possible because John clearly doesn’t like me,” Tom went to hit me again, but Trisha stepped in the way. “Don’t you think he’s been beaten enough as it is?”

Tom backed off. Trisha stood in front of me. There was something different about her, though. “Tom, let me talk to him alone,” Trisha said. When Tom left, Trisha walked up the stairs and locked the door. Then she literally changed in front of my eyes. Her long black hair changed to a burgundy with a white streak. Bright green eyes stared back at me instead of the dark blue. Even her clothes changed. She seemed to grow a good three inches and filled out a little bit. “Who are you?” I asked, stepping back. “Julie. I’m not alone, though,” She replied.

I grew tense and scared. I stepped away from her. “I’m not going to hurt you, Matt,” I walked around her and stayed as far away as I could. “Matt, please. I don’t mean you any harm,” She said. “Forgive me if I have trouble believing that,” I told her. She gave me a sad smile. “He told us that you wouldn’t believe any of this,” I turned to see a guy standing behind me. The guy stood a little over six feet with short dark brown hair and a light forest green streak with hazel eyes. He had a similar build to Tom. He didn’t appear to me that much older than him either.

“Who are you and what do you want?” I asked. They took a while to reply and seemed to be figuring out how to respond. I couldn’t wait for them to say anything and I needed them out of here! “No offense, but you need to get out of my house,” I turned to go to the other side of the basement and switched over laundry. Someone touched my arm, and I flinched and pulled back from him. The guy took a step back in shock. “Don’t touch me,” I said in a cold tone. He glared at me. “I don’t know what your problem is, but-“ “Liam, enough!” Julie snapped. He turned to her, and he looked shocked.

“Why are you defending me?” I asked. She looked at me. “I’ve seen the way your family treats you. I can sense your pain and your emotions,” She told me. My face flushed. “You can sense what I’m feeling?” I demanded. “In a way. You’re hard to read. But, I got enough from you over the past week. You suffer more than people know. You have more pain than others see,” She said. That’s what I was afraid of. People knowing what I am feeling, or could sense the weakness and my pain and use that against me. I didn’t want people to know what they said, how they treated me, or what they were doing affected me. I hoped that I hid it well. If this strange girl could tell how I felt, then what were the chances that everyone else could? I wondered.

“You need to leave! I don’t know you, and I don’t want you here. If you stay, and they find you, they’ll kill me!” I tried to keep the fear from my voice, but I failed. Liam gave me a sad look. “I’m sorry. We have a mutual friend in common. We won’t let anything harm you. We’re here for you and we’re here to protect you. I know you know him. You will meet him at some point. You have to trust me. We’re on your side,” Julie said. “Why should I?” I asked suspiciously. “Well, we just want to help,” I gave them a weary look. “Please,” My voice broke with pleading, “Leave and leave me alone,” I hated sounding like I was begging. I didn’t think anything else would work, though. I had to get them to leave. I couldn’t afford them to get caught. My mind was still reeling from the fact that this girl just impersonated someone I’ve known most of my life.

I could feel tears coming, and I didn’t want them to see me cry. I hated this. I couldn’t stop it from happening. They gave me a heartbreaking look and then they left. I broke down then. It wasn’t like deep down I didn’t want to have their help. They seemed like good and capable people. But, did I want to trust them? Not really. I’ve been lied to and abused all my life. The real Trisha knocked on the door and told me that John had chores for me that had to get done before school. I took in a deep breath. And wondered how they got past the others without being caught. I couldn’t afford to worry about that now, though. It wasn’t my concern how they got out without detection. Just as long as they did. Then I went upstairs.

I went to check them out and found that they would take me a long time, and I wouldn’t be getting any sleep again. I scrubbed the counter tops and cleaned out the stove and oven. Then I deeply cleaned out the microwave and underneath it and behind on the wall. I glanced at the clock. I guess three days without sleep wasn’t a bad thing right? I got started then on polishing and mopping the floor and then worked on the dishes. By the time I finished with everything and took out the trash, it was ready to leave for school, and I gathered everything up for school, before getting a quick shower and then grabbed a couple toaster pastries to head out the door. It wasn’t much of a breakfast. I walked as fast as I could, but for some reason, I felt tired and weak.

I don’t know what was happening to me, but even though I ate something, and it didn’t seem to be enough. I felt like I was going to pass out. I leaned up against an old tree and tried to catch my breath. Something was wrong with me. Was it what I ate? I checked out the little piece of the brown sugar pop tart and saw something that didn’t look right. I took a spec of it and sniffed. Oh, my God. That came from the science classroom, and it was the rare poison the teacher found on one of her research trips. She brought it back as a plant that no one has ever seen before, and yet and was to find out all the properties of it. But, once she discovered that it was a poison she locked it up.

Or at least, I thought she did. Was she trying to kill me? Was Tom or Trisha? Or was John? Maybe those two from last night? God damn it! Now, I have to be even more careful. “Hey, are you okay?” I turned to see a young man about nineteen looking at me. His short blond hair with his chiseled features made him look like one of those pretty boys that you see in all the sports games. He was clearly one of the popular guys. Girls would be lining up for him. Great. Another popular guy to run in a wild mad circle together and chasing girls and another douche to treat me like crap. Didn’t this school have enough douches in it? Weren’t we over capacity? I thought.

Why was he talking to me? I wondered. I wasn’t normally the type of person he would normally start a conversation with. “Yeah, just a little…” I collapsed, and he jumped out of his car and rushed over to me. “You don’t look alright. Here, let me help you,” He said. “NO!” I screamed, and it took the last little bit of my strength. And the last thing I heard was him calling a name. I swear it sounded like Julie, but he couldn’t know them. Hell, I didn’t even know what was going on around here. Too many strange things were happening. Everything spun around me and I could have sworn the sun moved closer to me and then I saw familiar looking faces looming over me. Did I really see Julie and Liam appear out of nowhere? No, that’s not possible.

I woke up where I fell, but I was feeling a lot better. “What happened?” I asked. My voice cracked, but I seemed okay. “You were poisoned by a rare plant called Shistosal Cricalatic. It only grows in the remote corners of the island Farira. It’s not well known. Only a few know about it, and it’s extremely lethal to everyone, especially those who are special,” He said. I only gave him a blank look. “A rare poison? Why would my science teacher have it?” I asked. “Why would she try to poison me?!” I demanded. “I don’t think she did. I think someone obviously took it from her cabinet. Hey, I’m going to your school. I’m new, but I could give you a ride. We are about to be late,” He said. “I don’t know… I started and then looked at him closely. “Aren’t you nineteen? Shouldn’t you have graduated?” I asked. He only gave me an emotionless look. “I had to move around a lot and credits got lost in the transfers. Now, I have to make it up so I’m a bit behind on graduating.” He said coldly. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything,” I mumbled.

He ignored what I said and for that I was grateful. It was awkward enough as it was. I thought about his offer to give me a ride and I guess I was taking too long. “Come on. Why would I help you if I wanted to hurt you?” He demanded. I glared at him. “How did you know to help me?” I asked. “I went to the island with my last school on a field trip. We were there on a field trip for scientific value, and we discussed all kinds of plants and rare animals. I don’t know why. But, the poisonous plants seemed to stick with me. But, not in the way you’re thinking. I hoped to be able to help anyone poisoned by this plant. You would have died in a very painful way,” He told me.

“I don’t understand. Why would people try to poison me? I am not a threat to anyone. I don’t have anything special about me. I don’t even have friends. Why would someone want to kill me?” I asked. “Are you sure it’s you that they were targeting?” He asked. I looked at him in shock. “No, not really. I guess it could have been anyone, but I am the only one who eats that kind of breakfast foods,” I said. “But, you’re half right. You are right about not having friends, which I find completely bullshit how you have no friends here and everyone is an asshole and bitch to you, and you’re not a threat to anyone. But, you’re special. You just have to unlock your potential,” He said to me.

“You’re crazy man,” I told him and went to stand up. He had to grab me to keep me from falling over. “Look, we are going to be late, and I’m offering you a ride. You want it or not?” He asked. “My mind is telling me to tell you off, but my body is saying yes, a ride would be good. First, what’s your name?” I asked. “Jaise,” He said. “Jaise what?” “Jaise J,” He said. “That’s not the last name,” “Nope and you’re not going to get one,” He told me. “What’s yours?” He asked. “Matt,” I said. “Matt what?” I gave him a wicked grin. “Matt J,” I said in the same tone that he used on me a minute before.

He rolled his eyes. Well, are you sure we aren’t related?” He asked, laughing. “I don’t know. I’ve been wondering if I had family out there for years. But, all my cousins would be in their thirties by now. Why shouldn’t more people be just as stubborn as me?” I asked. He shrugged with a grin on his face. “I guess that makes sense. So, you are going to show me around when we get to school?” He asked after he helped me into his 2012 sports car. I barely even noticed the doors lifted up instead of out. A four door and it looked like a boat in size and shape. But, it still had a more or less car like the front. “Dang, how expensive was this car?” I asked. “You wouldn’t’ believe me if I told you,” He said giving me a strange look.

“Wow, and here a rich, hot and popular guy saves and offers a ride to the big social outcast and loser at school. I think this world has gone to hell,” I reply. “You think I’m hot?” He asked with a grin on his face. I rolled my eyes. “Oh, don’t toy with me, man. You’re not my type,” He gave me a sad frown. “That hurts dude. I’m everyone’s type,” I didn’t comment and tried to get comfortable. Which in all reality wasn’t hard. I rested my head on the head rest and the next thing I knew, Jaise was shaking me awake.

“Hey, dude. We’re at school. Hurry up or you’re going to be late for the first period,” I jumped out of the car and rushed towards my locker and then headed towards class. I don’t know what came over me. I felt like I was on some high dosage of energy or something and I were bouncing all over the place. I made it to class just as the final bell rang and made it to my seat before Mr. Gratel looked up. Old and hostile, he may be. But, he wasn’t always too observant. “Mr. Jones. I’m so glad you could make it on time,” He said. The other students snickered.

“I’m sorry, sir,” I said humbly. He sighed. “Don’t be almost late again,” He warned. “Yes, sir,” I said. He let the matter go. But, some of the other students glared at me. Yeah, I was going to get hurt when this class ended. I got away with being almost late once and was going to get beat badly, because of it. All because the others didn’t get away with actually being late, at least, two dozen times and almost suspended for it. Even though the Mr. Gratel gave them each three warnings each, after the warnings, he started making them late, and it was my fault because I wasn’t late and didn’t get in trouble. Yeah, my world made a whole lot of sense.

I just kind of tried my best to make myself invisible. I knew it wouldn’t last too long, but I could hope. The class ended, and I waited for the other students to leave before I followed them out the door. “Matt, is everything okay?” Mr. Gatel asked. I turned to give him my most reassuring smile. “Yes, sir. It’s just been a long week. I haven’t slept much or eaten much lately,” I replied. He fixed me with an intense stare, and it made me uncomfortable. “You look like you haven’t slept in days,” His powers of observation were quite unnerving. And here I thought he wasn’t all that observant. What else didn’t I realize about him and even the other teachers? I had to play this very well, so he doesn’t get suspicious of anything major.

“I’m fine sir. I just have a lot on my mind. May I go? I don’t want to be late,” He sighed. “Yes, of course. But, just know if you need anything. I’m here,” I smiled and nodded. “Of course.” I turned to walk away. “Please, you will come to me-“ I put my left hand up to stop him. “I will if I have anything to say. I promise. I have to go,” I turned and booked it out of the room before he could say anything. The rest of the day went fast. This is how I would have liked every day to go, I’m just glad I get this every once in a while. I shouldn’t complain too much about this feeling. I wonder, though if it has anything do with the fact that all these new people are showing up? Did it? Or is it just a coincidence? Well, I may find out one day. Or not at all. I shouldn’t worry about the answer. The answer will come if it’s meant to.

After my last period, I went to my locker and put my books inside and when I turned around the people from the first period surrounded me. “You know what time it doesn’t you?” They asked. I just stared at them with a blank look. “You know you don’t deserve life. You shouldn’t have even been born. You have nothing to offer this world. You are worthless, a piece of shit,” I didn’t let them see that what they said bothered me. “You think I care what you have to say to me?” I asked. I pushed past them and walked out of the school. I caught my breath leaning against the wall by the main entrance. I looked up at the sky to see storm clouds rolling in. Please, if there’s a god. Send me away from this place. I don’t think I can do this any longer.

The sky got darker as the clouds came in, and the wind was blowing strong today. By the time I got half way home, it was almost pitch dark. The wind was blowing too strong for me to see what was going on completely and I kept hearing strange growling noises. Then something slammed me into the wall of the nearest empty house. I needed to change my routine up. “You didn’t think that we would just let you go; trailer shit did you?” Markus asked.

“I didn’t care one way or the other,” I told them. He punched me hard. My head smacked back into the wall. They started pounding on me, kicking me and punching me. They said some pretty harsh words and the beatings kept on coming for the longest time. Cars started to pass then, and they all took off. Shakily, I climbed to my feet and found the pain was too much, that I could barely stand. I took my hand and wiped my mouth, and when my fingers touched my chin, pain shot through my hand and I had to take shallow breaths because I couldn’t open my mouth very far to take breaths. I had to breathe through my nose, which sent jolts of agony through my nose and jaw. I wiped away at it, and blood covered my fingers. I traced my face to my nose and realized blood was leaking from my nose. Great.

I could barely see out of the right eye, and I couldn’t put a lot of pressure on my left ankle. I leaned against the building for a few minutes. Then my phone started to ring. It was the song from the Addams Family, and I knew I was John. I answered, and he began to scream at me. “Where in the fucking hell are you? If you aren’t walking in the door in less than five minutes, I’m going to beat your ass into Oblivion!” I’ve never seen him this pissed off before. I knew there was no way; I would be able to make it in time.

I limped along the sidewalk as fast as I could and fell quite a few times, causing deep pain to shoot up through my ankle. I finally made it to the steps after sunset and I limped through the house. I had to say it was almost an hour and a half later. Tom and Trisha were waiting for me. They gave me a glare and a feared filled look. “So, where’s John?” I gasped out. “He’s late at work. He told us to let him know when you made it back, and he said he would know if we lied to him,” Trisha told me.

I sighed. “Tell him whatever you want. I’m done caring,” I said. My voice broke when I said that and they both gave me a questioning look. I limped around the house and did my chores. Trisha ignored me and went to watch TV in the living room. Tom followed me around silent and staring at me. I didn’t have a clue what he wanted, though. I wrapped a cloth around the cut on my arm, and I went to reach the ceiling fan, and the wound reopened, and I gasped in pain. Blood started to trickle down my arm and onto the linoleum floor.

“You should probably-“ I turned to him. “I know. I better clean up the blood before it stains the floor,” I snap. I grabbed a couple paper towels and wiped up the blood. “That’s not what I was going to say,” He said coldly. I turned to him and gave him a weary look. “I was going to say that you need to stitch up that wound, and I know how to do that,” I stared at him. “Why?” I asked. “Maybe I care? Maybe I don’t want to see you bleed out and die? Or maybe I just don’t want you to stain the carpet,” He retorted. “If you wouldn’t mind helping me out, I’ll do what you want,” I said.

“I don’t want you to do anything. Just let me help,” He grabbed my arm gently, but firmly and took the self-made bandage off and then led me to the bathroom. He held my wound over the sink and poured anti-peroxide over the wound. It stung like heck, and I wanted to curse, but after a while, it stopped bubbling, and I knew the wound was now clean. He then started to stitch me up and then bandaged me. Once he finished, I asked him again. “What would you like me to do for you?” I asked.

“I already told you, I don’t want anything. You look like you’ve already had several beatings in your lifetime, and that’s just from after school by the looks of it,” He said, and then he walked away. I went back to the cleaning as fast as I could and then I went downstairs to finish the history project. I still had three days before it was due to, but I liked to get it done ahead of time in case I had to make any last minute changes. I did everything in pencil and had every letter drawn out straight and even.

I had everything measured just because I was trying to waste time. I could still have gotten an “A” on the project and finished it within a day or two. But, I wanted to space the time out. I decided not to finish it tonight. I slowly and carefully started to color in the letters and the information I wrote out about the Civil War. I used latex water paints. I worked on it for an hour and only got it a quarter of the way finished. Then the door burst open, and John stormed down the steps.

“I know how long it took you to get home,” He said, and I thought about my words carefully. “I’m sorry. Sir. I-“ He raised his hand up to stop me. “I don’t care. I don’t. You know the rules.” He started wailing on me and sending me flying all across the basement. I hit the wall hard, and I think I bruised some more ribs, and I swear I heard my ankle break. I couldn’t feel anything for a while, and after the shock wore off, the pain almost caused me to pass out.

“You are worthless, and I don’t know why we kept you this long.” He kept insulting me and assaulting me. The pain was too much. I screamed in pain and begged for it to end. The last thing I heard was John laughing. “You want to release? Earn it. You’re not going to die yet. No, I am going to keep you alive so you can suffer until you die of old age.” I crawled but didn’t make it very far before he kicked me in the stomach before leaving the basement.

I lay there until my alarm on my phone went off and then I forced myself to my feet. I could barely move, and I took almost twenty minutes struggling and gasping and flinching because of the pain to get dressed. It took me another ten to make it up the steps to the bathroom, and I washed the blood away. I dragged myself out of the house, and I couldn’t even lift my leg up. I made it to the end of the drive when I saw Jaise’s car pull up. He got out of the car, and he ran over to me. “Are you okay?!” He shouted. I just looked at him with a blank look. “What do you want?” I demand.

“I was hoping to give you a ride to school and maybe we can talk. But, now I am going to take you to the hospital.” He went to take a step towards me, and I tried to scoot back. “Hey, I’m not going to hurt you,” He said. “I’ve totally heard that before,” I said coldly. He then gave me a once over. “How are you still able to stand with all that pain rolling through you?” He asked. I just glared at him. “Why do you people care? You keep trying to hurt me. Why are you so nice to me?” I demanded.

“It’s complicated. But, I promise that I mean you no harm. Let me take you to the hospital and get you help.” I started to hobble past him, and he grabbed me by my arm. I screamed in pain, and he let go of fear and shock. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know” I just gave him a hateful look. “You’re just like the others. You’re only trying to cause me pain.” I said. He put his hands up like he was surrendering. “No, that’s not true. I don’t want to hurt you.” He said.

I didn’t want to believe him, but something inside me was making me want to trust him. I gave him a weary look and allowed him to help me in the car. I didn’t want to go to the hospital, but I don’t think I would have much of a choice. He drove me fast to the hospital and got two cops on his tail. He pulled up in front of the emergency entrance and the two cops blocked us in. “Out of the car with your hands up!” The cop who drove shouted at us. Jaise got out of the car, but I couldn’t. “Now, the other one!” The other cop driver said. “He can’t. He’s-“ Jaise tried. “Kid, out of the car now!” The third cop said banging on the passenger side window.

“He can’t, he’s hurt!” Jaise tried again. “Out, now!” The cop shouted, and he then opened the door and forced me out of the car by my hurt arm and twisted it behind my back. I screamed in pain. The sound echoed all around doctors and me and nurses came running out of the hospital to see what the commotion regarded. Tears rolled down my cheek. The cop twisted my arms tighter behind me, and it caused me to scream like a banshee. “Hey, let him go!” The female doctor screamed. “They were going over a hundred for almost ten miles!”

No one said anything for a while. “You’re hurting him. You’re causing serious bruising and sprains on his arm. Let him go!” An older male doctor said with short graying hair. He pulled the police officer off of me and gently checked me over. “Oh, my God. You shouldn’t be able to stand up kid. How are you still conscious?” He asked. I didn’t say anything. He shouted for a gurney and then strapped me down. “You drove like a lunatic to get him to the hospital?” The first cop asked.

“Which is what I was trying to tell you before you grabbed and hurt him.” Jaise snapped and then walked inside after me. He followed me all the way to the emergency room waiting for the area and sat down. I was then helped into a wheelchair and taken into E.R, and they scanned me. “Jesus. This kid looks like he just got out of fight club! It looks like three broken ribs two on the left and one on the right. They look like they were repeatedly fractured and struck in three locations. Also, there’re signs of constant abuse and the bones in his left arm is almost shattered. Bruises to his spine as well, show that he was picked up and tossed into something hard multiple times.” The doctor stated.

“His ankle appears to be fully shattered, and I don’t know how to fix that. I don’t think that there is a way to fix that. His foot will most likely be useless for the rest of his life.” I heard the doctors conclude. I was out of it for the rest of what they spoke. They also talked about how I have somewhat serious internal bleeding. But, I heard the worst of what they were saying. They got me patched up as best they could, but I still wasn’t in a position to move or anything. I guess we just had to wait and see what would happen to me next.

“What?” I asked. He just frowned at me. “Are you okay?” I didn’t look at him. “I think I’ll be okay. I don’t know if I’ll walk again.” I said to him. “Sir, you can’t be in here. He has to go to surgery now.” I froze. “I can’t afford it! I’m already going to be paying this bill for the next two hundred years!” The doctor just gave me a droll look. “Well, I hope it doesn’t take you that long,” She said. “Could I speak to you for a second?” Jaise asked the doctor.

She gave him a shrewd look and stepped outside. They were outside for a few minutes before coming back in the room. “You don’t have to worry about the bill. Your friend is going to use his insurance to pay for the bill.” She said. “I thought it had to be a spouse, children or family member?” The doctor just shrugged. She and a few nurses ended up wheeling me out of the room and into another place where they began surgery.

I woke up hours later, and Jaise was right next to me. “Are you okay?” He asked. “I suppose,” I said with a flat tone. “What’s the matter?” He asked. I didn’t answer. “Hey, why won’t you talk to me?” He asked. “I don’t want to. Every time I try to befriend or do whatever I can for someone, and it only ends up causing me pain. Please, just leave!” I shout. The doctors, nurses, and security came in to make Jaise leave. “I helped you,” He said flatly. Tears fell from my eyes. “I know you did. I just need some time alone.” I told him. He smiled and then left without question. I lay in bed for that night and then they did another X-ray check-up.

They showed that my ankle wasn’t in fact, shattered anymore. It showed that the bones have been-been repaired, so there was no fear of not being able to walk normal again, and even though they weren’t all the way healed all the way, they would mend with time. “When can I leave?” I asked. “You want to leave already?” I nodded. “Well, as soon as we call your parents, we can have you released.” The doctor said. “NO!” I shrieked like a banshee. “What’s the matter?” He asked. “I don’t want you to tell them I’m here. Just let me go, please. I don’t have a parent. I just have a dick for a stepfather.” I told him.

He just looked at me. “Well, if you wish to leave I suppose I could have you sign the papers with me constantly trying to convince you to stay,” I smirked. “Good, get me out of here. If you don’t, then I’ll just end up back here in a body bag.” He glared at me. “That’s not funny.” The doctor said. “Wasn’t trying to be,” I told him. He just shook his head. “We will get you out of here in the morning. We have to make sure the casts are good enough and set. We have to follow the procedure as well.”

It was almost midnight when they had everything set, and I dozed off a little here and there. I woke up a little before six and signed the papers. They gave me a set of crutches, and I limped out of there and met Jaise at the front steps. “Are you okay?” He asked. “I think I’ll be fine,” I said to him. What he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. I couldn’t tell him that I don’t know if I could stay in this world. I wanted out. I kind of wish that he wouldn’t have drove to my house the other day. I wished I would have walked to school and died on the way.

It would have saved him a lot of time and money. It would have saved the world a lot of troubles. “You don’t seem okay.” He noticed. “I’m okay. I’m fine. Really.” I lied. He didn’t say anything. He just drove me to the school and helped me out. “I so don’t want to be here,” I said. “I know. But, I think it’s going to be good for you. Get you back in a sense of normality.” I didn’t want normality. I didn’t want any of this. I made my way to the front of the doors and then walked in. We went to the office and got the doctors note saying that Jaise was going to be the one to help me get around.

He would need to be allowed out a few minutes early from each class. The secretary emailed the other teachers and told us that she let them know. “I’ll give John a call.” My eyes grew wide in fear. “Don’t do that please,” I begged. She gave me a confused and sad look and nodded. “Very well. But, I don’t like secrets. Especially something like this. It doesn’t feel right.” She told me. “I know, but I would appreciate it. If you tell him, then it’s just going to be that much worse for me.”

“Are they abusing you?” She asked. “No, it isn’t like that. I just….It’s complicated ma’am. I just think it would be best coming from me.” She smiled at me. “I will accept that. At least, he won’t be kept in the dark. I’m sure he was worried about you last night.” She said. I gave her a kind smile. “I’m sure he was. I should get to class now.” I said. She nodded and said that she would excuse my absence from yesterday. Jaise helped me to class and the day seemed to go by faster than normal. By the time lunch came, I was so ready to get out of this school.

I couldn’t stand it another second. Jaise was always in sight of me, but he kept his distance so I could have some space. The jocks came up to me. “You think that your bodyguard over there is going to help you?” I didn’t even look at Jaise. I didn’t have to. He was right next to me then, and the others backed off. “This isn’t over,” Shane said. They walked away and gave me a death glare. “What did they want?” He asked. “Usual Bull crap,” I said.

Jaise took me home at the end of the day and watched me curiously as I hesitated to get out of the car. “Are you going to be okay?” He asked. “Maybe. I might be.” I said calmly. He didn’t seem reassured. But, he helped me get out of the car. I walked to the front door and entered the house. Tom and Trisha were there waiting for me, but John wasn’t around. “Where have you been?” Trisha demanded. I just gave her a blank look. “It’s obvious that he was at the hospital. But, why?” Tom asked. I didn’t say anything to him. “Does it matter?” I asked.

I went to finish my chores, and it took three hours to do the simple tasks. But, I managed to get them done. I was about to head to my room when John appeared. I knew I was in serious trouble. He stormed into the house, and he slammed me into the wall. “You don’t get to vanish like that and not let anyone know.” He snapped. “I was going to tell you today. I didn’t have any way to communicate with you. I lost my phone.” I said to him. He glared at me and then said, “I think I believe you. But, you still have to be punished. So, before I punish you. We need to have a little talk.”

He told me and I didn’t like the way he said that. “Yes, sir?” I asked. “I’ve meant to talk to you about your mother.” Dread filled me. “You know? I told you that she passed away. But, the truth is that she ran. She told me that she didn’t want to deal with you anymore. She said she couldn’t handle the worthless, pathetic useless kid that you are. You are a burden to us all, and you shouldn’t have even been born. We’ve been more embarrassed to have you here than we were at first, and you’re ugly and stupid as hell, and you are a waste of space.

We should have dropped your wasting corpse in a ditch. Let you rot and fade away. Your mom knew you’d end up a worthless piece of trash and that you’d just be a toxic waste of space.” Tears filled up and threatened to spill over. I couldn’t let it show, though. I did everything I could not show that I was about to cry. “I don’t know why you didn’t end your life a long time ago. I have to say that you’re a lot stronger than I originally thought. But, in the end. You are just weak and useless.”

He opened the door to the basement and shoved me down the steps. I fell the steps at a weird angle. You think the movies get them right? You have no idea how wrong they are, and I landed hard on my hurt arm. I think I heard it break again. Luckily, my ankle didn’t shatter again, but I could barely move. I lay there for a long time and then I pushed myself up. I limped over to the cabinet and stared at my reflection. Tears and blood rolled down my face, and I couldn’t do this anymore. I didn’t have the strength to survive and be a part of this world. I grabbed the bottle of sleeping pills and took fifteen of them. Each pill was ten milligrams.

I knew it would cause me to overdose, and that’s all I could even dream on. I could only hope that it would kick in fast. I walked to my bed and fell asleep. I didn’t have any dreams, and the only thing I saw was a white blinding light and then a huge floating three-floor palace stood in front of me. It looked like someone made it out of clouds, and it seemed to be different shades of purple with black trimmings around the window and door frames. I didn’t have a clue about where I was supposed to go. But, this looked like a cool place to be. I was impressed with whoever lived here. I wonder who they were.

Chapter 2

“Ah, Matt. It’s an awesome thing to meet you finally.” A young boy about fifteen said to me with a wide smile. He tied his long dark brown hair back in a tight and neat ponytail. He looked young, but with a physique that would make high school students jealous. The weird part is that he isn’t disproportioned. He’s the kind of guy that would make any girl want him. He smirked at me. “You don’t think I’m that hot do you?” He asked. I blushed and looked away awkwardly. “No, not to me. But, you’re the kind of guy that I would be jealous over.” I said. He grinned at me. “I don’t mean to be like that. It’s just how I was born. I don’t think I look that good if it makes you feel any better.” He said.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m sure you don’t. Are you going to tell me what I’m doing here and who the heck you are?” I asked him. “I’m Zolem, and you’re dead. I brought you here because this is your purgatory, you could call it. You were brought here because this is the only place where you are considered the living or the dead and where my council and I can pass judgment and see if you are worthy to return to live or not.” He told me. I glared at him. “I don’t want to return to live. I killed myself for a reason!” I snapped at him.

But, he gave me a knowing look. It wasn’t out of anger that I snapped. It was fear and pain. “You don’t have to be afraid. After this point on, you’ll be in better hands. Your…well, let’s just say someone you know is with you now. He’s trying to revive you, and when you come back, he will take you somewhere safe and happy. But, it won’t last forever. You know nothing lasts forever. But, you may end up with some bad memories. In the bigger picture, though, you’ll end up with a lot of good memories and fun times. You don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t remain alive. You will miss out on a great destiny and good love.

“You have no idea what you will be giving up. Yes, there will be a lot of pain involved. But, at the end of your journey, you will be the strongest in the entire world. You will have more power than you could imagine and you will be destined for power, wealth, even woman if you want it.” I felt my face flush from the words he spoke. “Or one woman if that is what you desire,” Zolem said. “What are you?” I demanded. “I am what you would call a spirit. A warrior mage that is over twenty-thousand years old and of royal blood. I want to give you your life back.

I want you to be happy, and I want for you to have your destiny of friendship, love and trust.” I didn’t know what to say. “Why do you care what I do and if I die?” I asked. He eyed me carefully. “You can’t yet know what your future holds. And you can’t yet know what your destiny holds for you. I won’t lie. At first, there will be pain and misery. But, if you can get through it, you will find a good and happy life full of strength and one that you want to live.” He told me. I didn’t know if this is what I wanted or not. But, it sounds appealing.

“This sounds too good to be true,” I said. “I know it does. But, I promise I won’t ever lie to you. Look me in the eyes and tell me if I’m lying to you.” I glared at him for the longest time. “I do believe you. I just don’t know why I do.” I told him. He smiled. “I understand. I do. I know it’s going to take some time. But, you can trust me. You can count on me. I’m going to support you, and I’ll look out for you.” He told me. I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, I’ve heard that before. So, what? If something big and nasty waving some weird power comes at me to rip my throat out or fry me alive, you’ll interfere?” I asked.

He gave me a strange look. Did I imagine it or did he have a look of fear in his eyes. “What did you say?” He asked. “Nothing, it’s just that you said you’d watch out for me. No matter what?” He nodded. “You’d look out for me if I get in danger?” He nodded again. “So, you’re going to help me in case what? I get kicked, stabbed, beaten and thrown down basement steps and overdosing after taking pills to kill myself?” He just blinked at me with a blank look.

“What are you implying?” He asked. “You said you wanted to keep me safe. I just thought that would include before you met me. I guess that I assumed that it would mean you’d watch out for me before it came to this point.” He sighed. I couldn’t interfere until you made the first move. The Fates are the biggest bitches on the god damn planet. I could only talk to you under two choices. One is that after you decided to complete your destiny. Or two. You died.”

I didn’t know what to say. “What’s my destiny?” I asked. “I can’t tell you that,” He told me. “Why not?” He just shook his head. “It’s not time yet. Are you willing to go back? Or are you wanting to give up now?” Zolem asked. To give up is something I wanted to do. But, could I now? I felt like I was given another chance. I couldn’t honestly believe that I was meant for a good life. But, what if I was? What if I could become something much more than I am now?

“So, what’s it going to be?” He asked. I sighed. “Send me back to live a life full of pain and misery.” Zolem didn’t respond to that. I just shook my head. “Send me back. I’ll let this play out for now. I still don’t know if this is the best option for me. But, I hate giving up.” I told him. “I know, and this is why I chose you. You will find out soon enough. I promise you that.” He said and before I could say another word, he snapped his fingers, and I was back freaking out. Looking around my room gasping for breath and shaking violently.

I was freaking out and struggling. “Hey, it’s okay. Calm down!” My focus became blurry, and I was trying to get free. “Calm down. You’re okay!” My vision slowly came into focus, and I saw Jaise holding me. “It’s okay. You’re going to be fine.” “Julie, what the hell is taking so long?” He screamed. “Oh, calm your ass down.” She snapped. She kneeled down next to me and rested both her hands gently on my chest. My heart started to race wildly, and I blushed at the look she gave me.

“Jaise, I think you’re…” She didn’t finish because his expression was murderous. “…A woman has never touched a friend.” I felt my face inflame with embarrassment. Jaise’s expression became almost psychotic with anger. “What?” She asked. “Babe, you’re embarrassing the kid,” Liam said. She took a deep breath and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I’ll just heal you now.” She said and then a warmth feeling spread through me. A white hot flash of pain spread through me, and I could feel the bones mend and stitch together.

Muscles strengthened and the after several excruciating minutes, the pain went away. Something snapped one final time, and I screamed like a banshee, and then everything calmed down with ragged breaths. “Are you okay?” Jaise asked. “I think so,” I mumbled. He helped me up and patted me on the back. I stretched and moved around to figure out I could move without problems. “So, you seem alright,” Liam said. I nod. “Oh, good. You’re alive. Now, I can kill you all because you all know the truth.” I turned white and pale. None of the others didn’t seem to be worried at all.

“Why is it that only one of the four of you seems concerned?” John asked. “To be honest, your skanky ass whipped fool. I can’t understand why he’s scared. It isn’t like you’re going to hurt us or get to him.” I looked at Jaise and John. I couldn’t believe he said that, and if John grew angry, he didn’t act on it. “You think a bunch of teenagers is going to stop me?” Jaise grinned. “Do you know who I am? Or who Matt is for that matter? Do you know anything about his mom’s side of the family?” That gave John pause for a moment.

“Who are you?” He asked. “You don’t recognize me. The last time you saw me, Matt here was what? Five I think.” He said. “And you were what age?” John asked. “Me?” Jaise laughed. “I was nineteen when Matt was five,” He said. I blinked at him. “You’re nineteen now!” I screamed at him. “True, I haven’t aged. But, I am not the same kid I once was.” He said. “You should be in your mid-thirties!” I shouted. “Yes, I’ll explain that later. John walked down the steps and made a move to me.

Jaise blocked his path. “Did you ever think that since I’m not aging, there’s another reason or things different about me? Do you think I don’t have any tricks up my sleeve?” He asked. John didn’t respond. He only tried to push past him giving me this wicked grin. “Oh, I so don’t think so.” He said and grabbed his arm. “Let go of me.” John snarled.

“Oh, I don’t think so.” Jaise said with a smile. John went to push through, and this time, I saw Jaise’s grip tighten. “I told you. You’re not going to get to him.” John went to take a swing, but Jaise was faster than I expected and blocked him. He dodged another blow and then with a kick chomping blow, Jaise made John stumble backward. “You. Won’t. Touch. Him.” Jaise said one final time. John glared at him.

“You can’t stop me,” He growled. “I think we can. John went into a blood rage. It was kind of scary how fast and easy he could turn it on and off. But, the others weren’t concerned in the least. They made a wall in front of me. “You can’t stop me,” He said one final time. John went into a blood rage and charged them. Julie was the first one to intercept him. She blocked and countered him. He went to punch her, but she was way faster and grabbed it and twisted behind his back. John growled in rage. He tried to break free, but he couldn’t.

Julie then tossed him across the room, and he hit the wall with enough force to leave a huge dent and crack in the concrete. “Let’s go.” Jaise told me. He was right behind me as I walked up the steps followed by Julie and Liam. John gathered his wits and then attacked Liam with a giant copper bar. The bar bent completely in half and Liam turned around to look at John with a raised eyebrow. “That should have knocked you out,” He said in fear and shock.

“Yes, but as we’ve said. We’re not completely normal. Of course, you know that right?” Liam asked. John didn’t say anything. He just backed off and didn’t say anything. We walked out of the house and out into the lawn. The moon was bright and full in the sky. The stars were shining down brightly. “Where are we going to go?” I asked. “Oh, don’t worry. We have something special for you.” I froze, and I felt the color drain from my face. I slowly turned around to see Liam, Julie, and Jaise looking at me. “What are you going to do to me?” I demanded in a shaky voice.

“We are going to give you the surprise of your life. What do you think?” Liam asked. “I should have just died in there,” I whispered. Someone placed a hand on my shoulder. “Why would you say that?” I slowly turned my head to see Jaise behind me. “The way you said ‘you have something special for me’ got me a little freaked,” I told him. “Well, we do have a surprise for you. But, we think you’ll enjoy it. But, you have to trust us. We are only trying to give you some joy and fun in your life.” He said. “Then why did it sound extra creepy and dark when you said it before?” I demanded.

“I don’t know,” He said simply. “Where are we going?” I asked. “You’ll see. Trust me.” I looked into his eyes, and I saw he wanted to convince me. But, he wasn’t sure if he could. “You doubt your ability to convince me,” I said quietly. He smiled sadly. “I am. But, I want to believe it so badly. You need some joy in your life. Please, let me give you a couple weeks of pure fun.” He told me. “Kid, come on. We are going to take you to paradise on earth.” Liam told me. I rolled my eyes. “There’s no such thing as paradise on earth,” I told him. Jaise smirked.

“When are we going?” I asked. “Now, if you want,” Julie said. “How do we get there?” I asked her. “Well, I thought we would grab a taxi to the airport, buy some tickets, and fly there. But, if you have another mode of transportation that will just, I don’t know. ‘Pop’ us to where we are going then, please tell us.” Liam commented. I glared at him. Julie rolled her eyes, and Jaise kept a stoic expression. “Uh, yeah sure. Let’s go to the airport.” I said. Liam smiled and jogged around the corner.

He came back after a few minutes in a large customized pickup. It didn’t look normal, though. It had a built in double compartment. Like it had the shape of a truck, but as long as a bus and a half. “How…” I started. “We have our connections at the dealership. We gave them a rough sketch of what we wanted and this way we have our compartments. Matt and I will take the back one.” Jaise said. “Why? We have plenty of rooms still in ours.” Julie said.

“I saw Jaise smiled. “I’ve been bunking with you for long enough. It’s time you two get some privacy. Besides, there is something I need to talk to Matt about.” Liam looked confused for a moment. Julie seemed to get it right away. “I see. Well, we could all use a little privacy.” She said. “We should get going.” Jaise said. Liam nodded, and he got into the driver seat.

“I need to grab a few things from my room before we leave. There’re a lot of important personal effects that I have that I can’t replace. Please. I have everything on three flash drives in my room. It’s on my pillow on my bed.” I told him. He nodded and then ran around the side of the house. He came back in a matter of minutes handing me the three drives. “How did you get them?” I asked. He grinned. “In time, you’ll find out. Just, for now, believe that I have a lot of secrets. One day you’ll be a part of them.” He said smiling.

Julie saw us enter the back seat of the truck and then she climbed into the passenger seat. Liam started up the truck and pulled out into the road. Jaise road in silence with the others and they played the music really loud. I knew some of the songs on the Ipod. “Why don’t you sing along guys? Get us out of the creepy, awkward silent rut we seem to be in.” Liam said. They all started to sing along, but I didn’t. I had too much on my mind.

“Are you alright?” Jaise asked me. I nodded and leaned my head against the window. I didn’t know what to say, and I really couldn’t think of anything to respond to the comment. I sat in silence. I could feel Jaise staring at me with concern. But, I didn’t look at him. I couldn’t. We turned onto the highway and started to pick up speed. “Well, we are now going ninety miles an hour. I hope you aren’t afraid of spending.” Liam said. I just stared out the window. Jaise gently shook my shoulder.

“Hey, seriously. Talk to me.” He said to me. I glanced at him. “I don’t know what to say. I just have a lot going on and lot to think on. Please, just give me some time to think.” I told him. He nodded. “If you need anything, let me know,” He said. “I will.” I don’t know how long we were driving, but a fierce storm crept up on us. The lightning flashed so bright that I had to cover my eyes. The thunder boomed so loud that it shook the truck. The rain pelted everything, and the wind seemed to try and blow us off the road.

“Where did this storm come from?” Julie asked. “I don’t know. It seems a little unnatural.” Liam commented. That perked my interest. “Is there such a thing as unnatural?” I asked. “You have no idea,” Liam commented. I glanced at him, but I didn’t push the issue. He knew something and I would get some answers at some point. I watched the storm grow in strength. “I think we should pull over and try to get some rest.” Jaise suggested. Liam looked back in the mirror and nodded.

We continued for a little while, and he found some small dead end street where there were a few trees that seemed to reach into the sky. Liam parked under a cluster of some, and we ran through the rain into the campers. Jaise flung open the door, and I dashed inside. He followed close behind and closed and locked the door. The wind pelted the side of the vehicle, and it sounded like the rain was going to drown us. “You mentioned that you needed to talk to me a while ago?” I asked. He leaned against the door and looked out into the storm.

“Yes, but it’s a touchy subject,” He said. I looked at him for a moment. “I’m so not going anywhere,” I mumbled. He gave me a quick glance. “I know. But, I don’t know how to breach this subject.” He said. “You already said that.” He rolled his eyes at me. “Look, whatever you have to say just say it. I don’t care how crazy it sounds.” I told him. “You will,” He said. “So, what is it?” I asked. “How much do you remember about your mother?” He asked.

“I know enough about her. She was a kind and caring person. But, I wasn’t worthy enough for her. So, she decided to leave. She ended up having a better life without me.” He glared at me. “I know you can’t mean that.” I shrugged and looked away. “I know for a fact that your mother loved you. She wanted to be around in your life. She just couldn’t be. But, that’s not the point of this conversation. What do you remember about her family?” I didn’t know what to say at first. “I…know she has a brother. He had two daughters and a…son.” I said. I looked at Jaise and fear crept into me.

“You’re him. You are my cousin?” I asked. “Yes, I’m your cousin. I used to come over to your house or holidays and celebrations when you were younger. I wanted to watch out for you. But, I didn’t know how. I tried to come over after your mom left. But, I didn’t know how. John wouldn’t let me come over because he feared what I would say to you. My dad was named sole guardian over you if anything happened to your mom. But, John faked a will and made a lawyer friend of his file it, making him the guardian of you.” I didn’t speak. I didn’t know what to say.

“So, you’re not kidnapping me?” I asked with a smile. He smirked at me. “I think this would be the only case where the kidnapped victim welcomes it.” I smiled. “Probably. I think I might. I’ve already been the most relaxed in the past couple hours than I have in years.” I told hm. “Well, I’m glad we could make it a happy few hours for you.” The storm shook the truck, and the lights flickered. “I am having a hard time believing this. I do believe it. But, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it all.”

“I know. It’s lot to take in. But, trust me. In the end, it will be all worthwhile.” He told me. I nodded. “So, what now?” I asked. He looked at me in shock. “You seem to be taking this all very well.” Jaise said. I shrugged. “I don’t think I have a choice. I have to handle this a certain way or go mental right?” I asked. He frowned at me. “I guess you’re right,” He said. I looked at the digital clock on the counter and saw that it read four in the morning. “Wow, it’s late,” I said. “Yeah. Get some sleep man. We will head out mid morning.” He said. I nodded and then I climbed onto a top bed. I faced the doorway and Jaise watched me with concern.

“Why do you seem so withdrawn and on guard?” Jaise asked. “I always feel like I have to be,” I told him. He smiled sadly at me. “I understand. But, I hope you come to trust us.” Jaise told me. “I do. It is taking a lot to get me to trust you. But, I feel like I can. And I’m putting a lot of faith in you.” I told him. He smiled at me and said, “I know. Get some sleep.” He went and leaned against the door, and I tried to get some sleep by rolling over and pulling the blankets tightly around me.

I woke up a bit later to hear the wind howling and whistling outside. Jaise was still leaning against the door, and I didn’t know why. He dimmed the lights, though. I guess to keep them from waking me up. I slowly sat up. I rubbed my eyes and started to speak, but Jaise beat me to the punch. “You’re awake. How’d you sleep?” I yawned before trying to speak. “I feel like I could sleep another two weeks,” I admitted. He laughed. “Well, you’ve been sleeping for twenty hours,” He told me. I jumped out of bed. “Say what?!” I demanded. He smirked.

“Twenty hours kid. We are about six hours out from the airport. You hungry? I could ask Liam to pull over somewhere to get something to eat.” He told me. I shook my head. “I’m not hungry. But-” I pointed my thumb to the bathroom. He grinned. “Of course. By all means.” He said, and I walked stiff-legged into the bathroom. I finished what I needed to and then splashed water on my face. I looked myself over into the mirror and realized that I have changed in the past few days. I felt weaker than I use to. I felt like I was fading away.

A knock came on the door. “Hey, you alright?” He asked. “I’m fine. I just need a minute.” I told him. “Okay. I’m asking Liam to pull over at the next diner or restaurant. You haven’t eaten in a couple of days. You need to get your strength back.” He told me. “I’m not hungry,” I said as my stomach rumbled and growled like an angry bear. “Yeah, I’m sorry to tell you. But, you’re not convincing me. I can tell that you are starving. So, we are going to stop somewhere. He said he found a good place that has good food.” I walked out of the bathroom, and Jaise studied me carefully.

“You look like you’re going to collapse,” He commented. “Oh gee thanks,” I said rolling my eyes. He sighed and shook my head. “I don’t mean anything bad about it. I’m only saying that you are not at full strength.” He said. “Is it still storming outside?” I asked. “No, you just hear the wind against the truck. Liam likes to drive at supersonic speed.” His phone rang at that time, and he smirked when he saw who was calling. He clicked the speaker button. “I heard what you said, man. I do not drive at supersonic speed.” He said.

“How did he hear you?” I demanded. “Liam, you’re such a moron. I doubt Jaise is willing to tell him all the secrets yet.” I heard Julia say. “You both need to keep your bloody mouths shut,” I swear I heard the sound of rocks scraping in his voice when he spoke next. “I don’t like being called an idiot man.” Jaise sighed. “I didn’t mean that. I just don’t think this is the time to reveal everything.” There was a pause on the line. “Yeah, I know. It’s just been long couple weeks.” Liam said. “I understand. It’s been a long couple weeks for us all.” Then he hung up and looked at me questioningly. “So, I bet you have some questions now.” I looked at him and said,

“I have a lot of questions. But, I doubt I will receive any answers until you’re ready to give them. So, I don’t think pressing the issue is going to help.” I said. He gave me a strange look. “I don’t understand you. Most people would either be freaking out or demanding answers. You take everything in stride and don’t question or complain. Why?” I thought about it for a second. “Well, I guess I’ve learned that questioning people always and only gets me hurt.” He gave me a sympathetic look.

“We aren’t going to hurt you for asking questions. We may not be able to answer them right away. But, we will in time. How about you ask me some questions and I’ll either answer them completely, to the best of my ability, or I’ll pass the question at a later date. No, arguments, no questioning my choice. Deal?” He asked. I nodded. “Okay, first question,” He said. “How was Liam able to hear us from the truck?” I asked. He thought about it for a moment.

“Well, I could pass the question. But, I won’t. He Julie and I can hear each other right now. They know I’m talking about this. But, I can’t fully answer the question. I will tell you that we aren’t one hundred percent human. We have heightened senses and reflexes. We are also, lot stronger than humans. I’m not just modest when I say that. Our reflexes are way too sharp sometimes for our good. But, that’s all I’m saying on that.” He told me. “Well, you just answered like three questions for the price of one,” I told him. He grinned.

“So, any other questions?” He asked. “Who are you?” I asked. “Your cousin, Jaise?” He said. “No, I mean what are you?” He gained a pained look on his face. “Pass.” I glared at him. “You know the rules.” He reminded me. I nodded glumly. He laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. You’ll get all the answers soon enough.” Jaise cocked his head like he was listening to someone or something. Then he smiled. “Well, it looks like we are pulling into a small diner now. “You are going to get something to eat and please o me a favor will you?” He asked. “What’s that?” I asked.

“Don’t be stingy. Eat whatever you want and however much you’d like. Money isn’t a problem. So, again. Please order you as much as you want.” He told me. I smiled. “I don’t know. I have never liked taking from others. Or having others help me.” He gave me a strange look. “You know it isn’t a death sentence if you ask for help right?” He asked. I flinched and backed away. “What’s the matter?” He asked. “I…I had a flashback from what I did. I don’t like looking that weak.”

“You don’t have to be embarrassed for having a moment of weakness. It isn’t like you were able to come to grips with everything. I mean come on! You were dealing with a lot all at once. So, give yourself some credit and learn to forgive yourself, please?” He begged. “Why do you need me to forgive myself for trying to end my life? I tried to take the easy way out.” I told him. He glared at me with what seemed to be a fire in his eyes.

“We all have a moment of weakness. It isn’t your fault. Learn from your second chance. Grow stronger because of it and embrace a second life.” He then opened the door and climbed out. Before he vanished, he said, “There’s a fresh pair of clothes in the small dresser. Wash up and get changed man.” I smiled and nodded. He vanished, and I closed the door. I took a quick shower. I tried to use as little of the water as I could. I brushed the snarls out of my hair, and I dressed quickly. Then I joined them in the diner. They sat in a corner booth, and they all looked up when I came towards them.

“Am I interrupting something? Should I leave?” I asked. Julie smiled at me. “No, of course not. We brought you here because you’re the one who needs food. Besides, we can’t have you starve.” Liam said to me. I smiled at him. “I don’t want to take money away from you, though,” I told them. Jaise rolled his eyes. “Oh, don’t worry. You’re not taking our money” Liam said. “We go to a special school. They teach you everything you learn in regular school, plus. And they teach some survival skills.” Jaise cleared his throat. “Yeah, yeah,” Liam said.

“So, hi guys. How may I help you?” A waitress came up to us. She was middle aged with long curly blond hair in a sloppy ponytail. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days. “Hi, may I get the jumbo shrimp basket with garlic bread and a glass of chocolate milk?” Julie asked. “Sure.” The waitress said coldly. “I would like a double burger with provolone cheese and a slice of apple pie with a giant glass of water,” Liam said. “I just want a big slice of banana cream pie, a giant stake of pancakes and a large plate of bacon?” Jaise suggested.

“And for you kid?” The waitress asked. “Um…” I said. “I’ll come back,” She said with ice in her tone. I felt bad and embarrassed for not knowing what I wanted. “Matt, it isn’t your fault for her having a temper. She probably just had a long shift and were tired, sore and irritated.” Jaise said. “But, her attitude isn’t appreciated.” Liam snapped. “No, it’s fine. I should just order something. I shouldn’t be wasting her time.” I said and looked deep into the menu. A hand covered the menu, and I was forced to look into my cousin’s face. “Stop this!” He said fiercely.

“What?” I asked. “You’re always blaming yourself. Sometimes you just don’t know what you want in life. Sometimes you have to think about things, and it isn’t your fault if you don’t know what you want right away. Take a look at the menu and think about what you want. Stop blaming yourself.” He looked so pissed off. I choked back my fear and looked away from him. “Okay, Jaise. Yelling at him isn’t going to help him. You have said it yourself. He’s had a real bad break. Yelling at him isn’t going to help him.” Liam told him.

I didn’t look at either of them. I couldn’t. I got up after a moment and found the waitress. “I want to say that I’m sorry for not knowing what I wanted.” She gave me a cold hard glare. “It doesn’t matter. Let me know when you’re ready and I’ll take your order.” She said with no emotion. “I’m sorry.” I turned to walk back to the table. “Kid.” She called, and I turned around. “You should know something. Apologies don’t mean a damn thing.

You think by saying sorry and looking respectful is something in this world. But, generosity and kindness and politeness are just the weak fearing the strong. Save your petty apologies. I don’t give a rat’s ass about them.” She turned and went to the counter. I turned around and almost collided with Jaise. I caught a glimpse of pure hatred and anger in his eyes. “You heard what she said,” I commented.

“Of course. I didn’t like anything I just heard, and I’m trying to keep my anger in check.” He said. I blinked and then I saw something that caught my eye. “Hey, when did you get a red streak in your hair? It’s bright. I don’t know how I missed that.” I said. He smiled. “There’s a lot of things that you may not have noticed. We have our ways of hiding things.” He said. His smile was real, but it seemed more or less forced. “Jaise, just let it go.” I said and walked back to the table where Liam was the only one there.

A waitress came by, and I asked her if she had a piece of paper and a pen. She gave me a curious look and then wiped a strand of dark hair from her forehead. I saw a bright yellow streak in her hair. “Hey, nice streak,” I commented. She looked scared and confused. “Uh, yeah. Let me know if there’s anything you need.” She said. She handed me the pen and paper and walked away. I wrote in small letters. “Let me know what Jaise tells her.” I slipped it to Liam, and he gave me a shocked look.

He started to speak, and I silenced him with a look. He smiled and nodded. He didn’t say anything just started to scribble a bunch of words down and never once said a word. After a good number of minutes, he quickly slipped the paper back to me, and I stashed it in my pocket when Jaise and Julie appeared. “What’s going on?” She asked. “Oh, we’re just waiting for the food that we ordered, so you want to join? Or do you have somewhere else to be?” Liam said. “I’ll just see if you wouldn’t mind stopping at McDonalds or something,” I said.

“That won’t be necessary. I took the liberty of ordering for you. I hope you don’t mind.” Jaise said. “So, I have a feeling you talked to the waitress,” I said. He didn’t say anything, but he looked me straight in the eyes. “And if I did?” He asked. “I would hope you didn’t say anything to her about or based on me,” I replied. He smiled. “Well, I can say I didn’t mention names. But, maybe we had a little chat about her attitude.” He said secretively. I looked at him and then I faced the table. The yellow streaked girl was back with a giant plate of food. A man in his early twenties came and opened a small stand that the girl placed the food to rest.

“How come he wasn’t the one carrying the food?” I asked Jaise quietly. He smirked, and the girl looked at me strangely. The young man seemed to blush because he seemed to sense what I said. “I don’t mean any disrespect,” I told them. “No, it’s fine.” The young man said. “No, he wanted to. But, I like to prove that I can do anything that a male can do. I don’t have any shame about equaling or besting a man.” The girl said. I grinned, and the others seemed not to know what to say. They placed the food that the others ordered, and when it came to my turn, I couldn’t believe what she placed in front of me.

A giant supreme pizza, a triple stacked hamburger, a giant stack of pancakes with strawberry jam, and a huge waffle with grape jelly on it. Then she placed a giant slab of bacon and a plate of sausage down next to the waffles, and my eyes got so huge at what I was seeing. The girl laughed. “I take it that he doesn’t eat much?” I felt my face heat up, and I looked away. “Matt, relax. Just eat up. How long has it been since you’ve had a decent meal?” Liam asked. “Um… I think when I was four during Thanksgiving, I had a giant plate of turkey and mashed potatoes with some baked beans and a giant slice of pumpkin pie.” I said.

They all looked at me with wide eyes. “What?” I asked feeling self-conscience. “You never really had a complete meal?” Julie asked. “Does Peanut butter and jelly count?” I asked. Their eyes grew large. “That’s all you have been eating?” Jaise asked. “Well, every once in a while they throw me a French fry or an onion ring. Usually stale. But, still. It’s a change of pace.” They all stared at me dumbfounded, and I felt my cheeks burn. “Seriously kid. You…” “Yes! I didn’t have real meals. I ate the same thing every fucking day! So, can we just drop this?”

I snapped and felt the tears escape. “Matt, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push.” He went to rest a hand on my shoulder, and I pulled away. He didn’t seem mad, or even mad. He seemed resigned. They ate quickly and walked out leaving me alone staring at a bunch of plates full of food. “Hey, you don’t have to feel so guilty about how you reacted. I could tell that it was bothering you lot. I’m sorry.” The girl said. “It’s fine,” I said not looking at her. “I shouldn’t have acted that way.”

“You have got to stop this pity party! You don’t always have to apologize for everything. Sometimes it’s the other person’s fault and not yours. So stop taking the blame for everything.” She said and started to walk away. “Hey, um…” She turned, “Yes?” She asked. “What are you going to do with all this food?” I don’t feel hungry at the moment.” She smiled. “You’re going to take it with you,” She said. “I can’t take this much food. I couldn’t even eat this much in a week if I tried.” She smiled. “Well, you better take it and try to eat it. Otherwise, it’s just going to go to waste.” She said. “True, but I don’t want them to see me bring all this food into the truck.”

She grinned at me. “I know you don’t know me, but if you’ll trust me this one time. I can put the food in the fridge for you. I don’t know if they’ll notice or not, but I think you could play dumb.” She said. “There’s two fridges in the back camper. I guess the empty one would be for me?” I said in a questioning tone. “So, you’re not sure?” She asked. “I don’t know anything about what’s going on.” She frowned. “You don’t want to be with them?” I looked out the window and sighed. “I do, but I don’t know them. But, I found out that one is my cousin, and I have to trust him to don’t I?”

She looked me up and down. “You do, and you don’t. Don’t until you know him, and then if you find that he’s worth it, then trust him.” She told me. I gave her a shy smile. “Why don’t you head out and I’ll have the food in the fridge before you all drive away, We all work together to help each other. Don’t worry. The food will be there. They won’t know. But, answer me one question first.” I gave her a skeptical look. “It’s just a simple question. When was the last time you ate anything. No matter how small. How long has it been?” She asked.

“To be honest with you? Five days.” She froze. “You haven’t eaten in five days? Why didn’t you scarf this shit down?” She wondered. “I don’t know. I guess it’s because I didn’t buy it. I didn’t earn it. And I’m not good with owing people.” I said. “Haven’t you ever had anyone do anything nice for you just because they could?” She asked. I shook my head. She sighed. “Well, here’s your chance. You have three people who have helped, protected and provided for you. Help them succeed.” She told me. I nodded and said, “I know. But, I can’t eat if I don’t feel hungry, and I am trying to make the change. I just need some help.” I said to her.

“Well, I’m sure they will help you. But, here’s something you need to do. You need to allow them to help you. You need to allow it.” She said. I nodded. “So, is there anything else you need to know?” I asked. “Nope. Just that I would like you to try and be happy.” She said and then shooed me out the door. I walked over to the others. They gave me a strangely reserved look. “I want to say that I’m sorry.” Jaise raised a hand. “You don’t have to say sorry. We shouldn’t have pushed you on the questions.” He told me.

“No, in this case, it’s my doing. I shouldn’t have snapped like I did. I know it’s hard to believe my income of foods to eat. But, I shouldn’t have reacted that way.” I said. They all smiled, and we climbed into the truck. Liam pulled out of the diner parking lot and back onto the highway. A couple of hours down the road and we came to a traffic jam. “There shouldn’t be traffic this backed up here,” Liam said.

I didn’t know what to make of it. Liam couldn’t back out either. Cars on both sides started piling up, and we were now blocked in. “Damn it. I can’t get out.” Liam swore. “It’s okay. It was almost night by the time traffic started to move. It moved a little forward and then it stopped. We were there until the sun began to set and that’s when things took a turn for the worst. “Hey, what’s that?” I asked. They all looked out toward where I pointed. Another storm seems to be trying to creep up on us. But, it didn’t look right. The storm clouds looked a sickening lime green, and the lightning flashed a golden pink light across the sky. The others tensed up and even paled.

But, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Just a freak light show in the sky. “Why are you guys freaking out?” I asked. “You ever see lights like that in the sky before?” Julie asked me. I nodded, “Once.” I replied. “Let me guess. You just thought it was just some freak light show?” I nodded again. “Well, let me tell you it isn’t what you think. These unique storms and colorful lightning isn’t from normal weather conditions. But, from people from our world. Our kind with special gifts. You just don’t know what kind of skills and powers we have yet.” I looked back at the sky and asked, “Is it dangerous?”

No one answered right away. “You have no idea,” Julie mumbled. After another hour, traffic started to clear up, and we moved on. By the time we made it to the airport, I was feeling groggy, and I wished I would have eaten something. But, I couldn’t say anything. They would know, and they would probably be angry with me. I couldn’t let them see disappointment and anger on their face. So, I pretended like I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t tired and I did what they were doing. “You okay?” Jaise asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little groggy I guess. But, I’m okay.” I told him. He nodded and looked back at his friends. “So, now what?” I asked. “Now, we are going to take this plane to a small airport and port and then take a ship over to our destination. There’s only one way to get there, and we have to sail.” Jaise said. “Wow, I get to take a plane and boat all in one shot. I’ve never been on one before.” I told them. Liam smiled. “Well, now all your wishes can come true.” I glared at him. “Was that necessary?” I asked.

He grinned and said, “Well, I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. But, you’re going to be able to do both. Isn’t it something you’ve always dreamed of doing?” He asked me. “Yes, but I wouldn’t feel like my life was unfulfilled if I didn’t.” They all rolled their eyes. “Oh please be happy once in your life kid,” Liam said. “Alright, leave him alone. It’s going to take some time. Now, are we going to fly or just stand here looking at each other uncomfortably?” Jaise asked. “Nope, let’s go,” Julie said. We started to head for the doors when a group of people blocked our path. “So, what is it you want?” Jaise asked.

“Oh, I think you know. Someone in your party is human. This person is also destined to inherit a power more powerful than someone regular like us. So, we all know who this person is.” A man in his early thirties said. He looked right at me. I didn’t understand any of what they were saying. “He has nothing to do with this.” Jaise said. They all grinned. The young woman who barely looked old enough to drink. And two men behind me, twins, both looked in their late teens. Both were muscular and good looking. Short spiked light brown hair. Shiny green eyes and a wicked smile.

“What do you want?” Julie asked. ’Oh, you should know. We want the kid, and we need you dead. See, we know you won’t stop from coming after us, so no hard feelings right? You just need to die.” The woman said. I gave her a death glare. “I like this kid. He has balls.” The woman said with a smirk. “Jen, are you fancying the boy?” The man next to her asked. She laughed coldly. “I may as a toy and nothing else.” I felt my face flush. Jaise stepped in front of me.

“You don’t think I’m going to let that happen do you?” He snapped. “I don’t see how you’re going to stop us. We out number you. Also, we are stronger.” Jaise smiled. “We will see.” Julie charged the girl, Liam the man next to her and my cousin took the twins behind us. I’ve never seen anyone move so fast in my life. Several minutes passed and Julie ended up getting pinned to the ground, Liam had the man up against the side of the building, and Jaise had a pointed stick up against one of the twin’s heart. The other gave him a look like he wanted to rip his heart out. “You don’t think you are going to be able to beat us do you?” Jen asked. I looked around, and my group didn’t seem to be faring well.

“I can see that you all need some help.” I heard a familiar voice said. I looked over to see the girl from the diner kick Jen across the parking lot. How did she have the strength to do that?! I wondered. The man struggled to break free of Liam. “No, I don’t think so.” He snarled. Julie and the girl faced off against Jen. “Julie, help Jaise.” Julie looked at her and then she turned to face me. “Got it. “Oh, tramp. You can’t beat me.” Jen said with venom in her tone. “We shall see,” She said. Julie tackled the one who faced against Jaise and the man he held the stick to slap it away.

“You won’t kill me that easily.” Jaise glared at him. “I don’t want to kill anyone.” With the girl on their side, things changed. I just stood there feeling helpless and not sure what I could do. I watched everything happen in what appeared to be slow motion and then time sped up again. “I don’t think you will all make it out of here unscathed.” One of the twins said. “No, but I know that he’ll get out of here alive, and he won’t be alone.” My cousin said. The man smirked. “You’re right. He won’t be alone.” Jaise ended up getting kicked away, and the girl ended up pinned to the ground. The pointed stick rolled towards me and the one twin who held Jaise held his stake?! I just realized what it was. He aimed it at Jaise’s chest and before he could strike him, I rushed for the one Jaise dropped, picked it up and jammed it into the boy’s chest.

He screamed in pain and fell to the ground. “You killed my brother! You fucking son of a bitch!” The other screamed. I couldn’t even move or breathe at what I’ve done. The others went into a rage and attacked in a fury. I couldn’t even believe what how fast they were moving and how they knew to fight like that. I’ve seen black belts. I knew someone who had three black belts in three different forms of martial arts. But, they put them all to shame. I couldn’t even keep with the low ducks and the flips. The kicks and punches.

The counters and blocks. They had them all beaten, and they vanished into thin air. “We should go before more come back,” Liam said. We entered the airport and security were running towards the entrance. “Hey, we saw a bunch of kids and a middle-aged man fight. What’s going on?” A guard asked us. “We were coming to board a plane when we ended up getting attacked. I don’t know what happened, though. We fought them off and then they ran off.” Julie explained. “Hey, someone is losing skin!” I whipped around.

Luckily no one was paying attention to me. “What?” A guard asked completely stunned. “Do you have any knowledge about that?” We all shook our heads. He seemed to buy it and then ran outside shouting. “Go to your fight.” Jaise snickered. “What?” I asked. “He just mumbled something about going to demand security cameras get installed.” Everyone laughed. “I don’t get it,” I said. “Matt, you just staked someone, and now they are dying and their skin is falling off. Do you think a camera is a good thing?” Jaise asked. I paled and said, “I see. Dang. Good thing too. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again.”

They all smiled and then we went to the counter, got our tickets and climbed onto a small plane where we flew to the port and found a boat. “Hey, Liam. What about your car?” I asked. “Oh, don’t worry. We have a ‘friend’ who promised to take it to the vehicle storage. It will be safe there.” He told me. “Do I know him?” I asked. “No, you don’t. But, you’ll recognize her when the time comes.” Her? Well, there’s no point in worrying about it. We arrived at the small boat. It was just big enough for the four of us to be comfortable while we went to our destination. But, I hoped it didn’t take too long. I didn’t want to be sitting in one place too long.

Chapter 3

The boat sailed across the ocean, and I stood at the front and it felt awesome to feel the warm breeze on my face. I leaned against the railing and just stayed in that place for a long time. “Hey, are you alright?” I turned with a grin on my face and saw Jaise lean against the railing next to me. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’m great in fact.” He smiled at me. “So, I see you’re enjoying the weather and the sun,” He said. He looked off into the horizon. “Yes, I have never felt at peace as much as I do now,” I said. He smiled and walked away. “You don’t have to leave man, you can stay,” I said.

“You need some time alone. I will honor that.” He said. “Well, then stay and be quiet for a while and it will work out the same,” I said to him. He leaned back against the rail and the sun seemed to grow more brightly. We stayed like this for a while. Just relaxing and enjoying being free for a change. “So, we are almost there.” Jaise said after a while “Really?” I asked. “Yeah, we are almost there. I think you will enjoy it. There’s plenty to do.” He said. “Um, I do have a question.” He looked at me curiously. “Is this a place where I can explore, or am I going to have a babysitter the entire time?”

He gave me an appraising look. “Would you mind if we watch from a distance?” I gave him a droll look. “You don’t trust me,” I said. “Of course, I do. I just don’t trust them!” I smirked at that. “What, are you afraid I’m going to find some poor desperate Islander and sleep with a group of them?” I asked. I tried to stay calm, but he laughed wickedly. “What?” I asked. “You tried to sound so confident and sure of yourself. But, your heart started to beat like crazy when you said that. A normal person would be convinced. But, you can’t lie to me.” He said.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “I’m not going to make you mad. So, just forget it.” He told me. “No, say what you were going to say!” I snapped. He gave me a look. “I’m not worried about you going out and sleeping with people. I know you’re a virgin. So, I don’t-“ He stopped and looked at me. I turned away, and I felt the heat rise to my face. “Matt. It’s okay. You don’t have to be embarrassed about that.” I still didn’t look at him.

“How can I not be? You just called me out on it.” I said coldly. “I didn’t say it to make you mad. I admire your resolve.” He said. “What resolve? I couldn’t get laid at school because no girl wanted me. They all thought I was a freak, and they hated me.” I said, and I felt myself starting to tear up. “No, you’re wrong. A couple girls there actually thought you were cute and wanted to date you. But, they were afraid pf your step brother. They wanted you, though.” I felt myself blushing even worse than before. “So, they just wanted to sleep with me then,” I commented. “One did yes. The other is a virgin as well. She wanted you for you and wanted a serious relationship.” He explained.

I didn’t know how to respond to that. “I see you’re at a loss for words,” He commented. “I am. The last couple people who knew the truth about my love life always made fun of me.” I said and looked away from him. “Matt, it’s not a bad thing to not have had sex. No one here is going to judge you. I promise you that.” He said. I just shook my head. “Please just don’t say anything. If people find out sooner or later, that’s fine. But, I don’t want them knowing just yet.” I said.

He smiled. “It’s okay Matt. It’s okay. I understand.” He told me. He walked away then, and I remained against the railing and stared out across the sea. I didn’t see anyone and I didn’t look around. As the sun raced across the sky, the wind went from warm to cool. But, I still didn’t move. Then I saw something in front of us. It looked like a huge island! Giant palm trees and other trees covered it. I saw three large waterfalls. A medium waterfall fell on the east side and a giant one on the west. In the middle of the island on the largest mountain, another waterfall.

It was bigger than both of them, and it seemed to sparkle in the fading light. As we got closer, I was able to make out tall stone buildings. It looked like a small cathedral stood on a giant hill and was the tallest building on the island. Smaller houses and high wooden bridges connected the sections of hills and valleys together and large stone steps went up and down the sides and led down too far for me to see what was there. It looked like the High Elves in the game, Champions of Norrath.

The island spread out too far for me to see the entire thing. “Matt, what do you think?” I glanced to my left and saw Julie walking up to me. “I think it’s amazing. But, do you guys own it?” I asked. She laughed. “No, but we have a year round pass to the kyanite district. It’s gorgeous there. The large houses are thick and strong kind of hurts, but they are luxurious, and they have some of the most comfortable furniture, and the movies and TV’s are awesome. The music is all types, and I think you’ll enjoy them.” She said. I smiled.

“What kind of activities does it have?” I asked. “Oh. Well, there’s a lot of different things you can do. All kinds of sports, swimming, and more than I can even describe.” With that, she left me to look out on the island and see everything there was to see. We pulled up under through a low arc and then I saw a huge city. It looked like a mixture of Moseby from Dead Island and Chicago. We pulled up to a thick wooden dock and Jaise; Liam and Julie climbed out, and I followed quietly behind them.

“Matt, if you want to go and explore the island it’s okay.” Jaise said. I gave him a suspicious look. “No, it’s okay. I won’t stop you. Just give me a call if you need anything.” He said. “How easy is it to get lost?” I asked. “It isn’t as easy as it looks. They have signs all over the place. Each sign will point you to the different districts, towns, cities and tourist spots. Also, the different activities the island has and you won’t be in danger. They have plenty of lifeguards and paramedics all over the island and for the sports. You won’t be in danger. I promise.” I grinned at him.

“I have no fears of being in danger. Since you’ll never actually leave me alone.” I said. “You don’ trust me?” He asked sounding wounded. “I trust you. But, you said you’d watch from afar.” He just shook his head. “You doubt me. I just said you can go out on your own. I know I said I’d watch out for you. I will continue to do that, but you don’t need me. They’re guards everywhere.” He said, and he watched as I jogged down the street and went to explore the island.

I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I didn’t care. I found a set of stone steps and walked up them. Giant trees and shrubs lined the side of the steps, and I stayed at the railing and when I reached the top, I could see a giant jungle off into the distance. I walked around the outer island and saw the districts. There were ten different places with houses and huts. Different roads that all led to different places and giant clusters of trees slightly separated the different places. I continued up the wooden ramp and across a higher area.

I saw a bunch of people playing volleyball. Men and woman from around my age to the late twenties. All were playing a huge game. They even used three volleyballs because of the size of the teams. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A large basketball and football game took place on opposite ends of the volleyball. The valley that the games were being played on stretched out for far more than I could see all in one shot and I could see figures moving. “Hey, kid! You want to play?” Someone called. I looked around, and then I noticed an older teen looking at me.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked. Laughter and snickers rang out from the two teams. “I hope you play better than your intelligence makes you look.” I glared at him. “Give me a chance, my lord and I’ll prove it to you.” I said sarcastically. The one who spoke gave me an appraising look. The others laughed. “Well, he has wits. I like you, kid.” The teen said. “Well, since you have thirty people, and we only have twenty-nine, we’ll take him.” A girl said to the other team. “That’s fair. We do have the better players regardless.” The boy said. The girl grinned at him. “Only out of cheating,” She said, and I went to stand in the spot where a girl pointed.

“Try not to mess up,” She warned. I nodded and for several minutes, no one hit the ball to me. So, I was a little off when a ball came to me. I missed it by a fraction of an inch, and the ball went out of bounds before I could get it. “What the hell?! I told you not to screw up!” The girl snapped at me. “Marci, shut the hell up! He made the right call.” The girl who took me said. “Yes, Johanna.” She mumbled and gave me a death glare. I was in the seventh row away from the net, and the ball came to me again. I jumped up and spiked it across the net. It hit the ground hard, and the ref shouted, “Point!”

Another came and then another. I jumped and leaped. I dived and spiked the ball over and over again. Cheers rang from my side and groaned from the other. By the time the game was over, we were only down by three points. We made a twenty point comeback. My team cheered, and they hugged each other for the quick turnaround. No one came up to me, though, and I started to walk away, smiling slightly and sweaty. I turned to head back to one of the paths that I turned to come up here.

I almost got to the path when someone came up and grabbed my arm. I turned quickly and jerked backward. “Hey. I’m sorry if I startled you. I just wanted to thank you for your role you played in the game back there.” The girl said. “Do I know you?” I asked her. Her dark hair and the yellow streak seemed familiar, and she smiled. “You were at the Diner. You’re the one who…” I dropped to my knees. “What’s the matter?” She asked. I shook my head. “You haven’t eaten have you?” She asked. I shook my head again.

“Why the hell not?” She asked. “Never got the chance to eat anything you brought to me.” She frowned and shook her head. “It’s almost been a week. We need to get you something to eat.” I just smiled. “No, I’ll be fine. I’ve gone almost as long on more than one occasion.” I told her. She just frowned still. “You know? You should learn to smile more.

You look so much more beautiful when you smile.” I told her and then she gave me a seductive look. I felt my cheeks flush, and I looked away. My heart increased in pace. “Well, you should know that I’m Ashlee.” I smiled. “Matt.” She grinned. “I know who you are. I’m friends with your cousin, remember?” She asked. I nodded. “So, what’s next on your agenda?” She asked. “I think I’ll go swimming,” I told her. “You have swimming trunks?” She asked. “I laughed. “No, but I’m sure I could find some around here.” She grinned. “Yes, and I can help you if you’d like,” She suggested. “I would like that,” I told her. Then she took the lead, and I followed close behind her.

She led me to a large summer store. They had all kinds of things. Camping equipment, lawn chairs, picnic tables, patio tables, those candles and lamps that help keep bugs away, to swimwear. I couldn’t believe that they had all kinds of things. They even sold swimming pools of all sizes, and filters, and tarp and chemicals to keep the water clean. “See anything you like?” Ashlee asked. “Yes, I do. But, I don’t understand how this island came to be.” I said. “Well, a long time ago. An underwater volcano shoots lava over millions of years and the lava hardens, and it turns into the land.

As more lava kept flowing, it keeps pushing up more land, and it expands the island until the land rises above the water level and seeds from plants get blown across the water and finds a way to plant themselves and then once they grow, they spread more seeds. Which then allows other animals to come and then people show up and then look. We have an island with life and fun games and clothes and food.” I just glared at her. “Oh, that’s not what you meant?” She asked.

I didn’t say anything. I just stared at her. She laughed. “Sorry, well. A small company wanted to have an island for people to have a tourist place, and a place to escape for a while.” She explained. “I understand that.” I said and walked up to the male clothing store. I grabbed a pair of thick silken swimming trunks. They were black with purple trimmings and waistband. I don’t know why I wanted them so much. There was a cheaper pair there.

But, I couldn’t make myself take the simple pair. I grabbed the silk trunks and walked up to the counter. Ashlee followed without question and handed over a wad of cash to the clerk without me saying a word. “You’re letting your girlfriend buy your clothes?” The woman snapped. “She’s not my girlfriend,” I said quietly. “We aren’t together. Besides, this money isn’t mine. It’s his cousins. He asked me to get him what he needed or wanted. So, that’s what I’m going to do.” She said. The clerk’s tone and expression lightened up.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you,” She said. “I guess it’s something that I should have expected. There isn’t a damn person in this world who doesn’t prejudge me before they get to know me. Why should a sales person be any different?” I said coldly. I grabbed the swimming trunks and walked out. Ashlee is staring at me with a wide-eyed expression. “I didn’t think you had it in you,” She said to me when we left the shop. “Had what in me?” I asked. “The ability to stand up for yourself.

Jaise said that you didn’t defend yourself and always took the blame for everything.” I turned away from her. “Yeah, well usually I deserved it,” I told her. “I don’t believe that. No one deserves complete and total punishment. I can tell you’ve had a major scar on your heart. I can’t imagine what you went through growing up, but you have a darkness from pain and mistrust. But, you don’t have that anymore. You have people who care about you and only want the best. And you have people who will help you and won’t judge you for everything.” She said.

“You think that I’m innocent, but I’m not as innocent as you think I am. I’ve made mistakes. I am not perfect.” She just stared. “No. But, no one is perfect. Everyone should be allowed the benefit of the doubt.” She said to me. “I don’t know. But, we shall see.” She looked at me with a curious look. “So, are you ready to go swimming?” She asked. I smiled like a fool. “Of course, I am.” She grinned. “Where do we go to get changed?” I asked. “Follow me. We’ll go back to the Ruby District. My bungalow is there, and we can change.” She told me, and I followed her along the wooden path.

We walked down and around. The path turned to the side, and we followed it across. We went up and down wooden bridges. Across decent sized grassy plains. Finally, we turned off onto a paved road and passed by a sign that read “Ruby.” We walked passed it, and I saw that the district was so properly named. All the bungalow’s and huts were all different shades of red. Some of the buildings were blood red. Some looked like a bright flaming meteor. Others were darker, more crimson.

We walked up the largest crimson building and entered. “Matt, you can get changed in the small spare bathroom. I’ll be down in just a few minutes.” I nodded, and I entered the ‘small’ room. It looked like a room out of a small castle. I quickly took off my clothes and put on the swimming trunks. I hated feeling exposed in a strange place. Anyone could have walked in. I folded my clothes over my arm and walked back to the living room area.

Ashlee walked down in her bikini, and I stared wide-eyed. I felt my heart rate increase, and my face flushed. She looked gorgeous! “Are you okay?” She asked. I felt my body respond to her and my face burned. “Y-yes!” I squeaked. She smirked. “You’re not. You are embarrassed. You’ve never seen a female dressed like this have you?” She asked. I shook my head. She glanced down and gave me a wicked grin. I gave her a confused look. She walked up right in front of me and traced her hand down my thigh. I shuddered and pulled away.

She looked at me with a strange look. “You. You’re a virgin.” She stated, and I looked away. “Hey. You don’t have to worry about that.” I glared at her. “If you’re going to make fun of me, then I might as well just leave,” I said. I said and went to walk out. “Wait.” She said and grabbed my arm. “What?” I demanded. “You know? You’ve been judged and punished so much in your life that you’re so quick to condemn others. If I wanted to make fun of you for waiting, I would have done it before now! But, I am not making fun of you.” She told me with a steady glare. I sighed.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m just used to it. All the friends I have ever had always mocked me because I wasn’t sleeping around.” She shook her head. “You still want to go swimming?” She asked. I nodded. She motioned towards the door, and she walked out. I followed close behind her. She walked to the side of the bungalow, and I saw a small garage there. She walked in and walked out pushing a motorcycle.

“That’s yours?” I asked with surprise. “You don’t think a female can ride a motorcycle?” She asked. “That’s not it. I just didn’t take you for a biker.” I said with a grin. “Kid, you…” She paused then and grinned. “You’re picking on me.” I laughed. She grinned back. “All in a fun, though.” Opened a small compartment and said, “You can put your clothes in here.” I nodded. I set them inside and then she closed and locked it with her key.

She climbed on and started it up. I quickly climbed on behind her. She turned to give me a wicked smile and then drove out of the driveway. “What was the look for?” I asked. “You’re…um, pretty happy back there.” She said. I blushed and smiled. We drove up the road and pulled out onto a dirt road with golden side markers like on a highway. And the split lines that separated the two lanes seemed to be made out of steel silver. We made our way up, and we came upon a parking area, with a high chain link fence. The gate was open, and a lot of people were already there. But, the pool was huge, and there was plenty of space for most of the entire island to sit comfortably in it.

We got off, and Ashlee handed the keys to the attendant. “Ah, Ashlee. You know the keys will be safe here.” The older man said to her. She smiled. “I know Jack. Thank you.” He smiled and told us to have fun. We walked through the gate, and I went running into the pool. Ashlee didn’t look too enthused for some reason, but I have never felt so relaxed and rushed into the water. I jumped into the deep end and sank to the bottom for almost a minute and just floated above the bottom until I needed to take a breath of air. I then swam up to the top and kicked my feet and moved my hands around to keep floating.

“Matt!” I heard Ashlee shout. I looked over and waved my hand. She looked around and shouted my name for a while until she caught sight of me after a while. She jumped into the pool and swam over to me. “Are you okay?! The lifeguards were about to dive in!” She said loudly. “Oh, sorry. I’m fine. I just wanted to enjoy being under the water in the real pool. I’ve never been in one.” I admitted. “Well, now you have a chance to experience real fun. Let’s get on with it! Let’s have some fun!” She said laughing and splashing me with water.

We even played Marco Polo. And red rover. And all kinds of kids games, including the tag. We got a bunch of others to play as well, and we spent hours having a lot of fun. By the time the pool closed down, the sun had dropped far in the sky. Ashlee’s and my hair dripped water around our faces. We walked out, and I climbed back on the motorcycle behind Ashlee again. She clicked on the headlights, and we took off down the road. “What’s next? Are you going to take me back to Jaise?” I asked.

“No, if you don’t want to. It’s only a little after nine. We could go to the high plateau. They have huge overhead lights like you would see in a football stadium. We could go there and…” She stopped talking for a moment. I leaned tightly against her and pain shot through me. “I’m not going to ask if you’re okay. You haven’t eaten, and you’re starving. I’m done playing games with you. You need to eat fucking something.” She snapped. “I…” She shook her head furiously. “You need to eat.” I could tell by her tone that she wasn’t up for a stubborn person. “But, I don’t want to stop having fun. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.”

“Matt, you will be able to have fun tomorrow. You need rest. You need food. Please. Stop being a hero and stop trying to get yourself killed.” She said. “Please don’t tell Jaise about this. I don’t want him to be mad at me.” I begged. “He should know,” She commented. “No! You don’t understand. He’ll be so mad at me. He’ll….” Ashlee shook her head. “He won’t hurt you. Not really. Yes, he’ll be pissed off. But, he won’t hurt you. Not like the others.” She drove all the way to the Onyx District and like the ruby one; it matched up to its name.

Everything was in different shades of black. Some light and some so dark, I couldn’t even see that they were there until someone moved a black curtain and some lights shown out. She pulled up to the largest house in the district, and I walked up to the door. Ashlee was right behind me. She knocked on the door, and Jaise opened the door. “Hey, Ashlee. What’s going on?” He asked. “Oh, you want to order a couple pizzas?” She asked. “Sure, but why?” She pointed at me. “What he hasn’t eaten today?” He asked.

I know she mouthed something to her because he grew pissed off very quickly. “Matt,” He said coldly. “What?” I said. “You haven’t eaten in days. Why? We ordered food for you. Why didn’t you eat?” he scolded. “I lost my appetite after our spat. And now it’s starting to catch up with me.” I told him. “God damn it! Matt, why the hell would you do that? How could you-“ He started to snap at me, but Ashlee decked him hard in the jaw. Jaise stumbled and turned murderous.

“I knew you’d be pissed, but I didn’t think you’d be a douche! Damn it. Arguing isn’t going to help him. Get him some stupid food, and then scold him. But, understand his point of view!” She said, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Her eyes looked like they were flashing lightning. “Ashlee, this is a family affair.” Ashlee stood in front of me defiantly. “That may be so. But, I won’t have you bully him. How is that fair to him?” She asked, “The girl has a point.” I turned to see Julie and Liam standing there. “Damn it.” He snapped. He took out his phone and ordered five extra-large pizzas. All different types.

“Food is on the way. Now, how about that argument?” He asked. “No, I won’t stay here if all you’re going to do is bitch me out,” I told him and went to leave. Jaise grabbed my arm and said, “I’m sorry. I am. I’m just worried about you.” I smiled. “I know. I should have eaten when I have the chance. I’m just so used to taking care of myself and trying to find food. So, I’m just not to having food given to me. So, I’m a little defensive of having things handed to me.” He nodded and smiled. We sat around the table all five of us, and we decided to play clue and some card games.

It was a little over an hour before the pizza showed up and we were laughing and joking around with each other. We all had tears in our eyes from the jokes. Jaise handed over the pizza guy the sixty bucks for the extra-large pizzas and a fifteen for a tip. I just stared at him, and so did the pizza guy. “Are you sure sir?” Jaise nodded. “I would take it,” Liam said, “You won’t win this argument,” Liam said. “I wasn’t going to argue.” The boy said quietly.

“I would take it. He doesn’t do anything he doesn’t mean to.” I told him. He smiled shyly at me and then nodded. “Thank you, sir.” The boy said and walked out. We cleared off the table, and he put the food on the table. Julie opened the pizza boxes, and I saw the four meat supreme one. I used the pizza cutter and took eight slices and put them on my plate. I started scarfing down the food. Everyone just stared at me. I looked up and saw them staring. “What?”

I asked after swallowing the last slice on my plate. “How much are you planning on eating?” Julie asked. “As much as he wants.” Liam laughed. The others chuckled and stopped eating after a while. But, I kept stuffing my face. I think I ate a little over a whole pizza on my own. “How do you feel?” Jaise asked. “I feel good, but stuffed and I feel like I’m going to explode,” I said with a smile.

They all laughed, and we played some more games until two in the morning. I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, so I said I would go to bed, and Jaise showed me where my room would be on the third floor. There were only two bedrooms on the second floor, and they were both in use. I thought I would feel trapped up there. But, I didn’t. He watched me climb the steps. “so that you know; this door will always be open.

You don’t have to feel like you’re trapped, you know.” He said. “You mean you won’t close the door?” I asked. He shook his head. “Well, maybe for a moment. We do need to sweep behind it.” He said with a grin. I rolled my eyes at him and smirked. He laughed and ruffled my hair as we walked away. I combed it back and walked up the steps. I closed the sliding curtain at the top of the steps and looked around. I saw a giant king sized bed with a fifty-inch screen TV. Game consoles, video games, movies were all in the stand where the flat screen sat. A huge collection of clothes hung on hangers in the closet, and I found the dresser full of clothes and I couldn’t understand how they were my size.

I grabbed a pair of black shorts, a pair of underwear and a black sleeveless shirt and walked down to the bathroom. I was about to enter when Liam walked up the steps. “Something up?” He asked. “No, just about to take a shower, unless it’s not okay. Then I’ll wait.” He laughed. “No, it’s completely fine. Why wouldn’t it be okay?” I shrugged. “Go ahead. I’d use Jaise’s bathroom. It’s a master bathroom, and I’ll let him know that you’re taking a shower.

This way no one will bug you.” He said. I smiled. “Thank you,” I said. He showed me where my cousin’s room was and then he walked down the steps. I feared that everyone would come up and play a prank on me, but I didn’t think it would happen. I didn’t take any chances on it in any case, so I locked the door to the bathroom. I took off my clothes and turned on the water. I let the water heat up, and once it was just barely tolerable, I jumped in. The steaming water hit my skin, and I tensed up until I got used to it.

Then the hot water relaxed and loosened the muscles, and I slowly washed up. I think I had taken about half an hour before I climbed out. I grabbed a towel quickly dried off. I then dressed and put on some deodorant. I put on the underwear and the shorts and grabbed my shirt, unlocked and opened the door and I saw Jaise sitting on his bed. “So, how was the shower?” He asked and I couldn’t tell if he was angry or not. “i…I’m sorry. If you’re mad about the shower, I’ll…” He shook his head with a smile. “No, it’s alright man. I don’t mind. How does it feel to be clean again?” He asked. I laughed.

“It feels nice. It’s been a few days since I had a nice shower.” I told him. He nodded. “You exhausted?” He asked. “You truly have no idea,” I told him. “Get some rest. We will do some fun stuff tomorrow and the next day. We don’t have to leave anytime soon.” He told me. I nodded and then I walked up to my room. I pulled the covers back on the bed, and I climbed in. There was a box fan on the small table next to the bed that wasn’t there before. How did someone know I couldn’t sleep without a fan? I wondered. It didn’t matter now. I clicked it on and rolled over to go to sleep.

I don’t know how long I was sleeping, but I felt someone standing over me and I sat up quickly and jumped out of bed. I stood in a defensive stance until I saw it was only Jaise. “Nice reaction time,” He said. I looked down and the crossed my arms across my chest. “What’s the matter, he said, “You can’t be embarrassed by me talking to you when you don’t have a shirt.” I shrugged. He rolled his eyes. I dropped my arms to my side and tried to relax while I tried to find something that I could have a conversation with Jaise without making it awkward. “So, what time is it?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s a little after eleven in the morning. And we were all wondering if you wanted to go to the water park we have here. It will make magic waters look like a child’s playpen.” I just stared at him. “Is that even possible?” I asked. He gave me a lopsided grin. “You will just have to go and find out,” He told me.

I smiled at him and said, “Well, let’s see if you can prove it.” I replied. He smiled and nodded. He walked towards the staircase and said, “Get your swimming trunks on. We are going to have some fun today!” He said and then walked down the steps. I switched out of my shorts and put the trunks on. Then I walked down the steps. Liam, Julie, and Ashlee were already there and dressed. Jaise joined us a short minute later and then grabbed his keys and then we all headed out.

“We have a friend coming over as well.” Jaise said. A boy about Jaise’s current age appeared, and we all got into his convertible there wasn’t enough room for Ashlee. “Um, I’ll meet you there,” She said. “Uh, if they’re no laws against this, you could sit on my lap.” I said and then blushed. The others stared at me, and she smiled at me. She didn’t even hesitate, and she sat on my lap. She turned and looked at me with a smug smile. But, it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. It made me feel glad. “You comfortable?” Jaise’s friend asked from the front seat.

I didn’t say anything, except stare at Ashlee and try to think of something to say to her. “Hey, kid. Come on. Say something.” He said. “Who are you?” I asked turning to him. “Jeff, and watch your tone with me, kid.” He snapped. I glared at him, but Jaise reacted fast. He slapped him without looking because he watched the road, but he did give him a dark sideways glance. “You know better than to treat people like crap. Especially my cousin,” He said. “He’s just a punk kid,” Jeff said. “You want me to kick the shit out of you?” Jaise asked in a calm but cold tone.

“Jaise, it isn’t your place to protect me. Let me defend myself.” I said. “ it is my place. Am I the oldest and Jeff? You’re supposed to be a friend of mine. Not a dick.” That seemed to calm Jeff down. We all rode in silence and after half an hour and then I whispered to Ashlee, “So, what are your plans for the water park?” She turned to me and said, “I don’t care honestly. As long as you’re my partner today.” I smiled. “I have no problem with that,” I told her. “Well, that’s touching,” Liam said with a smile. I looked over at him, and he had his arm wrapped around Julie’s shoulders.

Julie looked at the others and said, “Well, are we splitting up when we get there?” Jeff turned to her and said, “I think we are. Matt has his partner, you have yours, and my girlfriend will meet us there. She’s riding with her family.” I turned to Jaise and asked, “What about you?” He glanced back in the rearview mirror and said with a shrug, “I don’t need anyone. You guys all have fun. I’ll probably find a friend there.” He said. “I hope so,” I told him. He smiled at me.

We drove on for a while and drove up a giant hill and down another after a quarter mile and then turned left to the third street and pulled into a parking lot that was almost full. Ashlee stood up and jumped out of the car and grabbed my hand to pull me out. The others leaped out as well. We all walked in together and then once we bought our passes and got checked by security, we entered a large park, and it was very crowded. “Well, we should have some fun today. Ashlee said grabbing a hold of my hand. She led me through the crowds, and we walked up to a large line to a water roller coaster that made the one ride at magic waters look like a joke.

We waited in line for almost an hour, but it was completely worth it. We ended up letting a single kid go ahead of us because they wanted to split us up. Then the next time a car came around, we were able to get in together. The car started up slowly and worked its way to the top. Then it went down at almost a straight drop, picking up speed to go around a quick corner and we passed under a waterfall. Then we went on a triple loop and water splashed up and down and splashed over us.

I don’t know how it happened, but the car even moved down low to the ground, and we passed slowly by a huge wall of glass holding water, and we saw all matters of underwater life swim by us. Tons of fish, sharks, squids, jellyfish. Tons of things. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was seeing. Then we arrived at a platform with some workers, and they pulled a lever that made something latch onto our cart and we felt ourselves being pulled back and forth like spring. I have never been on a roller cart before, so I wondered if it would get me sick.

It seemed like a spring being stretched tightly and then it sprung. We have hurdled forward and up a cliff, and we went right very sharply. Then we went up again and ended up switching tracks to go on the loops. We went around and then went on another one a little higher up. Water sprayed us and then we dropped back down again. I don’t know how it was possible, but we ended up going chest deep in water and then went around a small bend and then went up a small hill and along a straight track back to the starting platform.

Ashlee and I climbed out after unbuckling the straps and after the car stopped. “So, how was the ride?” A worker said. “It was awesome!” I said, and Ashlee laughed. I wrapped my arm around her waist and walked with her. “Where are we going now?” I asked. “Where would you like to go?” She asked me. And I didn’t have a clue, but anywhere would be okay with me. “Well, what other kinds of rides are there?” I asked her and she grinned at me. “Well, there’s the water tower of doom. The underwater world, a pool. The lazy river of crazy and even some regular rides here.” She explained. “Well, I want to see them all!” I said.

She laughed, and we walked towards the longest ride in the park. “So, what’s this ride we are going to?” I asked. “Well, it’s over an hour and a half long. But, people said it is completely worth it.” She said. “You’ve never been on it?” I asked. She shook her head and said, “Nope. The ride is new. I could have gone on it a week ago, but…” I looked at her. “But what?” I asked. She seemed to blush a little. “Well, I was going to go on it, but Jaise said he was going to get his cousin and said that I might like someone to go on it with, and I thought, what the hell. I’ll wait until then.” She said. “You waited to go on a fun looking ride for a stranger? That’s so odd.” She turned away then.

But, I grabbed her hand and turned her back towards me. “I’m very grateful.” I said and then kissed her fully on the lips. I pulled away after a few minutes, and I was smiling like an idiot.I also couldn’t believe what I just did! She gave me a shocked and happy smile. “Well, I don’t know if this means we are dating or not. But, I’m happy to be here with you.” I said. She chuckled. “I think it’s a step towards going out. For a couple of complete strangers, that is.” She said and then we walked behind the line. I don’t know how long we stood here, but I know it was quite some time before we got to the front. I want to say three hours.

The track was huge, but they had about twelve cars that rode them. By the time it was our turn, we felt burned and restless. “You ready?” The attendant asked. We both nodded and climbed in. “Remember, there’s no getting off and this is going to be…interesting,” She said. I grinned and Ashlee seemed to be nervous, so I rested a hand on her arm, and she smiled at me. Then we started our run. We went up and dropped steeply. Then we climbed for a while and then dropped down hard. Ashlee screamed, and I grinned like an idiot.

We went around the track at a sharp left angle, and then we rushed deep into a cave. I don’t know how deep the cave went, but strange things seemed to happen then. I looked around and saw odd lights fade off and on. A light mist sprayed us and made us both a cough. I felt like I was hacking up a lung. Then we got out of the mist zone, and we moved through a deep cavern where I swear I saw things floating around. I couldn’t even see strings or anything. I saw ghosts! Real ghosts! I could see through them. “They have ghosts in here!” I shouted. “What are you talking about?” Ashlee shouted back.

“You don’t see them?!” I asked pointing. She looked around and at where I was pointing. “I don’t have a clue what you’re pointing at,” She screamed. One of the ghosts came near me. “If you continue this path, the only thing you’re going to end up as is dead!” The ghost screamed at me in her dead voice. It sounded like the wind and the wicked witch of the west from The Wizard Of Oz, and I couldn’t believe any of this. “How can you not see them?” I asked. I couldn’t understand it. We kept on going. “You were a fool to trust her. She’s going to lead you to your death!” Another ghost said, this time, a male. I looked at him, and I could see his rage.

“Matt?” Ashlee asked. I couldn’t answer. “What do you mean?” I choked out. “Who are you talking to?” She demanded. “She’s your demise. She will lead you into a trap. She isn’t human! And she wants to turn you into a monster. You’re going to pay the ultimate price if you continue to be with her. Your life and most importantly, your heart is in her hands if you continue down this path! Be careful Matt! You must be careful.” The female ghost came back and told me. “I don’t understand any of this,” I mumbled.

“You don’t have to. But, you soon will, and hopefully it won’t be too late.” The male ghost said, and then a third one came swooping down, and I couldn’t tell the gender of this one. It had giant claws for hands, and it had glowing red eyes. “You foolish human, are going to pay the ultimate price. I’m going to take your life! You won’t be surviving this trip!” It said and then with a quick swipe of its claws, raked into my arm. I screamed in pain. Blood dripped down my arm, and I looked down to see the skin turning black. A chill spread up my arm. “Ashlee! What’s happening to me?” I demanded.

I was freaking out, and I could barely catch my breath. She didn’t know what to say, but she smelled something and then she looked at my arm. “How the fuck did you get that?” She snapped. “The ghost.” I said weakly and then I looked around only to see it coming straight for me. “I’ll rip out your heart now!” It screamed at me. “It’s coming back from my heart!” I shouted. “Where?” She shrieked. “Right in front of me!” She pointed her finger and lighting exploded from her finger with a crackling zap. I didn’t know how she did that, but the ghost shrieked and floated off.

“What the hell?” She asked. “I don’t know,” I said gasping for breath. “Let me know if it comes back. I can’t see them, so I’m going to need you to help me out.” She said. The car kept going on its track and then after twenty minutes of intense looks, we made it out of the cave and around a tight corner and up a steep climb and then we dropped. We went around another corner and quickly went in three consecutive loops, all of which were higher than the one before it and then we dropped again and then went into another cave at a fast pace.

“Oh, I don’t like caves!” I shouted. Ashlee only said one thing, “Let me know if you see anything.” I nodded and kept looking around. We dropped further down, and it grew cold. “Is it supposed to go this deep?” I asked. She didn’t say anything. She kept a keen look out. I couldn’t understand this. I started to shiver, and it was too cold to focus even. Ashlee seemed to be doing a lot better than me. I don’t know, but she seemed comfortable. I was shivering uncontrollably. And I don’t think it was just the cold air. I think the gash on my arm was adding to it. I looked at it and then gasped.

“What’s the matter?” Ashlee asked. I tried moving so she could see my left arm. “Where did that come from?” She asked. “That happened when the ghost attacked me the first time,” I explained. She just shook her head. “It looks bad, but I don’t think it’s dangerous,” She said. I looked down again, and I noticed that it started to itch and bubble. Blood and small ice shards came out of the wound. “Ashlee, I’m bleeding ice. How is that not bad?” I asked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said, and when she looked at me, I knew she wasn’t lying.

She was speaking the truth. She couldn’t see it. What the heck? I wondered. We rode on in silence for a while. I noticed that I stopped shivering. “Matt!” She screamed. “What?” I asked. “You aren’t shivering,” She said loudly. “Isn’t that a good thing?” I asked. “No! It means you’re about to get hypothermia! Your body is shutting down!” I felt fine. I don’t know what she was worried over. “Matt, you need to try to warm yourself back up,” She said, and I tried, but my arms wouldn’t work. I couldn’t get them to move, and when I tried to speak again, it came out slurred and confusing.

“Oh gosh,” She said. She started to panic, and she didn’t seem to know what to do. “Matt, if we don’t warm you up, you’ll die!” I just stared at her blankly. Did I care? I think I did once, but I can’t remember. “Damn it,” She swore and finally after who knows how long, we finally managed to pull out of the cave, and I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t focus, and my vision swam and blurred. Ashlee touched my shoulder and zapped me. I screamed, and I turned to glare at her. “Sorry, but I need you to stay awake. We need to get you to Julie.” She said.

“Why?” I could even tell that the words came out off and confused. The car rode the track around, and I hoped it would end soon. We came to the platform shortly after that, and the attendants were screaming and asking me a bunch of questions. “What happened? Do you know how long you two were out ’til?” And a bunch of others, that I couldn’t figure out. Ashlee put my right arm over her shoulder and supported most of my weight. She walked me towards the car and honestly? I think she pretended to be burdened by my weight. I’ve seen her carry all that food in the restaurant. I don’t think I weighed that much more.

She looked at me. “How are you doing?” I couldn’t even speak. She got me back to the car and then sat me down next to it. She took her phone out and tried to call everyone. “Damn it.” I heard her say, but I couldn’t see anything. She touched the wound, and I shrieked like a banshee. “Shit, this is not good.” I got my vision back for a moment, and it seemed like the entire park froze. “Then I heard someone speak. “So, I see our ghosts couldn’t finish the job.” I turned to see a young looking girl, but I guess she wasn’t one tick off. Ashlee stood in front of me protectively. “Shouldn’t he be the one to protect you?”

The girl asked laughing. Ashlee just glared. “Ah, yes. That’s right. You’re the guardian because he’s only human. He’s not one of us yet.” She said. I didn’t know what they were discussing. “We are nothing alike. You’re a skank.” Ashlee said. The girl laughed again. “I don’t like to think of myself like that. I just like sex. How is that a bad thing?” She asked. “I don’t know. It just is. And I won’t let you get to him.” Ashlee threatened. “You think you can stop me?” The girl asked. I focused on her. She looked pretty.

Long bright red curly hair, high cheekbones, pointed chin. And an athletic body. She has nice curves, but Ashlee was far more beautiful than her. She glared at me. “Well, he seems to fancy still you over me.” Ashlee grinned. “It shows that he has good taste.” I choked back a laugh, and the pain prevented anything from being funny. “You will pay for that.” The girl snapped, and she spread her fingers out. A steaming stream of water came pouring out.

Ashlee jumped in front of me and lightning shot out and clashed with the water. Steam sparks of electricity shot out and cracked the pavement. “You seem to have grown stronger. But, can you finally beat me?” She asked. Ashlee couldn’t speak. She was using all her strength and power into stopping her, and I was scared by what I saw. My heart was beating like a jackrabbit and blood poured out of my wound. Then I felt someone beside me, and I gasped. “It’s okay,” Julie said. She pulled her auburn hair back and then rested a hand over my wound. A white pulsing light shot out of her palm and hit the wound. I sucked in a deep breath of air. “Shh. It’s okay. You’re going to be fine.”

“What about Ashlee?” I choked out. Julie glanced at her, and when I did as well, I saw Ashlee on her knees and the girl had a stake to her heart. “No!” I screamed. “Yes, she was weak, and she must die. Julie, you can save one of them. Which one will it be?” Ashlee looked at Julie and mouthed, “him.” I shook my head defiantly. “I’m sorry Matt.” Julie said, and she kept her healing power working. The girl pulled the stake back and then jammed it right at her heart. “NO!” I sobbed and shook. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t know what else to do,” Julie whispered.

“Oh, you didn’t think we would allow you to have all the fun did you?” My head snapped towards the voice. Jaise was standing right there gripping the girls arm hard. She wasn’t able to pierce Ashlee’s heart. I gasped. She glared at him. “Who the hell are you?” She demanded. He gave her a wicked smirk. “I am the flaming nightmare!” He snapped his fingers, and a huge fireball appeared in his hand. “I think you need to leave,” He warned. “No, she must die!” She shrieked. It was like it was meant for her to die. Jaise looked at me and then at Ashlee. “I can’t allow that. He would kill me.” My cousin said and then grabbed her by the hair and tossed her across the parking lot.

“You listen to a human?!” The girl screeched. “Jasmine. You don’t know anything about family do you?” She glared and made another pass towards Ashlee. Jaise held his palms out, facing her and a thick jet of molten fire shot out and engulfed her. She used her water power to try and stop the fire, but she wasn’t strong enough. After a few minutes, the fire encased her and then burned her. It spread around and through her. She screamed in pain. It echoed around the parking lot, and I could see people stopping from far away and trying to figure out what was going on.

“We don’t have much time. We have to get out of here.” Liam said. Jaise closed his palms and all that remained of Jasmine was a pile of burning bone and little flesh. “How do you people do that?” I asked. No one said anything. Julie finished healing me, and Ashlee came by me. “Are you okay?” She asked. I looked into her bright stormy eyes and smiled. “Yes, are you?” She smiled. “Yeah. We will explain this to you. But, not here or now.” She said. Ashlee helped me up, and we walked around two rows of cars and then we saw police and people rushing towards where we just were.

“Did you kids see anything?” We all looked at each other in confusion. “No, we didn’t. Sorry.” They nodded and walked off. We went back to the park, and we decided to have as much fun as we could. We walked over to a food court, and they bought some food. Ashlee explained everything that happened on the one ride, and they all just listened intently.

“Oh, God. Ghosts? And you couldn’t see them?” Liam asked Ashlee. She shook her head. “Then how did you?” He asked. “I don’t know. Maybe it was something in the mist?” I suggested. “Mist?” Jaise asked. The water they sprayed on us when we entered the first cave.” I told him. He nodded. “It’s possible. But, I don’t know why it would only affect you and not everyone else.” Ashlee commented. Jaise, Liam, and Julie seemed to look elsewhere. “You know something don’t you.” I accused them. I looked at Ashlee, but she seemed just as confused as I did. “Even if that were to be true. We couldn’t tell you just yet.” He said. “Why are you hiding it from me? If you know something about me, then just tell me.” I snapped.
“It’s not our place to say,” Liam said. I glared at them. “I don’t get this. People always tell me to pay more attention, and when I do, I get shut out. You know what? If everything in this fucking world wants to kill me, then I think I deserve the right to know what it is. But, since you won’t tell me out of some misguided reason to keep me safe, maybe I’ll just find that ghost again and see if it will finish me off!” I walked away from them, and Ashlee followed me. “You can’t mean that,” She said. “I do,” I mumbled.

Then the others surrounded me, and I had to stop quickly. “How did you do that?” I demanded. They didn’t even crack a smile. “We aren’t human to remember?” I glared at them. “We can’t allow you to put yourself, or have someone put you in danger. Sorry man. You’re going back to the house.” Jaise told me. “Great, I’m going to be a prisoner,” I said with mock joy. “You know? We try to help you, and you treat us like shit.” Liam snapped at me. “No, I don’t treat you like shit. I just give you a little attitude when you hide things from me and don’t tell me anything that may help me.” He glared at me. “Enough of this. That isn’t helping us.” Julie shouted.

Then a huge gust of wind came blowing in. The sun got blocked by thick black and green clouds. “What the hell?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t like this. The wind began to grow stronger and then it started to rain. “Maybe it will last like the last one?” I asked. “No, I don’t think we will get this lucky.” At first, people were running around and had a good time. We went back to the house. After a while, though, things started to get serious. The wind blew so strong that some of the older or weaker houses began to get ripped apart.

Even cars ended up picked up and tossed around like toys. The house Jaise had been not going to do much better. “We won’t be able to stay here,” He said. “Hey, where’s Jeff?” I asked. “He went on his own. He told me not to worry about him, so I am not going to concern myself with him.” He said flatly. “Wow, make sure I don’t have you watch my back,” I said with a grin. He glared at me and said, “You’re a fucking different…” He paused when he saw me grinning at him. “Well, well. I think you just played me. Congrats.” He said.

“Okay, now isn’t the time for jokes,” Liam said. “Oh, I think it’s always a time for jokes. Otherwise, the stress is going to get us to lose our minds.” Julie said. A loud shrill siren started blaring over the speakers, and everyone dropped to the ground covering their ears. They curled up in a ball and blood slightly leaked out of their ears. “What’s happening to you?” I asked in fear. They didn’t answer and after ten minutes, the siren faded away. It took them another five to recover enough to climb shakily to their feet. “Are you guys alright?” I asked.

“Yeah. Our ears are highly sensitive. Most times those things don’t bother us too much. I think someone turned up the frequency.” Jaise said. “I think we’re okay, though,” Ashlee said. I looked out the window, and a tree was uprooted and tossed down the street. Jaise’s car was upside down. “I don’t think we are going to be driving to a shelter. If this place has one.” I said. “We don’t need to. There’s a lot of connecting tunnels under the island that will take us directly to the underground shelter.” Julie told me.

I nodded. “And there’s one in the house?” I asked. “Not exactly, but there’s one that’s not that far from here.” Jaise explained. Julie and Ashlee walked out onto the front porch. “I don’t think anyone else is out here,” Julie commented. “Who would be out in this?” I asked. “Oh, you’d be surprised.” Jaise mumbled. “Okay, before it gets any worse, can we go?” Ashlee shouted over the wind. We all agreed and then we took off down the street. The wind tried to blast us back, and the rain was cold and heavy. I couldn’t believe it.

That couldn’t be normal. In a matter of minutes, the streets started to flood, and when I looked back, I almost stopped dead in my tracks. A tsunami towered over the entire island. I had no idea how big it is, but I do know its shadow covered the entire island! “Is this shelter strong enough to withstand this?” I asked. “Jaise grinned. “Yes, our kind built it for just an occasion.” I looked at him in confusion, but I didn’t comment. We didn’t have time. Jaise stopped at what looked like a concrete shed. “What’s this?” I asked. “The entrance to the tunnels. Go, go!” He shouted.

“Oh, you don’t think you’re going to be able to live through this do you?” A voice echoed around us. We all turned around. A young teenage boy stood there with long dark blond hair. He looked about the same age as me. Handsome and strong. “Who are you?” I asked. He focused in on me. “Why, I’m the one person who will have yet to be proven to lie to you. I’m a vampire. Your friends over there and I are the same. We aren’t vampires from myth. Obviously.

You’ve seen them in the sun, and it doesn’t even affect them. Also, you can tell they breathe, and they aren’t pale, or cold.” That stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t even feel the cold anymore. I looked at them in fear. “Oh, yes. I forgot. You weren’t supposed to find out yet where you?” He asked and then laughed. “Matt, get inside. We will take care of him.” I couldn’t move. “Oh, he isn’t going anywhere. I can’t have him roaming around. He’s a threat to me. So, he needs to die. And you can’t stop me.”

They all rushed at him. But, the boy saw it coming and seemed to know where they all would have gone. They couldn’t beat him physically. He seemed too fast, and strong. Jaise got behind him and went to put him in a choke hold. But, the boy flipped him, and he went flying over the tunnel entrance, and Liam was unconscious at his feet. Julie and Ashlee were the only one who were still standing. “Girls, I don’t want to hurt you. But, I will if I have to.” He warned. “I can’t let you kill him,” Ashlee said quietly. I almost didn’t hear her.

But, the boy heard just fine. He laughed. “Oh, please don’t tell me you’re falling for this weakling? He’s human!” Ashlee stood in front of me. He sighed and then hit her hard. She flew a few feet and then skidded along the road. The water seemed to cushion the impact a little, but she didn’t move when she came to a stop. Julie rushed over to Liam. Then Jaise appeared in front of me again. “Why do you fight for someone you barely know?” The boy asked. “I’ve been keeping an eye on him for a long time. I just couldn’t interfere.” He said.

“I still don’t get it.” Jaise shrugged. “You don’t have to.” He attacked then, and he seemed to be holding his own now. He kicked and parried. He did everything in his power to make sure that the boy didn’t get a hold of him. But, I knew he wouldn’t be able to hold on forever. After ten minutes of fighting that would make the most famous martial arts experts feel like children, the boy had Jaise by the throat and was choking the life out of him. Then he pulled out a stake. It seemed to be glowing red and I couldn’t, at first, understand the fear in Jaise’s eyes.

“Oh, you didn’t tell him what is so special about these things did you?” He asked. I just stood there. “Kid, if a vampire with a certain element or power gets staked with a poison imbued with that same power, it will kill the vampires.” He went to jam it into his heart, and I screamed, “No, wait!” Jaise and the boy both looked at me. “Matt, don’t. Leave.” Jaise told me. “If he kills you, he’ll only kill me later. Your death will be in vain. I couldn’t die with that knowledge. So, let him go and just kill me. Please.” I begged. He tossed Jaise down and then walked over to me.

“It’s noble of you to try and save your family and friends,” He said. I didn’t comment. “No, Matt please.” I saw Ashlee walking over to Jaise. She seemed a little bruised, but she was alright. “I’m sorry. That is the way it has to be.” I told them. The boy smiled and then reached towards my chest. “I’ll make this quick for your selflessness,” He said. I smiled mockingly. “Thank you.” He jammed straight at my heart, but right before he broke through my chest, a blinding flash of purple light flashed and blasted him backward. He flipped forward and landed on his feet, and slid back a few feet. He looked at me in rage. “How? You’re only human!”

The boy shouted. “But, I’m not.” A male voice said. I looked around, and then I saw him. Long dark brown hair, same height as me, about the same age. Strong features and a light complexion. “Zolem? What are you doing here?” The boy asked. Zolem only shook his head. “It’s not my job to explain my actions to you. I give you power. I don’t need an explanation to protect someone.” He said. “He’s the prophesized one! He’s the one either destined to save the vampires or destroy them!”

Zolem said nothing. The storm seemed to get stronger, and the tsunami seemed to be looming closer. “How much time do we have?” I asked. Zolem looked at the wave. “Half hour maybe,” He said. “I see, well in that case. I think we should get underground.” I stated. “You can see him?!” The boy demanded. I looked at Zolem, who only looked at the boy. “Yes,” I said. The boy took a couple steps towards me, but Zolem blocked with some energy. “Leave now,” He warned. Liam woke up then, and they all pushed me towards the door. I was the first one down, and then the others jumped down one at a time. Jaise was the last and he closed and sealed the door. This way the water couldn’t get in. “I hope the others sealed the other entrances as well,” He mumbled. “I’m sure they did,” Ashlee said. The tunnels were better lit than I thought they would be. “Who was that?” I demanded. “We don’t know,” Julie said. “Why should I believe you?” I asked. “We don’t know,” Ashlee said. I looked at her and sighed. “Sorry, guys. Just what he said freaked me out.”

Chapter 4

“We know. We wanted to tell you, but we couldn’t.” Jaise said. I put my hand up to stop him. “I don’t want to hear anything else right now. I just want to get out of this cold tunnel. Give me some time to wrap my head around this.” I told him. He nodded. I stayed behind the others, and Ashlee stayed with me. “So, what is it that you’re feeling?” She asked. I just shook my head. “I don’t know. I just need some time to think.” I told her. She wrapped her arms around my shoulder and me only slightly flinched.

She felt it, though but didn’t pull back from me. “Are you afraid I’m going to hurt you?” She asked. “Is it because of what I am?” I looked at her with a little fear in my eyes for the answer I’m about to give. Usually, when I answer questions like that, people get pissed at me. “No, I’m still working on that. I instinctually flinch when people touch me. I don’t know why I didn’t before. I guess I wasn’t feeling threatened. Not by you, or them. You all tried to protect me. But, it’s just something I’m trying to get comfortable being around him.

“When people touch me, I flinch. Usually, when I get touched, it means they are going to hit me, and I just got used to that over the years. I don’t know why I haven’t just accepted it in one way or the other yet, though.” I admitted. She leaned in and kissed my cheek. I felt myself stiffen up, but I didn’t pull back. “Well, I’m not going to hurt you. You may make me mad sometimes, but you’re safe with me.” I grinned at her. “Ashlee, you can’t promise that.” Jaise said coldly. I looked at him in confusion. “What?” She asked.

He looked at her and said, “How can you promise something that you can’t guarantee? I mean you’re a vampire, and he’s human! You are fifty times stronger than him. You’re immortal, and you have magic. How can you promise him that you won’t hurt him when he’s weak?” I felt my face flush. “Dude, what’s the matter with you?” Liam asked. “I’m just honest,” He said stiffly. “No, you’re a dick!” He glared at Liam, and he just stared back. “It’s okay Liam. He’s right. I am weak. I am human. But, so where you once. Maybe, if you would just remember your fleeting bleeding humanity, you wouldn’t be such a twat?” I suggested.

He whipped around and slammed me into the wall. “What did you call me?” He growled. His eyes were different. They flared with red, but there was some purple in them as well. He went to jam his fist into my chest. “Zolem!” A purple barrier appeared, and Jaise went flying across the tunnel and I dropped to the ground. Ashlee was right next to me. “Are you okay?” She asked. Julie and Liam stood in front of us. I watched Jaise slowly climb to his feet. “What happened?” He asked, rubbing his head. Liam took on a defensive stance. “No, Liam. It wasn’t him before. It was that kid from above. He somehow possessed him. If that’s even possible.” I said.

“I don’t know anyone powerful enough to control a vampire. But, if that’s the case, then we need to be careful.” He said. “I don’t think I completely forgave,” Julie said. I walked past them, and Ashlee was at my side. I looked at Jaise, “Hey, what are you doing?” He asked in confusion. “Checking your eyes,” I said. “Um, creepy man.” I laughed and rolled my eyes. “Yeah, because even if you weren’t family, you’d be my type. I just love the way your hair flows, and how your eyes shine.” I say my eyes at him.

He gently pushed me away and scowled, but he ended up smirking. “So, he should grow up to be a comedian!” Liam said. “You think I have talent, Romeo?” He gave me a scrutinizing look. “Okay, I think we should get going,” Ashlee said while laughing. I nodded and put my right arm through hers and wrapped it around her back and pulled her towards me. She gave me a surprised look but didn’t argue. We walked along the tunnel, and I don’t know how far we walked, but I got tired by the time we stopped at a small spot. It had some recliners and a table with a mini fridge with some food in it.

“Matt, if you’re hungry, now is the time. We still have little ways to go.” Jaise said. I looked in the fridge, and he nodded in encouragement. I grabbed a paper plate from the counter top and then opened the fridge. There was an assortment of bread, meats, and cheeses. Even sodas and juices. I spread some butter on a slice of garlic bread and added some turkey, ham, and chicken. Then I added yellow American, provolone, and pepper jack. With some onions and pepper.

This small room even had a mini microwave, and I warmed up the sandwiches for a little bit and I loved the taste. “You know? That smells good.” Julie said. I saw Liam and Jaise eyeballing me. “What?” I asked. “That smells great.” Jaise said. “It’s just a simple sandwich,” I said. “It’s more than a sandwich,” Liam said. I put it down and backed away. But, they passed by it and came to me. They started to sniff me, and I was growing uncomfortable by this. I tried to push past them, and they held me by the wall and kept smelling me.

“What are you doing?” I asked. Ashlee turned around and saw this. “It smells really good.” Jaise said. He opened his mouth, and I saw two sharp teeth pop out. Fangs! I thought. They both stood on opposite sides and went to lower their heads to my neck. I thought I was going to die then, and I closed my eyes. “Matt!” I heard Ashlee shout. A bolt of lightning came shooting out of nowhere. It had a tint of purple and yellow, and it slammed into Jaise’s chest. Julie trapped Liam in a flexible white bubble.

“Let me out of here!” Liam shouted. Jaise slammed into a wall, and then I backed away from them both. “Well, this is getting annoying.” I snapped. “Yeah, that guy wants you dead.” Ashlee said, and I just took a deep, ragged breath. Jaise climbed to his feet and shook his head. “What happened now?” He asked. “Just like last time, you were possessed. This time, he got Liam as well.” Liam froze in his prison and then shuddered. He shook his head furiously and then looked around in shock. “Julie, did you trap me?” He asked.

“Yeah, well, you were going on a psycho rampage of trying to eat your best friend’s cousin,” She said. He gave her an appalled look. “Dude!, I’m sorry. Matt, I’m truly sorry.” Jaise just shook his head. “Hell, I apparently tried to eat him as well,” He said in disgust. I frowned at that. “What, you don’t think I’ll taste good?” I asked them. They all just stared at me with wide eyes. “I guess that isn’t a question you ask around vampires,” I say. “How about we forget you asked that question and then we continue. Eat quickly.” Ashlee said.

They all agreed, and I finished the sandwiches and then we set out again. “How are we going to keep him from getting hurt? If he can possess us, then he is in danger.” Ashlee said. “Well, he doesn’t seem to be targeting you two,” Liam said. “I don’t like that either. It’s weird. “Yeah, well, I don’t like being high jacked by some random dude either. It’s invasive.” Jaise said. We finally made it to another set of stairs. “Is this where we are going?” I asked. “Yes, that’s where the others are going to be,”

He told me. Liam went climbing first and then I looked at my phone and shouted, “Wait!” He grabbed the railing and an ear-popping rumbling sound, pierced the air. And everything started to tremble. “The Tsunami!” Julie screamed. Liam scrambled up the steps and opened the door. He helped us all through quickly before it got too difficult and I had the most issues, but Ashlee and Liam helped me up and closed the door. We all rushed over to the wall and grabbed onto the railing. Ashlee was right there helping me.

I looked at the opposite wall and found a huge glass wall that showed the entire island. I could see the huge wave of water crashing into the island and then once it hit; it felt like the water was covering the island giving it the look like it was sinking. Creaking and a piercing sound deafened us all. Everyone screamed, but we couldn’t hear them over what was happening. Then everything went blank on the screen. I couldn’t tell how much time passed, but then the lights where we went out and we were pulled under into darkness. Time passed, and we didn’t move.

After everything had gone silent, we all released our hold on the railing and then an automatic male voice sounded. “The emergency generator is now activating. Please wait one minute until all systems are fully operational. Thank you for your patience.” It said. “What? Are we in a space ship?” I asked. Laughter rang out through the shelter. “I’m glad someone had the guts to ask that.” I turned to see a boy about my age say. I grinned.

“No, but we tried to plan for all emergencies. And this is one of them. That is to prevent us from dying down here. We even have escaped shuttles, and once the system is fully active, a distress signal will sound to any ships within a one hundred mile radius.” Jaise said. The wall lit up again, and I saw lights piercing the water. Fish and other underwater life swam past and then I saw the buildings and cars and rides and everything else from the island. “Shouldn’t the water be receding soon?” I asked.

“Attention all guests, the emergency systems are activated, and a distress signal has been alerted. Any ships in the area have been alerted, and will be contacting us soon. Please be patient and follow the staff’s instructions. Please remain calm, so that order keeps kept and no one is hurt. Thank you.” The automatic voice said. “Alright, we need to do a check of everyone on the island. Could you all stand in lines? The staff will help and then when I call your name; I want you to come over here behind me. That will help me know who’s still missing.” A balding man said.

Ten minutes passed and they lined us all up. Another hour passed and they called names. “Okay, well it seems that we have two hundred missing people. Some might be still in the tunnels that have been expanded over the years, and it’s quite possible to get lost in.” The bald man said. He gave a group of workers a list of names and then told them to find an entrance. We walked around for another hour and a half, and I think about fifteen people emerged from the tunnels.

But, that was all that showed up. The assistants asked them if they saw anyone else down there, and they shook their heads. “Jaise, what are we going to do, if we end up stuck down here?” I asked. “Don’t worry, we are completely safe. That is just a hologram connected to the cameras. It’s displaying it on the wall. And we have ways to escape. Just try and relax.” He said. “ that’s a real glass wall. It isn’t a hologram.” The bald man said. “Say what?” He asked. “It’s a glass wall. Thick enough to handle anything, I assure you.” The man said.

“I don’t remember when we were asked to support this place, make a shelter out of a glass wall that can crack and break.” Jaise snapped. “Jacklyn approved it.” The man said. Jaise paled, and the others grew uncomfortable. “I don’t believe that,” He said with doubt in his voice. “It’s true. I have her email and a written letter if you like to see it.” My cousin glared at him. “That won’t be necessary. Did she say why she wanted a glass wall?” He nodded. “She said with the lights; it would be a clearer way to keep track of everything going on. Also, it would be cool.”

He looked like he was about to explode. “Jaise, let me handle this,” Ashlee said. “Sir, are you out of your ever-loving mind!?” He looked at her like she was an alien. “Excuse me, girl?” He asked. “She did that because it would be cool? Did it ever occur to you that this is a shelter? A safety zone? It isn’t meant to be ‘cool.’ It’s meant to be ‘safe.’” He glared at her. “I assure you, girl, it is safe. We tested it. It’s completely sound. Nothing can break through it.” He snapped and walked away. “I hope your right!” She shouted after him.

“Fucking humans! They think they are so damn clever and smart. Stupid.” I looked at Liam and Jaise after that and just looked. Julie sighed and said, “Guys, think about what you just said and who’s with us.” It took them a minute to calm down, but finally, they saw me and froze. “Matt, we didn’t mean you.” Jaise said. “I think you did. You said humans. I’m human. So, you know what? Leave me alone for a while. Ashlee, you to please.” Then I walked away. “You idiots.” Julie hissed at them. “We didn’t mean that. We weren’t-“

But, after that, I was out of earshot, and I didn’t hear anything else. I walked down far into the shelter, and I leaned against the glass wall. It seemed like water twisters were out there. I wonder if all the people that were missing are dead or just drifting out there. I hoped that they made it. But, I don’t think there is much luck or hope in that. “Attention. A storm is forming and about to hit. Please prepare for a rocky time.” The voice announced.

“So, are you friends with Liam and the others?” I turned around and stared at a girl about nineteen. Her long red colored hair fell to her waist in waves, and her bright blue eyes seemed to shine in the light. She gave me a warm smile, but I got a bad feeling from her. “How do you know them?” I asked. “Oh, we go way back. So, what’s your name?” She asked. “I’m sorry. But, we don’t know each other, and I don’t feel comfortable telling you that.” I said as politely as I could. Then I noticed a raven colored black streak in her hair. She only smiled.

“That’s okay. How about we just talk then? That way we can get to know each other.” She suggested. “I’m sorry. Not right now.” Normally people would understand, but either she wasn’t comfortable getting turned down, or she was just an angry person, well she didn’t take that very well. “Oh, I think talking to me would be in your best interest.” I turned around and then froze. The ghosts from before were back. “Ah, I see you remember them. And now you don’t have anyone to protect you. Oh, and if you shout for help, you’ll be dead before they get here. So, now are you in the mood to talk?” She asked.

“How do you know they don’t already know?” I asked. “It’s simple. I enchanted a three-foot radius. They can’t hear us. Unless you get really loud, and in which case your life will end.” She grinned, and I saw cracked and stained yellow teeth. “Who are you?” I demanded. “Sabrina. You?” I glared. I think you already know.” I said. She laughed. “Yes, but it’s only polite if you say it yourself,” She told me. “Polite people don’t threaten others with ghosts.” I snapped back. “Well, you do have balls. I’ll give you that. Maybe after our talk, you’ll allow me to play with them?” She asked. I didn’t know if she was serious or not. I just gave her an appalled look.

“What’s the matter? You don’t trust yourself in the bedroom?” I blushed furiously. “What’s it with your freaks and my sex life? God damn. Let’s get back to the topic at hand.” I said coldly. “Very well. What’s your name?” She asked again. I sighed and said, “Matt, now what do you want?” I demanded. “Oh, it’s simple. I want to talk about your destiny. You’re aware of it aren’t you?” I shook my head. “That’s very unfortunate. But, it’s a good thing I’m here.” She said, and I just wanted to run. But, I couldn’t find the will to move.

“You won’t be getting away. So, now what part would you like to know about first?” She asked. “Isn’t it better for me to find out for myself?” I asked. “Well, sure. But, then you wouldn’t be able to alter it. See, if you know what’s going to happen, then you can change it. Now, if you don’t know. How are you supposed to know what choices to make?” She asked. I think this broad is nuts. “I think that’s the point. If you could go back in time, would you change anything?” I asked her. “One, I’m not nuts! And two hell no. I wouldn’t. I know everything I did and why I did them. But, you have a chance to make yourself one of the strongest of our kind in the world.” She said.

Then I glanced to the side and saw the same woman I was talking to, coming at us. She looked pissed! “What the fuck is the meaning of this?” The second woman demanded. “I have to go; I believe someone saw me.” The first said and laughed. A flash of light blinded us and then she vanished. The spell got canceled out, and Ashlee and Julie were right at my side. “Sabrina. What are you doing with him?” Ashlee snapped. “Would you believe nothing? I was coming over to threaten him and talk to him, and someone else was already talking to him looking like me!” She said coldly.

She lunged for my throat, but Ashlee grabbed it and twisted. Sabrina cried out in pain and doubled back. “You won’t be able to protect him forever. If someone else is after him, then he’s already dead.” She said with venom in her tone. “Maybe, but if she was copying your appearance and abilities, then her ghosts or whatever, won’t have any way of hurting him. So, I don’t think he’s in danger.” Sabrina laughed mockingly. “I don’t know about that. She was able to keep you from seeing and hearing what she was discussing with him. And she did threaten him. I know the spell she used well. I was able to tap into most of the conversation.

So, he’s screwed, and you will fail in your ways of protecting him.” She laughed and vanished. “Matt, are you okay?” She asked. I nodded, and I was shaking violently. “It’s okay; you’re safe.” An assistant handed me a blanket that I wrapped around my shoulders. It’s going to be okay. You’ll see.” She said. I nodded again. I doubt I was shaking because I was cold. Ashlee didn’t leave my side then. Even when I said, I wanted to be alone. She didn’t trust anyone from trying to hurt me. It was a while later, when one of the workers asked, “Is he okay?” Ashlee looked at me and said, “He’s just a little shaken up. Is there a place where he can lay down in private?”

“Of course. Follow me.” He said. He led us down a set of steps, and then we entered a room, and he pointed to another door. “Through that door is a hallway that has rooms for one or two people. There is more than likely for everyone to have their room if they’d like. But, we may have to double up eventually.” He said. “Thanks.” We started walking, and he told us to stop. “What’s the matter?” Ashlee asked. He pointed to a glass cabinet that he unlocked. “You have to pick a key,” He said. “Matt, why don’t you choose,” Ashlee suggested. I nodded and walked up to the case. I felt drawn to room one sixty-nine, and I grabbed it.

The worker saw that and smirked. “I think you’ll like that room,” He said. “Please don’t tell me it’s full of hearts and fluffy pink pillows.” I groaned. He laughed. “No, of course not. You’ll see, though.” He told me and then walked off. I looked at Ashlee, and she grabbed a hold of my hand and led me down the hall. “So, you know where you’re going?” I ask. “Yes, I helped design this place. I’ve never been here, but I know the layout.” She said. “So, you don’t know what the room is and why he seemed to smile a lot?” She shook her head. “I honestly don’t have a clue. But, I think it’s going to be fun.” She said.

I smiled and then we arrived at the room. I unlocked it, and Ashlee opened it up. I gasped, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. The room had a mystical, but spooky feel to it. It’s hard to describe. The walls were painted black with silver paintings on them. Like murals from the ancient times, and paining’s of what people would classify haunted houses or mansions hung on the wall with a man and woman straight out of a horror movie. Not, the new ones. The classics.

An eerie fog crept up behind them, and you could see a cemetery behind them off to the side. Another painting’s had a normal looking couple buy a house, and you wouldn’t think anything of it, except the woman, had pie in her hand and you could see a corner of something if you look close enough, and I think it was an organ of some kind. I don’t know what, and I was fairly sure I didn’t want to know. We dimmed the lights and stars on the ceiling formed, and I could make out constellations. I walked in the middle of the room, and the stars began to blaze brightly.

I didn’t know what to make of that. “Ashlee, what’s going on?” I asked. She looked dumbfounded. “I don’t know,” She said. “Don’t you girl?” A woman’s voice came from behind us. I turned around and saw a long haired blond woman who seemed tall, but slender. “Who are you?” I asked. “Laurentia. Well, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I am. So, allow me to explain who I am. We’ve met before Matt. I was pretending to be Sabrina. But, don’t get all worked up. I wasn’t going to hurt you.” She said. Ashlee was in front of me in an instant. “You won’t get near him,” She warned. Laurentia just smiled.

“You think you can stop me?” She asked calmly. “Ashlee, don’t. I don’t want to see you get hurt.” I said. “What do you want?” She demanded. “I want him to know what he may have in store for him in this life. He can follow the path as it’s put in front of him if he wants, or he can take a different route. No matter what he changes, if it’s meant to happen, then it will come to pass, no matter how much one meddles.” She said. “Why do you want me to know?” I asked. “It’s simple. You’ve always felt like your parents never cared about you right? You always felt abandoned and alone? I want to show you the full story of your parents leaving, which led up to this point.”

“Matt, don’t do it. It could have bad consequences. You don’t want to do this.” Ashlee said. “Well, you don’t have to know what happened to them. But, if you’d like, you can. I can show you. But, just know there is no risk. You can’t change the past.” Laurentia said. “No, there’s no changing the past. But, there’s always the actions he will take because of what he sees.” Ashlee snapped. “It’s your call son.” I didn’t know what to feel. “I want to know,” I said quietly. Ashlee took a deep breath. Laurentia smiled. “Very well.”

She snapped her fingers and then the room faded away and instead was my old house. I saw my mom and John with Trisha and Tom. I was barely five, and mom was holding me when we entered the house. “I don’t think he’s going to amount to much,” John said looking at me. My mom got really angry, and I’ve never known her to be an easily angered person before. “You know? I feel the same way about your kids. Spoiled little twats. Don’t judge my son and I won’t judge your children. John’s rage radiated off him. “You watch what you say!” He warned. “Sure, if you do.” She countered. She took me up to my room leaving John to fume in the living room.

“It’s okay. I’m going to give you to your father for a while. I thought this guy was different Matt. Your dad will take care of you until I can get out of this situation and maybe we’ll be a family again.” She said to the younger me and kissed me on the forehead. But, the next couple of days took on a dark turn. Nothing worked out as well as planned. Mom said my father should have come by now, and she drove over to his apartment. She knocked on the door, and the doorman lets her inside. “Hello, Miss Caran.” My mom smiled.

I didn’t know my mom’s maiden name! Or was that her first name? I wondered. “Hello, Frank. Is Seth home?” Frank frowned and turned thoughtful for a moment. “Now that you mentioned it, I don’t think I’ve seen him for a couple days. That isn’t normal. He’s usually at work by this time, and I don’t think I saw him leave for a while. His friends have come to see him as well. No one has been able to get a hold of him. So maybe he just stepped out?” He said. Mom grew worried. “I don’t like the sound of that,” She said. “I wouldn’t worry. I’m sure he’s okay. Maybe he’s just sick? Or maybe he hasn’t been home in a few days. But, I think he is okay.” Frank told her.

“It’s possible. But, he was supposed to pick up his son a couple of days ago, and he would do anything for that kid.” Mom said. “Yeah, he is a really good father. I’ll buzz you in.” Frank said, and mom thanked him. She walked up the steps and knocked on the door. No one came to it, and she tried the doorknob. It was unlocked and swung open easily. “That isn’t right.” Mom said. “He never leaves the door unlocked. Even if he’s at home.” She walked in and saw the place was all messed up. “Okay, that’s not right either, because he’s OCD, it didn’t make sense to me.”

Mom chuckled darkly. She entered the bedroom and then screamed. I saw a man with short spiked dark brown hair laying on the bed in blood. He was a muscular man. He looked like he couldn’t have been more than twenty-one. My father looked young, was this him? I wondered. He didn’t even have a beard or mustache. He had a thin frame and was only wearing a pair of boxers. His throat was slit wide open, and it looked like someone was playing surgery in his stomach.

Mom ran out of the room and into the kitchen. Neighbors came in to check what the screaming was meaning. They saw mom hyperventilating in the kitchen. “What’s the matter? Ellen?” There’s my mother’s name! An elderly woman asked her not unkindly. She must know my mom. “In…I-i-in the bedroom.” Mom stammered. She went to check it out and then she almost fainted. A young man about my dad’s age came in the apartment. “Mom, what’s the matter?” He asked. I focused on him, and he looked…He looked just like my father! “It’s your brother, son. He’s, Please call the cops!” The woman screamed. The man pulled out a cell and called it in.

Then the vision faded to mom back at the house with me. She was crying and holding onto my bed post for strength. John walked in and grinned. “You didn’t think that you would be able to give your kid away did you?” He asked. Mom glared at him. “What?” She asked. “I know that you wanted to send Matt to his father. Well, I couldn’t have that now. So, it looks like you’re both stuck here.” He said and walked out. “You fucking bastard. What happened here isn’t over.” She said. “Oh, I think it is. His and your brother won’t be able to help you either.” John said as he left the room.

Mom began to panic and called her brother up. “Hello?” A male voice said coldly. “Danny! Oh, thank god! I thought you were in trouble.” Mom said to him. “No, I’m fine. What the hell do you want?” He asked. “I…What did I do? Why are you acting like this?” Mom asked. “Oh, I’m the one with the problem? You’re the one who called me up a couple of weeks ago and called me out about something I did years ago and threatened to report it. You know how much I love Jaise and would do anything for him. I couldn’t lose him, so I agreed to your terms. I wouldn’t have anything to do with your family.” He said vehemently.

“I don’t know what you’re saying. I never said anything to you since Christmas.” Mom said. “Oh, so now I’m a liar and a bad parent? You know what? Never fucking call me again!” He snapped and hung up the phone. Mom didn’t know what to say or do. She just seemed to lose it, and I felt my heart break for her. She was alone with me with a tyrant, who manipulated and took everything from her. A few weeks passed, and mom never seemed to recover. Then, one day on her way home from work, she got a phone call. “Hello?” She asked. “Laci, is it? Well, I’m afraid John’s firm has found something about your past.”

Mom looked unsurprised by this. “Who is this?” She demanded. “Someone who wants to help you. But, you need to leave and leave now. You can’t take your son. You would only be putting him in danger.” The man said. Mom grew pissed. “I won’t leave him! He’s the only thing I have.” She said. “You want to live? Then you will leave him!” The man snapped back. “If I leave him, then I’m dead no matter what.” Mom said and hung up the phone. She drove back to the house, where she found the place surrounded by police.

She tried to sneak in the back of the house, but a female cop saw her and rushed after her. Mom tried to run, but her shoes made it hard. She took them off, but still couldn’t get very far. The cop almost had her, but then someone pulled her over the fence and the cop lost her. “What the hell?” She asked. “Shh.” A voice said. “Who are you?” Mom asked. “Jaise.” She whipped around to see him clearer. “Jaise!?” She demanded. He nodded and then I could see the red streak in his hair. That was when he first became a vampire. He was nineteen here and will be forever.

“What are you doing here?” Mom asked. “Saving your life.” He retorted. “I see that, but your father didn’t want anything to do with me remember?” She asked. “Yes, but I had a friend look into the phone call. I listened to the other end that night, and I heard something that I didn’t like.” He said. “Like?” She asked. “The entire conversation.” Mom chuckled. “Yeah. I recorded it and had him look into it. What he found shocked him. It was a computerized voice module that copied the voice of whoever. So, John could use it and have it sound like you and say whatever he wanted, and my dad wouldn’t know the difference unless you’re paying attention.

Or with good hearing.” He told her. “So, you told him that it wasn’t me,” She stated. “Yes, and naturally he didn’t believe me. So, I knew I had to come here alone. I’m sorry, but I can’t help Matt. The only thing I can do is look out for him. But, I won’t be able to interfere.” Mom broke down then. “I do have to leave, don’t I?” She asked. “I’m sorry. Aunt Laci, I know how much you want him, and I wish I could go in and get him. But, it would be all over the news, and then we’d all be wanted for kidnapping. And then we wouldn’t be able to help him when the time comes.” Jaise said.

“Promise me one thing, though.” He looked at her. “Make sure I can see him at some point. I don’t care if I’m dead, and I can only look at him. I just want to be able to see him once.” Mom said through her tears. “I will do everything in my power to reunite the two of you. But, it may take some time.” He told mom. “I don’t care how long it takes. I just don’t want to leave without at least explaining why I didn’t come back. I don’t mind if he hates me. I just can’t have him living his entire life thinking I hated him or didn’t want him.” Mom said choking on tears. Jaise hugged her. “When the time is right, I will explain all of this to him. I will see that he understands.”

Jaise said and then the room returned. “So, what do you think?” Laurentia asked. I couldn’t speak, and I could barely breathe. “Matt, are you okay?” Ashlee asked holding me. I ended rooted to the spot, and I couldn’t move. “I think you traumatized him!” Ashlee shouted. “No, he’s just trying to sort through a lot.” The woman snapped, “Why did you have to show him all that?! How do you know this isn’t going to screw with him?!” Laurentia said, “I don’t. But, he needs to know the truth. His mother is out there, and his father’s brother is there as well. He knows about Matt and is family. He isn’t alone. Yes, he has you four. But, wouldn’t it also be nice for him to know that he has more than one family member in this world?” She asked.

“Sure he does, but seeing what happened to his family like this. I mean was this better?” She asked, and I turned to her. “It’s okay. It will just take me some time to get used to it. I don’t know how I feel actual about all of this, but I think it will be best that I know. I know my parents wanted me and tried to be there for me. So, now that I know that it helps in knowing that I’m not completely alone. I know my mom is out there now, and that she wants me. She wants to see me again. She never gave up on me.” Ashlee just looked at me and sighed.

“Well, fine. But, if this leaves a permanent scar, I’ll find you and kill you.” She said to Laurentia. She just laughed. “You can’t kill me, girl. I’m immortal.” She said, and it was Ashlee’s turn to laugh. “Well, I am too, and I can die.” Laurentia just smirked. “There’s a difference between living forever and being a true immortal. I’m a goddess. I can’t die by the likes of you.” With that, she was gone in a flash of light. Ashlee shielded her eyes from the white light, and when she lowered her hand, Laurentia was gone. “Now what do we do?” I asked. The room seemed to have lost its power and seemed like any other room.

“Well, what would you like to do?” She asked me. “I would just like to take a nap, to be honest. It’s been a long day.” I said. She smirked. “Yes, yes it has. But, it will get better.” She told me. “I hope so,” I said. A knock came on the door, and we saw a young woman with a handful of clothes. “We thought you’d like a change of clothes,” She said. Ashlee took them from her and thanked you. “Is there an update?” She asked. “Not yet. But, the system has detected a ship that is a few hours out. I don’t know how long exactly though. But, we will keep everyone updated when we know more. There’s a storm that is getting worse by the hour as well. So, it may be a while before they risk coming.

But, we should be okay for a few days at the least.” She said. “Thank you.” The woman left, and Ashlee closed the door and locked it. “Matt, why don’t you take a shower first. I’ll go with you.” She said. I nodded and took the clothes she handed me. I went into the bathroom and closed the door. I turned on the water and waited for it to warm up. I stepped out of my clothes and took a quick but thorough shower. I washed my hair well, and then stepped out and dried off. I dressed in what was a pair of silk white pajama pants and a sleeveless white silk shirt.

I left the bathroom, and Ashlee entered. She smiled at me, and I sat on the bed. Was this happening? Did I have a gorgeous girl in the bathroom taking a shower? Were we really about to share a bed together? Oh, god! She stepped out of the bathroom wearing a spaghetti-strapped white silk shirt that didn’t cover her stomach and a pair of white silk shorts that were considered shorty shorts. I just stared wide-eyed at her. They hung in her curves, and I felt something happening. Oh, god! I felt my body respond, and I blushed. She smirked.

She walked over to me, and I couldn’t stop staring at her. I thought she was going to smack me, but she only grinned. “I asked for these clothes for a reason Matt. I wanted to see your reaction.” She said. I couldn’t speak. She smirked. Then she sat on my lap facing me and kissed me on the lips. “I see your friend wants to come out and play.” My face lit up even worse. “I think it’s cute. Come on, we should probably get some sleep.” She said. My heart was pounding in my chest. “I hope you didn’t get any false notions about this,” She said.

“No, not at all.” I squeaked. “I just wasn’t thinking you would…dress like that.” I said in a quiet voice. She smiled at me. “Well, I think you earned it,” She said and crawled under the covers. I did the same, and I felt her press up against me and wrapped the covers underneath us. She wrapped her arms around me and held me close, and I fell asleep fast. I then found myself in a sunny meadow underneath a giant umbrella that we brought in a thick blanket. Ashlee had an IPod going and even though speaker involved, somehow it was blaring songs.

I smiled at her, and I couldn’t believe how perfect this moment was. She snuggled close to me, and I felt my heart beating faster. She smiled then, and then she kissed me passionately. She slipped off my shirt as she kissed me. She then gently, but firmly pushed me down on my back and then crawled on top of me. She gave me a grin, and I felt nervous and anxious. “What are you doing?” I asked. “What does it look like?” She asked. She then kissed my neck and worked her way down my chest. She sucked on my nipples just like they did in porn. Not that I watched a lot.

Then she slid her fingers into my shorts and yanked them down. She smirked at what she saw. I blushed a deep scarlet. “I think you’re going to be an awesome treat,” She said. “I hope I can please you,” I said. She gave me a curious look. “You already do.” Then she rubbed my crotch through my boxers. “You’re getting ready,” She said. “I’m getting ready to explode,” I said in a high-pitched voice. “Oh, well I think it’s time I took care of you,” She said with an evil grin. I grew afraid, but she only pulled my boxers down, and her eyes grew wide. “What? Too small?” I asked. Feeling self-conscious.

“Are you kidding? It’s…perfect!” She said. She wasted no time in devouring my penis. She sucked it all the way down to the base and even choked on it. I didn’t think it was that big for a girl to choke on it, but it felt so amazing! Words couldn’t even come close to what kind of sensation I was feeling. She sucked me off for a while before I finally lost it. I shot hard and heavy in her mouth, and I thought she would be grossed out by it and yell, but she swallowed it all and then smiled, licking her lips.

“Well, I think that’s enough for the appetizer. Now, it’s time for you to help me out. I’ve wanted to do that for a while.” I blushed and then sat up. “What…do I need to do?” I asked. She took off all her clothes, and I felt my penis grow rock hard again. She saw it and smiled. “I will take care of that in a little bit. Now, it’s your turn.” She said. She lay down on the ground and spread her legs. Then she told me to crawl between her legs. I did so feeling nervous and a little scared. She walked me through what I needed to do and then said, “Do what the guys do in porn.” I nodded and stuck a couple fingers in her entrance and started to lap and lick her.

She arched and groaned. I slurped and sucked on her, and she screamed. After a while, she climaxed all over my face, and I didn’t mind. I think I almost shot another load. But, I managed to hold it back. Then she sat up shakily and reached into her shorts pocket. She pulled out a condom. “Well, I guess it’s time,” I said with a smile. She pushed me back onto my back and then opened the condom and then put it on me. I couldn’t believe this was happening. As she was about to lower herself to me, is when I snapped awake.

Ashlee was right there, holding me tightly while she was sleeping and looking content. I didn’t want to wake her up, but I had to get up, and when I did, her eyes opened and she sat up. “Is everything okay?” She asked. I turned to her and smiled. “Yeah, I just had to stand and stretch,” I said. She glanced down for a second and smirked. “I don’t think that’s all,” She said, and I noticed what she meant and blushed. “Want me to take care of that?” She asked.

I tried to form words, but I couldn’t. She didn’t wait for my answer. That’s a good thing too. I could be almost eighty before I found the words. She grabbed a Kleenex from the box and then began to pull down my shorts just enough to release my member from confinement. But, I stopped her. I wasn’t ready for this. “Damn Matt,” She said rubbing me through the pants. You feel well equipped.” She told me. “That’s what you said in the dream.” Then my face lit up worse than before. “Oh, you had a sex dream about me? I’m flattered.” Then she stood up.

My breathing was ragged, and my heart was pounding like a jack rabbit. But, it slowly slowed down when she stepped away and sat back down on the bed. “So, how come you’re a little scared to expose yourself? I mean I’m not saying anything about it. But, I have to say it’s not normal teenage behavior.” She stated. “I know. I don’t know. I guess I have to base on my self-confidence. I don’t think I have the body to please someone, and I think it’s causing me to doubt my ability to perform.”

I explained. “Well, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that. You seem better equipped than other boys in this world.” She said. I felt my face heat up. “You think so?” I asked. She nodded with a smile. “But, we should get a shower in and then maybe see about finding something to eat,” She suggested. “Okay, you can go first this time,” I told her. She nodded.

She entered and took her shower. I found some clothes that I got ready by the time she came out with a towel wrapped around her waist. Then I entered the bathroom and took my shower. I finished and dressed, and I walked out combing my hair when a warning came over the intercom. “Attention, security please attend the north east hatch! Security, northeast hatch.” “Ashlee, what’s going on?” I asked. She shook her head. “I don’t know. But, we should go and check it out. We didn’t even bother to change, and we just jogged out of the room.

We went to where we entered the first day. Everyone was there, and we didn’t know what to expect, but we could see the ocean and it didn’t look calm or beautiful anymore. I think I was seeing a fog swirling through the water, but it was golden, brown, and pink. Was it the vampires doing this? Were they all evil? I didn’t want to believe that because Jaise, Ashlee, and the others were only watching out for me. But, if some of their kids were evil, could they all become twisted at some point? I’ll have to wait and see and ask these questions later.

“Matt? What are you thinking about?” Liam asked walking up beside me. “What do you mean?” I asked him. “I can’t explain it. But, your emotions are screaming, and they are confused about something. But, I kind of pick up that they’re about us.” He said. And I looked away for a second. “I don’t know what I’m feeling. Everything has been happening so fast, and I just need a moment to sit down and relax and try to get everything figured out. I feel like I want to scream. But, I don’t know if that would be a good thing or a stupid thing.” I replied.

He grinned. “I know the feeling. You should have seen me when I first turned. I was a little psycho. If it wasn’t for Julie, I don’t know what I would have done. She was my anchor.” He told me. “How did she take it?” I asked. He turned thoughtful. “I don’t know. She’s the one who turned me. I met her in school twelve years ago as a senior. We dated for a while, and she was afraid to get close to me. But, in the end, I convinced her to open up to me and at that point, there was no going back.” He said.

“I expected him to run out and shout demon. He didn’t take the news all that well, but he did take it better than one could hope.” Julie joined in the conversation. He looked at her with a smile. “After that, there was only one thing for me to do. And that was to give him time. After a couple weeks, he finally came around. I didn’t think I would see him again. But, he showed up one night during a thunderstorm, soaking wet at the motel I was staying at, and demanded that we not split up. He said that he didn’t want to be without me, and we’ve been together ever since.

The council wasn’t too happy with me changing him. They ‘sensed’ that he was unpredictable and that he could turn dangerous. And he almost did, but I was able to calm him down. The change can be drastic and for someone who isn’t emotionally or physically ready for it, it can be a dangerous thing.” She explained. “How long ago were you turned?” I asked her. She frowned and sighed. “That’s not something I like to discuss. Let’s just say, I’m older technically than Jaise and Liam combined and we leave it at that.” She told me.

I nodded, “Sorry.” She looked at me. “You have no reason to say you’re sorry. It was just a dark time. That’s all.” Jaise came by and said, “Well, it looks like someone tried breaking into the hatch from the outside, but the automatic and emergency locks held far better than we could have hoped.” He said. “Do you think there’re a lot of people out there still?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know, but it was a human who tried to open up the hatch.

So, I think someone was able to find some water gear and survive. But, I don’t know how much oxygen is in the tanks.” He said. Liam fidgeted a little bit. “What?” I asked noticing. No one else paid attention to him, and they all turned to look at him when I spoke. “Um, they can live for a day or so out there. Normally, a few hours. However, Scott is out there with them.” He said. “Scott?” Jaise asked. Liam nodded. “Yeah. He can refill their tanks without anyone knowing about it.” Liam said. Recognition spread over Jaise’s face.

“He has air magic.” I turned to him. “How many spells are there?” I demanded. “It’s a limitless range of spells. They’re only eight elements. Fire, which is used by people like Jaise. Holy, or white magic, which I have. Lightning, which is Ashlee. I’m sure you figured that out. Earth, which is Liam. You haven’t seen him use his magic yet. But, then there’s water. Do you remember in the parking lot?” Julie asked. I nodded.

“Then, there’s air which is Scott, ice magic that you’ll meet those back in school and then there’s shadow magic as well. I hope you never have to run for those users. They are tricky, and they don’t play by normal rules.” She said. “Well, that could be who has been possessing people lately,” Liam said coldly. “Well, that’s possible. But, who has that kind of magic?” Jaise asked. “Maybe that kid before we came down here. Did you guys notice he has a purple streak in his hair?” I asked. They all turned to stare at me.

“I guess not,” I mumbled. “He had a purple streak?” Jaise asked. I nodded. “Is that possible?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know. I’ve never heard about that before.” Liam said. “We need to get back to the school. At least there, we have numbers on our side. And we need to see about getting the people back inside, without opening up the hatch and flooding this place. Scott can’t save them forever. Eventually, he will weaken.” Liam said. “What’s the plan?” I asked.

No one knew what to do, and then this chilly air crept up on us. I didn’t notice it at first, and neither did the others. But, we all felt it after a time. The sensation was like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Cold, and it felt like you were about to lose yourself. The world went dark and cold. We all huddled together, and we all shivered violently. I the worst of them. Everyone ran back to their rooms and turned up the heater from the cold. But, they just looked a little uncomfortable. Almost like it wasn’t bothering them. “Why are they not fully affected?” I asked.

“Most likely it’s not meant to target them. So, all they are feeling is a little after effect. Like the leftover magic. Barely there, but you still feel it if you’re aware enough.” Goosebumps formed on my arms, and I tried to rub them, but the cold only seemed to make my skin crack a little. “Matt, are you okay?” Jaise asked. He seemed a little off, but not too bad. “I don’t know. What magic is this?” I asked. “It isn’t cold magic. But, it is similar. I don’t know for sure, though.” He said. “I don’t like it,” Julie said. “What babe?” Liam asked. “It’s shadow. A powerful shadow spell.” She said.

“Can you fight it?” Liam asked. “I don’t know,” She said, and she spun fast with her arms outstretched and her palms toward the ground. She continued to spin fast and then sparks of white light came shooting out of her fingers and the middle of her palm. It leaked out and onto the floor. It formed a circle and began to circle around us. It looked like flames of light. It licked and leaped and crackled all around us. It began to move faster and faster. It almost matched the pace of Julie. As I watched, it changed and became a flaming white wall of Seafoam.

“Is that going to work you think?” Ashlee asked. Julie shrugged. “It depends on how powerful his spell is,” Julie said after she stopped spinning and she looked weak and tired. “You okay?” Liam asked holding her. She nodded. “Yeah. Never had the experience to try that spell. So, it was more taxing than I originally thought.” She said. I turned to the left and saw a huge black mist coming at us. “What is that?” I asked. Everyone looked, but only Julie could see it. “Its shadow magic in its most potent form. “I don’t see anything.” Everyone said. “You don’t have holy magic. Shadow is my elements counter.” Julie explained. “Then why can Matt see it?” Ashlee demanded.

Julie looked at me. “I don’t know,” She said after a time. “I don’t like that answer.” Jaise grumbled. “Neither do I, but what can we do?” Liam asked. Ashlee looked at me like I was an alien or something. I turned away uncomfortably and then I watched as the mist came towards us. “You don’t think it’s going to be able to hurt us do you?” I asked. No one answered. Well, I got my answer. “I may be able to boost the spell a bit.” Jaise said after a time. “How so?” Julie asked.

“What do holy and fire have in common?” He asked. “Holy Fire! It’s used lot in protective spells!” Julie said excitedly. He nodded, and he put his fingers at the base of the holy wall. Then he knelt down and then looked up at the wall. I saw flames leap out of his hands and molten lava of reds, yellows and light blues seemed to come out through the floor. The fires targeted the wall and combined. Both spells linked together and warped and wrapped around one another.

The wall grew twice as the original height. It now looked like a fiery Sea Foam wall. Everyone looked through it and gasped. “You see it now?” I asked. “Yeah. It’s almost mystical in a destructive kind of way.” Ashlee said. “All spells can be destructive, or they can be healing. It only depends on how you use it.” The shadow mist hit the holy firewall and sizzled and popped. It sounded like popcorn and smelled like a sewer.

The mist swirled around us, but it didn’t seem to be able to enter. “How come the mist isn’t breaking through?” I asked. Everyone glared at me. “I don’t mean I want it to. But, if it’s really strong, then shouldn’t it be able to?” I asked. “Jaise, have I ever told you how much I hate people who state the obvious?” Liam asked. He laughed and said, “All the time, but he does have a point.” And Liam replied, “Yeah, sure. But, why does it have to be now? I was looking for a nice hot shower, some alone time with my girl and maybe cake.

Oh, I’d even settle for grilled cheese or a taco. Instead, I’m trapped in a circle with my best friend, his human cousin, the girl he fancies, and my girl. That is so not how I imagined a vacation.” He commented. An eerie silence befell around us after that. “So, you hate us?” I asked. He gave me a scrutinizing glare. “Of course not! It’s just that this isn’t how I want to die.” He mumbled and then we all watched as the mist seemed to rise above us and climb the wall. “Are we able to make it grow as well?” Ashlee asked. “Yes, but it will weaken the wall,” Julie said.

“So, either way, we are doomed?” She asked. “Yay!” She said in a high, mocking voice. Jaise glared at her. Julie was closest to me and stepped in front of me, pushing me back. She waved her hand in a circular pattern around us, and while she was doing whatever she was doing, the mist came towards me. I grabbed her arm and then a jolt of energy coursed through her. A pulsing pure light shot out of her eyes, and then I swear I heard the shadows scream and curse. Then it withdrew and dissipated. After a long stretch of time, everything turned to normal.

The holy fire vanished, and Julie stumbled forward. Liam caught her and dropped to one knee supporting her. Everyone stared at me. I don’t know what happened. “How did you do that?” Liam demanded. “I don’t know! I don’t even know what happened. “Somehow, you gave Julie’s holy magic a jump start. You advanced her magic by several years. If not hundreds of years. She shouldn’t have had that sort of power.” Jaise explained to me. “I don’t know. I don’t.” I said subtly.

“I don’t know what happened here, but I can’t say that I’m okay with it. You could have killed her!” Liam snapped at me. I didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry. I-“ I couldn’t finish. “Matt, you have to understand something. All I can say is that it seems you have been given powers for something more and something far greater than what you always believed before. So, you have skills within you. We don’t know how to work them or how they function. So, please just be careful.” Jaise said. “How am I supposed to know if no one tells me!?” I snap back. Liam looked at me in shock. Jaise and he exchanged a glance. “He’s got a point.” Jaise said. Liam sighed and nodded.

“Alright, but now is not the time. We will explain everything, and I do mean everything when we get out of this.” My cousin promised. “Oh, you won’t be getting out of here. Well, at least not all of you.” They all whipped around and saw the boy again from before. “What do you want?” Jaise demanded. “Matt’s death. That white blast worked as an anti-possessive spell. You can’t be brainwashed or controlled by some other power. But, I don’t need it to kill him. All I have to do is drown him.” He said, and then he disappeared. “You don’t think you can beat me do you?” He grabbed my wrist. “You can’t teleport without weakening yourself,” Ashlee said confidently.

The boy laughed. “You have no idea who I do you?” The normal rules of vampires don’t apply to me. I don’t get weak from teleporting. He waved his hand and a small rain storm, mixed with a lightning storm formed. Across the bay, we could hear the sound of howling wind and see the ground make waves and get chipped away. Then on the other side, we all noticed molten lava seeping through the ground while a fierce snow storm raged on overhead. “You think you’re all powerful for your one spell? I have all eight.” He said coldly.

Then I was gone. I saw myself floating over the island. “It’s not underwater?” I asked. “Oh, it was for a while. But, the water is receding, and I don’t know why you care.” He dived straight into the water, and I barely was able to hold my breath. I thought Zolem was supposed to stop him? I didn’t think he could or would let this guy hurt me. He pulled me straight under the water for quite some distance, and then he left, and I just accepted my fate. I don’t know how deep I was, but I tried to swim up, and I didn’t seem to have the strength to move because of the current. I was going to die underwater. That wasn’t how I ever imagined I would die. After two minutes, I felt myself lose oxygen, and my lungs screamed for air. Then I saw something swimming towards me fast! I guess this was the end. That was where I thought I died.

Chapter 5

I woke up, gasping and spitting out water. I coughed and choked a little and shakily sat up. “Easy there, human. You’ve almost drowned.” I turned to see where the male voice came from. I didn’t see anything at first, but I kept passing over this dark swirling area. I squinted and focused in on it. The swirling moved, and then a man stepped forward. He was completely disturbing. His skin was pulled tightly over his frame, almost like it was stretched tightly.

I could see his bones through the skin and it almost looked like it was glowing. He looked anorexic and when he looked at me, it was with ruby glowing eyes. His teeth were white and jagged. Except for two teeth evenly spaced out on his upper jaw. Are those fangs? I wondered. “Who are you?” I asked. “The one who saved your life, kid.” I sighed. “Sorry, I just meant, I wanted to thank you, and I don’t know your name,” I said. He eyed me suspiciously. “My name isn’t important. But, you’re not out of danger yet.” He said. “Why is that?” I asked.

“When the tide shifts, this cavern will almost fill to the top with water. We only have had an hour before that happens. Now, the way I see it, we only have two options. One is that I go and try to reach your cousin before the tide shows up. But, chances are, he won’t believe me, and you’ll die from the water and the cold.” “How come you can’t get me out of here?” I asked. “It’s simple. We are about two hundred feet below the sea. There’s enough air pressure in this cavern to keep the water from flooding. But, once the tide comes in, the cavern floods. You may be wondering how oxygen keeps entering? Well, that small hole above you leads to the top of the cave and the outside.” He said explaining.

I only stared for a moment and then, “What’s option two?” I asked. I was sure I wouldn’t like it either. “Well, that’s when I send a shadow with a message to one person. Your shadow and you get to choose who the person is. I would say your cousin. But, that’s up to you.” He said. “How do you know so much about us?” I asked. “Well, I used to work with the one who’s trying to kill you.” Fear shot through me. “You work with him?” I choked out. “Used to work for him.” He corrected. “I don’t anymore. He said that he didn’t have a use for me anymore.” The man said in disgust. “Why?” I asked. “He needed me years ago to teach him his shadow magic. When he met me one night, I was the only one who could properly manipulate shadow. So, he used to me to learn and had me do a bunch of work, and I thought he accepted me. But, after I taught him everything he knows, he kicked me out.”

“You didn’t fight him?” I asked. He glared at me. “Oh, I tried. I was stronger than him, and his new skill didn’t affect me. But, his other ones did. Holy magic, he called it was especially harmful.” The man shuddered. “I thought he was going to kill me,” He told me. “I don’t see how you could have a lot of weakness,” I said. He gave me a patronizing smile. “Oh, you have no idea kid. But, I’m more than a match for humans. See, they can’t harm me.

They don’t have the speed or the strength to stop me or even slow me down.” One second he was in front of me, and the next he was gone. I don’t know where he went. I kept hearing his voice all around me. “You don’t think you people are the superior species, do you?” I turned to follow his voice, but before I even got close, he was gone again. “You are weak, insignificant and only good for a food source,” He said, and I looked up. I thought I saw a swirling figure above me, but before I could make sure, it was gone.

“I’m not even sure why I saved you,” He said, and it sounded like it came from below me. I looked down and this black goo below me. Then he popped up in front of me. “Of course, the boy who wants you dead doesn’t know about this power,” He said thoughtfully. “What? You want to do an exchange?” I asked wearily. “Oh, no. Well, not with him. That is why I want to get on your side. They may be able to help me.” He said. Then he knelt down right in front of me. “Um, what are you doing?” I asked feeling uncomfortable. He looked up at me. “Oh, relax. I’m not here to blow you. Don’t get your briefs in a knot.” He snapped.

I blushed. He pulled out a jagged onyx bladed knife. “Is that how you are going to send the shadow?” I asked. He nodded. “You’re clever.” I grinned. “Not all humans are dumb you know,” I said. “I know. Just inferior.” I looked at him with a droll look. He then took the knife and jammed it into the ground. I thought it would only chip away at the ground, but it seemed to stick in the flesh. “Ouch!” I shouted. He looked up at me. “You didn’t think it wouldn’t hurt did you?” He asked. “I don’t know how a shadow can be painful, though!” I said through jagged breath.

“It’s simple. A shadow is an ethereal being. It can take on a physical form. But, otherwise, it’s more like a spirit or ghost. You only think that the light creates it, but that’s not true. A shadow is an extension of us all. No matter who or what, we are. They are silent guardians to obey us and protect us. Think of them as guardian angels. If you know how to control one, you have an assassin that can’t be targeted except by another shadow.

The only danger is that if your shadow is separated from you for too long, then it can be dangerous to your life.” I nodded. Well, let’s make sure that the shadow comes back.” I said. He smirked. “Oh, your shadow will never leave you. It can’t. You have a kind soul. It wants to come back and protect you.” He said as he continued to cut away at the shadow connecting to me. “Why hasn’t he been able to before?” I asked. “You didn’t have control of him, and you didn’t have the ability to release him. If you could free him, or give him the ability to live, then he would have stopped the shit in your life.” The man said.

“You know about all of that?” I asked. He nodded. “I’ve been watching you for a while.” I looked at him and asked again, “Who are you?” He sighed. “Maxix.” That was all he said. He finished cutting the shadow and then it just faced me. “Hey, Shadow! I’m the one who freed you.” Maxix said. He glanced at him and then looked back at me. He had my outline, height, size, hair length and his eyes were the same as me. The only difference was that he looked like swirling black smog, but I didn’t feel threatened by it, and I noticed a purple streak in the black. “Why is there…” The Shadow raised his hand in a “Stop talking” gesture. “What were you going to say?” He asked. The shadow lightly shook his head.

“Oh, nothing. I was going to ask why there wasn’t a darker presence to him. But, then I remembered you said that the shadow was just like another form of the person they came from.” I replied. He gave me a look like he didn’t believe a word I said, but he didn’t question it. “Alright, now shadow. We need you to deliver a message.” “Make him stop talking to me, like he controls me. He may have mastery of shadow. But, he isn’t my master. You are. If he doesn’t stop trying to order me around, he will be annihilated.” I paled a little.

“What did he say to you?” Maxix demanded. “He said that the only master he has been me, and if you don’t stop trying to order him around, he’ll destroy you,” I told him. Anger flashed in his eyes. “No shadow has the will to disobey me. I’m the master of shadow!” He snapped. He went to strike my shadow, but he just side stepped him. Maxix struck again, and my shadow grabbed his wrist. I heard the conversation.

“I warned you. Now, you’ll pay. I don’t need you anymore. You freed me. So, now I can come and go as I please. You should have heeded my warning.” My shadow said. “No, you can’t do this to me! I freed you!” Maxix shouted. “I saved him!” I didn’t know what to say or do. My shadow floated him up a few feet and then slammed him into the wall. “You have failed in your journey. You’ll never see them again. I know you aren’t like the others who have been hunted to extinction. But, you should have never abused your power over shadow.

“We aren’t as forgiven as you might think. We also aren’t as lenient and obedient as you think. We are sleeper warriors. We listen until the time is right. If you are just, we forgive. You abuse, we pass judgment. Which is why no one in this world has ever tried to dominate us. It’s not possible.” The shadow said. “But, you’ll listen to him!?” Maxix shouted. My shadow looked at me. “We have to obey the one we are linked to. There’s no stopping that. If you controlled someone’s shadow and ordered it to kill the one who it was linked to, they wouldn’t be able to do it, and they would turn on you. You would be signing your death sentence.” My shadow said.

He slammed Maxix into the ground and knelt over him. “Now, pay for your infidelities,” He said and then went to stab a glowing white object into Maxix. “Stop!” I shouted. My shadow stopped right before pierced his chest. “You know what he is right?” My shadow asked. I shook my head. “He’s the first vampire in the world. He’s the one they make movies about. You should let me kill him!” The shadow said. “No, I owe him a debt. He saved my life, so I want you to spare him.” I told him.

The shadow released him, and Maxix stared at the two of us. “So, I guess the debt is repaid.” He bowed and then said, “I’ll be going now. Good luck on your journey. I honestly hope your shadow doesn’t have the willpower to free himself from you and kill you and then take over your life.” Then he vanished. “We only have about seven minutes left before the high tide floods this place,” I said. “Two and a half.” The shadow said casually. I stared wide-eyed at him. “You have nothing to fear from me. Who shall I see?” He asked.

“I think Ashlee. She would be more understanding.” The shadow nodded. Then he was gone. I don’t know if he would be back in time or at all. I don’t know anything about shadows. Do they care? Do they feel? I guess the only thing I can do now is to wait and see. I don’t know how much time passed, but then the water at the cave’s entrance started to rise slowly and I was like, “Oh, crap.” I hope he was able to reach her in time. Otherwise, there’s nothing to come for, and…well, I shouldn’t think about that. I just hope he could convince them. I sighed. “Crap!” I screamed.

The shadow crept into Ashlee’s room where she paced around. He could understand why Matt was attracted to her. She was stunning. She looked like a model and not one of the anorexic ones. Her curves and figure made her irresistible. But, he wasn’t there for that. Ashlee was real. She wasn’t a shadow. He formed a physical body and walked over to her. He wore the same thing as Matt and looked down at himself. Then he stood arms crossed over his chest waiting until Ashlee turns around. When she did, she froze.

The only problem with talking to someone is that they have to initiate the conversation. “Who…Are you?” She stammered. He sighed. “Furis and I are here to give you a message. Matt is about to drown. He only has less than thirty seconds, and he’ll drown and freeze.” She just glared at him. “What have you done with him?” She demanded. Furis just stared at her. “I have done nothing to him. I’m his shadow. But, if you want him to die, then please. Stay here and glare at me.” Furis scolded. Then he vanished and went back to the cave and Matt. He gave her the memory of what cave he was in. Now, it was up to her to see if she saved him or not.

I saw my shadow come back, and I asked, “So before I die. May I know your name?” I was moving my arms and legs around to stay afloat in the water, but it was freezing, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep this up much longer. The water was coming in faster and faster. “My name is Furis. And I don’t think you’re going to die.” He said. “Are you able to get me out?” I asked. He shook his head gently. “I’m sorry, I don’t have that kind of form. I would if I could.” He told me and I believed him.

The water pushed me almost to the top of the cave. Well, here I go. I was saved only to die again. I thought. I was losing feeling when I felt a pair of hands on my arm. “Ashlee?” I asked. She nodded and then I was in the room we chose. Water dripped onto the floor. “I’m so sorry it took so long. I wasn’t sure if I could believe Furis. You know about his names origin don’t you?” She asked. I shook my head. “It means Thief Matt. But, that doesn’t always mean what you think it does.” I heard him say.

“I see. Well, he did give you the message that saved my life. So, now I think it’s time for a warm shower. I’m freezing.” I said. “Attention, may I please have Ashlee Fields to the front office. Ashlee Fields to the front office. Thank you.” She looked at me and then at Furis. “It’s okay Ash. He won’t hurt me.” I said. She glared at the shadow. “If you harm him, I’ll destroy you.” She threatened. I thought he would only get mad, but instead, he bowed. “He is safe. You have my word.” He told her. I wished he was real. I thought, and then I heard a loud pop and the room darkened for a second.

Then Furis looked real and not real at the same time. He didn’t look much different. But, instead, he had an identifiable face. In fact, he looked like my twin, expect he was made out of smoke. “Well, you have a strong will,” Furis said. “Does this mean you’re free?” I asked. He smiled and said, “Nope. I’m still yours. But, it’s more dangerous for me like this. I can be killed. Shadows are my natural enemies. But, holy users can kill me as well. They are the only two threats. Everything else will just sting and hurt me for a time. But, you’re in danger. If I get a fatally wounded, so will you. Before, it would only be a percentage of the damage. Now, it’s the full amount.” He explained.

“I see you don’t have to speak through telepathy anymore,” I commented. He looked surprised. “You’re right. I don’t. You know you can still tell me to attach myself to you. But, I can now jump out in the midst of danger, and I’ll now always be by your side.” He said. “That sounds awesome. But, if I’m in a personal business?” I asked. He laughed and said, “I’ll be during the same. Shadows are linked together. Whatever you do, so does the shadows. So, Ashlee’s shadow and me? Well, we did what you two did. I know that sounds creepy to you. But, I have to say that she enjoyed it.” He told me.

That ended up being the hard for me to wrap my mind around. “I know how this sounds. But, you see me. So, you’re not going crazy.” He said, and then the door burst open. Everyone came pouring into the room. “Matt, get away from him.” Jaise snapped. “I don’t think so,” I said. “What? He’s a shadow. A thief shadow. You never know what he’ll do to you.” He snapped. “I know he hasn’t tried to hurt me yet. So, I don’t care what or who he is. Until he betrays me, I want him around. Furis, will you please attach yourself to me?” I asked him politely.

“Fool!” Julie snapped. Furis bowed and did what I asked. He touched the toes of his shoes to mine and then stepped through me. I shivered and then I saw him on the wall. He stood in the same stance that I did. “You see? He isn’t a threat to me.” I told them. “You don’t know that. We don’t know that much about shadows. They are tricky, and they can’t be controlled. I don’t care what they say. Or who they belong to. Shadows have their rules.” He said. “He’s right Matt. Shadow magic is the only branch of magic that we can’t understand completely. We don’t know enough about it.” Julie said.

“Well, maybe it’s about time we learn.” I snapped at them. “Now, may I take a shower, or am I just supposed to freeze while you interrogate me?!” I said coldly. They all blinked and Liam responded, “Uh, right. Yeah. We should go guys.” Jaise glared at him. “I don’t want to leave him alone with his shadow.” Then they all looked each other and laughed. I snickered too. “You know how that sounds right?” I asked. “Yeah. Okay, but if you need anything Matt, just yell really loud.” Jaise told me. I nodded and motioned with my hands for them to leave.

He just gave me a look of annoyance and then closed the door behind him. Furis eyed me strangely and then shrugged and went to sit on the bed. “What was that look for?” I asked. He looked up at me. “What look?” He asked. I gave him a droll stare. “You know what look. You eyed me like you expected me to say something.” He just shrugged. “I may have thought you would say something. But, I don’t know. I can’t read minds.” He said to me. I rolled my eyes. Alright, I’m heading to the shower for real this time. Uh, one more question, though.” He nodded at me. “If I take off my clothes, will you become naked?” He blinked at me and burst out laughing.

I just stood there feeling like an idiot. “No, sorry,” He said through fits of laughter. “No, I won’t. I’ll remain dressed. The only time we mirror each other is if I end up getting wounded. You’ll take that wound. But, otherwise, we are two separate people. But, one in the same as well. I can’t hurt you. No matter if I wanted to. I can’t.” I looked at him in a questioning way. I don’t know if he was mad or okay with that. I shrugged it off and went into the bathroom. I took a long hot shower and then wrapped a towel around my waist and walked out because I had nothing else to put on.

“Here you go,” Furis said. He handed me a pair of underwear, shorts, and a shirt. He faced the doorway and gave me the privacy to get dressed. I took off the towel and then put on the clothes. “Okay, I’m surprised you didn’t just watch me or something,” I said. He gave me a blank look. “Why would I want to see another guy naked?” He asked innocently. “Well, we are the same person right?” I asked. “In a sense yes. But, not one hundred percent. We are also two different people who are linked together. But, that doesn’t mean we need to see each other naked.” He said in a tone that implied that it should be obvious.

“What about all the times before you were freed?” I asked him. He smirked. “I closed my eyes. I may not have been able to free myself and help you, but that doesn’t mean I looked. Sheesh. We have times when we need privacy too. You needed yours then, and you need it now. I mean those few times you were able to please yourself from your families… I don’t know how you didn’t explode from…” “Alright, alright!” I shouted with embarrassment.

The door burst open then, and Jaise came storming in with a dagger. “What’s the matter?” He asked. “Embarrassing topic,” Furis said. Jaise glared at him. “It’s true. Just some uncomfortable words being exchanged.” I replied. Jaise left with one last glare over his shoulder. Furis sighed. “He is going to hate me no matter what. You should meet his shadow. Dear God. You want to see an asshole. You should meet Zink.” I looked at Furis. “Jaise’s shadow is named Zink?” I asked.

“Yeah, and he’s a prick. He doesn’t hate Jaise. But, he hates everyone and everything else. He’ll sooner rip your face off as he will high five Jaise for a good job.” I shuddered. “But, don’t worry. He can’t harm you and he are not strong enough to harm me. We are both safe.” He told me. “That’s what you think.” I turned around to see another shadow in physical form. He looked like the boy from before. “Kid, your shadow doesn’t have the strength or the power to beat me. He’s strong sure, but I’ve been around for three thousand years! He’s no match for me.”

Furis didn’t look too concerned. “How do you know you are stronger than me?” He asked. The other shadow just glared for a second and then laughed wickedly. “Matt, I think you should leave now,” Furis said. “If you get hurt too badly…” Furis just gave me a blank look. “Oh, why should he leave the party early?” The shadow asked. He waved his hand, and black fog covered the door. Furis cursed. I looked at them. “Yes, he won’t be leaving, and no one will be getting in.” The shadow said. My shadow motioned for me to get behind him and then he held two bastard swords in his hands. I don’t know how he was able to wield them both.

“You think you’re going to fight me with those?” The other shadow asked. “Who are you, sir?” Furis asked. “Zak. I’m death. Yours?” He asked. Furis just shook his head. Zarkary seemed to pull a claymore out of nowhere. “This should be a quick and simple fight.” Furis just smiled. “I completely agree,” Furis said unsheathing two long swords from thin air. They charged each other and all three swords flashed and clanged with each other. I didn’t think sparks could fly from the end of their blades, but they did. Shadowy strings of thick ink like shadows floated off into the air and vanished.

Furis ducked and rolled under a blow and came up behind Zark. He then put his sword behind his back to block both blades from a high and low attack. Both blades flashed around the room in a flurry. The movements were fluid and almost perfect. I was transfixed by what I was seeing. Furis wielded both his weapons like they were small daggers. He didn’t seem affected by the weight. He countered and arced the other blade that Zark had to block quickly which allowed an opening that Furis took.

And then Zark back stepped the attack. They went on like that for a while. Zark performed a move that allowed Furis’ one blade in and pulled him up close. Then he brought the pommel of the sword down on his arm, forcing him to drop the blade. Furis kicked out sending his foe sprawling. Now, only one sword left and Furis looked angry. “You took my favorite weapon away from me.” He spat. “It’s poor fighting if you use two weapons.” Zak countered.

“Do you know why they call me the ‘thief’? It isn’t because I still money.” Furis said. Zak looked at him like he was a bug. Furis rested his hand open over the sword and I watched it shimmer and fade from existence. “What did you do with it?” Zak and I both shouted. Furis smiled and then swirled his remaining sword in a fast circle. When he stopped, I watched in awe as I saw the sword wasn’t just one long sword. It was a double ended blade. It looked like the other at the end, but it was attached to the hilt like a double bladed lightsaber.

“That’s the extent of your power?” Zak laughed maniacally. Furis just smiled. “Oh, no. See you don’t know what the special powers of the sword before did you? Well, you see the sword you knocked away from me had the enchantment to cover the blade in an electric current, and the other can turn into liquid lava while keeping a solid form. Now, what do you think they’ll be able to do combined?” He asked. Confusion spread across Zark’s face and then it slowly turned to fear. “There’s no way you can handle that kind of power,” He said quickly.

I could hear the fear in his words. Furis just smiled. “Oh? I’ve had these swords for eight millennia. How do you know?” He asked. “You’ve been around…” Zak couldn’t finish the sentence. I looked at him. “How is that possible?” I asked. “You didn’t think shadows were created when someone was born and by the light do you? No, Matt. There are shadows being created all the time, and most have been waiting around and had no one that they belong to. So, they just become Warriors of the Shadow Lands. You’ve seen movies, games or read books about the Shadowlands? I can assure you that they have absolutely nothing correct.” Furis said.

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t seen ’home.’” He sneered the word. Furis radiated anger, and his color turned darker with shades of blood red in it. “You haven’t seen true power there. Now, are you going to want to continue this fight or are you going to leave now?” He asked. “I can’t leave. You’re going to die!” Zak screamed. Furis hummed a bit and then his entire blade pulsed and began to glow with lightning. Neon purple bolts of electricity ran up and down the blade, and the blade seemed to shimmer with high heat. Almost like it was melting and cracking. I swear I could see lava move on the blade like a wave, back and forth.

What it must feel like to have that kind of power. I thought. Hold on? How in the holy lord am I not freaking out right now!? I backed further away from the blade. I knew he wouldn’t hurt me, but the blade was dangerous all the same. Zark charged and brought his claymore down and around in a double hit. The blade came low and then up high quickly. But, Furis was ready for it. Both blades flashed through the air and fire and bolts of lightning shot from the weapon.

I dropped into a crouch in the furthest corner I could get to. I watched as the blades whirled and whipped around each other. They were both very skilled fighters. But, I think Furis was just playing with Zark. You could see the confidence in his stance and the easy smile on his face. It was almost like he knew how this fight would end. Zak seemed to sense it too. He watched Furis with an uneasy expression and then jumped over him to get away, but Furis sliced hard over his head, and Zark screamed in pain. He landed and rolled, coming up in a crouch. A huge gash starting at his left side on his chest to the right on his stomach could be seen.

“You don’t know what you’ve done.” He gasped. “I think I do. Your mirror self will be fine. He is not human, right? He won’t die.” Furis said without a care in the world. “That may be so. But, I can’t fail. He’ll destroy me.” Furis frowned at him. “He can’t. He’ll be destroyed as well, unless…” Furis’ eyes grew wide. “You’re not his original shadow.” Zak shook his head and frowned. “I’m sorry.” Furis said and rushed him. Zak jammed his sword straight into my chest. I screamed in pain and blood poured out. Furis grabbed him and tossed him off of me. He knelt down in front of me.

No one was coming for me. Furis glanced at the door and smirked. “What are you laughing at? He’s dying.” Zak snarled. “I don’t think so. When I wounded you, the spell weakened.” Zak glanced at the door and cursed in a different language. Furis charged and both blades spun too fast for me to see where one started and the other ended. He slashed and cut. He ripped through Zark’s body and totally shredded him. Then the spell was broken and Liam, Julie, and Jaise charged through the door. Blood puddled around me and I felt everything fade.

“Julie, please!” Jaise shouted kneeling down next to me. She rushed over to me and started to heal me. But, it wasn’t working as fast or as well as last time. “What’s the matter?” Jaise asked. She shook her head. “I don’t know. Something is blocking me. I can’t fully heal him. I can heal the wound, but there’s going to be something in him that I don’t think he’ll be able to survive.” She said. “I don’t know what that means.” Jaise snapped. I could hear his voice crack.

“It means that whatever wounded him, the physical injury I can heal, but something is… Think of it as a poison. It’s slowly going to keep spreading through him. I can’t cure it. Either it’s going to kill him, or it’s going to twist him into a mockery of what or who he originally was.” She explained. “So, it’s like World of Warcraft? When Arthas is a paladin and tries to protect his people, but then he picks up frost mourne and becomes an evil mockery of himself. Once a mighty paladin and then a death knight.”

We all looked at Liam and he looked away uncomfortably. “Um, yes. Actually, that’s right.” Julie said while looking at her boyfriend strangely. “So, I’m a good weak guy now. But, I’m going to become a dick weak bag later? Kill me.” I moaned. “I so don’t think so man.” Jaise said to me. Furis had Zark down on his knees. He was completely defenseless. “I think it’s time to undo what you’ve done.” He snapped. “No. End me. It won’t make any difference.” Zak ordered.

“Oh, see. I have a special place for shadows like yourself.” He said. “What do you mean? “ He asked. “See, there’s a powerful god who rules the land of Lyches. Undead mages. And well, he is particularly hostile to shadows who oppose destiny and those who help try to stop fate.” My shadow said. Fear covered Zark’s face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I am not trying to stop destiny. I’m just doing what I’m told so that Derek isn’t killed!” Furis looked at him suspiciously. “Who’s Derek?” I asked. I shakily climbed to my feet.

They all helped me. “He’s the man I’m linked to. Jason has him trapped and is slowly draining his life force. If he dies, I die. Jason knows how to kill him. He’s a god too, but he doesn’t have all the necessary protections that the others do.” Zark said. “Where is he now?” Jaise asked. “I will show you, but please don’t destroy me,” Zark said. “Why should we trust him? I’m going to end him now!” Furis said and as he was swinging, I shouted, “NO!” A powerful bolt of lightning came and blasted him through the chest.

I collapsed then and I looked down to see a hole right through me and dropped to the ground. Furis jumped to his feet and then saw me. “What the fuck?!” He screamed. I was barely there. I couldn’t focus on anything or anyone. Julie worked as hard as she could to heal me. “Julie?” Ashlee and Jaise asked. She didn’t respond. I saw her focusing on me. Sweat covered her face, but she wouldn’t stop trying to heal me. I then saw someone floating a few inches off the ground with dark brown hair and bright green eyes. He wore a silk red and purple robe with a cloak that was fastened around his neck that fell to his ankles. “You should have listened to them.” The man said.

Furis looked at him and then looked at us. “Who are you?” But, by his tone, he already knew. I saw the man smile. “Jacob. Lych God and that shadow you’re about to execute? Well, he belongs to the person I love. So, if you kill him, then I kill you.” Furis dropped his sword. He knew he wasn’t going to win this fight. Jacob turned towards me. “Your shadow made a wise choice. “Girl, you’re not going to be able to heal him in time. He knelt down in the air and waved his right hand over me. The wound vanished and I sat up coughing and gasping for breath.

“Thank you.” I choked out. He didn’t say anything but turned towards Furis. “I don’t blame you for the fight. It had to be done. But, you could have listened to him. You know better than anyone that shadows aren’t capable of lying. Why would you think he would be any different?” Jacob asked. “Shadows aren’t able to lie?” Jaise asked looking at Furis. Jacob smirked. “What? You thought they were?” He laughed mockingly at that. “Kid, you don’t know anything about this world do you?” Jaise’s face flushed.

“So, I’m assuming there are more than just shadow warriors and vampires in this world then right?” I asked. Jacob turned to give me a scrutinizing look. “You’re observant aren’t you?” He asked. I shrugged. “Yes, there’s a lot more than just god, vampires and shadow warriors. You may even meet them in time. But, for now, help me and I’ll get you out of here. Don’t help me and I’ll let fate decide what to do.” He said with his arms crossing his chest. “I say we help him,” I tell them.

“His lovers shadow just tried to kill you!” Jaise snapped. “Yes, but only to keep his physical self-alive. You’d all do the same thing.” I said simply. No one said anything to that. “Where is he?” Julie asked. He’s at the bottom of the shelter underwater.” Jacob said. She gaped at him. “You haven’t rescued him and you know where he is?” Ashlee snapped. He just looked at her blankly. “I can’t interfere with mortal actions,” Jacob said simply. “How do we get him then?” Jaise asked. Jacob glanced at me and held my focus. “He can’t go! He’s human.” Liam snapped. “He’s the only one who can. You all have to give him the time to rescue Derek and then call upon me to show up.”

“He’ll destroy us all,” Ashlee said. “No, he won’t.” Jacob said and pulled out a writhing shadow from nowhere. “Is that his shadow?” I asked. Jacob nodded. “I thought you just said you couldn’t interfere in mortal affairs?” Jaise asked. “Oh, shadows aren’t mortal affairs,” Jacob said. I sighed. The shadow kicked and struggled, but it didn’t do any good. Jacob had a lot of strengths. “I don’t understand something. How did Jason capture Derek if he’s a god?” I asked.

“That’s a good question. I don’t know, but I intend to find out.” Jacob replied and then snapped his fingers. “Now, you’ll be able to breathe underwater,” He told us. We all just looked around at each other. We didn’t feel or look any different. “Are you sure?” Liam asked. Jacob glanced at him and gave him a droll look. “If I wanted you to die, do you think I’d waste my time with drowning you?” He snapped. They all took a step back and nodded. “How do we get to the sea?” Ashlee asked.

I just gave her a blank look. Julie snickered and Liam and Jaise rolled their eyes. “Ariel, here we come,” I muttered. Ashlee looked at me with bright eyes. Jacob coughed and snapped his fingers. “People, please. You’re not going to meet mermaids! They aren’t real!” Ashlee’s face fell. I rolled my eyes at him. “Nice,” I told him. He blinked at me. “What?” He asked. “Nothing, let’s go.” Jaise said and then we were all under the ocean. I thought I’d be cold, but I was quite warm. I even found that I could see and that the others seemed to know where to go. I followed them down deeper and deeper.

They surrounded me and we moved towards someone chained down in the middle. At first, I thought he had to be dead. But, when we got close to him, he opened his eyes. The structure underneath the water was only several long steel covered poles that were spaced out to support the building. “Who are you?” The man asked. He sounded like he wasn’t underwater. It was as if the water didn’t faze him. “We are here to help you.” I said and I could speak clearly too. It must be the spell Jacob gave us.

The man nodded. And then he focused on one spot. We all turned to see Jason there. “You aren’t going to get him,” He said. “We shall see.” Jaise replied. They all used all their magic and attacked without another thought. I swam over to the man. “Are you Derek?” I asked. He nodded. I swam up to his wrist and tried to open the cuffs, but they wouldn’t break. Then I saw something flash on his lower stomach. It blended in with his skin and it seemed to rest right at the waistband of his tight jeans. What’s up with guys and tight jeans these days? Well, I guess if you have the body. You might as well show it off.

I went to grab a hold of the item, but it wouldn’t budge. “You won’t be able to get it off without Jason’s help,” Derek said. “I’ll not get his help…” Oh! Wait! “Jacob!” I shouted and he was right next to me. “I need Jason’s shadow to remove this thing,” I told him. He nodded glumly and then pulled out the shadow. He also held a wooden ornamented stake that swirled with a dark violet purple smoke at the shadows heart. It instantly stopped struggling. I don’t know how that happened, but it worked. “Jacob, good to see you again,” Derek said.

“You know I wouldn’t leave you here. Besides, your mom has been trying to skin me since you went missing. I like my skin where it is.” He said in a playful tone. Derek laughed. The shadow just remained motionless. “Take that device off,” Jacob ordered after a moment. The shadow didn’t respond or do anything. Jacob pushed the stake into his heart and I heard a gasp and a scream come from the fight. I risked a glance behind Jaise and me floated in the water, not moving.

Jason held Ashlee by the throat, but let go of her gasping in pain. Julie seemed hurt, but Liam seemed okay. Jacob pushed the stake further at the shadows chest and Jason screamed again. “Do what they ask!” He screamed. The shadows shoulders slumped and then he pulled off the device. Jacob quickly snatched it from the shadows hands. “I would shield your eyes,” Derek warned. “Close your eyes!” I screamed. I heard the sound like a “pop” and then I felt an intense heat encase us. The water heated to an unbearable temperature. When I risked opening my eyes, the shadow and Jason were gone.

Jacob and Derek were gone. I swam over to them and then Liam grabbed a hold of Jaise’s shirt and hauled him out of the water. Just in time too, because we were gasping for breath by the time we broke the surface. “Well, so much for gratitude.” Jaise mumbled rubbing his neck. “Jaise!” I shouted and threw my arms around him. “Ow! Ow!” He said while laughing.

“I think you should die more often, for that kind of affection,” Liam said laughing. “As much as I love my family, a hug is more than enough affection. I’d rather have a nice girl.” Jaise said with a smirk. I pulled away then. Jaise through his arm around my shoulders and held me close for a moment. “You okay?” He asked. “Yeah, I’m fine. You’re the one who had his neck broken!” I said. “Yes, but I’m okay. A little sore is all.” We climbed out of the water and were back on the island.

“Well, I guess it didn’t remain underwater for long. How do we get back to the others?” Liam asked. “You don’t.” We turned at Jacob’s voice. “What do you mean we don’t?” I asked. “They are on their own. They didn’t help.” Jacob said. “Why don’t you owe us a favor then and we’ll help them on our own!” Liam snapped coldly. Jacob glared at him and lightning flashed in the sky. It made Ashlee’s look like little sparks in comparison. Dark angry green and gray clouds formed in the sky and where lightning bolts struck the earth, the ground cracked and undead warriors crawled out.

Tall, skinny, short, fat looking skeleton warriors came towards us slowly. Their bones clanking together. Each eye holes had a different glow about it. But, they all looked like they had spiritual translucent eerie candles in them that you couldn’t see. But, the lights flickered. Each warrior carried a different weapon as well. “You defy my help?” Jacob snapped. “No, we don’t. We just don’t want to leave countless people to die!” I said in fear. Jacob turned to me and just stared. I didn’t see anger. I saw pity. “Kill them all,” He said sadly. Then a flash of golden light appeared and Derek stood in front of us. His arms crossed and the warriors instantly stopped their approach and looked up at Jacob in confusion. They didn’t know what to do.

“Derek, move,” He ordered gently. “No. I won’t. They saved me and this is what you’re going to do to them? I don’t think so.” He snapped. “Derek,” Jacob said. I could hear the emotion in his voice. “No, you’ll have to fight me first. You need to go through me.” Derek said as brave as he could. From the way he was acting, though, he knew he didn’t have a chance in beating Jacob. I guess the Lych god knew that as well. “I can’t fight you, Derek. I can’t.” Jacob said.

“Then stand down,” He ordered nicely. The undead was just standing there. Obviously, they knew the repercussions of going after Derek in a hostile manner. Of course, he wouldn’t be in danger. They wouldn’t be able to hurt him. “Fine, I won’t go against them,” Jacob told him. “Is that all?” Derek asked. “It’s okay. I don’t want to push our luck.” I told him. Jacob smiled then and said, “No, I still owe them a favor. When you want to call upon that favor, flip this coin in the air and read the inscription.” I caught the coin in the air and then when I looked back, the two gods and the undead were gone.

“That was weird,” Liam muttered. “You do realize we were almost zombie food right?” Jaise asked. “Skeleton food. Those were skeletons.” I said. Ashlee laughed and Jaise and Liam just looked at me. Julie rolled her eyes. “You boys and your undead,” Julie said with a glint of light in her eyes. “Hey, I’m just being educational,” I replied. “Well, before we have a debate about the zombie apocalypse, we should find a way to get the others out,” Ashlee said. “Is that going to happen?” I asked. “Well, if we can find the entrance.” Jaise said. “No, I think he meant the zombies,” Liam said. Ashlee scoffed and Julie said, “People, please! Priorities?” I laughed. “Sorry, but zombies fascinate me,” I said. “And vampires don’t?” Ashlee asked hurt. “Well, you do,” I said winking.

She smiled and her face lit up. Everyone coughed in disgust. “Oh, please. Like you don’t shove your tongues down the others throat.” I said looking at Liam and Julie. “Oh, and you cousin. I don’t even want to know what you do in your spare time.” They all laughed full heartedly and I couldn’t help but laugh along with them. Then we went to find the entrance to the underground shelter. We had to get them out soon. Who knows how long they will be okay down there. But, I felt like something bad was going to happen and that this was going to be a lot of fun.

We walked down the tunnel and back to the area where everyone else was waiting. “You came on the top?!” A worker asked in disbelief. “Yeah and we need to hurry,” Liam said. “Is there any way for you to contact an emergency rescue team?” Jaise asked. The young man nodded and went to a small cordless phone on the wall in front of the window. “Sam, activate phone six-three-twelve,” He said. “Activated.” The automatic voice said. “Yes, this is worker, nine-twenty-nine-fifteen. We need emergency rescue straight away. The island was hit by a drastic tsunami-“ The man pulled the phone from his ear and held it away and even I could hear the screaming coming from the other end.

“Well, we’ve tried sir. We couldn’t get through. They’ve been no words from any ships in the area and I don’t know how long we can remain here. We have no shelter above ground anymore and even though the water has receded…” He paused and grew a look of pure terror. We all turned to see what he was staring at. A camera showed the island and another wave twice as big as the first rose up and then crashed into the island. The entire shelter shook and the lights flickered. People screamed and everyone held on to whatever they could.

Ashlee grabbed a hold of my waist tightly and grabbed onto a railing with all her strength as tight as she could. A piercing rumbling sound echoed around us and we couldn’t even scream where others could hear us. I don’t know what to feel or think right now. All I could say was we were probably going to die. “Matt!” Ashlee screamed at me and I wouldn’t have known it if I wasn’t already looking at her. Then everything went silent and people didn’t know what to do.

Some of the lights shattered overhead and the emergency lights flickered and wouldn’t come on. But, other than that there seemed to be no noticeable damage to the shelter. “You see? Nothing can harm us down here.” The bald man said. Then I froze. I felt something bad around the end of the walking area. “Matt?” Jaise called my name. I didn’t answer. I just walked towards the end and stared at the glass wall. “Matt, what is it, man?” He asked. I pointed. He squinted. “Matt, there’s nothing there, I don’t know what-“ But, he didn’t finish his sentence. We both saw it then.

Something was swimming towards us at a fast pace and didn’t seem to be stopping. “What is that?” Liam asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s good,” Ashlee said. “Is everyone alright?!” An attendant here asked. “A little late,” I mumbled. Everyone seemed to be fine, though. “Yeah! I know what the sounded like and I can assure you it was worse this time than the first. Are you going to send some motherfucking help or not?! I have hundreds of people here! Thousands! Get us the fuck out of here!” The worker screamed into the phone. Liam and Jaise just exchanged glances. Then the thing swimming towards us came into focus.

“It’s a fricken shark!” Julie screamed. “What’s it doing, coming right at us?!” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know, but this can’t be good,” I said quietly. The huge shark bull rushed the glass and it vibrated, but held. Then we all saw more coming at the window. “I don’t think it’s going to hold,” I said. “Sure it is! It held against two tsunamis didn’t it?” The bald man demanded. “That’s why I don’t think it’s going to last,” I said quietly. “Matt, do you know something we don’t?” Jaise asked. I shook my head. “It’s just a feeling. I don’t know how, but I sense that something is going to happen here.” I said pointing to the spot right in front of me.

Then other sharks and fish dive bombed the glass and everything started to shake. The lights flickered and a couple more stopped working or shattered. Then I saw it. A large hammerhead shark bull rushed the glass and a small crack formed in the glass. “I think we need to get out of here,” I said. They heard it before they saw it. “I don’t think that little crack is going to harm us.” The bald man said nervously. “Little cracks grow,” I told him.

“Listen kid. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” He said, but I could tell that he was starting to sweat. He was scared and he was trying to keep the others from seeing it. I stared at the crack for the longest time. A small leak crept in through the crack and then I saw it spread and grow. “Um, I think we need to leave!” I screamed. More cracks appeared in the glass wall and nice sized streams leaked through. The concrete floor didn’t have any drains, so the water just pooled there.

“I don’t know where we are supposed to go. But, if you have more options, I’m all ears.” Jaise said. “I don’t know. But, we have to do something. I give it maybe twenty minutes top before the entire glass wall crashes and we all drown.” I told them. “How do you know this?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know! It’s just a feeling.” I snapped and then we all walked back to the others. “So, what’s the plan?” Julie asked. The bald man walked over to a console and pushed a button, “Is there anyone who has responded to the distress signal?” The automatic voice came back.

“No. But, I do detect their just outside of the range.” A lot of people cursed. “The water is slowly residing from the island, but there are no safety zones. The probability of another Tsunami is one in a ten million chance.” The computer said. “But, there’s still a chance.” Someone said from the group. “No, but if we stay here, we will all die.” An attendant said. We all gathered around the entrance that I came through and we all gathered there. “We still have time. We should have someone stay at the entrance and close the door if the water starts to build too high and then we all climb up when the computer gives the okay.”

“We don’t know when that’ll be.” The bald man said. “It doesn’t matter. We stay here, we die. At least, in the tunnels, we have a chance!” Someone shouted. “What do you propose?” An older woman asked. “I say we take a vote. Groups split up and try for an exit. I guess you could say whoever makes it, well good for them. Whoever doesn’t, I’m sorry for you.” Was everyone brain dead? I wondered. “You want to run off on your own?” A middle-aged man asked. “You’re all stupid.” A cranky old man snapped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Why did everyone think they could do better during a crisis on their own? I wondered. “You honestly don’t think you’ll be able to get away on our own do you?” Someone asked. “It’s better than staying here with you idiots waiting to die!” The cranky man snapped. Groups split off from the large group and each one charged towards a different exit. “You’re all going to die. The glass won’t last…” I didn’t get to finish the sentence when the glass wall shattered. Water poured in like from the titanic. Yeah, don’t judge. I’ve seen and liked the movie.

“Run!” Jaise bellowed. The few people left by us charged into the tunnels and we all followed quickly after them. Jaise and the others didn’t seem too worried about the water, but I was. A young boy, barely older than thirteen stepped forward. “You guys might want to leave.” He spoke in a high-pitched voice, but he spoke with a voice far older than he looked. “You can’t stay here alone,” I said. He turned to me and I saw a dark blue streak in his hair.

“You need to leave!” He screamed. The boy held his right hand up towards the water and what seemed to be airy waves of water spread out and created a kind of barrier that stopped the progress towards us. “I can’t hold the ocean off forever!” He shouted. Ashlee shoved me through and then started to close the door. “Go!” That was the last thing I heard before the door was shut and latched. “What’s going to happen to him!?” I demanded. “He’ll be fine. He’s one of us. He has ways to escape. There’s still hope that he’ll make it.” Julie told me. “There’s something you’re not telling me isn’t there?” I accused. “Well, we have abilities, but I don’t know how much more you can handle right now.” Jaise told me.

“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” I suggested. He nodded. “We have the ability to teleport. As long as we have a place in mind, and the strength. He used a lot of magic even in that short amount of time, so he was pretty weak. However, he was over five hundred years old and really strong. A lot stronger than any vampire I’ve seen in a while. Even the council said he was almost at their level and they’ve been around for thousands of years.”

That was reassuring. “I can hear the water building against the door,” Ashlee said. “As can we.” Everyone else said. “I hear grinding. The water is straining against the door and it may not hold.” Liam commented. “Well, I think it’s time we got to the ladder,” I said simply. They all nodded and we rushed down the tunnel. We passed a couple other doors that led to the tunnels other entrances and all were sealed. But, water was already pressing against them.

You could see the water leaking out from the cracks and we rushed past it. We finally made it to the ladder and there was another door that was open. I barely saw it in time and I said, “Water is coming!” I rushed to the door and tried to push it closed. But, I couldn’t get it to close. Then Jaise and Liam jumped in and helped me push the door shut. We barely made it by the time the water reached us and even with us pushing, we barely got it closed in time. The water was pressing up against it hard and I knew it wasn’t going to last too much longer.

We have to go now.” Someone said. “I know, but there’s really nowhere to go right now,” Ashlee commented. “That’s true. The entire island is underwater and there’s water being pressed in on us on all sides. We are in some serious trouble.” Jaise said. “Oh, I think it will work out for the good,” I said. Everyone stared at me like I was a mosquito. “Don’t give me that look,” I said. The water started to seep out through the door and the pressure behind the door pushed up and it creaked and the hinges started to creak and snap.

“I don’t see that holding too much longer,” I replied. “Thanks for stating the obvious.” A girl grumbled. Everyone rolled their eyes. “What are we going to do?” The girl freaked out. The building started to rumble and shake. “Well, I guess this is it.” An older man said. I noticed a young boy with a gray streak in his hair. He had to be about thirteen and a little bit on the heavy side and he smiled at me revealing cracked teeth. The door burst open and the water pressed us against the far wall. Right before the water filled the room.

I heard the bones snap and the screams of the people around me. I don’t know what happened to them, but all I felt at the time was that all the air was pushed from my lungs. I couldn’t move and the water surrounded me and held me captive. After a few minutes, I started to lose consciousness. I kind of just floated in the water. I saw someone swimming towards me and then the water spread out and a bubble of air surrounded me and it pushed the water from my lungs and I took a jagged breath.

“Matt, are you okay?” Jaise asked me. I nodded, uncertain of speaking. “You can speak cuz. It’s okay.” He said. “Forgive me for being a little apprehensive about speaking when the entire ocean is surrounding me.” Ashlee laughed and then asked, “How do we get out of here?” “What about the others?” Julie asked. The boy with the gray streak just pointed to the now open door. “I think he’s meaning that we can swim through that. This air bubbles won’t last much longer so we don’t have a lot of time.” Jaise said.

Without another word, we started swimming through the door and through the halls and tunnels. “How much longer until we make it to the top?” Julie asked. The boy started freaking out and started signing quickly. “I don’t know what he’s doing,” Ashlee said. “He’s talking people. He’s saying that we continue to diminish the power of the air inside the bubbles by talking.” I said. The boy just gave me a shocked look. “When did you learn to-“ I gave Liam a droll look. They all took it as a sign and stopped talking.

We kept on swimming and went up through the tunnel entrance and at the door. I always wondered why we didn’t try to open the door to where we were. I signaled to the boy and he replied, “The door was locked from the outside. We couldn’t have gotten through it.” I nodded and then we found the other door leading to the upper island. The boy gestured toward me that his name was Brandon and that this is the only door available.

Liam and Jaise have used all their strength to open the door and with some effort, they managed to open it. Gasping, they went through first, and we all followed. We swam up and I started to feel cold and the pressure from the water around me. I signaled to the boy and he frowned at me. He signaled back that stated he magic around us was fading. For some reason, the magic around me was fading faster than the others. He could sense it. The others still had half hour tops. I only had minutes.

I didn’t know if I could make it. And I couldn’t shout to Jaise and the others because that would consume the last minutes I had left and it would surely kill me. I swam as fast as I could to the surface, but I knew there was no way I would make it in time. I kept trying though and I saw the light from the surface, before running out of the air, and the pressure caught me and I tried to hold my breath and keep going.

I ended up light headed and passing out. The ocean current pulled me under and I swear I saw the others swim further and further away and then something stopped me. I don’t know what it was, but I felt dragged towards the surface I almost blanked out when we broke the surface and coughed and hacked up water and took sharp and ragged breaths. “What…Happened?” I gasped out. “You almost drowned,” Ashlee said holding me up above the surface of the water.

“What’s the game plan?” Julie asked. “I don’t know. Matt!” Jaise shouted. I waved weakly. “I really thought you’d drowned, but I was too far away. Ashlee though was the closest one to you and the only one who had the best chance of reaching you.” He said. Everyone stared at me and I blinked away embarrassment and awkwardness. “So, where are we going now?” Liam asked. “I don’t know. We don’t have any knowledge of any safety areas.” Ashlee said.

“I thought you people could teleport? Don’t you have a base somewhere with others that are with you?” I asked. They looked at me again. “You’re right, you know. We do have a place, but we can’t go there yet. It’s not time and it’s not safe for you.” Jaise said. “Safe for me? Why would I be in danger with others who are like you? Wouldn’t they try to help me since you’re my cousin?” I asked. Liam and Ashlee gave me a look. “What is it you’re hiding?” I asked. “There’re a few people we believe who would be on our side, but the majority of our ‘school’ is with the headmaster. She’s not exactly the friendliest and it’s prophesized that someone from the Xenophon line is most likely going to lead us to our doom.”

“Jaise,” I said looking directly at him, “You really think that this name is an ancestor of mine?” I asked. “Actually, I do. Do you remember that we share the same bloodline?” He asked. I nodded at him. He smiled and said, “Well, then you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that I took a blood test of myself and I did a background check and found that our relatives came from Ireland in the late eighteen hundreds, to the early Ancient Greek period to where the name originated.” Jaise explained.

“I love a good family history lesson. But, I think it’s time we got out of here.” Julie said. “What’s the matter? You don’t like the warm feel of the ocean?” Liam asked her with a grin. She glared at him. “Watch it Li. You don’t want me to ground you.” Liam laughed and then sobered quickly. Jaise rolled his eyes, and I said, “You don’t have to candy-coat your sex talk.” I said and Ashlee laughed. “Oh, you won’t be getting out of here. I’m going to kill you all now.”

We saw the vampire that almost killed us before. “I told you. I didn’t care what Zolem said. He won’t stop me. I may not be able to kill Matt directly. But, if I kill the people around him. He won’t survive long in the ocean. So, either way, I still win.” He caused a huge gust of air started to stir up the water, which caused the water to pour over us and held us down. They wouldn’t survive long underwater. I remained above the water, but that wouldn’t matter much longer.

I would drown before anyone could find me. And I would be sent back home to John. But, I didn’t have any way to help them. I felt completely lost. “Why are you doing this?” I demanded. “I can’t risk you growing into destroying the entire vampire line. You could ruin everything!” He hissed. The water churned and poured over us. I felt being pushed under and the wind began to howl around us before I was pushed under for a moment. Was I going to be killed for the third time by drowning? Jesus. This guy didn’t have any originality did he?!

Chapter 6

Then the water stopped holding us under and we all came up gasping for breath. I don’t know how long we were held under, but no one looked all that great, but they looked relieved to be alive. “What’s the meaning of this?!” The boy screamed. Then a figure appeared standing on the water. The hooded figure looked tall but slim. So, I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. But, whoever it was seemed to be able to cancel out the boy’s magic. “Zolem! You said I was the strongest vampire in existence!” A voice echoed like the winds over the ocean. “No, I said I believe you to be because of my magic. But, there’re others who are stronger than me. Oh, and you’ve just met one.”

No one said anything for a moment. “Who are you?” The boy screamed. The hooded figure pulled back the hood and milk chocolate wavy hair fell past her shoulders and I saw her face. Smooth creamy skin, bright diamond colored eyes and ruby lips. Then I noticed a hot pink streak in her hair. “Who are you?” Jaise asked. “Zolem!” The boy shrieked. Zolem’s voice came again like the wind. “Hello, mother.” Mother? I thought. A majestic female voice echoed like Zolem’s. “Hello, son. I see you can’t stay out of trouble.” Laughter boomed all around us. “You know as well as I that humans with our power can’t always be controlled.”

Female laughter echoed then. ’Tis true.” The boy looked around in disbelief on what was going on. Then the woman spoke. “Jason, it’s been a long time. You know the rules. Matt and his group aren’t to be harmed. And yet you think you can kill them, and let him die out here alone? You know I couldn’t allow that. Until he takes the ritual and finds his true path, he’s under my protection. He isn’t to be harmed. If you attack him, I’ll put you down myself.” The woman warned. I got the feeling it wasn’t a threat and it wasn’t meant to be taken lightly.

I couldn’t really tell what Jason was feeling, but he seemed to stand up in shock and just stare. “Ran, what are you doing here?” Jason asked. “I just told you. Stopping you from killing them.” Jason tried to cast spells, but something prevented him. Or someone. “You’re canceling my magic.” Jason accused. “Yes, yes I am,” Ran said. “Isn’t your name from the Norse Gods?” I asked. She looked at me and winked. “You know about the gods?” Julie asked. “Yeah. I took an advanced summer course on the history and the religions of other countries and ancient countries.” I explained.

“Just how smart are you really?” Liam asked. I shrug. “How am I supposed to know what my IQ is?” I asked. They all gave me a droll look. “You seriously don’t know what your intellect is?” Julie asked. “I never pulled out my brain and measured the neurons and hooked it up with the jack to have the computer measure how fast the operating system is.” Ashlee snickered and everyone else just glared at me. “Enough!” Ran and Jason yelled loudly.

“So, you really are putting them under your protection. I can’t touch them until…” He started. “Until nothing. I’m not going to discuss that with you. You need to leave now!” She snapped. He didn’t argue. He vanished and Ran looked at us all. “You are going to be put in the middle of a forest that if you follow north, you’ll end up at the resort and then you can go into town. People won’t suspect anything. You can say you entered the forest from the other side which has a small town.

“So, you won’t draw suspicion.” She finished. “We don’t have any gear,” Liam said. “Won’t be a problem,” Ran informed us. She snapped her fingers and a young teenage girl appeared with three sets of camping equipment. Literally everything we would need she carried. “How strong are you vampires?” I asked. Ran laughed. Each year, we get stronger.” Jaise explained. “This is a lot to take in, and I don’t even understand all of this about me. Why am I so special?” I asked.

“It’s kind of hard to explain, but simply. We don’t fully know. All that we know is that you’ve been chosen by an ancient being that gives us our powers. Normally that wouldn’t be such a big deal. But, the problem is that this ancient being has already chosen someone. We’ve never had two people with the same powers before. We don’t know what that will do to the time sequence. We don’t know if that will cause problems with the balance either. But, we can’t do anything about that until the time comes.” Ran told me, and then her follower handed over the gear and they left.

“I don’t like this,” I muttered. “No, I understand that, but we don’t have a choice,” Liam said. “What are we going to do about this place? Are you forgetting that we are over a god damn island!?” Julie snapped. Ashlee rolled her eyes lightly and the rest of us gave her an embarrassed look and a sly stare. It looked like we kind of did forget with everything going on. “Sorry babe. We did I guess.” Liam admitted and held her tightly. “What are we going to do?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know.”

We seemed to have floated in the ocean for a while and as the sun began to set, my strength started to fail. Ashlee had to grab a hold of me and hold me up above the water, but that would soon tire her out. “Ashlee, you can’t keep him afloat alone.” Jaise told her. “Watch me.” She gasped. He sighed and came over to my other side. The sun went down and the moon was bright and full in the sky before we saw a beam of light approaching. “Is that a ship?” Liam asked. The water was turning cold and we were all freezing by the time the ship came up to us and pulled us out. We all dropped to the deck and lay there, dripping wet and gasping for breath.

A woman in her early thirties approached. “Ah, so you’re the people Ran informed me about.” Jaise looked up at her and I couldn’t even focus. I was seeing two women and they were blurry. “She said she was going to help us, but all she did was give us these gear and leave us in the ocean.” He choked out. “Oh, she is helping you. She was given a choice. Get you out of the water, or give you the supplies you needed. But, she had your rescue already planned out. So, she chose to get you the gear and don’t worry. It’s waterproof. Now, I have the ticket you need. Here.”

She said handing me a golden square piece of paper. “Why him?” Ashlee asked suspiciously. “My, your girlfriend is a suspicious and curious young woman Matt. I think a little trust is important, don’t you?” She asked and winked. I could barely grab it, and when Liam tried to reach for it, the woman snatched it away. “No, no, no. He has to take it.” She said. “Who are you?” Julie asked. “Rayne. I’m an old member of the vampire council, but they exiled me long ago. Now, I support the Queen of the vampires. Matt, you have to choose. You will be given three choices that will all lead you to your future.

“But, depending on which path you take, depends on which future self you’ll be entering. I can’t tell you much about them. Only one will lead you down a dark path. One will lead you to power, but you may and will lose everything you hold dear and have the chance to get them back if done right and the third path will be full of compassion and love, but you may not have the most power and the ability to survive this war. So, I hope you choose well and I can give you one hint. You will also be given some questions that you must answer brutally honest.

No matter if you’re embarrassed or angry by them. You must answer completely and true. This will also help choose your path as well and things will be different by answering them then by seeing some outcomes based on the paths and going with that. Choose carefully and you will be all given room to stay. Matt, you will be alone so you can choose. But, I do have one question for the people with you.” They all didn’t know what to say. “Yes?” Jaise asked. “Are you willing to follow him no matter what?” Rayne asked. “Do you mean are we going to follow him no matter what choice he makes? What path he takes, and where his path leads him?” Jaise asked her. She nodded.

“I am, but I can’t speak for them,” He said. “I’m not going to leave him either. He’s mine. I’ll fight for and with him no matter what.” Ashlee vowed and then blushed a little at what she said. I only smiled at her and said, “Thank you.” Ashlee turned to me and grinned. Liam and Julie looked at each other for a moment. “You know? I have to say that I don’t know him all that well, and where a lot of people would leave by this point or tell him that he is on his own, and I’ve been known to do the same thing at times, I don’t know what his purpose or role is.

I don’t know why people put so much weight on someone’s shoulders for destiny and all that. I can’t see how some scrawny fifteen-year-old is going to change the world.” Liam was saying. “Is there a point to this?” Ashlee snapped with ice in her voice. “Yes, I do know that despite the fact that I don’t know him very well, I do know and can see that he’s a very good person. I would be honored to stand by him as a guardian, ally, and a friend.” Liam finished. I smiled. Jaise rolled his eyes and grinned. “You didn’t say anything because you knew what he was going to say?” I asked. “What do you mean?” I stared at my cousin. “I figured if he was to be a douche, you would say something to him. So, since you didn’t, you had to have some idea what he was going to say.” I replied.

“No, I didn’t, but I had a feeling. I trust him. I don’t trust many people, but these three I do. So, I wasn’t worried about him being cruel or hostile to you.” Jaise informed me. “Liam basically said it all. However, he doesn’t speak for me. I would, however, also be glad to join you as a friend and someone to help on whatever mission you undertake.” Julie said. “Thank you guys, but I don’t even know what’s going on. I’m not even one of you yet.” I told them.

“We haven’t forgotten that you’re still a squishy human.” Liam said and winked at me. I laughed. “Well, I think you all need some rest. You have two days to figure out what’s going on. But, Liam and Jaise. You will be in one room. Julie and Ashlee, you will have the room across the hall.” They blinked at her like she spoke Chinese. “Say what?” Liam asked. “You heard me, boy. I will not have any of you do the dirty on my ship. Follow me.” She said. We followed her down to the lower decks and she leads us down a hallway that was well carpeted and with fancy lights. “Are we in first class?” Jaise asked.

The boy signed something and I barely caught it. I asked him what he said. He replied back, “There’s something dangerous on this ship. Something that is eying you and me.” I replied, “Are you sure?” He nodded. Then he quickly signed, “Don’t say anything. They won’t believe me.” I nodded. “Matt?” I looked at Jaise. “Yeah?” I asked. “Are you okay? What were you talking about with him?” I heard the boy take a deep breath and I said, “He was asking about food.

He is really hungry and I don’t think he was talking about a burger.” I told him. The boy let out a breath. Jaise eyed him quickly and said, “Well, I believe we’re all hungry.” Liam looked around the hall, but replied, “In more ways than one.” His voice came out in a grumbled tone. Rayne smacked his ear. “Now, I will have none of that.” Liam shrieked out a pained yelp. “I was meaning food and blood!” She gave him an apprehensive look. “Were you now?” She asked. Julie laughed. I smirked and Jaise shook his head. Ashlee was the only one who didn’t give any notice as to what the conversation was about.

“Ashlee, are you alright?” I asked. I wrapped my arms around her, but she didn’t move even then. “Ashlee?” I asked and kissed her on the lips and then she came to life. “Huh?” She blinked and focused on me. But, I got the feeling that she wasn’t fully there. “Are you okay?” I asked her. “Yeah, don’t worry. I’m just exhausted and hungry. She pulled away from me roughly and I just stood there not sure what just happened. “Ashlee?”

She turned to me and her expression was completely blank. But, her eyes were ice cold. “Just give me some time Matt.” She said and Rayne opened the bedroom door. Ashlee and Julie walked in and closed the door. Then Rayne opened the door and Jaise and Liam walked in. Before he closed the door, Jaise turned to me and said, “I wouldn’t worry about what just happened. She did everything to protect you and keep you safe. I doubt she’d give you the cold shoulder now.” He assured me.

“Yeah, man. I know she digs you. I heard she’s a firecracker in bed.” He said and winked at me. I just stood there frozen and rigid. Jaise smacked him. “Ow! Why does everyone keep hitting me?” He demanded. Rayne shook her head. Then Ashlee stepped out. “Maybe because for a smart guy, you sometimes say some really stupid shit.” Then she went back to the room and closed the door. I was just standing in the hall when the Jaise pushed Liam in the room and closed the door, giving me one sad look. Then it was just Rayne, the boy and me in the hall.

“You okay kid?” She asked. “Yeah, I’m kind of surprised you’re not happy with her giving me the cold shoulder. I wouldn’t blame you, though.” I said quietly. She sighed. “Matt, just because I didn’t want the horny kids to share a room with his girlfriend, doesn’t mean I want to stop people from being together. I know you’re good and pure. Even though you don’t want to be.” She said with a wicked gleam in her eyes. “I know how teenagers are. But, you are also willing to wait and to see if she’s the right one for you and that I admire about you. So, I know you two wouldn’t be doing anything.”

I blushed a bit and she grinned. “Now, you probably are wondering why I didn’t give you a roommate, am I right?” She asked. “Um, well.” I glanced at the boy behind me. She looked up and gave him a shocked look. “Have you been there the entire time?! Dear goodness. I seem to have lost my wits. I’m so sorry boy. What’s your name?” He made a gesture. I caught it as Zeke. “Zeke huh?” She asked before I could translate. “You know how to read sign language?” I asked.

She laughed and said, “I didn’t understand a word he said. But, I was able to pick out a few thoughts from his mind and that told me his name. But, I’ll leave the translation to you since you know signing.” She told me. I smiled at him and he smiled shyly back. “Well, we will find him a room as well,” She told us. He replied to that and I translated. “He wants to go back to the school. He said his job was finished.” She focused on him with a fierce stare. “Which was?” She asked. He signed, “To get them out alive.” She sighed. “Very well, you may go. But, I hope you know what you’re doing.” She said. He nodded and vanished then. Rayne opened the door at the end of the hall and it looked like a king or president would stay in.

“What’s this?” I asked. “Your room?” She said with a questioning tone. It was almost like she was thinking I was brain dead or something. “I know, but why do I get this fancy room?” I demanded. “You don’t think you deserve it? After everything you’ve been through?” She asked me. I got the eerie feeling that she knew something, but wasn’t willing to say. “What is it that you know?” I demanded. She studied me. “There’s nothing but the truth that I could say that would appease you is there?”

She asked curiously. “No, I don’t want people hiding things from me and I don’t like people are not being honest with me,” I told her. “I’m really sorry. But, I’m not able to say. I mean I literally can’t tell you. I can talk about it after you complete the trial. But, not before. I’m sorry.” She left then and I was standing in the middle of the hallway alone and unsure of what to do. I walked into the room and closed the door. I went and sat on the bed and then focused on the ticket in my hand. I wasn’t sure of what to do, but I kept focusing on it and then after a while…I was feeling frustrated.

What was the purpose of this?! You must believe if you are to succeed. I heard a male voice say to me. “Who’s there!?” I said standing up. No one appeared, but I felt like someone was watching me. You must believe. The voice came again. I sat back down on the bed and focused on the ticket. I closed my eyes and let everything wash over me. I realized that I was putting everything to the back of my mind and trying to pretend this wasn’t happening. But, I had to realize that this wasn’t some horribly long nightmare. I wasn’t watching a movie based on my life. I was really here.

This was really happening. I focused and believed with everything I had and then the ticket started to glow. I left the room and floated through space. I could see stars and the planets, the galaxies, and everything else. I couldn’t believe I was here and then ten floating heads came out of nowhere and floated around me. “Are you the one who has been chosen?” They all spoke together. I couldn’t tell if they were female or male. But, a cross between the two. “I guess so,” I replied. They all hissed at me. “There’s no guessing. There is ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If the answer is no, then we will devour you. Choose! Are you the chosen one or not?”

“Yes!” I screamed at them. “Very well. Choose now. Three paths have been opened to you. You will see a glimpse of each one, but not what doorway leads to which. It’s up to you to choose that for yourself. Your Destiny has been written long ago. Once you choose a door, then Fate will take over, leaving no room for change. Choose wisely after you see each path.” The voice said. I focused on the voice and I heard someone familiar in it. Mom? No, it couldn’t be. “Choose now!” That was definitely a mom. “I want to ask a question first,” I told them. “I sighed.

“Is there a secondary option for this trial? Questions perhaps?” I asked. The voices stopped speaking and they stopped floating. It was like time froze then and the only thing not affected was me. “You wish to take the questionnaire?” Mom’s voice asked. “No, I wish to take both trials,” I stated. “No one has ever been able to take both and survive. No one has been strong enough. The human body isn’t strong enough. Not even a vampire or wolf has been able to survive both. The last wolf in this world died in here. You’ll follow the safe fate if you insist.” Was that concern in her voice?

“Well, I still wish to undertake both trials. Starting with the visions and then the questions.” I told them. They all sighed and the lead one which was my mother’s voice gasped. “We can’t deny you that right. But, know that you won’t be making it out of here alive.” I didn’t even blink or flinch. “It doesn’t matter. Get on with it.” I commanded. “Very well.” Three doors appeared and were glowing in different lights. “Choose your first path. As stated before. You will see a glimpse of each path, but only you will choose your true path. This isn’t a choice.

This is an insight into your final choice.” I walked towards the door with the white-blue lightning surrounding it. I opened it and froze in place. A vision hit me and I felt like I was going to get sick. Then I found myself walking this old courtyard. “What is this place?” I asked aloud. “Don’t you remember silly?” Ashlee said walking towards me. “No, I-I’m afraid I don’t remember anything,” I told her. She gave me a concerned look. “This is the castle that was granted to you by the council. We are going to live here and rule. We are going to rebuild this place and raise a family. Julie is going to be our master healer.”

I looked at her and even though she was smiling, there was a pain behind her eyes. “What? What is it? Where’s Jaise and Liam?” I asked. “You really don’t know, do you?” I couldn’t believe how I could have forgotten all of this. Why didn’t I remember what was happening? “They died in the final war. They sacrificed themselves to stop the resurrection of the ancient Goddess that would annihilate us all. Nergal, the vampire king was going to lead her army. But, you and Jason stopped him, but couldn’t protect Jaise and Liam. So, they died a hero.” Ashlee said.

Couldn’t I protect them? I let them die? I dropped to the ground in shock and pain. Ashlee knelt beside me. “It isn’t your fault. Even Julie doesn’t blame you.” I choked back sobs. “Matt, the workers are here to start the reconstruction and repairs. Should I let them in?” Julie’s voice called out. She looked at me and there was no hatred or resentment in them. Only pain, and it could be a pain that never goes away. I noted.

“Yes, please.” She smiled and walked away. “Matt, they knew what they were getting into. They knew the risk and their fate. From the very beginning of this journey, they knew they wouldn’t survive. You were honest with them. They could have left and stayed alive, and you wouldn’t have blamed them.” She told me. “But, they knew that if they left, then the world would have been destroyed and they couldn’t allow that could they?” I asked her. “No, they couldn’t. They wouldn’t allow the world to be at risk. ‘What’s the point of leaving to live, if there’s a chance that the world is going to end?’ Is what they both said.

Two vampires could have taken their place. But, the chance of success wasn’t as high. They wouldn’t take that risk.” I looked up to see Jason standing there. “It doesn’t change the fact that they are dead.” I mumbled and choked back tears. “No, it doesn’t. But, you’re not alone.” He said kindly. I heard footsteps approaching and turned to see…My mother approaching. I stood up quicker than I thought possible. Then I noticed I felt different. Stronger even.

“Mom?!” I asked. “Yeah, kiddo. You rescued me and I was able to survive their assassination attempt thanks to Alan and Jeremy.” I just couldn’t believe this. I didn’t know how we even got to this point? But, I had to say that I wasn’t sure if this could be a good one or not. Then I felt myself being lifted and taken somewhere. I don’t know where I was going, but then I found myself in a small hut with everyone still around me. This had to be before the fight. “So, the Fates have decreed that two shall be sacrificed fighting A’langro.

The ancient goddess of suffering and torment. She’s not known, but she’s powerful and she doesn’t need followers to keep up her strength. The other two will fight Nergal, king of vampires. He is destined to lead her army as it sweeps over the world.” Liam and Jaise looked at each other and grinned. “What crazy stupid plot do you two have?” Julie asked. “We want the goddess,” Liam said with an excited gleam in his eye. Everyone just gasped and stared at them. “What the flying fuck!?” Julie screamed and then body slammed Liam to the ground. “What?” He asked calmly. “You’re wanting to get yourself killed?! You’re wanting to leave me!?” She screamed like a banshee.

“I don’t want to, but would you trust anyone else but us to complete this mission?” He asked. “He’s right Julie. From what I could tell, we are the only ones guaranteed the success of winning. Right?” I turned to the warlock. He kept his hood over his face. “They are the only ones promised to stop her at the cost of their own lives. Anyone else would die as well, but the chance of victory is slim. Unless….” He turned his attention to Ashlee and me. “What?” She asked.

“If we take their place, we are going to win as well,” I answered for him. “What about Nergal. The warlock gestured towards Jaise. “They have the power to take him down together. While Jason leads the army against the Ferol.” He explained. “I won’t allow you to kill yourself cousin. It’s my job to protect you. That’s what I’ll do for you. Protect you.” He said and his tone left no room for argument. “What about my duty as your cousin? Man, I love you! Shouldn’t I protect you as well?” Jaise only smiled and shook his head. “I’m the older one. It’s my job to keep you safe. Your mother wouldn’t allow me to live if I allowed anything to happen to you.”

That floored me. I felt my stomach hit the floor. “My mother?” I asked. He wouldn’t say anything else on that. We all know our jobs then?” The warlock asked. “No, not really,” Ashlee said. “You and Julie are to lead the fighters against Nergal’s followers,” He said simply. Then I felt myself being pulled away again and through the air. When everything stopped spinning, I came to a stop, standing in a bedroom with Ashlee completely nude in front of me, all spread out in front of me. I grinned and felt a stirring in my boxers. “Matt, I think it’s finally time.

After everything, we’ve been through. I think it’s time to make love for the first time.” She said and gently rubbed the blanket down between her legs and I felt myself rise more. “We haven’t had sex yet?” I asked. She laughed and in a blink of an eye I was on top of her. My boxers were straining to keep my member contained. “I think you would have remembered your first time.” She told me and then kissed me before I could respond. She was right. I would have remembered that and then I found myself standing back in front of the doorways. “Choose.” The voices said. The door I chose first was gone. Then I chose the door with the blood red shimmering light around it.

I entered and, at first, the same feeling and then I found myself walking out of the tent. This time, I didn’t really have any control of what I was saying. It was like I was watching and listening to someone else, but it was still me. I couldn’t believe it. “Matt, where are you going?” Ashlee asked. I turned to her and she gasped. “I’m going to end this bloody rebellion of the people who was supposed to stand with us and have betrayed us. They don’t deserve to live!” I said coldly. “Is Jason possessing you?” She asked. “Who’s possessing who?” Jason asked. He seemed different.

“You mean…” I stared at her with calculating eyes. “What happened to you?” She asked me. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just fine.” I said and then I walked away. I felt more confident than I ever thought possible. “Matt. Stop.” Jason yelled. I turned to him and crossed my arms across my chest. “Why? Why should I listen to you? You don’t have the power anymore. You are weak. You care too much. You aren’t going to stop this war. I am. I don’t care who gets in my way. I’ll kill you all if you interfere.” I said and then left.

Jason rushed at me and tackled me. We struggled on the ground. Ashlee was screaming for us to stop this, but we weren’t listening. “You think you could beat me in a fight?” Jason asked. “I got…” He wasn’t able to finish the sentence. I had a dagger and I got it loose and as he came to tackle me, I stuck it in his heart. “You don’t have to be stronger. You just have to be quicker and smarter.” I told him. He shakily climbed to his feet. “What did you do to me?” He gasped out.

“Oh, this? It’s a special compound of the box jellyfish. I had scientists make it stronger.” I explained as he collapsed on the ground, shaking and trembling. He started to sweat vehemently and to convulse. “What is happening to me?” He asked coughing and spitting out blood. I knelt down next to him. “I’m killing you. You have betrayed me. Now, you’re going to die.” I said and jammed a purple glowing stake in his heart. He screamed and choked. I stood up and walked away. “Matt,” Ashlee said quietly. I turned to her and I felt nothing for what I did. “He knows the rules for betrayal.”

Then I left. I walked to the front gates where the soldiers awaited. A young man about eighteen stood there with my swords. I took them from him and nodded. Well, they weren’t really Swords. At least, not traditional swords. I walked out with the soldiers at my back. We rushed out into battle and the enemy was there. Hundreds if not thousands of human soldiers. None of them used modern weapons. They all carried bows, machetes, and swords.

“Sir, do you think we can beat this many?” A soldier asked. I glared at him. “Are you afraid of a fucking human?” I demanded. “No sir!” He said. “Good. Men! Kill them! They have betrayed me! Betrayed us! Kill them!” The hundred vampire warriors rushed into the battle and I followed after. I grabbed the two hilts of my swords and three human soldiers came at me slowly. “Kid, you’re attacking us with toy lightsabers?” I grinned. “Who said anything about toys?” I flipped a small switch and then two beams of light shot out of the hilt. “What the fuck? Are they real sabers?” The closest soldier asked.

I laughed at his stupidity. “No, fool. They aren’t focused beams of light created by science.” Of course, they were beams of light. Magical energies. Two of the soldiers charged me and I blocked them both easily. I parried and blocked their sloppy thrusts. They came in high and low and I stopped them both easily. “You humans are so slow and weak,” I said.

I continued to play with them for a while, but they soon bored me. I cut one down with my left sword and he convulsed on the ground and flopped around like a fish. Little sparks of electricity shot out and into the ground. “Your sword is made out of lightning?” The other man asked scared. I grinned wickedly at him. “Magic,” I said. He came at me hard and I dodged and brought my sword up to meet his. My right sword seemed to melt his. The red light changed to dancing flames.

“It’s made out of fire!?” He shrieked. I laughed wickedly. I slashed and hacked at him and he tried his hardest to stop my attacks. But, I was too fast and my sword cut through him like a knife going through butter. The flames melted the flesh off and burned through bones. He screamed high and loud for a moment before he died. I walked up to the third soldier and he begged for me to spare his life. I laughed at him as I cut him in three and then walked on. My men weren’t doing as well as I had hoped. I could see a dozen or more lying dead or dying on the ground.

How did mere humans kill them? Some still had weapons in their hearts. I examined them and hissed. Stakes! “Shit,” I exclaimed. “You didn’t think we would be unprepared, little weak humans did you?” A voice said behind me. I spun around and held both swords at the ready. “You don’t think you’re going to leave this place alive do you?” I challenged. “I have no delusions about leaving alive. But, do you think you’re going to win?” I blinked at him. I spun around and hacked up a soldier’s head with my lightning sword. Then I brought my fire sword just in time to swat away a knife that came out of nowhere.

“You’re faster than I originally thought,” I told him. “I have the power of the wind behind me. It enhances my speed.” He admitted and then pressed in on me hard. I could barely keep up with him! How does a weak human get enough speed behind him to beat me?! “Who gave you that power?!” I demanded. “A powerful royal vampire. Jason, I believe he said his name was.” He pressed in hard on my left side and feinted to the right and I barely brought my sword up in time. I spun back and forth and around, bringing the blades in an arc to counter and parry and thrust.

Our weapons met and kissed. Then he feinted one way and I didn’t catch it. He slashed up across my back deep and hard. I screamed out from pain and fell to the ground. I crawled away and dropped my weapons. Couldn’t I match him? Jason was going to win from the grave!? I couldn’t let that happen! I screamed at myself. He went to finish me off, but he seemed to have slowed down a bit. I didn’t think he realized it, though. I was able to spin out of the way and grabbed the lightning sword and then brought it up to block his attack. Then I pressed the attack on him. He tried to fight, but he continued to slow down until he was moving at normal human speed.

“I think your power supply has just officially ended sir. You know what that means? You’re dead.” I said. I cut through the sword and the lightning shredded his throat. He fell to the ground holding it. Blood pooled out and I walked by. Soldiers on both sides continued to fall. Jason betrayed us all! I walked past several vampires who begged for help. But, they were dead. They just didn’t know it yet. I walked up to the center of the battlefield.

“You want to face a real vampire!? Come and attack me you pansies!” I screamed. Human fighters came charging at me like locusts and I cut them down one after another. I was hard pressed in on all sides, but the only thing on my side against so many was speed and strength. I didn’t even have access to my magic. Somehow I got cut off from it, so I could only rely on physical attacks. I countered several with one move and Parried and did up under and uppercut attack. I did a sweeping kick attack, bringing my Swords around in an arc and then spun really fast. Dozens dropped in seconds.

The battle didn’t last too much longer after that. I took down most of the army within two hours. I dropped to my knees gasping for breath. Less than three dozen of the fighters I brought with remained and they all gathered around me. “Sir, we’ve won.” A soldier said. I stood up and grinned. “Thank you, captain. But, I think we have one more fight ahead of us.” I told him. “We do sir?” He asked me. I nodded. “You see that factory ahead of us?” He nodded. “Sir?” I laughed. “The leader of the resistance is there.

Of course, none of us were meant to get out of here alive.” I told the men. “We weren’t?” A younger warrior asked. “No. Jason enhanced the captain I fought with air magic. Making him faster than even I could hope to match. We were all meant to die in this fight. If I hadn’t of killed him before coming here, we would all have been slain. Now, it’s time to crush these betraying maggots.” I said and led them towards the building. A few human fighters were standing guard, but I cut them down without resistance. I walked in through the dark building and then towards the end, I kicked open a door, entering a room that was well lit.

“I see you’ve finally made it. Of course, I wasn’t expecting you to be alive. But, the only thing I can think of is that if you’re here. Jason must be dead.” I smirked. “Your ally has fallen. He shouldn’t have crossed me. No one should.” I replied. “I am getting that. But, you don’t think we’ve remained here without a backup plan do you?” The old crippled and wrinkly guy asked. His teeth are cracked and many colors. “I do have a question before your tongue is ripped out. How did you get your teeth to turn a rotting green color? And do I see blue and gray there on your teeth as well?”

He cackled at my questions. “You have a sharp tongue don’t you? Maybe I’ll eat it from your face while you live.” He threatened. “You know? I don’t like threats. It gets my adrenaline flowing.” I retorted. “And yet you come into my home and threaten me?!” He spat out. “I’m not making threats. I’m promising that you’re going to die now. Instead of this pointless banter, should we just get on with it?” I demanded. “If you think you’re going to live more than five minutes, then you have foolish notions.”

I shrugged. Soldiers poured out of the side doors and I wasn’t expecting that many. “Oh, and I think you may be looking for him.” The leader said. He pointed to the person he had in chains. “Is that…?” I started. “Why, yes. It’s your Squire I guess you would call him. See? This is what happens to the people who serves you directly.” The young man had his hair down on his face. Long jet black strings of hair covered in dirt, sweat, and blood. He looked like he was horribly beaten and tortured. They stripped him of his clothes, except for his underwear.

Or, jock strap. I have to say, girls should be raping him, but that’s not really the point. Just know he’s an attractive, handsome young man. “Chris.” I said and then I glared at the old man. “You’ll pay for this,” I vowed. “I really didn’t think you cared about anyone,” He said to me. “Release him and I’ll make your death quick,” I promised. “No, see. I want you to suffer and this is one way to do it. Why should I spare his life? You didn’t plan on sparring my men.” I heard the fighting all around me. Despite the advantage of the enemy, my men seemed to have found a strength and a reason to fight back. They use to be holding their own.

“You aren’t going to make it. You may kill me. But, you’re going to die along with me.” He whipped a jagged dagger with an onyx and emerald hilted dagger at Ryan. The boy looked up weakly and saw the dagger coming at him. But, he was too weak to even try and stop it with his ice magic. He caught my eye and gave me a sorrow filled stare of pity and pain. It was almost like he regretted his actions and he felt guilt. He felt like he failed me. In a flash, I was in front of him and blocked the dagger. The old man laughed. “I knew you’d be able to do that. But, that’s a special enchanted dagger. You won’t be able to save him for long!” He cackled. The dagger came around and then multiplied. Three now were coming at us. I blocked them all and then they multiplied again. Now, I was up against nine.

Then eighteen. Thirty-six. He was right, I was going to fail. I closed my eyes and focused with all the strength I had in me. Zolem! Please, don’t let him die. I know I fucked up! But, please give me the magic to protect him! I love him! He’s one of the closest people I have left to family in my life. Please help me save him! I prayed. You should have thought about that before you executed people on your side. You had the people and the power to defeat Nergal and save the world. Now, you have failed the war. The world is under siege by his forces and it’s going to be destroyed by the ancient goddess. How do you propose to fix that? “Zolem! Jaise and Liam aren’t fucking dead you moron! Please!” I screamed and everyone froze for a moment.

“Your champions aren’t dead?” The old man asked with a scared and shocked look on his face. I gave him a wicked smile. “No, you fool. I’m evil and a prick. I’m not stupid.” I replied. “Matt, I think it’s time we joined the fray. Don’t you?” Jaise said from a high railing. Liam jumped down with a small force and Jaise joined him on the ground with one of his own. Together they were able to destroy the human forces and I was blocking groups of daggers. “Zolem!” I screamed.

Then a burst of pure white light mixed with blue lightning spread out and vaporized the daggers. The old man grew angry with fear. “You…You!” He sputtered. “Yeah,” I said simply. I cast a freezing spell on the chains and it got so cold that they shattered and I caught Chris before he fell to the ground. He looked up at me and gave me a painful look. “Matt, I’m so sorry. I failed and betrayed you. You should just let me die.” He whispered. “Oh, I’ll totally grant you your wish!” The old man laughed psychotically. He seemed to change right before my eyes. He grew three feet and his skin turned a dark smooth gray. His eyes began to glow a golden blue.

He grew larger as well and more muscled. His teeth became sharp and white. Black feathered wings sprouted from his back, eight feet wide and he crossed his arms with a wide grin. “Leave me. Get your people out.” Ryan begged and I wasn’t going to allow that or accept his plea. “No,” I said icily calm. “I won’t.” I whipped around and unsheathed my swords. Lightning and fire shot out in a controlled beam, but much more intense than before. Static energy supercharged in the air and the temperature went up almost thirty degrees.

It wasn’t long before everyone was drenched in sweat. It didn’t faze me, though. “Will someone turn up the air conditioning?” Liam asked. I would have had a witty response, but I was too pissed off. I turned to the leader of the humans and I only saw him in a swirling black smoke and purple flames. “You think you have the power to fight me?” He asked. “I don’t know,” I said with ice in my tone, “But, I will cause you pain more than you’ve ever experienced before.” He didn’t respond; he just lashed out at me. Two long scythes came materializing out of the air and he grabbed them tightly in his hands.

He attacked me and I countered, blocked, parried. Then his blades and mine met high and low. We spun around and our weapons clashed together. They met in the air and slid along the blade. His weapons were made out of something that even my fire couldn’t weaken. “You don’t know anything about who or what I am!” He snapped. “You know? I also really hate it when the bad guy doesn’t shut the fuck up and either die or kills the person he is fighting. You, bad guys, talk too damn much.” I hissed.

We pressed against each other harder and spun around and everyone just stared as we danced around each other, our weapons clashing together. I don’t know how long we fought for, but I knew my anger grew over the course of the time. “I’ll end you!” The dark skinned man screamed. He pushed me back and I did everything in my power to hold him off. Our weapons hissed through the air and clashed with a booming ring. The lightning crackled all around and seemed to come alive against the scythe in his left arm. The flames snaked their way up the scythe in his right.

“What’s happening?! What are you doing?!” He demanded. But, I didn’t have a clue! The magic began to build and build. Then this huge boom echoed around us and we were sent flying and the room was blasted. It started to crumble all around us. I climbed to my feet and so did the other man. He turned back to his old man self. “We need to get out of here.” Magic built in one corner. I could feel it, and when I looked, I saw this figure standing in the one corner.

Normally, I’d think it was a shadow because that is what it looked like. But, shadows, for the most part, have a darkness about them. Nor necessarily an evil aura. But, darkness. This one was void of magic. It’s absent of elemental magic. “What the hell is that thing?” Jaise asked. “I am the absent of magic. The void of life. I am the reason of tragic and find pleasure in strife.” It said.

“I hate rhymes,” Liam said. “Rhymes are answers to the divine. Knowledge is all we give in the fight. Your souls will soon be mine. Your utter demise is soon in sight.” Liam made a gagging noise. I charged it and it blasted me away. I couldn’t feel magic at all. I hit the ground hard and then rolled back to my feet. “Well, for something that doesn’t have magic, it’s quite powerful,” I commented. “Death is what you will find. Your life is over. I will have your powers in a bind. Trapped within a mystical clover.”

Liam screamed in frustration and annoyance and rushed at the thing. He struck it hard and went to blast it with earth magic. I saw his finger start to glow and rocks and vines shot out but vaporized in the air a foot before they reached it. “What was that?” He asked stunned. “He’s the absence of magic. Magic can’t work on him!” I said. Liam backed off, but he didn’t get very far. Faster than I thought possible, he launched himself at Liam and jammed his fist into his heart. Liam gasped and choked. He shook a little bit and trembled.

“Death is your fate. The time is now. Your final hour is late, with your heart in hand, I’ll take a bow.” Then he yanked Liam’s heart out of his chest. We all couldn’t even breathe. Then the thing vanished and in its place stood a boy no older than ten years old. His hair fell down to his chin and slightly curled. For his age, he had a chiseled chin and a muscular body. If he was to grow up, he would be quite strong and built. He wore designer jeans, black sneakers, and a sleeveless black silk shirt. His bright diamond blue eyes seemed to shine.

He turned to look at me and his jet black hair moved a little. I noticed a golden streak and then he smiled revealing perfect white teeth. “Who are you?” I asked. He laughed. It sounded like music. Full of magic and power. “I am Myrlin. King of the vampires. You’ve met my servant.” He said. “How are you able to control someone who’s the void of all magic?” I demanded. Myrlin smirked at me. “I can’t reveal all my secrets. This is the part where the bad guy doesn’t stop talking and the good guy finds a way to stop the bad guy or, at least, halt their plan. See? I’ve been around way too long. I’m not speaking.” He said and I could hear some foreign accent.

I don’t know where he came from, but it was unique. “So, are you going to kill us now?” Jaise asked. He was trying to keep his voice calm, but it shook with rage, pain, and grief. I saw him glance at Liam’s body. Then what I was secretly dreading happened. Julie and Ashlee appeared in front of us and Julie screamed like a banshee enraged. She glanced at me and her eyes began to glow with holy fire. “You’re the one who caused this. You got him killed! If you wouldn’t have faked his death and would have joined Ashlee and me on the mission to stop A’langro, then we wouldn’t be in this situation!” She said tears fell from her eyes and even though they didn’t see me react to the news, it tore me up inside.

I thought to choose the path of being a hard and cold. It would save the world. But, was it that I ended it sooner? With a blinding white flash of light, I found myself back at the starting point and I dropped to one knee gasping for breath. “We told you that you won’t have the strength to survive both trials. If you can’t handle two visions, then there’s no way you’ll survive the questions as well. Now, enter the last door and see your final path that you could follow.” I entered the last door and wasn’t expecting what I saw. Jaise, Julie, Ashlee, Liam and I stood around an octagonal table with battle plans and maps spread out on it.

“What is the plan now? We are about to lead a small army against all the vampires in the world. Good and evil are joined forces because they don’t think we have the power to win.” Julie said. I sighed. I’m really sorry guys. I shouldn’t have been so quiet and talking about peace. I should have been tougher.” Ashlee wrapped her arms around me. “Matt, it isn’t your fault. You’ve done nothing wrong.” Jaise smiled over at me. “Yeah, dude. We will find a way to win this fight. All you have to do is believe and fight with all your strength.” I smiled and nodded.

“So, what’s the plan then!?” Julie demanded. “I don’t know, but I think we need to look at backtracking and trying to find a new road to take that will aid us,” Liam said. “I agree, but I can’t seem to think of anywhere-.“ Then I looked up with excitement. “Matt?” Ashlee asked. “I read something a while ago about ancient magic. It allows vampires to summon a celestial spirit animal to aid them in a fight. Powerful fighters or mages that is a representation of the vampire’s power.” I explained. Everyone looked really excited about that. “That sounds promising!” Liam said. “I agree, but where we have to go to gain this power?” Ashlee asked.

“You kids won’t be able to figure it out on your own. You’re going to need my help.” We all turned to see Rayne standing in front of us. “How did you get in here?” I asked. “You didn’t spell your tent very well. Thirty-five hundred years limit? Do you know how many vampires exceed that age by quite a bit?” She asked. None of us had an answer. “Well, I can teach you how to summon these companions, but not all vampires are even able to summon them. The summons needs mental control.” Rayne said. “How come you didn’t mention these abilities a long time ago? We’ve met sooner when you joined us. How come-?” I began.

She cut me off and said, “It wasn’t time then. It is now.” She said simply. “How will you teach us?” I asked. “Carefully. The elements and the celestial creatures are temperamental if not handled right.” Everyone gave one another a sideways glance. Over the next couple of days, Rayne put me through a bunch of rigorous training both physical and mental. Weeks passed and then she had me kneel down and clasp my hand together. “Focus with all your will and power. Call to the Celestial Plane. If you’re worthy, you will be contacted.”

I nodded and then when she left the tent, I did what she asked. I closed my eyes and focused with my entire heart and soul. “So, you dare call on me. Who are you to think you’re worthy!?” A voice called. It was definitely male, but majestic. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to bother you. But, I could use your help. Please aid me in my fight. The world and all those who I love and care about need all the help they can get. The world needs it.” I said pleading. I didn’t get an answer for a while, but I thought the best way to handle this was to wait. “You are seriously calling not for personal gain. But, to protect the world?” The voice asked. “Yes, of course. I know it will strengthen and empower me.

I will benefit from your power. But, I ask for your help only to help others and as a future and potential friend.” I told whoever I was speaking to. “It’s not every day a powerful vampire with an ego problem calls on me asking for help and saying they want to be friends.” Then an image of what appeared to be a giant jellyfish. But, it wasn’t a typical looking jellyfish. It was lime green with specs of purple, blues, and reds and you could see through it. Its legs looked like they were from a centipede and it had pincers in the front of it with fiery glowing eyes. A universal single black leather and feathered wing sprouted from its back. I don’t know how it worked. It was kind of like a unibrow, but of a wing that fanned out on both sides that flapped together up and down quickly to keep it in the air.

He hovered over me. “So, this is the one who summoned me? You don’t look like much.” He said vehemently. I sighed. “I’m sorry. I’ll do better. I’ll work harder. I’ll do anything you ask. Anything, I promise. Please help me, though!” I begged. He landed in front of me and then walked over to me staring at me contently. He walked all around me. “How do you do anything? You’re weak.” He accused. “I don’t do anything alone. I have people who help me. I am stronger than I look. But, I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my cousin, friends, and girlfriend.” I said blushing. He stopped in front of me again. He sniffed at me and then snapped his head back.

“This is a first,” He said with a shocked tone. “What is?” I asked. “I’ve never served a virgin before. I think this is going to be interesting.” I blushed furiously. “I know I’m not…Wait, you said you’ve never served….Does that mean you’ll join me?” I asked half hopeful. He grinned and it was a scary sight. “Yes, and it’s good you catch on quick. You’ve answered all the questions honestly and humbly. I’m really impressed. So, I will aid you in the fight. Just remember, I have the power to refuse you if I feel like you’re not keeping your promise.” I nodded. “I know there’s going to be situations where you won’t help me,” I said quietly.

“No, that’s not what I mean. I will follow your command without question. There’s going to be hard choices that you have to make. That’s fine. I won’t judge. But, if you purposefully use me to kill innocent people when you have a choice. Or you try to use me for destruction when there’s another option. Then I’ll refuse you. I am royal among the Celestial’s. So, the normal rules don’t apply to us. I can kill you where they cannot. Remember that.” He warned me. I nodded. “Thank you! I won’t let you down. I promise!” I exclaimed. He smiled and then his image cleared and solidified. I wrapped my arms around his neck to give him a huge hug.

“Well, this is new,” He said. I jerked back in shock. “Sorry, but I can speak,” He said with a laugh. “I know, but I thought it was telepathic,” I admitted sheepishly. “I can talk through telepathy as well. But, I prefer to talk like this. But, there’s going to be a lot of times where I’ll need to speak to only you. So, telepathy comes in handy.” I petted him on the head. “So, when you said, ‘this is new.’ What did you mean?” “I’ve never served a virgin.” I felt my face go deep scarlet. He cackled at me and I flushed worse than before. “You don’t have to be embarrassed. I don’t judge anyone, I’m just surprised is all.” He said.

“Why is that?” I asked him. I wasn’t sure if was ready for the answer. He gave me a sideways look. “Why? Isn’t it obvious? You’re smoking hot. You’re stunning and I figured girls would be lining up to ride you like it’s the end of the world.” I felt my cheeks burn at that comment. “Well, I hope at some point my girlfriend and I will be able to experience that.” I laughed awkwardly. “Oh, so you’re serious with this girl? You’re not one to run around or sleep around. I admire that. Not too many people are like that. Now, enough of this talk. I need to go back to my plane and discuss with my friends. I know that you’re allies and friends are going to want to summon them as well?” He asked.

“Yeah. If they would join us.” I told him. “Oh, they follow their own path, but they do take what I have to say to heart and they use what I tell them to help make a decision. Don’t let that fool you, though. There have been a lot of times where I said that they should follow some people because I could tell that they were good souls, but celestial beings didn’t listen. But, soon came to realize that I was right. Now, I haven’t picked the best people. But, I can sense good in others. And bad. I just don’t always follow it. I guess, I am like you humans or those organic beings. I believe that you all can change.” He admitted.

“But, let me guess. So far, it hasn’t been proven true.” He shook his head back and forth sadly. “Well, I may be able to change that. At least, I hope so.” I told him. He grinned and it was a freaky sight. He then faded away and I walked shakily out of the tent. “I thought the sun was down when I started praying. How long has it been?” I asked Rayne. “Five days,” She replied. I just blinked at her. “How was I in there for five days!?” I demanded. “Sometimes with these kinds of spells, you can be casting them for weeks,” She explained to me. I shook my head profusely. “Shaking your head won’t change anything. I know it’s a lot to process, but it’s been five days. Now, what have you learned?” She asked. “I learned that I can summon a powerful celestial jellyfish.” She blinked at me.

“You got Jala? I can’t believe he joined you.” I gave her a quizzical look. “Why’s that?” I wondered. “After the last one, he helped, thousands of innocent people were killed in a crusade that he thought was justified. It was the worst vampire in history. And that was just the one event that was documented in our history.” I nodded. “I read something a long time ago about the vampire wars. But, there wasn’t a lot of information in them. It just referenced the war against the humans who were allied with the witches and hunters.” Rayne looked impressed. “You know more than most vampires your age. I think all vampires would do well to learn about the history and the death and destruction caused by their predecessors. Just like the humans do when they go to history class.” I nodded.

This was when everything changed and I walked into the main part of camp. My army was set up in a foreign stretch of forest. No one knew where we were. We took every precaution on making sure only the main leaders knew where were going and we protected our minds from being scanned. Our magic has more use than offense. It can be used to protect and shield us. This is the plan we put into motion. Liam, Jaise, Julie, Ashlee and I used our magic to shield our minds from being scanned. We brought the soldiers and everyone with us was in small groups brought to this spot spelled against those we didn’t have good and loyal intentions.

Magic is tricky, but when used properly and in the right form, it can be used to scan the emotions of everyone here and it detects disloyalty. Every person here was divided up five groups. Each of us was given us our own group that we were responsible for. If someone was to act out against us, the magic would detect or sense it and we could get an alert and a feeling as to who it was. So far no one was acting out. As I walked into the center of camp, the sky overhead started growing darker and darker. A strong wind began to blow and the temperature dropped almost twenty degrees. I noticed that the spells on the walls were still strong as well. Nothing seemed to be amiss.

“It looks like a storm is coming,” Ashlee said walking up to me. “This isn’t a typical storm. Something is coming. Something…I can’t quite explain.” I told her. She looked up at the sky. “Well, whatever it coming, we will fight it together. We have nothing to fear as long as we are together.” She said and walked over to where Julie was waiting. “Matt, you’re doing everything you can and now that you passed the ritual. You have a powerful force on your side. We may have a chance to win.” He said. “I don’t know how. I have one summon with an army. Against a bleeding horde. I don’t know what our chances are. But, I won’t give up without a fight.” I said. “This is why we fight with you. You have been through so much. You have lost so much.

But, you haven’t been broken! You survive and lead us. You put us before your own desires. We will always follow you because of your relentless dedication to us and your cause.” I just shook my head. “We are failing this war. We don’t have the manpower. Have you ever read the Fire and ice series by George R. R Martin?” I asked. Jaise shook his head. “Well, there’s a character. He became King of the North. He had an army and was winning, but took a bad turn after love got in the way of a promise. He was betrayed by the people who offered protection and to aid him if his uncle married one of their daughters.

“But, even though they had the right of protection under their hall, they didn’t have the manpower to protect themselves against the enemy. The people they were housed with betrayed them and slaughtered them at a wedding. All because they didn’t have the manpower to protect themselves. We are in the same boat. We are going to be slaughtered in our own sanctuary. The enemy is doubtless on their way,” I said looking up at the sky, “this isn’t a normal storm.”

I finished and then walked into the center of camp. A light rain began to fall and lightning flashed across the sky. “Matt?” Liam asked coming towards me. “We stopped Nergal from rising. We know who was going to become him. But, we stopped it. Why do I sense anguish in you?” I kept staring at the sky. “Was it supposed to end that way?” I asked the sky. “Were we really supposed to stop him from rising like that? Weren’t we supposed to meet him in battle?” I felt Jaise and Liam glance at each other. “When did he become so engrossed with a storm?” Liam asked.

“He thinks it’s more than a simple storm.” Jaise explained. “Really?” I kept staring at the sky and then I asked, “You don’t feel it? You don’t sense it?” I wondered. “I don’t sense anything.” Jaise said and lightly rested a hand on my shoulder. I froze for a second and then I screamed, “SOLDIERS!” Everyone launched to their feet and rushed towards me. Every single one was around me. “What is it, Matt?” They asked confused and scared. “Jaise, prepare them for a battle! We are going to be in the fight of our lives!” I ran towards the gate we built.

It was the only place not as protected as the walls, and I watched out through it to see if I could sense anything coming at us. “Matt, what is it?” Ashlee asked. “Death,” I said simply. “You’re scaring me, Matt! Tell me what’s going on.” Ashlee begged. “Death,” I said again. Every soldier was ready and behind me. Two enemy vampires slipped through the gate and smirked at us. “I see your spells didn’t last long, did they?” A red haired woman mocked. Her skin looked wrinkly and her eyes seemed dull, but she had all her wits about her. “You won’t beat us.” Jaise said confidently.

“Won’t I?” She asked. “You don’t have the power to beat me. You need more than your powers you weak prince. Now, you’ll pay for your defiance.” I heard a female voice say in my head. It sounded like snakes hissed over rocks being scraped together. “A’langro,” I said quietly. “What?!” Liam asked. “She’s here,” I said. I turned and walked towards the center of camp where a woman with six arms each wielding a different weapon smiled at me as I approached. “Matt, you can’t leave us!” A soldier shouted at me. “He has the fight to do.

We have our own. Focus on the enemy.” I heard Julie snap. “Matt!” I heard Ashlee and Jaise call to me. But, I couldn’t answer them. I knew a lot or all of them and myself were going to die here. But, we had to win. Otherwise, the world was going to be lost. I knew we had to stop them here. I summoned my two swords. “You know you can’t win right?” I didn’t respond. I attacked her then. She brought all her swords and axes around and down. I blocked, dodged, countered, and parried. She pressed in hard and I used all the skill, training and practice I had to hold her off. But, I couldn’t keep it up forever. She landed a few good hard hits and blood slowly started to pool on the ground.

I blocked and feinted a move to the right and spun left quickly enough for her to have to bring all but two blades down that I blocked with my left hand. Then I brought my right up and cut at one of her arms. The blade cut through her middle left arm and it fell uselessly to the ground. She only smirked. “You think that’s going to be considered a victory?” She asked. I still didn’t respond. I heard the battle and I knew it wasn’t going very well. Jala, please join the others in their fight. Help and protect them. They need you more than I do. I thought to him silently.

“That’s a lie, but you’re willing to risk your own safety for them?” He asked. “They are the only thing that can hurt me.” Without another word, he flew off to join the fight. “You think he’ll help?” She asked. “He can’t hurt.” I finally responded simply. We continued the battle. Bringing our weapons around in taunts, feints, and jabs. I was able to cut off two more arms, her left right, and her lower left. But, she cut me badly as well and the wounds weren’t healing like they should be. I dropped to one knee and blood puddled underneath me. “You should just give in now. You’re weak.” She said.

I knew she was right. But, I had to find a way to save them and kill her. There has to be a way to beat her. I don’t know what it was yet, but there has to be a way. “Matt, I am giving you all my strength and magic. Use it to send this bitch back to the nether realm.” I felt power like nothing I’ve ever felt before flood through me, but then I heard Jason’s dying scream. “You won’t die in vain. I will make your sacrifice mean something.” I said to the universe. “You’re foolish. He committed suicide for nothing.” A’langoro laughed.

“We will see,” I said. The wounds only healed a little. But, I pressed in on her harder and faster than I thought possible. I hacked and stabbed and sliced at her. Even though she was able to spin around me and give me a sharp cut up my back, I was able to remove her second to the last arm. “You won’t survive this,” I said. I went to press in on her and with a wicked smile, she jabbed something into my chest. I looked down in shock to see a purple glowing stake. It wasn’t glowing the normal dark purple, but a neon shade. “I knew he would give you his power. So, I enhanced the stake that would kill you. Foolish. I can’t die. But, you can.”

She said and I laughed then. “You can’t huh?” She gave me a confused look. “Area Megwa Ser Jakal megornailo Ses Decesto!” I screamed and her whole body began to glow and vibrate. She looked like she wanted to scream at me, but couldn’t. Then she exploded and chunks of flesh went everywhere and I used the strength that Jason gave me to bring him back. He looked around in confusion.

“Matt, what did you do?” He demanded to kneel over me. “I brought you back,” I said choking. He looked towards the gate. “Go, save them,” I said. He nodded grimly and then rushed towards the gate. The only thing I could hope for was that the others survived and would be able to live their lives. The only thing I had been why wasn’t A’langoro more powerful than that? Was she not up to full power yet? Or was there something more at play? I wondered. Then something knelt over me. “Your death is now. The end is here. But, rest with your faithful vow. I will be the end of their painful cheer.”

Then I found myself standing in the room with the three doors and the faces staring at me. I could barely stand. “Now you see the paths you have. Only you can determine which one you take. Only you can choose the correct way to walk. I will give you the choice now.” The voices said. “No! I want my questions!” I demanded. “You don’t have the strength.” The voices said and I was adamant about my right to the second set of trials. “You have that right. These two trials are going to help shape your path and future. Your trials will now come into play, but the risk is too great. ”

I shook my head in exasperation. “I want the trial,” I demanded. “Very well. You will have it. I just hope you know what you’re getting into.” It said. “I honestly don’t care. I just want to know my options.” I said. “As you wish. Question number one: What role do you wish to play during the final war?” The voice asked. I focused on the question. “The role I wish to play is that I want to fight with everything I have in me to keep the world safe,” I replied. “Next question: What is your goal during the fight? How do you plan on helping the humans, lead the vampires and stop this war? What are you going to do to keep the risk of them dying down?”

I had to choose my answer carefully. “There’s no guarantee that I can save the people in this war. But, if we all join together we can do our best to protect each other and we have a better chance to stay alive. Also, if I can gather a full army. I can set out factions to look after the humans and keep them safe. I can also lead them appropriately and fight the enemy whenever she or he rises. But, I am going to need an army. Without one, we are all going to die.

We won’t stop the world from being destroyed. How do I plan on saving the vampires? By reuniting them under my roof. Offering them shelter, security. By making them a part of a group that makes a difference. How am I going to keep the humans safe? By putting allies and friends all over watching out for them and befriending them. At some point, they may be able to open up to the humans to who or what they are. This might be the only way to keep everyone safe or at least protect as many people as possible.

This war if we can unite human and vampire, is going to be the only way the Earth is able to survive annihilation. There is no guarantee in people dying. War comes with casualties. But, we can save a lot of lives by working together. If I can unite the vampires under one roof. If I can unite the Marquo under me, then we can change this war for the better.” I explained to them. “So, you have a plan on splitting up a part of your army around the area where the final fight came from.

But, wouldn’t that weaken you?” I shook my head with a smile. “No, maybe for a time. But, when we can pinpoint the location where the war is going to happen, then we can evacuate the people and bring all the soldiers back together. Reform our army and fight this war with everything we got. I can’t vouch for those who will be with me. But, I will fight with everything I have in me. I will die fighting for this world!” The faces all separated and looked at me in a confusing and strange way. “You are willing to give up your life?” The one who sounded like my mom asked. “If it comes to that. Yes, I am.” All the faces lit up. “Well, we know based on both your tests that which path you’re going to be on. You can either take our result. Or you can choose for yourself.” They all said in unison.

“What can you tell me about the path you’re going to have me walk?” I asked. “We can’t say anything. In this, it’s all about trusting our choice for you. But, you can choose your own path. I know they say Fate or Destiny can’t be altered. But, this? Right now? This is the only way to change what your course is going to be on. Normally, we don’t authorize anyone to see and choose. We just let it unfold and let them make the choices they are supposed to make. But, you are either the key to saving the planet or destroying it. You will still have all the temptations.

You will still have the choices that can end everything or save it. All paths have the same choices and can have the same outcomes. So, what’s it going to be?” An elderly looking male asked. I looked at the four doors that now were in front of me. I looked at them all. I saw the first three doors. I don’t know how I end up with either one of their results. But, I do know that I really didn’t like them. So, what’s my best option? Choose one of them? Or take a leap of blind faith? “So, what’s it going to be? If you don’t choose soon, we will choose one for you.”

“You know this isn’t an easy choice to make.” I snap. They gave me an uncaring look. “We know and don’t care. CHOOSE!” They all hissed at me. Then the red glowing door began to slide towards me. “I will take the door you created! I choose that one!” I screamed and the door froze in place. “Are you sure?” I nodded. “I am.” The red glowing door slid back into place and this wide onyx oak looking door slid towards me. When it got in front of me they said, “Enter and follow your path. Just know. It’s not going to be easy. But, nothing is ever easy is it?”

I shook my head and then slowly and with shaky hands went to open the door. “I just should let you know. There’s a little chance of you waking up.” Before I could respond, I found myself being sucked into a vortex. I felt myself floating down through the ceiling of a room and then I turned my head to see my body sprawled out on a bed and Ashlee and Jaise were around me. “He needs to wake up soon! If he doesn’t, then he might not ever wake up.” Ashlee sobbed. Jaise kept a blank look, but his eyes showed more pain than he was letting on. I floated back into my body and then I shot up gasping for breath!

Chapter 7

“Matt, are you alright?” Jaise asked me and rested a hand on my right shoulder. I grabbed it firmly and began to tremble. “I think so.” I choked out. Ashlee wrapped her arms around me. “What happened to you?” She demanded. “It’s not easy to explain,” I said, my breathing still wild. “Hey, you don’t have to explain anything right now. Just rest and relax.” Jaise said glaring at Ashlee. “He’s right. I’m sorry. I was just so worried about you. Don’t scare us like that!”

I laughed weakly and said, “I’ll try my best.” Then she kissed me passionately. A soft knock came on the door, and we all looked to see Liam and Julie enter the room. “Matt, it’s good to see that you’re awake. Will you stop scaring these two like this? I mean even for vampires, you’re going to put them in an early grave.” Liam said and laughed. We all laughed a little and Julie rolled her eyes and gave me a smile. “How are you feeling?” She asked me. “I’m fine Julie, thank you. I just feel a little weak and hungry.” I told them. “Speaking of hungry, when was the last time you two fed?” Liam asked. Ashlee and Jaise glanced at each other for a fraction of a second.

“I thought so. You two need to get some blood and food.” Liam ordered. “Don’t worry guys. We will watch over him.” Julie said. I glanced at Julie and instantly felt a cold feeling. “Uh, Jaise? Would you mind helping me so I can get something to eat as well? I think that would help me.” He gave me a curious look and nodded. I grabbed a hold of Ashlee’s hand and dragged her out of the room as well. She didn’t know what was going on, but the smirk on her face said she didn’t mind. I could sense that Julie grew angry and annoyed. But, she didn’t say anything.

We passed Rayne in the hall, and she smiled at each of us in turn, except for Julie. She gave her a frown and then shook my hand. “I hope you’re feeling well.” I nodded, and I felt the piece of paper in my hand. She gave Julie one last fleeting look before walking passed us. Ashlee then dragged me into the cafeteria, and we sat down at the corner table. Someone came walking up to us. “So, you’re the special guests that Rayne said would be eating here today.” A teenage boy said with a cold tone. He has short dark red hair and cold gray-blue eyes. He was skinny, but, with a good physique.

“Is there a problem?” Liam asked. “Oh, yes. We don’t like outsiders on this ship. We invited a bunch of people over before in good faith and they have betrayed. They were all slaughtered! You all need to leave!” He hissed and then walked away. A younger looking kid walked up. “You don’t have to worry about him.” This kid looked a little bigger than the other one but wasn’t as built or tall. He had short blond hair. “We will leave as soon as we can,” I said. “It doesn’t matter. Rayne has given you a pass. Ryan will bring you food soon. Just relax and eat.” He said and got up and walked away.

Ryan came back with a platter of food and set it down in front of us. He placed a thick looking beef stew in front of one in front of Julie and me. Then he placed a steak in front of Liam and Jaise and a small pork roast in front of Ashlee with some potatoes and corn. Julie looked at her stew and gave it a scornful look. I smirked. Ashlee gave it an appraising look. “Why don’t we switch?” She suggested to Julie. “I couldn’t ask you to do that.” Liam sighed. “How about we split it?” Ashlee sighed. “No. I’ll just eat it.” Julie said. Before she could take a bite of the stew, Liam had grabbed the bowl and placed the steak in front of her.

“Liam, what are you doing?” Julie demanded. “Sacrificing a good meal for my girlfriend,” He replied with a smile. Julie just sighed and then cut into the steak. She took a bite of it and swallowed, and made a strange face. “What’s the matter?” I asked her. Liam looked up at her with concern. “I don’t know. Something tastes off about this.” She took another bite, and Ashlee took a bite of her roast. She gave the same look. “What’s going on?” Jaise demanded. I took a bite of the stew and Jaise, and Liam gave me a scared look. “This doesn’t taste that bad,”

I informed them. Liam and Jaise took a bite of their food, and they said the same thing. The girls took a couple more bites and then said, “I feel like I’m going to be sick.” They got up to leave, but before they could get halfway to the door, they collapsed right there on the floor. This pink and golden fluids started to pour from their eyes, nose and ears.

“Help!” Liam and I screamed, and we rushed towards the girls. No one moved. Anger and fear coursed through me. No one made a move, but they all looked scared and some had indifference on their faces. Rayne came walking in and demanded, “What’s with the shouting?” Then she saw us all huddled on the ground. “Oh, dear God. That’s Hydra Meltin.” Rayne said in fear and shock. “Hydra Meltin?” Jaise asked. “Yes, it’s an ancient poison used to kill vampires. They’re only a couple vampires besides the council who knows how to cure this poison.

If it’s left unchecked, the victim will suffer unbearable pain, and their minor organs would slowly start to heat up, boil and then melt. The last thing to stop would be the heart and lungs.” She said. Anger coursed through me. I have never felt a rage like this. I turned to see where Ryan stood, and he sat and talked to a friend, but he seemed to be fidgeting. I stormed over to him and snapped, “Why did you poison them with Hydra Meltin?!” He turned to me and glared. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about kid.” He hissed back.

I wasn’t going to believe that. “You think I’m stupid?” I demanded. “Actually, yes. You’re what? Fifteen? You don’t know anything! You think I’d defy Rayne’s wishes and poison a vampire?” He snapped. Rayne was by us in a flash. “Ryan? What’s going on?” She asked. He shook his head. “I don’t know, and I would appreciate it if you kept your vampire prodigy pet on a leash.” He hissed and then walked away. I grabbed his arm in a vice death grip. “Let go of me!” He snapped and tried to yank his arm back. “No, because of what you did tonight. They are dying!” I said filled with rage and grief.

“Matt, we don’t have time for this,” Rayne said. She came over to the others and tried to use her healing magic, but it only seemed to make things worse. “Do you think I care about your little slut of a girlfriend?” He demanded and walked on. I have never felt anger as strong as I did right then. I grabbed him by the wrist and yanked him back. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” He demanded and in response, I hit him as hard as I could on the nose. I heard this sickening snap, and he went flying across the room. No one breathed for a moment after that. “Matt?” Jaise asked.

“Where did you get super strength?” Liam demanded, but a coughing fit from Julie took his attention. “We don’t have a lot of time. They’re going to die soon.” Rayne told us. “Don’t you have a cure?!” Jaise asked. “I don’t have it. The council kicked me out as I was researching it. I wasn’t doing any illegal experiments, but people found some forged documents that proved I was slaughtering vampires by the thousands. Even though, all I was doing was using blood samples. I infected some blood with the virus and tried to find cures.” She explained.

“So, they falsely accused you of killing vampires, and they didn’t listen to your side of the story?” Liam demanded. She nodded. “So, because of their fucking stupidity and high pathetic and pacifist ass? We get to lose our friends?!” Jaise said standing up. I sprinted over to where Ryan was struggling to his feet. Blood is running from his nose. “I’m going to kill you,” He said in a calm frenzy. I didn’t even respond. He punched, kicked and attacked. But, I was able to block, counter and duck under his blows. I brought my right arm up to block him and then spun around, grabbing his arm and twisting.

He screamed and grunted. “You can’t beat me!” I noticed something odd about his hair. A diamond streak colored his hair. “How are you, a human, able to subdue me?!” He demanded in a scream. I was wondering the same thing. I slammed him up against the wall. “Matt?” Liam asked. I turned to look at him. “Why are your eyes glowing purple?” Jaise asked. Liam gave me a stunned look. “Purple?” I asked. I slammed Ryan into the wall and then let go of him. I walked back to where the others stood. I froze right in front of where Julie and Ashlee lay dying. Something snapped inside me. “Rayne, you need wolfsbane, infected panda bear blood, zebra tears and caffeine to make a cure.”

I said and then blinked and shook my head. “What just happened?” I asked. Everyone stared at Jaise and me said, “You just went all psychotic super strength and gave Rayne the cure for the disease.” Jaise told me. “The creepy thing? A human just went vampiric on a vampire and had a nice shadow of violet for eyes for a moment in time.” Ashlee said staring at me with a stunned look. “You know? The good thing is that I have the ingredients that we need. I’ll mix them together.” Rayne said. “You have to do it in the right way. I don’t know how I know. But, I will show you how.” I told her, and I followed her quickly to the storage locker.

I walked her through the process and even though it took a while, we felt more relaxed and secure because we finally have the cure. We barely had enough though for the two of them, but with a little bit of healing magic, they should be able to recover without difficulty. We rushed back to the cafeteria and then gave them the cure. Rayne had healed Ryan and then gave the cure with a little bit of healing, Julie and Ashlee stopped leaking fluids and then they took a gasp of breath and shuddered. Liam wrapped his arms around Julie, and I wrapped mine around Ashlee and held her tightly.

“Are you okay?!” I asked holding her tightly. “I think so,” She said weakly. I picked her up and then carried her back to my room. I don’t know where I got the strength from, but it seemed like she wasn’t all that heavy. I gently laid her down on the bed and then told her to get some sleep. “Matt, wait.” I turned to her. “Please, don’t go.” She said and started coughing violently. “You’re not okay. Whatever damage the poison did to you, it’s still happening.” I said and then rushed over to her side. “No, the poison is out. But, what it did is still affecting me. However, my body should be able to fight it.”

I knew she told me that so I wouldn’t worry. It wasn’t working, though. I climbed into the bed with her and gently slid my arm under her and around her shoulders. She brought her head up and laid it on my chest. We cuddled for quite some time and after a while, I realized that she had fallen asleep. I smiled. I just laid there, listening to the sound of her quiet, gentle breathing. Matt, if you would like to listen to some quiet music, there’s a zoom in the drawer next to you.

We also have a pair of wireless headphones, but its new technology. Four ear pieces, instead of two. I heard Rayne say and then quickly withdrew. I found what she was talking about and then scrolled through the music. There was a lot of instrumental music on here, but I was a fan of all kinds. So, I plugged in the connector to the headsets and then placed them into our ears. I put the music on a quiet and then leaned back against the headboard. I turned the music up just a tad bit and then closed my eyes.

The next thing I knew, someone was shaking me violently, and Ashlee was screaming and fidgeting. I snapped awake and took out the headset. “What the hell?!” I snapped and then noticed Ashlee freaking out next to me. I gently scooped her up in my arms. “It’s okay. Calm down.” I cooed to her, and I held her tightly to me. After a while and talking calmly to her, she finally managed to relax, but she stayed asleep. “What’s the matter with you?” I snapped at Jaise. “Look, I’m sorry to bother you. But, you know you can’t have her in the bedroom with you. Rayne will…”

He never got to finish, because someone interrupted him. “Rayne won’t mind, because I trust him. It’s not like he’s going to have sex on my boat. So, I gave them permission.” She said, and before Jaise could say anything, she dragged him out and closed the door. I tried to ease back on the bed, but Ashlee started to freak out again. “Hey, calm down. You’re safe.” I said, and it seemed that my voice reassured her. But, holding her wasn’t enough anymore. I noticed. What could I do? I didn’t know. Then I got an idea that I didn’t know if it would work, but I was willing to try anything. I said to her, “I know we’ve barely known each other for very long. But, I think this is love. I feel like I love you.” And then I started to sing “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers.

At a certain part in the song, she grew more relaxed and snuggled closer to me. I sighed and thought, at least, she’s relaxed. That was all I wanted. A soft knock came on the door a bit later. Liam walked in quietly and asked, “How is she?” I nodded. “She seems to be doing better. How’s Julie?” Liam smiled. “She’s fine. She’s up and moving around now. Is Ashlee being plagued by dreams or something?” He asked me. I frowned. “Yes,” I said simply.

“I think I can help with that,” Julie said walking in the room. She leaned over Ashlee and said, “She looks at peace. Does that have anything to do with the song that was playing?” She asked. Liam frowned and looked around. “I don’t hear or see any radio.” Julie grew confused and eyed the room as well. I laughed awkwardly and said, “Maybe you heard the zoom?” They both looked at it and smiled. “Yeah, that has to be it. It isn’t like you sing, right?” I laughed and said, “Riiiiight. Anyways. Where’s Jaise?” Liam looked at the door, and Jaise entered. “So, who was playing? Kenny Rogers?”

“Who’s Kenny Rogers?” Julie asked. “You don’t know one of the biggest country singers of the age?” Jaise asked in feinted offense. Liam and Julie looked at each other. I winked at Jaise and said, “Well, even people who listen to rap know who he is. I can’t believe that you don’t know who Kenny Rogers is, and Rap is an insult to the music genius!” Liam and Julie looked back and forth between us. “Hey! It isn’t our fault we grew up listening to good music!” Jaise and I froze and stared. “I didn’t mean that.” Liam amended. “You didn’t? It sounded like you did.” We all turned to see Ashlee struggle to sit up.

“Are you okay?” I asked, and I tried to help her. “Yeah. I think so.” She said. “Here,” Julie said, resting a hand on her shoulder. I could feel a warmth radiate out of her, and Ashlee sucked in a breath. Julie lets go, and Ashlee seemed to be glowing. “How do you feel now?” Julie asked. She seemed pale. “I’m fine, but what about you?” Ashlee asked. “Oh, I’ll be fine. I’m just not up to full strength. Liam, everyone. I think I’m going to lie down for a bit.” She gave Ashlee an odd look before leaving the room. We all nodded, and then I kissed Ashlee, and said I would be right back.

I followed Julie and asked, “Is there somewhere we can go where they can’t overhear us?” She gave me a dark look. “Matt, I know what you’re going to ask, but I can’t,” She said. “Julie, please!” I don’t know what made her change her mind. It could be my tone or my expression. But, she sighed and grabbed my hand. I don’t know where she took me, but we were standing in the middle of a dark forest with only the moon shining down on us. “Matt, do you want to know?” She asked. “Yes! You gave her a look that was concerned, fearful and strange. What was it that…”

The look she gave me chilled me to the bone. “I didn’t heal her. I only slowed it down. I don’t know what it is. But, for some reason, her body should be fighting it off and destroying it. We are immune to diseases. Well, long lasting ones. We can’t get STD’s, or diabetes or cancer. Nothing humans can get. And if a human has it and is turned into a vampire, then they will be cured completely. Not even a trace. But, for some reason. Her body isn’t fighting off whatever she has.” Julie explained. “How long does she have?” I asked. She shook her head. “I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be affecting her out right. But, from what I sensed. It’s dark.”

I looked at the moon for a minute. “Do you think she’s aware of it?” I asked. Julie gave me a dark stare. “Yes, I’m sure she knows. But, we don’t. Not officially, so don’t go to her and tell her you to know!” She snapped. I sighed and nodded. “I won’t. But, how do I keep something like this a secret from her? I don’t know how to pretend not to know something. Not about people I care about. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t normally get close to people, you know?” She nodded. “I get it; I do. But, she needs you now more than ever. I have never seen her grow close to anyone before. Not like this.” I gave her a shocked look. “What do you mean?” She looked away.

“Well, it’s true that she’s not innocent in the strictest sense. But, she’s an awesome person and a loyal and dear friend. But, her last boyfriend? Well, he’s an asshole. Hardcore dick. You’ll meet him soon enough.” She told me. “I will?” I asked. “Yeah, don’t worry. After this, we are going to make our way to the school. It’s there that you’ll choose to either leave a human or join a vampire.” I stood stunned. “You mean I have a choice?” She laughed. “Of course.” But, then her expression turned dark. “Of course, you will have your memory wiped, and you won’t remember any of this and you won’t know us.”

I stared at her with a blank look. “I won’t know any of you? Not even Jaise?” I asked. I could tell that is not what she expected me to ask. “No, we can’t have humans knowing about us. If the council found out that you knew, and we weren’t with you, they would kill you.” I glared. “I thought you guys were good.” I snapped. “We are, but we aren’t perfect. I don’t agree with that rule. So, what if they find out about us. We can virtually pass as humans. The only difference is the strength, speed, immortality, magic. We are harder to kill. But, otherwise, could you tell us about what we were? Or at least as different? Or did you think we were just humans with colored hair? Be honest.”

I thought about it for a minute. “To be honest, I thought you were just humans with colored hairs. I thought there was something off about you. But, I just assumed you were weird humans.” I said with a shrug. Julie smiled. “See? There’s no difference. We even need human food.” She told me. “But, there’s the living forever and magic and the need to consume blood every once in a while. I think humans could get the strength and even the living forever. Over time, even the magic because they’re some humans who claim to be witches.” I told her.

“Well, some are legit.” I gave her a droll look, and she laughed. “But, I think it would be the blood drinking that others would have a problem with,” I told her. “But, what about you? You’ve stayed next to Ashlee alone. Even if she’s not up to full strength, she can overpower you and feed on your or kill you during the ‘heat of the moment’, but you don’t fear her.” She told me. “Did you just use a line from ‘Heat of the Moment’ by Asia?” I asked. She nodded. “Well, we’ve never had a heat of the moment, moment,” I told her and blushed.

She only smiled, and I could tell she wasn’t going to make fun of me for it. “Well, you will. I can see that you two are serious about each other.” I nodded and sighed. “We should probably be getting back. I’m sure by now they know we aren’t on the ship.” She said. I nodded and then I found myself in the hallway. “Where the hell have you been?” Jaise demanded. “Oh, I asked a friendly evil vampire to take me sightseeing. He was very nice about it. Of course, now I have to do anal.” Jaise just glared at me with fire in his eyes.

“Okay, smartass.” I grinned at him to the point where he couldn’t stay mad at me. He gave me a half smile. “I was talking to Julie about something. It’s nothing to be concerned over. I swear.” I told him. I walked towards the room when I heard him mumble, “That’s when something is majorly wrong.” I glanced at him and said, “Not this time. I’d tell you if something was the matter.” He studied me for a moment and then smiled. “Well, if it related to you. Unless you’re not telling me something that isn’t about you.” I cocked my head to the side and smiled.

“Nope, when it’s time. People will know. But, not before.” Then I entered the room and closed the door. I climbed in next to Ashlee, and she scooted over to me and rested her head on my chest. I can’t remember the last time I ever felt so at peace. I slipped my arm under her and rested my hand on her shoulder. She snuggled up closer to me and smiled in her sleep. I fell asleep and woke up late in the morning when she moved. I sighed and stretched and smiled when I saw her.

“Hey, babe. You okay?” I asked. “She brightly smiled at me and said, “Yeah, I feel lot better now. But, where did you go with Julie?” She asked. “Oh, I had a couple concerns about the vampire people, and I didn’t want Jaise to know what I was asking. I get the slight impression that he’s afraid I won’t join you. I do want to, but I’m afraid.” She smiled at me and then pulled me up out of bed and then wrapped her arms around my waist and pulled me close to her. “What’s the occasion?” I asked.

She smiled and told me, “You’re reason enough to smile. Your genuine heart is more than I could have hoped for in a boyfriend.” She said and rested her head on me. I grinned and kissed the top of her head. “I’m not that special,” I said softly. “Oh, but you are. No one else has ever stayed with me like you have.” I couldn’t believe the praise I was getting. “Ashlee, why would you want a human?” She looked at me with a wicked glare, and I could see lightning flashing in her eyes. “You need to see yourself worth more than you do. Do you honestly think that we care about whether we date a human or a vampire?”

I looked at her and said, “Well, isn’t that important? I mean you’d have to be careful with a human.” I said. She gently slapped me. It was only hard enough to slightly sting. “Yeah, you’re right. We have to be careful. But, we are capable of controlling ourselves enough not to kill your mortals. If I were to have slapped her normally, you’d have a broken neck. But, I can control myself. If you’re that worried about me hurting you, then maybe you should find someone else!” She said and went to storm off, but I grabbed her wrist, and she didn’t try to fight me.

“That came out all wrong. All I meant was what could you possibly see in me? I’m weak, human, unimportant, and socially inept.” I told her. She rolled her eyes. “I don’t give a fuck about that. You’re special, kind, and caring. You put me above your comfort. Don’t for a second think I didn’t hear the song you sang to me.” She said and then tossed me gently on the bed. She climbed on top of me and kissed me deeply. We stayed at it for a while, and then I tensed for a moment when I felt her hands unzip my fly and stroked my member through my boxers.

“Uh, Ashlee?” I choked out. She grinned at me. “What’s the matter? You don’t like this?” She asked. I nodded and gasped, “Of course I do. But, I don’t know…” She nodded and stopped rubbing me. “I understand. You don’t want to.” She told me. “Oh, I do. But, I don’t want to rush it. I’m sorry. You’re very beautiful and arousing. I just….” I couldn’t finish. She smiled and gave me another kiss on the lips before climbing off of me and laying on my left with her head on my chest.

“You don’t have to apologize for that. If you’re not ready, then you’re not ready. Of course, we’ve already almost made it to third base before. So, I was kind of hoping to make it a little further. Get you comfortable with fooling around.” She said with a light chuckle. I blushed and smiled. “Yeah, and I don’t regret it. But, I want this to be special for us when it finally happens.” Of course, I couldn’t shake the feeling like someone, or something was preventing me from going all the way. It was almost like some shadow in the back of my mind was telling me not to. But, that had just to be my imagination. She winked and told me, “It’s no big deal. When you’re ready, it’ll happen. I’m not trying to pressure you. It’s just hard for me. But, I’m not going to try and force you into it.”

“Well, at some point, you’re going to want to hold me down and take me,” I said with a shy chuckle. “I kind of already do. But, I’m not raping you.” I blinked at her. “Who said anything about…” I started. She gave me a droll look. “Oh, yes of course.” I said and gave her an awkward smile. She got out of bed and pulled me along with her. A knock came on the door. “Yeah?” I called. Jaise entered, and he lit up when he saw us. I didn’t know if this was a good or bad thing. “What’s up?” I asked him. “We are almost home!” he said excitedly. Ashlee started to light up with the news as well.

But, soon her excitement faded away when she looked at me. “Matt, you…” She started. “What? I don’t have a home. Not anymore. I don’t think I ever truly did. But, I’m glad for you for finally getting home after all this time.” I replied trying to be happy for them, but I couldn’t feel anything at this moment. I guess anxious and nervous. “I’m sorry Matt. I know you lost everything. I shouldn’t have….” I raised my hand to stop him. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m sorry I can’t be happier for you. I’ll try. You should be excited about finally going home after everything that’s happened. Who knows? I may fit in and once I join you, well, I will find a home with you right?” I asked.

He just studied me for a moment. “You’re going to join us?” He asked cautiously. “I’m leaning towards it. It doesn’t seem like as bad life as people would think. I mean you’ve seen what happens to people who get turned on most of the books, and shows. But, you guys? You don’t have nearly half the weakness.” I commented. Jaise and Ashlee grinned. “No, but we do have different types of weakness. I mean poisons if left unchecked can kill us.

Our bodies will fight it off for the most part. But, some are fast acting, and they can’t fight something they don’t know.” I just gave him a look. “You talk as if our bodies are conscious and alive,” I replied. “They are. They fight off infections and give us the chance to live. How aren’t they alive?” Ashlee asked. I just shook my head. “I don’t know. I never really thought about it. I guess until recently, I never thought of myself as alive. So, how could I think of my body as the same?” Jaise gave me a saddened look. “But, don’t let me get you down, man!” I said with a smile. “You’re serious about joining us, though?” He asked.

“Do you think I’ll be able to find a place among you?” I wondered. “I’m sure you will. No one has ever been alone in our school. Usually, people find friends or groups that they have a lot in common. If anything, you still have us.” She said. I smiled and nodded. “So, when do we arrive?” I asked. “Well, it’s still going to be some time. But, we are getting close. The school remains hidden behind a mountain that encases it and the only known way though is by this underground tunnel. It’s has a lot of enchantments and spells protecting it against evil vampires.” Jaise explained. “The Ferol?” I asked. He nodded.

“You don’t have to worry. The school has been protected and shielded from shadow and darkness.” Ashlee told me. I smiled. “Oh, I’m sure it is.” I said and held her close to me. Jaise smirked and said, “I’m going to talk to Rayne. We will be landing somewhere soon. Then we will make our way to the school entrance.” Then he left and Ashlee went to grab a shower. She turned on the water and after a few minutes, I heard the water splash a little. I went to the room that Julie and her shared and asked about clothes. Julie smirked. “What did you do?” She asked with a wicked grin.

“N-nothing,” I said, “she’s in the shower. I figured she could use a fresh pair of clothes. When did we get clothes to wear?” I asked. Julie laughed. “Calm down. Don’t get your blood pressure up. Rayne had some clothes brought to us. You probably got some as well.” She explained and went to the dresser on the right side. She handed me a small stack of clothes and I thanked her for it. She nodded and then I walked back to the room that I would be in sleeping. I slowly opened the door and slipped the clothes onto the sink without looking at the shower.

I closed the door and turned around and saw Liam glaring at me. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He snapped at me. “I…I…I was g-getting clothes from her room. She forgot to get a change of clothes, and I thought I would slip it in the bathroom for her. I set it on the sink and….” I couldn’t finish because he slammed me against the wall with vines. “Spying on your girlfriend isn’t cool man!” He spat at me. “I wasn’t spying!” I choked out. He hissed at me. “I don’t believe you. I saw you!” The door burst open, and Ashlee stepped out with soap still in her hair and a towel wrapped around her waist.

“What the fuck is going on?!” She shouted. “I found you a peeping Tom!” Liam snarled. “Oh?!” She said glaring at me. I gave her a panicked and fear-stricken look. “I..I wasn’t…” I tried to say, but Liam shook me, and I went quiet. Ashlee rushed up to me. “I got this,” She said. Liam let go, and I dropped to the floor. But, Ashlee picked me up and held me a couple feet off the floor. “Liam, you may go. I’ll punish him in my “own” way.” She told him.

He sneered and left the room, closing the door. Ashlee tossed me across the room onto the bed. She focused and dropped to her knees. Then this electric current encased the room. “Well, that should stop any eavesdroppers,” She said. “Ashlee, I swear…” She raised a hand to silence me. “You don’t get to talk. I’m going to finish this shower. You. Don’t. Get. To. Move.” And the look she gave me was with pure rage. I remained locked in place for fear. She went to the bathroom and closed the door.

I don’t know how much time passed before she came out, but I could feel my muscles locking up. But, I still didn’t even move. I barely breathed and then Ashlee came out wearing the clothes I gave her and gave me a cold look. “So, how are we going to rectify this situation?” She demanded. “Ashlee, I swear I wasn’t…” The look she gave me made me stop mid-sentence. She just shook her head and then looked at the door. I don’t know what she saw, and it gave me the chills.

“You know? I thought you were better than that! I thought you were good. But, you’re just like the fucking rest!” She snapped at me. I felt pain, and I felt like I was the lowest piece of trash on the planet and then she looked towards the door again and walked over to it. “Ashlee,” I said my voice is cracking. “No, I don’t want to hear it. That is enough!” She snarled, and the lightning around us seemed to grow more intense and my hairs seemed to be standing on end. “If you’re going to kill me, then go ahead! If you think I’m such a horrible person, then, please. End it. I can’t stand you thinking I’ such a horrible person!”

She glared and gave me a cold stare. But, this time, it wasn’t working. I climbed out of bed. I walked over to her. “No, stay away. I’ll fucking kill you.” She gave the door a quick glance and then turned her attention fully to me. “Ashlee, I don’t think you’re going to hurt me,” I said quietly. “You don’t know a damn thing me, freak!” She hissed. I froze. “What?” I asked stunned. “I said, you don’t know a thing. You’re a freak, weak, and human. I should have locked the door. God, what was I thinking?”

I couldn’t process everything. I didn’t know where this was happening. What did I do? I didn’t know, but I guess I should just leave. “Look, if you don’t want me anymore, I’ll leave. I know I’m a loner and a loser. So, I’ll just leave now.” I said and walked towards the door. “Oh, is that what you think? I haven’t even punished you yet!” She said, and a dark yellow streak of lightning came out of nowhere and struck me in the chest. I went flying to the far end of the room and crashed into the wall hard. I felt the concrete crack and then I fell to the floor.

I raised my head to look at Ashlee with blurry vision, and I could taste blood in my mouth. “What are-?” I couldn’t finish asking, because she rushed at me and picked me up by the throat, choking me. “You are going to die now. I think it’s high time that you pay. We need only the four of us. We don’t need a fifth wheel. I may go after Jaise. He’s ready and willing.” I could see the cold hard lightning behind her eyes, and I felt the tears swell up in my eyes.

“Go ahead. I don’t want my heart anymore. If this is how you’re going to treat it, then I-.” She stopped me with a deep kiss and wiped her mouth off after. I was too stunned to move or say anything. She put her fingers to her lips and then she let me go. I landed with a soft thud on the floor, and instantly a roaring pain coursed its way through my body. I doubled over in pain and Ashlee looked at me in a scared way. I just lay there doubled over and pulled my knees to my chest. It helped with the pain. Ashlee kneeled over me, and I tried to flinch away from her. But, she held me down and then forced my mouth open.

Then she poured this sour tasting liquid down my throat. I snapped my eyes open and grew restless and scared. God, she’s trying to poison me! I screamed in silence, and no one would know that I was dying until it was too late. Then she took a sharp looking knife and cut her wrist. She dripped some blood down my throat and pain roared like pouring gasoline on a fire. I couldn’t hold it back, and I screamed from the pain. She tried to comfort me. But, it wasn’t enough.

Whatever she did was seriously hurting me. “Matt, you’re going to be okay,” She said, and I could hear tears in her voice. What was she saying? She just tried to kill me! The door burst open, and Jaise stormed in. I felt a searing heat and Ashlee went flying across the room. I couldn’t see everything that happened, and I didn’t know what hit Ashlee, but the pain grew worse. I tried to roll over, and I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. Everything came in and out of focus. “What the fuck Ashlee?!” He screamed at her.

“Jaise, you don’t understand. Matt is going to be fine. He’s…” She tried to explain. “I don’t give a shit. I couldn’t hear everything that was going on. But, I heard his scream. You’re trying to kill him. Why!? What did he do to you?” He demanded. “He didn’t do anything. Please, let me explain!” She begged. “No, if he survives and wants to listen. I’ll listen. I thought you cared about him!” I could hear the emotion in his voice, and then another wave pain shot through me. I screamed again. Jaise was right beside me then. “Matt, hold on. Please!” He begged me.

“Julie!” He shouted. She appeared in the doorway then, but I could see a cold look in her eyes. “I’m sorry Jaise,” even though she didn’t sound sorry, “But, I can’t help him.” She turned to walk away. “I thought he was your friend!? I thought we were friends!” Jaise shouted, his voice cracking. She turned towards me and said, “We are. Liam considers you to be his closest friend. His brother but the human is nothing to him. What are they? But, weak, and fragile. Look at him!” Julie demanded. Then she vanished, and Rayne took her place. “Please, heal him!” Jaise begged her. She gave him a sharp look. “You love him.”

Jaise didn’t hesitate. “I do, he’s my cousin. He’s one of the only family I have left. So, please!” She nodded and rested a hand on me, but I didn’t feel anything from her. “Jaise, he’s going to be-.” I felt another blast of heat and saw Ashlee hit the far wall, and the fire consumed her and she screamed in pain. I couldn’t speak. The pain was too much. “What’s wrong?” Jaise asked. “I can’t heal him as he’ already being healed, but it’s the hard way.” Jaise didn’t know what she was talking about because he snapped. “What the hell do you mean?”

She said calmly, “if a vampire isn’t with the healing magic, he or she can still heal a vampire or human by giving the wounded person the potion that tastes sour and looks like sour milk. With this and the vampire’s blood, the wounded could be healed. But, it’s a painful process as you’re seeing.” She replied. “So, he’s going to be fine?” Jaise asked. “Well, there’s risk. I won’t deny that. But, he should be, yes.” She told him. Jaise let up on hurting Ashlee, but she couldn’t move. The fire taxed her too much. The pain started to subside, and I could move slowly again.

“Matt, take it easy.” I turned to Jaise and gave him a tight hug. He hugged me back awkwardly and then gently pushed me away. “We should be going,” He said. “Matt, please.” Ashlee choked. I turned to her, and I felt completely heartbroken and like I was going to be sick. “I’m sorry. I had no choice. I was never going to let you be in danger. I had to; please let me explain.” She said shakily climbing to her feet.

“I don’t know how. I don’t know how I can listen to whatever excuse you have. I would love to believe you had a good reason. But, everything you said? What did you? I can forgive you trying to kill me. The lightning to the chest. But, the words you said?” I felt tears coming on, and I could barely keep myself steady. “I don’t know how to forgive that.” I said, and she started to weep. “I’m sorry, I am. I had to-.” She started. “No, I don’t…I can’t hear this right now. I just can’t. Please. Stop.” I told her and then I turned to Jaise. “When can we leave?” I asked. “Right now,” He said. “Wouldn’t you like some food and some time to heal?” Rayne asked. “No, I think the sooner I leave, the better for all of us. But, I want to thank you for everything. I won’t forget it.” I told her.

She smiled at me and then Just grabbed my arm, and we ended up instantly in a deep forest, and I found our camping gear already there. “You’ve been planning this?” I asked him. He nodded. “I wanted a backup plan. I didn’t know what we were going to be facing. But, I didn’t think it would be just us.” I frowned and took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry for all of this. I don’t know what to say, but if I weren’t here, this wouldn’t have happened.” I said and slid down next to a tree and put my back to it. He stared at it. “Matt, this isn’t your fault. Who knows what the outcome would have been.” He told me.

“So, you think that Liam, Julie, and Ashlee would be here, with you now, on a different path?” I asked. “It’s possible,” He told me. “Well, I’m not going to argue with you. But, I just hope we can all work this out.” I said quietly. “You think it will be that easy? Julie turned her back on me! After promising to watch out for you. Liam turned his back on me! Both were supposed to be my friend and they set up your death. I don’t know how they could have done something like that. I don’t know how they could have just worked out everything to get you dead. And Ashlee, she promised to fight for you. To keep you safe. But, she tried to kill you and healed you painfully. I don’t think working it out with them is going to help matters. I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.” He hissed.

“So, you just want to give up on them?” I asked him. “No! I don’t. But, for right now. We can’t worry about them and only about getting you to that school. Who knows what’s out here, or who knows what’s going to happen. I can’t protect you forever.” He said, and he sounded exhausted. I frowned at him. “I’m sorry.” He glared, “For what?” He asked. “For putting you through all this. Why don’t you get some sleep? I’ll take first watch. If you wanted to do that.” He sighed and told me, “You don’t have to be sorry for what’s going on.” He said. “Oh, but I do. If I were already back at the school and became a vampire, you wouldn’t have to worry about me so much.” I told him. He grinned.

“You don’t know anything about me do you? I will worry twice as hard when you’ve joined us.” He told me. I frowned. “Why?” I asked. “Well, the biggest thing is whether you’re going to survive the change. But, it’s more than that. It does not know what kind of vampire you’re going to become. Or what you want to be. It’s also the fact that some vampires based on personality or tests and skills they have naturally, or some they’ve picked up in training, become leaders. That isn’t always a good thing. I’ve seen good hearted people who wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally snap. Vampires get PTSD. We end up with a severe case. It’s not exactly the same. But, with the magic and fighting. It can mess with even our minds.”

I never knew. “So, you’re not afraid of me becoming a vampire truly. But, what I may be forced to do or what I may end up doing?” I asked. He nodded. “Well, we can’t worry about something that may or may not be known yet or hasn’t come to pass. You never know. I may end up just one of those weak vampires without magic.” I replied. “But, you’ve heard your fate. You know the path you’re going to take right? All the paths have some common results. So, if you were some powerful vampire in these paths, then you would be the same in this.” He told me.

“Yes, but I didn’t choose the path I’m taking. I took two tests with that trial and based on the results from both trials I’ve seen; they gave me one they thought would be best based on what the results were. But, I couldn’t find out any information. So, this path may be completely different than what I saw first. I may not even be destined to become a so high and mighty vampire.” I told him. “Do you believe that?” He asked. “I don’t honestly know. But, I’m just following this path as best as I can. I wasn’t expecting this, however.” I admitted. “Nor was I. But, I don’t know any way we could have avoided this,” He mentioned.

“No, but hoping it all works out. I get the impression that we haven’t seen the end of them. Whether good or bad. They will be back in our lives, and we are going to need them.” I told him. “How do you know that?” He asked. “I can’t explain it. It’s like this feeling I get.” I tried to explain. He sighed and looked up at the stars. “So, what now?” I asked. “Now? We try to get some sleep.” He said as he went around putting up the tents. “What about a lookout?” I asked.

“We won’t need one. These woods are enchanted.” He told me. “They are?” I asked in shock. “Yeah. Vampires aren’t the only freaks in this world. Witches exist as well, as well do warlocks.” He explained to me. “So, we have witches here?” I asked him feeling a little uneasy. He was able to sense it, though. “Oh, you don’t have to worry. They are friends of mine. Powerful and a little unpredictable. But, they are good and know we aren’t going to mess with the balance. All you have to do is respect their homes or their lifestyle. They choose to live like this. They care about the forests and are protective about it.” He told me.

“I’m not one to judge someone based on how they are forced to or how they choose to live,” I said to no one in particular. Jaise didn’t respond, and when he got the first tent up, he started working on the second one. “Jaise?” He didn’t look at me. I sighed. I walked into the woods and answered a call of nature. I felt something watching me. I finished quickly and then turned around. I nearly jumped out of my skin and took in a deep breath. “You don’t have to be afraid.” A young man said.

He looked to be in his late twenties, with perfect light skin, layered raven black wavy hair that fell to his shoulders at the back. He wore black leather pants and a black leather trench coat that didn’t cover his chest or stomach, and it didn’t have sleeves. His bright green eyes seemed to shine in the night. “You must be Jaise’s cousin?” He asked. “Y-yes. I’m Matt.” The guy didn’t smile. He just continued to stare at me. I didn’t get the hostile vibe from him. But, it wasn’t overly friendly. The moon began to illuminate the area, and I saw the man in a different way. He didn’t have as light a complexion as I thought. But, I did notice some tattoos. They looked to be in some strange symbols.

Swirling waves that looked to be in a spiral. And what seemed to be an eagle flying through it went down his arm. And around his neck, I saw the web with a giant spider in it. I couldn’t tell what the spider was and then his chest seemed to fill out with details and tattoos. I saw a giant pine tree that looked twisted and bent around what appeared to be a giant mountain with a lake around it and the moon shining brightly down and an owl in the tree, a squirrel running around and a snake crawling up the trunk. Each tattoo seemed to have a different light around it.

It seemed that the swirling tattoo was wind, and the eagle was flying through it, and it appeared so lifelike. Everything seemed to be so real. The colors and tones all looked real. “What are you staring at?” He asked me. “Your tattoos! They seem to be so real.” I told him. The lights around his ink seemed to blaze brightly then. And I felt myself being slammed into the tree I was next to. Some unknown force was holding me. “How are you able to see them? Only pure witches and warlocks and even some vampires have been able to see them. You’re only a mortal.” I tried to speak, but I couldn’t find my voice.

“I ask again! How are you able to see them?!” I shook my head. “I don’t know!” I said. “I don’t believe you. What vile magic are you using?!” He demanded. “Lexx, let him go.” The man turned and I saw this flaming red haired woman with an awesome figure! She has curves in all the right places wearing this low cut leather blood red and golden armor that just covered the chest.

It left the stomach open. Thick leather, gloves and almost knee high boots. The leather skirt fell to her knees and was attached to a chain and a pouch that was so black, it looked like a void. She wore a thick heavy wool cloak that fell just short of the ground, dyed to look like it was literally made from blood. I could see tattoos on her as well. Where Lexx’s colors were bright and seemed to represent life.

Hers seemed to represent death. Her tattoos around her neck appeared to be bones. From animals, humans, and even some exoskeletons from insects. Covering her arm, was a sleeve that looked like a tree you would see in fall. Brown, yellow, and red leaves falling from it, but hanging from the branches were skeletons and rotting bodies. Pooling on the ground was drying blood. Her stomach held a dark pink and gray skeleton, wearing a forest green robe.

In his hand, he wielded a twelve-foot scythe that seemed to be made out of thick onyx with a dark purple skull with golden eyes. “What’s that skeleton doing?” I asked pointing at her stomach. She just gave me a blank look and said, “He’s doing nothing you need to be concerned about. The lights from both their tattoos seemed to shine and glow. “Are tattoo’s supposed to do that?” I asked. They both rolled their eyes. “I’m sorry for upsetting you. But, I just want to know things. I’m a curious person. I’m really sorry.” I said.

They both gave me a shocked look. “Wow, most humans are uncaring or spoiled little brats,” Lexx said. “Analyze, you know we are not supposed to discuss this with mortals. I don’t even know how he’s able to see them.” He said. She studied me for a moment. “Yes, but what? Would you wish to kill him?” My heart began to beat rapidly then. What? I thought Jaise said that they were friends. “Well, I don’t want to make his cousin mad,” Lexx said. She rolled her eyes and glared. “Since when did you care about vampire feelings?” She demanded.

“I don’t. But, he’s not a typical vampire. His magic is a lot stronger than a normal vampire.” He said. “But, that’s all he is. He’s not a royal vampire. He’s not even that old. Your magic half used is enough to equal his power.” She told him. That wasn’t good. “Just kill him. Jaise will be better off without him.” I couldn’t argue with that. But, I wonder how he would feel? Why wasn’t I more worried about dying? Wasn’t my heart racing a moment ago? “Matt!?” I heard Jaise call.

“Do it quickly!” Analyze hissed. Lexx focused for a moment. Then he opened his eyes and they seemed to look sharper and more focused. The owl in the tree moved and flexed its wings. Why was it moving? I wondered. Then the owl poked out from his skin and peeled away. It flew straight at me. The eagle and the other animals seemed to follow. But, it wasn’t just one of each. It was dozens of them and they charged me. The animals bit and scratched.

Blood slowly pooled out and I tried to fight them off, but I couldn’t do much. These animals were a lot stronger than they appeared. “You probably don’t think that we pose much of a threat to vampires. But, this is just a level one spell.” Lexx said. I dropped to my knees. “Matt!” I heard Jaise shout. I couldn’t call out to let him know where I was. Harkel? Where are you? Zolem? I tried to see what was happening, but with the owls and eagles and spiders crawling on and attacking my face, I couldn’t see much.

“I think you should just give up now,” Lexx called out to me. Something sank its claws or teeth deep into the inside of my leg, and I screamed loudly. A huge hawk attacked and covered my face, stifling my scream. “Matt!” His voice sounded so close. “Jaise, what a pleasant surprise. I figured you wouldn’t abandon your cousin. No matter how annoying he became.” Analyze said approvingly. “Well, you’ve known me for a while. You didn’t think I would just sit back and watch as you betray us, did you?” He asked. “Well, for your own safety.

I hoped your own survival instincts would kind of win out. But, it seems you have a death wish just like he does.” My cousin looked confused, annoyed and acted like he couldn’t believe what was being said. He looked at me and saw most of the animals backing off, but they came back with a vengeance. He twirled his finger really fast, and a fire spiral leaped out and struck the animals. They let out a screech so shrill that it hurt everyone’s ears. Lexx bellowed in pain. “You’re killing them!” He yelled over the dying animals. The fires didn’t let up, though. He burned away the insects that seemed to come out of nowhere and the spiders.

I didn’t even know that bugs were attacking me. I dropped forward onto my hands. I kept that position, shaking violently and trembling, breathing heavily. “Are you okay?” He asked. I couldn’t answer him. “You’re going to pay.” Jaise warned. Analyze laughed and Lexx smirked through the pain. Then the girl went to step forward, but Lexx stopped her. “No, this is my fight,” He said. She nodded. Jaise stopped his spell and the fire faded away.

I saw through the blood and pain that Lexx had all the animals back. But, he never tried to summon them. “I think it’s time to show you, vampire, why we are so feared!” he hollered. He closed his eyes and then began to glow brightly. All the tattoos seemed to glow more intensely and then he raised a palm. A green aura started to build and then it shot out like a beam of light. Jaise raised a fire barrier. Lexx’s spell seemed to grow and build. Jaise increased his own spell, but it wasn’t enough. The woman laughed.

“Jaise?” I asked. He used all his concentration on his spell. It increased and blazed so brightly that I thought the forest would catch fire. “You know? I’ve never liked fire users.” Lexx told him. “Why didn’t we kill them before?” She asked. “I’ve killed five vampires before. Jaise was the only one who helped me. The last forest I guarded. He jumped in and absorbed the fire so it didn’t spread. But, this time? He overstayed his welcome. He’s not important anymore.”

The fire spell burst forward and increased and Jaise started to be drenched in sweat. I didn’t know what to do to help him. But, I didn’t have any magic. I had some freak moments, but I knew it was random based on strong emotions. But, I felt so weak. I slowly climbed to my feet. “Matt, you need to run.” My cousin told me. “No, I’m not going to leave you,” I said. “Fool. If you stay. You’re going to die! Run!” I saw movement from the other side and Lexx raised his other hand. “No!” I screamed and charged towards him. Whatever spell he was using now struck me in the chest. I went flying and landed hard on my back. The sky turned above me and I had the wind knocked out of me.

I gasped for breath and rolled on my side. “Damn kid got in the way of a killing blow,” Analyse muttered. “Don’t worry. He won’t be interfering again.” I climbed to my feet and stumbled forward. He raised his arm again and I barely jumped in the way of the blast again. This time, I didn’t get sent so far. I still landed hard and my sides ached with a piercing pain. “Damn it,” Lexx swore. He readied another strike. I made it in time to get hit again. But, it just knocked me back one step. I was so battered and bruised, though, that it still sent every joint and nerve in me screaming.

“Why is the spell getting weaker?” Analyse asked. “It’s only devastating the first use. After that, it gets weaker. When someone is on the verge of death, no matter what power level it is, it will still kill them, though. But, not it’s useless to even on Jaise. I had no idea humans could be so persistent.” The green beam didn’t seem to faze me, though. Was it only damaging based on the spell user’s target? I wondered. I stumbled towards Lexx and Analyse got in the way. “Oh, see. I hope you didn’t about stopping him. Your cousin is going to die. But, you have to contend with me.”

I didn’t have a chance in beating her. She flicked her fingers and shadows seemed to move from nowhere. “Furis! Help!” In a flash, someone stood over me with two giant long swords. “It’s about bloody time you called upon me!” He snarled. “I thought you could jump in at any time?” I demanded. “Normally, I could. But, something was preventing me until you called.” He said obviously frustrated. “You think this shadow warrior is going to help you?” She demanded. I took a quick glance at Jaise, and he was standing now. “I don’t know. But, he’s never let me down before.”

I told her. She glared at me and she looked over at her partner. He was drenched in sweat as well and he was shaking. My cousin looked steady and his power only seemed to be growing stronger. “What’s taking so long?!” Analyse asked him. “I don’t know! He’s stronger than I first thought.” He shouted. “Damn.” Furis went into a wild attack. Shadows attacked and he slashed and hacked away. He was too fast for them. They couldn’t breach his defense. Then he burst out laughing. “I haven’t had this much fun in so long!” He said. The fire spread further up the green beam and Lexx struggled to regain control. Jaise seemed to have gained the upper hand.

His fire spread up the green light and consumed lexx’s hands and then moved up to his arm. He started to scream and he broke the concentration. Furis was holding his own, but I don’t think he was going to win out in the end. Who knows what kind of powers she had. I got the feeling that she is stronger than her ally. Lexx tried to fight the flames, but it didn’t work. Jaise kept up his attack and I could see that he was growing weak, but he wasn’t stopping.

Finally, he launched a fire spell that broke through the little defense that Lexx built. The fire shot through his chest and burned away his heart and lungs. He dropped to the ground in a folded up mess. Analyse grew really pissed off. “You killed him!” She screamed and it pierced the forest. She started to pulse with this dark pulsing aura and then she channeled it through her arms. She then slammed her hands onto the ground. I don’t know what she was doing, but it couldn’t have been good. Jaise tried to stumble towards us. But, he was far too weak. He almost made it to me when the ground started to split open and he knocked back. He jumped from crack to crack until he found a solid piece of land.

Then skeletal paws and hands started to grab hold of the ground and pull themselves up. Animals of all kinds reached the surface and stepped out onto the ground. “You can call the undead!?” I heard Jaise shout. Analyse laughed maniacally. “Yes! And all the animals you killed?! They are coming back! Oh, and guess what? They’re not alone!” She shrieked with an evil glee in her eyes. Jaise looked at her in confusion. But, then I noticed Lexx’s body and I paled.

“Matt, do you know what she’s-.” He didn’t need to finish the sentence. He saw what I was looking at and he grew pale as well. “You can’t be serious!?” He shouted. She laughed again and this evil cold blue light shot out of the earth and encased the body of her partner. “Now, you are going to see what a truly powerful witch can do! You’ve seen witches in the movies right? Well, we are nothing like them, weaklings. You were so impressed with Hermione? HA! She’s a party trick expert in comparison.” She boasted. The undead stumbled towards Jaise and I couldn’t do anything to help him. I turned around to find myself face to face with my own undead horde.

“I think you know that you’re going to die right?” She asked. I am so not ready to die yet! Furis jumped around and knocked skeletons apart and hacked up zombies. But, they just seemed to reform. “How do you beat these things?” He asked. I don’t think he was too concerned about his safety. He couldn’t die by these things. But, I could. He then shot out a string of shadow and lifted me into the nearest tree. “Hey, he needs to die!” Furis turned towards Analyse and laughed. “Not right now he doesn’t.” I blinked at him. Was that some kind of foreboding moment? I wondered. She only hissed.

“Kill them!” She commanded. “You know I can’t tire out right?” Furis asked innocently. He slashed and stuck. Body parts went flying and as I watched the battle, I soon saw why he made that comment. It wasn’t really noticeable, but every time the undead put themselves back together, it took a little bit of her magic. They could fight as long as she gave them strength. “I’m stronger than you think. I can go on for years. Now, that Lexx has risen from the dead, I can feed on his magical energy. Do you know what becomes of a witch who has risen as the undead?” She asked.

“No, but I’m afraid to find out,” I called down. “They become Lyches. Their magical energy is limitless. So, they repair themselves and can fuel me!” Something came to me then. “It’s the darkest magic known to witches. That magic is forbidden, but it’s the most powerful form of Shadow.” She looked actually impressed at me. “How do you know this shit?!” Jaise called from his fight with the undead. He kicked and punched, but they were scoring too many hits, and he was so weak. Jaise, save your strength man. Don’t talk.

“You know a lot for a mortal,” She said. Truth is, I don’t know how I knew that. It just kind of came to me. The undead had Jaise pinned down and even though he kicked and struggled, he couldn’t break free. Furis hacked and slashed, but he couldn’t make any headway. Lexx walked over to where Jaise lay. “I think…You are in need…Of some payback.” He said slurring the words. “Oh, what? Did I hurt your feelings?” Jaise asked.

Lexx roared and attacked. The undead moved out of the way, but some weren’t fast enough. He batted them away and picked up Jaise. “I’m going to enjoy killing you. You will join Analyse’s army. I always wondered what you get when a witch raises a vampire.” He slurred. “You know? That’s not a bad idea.” She said with a wicked smile. “Furis, help him!” He looked up at me with a raised eyebrow. Then rushed off. “What the hell?!” She demanded.

Furis bull rushed Lexx and sent him sprawling and Jaise landed awkwardly and I heard this sickening snap. He ground his teeth tightly together and looked like he was about to scream. But, he kept it in check. Lexx, and I don’t know how he did this, blasted Furis with some dark vines and he was obliterated. “NO!” I screamed. Furis was so strong and he was destroyed in seconds. I didn’t understand what happened. A sharp pain struck me in the chest and I couldn’t keep my grip on the tree and I fell to the ground. I slowly pushed myself up. Analyse knelt down in front of me. “You know you’re all going to die right?” She asked again.

“You know? I find it annoying when people sound like a bleeding broken record.” I admitted to her. “If you’re going to kill someone. Just do it, and stop talking them to death. Oh, did you know that your breath is horrible?” She smacked me hard and I sprawled and fell hard on the ground. “I think it’s time to end this like you wish.” Lexx jammed his fist into Jaise’s chest and he screamed out. I looked at him in horror. “Rip out his heart and consume his power.”

A flash of white light blasted out and struck everything. The undead except for Lexx was incinerated and turned into a pile of dust. He was knocked back though and released Jaise’s heart. I tried to stand, but I couldn’t move. Breathing became labored, and my heart was beating wildly in my chest. “Who dares interfere?!” Analyse shouted. “Oh, I think you know. You were promised to keep the peace. Regardless. These twos are off limits and yet you’re trying to kill them.” It couldn’t be. Jason?! I glanced up and Jason was walking towards us. “You? The prince of vampires is protecting these two? Why? You hired us to kill him!” Analyse shouted.

“Yes, but that was before. I gave you a perfectly clear message. I was revoking my death orders. You both knew that, though.” He said. He walked up to me and crouched down next to me. He glanced back up at her and smirked. “I know you’re debating on attacking me. You think your little Lych warrior is going to beat me?” He asked. “Oh, so you think you can fight a Lych?” Jason laughed. “Oh, see I don’t have to. I have something better.”

We all gave him a blank look. “Lexx, kill him,” Analyse said lazily. Jason shook his head. “Kid, are mortals really this stupid?” I just blinked at him. “You don’t remember being human?” I asked him. He stared at me like he was seeing me for the first time. “Not really. It’s been so long.” He told me. “Well, no. Most of us aren’t this gullible. But, we do have some of our moments where we have bad judgments.” I explained. He actually smiled and it didn’t look sinister. Lexx attacked Jason with his full strength and Jason blocked, countered, and dodged his attack. Jason gave him an uppercut and then a back flip with a low to high kick. Lexx grunted then started to glow.

He spread his hands out and a blast of dark energy shot out in a swirling beam. Blues, yellows, greens and reds sparkled in the dark beam. Jason just gave it a look and spread both hands out in a wide arc. The beam struck in front of him. But, some barrier prevented the Lych’s spell from reaching. The blast caused our hair to fly backward and Jason didn’t even seem to be affected by the magic. “You don’t think you’re going to be able to win this fight, my prince, do you?” She sneered.

“Oh, I have every intention of winning. I don’t know how you expect to win. You actually conceive of the foolish notion of surviving this battle?” He asked. “I plan on winning. I am a dark witch! Humans call us Necromancer’s!” She proclaimed. “Is that supposed to impress me?” He asked. She glared at him. He increased her power. The spell blasted out like a concentrated waterfall and I actually saw Jason struggle a bit.

“I see my pet is slowly getting the upper hand.” I could tell Jason wasn’t sure how he was so strong. “You know? You still can’t beat me. I can’t let you win.” He said with a determined tone. He closed his eyes and the spell he used grew larger and as the spell the Lych used began to grow as well. I could see that both spells were growing and increasing in power and actually see the barrier grow in density. Jason seemed to grow more relaxed. “More power Lexx!” He grunted and blasted Jason with both hands. The barrier shook and rattled.

I thought it was growing to break, but he only empowered it more. “Jason, the thing is going to explode!” Jaise stumbled towards me and I caught him before he hit the ground. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t protect you.” He gasped out. “You’re not the one to blame,” I told him. Jason glanced back at us. “Jaise, you took out one of the most powerful warlocks in the world. You shouldn’t beat yourself up.” Jason told him. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Why was he fighting for us and giving us encouragement? I didn’t understand this. Jaise seemed to be thinking the same thing. “I was told to give you a break until you’ve chosen your path, Matt. That’s what I’m going to do. Your group is untouchable until you’ve become a vampire.”

So, that was it. Jaise wretched onto the ground and I patted his back. “Jaise, take it easy will you?” I suggested. “I’m sorry. I just don’t… (puked again) feel good.” He said gasping for breath. Jason waved his hand around in an arc and then moved. The barrier stayed in place, but he was moving towards Analyse. “You think your spell is going to last?” She demanded. “Oh, I think it will. She conjured up shadow bolts by clenching her hand open and then tossed it at him. He deflected it with a small white light that he held in his palm. He almost reached her, but she was quicker than she looked.

He kept deflecting her attacks. But, he couldn’t seem to get an upper hand on her. Then she shot a dark pulsing globe into the ground. Jason looked at it wide eyed. “What’s the matter? The prince has never seen that spell before?” She taunted. “Oh, I’ve seen it. But, I didn’t believe I would see someone stupid enough to use it!” He snapped. She glowered at him and then reached her hand out towards it like she was grabbing something. Then she gestured like she was raising something out of the earth and the ground began to rumble.

“What’s she doing?” I asked. “Something that’s going to kill us all,” Jason answered me. “Why did I ask?” Jaise laughed. “Well, you’re a curious kid,” He said and ended up in a coughing fit. I shook my head. “What do you need?” He just stared at me. “I could use some blood. But, we don’t have anyone hear.” He told me. “What about me?” I offered. “I’m not taking blood from my cousin!” He said horrified. “Will it help you?” I asked him. He gave me a side glance and nodded reluctantly. “Then drink. Just don’t drain me.” I said. I tilted my neck back, but he grabbed my wrist.

He sank his teeth into it and fed on me. My heart started to beat like a jackrabbit and I began to breathe heavily. He stopped after a minute or two and I didn’t feel much different, but he looked like he gained his strength back tenfold. “Wow, virgin blood is powerful.” Then he looked like he was going to be sick again. “Did I really just say that?” I gave him an appalled look. “You better not tell anyone about that. When I become a vampire, I’ll kick your butt.” I threatened. “We will see,” He said with a smirk.

Jason was finally closing in on her and she slipped up. He dodged and ducked under her attacks and rolled towards her to the left. Then after he deflected to shadow bolts, he vanished and reappeared behind her. He grabbed her by the throat and started to choke her. “This is for betraying me. This is for almost killing them, and this is for giving me this foolish chase.” He said and then sank his teeth into her neck. She screamed and struggled against him.

But, he was far stronger than her and she fell limply in his arms as he fed on her. He tossed her lifeless body to the ground and then looked at us with blood on his lips. Lexx was still casting the spell. “Oh, Jacob!” Jason called. The Lych God appeared then and looked at Jason like he was insane. “What?” He snapped. “We have another one for you.” Storm clouds formed around Jacob and even I could sense his power. “You dare command me?!” He screamed. “I’m not commanding,” Jason said.

“I don’t take orders from anyone. The bitch is dead! I’m free!” Lexx screamed in delight. Oh, I don’t think he knows the rules yet. I thought. “Oh, kid. You are a fool if you think that. You follow my orders now.” Jacob said. Lexx glared at him. “Who the fuck are you?” Jacob sneered and even Jason backed away from him. “Oh, I’m the Lych God. I’m someone you don’t want to enrage.” He told him. Derek appeared next to him and wrapped his arms around Jacob’s waist.

“Oh, my god! My god is a fag?! Oh, this isn’t going to work. I kill homos. They should be wiped off the planet!” Jacob glared at him and sent a dark bolt of lightning out. It struck Lexx in the chest and he was lifted off his feet. He slammed into a nearby tree and caused it to fall. “I think you should really watch your mouth. They aren’t fags.” Jason said coldly. I looked at him in shock. “You aren’t homophobic?” I asked. He glared and rolled his eyes. Why should I be? Other people’s love lives aren’t my concern. Why should I control how others find happiness?” He asked.

Derek walked over to me and asked, “How are you?” I smiled up at him and said, “I think I’ll…” I ended up in a coughing fit and he knelt down next to me. “You are bleeding internally.” He said and rested a palm on my shoulders. Instantly I felt a warm light spreading through me and my strength returned and I could move and stretch. After a couple minutes, he stopped and I stood up. “Thanks, man.” I said and hugged him.

I fearfully glanced at Jacob, but he wasn’t even paying attention. He turned towards Jason. “Why are all the new Lyches these days so damn free and high-spirited? I don’t like this. What happened to the good old days where they all listened and feared their superiors?” He asked. Jason shrugged. “I ask myself that all the time with the new vampires.” Jason and Jacob laughed. “Oh, enough with this!” Lexx snapped and he launched an icy cold sharp spear at Derek. I stepped in the way and Jaise blasted it with a powerful fire spell and melted it. The only thing I got hit with was lukewarm water. “You both stepped in front and protected Derek,” Jacob said.

“Well, yeah,” I said. Jaise smirked. “Don’t step in the way of a big ice spear thrown by a psychotic Lych again,” He ordered. “What about a crazed vampire?” I wondered. “Especially that!” He said mortified. Jason put his palm to his forehead and shook his head. “Well, I think we are done here,” He said. “Oh, not quite. What’s your name?” Jacob asked. “Lexx,” He said cockily. “Good, Lexx. Your soul is mine.” He said and then snapped his fingers. The dull light that I saw around Lexx faded out and he just looked like a gray walking corpse.

He tried to cast another spell, but Jacob was ready for it. He waved his hand lazily around and his spells fizzled out. “You didn’t think I’m a god for no reason do you? Your magic comes from me. You’re helpless now.” Lexx bellowed out and charged. He slammed into Jacob, but only ended up getting thrown back by a powerful explosion. Dirt, grass, and the wind threw him back onto the ground. “What?” He asked in shock. “I told you. You can’t beat me. I’ve had thousands of Lych’s attack me. Guess who is still standing?” He asked in a tone that gave the answer.

“You alone aren’t going to be powerful enough to stop me. He launched a dark shadow bolt and it went straight through Lexx’s chest. He screamed and crumpled to the ground. He still moved though and managed to crawl towards us. “Oh, come now. I’ve never seen someone so persistent before.” A blast of flames lashed out and he screamed in a panicked rage. He rolled around on the ground, trying to put the fire out. “I’m guessing stop, drop and roll won’t work here?” I asked. Everyone looked at me and burst out laughing.

Even Jacob cracked a smile. “Um, no,” He said with a chuckle. “Those are unholy flames,” Derek said. I looked at them and noticed that the flames had dark tendrils floating and squirming around in them. They began to burn brighter and brighter. It was too much to keep looking at them. I had to look away, and I heard Jacob say over the roar of the fire, “Well, he did have a lot of magical power didn’t he? I haven’t seen the fire grow this bright for thousands of years.” Jason just sighed. “Am I needed for anything else, or may I go?”

Jacob looked at him and then us. “Oh, please go. You’re bothering me with your presence. As for you two, though.” He said. I gulped and then looked at him. “I owe you two favors now. Don’t think we haven’t forgotten that you rescued Derek from the underwater prison.” I couldn’t speak. It was like I lost the words. Luckily, Jaise was able to. “It’s not a big deal. But, if you want to repay us, then I think Matt here can find a way. Knowing him, though, it won’t be a ridiculous request.”

Jacob eyed me questioningly. “I think I already know what he wants for the first favor. But, he’s afraid of asking because he doesn’t want to sound selfish. But, Matt. There’s nothing wrong with asking for yourself every now and again.” Jacob told me. “I just don’t like asking for myself is all, but in this case, I think I’ll make an exception,” I told him. “So, you want me to find out what happened to your friends and why they acted like they did? Why they tried to kill you and why your girlfriend did what she did?” He asked. “Yes, unless you think it too trivial to you, then I’ll come up with something else.”

Jacob sighed. “Matt, we owe you. Is this what you want?” I nodded. “Then don’t fret. It won’t be too hard to find the answers. But, how soon do you want them?” He asked. I shrug and said, “Um, I’ll call on you when I’m ready.” He smiled. “Good, I’ll leave it up to you. Leave it to a god, and you’ll end up waiting for hundreds of years.” He said laughing. Then he snapped his fingers and Lexx vanished and so did Analyse’s body. Then Derek and he faded out. “Well, I guess it’s time for me to go,” Jason said. “Wait.” Jaise said. Jason looked at him.

“Thank you. I know you and we have a lot of differences and you’ve tried to kill us on more than one occasion. But, I have to thank you. It means a lot that in spite of everything, you’ve come to help.” Jason looked shocked. Then he focused on Jaise. “Well, you’re welcome. But, you fear how your cousin feels about all this don’t you?” Jaise looked scared and gave me a quick look. “You can read minds?” I asked. “Most people yes. Some are easier than others.” He told me and then deeply started to focus on me.

“But, no matter how hard I try. I can’t read yours. It’s like you are closed off to me. I don’t know why, though.” He admitted. “It might have something to with the destiny I have been given,” I told him. “Oh, it’s possible, and no doubt it will come to light soon enough. But, we have to get you to the school. Jaise, I’m sure you know the way. You should be strong enough to handle anything the tunnels have.” He told him. “You know about them?” My cousin asked confused. “Yes, I used to go there. Even my magic isn’t strong enough to break through the defenses, though. And the tunnels keep moving around, so I don’t know the exact location. But, I’m sure you two should be fine and the magic should allow you both to enter.” Then he vanished.

“We did never get any sleep.” Jaise said with a long yawn. I laughed. “Is there a place in the tunnels that we could sleep in?” I asked. He thought about it for a moment. “Actually yes. There’s a safe room there. It has supplies and food that is regularly checked.” I gave him a blank look. “It’s checked?” I asked. “Yes, once a week a ‘tunnel watcher’ is charged with making reports on any cracks and checking the storage of foods.

“This way, we don’t have spoiled foods,” He explained. “What about the trials? Or whatever you were talking about. Jason mentioned it as well.” He laughed. “I don’t think they’re any more trials. People used to have to go through them. The biggest trial we may have to overcome is the guardian.” I gave him a droll look. “Oh, and I’m sure that’s going to be so easy with one vampire and a skinny human. What? Are you supposed to fight him with tooth and fire, while I sarcasm him to death?” Jaise gave me a droll glare in return. “If you have more comebacks like that? I’m sure he’ll drop dead in no time.” I smirked.

“Well, what the hell are we waiting for!?” Jaise shook his head. He motioned for me to follow him and he led me around a corner in the woods and as the sun broke out across the sky, we made our way to a mountain pass. “Is this where it is?” I asked. He nodded. He made a zigzag motion in the air with fire and then drew an arrow through it, followed by a circle, triangle, and an octagon. He swiped his hands through it and it morphed and changed into a giant spider.

“What the hell is that?” I asked. “Wow, two swear words in under two hours. That’s a record.” Jaise said approvingly. “Technically, it’s the same word just said twice. So, it only counts as one. And seeing as how technically a hell is a place. It’s not considered bad language.” Jaise stared at me for a moment. “Are we talking the place where you go when you die? I thought that place wasn’t proven to exist.” He said. I smirked. “No, Hell is a village in Norway. So, it’s a place and is not cursing.” He just gave me a blank look. “How do you know this shit?” He asked. “That’s swearing.” I said and then turned back the flaming arachnid. “Why do you have a flaming spider?” He laughed. “If you knew what it was, then why did you ask?” I rolled my eyes. “Well, you knew what I meant when I asked. Also, how else would you phrase it when you first see something unorthodox?” I demanded. “After everything you’ve been through in the past couple months, this is the strangest thing you’ve seen?” He wondered.

Well, he had me there. “I guess not. But, still. What’s it for?” He turned back towards the fire spider. “The first time we leave through these gates, we have to create a sigil. A symbol based on what we like and with our element. Think of it as a key. Once the tunnel entrance detects a pattern, the magic in it registers and confirms the identity to the person.” Jaise explained. “But, wouldn’t another fire user be able to copy the key you’re using?” I asked.

“I admire your curiosity,” He said smiling at me, “but no. You see, magic also leaves something like a fingerprint. So, even if another fire user knew what to use and where to go. They wouldn’t be able to get it because the magic wouldn’t link up to me.” He told me. “Oh, so it’s a magical digital scanner.” Jaise smiled. “Exactly.” He pushed the fire spider into the wall and I heard it groan and rumble a bit. “Is that normal?” I asked. He frowned at it. “No, not really. Usually, it just reveals the path and we walk right in.” He told me.

Well, that sounded good. What the heck? I wondered. Then a door sized part of the rock fizzed away and Jaise started to walk towards it, but I grabbed his arm. “What’s the matter?” He asked. “Something isn’t right,” I told him. He looked at the door and me. “Well, you’ve been pretty accurate so far. So, what is wrong?” He asked. “I don’t know. I wish I did. But, whatever is down there, it knows we are here and it’s ready to kill us the second we enter.”

He just gave me a sideways look. “You know? I’ve had it with people trying to kill us. If they want us dead, then they better prepare for death themselves.” Jaise snapped. “So, you want me to go first? Draw them out?” I asked. He gave me a cold look. “No, because knowing you, you’ll have your heart ripped out and then they’ll make me eat it.” I blinked innocently at him. “You don’t think my heart will taste good?” He hissed at me and then stormed down the steps.

“Don’t move!” He shouted. “Yeah, I’ll just remain here to be picked off by some strange evil vampire. Maybe they’ll rape me, have their way and drain me?” I mutter. “Well, they will have one hell of a time won’t they?” He called back and then silence followed. I glared at the entrance. But, after a few minutes, I couldn’t hear anything. “Jaise?” I called down to him. I walked to the step entrance and looked down. Everything was pitch black and I didn’t see or hear anything. “Jaise?” I called again. Still nothing. I was growing anxious and my heart was pounding.

Did the guardian or something kill him? Oh god. I had to find out what was going on. I had to check up on him. I couldn’t let him fight this alone. We’ve only survived this long because we had each other. But, I was the weakest link. Now, I was the thing that was going to get my cousin killed. I couldn’t let him face this threat alone. Was this how Bella felt in Twilight? I mean I’ve never watched the movies, and I skimmed the books. But, I got the gist of it. I don’t want to be one of those human liabilities you read about in these supernatural stories. I want to be someone who’s special, important and can hold their own.

I slowly walked down the steps and then everything was lost in darkness. The door vanished and the only thing flickering with light was a torch at the other end of the hallway. But, I could barely see it. I felt something watching me, but they were making no moves on me yet. I wondered why. Everything in me was screaming to call out for Jaise, but something was telling me to keep quiet. But, I doubted that it would be useful. Something knew I was here and was toying with me. I made it halfway down the hall, I guessed before something happened.

I heard this piercing howl and the dripping sound. I couldn’t see what was dripping. But, as I took a couple more steps, I slipped and fell on the wall. I braced myself against it and felt the liquid coat it and I caught my balance. I pulled my hand away and rubbed my fingers together. It was a sticky substance. I continued walking until my vision started to blur. What was going on here? I wondered. Then something moved. I looked up and saw this tall slim, winged figure floating down to me. Torches lit up all around me.

“So, you’ve come to my domain. Humans aren’t permitted here anymore. Humans die in these tunnels.” It said. “Why?” I asked. My legs locked up and I couldn’t move. I dropped to my knees and my breathing became labored. “Humans are the species that is going to die out. Vampires need superior blood. Your kind is so weak.” It said. I saw his face. He looked like he had a bad case of acne with cracked stained teeth when he smiled. His snowy white wings were coated in some thick orange sap and his body looked a little scrawny. “Where’s Jaise?” I asked.

“Is that who you’re worried about? Oh, once you’re dead. He’ll be free to leave.” The guardian said. I knew it had to be him. “Where is he?” I demanded. “Why do you care? Your life is about to end.” He said. “I care because the last thing I want to be concerned about is my own self-perseverance. Where is he?” Breathing and talking were becoming harder and harder. “You still shouldn’t worry about him. I have no intention of harming him. He’s going to be on his way soon.” The guardian said. “What makes you think he won’t try and eventually succeed in killing you…for my death.” I choked out.

“That would be foolish. He’s a vampire. You’re human.” I laughed weakly. “I’m his cousin.” The guardian paused for a moment. He turned to stare somewhere. “He’s your cousin?” He asked. “Really? How is it that a vampire has a human cousin?” I don’t know who he was speaking to. But, whatever it was, I don’t think he liked the answer. “Impossible! He can’t be chosen for anything special. I mean look at him.”

That pissed me off, and I don’t know where the anger came from. I guess I was getting really tired of people looking down on me. For people thinking, I wouldn’t amount to anything. And for people not believing I could handle the situation and just trust, respect, and believe in me. I know I don’t believe in myself all that much. But, I’m trying. It’s not easy. But, this…thing…he was the final straw. I snapped. I lost all control and I felt a power course through me. I saw everything in a light purple and the guardian was glowing in a purple so dark, he was almost black.

I saw someone locked into the ceiling and their glow was neon violet. “Is that Jaise?” I asked in a voice that was loud, but still my own. “What does it matter? You’re going to-.” He never finished speaking. “Silence.” I commanded and the guardian shut up right away. He tried to speak, but couldn’t. I gained control back and it wasn’t hard. I floated up to the ceiling and then fire burst from my fingers. The sticky slime melted away and Jaise fell out. I caught him.

I brought him back to the ground. I could feel the effects of whatever the slime was fade from my system. Whatever power I was feeling, seemed to be burning it away. “How?” Jaise asked. “I don’t know. But, now. What to do with him?” I asked looking at the guardian. He broke free of my silencing spell. “You think you’re strong enough to fight me?!” He bellowed. I pushed Jaise away and floated up where he hovered. “I don’t know. Care to give it a go?” He gave me a strange look. “You’re not the same human who came in here are you? I don’t know what happened, but you’ve changed in a short time.” I laughed and the sound echoed around us. “You’re right. I’m not simple Matt anymore.” I told him and Jaise took in a deep breath of air.

“Who are you?” The guardian demanded. “You surely haven’t forgotten the Prince of Atlantis have you?” I heard Zolem’s voice. The guardian froze. “You’re giving this human power?” He asked in fear. “Yes, let them pass or else,” He said. The guardian looked at us and sighed. “Very well. Enter. Zolem, I hope you know what you’re doing! He’s only human!” A booming laughter that almost knocked us to the ground followed that statement.

“So were you, until I made you the protector of the vampires. If you weren’t such a racist prick. Maybe you’d find a friend among the other guardians.” And on that note, we booked it towards the exit. The doorway opened and we walked up a large set of stairs. “So, where are heading to?” I asked. “It’s a peaceful place. But, it does have its excitement as well. You’ll understand when the time comes. Its weather controlled.” He explained to me. “Oh, so you can make whatever weather you want wherever you want?” I asked. “Yeah, normally we don’t though. It can affect much about how we complete our jobs.” He told me. “I can understand that. But, you get your own rooms right?” I asked.

He smiled. “Yes, you can do whatever you want in your room. First, you have to grant the power of a vampire.” I nodded. We walked up the steps and the sun blinded me for a moment. When I got used to the light, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. An enormous castle loomed ahead of us. It looked larger than what they described of Hogwarts. And that’s saying a lot! I thought. “I know. It’s huge. But, you get used to the size.” Jaise told me. I shook my head. “How? I mean, how do you find your way?” I asked.

“It’s really easy. They’re maps lined up along the walls that will tell you how to get to the different wings of the castle. And the people who have been here for years knows the place like the back of their hand. Most will be able to help you. Besides, you don’t have to worry about finding anything right now. Follow me. I’ll show you around.” He told me. “Where are we going?” I asked. “We are heading to the Headmistress. She’s going to want to meet you.” He told me. We walked across the courtyard and by a huge tree with some vampires standing and sitting next to it. “Ah, Jaise! Is this the famous cousin you went to find?” A man in his early twenties asked.

“Yes. Why?” Jaise sounded exasperated. “He doesn’t look like much.” Anger coursed through me. A dark purple bolt of lightning shot out of nowhere. It hit him square in the chest and sent him back a couple steps. “I think you should be careful who you insult.” Jaise told him. “He’s only ‘human’ after all.” We walked on by with him laughing. “I probably shouldn’t have done that,” I said out loud. “Oh, I found it bloody marvelous.” Jaise admitted.

“Some people here are bullies. They think because they’ve been here a while, they rule the school. And they also think that just because you have more power, you shouldn’t lead and you should fall in line. But, that’s not the way it works around here.” He admitted. “So, seniority doesn’t mean anything?” I asked. “Oh, sure. And usually, a vampire of ten years will be stronger than a vampire of one. But, sometimes a new vampire will be more powerful. It just depends on the ancient being and circumstances.” He explained. “Ah, we are almost there. Are you ready?” He asked. “No,” I admitted. He laughed. “Well, it’s probably normal to feel that way.”

Chapter 8

He led me up to a door and it looked simple. But, he knocked and waited for a response. “Come in.” A female voice said. Jaise opened the door and motioned for me to go in and then closed it behind him. We entered a huge room with giant bookcases and at the end sitting on an expensive look rug, sat a marble desk with a middle-aged woman with a black streak in her graying red hair. She still looked beautiful, with only a few wrinkles and her smile almost seemed genuine, but I think it’s a little forced.

“Ah, Jaise, it’s good to see you,” She said and gave me a quick glance. “Headmistress Jaina, this Matt.” She stood up and I saw her clothes were expensive. A light silk gown that flowed with her movements. All thanks to my step sister, how I know something about fashion. The gown looked simple, but it looked like a dark night with stars and a bright full moon on the top left side. I saw then the bottom of the dress looked like a reflection and then realized that it was. A reflection on the surface of some lake.

“You like the dress?” She asked. “It’s really pretty, ma’am. I’m sorry. I just seem to have a habit of details.” I told her. She smiled at me, but I saw it didn’t touch her eyes. “Well, why don’t you tell me everything about what has happened,” She said turning to Jaise. “Well, I can’t tell you everything. There were some events that happened to Matt. So, he would have to fill you in.” She didn’t even look at me. “Why don’t you try to tell me everything?” She suggested. He sighed and started from the beginning. Mostly everything he was able to do.

But, when he got to the part where Ashlee and I were in the roller coaster car. He couldn’t fill her in as accurately as I could have. Just thinking about Ashlee made my chest hurt, though. “This is really something for him to tell you. I wasn’t there.” She gave him a look like she didn’t care. She only needed the basics. Then he moved on to the other events and everything that happened. I don’t know how long we sat there, but my legs were cramping up. I just didn’t think it was right to move. Why does she pretend now that I don’t exist? I wondered. “You’re human.” I turned to see Zolem standing there.

I gave him a fearful look. “Oh, don’t worry. They can’t see or hear me. If you talk to me, they won’t hear you either. They’ll just think you’re looking off into space. Which is normal for people to do.” He told me. “Why would is me be the human matter?” I asked and then turned back to them. Neither of them looked at me. “She knows about your destiny. And she doesn’t like it. She wonders how a mere human teenage boy with no royal blood can become one of the most powerful vampires in history. She doesn’t understand it. But, the truth of the matter is, vampires aren’t chosen based on blood.

Or history. They are chosen based on faith, personality, actions that they have done or plan to do. The love they share and show for the people around them.” He explained. “Is that why you’re choosing me? You think I have a lot to offer the world and the people around me?” I asked him. “Oh, I know you do. You may not see it yet. But, you have a lot to offer. But, it would be better if you start believing yourself.” He told me. “I can try. But, it’s not easy.” I said to him. “Oh, I know that. I watched everything shatter and break around me and you. I watched millions of people die. Powerful mages sacrificed and gave their lives for me and my family. You don’t know sacrifice like that. But, you will.”

I took in a deep breath. “I don’t have a family to sacrifice for.” I admitted to him and rested my head against my chest. “Yes, you do. You just don’t know it yet. Oh, and you don’t have to use a favor from Jacob if you don’t want to. I could tell you what you want to know.” I whipped my head towards him. “What?!” I asked loudly. “Ashlee did what she did because she knew something you didn’t. She did everything based on love for you.

Give her a chance. She’s going to be your closest ally and friend in the times to come. Of course, you’ll have your issues and fights. But, that doesn’t mean she won’t do everything she can to protect you and watch out for you. All you have to do is give her the chance. Don’t shut her out now. You’re going to need her before the end.” He said and started to fade away. “Wait,” I told him. He looked at me and smiled. “How am I going to know if she’ll forgive me?” I asked him. He grinned. “Thalia?” He called. A blond haired woman who looked to be in her early forties appeared with smooth skin.

She was on the heavy side. But, she carried herself very well and she radiated power. She only stared at me with a blank look. “Thalia, why don’t you tell him what you told me?” Zolem suggested. She rolled her eyes and said, “Ashlee is tearing herself up for what happened. Personally, I think you handled it poorly. But, I’m not going to judge you completely. She could have talked to you through telepathy or another way. But, she is beating herself up and she wants to do anything she can to make it up to you. Even if it’s some foolish suicide mission!” She said glaring at me.

“I don’t want her to do anything foolish or dangerous,” I told them. “Well, that’s the problem. Love makes you do some stupid things. If she dies, though. Grief-stricken is going to be the least of your worries. I will rain down a lightning storm so fierce that Zeus will cower in the heavens!” She warned and then vanished. “Zeus is real?” I asked. Zolem gave me a droll look. “Is that all you caught out of that conversation?” He demanded. “Oh, of course not. I guess sarcastic questions or answers is how I deal with the fear factor.” I explained.

“Oh, I see. Well, that makes sense. I guess. But, yes. They still exist or they actually do. They just don’t have the power they used to. But, go to her. Go to her and forgive her, because you’re never going to find someone so worthy of your love, time and trust.” He said and then vanished himself. “Matt, are you ready to leave?” Jaise asked me and I turned to him. “Uh, yeah. Is there anything we need here?” I asked. “Jaise, what about the battle with the witches? I heard that two are killed and the council is looking to figure out who to blame. They are thinking some strange human did it.” She said giving me a dark look.

“Oh, if they want someone to blame, they can blame me. I killed Lexx. Jason killed Analyze. But, no human killed them. I can assure you of that.” She grew shocked by the news. “You killed one of the most powerful earth warlocks?” She asked. “Yes, I don’t know how. I guess he wasn’t using his full power. But, yeah. I killed him.” Jaise admitted. “Oh, and I would do it again if I had to. I wouldn’t give a damn. So, maybe you should stop giving humans such a dark look. And have a little more respect for your own blood!” He hissed.

Jaina stood up. “Be careful how you talk to me!” She warned. “What are you going to do? Tell your brother in law?” He demanded. And grabbed my arm to pull me out of the room. I didn’t say anything until we cleared the room and walked over to the tree. “Jaise, you didn’t have to do that over me,” I told him. “After everything, how can you be so calm when people look down on you?” He asked. “I’m not. But, I also don’t see the point in letting them win. After what I’ve done out of no control. I see now that they are going to look down on me and or others.”

“Why should I or they care? Why should it matter if we don’t live up to their expectations? What matters is how we see ourselves. If we have the strength and courage to carry on, then everyone else can bite the dust. If we only care for others and what they have to offer. The people who actually give a damn about us. They are the only ones who should be allowed to judge and speak frankly with us listening. I don’t care about what she has to say. Whether she’s blood or not. I don’t care what that dick from before thinks of me.” I continued explaining all of this and how I was trying to see this cold world. But, no matter how much I explained, it was really hard to believe it. But, hey. I think it’s a psychological exercise. The more you say, eventually, you’ll start to believe it.

“I’ll prove them all wrong if given the chance. And I’ll make them regret their actions if the chance arises. But, I don’t need their approval. I only need yours. And those who mean a damn to me. So, don’t get upset if someone speaks down to me. Defend me if you must because we should stick up for others. But, let me find the strength to fight my own battles. That’s the only way I’m going to grow and become stronger.” I told him and he only looked at me in shock.

“But, I do have to say. I really owe you and appreciate everything you’ve done. It’s because of you, Liam, Julie, and Ashlee that I am where I’m at. You all have shown me a much greater kindness than I would have ever thought to receive in this life. So, thank you.” I said to him. He looked like he was going to cry and then he hugged me tightly. “Jaise, can’t breathe.” I choked. He relaxed his grip but kept hugging me. “You’re welcome Matt.” Jaise let go and turned to face Liam. I gave him a shocked look. “What are you doing here?”

Liam looked at his best friend and said, “I live here.” Julie appeared. “Look, I know what we did was wrong, but let us explain.” Jaise crossed his arms and stood in front of me. “Jaise, it’s okay. Let them talk.” I said and stepped up the front of him. Liam started to walk towards me and before he could reach me, a blast of scorching hot fire shot him across the courtyard. “Jaise!” Julie screamed in anger. “No, it’s alright,” Liam said. Liam stepped up next to Julie and then stopped.

“Look, I know what we did was wrong. Especially me. I didn’t know Ashlee was going to see right through me. But, I didn’t want things to go that way. I had to play the bad guy for a moment.” He said. “Why?” I asked. “It’s hard to explain,” He told me. “Try,” I ordered. He sighed. Julie stepped forward. Jaise tensed. She raised her hands up in surrender. “Okay. We won’t try to approach him. “Look, there’s someone here in this school, who would love to see Matt dead. Someone who doesn’t want him to gain whatever powers he’s going to get.” Jaise looked at me and then at them. “But, no one knows what kind of powers he will get. Even if he’ll get them at all!” Jaise said coldly.

“Oh, he’s going to get some powers. And they are going to be strong. Just not sure which ones they’ll be. But, I’m guessing he does.” Julie said staring at me. I looked at them all in turn. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said. “Oh?” Liam asked. “Don’t say anything. It isn’t their business. They still aren’t acting under their true intentions. Something else is guiding them. But, soon you will be able to trust them. Find Ashlee. She’ll be able to help you.” I heard Zolem say. “Look guys. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I don’t know what you think you know. But, I don’t know the powers, if any, I’m going to get. That’s impossible. I have to go.” I said.

Then started walking away. Liam appeared in front of me. “Where do you have to go?” He asked kindly, but with an edge to his voice. “That’s not your concern.” I snapped. “Oh, but we want to know what you know. I think it shouldn’t be kept a secret. If a human is getting outside aid from an ancient being. Why should that be secret?” Julie asked behind us. Liam sneered at me. “Ashlee, if you can hear me. Please, help! Jaise and I are outnumbered in the courtyard. Please, if you were serious about doing everything for my own sake, then come help. I’ll let you explain whatever you wish.”

I don’t know if she could hear me. I wasn’t going to wait around to find out. “If you guys are seriously sorry for what you did, then you’ll let us go,” I said kindly. “But, we just want to talk,” Liam said taking a step forward. Jaise tensed. He couldn’t take them both at the same time. One of them would get me. I felt something pop next to me and I saw Liam tense. “So, this isn’t fair. Two vampires versus one? I think it’s time to even the odds.” I heard Ashlee say. Oh, I wish I could give her a major kiss right now. “You are on our side?” Jaise asked quietly.

“Oh, of course. Matt over here called for me a moment ago.” She said. Liam glared at me. “So, this is who you wanted to go see.” He hissed. “Yes, but I didn’t necessarily have to go to her. She could come to me, you know? Like she did.” I told him. “Jaise, you want the friend or the friend’s girl?” Ashlee asked. “Oh, I’ll take him. I don’t know what’s happened here. But, I think he needs an ass kicking.” Jaise said vehemently. “You’ve never been able to physically beat me in a fight.” Liam snarled. “Why don’t we find out now?” He asked. They charged each other. Jaise blocked and countered. Jumped and spun. Fist to palm, foot to foot.

Each group was fighting far too fast for me to catch it all. The ninja moves were awesome, though. Jaise swung and Liam blocked and twisted. Jaise spun around and flipped Liam who anticipated the move and landed on his feet. But, Jaise grabbed hold of his arm tightly and yanked back hard. Liam hissed and tossed his opponent into the air. Jaise flipped around and landed and slid back a foot. One knee on the ground and one hand back for balance. He looked up at his former friend and glared. “I’m not going to let you win.” He warned and then in a blinding flash, was upon Liam again.

Both were blocking, punching, countering and parrying, dodging, and flipping around each other. Ashlee and Julie were much in the same boat. “Bitch, I’m going to rip that blond streak out of your hair. Lightning is supposed to be unpredictable. And you’re as predictable as a street walker.” Ashlee grabbed a hold of Julie’s wrist and snapped. She screamed in pain and brought down her elbow. Julie hit the ground hard. And Ashlee closed in on her. “There’s one thing you forgot about a holy user. We heal faster than most.”

Ashlee came in for the finishing move, but Julie grabbed her by the throat and slammed her into the tree. I saw other vampires walking around and some even watched. But, no one did anything to stop this. It was like they didn’t care. Were fights so common around here? I wondered. After a few more minutes, Jaise got the upper hand and pierced through Liam’s chest, grabbing his heart. I saw that Julie had a hold on Ashlee’s heart. No, no! NO! I wanted to scream. But, I couldn’t seem to find my voice.

Then this young looking man with a gray streak in his golden blond hair appeared next to me. “This has gone on long enough!” He shouted with power in his voice. He raised both hands and Jaise and Julie’s hands were pulled out of their potential victim’s chest, without their hearts. I saw them both struggling, but they couldn’t fight the power of this male vampire. “What is the meaning of this?” He demanded. He looked at all of us. “A human? What are you doing among us?” He demanded of me. “He’s here with me. He is going to take the ritual and see what kind of vampire he becomes.” Jaise explained.

He just gave me a blank look. “I don’t know what happened here, but this is insane. You two, I expected this from.” He said to the girls. “But, Liam? Jaise? You’ve been best friends for what? Ten years? How or why are you two fighting?” He asked. Jaise and Liam only glared at each other in the answer. It felt weird hearing how these twos have been friends that long. “It’s only been about twelve or so,” Liam said finally. The man rolled his eyes. “And why were you two fighting? What about being friends in three thousand years and teaching all the new vampires the ways of keeping a friendship so long?” The man asked. “I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” Jaise stated with an air of finality.

I saw a man across the courtyard taking a very clear interest into us. I could barely make out what he looked like, but given the fact that he was facing us and coming over, he looked like someone I wouldn’t be soon forgetting. And I could probably point him out. I turned to Jaise, but he wasn’t paying attention. “All of you, just go. Cool down and stay away from each other. We are going to settle this out later. As for you, kid. You’re coming with me.” He said and roughly grabbed my arm. “Hey!” Ashlee and Jaise shouted. The man pulled me along. Ashlee and Jaise tried to come for me, but he blasted them with a giant gust of wind.

He pulled me along and I could feel my wrist start to seriously ache. “You’re hurting me,” I told him. “Good, maybe that will teach you not to get vampires into a fighting frenzy?” He quipped. He pulled me down a long hallway with suits of armor of all kinds. Knights, wizards, demons, mythological creatures, and things I didn’t know about. He squeezed even tighter and turned me down a corridor when this woman with a black streak in her red hair stepped out of a room. “Chris, what’s going on?” He stopped and gripped a little tighter.

“Oh, we have a human among us. But, I was just bringing him for questions. That’s all.” He said. She looked at me. I saw that she was about the same age as the man. Slender, with a small frame and nice, but small curves. “He looks scared.” She noticed. “Oh, he’s nervous, but don’t worry. I got this under control. He squeezed and jolts of pain shot up through my arm. She focused on me and I forced myself not to cry out. “Why don’t I take it from here? You have a lot to do.” She offered. “No, I have this,” He said rudely. “Oh, I insist. I have nothing to do right now.” She insisted. “I said that I have this under control.” He hissed at her.

She didn’t seem concerned with his tone. “Oh, well. If you insist on playing hostile, then I guess I have no choice.” She snapped her fingers and we heard the screeching of metal on metal and the stomping and clanking of metal on the concrete floors. In just a few moments, the suits of armor and statues that we passed were turning the corner from all sides and surrounding us. “What’s the meaning of this?” Chris demanded.

“Oh, I think you know. Humans in our home are to be questioned by me. If you have a problem with it, talk to Jaina. I’m sure she’ll love to hear about how you’re nearly ripping his arm off!” Her tone remained calm, but she lost the politeness it held just moments ago. “You can’t do this,” He said to her. “Oh, I think I can actually. He raised his arm and a gust of wind shot out towards the woman, but the wizard statue jumped in front of her and twirled his staff around so fast that the wind was deflected. “I don’t think you want to fight all of us do you?” She asked with a laugh.

“Why don’t you fight me on your own?” He demanded. “I am. You used magic on me. I used magic in defense. This is just a form of my powers.” She said kindly. “You attacked me first.” He accused. “No, see I brought them out to play in case things got rough. You were the one who initiated the confrontation. Now, I think its best you let the boy go and be on your way.” She said in a tone that left no room for argument. I felt him tighten his hold, but the woman saw it too and grabbed him by the wrist. She squeezed and twisted and he let go gasping for breath.

Then she continued to squeeze and brought him to his knees. “You want me to fight on my own? I can do that. You’re still no match for me.” She said icily. “Kid, why don’t you go wait in my classroom?” She suggested to me and I rushed in holding my arm. The two knights, wizard and two manticore’s followed me in. They went to each corner of the room and stood as still as a statue. I paced the room and I saw another door that led out, so I went over to it. The knight jumped in front of the door.

“I think it would be best if you waited for Amanda,” He said politely. “Am I a prisoner?” I asked. “Not strictly, but we can’t let you leave. It’s the rule. You need to talk to Amanda. She’ll be along shortly.” The knight said in a deep hollow voice. “And you guys are my wardens?” The knight shook his metallic head. “Guardians. She doesn’t trust Chris to not retaliate while she’s gone, so she tasked us with protecting you while she’s making sure no one followed him.”

The manticore in the right corner let out a mighty roar and the wizard tossed it some slabs of meat from his pouch. “How is she able to bring you guys back to life?” I asked the knight. “I can answer that.” The wizard replied. I looked at him. “She has shadow magic. Our souls were trapped in these bodies after we died and a dark force brought us to life. But, Amanda freed our souls and asked if we wanted to remain and protect the school or be freed.”

“And you chose to remain forever?” I asked him. “Not forever. For a time. We are only here for as long as we wish. We can speak to her whenever we wish to be freed. Whether we are actively moving around or not. So, if we ever want to be free and to move on, all we have to do is speak to her.” He explained. “How long have you been here?” I asked. “The knight and I have been here the longest. A little over twenty-five hundred years?” He said unsure looking at the knight. “Sounds about right,” He replied.

“Those two,” the wizard said pointing at the manticore’s, “Have been here for merely a couple hundred years.” The one on the left let out a roar and then I heard, “But, we are her most fierce warriors. We know no fear and won’t back down until we are annihilated.” I smiled. “Well, it sounds like you two would be good to have watched someone’s back in a fight,” I told him. “Does the human mock us?” A female voice asked. “No, he doesn’t mock you. He was giving you a compliment. Stop trying to make humans out as bad people. Not all of them are deserving of death.”

Both mythological beasts gave out another mighty roar and then Amanda came back into the room. “So, he didn’t try to leave?” She asked. “Oh, I walked towards the door, but the knight stopped me,” I told her. She gave me a look of surprise. “Honesty. I like that in, well anyone.” She said. I was still gripping my arm and I forgot about it for a moment. But, then the pain flared up when I tried to move it. She took a step towards me and I stepped back.

“Kid, I’m not going to hurt you. Let me see.” She said. “How do I know you’re not going to hurt me?” I demanded. “Insolent maggot! Show respect!” The knight roared. So much for politeness. “It’s okay. He has the right to be suspicious. I doubt he’s met a lot of good vampires. Even among us. What Chris did was unacceptable. The problem is that Jaina doesn’t seem to give a damn. But, that’s her and she’s not me.” Amanda replied. “What is it you want with me?” I asked suspiciously. “Oh, just for you to answer a few questions. But, first. Let’s take a look at your arm.” I stepped away from her and said, “Not until I see Jaise and Ashlee.”

She raised one eyebrow at me. “You want them here for reassurance?” She asked shrugging. “I don’t have a problem with that,” She told me. She walked over to a crow sitting on a windowsill. Scribbled a quick note and handed it to the bird. The bird flew off and then she sat at her desk. “You really should let me check your arm. I think I heard something break when he was squeezing it.” She told me. I figured she was making small talk, but I wasn’t going to answer her questions until I saw someone I knew and trusted. A knock came on the door and then Ashlee stormed in.

“Well, that was fast,” Amanda said. Ashlee gave her a confused look. “I just sent a message to Jaise and told him to come get you,” She told Ashlee. “I’m here because Matt called for me, Professor Shaline,” Ashlee said. She gave me a strange look. “Interesting. I’ve never heard of a human bonding with a vampire with such a strong form before. You two can directly communicate with each other?” She asked. I looked at Ashlee and she nodded for me to answer the question.

“No, at least not that I’m aware of,” I said. “Oh, good. Finally, some answers.” I didn’t like her tone, even though she wasn’t being hostile or snotty. Ashlee walked over and stood next to me. “What happened to your arm?” She demanded me. “Ah, yes. Would you be willing to convince him to let me heal it?” Ashlee looked at me. “Who did that?” She asked. “Some teacher of air magic. The one who broke up the fight from earlier.”

Rage and lightning flashed in her eyes. “He’s supposed to be on the committee to bring the vampires and the humans together,” She said icily. Another knock came on the door and Jaise walked in. “Oh, good. Ashlee, you’re here. I’ve been trying to find you.” He said. Shaline walked over to a cupboard and pulled out a small vile. “What’s your name kid?” She asked me. “Matt, ma’am.” “Well, manners aren’t out of your reach, I see.”

“Ma’am, he’s one of the most respected humans or people I’ve ever met. He’s just had a trying day and he’s probably still a little shaken.” Ashlee explained. I didn’t say anything. Nothing would excuse my rudeness. “Well, I’m not holding it against him. He should be a little more trusting. I did save him.” She said. “I’m terribly sorry,” I mentioned. “It’s quite alright. Now, I’m going to give you a drop of this potion to put on your arm. It may sting and hurt for a minute. But, it will heal your arm.” She said. Then she walked over to me and placed a single drop on the fracture.

The drop of white liquid spread out and began to work wondrously. It seeped into my skin and mend the bones and put them back together. With a sharp intake of air, my arm was completely healed and I could move it without issues. “Thank you,” I said relieved. She smiled and nodded. “So, what is it you need to talk to him about?” Jaise asked. “Well, there’s a few things I need to know. But, the main one is, are you really destined for some strong powers?” I shrug. “I don’t know for sure. According to the rumors. Yes, and from what I’ve seen, yes. But, I don’t know one hundred percent.” I told her. It was the truth of sorts.

She focused on me for a moment and then nodded. “Very well. Now, why is it the headmaster is so keen on pretending you don’t exist?” She asked me. “Well, maybe she fears that I’m destined for these great powers and will threaten her authority in this school?” I suggested. Jaise and Ashlee gave a quick glance at one another. I caught it, though. “What?” I asked looking at them. “Nothing.” They both said together. “Okay, you’re hiding something from me. What is it?” I asked.

“Um, well…It’s not easy to explain since we don’t have all the answers and it’s not easy to express when we don’t know who’s listening.” Then Ashlee gave Shaline an odd look. She laughed and pointed at the wizard. He bowed and then twirled his iron oak staff above his head. A strange light emanated from the tip and covered the entire room. A translucent sea green light coated the walls, windows, and doors. It looked like it attached itself to them like and reminded me of honeycombs. “Now that the spell is in place. No one can eavesdrop on us.” She said.

“How do we know you’re trustworthy?” Jaise demanded. “She did save me,” I told him. She only stared without emotion at us all. “Jaise, we really don’t have any choice. We can’t think everyone is out to get us.” Ashlee told him. He just shook his head. “It seems like we think someone is good and they turn bad. How are we to know if the people who claim to be allies are indeed allies?” He asked. He had a good point.

I thought Liam and Julie would be on our side, but I was wrong. Something was off, though. Jaise wasn’t nearly as upset as he should have been or I would think him to be for losing his best friend. Or his brother. But, maybe he’s just good at hiding his emotions? Yeah, that has to be it. I thought. “Alright, Matt. You said you would listen to my explanation if I helped you?” She asked me. I nodded. “Well, here it goes. When Liam entered the room that day, I felt something dark within him. Normally only a holy user would be able to sense evil like that in someone. I used telepathy on Julie, but she gave me this snotty cold bitchy response.

“So, naturally I assumed something was wrong with them and when I left the bathroom, after seeing the clothes on the sink and Liam looked pissed and said that you were spying on me. I had to pretend to be pissed at you. I had to fight you, and I had to do what I did. I tried to cast all the protection spells I knew to keep him from listening in, but nothing seemed to be working. So, I waited for the drastic measures and I attacked you and pretended like I was going to kill you.

Only then did he walk away and that’s when I fed you my blood with a potion. Yeah, it’s painful as hell and it doesn’t always work like a white user. But, it mostly gets the job done. I didn’t have a choice. Matt, you have to believe me on that! I didn’t want it to get that far. I was wanting to tell you everything, but I didn’t know how or when. I didn’t have a clue as to how to tell you without the enemy finding out!” She said sobbing. I wanted to go to her, but I didn’t know what good that would do.

Jaise gave me a blank look. “Matt, I really didn’t mean for it to get that bad. But, there’s more to this than you know. I wasn’t ever going to seriously harm you. Had it come to that, I would have found another way to find whoever is behind this. But, I want you to know that your life was never in serious danger! Please, I need you to know!” And she choked on her tears and her breathing was raspy and I couldn’t hold back any longer. I went to her and through my arms around her and held her tightly. “Well, now that we have that cleared up.” Jaise said clearing his throat.

I sat next to her and held her tightly to my side. She rested her head on my chest, sniffling. “I sense that there’s more to it than you having relationship problems,” Shaline commented. “Yes,” Ashlee said steadying her voice and taking a deep breath. “We’ve recently come to learn that someone wants Matt to die. Literally, the two most powerful vampires in the world are out trying to keep him safe. But, there are only two of them and factions of vampires who are either being controlled or paid to end his life. And since he’s human, no offense Matt, he’s really a sitting target.” Jaise told her.

“You think whoever is wanting him dead is at this school?” Ashlee nodded. “Yeah, but we don’t even have a guess as to who it is.” Shaline looked at us all. “Well, I may be able to help you out. But, it won’t be easy. Jaina isn’t on the best of terms with me lately. It seems like she’s changed.” Jaise made a rude sound. “Trust me, I know. And she’s not the only one. You said Professor Grant hurt Matt? He used to be so relaxed and easy going.

But, lately, he’s changed as well. We have to get Matt through the ritual soon. The longer he stays human, the more his life is in danger. At least, as a vampire, he’ll be able to fight and heal if he’s hurt. But, he’s a sitting duck right now.” I couldn’t argue with that. “He may be, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Jaina has to sign off on it. She won’t though. Not currently. We have to figure out who the main threat is and eliminate him.” Shaline told us. “Or her.” Ashlee piped up. I smirked. “Yes, or her.” Jaise looked out the window. “But, how do you propose we do that? It isn’t like we have a map that will help us figure it out.”

“No, but we do have something that could help us,” I said. “What’s that?” Shaline asked. “Me.” They all just stared and gave me a blank look. “I don’t follow.” Jaise said. “Use me as bait. Leave me alone for a while. You all have a school gathering or something don’t you?” I asked. Ashlee’s eyes lit up as she caught on. “I don’t understand.” Jaise admitted. “He wants us to pretend a fight with him and have him wander alone through the castle. Whoever wants him dead is bound to approach him and either try to kill him right then. Or be friends with him and offer to show him around, until they can get him alone.” She explained.

“And you’re excited for this!? What if something happens? He could be dead in seconds and we wouldn’t be able to protect him!” Jaise shouted. Ashlee’s excitement fell. “Of course, the risks are high. And I don’t like it. But, I can’t think of anything else to try.” She said glumly. “They’re right Jaise. This may be the best option we have.” Shaline told him. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. On one hand, I knew they would do everything they could to protect me. But, on the other. It was a small group against thousands of vampires. Some stronger than they were and definitely outnumbered them. I wouldn’t be any help in this fight.

“No! You two may be willing to risk a human’s life and Matt may be willing to risk throwing his life away when there is so much more to live for. But, I don’t want to be a part of a suicide mission! Count me out if this is the plan you’re going to use.” He snapped and crossed his arms. “Jaise, we need you. I can’t do this without you. You’ve protected me all this time. I trust you. I wouldn’t have suggested this plan if I didn’t believe in you. Please, don’t back away now. Help us. Without you, I doubt we can find out who’s after me, so, please. Help?” I asked. He sighed. “I don’t like this Matt. You’ve almost died countless times on this road. And now that we are finally back and you should be safe. You’re still in fucking danger! When will they just leave you alone!?” He shouted and I could see tears building up. He turned away from us all.

I walked over to him and rested a hand on his shoulder. “Jaise, I don’t know. But, I do know if we don’t find out who’s behind this, then there’s going to be no place for me to be safe. You all can’t protect me all the time. I mean, there’s only what? Two or three of you now? How are you going to protect me against a school of thousands?” I asked. “By having, you join us. Humans aren’t valued as high here as vampires. If you’re one of us, they won’t attack you anymore.” He told me.

“That’s not true. If he becomes the vampire that everyone is afraid he’ll become. Then they will just try harder to end him. We have to stop it one way and for all. This may be the only sure way to get it done. But, he won’t be safe if you back out now.” Shaline told him. He just glared at us. “How can I back out when his life is in danger? I don’t like this. I’ve made that clear. But, this is the best way. I just freaked, because I didn’t like it. So, fine. How do you want to go about achieving this master plan?” He asked.

“Before we set this up. There’s one thing I have to know.” I stated. Ashlee and Jaise looked at me. “What is it?” She asked. “Is Liam and Julie really our enemies right now? Jaise, no offense, but you don’t seem as broken up about them not being here right now. So, I just have to know if they are really enemies at this moment in time, or if there’s some hidden plan you’re not filling me in on. Where they are pretending to fight with you and in reality, they are acting like spies or something?” I asked. Shaline stood up and went to the window.

He flicked his eyes towards her and he had a secret meaning behind them, but I couldn’t tell what it was. Ashlee fixed her fingers through mine and I felt a crumble of paper slip into my hands. I nodded and then she said, “We are fighting right now. I wish we weren’t. But, it can’t be helped. They chose their side. We have ours.” I studied his face for a moment and then I focused on hers. “Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked me. “There’s something you’re holding back,” I said with a quick wink. “I swear, I’m not holding back anything.” I just shook my head. “Alright, well. When should we put this into action?” I asked.

“How about tonight?” Shaline suggested. Ashlee and Jaise looked at each other and nodded. “Alright, you guys will go into the mess hall and sit down to eat like normal. But, I have a plan that I think will cause a fight.” Jaise was skeptical, but he let along with it. “We don’t want to fight for real,” He said. “You’re going to have to sell it. You know as well as I do that vampire are good at sensing lies.” Ashlee just steeled herself and asked, “What is it?” Shaline just looked at her.

“Oh, meet me in front of the mess hall doors right before dinner. I’ll fill you in then.” She said and nodded towards the wizard. He twirled his staff in the opposite direction as the first time and canceled the spell. “You all can leave now.” It wasn’t a suggestion. I followed next to Ashlee, holding the door open for her. “What was that about?” Jaise asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t think we are going to like it,” I said. “Well, we have nothing to do until tonight. Classes won’t resume for us until after we sit down with the professors and headmistress.” Ashlee told Jaise.

“That’s true. So, what are you or we going to do?” He asked. “Anything fun to do around here?” I asked. “Um, yes actually. We could go to the lounge area where students go when they have a free period. Usually, this time, a day it’s quiet. Right after lunch no one has a free period. Oh, damn! Matt, are you hungry?” I kind of gave a shrug. “Starving actually,” I said. “You would shrug and say something really calm as, ‘starving.’” He commented. I smiled.

“What can I say? I like things simple.” I stated. Ashlee laughed. I followed them to a large carpeted area. I looked at my clothes and asked, “Shouldn’t some of us, at least, take a shower? Maybe get a change of clothes?” I asked. Ashlee laughed and looked at Jaise and me. “He’s got a point,” She said. Jaise grinned. “Okay, well, we should go to the store.” I gave him a blank look. “Yes, Matt. We have a store here. Most of us work in the school to make money. Or earn stuff. No one does anything for free.” She explained. “But, I don’t have any money!” I said loudly. Jaise laughed. “You don’t have to worry about it. You’re not one of us yet. Come on. You’ll find some clothes that are your size.” He said.

“I’ll help him out,” Ashlee told me and grabbed my hand. We walked up two flights of stairs and we walked down this large hallway that was just hardwood floor. But, it looked recently polished. Huge paintings hung on the wall and I swear they were watching me. This wasn’t a Harry Potter moment. This was freaking creepy. We passed huge suits of armors and wizard statues. After the time in Shaline’s office, I was never going to look at them the same. We came to the end of the hall and we entered through this glass archway.

Inside was the largest store inside of another building that I’ve ever seen. It was like walking in a mall! “Matt, you look like you’ve never been to a mall or anything before.” I flushed. “Oh, good god,” Ashlee said. “How is that possible?” I just shook my head a little and said, “Hey, don’t blame me! Are we here to go shopping? Or criticize me?” I demanded. They smiled and Ashlee grabbed me by the arm. She pulled me over to a shirt rack. “I think you should try…this one and this one, and oh! Yes, this one as well.” By the time she was done, I had like twelve shirts in my hands. Some plain black, and some had designs or words on them.

She pushed me over to the fitting room and I walked in and closed the door. I set everything down and then reached into the pocket of the shirt I was wearing. I pulled out the note that Ashlee gave me earlier. I had forgotten about it! With my heart racing, I unfolded and it looked like the letter was etched from lightning and I began to read:

“Matt,

There is a lot you don’t know about this world. There’s a lot going on about me that you may not know. But, I want you to know that you mean the world to me. So, I’m going to fill you in on a little secret about this world. Vampires are everywhere. Which I’m assuming you’ve figured out? Well, the thing about some of the teachers is, we don’t know where their loyalties lie. Professor Shaline, would not be the first person I would expect to be on our side. I don’t know if we can trust her. But, I want you to be careful. Please? Please, be careful.

But, the one thing you don’t know about me is that…I have an illness. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s not contagious or anything. I just want that to be known. But, please don’t think less of me. And…Well…The vampires in this world are not what they appear. Those who wish you dead aren’t always necessarily the bad guys.

Sometimes they are just brainwashed and confused. Some are fearing what will happen if you take the path that they’ve been told and taught to fear. It doesn’t matter if you intend to stay on the good side. It doesn’t matter if you are a good person. They fear the unknown. Personally, I’m willing to try something new and to put belief and faith.

I know you’re a kind and good person. I know you’ll put others above yourself. You’ve done it before. I just don’t want anything to come between us. I want you to pretend to be angry with whatever Shaline is going to tell us. We need this to sell. We need this to work. But, I don’t want you angry with m. I don’t want us to be distant. I trust you and I love you. Oh, and about what I said earlier? The illness? It’s some strange vampire disease. Normally we can’t get diseases.

But, this is from ancient times and somehow I contracted it. It may be that I got it with the ancient being. It may be someone gave it to be by messing with shadow magic. I can’t fully say. But, I do know that it’s slowly going to kill me. Think of it like human cancer. Only ten times worse. I just hope we can have a fulfilling life as long as I’m with you.

I don’t want us to miss anything. Except I’m not going to rush you. If it never happens, I will be happy just being with you as long as I can. You’re the only guy who has ever made me feel special. You may not have done anything fancy. But, I have had the most fun with you, without the pressure or fear of you trying to get into my pants. So, yes. I would love to be with you forever.

But, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m a realist. I say things that people need to say whether they want to or not. But, I hope you’re the only one to read this letter. I don’t want people to find out. I figure Julie knows after healing me. I suspected she told you. But, I wanted to be the one to break it to you, just in case. Know that you mean the world to me.

But, I think I’ve gotten off topic long enough. This plan? I am afraid for you and all of us. If we can’t stop it or, at least, slow it down. You’re going to be in danger or worse. I don’t want to die knowing something is going to happen to you. I can’t live what’s left of my life knowing that you’re unsafe. I don’t care what happens to me. I’m going to do anything and everything in my power to make sure you’re safe.

So, please don’t make it harder than it has to be? I’m begging you. Please don’t let my death be meaningless. I want you to become a powerful vampire. I want you to find some nice girl to settle down with. Yes, vampires can have kids. So, promise me you’ll live a full life? Safe, well as safe as possible and you’ll find someone worthy of settling down with? Matt, be realistic.

It’s most likely not going to be with me. You need to find someone worthy of who you are. Don’t settle for just anyone. Don’t settle for second-rate. Find someone who is at your level. You are worth more than you know. So, promise you won’t settle for the third rate? Well, we can discuss more this later. I will fight until my last breath for you. I just want you to know that. I am not giving up on you. Not ever!

Ashlee.

P.s, there’s something that you also need to know about Liam and Julie. They are changed, but they chose it. They became spies for the enemy and have slightly been changed to be accepted. But, there’s one way to bring them back to our side and that’s for this plan to work. So, if you want Jaise to have his brother back. Then we can’t fail. He joined the enemy as a way to stop it. But, I think he’s in too deep. We have to save him and the only way to do that is to succeed.

I read the note two or three times. A knock came on the door. “Matt, are you okay?” Jaise asked. “Uh, yeah! Sorry. I’ll be out in a few. I quickly tried on the shirts. I really liked the one with the wolf on it with blood dripping from his mouth. And the two game of thrones shirts. It showed Ghost and Jon with Ygritte. And there was a couple with a game of thrones logo’s on them. I walked out and met up with Jaise. “Do I want to know?” He asked with a grin. I just gave him a confused look. “I was trying on a few shirts,” I told him. He gave me an odd look.

“You were in there for twenty minutes. It doesn’t take that long for a shirt.” He said. “Well, I wanted to make sure the shirts I was going to pick, was the ones I was going to be happy with. I’ll try to go faster next time.” I said. “Matt, is everything okay?” He asked, grabbing my arm. “Yeah, it’s fine. Sorry.” I told him. He nodded and then Ashlee walked up to us. “So, did you-.” I didn’t let her finish the question. I planted a deep kiss straight on the lips and took all her concentration away and I knew Jaise grew uncomfortable.

We broke apart and both of us were breathing heavily. “What was that for?” She asked sweetly. I slipped the note back into her hand and she gave me a shocked look. “You…?” I nodded. She just shook her head. “We need to find someplace to talk,” I told her quietly. “We will.” Jaise gave us a blank look. “Sorry, Jaise. Now is not the time for questions.”

He just raised his hands. “You’ll fill me in when the time comes. But, I can still be confused can’t I?” He asked. “Yes, of course,” I told him laughing. “Did you choose some shirts?” She asked. “Yeah. I handed her the shirts I wanted to keep. “Okay, now we need to have you try on some pants,” She said. I saw a middle-aged woman with a green streak in her hair approaching us and she looked pissed. “What’s the meaning of this?! Bringing some filthy human into my store!?” She screamed at us.

“I’m sorry ma’am. I just-.” I tried. “Oh, hell no! It’s not trying to speak to me! Gross. I want him out of my store!” She screamed. Vampires in the hallway stopped and turned to stare. Some were even coming in to shop. All were watching us. “He has every right to be here. He’s going to be joining us soon.” Jaise tried to explain politely. “Well, when he’s a vampire, have him come back then. But, I won’t be seen serving humans! It’s gross.” She hissed.

“You do know you were human once right?” We all turned to see a girl who couldn’t have been older than sixteen walks into the store. But, everyone cleared out of her way in a hurry. “Miss Joy. What may I do the honor?” The store owner asked politely. “Answer the question. You do know you were human once too, right?” The store owner gave her a shrill look. “Of course. But, that was a thousand years ago.” She replied with icy politeness.

“Ten thousand or two days. It makes no difference. You were human, we all were. He’s human. We stem from humans. We aren’t much different to them. We function just like them. Yes, sure. We are harder to kill and stronger, with magic. We live forever and need blood. But, we aren’t so different from them as to think of them as a different species.” She said. “But, we are. Otherwise, we would be considered cannibals.” A boy said in the back of the room. The girl sighed.

“I guess that’s one way to look at it. But, we are still not that much different from them. So, how are you to turn one way? His money is just as good as ours. Or whoever is buying his clothes.” She said looking at me. I noticed that she had a white streak in her hair. A white magic user. “We have rules, Miss Jolene.” The store owner tried telling her. “The only rule you have is to sell clothes. Being prejudiced against those who haven’t done us harm is tacky and immature.”

“I have rights to run a place the way I see it.” The owner hissed. “Yes, you do. Jaise, Ashlee. Bring your friend. If you want clothes. I have a store as well. And they won’t be nearly as pricey as these rags.” The store owner was seething as we left. “Jolene, I didn’t know you were for human equal rights and accepting vampires here.” Jaise said to her.

She looked back at him and smiled. “Oh, there’s a lot of things I don’t openly state. But, I figured this was one of those times where I better step up and say something. I could feel his embarrassment and pain. Do you know your friend is suffering more than he lets on?” She asked him. Jaise gave me an appraising look. “No, I didn’t. In what way?” He asked her. She smirked. “Oh, you know it doesn’t work that way. I can’t tell why someone is hurting. It’s just vibes I get from people. His are a lot stronger than normal, though.” She explained. “You want to talk about it?” He asked me. “Nope,” I said flatly. He sighed and shook his head. “Cousins.” Jaise mumbled. She glanced at us. “Oh, wow,” Jolene said.

“Something the matter?” Ashlee asked. “No, I didn’t think he was your cousin, though. It’s no wonder so many people think it’s unfair that he’s destined for something bigger.” She said. “I don’t get it.” Jaise said. “You wouldn’t since you don’t have a large family. They’re families among us who have some of the strongest physically and strongest magical vampires. Kind of like ancient times and their ruling houses. We all have our different icons and standings. But, we are all united under one roof. However, if you look at us all in turn, though. We each have our own groups. Our own houses. Some of us are stronger than others because there are so many people per family. But, Jaise, until recently. You were the only one in your family. Now, you have him.

So, can’t you see why people would not want him to become a vampire if it means gaining superior power?” She asked him. “You’re saying that they fear that even if it’s just the two of us, we will have more power than them and they fear what we’ll do?” He demanded. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.” She agreed. “But, it’s not like I have any sway over council or school board!” He argued. “Not yet,” She said simply. He looked at me. “Hey, I didn’t choose this. I don’t want a perilous destiny!” I countered. Jolene laughed. “No one chooses the role they are going to play.” When I didn’t say anything, she turned to me. “You mean you actually got to choose?” She asked wide eyed. “More or less,” I stated.

“Amazing. Most people in this world don’t get to choose. Or if they do, they don’t remember.” She said. “Hey, it’s not a walk in the park. There were some creepy faces and voices telling me that I may not wake up if I take both trials.” I said in defense to her tone. She gave me a weird look but didn’t comment. I thought it was all for the best. We went back down the two flights of steps and out the main door. “Where are we going?” Ashlee asked.

“Oh, my store is in the other end of the castle. I know, it’s a long way off. But, you’ll recognize some of my selections when you see it.” She told us excitedly. “It’s not satanic or anything is it?” I asked. She gave me a droll look. “What? Are you religious?” She wondered. I burst out laughing. “No, I don’t believe in anything. Not even…Well, I guess ghosts I believe in now. As well as zombies. But, dang. I can’t say I don’t believe in gods. I’ve had three talks to me already in the past couple months!” Jaise smirked. “They weren’t the catholic god, so I think you’re still good,” Jolene commented. “No, but they are still gods.” Ashlee chuckled at that. We walked outside through the courtyard and across a smooth cement sidewalk.

Finally, we came to another set of glass doors and walked in. This side of the castle looked different than the first. The walls were darker here and the photos were gothic in nature. The carpets dark or black with darker colors. Browns, dark reds, dull oranges, and purples. But, it felt more inviting on this side than the other. “Why do I feel more at peace on this side than the other side?” I asked aloud. “It might be this is where you belong?

Or it might be that you know what it’s like to be insulted or put down and the people here are always outcasts because of their style and how they dress. So, you feel like you belong and you feel like you can relate.” Jolene said. “But, you’re wearing light colors.” I pointed out. She grinned and clapped her hands together. What I took for a pair of light slacks and blouse turned into a black leather mini skirt, with fishnets and combat boots. With a sleeveless skull tank top and a black leather jacket. Even her hair went from light brown to jet black.

“You were saying?” She asked. I just blinked and Jaise stared wide eyed. Ashlee rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. You don’t think Jolene was going to be wearing some light clothes do you?” Ashlee asked. “How was I to know how she dresses?” I asked defensively. Ashlee laughed. “You’re right. You are new here.” Then she slapped Jaise on the arm playfully. He grinned. “Well, I know it’s hard to imagine ‘little old me’ in this kind of clothes right?” She asked.

“Well, you look nice in anything.” I said and then wished I hadn’t. Ashlee gave me the biggest death glare. Jaise whistled and went on, pretending he didn’t hear anything. Jolene smiled and said, “Thanks. But, I think you should stay with your girlfriend.” Then she picked up the pace a bit. “Ashlee, I wasn’t hitting on her or anything. I was only…” She chuckled and through her arms around my neck. “I know you were only being polite,” she said kissing me. “But, remember to watch what you say. One of these days, I might actually kill you for a comment like that.” She warned me.

I nodded and smiled and gave her the biggest kiss yet. “Hey, kids! This isn’t ‘Make Out Hill,’ so, are you going to stand there like fools, or come look at the clothes?” Jaise asked. Laughing, we broke apart and entered the store. The clothing selection was huge! A lot bigger than the other store. “You seriously don’t mind who buys your clothes?” I asked. She gave me a blank look.

“Do you think I would have made that giant speech and not allow you to buy clothes? Please. The only thing I ask of you is that you take care of them and treat them nicely. I make these clothes all on my own and it isn’t easy to do.” I blinked at her. “You make all of these?” I asked in shock. “Oh, yeah. It took some time to get the ideas right. But, take a look. Try them on. We have a wide selection.” She told me.

I started browsing through the stuff. She has shirts that looked like they were made of silk and denim jeans that felt smooth. All kinds of different designs and logos were etched onto the clothes. I grabbed a few shirts with dark pictures on them. Bats, werewolves, zombies, spiders. All of the shirts seemed light and roomy. I then grabbed a pair of three different types of jeans. I walked towards the dressing room. I was a little nervous, but I closed the door and then looked through the shirts that caught my eye.

The one with the bat looked like an Egyptian fruit bat flying over a dark twisted forest in the moonlight. But, you could hardly feel the stitch work. The colors were almost life like. Then there was another bat shirt. I don’t know what type of bat it was, but it looked large and with black hairy wings and blood dripping from its mouth. It flew around an abandoned house with a moon shining down. The moon looked sinister and there was a couple walking towards the house, looking afraid.

The shirt I chose had a large looking rustic red furred wolf and he was prowling a dark forest. You couldn’t even see the sky. But, the trees reached out to him like they were going to pet him and he seemed to be searching for something. His eyes were glowing a bright blood red. Realistic zombies were walking a gravel road in the bright light of day, with smoke billowing up into the sky and another shirt had a group of zombies walking the streets of a giant city with the sun going down and corpses of victim’s lay torn apart behind them. The one spider shirt I picked was weird.

It seemed that the spider was just resting on the web in the middle of a high branch of a very tall tree. But, it seemed like the spider was looking at me. Like, it was actually real. But, it wasn’t a threatening stare. Just curious. I tried them all on and I liked them all. All fit perfectly. They clung to me, but they still allowed free movements. Then I went to try on the jeans. I took mine off and folded them up and set them down on the bench. I took off the spider shirt and placed it next to my jeans.

Yeah, I don’t know why I was just sitting in my muscle shirt and boxers. But, I couldn’t believe what was really happening to me and around me. This was a lot to take in. I felt like I have handled it pretty well so far. But, things were finally starting to catch up and I was feeling myself start to panic and freak out. A knock came on the door. “Matt, are you okay?” Ashlee asked. “Yeah, I just need a minute.” Dang, my voice was an octave higher than normal.

“Matt?” She asked me. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I was finding it hard to breathe! Then she was next to me and holding me tightly. She sat me down on the bench and held me. “Matt, you’re having a panic attack!” She said. I couldn’t really hear her. I tried, but she seemed so far away. “Matt!?” She called and it felt like she was calling me through a tunnel. I took in jagged breaths. “Matt.” She said again and this time, I felt her and I heard her. She pressed her lips to mine and I felt everything. Everything came crashing back.

When she pulled away, I stopped breathing for a moment. “Are you okay now?” She asked in concern. “Y-yeah. I think so. I…Was I having a panic attack?” I asked. She smiled attentively. “Yeah. I think you were.” She told me. I sighed. “Don’t fret. You’ve been through so many near death experiences, and such. I’m surprised it wasn’t worse. You’ve held yourself together pretty well. If you need to freak out, do so. But, let me help if I can.” She told me. I smiled and kissed her.

“If I need someone to freak out in front of, you’ll be the first one I call,” I told her. She laughed lightly and then said, “I’ll let you get back to your clothes.” She said. “Yeah, but it isn’t like you’ve never seen me like this before and felt me up,” I said blushing. “Oh, don’t think I forgot. I have to say, though. But, what I got to feel was nice.” She grinned at me and I felt my heart racing. She vanished and then I went to try on the pants.

All of them fit snugly but left room for comfort. They clung to my waist and seemed to be made for my body type. I noticed that Jolene had other sizes as well. So, anybody could find clothes here. I put my old clothes back on and walked out holding the new clothes. “So, what do you think?” I nearly jumped when Jolene spoke to me. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were so jumpy.” She said. She sounded sorry, but my heart was beating too fast for comfort.

Ashlee and Jaise were right next to me in a flash. “What happened?” He demanded. “I scared the crap out of him without meaning to,” Jolene admitted. Ashlee smirked at me. “Well, thankfully you didn’t truly scare the crap out of him.” Jaise laughed. I flushed. “So, do you like the clothes?” She asked. “Yeah. Actually, I like them a lot. I was thinking about getting all of these. But, I don’t have any money.” I said embarrassed. “Oh, don’t worry man. I got this.” Jaise told me. “I can’t let you do that,” I told him.

He rolled his eyes and said, “Sure you can. You’ll pay me back later.” I smiled and thanked him. “How much?” He asked. Jolene looked at the pile and asked, “Is there anything else you want?” I did a double take. “I don’t know,” I said honestly. “Why don’t you look around and when you’re done getting everything you want, come see me.” She said and walked away. “I don’t’ want to buy too much stuff,” I said to them. Ashlee grinned at me.

“You don’t have to worry about the price. Jaise will just have you do little odds and end favors. And well, I can think of some ways for you to pay it back to me.” Jaise coughed and gagged. “Okay, I don’t need to have images of my cousin’s sex life in my mind,” He told us. “We don’t have one,” Ashlee told him. He stared at me with wide eyes. “You aren’t…” He was so surprised that he just walked off. I felt my face heating up. “Matt, you really got to get over this blushing phase.” She told me. “I know, but I can’t help it. It just kind of comes over me.” I admitted.

“I mean, I think it’s cute and everything. But, some people are going to embarrass you if you don’t find a way to control it. I’m only looking out for you. I want you to be happy, and respected.” She said and held me close. “People are going to make fun of me for one thing or another. It shouldn’t matter what it is.” I told her. And I dragged her over to the other side of the store. I found a skull wallet. I don’t mean a wallet with a skull design on it. It really looked like a skull, but it was flat! And a long bone chain was attached to it.

“How did she do all this?” I asked. “I don’t know, but I want her talent,” Ashlee mumbled. I nodded in agreement and then I pulled out my flimsy tattered wallet. “I think it’s time to upgrade,” I said. She eyed my wallet and said, “Where did you get that one?” She asked. “It’s the one my mom gave me when I was a kid,” I explained. “You want to get rid of it?” I shook my head. “No, but I can’t keep using this one forever.”

She nodded and said, “I think it looks really cool. You could always keep the old one as a sentimental item.” I nodded and said, “I will. My mom told me that her father used it and his father before him. We’ve been keeping it restored, but I haven’t had the time to do that or the money.” I said sadly. She looked at it and told me, “Well, maybe you will have a chance soon? You would be helping out around here and money will be given to you in your own account that you can do with as you wish.” She told me. I just stared at her. “Seriously? They give all the students money?” She nodded.

“Teenagers have a limit that they can spend every day, though, at least at first. I have been going to this school for so long now, that I don’t have a limit. You would at first, but only so they can see how reliable you are.” She told me. “I see. Well, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t really buy anything. I don’t really want stuff.” I said. “Oh, trust me. You will. I came from a poor family. It’s nice to have money.” She told me. “I believe that. But, I’ve never worried about money. I’ll probably just use it to buy some minor things I want, and buy stuff for other people who matter to me, you know?”

She smiled and we kept on looking around. I did choose the wallet with the bone chain. I found a heavy onyx chain with a silver and purple bat around a bright full moon. I put it on the pile and walked around until I found Jaise and Jolene. “So, all set?” She asked. I nodded. She smiled and we followed her over to a counter with a cash register on it. I placed it on the counter and she scanned them all out. “I figured you would want a few more shirts and stuff,” She said to me. I just shrug. “Matt, if you would like a few more pairs of clothes, you can go get a few more.” Jaise told me.

“You sure?” He nodded. I jogged over to the clothing rack and grabbed a couple more shirts and then I walked behind a black velvet curtain and found some undershirts and even sealed plastic bags with underwear in them. Well, I did need them didn’t I? I grabbed a couple bags of boxers and some boxer briefs. The bag with undershirts had ten in them, so I didn’t think I needed more than that. At least not at this time. The only thing that seemed to be not made here was the shoes, but that was okay with me. I grabbed a pair of Nikes, a bag of hand knitted socks, and I brought them back to the counter and no one said anything about the other stuff I bought.

Jolene rang it all up and it came to barely one hundred dollars. “Are you serious?” Ashlee asked. “What’s the matter?” Jolene asked in shock. “All of this and it doesn’t even cost one hundred?” She looked at the order and smirked. “You do know that money isn’t really a big deal with me right?” She asked. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but do you make even with these prices?” I asked.

“Actually, yes I do. I buy all my supplies in bulk so I get a steep discount. And before you ask. I get enough business to make buying worth it and I do make a little on the side for my time. But, I love making all these things and I don’t want to start charging for it and then this becomes all about money. At the least, I break even. I have money from past investments that collect interest. So, you don’t have to worry about me.” She said. “I just don’t like buying something for so little when someone put so much time and money into a project,” I told her.

Ashlee beamed at me and Jolene said, “You’re a curious human aren’t you? Very well, you can spend more of your cousin’s money here if you’d like to give a tip” She said with a wink. “This is not normally what I charge people, but here. How about this price?” She suggested. She did something on the cash register and it came up to a little over one fifty. Huh, that still seemed weird. Everywhere I ever went to before, homemade stuff cost almost twice what regular clothes cost because they had to manually stitch everything and it was so time-consuming! I couldn’t believe she was actually charging us store prices instead of what they were worth. Regardless of if money was a concern or a contributing factor.

I smirked. “This is what a normal store would charge for what you’re buying,” She explained. “Well, I think it would still be a bit higher. But, I’ll accept this.” Jaise said. “I’m sorry,” I told him. He laughed at that and said, “This isn’t going to even dent my account. Don’t worry. I’ll collect at some point.” He warned me. I smiled and then thanked Jolene. She put everything in a giant bag and we walked out of the store. “So, you probably want to put them on don’t you?” Ashlee asked. “I do. But, I think a shower is necessary right now.” I stated.

“Yeah. I agree.” Jaise said looking at his own clothes. An older teenage boy with dark brown hair and a dull red streak came up to us. “Ashlee, Headmistress Jaina wants to talk to you.” She just gave him a blank look. “Why?” She asked. The boy glared at her. “I don’t ask questions. I just run messages. If you want to know, ask her.” He snapped. “Hey, watch your tone. It’s not nice to be a dick.” Where did the heck that comes from? I wanted to know.

“Who are you?” The teen snapped. “Someone you don’t need to know. Just back off!” I hissed back. “Look at this. A human? Telling me how to act. That’s funny shit.” I glared at him. He went to strike me, but then he stopped in mid swing and fear covered his face then. “Your eyes! They’re purple?!” He took some steps back and then rushed off. I blinked and then looked at Ashlee. “Sorry,” I mumbled. She laughed and then gave me a big kiss. “Very brave. Kind of stupid. But, that was brave.” She told me. I smirked.

“Yeah, I know it was dumb. But, I didn’t like his tone.” I told her. “She can handle herself.” Jaise told me. “She shouldn’t have to. I’m so tired of being the weak one. The one where the girl has to protect all the time.” She gave me a piercing look. “Do you think it’s your job to do all the protecting?” I shook my head. “No, not all the time. I think it should be equal. Just like both partners compliments each other. Brings strengths to the others weaknesses.”

“Good answer,” She told me. I shrug. “Well, it is how I feel,” I told her. “Jaise, I’m going to take him to my room so he can take a quick shower. Why don’t you meet him there?” She suggested to him. “Where is your room?” He asked. Ashlee cursed. “I forgot you’ve never been there. Only Julie has. Damn it. It’s in the third wing in the lightning tower, third-floor fifth room on the left.” She explained. He nodded. “Be careful, though. The warden in that district is strict on who she lets in. She’s not a fan of anyone without lighting magic. But, I’ll explain the situation. Just say you’re here to collect Matt.” She told him.

“Understood.” He said and he jogged off. “You guys can’t teleport here?” I asked. “No, there’s a spell on the place. It’s annoying sometimes. Especially when we are in a hurry. But, it helps keep vampires from entering the grounds without our permission. It’s one of the reasons why we have the tunnel.” She told me. We walked back the way we had come to the store. We crossed the large courtyard and entered the side of the castle. A part we haven’t entered before.

“So, you live here?” I asked. “Close to it. We are about to enter the Lightning Wing. It houses all the lightning users. Every element has its own wing. A housing for every element.” She explained. “So, what? The different elements don’t hang out with each other?” I wondered. “Oh, of course. And you’ve seen Liam with earth and Julie with holy dating. It is only that some vampires are natural enemies with each other.” I didn’t understand. She must have seen my confusion. “What element would you think fire would be naturally weak against?” She asked.

“I would assume water? Since fire is put out by…water?” I could tell I was wrong by the look she gave me. “No, ice. Ice and Fire are natural enemies. Jaise couldn’t be true friends with ice. Water is mine.” She said. “It’s sounding like a final fantasy moment,” I replied. “Basically, yes. But, unlike final fantasy with lightning and water being opposed. We have more challenges than that.” I thought about it. “So, I am getting fire and ice. Lightning and water. Earth and wind?” She smiled. “The two elements Holy and Shadow, are two of the most revered elements and two of the most unpredictable.”

“It seems like a lot to take in and learn,” I said. “You’ll get the hang of it,” She told me. Finally, we entered under an archway that has three bright golden lightning bolt zigzagging through a cloudy sky. The three lightning bolts were all different shapes. We entered through the doorway and their lights weren’t normal. Instead of lamps and overhead lights. On the wall along the stairs and halls were bright lightning bolts in what appeared to be candle holders.

We climbed up a set of stairs and then she had me entered through a gate off to the side and we climbed that circling set of stairs and I looked out the one window. I could see that we were in a tower now. As we climbed, I could make out the part of the castle we were in. We continued to climb higher and higher and then we stepped out onto a landing and a hallway stretched out before us. We followed it down to a third doorway that had a sign over it. It read, “ the Third Floor.”

“Here we are,” She said. “Does anyone live on this level?” I asked. “Oh, of course. This entire wing has halls with rooms in them. Each tower or hall and the floor have a warden I guess you could say. Someone to watch over since they all have thousands of users who live here. So, one person couldn’t watch out for them all. So, instead of having to worry about thousands, each one only has to watch out for a few hundred. It’s a handful. But, it’s doable. Besides, we pretty much follow the rules.” She told me.

“Well, you have a lot going here. I don’t see why you wouldn’t. Obviously, you’re going to have some issues. But, the only way to make a group work is to get along and follow the rules.” She nodded and we climbed the stairs a long way. “Is this tower separated?” I asked. “Yeah, each floor has only one way in and one way out.” Finally, we reached the top and a stern looking older lady with gray hair and obviously a yellow streak in her hair met us with a fierce look. “You know the rules.” The woman said in a deep voice. “I know, Gretchen. But, he needs a shower and I figured he would be safe is he takes a shower in my room while I go see the headmistress. His cousin, Jaise will be coming for him in a bit. Would you mind letting him in?”

“Jaise is it?” She looked me up and down. “Well, I have to admit. For a human, he’s cute and Jaise is a nice young man.” I blushed a little. She smiled at that. “Well, well. You’ve caught yourself some good blood.” Ashlee just gave her a polite smile. “Well, is it okay? He won’t cause problems and I’ll take full responsibility if he does.” She studied Ashlee for a moment. “You have never offered to take responsibility for anyone before,” Gretchen said. Ashlee smiled at her.

“Go ahead. I don’t think one human could cause some problems. But, he won’t be out and about will he?” She asked. “No, he’ll stay in the room.” She said and gave me a long look. I nodded. “Very well. I’ll see to it that no one goes in.” Gretchen told us. “Thank you,” Ashlee said sincerely. We went to a room on the left and entered. The room was a little messy, but nothing really bad. “So, yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve been here. But, the room isn’t dirty or anything.” She told me. “It’s perfect,” I said. She smirked at me. “Alright, the shower is through the back door. I think I may have some Ax body wash in there.”

I looked at her in confusion. “Um, the last boyfriend showered here every once in a while. He was a lightning user as well. But, we never got serious.” She explained and it started to feel awkward. “Well, I can’t be surprised. It’s hard to imagine you single.” I told her with a grin. She just looked at me and then nodded. “Well, I’ll be back as soon as I can,” She told me and then left, closing the door. I set the bag of clothes down onto the bed and walked into the bathroom.

I turned on the shower and stripped out of my clothes. The shower is attached to a tub and the thing is gigantic. Did every room have one? If so, then they must have used a lot of magic to get this place in functioning order. I looked into the mirror above the sink and couldn’t even believe that was me! I stepped into the water and the warm water felt good running down my shoulders and back. The shower head is detachable. So, I pulled it down and started soaking my hair. I didn’t even realize how dirty I was. I rinsed off my body and saw the dirty water running towards the drain.

She didn’t have any Ax body wash, but that didn’t matter. She had dial body wash. And the only shampoo is Pantene. It must be a new kind because it is a kiwi strawberry scent. Well, it was better than nothing. I used it all and I don’t know how much time passed, but by the time I stepped out, the entire bathroom was steamed up. I grabbed a towel off the shelf and dried myself fairly well. My hair dripped onto my shoulders, and I rubbed it thoroughly.

I started to get dressed and I found a stick of deodorant behind the mirror. The smell was not bad. Axe Harmony. I wrapped the towel around my waist and then I walked into the bedroom again to go through the clothes. I opened up the boxers and socks. I tossed the towel on the bed and pulled up the underwear. Then I opened up the undershirts and slipped a black one over my head. Then I pulled the spider shirt on and grabbed a pair of dark blue jeans. I removed the tags and pulled them up. They fit so well, that I didn’t even need to grab the belt, but I did just in case. I put on the socks and then went through my old wallet and put everything in the new wallet.

I hooked the chain to my belt loop and put everything I wasn’t using in the bag. “So, you think you could be a vampire and win Ashlee over do you?” I turned around to see a boy with a yellow streak standing in the doorway. “Who are you?” I asked. “Oh, I’m the ex. And I’m going to have to talk to her about her taste in men. I mean, look at you, a human?” He just shook his head. “I don’t want any trouble. But, how did you get in here?” I asked.

“Oh, you mean because of Gretchen? Well, she was removed from her seat and we know how to unlock the doors from her station. Every room has a magical lockdown button. This way they can control who leaves and who doesn’t. No one could enter as long as this room was under lockdown. So, we ‘removed’ Gretchen and unlocked it ourselves. Now, I’m going to rip out your liver and feed it to you.” He threatened. “I don’t even know you. Why would you do that?” I asked him. “Well, you’re right. You don’t know me. But, I’m not going to be okay with someone taking my girlfriend.” I glared at him. “Didn’t you say you broke up?”

He glared at me. “Well, because of you!” He hissed. “I am starting to see why she dumped you. You’re too clingy!” I really needed to learn how to control my tongue. He sent a small jolt of lightning out and it just knocked me back a few steps. “Oh, I’m going to have so much fun tormenting you. Ashlee won’t be back anytime soon. Oh, and your cousin is a little tied up. No one else gives a damn about you. You’re going to die. And it’s going to be a slow one.” The boy said. I just did the only thing I could. I just looked at him. I tried to reach for any of the others that used to help me.

But, nothing worked. I couldn’t feel Jacob’s presence and I couldn’t feel Zolem’s, Harkel’s, or Jason’s. I really didn’t get that. I’ve never been so cut off from them. I guess I was really going to die. He sent out another bolt of lightning and this one stung! It hit me and I fell to the floor and rolled onto my side coughing and gasping for breath. “Oh, this is fun!” He exclaimed. I climbed to my feet and he launched another bolt of lightning at me. It slammed into my chest and then he lifted me and slammed me into the wall.

“You’ve seen Star Wars I’m assuming? Well, I’m going to make that final scene a masterpiece.” He sneered. I screamed in pain and I could feel tears and I even tasted blood in the back of my mouth. If the lightning itself didn’t kill me, it surely was going to make my heart give out. I could feel it beating like a jackrabbit. “You aren’t going to die on me yet,” He said. I could barely get a breath. Then the lighting went away and I fell to the floor coughing and wheezing, clutching my side.

Through teary, blurry eyes, I saw someone walk over and stand in front of me. “You think this is going to work?” The voice sounded familiar, but my ears were popping too loud and ringing for me to know who it was. “Weren’t you trying to kill him earlier?” The boy snapped. “Yes, but who do you think gave you the orders? I want to be the one to kill him. You may go.” I soon got my vision back and I saw…a young looking man with spiked black hair and a bright diamond blue streak.

“Matt, you’ve been busy.” I choked out, “Who are you?” He laughed. “Oh, the last person you’re ever going to see.” He picked me up by the throat and slammed me against the wall. “I should have snapped your neck the second you walked into this school. Humans shouldn’t be allowed in!” He hissed in my face. He started squeezing and I clawed and kicked at him. But, I was in no way, going to be able to break his grip.

Everything got blurry and I felt my strength fading. I heard the bone connecting to my spine break and the cartilage in the front snap. I lost all the strength I had. I just was held there by the man and I heard a really pissed off scream, but after that, everything went black. I felt myself floating and I don’t know where I was going. I just knew I was at peace and nothing could hurt me here. I really thought I would end up in Zolem’s plane, but I guess that wasn’t happening right now. Maybe he was cut off from us? Or maybe something was blocking him? Either way, he wasn’t helping me.

Then I snapped back towards my body and I jerked up, gasping for breath. “Hey, are you okay?” My vision was a little blurry, but I recognized Liam’s voice. I jumped out of bed and stumbled over to the corner. “What are you doing here?” I gasped. Fear completely took me. “Hey, we aren’t going to hurt you.” He said and stood up to come closer to me. I just tried to huddle in the corner as best I could. “Matt, why are you acting like that? I’m not going to hurt you.” He said calmly. I just stayed as far away as I could and when he tried to approach me, I just closed in and he stopped. He gave me a confused and hurt look. “I really don’t know what’s wrong,” He said exasperatedly.

I just looked at him in fear and panic. What happened to me? It’s something I can’t remember. But, after knowing what he did, I just lost in and freaked out. “He’s scared of us and after what we did to him, I don’t blame him.” I heard Julie’s voice. That made me panic more. “What do you mean?” Liam asked. “We turned to the enemy. We joined him to find him and then almost killed Matt. Do you think he’s going to be okay with that? Especially since he didn’t know anything about this plan until the end?” She asked him.

He didn’t seem to know what she was talking about. “You seriously don’t remember do you, babe?” She asked. He shook his head. “Well, Ashlee asked us to join a group of human haters to bring out the bad guys. But, somehow we were corrupted and almost killed him and Jaise was going to kill you, and I was going to kill Ashlee. But, we were stopped and it got even worse than that. But, we were cured by Professor Shaline. Now, we are back to normal. But, I don’t think the others are going to be as appreciative of our dark side visit as you want them to be.”

Liam clearly looked confused. “Oh, come on. You seriously can’t be that clueless.” He just shook his head. Then her eyes grew wide. “It must be the elements we have. I remember because I’m supposed to be holy. Light magic and I went dark. But, earth magic can be good or evil.” I huddled tighter in the corner. I just didn’t want them anywhere near me. “Matt, please. I am not going to hurt you.” He said and he approached me. He almost got near me, when a blast of fire and lightning struck him in the chest and sent him flying across the room. Julie jumped in front of him protectively and then Ashlee and Jaise rushed into the room.

“Matt, are you okay?!” She asked, kneeling in front of me. “Yeah, I think so,” I mumbled quietly. “We aren’t hurting him. We actually saved his life!” Julie hissed. Jaise glared and fire danced all around him. “If this is some kind of joke?” He threatened. “No, Jaise! We aren’t with the bad guy.” Julie said pointing. My cousin and Ashlee followed her finger and gasped in shock. A young looking man stood pressed in a corner entrapped in a white glowing bubble, surrounded by thick vines. He looked to be screaming, but the spell around him blocked out any sound.

“That’s him?” Jaise asked suspiciously. “Yes. He’s the one who hired Brandon to track him down, which then he immediately contacted this man. But, I don’t know who he is. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t have magic. Or he never tried to use it on us.” Julie explained. Ashlee helped me to my feet. “Are you sure you’re okay?” She asked me. “Yeah, I guess they did save me. But, I don’t know why.” I said staring at them. Liam gave me a hurt look. “Dude, we are friends. Don’t you remember?” Liam asked.

“I remember we used to be. And then you tried to have me killed. You ended up working for the bad guy.” I told him and then I walked out of the room. “Jaise?” Ashlee asked. “I got this. You get him out of here.” Then he tossed her a bag and we left the room. “What’s he going to do?” I asked. “I don’t know. But, whatever it is, you don’t have to worry about it. You’re safe.” She told me. I really hoped she was right. I was tired of fighting for my life and always worried when my last breath was going to be and I was tired of everyone putting their lives on the line for me.

“Stop!” I froze and Ashlee turned around. Headmistress Jaina was approaching us. “Yes, ma’am?” Ashlee asked with icy kindness. “I am afraid that Matt has been seen stealing from us,” She said coldly. I just gave her a blank look. Was this even happening? I wondered. “That’s impossible. He was with us the entire time.” Ashlee said. “Oh? So, you didn’t leave him in your room for a bit?” She asked with a sneer on her face. “Oh, well yeah. But, he didn’t take anything from me.” Ashlee explained.

“No, but Marcy had some arm bracelets reported missing moments after you all left the shop. She said that he was eyeballing the jewelry.” Ashlee gave me a weird look. “Yeah. I don’t take him for an accessory kind of man.” She countered. “Yet, you don’t know him, do you?” She asked. “I know him well enough.” Jaina glared at me. “Well, it’s not up to you to prove his innocence or not. He’s to be taken to jail until we can sort this out! You know the rules. You bring a human into here and they can and will be tried like one of us.” Ashlee paled.

“You can’t do that. That rule was banned centuries ago!” Ashlee said, her voice shaking. I knew I wasn’t going to like this. Jaina laughed wickedly. “Please, you little wench. I run this school. So, I can make the rules!” Jaina whistled so shrill and loud that it hurt my ears. I put my hands to them and when I stood up straight, I found my hands were covered in a little blood. Two large vampires dressed in all black, with a long black leather trench coat and a black top hat appeared. “Take him to the cells. A human was caught stealing.” They both gave me a blank look. They didn’t care one way or the other what happened to me.

“You can’t do this!” Ashlee shouted. “Oh, but I can. I told you. I make the rules.” They grabbed me by the arm and pushed me forward. I tried to struggle, but they were far too strong, and obviously were used to dealing with vampires, so it didn’t take much to restrain me. The one on my right even started to grip my arm tightly and I felt the bones strain under the pressure. “Okay! I’ll move!” I cry out. “What the flying fuck!?” Jaise hissed behind me.

“He’s being arrested under our laws for stealing.” I heard Ashlee tell him before being pulled around a corner to where I couldn’t hear them anymore. “Where are we going exactly?” I asked. But, if they were paying attention or heard me, they didn’t acknowledge me. I guess talking to a human was beneath them. Or they just didn’t talk to prisoners. Either way, I wasn’t going to get anything out of them. They led me down a set of stairs and we continued down for a while and across a couple hallways, and down some more stairs until we made it back to the courtyard.

Then we crossed it until we made it to the center of the castle, and they led me in. The vampires all cleared out of the way. I couldn’t tell who was a student and who was a teacher. We walked into the building and straight ahead around the large staircase leading up to the second floor, we arrived at a rusty gate. The one on the left opened it with a key and we walked down into a dark musty cellar. We continued down three more flights of stairs. I started to shiver violently. But, my guards didn’t seem to know or care. We went down one more level and then down a very dark hallway.

I couldn’t see where we were going, but they didn’t have any problems. I felt ahead and I felt a wall, and then I heard the sound of a gate being opened. One of them pushed me in and I stumbled forward. I braced myself against the wall and turned around. I couldn’t see anything and then the gate slammed shut and I heard it lock. I heard footsteps receding and I guess this was it. I was left alone in the coldest level of this castle. They wouldn’t have to kill me. I would freeze to death. I wonder if the others know where I’m at. Or if anyone even will worry about me.

I don’t like the look Ashlee had about the laws. Does that mean I’m going to be tortured like a vampire? I wouldn’t be able to heal like them. I wouldn’t be able to fight or defend myself. So, whether this was an execution or a trial. The end result will be the same. I was going to die, and there was nothing anyone would be able to do about it.

But, I guess this is what they wanted all along. Maybe Liam and Julie didn’t get the bad guy after all? Maybe they were still working for them? I didn’t want to believe that. But, I don’t see any other option. I huddled in a corner, feeling goosebumps up and down my arm. My teeth chattering and I felt so cold. I don’t know how long I could last down here. I don’t know how vampires survived it. But, I couldn’t.

Chapter 9

I just sat in the corner of the cell for who knows how long. I slowly started to notice that I started to stop shivering. I really couldn’t tell how much time passed and I ended up getting up at a time and started pacing the cell and then did sit ups, crunches, jumping jacks, anything I could do to warm myself up. But, I didn’t want to overdo it. So, I ended up just walking from one side to the other of the cell. I felt myself growing tired so, I lay down on the cot. I think I might have slept a little off and on, but I didn’t sleep for very long.

I started to notice that after the third time I woke up, that it grew even colder. It became so cold that I couldn’t even find the strength to move. I wrapped the blanket around me and sat in the far corner away from the cell door. It for some reason seemed warmer over here. My breathing seemed shallower and I barely felt my heart beat. I don’t know how long I remained like this, but I started to notice that I gained a small burst of energy.

I stood up and walked around, but I didn’t have a lot of room and I felt like it was only a day in the cell. But, I went through another stretch where it became far too cold and I couldn’t move due to lack of energy. More time passed like this and I figured it had to have been four days by now. My stomach was growling for something to eat and that was when I got the first visitor in days. I hoped it would be Jaise or Ashlee. But, then someone carried a flashlight and I blinked and blocked the light with my hands until my eyes adjusted. “Oh, Matt, Matt, Matt. What have you gotten yourself into?” A male voice asked.

And I froze. “Chris?” I choked out. “Professor Star. But, you’re not a student are you?” He asked. “Why am I still alive?” I asked. “Oh, see? I’m here to rectify that. You’re not supposed to be alive. How Shawn handled the situation was a mistake on his part. He shouldn’t have confronted you right away. I told him that the people in our inner circle weren’t to be trusted just yet. We haven’t tested their loyalty. But, now? Now, I’m going to end you and the threat.”

He blasted me with icy wind and I slammed into the brick wall hard and banged my head. Everything started to spin and I didn’t have the strength to even try to fight the attack. I just let the air hold me in place. Then he flicked his finger up and I flew into the ceiling. I hit it with my back and I pressed me into it and scrapped me across. The pain was severe and I cried out. “Oh, come now. Surely, you’ve been through worse than that!” He said.

Then he flicked his finger down and I fell and slammed into the floor and he rolled me around, banging on the walls, the bars, and the bed. I scraped my sides and my back even more. I could taste blood in my mouth and the pain was too much. I passed out then. When I woke up, no one was around and it was freezing. I lay on the floor huddling, and afraid. I just wished the pain would end. I didn’t even care how it ended. I just wish it would. And then more footsteps approached. I was afraid it was Chris again. But, it wasn’t this time. It was Jaina. “So, if I ask you how you plead? Are you going to tell me the truth?” She asked me.

“Yes,” I gasped, “innocent.” She glared at me and then snapped her fingers. The shadows seemed to press in on me. “Furis!” I called out. But, he never answered. I couldn’t even feel his presence. I thought that if a shadow was killed, the person was. But, maybe he wasn’t destroyed. It might be that he just didn’t have the energy to come into our plane. Either way, I was on my own. The shadows came at me, cutting and hacking. I felt their sharp claws rip into my clothes and I could feel the blood seep out onto the ground. I cried out over and over again.

Tears fell and froze to my cheeks. And under my eyes. “So, you going to speak the truth?” She asked me. But, I couldn’t do more than gasp for breath. She had the shadows dig into my sides and arms and legs. I screamed and then fainted. I woke up some time later, but I couldn’t find the strength to move. I just lay there and I couldn’t tell how much time passed. I felt like I was slipping away. Footsteps echoed loudly around me and I knew I was going to be finished off. I waited for the key to enter the lock, but it never came. Instead, I heard the sound of the rusty bars squealing and being kicked open.

“Are you Matt?” A voice asked. I couldn’t move or speak. “Sally!” The voice shouted and I could tell it was male. “Yeah?” A female voice asked. But, it sounded so far away now. “Oh dear God!” The female shouted. I felt someone touch me and I jerked a little to the side to avoid touching. But, I couldn’t get away and then I felt a warm sensation spread through me. My body slowly warmed up and I found that I could move, but I still didn’t have a lot of strength. My vision slowly came back, but it was still too dark to see. “Are you Matt?” The male asked again.

I heard the answer in his voice, but he still needed to make sure. “Yes.” I whispered, but who are you? And please, kill me!” I begged. “Damn kid is delusional!” The one holding me said. “No, the kid has been starved, dehydrated, tortured and nearly killed while freezing to death.” I heard a cold voice from behind me. “Zeke, are you here to be sarcastic or to help?” Sally asked. “Oh, I’m here for both. He needs light and warmth. I got that.” Zeke said. Then the entire cell blazed with fire and I looked around at the people around me.

The vampire holding me has a black streak and fear overcame me. I jerked out of his hands and stumbled into a corner. “What the hell?” He asked. “I told you! He was tortured. Mostly by shadow magic. He’s probably traumatized against our kind now.” Zeke said. I huddled as far away as I could. The man holding me snapped his head towards the hall. “Zeke, hide the fire from everyone outside this room. We are going to have a visitor and I think she’s going to be able to answer some questions.”

The vampire who found me said. She? I wondered. I still didn’t get any closer to the vampires. But, I didn’t give Sally as big a feared look as the others. She slowly approached me and smiled genuinely. I tried to smile back, but I couldn’t. “You don’t have to be afraid. We aren’t going to hurt you.” She whispered to me. “Quiet,” Zeke said. I turned to see Jaina look at the door and burst in pissed off. She saw me straight away and went to strike me with shadow magic. But, the shadowy threads met a white thick net and vanished with a sickening hiss.

“What the hell?” Jaina asked in shock. “Oh, I think you know!” Sally said appearing before her. Then she jumped back. “Who are you?” The headmistress hissed. “Oh, who we are should be well known to everyone here. But, since we aren’t. I guess we aren’t doing our jobs very well.” Zeke said walking up behind Jaina. “Marty, I think it’s your turn to see what is happening. After all. You two share the same element.” Marty faced Jaina and glared at her with a dark expression. From the look he gave her, I don’t know why I was intimidated by her!

He could make Michael Myers cringe. I couldn’t tell if she was nervous or not. But, she never showed it. “So, I’m supposed to be impressed with you?” She asked. With a lazy flick of his wrist, she was sent flying into the wall and she screamed in shock and pain. Black threads started biting into her wrists and I saw her veins pop out black and silver. “You think you’re strong? You think that you have the right to abuse and dictate everything that happens in this school? I had no idea the person we left in charge was a power hungry lunatic.” He hissed. “Who are you?” Jaina screamed in fear. Marty sneered.

“Marty,” He said. She paled at the name. “Oh, I think she recognizes it,” Sally said. “You’re the council?” She gasped. “Oh, yes. We had no idea things were ran so poorly here. I mean, we didn’t split up the eight elements because we wanted the users to be feeling superior to their counterparts. We wanted to have them learn the best way to use it. Every spell has a certain feel and flow. You are abusing the power we’ve given you. We saw what you’ve done to him!” Marty said pointing at me.

Jaina glared at me, but Sally was right next to me and hissed at her and she backed off. She turned her focus back to Marty and said, “And why do you care what happens to a stupid human?” Jaina countered. Sally walked over to her and grabbed her by the throat. “I would be careful about what you say, dear. You’re already walking on thin ice.” Jaina just gave a blank look. “Did someone say ice? I think we should have brought Jared. He likes playing with ice.” All the council members barely looked to be passed thirty years old. Sally, had to be in her early twenties, Zeke barely out of his teens, and Marty pushing thirty. Now, this new woman had to be around Zeke’s age.

All of them had dark blond hair. All extremely good looking. Smooth, creamy skin. Bright eyes with the color of their elements around their pupils. She lifted her above her head and snapped, “Stupid human? You really don’t get it do you? We need them more than they need us! We wouldn’t be as strong as we are without them. So, don’t think we are the superior race when it’s their blood that keeps us alive.” Jaina just stared and said, “So? That just makes us at the top of the food chain.”

Sally whipped her across the room and she crashed into the far wall. Chunks of brick crashed down around her and I saw the wall shake. Jaina climbed to her feet. Zeke stepped in front of Sally and held her back. I noticed he was wearing a dark red shirt with blue jeans and red sneakers. Sally wore a silk white dress that clung to her. And Marty wore black shoes, jeans, a black shirt with a waving blood red spider on it and a black leather trench coat that fell to his ankles with chains and spikes and pockets.

“Oh, you’re protecting her now?” Sally demanded. “Currently yes. We can’t kill her yet. She needs to answer to the council and the people in this school. He is going to be the deciding factor in her fate.” Marty said staring right at me. “Why me?” I asked, but fearing retaliation. “Why? Look at what she did to you and had this man do to you!” He said loudly. I turned to the woman with the gray streak and she held Chris by the arm. He was squirming and trying to break free.

But, the newcomer was too strong for him. “Remi, who is he and what role does he play in this school?” Marty asked the woman. She stared at me for a second with bright gray and green eyes. “He is Chris Star. Professor of Wind magic in this school. One of the most renowned that they have. And apparently leader or conspirator in the anti-human gang.” I just shook my head. “He claimed that he’s the leader,” I told them. They all gave me a look and he gave me a look so cold, I felt a cold chill. “Oh, please keep your thoughts to yourself! It’s nasty!” Sally snapped at him. He looked at her in shock.

“Zeke, would you mind getting Matt out of here? I’m sure he’s had enough of these two to last a lifetime.” Marty said. “Sure, but I think he needs something to eat.” Sally looked at me and then at Zeke. “I’ll go with. No one is going to bother him with us there with him.” They approached me and I took steps back from them. “You still don’t trust us?” Sally asked calmly. “I’m not even sure I can trust a vampire anymore. I wish you would just take my memories away and send me back home. Hopefully, they won’t kill me. But, either way. I think it’s better than staying here.” I told them. Zeke and Remi both gave me a shocked look. “Is this really how you feel?” Marty asked.

“I don’t know how I feel. But, I do know I’m sick of looking over my shoulders all the stinking time. If you really want to help me, then you’ll get me out of this school and away from your kind for a time.” I said to them. I really thought they would hurt me. They just sighed. “Very well. If that’s what you want. But, I really would like it if you thought about everything and what you could be gaining if you changed your mind about joining. You have a lot of potentials. I read the report of Ashlee Oak. She said you had a strange light in your eyes from a powerful source. You have a lot of potential in you.” I sighed and gave them a look.

“Alright. Since he doesn’t want us to transport him, how about we call a friend of ours? He could bring his team. I know they’ll keep him safe.” Raemi said. “Yes, Tyler should work very well,” Marty said. “Are they vampires?” I asked. “Nope, humans.” We just trained them on how to fight us off. They are the elite human army that agreed to help us. They have equipment that allows them to see heat radiation and super speed. It’s really advanced stuff.

You should check it out.” Zeke said smiling at me. I just kept my face blank. “I think that sounds interesting.” His frown faltered a little. Raemi dialed and in a matter of minutes, she hung up. “They are on their way,” She said. “How long?” I asked. “An hour? Maybe two?” I just looked around at us. “You take them with you?” I asked. “Yeah, it depends on the severity of the situation. From what your girlfriend told us, we figured we would need all the help we could get, so we had them waiting in case we needed them. They will take you the nearest hotel.” Sally told me.

“You’ll be safe there and Tyler is a really good friend. He’ll keep an eye on you. You can choose if you want him to bunk with you, or if you would rather have them on the same floor as you. We will pay for everything, whatever you decide.” Marty told me. I just nodded and left the cell. I couldn’t be in there any longer. I felt Sally and Zeke’s presence on me, but they kept a good distance. He lit up the hallway, and I could see where I needed to go. I climbed the steps and I felt my legs shaking and trembling. I don’t know if I could make it up the steps.

I got half way up the second step and slipped. Zeke was right there and caught me. He righted me and had me hang onto the railing. “Easy does it. There’s no rush.” Sally told me. I nodded and finally with a little help from them, we made it to the main floor and we walked out with the steps. I saw Jaise, Ashlee, Liam and Julie all standing at the entrance. “I don’t want to see them right now,” I said pointing to the group. “Did they hurt you?” Zeke asked looking pissed. “No, that’s Ashlee talking to Jaise, who’s my cousin. The other two are friends with my cousin. But, there’re some complications.”

They nodded and then said, “We can get you out of here without anyone seeing.” The next thing I knew, we were all standing in the courtyard by the tree. “Hey, Matt!” I turned to see Brandon, Ashlee’s ex, walking over to me. “What do you want?” I said in a cold tone. “Well, you dumbass,” He said and rushed me. But, he never even got within a foot of me. Sally was there and flipped him and then did a low spinning kick. He went flying fast and hard about twelve feet and hit the gravel hard! I swear I heard bones break. “Nice kick,” Zeke said approving. Sally smirked and said, “Thanks. I hate fucking douches.”

I just stared at her wide eyed. Zeke laughed. “I think you shocked the boy.” She looked at me. “What? You’ve never heard a woman swear before?” I just nodded dumbfounded. “Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are ‘old school?’” Zeke asked. I didn’t say anything. I just faced away from the school. “What the hell bitch?!” Sally didn’t comment. “Oh, kid. You’re so out of your league.” Then I heard something else snap and when I turned around, Brandon’s neck was twisted all the way around.

“Did you kill him?” I asked. “Na. He’ll heal. Oh, here comes your guardians now.” She said. “I thought you said an hour?” I asked. “Well, I guess they rushed in or they mobilized a lot faster than I thought they would. They are really good at surprising us.” Zeke commented. I turned to see a squad force in all heavy black armor and automatic rifles approaching and everyone cleared out of the way. They approached and bowed in front of Sally and Zeke.

“So, he’s the one?” The lead man asked. He didn’t sound hostile or angry or disbelieving. Just curious. “Yes, would you mind taking him to the nearest town and rent him a hotel room?” Sally asked. He pulled off his helmet and he barely looked old enough to drink. “Sure, ma’am,” He said. He held the helmet in his hand and I noticed he is well muscled, but only a little bit taller than me. “Matt, it’s okay, they won’t harm you.” I just gave them all an apprehensive look.

“Is he normally like that?” The lead guy asked. “Tyler, I don’t think so. He’s been through a rough patch. So, get him out of here and keep him safe? I think he would appreciate his own room and just keep him guarded.” Zeke told him. Tyler bowed and motioned for me to follow him. I took a deep breath and began to walk. They circled around me and I felt like I was being protected and safe, despite everything that just happened. “Matt, is it?” I nodded. “What happened back there?” Tyler asked.

I glanced back at the school and said, “I don’t feel safe talking about it here.” I told him. “You mean you don’t trust us!” Another of the soldiers in front of me chimed in. Tyler smacked him. “No, I mean I don’t feel safe talking about it here. But, since I don’t know who you people are, I don’t think it’s fair to ask questions.” I said. The others laughed. “I like him. He could have a future among us. He has some sass.” They all removed their helmets and stared at me. All of them had a grin on their face.

Even the one who accused me of not trusting them had a smirk. “We aren’t bad guys. I hope you could trust us.” Tyler said to me. “I might be able to. It’s just going to take me some time. I want to trust the council. But, after what happened. I don’t know if it’s going to be as easy as trusting my cousin or girlfriend. Or if I could even remain with her.” I said sadly. “Do you love her?” The one on my left asked. “Yes,” I said without hesitation.

“Then remain with her. Take some time, but don’t leave her. You’re going to regret it more in the end.” He said. “I’m going to guess that this is your first serious girlfriend?” A soldier behind me asked. “ the First girlfriend,” I stated. “Oh, then don’t leave her. You obviously care for her. You obviously are sad without her. So, remain with her.” He said. “Listen to them kid. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” I nodded and became lost in thought. We passed a lot of trees and hills. We obviously didn’t leave the way we came in. “Where are we going?” I asked.

“Oh, there’s a hidden route that the council takes. It was made for them only and their guardians. They showed us it. This way we don’t have to deal with that annoying guardian. We can handle him. But, he’s a pain in the arse.” Tyler said and I laughed. We walked down a stone set of steps and stepped out on a rainbow brick road. The road is covered in bright colors. The sun was setting by this time. “How much further?” I asked growing nervous. Tyler patted me on the shoulder.

“Oh, don’t worry. Nothing is going to happen to you. I promise. We will arrive at the checkpoint by nine tonight.” He said. I nodded, my anxiety growing. “Just relax.” The man to my front right said in a calm tone. I nodded again and took a deep breath. We continued along the path and when the move rose and the sun sank down, I noticed that the path started to glow. Even though it was now dark, I could see everything clearly. I looked around in shock. It was a beautiful sight!

I turned and I saw Tyler looking at me and winked. I felt more at ease. Tyler looked at his watch and I could make out that it was ten to nine and then he gave a signal and we all stopped. I wanted to ask what was going on, but the guy on my left put a finger to his lips. I knew better than to talk then. He then pointed with two fingers and shook them like in the movies. We started walking slowly and then when we came around a corner, we stopped.

We were facing a group and I couldn’t tell who they were. But, the way Tyler and the others were acting, they weren’t allies. “I think, we have company.” The one behind me snarled. Tyler sighed. “You always were good at stating the obvious.” I saw them slowly approaching. “Max, would you be kind enough as to get Matt out of here?” He asked. “I would be delighted to.” I turned to my left behind me and realized that there was a woman in the group. She was stunning with olive skin and light brown eyes. Her raven hair fell around her face.

She gently grabbed my arm and pulled me off the side of the road. “What about them?” I asked quietly. “You don’t have to worry about them. They are strong. But, I sensed her nervousness. She led me over a hill and around a cluster of trees. I didn’t say anything and I stumbled a couple times. When she led me back to the road, I collapsed against a tree, gasping for breath. She kneeled down to eye level. “What’s the matter?” She asked.

“I’m sorry. I don’t think I have the energy to continue.” I gasped. “She felt my forehead and gasped. “I think you may have a fever! Is that your stomach rumbling?” She asked. “Yeah? I can’t even tell you when the last time I had something to eat was.” I admitted to her. “Damn it. What the hell are they doing in that school? The council assured us that the school they had set up for Marquo was a safe and good place. But, if they are starving people…” I shook my head. “No, they are only starving me,” I told her.

She stared at me. “Why?” She demanded. “I’m human. I’m supposed to be gaining some serious power when I became a vampire. They wanted me dead so that couldn’t happen. They almost succeeded in that plan. I thought that it was Jaina or Chris when the council showed up. I thought they had come back to finish me off. And when I saw it was them….” She nodded, “You thought it might be some special torturer or someone looking for answers.” She finished.

“Yes,” I told her. “Well, they are looking for answers. But, they don’t want to hurt you. They only want to get to know the truth. I just really hope they haven’t known about whatever the hell is going on.” She said. “I don’t think they do. When Marty and the others entered my cell and found me on the floor, they looked confused and pissed off.” I told her. She walked to me and threw my right arm around her shoulders and supported most of my weight. She helped me back onto the path.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” I asked. “Yes. I’ve helped people a lot bigger than you.” She said with a smirk. We walked quite a while down the road and then she stopped. She stood straight up and grabbed her sidearm. She held it in front of her and swept around and then looked at her. I sucked in a breath of air and she whipped around. She found herself face to face with a vampire with a dark blue streak. “You don’t think you and the human are going to be leaving do you?” He asked. “Actually, I do. I’m not leaving without him.” She said.

“Oh, you are. But, how you leave is up to you. Alive or dead. Your call.” The vampire said. She stared at me. “How did I know he was going to give me those options?” She asked me. I shrugged. “I have a better idea. How about you die?” She asked. Then in a blinding flash, the vampire gasped and looked down. A pointed wooden piece stuck out of his chest. “Is that…?” He asked, and then collapsed onto the ground, screaming in pain. “What did you do to him?” I asked. “Killed him. And I didn’t do that. You can thank Sam.” Max told me.

She helped me further down the path and then stopped again. But, this time, she was relaxed. “Max, where’s the others?” A female asked. “They were attacked. Tyler told me to get him out of there, so I did.” She stated. “Very well. Those boys know how to handle themselves.” The woman said. “Why are you supporting him?” She asked after a time. “He’s weak right now. Hasn’t eaten in days and…I don’t even know what happened to him.” Max admitted.

The woman took off her helmet and long curly blond hair fell down her back. She has ivory skin and big dark eyes looked me. “Oh, those fucking vampires! They treat humans so poorly. It makes me wonder why we work with them.” She snapped. “You must be Sam?” I asked. She snapped her attention to me. “You know me?” She asked. “No, but she told me that the shooter was you, so I figured it would be you who greeted us,” I said. Max smiled. Sam looked perplexed. “Either you’re quick to conclusions, or…” She began. “I swear. That was all it was.” She smiled. “Hey, we got movement! Someone is coming.” A male shouted from a faraway tree. I froze.

“Matt, just keep following the road. You’re completely safe. We have guards and soldiers everywhere. But, if you go down the road little ways, you’ll run into our main camp.” Sam said. I was tensed up, but I nodded. “I’ll take him.” Max offered. “I’m sorry, but I may need you to fill me in on everything that happened.” I saw Max give her a cold stare but nodded. I gulped and began walking. Every step felt like a mile and it felt like my legs were made of lead. But, I forced myself to keep walking and I stumbled a little bit.

At one point, I stumbled and fell down hard. I lay there trembling until I sensed someone standing over me. “Are you okay kid?” I heard a man ask. I glanced up and saw a man wearing black armor and holding a pistol in his hand at his side. “Yeah, I just got weak for a moment.” I said and struggled to my feet. “You want some assistance?” He asked concerned. “No, I think I can…” But, I felt a dizzy spell again and almost fell to my knees.

“You need some help.” He got on the radio and called for someone named John. I froze. “John? It couldn’t be him could it? I wondered. After a few minutes, I found out that it was another John. He was close to my age and well-muscled, with short layered dark red hair. He had a few pimples and acne, but he seemed like a nice guy. “Hey!” He called cheerfully. “John, would you help him to camp? See to it that he gets something to eat.” John nodded, “You got it.” John steadied me and walked next to me all the way to camp.

He even caught me from falling a few times. We finally made it and John said, “Well, it’s after eleven. But, I was told by Frank to get you something to eat. I’m sure they won’t refuse him.” He said that kind of darkly, and I was scared to find out why. We walked up to a large tent and someone shouted, “We don’t have anything!” John smirked. “Should I radio Frank?” The man who shouted paled and glared at us. “You wouldn’t!” He said coldly. “Oh, I would. Frank told me to make sure he got something to eat. Now, if you’re going to refuse us….”

“Oh, you know damn well I’m not going to refuse you. Even if it didn’t come from Tyler’s son.” The man glared. I stared at John. “You’re Tyler’s son?” I asked. “He sighed. “He’s a lot older than he looks. He has a common not fatal or contagious illness that makes him look a lot younger than he is. But, he’s actually in his early thirties.” Huh. I would have thought him to be the early twenties. He looks about John’s age. “I know you’re also thinking he’s my age. But, no. He’s quite a bit older.” “Sorry,” I told him.

“Don’t be. It’s not your fault you would think that. I don’t blame you.” I walked over to the closest table to the front. “What do you got today?” John asked. “Cheap French fries, onion rings, two thin pieces of pork loins, and some shitty mashed potatoes with some bland corn.” The man who called to us replied. He quickly made up a plate and heated it up in a microwave. I noticed he was starting to bald on top and he had salt and pepper hair with some brown still showing. The microwave beeped and he pulled it out. He placed it down in front of me.

“Thanks for the gourmet meal sir.” He just blinked and burst out laughing. “Wait ’til you taste it. You won’t be so smart.” He said and walked away. John walked to the front of the tent and watched it while I ate. It was only a few minutes when I stood up and walked over to the counter that they assembled. “Here you are. Would you like me to wash it or?” I asked. He just blinked at me. “You ate it all?!” He asked in shock. I just tilted my head to the side.

“Yes, why?” He shook his head surprised. “I don’t know. Normally people snip at me and call the foods names and such.” He said. “I usually just call names back or laugh and say, ‘the next time, you can starve.’ But, no one usually eats it all.” He told me. “Well, I don’t see a point in wasting food. Yeah, it was a little bland, but that doesn’t mean it was your fault. So, I don’t see a point in blaming the cook.” I told him.

“No, you don’t have to wash the utensils and yes, I agree with you. But, are you sure you’re even human?” He asked me. I chuckled. “Yeah, I truly believe so. What would you think I am?” I asked him. “I don’t know. But, people aren’t that kind anymore. It’s weird. I like it, but it’s still strange.” He said to me and I could only shrug with a shy smile in response. “Did you get enough to eat? Or would you like seconds?” He asked. “Oh, I don’t want you to go through the trouble.

I don’t eat that much.” I told him. He gave me a scrutinized look. “I can see that. You’re getting seconds, and a slice of apple cinnamon pie.” He said with a smile. “Pie?” I asked. They all gave me a wide-eyed look. “You don’t know what pie is?” John asked. “Oh, I know what it is. But, I can’t ever remember having it.” I admitted to them. The wide-eyed stare was back. “You serious?” The salt and pepper haired man asked. I nodded. “Kid, you haven’t lived yet,” He said.

He fixed me another plate and gave me a slice of apple pie and it was steaming with a scoop of vanilla fudge ice cream on the side. I began eating and when I got to the desert, I felt like I couldn’t believe what I missed after all this time! “This is amazing!” I said. John and the man laughed. “I’m glad you liked it. What kind of household did you live in that you couldn’t or didn’t get pie? Ice cream? Or anything like that?” The man asked. I frowned. “A controlling, abusive one. I went hungry a lot of the time if the house wasn’t spotless. If I even breathed wrong, I was punished.” I said.

And then looked away from their stares. “You’re serious,” John said. It wasn’t a question. I nodded anyways. “Damn. That’s just not right.” The man said. “No, and that’s why I was so interested and willing to leave with my cousin and his friends. But, then this happened. I wonder if I even made the right decision. I mean, my life was messed up and I wasn’t happy. I even contemplated suicide a couple times. But, at least, I was alive.”

John grabbed me by the shoulders then. “If you think suicide is the answer, you’re a bleeding fool!” He snapped. “No, I don’t. But, at the time, I was considering it just in case. I really doubted I would have gone through with it, but almost made the mistake and attempted it. I wasn’t thinking clearly and I regret choosing it now. But, I’m just glad that I was given another chance and I don’t mean to even consider it now. But, either way, I would have ended up dead. Either by my hands or the vampires. Am I destined to die? Is that my true purpose?” He shook me lightly.

“No, I don’t believe that. I believe you are here and you’re alive for a reason. Whether you know it or not. You have a reason for being alive. Think of this will you? Think about everything that happened and become the ass kicking vampire they all fear you to be. Teach them a lesson for hurting you. Teach them a lesson for breaking your trust. You could have been their greatest ally. But, they messed that up. Make them regret their decision to hurt you!”

“Oh, you don’t want him to do that! He’s a good kid with a gentle and kind heart. Having him go after them with revenge in his soul will only corrupt him and turn him into everything the council and his friends are fighting against. Having him fight with revenge and spite will turn him into a Ferol.” The man said. I stared at them both and sighed. “Ah, good. You’re here. Matt, there’s someone who wants to see you.” Max said. I looked at them all in confusion.

“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll be okay.” John said with a smirk. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad smirk. But, there’s only one way to find out. I got up and walked out of the tent. Right away, someone touched my shoulder and I flinched away. “Hey.” A familiar voice said. I looked up and I saw Tyler grinning at me. I let out a sharp breath and relaxed. “You’re jumpy,” He said gently. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be.” He just shook his head. “It’s alright. Are you ready to head to the hotel yet?”

I nodded. He smiled and then led me through the camp and opened the door to a black SUV. He got in the driver’s seat and four other soldiers under him climbed in as well. “So, which hotel are you thinking about?” Max asked. “Oh, I don’t know. You know any good ones around here?” He asked looking at me. “To be honest. I don’t even know where we are.” I told them. Everyone laughed until they saw that I was serious. “Oh, wow. Matt, you’re in a secluded area of Germany.” A man slapped the back of Tyler’s chair. “Hey, I have an idea boss.” Tyler turned to face him.

“What about seeing if they would be willing to use their private helicopter and go to Nauru?” He asked. I looked confused at them both. “Nauru?” I asked. “It’s a small island with literally less than six thousand people in it. You may look up stuff about it, but it’s not accurate. They have clubs, and two hotels, and plenty of restaurants and fun stuff to do. But, let me call it in.” Tyler said. “First, if it’s so great, why isn’t it bigger?” I asked. “Well, it’s just a simple island. But, don’t let that fool you. It’s really a nice place.” He said and then got on the phone.

They answered quickly and he explained the idea and asked if they would authorize it. I saw him smile and I couldn’t believe they would say yes. He hung up with them and said, “Guess who’s going to Nauru?” I stared at him wide-eyed. “They said yes?” I asked in disbelief. “Yeah, kid. Think what you want about them, but they’re not bad.” Tyler told me. “No, that’s not what I meant. I thought they wanted me close.” He stared at me.

“At first, but they are still sorting through the mess of the school. It’s worse than they originally thought. They are debating about bringing in the other council members. It’s that bad. But, they don’t want to leave their domain undefended.” He said. “I really wasn’t expecting this to get this out of hand,” I told them. “It’s not your fault. You don’t have to worry about them. They have it under control. They want the others there to weed out the problem as soon as they can. But, they only want you to relax and to think clearly about what you want to do when they ask for you.”

“So, is this a test?” I asked. “No, this is you focusing and thinking clearly and for you to relax. You don’t have to be so afraid. You don’t have to worry about anyone coming after you.” He said and then his phone chimed. “They cleared it with Nauru airport. They are sending the chopper now to us. It should be here within half an hour.” He said. “Yes!” Everyone cheered. I smiled and felt glad to be going somewhere away for a while.

“There’s one stipulation, though,” Tyler said to me. “What’s that?” I asked. “Sally requests that you take one person with you from the school. It could be anyone there.” I was shocked. “How come?” I asked. “I don’t know. But, who do you want it to be?” I looked away for a minute thinking. Jaise did everything to protect me, but Ashlee….I…How was I to choose? I would feel like betraying him or not giving him the respect he deserves. “If you’re unsure of who to choose, give me a list of the people you want to talk to so you can choose that way, and I’ll have a video chat set up,” He said. “Jaise Jones, and Ashlee Oak,” I said without hesitation.

“That was quick,” Max commented. “He must not have a lot of people he trusts.” The other guy mumbled. “I really don’t. There’re two other people. But, I don’t know where their loyalties lie at this moment. So, I’m not including them.” I explain. Tyler nodded and said, “I’ll be right back.” Then he got out of the car and jogged over to a large tent. “So, I think you’ll like this island. It’s beautiful. It’s like going to a full beach. There’s so much space, that literally everyone on the island can have a small spot to themselves. The island is beautiful.” I was told.

I heard that before and that island experience turned out to be a bloody nightmare. “Especially during sunset. And the sky is so bright at night. It’s so peaceful.” The man said. “Conner. Please.” Max said rolling her eyes. He laughed and I grinned at him. After ten minutes, Tyler came back. “Okay, Zeke is looking for Jaise and Ashlee now. Follow me.” He said. We all got out of the car and I followed him to the tent. By the time we arrived, Jaise and Ashlee were already waiting. “Well, that was fast,” Tyler commented.

“Hey, we’re efficient,” Zeke said in the background. Tyler grinned. “So, I think we should give them some privacy. Everyone out!” Sally said from the background. Then everyone left. “So, what’s up?” Jaise asked, and I could see him trembling. Actually, I could tell he’s trying to hold back his temper. “What he really is asking is, ‘where the fuck are you?! Where did you go!? Why didn’t you tell us!? And are you okay?!’ So, what I’m going to ask is, Are you alright? And where are you?” Jaise glared at her. I laughed out loud at that.

“Well, I see nothing has changed with you guys.” I said and I smiled widely at them. “Seriously, though. Where are you?” Jaise asked. “I don’t know for sure. The council’s secret army is keeping me safe and they want me to go to…,” I had a funny feeling not to tell, “a distant island to get me out of the area. But, I can only take one person.” I explained. “Where?” They both asked at the same time. I got the same feeling again. “I can’t say. I am told it’s a beautiful place.” I hoped that would make it worthwhile, but they gave me a suspicious look.

“I don’t want to go somewhere I don’t know where it is.” Again, they both replied at the same time. “So, you guys aren’t going to just trust me?” I asked wounded and they both gave me a weird look. “Fine. I’ll just go on my own.” I snapped. I turned to walk away, and they both called me back. I stopped halfway to the tent flap. “Matt, sorry. Which one would you like to go?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know. That’s why they set up this video chat. They thought it would help make the decision. “Let me ask this. Do you trust these soldiers?” Jaise asked.

“I do. At least so far. They’ve watched out for me and all of them have treated me kindly. It’s more than I can say for the vampires.” I said coldly. He sighed. “I know, and I’m sorry for that. I really thought they would have treated you better.” He said. “You can’t fix naïve or stupid. It’s not you Matt. It’s them.” She said. “You try telling them that!” Ashlee glared at me. “We are,” She said venom dripping in her tone. “So, who do you want to go?” Jaise asked. “I don’t know. I seriously thought you two would be able to help me out. I want you both to go.

“This way we can work things out and talk about everything. But, I can only take one.” They both looked at each other. Ashlee smiled and said, “Jaise.” “What?” He asked. I only gave a droll look. She slapped him on the back of the head. “You are going, you dolt.” She hissed. “Why me? You’re his girlfriend!” He said. I swear to watch this was watching an old married couple. “Um, guys. Before my great grandchildren are in college.” They both gave me a sharp look. “Who the hell are you having kids with?” Ashlee demanded. “No one if someone doesn’t help figure this out soon.” I quipped. Jaise laughed.

“Well, he definitely knows how to get someone’s attention.” Ashlee grinned. “Yeah, Jaise. You’re going. I know nothing is going to happen and Matt. You’re going to make it up to me when you get back.” She told me. “Are you sure?” Jaise and I asked at the same time. “Yeah, I am. You two need some quality time. You haven’t had a lot of bonding time lately. So, I’m giving you the chance to do that. Don’t make me beat the fuck out of both of you for squandering it.” She warned.

I bowed and said, “Yes, ma’am.” She gave me a playful glare. “Oh, you’re going to pay,” She said warmly. “I can’t wait,” I said smirking. Jaise just gave me a grossed out stare. “This is why I’m single,” He replied. “Oh, shut up!” Ashlee and I shouted at him. Then we all burst out laughing. Once we were able to calm ourselves, I asked, “So, I tell them that Jaise is going?” They both nodded. “Alright, and I’ll definitely make it up to you later, once I get some things worked out. There’s a lot going on and it’s not going to be simple for me to get over what happened. But, I’m going to try.” I told them. “We understand.” Jaise told me. I smiled awkwardly and said, “Alright. We should be there soon.” I told them. Ashlee nodded and then clicked the disconnect button.

I sighed and walked out of the tent. “So, have you chosen someone?” Tyler asked. “Yeah. My cousin is coming.” I said. “Not your girlfriend?” He asked in shock. “No, she kind of made the choice for us. She made us choose him, but she said I’ll have to make it up to her later with a sadistic wink. So, who knows what I’m in for later?” I said uncertainly. He laughed. “Oh, trust me when I say that when a girl says something like that. The guy doesn’t regret it.” I tensed. “Sex?” I asked scared. He gave me a confused look. “Sometimes, but not always.” He studied me for a moment but didn’t say anything. I could hear the chopper off into the distance.

It then came into view with blinding lights. It was huge! When it landed, we all began walking towards it and then climbed in. After everyone was in, we got airborne again and went towards the school. We landed in a far corner of the courtyard and I saw two people jogging over to us, and when they got closer, I noticed Jaise with a duffel bag and Ashlee. He was simply dressed in a black shirt, jeans, and brown sneakers. Ashlee wore a knee-length leather skirt and a yellow tank top, with yellow high heeled shoes. She embraced me tightly and gave me a long kiss.

When she let go, she gave me a concerned look. “Are you okay?” She asked. “Yeah, I’m just trying to figure things out.” I said and I couldn’t meet her eyes. “Matt, what did they do to you? We tried everything to go to you. But, they stopped us at everything. There was nothing-.” She tried, but I just nodded. “I know. It’s fine. I just need time.” I told her. “O-okay.” She stammered. “Matt, are you sure you want me to go? Ashlee?” Jaise asked us. “Yes, go. You two need to work things out. And you’ve been together from beginning to end.” She said.

We both nodded and I couldn’t meet his eyes either. I gave Ashlee a kiss goodbye and Jaise and I walked back to the helicopter. We climbed in and it started up and took off. I curled up on the seat and leaned my head against the seat and passed out. The dream I had been crazy. I saw a dark purple tinted castle and then a high webbed fence surrounding it.

The bright green grass swayed in a gentle nice warm breeze. “Matt, I want to say I’m terribly sorry for what happened to you. We didn’t know what you went through or what was happening until the second the council brought you out of the dungeons.” I turned to see Zolem and a middle-aged woman with curly brown hair wearing a dark pink set of robes carrying a staff made out of bone, with a pink gemstone on it. The staff looked like they twisted the bones around and reformed and she held it loosely at her side. “Harkel,” I said. “We couldn’t see you. We tried to find you and we couldn’t hear you either.” She said sadly. I turned back to Zolem. “I can’t ask you guys to protect me all the time,” I said to them.

“You’re not. We vowed to. So, whenever you needed help, it was our responsibility to make sure you weren’t harmed. We failed. This isn’t on you.” She told me. “But, if you couldn’t see anything happening, you can’t know if I’m in trouble.” I countered. “But, that right there is a sign that something is wrong. We have the power to scry you. But, after you were accused of stealing, everything went dark. And once you emerged from the dungeons things became clear.

We saw what you went through in your mind and we saw the pain in there. You doubt our power and the good in us. You doubt if you’re meant to be one of us. And you doubt your role.” Harkel said to me. “I don’t doubt anything. I just think I’m going to change my mind.” I said. “Is this really what you want?” Zolem asked me. “I don’t know what I want! I’m so confused on everything! I just need some time. I need some place where I’m not going to be killed or people aren’t going to torture me and starve me in a freezing hole in the ground!” I said on the verge of hysterics.

They both glanced at each other. “Matt, I swear. You’re going to be safe from here on out. Where are you going? Well, the place looks out for each other. They have security who patrol the sea and air. They also have a secret lab where vampires assist them. The air force? Isn’t just government controlled and there no companies to provide fuel? It’s powered by a lightning generator.” Zolem said. “It’s a vampire island!?” I demanded. “No, no! It just has some vampires there. Only a few. Security. Humans would use the term nomads.

I guess vampires would as well?” He asked his mother. She nodded. “Nomads?” I asked skeptically. “Yeah, those who aren’t with the others. Freelancers you could say.” Harkel told me. “So, they don’t care about the rules from the school or the Ferol. They fight and protect those who are on the island and come to the island. You’re in good hands. They have lived a long, long time because they haven’t been caught up in the war. They try to stay out of it, but they hate it when their island is threatened and the people on it.” Zolem told me. “What do they do for blood?” I asked.

“Oh, the humans give a little bit extra at the blood banks for them. They all see it as the least they can do. The nomads better their lives. Protect them and provide, fire, electricity, water and food. So, they honor them by returning the favor.” Harkel explained. “It seems great. Magical powered? It would save them a lot of money on all the things that are needed.” I admitted.

“Oh, it’s been great. The nomads even taught the human doctors on medicine and proper medical practices and its way cheaper than going to school and all that which ended up allowing the doctors to focus more time on the people instead of paying back loans. So, they have the greatest care in the world and the prices aren’t ridiculous. Nauru is almost becoming a part of America. America has seen how successful the country is. But, the people are fighting it. Why would they want to join America when all they are going to do is ruin their way of life?” Zolem commented. “I wouldn’t want to either,” I said. He smiled and Harkel nodded.

“So, am I on the other side? Or what’s going on here?” I asked. Zolem laughed and it sounded like musical and mystical echoing around me. “No, you’re not in a realm of spirits or anything that’s dead. I created my own plane in your dreams, which I apologize for invading without your consent. But, I needed to talk to you about everything. And say that I’m deeply sorry for everything.” Harkel glanced away for a second before saying,

“We both are sorry. I brought you under my protection and failed you. But, I would like you to know this. Don’t turn your back on us. We want the world saved and we want you to join us. But, if you don’t, and that’s your right, the world is going to burn.” I glanced at them without emotion. “Burn?” I asked. “The evil forces that are gathering and we don’t know all the details yet will consume the world. Enslave and kill the humans and destroy everything that’s still good. The Marquo will have to either die or become Ferol against everything they’ve chosen to be good.”

“Why would it matter if I’m not there?” I demanded. Zolem gave me a sad smile. “Well, you’re the last hope that we have. Your kind and pure heart will be the only thing that guarantee’s the safety of everyone. Yet, we can’t protect everyone. That much is true. But, you would be the reason why the world doesn’t fall. However, if you choose to not join, then we can still guarantee your safety. We wouldn’t hold it against you. We don’t physically exist on this plane. So, whether it falls or not, wouldn’t matter. You would join us with your soul and would have immortality of a different kind that being a vampire. You would be able to choose someone to take your destined power and strength, but it won’t be as effective as if you had taken it.” He told me.

I knew there had to be a catch and what he said confirmed that suspicion? “However, the world will have less of a chance. Destiny can’t be fought too severely and since you’re the one who’s supposed to gain these powers, well, the world won’t hold up without you. The thing about the choice, though, is that you can mentally live in our world. It just won’t be the same.” I turned away in shock and closed my eyes. “But, I wouldn’t have a body anymore,” I said quietly. “No, but you wouldn’t be able to get banished or destroyed. Only a god would be able to destroy you, and they would have to find you first.” Harkel said. “Also, you’d be able to have a couple small dimensions hidden far away that they wouldn’t know about, so you could make that one your main one and build in power again,” Zolem explained.

I sighed heavily and turned back to them. “I can’t do that. I wouldn’t be happy with my existence if I just left like that. I don’t know if I’m willing to do everything you expect of me or if I’m willing to help them out. But, I can’t leave the others this way. I still have some choices to make. But, I don’t want to just leave my friends and girlfriend high and dry while they have fought so hard and risked their own lives trying to protect me. What kind of gratitude is that?” I demanded. Instead of being angry, they only smiled. That took me back a step.

“Why are you smiling?” I asked. “That’s the answer we expected you to say,” He said. “It is?” I wondered. “Yes, we hoped you wouldn’t want to condemn innocent people or those you care about. We hoped you were the person we thought you to be. So, we’re glad we chose the right person.” Harkel said happily. “Are you sure I’m the right one?” I asked. “Yes, Matt. We know you are.” Zolem said patiently, but I could tell he was getting slightly annoyed with this doubt.

“But, what about Jason? He seems far more powerful than I could ever hope to be since he’s been around so long. I am not trying to sound like I won’t fight and won’t help. But, why not choose someone who’s already powerful and strong?” I asked. “Well, that’s a good question. But, he doesn’t have the heart or desire. Yes, he’ll play an important role. But, he isn’t the champion. You are. You won’t be alone, though.” He told me. “No, that’s where you’re wrong. In some choices, I will be alone. I can’t rely on everyone to choose for me. Ultimately, it will have to be me!” I said.

“Yes, but you’ll have people helping you. You won’t be completely alone. You’ll have people to fall back on and ask for support.” I nodded. “But, only if you choose that path. You will have a week to get everything in place and to think about it. You don’t have to choose right away. You and Jaise need to work things out and flinching away from it isn’t going to help. He’s a prideful person. So, it may make him mad because he’s hurt. And you don’t want to push Ashlee away since she’s going to be your greatest emotional support in the coming trials.”

I nodded and then everything fizzled out of focus and I woke up with Jaise leaning against the window in the helicopter. He turned when I moved. “Hey,” He said to me. I looked him in the eye and smiled. “Hey, where are we?” I asked with a yawn. He laughed and said, “we are somewhere over the pacific. I don’t know fully where. But, they told me a little bit ago that we are almost there.” Tyler was sleeping against the window opposite from me.

Max was looking out the window and looked so focused, but said, “It won’t be long now. Maybe fifteen more minutes?” The pilot confirmed her time frame. “Well, that’s good. I’m starting to cramp up.” Jaise said. “These long trips always cramp my style,” Tyler said stretching and groaning. I chuckled. “How long was I out?” I wondered. “I think twelve hours?” Jaise suggested. “Holy mother of gods!” I said. They all burst out laughing. “Well, that’s a hell of a start to….six in the morning.” Tyler said and laughed as he checked his phone.

“It’s only six in the morning and it’s this bright?” I asked. “Yep. Better get used to it.” Max said. “Mornings never bothered me. I was always an early riser.” I told them. “Hell to that! I am a night owl.” Jaise complained, but it was in good humor. It wasn’t long before the island came into view and then another ten minutes and we were descending. Once we landed, we all scrambled out of the helicopter and it then took off. “Doesn’t it need to refuel?” I asked.

“No, it has a large tank. It will fuel back up when it gets back to the school.” Tyler said to me. I nodded and then I saw a restroom. “I’ll be right back,” I told them and beelined for it. Jaise appeared in front of me at the door. “So, you humans have it so hard,” He said when I made it to the door. “Why’s that?” I asked giving him a hard stare. “It’s not like we don’t pee the same. We pull it out, pee, and give it a few shakes.” I said and pushed open the door.

“True, but you have to walk all the way to the bathroom no matter what,” He said with a smirk. I just rolled my eyes. “Are you going to watch me go?” I demanded. “No, I have to go to,” He said. And we walked to different urinals and went. I felt so much better after that and after I was done, I zipped myself up and washed my hands. “So, you’re really thorough with hygiene?” He asked. “I try to be,” I said. He washed his hands after me and then we left. Max was standing there and when Jaise and I made it back to the group, Conner and Tyler walked into the bathroom. “Do you need to go?” I asked her and blushed when she gave me a blank stare. “No, but thanks for the relief opportunity. She said. “I’m sorry,” I told her. “For what?” She asked confused.

“He thinks that’s rude of him to ask someone and he doesn’t know why he said it.” Jaise explained to her. She laughed and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll let you know if you overstep your boundaries.” She promised. “And while you two were gone, I went,” She said giving me a wink. I grinned. “Where did you find these people? I like them.” Jaise said beaming. I laughed. “Talk to the vampire council,” I told him. The others joined us then and we walked towards the large fence with two older looking women standing in a security uniform. Both had a diamond blue streak in their hair. They smiled at us and gave Jaise an even friendlier greeting, but I can’t say why, though. As far as I could tell, they shouldn’t know each other. “Do you all have a visa?” The woman on the right asked.

“Um, no,” They both frowned, “But, we do have this.” Tyler said and pulled out something from his pocket. It looked like one of those pages in a flip over the case you see on crime shows. Once they saw it, though, they all tensed. “Where is the council?” The one on the left wondered. “They had business to take care of. But, they wanted to mention that they called earlier about allowing their guard in with one named Matthew Jones and a guest?”

Both guards gave each other a glance. The one on the right ran her fingers through her thin blond hair and walked into the guard station she was next to and came back out with a tablet. She scrolled through it and came up with a glare. “We don’t have a report of anyone under that name. The council gave you permission. But, no one else.” The red head on the left rushed to get her tablet and came back with a shocked look on her face. “We may have something here.” I paled at those words. “The council sent a report to captain O’hanna’s email and there’s a picture of him,” she said pointing at me, “With the name Craig Martins.” I blinked. Tyler glanced at me and then back at them.

He called the council again and they hissed over the phone. They didn’t give him the information. “Shit!” I heard Sally scream and after a minute, Tyler handed the red haired guard the phone. “Yes, ma’am?” She looked right at me and nodded solemnly. “Yes, ma’am,” She replied then hung up the phone. “So, Matt. You’re all allowed to pass. I’m to give this report to the captain so she knows the council sent you.” I smiled shyly and Jaise rested a hand on my shoulder and we walked into the island.

“Why is there a giant fence around the entire island?” I asked. “Security. They built beams into the water that’s water resistant and made the fence over the ocean to protect the people who are here. But, they don’t limit freedom. You can swim outside of the fence and under it if you so choose. But, if you are hurt or attacked outside of the fence, then the security is under no fault of what happens. So, only explorers go beyond the fence. “How much area from the beach to the fence?” I asked. “I think it was reported at five miles?” Jaise asked.

“I think it was reported at six miles,” Conner told him. “All around?” I asked shocked. “Yeah. Equally measured around the entire area.” Max explained. Another team is going to be arriving in a couple days. But, only as a precaution. We don’t want this to become a farce, but we don’t want to leave any options open for the enemy.” Tyler told us. “So, what? Someone must be with Matt at all times?” Tyler nodded. He needs to be kept safe.” I frowned.

“You mean babysat,” I said coldly. “No, of course not! I don’t plan on babying you.” Tyler told me. “Well, it just feels that way.” I said and took in a deep breath. “No, I assure you, that’s not the case. But, we can’t be completely sure what to expect on this island. We know it is supposed to be safe. But, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be.” Conner told me. “Well, anyways. Who’s going with who?” Tyler asked. “What do you mean?” I asked. “We all don’t need to be everywhere together. Why don’t we split up into two groups?”

“You’re the boss,” Max told Tyler. He rolled his eyes. “Sir, I would like to go with Jaise and Matt first,” Conner said. Tyler laughed. “Since when do you call me sir?” Conner shrugged. We all had a good chuckle. “Okay, I’m going to go check us all in. Jaise, and Matt? Are you two going to want a room?” Jaise and I looked at each other. “Yeah, but with two bed preferably,” I said.

Jaise wrapped his arm around my shoulder and asked, “Aw, two beds? What’s the matter? You don’t love me anymore?” He asked in a voice filled with mock hurt. “Oh, Jaise. Come on now. You know I do. But, I just don’t think our relationship is going to work out!” I said with a playful cold tone and with a smile. Then I heard a clicking sound. We both turned with mock surprise with Max holding a camera.

“Oh, I couldn’t let that one go!” She said. “Where’d the camera come from?” Conner asked. “Never underestimate a woman and her resourcefulness,” I told him. Tyler and Jaise burst out laughing and Max gave Conner a smirk and a wink. “Alright, alright. Max, let’s go.” Tyler said grinning. “What about us?” I asked. “Conner has money for anything you want to do. There’s a movie, dinners, diving. Oh, and for the V.I.P’s, there’s even an underground park.” Tyler said with a wink.

“Want to go to that?” He asked happily. I was nervous about that. “What’s the place made out of?” I asked. One hundred percent concrete. The wall has a hologram set up of the surrounding ocean, that’s in real time. But, there’s no glass so it’s completely safe.” He beamed. “Works for me.” I said and Jaise nodded. We followed him to the entrance and a large man stopped us. “You have reservations?” Conner held up the badge and pointed at the two of us.

The large man nodded and let us pass. “Does that get you into anywhere?” I wondered. “Almost. I couldn’t go into the white house. But, I hear Alayne entered there once.” He told me. “Who’s that?” I asked. She’s the council of water.” Jaise asked, “Are we going to meet all the council members at some point?” Conner smiled. “Well, Matt has already met four of them.” Jaise stared at me in shock. “They were really nice. I was actually surprised and glad by that.” I told him. “Yeah, but the others are kind of hard asses,” He admitted to us. “Are they complete douches?” I asked.

“No, not really. They just aren’t warm like the four you met. They, I guess they would be called reserved and not talkative. But, they are all in agreement. They need the humans as much as we need them. But, we have all those movies and books about evil vampires and we’re afraid of what will happen. And the council is afraid of what will happen when the humans who don’t know vampires exist find out that they are among them. I think it would be a full on war. A war we don’t want to have to fight. Who knows what kind of damage it will cause?” He said. I nodded.

We finally made it to the bottom and we walked along the far wall and I saw the wall and the ocean on the wall. Lights showed out so we could see what was happening. Not too many people were here. Different types of ocean life swam by. Huge schools of fish, and even a shark. I still don’t know what happened back on the island. What made the animals go psycho? I wanted to know. Was it Jason? Did he use some magic on them and control them? “You guys want to take a small sub down and go out swimming with the wildlife?” Conner asked with a gleam in his eyes.

I gave Jaise a quick look. He looked a little apprehensive, but he nodded. He seemed to like these soldiers, but he still didn’t know if he could trust them. And we would be putting ourselves in a place where he would be able to get away, but I would be the one who might be in trouble. We walked over to the small gate and the attendant was half asleep, but woke right up when we approached. “Three going down?” He asked. “Yeah.” Jaise said. “Oh, well the sub can only fit two besides the driver.”

“You two go,” Conner told us. “You sure?” I asked. “Yeah. I’ll go with him when you two come back.” He replied. We both nodded and entered the small elevator. We went down a good forty feet. After we stopped, the doors opened to a large underwater docking bay. It kind of reminded me of “Deep Blue Sea,” but not as eerie. “Are you two ready to go down?” The man asked. He seemed normal and with short cropped hair and early thirties with a medium build and dark skin.

He opened up the hatch and descended into the submersible. We followed after him and he closed the hatch and locked it after us. “So, what is on the agenda today?” He asked. “We aren’t sure,” I admitted. He smiled. “Well, we can take photos for you to take home. We can also go diving and we can explore the ground for treasure. Not too many people come down here and rumor has it that the ocean floor is covered in ancient jewelry of forgotten societies.”

That sounded promising for something fun to do, even if it didn’t pan out. “Let’s do that,” I said. He nodded. “Alright, hold on,” He told us. He unlatched the fuel line and closed it. Then he started up the sub and pushed the throttle down. We slowly started to go down deeper into the ocean. A red light began to flash over the door, but no alarm went off. “What’s up with that?” Jaise asked. “It’s standard. It happens every time. The light is just a warning icon to be ready at a moment’s notice.” The driver explained. We both nodded and stepped away from the door.

He noticed and laughed. “You don’t have to be nervous. We’re completely safe.” “Forgive us. We’ve heard that before.” Jaise told him. He nodded and we went even further down. Through the windshield, I could see the ocean floor and it looked like golden specs. I saw coral reefs and they looked like they were glowing and fish darted in and out. The driver stopped the sub and he pushed a button. I noticed we just kind of hovered in place. “By the way. I’m Sam.” He said. Sam walked to the back and opened a compartment in the wall.

Three diving suits were hanging there and he grabbed one. He started to pull it on when he said, “You two can either get dressed or wait here.” We walked over and grabbed a suit. The suits were bright blue with black stripes and the helmet seemed to be state of the art with LED lights. Once we activated the air flow, we walked into a small room and Sam closed the inner door hatch. Water started pouring in and I thought that it would start to get cold. But, the suit kept me warm.

It acted as a heat barrier, trapping most of the body heat and expelling some as well so it didn’t get too hot within the suit. Once the water reached the top, the outer door opened and we swam out. I heard Sam say over the radio, “Anywhere you want to start, please go at it.” I swam to the front of the sub and about twenty feet away. I turned up the light intensity and I saw something huge in the sand. “Hey, I see something, I’m going to check it out.” I started moving towards it when Jaise said, “Wait.” Sam chuckled, “You don’t have to worry. He’s still on the fence. There’s nothing that is in here that can hurt him.”

“You’d be surprised what someone or something will do to hurt him.” Jaise said dryly. “Jaise, don’t worry. I won’t go too close. If I can enter it, I’ll let you know.” I told him. He seemed content with that. I made it close and I saw that it was the bridge of a wooden ship. I swam towards it and looked around. I noticed something jammed under fallen debris and next to the doorframe. I swam up to it and lifted it off. It wasn’t very heavy to my surprise. I then checked the chest and clicked the latch on it.

It wasn’t locked and when I opened it up, I saw…weapons?! How was that possible!? The chest is bigger on the inside than the outside! I looked at my wrist and saw a set of buttons that said, “Microphone one” and “Microphone two” and it there was a switch where I could only have one activated. “Jaise, would you please come over here?” I asked. He replied, “On my way.” It was only a few minutes later when he showed up. I saw on his helmet that his suit was number two on it. I clicked the only use button and the number two. “Sam, can you hear me?” I asked. Jaise gave me a weird look. “I can hear you, though,” He replied. Sam never replied.

“Well, that’s what I wanted. I just wanted to make sure that he couldn’t hear me.” “Why what’s up?” He asked. I opened the chest again and he whistled when he looked inside. “What kind of weapons are those?” He asked. “I don’t know. But, they don’t seem to be affected by the time they’ve been down here and they don’t seem worn out by the water.” I commented. He glanced back at where Sam was swimming around. “We need to head back now. But, we have to make a time to come back and collect this.” He told me. “Yeah, but we have to hide this now,” I stated. He closed the lid and then grabbed one side of the chest. He tried to lift it and grunted and strained against it. I swam to his side and helped pull.

Together, we were barely able to yank it down the doorway and drag it into a corner and covered it with weeds, and debris that fell on the next level of the ship. “We need to turn on the two-way communication so he doesn’t get suspicious.” Jaise said told me. I agreed and clicked the one-way switch again. Sam was whistling something through the microphone.

Jaise nodded towards him and gave me a quick sign. Jaise thought he knew what we found, so he’s trying to act inconspicuous. And that was really suspicious. I nodded and we swam back to where Sam was digging. I don’t know how much time passed, but when we made it back to the sub, Sam said, “Well, there you are!” He said a little too happily. “Yeah, we saw a chunk of rotting ship, but there was nothing there,” I told him. I couldn’t outright lie, but I couldn’t fully tell him everything until I knew if he could be trusted and what he knew. I saw that Jaise felt the same.

“How much oxygen do we have left?” I asked. “Only five minutes or so. I’ve been trying to let you know. I noticed that the team didn’t refill the supply. But, we have enough to get back in the sub now.” Jaise tensed and I smiled. “Alright.” Sam swam over and we all got into the sub. He closed the door and the water started to pump out of the room and once all the water was drained, the inner doors opened and we started to take off the suit.

We closed the air pump and then hung up the suits where found them. “So, did any of you find anything out there?” Sam asked. “No, nothing really. I think I found some old necklaces and such. But, the chains looked rusted and nothing looked of value.” I admitted. Sam took the sub back up and we climbed out of the vehicle. “Are you guys planning on going back down at some point? We have another submersible.” He said pointing. “We don’t normally use it. But, it’s the same model of this and I came from that one before went down. The air tanks are full and I’ll have the staff refill these.” He told us.

“Actually, yes. We had a friend who wanted to go down with him.” Jaise told him. “Well, that’s not a problem. Go get him and come back down.” Sam told us. We went to the elevator. And rode up. “What do you think?” Jaise asked me. “We’ll talk about it at the hotel,” I told him. Jaise agreed. We stopped at the top floor and Conner was pacing. “So, how did it go?” He asked when he saw us.

“Oh, it wasn’t actually bad,” I told him. “It’s your turn.” Jaise said and clasped him on the shoulder. Conner nodded. “So, I get the feeling you don’t trust us much,” He told Jaise. “Is that true?” He gave Conner a pained smile. “It isn’t that I don’t trust you guys. I just don’t really know you. It’s not personal. You wouldn’t open up to a complete stranger would you?” He countered. “No, but give us some time and let us prove to you that we are on your side,” Conner told us. “But, what members of the council do you serve one hundred percent?” I asked. Conner gave me a reassuring smile. “You don’t have to worry. Which member of the council do you think you can trust completely?” He asked.

“I would like to trust Zeke and Sally. They seem like they are most powerful, honest and would be on our side.” I told them. “Well, you seem to read people very well. They are two of the most open about everything. They don’t judge humans or vampires on anything. Religion, sexual preference, orientation, and they are open-minded.” I smiled and nodded. “Well, you two have fun.” Jaise smiled. Conner and I went into the lift and took the ride down to the docking bay.

Sam was waiting for us and he walked us over to the other sub. “I have the workers refilling the air tanks on the other suits as we speak. I glanced at the vehicle and I saw a boy about my age climbing out carrying two tanks of air on his back. He saw me and smiled and waved. I waved back and then Conner and I climbed down the ladder for the second sub. “Are you wanting to go to a different area or the same one and try again?” Sam asked. Conner gave me the choice. “Well, since I didn’t really find anything in the one area, how about we go somewhere new,” I suggested.

“You got it!” He said. If he knew what we found, he wasn’t broken up about the switch. Or maybe he knows about the chest, but doesn’t know what he found? There were so many questions that needed to be answered. But, there wasn’t any information for me to figure it out. What was the full motive of trying to kill me besides fear? What’s the purpose of magical weapons under the ocean? And what else is down here that people either want to keep hidden or want others to find? I’m not sure what was going on, but I do feel like something is leading us to these spots.

Someone wants me to find these weapons and these items, but why? Conner and I took the ride down in silence. He stopped the sub and led us to the airlock and we grabbed a diving suit and they looked smaller. “Um, these we are going to have to take off our clothes,” Sam said. My felt my face heat up. “All of them?” I asked. Conner gave me a steady look. “No, you can keep your underwear on. But, your jeans and shirts need to be taken off.” Sam told me. Conner didn’t seem to mind. He stripped off all his armor and his clothes.

He looked slimmer without the clothes and I didn’t nearly feel as bodily conscience at that moment. “Matt, are you really that nervous on how your body looks?” Conner asked me. I didn’t answer. I didn’t know how to answer. I just took off my clothes and pushed them into the locker. Conner was giving me a weird look. “What?” I asked him self-consciously. “N-nothing.” He stammered. Sam didn’t hear him stammer. “Conne,r are you…?” I started and he flushed and snapped,

“No!” He turned away from me and finished putting on the suit. I did the same and I wanted to talk to him, but, I didn’t push it. We walked into the airlock and before we put on our suits, Sam said, “I want you to check your oxygen gauge every once in a while by looking at this.” He said and showed me a small gauge where it showed the oxygen level and it was at one hundred percent. “Keep checking this every once in a while, but you should be fine.” We got our helmets readied and the inner doors closed. Water started to fill up around us and we activated our radios.

“So, we are close to the fence, but just be careful out there. There’re a lot of sharp objects and I wouldn’t want either of you to have any accidents. The suit is made to withstand damage. However, it will rip, so just make sure you’re careful.” He said and then the water got above our heads and we turned the valve to start the oxygen flow. Once the water reached the top, the outer doors opened and we swam out. I clicked on the lights on the helmet. It spread out and it lit up a big area. “I’m going to just swim around for a little bit and try to see if I can find something,” I told them.

“Okay, but be careful. Call if you help with anything. Don’t try to lift anything too heavy.” Conner told me, but he sounded a little stiff. I think he was afraid to admit what he was. There’s nothing wrong with it, though, but people these days are still scared to admit what they are. I searched close to the ground and I could barely see the sub and the others. I lost sight of everyone, but I came to the fence and I saw something thin and bulky stretching out away from the fence.

I checked the gauge and I was in good shape. I swam over to the object I saw and noticed that it was a submarine. I swam to the top and saw that a hatch was open. I entered and closed the hatch and locked it. I don’t know why. But, something seemed to drive me to do it. Then something strange happened. I heard the hum of motor and lights flashed all around me. I clicked off the helmet lights and I blinked trying to see clearly. My eyes focused on the light and I saw that the water level in space I was in was being pumped out. Once the water was gone, a hatch in front of me slid in and opened up a passageway. I stepped out and the door closed behind me. “Attention passenger. You may remove your air suit. Oxygen is supplied to you.” I heard a male voice say over the intercom.

I saw a row of lockers on the side of the hall and I closed the valve and slowly removed the helmet. I took a breath of air and found that the air was breathable. Interesting. I took off the suit and put them in the locker and started to shiver. “I really shouldn’t be doing this!” I stated. “If you’re cold, I’ll turn up the heat.” The computer said. “How about some clothes?” I suggested. “Clothing will be brought to you in the command room. Just follow the passageway to the end and climb the ladder all the way to the top. Then follow the passage to the end going to the right.” The computer told me.

I did what it told me. Everything inside me was screaming at me to run. But, for some reason, I couldn’t. I kept walking and followed the ladder. I climbed it to the top and followed the hall to the right. I came to a huge door that slid up and I entered a large room with computers, monitors and chairs at desks. I was on the top deck in the area and there, pushed up to the large desk in the middle, was a giant cushioned chair. “What is this place?” I asked.

“I am Nexus. I run everything. I’m here to help you and to get you everything you need.” Nexus told me. “Why me?” I asked him. “I’ve been told to wait for someone to find me. It was said to be a young man with a pure heart, soul, and body.” Then a holographic image appeared in front of me. “Hi, I’m Nexus,” He told me and smiled. He barely looked to be twenty. His long blond hair was pulled back into a tight and neat ponytail. He has bright diamond blue eyes and a nice smile. He appeared to be very muscular, but slim looking. He chose a pair of black sneakers, designer jeans, a sleeveless shirt, and a short sleeved dark purple flannel shirt that remained unbuttoned.

He crossed his arms and I said, “I’m sorry. But, this is a little weird to me. Technology like this just doesn’t exist.” He smiled then. “It doesn’t exist on this planet. But, I’m not from here. The ancient vampires have brought me here to wait for the special someone to find me. Thousands of years have passed and no one has ever been able to find me. I have seen people swim around me. But, you’re the only one to come inside.” He told me.

“The only thing I don’t understand is why I am so special and why I have been chosen for some serious powers and why they think I’m good enough for this future role,” I said. “I don’t honestly know why you have been chosen. But, I do know that you’re capable of handling this. I know you’re able to complete this mission. And I do know you’re stronger than you think you are. So, all I have to say is that you’re going to be needing to be patient and ready for a cold hard truth at some point and you’re going to be great. But, you’ll know the truth at some point. You’ll be told by them and I’ll explain so much when you’ve joined the vampire world. But, you just have to be patient.”

He told me. I nodded and I couldn’t fully comprehend why I was more important or more special than someone else. I guess I could only believe that I was or try to. And I had to try to understand why I was chosen, but I couldn’t think of anything to say or understand. So, I asked the only thing I could with what I was and wasn’t being told about everything. I just wish someone was more open about my destiny and future. Well, let’s hope to Fate not being completely off their rockers and actually knowing what they are doing! I don’t want to be held accountable by all the immortals who remain for destroying this godforsaken planet and being the reason why it crashed and burned because I wasn’t as strong as some powerful being predicted I’d be.

“Why me, though?” I demanded. “You obviously have a special destiny. You have an inner strength about you. Oh, and here come your clothes.” Nexus told me. The door opened and Nexus appeared in physical form. He wore the same clothes as his hologram and handed me a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a long black shirt. I quickly dressed and Nexus told me, “I’ll turn down the heat a little bit.” It dawned on me that I wasn’t shivering. “I didn’t even realize that you had it on,” I admitted.

He only smiled. “It’s okay. Your comfort is my only concern. It’s nice to have someone to talk to. I’ve been talking to only myself for a while. Usually, I just keep all systems on standby. I only turn them on to repair the systems and update them.” He said and then the android said, “But, it’s not your fault. We would have waited another ten thousand years if need be. We know our orders. But, now that you’re here, our wait is over.” I smiled. “Oh, crap! I need to get back to the others.” I said horrified. “You don’t have worry about them. They are in the submersible now. But, the one you’re friends with won’t let the driver leave without you.” Nexus told me.

“You may get yelled at.” The android admitted. “Are you called Nexus too? Or are you someone else?” I asked him. “I’m not a someone, but you may call me Nex,” He told me. I smiled and said, “Understood. But, now what happens?” I ask. “Now, you go back, get into your suit and go back to your friends. When you complete your transformation, then you’ll know how to find me again and everything I have in store. But, there’s one thing I need to get for you.” Nex said.

“What’s that?” I asked nervously. “I need to know if you found the magical chest with weapons in them. An old crew member betrayed me and stole it. But, we haven’t been able to locate it yet.” He told me. I nodded. “Well, if you can locate it from my mind, go ahead and scan me. But, don’t invade it too bad.” I said. “I promise not to invade your personal memories.” A small floating orb came out and it looked like the small round floating robot that followed the character in ‘Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic: The Sith Lords.’

A glowing greenish yellow beam came out and scanned me for only a nanosecond. “There, thank you. We will retrieve the chest and then once you become a vampire, you will come back me and I’ll explain everything. And admit something that I can’t tell you currently. But, I think and hope that you’ll be happy to hear what I have to say.” He told me with a smile. “I think I will. As long as it’s not you wanting to secretly kill me, and you are going to find some new futuristic way to torture me.” He just blinked and frowned at me.

“Why would I do that?” Nex asked. And then he just studied me. “You’ve been betrayed and hurt so many times haven’t you?” I didn’t say anything. “I see. Well, you don’t have to feel threatened here. Nex here will fight for you and be your personal guard on this vessel. Once you have heard everything I have to say, he’ll be your personal body guard. Don’t underestimate him. He’s more resourceful than he appears.” Nexus explained. “I would head back now. You’re going to be in major trouble.” Nex said.

“Am I going to be beaten or killed?” I wondered. Nex glared and said, “If you’re threatened, they will pay. So, you may just end up grounded or something. Take this.” Nexus said and the beams of light appeared in front of me. Once it formed I held out my hand and it dropped it my hand. “What kind of device is this?” I asked. “It’s a holographic telephone. It can work as a regular one and the hologram one. All you have to say is the regular mode or hologram mode.” I nodded. I looked at it and said, “Regular mode.” I told it. The phone chimed and said, “Regular phone mode activated.”

It changed from looking like crystal to a solid white. “So, it works like a regular phone either way?” I asked. “Yes, but it’s waterproof, fireproof, and basically element proof.” Nexus chuckled. “How does it work with a regular phone?” I wondered. “That’s the beauty of the holographic mode. It will allow you to see the person you want to talk to and you don’t need to program a number into it. It scans the entire computer network and finds the person you want. Also, if you put your finger to the button indicated and imagine the person you want to talk to, it will speed up the process.”

I grinned. “Perfect!” I said. Nexus beamed at that. “Hologram mode,” I said. “Hologram mode activated.” It changed back into the see-through crystal form and I asked, “So, now what?” Nex smirked. “Leave?” I turned to him in shock and he winked. “Oh, right. I need to get back. Thank you all. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” I told them and then raced back to the air hatch. I slipped the phone in my socks and it was so thin that it fit very well. I took off my clothes and then put on the diving suit. I folded the clothes and set them on a bench. “You didn’t have to fold the clothes, Matt.”

I looked at a wall panel and saw Nexus staring at me on a screen. “I know, but I feel like you gave them to me, so I should, at least, put them in a pile. Nex appeared by with a hologram of Nexus there. “He’s a weird person,” Nex said. “I don’t get humans, but he’s definitely unique.” Nexus agreed. I laughed. “Thanks.” I said and I put my helmet on and closed the door. The water started filling up around me and I turned the valve on the oxygen. The water filled to the top and the upper hatch opened up. I swam to the top and out of the submarine.

I went back the same direction I came from and after a good twenty minutes or so, I saw the lights of the submersible. I made it to the airlock and swam in. Instantly the doors started to close and the water started to drain out and after a couple minutes, the water was gone and the inner door opened. I stepped through dripping and I started to take off the suit. “Where the flying hell have you been!?” I took the suit and hung it up. I turned to face Conner. “I’m sorry. I found something that had air in it. I stopped the suit and searched around.” I explained.

“You risked your life without telling me where you were going? Your cousin is going to kill me!” He said with fear in his voice and eyes. “He won’t hurt you. I did this on my own. I turned off my communication. I did this all on my own. If I’m really such an important person. If I’m truly someone who has power and all that crap that people claim me to be, shouldn’t I be able to do things on my own?” I demanded.

“Yes, of course. You’re not a prisoner. But, you don’t have a hand to hand fighting training. You are human and we don’t know what we are truly up against.” He said. “You really doubt me that much? Can’t you just accept the fact that I found something and that I wasn’t in danger? You let me deal with my cousin if it comes to that. I know you’ve told him that I vanished.”

I grabbed my clothes, and as I dressed quickly, he kept snapping. “I don’t care if you will handle him or not. You didn’t tell me what you were doing! If you would have least let me know, then I wouldn’t have worried as much. If you would have just given me a time frame, I could have gone looking for you. Or not have pissed off Jaise.” I sighed.

“I’m sorry. But, you forget. I’m still a teenager foremost. We do tend to act out every once in a while.” He burst out laughing at that. “I do forget that sometimes. I think he does too.” I just crossed my arms. “I just wish you guys would have more trust and faith in me.” I said and walked past him. He didn’t say anything and he didn’t try to stop me. I really don’t understand my overreaction to the situations all the time. I really needed to just work on controlling my temper.

It flared so easily when people got mad at me and really why? The people I am around only wanted to protect me and keep me safe. By doing stuff like this, I was putting myself in danger. But, I wasn’t used to having people genuinely concerned about my safety even after everything that happened. I would have to work on it for the future, though.

I went to the front of the ship and sat down next to Sam. “So, I heard you were trying to leave without me,” I stated simply. “It wasn’t anything personal,” he said, “But, I worried about our oxygen supply.” I just stared at him. “I looked up these types of underwater vehicles. They are able to carry oxygen for up to three days maximum. So, what’s the real reason?” I asked. “What do you mean?” He demanded. Conner was listening in carefully on our conversation. “I mean if you have three days’ worth of oxygen and you wanted to flee. So, what’s the real reason?”

He didn’t say anything. “I’m waiting. I’m young, not stupid.” He just gave me a shrewd look. “Fine, I guess you’re just like the others. Somehow you just want to control me.” I went to walk away and Sam grabbed my arm. “That’s not the reason why I can’t tell you,” He said glancing at Conner. “What? No trust?” I asked. “It’s not that.” He said and then lowered his voice and said, “Look. I know you found the sub and the weapon chest. I know about the history of the vampires and I’m a good supporter of the council and its beliefs.

“You are brought here to see what your destiny is going to be and what it could be. But, only if you wish it. Trust in yourself.” He told me. I nodded. We went back to the surface and climbed out. We went back to the surface where Jaise was waiting for us. He looked to like he was about to snap, and I said, “Don’t even bother. I know what I was doing and even though I didn’t tell anyone, I wasn’t in danger. So, I don’t want to hear anything about irresponsibility and endangerment.”

He just took in a deep breath and stared at me. “I just worry and you don’t have a good track record.” I glared. “So, like I yelled at Conner for; I’m to be punished because people want to kill me? So, in other words, I shouldn’t have been born.” He pushed me into the wall and put his arm against my throat. “That’s not what I was saying and you fucking know it. I am just worried. I don’t blame you for them targeting you. But, that doesn’t mean you can be reckless.”

I just stared at him. “It just feels like you are treating me like a child. I know that I’m human. I’m not as strong or magical as you. I’m not as durable as you. But, that doesn’t mean I’m helpless.” He pushed against my neck a little harder, but not enough to hurt me. “I never claimed you to be. But, I just worry about you. Until you’re a vampire and can fight against them, I worry about your life!” He hissed. “I know that already. But, is it a lack of faith in me? A lack of trust in me? Or is it a lack of trust and faith or either one in others around me?”

He didn’t even waver in his stare. “The latter. I have no lack of faith or trust in you. I just don’t see the others as compassionate as the others around you who will fight and protect.” I grabbed his arm and pushed him off of me. I stepped around him and said, “Be that as it may. Stop treating me like your helpless son who can’t think for themselves.” I said and walked away. Tyler and Max were standing at the entrance. “So, what’s the plan?” He asked seeing me. “I don’t know or care. Just get me away from here.” I told them and Jaise and Conner were just staring at me. “So, what happened down there?” Tyler asked me. “A lot of bickering and emotional baggage and a lot of two people acting as a babysitter when I wasn’t in any danger,” I tell them.

“Yeah, that’s why we are here.” I took in a rough breath. “If you insist on giving me another lecture and snapping at me, then let me save you the bloody time!” I said coldly. “Actually, we want to say that we agree with you. We don’t agree in babying people. We would have agreed with them only in that you should have said you found an old ship or whatever you found and told them you want to check it out. But, you don’t need assistance. But, wanting to check something out and fearing nothing isn’t something to be concerned about. What I’ve heard and seen in you, is that you have a pretty good indication when something is going to end badly. If you didn’t have that fear, then I see no reason for alarm.” Tyler told me.

“ So, minus the not telling them part, you’re not going to give me a lecture?” I asked. “No, but I do think that next time you should, at least, let them know.” I smiled and I could agree with that. “What is there to do now?” I asked. “Well, it’s a little after eight at night. So, how about a club? There’s a good one at the far end of the island and they have awesome music and drinks. I could swing you a couple if you’d like.” Max said winking at me. “We don’t need you corrupting the youth,” Tyler said laughing. I laughed too. “Well, why not the club?”

I suggested. They all smirked and then their phones went off. They both answered. When they hung up, all the good humor was gone. “Damn it!” Tyler swore. “Matt, you wait here. There’s another team who will be here in just a moment. We’ll be right back.” I saw a bench and I went over to it. “I’ll sit right here and wait for you.” They gave me a sad smile. And ran off. I don’t know how much time passed, but I felt someone walking up to me. I glanced up and paled. “Chris?” I asked in shock and fear. He gave me a wicked grin.

“You called Tyler and Max and said they were needed and said another force would be on its way.” I accused. “Guilty. But, you’re not going to be around much longer.” He said. He touched my arm and took me somewhere that I wasn’t in the sight of the island. I landed hard on a hard patch of sand and gravel surrounded by a thick cluster of trees. “You think that you’re going to make it become a vampire? I won’t allow it!” I stood up and dusted myself off. He blasted me with wind magic and used it to slam me against a tree.

“So, why do you get to have all the fun?” I heard a familiar voice say. I turned to see Shaline walking towards me and she was accompanied by two knights and a sorceress statue. “I thought you were on our side!” I screamed. She snapped her fingers and threads of black threads came and leeched themselves onto my arms and chest. The pain was excruciating. I screamed and flailed around on the ground. Chris used air magic on me and I felt myself suffocating and choking. Through the tears and the dizzy vision, I saw blood leak onto the ground, soaking the sand.

I rolled onto my side, trying to claw at my throat to try to breathe. “I think it’s time to end this child,” Shaline said. I gasped and choked and I tried to crawl away, but someone picked me up and slammed me against the tree. I forced myself to focus and I saw a man in his early thirties with a yellow streak in his chocolate brown hair and his eyes glowed like a topaz. He was large and had to be over seven feet and built like a tank. “Ah, is this is the young man who is supposed to be some powerful vampire one day?” He asked.

“Yes, Ryal,” Shaline said. “It would be a shame for his death. But, I don’t think the council knows what they are doing at that school. I personally think they are doing the wrong thing. We shouldn’t be trying to change anything. We should be enforcing what they are doing. Humans don’t belong there. The only thing humans are good for is food. However, if two vampires have a child and its human. That child should have the potential to become a vampire. But, a mortal on the street? No, he or she should not be allowed and if so, they should die!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be the good guy?! I heard the entire council was supporters of the human vampire supporting act!” I shrieked. He laughed maniacally. “You were told a lie, or at least misinformed,” He told me. I glared at him through the pain. Blood pooled up around me. A few other vampires appeared around me. I saw Brandon and Jolene. “You helped me! What about that big speech!?” I shouted at Jolene. “That speech was a load of crap. I never cared for the human’s. I wished them all to be enslaved.” She hissed at me. I just glared at her.

The pain was starting to make me pass out. A few more vampires appeared all around me. They kicked and punched me. They used fire, water, lightning, and shadow magic on me. Thick sharp and pointed vines encased me and started to squeeze me while the blood from the wounds pouring out. I felt myself slipping in and out of consciousness. “You die now,” Shaline said. Jolene gave me a hard kick to the chest and I went flying towards the water. I landed hard on the beach and I felt the water move around my legs and waist.

I slowly pushed myself up on shaky arms. Everything was fizzling in and out. I saw them walking towards me and then four people appeared in front of me and my attackers paused. I don’t know what made them pause, but I don’t know if I was glad or not. I couldn’t think of anything but the pain. I was promised to be safe. I was promised to be protected. I was told that I would have a security team around me. I guess my stunt under the ocean wasn’t the wisest thing to do now.

But, I never felt in danger down there. Now? My life was in danger and I don’t know if I was going to pull through this time. “Ryal. What happened to you? You promised to uphold our beliefs and ideals. You agreed with what I asked at the meetings, and vouched for me on what I proposed! Now, you go against us and try to kill him?!” I heard Marty ask. “I and the other council members don’t think your mission is a sound one. After you left we felt like you were letting emotion cloud your judgment. Now, you protect a mere pathetic human. What is one human compared to the life of a vampire!?”

“Of course, they are. Humans become us. Without them, we wouldn’t have a good food supply, and our numbers would continuously dwindle. But, if you insist on enslaving them, how would we keep from going extinct?” Sally said. My vision cleared for a moment and I saw the four people in front of me. One was all in black. Jeans, boots, gloves, long sleeved shirt and wearing a black velvet trench coat and the hood covered his face, but I knew who it was.

A male in the same style of clothes, but in red stood next to Marty. Zeke. Sally stood next to Marty in similar clothes of white. Raemi wore all gray and she was the only one to remove her hood. “Ryal, you don’t think you can win do you?” She asked. “Oh, I think he believes good many things. He also expects the other three council members to support him and four on four will lead to a violent battle.” Sally mentioned. “But, it’s one we don’t want to risk,” Zeke commented.

“Oh, I think we need a good fight among us. It’s been a long time since we had a good fight amongst ourselves.” Ryal glared at them. “I don’t understand this. Why? He’s weak!” Sally and Raemi glanced at me and Zeke and Marty took a step forward. “This isn’t your fight!” A woman in blue with her hood halfway off and I saw that Ryal and this woman both have dark hair and his lightning streak showed up clearly and so did the woman’s dark blue streak. I was told that lighting and water weren’t compatible, so I never understood how Marty and Sally could get along so well.

“Alayne. How did you know to come here?” Zeke asked. “Oh, I have my own ways of keeping informed.” She said and pulled her hood down. I could tell she is Asian. She seemed thin and small. But, capable.” Ryal glared at her. Then the council leaped back. I saw Alayne standing there and I saw a giant set of wings that curved and curled and looked like flowing water. Ryal seemed to pale a bit and then a set of wings appeared on his that zigzagged and Arced and looked like moving lightning bolts.

“I think it’s time to get him out of here. I think it’s time to prove myself and what I offer this council. You all think I’m a joke and that the others are more powerful. But, that’s going to stop now!” She bellowed and steaming water shot out of her outstretched hands. He countered with lightning and it was quite an amazing sight. Water and lightning clashed together causing an aura around us and I could feel the ocean around me and the threat of a lightning storm.

The lightning in the water flashed and looked more intense and brighter and I couldn’t look away. But, then the adrenaline wore off and I gasped in pain. “Get him away from here. The elemental discharge in the air is only going to hurt him further!” Alayne screamed. The magic began to get more intense and Sally touched my arm and teleported me back to the school. I landed gently on a bed and I felt someone touch my shoulder. I flinched away and then saw it was Ashlee.

“What happened to him?!” I heard her ask. “Somehow Tyler and Max were drawn away from him and Chris took their place.” I heard Zeke say coldly. “Marty is collecting the security team now. We don’t know why they left him alone. If anything, one of them should have investigated the situation and the other stayed. “They both received a phone call, and they went two different directions.” I choked out. Sally looked at me and rested a hand on my shoulder. I felt her heal me again and then I was fine again after a couple minutes. “This is seriously getting ridiculous.” Ashlee snapped. “We know, but what more would you have us do? No matter what protection we give him, they seem to always break through.

I think there’s only one way to prevent him from being endangered and almost killed.” Sally said. “By letting, they finish the job?” I suggested. Ashlee lightly whacked me on the back of the head. The council all glared. “No, to change you. We need to turn you into a vampire. One way or the other. Whether you’re some fancy and powerful vampire or a regular one, which there’s nothing wrong with that…. They won’t come after you anymore because you’ll be one of them.”

“Why would I want that, after all, this? Why wouldn’t I just want to be on my own? Away from vampires, witches and everything that wants to kill me?” I demanded. “How come I can’t just have a darn normal life!?” Everyone just glanced at each other. “Matt, if that’s what you really want, then we will arrange it. But, they won’t stop coming after you out of fear.” Zeke said. “I just want this to all stop!” I scream. The vampires pressed all around me.

“Get away from me!” I shout, my voice cracking. “Matt, what’s wrong?” I turned to see Jaise staring at me. I blinked and I felt a wave of panic spread through me. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I should have listened to you. I shouldn’t have gone off alone, and I should have let someone know that I was alone and I should have called Tyler to remain with me.” He said, “We will sort this out soon. But, we need to all meet in a better place than this room.” Sally said. “We do have the throne room that we restored, but we don’t use,” Ashlee mentioned.

“I think that would be perfect,” Zeke said. “Matt, you don’t have to be sorry. You did nothing wrong.” Jaise said coming towards me. “You’re wrong!” I said freaking out. My panic built and built and I started to shake. I felt myself growing very warm and I could feel sweat start to pour down my face. I felt my shirt stick to me and I pushed myself up against the wall. “Why are you so afraid of me?” Jaise asked me. “I disappointed you. Please, don’t hurt me!” I said and dropped against the wall. He looked confused. “I think it’s time someone escorted him to the throne room where we can all sit comfortably and talk about our next move,” Zeke told us. I looked at them all in fear. “Please, I don’t want to suffer anymore,” I said hysterically. Ashlee dropped down next to me and I gasped and looked at her with wide eyes. “I think he’s traumatized.

He’s been targeted and hurt so many times from his past and present that he thinks everything he does is going to get him hurt.” She said and caressed my forehead with her fingers. “Can you blame him?! Look what he’s been through. Damn it. He was supposed to be safe on Nauru. How did they find him?” Jaise wondered. No one had an answer for that. I lightly rocked against the wall and trembled. “Matt, don’t be afraid. You’re not in trouble. You are safe.” Ashlee told me. “What did I do? I keep doing what people ask, and I don’t get in their way. But, every turn and every time, someone is trying to kill me.

Someone is hurting me and making me fear to live.” I said in a high voice. “Matt. Whatever happened to you, it wasn’t your fault. You can’t blame yourself.” Ashlee said. “I do, it is. I did this to me. I caused this pain. If I would have only listened better, and done everything that was asked of me. None of this would have happened to me. We wouldn’t be in this mess!” I said hysterically. “Matt,” Ashlee said with pain in her voice. “I’ll listen from now on. I’ll trust the people around me. I won’t fight. I won’t argue.” I said, rocking.

“I think he’s broken,” Zeke said. “No! Please. I’m sorry. Give me a chance. I just want it to stop!” I screamed out and I could feel tears swell up. “Alright, all of you need to get out of here! I’ll meet you in the room with Matt.” Ashlee ordered. They all stared and gave her a weird look. “You know you don’t give us commands right?” Sally asked calmly. “Please! No fighting. I’m sorry. I’m not worth it!” I shouted. “I don’t think this argument is helping him,” Ashlee said icily. “Come one guy. They’ll join up with us later. I was rocking and shaking. Once they left, Ashlee closed the door and walked back over to me again. She knelt down next to me holding me.

“Matt, what happened to you? Please, look at me.” She said. I did and I could feel the tears falling down my face. “Matt, what is it that you truly fear?” I stared at her through tears. “I messed up. I didn’t listen. I got myself beaten and almost killed. Please, don’t punish me.” She grabbed me and held me tightly. “Matt, you’re not in trouble. You’re not going to be punished. I don’t know why you think we are going to hurt you.” She hugged me and held me tightly.

“I’m sorry, so sorry.” I sobbed into her shirt. “Matt, just relax. You’re safe.” She said. I heard the door crash open and heard, “Is he?” Ashlee glanced up to see Chris staring at us coldly. “Oh, he is safe.” I heard Raemi say. Then a long pointed stake went right through his chest and he screamed. He looked down and I saw her rip the weapon out of his heart. He dropped to the ground, clutching his chest and screamed in pain. “I’ve grown increasingly tired of your antics,” Raemi said.

“We were supposed to be on the same side!” He screamed in agonizing pain. “We were, but you seemed to betray us.” She said and kicked him off to the side. “So, you two okay?” She asked. Ashlee nodded and I couldn’t speak. “I’ll stand guard.” She said and cast a very powerful air storm around us. Not threatening, however. It was a protective shield. I slowly started to feel safer. “Matt, please look at me.” I pulled away from her and stared at her. “I feel so weak. I feel so pathetic crying like this.” I said trembling.

“You don’t have to worry about that. It’s okay. You’re at the last of your rope. You feel lost. But, just know. You didn’t do anything wrong. You aren’t the reason behind these attacks. It’s their own stupidity. They fear you because of some prophecy that says you’ll get some super power. But, does that mean it’s a bad thing?” She asked. “I never thought so. I thought that everyone would respect humans. You said they would. I never thought that it would come to this. I never thought that my life would be full of so much pain and hatred for a teenage kid that they don’t know.” Ashlee sighed and said,

“Don’t worry about them. But, I think it’s time you join our ranks. We’ve been waiting long enough and you know a lot about us. I think it would be better than erasing your memories or killing you.” I paled. “What?” I said in a scared voice. “You don’t have to worry about that. You’re in no way going to die!” Raemi said from the hall. “Yeah, you’re not in danger. We all wouldn’t have fought so hard to keep you safe if we intended to let you die by the likes of him.” She said and Chris bellowed in pain.

“I think it’s time we go to the throne room and see what they have to say,” Ashlee told us. “I don’t think he’s ready for that yet. He doesn’t have the power to defend himself or the strength to fight them all.” Raemi told us. “Then what would you suggest?” Ashlee demanded. “I would suggest we get some people together and make you a vampire.” I didn’t know what to say. “Do you all think that would be best?” I asked. “I do, but if it’s not what you want, then we won’t,” Raemi told me.

I didn’t know what I wanted. “Would you mind giving me some time alone?” I asked. Raemi nodded, but Ashlee didn’t want to leave. “We can’t be with him twenty-four seven. He needs some time alone.” She told Ashlee. “Is there a room I could be alone with a door that still exists?” I wondered. They both laughed and said, “Yeah. Come with me.” Raemi showed me down the hall and into an empty room. She motioned me inside and then said, “Take all the time you need.” She went to leave. “Wait.” She turned to look at me. “Is there any way to protect this room from entrance and listening in?” I asked her.

She nodded and smiled. She spread her arms and a swirling wind surrounded the room and she said, “There, I assure you that nothing can enter without your consent. Not even me.” I stared and said, “Prove it.” She nodded solemnly. She teleported, but I saw a blob of swirling gray light and it bounced off the door and landed hard on the floor. She leaped to her feet and looked at me. “Once the door is closed, I won’t be able to hear you. So, you will get your privacy.” She said and then leaned up against the far wall.

I closed and locked the door and paced around the room. I didn’t notice that the room I was in at first. But, I looked around and I saw a simple dark purple and black painted room with a king size bed in bright purple blankets and sheets. Even the dresser was black with purple handles. “What am I going to do? What is my purpose?” I asked. “Matt?” I turned to see Zolem standing next to me. “What’s the reason behind this visit?” I asked.

He smiled at me. “Well, there’s something we need to discuss.” He turned away and walked to the other end of the room before turning around. I didn’t like the way this was going already. “You have been told or shown that I may be giving you power when you become a vampire. I did actually consider it. But, there’s someone else that I have in mind for you. Someone who was an, even more, a powerful wizard in my day.” I blinked at him. “You mean you were stronger than your parents and there’s someone who’s stronger yet?” I asked.

“Oh, I wasn’t stronger magically or physically then my parents. However, someone was stronger than me despite my lineage and who I was trained under. But, this isn’t common knowledge. My father…He didn’t know about this, but he fathered another son. I have a half-brother. His mother was one of the most powerful sorceress’ of our time. She was even stronger than my mother, although she didn’t flaunt it.” I didn’t understand that. “Why not?” I asked. “That’s where it gets embarrassing. She was my mother’s sister.”

He said and looked away from me ashamed. “Zolem, you don’t need to be ashamed. Your father made a mistake. There’s nothing to be ashamed of by having a brother. It isn’t his fault. Did you ever claim him?” I asked. “Yes, he and I got along very well actually. My aunt claimed him to be my cousin and accidently got pregnant by a prince from a smaller kingdom. It was a slight on our family. But, it was better than the truth at that time.

My mother never found out. At least not to my knowledge. But, this is all I can tell you about him.” He said. I was concerned. “Was he really a stronger mage than you?” “From what I saw, yes. But, I don’t know for sure. Magic isn’t based on the parents. I mean that does play a part. But, it really depends on the person’s natural inner strength and energy level. The skinniest person in the world could best the largest man in magical combat. It isn’t the size of the person, but the strength of character like I said.”

“But, why can’t you let me know who your brother is?” He smiled at me. “He has been watching you and would like it to be a surprise. He has seen your character and who you really are. He’s been gifted with sensing the good or bad in people. And he’s beyond shocked and surprised with what you’ve done and how kind and compassionate you truly are.” I just shook my head. “I’m still confused why he wants it to be a surprise.

Does he think I won’t be impressed because it’s not you? I don’t care who gives me power, So long as they aren’t trying to control or persuade me. If they act as a guardian and council. That’s all I want from whoever grants me their strength.” I admitted to him. “Then you’re going to be in good hands. I promise you. He wants to work with you, not control you.” Zolem told me. “I want to so badly. But, the track record hasn’t been good on promises.” He looked really upset at that. I raised my hand to say I wasn’t done speaking. “Look, I don’t blame you. I never did, or any of the others who fought for me. But, I don’t know how I can trust people right now. I just need to figure it out.

“I need to be like the others. I need to be on the same playing field with the others. Right now, I don’t match up and I can’t fight them equally. But, if I become a vampire…Then I will be able to make a difference. The only thing I’m unsure of is if your brother is royal by default like you?” I asked him. “He has royal blood. He is young and naïve. But, he’s a good person to have on your side. He’s loyal and dependable and a good friend. He won’t let you down. He hasn’t experienced a lot of the world, so he may not understand what is going on in the world. But, he’ll learn. He’s a quick study. All you need to do is give him some time.” Zolem told me. I smiled.

“I don’t have a problem with that. Didn’t you hear me say, that I don’t care who I get? I just want them to be fully on my side. Regardless of that, I’ll work with anyone. I’ll help anyone who joins me. But, the one question that I have been this.” He looked at me expectantly. “Is there a chance for the person to betray me? Is your brother capable of betrayal?” Zolem looked at me with a smirk. “No, once the ancient being joins a human. There’s no way for an ancient being to betray the one he or she is linked to. There’s a risk of him being persuaded to allow someone else in, though. But, normally that only happens in a dire emergency.” He stated. I nodded.

“It’s like we are an extension of the person’s soul. It would be condemning ourselves. So, no. We are one hundred percent loyal to those we are connected to. All you need to do is accept when he offers to join you. You can’t get rid of them unless in death. But, if you ever need privacy with someone, then you can ask for it. He can tune himself out from you. But, if danger ever befalls you, he will know and will come back. You may not even know about the danger, but he will.” Zolem explained. “So, he’s truly a guardian angel. A secret, hidden guardian.” I said. “Basically, but you also gain a friend, a companion. Someone who supports you and listens to you. Someone like what I am doing.

My brother is a little sad that you didn’t get to meet him first. However, you’ll gain his powers and strength. You’ll gain any special skills and abilities that he has. He’ll also learn patience from you. That’s something he desperately needs.” Zolem said. “When do I get his powers?” I wondered. “Well, if you would like them. I know someone who could perform the ritual. But, you’ll have to trust them.” He told me. “Jason and Ran. They’re going to grant you the ancient being.” He said. “Where?” I asked. He smiled and told me where to go. I don’t know if I was ready for this or not. But, I slowly started to mentally prepare myself for this moment. Just in case. I mean you don’t walk, live or die in this lifestyle on the verge of crazies supernatural’s and live in denial the entire time!

Chapter 10

I walked out into the courtyard. Everyone was gone and then I saw two people approach. I felt nervous and my heart started to pound, but I soon saw it was Jason and Ran. “Matt, welcome. I’m so glad you decided to come.” She said. I nodded. “So, before we begin. I want you to know that I’m truly sorry. I guess the main reason that I wanted to kill you was because I didn’t want to share the power given to me. But, here I should have known better.

No two vampires can have the same ancient being. I should have known better.” Jason said. “So, you need to know how sorry I am.” He said and I could tell that he really meant it. “I do know how sorry you are. After you saved me from the witches, I got that vibe from you. But, there’s one thing I want in return so there can be forgiveness.” I tell him. “What would that be?” He asked. “I want your help in the battle that is to come. I want your aid. I have a feeling that you’re working for the Ferol. I want your aid, though. I have a feeling we are going to need all the vampires in the end if we are to win this war.” I tell him.

He thinks about it for a minute. “Well, I do owe you. So, fine. You have yourself a spy. But, just so you know. It’s a big risk you ask of me.” I grinned. “Well, you owe me a big favor. That’s why I told you we would be even.” He nodded. “You’re quite devious when you want to be.” He praised me. “I like to think it is being crafty and strategic.” He laughed and Ran asked, “So, do we begin?” I nodded. “Good, follow me.” She told us and we followed her into the small area on the left side of the castle.

Trees surrounded us and I realized it stretched out and we were at the entrance to a forest that surrounded the entire school. “Dang, this place is big,” I said. Ran smiled, and you’re going to be a part of a whole new world. Are you ready?” She asked. “What do you I have to do?” I asked them. “It’s simple,” Jason said picking something off the ground, “Take this and when I tell you to, take a drink.” I grabbed a hold of the chalice. Ran nodded. She stood to face me, and Jason stood behind me. Both of them started to chant some strange language. I couldn’t understand it, but a glowing energy field surrounded me. I couldn’t make out what color it was, but it reminded me of silver.

The chanting picked up and became faster. It felt like the ground was spinning. “Hey, what’s going on?” I asked. They continued to chant. I grew dizzy and dropped to my knees. “Matt, don’t fight it.” I turned to see a boy about thirteen. Raven hair that covered his ears and curled and spiked at the top. His bright green eyes stared at me. He looked so young and innocent. “Who are you?” I asked. He smiled. “Zolem didn’t tell you who I was?” The boy asked. I shook my head. He smiled at me, revealing straight, perfect white teeth. He walked up to me and knelt next to me.

“You don’t need to fight. This is what you wanted isn’t it?” He asked. I nodded. “Yes, but I’m growing dizzy,” I tell him. “Your instincts are going to be your downfall. Let all your fears go. Let all your doubts go. Trust in me. I’m Gideon.” He said and gave me a reassuring smile. I focused and took in a deep breath. Instantly, I felt relaxed and at peace. My dizziness went away and I stood up feeling strong. “See? You don’t need to fight the ritual. It’s here to grant you power and strength. You just have to accept whatever happens. Your life isn’t in danger. You’ve been chosen to join the ranks of the ‘undead’ and now you will have the power you need.”

I nodded and focused on their chant. I closed my eyes and listened carefully. As I listened to their words, I soon realized that they weren’t speaking a different language. Or if they were, I could understand them. They were saying, “Ancient spirit, grant him eternal power. Let him fight his enemies. Let him win. Let him have the strength for a new life. Give him the power to protect himself. Ancient power, God of vampires. I beseech thee. Allow him to join our ranks. Allow him into our family.”

I kept listening and soon it sounded like it was music. They seemed to be singing and then I felt this sucking sound. I opened my eyes and a small vortex formed in front of me. “This is the portal I need to join with you. Do you accept my power? Do you accept me to join you?” Gideon asked. I said, “Yes! I wish you to join me. Aid me, please! Support me!” Gideon smiled and then stepped right on me. I felt him inside me and then joined with my soul. The energy field around me intensified and I could feel and hear the static energy from it. I looked into the woods, and before it was pitch black over in the distance. Now, I could see deer and rabbits.

“You see the animals don’t you?” Ran asked me. “Yeah, I didn’t know your eyesight was this good.” I gasped. Jason laughed. I went to take a step towards them, but found myself rushing and I had a rabbit in my hands. “Wow, calm it down a little,” Ran told me. I didn’t even know I had the rabbit in my hands until it was too late. “I don’t want the animal,” I said, freaking out. “Matt, listen to me. Focus on my voice.” She said. Jason was as still as a statue. I focused on her. “

Good, now gently put the rabbit down. You don’t want to hurt it do you?” She asked. I shook my head quickly. “Okay, so put it down nice and slow.” I slowly squatted down and I set it on the ground. The rabbit gave me a scared look and hopped off. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened.” I admitted. “We do. It’s completely normal. We are going to help you learn the basics of being a vampire. You still breathe and all that. So, that’s not a problem. But, you’re a lot stronger and faster than you originally were. So, you need a little lesson on how to move without using that unexpectedly.” She said.

“Don’t worry though. We were all the same, way. The only problem with us is that we are royal. We have royal powers in us.” Jason said. “That’s true. The rules are a little different for us. Just go with us, and we will get you help get you some self-control.” I nodded and for three hours, I listened to them and I did everything they asked. After a while, I didn’t have any more instinctive outbursts. I heard the sound of leaves snap and I said, “Was that footstep?” Jason and Ran nodded.

“You can tell the difference between human and animal steps. That’s good.” She said. Then she pointed to a tree. I leaped from the highest branch and freaked out for a second. How the heck was I able to do that? And how was I going to get down? “Who are you two?” I heard a female voice asked. “Oh, we are just nomads passing through.” I heard Jason say. “Really? Who were you talking to?” She asked. I saw that she was a red head with a lime green streak in her hair. Ran looked at Jason.

“Were we talking to anyone?” She asked him. “I don’t think so. Do you have any invisible friends around here?” He countered her question. She shook her head. “No, not that I know of,” She replied. “I don’t believe you. I heard a second male voice.” The woman said. She looked to be of mid-forties and her skin slightly wrinkled. “I know you have someone else here.” She said looking around and then glanced up. I knew she saw me right away and attacked me with a powerful spell.

I saw these thick rocky vines shoot out towards me and I fell from the tree. I don’t know how I managed it, but I landed on my feet in a crouch. I stood and the vines came around me, but they never touched me. I freaked out and jumped back. But, soon saw that the magic didn’t faze me. It was like the spell bounced off me from a barrier of some kind. “Who are you?” She asked. “Someone that doesn’t concern you.” I said and stepped behind Jason. “A freak vampire who’s afraid to fight?” She accused. “No, he’s new and he doesn’t concern you,” Jason said with some edge in his voice.

“I think Jaina should hear about this.” I froze at that name. “Jaina?” I asked. “Isn’t she supposed to be locked up?” Jason asked. “Yes, but somehow she got free,” Ran said. “Yes, and I think it’s time to finally finish what I started.” She said and I turned around. She grabbed me by the throat and picked me up, choking me. “You aren’t worth the energy it takes to snap your neck. But, I think I’ll manage it all the same.” I glared at her and anger coursed through me. I took my right hand and grabbed her by the throat and with my left, I grabbed her wrist twisted it and she cried out in pain.

I landed quietly on my feet and I glared with a dark stare. “I’m so tired of being bullied by you and the others! You think you have power over me? You think you’re going to win out against me? You think I’m going to sit in a corner crying? I don’t think so! You’re going to suffer unimaginable pain! You’re going to pay for everything you have done to me!” I shouted and my voice echoed all around me. I also heard Gideon’s voice mixed with my own. Jaina gave me a feared look. “You don’t have the strength to beat me. You’re still weak.” Her voice cracked. “We will see.” I hissed.

I saw dark threads coming at me, but like the vines from the woman. All they did was a circle around me and then bounce off. They vanished in a puff of smoke. “What the hell is going on?!” She screamed. I felt a fire building up inside me, but before I could use it, she disappeared. The woman tried to vanish as well, but Jason punched a fist through her heart and she gasped and coughed up blood. “Who are you?” Even through the pain, she glared at me. “Someone who wants him dead.” She said and without hesitating, Jason ripped out her heart. “Matt, I think it’s time you go back to the castle and into the throne room,” Ran told me. “How will I know where it is?” I asked.

They both smiled. “Let your ancient being guide you. He’s a royal soul. He was born with that kind of knowledge. So, all you have to do is follow the feeling and you’ll end up right where you need to be.” Jason said. I nodded and jogged out of the forest. I made it to the steps and up to the glass doors. I saw that I looked exactly the same. But, I looked more confident, and my hair had a slightly different element to it. A neon purple streak appeared. It almost seemed to be glowing. Then a thought rushed through my mind. If Harkil gave Ran power. How come they didn’t know about Gideon? Or the ancient being I received? I guess it was questioned for later.

“Well, I guess this is the start of a new me,” I told myself. I walked in through the doors and found no one around. I walked up the grand staircase and heard voices up another story. I climbed the stairs even more and then I heard what was being said. “…He attacked me! He is some strange vampire. I don’t know. He didn’t follow the rules of what we established here. I think he’s a traitor and he infiltrated us to become a vampire and tricked Zach into giving him power.”

I heard Jaina say. “Why should we believe you?” I heard Sally say. “It’s the truth. Look.” I heard strange sounds being played over speakers. “Well, it seems, at least, some of what she said is true. But, being that she’s an escaped prisoner… I don’t know if we can fully trust her.” I was right outside the door now. “Hey, who are you?” I turned to see a large vampire approach me and he had a diamond streak. He attacked me, but I was able to anticipate his moves and I countered, blocked and rolled out of the way. He rushed me and I grabbed him, flipped and kicked him through the doors.

He went flying all the way to the large throne at the end of the room and it had to be at least one hundred feet and slid across the floor. I strolled in casually. “So, you think to be telling lies about me Jaina?” I asked her. She paled at the sight of me. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. But, I am not lying.” She said, her voice rising. “Really?” I asked her. Jolene and a bunch of other vampires charged me. Rage flared through me and a gust of wind sent them flying across the room. I kept walking. One jumped at me, but I caught him by the throat and snapped his neck. I tossed him aside. “You know? I have actually decided on something. I wanted to be a vampire to help you all. But, now? You can kiss my fucking ass! I don’t give a shit about you.”

“I’ve never heard him swear before.” I heard Liam say. I whipped around and glared at him. He froze at my look and then I kept walking towards the council. They all jumped up in front of me. “You better not try to kill anyone. I won’t allow it.” Zeke said. “Oh? Won’t you? I am not here to kill anyone. But, those who have wronged me. The only people I want dead are Jaina, Brandon Slater, and Jolene Dart!” Gasps rang throughout the room. “Jolene?” Jaise asked standing up.

“Yes!” I screamed. Everyone dropped to their knees and covered their ears. A small leak of blood escaped their ears and they all groaned as they stood back up. “What became of you?” I heard someone say. I turned to them and it was a young boy. “What?” I asked him. “I heard you were a nice, quiet kid. Not some psycho on a power trip.” I frowned. “I’m not here to rule or harm you. I just want justice for what happened to me. Besides, I haven’t killed them have I?” I demanded of him. “No, I guess not.” He muttered and sat back down. I turned around to see vampire guards. I recognized two of them as the ones who locked me up.

“I think you two need to back off,” I warned. Both of them removed their helmets and two large men in their late fifties stood staring at me. Scars and wrinkles covered their faces and neck. “You think you can beat us?” The one on the left asked. “I don’t know. But, are you willing to find out?” I wondered about them. They rushed at me, and I ducked low and flipped one over. I jumped up and grabbed the other by the hand as he went to grab me. I flipped him as I rolled and sent him flying into the far wall. Other guards charged me and I countered and blocked them.

We punched, kicked and spun around countering and fighting. Others jumped in and a full on scale battle erupted around me. I sent vampires flying and punched them. They attacked me with magic, but I seemed to be immune to their attacks. “How are you not affected by magic?” Someone asked.

“I don’t know. It may have something to do with the ancient being in me.” I said as I ducked below a punch. “So, you’re cheating?” Rage flooded through me again and an arc of lightning bolt shot out and stuck my target in the chest. “Oh, so you’re a lightning user?” Jaina asked. I grinned. She launched a barrage of shadow bolts at me. As they approached, they seemed to gain a face and snapped at me. Instinct made me spread out a hand and a white aura spread out and the bolts fizzed out.

“Holy?!” Sally said in shock. “How in the hell can he have two elements?” I got the feeling that I had more surprises than that in store. More vampires rushed me and unsheathed their swords. I ducked and rolled out of the way. I didn’t have anything to fight them with, but as I did a back flip and I saw an ax on the high wall. I stopped and spun to counter them. I brought the vampire’s sword in at my side and punched them hard.

They went sent back and I grabbed the hilt and I flipped it in the air and jumped into the air and to the far wall. I landed in a crouch on the beam and then leaped to the Ax. I grabbed it in mid flip and jumped backward onto the ground and spun around to block two different weapons at me. A third snuck in and went straight through my chest. I yelped and somehow held my position. The blade jammed through me further. Blood began to puddle on the ground and I unleashed a flaming barrage against them. They all went flying backward I leaped to the top of the throne.

“You think you have the power to stop me. But, I’m not going to let you push me around anymore! I won’t let you control me. I’m done with you!” I shouted at them. “You can’t beat us all.” The vampires that I set on fire managed to put it out, but they were severely burned and it would take some time before they would heal. “I don’t need to,” I said simply. They all rushed me, but a blinding peacock array of lights bounced them back. A man in his late teens appeared with rainbow hair.

He looked chiseled and like a model. “Oh, what has the vampire people become?” He asked in a deep majestic voice. “Who are you?” Someone asked. “Zach. God of vampires.” He said. No one seemed willing to believe him. “Why would a god have a common name?” I heard Liam ask. He smiled and then I heard his voice from the doorway. “Well, it’s quite simple. I was on a different planet along this one. I was granted the power of a god. Now, I rule over you. I’m the one who is prayed to when a human becomes a vampire. I’m the one who chooses who succeeds and who doesn’t.”

Everyone looked at both the Zach’s. “How are you able to do that?” A girl asked. Then Zach appeared on the beams in the ceiling. And over against the far right wall and in the back far corner of the left. “I can be wherever I want to be. I am a God!” He said loudly and his voice made us all drop to our knees. “Defy me and I’ll destroy you all!” He said to us. “What happened to free will?” I heard someone ask in fear. “You’ve been given free will. But, if you act out against me. You’ll pay the price. I don’t take insults well. I don’t appreciate the disrespect. Except for in this instance, I don’t care what you guys do to each other. But, now I’m stepping in.” He said.

Then the other forms of him vanished. The only one that stayed was the one in front of the door. The one in front of me turned and addressed the council. “Do you have anything to report?” He asked them. Marty stepped forward. “We fought to protect him. But, we couldn’t. Everything we did wasn’t good enough. I don’t know how, but the people trying to kill him escaped and went after him. But, we didn’t authorize his transformation. So, punishment needs to be given.” He said confidently. I just rolled my eyes at him. I can’t remember the last time I felt so confident.

The look Zach gave him made Marty withdrawal to the corner. “Punishment? Ah, yes. Did He break the rules, right? Just like he supposedly broke the rules just for basically existing. For being in this school. Well, you see. That’s where I have a problem with your rules. I don’t remember you ever agreeing that it’s illegal for a human to be in this school. I don’t recall it ever being a crime to want to join the vampire world. We have security lined up in case a human isn’t going to be one of us. But, killing? I don’t recall that one being an option unless in dire circumstances. But, a defenseless boy? Yeah, he broke the rules all right.” His tone was thick with sarcasm.

“Does that mean he agrees with us?” A girl asked. Everyone groaned. Zach just shook his head in disbelief. “If you harm him for being a vampire, or bogus charges, I’ll turn this school into a creator. I swear it.” “No,” I told him. He turned around. “Excuse me?” He snapped. “You won’t need to. I’ll destroy them myself. I won’t be in this school. I won’t allow them to bring me down. I won’t allow them to keep me down. I’m going to leave and I don’t know where I’ll go. But, I will find someplace to be.” I said.

I stepped down from the silver throne and walked towards the crowd. “Very well. Just know I’m with you.” He said and then vanished. I walked towards the exit and I heard Ashlee say, “You can’t leave Matt. Where will you go?” I turned to look at her and my voice shook. “I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m not going to ask you to come with. But, I refuse to remain here.” I said and then turned away. I walked down the steps towards the door. “Wait!” Ashlee shouted at me. I stopped and turned towards her with tears in my eyes. “Ashlee, you don’t want to come with me. I know you don’t. You want to remain here.” I replied. “I want to be with you. I don’t care where it is.” She replied.

My phone chimed in my pocket. I pulled it out. It was a message from Nexus. If you would like to take her with. Then be thy guest. All you have to do is imagine my command deck. “What?” She asked. “I know where we can go. Do you trust me?” I asked her. She smiled and without hesitation, “Yes!” I closed my eyes and imagined the inside of the submarine.

I heard Ashlee gasp and when I opened my eyes, I found myself on the command deck. The machines and computers were fully operational. “Welcome,” Nexus said to us. She gasped out in shock. “Where’s Nex?” I asked. “Oh, he’s preparing your room.” Then he glanced at me and frowned. “Um, I think you need some new clothes,” He told me. “Yeah, magic isn’t kind to the fabric. Red lights and alarms blared around me. “You were attacked?” He asked with an icy calm tone.

“It’s fine. I’m good.” I told him. He turned off the alarms and calmed down. “Well, I guess the important thing is that you’re safe and here. You also may come and go as you please. The device I gave you not only works as a phone or a communicator. It also acts as a teleportation device. But, it only works to bring you back here.” Nexus told me. I nodded. “This is amazing!” Ashlee said. “Thank you. Matt, I want to let you know, that I’ve done some redecorating. I think you’ll find it comfortable.” He told me.

“Is this supposed to be a war vessel or a transport? You’ve never told me.” I told him. “No, but I did say once you became a vampire, you will know the truth about me. Well, you’re a vampire. So, here is the truth.” He said and then motioned for me to sit down. I nodded and Ashlee sat on my lap and cuddled up to my chest. He smiled and then Nex appeared. When he saw me, he grinned. “Welcome back,” He said brightly. Then he noticed Ashlee and beamed. “You must be Ashlee?” He asked. She tensed up a little but felt that I was completely relaxed.

“Yes, I am,” She told him. He smiled and said, “You were going to fill him in?” He asked Nexus. “Yes, of course. Matt, there’s a lot to tell you. So, here it is. There’s the planet that exists along next to ours. It’s a planet of dreams. If you know how you could bend the wills of the planet and anything you imagine could come to pass. They have creatures from movies, and shows, video games and even card games. All come to live in this world. All manners of creatures live on this planet. The first vampire the gods created. He actually aided the gods you know today. Jacob, Derek, Laurentia. Zach. All were humans who were granted power.

They became gods for the role they played in saving the planet and the earth. But, the one thing that they didn’t count on is the vampire made a bad choice in who he decided to change. Zach annihilated them and gave Laurentia and Coda the power to choose one human on earth power as a vampire. They chose a very kind person. A wise person who wasn’t noble, or wealthy. Someone who wasn’t corrupted by politics and power.”

“I don’t understand. Why would Zach allow these two other gods the choice of who would become a vampire?” I asked. “I guess he didn’t trust his own opinions. He was doubting himself for a time. So, I think he thought it would be best to take any potential blame away from himself.” He explained. I glanced at Ashlee and she looked utterly confused. “What happened to the first vampire? Was he destroyed as well?” She asked. “No, he was imprisoned, though.

He was punished for eternity. He… Well, let’s just say that when he comes back….if he comes back. I don’t think he’s going to be too happy with helping the world. But, he was a good guy. So, I think all that would have to happen is that he would need a reminder. However, the human that replaced him wasn’t all that good. He was a little primitive. A little off. It also kind of affected the ancient being, Nergal. Now any vampire that he chooses gets a little off and primitive.” I nodded, but I didn’t fully understand.

I was confused by all of this. “Why are you telling me all this?” I asked. “It’s simple. The first human that the gods gave power to on earth were also granted this vessel. He was to shape this sub into whatever he wished to be. I was to follow his orders. Whichever he asked me. But, he vanished. He was taken, and I had to remain hidden or fear is destroyed. Although, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I soon found out that a descendant of that vampire would find me and fulfill his mission in his or her own way.” Ashlee gasped. “You think I’m that person?” I asked him.

“We know you are. A strand of hair remained on the clothes we gave you. We checked it just to see and found that your DNA is almost an exact match to his. We aren’t trying to spy on you or anything. We aren’t trying to invade your privacy either. We wanted to make sure and we are positive that you are a descendant of the vampire on earth. Now, how would you like to use this vehicle?” Nex asked me. “I don’t know. But, I think, for now, I would just like a play to live comfortably and be safe. Where people won’t find me and won’t try to kill me.” I said.

“Oh, we can definitely arrange that. Nex will even show you to the captains quarters. I think you’ll find them quite nice.” Nexus said. “You said there was a lot of information. Did you intend to say it all?” Ashlee asked him. “Well, I did plan on telling everything to you. But, I don’t think it’s necessary to mention it all at once. I told you the biggest part. You’re a descendant of the original vampire on earth. So, you inherited this vehicle. You may do with me what you will.

I just hope you make good use of me. Good, evil. It’s all the same to me. But, don’t waste me. I’ve been sitting down here for so long.” I actually felt bad for him. “Oh, I don’t plan on abandoning you. You’ve been nice to me and haven’t tried to use me for your own personal gain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting company, though.” I told him when I saw that he started to speak. He closed his mouth quickly.

“I do have something to ask,” I said. “Anything you wish, I will answer,” Nexus said. “Is there a library where I could look at? That war that was fought when the gods were human is intriguing. I would like to access the records and read about the history of the planet.” I told him. “Of course. But, that can wait. We do have an archive library. Once you have eaten, showered and rested, you may check it out.

If you insist you may do it now. But, I think you would like some quiet, alone time?” He said looking at us. “Well, I would like a shower and a change of clothes,” Ashlee said. I smiled and agreed. “Follow me then,” Nex replied. We walked down two ladders and three decks, and went to the other end of the sub and up three more ladders and down the hallway towards the command deck and the hallway only went half way. At the end was a door that opened up to see a huge room with a gigantic bed. A huge screen TV sat above the iron oak dresser and I couldn’t tell the size, but it had to be bigger than a sixty inch at the very least.

“We’ve formatted the room to your age. So, all game systems have been stored in the locker over there.” Nex pointed. I walked over to open it. I gasped and my breath caught in my throat. “Is this every single game council in the entire world?” I demanded. “Yes, I formatted them to have digital access to all the games ever created. Each time a new game is released, it gets automatically downloaded. Hook up the game and all you have to do is ask me and I will automatically play it for you. Whatever game you want. If you’d like to switch it, just say the word and I’ll switch it for you.”

I nodded with a smile on my face. “Also, the controllers are wireless and they have a limitless battery supply. The PlayStation three and four are instantly hooked up to the internet and every television show and movie are all downloaded and just like the games, all you have to do is ask.” He told me. “Matt, if you think you’re going to play games all day long, you’re surely mistaken,” Ashlee warned me. “Well, I never intended to play them alone,” I said to her. She blinked at me in shock.

“Wait, what?” She wondered. “I never planned on playing alone. I would really like you to play with me and we could have something in common. I know you probably aren’t much of a gamer. But, I would like for you to play with me. Quality time and all that. But, I don’t plan on playing all the time. I’m sure there’re a lot of activities to do here.” She smiled, “Oh, I can think of a few.” I felt my cheeks heat up. “I think it’s time to give you some time alone,” Nex said. “Oh, I’m just kidding, sort of. And you’re right. I’m not much of a gamer.

However, if you really plan on letting me join you in a gaming exercise, then I will be more than willing to try and learn and play with you.” I smiled at that. “I’m glad. I love games. I just haven’t had a lot of experience with them. But, I heard Tom say that they were a lot more fun when you had someone to play with.” I told her. “He had girlfriends play with him?” She asked. “I don’t know. But, he had a lot of his buddies. They even played online.” I explained. “Well, I don’t think I would want to play online right away. I think I would like to get to know what I would be doing first.”

“Oh, totally. I don’t want to look like a dummy online.” I said laughing. She smirked. “Well, I will leave you two alone. I’ll engage privacy mode. But, one last thing before I go. You both have a large supply of clothes on the dresser there. And in that one,” He said pointing, “Is a bunch of pajamas.” Then he left and closed the door. “Do you think we are going to be in danger down here?” I asked. “I highly doubt it. If the sub has the technology to create the games and everything like he did, I doubt his defenses are limited. Besides, does anyone know about him?” She asked me. “No, not as far as I can tell,” I admitted with a smile. “Well, then I wouldn’t worry.” She walked to the shower.

“I’ll go first and then you. Grab the clothes you want and change in there. I’ll change here while you are in the shower.” I nodded and kissed her before letting her go. She was in the shower for quite some time and I went through the giant wardrobe. I opened it and grabbed a black silk sleeveless shirt, and pants. I walked over to the dresser under the TV and found a pair of boxers and a pair of socks. I walked over to the door paneling and clicked it and a holographic keyboard appeared.

“What would you like to listen to today?” A male robotic voice asked. “Something peaceful, with good instrumental and not well known.” I said and I doubted that it would work. “Searching.” I stepped away from the paneling and then I heard, “Found.” Music began playing over the speakers. It sounded like I was listening with studio headphones on. The sound was beautiful and it wasn’t too loud either. I smiled and walked around the room until Ashlee stepped out with a towel wrapped around her tightly. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She looked smoking!

“Matt, I think it’s your turn,” She said when I didn’t move or say anything. “Um, yes. Of course.” I said and I felt the heat rise to my face. I grabbed my clothes and walked into the bathroom. I heard her say, “I like the music as well.” I smiled and turned on the water. Full on a cold and took off my clothes. I found a door panel in the wall that was labeled “men” and after I took out the belt and wallet and off the shoes, I tossed all the clothes down the chute. I needed a cold shower. I don’t know why my body was responded so quickly to her. But, I needed to get it under control.

I stepped into the shower and started to shiver right away. After a few minutes, my ‘excitement’ faded away and I slowly turned the water to really warm. I started washing my hair and working my way down. I didn’t realize how dirty I was, and I know why Ashlee took so long. I was a lot worse off than her. So, it would take me a lot longer. I finally finished as the water started to turn cold and even at the hottest setting, it was becoming cold. I turned it off and grabbed a towel hanging on the wall rack.

I used it and dried off my hair. I put on my clothes quickly and tossed the towel down the chute. When I stepped out, Ashlee took the towel and tossed hers down the other one. “So, now what do we do?” She asked. “I don’t know. Whatever you want to do, I’ll be okay with that.” I said to her. She gave me a strange look. “Whatever I would like to do?” She asked. I took a deep breath. “Yeah, babe. Whatever you’d like to do.” I said in a high voice. She walked over to me and gave me a deep kiss. She rubbed her hands down my chest and kissed me and held me tightly.

She then tossed me on the bed and climbed on top of me. She gave me another kiss and slipped her hands under my shirt. “Well, you said you would do anything I ask right?” I nodded weakly. She smiled and gave me another peck on the lips. “But, it’s not the time for that.” I took a shaky breath. “What? Are you sure? I’m willing.” I told her. She smiled genuinely at me. “Matt, there’s a difference between being physically ready and emotionally ready. You’re scared out of your mind. You just say you’re ready because I want to.” I blinked. “You don’t think I could handle it?” I asked and turned away from her. She rested a hand on my shoulder.

“It isn’t that. I don’t want you to regret anything. I know you probably wouldn’t at first. But, you’d start to think about it and then you would feel like you were forced into something. I don’t want you to feel like you were pressured.” She told me. “I don’t know why you would think I would feel like I was pressured,” I said. “It’s because how tense you are. A lot of people get nervous their first time. Guys or girls. But, you are downright afraid. I think it’s because you think I’ll leave you after. Is that right?” She asked me.

I didn’t say anything and she sighed. “That’s what I thought. I want you to know that I won’t. But, I need you to be sure of that. I need you to know that on some level. I’m not going anywhere. Well, maybe to the bathroom or to find something to eat. But, when we make love. I’m not going back to one of the assholes I dated. You’ve been the kindest and most caring person I’ve ever met. Please, don’t shut me out and don’t think that I’m just going to turn away from you.” She told me with a hand on my shoulder. “That’s the thing. I know you won’t.

Deep down, I know you’ll be right next to when I wake up. But, some irrational fear that I have been saying you will walk away and I don’t know how to shut that off.” I told her and my head fell. I felt tears start to fall. She wrapped her arms around me. “All you have to do is conquer those fears. You said you know I won’t go anywhere, right? So, how would you defeat those demons?” She asked. “I don’t know. I guess by trying.” I said. I turned to her and she wiped the tears from my eyes. “Yes, when you’re ready.” She mentioned and then went over to the games. She grabbed a PlayStation system and hooked it up. Then she walked over to the locker, grabbed two controllers and came back to me.

She climbed next to me on the bed and we scooted all the way to the headboard. I noticed something small on the table next to me. I clicked it and then typed in the game I wanted to play. I looked at Ashlee. “We are going to play ’Dead Island,” I said. “As you wish.” The first or second?” She wondered. “First,” I said. “You got it.” The game started to load and we chose multiplayer. Then we chose our characters. She played Xian Mei. I chose Sam B. We went out and annihilated the zombies there and I was shocked at how fast we began to level up. We did the quests on the island and explored the entire area. We didn’t sell anything.

With the two of us working together, it was a piece of cake to break through the zombie lines and when one got pinned down or hurt. The other one was able to break them off and help out. We walked up the street to the lifeguard station and entered. That was one big zombie! I forgot how much a pain these big guys were. Mercenaries, I believed they were called. We jumped around him and hacked and slashed. Ashlee was almost dead, and I told her to back up and try to find something to heal herself with. I jumped out of the way and almost got killed myself and then she came back in the fight with a high slash of her machete and the thug lost his head.

She leveled up and I came close. We high fived and then we entered the doorway and clicked on our flashlights. We slaughtered the zombies there and spent fifteen dollars out of the vending machine. Yeah, it was a waste of money, but we needed health. Once it was clear, we made it to the second floor and cleared that out as well. The survivors made it over and more quests sprung out. I checked the phone and it was two in the morning. Ashlee saw that “I think it’s time we go to bed.” She said. I nodded. “I really don’t want to, though,” I told her. She grinned at me. “We always have tomorrow and the next day,” She said. She gave me a kiss and I nodded.

“Matt, how is it you sleep at night?” Nexus asked. “Excuse me?” I asked confused. “Sorry, I am only asking if you sleep with a fan or anything. Some people do.” He clarified. “Oh, yeah. I used to have a fan when I slept a while ago. But, I haven’t had one in a long time. I wouldn’t mind one again. That is if you don’t mind.” I told Ashlee. “Nope, as long as it’s blowing on you. I don’t care.” I faced the far wall and Ashlee snuggled up next to me.

Nexus created a fan from something and he turned it on medium. The breeze was nice and refreshing and even Ashlee liked it. I blocked most of it and we fell asleep quickly. The dream was peaceful. I woke up some time later and found Ashlee leaning against the wall. “So, what did I do?” She smiled at me. “You didn’t do anything. It’s what you said last night.” I stared at her in confusion. “Of course, you wouldn’t know what you said. You were sleeping. But, you said you loved me and that I was the best thing that happened to you.” I smirked.

“Well, I guess I can’t keep my mouth shut. Since when did I start talking in my sleep?” I wondered. “Um, Matt, ever since I met you, you were talking in your sleep.” I paled. “What?” She asked. “Who knows what I said while I was living with John,” I told her. “Matt, according to recent brain waves. You didn’t start to sleep talking until after you left his home. Also, it only happens when you have either an intense good or bad dream.” Nexus told me.

I sighed and took in a relaxing breath. “Well, that makes me feel a lot better,” I said. She chuckled and walked over to me. She climbed into bed and wrapped her arms around me. We grabbed the controllers and played for a little while longer. I don’t know how much time passed, but when we stopped in a safe zone, our stomachs were growling loudly. “I think it’s time to get something to eat,” Ashlee said. “Go ahead. I’m used to going hungry. I’m okay.” Ashlee looked like she wanted to argue with me, but she never got the chance. “If you don’t get your ass to the cafeteria, I’ll have Nex drag you there,” Nexus said with hostility. I blinked and gave a blank look.

“Was I just threatened by the sub?” I asked. “Oh, yes,” She said with a laugh. “I guess I can’t argue with that then.” I said and climbed out of bed. We both stood facing away from each other and she went to the dresser on the other side of the room away from the door and grabbed clothes. I went to the one in front of the bed and grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt with a spider on it that looked like it was waving at me. “Nexus? Is this the same shirt that Jaise bought me earlier?” I asked. “No, not exactly. But, similar. I copied it from the wardrobe that was given to you and I created another copy of it.”

I nodded and asked, “What happened to the original?” He took a little while to answer. “I’m afraid they burned the original.” Ashlee and I looked at each other. “Well, it’s only a shirt that I bought from a pathetic vampire who pretended to be with the humans becoming a part of the vampire world, and she lied about all of that. So, I don’t care about those clothes. They were nice, but made by a terrible lying wench.” I replied coldly. Ashlee gave me a concerned look. “You’re supposed to be the forgiving one.” I glared. “I was the kind hearted and forgiving type. Now? I’m the tired of being tortured and almost killed and holding a vendetta type.” She gave me a worried look.

“Matt, I don’t want to have you become some dark and twisted form of your former self. I want you to be someone who I found and fell in love with. Please, don’t turn into a jerk.” She said. I jumped out of bed and faced her. “I am not going to be a jerk! I just can’t forgive someone anymore for what they did to me.” I told them. “I don’t want you to forgive. Or even to forget. But, I want you to understand that you can’t let the darkness consume you. We don’t know the power you have inside you. We also don’t know what threats await you now that you’re one of the powerful vampires of legend.”

I just stared at her blankly. “I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what you want me to say. But, I’ll try to do what I can. But, I don’t know how easy it’s going to be to forgive.” I told her. “Well, all you have to try and when we go back to the others, we need you to have an open mind. We can’t have you execute everyone for what they did. The leaders should be punished. I am not going to deny they don’t. But, the others? The followers? They don’t need to be punished. They just need to be put in their place. You are the only one who can.” She told me.

“I don’t have ties to that school like the rest of you. I don’t have any business ordering them around or forcing them to follow me.” She just shrugged. “You don’t have to order them or force them into anything. But, I have a feeling that a lot of the vampires would now follow you. All you have to do is give them a chance to prove themselves. Not all of them were a part of the attack on your life. Not all of them wanted your death.” She explained to me. Well, she was right about that. But, how am I to figure out who’s the one who was against me and who wasn’t? I mean it wasn’t like any of them actually stood up for me but for a small few.

I sighed. “I know that. But…” “No, buts. You have to trust in them. We can stay here for a while and relax and remain safe. But, we can’t remain here forever.” She told me. “Well, technically you could. I have a molecule generator that can make food. So, in reality, you could live here indefinitely. Plus, I can sympathize enough blood for ten thousand vampires. I think I the two of you would be very comfortable here.” Nexus said. I raised my eyebrow at her and she glared at me.

“Nexus, I don’t like technicalities!” Ashlee snapped. “Sorry.” He said and I laughed and snorted. “Matt….” She gave me a warning look. I sobered right away. “Sorry. I just found it funny. I needed a laugh after everything. But, I am not planning on being here forever. Just long enough to get a good rest in.” She smiled at me and pushed into me. “I know. We will stay here as long as you’d like. But, I won’t like it if you want to hide down here.” She said to me.

“I have no intention of hiding out here. Just a temporary vacation.” I told her. We dressed and then left the bedroom. “Just continue down the hall and one level. Go to the right and follow it to the end and you’ll come to the cafeteria. Just go to the machine and type in everything you want with explicit detail. Or simply explain what you want.” We made it to the cafeteria and I found a place where I couldn’t believe. The room was gigantic but elaborate. The giant long tables were covered with a fancy white tablecloth.

The chairs were cushioned and every table and chair was resting on a plush looking light carpet. “Is this a cafeteria or a restaurant?” I asked. Nexus laughed. “Well, we thought you would like it if it wasn’t some cheap fast food place. Do you see the paneling on the wall?” He asked. “Yes,” I told him. “That’s the vending machine. There will be a hologram keyboard that appears when you push the green button and then asks for whatever you want.” He told me. “Nexus? Would you be willing to give us some privacy?” I asked.

“Oh, sure. No problem. Privacy mode engaged.” A thin see through plastic door closed shut and fans overhead automatically turned on. “I guess it’s to keep it from getting too hot in here,” I said. “Yeah, but the doors are see through,” She said. I smiled and walked over to them. A panel on the wall indicated that I could change the door color, so I chose a solid yellow and violet color. She grinned and I asked her, “Would you be interesting in a surprise dinner?” She looked at me in shock. “What do you mean surprise?” I gave her a half smiled look. “Well, I did a lot of cooking at home and I would like to show you some of my ideas,” I told her.

She only smiled and went to sit at a corner booth away from the doors and then said, “By all means. I’m willing to try anything new.” I chuckled and went to the machine. I was nervous. Every time I cooked for my family, they always found something to complain about. But, when I cooked for people down the street they loved it. So, I never know how people are going to react. I chose a marinated in garlic butter pork chop with pepper, on baked cheesy bread with red, and yellow peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese. Homemade mozzarella, deli Swiss, Colby jack, and parmesan cheese mashed potatoes.

Then I told the machine that I would like corn and baked beans. I typed in as the hamburger was being ground up, to add real chopped up onions, bell peppers, pepper, and garlic and crushed red peppers. I then had the machine bake strips of chicken with seasoning salt, and pepper, with barbecue sauce. I had it fry up some bacon in peppered oil and once everything was done, I had it chop up the bacon, chicken, and hamburger into little chunks and make the baked beans. Now, it was time to work on the dessert. I chose a recipe from my mother. It was a homemade cake.

But, I chose a lemon and strawberry cake. I had the machine make from scratch butterscotch pudding and recess mint ice cream. I layered the pudding between half one cake and the other. And I put the ice cream on the next layer and then I created orange frosting by having squeezed orange juice with vanilla frosting blended together. Everything looked like it was what I wanted. Now, I only hope that it was good enough. Now, I wondered what to drink. I gave Ashlee a quick glance, but she wasn’t looking in this direction.

I chose for Ashlee, a strawberry margarita. And I chose a chocolate margarita. A small note appeared on the screen. “I know you’re not twenty-one yet. But, I’ll let it slide this time. ;). I laughed quietly and I felt Ashlee’s gaze on me. Another message appeared saying that it would be between twenty minutes to half an hour. I went back to Ashlee and sat down. “So, what have you planned for this night?” She asked me trying to figure what I did with a stern look. “Well, you said you’d be okay with a surprise. So, that’s what I intend on it being.” I said with a wink. She grinned.

“There was a time where I felt like you would tell me out of being nervous. But, I can see you already have a confidence boost. I like it. You needed this.” She said to me. “Well, I doubt I am where I should be. But, I do feel stronger and more confident with myself. I think the fight in the throne room helped. I mean, all the fights up to that point, I lost and almost died. I had to have you all protect me. But, then? I was able to win all on my own. I didn’t need anyone to protect me for a change and it felt amazing.” I admitted to her. She only smiled. “Well, it shows and I couldn’t be prouder of you. I am glad you don’t need anyone to fight for you anymore. But, don’t let get over confident. You’re not invincible.”

I looked at her. “I know.” I sighed. She only shook her head and rested her hands on mine. “Don’t let me deflate your confidence. Trust in yourself. I just don’t want you thinking you can do everything on your own. Or more importantly, I don’t want you to think that you need to do everything on your own.” I smiled lightly at her. “I won’t. I promise.” She leaned in and kissed me. “So, what are we going to do?” I ask. “Well, that depends on what you’re asking?” She gave me a sly smile. “With the other vampires,” I stated. “Is that really what you want to talk about?” She countered.

“No, because I don’t care for the lot of them. I just can’t see us being very happy down here too long.” I said. “No, probably not. But, are you sure you want to face the others?” I didn’t know, so I just shrugged. She smirked. “Well, you’re right about one thing. We can’t stay down here forever. Well, technically we could. But, we would go insane and we don’t know what the fate of the earth would be if we did.” She said. “You’re right.” She looked away for a second. “Now, what is it you want?” She wondered.

“Well, I did want to find a nice girl, have sex, have a dozen kids and die old and wrinkled with knowing that I had some awesome grandchildren out there.” She rolled her eyes. “But, now. I’m good with living forever, knowing that I can still have kids at some point with an awesome woman next to me who’s going to live forever.” She gave me an unblinking stare. “Well, I would say that’s a good answer, but I sensed a lot of sarcasm in it.” I laughed. “The tone may have sarcasm in it, but what I said didn’t. It was what I wanted. And now, it’s what I want to just be with you and together we can face anything.” She squeezed my hand.

Then I smelled something delicious coming towards us and when I looked, two large platters of food floated over to us. Ashlee blinked and stared wide eyed. The platters floated by us at table level with large dishes of food on them. “Did you make all of this?” She asked in shock. “Well, technically Nexus made this, but this is all my idea and something I have always wanted to try. But, yes. It’s something I would make on my own. But, I figured by having Nexus do it all, it would get done a lot faster.”

She only shook her head and smiled. I stood up and gave her a sandwich, some corn, beans, potatoes and handed her the martini. She couldn’t believe how much food was here. I scooped some food onto my plate and grabbed the chocolate martini. I didn’t know if it was a girly drink and I didn’t know if it would affect me. But, heck. I didn’t care. I started to eat slowly and I found that it tasted great. Ashlee hadn’t dug in yet. “Is something wrong?” I asked concerned. “No, no. It’s not anything that’s wrong. But, it looks so good. I don’t know. I’ve never eaten anything that smells or looks so good.”

I felt a small bit of pride, but I was still skeptical. “Well, I have had people eat my foods and tell me it tasted good and then I had a lot of people say it tasted like garbage. So, I don’t know what people say it’s going to taste like.” I said to her. She took a bite of the potatoes and then the sandwich. Her eyes lit up and she chewed and swallowed. “Oh my god!” She said. “Was it bad?” I asked depressed. “Holy shit. No! It was delicious! It was amazing!” She said stoked. She ate some of the beans and corn and then we both finished our first meal.

After that, we went back for seconds and even mixed the foods together. We ended up feeling full and I said, “What are we going to do about dessert?” She blinked at me. “Oh, goodness. What did you make?” The other platter removed its lid and the giant cake appeared. “Holy crap!” She stated with excitement. “So, you’ve made some room?” I asked with a grin. She nodded and then we both got up and cut a piece of cake. We sat back down and ate in silence. I couldn’t believe how it turned out. There was enough food here to feed three dozen people.

“What are you going to do with all this? Even if we get fat, we couldn’t eat all of this food.” She said. I chuckled. “I think we should invite some people.” She blinked. “Well, who?” She wondered. “I was thinking Jaise, Liam, Julie. Even some other people who would be willing to come with us. But, how do we get a message out?” I asked aloud. Then it hit me. “I actually have the means to get a hold of them, and I don’t think there’s a way they could track the phone unless I want them to,” I explained.

“Well, why not?” She said. “I think we can put the food away where it won’t go bad for a day or two,” I said. Ashlee moaned. “I’m so full,” She complained. I laughed. “But, it was so damn good. You really have a calling for cooking.” I smiled and then I asked, “So, what now?” She stood up and inactivated privacy mode. “Nexus? Is there a way to keep this food from going badly for a while?” I asked.

“Of course Matt. I can freeze it in time with a generated spell. So, it could last indefinitely.” He explained. “Would you please until we ask for it?” Nex appeared. “Of course. Anything you ask for, you shall have.” I just shook my head. “I don’t want to use you.” Nex only smiled at me. “Treat me like a crew member and friend. But, if you need something, let me know.” I nodded. The platters vanished and he said then, “You know you don’t have to save this batch. I could make it again at any time and it’s not actually a waste.” “I’m not going to throw that food out when it’s still good. You made it for me. So, we are going to finish it before making it again or other foods. I don’t like wasting.”

He only shook his head. “Very well. But, that’s weird. Not too many people think that way.” He said. “Oh, there’s a lot of people that don’t like to waste foods. All that needs to be known is that they’re not skinny or maybe they are a little obsessive.” He nodded and then walked to the table. “Oh, I’ll wash those,” I said. “No, you won’t. You, go and have fun. My job is to take care of the ship and needs of the crew.” I just sighed and left.

I met up with Ashlee outside and we went back to the bedroom and then I said, “Darn, hold on. I want to check something. I’ll be right back okay?” I told Ashlee. She smiled and nodded. I walked all the way to command and then asked Nexus to put privacy mode on the command room against others from listening to our conversation. “What’s up Matt?” He asked appearing in a holographic form. “I was wondering. Do you know how to kill vampires? DO you know the knowledge of how to create the stakes to fight them?”

“Oh, I can make them. I just need the elements that the vampires have. You need to channel the elements for me to trap them and imbue the stakes with that power. I’ll explain how stakes work later.” He told me. I nodded. “How much power do you need?” I asked. “It depends on how many stakes you need,” He told me. I closed my eyes and focused the power inside me. I felt my left hand heat up with a warm, healing light. And my right-hand glow with a powerful flame. I kept the spell up until Nexus said that he had enough for twenty stakes per element.

Then I channeled lightning and water. After twenty minutes, he had enough for the same amount. “Matt, I think you have done enough today. We don’t know what toll this is going to have on you. Please, don’t push yourself.” Nexus told me. “I want to make sure that I can protect those that I need to keep safe. I won’t stop until I have enough to start out with.” I said to him. He didn’t argue, but I could tell he wasn’t happy. I did then shadow and earth. He got enough and it took an hour to that point. I couldn’t hold the magic very long.

“You need to stop. You can do the final two elements tomorrow or in a couple days after you’ve rested.” I didn’t and I cast ice and air. I forced myself to hold the spells and even though it took almost two hours, Nexus got enough to make twenty stakes from both elements. I dropped to my knees, sweating and breathing heavily. “I think you pushed yourself too hard on that. But, I admit that it was needed. You should have weapons to protect yourself. But, you haven’t forgotten about the chests have you?” I looked confused. “Chests? I don’t-.“ Then I realized what he was talking about.

“Oh, yes.” I said and told him, “Well, in a few days. I’m in no rush to do that.” He smiled and said, “Of course.” He said and vanished, releasing the lock on the door. Ashlee stood there with her arms crossed and looked at me. She looked like she was going to snap at me until I took a step towards her and stumbled. She barely caught me before I fell to the ground. “What did you do?” She asked. “I’ll tell you whether I’m sure you won’t kill me for doing it,” I said to her. “I’ll kill you if you don’t tell me.” She threatened. “I…I had a project done. But, please. Not now.” I said.

“I think it would be best if you allow him to rest before drilling him on questions,” Nexus told her. She nodded and helped me to the bedroom. She helped me get changed and then I climbed in and rested my head on the pillow and I asked for the fan. It was put on medium and I started to shake and tremble and sweat poured down my face and drenched my shirt that started to stick to my chest. “Matt!” She yelled and then wiped her palm on me in shock and confusion. I shook violently and I couldn’t control it or my breathing. “I’m sorry,” I said in a shaky voice. “Apologize later.

Apologize when I kick your ass when you get all better. Once I figure out what’s the matter with you, that is.” She muttered. “He seems to be suffering from magical deficiency,” Nexus told us. “Is that even a thing?” Ashlee asked. “Yes. Am I sure your teachers warned you about the use of too much magic? Well, this is the effects of such a thing. If the human or vampire uses too much magical energy too fast, they could burn themselves up. They wouldn’t combust or anything. But, their hearts would beat to the point of bursting and literally explode and the organs shrivel and cause all the bones to shatter.”

“How does all that damage happen with magical overload?” Ashlee asked. “Well, once the body can’t keep the energy level from going critical, one last burst of energy escapes and destroys the organs. That’s one of the final reasons why the body dies after the heart starts to explode. If it wasn’t for that last burst of energy, it would only seem like a major heart attack, but the person would survive and it would eventually heal if the person was a vampire.” He explained. “But, since the magic causes the heart to explode, there’s no chance to heal.” I stammer out.

“Yes, he got lucky. He’s only suffering through a withdrawal of energy. First signs of symptoms. But, other than that he’s okay. All he needs is a little rest and he should be fine.” Ashlee placed a hand on my forehead and gasped, “He’s burning up!” A light blue light seemed to scan me and then Nexus said, “He does have an unusually high temperature. I can’t figure out why, though.” Nexus said. “Is there any way to get his fever down?” Ashlee asked. “Yes, but I don’t know if it will work. I’ll give it a try.” Nex appeared with a small ice pack. “Matt, this is enchanted. I am not just an android. I have some other skills as well.” He said and placed it on my forehead.

The cold felt amazing and I shivered. “I don’t know if he likes it,” Ashlee commented. “I do. It feels really nice.” I mumbled and buried my head into the pillow with the ice pack pressing into me. I couldn’t sleep fully and I heard the conversation around me. But, only bits and pieces of it. I couldn’t keep track of everything, and I don’t know how much time passed, but what I did hear wasn’t something I cared to hear. “What is going to happen to him?” Ashlee asked. “…know. It seems like his fever is getting worse. I sense that it’s one hundred and eight now. So, if he doesn’t get….”

There was nothing for a while. “I don’t like this Nexus. He’s so clammy and I it feels like he’s on…..” “……Well, there’s nothing I can do. I gave him antibiotics and I gave him something to cool him down. For some reason, his body isn’t…” The next thing I heard is, “What do you suggest we do? We can’t let him…” “What would you like me to? I can’t cast complete spells and I can’t work….” I dozed off then and the dream was all scrambled. All I saw was a bunch of dancing puppets and hula hooping zebra’s. Jump roping elephants eating an ice cream cone being held with their tusks.

I woke up gasping for breath and sweat covered me. It felt like I was sticking to the bed and I was drowning. The door opened and Ashlee walked in. “Matt, how are you feeling?” She asked me. I couldn’t speak. I tried and pain racked through me. It felt like ten thousand needles were piercing my body all over. I shook and trembled. “Matt?” She asked and came to me. “His fever spiked higher than last night. He’s over one fifteen.” Nexus said. “He’ll die if this keeps up!” Ashlee screamed. Nexus didn’t say anything and their voices seemed to be coming from a far off place.

“I could heal myself. Maybe with a holy wand and a magical white hat?” I asked in a squeaky voice. “I think he’s delusional.” Ashlee said and I commented, “Delusional? No. NO! I’m sorry! I can’t stop this! Please, don’t hurt me! Please end this pain!” I screamed. I collapsed against the pillow and I felt my body violently shake and I screamed in pain. Ashlee tried to hold me down to stop me from the convulsions. But, something snapped in me. A pain so intense flooded through me and I screamed and coughed up blood.

“What’s happening to me?” I gasped. I turned on my side and had another coughing fit where I spit out blood. “He’s dying! What the hell is going on?” Ashlee demanded. I couldn’t answer due to the blood I was vomiting up. My body was convulsing uncontrollably and I couldn’t stop. The fever spiked even more and I felt like my insides were being melted. “Gideon! What is going on?” I asked. “Matt, you’re no match to be my host. So, I have come to kick you out of the way. But, since I can’t do it alone, I have someone in mind that has the power to do that.

Although, I really did like you. I don’t think you are worthy of my power anymore.” I couldn’t believe it. Zolem promised me. Now, everyone even the one person he swore couldn’t have betrayed me. What is it with this world? What did I do to deserve this kind of pain? “Zach! What in the world is going on?” Of course, I didn’t get an answer. The pain raked through me and the convulsions spread through my muscles and I literally felt them attacking my heart, lungs, and other organs.

I felt them start to turn to jelly, and then all the pain just stopped. My body slowly healed and I tensed up, expecting another coughing fit with blood shooting out. But, it didn’t and I felt my fever break. I felt drenched in sweat, but the pain was going away and I could move again. I could feel my body fighting to heal the damage. “Matt? How are you feeling?” Ashlee asked me. “I don’t know. But, I never want to go through that ever again.” I gasped for breath and then I climbed out of bed. I still felt overheated, but not burning up. “Well, Matt. I think it’s time for you to take a cool shower and truly cool off, oh and if you go through that again; I’ll find out why and who did that and make them pay.” Ashlee warned.

“Let it go,” I told her. “I told you that you’re the forgiving one. I hold the grudges.” She told me. I nodded and I stumbled towards the bathroom. “Matt, take it slow.” I made it and closed the door and took off the shirt and pants. I leaned against the door for a moment. I caught my breath and then went to turn on the water to cool. I removed my underwear and tossed them down the chute and then climbed into the shower. The water reminded me of a spring rain. Nice and cool, but not cold, refreshing. I took the longest shower and washed all the sweat from me and I thoroughly cleaned my body and washed my hair.

I don’t know how long I was there, but Nexus said, “Matt, you’ve been in here for half an hour. Is everything okay?” He asked. I opened the shower curtain and Nexus appeared in a hologram form. He didn’t look around. Just looked me directly in the eyes. “Sorry, I just wanted to not feel so sweaty and sticky. I’m done and I’ll be out in a moment.” I told him and turned off the water. I stepped out and wrapped a towel around my waist. I stepped out of the bathroom and walked over to the dresser. “Matt.” Ashlee called to me and I turned around holding the towel around me.

“Well, speak what you will. I’m getting dressed.” I said with a smirk. I grabbed some clothes and walked over to the bed. “I just want to make sure you’re okay,” She said to me. I pulled my underwear up under the towel and then removed that. “I’m okay. I am. I just need some rest and not near death experiences. I just want this to end.” I said. “So do I; I don’t like seeing you go through this!” I just nodded at her. “I would like to call Jaise and a few others,” I mentioned.

“Go ahead. How long have we been down here?” I asked. “Five days. You’ve been in and out for three and a half.” Nexus said. “How about a couple more days just us and then we call them? It hasn’t been a fully relaxing time down here.” I commented and Ashlee agreed. We removed the blankets and sheets from the bed and put them in a basket in the corner. “Nex will be by shortly to take and wash them. I tossed the pillowcase and pillows in them as well. A floating orb came by and started lightly spraying the bed down. “What’s it doing?” I asked.

“Cleaning the bed. It’s removing the stains and the odor. It’s also refitting it so it’s not lumpy or the feathers inside are evenly spaced out. They’re no springs in it.” Nexus explained. Nex appeared and went to a small closet by the far wall. He pulled out a set for the bed and put them on. Golden sheets, pillows, blankets, and a comforter. He put them all on the bed and then went to grab the dirty ones. “I’m sorry for the mess,” I told him. He only smiled lightly. “It’s no problem. As long as you’re alive, it makes no matter on how much laundry I have to do.”

“I am willing to do some of the work you know?” I suggested to him. “Well, if when your friends come, I may take you up on that,” He said walking out. The door closed behind him and we jumped in bed together and turned on the game system. We played Dead Island for the day and well into the night. The next couple of days passed quickly and we played games and ate simply. By the time I realized it, a week had gone by and we were watching television shows we haven’t seen in a while or before and we were caught up on a lot. We didn’t sleep much. On the seventh day, we even played dancing instrumental music and we danced like fools.

We laughed and danced around the entire sub. Then I used the phone Nexus gave me and called Jaise. “Matt, where the hell have you been?” He snapped. “Well, I’ve been in a well hidden and safe place. Away from the common pains, death threats, and attacks on me, and I have been relaxing and enjoying the time here. Minus the moment when I thought I was going to die.” I didn’t feel like it was needed to say that my ancient being was trying to betray me.

“Well, where are you? I can come and get you.” He told me. “I want you to come, but I don’t need saving. I actually would like you and the others to come and join us,” And I paused for a moment because I heard him take in a sharp breath, “Jaise, I would like you to bring Liam and Julie. Is there others you could trust?” I asked. “Well, yes. But, do you want me to bring them?” He asked. “Only if you can trust them without question. But, otherwise just the two of them.” I replied.

“Very well. Where are you?” He asked. “Nexus, send him the coordinates and allow him in.” I said and Jaise asked, “Who the hell is that?” I laughed. “You will meet him when you arrive. I’ll see you soon.” He sighed heavily and said, “Alright. See ya cuz.” “Bye, Jaise.” And then I hung up. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Ashlee asked. “You don’t want them here?” I asked. “It’s not that. You didn’t tell him about your near death episode. You didn’t explain to him what happened.” I just shook my head.

“I don’t plan on keeping it from him. I just felt like he deserves to know face to face.” She couldn’t argue with that and within the hours, Jaise, Liam, and Julie were standing in the hallway by the airlock. Ashlee and I met them and they looked surprised to see us and where they were. “So, this is where you’ve been hiding out.” Jaise said. “Yeah, I needed some time alone. And that’s why I left.

I didn’t know if I could keep it up. Stay strong at the school, so I knew I had to leave. Please, understand that.” I told him. He frowned and looked at me in confusion. “I do get that, but you felt like you had to leave without telling us. Without letting me know. I don’t know what you feared from me. I know I have a temper and all that. But, I don’t think I’m misunderstanding.” He told me. “No, it wasn’t that. I’m sorry. It wasn’t anything against you. I wasn’t thinking clearly and I just needed someone next to me. There’s something that she can give me or help me with than others can.” Liam and Julie seemed to understand, but Jaise only glared.

“May I speak to you for a moment alone?” He asked. “Come on man. Let it go.” Liam said. “No, I just want to ask him a question in private.” I nodded and then took him to the command deck. “Nexus, privacy mode.” I said and the beep told me that it was engaged. “So, what did you want to talk to me about?” He just paced the deck. “Matt, did you sleep with her?” I blushed a deep, dark scarlet. “W-what?” I stammered. “I want to know if you slept with her,” He repeated.

“No, but I don’t think that’s any of your business.” I hissed. “Matt, I am not trying to embarrass you or hurt you. I know you care for Ashlee. I do. But, I want you to know that this is a big step and I want you to be sure that you’re ready for this. Also, there’s something you need to know about her.” I blinked and just stared steadily at him. “She has some unknown disease. If you sleep with her, you’ll acquire it as well. I don’t know how vampires get it, but an old boyfriend of hers had it. It’s spread by sex.” I paled a bit, but asked, “What kind of sex?” He just stared. “Any. Well, oral probably wouldn’t bother you. But, intercourse would. Somehow vampire’s cures don’t work on it.”

I just sighed and looked at him. “Jaise, I’m not ready for sex yet. Just because you, and Liam are experienced. That doesn’t give you the right to judge me and think that you can tell me how to live my life.” I said and went to the door. “That’s NOT what I am trying to do. I am only looking out for you! Please, don’t twist everything I say around.” I took a deep breath. “I don’t mean to. But, it’s just so hard not to out of some defense mechanism. Okay, I do understand. Sorry, I just sometimes get the feeling that you don’t trust me to make the right choice. That you think I’m going to jump on the bed with the first pretty girl. Don’t you trust me?” I asked.

“It isn’t that I don’t trust you. It’s that I don’t know what kind of disease this is that she has. I don’t know why she’s not telling you about it. But, I worry about you and her. However, you’re my first priority. I just want to make sure you’re okay.” I nodded. “True, and we haven’t been together a year at least, but it has been a few months and with everything we’ve been through, I think it kind of sped up the process. And she’s never tried to push me into sex. Even as a human, she never tried to hold me down and take me. She respected me. But, there’s one thing you should know that I didn’t want to tell you over the phone.”

He gave me an anxious look. “What I didn’t tell you on the phone is that something happened to me is that I almost died. I don’t know what it was. It seems clear that it wasn’t an excessive use of magic. Something was trying to kill me and Gideon, my ancient being was betraying me. He still might be. Or something is strong enough to control him.” I explained. “That’s not possible. Once they are linked to your soul, they can’t betray you. They can’t do you harm. It would hurt them as well.” He told me. “Well, I would believe you if he didn’t tell me that he was forsaking me. He flat out told me that he was going to find someone worthy of his power and he was killing me off.” I told him coldly. Why couldn’t people just believe me?! “Have you tried talking to him?” He asked calmly. “No, but I guess that I should.” He nodded. “Gideon?” I called.

The young boy appeared in front of me with a concerned look on his face. “Matt? Is something wrong? You seem nervous about talking to me and I sensed some concerns about me?” I took a deep breath. “So, I want to know why you said you were trying to kill me off. I am sorry for whatever I did, but let me know what it was.” He gave me a concerned look. “I didn’t try to kill you. You haven’t done anything. Where is this coming from?” Zolem told me he was little naïve. But, he didn’t sound naïve now. What was happening? “I asked for you when I was almost dying. It was when the fever was spiking and I called for you but when you appeared, it wasn’t to help me.

You told me that I wasn’t worthy of your power and that you were going to find someone else to replace me or something to that effect.” I stated. His look turned confused. “I really don’t know what you’re saying. I wouldn’t betray you. I remember you being sick and you calling to me. But, our conversation was different than that.” I glared at him. “I recall it fairly well.” I hissed. “As do I.” Gideon countered. “Gideon, I know what you said to me. I’ll quote you: “Matt, you’re no match to be my host. So, I have come to kick you out of the way. But, since I can’t do it alone, I have someone in mind that has the power to do that. Although, I really did like you. I don’t think you are worthy of my power anymore.”

He only blinked at me. “I never said that. I said, ‘Matt, you’re no match to fight this threat. So, I have come to try and kick it out of the way. But, since I can’t do it alone, I have someone in mind that has the power to do that. I do really like you, and you are worthy of my power, I need to find help my power isn’t enough anymore.’” I blinked at him. “Are you serious? I swear I heard…” I just shook my head. “I don’t recall….” I pressed my hand to my forehead.

“Matt, you were sick and confused. You don’t know what you heard. I promise you. I’m on your side and you have nothing to fear from me.” He said and then vanished. “Jaise looked at me in confusion. “So, I guess I was wrong and delusional,” I muttered. He chuckled. “It’s okay, and I’m sure he understands.” “I do. And I don’t hold it against you.” I heard Gideon say. “I am sorry. I’ll learn to trust you.” I walked the door and before I opened it, I turned to Jaise and asked, “Is there anything else I should answer?” “Nope, I think we talked about everything. Just be careful.” He said to me.

I nodded and then I opened the door. We walked back to the others and Ashlee was laughing at something Julie said. Her face lit up when she saw me. I walked over to her and wrapped my arms around her. “So, I hope you don’t mind. But, I did invite someone to meet us here later.” Jaise admitted. “Who?” I asked. “Carly. She’s a nice girl. You can trust her.” He told us. “Well, I did say if there’s anyone you can trust. I just don’t want a lot of people here.

Only people who are one hundred percent trustworthy.” He nodded and said, “You have my word. She’s a good person. If she brings anyone, you’ll have no problem with whoever she brings.” He said. “We do have a sitting room. They’re games and movies to play and watch.” Nexus informed us. “Where at?” I asked. “Bottom deck, in the front. There’s even surround sound set up around the room.” He stated and we started off to where he told us. “Nexus, when Carly shows up, direct them to where we are,” I commanded. “As you wish.”

We made it to the giant sitting room and the screen was almost the size of a movie theater. “So, what is the plan here?” Julie asked. “How about a game night? We could all play a multiplayer game?” Jaise suggested. “Carly is almost to you,” Nexus mentioned. Then a short haired blond with smooth ivory skin and an athletic build came through the door. She had a nice figure, but she seemed a little slim. She smiled shyly and walked over and sat down next to Jaise. Liam and Julie were on the small couch on the left of the room and Ashlee sat in the chair on the right.

I sat down next to her and rested my arm on her shoulders. “What are we going to play?” Liam asked. “What about left four dead?” Ashlee asked. Everyone but Jaise and Carly grew excited about that. “You don’t want to play?” I asked them. “I’ve never really did well with that game.” Jaise said. “I’ve never been much of a gamer,” Carly admitted. “How about you give it a chance, what do you say?” Ashlee told her kindly. “Well, are you all going to join in as well?” She asked. “Oh, yes,” He said full-heartedly.

We brought out the game systems and we turned them on. They were already hooked up and we put in the games. The Carly chose Rochelle and Ashlee chose Zoey. I took Coach, Jaise chose Francis, Liam chose Billy and Julie chose Ellis. We started to play and even though we were playing two different games, somehow we were allowed to join up and work together. Almost like a crossover between the games and we were surrounded by hundreds of zombies, but we blasted through them together and completed all objectives.

We charged through the final mission and slaughtered zombies and the other creatures that went to kill us. We beat the first area that they gave us and then went to the second. By the time we were in the third act, eight hours passed and we realized that we needed to get something to eat. “What do you have to eat around here?” Jaise asked. “Well, actually we have something to eat. A lot of somethings. I made a special dinner the other day and we have a lot of leftovers. Are you interested?” I asked. Everyone nodded. “I’ll bring it right to you,” Nexus said.

Three minutes later, the two platters from Ashlee and my dinner floated into with plates and silverware. I removed the platter lids and everyone gasped. “You made this?” Liam asked in shock. “Not physically. But, these were my ideas. I used Nexus’ technology and typed everything for him to do. He created all of this within half an hour. Please, dig in.” I said. We all started scooping food out and by the time everyone had seconds or thirds, the food was gone. People devoured the cake and the platters were floating empty. “Thank you Nexus,” I said.

“You’re welcome.” Everyone sat back down and snuggled close together. “So, I think we should be going to bed soon,” Julie suggested. “Yeah, I agree. We all need to get some sleep. There’s plenty of time to have some fun.” Carly said. “Liam and Julie? You’ll be showed where you’re going to be sleeping by Nex. Jaise? I’ll show where you and Carly will be staying.” I said. They nodded and we all got up to leave. Nex met us at the door and he motioned for Liam and Julie to follow him.

Jaise and Carly followed me with Ashlee holding my hand. We went back towards our room and pointed to a room close to us. “I think that one would be a good one,” I said. He opened the door and Carly gasped. Jaise stood in the doorway wide-eyed. The room was almost as large as mine. The bed the same style and the carpet a deep red. “I hope you find the room comfortable,” I told him with a smile. They both nodded and then entered the room.

The door closed and we walked to our own room. “So, did you tell him everything?” She asked me when we closed the door. “Yes, I filled him completely in. He wasn’t very happy with the news. But, there wasn’t anything that could be done, since it was already done and over with. But, I don’t think he’s believing me when I said that I’m okay. I get the feeling that he thinks there’s going to be another attack on my life. But, how can I be sure? I don’t even know if it was an attack, or if it was a sickness that happened to be using too much magic. I can’t even be sure one way or the other.” I told her.

“There’s only one way to be sure. But, you won’t like the answer when it comes.” She said. “I know. If I get sick, then I will know that there’s to be another attack on my life. But, if it never happens, or if we figure out what is wrong and cure me, then we’ll have nothing to worry about. We changed and then went to bed. The night was restless and I wasn’t the only one who had difficulty sleeping. But, Nexus and Nex made us all a giant breakfast and had us meet in front of my room and then I showed them where to go.

We ate a giant feast of cinnamon toast, apple buttered French toast and waffles. Maple honeyed pancakes. Scrambled and sunny side up eggs with fried bacon, sausage and hash browns. Freshly squeezed orange juice and apple cider. We ate quietly, enjoying the food that he prepared for us. Nex brought out a large tray with six large glasses of a red liquid. “Blood, I know you need it. So, here you all go.” I didn’t even pay attention to Carly’s streak, and it was red. I guess that makes sense why Jaise was smitten with her.

She was really nice as well and I began to feel warm. I wiped my forehead with a napkin. “Matt?” Ashlee asked me. “I’m fine.” I said, but I wasn’t believing it. “You look like before.” She said and everyone turned towards me. “No, this is different.” I said and I left. I walked back to the room and into the bathroom. “Matt, you’re experiencing the same symptoms as before. I don’t think you should be moving around too much. It seems to be spiking the fever that you shouldn’t have.” I heard Nexus tell me. I closed the door and took off my clothes.

I turned on the shower to complete freezing. In a matter of minutes, small ice cycles started to form around the bathroom and I climbed in. The water started off too cold to handle, but after only a few seconds, that changed. It turned t cold and then cool. After a few minutes, I barely even noticed the cold and it felt nuke warm. “Matt, that temperature isn’t even survivable!” I heard Nexus tell me. “I need it colder!” I shouted. The small thermometer on the wall said negative fifty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. It was climbing steadily and the bathroom turned into a small glacier.

But, I still didn’t feel it at all. I was still burning up. “Colder!” I pleaded. “I can’t get any colder than this or the pipes are going to burst and it will cause a flooding that I won’t be able to stop,” He said sadly. I turned off the water and wrapped a towel around my waist. I walked out of the bathroom and Jaise and Ashlee was there staring at me wide eyed. “Matt, you’re burning up.” Jaise said simply. “Yes.” That was all I could manage to get out. I stumbled over to the bed and sat down. I felt like I was being held inches over lava and my skin was going to melt off.

I screamed and blood came pooling out of my mouth. I coughed and gasped and spit out blood. I could feel my insides melting and turning to jelly again and I fell the floor. “Julie!” Ashlee and Jaise shrieked. It almost reminded me of a Banshee. She came running in and gasped. I couldn’t see anything and all I knew was that I was wretching up more blood. I tried to breathe and I couldn’t. Then I felt myself slowly floating away. But, I was still near my body. What was happening? I wondered.

“Matt, you can’t die on me!” Ashlee shrieked. If Julie was trying to heal me, I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t tell and the only thing I knew was that I was standing over my own body. I was watching everyone rush around me and I stopped breathing. Julie stood up shakily and she was covered in blood from touching me. “I’m sorry,” She said. It sounded like her voice was echoing around me. “He’s dead,” She said quietly. Jaise and Ashlee didn’t move. “No, no. He can’t be dead. It’s just not possible.” Liam walked over to Jaise and placed a hand on his shoulder. My cousin didn’t even move. “I’m sorry,” He said. “No, he isn’t dead. He can’t be!” Jaise screamed.

“I’m terribly sorry. But-.” Nexus began and then my body gasped and convulsed for a moment before breathing heavily. But, it wasn’t me inside it. I couldn’t tell who it was. But, I felt a pure evil. An unadulterated coldness. Whoever was controlling me; they didn’t want to be known. Julie gave me a strange look, but other than that. She didn’t say anything. “Matt!? Matt!” Ashlee screamed and wrapped her arms around me. “That’s not me!” I shouted, but no one heard me. “Matt, are you okay?” Nexus asked. “Yes, I am fine.” This was going to get confusing. I thought. Ashlee gave me an odd look. “Are you sure?” She asked tears running down her face. My body nodded and he gently wiped them away.

Chapter 11

I watched my body roam around the room and studying it. “Are you sure you’re okay?” Ashlee asked whoever he was. “Yeah. I’m fine.” He smiled and it looked creepy coming from my own body. I wasn’t going to like this at all. I was going to be embarrassed and humiliated because he was controlling me and I didn’t have the privacy. All kinds of bad scenarios played out in my head. No one noticed anything wrong with me, though. They couldn’t tell that it wasn’t really me. That made me feel like crap. “Matt, you should get cleaned up.” Jaise suggested.

“Back off!” My body snapped. Jaise looked at him in shock. “Sorry, it’s just been a trying day.” Jaise nodded and my body walked into the bathroom and I tried staying outside to try and talk to the others, but something forced me into the bathroom as well. The door closed and he asked Nexus for privacy mode. I knew that would mean that no one would be able to hear him. He stared at himself in the mirror for a moment and I stood over his shoulder. I couldn’t see myself in the reflection, but he seemed to be aware of me.

He turned around and stared right at me. “You trying to talk to them is hilarious. But, just so you know? You lost. You didn’t have the defenses against my magic. You are going to die. Your soul isn’t meant to be separated for more than a week I believe at most. After that, you’ll begin to fade away unless someone can expel me and return you. But, before you’re completely gone. I’m sure they will figure it out.” He said with a sneer. “But, I bet you already made sure that they won’t succeed even if they figure it out sooner,” I stated glumly. “

Yes, if they find out sooner than planned, I’ll just stake you. It won’t hurt me and you’ll die a painful death. Your soul will return just in time to die and leave all over again and they will have lost such a kind and caring young man. You really do have a lot of potentials you know. But, I can’t allow you to foil my plans. If only I could convince you to join me. I may be convinced to let you live. But, as it stands. I don’t have such assurance that you’ll be willing.” He said.

He was right. I wouldn’t be willing to join him. If he is going to take over someone, then that’s not a side I want to be on. But, that means I am going to die. “You don’t seem too worried about your own life, though.” He noticed. “I care. But, I just don’t want the others to get hurt.” He sneered at me. “I think I will have some fun with them. How about I show Ashlee a good time in bed? I think I can make even your virgin body please her in ways she never knew possible.” I froze and if a soul could pale, I think I would have. He sensed my pain though because he laughed. “Oh, you want to pop your own cherry.” I didn’t say anything and I just gave a disgusted look. “Well, I may be able to allow that. But, you must surrender complete control over to me.” He said. “You have it!” I snapped.

“No, I don’t. I don’t have access to your magic. You still control that. I can’t trust you to use it when I ask for it.” He said with a cold stare. I sighed and took in a shaky breath. “Fine,” I said in a high voice. I closed my eyes and willed him to have complete control of my magic. “What the hell do I call you anyway?” I asked him. “You don’t have to call me anything. You’re going to die soon.” I glared at him. He took off my clothes and put them in the chute. Then he climbed into the shower and put in on warm. “You know? Your body isn’t that bad actually. For a scrawny kid. You do have nice muscle tone.” He complimented me and I felt myself blush.

He laughed and then took a nice long shower. “He’s Nergal. King and father.” I heard a voice say to me. I looked at him and he turned towards me. “Did you hear or say anything?” He asked. “Nope,” I answered. He glared at me in a scrutinizing way. Then he shrugged and finished the shower. He left with a towel in hand and only Ashlee was in the room and the door was closed. Her eyes grew wide when she saw me or him. “Matt, since when did you not care about flaunting yourself?” She asked. “Oh, you know. I got tired of people always trying to kill me. So, why should I be body conscience?”

It was a valid question and it was how I was starting to feel. It didn’t make her suspicious at all. She nodded and asked, “What do we do now?” “I don’t know. But, we can’t keep hiding down here right? Isn’t that what you told me?” He asked. She nodded and he replied, “So, how about we go back to the council and the school and we talk to them and see if they are willing to accept me as one of their own. Oh, and you asked what I was doing that day after our special dinner?” She nodded while he was getting dressed. “I was making stakes. Nexus knows how so I had him channel some of my magic and he said he would be able to create the stakes and even promised to explain how they were made one day.”

Ashlee started to freak out. “You don’t know what you’re doing.” She hissed. He played me so well. He gave her a confused look. “What do you mean?” He asked. “There’s a price when you use your own magic to imbue a stake to kill a vampire. You feel their death. If dozens of vampires stake vampires with the stakes you made, you could be incapacitated by it. You will feel the vampire’s deaths. He played the nervousness well too. I couldn’t believe how good of an actor he was being.

“Don’t worry though. We will just have to watch out for you. You’re stronger than you know, so I don’t believe you’ll have too much trouble.” She assured him. I got the feeling that he won’t even feel their deaths like I would. If he’s who the voice said he was. Then he was the oldest vampire and the strongest. He was the one who we would be going to face in the end and he would be the one that the visions of my path would lead to losing people we all cared about. But, how do I change and save them when I couldn’t even save myself? “Nexus, could you have everyone meet us in the game room?” Ashlee asked. “Of course,” He replied and they headed down.

I was being dragged behind. Wherever Nergal went, I was forced to go. I couldn’t be more than twenty feet from my body and the further I moved away, the weaker I felt. So, I had to stay close and he gave me a sideways glance and a smirk before turning his attention to the others. “So, what’s up Matt?” Liam asked. “I know you all are welcome in the school and no one has a problem with you. But, they won’t accept me as easily and will probably try to kill me if I reenter the castle. So, I’m going to need your help in getting in. I want to join them and I want to prove myself that I am not a threat to them.” He said.

They all looked at each other. “Very well. I think we can help you. We won’t be able to fight off the entire vampire group if they attack. But, I think we can help out. At least, sneak you into the council. They don’t actually need protection right?” Julie asked wanting to be reassured. “I don’t see why they would. I know they have guards. But, they are supposed to be the strongest in our world. Besides the royals. They should be able to defend themselves.” I really hope so. I thought.

So, they all had a game plan and then I left the area. I felt myself floating up and into a glowing purple area. The dirt was royal purple, and the castle was a violet shade. Guards patrolled the courtyard in light purple robes and I couldn’t see their faces. But, they were of different heights and sizes. Gideon appeared in front of me shaking and looking scared. “Matt, I am so sorry. I don’t know what I did. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Please! I know you must hate me. But, that wasn’t me saying any of that. You heard me say it. But, it wasn’t me!”

He sobbed and dropped to the ground. I didn’t know how to respond to that. I wasn’t even sure I followed what he was saying. Zolem appeared next to him and knelt beside him. “Matt. He didn’t mean to betray you. I don’t even know how he managed it. I can’t figure out how even Nergal’s magic would be strong enough to tear the soul and break the link between ancient being and human. It shouldn’t be possible.” He admitted.

“It might have something to do with the fact that we don’t have a strong link yet. Maybe it only works with new vampires. They don’t have the bond that older vampires have.” I said. “You are pissed at me, and yet you don’t take it out on me. Why?” Gideon sobbed. “Why would I be pissed at you? It wasn’t like you openly betrayed me right?” I asked. “Well, technically he did. But, he was brainwashed. I don’t think he fully knew the consequences of his actions.” Zolem defended him. “No, brother. I don’t want you defending me.

Matt should be pissed at me without any emotional ties holding his anger back. He should be pissed at me and I should be destroyed.” Zolem flinched at that. “You don’t know what you’re saying,” He told his brother with a scared voice. “I do,” Gideon replied steadily. I walked up to him and hit Gideon with everything I had. He went flying backward and his guards rushed towards me, but he landed on his feet and waved them away. “No, it’s fine. I deserved that and many more to come.” He said.

I backed away from him. “The only time you deserve a hit is if you talk like that again. I don’t want to hear about how you feel like you need to be destroyed. I can tell that’s going to be an eternal torture and one you’re not mentally able to survive. So, no. You won’t be getting yourself tortured and I don’t want to hear any more of this shit from you. You understand me?” I demanded. He nodded and said, “If I can get you out of this in one piece, I will do everything I can to earn your trust.

I promise. I never thought you would be in danger. I trusted father. He betrayed me. Zolem? I’m so sorry I didn’t believe you. I could have prevented all of this. But, now I am wanting to fix this anyway I can. Please, help me.” A woman appeared then. “Zolem? Who’s this?” She asked pointing at Gideon. “Mother, this is…Gideon. You haven’t had the pleasure of meeting my…half-brother.” A range of emotions covered Harkil’s face. “Half…brother?” She choked out. “Your father spawned this vile traitor?” She hissed. “Mom, he’s only eleven. He didn’t know. He still believed that father wasn’t a bad guy.” He said. Well, obviously I was wrong about his age.

She walked over to him and slapped him. He didn’t try to leave. I don’t know if he was too scared or what. She hit him again and then I moved towards him. Zolem tried to stop me, but I shoved him away. He wasn’t innocent in all of this either. She wrapped her hands around his throat and started to strangle him and I got to her and I hit her with everything I had. She released him and went flying. Gideon dropped to the ground and gasped for air. “You okay kid?” I asked. He nodded, holding his throat. “He betrayed you! He killed you!” Harkil screamed at me.

“No, not yet he didn’t. I think there’s still a chance that I can return to the living. But, I can’t do it alone. I am going to need help.” I told them all. “Why should we help you now? You’re aiding a traitor and a bastard!” She screamed. “Let me counter your attack on him with a question of my own.” She glared at me. “Who was the one who put his penis inside a vagina and ejaculated? Who was the one who fertilized the egg and created life? And who was the one who gave birth?” She tried to answer and stuttered without giving one.

“So, I have to conclude and you have to concede that it isn’t this boys fault that he was born. It was your husband and his mother. Children don’t choose life. The parent’s actions do.” I said. Zolem just shook his head in disbelief. “Well, you’re obviously not shy of being blunt.” She snapped. “Nope, and never will be. Just so you know.” I countered. She didn’t respond, but she stayed. I could see Nergal and the others approaching the throne room and the council set up shop in the school.

Everyone was there. All eight council members. They were running the school now. I couldn’t decide if that was good or bad. But, there’s nothing I could do about it now. I watched as vampire and human soldiers approached and I couldn’t hear what was being said. “You don’t need to worry about what they were saying. All you need to worry about is what he’ll do and what you’ll be blamed for.” Zolem told me. I sighed.

“I knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” I said. “Never will be,” Harkil said frostily. I glared at her and turned towards Gideon. “So, do you have any plans on how to save me?” I asked him. He looked at me with tears in his eyes. “Not yet. I’m just so sorry.” I patted him on the shoulder and said, “Well, let’s get to work. We have a lot to do and I don’t know how much time we have before whatever he does or will do is irreversible.” I ordered. “This is just ridiculous.” Harkil groaned.

“I agree.” Zolem commented, he joined us all on the ground and we discussed different ways that we could save my life. I looked down and they were in the council room. Nergal made me look totally confident and different, but no one seemed to know the difference. I sighed and didn’t hear them when they called my name. “Matt!” Zolem screamed. “What?” I turned in confusion. “Are you listening?” He demanded. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you.” I said looking back at the throne room.

He followed my focus and he took a deep breath. “Don’t worry. We are going to get you back to normal. You just have to focus and be patient.” He said. “How much time do I have before I start to weaken and end up dying from being separated too long from my body?” I asked him. He didn’t seem to want to answer that question. But, my stare forced him into speaking. “You will have a week. But, I think the more he uses your magic and energy, the weaker your soul will become and the faster it will detach from the link connecting you to it. After that, you will be gone and faded within the week.

If we don’t have you back in your body, then you will…” He began, but I didn’t need him to finish the sentence. “I get it. So, in other words, you’re saying I’m doomed.” I replied glumly. “No, you still have a shot. But, you can’t give up.” Gideon said. “Why not? Every day I’m alive, someone wants me dead. Do you all remember how many times you said I would be safe somewhere? You told me I would be safe at the school. I was beaten and almost killed. I was imprisoned and tortured to death. You remember saying I would be safe on Nauru? Yeah, well I was almost killed there too. You said I would be safe with Jaise and the others on the island at the beginning of the journey.”

I said this laughing hysterically. “But, guess what? That was when I was first targeted and almost killed by Jason. How much more can I truly take? Every fucking time I find a place where I’m promised to be safe, someone comes along and tries to kill me. I don’t know if you’re all actually lying to me or if it’s just a bad coincidence. But, I’m really tired of this crap. I’m really tired of having to fight for my life at every second.

I can’t even enjoy a simple night with my girlfriend without having fears of being killed. And look!” I screamed. “She doesn’t even know I’m not me! She’s all over Nergal and she can’t even tell. No one knows it’s not me. How am I supposed to fight that? Why shouldn’t I just let him use me for whatever he wants and then allow him to kill me off? I obviously am just going to be worried about getting attacked at every turn. So, what’s the point in staying alive?” I demanded and stood up. I turned away from them and I couldn’t face them.

“You want to know?” Harkil asked. I glanced at her quickly and then turned away. “Matt!” She screamed and her voice was full of power. I turned towards her wearily. “Do you want to know what the point of staying alive is? I can show you.” She snapped. “Mom, you can’t interfere. And you’re not allowed to tell the person who what you see is about. Only an oracle or someone with oracle blood may see that knowledge.” Zolem explained to her. “Be silent!” She snapped at him. He fell back silently. “Ma’am, I’m sorry that my presence is causing a problem,” Gideon said.

“You be quiet as well.” She hissed. “You don’t have to be a bitch.” I snapped at her. She rushed towards me and I rolled out of the way. She turned to face me. “Do you want to know or not?” She demanded. “Yes. Why not.” I said coldly. She gave me a sneered smile and then waved her right hand out airily. Then I found myself surrounded by this giant hologram. It was kind of like final fantasy ten in Guadosalam in Seymour’s manor.

I watched the world as I know it and a vampire that I recognized as Brandon, Ashlee’s ex, was leading a huge army through a city. They were walking through with swords, bows, and guns. They killed people as they marched and they blasted buildings and houses. They launched spells at cars and froze, or melted them down. Thousands of bodies and parts covered the roads and sidewalks. Blood flowed from the sides of the roads like water from a rain.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “Are you watching this? Only you will or would know about teams that they’ve sent after the humans. You could in this future prevent all these deaths and all this destruction. But, don’t just take what you see now. Keep watching.” She said. I saw another army being led by Jaise and Ashlee. Liam and Julie were on the outside of their force with a small army of their own. But, the army wasn’t as large I would have thought it would be. “You don’t fully know what happened yet,” Zolem said sadly. I didn’t know what they meant. As I watched, I heard them speaking about something.

“Jaise, I don’t think we are going to be able to win this war. He had to have survived. But, he’s dead.” He turned on her and screamed, “Shut up! He’s dead and we have to avenge him!” She didn’t flinch from his outburst. “I completely agree. But, how? We are supposed to have Matt’s power. Without him, I don’t see a point in fighting, and I don’t see a point in surviving.” She said. “You have to. You promised him. You said you would fight until the end. You would try and protect the world.” He reminded her. “I said I would try. But, I’m not going to sacrifice myself for a suicidal notion without him being next to me. I will look out for myself and the people I care about before this foolishness.

, I may join him once I’m dead. Besides, I don’t think there’s going to be the world to live in after this fight.” She replied and the two armies finally clashed together. Thousands of vampires surrounded each other and began shooting, hacking and launching arrows. Vampires spun around and rolled around each other. Liam launched swirling vines around and they encased their targets and began to squeeze and constrict them. Vampires screamed and some of the vines even wrapped themselves around the targets throats and squeezed so hard that the heads literally exploded.

Brains and blood blasted out like a volcano and goo went everywhere. I wanted to puke. Jaise blasted fire magic everywhere. Victims of his were set on fire and died screaming before the fire went out and they could heal. Some even melted into a puddle of slime. Ashlee used a bow that I didn’t recognize and loosed arrow after arrow. She seemed to have a never-ending supply and I soon figured out why. The quiver was enchanted with air magic, so the arrows returned right after hitting the target. The fight was long and bloody. Both sides, for the most part, seemed to be evenly matched.

Jaise’s group though didn’t have the numbers but seemed to be better trained ended up in a short time became overwhelmed. The fight turned bloody and slowly started to turn into a slaughter. A war horn blew then. The remaining humans were running and some were lucky enough to have gotten away. But, many more weren’t. They were cut down where they stood or as they were running, they were killed. Even the vampires with Jaise and the others weren’t doing everything to protect them. But, I guess that makes sense since they couldn’t even keep themselves alive.

“I don’t think we are going to get out of this,” Ashlee said to him. I saw Liam bring his forces around and fought towards Jaise. He wasn’t going to let his best friend be killed. Not like this. Julie brought her forces around the other side and continued to battle through a large force. Arrows and swords flashed through the air. Guns filled the air with a deafening noise. Jaise spun around and countered and blocked, and he and a group of fighters protected Ashlee and some archers with her.

They surrounded her. A group of them were trained to block arrows out the air and another group was to keep fighters off of them. They have it well planned out. But, no one knows if it was going to be enough. They seemed to gain the upper hand again. With Julie and Liam’s forces cutting their way through, the enemy wasn’t able to just focus on those in front of them. They had to worry about a group on all sides, and after a long and bloody struggle, they met up with their friends.

“I knew you wouldn’t let me die.” Jaise told Liam with a smirk. Liam rolled his eyes. “No, the only one who can kill you is me. We’ve been friends for what? Almost fifteen or so years?” He asked. “Pretty damn close.” Jaise agreed. The fight turned for the better than. The city buildings crumbled to the ground and glass rained down. The sky turned a blood red and dark clouds formed and moved overhead. A female hovered over the group and she paled. When she came back down she said, “We have another force coming towards us from the North and East.”

“Damn it!” Jaise swore. “Everyone! Fight! Hold your position. Tighten our defense!” He shouted. The vampires pressed into each other and held their ground. “Did you see who it was?” Jaise asked her. “No, I couldn’t tell,” She said. But, the way her eyes seemed cold and distant made me think she wasn’t on their side. “We need to move somewhere else. We can’t stay here. Everyone! Fight to the West!” Ashlee shouted. A wicked smile played across the female’s face. “No, don’t do it! It’s a trap!” I screamed. “I’m sorry Matt. It’s only the future. It hasn’t happened yet. So, they can’t hear you and there’s nothing you can do. You’re dead.” Harkil explained.

I watched and they fought and protected each other through the streets and every five of Jaise’s soldiers died one of the enemies fell. They were losing more than they were gaining. I really hoped that he knew what he was doing. They made it to a medium football stadium where there were only two ways in. “Mages, cast the protective barriers!” He ordered. Vampires spread their hands around and sheets of fire and ice formed and encased around the entire area. A few selected vampires held off the approaching forces. They didn’t make it and I could tell they knew they wouldn’t.

“We can’t stay here forever. Eventually, they will break through our magic.” Julie said gasping against a wall. “I find it weird that we ended up in an enclosed room large enough for us,” Liam said. “Well, do we feel like it’s a trap or a safe haven?” Jaise asked. Everyone said at the same time, “Trap.” I noticed a good portion of the forces didn’t say anything. There were chunks of fighters that didn’t say a word. “Where are we?” A girl asked. “It looks like we are in some strange unknown stadium. I don’t know how we got here. But, there’s no way for them to get in right now, is there?” Someone asked.

“I don’t think so. The gates are sealed and the spells are holding. No one should be able to teleport in without the mages permission.” Ashlee said. Jaise tensed up when he sensed something. “What’s the matter?” Ashlee asked him. “I feel like someone is watching me right now,” He said. “Your emotions are frayed. You’ve been up for days now. You’re tired. Why don’t you try and get some sleep.” She suggested and he nodded reluctantly. He walked over to a bench and laid down. Julie walked up to Ashlee and asked, “Do you think he’s going to be alright?”

She studied him for a moment. “I don’t know. I really hope so.” She said and I noticed the girl on her phone. She looked like she was just playing some games. But, she had a wicked smile on her face. Ashlee turned to everyone. “Alright, you know what we have to do. Our magic won’t hold them for long. Everyone fan out. The barriers will stop them from teleporting in, but he gates must be protected at all costs!”

“I have a better idea.” The woman said. Ashlee turned to her. She twirled a stake in her hand. Ashlee looked at her suspiciously. “You could all surrender?” She suggested and everyone tensed and froze. “No? I didn’t think so. How about die. Now!” She shouted and large groups in different areas began to move and before I could blink, the girl teleported over to Jaise and staked him. He grunted and screamed awake. He pulled it out and collapsed on the ground. “What the hell?” He choked out.

“It’s time for you all to die. You should have known better than to fight us. We can’t lose and now you’re all going to die.” Ashlee ran over to Jaise, but he had a stake already in hand and jammed it into the girl’s heart. She had the widest look of surprise on her face. “You should have…known that I wouldn’t let…my killer get away.” He coughed and wheezed. He fell to the ground and she stumbled away tossing the stake onto the floor. The vampires nearest to Jaise seemed to have entered a rage or something. Their eyes started to glow and a thin aura pulsed around them. Those with Ashlee and the others became so enraged and matched the ferocity and power of the enemy.

The enraged cut through and killed hundreds of vampires before they knew what hit them and got organized. Even then, though, they couldn’t match up to the power that was against them. Hundreds upon hundreds of vampires fell and they were pushed towards a corner before the power faded and left the vampire’s weak. They slightly fumbled for a moment before catching themselves and the enemy started to push back. They were still hopelessly outnumbered and the spell at the main gate shattered sending magical flaming and rocky missiles everywhere.

It didn’t seem to care who they hit. They struck everyone and killed them horribly. Some had their heads smashed in, and others were burned to the bones. But, vampires began to pour in and I watched as Jaise screamed and died. His skin peeled off and I could see the muscles underneath him. Liam and Julie rushed over to him as soon as they could, but there was no cure for what happened to him. Liam grabbed Jaise’s hand and squeezed tightly. “I’m sorry man.” Jaise gasped out. “You can’t fuck die on me! I told you. Only I get to kill you.” Liam said, choking up.

“Yeah, well. It seems fate or that bitch had different plans for me. Protect her. She thinks she doesn’t want to live now that Matt’s gone. But, I think he would want her to. Keep her safe man.” He rolled over on his side and coughed up blood. More skin fell off and his muscles started to turn to jelly. I couldn’t watch this anymore. I tried to turn away, but I couldn’t. I was forced to watch as Jaise lay dying a slow and painful death. The others tried to fight the newcomers, but they didn’t have the number, the strength, or the heart to stand against them. They were cut down.

Liam, Julie, and Ashlee fell back and hid fighting behind the others. They thought that they might be able to escape, but Julie took an arrow to the heart. Liam quickly pulled it out. “It’s too late,” She said calmly. “What do you mean?” He demanded. “The arrow was enchanted with holy and dipped in poison. It will spread slower than a stake, but I will still die soon enough. “You don’t seem to be caring!” He snapped. Tears in his eyes. “There’s nothing I can do about it,” She said. They watched as everyone they have ever known was slaughtered and then when they turned around, they were face to face with the council, Jason, and Ran.

“I think we came to this party too late,” Zeke said. “Well, there’s still Ferol to slaughter. So, let’s have some fun shall we?” Sally said. “I think we should.” I turned to see Rayne. “Kid, you shouldn’t so quick to give up,” She told Julie. She gently patted her shoulder and then I saw her tremble and shudder. A white steam swirled up and away from her. “The…poison is gone?!” Julie stated. “I don’t feel it anymore.” “You can heal someone from the poison?” Liam demanded.

“Not all. She didn’t have a large dose of poison and it didn’t completely destroy her heart. I can’t heal Jaise. I will try if you’d like. But, I don’t think I can do it.” She said. “Please?! He’s like a brother to me.” Liam said trying to keep his voice steady.” Rayne nodded and the council, the royal vampires and their army of humans and vampires charged into the fight. I couldn’t believe the size of their force. They might actually be able to win. “Don’t get your hopes up,” Harkil told me. Rayne knelt next to Jaise and began casting her spell on him, but only dark puffs of red smoke came out.

“I’m sorry. I can’t heal you.” She whispered to him. “I know and I thank you for trying. I just only wish that Matt was here. He’d be able to change this and we wouldn’t be in this mess.” Rayne gave him a sad smile. “Well, you know. We can’t always know when someone’s time is up. But, all you have to know is that you meant the world to him. You and Ashlee both. I could tell that from the time you all were on my ship. You’ve done everything for him and him just never got the chance to tell you. He probably didn’t know how to either.” She said to him.

He smiled and went limp. His organs and muscles turned to slime and after only half an hour all that remained of Jaise was bones. Liam dropped to his knees and he looked weak. Julie stood by him. Ashlee didn’t seem to know one way or another what to do. The fight was a stalemate. Neither side was winning. Then everything went dark. Screams filled both sides and through the darkness, a small orange light began to glow and grow. I soon found it to be a fire. It was growing and spreading through the stadium. Then this ten-year-old boy with shoulder length jets black hair, dark brown skin, and brown eyes.

“Milord.” Someone said bowed to him. “You haven’t won yet?” He asked. His tone suggested that it was rhetorical and wasn’t meant to be answered. “I’m sorry, milord. They have proven to be stronger than anticipated.” The man said. He looked at the fighters and saw Jason and Ran. “Well, I see why they have been holding they’re own,” He said. “Oh, and now, you will get your just reward.” The boy said. Faster than a blink, the boy was ripping out the heart of the man.

“Nergal,” I said. “Yes, that’s him. The strongest and oldest of the vampires. I don’t know how he managed to possess a boy that age. But, he won’t be able to kill. Royals never are. We have a lot of differences between the regular vampires.” Harkil explained. The scene changed from the stadium to the rest of the world. “I’m also going to show you not what happens in that final fight. But, to the rest of the world.” She said. The scene showed the USA from an angle a plane would be at. I saw fires spread all over and a black cloud covering major cities. “What’s that blackness?” I asked.

“Let me zoom in.” She said and then she took me to Chicago. I gasped. I appeared in a cemetery and the dead were rising. People were here to put flowers on the graves of their loved ones and weren’t going to find peace today. One family was putting flowers on their son’s grave. I saw the age. He was only sixteen. When a hand shot up to the ground and grabbed a hold of the father’s leg. He screamed and the mother ran off. The hand dug its nails into his leg and pulled himself free.

Then the boy who had thick chunks of flesh remaining came after the man who used to be his father and dropped on top of him. He ripped out the throat. The man gurgled and choked on blood. More bodies were digging through the ground and the people who were still in the graveyard found themselves surrounded and blocked off. The city itself had finally been notified, but by then it was too late. The dead were rising all over and small gangs who were picking each other off found themselves being attacked by members they just lost.

“Zombies?!” I asked in fear. “Yes, he’s using shadow magic. The darkest power if used in the wrong way. He’s raising the dead and they’ll spread throughout the world. More shadow clouds have already been placed in other countries and it’s not just his magic at work here. Other shadow vampires are involved as well.” She said to me. I was watching everything that happened and I never seen so much destruction, even with the best special effects from the movies!

Storm clouds were coming into areas unaffected and storms were flooding and blowing buildings apart. Lightning was shattering cars and striking people down. Trees were burning and falling on structures, trapping and killing people. No one was safe in this world. “His followers and he are destroying the humans for good. He knows that the world is going to die soon and he’s speeding it along. I don’t know what the good of it is. But, he thinks that whatever is happening, he can stop it. But, I don’t see a point in killing off the humans. He’s going to need them to survive.” Harkil said.

But, then something strange happened to the vision. It went dark for a moment and then came in to focus on something else. Something far beneath the ground. A large underground facility in the middle of the Sahara desert. Thousands upon thousands of humans from old to young were being placed in these large cylinders. They looked like they were put to sleep in those futuristic sleep chambers. “What the hell?” I asked. “I don’t know. I didn’t even know anything about this.” Harkil admitted. “Mom, remember what the oracle said?

Matt will unlock the rest of the vision once he views it. It’s his destiny on the line.” Zolem reminded her. “That’s right!” The vision then switched back to Nergal and the others. Jason, Ran, the council and the vampires have all split the stadium in two. “You don’t have the power to fight me. If you want to protect the rest of the world, you’re going to need to join me. I have kept the strongest minded and physically adept humans alive, safe in a secure and well-protected building. But, there’s a bigger threat than just me coming. Something that will make what I’m doing to the world looks like a child throwing a tantrum.

“You may not like what I’m doing. But, that’s too damn bad. I have to destroy the world, in order to save it.” He said and placed in front of those with him. “You really think killing billions is the right move?!” Ran demanded. “Oh, sweet woman. You never were able to make sacrifices were you? You don’t yet know how this world works. You don’t yet know how terrible the threat is. It will sweep this planet in a poisonous cloud of decay and then spread to the other planets in the galaxy. I have to say this. If you think this is the only planet with life on it, then you’re a fool.” He said simply.

“You’re destroying this planet, though! You’re killing everyone off!” Jason hissed. “No, I am not. I’m creating an army that can’t be easily defeated. They are death and decay from an ancient race that was barely defeated thousands of years ago. Atlantis actually battled them when they first became a kingdom. But, they couldn’t do it alone. They allied themselves with some of the most powerful witches and warlocks of the age and joined forces with neighboring nations. The world almost came to an end, and they had many casualties. So, they joined together to create one large kingdom until the day where they could split off and branch out. But, we all know the history after that.

“That threat is coming back now. Those ancient creatures are rising again and will soon spill out. The humans would end up dead anyways and would end up joining their ranks. We would find ourselves outnumbered and slaughtered. I’m keeping us safe.” Liam gave Ashlee a long hard look and said, “Oh? You want us to join you? But, what about Matt? The one who you had Gideon betray!? He was only trying to live and have a good long life. Do you know anything about what he went through? What he tried and wanted to do was to fight for us all! He wanted to keep us safe!

He only wanted to mainly live and have a good happy life. But, you had to possess his body and destroy his soul. You couldn’t leave him alone and you killed him because you just didn’t care! Then you killed his cousin! You may not have raised your hand to kill him, but it’s your fault he’s dead! He was also my brother! You left her,” he pointed at Ashlee, “Alone in this world! So, I have nothing but this to say to you! ‘”Go to fucking Hell!’” On that last word, the vampire’s rushed into the fight and both forces clashed together.

I couldn’t tell who was fighting on what side. Nergal didn’t even waste any time. He blasted everyone with magic and destroyed them without much effort. “You know you can’t beat me!” He shouted over the noise. “We don’t have to!” Ashlee screamed back. They didn’t stand a chance and within minutes, everyone was dead, but Ran, Jason, Liam, Julie, and Ashlee, and the council. The thirteen members were spared. “Why haven’t you finished us off?” Liam pointed out to us.

“I don’t want to kill you. I didn’t want to kill them. Please, join us? You could be so much more than you are.” He said. “So could my best friend. But, he’s dead!” Liam spat. Nergal shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry about him. I didn’t kill him, though. “No, but you did kill his cousin!” Nergal looked confused. “I don’t know who you’re talking about,” He said. Ashlee boldly walked forward even though Liam was trying to grab her. She shocked him and he fell back.

She walked right up to him and slammed a picture into his chest. A vampire next to him went to grab her, but he waved him off. Ashlee walked back over to Liam and shook violently. Nergal looked at the photo and paled. “Wait, this was him? This was the boy I possessed and killed?” His voice shook. “Yes! Don’t pretend that you didn’t know, or that you care!” Ashlee said icily. “I…I…He wasn’t supposed to be the target. Where’s John?!” Nergal demanded. Everyone looked around, but no one moved. He lightly rubbed his forehead with his thumb and index finger.

“Where is JOHN!?” He bellowed. Everyone jumped and parted and ran over each other trying to find him. But, he was gone. “I’m sorry sir. He’s gone. He was with us when we entered.” A vampire with a white streak said. “Find him. Soon. If not, I’ll rip off your privates and shove them down your throat.” He threatened. The male paled and took a group out of the stadium. “What’s going on?” Ashlee demanded. “Matt wasn’t supposed to be my target. He told me that it wasn’t Matt, that his name was Chris.”

Ashlee began to sob and rushed towards Nergal and began hitting him. You would think it would be wrong for her to hit a child. But, he didn’t even seem to feel it. “Hit me all you want, it won’t change anything,” He said kindly. She began to sob hysterically and Julie pulled her off him. “Ashlee, it isn’t going to help you.” She sobbed instead into Julie’s shirt and she just held her friend. Liam walked over to the girls and placed a gentle hand on both of their shoulders.

“I can’t obviously make it up to you. But, I can say that his death won’t be in vain. He was supposed to join me with Jason and together, the royal powers were supposed to protect our people. Together, we were to be united and strong. I was thinking something was off about all of this. I was wondering why Jason met with me instead of Matt. But, now I know. I thought something was wrong.” He said. “You bastard.” Ashlee said and left. Julie walked out and so did the female council members. “I just want to be alone right now.” I heard her shout. “You can’t be alone right now. It’s too dangerous. Nergal seemed to be sad about the whole thing, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

“Matt, now do you see? You have to find a way to live. The world is going to fall without you and not just with Nergal’s army. But, something else to follow.” Harkil said. “How do you know it isn’t just a trick of his to try and get the vampires together under him?” I asked. “Well, normally I would think the same thing. But, this vision came from an oracle. Well, more of a witch. A powerful witch of knowledge. Her magic is of the strongest in the world. No one who went up against her was able to beat her magically. Even though she’s weaker physically than a lot of her opponents, she was able to defeat them through knowledge. She showed us this but said that only you would be able to completely unlock the hidden parts. And I think we just found them.”

I turned to look at Gideon. “You haven’t said anything in a while,” I said to him. “There’s nothing I can say. I know I messed up. I just wish I could change it. But, once we save you. I have the ability to switch with another royal being. My soul won’t be able to be used again. I’ll be in punishment. Just consent to this and you’ll be free of me.” He said and I didn’t have to look at Zolem to see that he was scared that I would agree and I didn’t have to look at Harkil to know that she was in agreement with what he said. So, the choice now was up to me and how was I to condemn this young boy to a fate either worse than death? Or forgive him for killing me? I really didn’t know what to do. “Matt, please just let me go. It’s for the best. They’re powerful ancient beings that would be willing to take my place.” He said and I could see the pain on his face.

“Gideon? I-“ “Matt, please!” Zolem interrupted. I glared at him and that silenced him right away. “Gideon? I will not sentence you to an eternity of pain and suffering. If you want to atone for what you’ve done, then you do so by helping me and watching out for me.” I said. He looked at me through tears in his eyes. “What?” He asked. “I know you don’t want to really condemn yourself and I can see that you never truly meant to betray me. But, from here on out, if I can be saved, then you do everything you can to support me. We will call it even then. But, on my terms.” I told him.

I don’t know why I was so quick to forgive him. Well, maybe it had something to do with the fact that this kid reminded me of myself. I turned to look at Nergal and the others. “What do you think they are going to do?” I asked. They all came up next to me and said, “I don’t know. But, I don’t think anyone is going to like it.” Zolem commented. “I think I have to go back soon. But, I get the feeling that there’s a creature or something in this world that can help me. But, I don’t know what.” I said frustrated. “What about that vampire that saved you from Jason?” Gideon suggested.

My eyes lit up at that. “Yes! Him. He isn’t like the other vampires and he might be able to help. But, I can’t remember his name.” I said. “Don’t worry. I think Jason will be able to find him.” Zolem said.
“I’ll go inform him now.” And then he was gone. It was only Harkil and Gideon with me and the tension was intense. “I don’t know why you spared him. I think you’re a fool.” She told me. “I may be a fool. But, I am not cruel. I won’t condemn him to an eternity of suffering for a huge mistake or a small one. He has the right to a second chance. Don’t we all?

If it was Zolem, would you be so willing to condemn him?” I wondered. “It isn’t the same!” She said defensively. “Of course, it is. If Zolem were to have betrayed Jason the same way, you wouldn’t be so quick to end his sanity and him for justice. He’s your own blood. But, since Gideon didn’t come out of you. You don’t care about his fate.” I gave her a cold stare and turned away from her, dragging Gideon with me. “Where are we going?” He asked. “I think it’s time I got some comfort in this afterlife before I head back.”

Harkil charged Gideon and pinned him to the ground. “I can dump you in that swamp hole, you just begged to be dropped in. I can grant your wish.” She hissed. But, she never got the chance. On earth or anywhere else, she would be stronger. But, here? Gideon was like a God. He shoved her off and his guards grabbed her. She couldn’t get out of the restraints. “What’s the meaning of this?” She demanded. “You forget that we aren’t in your dimension. We are in mine.” He said. She paled, and then he ordered his guards, “Don’t let her back in until I say so.

Exile her from this plane.” “Yes, sir!” His guards said. They all snapped his fingers and she was gone. “You can do that? Stupid question. Of course, you can.” Gideon smiled at me. “If it wasn’t for you, I would have allowed her to throw me in that pit of doom. But, you won’t sentence me there, so there’s really no point in allowing her in. Besides, I don’t have anything against her. She’s family, whether she knows it or not.” He said. “Yeah, and it isn’t like you’re a bastard or something. You’re actually her blood. As well as Nergal’s.”

He nodded and didn’t say anything. But, I could feel myself being drawn back to earth, so I went and then I found myself standing in the throne room. “…actually expect me to buy all that? You want me to think that you’re not a threat? We’ve only been told about three royal vampires. Not four.” A male with a diamond streak said. I didn’t know who any of these people were. “Jared, you seem to forget something. The royal vampires have their secrets.

So, it’s possible that one would have been hidden out of shame.” A dark haired woman with a bright green streak told him. “Alayne, that’s enough. You’ve said your peace. Now, I think we should truly listen to Matt.” Zeke said. “That’s not me you idiots!” I screamed. Nergal smirked a little, but if the others noticed, no one said anything. “Thank you. My ancient being is Gideon. He’s… well, he is of royal blood. But, it’s not known among the family because of a mistake his father made.”

“So, you’re telling me that you shouldn’t be put on a short leash until we can assume if you’re truly a friend or foe?” Marty asked. Nergal gave him a piercing stare. Ashlee looked at him with a confused look. I don’t think she ever saw me give someone a look like that. “Well, give me a chance. What would you like me to do?” He asked. I hated seeing him speak through my body and this was giving me a headache. “I would like you to take a force to Tokyo in Japan.

We have reports of an attack on the small group of soldiers we have stationed watching the enemy forces. We don’t know how their whereabouts were founded. But, we would like you there to stop the deaths of these soldiers. They are the only ones in the field that has brought back any information about the enemy and we need them. Once they are secure, we will relocate them.” Raemi said. Nergal bowed and asked, “Do you have the force all ready?” He asked.

“Yes, we have them all ready. You’re to leave straight away.” Jared replied. Nergal bowed again and he left the throne room with me right next to him. “You know? I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I really don’t think you should go through with it!” I said. “Oh, be gone! You’re an annoying spirit. Don’t you have some dying to do?” He snapped and then a large group of soldiers appeared. “Sir?” One asked. Nergal nodded and then we teleported and went to a dark alley somewhere.

I heard some strange language and lights and music. We walked out and I saw signs in a different language and I knew we were in Tokyo. “Sir, where do we go?” Nergal smiled and said, “Well, they didn’t exactly say. But, I think I have an idea. Follow me.” He said and we went down the busy street. The people on the roads and sidewalks moved out of the way as they saw us coming. “Where are we going?” I asked. He ignored me as I knew he would. We stopped outside a small warehouse and then entered through the sliding metal door. We walked in and right away, everything went to hell.

Flashes of light surrounded us and the soldiers with Nergal started to freak out a little. “What’s going on?” One asked. “Soldiers are you?” He asked with a laugh. “You’re being tricked!” I shouted. But, of course, no one could hear me. “You have two options. Join me or die. But, either way. That small group that we were supposed to protect? Well, they’re going to be destroyed. I can’t have them reporting to the council. It’s bad for morale and business.” He said. “I thought you were on our side!?” A female archer demanded. “Oh? Well, maybe this person would be.

But, I’m not exactly him. Although, he’s not a bad specimen.” Nergal complimented. I rolled my eyes. “I don’t understand.” Someone said. “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Are you going to choose to fight and die? Or join us?” Most of the vampires tried to flee and they were blocked. “I see,” Nergal said sadly. “Kill them,” He commanded. Lightning bolts arced through the air and fire singed clothes and hair. The smell of burning flesh filled the air. I don’t know how I could smell it. But, I kind of figured it had something to do with the fact that I was still partly connected to my body.

Wait? Did that mean I could do something to him? Could I fight him? I wondered. I tried rushing him and giving it everything I got. But, I just passed right through him. If I was solid, it would hurt me. Well, I guess either I needed to work on it, or I just can’t do anything to him. The magic filled the air and the dying screams of the vampire’s filled the air. Several died and I couldn’t tell who was on what side. “Well?” Nergal asked. “All taken care of.

But, they killed a small handful of our own.” A middle-aged woman said. “Thirty fought thirty and ten died on our side and thirty on theirs. We have also gained thirty. Death happens, but we still came out ahead. Bury your dead and honor them with a proper burial for doing a good job.” He said. He walked away from the group. I really couldn’t believe I had to watch them betray their friends and people. I couldn’t believe I had to watch the others get slaughtered.

“So, you just let them die,” He said. “Well, what would you have us do? It’s not like we have a good choice. Join you or die right? What would you expect us to do?” A middle-aged man demand. He almost seemed incredibly pissed off. “Guys, why don’t you take our guests to their new quarters and get them ready for the initiation,” Nergal said. The soldiers nodded and went to lead them out. A small signal passed through the rest of the army and in a flash, stakes were pulled out and the vampires around them were all staked and dying. Nergal turned around with a shocked look on his face.

Fifty vampires lay dying. “What’s the meaning of this?!” He demanded. “You didn’t think we would seriously dishonor our friends and family did you?” The man snapped. Did he hear what I thought? I wondered. No, it couldn’t be. It had to be a coincidence. “You’ll pay for that.” Nergal snapped. “I don’t care. We know we are not going to live through this anyways and we wouldn’t want to. We wouldn’t fight and kill them. We are soldiers. We know what is expected of us. So, come at us. You will kill us, we have no doubt. But, we aren’t as cowardly as you make us out to be.”

He did just that. They all rolled and dodged and countered. But, even though Nergal was in my body, I was a lot stronger than them. I don’t think he was able to beat them all as easily as he would have been able to in his body. But, he did fairly well. His skill in hand to hand combat was enough to give him the edge and he crushed their hearts and killed them with magic. In ten minutes, they all lay dead on the ground. Grotesque corpses.

“Kid. Your people may be braver than I originally thought. But, they won’t be able to beat me.” He snapped and then he walked out of the warehouse. He set it on fire and then we left. We walked up the street and found another warehouse two and a half blocks later. A lot of people gave Nergal a strange look. No one challenged him and cops who passed him didn’t even look his way. One actually did stop him and asked him something. I couldn’t tell what was said. Nergal replied fluently, however. The cop smiled and continued on. We made it to an empty lot with a small building that looked like it was falling down.

“Your people are here. But, they won’t be alive.” He said with a smug smile. We entered the lot and then I could feel something out of place, but in a good way. Nergal sensed it to and he wasn’t happy with it. He launched a power cyclone at the building and it tore it apart. But, no one was inside. A message formed. Vines shot out of the ground and ripped and cut themselves to form a message. “You have lost this mission. We’ve been tipped off. The guards here are safe back at camp.

Although we don’t know who you are. We won’t stop until you’re defeated.” “Damn it.” I laughed. “What are you laughing at?” He snapped. “Well, I may be losing and dying. But, it doesn’t seem like you’re getting anywhere already. You had this big plan ahead of you didn’t you. Now, you’re losing.” I said to him with a smug smile. “Oh, one little group? I have more vampires back at camp than your weak ass school. So, I didn’t get the followers that I wanted. Sooner than later, they will all see that I am the only one who has the power to protect this world. You all will see it and then be begging to join me.” He replied with a confident tone.

“I don’t think so, but we shall see,” I said. He rolled his eyes and we returned to the castle. “Matt? Where’s the group that was sent to you?” Someone asked at the gates. “We were attacked by a force bigger than anticipated. I barely made it out of the fight.” He said and his clothes were torn up and blood did kind of cover him. No one really questioned his story. He walked back to the council and they all glared at me or him.

“So, you got the entire group killed. Is this how you lead people into battle? You just let them do all the fighting and don’t help them? You were supposed to be stronger and immune to magic. And you don’t think that means you should have taken the blunt of the attack?” Marty demanded. “No, it doesn’t. Just because I have some advantages in a fight. It doesn’t mean that I should be used as a bloody weapon.” He growled.

I actually had to agree with that. “But, you’re still supposed to lead them and protect them,” Sally said. “I tried,” He told them. “Liar.” I coughed. “I did. But, we were outnumbered.” He said. “Fiber,” I muttered. He gave me a sideways look. “I don’t know what you want me to say. We were outmatched and outclassed. They didn’t have the training and they fought with everything that they had. But, they couldn’t match the enemies’ skill.” He told them.

“Why don’t you try the truth?” I asked him. He glared at me. “So, what would you like me to do? Beat my head against a wall? It was out of my control.” He replied and I said, “Whatever. You’re just a bully who takes what he wants.” He turned towards me and snaps, “Oh, shut the fuck up, kid!” I laughed hysterically and everyone was watching wide-eyed at him. They thought I was going nuts. But, that was okay. It didn’t matter to me. “I’m sorry. It’s been a long week and I think I just need to get some sleep. I guess I am letting memories from my past affect me in the present.” He said and then left the throne and everyone behind.

Once we were out, he turned to me. “You think you’re so clever don’t you?” He snapped. “A little bit. Sure, why not.” I said to him. He glared at me. “Don’t push me kid. You don’t know who you’re fucking with.” He warned. “Nergal? King of vampires. Once the ruler of Atlantis. Then went psycho.” I replied. That seemed to shock him. “How did you know that?” He demanded. “I have my sources. You’re not the only one with connections.” I said and then walked as far as I could away from him. “Hey, Matt!” We both turned around.

“What is it?” We both asked at the same time. “Zeke wants to speak with you in private. He says it’s urgent.” A young girl told Nergal. “Very well. Where is he?” She gave him a small map and pointed. “Thank you.” He started heading over there. Zeke was in the fire district and on the ground floor. We passed under a flaming arch. “So, don’t speak and I won’t make you regret your final days on this plane,” He said. I didn’t know what that meant. But, I took his meaning clearly enough.

We entered the room with two giant braziers burning outside. Zeke leaned over a desk typing on a computer. “Matt, good. You came quickly. I have a special project for you. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, though. I was wondering if you wanted another chance to win over the council.” Nergal seemed lost for words. “They weren’t too happy with me for what happened,” He stated. “No, and you have to understand.” He began to tell me. But, I wondered why I cared and why Nergal was trying to pretend so hard to get on the council’s good side.

They’re trying to keep the peace. But, with the threats of war and vampire’s being torn between it, it’s hard to keep everything straight and to keep the people safe. They are trying to protect humans as well. They are all that will truly save us from dying and they are what will replace those who we have lost. So, don’t take them too personally. They are just concerned that they are failing is all.” He said. I wanted to tell him to stop speaking. But, that wouldn’t do any good and it would only piss off Nergal. “What’s the mission?” He asked.

“I would like you to take a small force. A small group of five vampires with you and do recon. You will be in the jungle of Xalingenala Forest in Africa. I…I actually used to work at this station. They do research on humans and vampires. But, they changed the tests up. I used to work there when I was human. Of course, that was several thousands of years ago, and they didn’t do what they do now.” He said. “What did you do and what do they do?” Nergal asked.

“I was only a herb gatherer and a minor. We worked on finding ways to cure illnesses and to kill our enemies. Now, they seemed to actually experiment on humans and vampires and trying to find a cure. From what my last source said. They want to find a way to extract some cells from a vampire which speeds up the healing and create that as a pill or some form of medicine. I don’t know how that’s going to work. But, I need you to check it out and if they are doing that. Stop it when the time comes.”

“Okay, do you have a group ready?” He asked. “Yes, they are already in the field. Go to these coordinates and you’ll meet up with them. Please try to bring them back. My daughter and niece are with them.” He said quietly. Nergal nodded and I didn’t like the gleam in his eyes. But, Zeke seemed to not see it. “So, you would like me to go now, wouldn’t you?” He asked. Zeke only nodded in answer. He sighed and then looked at the coordinates and then teleported. We landed in the middle of an island surround by a lake. “Damn, where are we?” He asked.

“I actually don’t know. You’ve never been here?” I asked. “I don’t go to swamps and places where parasites live,” He said coldly. “So, you think these people are parasites? You know. Just because they don’t have royal blood in them. That doesn’t make them beneath you.” I told him. “Oh, I don’t think they’re beneath me because of their blood. It’s where and how they choose to live.” He stated and I just sighed. “Some people don’t have a choice,” I said. He didn’t answer me and chose to walk in silence.

“Do you know where we are going?” I asked. He didn’t respond. We walked on a dirt path and stepped over fallen trees and ferns. I could see animals running through the bushes and trees. Deer, foxes, wolves, squirrels, rabbits, and even boars roamed through the forest. “Well, this is a nice place to rest and have a small camp,” He commented. “Yeah, well. We aren’t here to go camping. We are here to find a group of people and to stop research.” I told him.

He laughed wickedly. “You would like that. But, I need to know how to actually stop them. In order to stop what they are doing, we must first befriend them and learn what they do.” He said. “Why do I get the feeling that you’re actually already working for them and you don’t want to stop them. But, you want to kill the others off or convert them.” He just blinked at me. “I don’t really know what you’re implying. But, I don’t like it.” He said. “You know exactly what I am saying. I think you plan on having a repeat of Japan. I know we weren’t there long. But, you had a lot of deaths on your hands then.” I told him. “Well, technically they are your hands. And I couldn’t care less.”

Well, how did I see that one coming? I wondered. We moved in between trees and around giant rock walls that blocked us. Well, he did. I was able to just walk through them. We heard the sound of a running stream and then noticed an eight-foot tall log wall. “I think we found a camp,” I muttered. He rolled his eyes at me and then said, “You know? I am getting tired of the teenage ability to state the obvious and I have a question for you. How come you’re emotions are so out of whack?!” He began.

I didn’t know what he meant and gave him that look. “I mean Jesus! How sexually charged are you?! I never knew you were all so horny!. How do you stand it? I don’t know why you don’t just get laid and get it over with.” He said. “You couldn’t understand,” I told him. He only laughed, but he didn’t say anything else. We walked up to a small open area. It couldn’t have been more than four feet wide and six guards stood in front of it. Two on each side and the other two were pacing and circling around in front of it. As we approached, they aimed their bows at us and the two pacing unsheathed their swords. “Who are you?” An archer asked stepping forward. “I am Matt. I was sent here by Zeke of the council.” I saw that the guards were human.

“Very well. You may enter. Your people are waiting for you in the silvery moon tent.” The archer mentioned and then we walked in. I was still getting used to not being seen. We walked through the camp and we saw giant trees with apples on them. Children were running around playing. Male teens were working on the farm with their fathers. Young daughters helped their mothers with the household chores and simple tasks like gathering eggs, milking the cows and cleaning.

They helped prepare meals and set the tables. It looked like a nice, but simple way to live. “You know the awesome thing about this lifestyle?” Nergal asked me. “What’s that?” I wondered, kind of afraid to find out. “It’s actually quite nice. I haven’t been to this place before. I have seen others like it, however. The females and males change roles every day.” He explained. “You mean they share jobs? That’s kind of neat. This way, they can’t say that one gender has the easier or harder job.” I replied.

“Exactly,” He said. We entered the tent and the five vampires were there with a human female in full plate mail and a bright diamond white cloak. Her helmet covered the sides and back of her head and fell down a little past her neck. The helm didn’t block her vision and a piece came down between her eyes and covered the top of her nose. Diamond white hair fell down the back of the helm from the top. She turned to us and I blanked and even think I began to drool a little.

Even with the armor, I could see a nice figure. The armor was shaped to fit her curves and body. Her skin was medium toned and unblemished. She seemed slender but well-muscled. “Ah, Matt is it?” She asked. Nergal nodded. “I’m glad you were able to make it so soon. We were dreading an assault without reinforcements.” Nergal seemed to be a little tense. “You know I’m the only one who has come.” If that concerned her, she didn’t let it show. “You may be alone. But, rumor has it, you’re stronger than the average vampire and you’re immune to magic.” She said. “Well, in the technical sense,” He said with a shrug.

She didn’t comment and then said, “Well, whenever you’re ready. Unless you would like to take a rest first.” Nergal nodded. “I think a nap would be a good idea,” He said. “As you wish,” She said. “Marc, why don’t you show him where he can sleep.” He nodded and then motioned for Nergal to head out of the tent. He followed shortly after and led him over to a small, but spacious tent. It had a comfortable looking bed and a table and a lamp.

The table even had a computer on it. “Matt. The computer is linked to the nearby satellite and will give you a fast internet connection. Shana will wish you to meet her in the command tent whenever you’re ready. She doesn’t sleep much. So, you wouldn’t have to wait long if she’s not there.” He said. “Very well. Thank you, Marc.” He bowed and left the tent. Nergal closed the flap and then got on the laptop.

I don’t know what he was looking for and I don’t know if he knew. But, I soon found out. He was looking up maps and areas of where we were. He wanted to get a layout of where he was. “You know? I could really learn a lot from that.” He only looked at me. “If only you will be alive long enough to use what you see. But, I will say that there’s only one way for you to become a good strategist and organizer. You only learn by doing and by making mistakes.

You won’t know what will work or fail until you try.” He said. “Well, it’s a shame I won’t be around to learn and grow,” I said quietly. “I may let you live. But, the likelihood of that is slim.” He said and he studied the environment and the surrounding landmarks. I watched over his shoulder and not much was known about this forest. But, what he did uncover was the seasons were constantly changing and intense. “What’s the plan?” I asked him. “I get some sleep. And then we do this.” He said. And that’s exactly what he did.

He woke up mid-morning and then went to the stream, took off his clothes and bathed. He started to wash up and then turned around to the sound of someone approaching. “I’m sorry. Forgive me, sir. But, I have a fresh pair of clothes for you. I am sure that they will fit you.” A young girl said. Nergal smiled and said, “I thank you. You can just leave them over there.” The girl bowed, placed the clothes on a clean rock and then left. Nergal finished washing up and then climbed out and got dressed.

His finger-combed my hair dressed quickly and walked back to the command tent. When he entered, Shana was already waiting. “Are you ready Matt?” She asked. She changed her armor. Instead of plate mail. She wore what appeared to be mesh armor. Her light boiled leathers and a mesh armor shirt with a knee-length mesh skirt. Her helmet was similar to the plate, but it wouldn’t be so heavy since it was chainmail.

“I see you didn’t like the heavy armor,” He commented. “I want to move stealthily. This armor isn’t what you think it is. It’s been enchanted with a light shadow spell to not make noise and it’s been spelled with air to be lighter than it looks. This way, I have the protection without the limitations.” Nergal nodded and said, “I’m ready when you all are.” She nodded. “Okay, we are going to meet up with the others. “Do you want to change?” She asked. “No, I’m okay,” He said.

She just blinked at him. “I think you should put on some armor. We may heal faster and be more resilient to damage. But, that doesn’t mean we should be risking it all.” Nergal nodded. He walked over to the wall and pulled down a set of leather armor. There was even a thick leather and wool cloak. He donned them and then grabbed a weapon on the wall. He chose a double-bladed sword and a pistol with a small box full of ammo. “I don’t know what we are going to run into. And in a fight, stealth isn’t really my thing. I do prefer a crossbow. But, well there isn’t one and those things are slow to load.” He said.

“Yes, I find small bows a lot better, but they can be a pain to handle. Especially in tight spots. Which is why I like throwing daggers.” She said. I noticed that she had two swords at her hips and six daggers. We all walked out and left the camp. We headed east and found a trail of the others. “How far have they gotten?” Shana looked at him. All but Marc had a four-day heads start. I don’t know if they have found anything. Communications have stopped.

Something may have blocked the signal, or something happened to them. But, until we know for sure, we will continue on as planned.” She said. “I assume you have a backup plan?” She chuckled. “Of course. We finish the mission.” She told him and then moved further ahead. “Well, that’s going to be fun,” I told him. He glared at me. “I guess you don’t like my comments?” I asked. “I’ll be glad when your soul had finally moved on,” He whispered. Shana looked back at him in confusion. But, I didn’t know if she heard what he said or not. “What are you really going to do?” I asked him.

He didn’t answer and we kept walking through the woods. They had to move between trees and around shrubs and bushes of strange vines. They didn’t look too healthy to touch. “Poisonous. We lost a couple good soldiers in the past couple months to them. Our healer couldn’t do anything. It was a slow, agonizing death. You couldn’t even begin to imagine the pain and what they went through and looked like after they died. It was… nightmarish.” She said. “Well, I haven’t studied these types of herbs before. But, everything has a slight purpose.

They could be used to get rid of certain enemies, or even if they are dangerous, in small amounts. They could be used for flavorings in foods.” He said. She gave him a quick look. “That’s true. But, we still have to be careful when using the plants. Too much by accident can be very dangerous.” She stated. He nodded and they sidestepped the bushes and a few small trees. All of them looked beautiful and friendly. But, they both avoided them because even Shana didn’t seem to know much about what they were, even though she had been here for a while.

Through some openings in the trees, sunlight showed down around us and I noticed that it was slowly fading. “I don’t think we are going to make it to the others before the sun fades. But, I don’t feel tired at all. So, we can keep going if you’d like.” I said. “How long before we each the others?” He asked. “It’s hard to say. I don’t know how long it took for them to get there. But, if you would like to stop for the night, we can.” She said. “Nope. I’m totally okay.” He replied. The sun started to set and it started to get really dark, but I could still see just fine. I still had the phone in my pocket. Well, a ghost like a copy of it. I pulled it out and found it to be after nine at night. The moon was high and full in the sky and we marched on.

“I never knew it could be so dark,” Shana complained. “I can see just fine,” I replied. Nergal hissed at me. “Well, I don’t think we will be able to see where we are going any longer,” She said. “That’s not true,” He said. He snapped his fingers and a white light appeared in his palm. It floated out and hovered in front of us. As they started to walk, it floated a few feet ahead of them and lit up the path that we needed to follow. “It knows where our destination is and it will lead us to where we need to go,” He said.

“How does it know?” Shana asked. “I’m really unsure of how this particular spell works. It seems to link to a small memory or desire that we have a destination or location gives it what it needs to lead us to where we need to go.” He said. They walked on in silence for a while and Nergal asked, “Is there any blood to drink?” She chuckled and reached into her cloak. I don’t know where she placed them, but she handed him a good sized vial. “Here you go.” He looked surprised. “You’re full of surprises,” He said.

She only laughed. “Well, what can I say? I have a father who is a council member. I get the best gifts.” Nergal nodded but didn’t say anything. We continued on for quite some time and they finally did manage to stop at four in the morning. “Damn, I need to take a breather,” She said. “If you want, I’ll take first watch.” She gave him a weird look. It almost seemed suspicious, but she nodded. She took off the armor and she had a pair of pair of short denim shorts on and a tank top that looked like crystal.

She jumped them into the nearby tree and rested on a thick high branch. I don’t know how she could find it comfortable up there, but I guess as a vampire, you find comfort and rest anywhere you can get it. Nergal paced the ground around the tree in a small circle. “You know kid? I think you might prove strong enough to survive.” He told me. “Well, thank you. You try to kill me and then give me a compliment?” I asked him. “Well, what can I say? I am a complicated guy.”

I rolled my eyes. “Matt?” I turned to see Gideon standing there. “He can’t hear you if you speak to me,” He said. “Is something wrong?” I asked. “No. But, we have to figure out the best way to put your soul back in your body. You have less than four days. We have to figure this out soon.” “What do you propose?” I asked him. “Well, we think we have found a lead to who may be able to help,” He told me. “What is it?” “

Someone named Maxix. A traditional vampire who may be able to help you. But, we haven’t yet located him.” He told me. “It’s not going to be easy. But, you have to find him.” He nodded. “Oh, don’t worry. We will. I will not allow you to die in such a way.” He vowed. “You don’t owe me such devotion. If I am not meant to survive this, then it’s okay.” I told him. “You have NOT gone through all of that just to die like this. You saw the future. We won’t have one if you’re not in it. I want you to fight damn it!” He screamed.

“I just feel so tired. I am doing my best to fight and act like I am strong still. But, I am so drained.” I told him. “I know, but it’s just the separation that is causing it. Your soul is strained from being split. We still have some time, but we have to hurry. The longer you’re away from your body. The weaker you’re going to get, and the less likely you’re going to be able to survive.” He told me.

“Well, that’s a comfort,” I muttered. “Don’t worry, we haven’t given up yet. We won’t until it’s too late and even then we won’t stop until...we do.” He told me. I only smiled. “I like that you are determined to help me. But, I guess I am suffering from what you told me. I just feel cold. I don’t even know how that’s possible.” I admitted. “It’s complicated to explain. But, your soul is an extension of your body. It still feels like your body does. The only difference is it can’t get sick, or be destroyed.”

“Unless the time runs out or the body is obliterated,” I state. “Yes, unless that,” He said. “So, is there anything I should be concerned about?” I asked. “Yeah. I don’t think Nergal knows who you really are. I don’t think he would put your life in full jeopardy if he did.” “I know you want to think that your father is good, Gideon. But, I am not so sure. He had no problem taking me over. Whether he knew who I was or am or not. It shouldn’t matter. He still endangered and possibly ended my life.” He gave me a pained frown and it looked to like he was about to cry.

“I’m not saying that to upset you. I just want you to know that there’s a lot we don’t know about with this entire situation.” I told him. He had tears in his eyes, and he turned around so I wouldn’t notice. But, he wasn’t quick enough. I walked away. “Matt,” He said, voice sounding stiff. “Yes?” I asked wearily. “I hope you’re wrong, but I fear you’re right,” He said and vanished. “As do I kid. As do I.” I said and walked back to where Nergal walked and he asked, “Where have you been?” Was that suspicion in his tone?

“I was at this giant club. Two floors. I thought about paying extra for a V.I.P room with three gorgeous woman and some cocktails.” He glares at me. “Your humor is always a delight to hear,” I smirked. “Well, as long as it’s enjoyable,” I told him. He didn’t indulge me with a response. The sun started to rise and Shana jumped down from the tree. “You okay?” Nergal asked. “Yeah, I’m sure Marc said I don’t sleep much. If you’d like to get some shut eye for a couple hours, feel free.” She said.

“No, I’m completely fine. I slept enough and I don’t require much sleep either.” They continued on the path as the sun began to rise and came to a wide stream. They both got a drink of water. We continued on and he just froze. “Matt, are you okay?” He looked around and said, “I feel someone’s power. But, I don’t know where it’s coming from.” She looked around and pointed. “I feel a slight pulse of energy. It seems to be coming from there.” He focused and nodded. “Shana?” We turned around to see us surrounded by four vampires. “Marc?” She asked.

“Yeah, and Joshua, Dylan, and Shelby,” He said. “Well, at least, it’s all of us and no one pretending to be us,” Shana muttered. “You’ve had that problem before?” Nergal asked. “Well, I would think they would have been insane. But, hey! Look at my situation!” I shouted. He only glanced at me. “Once. We actually almost lost Josh. I don’t know who it was, but someone cloaked themselves to look like him and somehow trapped him with magic. He was trapped for weeks and didn’t get anything to eat. We almost didn’t find him in time.” Josh seemed to be tense during this conversation.

“Shelby actually found me. It was by luck.” A boy said, removing his helmet. He looked like he was seventeen with dark red hair and some hair growing on his chin. Another removed the helmet and I saw a carrot red haired young girl. She looked a little pudgy, but nothing too bad. She looked at him like he was the sun and he barely seemed to know she existed. I couldn’t imagine how bad she was hurting from that. “Well, at least, you were found. That’s what matters.”

Nergal told him. The boy didn’t say anything or acknowledge it. But, the girl smiled. “Okay, people. What have you found out?” The other boy Dylan stepped forward. His long curly brown hair fell down around his shoulders. He looked beyond skinny. It was almost like he wasn’t eating enough. “We found where the science lab is. It’s a two story building. It actually looks like a mansion. There’re a lot of guards around the place and a giant fence. In a creepy way, it looks like it came from Resident Evil.” That didn’t bold well. “How far is it?” Nergal asked.

“Two hours that way.” Dylan pointed. They didn’t waste any time and began following the path. “What’s the plan when we get there? Vampires will probably have the place protected with the magic of some kind. I doubt we can just teleport in there.” “Oh, no I am pretty sure we won’t be able to. But, I think I know someone who can.” He said. He looked right at me. “What do you expect me to do? Haunt the place into boredom?” I demanded. “No, but you also have a physical form. You can touch things.” He told me.

“Who are you talking to?” Shana asked. Nergal didn’t say anything. “You think I have the ability to touch something?” I asked him. “You do. If you only focus hard enough. We need you to get into the security room. Turn off the alarms and the electric fences. That way we can all get in without alerting security to our presence.” Nergal told me. “Again, who the hell are you talking about?” He continued to ignore her. “I’ll give it a try.” I said and then rushed off. I was kind of afraid that I would trip the alarms, but I never did.

I guess being a ghost or soul has its perks. I passed right through the fence and passed the guards and scientist in long lab coats. “Gideon? How do you know he doesn’t know who I am? Everyone keeps calling him by my name.” I said. I heard his voice around me. “I don’t know. It’s weird. But, there’re a lot of people with your name. So, maybe he thinks it’s just a random Matt.” “I really hope so. I really hope you’re sure of this.” I said and then I walked around the halls. I wasn’t worried about getting caught. It took me quite some time to find a control room.

“Well, I think this is what I am looking for,” I said aloud. “There’re a lot of machines and electronic equipment and I don’t know what we are supposed to do.” I heard Gideon say. “Neither do I. But, I have to try something,” I said. I tried to push some of the buttons and flip switches. But, I couldn’t get them to move. My fingers just kept passing through them. “Matt, focus.” I turned to him. “What?” I demanded. “All you have to do is try and focus.” I did and I spent hours trying to get the machines to turn off or work. But, nothing. “Ah!” I screamed.

I slammed my fists down and felt the contact of the computers. Alarms blared for just a second and the sparks shot out of the console. Then the screen flashed, “System failure.” And went blank. Guards rushed into the room, and I just leaned against the machine casually. “What’s the status?” A guard asked. “I don’t know. Everything seems to be in working order.” One went to the computer next to the door and checked the systems. “It looks like we have some power failures, but the cameras aren’t picking up anything.”

“Well, let’s do a security sweep and check the fences and alarms.” The one by the door said. A third entered and asked, “What’s going on?” He demanded. “I don’t know. We seem to be having some power failure. But, I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about. I am not picking up anything moving beside our guards. So, I wouldn’t be concerned.” The guard by the computer said. “Well, find out for sure. We can’t afford to be compromised.” They all nodded and I left the room and walked straight out of the place. A woman was walking down the hallway and said, “Hey kid. What are you doing here?” I didn’t know what to say so I just looked around in confusion.

She couldn’t have been talking to me. She chuckled. “Matt, is it?” I froze. “You can see me?” I asked shocked. “Of course, I can. I’m a psychic of sorts. Or you can call me a witch.” She said. I backed away from her. “I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to help you.” She told me. “How are you going to do that?” I demanded. “I’m a witch of knowledge. She removed her long sparkling red wool coat that fell to her ankles. A sparkling red dress that didn’t cover her flat stomach that didn’t fully hide her figure.

Her long dark red curly hair fell down to her waist and she only smiled at me. “I am Hecate. I’m a witch of knowledge. I then looked at her stomach and arms. On her arm, I saw a scroll. A half unrolled a piece of yellowed paper with some strange symbols on it. They looked like some ancient symbols. A language that no one knows about. “You see the tattoos? Well, the scroll talks about calling on the people that I come within ten feet of. It tells me all about them.

Their lifestyle, how they lived, and what kind of person they were.” She said. “So, what do you get on me?” I asked. “I don’t know. You’re not really yourself. So, I can’t get a good read on you. But, from your aura or soul, I can tell you’re a good person. That’s that the other part of the writing on the scroll. I can see souls or ghosts. I’ve helped a lot of people move on.” She said.

“What about your stomach. I see a giant book there?” I wondered about. The book was closed and I could see it glowing. “What does it do?” I asked. “I can focus on it and open it up,” She said. And that’s what she did. The book opened up and I could read the pages. They flashed in bright multi-colored letters and it said, “To see a soul, feel the energy. Absorb the power, and see the truth.” She pointed, “This is just a small prelude of what the book will say and tell me. It wasn’t the full message about a soul. But, this page is one of the reasons how I know you’re a good person.”

This was a lot of information. I thought. “I don’t hurt ghosts. I take a small amount of energy that flows off a soul or ghost and that’s how I know if the person was good or bad. And this other page, I will flip to…” She said. The book opened up to the last few pages, but the symbols on it were something I couldn’t figure out. “This explains that I can learn what other magical beings can do and it helps me learn and figure out how I can protect myself and fight off those who wish me harm.”

“Why do I get the sense that you have more than just those powers?” She smiled. “Well, I said I was a witch of knowledge, didn’t I?” I nodded. “Well, I guess you did. But, I don’t know what that has to do with me.” I told her. “Everything. You are the key to the war. But, if you die, everything dies with you. Is that what you want to happen?” She asked. “No, but do you know something about getting me out of this mess?” She only smirked. “Yes, and you do not regret it. I promise that you won’t get hurt, and no one will be harmed either.” I nodded.

“Just go with everything. It will work out.” She said. “Are you able to tell me if my life gets better? Or actually means something?” I asked her. She didn’t even hesitate. “Yes, you end up having a good life. But, it’s a long struggle to get there. But, I promise that if you’re willing to fight and go through some hardships. You’ll end up enjoying a good happy life with Ashlee.” I just blinked. “You know everything about me?” I wondered.

“I wouldn’t say everything. But, I think I would have gotten a good report on your life or future when you were alive. But, now since we are going to get you back; we can make you have that future.” She said. “Well, that’s a comforting thought. But, do you think it’s possible?” She only smiled. “I know for certain. You will have a good life. You just have to fight for it. It may take some time, but you’ll get there if you’ll just try.” I smiled. “I will. I will do everything I can to return to my body. But, I won’t destroy the remaining energy I have.” I told her.

She smiled sadly at me. “What do you have to lose either way?” She asked and then left. I hated it when people were right and gave me a lot to think about. I rushed back to the others. Nergal saw me coming. “Did you do it?” He demanded. “I did. Their security is down. I don’t know how long it’s going to last, though. Security is going to check it out. So, I think if you want to get in there, you would need to go now.”

He nodded and said, “It’s time. We need to go now.” They all nodded and they rushed into the building. The leaped over the fence and landed silently on their feet. Their armor didn’t make a lot of noise. We snuck through the outer hallways and we passed a bunch of doorways. “What do you think are in these?” Joshua asked. “Well, what if we find out?” Shelby asked. “We don’t have a lot of time. We have to find out where the research is.” Shana said. “I know, but we don’t know what else is connected to that research. We have to see.” Marc said. Dylan walked over to the first door he was closest to. He opened it up and held a dagger at the ready. He slowly opened it and froze. “This is…” He began, but couldn’t finish the sentence. He walked in the room and then everyone slowly followed him.

The room stretched like a miniature football stadium and there were giant cages with different types of animals. Gorillas, monkeys, squirrels, dogs, cats, rabbits, and different types of birds. Crows, ravens, parakeets, and flamingos. But, there was something different about them. “I wish we had more lights.” Joshua mumbled and then lights began to turn on. We all took a closer look at the animals and gasped. They had some differences about them. “Why do they look off?” I asked.

“There’s something off about them,” Dylan said. We walked around the cages and we wanted to really see what the differences were in regular animals compared to these. I walked up to a flamingo in the back and its eyes seemed to be glowing a bright sunlight yellow. “What the-“ I muttered. A bolt of lightning shot out from its wing and went right through me. The animal rushed to the back of the cage and started to freak out. Everyone stared at it and wondered what was going on. Nergal turned to me. “What’s going on?” He asked. “It was able to cast a lightning spell!” I shouted. “That’s not possible,” He said.

“I know. But, nonetheless, that’s what happened.” The flamingo began to freak out and run from corner to corner. Then he raised both its wings in a strange gesture and a stream of lightning bolts came out like a continuous flash. The bolts sprayed out at Nergal and he just blinked at the bolts. “That isn’t possible,” He said. “You were told they’re doing experiments right? Maybe this is one of them.” “Or maybe it’s linked together. Animals with vampire powers? That doesn’t even seem to be possible, and yet…” “Matt?” Joshua called. Nergal turned around and looked at him.

“I think we have found some research notes here.” He handed Nergal a clipboard. There was a bunch of scientific facts that no one here really understood. But, there’s a lot of information that we did understand. The papers talked about all the research they did and how they somehow managed to clone the powers of vampires and witches from cells and keep them alive and inject them in tissues of animals, somehow giving them the powers. It doesn’t make sense and I am not sure why they are doing this.”

Shana took the file and checked it over. “I think I know why they’re doing this. The people here want to find a way to control the animals and train them into using magic. That way they could send the animals into battle under their control. The main plan is to limit the casualties of the vampires, humans, and witches.” “But, if they send thousands of animals into battle, then it would reduce the number of animals in this world, and they may go extinct. We have to stop them. Besides, these are innocent animals in here. We can’t let this continue.” Shelby stated.

“No, but there’s more at stake than a few animals,” Nergal said. “Be that as it may, we can’t let the animals stay like this.” Dylan and Joshua shook their heads. “You’re taking this to a personal level. We have to think about this as a bigger picture. They are only a couple dozen animals who shouldn’t have this kind of power. They aren’t meant for that.” Everyone looked at each other. “Nergal? Isn’t there a way to absorb their magic? Or maybe dispel the power they already have.” I said to him.

“That’s not a bad idea actually,” He said. “What’s not a bad idea?” Shana asked. “There might be a way to take the power out of them. By doing so, we could nullify the cells from the magic and eventually the body would attack and destroy them. The animals would return to being normal.” Shelby seemed really happy to hear that. “How do you propose we do that?” Dylan asked. “I really don’t know,” Nergal confessed. I walked over to a cabinet and found some vials and syringes.

A small twelve slot box of a dark bluish and reddish liquid and they were labeled, ‘Vampire Cell Destroyer.’ I didn’t know if I should have Nergal informed of that or not. Oh, what the heck. “Nergal!” I shouted. He walked over to me and saw what I was looking at. He whistled and Joshua walked over. “I think this would be perfect. We could use it on the animals and I know how to do it.” He explained.

He grabbed a syringe and the box out. He attached the vial into the syringe and then walked over to the animals. They started to freak out when Joshua walked up to them. But, Shana jumped in and froze them. “NO!” Shelby freaked out. “Shelby!” She snapped. She was shaking and trembling. “I didn’t harm them. I just slowed them down. Their bodies. But, I didn’t harm them.” She said. Joshua injected as many as he could with the virus killer and then went to the next one. He used all the chemical and cured them all. But, I got the sense that deeper in the lab, that things would not be so simple to fix. The animals were unfrozen and they seemed to have calmed down.

We left the room and walked down the halls. Three guards came around the corner and grabbed their side-arms. They quickly aimed the weapons at the group and they didn’t hesitate. They rushed to meet the guards. Joshua, Shelby, and Dylan. All rushed and slammed the guards against the wall. “You guys go ahead,” Joshua called. We rushed passed them and turned the corner and found at the end of the hall a door leading to a staircase. Nergal kicked it open and we rushed down them. We passed doors leading to other floors, but we didn’t stop at them. We went to the ground floor.

Shana opened it up and crawled through it. After a couple of minutes, she poked her head back through the door and said, “Come on. There’s no one around and we need to hurry.” She said. “We still don’t know what we are really doing here,” Marc said. “Well, whatever it is, I think we’ll find it on this level. It’s underneath the ground. They probably want it for best possible control against anything going wrong.” Nergal said. “Wait a second. Didn’t my father say that they were experimenting on vampires and such to extract cells and find a way to make a pill heal illnesses and cure diseases somehow? I think he said that they wanted to do this.”

No one really knew what to say. We walked quietly down the hall and around the corner and came upon a set of swinging double doors. “So, what do you think is in there?” I asked. “I think there’s something that we aren’t going to like,” Nergal muttered. “You mean the rest of us. You don’t seem to care one way or the other.” I mutter. “I care. We just have different priorities.” He stated simply.

I walked into the room and motioned for Nergal to tell the others to not follow just yet. “Guys, we should wait two minutes.” I heard him tell the others. If they were confused by what he said, they didn’t question it. I walked through the doors and shouted in fear and pain. I looked around at the giant hooks all over the room. It looked like a small warehouse and the ceiling was twenty feet in the air. The giant rusty silver hooks held different animal carcasses on them.

They were dripping blood and bodily fluids. I could see the intestines hanging out of them. And on giant scales held organs and other scales held muscles. Their skeletons were displayed around the hooks. But, the worst part was the thing that was looking at me. I slowly walked over to the middle of the room and I saw a lot of different sized brains in jars with wires and tubes hooked up to them. Several giant screens hung from the ceiling and on them were images of the animals from around the room.

But, the problem with this was they were looking at me in a way that didn’t seem quite normal. The cow gave me a cold stare and then began to speak. “So, you have come as we knew you would. But, why did you come? Oh, yes. You have come to stop the research. The pills to cure illness and disease seemed too good to be true. But, despite all of that, you didn’t want the experiments on the vampires and others to continue. But, you’ve failed. The experiments have already been completed and through that small freezer door, you’ll come upon shelves of the cure. But, also, you’ll come across the people who are being used to generate it. A drop of blood ever hour is dropped into the mix from the vampires and witches. Both mixing together to get the full power of healing, strength and magic powers. You have failed.” It said. “But, how have we failed? I mean why did they do this to you? I don’t understand this.” I said.

Nergal and the others rushed in and froze at the sight of it. “What the hell is going on?” Shana demanded. “You have failed in your mission and are going to die by us. You were supposed to save us and stop this and you didn’t!” I looked to see the horse face on the screen starting with glowing green eyes. “You are going to be kicked to death!” It neighed. The other animals all seemed to glare as well and I don’t know how, but it seemed like we were going to have the fight of our lives.

“You are going to die now.” The bear roared. Then I heard this creaking sound. Everyone whipped around and then saw the skeletons start to move. Horses, bears, lions, cows, and pigs. “I think we, I mean you guys are in trouble,” I told Nergal.” The cow looked at me with a cold stare. “You’re not safe either spirit. If your body died, then so does your soul. Oh, and we have the magic to see you and destroy you, even if we can’t get rid of your body.” How is it able to see me? I wondered. The animals gave me a sturdy stare. All the skeletons moved around and surrounded us.

“We shouldn’t have a problem taking care of these,” Shana said. “I wouldn’t be so confident about that,” I commented. Nergal looked at me questioningly. The skeletons charged us. The lion jumped at Joshua. The bear at Nergal. The horse charged Shelby, Marc got jumped by the cow, the pig jumped Dylan. Shana was the only one who wasn’t attacked, but I got the feeling she was going to get hurt soon. Everyone was dodging and rolling out of the way and they punched and kicked, but every time they broke a chunk of bone, it just seemed to repair itself.

They clawed and a bit. Kicked and scratched. For a pile of bones, they seemed to know how to fight like they were whole. They had strength and speed despite what they were. Nergal ended up pinned to the ground with the bear on top of him. He tried to push him off, but the only thing he could do is hold the bear by its bony throat in order to keep it from ripping his throat out. Or more importantly, mine. As he was holding the bear, it was clawing at his chest and it looked like it was doing some major damage, but he held it off without flinching too noticeably.

“Nergal?” I asked. “I’m fine. I just don’t know how to stop it.” He said. A piercing scream filled the room and I looked over at Shelby who had the horse hooves stomping through her chest. “No!” I heard Joshua screamed as the lions claws dug into his stomach. I stared wide eyed at him and charged. I thought I was going to pass right through the horse, but I actually managed to body slammed the horse and sent it flying several feet. She coughed and gasped and wretched. But, she seemed like she was going to be okay. Joshua wasn’t doing so well. “Save him.” Shelby gasped out.

But, I wasn’t able to. There was no way for me to make it to him in time. Shana was there in a flash though and tossed the lion across the room. I could see that he didn’t look that well. Nergal couldn’t seem to get the bear off of him. I don’t know why he was having so much trouble with the animal, but it looked like the animals were a lot stronger dead then they were in life. Did it have something to do with their brains being hooked up to the machine and being injected with the vampire cells?

It was the only thing that made sense. But, how do we stop them? I wondered. “There’s no hope for you. We will win, and you will all die. You should have come sooner. You could have stopped this and saved us.” I just gave the cow who spoke a blank distant look. “No offense. I don’t agree with torturing animals for no reason. But, do you really think that you are a priority right now? You’re blaming us for your deaths when we didn’t even know you were being experimented on.

I don’t understand that at all. We were sent here to stop our people from being killed.” I snapped. I was getting really tired of these animals. “So, you admit that we don’t matter!” The cow mooed angrily. “No, we admit that we didn’t know anything about you being here. So, since we didn’t know you were here, how are you able to actually believe that it’s justifiable to blame us for something?” I countered.

“We are still dead and we are going to use you to come back to live. We will use your life force! YOU won’t be able to survive and since your kind killed us, we will kill you.” Why am I even bothering to argue with them? They can’t have human compassion and understanding. There’s no way for them to know we don’t have anything to do with this. They think that all vampires or humans, in general, are the same. But, how do we fight them? Even my strength with Nergal’s magic isn’t enough to fight them off.

Wait, that’s it! “Nergal, use magic!” I shouted at him. He tipped his head back a little and glanced at me, but his focus seemed out of it a little. He nodded though and then launched a barrage of white glowing missiles from the fingers. I don’t know what kind of spell that was, but it seemed effective. The bear launched into the air and shattered against the wall by the door. He stood up and I rushed over to him and grabbed him before he collapsed on the floor.

“I guess you’ve bled out more than you thought. Whatever is happening, we are going to be hard-pressed to get out of here.” I said. He nodded. “Thanks. You’ve gotten good at having a solid form.” Nergal told me. Shana looked at him in confusion. She could see that he was about to fall over and that something was holding him up. But, she didn’t question it. Dylan was being beaten by a pig. That had to be embarrassing. “I think you two need to worry about the bear. Dylan needs help.” He glanced at him. “A pig?” He laughed. “A simple bear for a royal vampire?” I quipped.

He gave me a cold stare, but he didn’t respond. I don’t know if it was because he didn’t have anything to say, or if he knew my question was valid and that he didn’t have any reason to judge. I rushed over to where the pig raked its cloven hoof over his body and he screamed out in pain. He tried to fight, but he wasn’t strong enough and I don’t know how or why, but he wasn’t going to be able to survive if I don’t help.

I rushed over to him and kicked the pig. He skidded off and Dylan jumped to his feet. He looked around in confusion. “Who is ever there. Thank you.” He said. He launched everything he had at the pig and the flames burst forward and the fire intensified like lava and it surrounded the animal and it squealed in pain and fear. The fire heated up the entire area and it felt like we were walking around in a volcano. The pig continued to squeal and was in unison with the pig on the screen. And the bones literally exploded and dust went flying everywhere.

Dylan gasped for breath and leaned against the wall, drenched and covered in sweat. Joshua was attacked by the lion again, but he seemed more than ready for it. He dodged and rolled out of the way. I could see he still looked weakened by the first round, but he seemed to be holding his own. He dodged a swipe from it and then rolled away. He came back up and then vines broke through the ground and started to wrap themselves around its legs. He roared and tried to leap, but the vines brought him back down.

They kept on growing and wrapped themselves around the lion and then wrapped around his neck and held him tightly. Then they lifted him up and smashed him with the force of a freight train going sixty miles an hour. The bones smashed and most of them turned into powder and rained down like ash. The vines continued their assault to all the bones were gone and then the vines vanished. The bear was back against Nergal and he was slammed into the wall, but the bear wasn’t able to hurt him. He held it off with one hand and put all the strength behind it.

“Well, I think the pain is fueling your strength,” He commented. “Well, something better,” I muttered, “But, how are you able to hold him off now when you couldn’t before.” He just shrugged his left shoulder. “Go and help the others,” He ordered. I didn’t try to argue with him. The cow slammed into Marc and smashed him hard. I heard several bones shatter and he cried out weakly. The cow repeatedly slammed into him and more bones shattered.

He fell to the ground and held his side while breathing heavily. I tried to get to him, but everything felt like it was slowing down. “Why do I feel like I am moving in slow motion?” I asked aloud. “Time is running out for you. You only have two days left and it’s weakening you!” Nergal shouted at me. “How?!” I screamed. “Who are you talking to?” Shana hollered. “It doesn’t matter,” He answered her. The cow rushed him one final time and then sank its teeth into his chest. He screamed then and blood pooled out from his wound.

The cow sank his teeth deeper into the wound and Matt screamed and began to choke on the blood. I tried to move as fast as I could, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I almost made it to him, when the cow yanked the heart and started to chew on it. Marc gasped and gurgled on the blood and then before he fully died, the cow jumped up and came back down on his head. I heard the crunch of his skull and I couldn’t look. The brain matter and blood oozed out.

“No!” Shana screamed. “There’s nothing we can do for him!” Joshua shouted. He rushed over to where Shelby was running around the house and she then jumped in the air and spun around. She launched a continuous jet of steaming water at the horse and Nergal shot a lightning bolt and together the two spells joined together to cause the final blow to the creature. It electrocuted it and blasted it to dust. The cow and bear leaped back and started to circle us. Everyone formed into a tight circle. “How can we beat these?” Shelby asked.

“Nergal, I don’t think even you all can beat these things,” I told him. He just gave me a determined look. “Why are we having so much trouble with these things?” Dylan wondered. “I don’t know, but we have to be able to do something. There’s got to be something we can do. We’re vampires! We shouldn’t be having too much trouble with these things!” Shana said. “But, they aren’t exactly normal. They are linked to their animal brains with magic.”

I don’t think they understand the gravity of the situation. The bear took his eyes off of Nergal and jumped Dylan and Joshua. It slammed them into the wall and they struggled against it. But, the bear’s strength was too much for even their combined might. Nergal charged the cow and its weight helped keep its balance, and he lifted it up and tossed it. The bear was ripping apart Dylan and Joshua and I couldn’t stand by and let them be killed. I rushed with all the strength I had left and jumped into the bear. I possessed the bear and he roared in defiance. But, I was too strong for it and I used all the energy I had to encase it in a white barrier.

It screamed and roared and the power ended up consuming it and then a brilliant white light exploded out and the bear ended up being blasted into dust. I stumbled out and I collapsed on the floor gasping for breath. Nergal rushed over to me and gave me a fearful look. “What happened?” He demanded. “I don’t know. I was trying to help them and I think I did, but it looks like I consumed a lot of magic from my soul. I think I am on a power outage right now.”

“Damn it, kid. What the hell were you thinking?” I blinked at him. “I was thinking that I don’t think it fair to allow two people to die who have no reason to die here. What? Was I just supposed to let them get killed by that thing?” I asked him. “Who are you?” I looked away and said, “If you don’t know after possessing me, then you really don’t have a reason to know. But, just know that I wasn’t a threat to you and I was supposed to live a good long life. But, I guess you had other plans. But, I think it’s a bit selfish to take someone else’s body and not find your own, don’t you?” I asked him.

He didn’t look at me, and just got up and stepped away. “It is, and I know that. But, you don’t understand why I did it. You were the only one who was capable of handling my soul and I needed someone pure. I’m not exactly the evil guy you think I am.” He told me. “You could have fooled me.” He just shook his head. “Think what you will. I never intended you to die this way. I’m personally not a bad guy.” The cow was the only animal left and it didn’t look like a skeleton anymore. Flesh and muscles started to spread over the cow and I noticed that the flesh looked rotten.

Was this the way zombies are made? No, wait. Zombies are made by someone raising the dead already. Usually, they have been recently dead or been dead for a while, but they usually have muscles, organs, brains, and flesh. But, this was different. We were literally creating a zombie. But, what were the powers? Strengths? Are we able to survive if we continue like this? “Kid?” Nergal said coming up to me. “Something wrong?” I asked him. “Yeah. You seem to be… turning translucent. I don’t know why or how. But, you must have used a lot of your souls energy was used up in that attack and I am going to guess that means you don’t have as long as you once did.”

I gave him a scared look. “How much…t-time do you think I have?” I asked. “I’d say twelve hours? Twenty at the most.” I set the phone for twelve hours and then told it to give me a countdown every hour. “Only twelve?” He asked. “I don’t want to try for the longer time. We have to figure this out. I really don’t expect to survive. But, there’s always a chance right?” I asked.

“Oh, there’s a chance. Certainly. I think a good one. If you’re willing to try.” He said. The cow came back hard and fast. “Well, this is going to be great. We are going to die by a zombie cow and my soul is dying.” I grumbled. “This isn’t over yet,” He said. Shana encased the cow in a giant block of ice. But, before Dylan could melt it, the cow shook off the ice and giant spears of ice were sent flying and impaled Shana, Shelby, and Joshua. Dylan received a deep cut on his left side and arm. Nergal leaped into the air to avoid getting hurt.

The cow looked really pissed off, and I don’t think any of them were in a state to actually fight, but Nergal. But, I don’t know how much longer he could last. He did get pretty beat up when he fought the bear. He spun and flipped over the cow launching small fire, lightning and shadow spell at the thing. But, it only seemed to bounce off of it. “What?!” Joshua gasped. The ice spear melted and the wound was too deep that it took a while for it to heal and they were too weak to fight at full strength.

“Our powers are exhausted and we can’t hold them off for too much longer.” Shelby gasped out. “We won’t survive at this rate. But, there’s nothing we can do but fight.” Shana told them. We tightened the circle and I said, “Together, blast it with everything you have.” Nergal nodded and passed on the message to the others. They all agreed and readied their magic. They fired all the magic they could get. Vines, fire, water, and ice blasted at the cow, but the spells seemed to roll off the slimy skin. “Our magic isn’t working and we are losing strength fast,” Nergal commented.

“But, what choice do we have?” Shana asked. “I may be able to finish it off, or, at least, weaken it enough for you to destroy it,” I told him. He gave me a wide-eyed stare. “If you do, then you’ll be gone forever. And I’ll fully possess your body.” He warned me. “But, what would you suggest otherwise?” I demanded of him. “Not sacrificing yourself before there’s a way to save you. I won’t let you destroy yourself kid.” “Why do you care so much?” I asked. He didn’t give anything away with his emotions.

“I don’t know. Maybe I realize what it’s like to want and deserve a full life? I think you should get one and you deserve one.” He said. “I don’t understand this,” I grumbled. “I know,” He said with a smile. Then he rushed forward in a flash and wrapped his arms around the animal’s neck. It Mooed in anger and tried to escape, but he held on to it with everything he had and started to squeeze hard and it struggled, but it couldn’t get out of the death grip.

Nergal put both hands around his head and then twisted with all the strength he had in him. The bones snapped and the cow fell limp to the floor. “Now, vaporize it,” He ordered. A continuous barrage of magic filled the air and surrounded the cow. Bright crystal-like white, molten fire, thick forest green spiked leaves in a never ending attack kept assaulting the cow and finally it exploded into dust and kind of looked like starlight.

I don’t know what else to say to describe it. Everyone dropped to the ground in exhaustion. “They need to rest,” I said. “And what about you?” He asked me. “I am going to check on ahead. I want to see what is in there. But, there’s a problem. I don’t think I have much time left and I don’t like feeling that I am going to fade away without knowing what is going on and how to change this.” I said and walked towards the far room. I passed through the doors and found the test subjects hooked up to wires and machines.

Blood dripped into a large cauldron-like thing and there was a dark yellowish liquid swirling around. “That must be the cure.” I said and “You’re right.” I turned around and saw the woman from before. “Hecate?” She nodded with a smile. “Are you a part of this!?” I demanded. “No, but I am here to find out about this. I just learned a bit ago the full story myself and I have to figure out if we should destroy this or if we should keep this going.” She said.

“You can’t be serious. We can’t let them stay like this!” I screamed. “No, you’re right. But, the Potion can be used. There’s a lot of good with this and we don’t know about the repercussions. However, we have to try and see what we are dealing with here.” She said. “But, the people who have been used like this. They’ve been used like animals. We have to help them. We can’t just leave them like this.” I said. “I know and you’re right. But, what do you propose we do? We can’t exactly take them off the machine. Who knows if they’re even alive?” I just glared.

“We don’t know. But, we have to do something.” I focused all of my energy and then turned off the machines and pulled out the IV’s and tubes. The people fell and Hecate caught the young man. He was drenched in sweat and blood that leaked from his wounds and the wounds didn’t seem to be closing. I laid him on the floor and he barely looked to twenty years old. Then I pulled down the two woman. One looked to be in her early twenties, and the other in her late thirties.

The man had dark red hair, and the two woman were platinum blond. “Are they okay?” I asked her. “Yeah, they look like they’ll be okay if they can get someone to heal them.” I nodded. “I know someone. But, don’t you have some knowledge? I mean, you said you were a witch of knowledge.” She only nodded and gave me a suspicious look. “So, do you have a potion or something to help heal them?” I asked. I don’t know what she was expecting to see, but she soon relaxed and gave me a smile. “What?” “I’m just shocked you weren’t thinking about anything selfish,” She admitted. “Why would I-“ She put her hand up.

“I don’t know. But, some people think that having knowledge is a wonderful thing and it does have its uses. However, it does come at a price. One never knows when someone will try to take that knowledge from you. And one never knows who’s truly a friend or foe. But, what you see is something that can’t be duplicated. Please promise me. There’re too many people out there for me. If they see you doing something that they know is unknown, they are going to think that it’s from me. They will hurt you to get the information.”

“What do you care if I know, though? I’m not going to live. But, you need to help these people.” She didn’t say anything. She only gave me a sturdy stare and then opened up her robes. I saw a bunch of pockets and she pulled out a small vial. The colors seemed to swirl together, but I recognized all of them. “The potion is made out of the different elements,” I said.

“Yes, and that’s why you can’t say anything. But, I need your help. You have all eight of the elements and will be able to heal these people completely. You may even have the power to bring those who have died back to live.” She told me. “I don’t want that power. I’ve seen what that can kind of magic can do.” She only laughed. “You’ve seen necromancy. Or shadow magic at its worst. But, holy magic has similar features. It can restore someone to full life or give them back the life they lost. You may find the spell worthy to know in case someone you know or love ends up dead.” She told me.

“Is that going to happen?” She only shrugged. “I don’t see the future all the time. I do have a scrying spell and I do have premonitions. But, they aren’t always reliable and they don’t always answer all the questions we want or need. But, they give us what we need and that helps us figure out what we need to do.” I nodded. “So, you think there’s a chance for me to come back to life, right?” She smiled. “I really do. But, we have to move. You only have a few hours left. Your soul is weak and we don’t know how much time is left. So, if you would just use a little bit to activate the Potion, then it would heal them. I can access a little of all the elements to use in the Potions.

There’s more than just magic, though. So, I’m not too worried about you using them. But, I have to walk you through it. That way you know what you need to do.” I nodded. “Okay, there’s several ingredients that go in the Potion besides the magic. It has phoenix feathers, agrimony, which is a yellowish stemmed pink and golden flower. Bracken, which looks like seaweed with dark blue veins running through it. Amaranth which looks like pine needles, only they are blood red. Bay which looks like a straw with little crystals of salt on them and Fennel, which… kind of looks like an owl feather, but it’s pure gold with silver veins.”

“Then you blend them together with magic and pour them into vials?” I asked. She nodded. “Yes. I use all eight elements only so in case I need a vampire to activate the healing properties, it won’t matter what element I run across. But, there is only a small handful of vampires that know about this. You know now. But, please. I’m trusting you with this secret.” I understood. “I won’t say a word. I promise.” She only smiled and then poured a couple drops on the three people. I focused my energy over all three of them in turn and I saw them start to glow. Then it completely consumed them for a moment and then they moved and took in a ragged breath.

“So, you’ve already added the ingredients. You’re just informing me for the future encounters?” I asked. She nodded. “Yes, a lot of vampires and other witches will think that you know about this from me. I’m not your typical witch. I’m… Well, it’s complicated. However, this knowledge could get you in trouble in the wrong hands.” She warned me.

I nodded. “So, you’re trusting me with this because what? You think I’m unselfish?” I asked. She nodded. “I know you are. I’ve seen some of your future and what you’re capable of. All you need to do is believe it yourself.” She said. I didn’t know what to say about the conversation at hand so I asked about the others instead. “Are they going to be okay?” I asked. “I think so. It seems that the healing magic is working. But, there’s a lot of damage that needs to be healed. So, it’ll take some time.” She said. “That’s okay. As long as they’re going to be okay. But, what about my future? I don’t think I have much time left. If everything is proven, I have less than five hours to go.”

She only shook her head. “That’s true. We don’t have a lot of time. But…” She said and looked at her left arm. There was a small book there and it flipped open to the middle pages. I read, “Your future, is proven. Your knowledge of thinking you don’t have a future. Think again, doofus. You’re going to live. You’re going to be okay.” I just laughed hysterically.

“What’s the matter?” She asked. “I have to admit. Your powers have a flare for being blunt about what it’s going to say.” I told her. She only smiled. “Well, I am glad you’re still able to have a good sense of humor,” She said. “I try.” The three vampires stood up. “Are you okay?” Hecate asked them. “Yeah, I think so. But, who are you and what are we doing here?” The male asked. “You’ve been… Well, used in a terrible way. All will be explained to you later. Once you’ve recovered and healed. Just give it some time. Go out these doors and you’ll run into some vampires. Tell them who you are and all will be okay.”

I could tell that they weren’t in the mood to argue. They left the room and I looked around. “Hecate. What’s going to happen now?” I asked. “Now, we are going to get you back to being fully alive. We don’t have time. And you don’t have any to Spear. Just know that Gideon, Harkil, and Zolem have found someone who will help you. Who will be able to see you outside of your body and that will give the others the knowledge to restore you.” She said. I couldn’t help but feel glad about that. I was starting to think all of this magic I was using and the time I went without being seen by the others would only lead to my destruction. I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to become alive again. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t going to be destroyed.

I walked out of the room and I walked up to Nergal. “So, what are we still doing here? We know what is going on and we’ve saved the people who were being experimented on.” He only glanced at me. “Ah, yes. But, we still have to decide on what to do with it. Do we destroy it?” Shana glanced at him and said, “I think we should. But, first we should talk to those who were used in the experiment.” They all glared at the five of them.

“Who are you people?” The older woman demanded. “We were sent by the council to help you guys. We aren’t a threat.” Shana explained to her. “I don’t know if I can believe that.” The younger blond commented. “Aren’t you guy’s part of the lost expedition? You were sent by Raemi. But, you weren’t heard from since.” Nergal said. “How did you know about that?” She asked. “It’s simple. We know about certain events and we were told enough to stop this and rescue you.” I could see that she wanted to continue arguing with them, but gave in. They were still too tired, and weak to challenge any of us. Or them.

“Where do we go?” The male asked. “Dylan? Why don’t you take them?” Shana suggested. He nodded and then told them to grab his hand and vanished. Now, it was just the four of them. “So, now what?” Joshua asked. “Now, I think it’s time for you to find out the truth about the companion you’re traveling with.” Everyone spun around to see a pale looking ugly man that appeared anorexic, with skin tightly pulled over his frame with glowing red eyes. “Maxix?” I asked.

Only Nergal could hear me though and him. “Hey, kid. How are you doing? Besides being a ghost and all.” I laughed. “Who are you?” Nergal demanded. “Oh, I am the ancient vampire with no magical powers who can still kick your ass,” He told him. “You want to try that one again?” He took a step towards the group and I stepped between them. “Guys, please!” I snapped. They both looked at me and glared at each other. “Who is it that you’re talking to?” Shana demanded. “Oh, it’s a long lost soul that needs to be righted,” Maxix replied. She only gave him a nervous look.

“What are you?” She demanded. “I’m a vampire. But, obviously, I am not like you all. I can’t go in sunlight. Holy water burns. I’m not alive at least not in the sense of breathing and heart beats. But, the similarities are that we both drink blood. My resilience to magic is a lot higher than yours since my skin is harder. I don’t have any, but don’t think that makes me a weakling.” He said and I was getting the feeling where I didn’t know everything about him that I thought I did. “So, why are you here?” Nergal asked. “I am here to get Matt back in his body.” He hissed. “I don’t like your tone,” Nergal warned.

“I don’t like the fact that you’re threatening and almost killing him! Did you ever realize that you took over the body that your son gave his power to? Gideon? He’s the one who’s granting Matt his power.” Nergal only blinked. “So?” I sighed. “So, doesn’t that tell you anything?” Maxix demanded. “Yeah. That my son is naïve and doesn’t know what he’s doing. This boy Chris tricked him into giving him his powers. He was supposed to grant Mathew Seth Allan Jones his powers. Not some upstart.”

Maxix, faster than anyone could believe, punched Nergal in the stomach and sent him sailing. Nergal didn’t even realize he moved. He landed hard and I heard the sickening sound of bones breaking. He fell on his side and rolled a couple feet. He pushed himself up and slowly got to his feet and he stood on his right foot until his left leg healed. “What the fuck was that for?” He snapped. Maxix smirked. “He is Mathew Jones!” I could see that Nergal didn’t believe him.

“How about we all go to the council and see if they can help figure this out.” He really didn’t want to, but he looked like he wasn’t able or willing to fight us. I don’t know why, though. They ended up destroying the liquid from the experiment and Nergal channeled a lot of energy into his palm and he focused for quite some time before he opened his hands and bolts of lightning came flying out and caused all the machines and everything to explode in sparks and fires started. It didn’t take long before the entire floor erupted in flames.

“I say we get out of here,” Joshua stated. “I agree.” Said Shelby. Everyone but Dylan and Nergal vanished. Dylan walked over to Maxix and grabbed him by the arm. I could see that the vampire wanted to fight, but he resisted his instinct and they teleported away. Nergal was the only one left and he turned to me while glancing around. I could see a small barrier around him. “Are you using wind magic?” I asked. He nodded. “Who are you really?” He demanded. “I’m Matthew Jones. Zolem was originally going to give me his strength and magic. But, he changed his mind and asked his half-brother to give me his power instead.” He paled.

“Wait, you’re actually the Matthew Jones?! I was told and somehow proved that you were a phony. A fake pretending to be the real one!” He stated. I could feel my emotions building up. “I guess then my time is up right? I’m going to die now.” He only gave me an odd look. “What?” I demanded. “I can’t believe that I didn’t sense it before. I can’t believe you’re the Matt that was prophesized and I am killing you. You only have minutes left. I need you to not give up yet. I will free you and give you back your powers and I will hunt down the one who tricked, lied and betrayed me!” He snarled.

He teleported us back to the school and then he marched up the grand staircase and into the throne room. All eight council members were waiting in fancy suits and dresses that matched their elements with velvet cloaks that did the same. “So, what’s the problem?” Marty asked. Nergal walked up to him and Maxix stepped in next to him. “Who’s this?” Raemi asked. “He’s the one who knew that Matt wasn’t Matt.” They all glanced at each other.

“What do you mean?” Ashlee stepped forward and she looked really upset. I wanted to go to her. But, I knew she wouldn’t be able to see me. “I’ll explain. I was lied to by someone. My powers weren’t at full strength. I am Nergal. I am king of the vampires. But, I don’t have a corporeal body yet. However, I was hoping to use this vessel as a way to get all the vampires together and to work together. But, I didn’t know that Matt was the one who was destined for that role. I didn’t know he was the one I was taken over and he only has a few minutes left. He needs help.” Nergal explained.

Everyone was frozen by what he said. I couldn’t believe he actually admitted to it. “Wait, you’re not really Matt?” Ashlee demanded. I guess she was in disbelief. “It’s not possible for a soul to kick out another with magic,” Jared said. “Of course, it is.” Marty and Sally stated. The other council members looked at the others in confusion. “What are we going to do?” I asked him. “So, you say that you’re really Nergal, king of the vampires? So, where is the real Matt?” Jared asked. “I thought we already established this. He’s right there.” Maxix pointed.

“We don’t see him.” All the council members said at once. “Well, that’s obviously because you’re not as powerful as you think you are.” Maxix snarled. Everyone glared at him for that. “Please, don’t piss them off.” I pleaded with him. He only shook his head. “Excuse me?” The woman with the green streak snapped. “Well, if your holy and shadow users can’t see a soul, then how powerful can you guys really be? I mean don’t those two at the very least deal with death all the time?” He countered and gave them a cold look. “We do sometimes. But, Matt’s no dead. He’s still alive, so isn’t it possible that’s why we can’t see him?” Marty demanded.

Maxix gave him a pondering look. “I suppose it’s possible. But, how do you plan on fixing this?” Nergal sighed. “I am going to release control over his body.” I gave him a confusing look. “Do you have that kind of power? And will that put me back?” I asked. I felt extremely cold all of the sudden. I dropped to my knees and screamed in bloody pain. “Matt?” Nergal asked coming at me. “I don’t…Know what’s…wrong! Something is… Attacking me!” I screamed and the pain was too much.

“He’s weak. His soul isn’t meant to be out of his body this long. He’s used too much of his energy up fighting with us and healing the vampires from the experiment. He weakened himself to almost utter destruction. But, now we can finally bring him back and set his soul back in its rightful place.” I didn’t know how to respond. The pain was too much for me to think clearly. “We only have a minute left. Nergal? How do you go about doing this?” Ryal asked. He only smiled. “I’m going to need your help.” The council looked at him in confusion.

“What are you needing from us?” Alayne asked. “I am going to need your power to expel my soul and restore Matt’s.” By mixing Sally, and Marty’s magic; I think that will be enough to restore him. Life and Death the two elements. Or Shadow and Holy. Both are similar and different at the same time. Both are needed to create balance with the restoration.” He explained. “Very well. But, what do you need us to do?” Zeke asked. Nergal snapped his fingers and a small parchment of paper appeared at all of their feet.

“This is the spell you need to save him. He only has minutes left and without all our strength, he’ll die.” The council picked up the spell and looked at it. Raemi sighed. “What’s the matter?” Marty asked. “I’m just unsure about all of these elements being used at once. Who knows about what kind of power will be unleashed once we do.” Nergal just shook his head. “Each element that you represent is part of life and death. All flow through the cycle of life. All you need to do is believe in the cause and use that power and belief that you need Matt to be alive and with that faith and belief. If you’re successful, it will restore him back to life.”

They didn’t waste any time in it. They all started chanting the spell in some archaic language and I didn’t understand anything they were saying, but through the pain, I could tell that what they were saying was full of power. I felt a warmth wash over me and Nergal channeled his magic into a negative force of energy and he expelled himself from my body. All the magic around them helped release Nergal’s spirit and then he floated along my body. He looked like a ghost.

He still took on my form, but I could sense that it wasn’t me. “So, Matt. All you have to do is take over again. But, before I go. I have a question for you. Who’s John, Tom, and Trisha?” I paled. “John is my step-father and the others are my step siblings. What about them?” He only shook his head. “Well, John is the one who somehow proven to me that you’re a traitor and a phony. I don’t know how I believed him. Especially since you had Gideon’s magic.” He admitted looking ashamed. “What do they have to do with anything?” I wondered.

“I kind of made them into vampires and together they gave me enough power to… well, you know the end result.” I nodded, not wanting to keep thinking about it. “But, what did they say about me?” I asked, dreading the answer. “Well, basically the just said that you were a pathetic orphan boy who lost his parents in a drug deal gone bad and they thought they were doing a good thing taking you in. Hoping to change your ways and get you to be a better person.

But, John said he felt like you were always running away to do meth, or heroine or something. I don’t even know how. But, he even showed me proof of it, so I didn’t believe him to be lying. And I my powers wasn’t fully functional. So, I didn’t have any way to tell if he was lying to me or not.” He stated. “But, you’ll know now?” I asked. “Well, with them yes. I won’t be able to sense lies for a while. I won’t be at full strength. But, once I gain enough strength, I think I’ll be able to choose someone who can handle my powers and I’ll be able to hunt them down.”

I took a deep breath and said, “I think it’s my job to do that. They’ve been a thorn in my side and a torturer in my life my entire life. I think it’s time I deal with them.” He only looked at me in sympathy. “I don’t think you’re quite ready for that yet.” I only nodded. “So, we’re ready to restore him to life. Just how do we do it?” Marty asked. “Your magic created the portal. Now, Sally and Marty has to use their magic to channel a pathway from the spirit plane into his body. Only these two combined together can do this.” My body said. It was creepy hearing it speak without anyone being in it. It was completely void of emotion. Almost like the wind only it sounded like me. I got chills from hearing it. They focused their magic and a swirling black and white light appeared and intertwined together.

Then it hit an invisible wall and then a portal appeared and it flashed in a multitude of colors. “Matt, if you wish to live. I would say enter the portal now. If not, well you know what you need to do. Wait it out and you’ll soon fade away.” I only shook my head. “I know I can’t just give up. So, I guess it’s time to enter the portal. But, I still wonder if it’s worth it.” He only gave me a blank look. “I know. But, you can’t leave your cousin, girl and friends thinking that your dead or dying can you?” he demanded. I only shook my head and entered through the portal without another word. I could feel the presence of my body and I’ve never been gladder to be alive. I guess now it was time for me to fully go after my destiny and everything that they said I was meant to do and be.

Chapter 12

I felt the pull of my body and I slowly slid towards a bright glowing light. Then I saw my body and passed through it. I shuddered and gasped. I collapsed onto the ground and Jaise and Ashlee were right there on either side of me. “Matt? Is it you?” He asked. I couldn’t speak. I felt weak and drained. I don’t even know how close I was to being killed, but I really didn’t want to get that close again. I really hoped that it wouldn’t happen again. Ashlee hugged me tightly and started crying into my shoulder. I didn’t even have the strength to shed a tear at this point.

All I could feel was my heart pumping violently and my entire body shaking. “Matt!” Jaise said gripping my shoulder tightly. I saw Nergal staring and smiling sadly at me. I could also tell he was fading away. “I’m terribly sorry about this. It won’t happen again. I will give Gideon a spell that will prevent anyone from ever being able to control you without your permission again.” He said and then vanished. Ashlee started to hug me tighter. I just rubbed her shoulder gently and I felt more at peace with her holding me and her presence soothed me.

“So, now what?” Liam asked. “Now, I think we give him something to eat and some rest?” Julie suggested with a little sarcasm in her tone. I chuckled at that and just gripped tighter on the girl holding onto me. I have never been happier to feel human contact before. “Matt, there’s a lot we need to talk about. But, it can wait until tomorrow. Now, it’s time for you to get some rest.” Ryal told me. I just glanced up at him. “Where would I be doing that? It’s not like I have been welcome here and it’s not like there’s a place for royal vampires.” The green streaked vampire stood up.

“Actually, there’s a small tower for royal vampires. I think you will find it quite nice.” She said. “Meagen. We can’t stick him in a supply tower.” Jared mumbled. She only laughed. “It’s not a supply tower. I did some exploring a week ago. A section of this school was closed off and some dumb students actually thought they could stop me from exploring it. But, I persuaded them into letting me in. And then I had the tower cleaned, restored and stocked up on clothes and new furniture.” She stated.

“Oh, so that’s what you were doing!” Sally said. Alayne snickered. She glared at her. “You knew?” Alayne only nodded and Meagan just shook her head. She then turned her focus to me. “So, Matt? How about you getting some sleep?” I nodded. “I would love that. And something to eat.” Everyone smiled lightly at me and Ashlee and Jaise lifted me to my feet. “You’ll have it. Just follow these two to the cafeteria. There will be a small feast waiting for you. Then I’ll be there to take you to your new room.”

I have to say, my old room sounds amazing at this point! “You’ll have a choice, though. The tower may look smaller than the others in this castle. But, I assure you. It’s good sized and plenty of rooms to choose from.” Meagan said winking at me. I smiled and nodded. Then the two of them all but dragged me out of the throne room and led me to the cafeteria. I still felt shaky and like I wasn’t completely me yet. Ashlee wrapped one arm around me tightly and acted like she wasn’t going to let me go. I only smiled to myself.

I didn’t want her to let me go. We walked into the cafeteria and one of the cooks was still behind the counter and glared at us. “Oh, no. It’s not my fault you missed dinner. You have to wait until breakfast.” He snarled. “But, we were sent by the council.” Jaise said. “Oh, a likely story. I am not buying that.” He snapped. “But, it’s true,” I said in a shaky voice. I can’t even remember the last time I ate something. “Oh, please. Leave now, before I throw you out.” He hissed. I slumped in defeat.

I didn’t have the strength to fight anymore. I think the last time I ate, I was on some kind of magical submarine or something. But, I can’t remember. I slowly started to turn around and I limped towards the door. “Matt?” Ashlee asked calling my name. “Where’s the room I am supposed to choose? I would just like to lie down now.” I said quietly. “Oh, and you’re willing to miss the feast I prepared for you?” I looked behind me and a middle aged woman came out from behind the shadows. She wore clothes that kind of reminded me of Jedi robes.

But, they were bright green with two red sashes and when she turned around to glare at the male cook. I saw the back of her cloak and there was a Christmas tree with presents and a knitted small blanket in the shape of a snowflake covered the trunk of the tree and different colored wrapped presents sat around and on the ground. She wore little red and green bells in her hair. “Why do you deny him food? I told you there’s to be a special person coming for food and he’d be brought her by two people. A boy and a girl. So, you deny him food out of what? Thinking it’s some kind of trick on you?”

The male had a lightning streak in his hair and he only glared at the woman. She didn’t seem fazed by how he was acting. “Well, bring out the food. This is the boy!” She snapped. “I don’t take orders from you. You’re not the queen of the kitchen!” She only gave a mocking laugh. “your vampires think you’re so much stronger than witches or humans. But, you don’t know everything and you’re not as invincible as you think you are.” She said.

“I think you’re full of a shit lady,” He said with a sneer. She only smiled at him and with a point of her index finger and tinsel came shooting out in a variety of colors. Silver, gold, violet, green, red, blues and they wrapped themselves around him and started to squeeze tightly. Small puffs of smoke came off of him and he started to scream until some blue and red tinsel started to wrap around his throat. It cut off his screams and he gurgled and gasped for breath. I could see him trying to use his magic, but he couldn’t.

I could also tell that he was screaming, but no sound came out and blood dripped onto the ground. “So, do you think it’s time that you quit insulting the power of witches?” She asked. He could only slightly nod his head. “I’m sorry?” She asked. “Ma’am, I think you’re hurting him,” I mumbled. She just ignored me. The tinsels tightened their hold on him and I could see bruises and blood poured onto the ground and I could see him weakening and I knew he needed help.

“Stop this!” I screamed and power blasted out of me causing me to stumble but disrupted the witch from killing the cook. She only coughed and then blinked. Then she looked at me in confusion. She snapped her fingers and the tinsel vanished and the man collapsed on the ground gasping for breath. “Just clean this mess up.” She said softly and she flicked her fingers. Decorated and shaped platters floated out of the back room with tons of food on them. They were even looking for presents, trees, snowmen, wreaths, and other Christmas like decorations and even had the smell of them.

The food floated down towards the closest table and I walked over and sat down. More foods came out and set themselves down in front of me. A green and golden striped plate appeared in front of me and red coated silverware next to it. I slowly picked up the utensils and started digging into the casseroles, the spaghetti, pork chops, hamburgers, and took a big dish of mashed potatoes and corn. I grabbed some buttered rolls and some jam. Toast, next to some bacon and sausages with scrambled eggs. It was like breakfast and lunch and dinner all rolled into one.

I didn’t stop until my plate was loaded up with everything and the plate was twice the size of a regular one. “Hungry much?” Jaise asked me with a frown. I didn’t even look at him. I just dug in and didn’t say a word to either of them. The others grabbed some food as well, but not as much as I did. “Matt?” Jaise asked me. “What?” I said between bites. “Why aren’t you talking to us?” “I’m starving? And I only want to think about food.” I said simply and swallowed some potatoes and corn. He only shook his head. “No, that’s not the only reason. You’re ticked at us for not knowing that you weren’t you and not being able to see you. But, you won’t admit it, will you?” He demanded. I only glanced at him and kept eating. “Matt, if you’re mad at us. It’s okay. I won’t blame you and I’ll understand it. Just please talk to us.” Ashlee said. I only shook my head. “I don’t know how I feel at this moment. Let’s talk about it tomorrow. Right now, I am just feeling exhausted and my head isn’t clear yet.” I told them.

“That’s understandable. We’ll let you get some sleep when you’re done eating.” Jaise said. I nodded and said, “Thanks.” Ashlee only glanced at him and then turned back towards me. “How are you feeling now though?” She asked. “I feel a lot stronger. But, some blood I think would be helpful.” I said. The witch didn’t even hesitate and then with a flick of her fingers, a large glass came out. “It’s fresh,” She said. I paled at that. “What!?” I asked. She looked shocked at my reaction. “Don’t worry. No one was harmed. Blood is given here. Humans live here and vampires provide for them and in return, they give blood.” She explained. “We didn’t tell you that?” Ashlee asked confused.

“I thought humans were punished for being here?” I demanded. Ashlee and Jaise gave me a nervous look. “Well, technically that rule may be there somewhere. But, management over this school had to provide us with blood. So, they bent the rules a little bit. They don’t have a lot of freedom and space. But, they aren’t harmed.” I just shook my head. “I don’t know if you did or not. You might have. Or maybe you told the other guy and I wasn’t around. I don’t know. But, at least, you’re not hurting anyone.” I said in a hushed tone. Jaise and Ashlee exchanged a look of confusion and concern. “How long were you not you?” He wondered. “Almost a week. At least, I think. Time seems to have blended together.” I said.

“Damn, I don’t know how we missed it.” She muttered and I could tell she was beating herself up over it. “It’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault. Gideon made a mistake. He was tricked. Nergal was tricked and I got the short end of the straw. I’m a little confused on how the council with their powerful magic, and especially holy and shadow weren’t able to sense a change in me, but I guess there’s no point in trying to figure it out is there? I mean, I’m okay and that’s all that matters.” I said.

“That’s only partially true. But, Sally and Marty are still debating on how or why they couldn’t see you even as a ghost. And even with the fact that you weren’t dead, they feel guilty and ticked off that they couldn’t sense a change in you. They admit there was something off about you. But, they can’t figure out why you felt the same to them. It was like a part of your soul was in there and Nergal was able to channel the power of it and make it look like you were whole still. But, I don’t know how he would be able to do that and neither do they. That’s why they won’t rest until they figure it out.”

“What good does it do now?” I demanded. “Well, so it never happens again. They’ve been several reported possessions over the years and no one believed them. You’re the first one to have it done and lived enough to actually prove that it’s possible and now we can find a way to prevent it from happening again. But, we need your help.” I only shook my head. “Tomorrow or in a few days. I need rest first. It still feels like my soul is being stretched apart.” I told them. They only looked at me in concern. “Well, I think that’s to be expected. Have you eaten enough?” The witch asked. I nodded.

Then the earth council member stepped up behind me and she said, “Okay, well. I will show you now where the tower is and then you can search around for the room you like.” She said. She started to walk away and the three of us followed her and she didn’t go any particular way. She went back into the throne room and we walked passed everyone and they stared at us in confusion. She led us to the right down a set of stairs behind the throne, and we followed the extremely long dark and musty hallway. “No one has been down here for a long time have they?” I asked. Meagan shook her head. “Unfortunately no. I tried to get people to wash the hall, but they wouldn’t do it. They spent as little time in here as possible.”

I didn’t know what to say. “How come?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know. When the movers brought in and out the furniture, they swore they saw ghosts and evil creatures.” She said and rolled her eyes. “You don’t believe in ghosts and evil?” Jaise asked. “Oh, I believe in it. But, I don’t know or understand how the royal tower could be filled with them and no one knows about it. I mean, wouldn’t they have tried to attack us or something?” She asked us. None of us had an answer for her. I don’t think we knew what to say.

We finally made it to the doorway and then she opened it up revealing a thick glass looking spiral staircase. “Is that thing safe?” I asked in fear. “Oh, it’s not glass. It’s thick ice. But, don’t worry. It appears to be enchanted. It doesn’t melt and it doesn’t crack. Oh, and it’s not slippery.” She explained and she started climbing up without hesitation. The rest of us weren’t as comfortable or open to the idea of walking on ice. So, we started up slowly. After a few minutes, we realized that we weren’t in danger of slipping and we started to pick up the pace.

Then we caught up to Meagan and I looked up and all I saw was more staircase leading up into the shadows. “What the-,“ I said. “Yeah, it stretched high into the tower for quite a long way. But, it’s worth making it to the top.” She said to us and we went up further and further into the tower and after a good half hour, I couldn’t even see the top. “How much further?” Ashlee gasped. Meagan looked at us and smirked. “Another few minutes,” She said. But, it was ten minutes and I still couldn’t see the top of the stairs and Ashlee was definitely feeling it.

It’s a shame you don’t just jump on my back. I thought and I wished I could suggest it to her. “What did you say to me?” She demanded. I gave her a shocked look. “You heard that?” I asked. She nodded. So, do you think it will help? I asked again. She only nodded and gave me a surprised look. She climbed onto my back and I put my hands behind me and held her up on my back. She wrapped her legs around my waist and she tightly wrapped her arms around my neck.

I carried her up the steps and Jaise and Meagan looked back and gave me a questioning look. Honestly? I didn’t even really notice her weight. She felt really light and by the time we made it to the steps, I was slightly winded. I set her down on the landing and then Jaise opened the door. The hallway that spread out in front of us looked light. The walls were painted white and the carpets were thick and soft. They had silvery strings attached to them with strange symbols on them. “What do they mean?” I asked. Meagan looked at the carpets and stared in confusion. “I don’t know what you’re looking at,” She said. Jaise and Ashlee only gave me a weird look as well. “You don’t see the symbols?” I asked.

“The carpet is plain red.” Jaise said simply. I looked back at it and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. I swear it showed some strange symbols, but I wasn’t going to worry about it right now. There were six rooms on both sides of the hallway. Small chandeliers were between every other room and pictures hung on the tan walls. Giant chandeliers were spaced out along the ceiling. “It looks like first class on the Titanic,” I mumbled. Jaise gave me a shocked look and then burst out laughing.

“What?” I said flushing. “Nothing, babe. It’s just not commonly mentioned that a guy knows anything about that movie.” I rolled my eyes. “I don’t think that’s true,” I said defensively. “You don’t have to be so touchy,” Ashlee said with a smirk. I laughed and the sound echoed all around us. “I’m not. But, people shouldn’t be so ashamed to know things that don’t appear to be movies that others would think that they would watch.” That’s all that I said. They all laughed. “You’re right. They shouldn’t.” Jaise said simply.

“So, which room do you want? You get to choose whatever room you want in this hallway.” Meagan said. I looked around and then I noticed a set of double doors at the far end. They looked like ivory and it seemed like vines were randomly growing on it. Behind it was a snowy mountain with lava flowing underneath it and off to the side, behind a small cluster of trees, was a flowing river. That represents four of the elements.

I was starting to see everything clearly and to the right of the mountain was a white sunny sky and I guess that would make it a representation of holy and on the left was a dark and cloudy sky. Shadow. In the darkness, I saw bolts of lightning and swirling winds. The doors represented all eight of the elements and I could feel some strange power radiating from it. “I want that one,” I said pointing. Everyone stared at the door and Ashlee asked, “Why that one?” I just shrugged. “I don’t know. It seems to be calling to me.” I confessed.

I walked over to it and opened the door. I felt a rush of power, but it wasn’t cold or hostile. It was refreshing and peaceful. I didn’t feel anything but at ease. I entered the room and I was blown away. A giant emperor sized bed sat against the wall in the middle opposite the door with see-through silk curtains of light purple. The sheets were dark purple and the bright velvet comforter covered the bed and it looked comfortable. The carpeting looked like you could sleep on it comfortably. The oak dressers and wardrobes looked freshly polished and from how they weren’t completely closed, seemed to me that they were overflowing with clothes.

Ashlee walked over to the lighter dresser and opened up drawers and pulled out a ton of female clothes. Bras, underwear, jeans, shorts, skirts, shirts, tank tops. The wardrobe next to the dresser and found all kinds of dresses. Party dresses, ball gowns, strapless, open backed sparkling silk gowns. I walked over to the other one. I found full suits of different colors and types. Even suits like they wore in Harry Potter. They had cloaks on them. And then I went to the dresser to find a bunch of different muscle shirts, t-shirts, shorts, and boxers, briefs, and socks.

“Well, it looks to like this room was prepared for you two,” Meagan said. “You think it’s going to be okay them sharing a room?” Jaise asked her. She only rolled her eyes. “You can’t keep him a virgin forever. Have you gotten laid before yes? Why can’t he?” Meagan asked my cousin. He only stammered and flushed. “Um, that’s not what I meant.” I only laughed. “Yeah, cuz. Stop trying to block me from having some fun.” I said and gave Ashlee a wink. She only rolled her eyes and slapped me playfully on the arm.

They all gave a hearty laugh and I only smiled. “Well, I think we shall be leaving you alone. Come along guys.” Meagan said. Ashlee and Jaise exchanged a look. “We aren’t staying?” He asked. “Nope. Matt’s in need of some serious alone time.” She replied. “Actually, I don’t think I am. I have had almost a week of being alone. So, I would like them to stay.” I said. She only glared at me. “Are you serious?” She actually hissed at me. “Yes, I am. I would like their company. I would feel better with them here and maybe get some sleep.” I told her. She just continued to glare.

“I could force them to leave you to know?” She threatened. I didn’t even say anything. She pointed her finger at Ashlee and a dark green mist started to spray out and form. It formed around her and I grew really pissed off. A grayish barrier formed around her instead, blocking off the mist. Her spell continued to try and find a way through, but my barrier was too strong. Then she tried Jaise, but another shimmering gray wall appeared and protected him as well.

She only gave me a death glare and then charged me. But, with a light punch, she went flying across the room. She slowed herself down with magic and then landed lightly on her feet. “You…You dare attack me!” She snarled. “Yes, but you attacked them first. I won’t have you thinking that you can actually boss me around. I don’t care who you are!” I snapped. “You may be strong. But, you’re not invincible.” She said with a cold calmness.

She pointed both palms at me and a dark green beam of light shot out at me. But, they only got within an inch of me and then fizzled out. I barely even noticed her attack. She only gave me a shocked look and then turned away, the doors slamming closed behind her. “Where are we all going to sleep?” Ashlee asked. I looked around and noticed a set of small double glass doors with thick dark blue curtains covering them leading to an adjacent room. I walked over to it and opened the doors. The room was only half the size of the main one, but it was plenty big enough.

“So, I think you’ll be okay here?” I asked Jaise. He only nodded. “Well, you two deserve the bigger bed. However, I don’t want to hear a lot of moaning. You do need your sleep.” He said and then walked into the room and closed the doors behind him and I heard a click. “Well, I guess he wants his privacy as well,” Ashlee said. “Yep, only from you two. I don’t even want to think about you doing the dirty. Let alone, accidently walk in on it.” He called out and I burst out laughing.

“Who said we are going to?” I asked. “Well, sixteen years almost and almost dying like ten times and never getting any real alone time? I think it’s time. Don’t you?” He countered. “Well, sure…But, when there’s no one around.” Ashlee muttered. “Should I leave?” He asked. I glared at her. “No, that’s not what I meant.” She stammered. There wasn’t a comment after that. “Jaise?” I called. “Go to sleep,” He answered, but that was all he said and then she started to get changed and I went to the dresser and grabbed a beater and a pair of underwear and shorts. “I’m going to take a shower,” I told her.

She only nodded and grabbed a nightgown out of the wardrobe. I went in and took a quick shower. By the time I got dressed and combed my hair, I found Ashlee already in bed. But, she looked up when she saw me and she smiled. “Well, it’s about time,” She said with a smile. I grinned back and climbed into bed with her. She snuggled up to me and I felt more at peace now than I had in a while. I felt safe and I knew she did as well. The dreams that came were pleasant and nerve racking at the same time. I was in Gideon’s domain. He was pacing in the courtyard and he froze when he saw me.

“Matt, I am so sorry, and we almost lost you,” He said. “Hey, we’ve been through this,” I said to him. I went to put a hand on his shoulders, but two guards came out of nowhere and smacked my hand away. “Let him be,” Gideon ordered. “You told us to protect you. That means no one is allowed to touch you.” The guard snapped back. Gideon didn’t even blink. The man burst into flames and then went out in smoke. “I also give the orders around here,” He said to the other guards who all shook their heads. “He knew not to argue with orders.” I heard one say.

“Well, at least not all your guards are dumb,” I said. He glared at me and I put my hands up in surrender. “I don’t mean anything by that,” I told him. He only sighed. “I know. I just think everyone is on edge right now.” I looked at Gideon and asked, “Why do you say that?” He only shook head and didn’t respond for a while. But, I could sense that he was nervous and scared to admit whatever was bugging him. “What do you know?” I asked with a little more edge in my tone.

He sighed and said, “I don’t believe that my father was being completely honest with us. He did give me the spell that would stop anyone from possessing you again. And I know now that the only way for someone to do that even through the spell is with both of our permission. But, there’s more to it. I don’t believe he’s fully on our side. I think there’s a trick he’s planning to make us trust him.”

“What a shock,” I said with as much sarcasm as I could muster. He only blinked at me. “You’ve already thought about that?” He asked. “Yeah. With everything, that’s happened? I don’t know how I trust anyone!” He gave me a sad look. “I’m sorry. But, I can assure you that Ashlee? She’s trustworthy.” I looked away. I didn’t want to have this conversation. “Matt, please look at me.” I glanced at him. “You may think you’re not ready for advancing your relationship. But, just remember this.

At least, you get to experience true love with someone. You get to experience everything in life that a lot of us won’t. I have never even kissed a girl. Zolem was betrayed by the girl that he thought loved him. He gave everything to her and she shattered his heart. But, you have the chance to actually be happy. So, please don’t blow it.” I have never heard so much pain and anger before. “I won’t. But, I still have to get used to being a vampire now. I have to get used to the strength, the speed, and the magic.” I told him.

He flushed a little. “Yeah, I’m sorry about that.” He said and this time, he wouldn’t look at me. “Hey, don’t worry. I’m actually over it. I didn’t blame you guys. I especially don’t blame Ashlee or Jaise. I mean how can I? It isn’t like they have the elements of healing or death. I know that each element has good and bad in it. Or rather it depends on how you use it. But, the two are the basis of life and death. They don’t have it. So, I can’t blame them for not knowing I wasn’t me.

But, it’s the council that concerns me. How could they not see? I mean even with Nergal, being the king of the vampires. Shouldn’t they have been able to sense something?” I asked. “I don’t know. But, I know they are working on it. I just don’t know, though.” He said. I sighed. “You should probably be getting back. Ashlee is about to wake up and I think she may feel that you died in your sleep or something. You don’t want a panic to do you?” He asked with a wink. “Nope,” I replied. He laughed and then I opened my eyes and took in a deep breath.

Ashlee sat up next to me and looked at me with concern. “You okay?” She asked. “Yeah.” I said with a smile and gave her a deep, and long passionate kiss. It seemed to surprise her for a second, but she gave in and accepted it. She wrapped her arms around me and hugged me as we held each other tightly. Finally, we broke apart and she gasped for breath. “Where did that come from?” She asked happily surprised.

“I don’t know. I guess I just wanted you to realize that I don’t blame you or Jaise for not knowing that Nergal was me. Or that I was him. Or… Oh, you know what I mean!” I said with a smirk. She frowned. “You have a right to blame us. I can’t speak for him. But, I wouldn’t blame you if you held it against me.” I just shook my head. “I can’t, I won’t, and I don’t. You two don’t have the magic to sense that. And I bet he was a pretty darn good actor.” She only looked away. “Well, there was a couple moment when I thought you weren’t acting like yourself. But, I didn’t have enough to go on to approach the matter and I also feared that if I called “you” out on it, you’d get pissed off and kill me.”

I gaped at her. “I wouldn’t kill you!” I said more loudly than I wanted. “I know you wouldn’t. But, I don’t know about him.” She said. I could only nod at that. “Right. Well, it’s me now. So, that’s all that matters.” I told her. She smiled. The door to the other room unlocked and swung open. “So, you seriously don’t blame us?” Jaise asked. “Nope. Should I?” I asked with a grin. He only chuckled lightly. “I don’t know. That’s completely up to you.” He told me.

“Well, I don’t. So, let’s just drop it. And move on.” I told them. They both smiled and nodded. “It’s the council that I am not sure about.” Jaise’s eyes grew wide and scared. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “You shouldn’t talk about them. They have ears everywhere.” I blinked. “You don’t think I can take them?” I countered. “Not all of them and they’re the ones in charge now,” He said. “He’s right, Matt,” She told me.

“I don’t give a darn. They can’t boss me around. I’m done playing these games, where I am destined for something far greater than just fighting a war. But, I still have to be a guinea pig and a warrior following without a mind. I won’t do it! They can all shove it up their asses!” They both stared at me in shock. “Dang, cuz. I didn’t know that’s how you really felt.” Ashlee rested a hand on my shoulder. “Is that kind of why you acted a little cold while we were eating?” I only nodded.

“I guess I am just sick and tired of being used. Being pushed over and around. I’m so damn tired of being the escape goat and being the one where the awful stuff happens. I just want to live a life. A good and happy one. Sure, I’ll fight and do everything I can to help. But, I don’t want to be their mindless drone anymore. I don’t want to be the one who gets used and pushed around, but still everyone goes to for help. It’s getting old.” They didn’t look like they were going to argue, but they still looked afraid. I guess I couldn’t blame them.

I went to the bathroom and then changed out of my pajamas and into jeans and a yellow sleeveless shirt. The door burst open and Ryal and Meagan entered and they looked extremely agitated. “What’s going on?” I asked. “You’ve been sentenced to imprisonment to withstand trial for treason. You should have been notified the rules and know that we are in charge of this school now. Jaina and the others have been sentenced to death for what they’ve done. Now, you are going to be as judged.”

I only blinked at them. “You can’t take him! After everything, he’s been through. Give him some time to adjust. He isn’t a traitor.” Ashlee said stepping in front of me. Jaise followed her lead and I only sighed. With a small blast of air, I pushed them away from me and stepped forward. “You won’t be getting yourself in trouble right now. I will deal with this on my own.” I told them. Meagan tensed up. “What are you planning?” She asked suspiciously. I shrugged. “I’m not planning anything. I don’t know what you’re accusing me of.”

Ryal just glared at me. I walked up to them and stopped, completely at ease. “So, where are we going?” I asked. “You’re going to obey and follow without issues?” I shrug. “Just leave them out of it,” I told them. Meagan gave me a dark smirk. I really didn’t like it, but I didn’t have a choice but to just follow their lead and go where they wanted me to go. “Oh, and before we go,” Ryal said. He clasped something on my wrist. “What’s that?” I asked stunned. “It’s one of our ancient magical items. It nullifies your magic and strength. Basically leaving you human.

The only thing you keep is your immortality and you will still need the blood.” But, I got the impression that there was something that she wasn’t telling me. Well, I couldn’t worry about it now. Ryal walked first with me right behind him and Meagan almost walking on the back of my feet. We went down the steps and at a very slow pace. I just wished they would hurry up and I felt a void within me. I only figured that it was where I would normally have access to my magic.

Gideon. Why’s this happening? I don’t know if he could hear me. But, there’s nothing else I could do. I honestly don’t know. However, you don’t worry. There’s something they don’t know about that bracelet. I took a deep breath. I wondered what he meant. I went to ask him, but I couldn’t communicate with him and I felt like something was wrong. But, we had just spoken, so I didn’t think he was gone for good at this point. I think he was trying to make sure someone or something didn’t sense that he said anything to me. We finally made it to the bottom of the steps of the tower and then walked down the hallway.

But, I sensed something wrong as soon as we stepped into it. The lights started to flicker and an eerie moaning echoed all around us. A cold wind followed and mixed with the wind was just the creepiest thing I have ever heard. Ice started to form on the side and water trickled down from the ceiling. “What’s going on?” Meagan asked. “I don’t know.” Ryal said and then gave me a curious look. “Hey, don’t look at me. I can’t use magic. I’ve tried.” I stated.

They just gave me a weird look and then we went to continue down the hallway, but only made it a few feet when something happened then that scared the crap out of me. The lights went out then completely and a blue and green light began to glow randomly down the hallway. But, the thing that set my nerves on edge was an ear-splitting moan from a grotesque apparition. It showed a young man in his early twenties. His shoulder length hair looked greasy and covered in something. I really hoped it wasn’t blood.

His face is wrinkled and stretched to the point where it couldn’t even be considered a birth defect. His right eye rested slightly above his cheek bone and the left looked like someone turned it to the left and sat right on his forehead. His nose looked to be snake and pig like and the mouth. Well, have you ever seen lips that resembled a beak and teeth that looked like rusted saw blades and stained shark teeth? They sent a chill up my spine. His arms looked decayed shriveled. There is a gaping hole in his torso, but I could see all the organs pulsing and working.

Veins could be seen with blood pumping through them. “What the hell is that?!” Ryal screamed. Meagan just looked completely speechless. Then the apparition looked at us intensely and focused on me. “Why do you keep him imprisoned? You do realize that he’s the only person who can save you?” The two council members looked between them and then focused on me. “What…what do you mean?” Meagan asked. “I mean what I said. He’s the only one who can save you. He’s the only one with the spell and magic. But, you’re going to die now.” That pissed of Ryal and he snapped.

“Are you threatening us?” The spirit shook his head. “I mean you no harm. I am on your side. The only thing I want is to move on, but I am not allowed to yet.” He stated simply and then faded away. Well, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get that image out of my head. What could be worse than that? Well, I guess I was about to find out. Both of the council members grabbed me by the arm and dragged me forward, almost tossing me. I stumbled forward and fell hard on my knees.

“Oh, get up.” Meagan snapped. I went to and was face to face with the creepiest looking female. She made the man look like a sex icon. I felt the color draining from my face and then the woman hit me with an open palm. I went flying down the hallway and rolled hard. I banged my head against the bottom of the wall and looked up just in time to see Ryal being picked up in the air. He was struggling and screaming. I even saw bolts of lightning streaking out. Nothing was working. Nothing made a difference. He struggled and gasped for breath.

The woman held him high in the air and then jammed two fingers into his throat. Blood leaked out and he gurgled with blood spraying out of his mouth. She then hissed like a snake and a woman moaning in pain. “You are all going to die.” With those words being spoken, she wiggled her fingers further into his throat and yanked out something. She tossed him across the floor and held out a wiggling thing in her hand. I saw him struggle to his feet and he tried to speak, and I saw something missing in his mouth. Oh, my god! She took out his tongue!

Meagan only stared in wide-eyed horror. “She…She…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. But, I knew what she was going to say. “Well, then. Finally, the man shuts up. I can’t stand bigoted males! Thinking that, they are stronger and better than a woman. Please!” She hissed. I didn’t know what to say. I was too afraid to speak. The woman then turned to me and rushed straight to me. She stopped inches from my face and I could smell her vile breath. It smelled like mold, mildew, and vomit.

“I guess, it’s your turn to pay. It’s nothing personal to you. But, I don’t like males.” She reached out her hand towards my throat and went towards my manhood. I almost screamed, but she was gripping my throat tightly and I couldn’t do more than gasp and hiss out a little bit of air. Then I don’t exactly know what happened. All I know was I fell to the ground gasping for breath. I looked up at her in shock to see her glaring at me. She held her hand tightly and I could see smoke coming off from it.

I didn’t know what to say or if I should say anything, and then she rushed towards me again and, this time, I saw what happened. A thin glass like barrier appeared of a thick white and thin dark light. It seemed weird that I could see through it, though. As the woman tried to move and get at me from another angle, the wall bended and stretched, blocking her completely. “How is this possible?” She screamed. The walls trembled and shook. Small debris fell from the ceiling and crashed onto the floor. Then she charged me again at full speed. The barrier shattered, but not before exploding.

The shards turned into a mist and then covered the spirit from head to toe. She screamed and struggled to get free. But, nothing she did was enough. She couldn’t get free. “Oh, I can’t believe this! Are you a virgin? You were protected by the ancient lost magic, ‘innocence?!’” She screamed. I only blinked at her. Is innocence a magic? I wondered. Meagan only blinked at me. The mist finally covered her and then she vanished. I don’t know if this was the end of her or just the beginning.

Meagan grabbed me by the arm and cast her magic and I could feel the strength behind the magic. Thick dark prickly vines burst forth from the ground and wrapped themselves around me. I guess the bracelet takes away more than just my magic. I felt the vines digging into my arms and chest. Pain exploded through me then. With each step I took, it grew. We made it down the hall and I saw for a glimpse second, the man who warned them. I caught a look at Ryal. He lay on a floating bed of cotton with blood slowly trickling out of his mouth. He looked like he wasn’t in danger of dying, though. We entered through the doorway, into the throne room.

All of the staff sat at the head table by the thrones and the students all stood or sat below the small set of steps. “What the hell happened?” Sally asked her voice rising. “We went to obtain Matt and he co-operated all the way to the hallway. But, there he attacked us and he still has his strength!” She hissed. I felt fear and confusion. Me? Strength? I don’t know what she was talking about. He overpowered him and ripped out his tongue. His blood is still coating the wall and he even slammed us around a little bit. Parts of the ceiling fell from the impact.” She explained. A vampire was already in the doorway. “Well, what happened to the lights?” She asked.

“When I used my magic to subdue him, I was acting rashly and they were destroyed with the magical discharge.” Wow, I couldn’t believe how well she had her story already rehearsed and planned out. Damn, she was good. Sally walked up to me glaring. “After everything we’ve done for you. This is how you repay us?” She demanded. It wouldn’t matter what I said. So, I only said the truth. “Well, you all I don’t have a problem with. He’s the one who tried to kill me remember? Alayne had to save me? I think he got off lightly.” I said this with an icy calm voice. Everyone gasped and couldn’t believe what I just said. But, I really didn’t care what they thought of me at this point.

They had already condemned me without even trying to listen to my side of the story. So, what would be the point in trying to convince them and wasting my voice on a bunch of power hungry lunatics? Let them think what they will of me. I couldn’t care less. I didn’t plan on living here long anyway. One way or the other, I was going to escape and it didn’t matter to me how. I wasn’t going to allow them to use me as a weapon or prisoner. A slave. It just wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t going to play into their hands.

“Matt, I only have one question. Why would you do this? We reined him in. He wasn’t a threat to you. And yet you still felt to take it upon yourself to do that?” She pointed to her friend. “Like I said, he deserved it.” No one had anything to say after that. “Oh, just take him away!” Alayne snapped. “Wait a second.” I heard Zeke say. I froze and turned towards him. His piercing gaze unnerved me a little.

“Matt, Answer me honestly. Why? Don’t give me that bullshit about him deserving it. Why did you do this to him? I thought you were supposed to be the forgiving one.” I gave him a cold stare. “You want to know a complete truth? I’m tired of you thinking you can bully and control us. Do you think you all can just sit in here and think that you can control me? You think just because I have a royal spirit inside me, that I’ll just lie down and do whatever you ask? Think again!” The council just looked at me in shock and anger.

“What makes you think we want to control you?” Jared stepped forward asking. I only blinked. And then I burst out laughing like a maniac. “How could I possibly think that? It’s quite easy. I ‘felt’ them. I felt your feelings and emotions. I felt your true intentions. I know you plan on using me as a weapon in some army and I won’t allow it.” Zeke only gave me a confused look. “I don’t know what you mean.” Something about his tone made me question what I feel. But, looking at Ryal, Jared, and Raemi, I knew I was speaking the truth. Most of the council had a dark plan. But, there was a few who didn’t know what the true goal was.

“Matt, I don’t know what it is you think is going to happen. Or what you think we want. But, control over you and the students isn’t it and I want you to know that.” He said softly and kindly. I glanced at his counterparts and I smirked. “Oh? Well, I wish you had he strength and power to stand up to them. If you don’t want it, they surely do. So, here’s my counter question. Are you strong enough to stand against them?” I turned from him then. “Take him,” Alayne repeated quietly.

Vampires and some council members grabbed me and forced me to move. We went back to the dungeons from before. I never really noticed, but there was a small area on the first floor to the dungeon. There stood a small area where a row of lockers was and a shower in the back. “Well? Strip down. We need to make sure you’re not concealing any weapons.” I felt my face start to heat up. But, I hoped they didn’t notice.

No one’s seen me naked. Is that really what they wanted? That sounded gross and just wrong if it was the case. I took off my shirt and tossed it down. Then I kicked out of my shoes and unbuttoned my jeans and slipped out of them. I stood in a pair of very tight briefs. What more could they want from me? Meagan, Jared, and the vampires all smirked. “Okay, guys. Leave him. He’s not going to get the jump on me.” Jared said. They left looking left out.

“What are you waiting for?” He asked. I pointed with his fingers and I knew he wanted me to take off my underwear. I didn’t want to. I hesitated and refused. He shot a sharp, long and pointed ice cycle that resembled a spear at me. I ducked under it and crashed against the wall and shattered. “Now, are you going to follow orders?” He asked. I sighed and then removed my underwear. I went to cover myself up, but he was there in a flash and slapped my hands away. He then pinned me against the wall and smirked down at me.

“Well, I can see why your girlfriend is so taken with you,” He smirked. My face burned at the comment. He then got really close to me and I thought he was going to start touching me. He then spun me around and grabbed my butt. “What the hell are you…-“ I couldn’t finish the sentence. “Shhh,” He said. He rubbed me down and then grabbed me between my legs. I gasped as he touched my testicles and felt between my cheeks. Tears fell down my face, but I couldn’t do anything, but just let it happen. He then spun me back around and shoved me towards the showers.

“Get yourself cleaned up.” He snapped and then walked out. I couldn’t do anything but what he asked. I turned on the showers and started to wash up. I felt the tears fall and there was a couple moment where I couldn’t even breathe. I was too embarrassed and scared for what just happened. I can’t remember when the last time was where I felt so helpless. Nothing compared to this. I had all this strength and power and I couldn’t even use it! I finished the shower and dried off. Then I noticed a piece of clothing on the bench. I walked over to it and picked it up.

What the heck? It was a pair of briefs. I put them on and then walked out of the locker room. Whistles echoed around me. “Well, you lost the bet. He didn’t walk out naked.” I blushed. I tried to hide it, but I knew they saw it. Jared pushed me forward and walked right behind me down the steps. We went all the way to the bottom and then he opened up a cell door at the far end. He pushed me forward and pulled out the bed.

“What are you doing?” I asked. He ignores me. There was no way for me to leave. The others blocked the doorway. Then I noticed what he was going for. It was a trap door. Oh no. He opened it and pulled me towards it. “You’re going down there,” He said with a sneer. I gaped at him in fear. “Oh, don’t give me that. A psycho like you?” He pulled me towards it and forced me in. I tried to struggle and fight, but I didn’t have the strength. He got me down the door without any issue and then slammed it shut.

I heard him lock it and I heard his footsteps receding from the cell above. After that, everything went quiet. Small lights were dimly lighting up the small hallway I was in. I could see it angled ahead and I wondered where it led. I started to walk towards it and then I got this weird feeling like I wasn’t alone. But, there wasn’t anything for me where I was, so I decided to try and keep moving. I could see the end of the one hall led to a dead end. But, I decided to check it out. It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.

I made it to the end and with the dim light, I saw marks. They read names of men and women. I guess people who were forced down here before? But, I wondered what happened to them. I left the dead end and walked down the other hall. It stretched on for quite some time before I noticed the end. A small hatch looked open a crack and I pulled it open. It screeched on rusty hinges. Damn that was loud! I barely was able to get it open. Finally, gasping for breath, I got it open enough for me to crawl through and then I didn’t see the drop.

I fell a few feet and landed hard on my back. Something crunched and snapped beneath me. I slowly got my hands underneath me and stood up and paled. “What the hell?” I shouted. Bones. Skulls, rib cages. All different sizes. I guess I found out what happened to the others. They didn’t make it out of here. Or at least, a good portion of them didn’t. I looked around and I couldn’t see anything else that could lead to an escape. A giant fast spinning fan was above me.

What was I going to do now? I wondered. There wasn’t anywhere for me to go. Why the hell did they just give me underwear?! Was this some kind of sick game? I started to kick at the bones on the ground. I don’t know what I was looking for, but I didn’t have anything else to do. I searched for what felt like hours and then grew tired. I collapsed against the wall taking in deep breaths. I slowly drifted off to sleep and woke up at some point because I heard footsteps. I stood up and I looked around, but I didn’t see anyone. What the heck? I walked over to the hatch and the lights were out.

Well, they weren’t very bright to begin with. I guess they weren’t going to last too much longer. Then I felt this cold wind behind me. I tensed. It felt like something with icy fingers was touching my shoulder. I tensed and slowly turned around. Maniacal laughter echoed around me from nowhere and I felt all the color drain from my face. The bones were floating and swirling in the air.

Then they started to attach themselves. They formed skeletons and they looked to be adult males and females and even young kids up to teenagers. Great, I was going to become another one to their ranks. I so didn’t want to die like this. Wait, a damn minute. I’m not going to die like this! I won’t. I haven’t even gotten a chance to fully live yet and this wasn’t how I was going to go down! I steeled myself and I started to circle around them. Gideon! I screamed. He didn’t answer. The closest of the skeletal warriors came at me and I rolled out of the way.

I figured they would collapse into dust or something, but they didn’t and I figured magic was behind it. I bent my legs and then jumped over them and landed and rolled forward. I jumped to my feet and turned towards them. I didn’t know how many I was up against. But, it looked like a few dozen. Then I saw something gleam in the dim light. I rushed towards it and dove under three approaching skeletons. They sliced at me and an agonizing pain exploded on my back. I grabbed the thing and cut my hand open. I flipped it in the air and grabbed it by the handle.

It was a dull looking machete. Better than nothing I guess. I slashed and hacked at the nearest warrior and it countered and parried each thrust. Well, for a clustered group of bones, it really knew how to fight. I didn’t have any training. I dodged and rolled out of the way. I could feel the blood trickle down my back and from my palm which caused holding the weapon very difficult. I swung hard and the warrior’s weapon shattered. Then I hacked and pounded my weapon into it and it collapsed in a pile of bone ash. The other skeletons dropped to the ground then.

I stood there for a few minutes in confusion. What the heck? What am I supposed to beat them one at a time? Oh, how cliché is that!? I screamed as loud as I could and then dropped next to a wall breathing heavily. I slowly lost consciousness and had a dreamless sleep. I woke up some time later to the sound of the swirling wind and my eyes shot open. I couldn’t really focus on anything for a few minutes and when I stood up, my muscles wouldn’t cooperate at first. I felt so stiff.

I shook them awake and forced myself to move. I looked at my hand and the wound had almost closed. My back flared with pain. I just kept walking through it and grabbed a hold of the machete. Three warriors came at me and I ducked and I countered a blade while spinning out of the way of the third. I came up and caught two blades with one strike and the other sliced at my arm. It barely scraped me when I spun again out of the way and I brought my weapon up and around in an arc.

The closest skeletons weapon clashed with mine and I jumped at the second. I smacked the third and its head went flying off. Huh, weak that one. I thought. It didn’t stop coming after me, though. They all did. I found myself trapped in the middle of all the skeletons. Most didn’t have weapons. Several grabbed me and kicked me. Punching me and tossing me around. I could feel the bruises start to form when I finally caught one of them and ripped the arm out of its socket. It clicked and clanked at me. I whipped it across the room and then did a jumping spinning kick at it. I sent it flying across the room and it shattered on the ground.

They all dropped to the ground, but not before one gave me a deep gash on the left shoulder. I dropped next to the wall and tried to rest. But, this was going to kill me. I don’t know how much longer I could do this. I bet that I could live a while if it wasn’t for the warriors, but they are killing me slowly. What is the point of this? I don’t know what I’m doing. And I don’t know if this is some sick joke. But, this needs to end. On shaking legs, I got to my feet and kept to the wall and went to the hatch. I crawled out and then went down the hallway. I had to find something. I was too weak and I needed something to eat.

Or I wouldn’t be able to survive. I went back down the dead end hallway and found something I either missed before or that wasn’t there. I could see a light coming through a crack and I investigated it. A loose brick, which I pulled out. I reached my hand in there and I almost pulled it out because of the cold. Dear god, it was arctic cold in there. But, I steeled myself and found two vials of blood. I hesitantly took one out and replaced the brick. Then I uncapped it and took a small sip. The blood tasted really good and then I took in a sharp breath.

The cut on my hand faded away completely and I felt strength flow back through me. I went back to the room and put the vial in the waistband of my underwear. I went to sleep and Gideon still didn’t show himself this time. He might not be able to do. Or maybe he left me for dead. Either way. I wasn’t going to give up yet. I couldn’t. I woke up to the sound of the wind and the skeletons were back for round three. This time, I was ready for them and I wasn’t going to let them touch me. I felt a strength I never felt before. I rolled and ducked under their attacks. It seemed like everything was crystal clear and my focus was enhanced. I brought my weapon around and attacked. The skeleton blocked and we parried. Our two weapons met again and again. High, low. I spun around it and the skeletons blade went over his shoulder to block me. Dang, it was good.

It turned around and I attacked with a ferocity that I never knew before. I hacked and slashed at it. The warrior tried to stop me, but the power behind my attacks was too ferocious and I made some chips at it. But, I had a plan. I brought three warriors in a row and then at the same time, I smashed them. All three fell in dust and pieces of bones. The others seemed to shudder and dropped to the ground. Maybe I could do that every day? It was worth a shot. I was panting and I went over to the wall and I just looked around. Dang, it was boring here.

I really wished I had more to pass the time than waiting to be attacked again. “ASHLEE!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. My voice echoed all around and then slowly started to fade away. But, if she heard me or if anyone heard me, they gave no sign. It was probably the council members. Or at least, some of them and they were watching and laughing at me. I guess I was giving them a good show. I kind of just strolled up and down the hallways to keep my muscles from growing stiff. But, I needed to conserve strength and energy.

If each skeleton was a marking of a day, then a week and a day passed by now. The skeletons didn’t come back for three days after I beat the group at the same time. I knew the days were still being marked, though. A shard of the bone kind of floated and began to glow in the air. Each day this did that and it happened three times. Then two more days and skeletons passed. I was down to my last swallow of blood. I got hurt several times and I didn’t have the reflexes or reaction time to stop them all. Even the blood wasn’t working like it was. I needed human food and I still had more than a dozen warriors to fight.

I really didn’t think that this was possible anymore. I needed to get out of here. I had to find an exit. “Gideon!” I screamed, but my voice was hoarse and weak. “Gideon,” I said quietly. I took the last swallow of blood and I felt a little charge, but I was still too weak to do anything. I felt off and I knew I had too many opponents to defeat. The skeletons came again and then I got lucky and shattered one from behind. One more day. I told myself.

Another week and a half passed and I was beaten, bruised and cut. Blood puddled under my feet as I walked and panted, leaning against the wall. I didn’t know how much longer I could do this. Everything spun and I was seeing triple of everything. My focus came in and out. Sharp painful breaths passed through my lungs and with one final lunge, I broke a warrior in half and they all collapsed onto the ground. I fell against the wall and I knew if I pass out, I won’t be waking up. “Someone, please? Help me. Jacob? Derek? Laurentia? Someone?” I said weakly and then I felt my head spin.

I don’t know what happened. Did a day pass already? Were the skeletons coming to finish me off? I didn’t have the strength to climb to my feet and I didn’t think I could even move. I saw some strange things in my mind. I saw some bright lights and strange areas. I could see a rainbow castle and it floated above a beautiful land. Giant and full trees covered the ground and clear and blue rivers flowed. Animals’ walked everywhere. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Was this my heaven? Was I about to see God? Was I about to be proven that god existed?

I heard the sound of wind and I jumped out of bed and felt myself press against a wall and gasp for breath and out of fear. Then I slowly took in the room. A dim lit violet room. I looked over to where I was and saw a king sized bed with lavender blankets. I then looked at myself. I was wearing black silk pajamas with purple trimmings. “Where am I?” I asked aloud. I couldn’t believe that my voice sounded stronger. Then someone knocked and the door opened. Zach appeared, but instead of his rainbow hair, he had it a dark brown. The only resemblance to the colored hair was a streak.

It was a swirl of all eight colors. “Zach, if I may say so. I think the streak looks a lot cooler than the rainbow hair. But, I don’t mean any disrespect.” Zach laughed lightly. “Kid, calm down. You’ve been through a traumatic experience and I think you’re right. But, I can alter my hair whenever I want, so if I get bored with it, I can always spice it up.” He said and then his hair turned blond. I just smiled. “So, do I have you to thank for saving me?” I asked. He shook his head. “Nope, Jacob, and Laurentia. Jacob heard your call and as soon as he appeared the skeletons rose and charged him.

“They seemed a lot stronger than one would think. Laurentia destroyed them while he got you out. Your body is actually in the royal chamber where you slept before being imprisoned. I don’t know how they managed to block you from us. But, it wasn’t easy to track you down. You were really weak and you wouldn’t have survived the night when you called for help. You’re lucky you used names.” He told me. I sighed. “So, my soul is in your realm?” I asked.

He nodded with a grim smile. “Am I going to die?” I asked. I was dreading the answer. But, I needed to know. He smiled and said, “No. You’re going to be fine. They are giving you food and blood now. Julie has combined her powers with Derek and has healed you. You’ve sustained more injuries than she could heal, but Jacob isn’t allowing any of the council in with you. Only Julie, Ashlee, Liam, and Jaise are allowed by your side and even then the three gods are watching over you carefully.” He told me.

I sighed in relief. “You don’t think they would hurt me do you?” I asked in concern. He walked over to me and placed his hands on my shoulders. “Do you?” He countered. “Hell no. Sorry.” I mumbled. He chuckled. “Then no, I don’t. They’ve despite some things they’ve done in the past, have proven their loyalty to you. They would die for you and they don’t think they would harm you. But, can you blame them for being precautious?” He asked me. “No, I don’t and I like the added protection. But, I know you gods have a lot to do. I am really surprised you came.” I said and I felt my face heat up.

“Why’s that?” He asked in confusion. I didn’t look at him. “I’m just a simple vampire and you’re all Gods!” I walked over and sat down on the bed. “Matt that has nothing to do with it. We may not interfere very often in mortal affairs, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t help those who need it and who deserve it. I won’t lie to you. If it’s your time to die, we can’t and won’t try to prevent it. But, what happened there? That’s utter fucking shit.”

I felt his anger and the room seemed to darken a little. “I didn’t mean to tick you off.” I said and then crept towards the corner. He froze and then glanced at me. The room lightened up again. “Yeah, sorry. I just know what a lot of people think about us. We aren’t the dicks you all think we are. There’re a lot of rules we have to follow. We can’t prevent everything that happened and we can’t always interfere. But, we can in certain situations. You’re a special case. And again that was just plain…Well, let’s just say we are going to take care of it.” I didn’t like how he said that. “What do you mean?” I asked. He only gave me a blank look. “Someone is going to DIE!” He hissed. I only stared at him in horror. “Would you say I deserve a chance to prove myself?” I ask. He blinked at me.

“Well, sure. Do you think you could change what happened?” He asked me. “No, not what happened. But, maybe what happens next. I may be able to…change the future. What would happen if they realize that I’m leaving? That I won’t help them? That I am going to join the Ferol?” Zach obviously couldn’t believe what he heard. “You mean that?” He asked. “I think you stated that you were going to support whatever group I was with. So, I don’t know about joining them. But, I’m done with playing these games. I’m done playing their mind tricks. I’m going to leave. Without or with some of them. Unless they completely change their ways.” I said. He only stared at me.

“If they want to come with, then great. If not, then I’m going to join a group so I know I can make it and I’ll help the bad guys. They have a larger force right?” Zach nodded hesitantly. “Well, maybe I’ll help organize them,” I said. Zach looked at me in fear. “What?” I asked him. “There’s a reason why they are so unorganized. There’s one vampire who is making it happen that way.” He told me. “Who?” I wondered. “I am not allowed to say. It is for that vampire to come and state it.” I only nodded.

I wasn’t going to push the issue. “Well, that’s fine. But, whoever he or she is. I’ll join them and change the fate of the world. So, I’ll be working with the bad guys and I won’t like how they handle the feeding situation. But, I’ll deal with it.” I told him. He only shook his head. “I admire you. You’re handling this very well.” He said. I smiled. “Well, I’m trying to hold it together and I feel at peace now. I’m sure I won’t so much when I wake up.” He only grinned. “No, probably not. But, just know. You’re not alone.” I nodded and then I felt myself drift out of the room and then I sat up quickly in the bed.

Ashlee was right next to me. Jacob and Derek stood at either side of the doorway. “How are you feeling?” Jacob asked me. “I’m feeling alive. Thanks to you.” I said. He only nodded. I knew he wanted to say something more, but I spoke first. “I think there’s a favor you still owe me? Well, this is it.” I told him. He blinked in shock. “You want to use it now?” I gave him a confused look. “You don’t count this as a prepaid debit?” I asked. Derek chuckled. “Dude, no. This wasn’t your fault or your wish. This was a bunch of twats trying to play in a power struggle.”

Jacob glanced at glanced at his boyfriend with a smile. “No, Matt. I wouldn’t count something like this as a favor paid. If you would’ve gotten in the situation on your own, sure. But, you were forced into it. So, I still owe you one. This one is a pass.” I only smiled. “But, I have to say. It takes a lot of sincerity to try and let me off the hook.” He said with a laugh. I could feel the tension in the room lighten considerably. “So, now what?” I asked. “Now, we wait until you’re fully strong again and then we deal with the council. Your way unless I don’t like what I hear.” I heard Zach say. He wasn’t there physically. But, I knew he was listening.

I noticed that I was wearing the same pajamas I wore in the dream world. “Easy man. Easy.” Jaise said. I didn’t even notice him standing over there. “Jaise?” I asked. “Yeah, you didn’t think I would leave your side did you?” He asked. I just shook my head with a grin. “Well, I can see you’re in good hands. So, I think I’ll go see to the council.” Jacob said. “Wait,” I called. He turned around. “I think I should go with you. Ask them if they had anything to do with this and I may be able to sense if they did or didn’t have any say in this. Well, I know a couple of them did. But, I want to know what their true goals are. I felt something from some of them before. I sensed confusion and I felt anger. But, if I am able to focus on them more. I may be able to tell if any of them had anything to do with this.”

Jacob only smiled and pointed with his finger for me to follow him. I kept close to him and then before he left the room he said, “Derek? Why don’t you put the enchantment on the room that protects this entire room from peeping eyes, ears, and steps from those that Matt doesn’t want checking up on him?” I didn’t hear anything, but I knew Derek was going to do exactly that. We walked out of the room and then he sat on the railing and slowly he started to slide down. “Oh, come on now. Don’t be afraid.” He called from below. I sat on the railing and then I went down after him.

I didn’t even feel the fear of falling. I felt something holding onto me, preventing me from slipping or losing my grip. Like an invisible chair. It actually was pretty comfortable, to be honest. We made it to the ground in half the time. Then he stood up and we walked down the hallway. “You think I should have changed my clothes first?” I asked aloud. He sighed. “A little late to be thinking about that isn’t it?” He asked. “It’s never too late to worry about fashion.” I turned to see Laurentia standing there in a denim skirt, black boots, a tank top and a denim jacket.

She carried over her left arm a pair of designer jeans, a silk muscle shirt, and a black T-shirt with some logo on it with a black leather trench coat. “Thanks,” I said quietly. I took the clothes from her and started to get changed. She reached out to get the pajamas and then she vanished. “Well, you look awesome!” He told me. I smirked. We continued down the hallway and then I froze. “What’s the matter?” Jacob asked. “You don’t feel that?” He only shook his head then he paused. “Oh, you mean the dark spirit that is scanning us out and wanting to rip our nuts off?” He asked casually. “Well, you may not be worried about her. But, I’ve seen what she can do. It’s creepy.” Then I remembered the bracelet and saw that it was gone!

“We weren’t about to leave that thing on you,” He told me. We continued on before the woman made herself known. She went straight for me again and this time, there was no barrier that blocked her. She recovered her strength and I didn’t get my defense. She almost grabbed me by the throat, but Jacob hovered in the air a few feet and then a dark aura pulsed around me. The woman screamed like a banshee in mating season. You ever hear one? It isn’t pretty. “What are you doing?!” The woman screamed. “You’re a God of the souls! Of death! I’m a servant of yours!” Jacob didn’t even show her any emotion. “You are threatening people under my protection.

Surely if you were truly one of mine, you’d have gotten the message?” He asked in a matter of fact tone. The spirit didn’t even flinch. Instead, she came at him hard. But, she wasn’t aware of exactly who he was. He grabbed her by the throat and began to squeeze. Dark green bubbling fluid seeped out from between his hands and she wailed and cried. The slime dripped all over her and I soon saw that it was eating away at her. I couldn’t believe it. She finally lost her ability to scream and after five minutes, there was nothing left but a small puddle of green, steaming and bubbling slime.

“I did warn her,” He said without a care. “Dang,” I said. He only looked at me curiously. “What?” He asked. “I just had a thought about being a god. Maybe it’ll keep me from falling into these situations?” He only gave me a look of pain and loneliness. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “Being a god has its perks. But, there’s nothing glamorous at it. I had to watch my family die. Some grew old. Some paid the ultimate price. And some became minor immortals and have been causing me and others nothing but pain.” He said. But, I could tell he didn’t want to continue this argument. “I’m sorry. It was just something I would like to consider if it’s an option in my future.” I said.

He only nodded and kept on walking. We made it to the end of the hallway. He kicked the door open and the council and the other vampires jumped up and faced us. “Well, if it isn’t the traitor. I think it’s time to go back to the prison. Come along quietly and you won’t-“ Meagn started. But, a bolt of static energy sent her flying across the room. Jared went to aid her and charged Jacob. But, with a lazy flick of his wrist, he was slammed into the far wall and he smashed through the wall and a thick metal pole protruded from his chest. Blood puddled down around his feet in a matter of minutes. The others didn’t move, even though I could tell they were waiting for an opening.

“I wouldn’t try it if you want to live. Now, I am here as an advisor to Zach and a long friend. Harm him and you’ll suffer in my realm. I’m not as forgiven as your god. I’m the God of Lyches. We don’t play nice. And we don’t play fair.” He said his voice thick with anger. “What do you want?” Sally asked. “I want to see which one of you or how many of you decided to send him down half naked, starved and defenseless against some powerful dark magic in order to die! I want to know which one of you thinks doing something like that is okay!” He snapped.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about?” Sally asked. I gave her a piercing look. “You don’t know who sent me to the dungeons? Why was I sent there? You were here when they sentenced me!” I screamed at her. “Yes, but you were to be taken to the first floor and we were going to talk to you one on one and figure out why you did it or what the truth was. I didn’t think you actually did it.” She told me. I didn’t know if she was a good actor or not. But, I said, “I believe her. It doesn’t feel like she’s lying to me.” I told Jacob.

He only glared at her. “Very well. NEXT!” He shouted. Marty stepped up. “What about you? Do you know anything about this?” He asked him. Marty only looked at me and shook his head. “I don’t know anything,” He said. A pain flared up in my stomach and I knew he was lying. “He knows something. I can tell. He was a part of it somehow.” I told the god. “Very well.” He snapped his fingers and four hooded floating cloaked figures appeared. “Who or what are they?!” Sally asked. “My soldiers,” He said coldly. They surrounded and circled him. They moved him over to a corner and I could tell they were keeping a close eye on him. I bet they even nullified his magic.

“Next!” Jacob shouted. Zeke stepped up acting shady. “Well, he’s obviously guilty,” Jacob muttered. “I don’t know. There’s something off here.” I said. The god looked at me and shrugged. “Very well. Did you know anything about what happened to him?” Zeke looked at me in fear and guilt. “No, I swear. I didn’t.” Jacob looked at me and said, “Guilty.” I studied him for a minute. “Yes, but not about what happened to me. He’s guilty about something else.” Jacob looked confused. “I don’t follow.”

“I’m not sure either, but I can assure you. He didn’t put me in that death match.” I told him. “Very well.” He snapped his fingers and a large floating hooded man appeared. “Another guilty one, my lord?” He asked. “Not according to Matt. Take him to the corner and keep an eye on him. There’s something we need to get figured out.” The man bowed and put his hand lightly, but firmly on Zeke’s shoulders and steered him to the opposite corner where they held Marty.

Alayne stepped up next and she was completely innocent. Jared proved to be completely guilty and Ryal proved to be somewhat innocent. And he was even able to answer the question because they restored his tongue. It wasn’t easy for him to answer, though. It sounded like he was choking whenever he tried to speak. But, we finally managed to get the answers we needed out of him. Meagan was guilty and Raemi was innocent. It looked like half the council was guilty and the other half was not. I walked up to Zeke. “What are you so nervous about?” I asked him.

He had tears in his eyes. “I didn’t do anything to help you. I didn’t know what had happened to you until it was too late and I should have been paying attention!” He shouted. “Oh, so he’s only guilty of feeling guilty about not being able to do anything? Isn’t that some guilty shit?” Jacob said. Everyone only looked at him. “What?” Sally and I asked at the same time. He waved us off. “Okay, you can go Zeke. I went to Ryal next and after many careful issues, we found that he was guilty. He was guilty of getting caught and my death didn’t happen before they were found out.

So, half and a half. It was evenly split down the middle. But, three out of the four female councils were innocent. I wasn’t sure if I was expecting that or not. “Well, it looks like we have a hot mess here to sort out,” Jacob commented. “You really think we are worried about what happens to us? You’re not going to find someone who has our kind of power or skill to replace us.” Jacob burst out laughing. “Oh, you think so? You think that we gods couldn’t figure out how to replace you. Have you not looked at the four people around you?” He demanded.

I did and I didn’t know why he was mentioning them. They all removed their hoods. Three males and one female. Oh, my god! “Each of them has an affinity for the element that you represent. I planned this out. I couldn’t say which one of you was actually guilty. But, I foresaw something like this happening and now that I know for sure. We can replace you without difficulty.” He said. “I think that’s a good idea.” I turned around and saw Zach there. “Zach, you’re going to let them do this!?” Jared demanded. “Sally? Zeke? Why? We’ve been allies for two thousand years! We’ve been friends for longer!”

Zeke stepped forward. “You know the rules. You know that he’s the best bet at winning the war that’s to come. But, you betrayed that trust. So, now you must be punished.” He turned away from his friend and wouldn’t meet his eyes. I felt bad for Zeke. But, this had to be done. I told myself. The Lyches all dropped to the ground then and stood up behind one of the council members. “Okay, here’s where the magic has a twist in. Four spirits like people showed up with the same colored streaks as the council.

“So, you know what must be done,” Zach said. They all nodded looking grim. “I don’t know what’s happening,” I said. “We are going to perform a spell that transfers their ancient being into the four of Jacob’s people,” Zach explained. “Oh.” Was that even possible? I wondered. The gods stood around them and began casting their spells and the four council members began to glow in a light like their element. Then a blasting light shot out from each of them and knocked everyone but the gods and me to the ground.

But, the images of the councils ancient beings remained where they were and didn’t even move. “What the hell was that?” Zach demanded. Then the woman with the green streak stepped forward. I could see through her, but she was still pretty. Dark flowing hair and dark chocolate eyes. “You know the rules. You created them. We haven’t willingly given our consent for leaving and joining someone else. You know the code we have. We are loyal only to those we have joined with. Anything trying to force us to join someone else is punishable by death. Aren’t they your words?” She said and her voice carried menace with it.

“Well, yes. But, I thought you knew and agreed to it?” Zach asked. “Oh, we do know what’s happening. Agreeing to it is another matter. Good or bad, kind or evil. We stick by the people we chose. And honestly? I don’t disagree with what Meagan did.” I paled. What? The others stepped forward as well. A large man with a yellow streak said, “Neither do I, and I supported it completely.” The council looked snug. “Well, well,” Zach said. “So, we have to go with plan B?” Jacob asked.

Zach nodded sighing. “Plan B?” Ryal asked. The Lyches behind the council stepped forward and jammed a piece of wood into the four council member’s hearts. They all screamed and cried out. “You didn’t think we would allow you all to live did you?” Zach asked walking over to them. “You’ve crossed a line.” Jacob agreed. They all dropped to the ground and screamed in pain. “Their death will be more excruciating because of how long they’ve been alive. But, it will be slightly quicker than normal. The four images of the ancient beings faded away glaring.

“I don’t like the look they gave us,” I said. “Who?” Liam asked stepping forward for the first time since this all began. “Who are you?” Zach asked suspiciously. “Liam, where’s Julie?” I asked. “She’s over there talking to Ashlee.” Zach seemed to relax when he mentioned my girlfriend’s name. “Oh, well their ancient beings. You probably couldn’t see them. But, they gave our little group here a bad look.” I stated. “Most likely they’ll try to come back through the portal and merge with those we’ve chosen for the next council members. But, I have to be the one to allow it.” He said.

“Are you able to hold them back while letting four other beings through?” I asked. He gave me an annoyed look. “I can handle them. They’ll put up a fight. But, I think I can deal.” He stated confidently. I really hoped he was right, but I didn’t think it would be so easy for him to control them. Sally and the other holy users stepped around the lyches and began to cast the ritual. Zach walked up and stepped in the middle of the circle. He raised his hands in the air and spread his arms out wide. As the ritual began to increase, I could feel the magic in the air. He began to pulsate and change. It was like his skin was shifting and melting. Only to reform and return to the shape, it started in.

Then he screamed in pain and frustration. He dropped to his knees and sweat coated his face. “Zach?” I called out, but Jaise appeared in front of me. “No, don’t break his concentration,” He told me. “How long have you been there?” I asked. “Long enough to know that he’s got it easy. I heard about the four ancient beings from the council. They are already in the other plane. But, they want back in. He’s using all his strength to keep them from entering while trying to find the ones who should pass through the gate.” I only gave him a confused and suspicious look.

“How do you know about that?” I asked him. “I told him.” I turned to see Derek walking up next to me. Jacob glanced over and saw him and relaxed. “You gods must be pretty close,” I commented. “We have our moments. But, that’s about it. We try our best and work together. And we’ve all been through the same together. And even died together on this other planet. Don’t ask about it. There’s a book dedicated to the complete history and story about our experiences there. It’s all true.” He told me. “Where’s this book?” I asked curiously. He just rolled his eyes at me.

“You don’t need to know. If you come across it, then you’ll know. Otherwise, it’s not important and it won’t help you.” He said. “Why are you getting all defensive? I thought only that it may help me understand what you went through. I didn’t mean to make you angry.” I told him and walked away from him. He walked up to me and grabbed my arm. “It isn’t that you made me angry. But, I’m not happy with some of the things I went through on that planet. Everything we did, we did to save the earth. But, there’s a lot we aren’t proud of. And a lot we went through some serious painful experiences that we don’t want a lot of people to know about. We also lost a few good friends that we thought would be the one to make it. If anyone read it and learned what we went through, well, they may take everything the wrong way. Please. It’s nothing personal.” He told me and then left.

Wow, I’ve never seen Derek so upset before. He usually is so calm and happy and positive and easy to talk to. But, I guess there’s a lot he doesn’t want known to the other people in this world. And I can’t blame him for that. We all have secrets we want to be kept. Was it a trust, though? I mean some people no matter how much you trust someone, they won’t open up to you, even when you need them. Oh, well. If he wants to open up. He will. Otherwise, he won’t. It’s totally his call.

I watched as Zach continued to struggle and fight for dominance of the ancient beings. They were obviously even stronger than even he thought. And working together probably meant that they were a major threat. He let out a piercing scream that made us all drop to our knees and covers our ears. After a few minutes, he stopped and then dropped to the ground. The four lyches were kneeling then and all crouched over him. “Are you okay sir?” The woman asked. The dying council members were moaning weakly and I could see bones from where their skin fell off.

I thought they would be screaming in pain, but I guess Zach overpowered their voices or they didn’t want us to have the satisfactory of us knowing they were suffering, so they kept it quiet. Jacob looked at his ex lyches. “Well, guys. You’ve all become vampires now and have given up your other powers, but the strongest element you had. I’m glad you guys are willing to do this to help me out.” Jacob told them. They smiled. “Well, we feel it would be the greatest sacrifice that we could make to you. But, now we answer to him?” The one with the yellow streak asked confused. “Sorry, it’s just confusing. And it’s going to take some time to get used to it.”

Jacob only gave them a sympathetic look. “I know, but you’ll get the hang of it. Don’t worry.” He said. Then he turned towards me. “Well, Matt? I think you’re going to be okay. Zach will be fine in a few minutes, and then you’ll be able to discuss whatever it is you need to talk about to the council members. The new ones have already been brought up to speed on the situation. So, don’t worry about them not understanding what is going on.” He said. Then Derek and Jacob were gone.

Laurentia wasn’t anywhere around and I figured she left as well. Zach stood up after a few minutes and then looked around in a daze. “So, council members! Over here.” Zeke called. “Matt?” Sally said. I nodded apprehensively and walked over to them. Jaise, Julie, Liam, and Ashlee were all right next to me. “This is just between-“ Ashlee cut off Raemi with a look. “I don’t care what this is regarding. I’m not leaving him alone with you guys ever again. I don’t care if there’s an alien bug that is threatening your life and it’s either he comes alone or you die. I’m going with him!” She snapped.

No one argued with her and let them stay. “Okay, so what is it you want to do now Matt? We actually talked about it a little when they found you. We were going to give control back of the school. But, we don’t know who to put in charge. The staff is willing to stay and fully teach you what they should have been doing all along. Jaina was holding them back and making sure they didn’t teach all the students how to properly fight with weapons and use magic. Now, they will work twice as hard to test each student and see where their strengths are and master them. And find out the weaknesses and try to better them. But, what’s your goals? What would you like to do?” Sally asked me. I was dumbfounded.

“You mean you’re actually giving me a choice?” I asked. She only nodded with a grim smile. “Yeah, kid. We never wanted to rule this place. We only wanted to stop those who wanted to harm you. But, we think you can handle yourself now. And you’re not alone. Also, you can’t be controlled anymore. Which is a good thing? So, we think you will be just fine. But, you’re not alone. You can call on us whenever you want to or need to. That’s why we are here.” Zeke said.

One of the new council members spoke. “So, what’s it going to be? Are you willing to remain and help out?” They all looked at him and nodded. I gave him a quick glance. “Very well. I would like to stay, but who are you going to be putting in charge?” I asked. “Well, that’s where we would like your help. We don’t know. And we were hoping you may know of someone who is perfect for the position.” Alayne said. I sighed and took in a deep breath. “I don’t know. I barely got a chance to meet the staff of them trying to kill me and all that good fun stuff.” I said my voice thick with sarcasm.

They didn’t say anything. “Well, we figured that. We were only hoping you may have met one person.” I took in a deep breath. “Well, there was one person. But, she turned out to be another bitch.” Everyone gasped at me. “What?” I demanded. “You swore!” Liam said with pride in his voice. “It’s been known to happen.” I countered. They all laughed lightly. “Well, then? How about yourself?” Zeke asked me. I stared wide-eyed at him. “ME?!” I asked him like he had finally lost his mind. “Yeah, why not?” He countered. “I don’t know anything about leading a group of thousands of people. I can’t even lead my own self.” I told him.

The council sighed and shook their heads. “That’s not completely true is it? Your instincts are very keen. You’ve just had some bad luck. But, now you have a group of people who will be there to help you. They will be there to guide you. They will be your own personal council. You will be the Prince of this school and they will be your royal advisors. I think it’s a good thing. You should give it a try. If you don’t like it, or if you think it’s too much for you. Give us a call and we’ll find someone to replace you, but keep you as an advisor.” The guy with the shadow magic said to me.

“I don’t even know how many members of the council I need to make this work properly,” I admitted. “I think Jaise and Liam have some ideas,” Zeke told me. I gave them a questioning look. “We have read plenty of books and reports on councils. We know the functions and we will help you set this up and get them in on the game. But, there’s one person who we are missing.” Liam said. “Ah, yes. You need two more people. The council room here has an octagonal table. So, you’re going to need eight total. I think we have someone who could help you with that.” The woman with the green streak said.

I gave her a confused look. She whistled and I had to cover my ears. “God damn it. You don’t have to whistle so loud!” I heard a familiar voice. No, it couldn’t be! I looked around Ashlee and saw a tall, skinny Asian looking boy with long straight black hair. He wore skinny jeans and a tight cotton sleeveless shirt. “Draven?!” I shouted in shock. “Hey, Matt,” He said with a simple smile. I walked over to him and gave him a huge hug.

“Who’s this?” Jaise asked with a suspicious tone. I turned to him and glared. “This is Draven. He was and is my best friend growing up. But, when we were twelve, his parents moved away. His father got promoted and he left. We tried to stay in touch. But, we lost touch a couple years ago.” I told him. “He the long lost cousin?” Dave asked. I nodded. Jaise only glared. “If you don’t want me pissed off, Jaise, you might want to lose the hostility,” I warned. He only blinked at me in shock and then lost his anger. “I’m really sorry. I’m just worried that this is another trick. But, you seem quite capable at the present time to see when someone isn’t being quite honest. And you’re not helpless.” He said and then walked up to Draven. “I’m sorry for my tone.”

He only nodded and reached out his hand. Jaise shook it firmly. “Well, this is good. Now, what about the other person.” No one said anything. “I think I can help you there.” We turned to see an older teen with medium length blond hair and an athletic, muscular build. I froze at the sight of him. “Who are you?” He ignored everyone and looked right at me. “Tom,” I said. His expression was unreadable.

“Wait, your stepbrother?” Ashlee demanded stepping in front of me. He eyed her carefully. “Oh, Matt finally got lucky?” He said sarcastically. I saw Ashlee start to shake a little. “Calm down,” I said gently, resting a hand on her shoulder. I stepped in front of her. “What do you want Tom?” I asked. “It’s simple. I want to help you. Why do you think I have come here? A tea party?” Everyone just kept glancing between us. The tension in the air grew. “I don’t know. But, you’ve never been ultimately friendly towards me.” He sighed and looked away for a moment.

“So, you won’t answer and you think I’m just going to welcome you here with open arms?” I demanded. “No!” He shouted. Everyone tensed up and readied for a fight. He relaxed then and took a deep breath. “Look, I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to argue and I don’t blame you for what you’re feeling right now. But, I came to try and make everything up to you. I know I have a lot to answer for. I know I caused you a lot of pain. But, please. Let me help.” He said to me. “Why should we let him?” Liam asked. I only stared at Tom for a moment and then said,

“Okay, but before I agree to anything. You need to come with me.” He nodded without hesitation. “Hold up,” Ashlee said. “I’m coming with.” I shook my head at her. “Do you trust me?” I asked her. “Yeah, of course. Then let me do this alone.” I said and gave her a deep kiss. “Very well. But, just give me a shout out if you need anything.” She told me. “You can’t be serious.” Jaise said. “We can’t protect him forever. He’s got to stand on his own two feet.” She said. I smiled at them turned to Jaise. “Trust me,” I said. He nodded. I could see that he didn’t like the idea, but he didn’t want me to think he didn’t have faith in me. I led him through the hallway and towards the stairs to the royal tower.

I sat on the railing and felt like a fool until it changed into a chair and began its climb. Tom looked uncertain, and then he sat down and followed me up. We landed on the landing and I led him into the room. I closed the door and turned to face him. Before I could say anything, he pounced on me. I almost blasted him, until I realized he was hugging me. “What are you doing?” I asked him. “Sorry, man. I’m really sorry.” Were that tears in his voice? I wondered. I pushed him off of me and noticed he really is crying. “What?” I asked. “I’m sorry for everything. I…”

He couldn’t finish. He turned away from me. “I didn’t want to be that kind of person to you. I didn’t want to hurt you. But, everything I was going through by dad. He was punishing me horribly so you wouldn’t be as bad as he wanted. I didn’t think you could handle it. I thought it would drive you to insanity or it would cause you to end your own life.” He looked at me with pleading eyes. “What are you talking about?” I demanded. “You remember all the extra tasks that dad always mentioned to you in snide remarks about me?” I nodded. “Well, they weren’t exactly what they seemed,” He said.

I froze. “You mean they were physically demanding tasks?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer. “Oh, they were physically demanding all right. But, they weren’t the kind of tasks that you expected.” He said. “Sex,” I said simply. He only blinked at me. “What? No! God, no! What the fuck are you thinking about?” He snapped at me. Relief flooded through me. “Oh, thank god. I thought you were going to tell me that John was a sicko.” I said. “Well, he was or is, Look. He wanted to put you on the sex acts. He thought it might make you tougher somehow. But, he didn’t want me to go through that. He wanted me to do have sex with the right girl. He wanted me to lose my virginity on my wedding night.” Tom laughed. “It’s too late for that isn’t it?” I asked him.

“No, not yet. But, see. My wedding is not what he imagines it to be.” I totally didn’t understand what he was talking about. “Have you ever actually seen me with a girl before?” He asked sensing my confusion. “Well, no. Not really. You’ve hung around them. But, I do recall a couple coming to the house and said you were going on a date with them.” I stated. “Yes, but I’ve never been out on a date.” He pressed. Then he turned scared or something. I gave him a blank look. “Those ‘dates’ were staged. I wasn’t really dating them.” “Then who-“ I started, but he held up a hand. “They were friends, helping me out.” He began.

I only looked at them and then I stared wide eyed. He nodded and said, “I went on a date with a couple guys I met over the internet. But, they didn’t work out. I’m only telling you this because I hope you’re not like the others.” He said. “Okay? But, what does this have to do with anything?” I asked. “I’m getting there. What do you think dad would do if he found out that I was gay?” He asked me. I felt my eyes widen in shock. “He’d probably blame me for it.” Tom nodded. “I think he was about to find out. Trisha knew and promised to keep my secret, but I think she finally told him and I was worried about what he’d do if I was around. But, he’ll probably gun for y