Work was pretty brutal but I guess that’s because I was way too tired to function. It’s been a lot harder for me to sleep lately and I don’t even know why. I wasn’t having nightmares or anything, actually I don’t dream at all anymore. I was just restless. Whatever the case it was extremely annoying. When I walked into the house after the long hours of work I noticed Rob getting ready to leave.
“Where are you going?” It was eight at night.
Rob had his backpack in his hands also. I was positive he didn’t have any night classes.
“I’m meeting up with a friend. We’re gonna studying and go over some homework.”
It had been a while since we actually hung out. He was always busy studying and I was always out working or fighting off the spawns of the devil.
“How about I go with you?” He gave me a strange look. “We’ll get coffee and just caught up before your friend gets there.”
“Why?” His significant raised brow was questioning my interest.
“Because I miss you.” I said honestly and innocently.
He smiled and then nodded. “Yeah sure. She said she’s going to be a little late anyway.”
“Uuuuuwwwwww,” I teased. “She’s a girl.”
Rob rolled his eyes and didn’t comment back. I took my motorcycle and followed behind Rob’s Mercedes. We ended up at the small cafe where I first met Cal and it totally gave me the creeps. I was constantly on the look out just waiting for that walking tormentor to appear.
“Are you looking for someone?” Rob asked from across the table.
I was ridiculous. “Yeah my imaginary friend.”
Rob narrowed his eyes and started at me like I was talking crazy. I guess I have outgrown imaginary friends.
“You know I do think I saw the tooth fairy around here. Maybe I can ask her if she’s seen your friend.” Rob was just indulging in my stupid theatrics.
“Yeah, yeah, so how have you been? How’s school?” I never got the time to sit down with him and talk about his classes. I was pretty curious too.
Rob scratched the back of his head hesitantly. “It’s been rough. I have all these new subjects and statistics thrown at me and its getting hard. You have no idea how killer these tests can be.”
I felt sorry for him. He also had all this pressure on him. “At least you’re passing.”
He chuckled. “Barely.”
I knew it was hard on him; going to school full time was not easy. We had his back regardless.
“Rob we love you. No matter what you do or what you become we always have your back. Don’t stress yourself out because of us, because the pressure you feel like you’re under. We’ll love you with or without a degree.”
“You say that now, just remember this conversation when I fail college.” He was half joking.
I never really realized how much he beat himself up over this. This was new to me. I had no idea the pressure Rob put on himself.
“Rob, you’ll do fine.”
He leaned back into his chair. “That’s easier said.”
Where was all this coming from? Why didn’t I see this desperate cry before? As soon as I wanted to open my mouth a blonde chick sat at our table. She was beautiful like that annoying natural beauty that makes average girls like me look ugly.
“Hey Rob,” she greeted then turned to me. “I’m Ariel.”
She looked more like a Barbie to me. I mentally crack myself up.
“I’m Laken, Rob’s sister. It’s nice to meet you.” I was a little surprised Rob didn’t mention her before.
“It’s nice to finally meet you. Was I interrupting something?”
“No,” I shook my head. “I was. You guys need to study. I’ll leave.”
“No,” she flashed me her Colgate smile. “Stay. Let’s talk. Rob doesn’t speak much about his family. He’s a mystery and I’m curious.”
Yeah, Rob was always the shy quiet one of the bunch. I stayed a little longer talking to her about the family. Once I saw Rob’s flushed cheeks and embarrassed expressions I kind of figured me had a crush on her.
“Wow, your family sounds hilarious. Why don’t I ever get invited over?” Ariel laughed.
Rob shrugged and I figured it was time for me to leave but before I got up Ariel’s phone started to ring. She got up and apologized.
“I’ll be right back.” Then she headed towards the back of the cafe.
“She’s cute,” I gushed once she was out off sight.
“Yeah, she’s something.” He sipped his coffee like he was trying to stop himself from saying more.
I knew my brother and I knew there was something he wasn’t telling me. Should I force it out of him? Was it really that important? Rob was the kind of guy that told you things in his own time.
My curiosity was eating away at me though. “I’m gonna go to the bathroom.” It was just a cover up. What I really wanted to do was see what Ariel was up to.
I casually walked to the back of the cafe where luckily the bathrooms were located. There was no one really around but I did spot Ariel conversing with a tall dark guy with messy hair. He looked a bit grungy and dirty like he played in a crapy stoner band. I hid behind the end wall and peeked conspicuously as the two moved closer together. Then I watched in shock as he handed her a small baggy with a white power inside. I could only guess it was one thing, cocaine. I took a closer look at the guy and saw the dark demonic circles under his eyes.
That’s how it usually is. He, this demonic embodied force, was influencing her to bad things. He was pulling her into sin and temptation. Ariel was a human. I was completely sure of this. She just had a dreadful addiction on her back. Evil forces can be like infections in the blood. It was so hard to get out of a sin when you have a demon pushing you deeper into that destructive path.
Ariel took the bag and shoved it in her pocket. I had to help her. It was in my blood to help those who lose their way.
“Laken, what are you doing?” Rob startled me.
I was already heading towards Ariel and the demon. “Your friend’s in trouble.”
Rob was close on my heels. “What are you talking about?”
I pushed the demon guy against the wall. Ariel was a little dumbfounded to respond. The guy groaned but tried hitting me back. He was too slow and stoned to actually touch me. The drugs were powering down his brainwaves.
“Laken! What are you doing?” Rob was confused.
It was harder for him to pick up on the evil forces. He wasn’t used to spotting or fighting them.
“This guy isn’t human Rob. Look closely.” I needed him to see.
Rob’s eyes grew wide before realization hit. I was so proud he could see it now. I pulled out my dagger and pressed it to the demon’s throat. That’s when Ariel tried to attack me. She wrapped her arm around my neck with the intent of squeezing the life out of me. I jerked my head back and split her lip open. She hissed and let me go. I wasted no time ramming my dagger into the demon guy’s chest. He disintegrated and I turned to find Rob holding back Ariel.
I handed Rob my dagger but he wouldn’t take it. He stared at it blankly for a while.
“Rob you need to stab her. It’s the only way to get the evil thing inside of her out. Just a flesh wound,” I clarified.
If he were to at least puncture her with the holy dagger then it would send that evil thing back to hell. Ariel’s eyes turned crazed and the evil forces were literally trying to come out. Rob had to work fast.
Rob shook his head. “I can’t. She’s my friend.”
I understood it was hard for him to accept this about one of his friends. How do you accept a realization like that? Your friend that you knew for a long time wasn’t exactly what you thought they were. Ariel was still there but most of her was being controled by the evil infection inside of her. Some people can fend them off through faith but if you don’t even have faith how are you supposed to fight them off? That is what is so troubling about the world. No one truly keeps their faith.
“Rob, you need to do this.” I couldn’t do it this time. He needed to learn and be brave.
Rob looked so skeptical and regretful. I knew it was hurting him inside but he took the blade anyway. Ariel wiggled in his embrace but he held her still. I’m surprised she didn’t try to bite his head off. Rob went for the easy target and cut deep within her breast cavity. He didn’t go to deep to actually cause any damage and I was impressed.
Ariel shifted a little then opened her eyes to anew. Her expression was blank and yet confused. I stepped in since Rob wouldn’t say anything.
“Ariel just go home. You’re not feeling so well.” My soothing words pulled her out of her trance.
Ariel nodded and passed by us with nothing left to say. It was silent for a good long while. I wasn’t sure what Rob was thinking. Was he mad at me?
He turned his back on me. “I’m not like you guys. I can’t just stab people.”
“It wasn’t really her. You were actually helping her.” How could I make him understand?
“You guys do things without thinking. I’m not like that. I’m not a robot.” He turned his back on me. I had never seen him so sad and hurt.
“Rob you saw that thing inside of her. It was trying to take over her body. If you hadn’t done what you did she wouldn’t have survived.”
His brown eyes were filled with some hidden emotion. “How do you know this? How do you know she wouldn’t have survived? People can fight it off. You don’t always have to save the day.”
I crossed my arms over my chest. Why did my family have to be so stubborn? “Because this world is corrupt and its so hard for people to pull themselves out of it. She was on drugs Rob, an addict. Do you have any idea how hard it is to be a Christian and be addicted to a worldly thing?” I paused for a dramatic effect. “It’s impossible. You can’t be attracted to this world and be a follower of God.”
“She was my friend. How would you know she’s an addict?” He looked annoyed and pissed.
Why was he getting angry? “Reality check, little brother. She had magical white powder in her pocket and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t detergent. It was for snorting.”
Rob shut his eyes. “You guys judge so quickly. Is your faith in the humankind really that bad? You honestly believe she couldn’t fight her own demons? Don’t you ever wonder if maybe God wants us to fight our own demons.”
I swallowed. Of course I have thought of that but why else would God give us this ability to see evil things?
Rob opened his eyes when I didn’t answer. “You can’t save them all Laken.”
My heart stop. “What?” I practically strutted. Those were Cal’s exact words to me.
“You can’t save them all. Maybe you should restore back your faith in your fellow people and let them fend for themselves.” He was so stern. This was obviously bothering him for a while.
“It’s not in our nature to. We’re meant to help the weak and fight the battles they can’t.” I don’t recall Rob ever being this relentless.
“You can’t win every battle.” Rob took a step back. “I better get to studying.”
He was walking away when I called after him. “Rob!” But he didn’t stop.
Could I really blame him? He just didn’t see things the way we did. It was hard for him to adjust or accept the cards that were dealt to us. I exited the coffee shop without bothering him. He needed to be alone. He needed to focus his energy on his studies and I was willing to give him some space.
I stared at my sleek motorcycle and decided to walk a little bit just to clear my head. The alley streets we significantly crowded with a few homeless people and pedestrians. I hated seeing homeless people. I felt so bad for them. There were plenty of shelters around but some of them just don’t want to go. I didn’t understand it. What benefits do you get in the cold dark streets compared to the homeless shelters?
There was a shriveled old woman with white hair starting up at the sky, into the stars. She was talking to herself, whispering things I could hardly hear. I stopped in front of her and bent down to give her some money. She finally stopped her gaze to stare at me. Her eyes were a haunting almost white blue. It reminded me of Cal’s eyes, the first time I met him. She scared the crap out of me when she grabbed my sleeve. She moved quick for an old lady. She was forcing me closer. All I could do was oblige.
“Cave enim post te.” Her crisp voice broke through the chill air.
What language was she speaking? “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“Et sciant quia tu es.” Again she whispered, this time causing me to shiver.
Her desperate expressions were telling me whatever she was saying was important. She was looking at me like she pitied me. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
“Run,” she finally said.
Run? Why? But my question was answered when I heard a horribly loud growl that would make me believe it was just a dog but it wasn’t. Oh no, no dog not matter how ferocious could sound this demonicly monstrous. I peered my sight to the left regretfully. I gulped when I took in the bloodthirsty ravenous creatures looking at me like I was their next meal. They would have been invisible to the rest of the world but this old lady saw them too. How was that possible?
I shifted my body to better position myself to run. They were after me; all four of them. They looked like disgusting hairy werewolves with abnormally long nozzles, just giving them more room for extra shark like teeth. Where the heck did these guys come from? Who creates such hideous creatures? Oh wait, ding ding ding, the devil possibly.
I backed away slower than a snail but that still caused them to bare their razor sharp canines at me. I cringed just thinking about them snapping at my flesh. Ouch.
“Pretty kitties,” I raised my hand in surrender.
One of the beasts snapped their impressively large jaws at me. Ok bad choice of wording.
“I mean good doggies. Do you guys play fetch? Hmmmm?” I took another step back.
Again another monstrous bone cooling growl escaped their massive mouths.
“Yeah didn’t think so. I bet you guys are hungry but I probably taste bad. You don’t want to eat me.” I probably looked crazy to most people. They couldn’t see what I was seeing. It looked like I was talking to air. “I’ve been on this ridiculous diet so I’ll just taste like lettuce, leaves, and everything green.”
My rambling made no difference. As soon as I saw the nasty dog in front of me move to a fierce prancing position I dodged out of there. I was a pretty good runner but I knew that would not hold me long. These mutts had four legs. I was no match for them.
I cut through different alleys which happened to be deserted of all civilization. How ironic? Almost as if it was planned out. I sustained my breathing and gradually sped up my momentum. Why was this happening to me? Oh yeah, I almost forgot I had a bounty on my head. These hell hounds were probably sent by Satan himself to kill me. Oh, the irony of my life.
I jumped onto the trash can on the side of the alley and reached for the appointment ladder. I held on and hoisted my body weight up as one of the dogs followed me. I swung back my legs and sucker kicked that hideous thing back to its ugly whole. It started to whine but his friends were right there to pick up where he left off. I landed on top of the dumpster and braced myself while pulling out my dagger. Man I wished I had my sword with me.
“Come and get it you little nasties.” Yeah, now I was in karat mode. I was a serious black belt and so were my brothers.
Two of the mutts tried attacking me at once. They were chomping at my face but I managed to kick one off of me and stab the other. It burst into ash and sprinkled on my face. Ewww. I got up and one clamped onto my leg. It was like sharp tiny blades puncturing into my muscle. I yelled out in pain and it drove me to madness. Now they were going to get it. I waved my dagger into the air and swung it swiftly through the blood sucker’s throat. The overly steroid mutt disintegrated but I wasn’t paying attention to the other two. They had me cornered, plus my leg was throbbing with immense pain.
Then out of nowhere came a sword clashing down on one of the beasts. I watched as this stranger, my supposed hero, fought them off. He was definitely a profession swordsman. The way he gracefully guarded his sword was no form for an amateur. He easily killed the rest of those nasty suckers. My rescuer paced in front of me and once he took his hood off I cringed.
Cal maliciously scanned my body. “I couldn’t let them take another bite out of my cupcake.”
I huffed. Really I should be grateful but I wasn’t going to show it. “Why are you here?” He loved torturing me. I bet he was eating popcorn and enjoying the show of me fighting them off.
“I was figuratively speaking but in literal terms I wasn’t going to let them hurt you.” His devilish smirk was animalistic. “That’s my job.”
I got up and bit down the pain of my leg before dusting off my pants. “You’re sick.”
“And hot, let’s not forget that.”
“Pfffff,” I exaggerated. There was no way I was admitting that.
His thick legs ate up the space separating us and I dreaded his approach. “Your rapid heartbeats seem to tell me otherwise.”
I shook my head. He was an arrogant jerk. “It’s the adrenaline from being chased, so there’s no need to flatter yourself.”
But he wasn’t done torturing me. Cal moved even closer and my body almost melted from the heat radiating off his own body. His hand swept my right cheek then he somehow ended up cradling my face. Any girl in my position would die to have Greek statue of perfection holding them. My heart stopped...completely as he leaned closer. He licked his pink, plump lips and I couldn’t stop staring at lip piercing. I wondered what it would feel it to....
“You want to kiss me, don’t you?” His velvet voice broke my concentration.
I pathetically shook my head. “No, but you want to kiss me.”
He laughed and his mint breath tickled my face. “How long has it been since you’ve kissed anybody?”
“Like I’d tell you.” I tried leaning back but his rough hand stopped me.
“I’ll tell you what.” His lips were now just barely an inch from mine. “I’ll kiss you and make your dream come true IF you tell me how you really feel about me.”
It wasn’t much of a surprise. “It’s no secret. You know I loath you with every fiber in my body.”
Cal pressed his lips to my cheek and my skin felt like it was boiling. He smirked. “Now. Tell me how you feel now, with me being this close. You like it.”
How could this be happening? This guy tried on countless occasions to hurt me yet here I was, falling prey to his looks. This was just a stupid schoolgirl crush. I am 21 years old. I should be over all this crap.
“No,” I shook my head and hopefully my nerves away too.
Then he kissed me. I felt him place a kiss just below my earlobe. My breath caught and I couldn’t process what to do next.
“Then why aren’t you pushing me away? Admit it, you are utterly attracted to me.” His green eyes were glowing as they terrorized my thoughts.
I decided to switch the game. “Why me? Why are you here? I’m sure there were other girls you could have stolen hearts from.”
“But none as special as you sweetheart.” He slammed his fist into the stone wall then pushed himself away from me. “I’ll get it out of you one day.”
I would never admit how I really felt for him. Besides it was technically my body that wanted to devour him like a cookie.
“Sleep tight my darling and try not to drool too much when you have naughty fantasies about me tonight.” He sashayed himself down the dark alley like it was a runaway or something.
“I can’t make any promises but try not to get too turned on when you picture me in yours.” I shouted back to him.
“I can’t make any promises either.”