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•Twenty Eight•

I wake up in the guest bedroom of Michael's home. He has the cleanest house. In my room, the queen size bed is between two big windows. There's a painting of a sunset above the bed. It's really modern. I get out from under the covers and get my jewelery on. I can't take off my outfit until I leave. When I turn the light on, I have to let my eyes adjust to the brightness before I can see the disaster in front of me. Fudge.

Everything is everywhere. The cupboard drawers are thrown out, TV and flower vases shattered. My gloves are on the ground. My gloves. That's part of my outfit. I left them on lastnight. Someone was here. I try to leave, but the door is locked from the outside. I bang on the door. I never do this, but I pray for someone to help me. Help doesn't come. Hayden does.

"Hello. Have you missed me?" he growls. I stay faced towards the door. I won't let him see me. My panic. "Answer me, Alex."

I hear his footsteps get closer, but I'm still in the Overworld. I can't use abilities or supers. He turns me around. I stare at his feet. He's wearing shorts. Shirtless. Holy shiitake mushroom. MICHAEL!

"Look at me." He puts a finger under my chin, forcing me to look up. "It really pisses me off when someone ignores me. Don't be one of those people."

"Listen, man. There are two sides to every story, but you're a douche in both."

He slaps me.

"I don't talk to me that way. You're not in the Underworld, by the way. Watch your language."

I slightly growl.

"Be a good girl and come with me. Without a fight."

"I'M NOT A-"

"Does it look like I care?" He opens a portal. "Get in."

"Where's it go to?" I ask.

"Don't act stupid. My home. Hurry up."

"If I didn't act stupid, how would you understand me?"

I feel a burning pain in my side, followed by a cold chill throughout my body. I look down, seeing the Overworld's dagger. It kills anything from the Underworld. I choke on my own blood as I fall to the ground.

"Raven! I'm back! I just had to run..." Michael's voice fades. My vision starts to deteriorate. Hayden goes through the portal, disappearing into the hole. I fight to stay awake, pushing myself onto my stomach and keeping pressure on my side to slow the bleeding. The door behind me bursts open. And nothing.

From Michael's Perspective

I get out of the car and unload the groceries. I don't know what cereal Raven likes, or even if they eat, but I got a few different kinds just in case.

"Raven! I'm home! I just had to run a few errands. Come eat!" I call upstairs.

I turn on the lights in the kitchen and get a couple bowls. They seem like a Cinnamon Toast Crunch person. I pour them a bowl, milk first. No one needs to know.


No answer.

I climb up the stairs slowly, thinking they're getting dressed. When I get to the door, I hear choking.

I try to open the door. It's nailed shut.

For the first time in decades, I curse.

It'll be fine. Just calm down, breathe, arms out straight, and...


The door explodes. Raven is on the floor in front of me, barely conscious. They have a stab wound in the left side of their ribcage. I pick them up and run. As soon as I get outside, I fly to and out of the main portal out of the Overworld. I yell for Zoe.

"What the fudge, Michael?!" she yells at me after teleporting with the help of a friend.

"I didn't do it! It was Hayden!"

That gets to her. Her friend teleports us all to the hospital in the Underworld. It burns, but I barely feel it. I'm too worried about Raven.

"Give them to me," Zoe demands. I carefully drop Raven into her arms, and she takes her to a room. I sit.

An hour passes.

Two hours.



I start pacing the waiting room.

"Where is she?" a guy comes in. Tall, skinny, hair falling to his shoulders. He looks stressed. He's wearing a black tshirt and gray sweatpants.

"Who are you?"

He pins me to the chair by my shoulders. "Where's Raven?!"

"They're in surgery! Calm down!"

"They're my ex. I can't just act like everything is okay."

"Who are you?" I repeat myself.

"I'm Hybrid. I grew up with Raven. We're roommates. I can't lose them."

"They've been in surgery for over three hours now. You might as well sit down."

As if he's been sleepwalking, he lets go of my shoulders and inspects his hands. He sits in the chair to the right of me.

"I'm Michael. Recruiter of Overworld." I stay silent for a second. "I should've stayed home. If I would've stayed home, they wouldn't have been stabbed. Everything would be okay. I never should've made that deal with Hayden. I-"

"Woah. Slow down. Hayden? What deal? Fill me in, Mike."

I tell him what happened so far.

"Holy fudge. Okay. So... what do you think we should do?" Hybrid asks.

"Um... do you have anything I can hit?"

"You've come to the right place, my friend. Follow me."

He leads me out of the hospital and to a dump.

"Here. It's Raven's bat. Hit anything. Besides me, of course."

I go crazy. I hit anything and everything in my path. An empty beer bottle, an old flatscreen, a broken down truck. A basketball hoop, a canoe, a mannequin. I haven't been violent in years. I am furious.

A couple hours later, we head back to the hospital. Zoe is waiting where I was sitting. Ghost and a darker girl are sitting with her.

"Hey. I'm Jess. You must be Michael. Nice to meet you." She stands and extends a hand. I shake it.

"How are they?" I stand in front of Zoe. She stares at the floor. No.

No. No. No. No. No.


"They..." her voice cracks.


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