"Congratulations on graduating!"

"Good job!"

"You just left the best years of your life."

Raina mumbled quick thanks to all of her guests, and privately wished they would just leave her alone. She had a long day ahead of her tomorrow. She had to find more scholarships; she had to visit the campus of the college she was going to. She had to sleep. She hadn't had enough sleep in days, especially with all of her studying for finals, to just barely keep up her 3.0 GPA. As if that wasn't enough, she had to find another job – she had just quit her last job as a waitress due to sexual abuse; not that her parents cared. Her parents were only at her graduation party because they had to be. She knew, given the choice, they'd be out at the new casino, spending all the money they had just earned that week.

"We'll hit the jackpot one day, you just wait and see!" They claimed before they left to rid themselves of all their hard-earned cash. "You'll be sorry you distanced yourself from us, when we win."

She knew if she didn't get a new job, her siblings would go hungry for weeks. Her parents never brought food home for them. Raina had raised her sibling herself, and still was. She considered taking them to college with her. Her parents wouldn't even notice they were gone; hell, she thought, they probably don't even know they exist.

The girl flung her mid-back length, black curls behind her, wiping sweat from her forehead as she accepted "Happy Graduation" cards, with cash in them. She shot her guests a fake, sweet smile as they gave her advice for life, and she pretended she was interested when they told her about their graduations. She had listened to so many stories throughout the day, and so many speeches that she thought her ears would fall off. She wondered how much more she would have to take before she got to finally sit down and relax. It was almost midnight already. She was tired and grouchy.

"Raina…" Raina looked down at the young girl, tugging on her shirt. The girl looked up at her with big, innocent brown eyes, and muttered to her. "I want to go. Alex is already asleep, and mom and dad are about to crack."

Raina looked over at her two year old brother, and sure enough, he had fallen asleep in his crib that they had brought along. She looked back at her twelve-year old sister, and smiled gently.

"We'll go in a little bit. Go sit by your brother and make sure the bugs don't bother him, okay?"

"Um, okay." The girl said, and scuffled over to her brother. Raina looked around her, noting the half moon that was out, and extremely bright that night. She wished they hadn't gone to a lake to celebrate her graduation. There were so many bugs out that night. She hated, especially, the annoying and stupid bugs that dive-bombed whatever they saw – including her head. The tiny porch-light they had just wasn't enough to see by, and the guests were wallowing around, complaining that it was hot between congratulations. She knew it wouldn't take much convincing before all her guests agreed that it was time to leave.

Once she informed her guests of her sleeping brother, they decided that it was time to leave for her. Her mother and father were the first ones gone, and the rest of the guests were soon to follow, leaving her there to clean up all the mess alone, and with no ride home. She glanced around at all the Styrofoam cups that the guests left behind, some half filled with soda, and others empty with kool-aid drops still in them and ants crawling all over them.

"Mal," Raina called. "Why don't you help me pick all this stuff up? The sooner it's cleaned, the sooner we can leave."

Her sister glanced around, and grumbled to herself while she picked up trash. Raina started packing up the extra food, making plans for meals tomorrow. Finally, after about thirty minutes of picking up and cleaning, they were ready to leave, with five different containers of finger sandwiches, one container of hot dogs and hamburgers, two bags of chips, and half of bag of cookies. Raina had her sister carry Alex and his folded crib, while the hiked to the road in order to call a cab.

"Tonight's the big night, huh?" Kander said to his attractive reflection. He stared back at a short, light-haired man, with a strong face. He was wearing a dark grey t-shirt, and light jeans. "Tonight's the night that I get the girl."

He shot a killer smile at the mirror, and stretched. Around six feet tall, he almost brushed his ceiling while stretching, and hoping that she didn't make too much of a fuss. He had never done this before, but he had heard plenty of stories from his friends who already married. He remembered one story in particular – more of a horror story, actually.

"When I first met my wife, she almost broke my arm. She was so much stronger than I though she'd be. I mean, c'mon, really. How strong do you normally think a tiny, cute teacher is? She kept screaming, and throwing things at me, especially after I told her about why I had her in my house. I swear, she almost killed me in my sleep that one time – don't you remember, honey? Remember that huge knife you stole from my kitchen? Yeah, it cost forty dollars to replace that shit. I thought she was trying to make me go bankrupt before she killed me. After that I was scared to sleep, heh heh. She's amazing though. I'm so glad I met her."

He looked nervously at the mirror, hoping that the beautiful girl wouldn't be so violent. He wanted to live to see his wedding day. Swallowing hard, he smoothed out his shirt for good measure, and walked through his house a couple of times. Stubbing his toe on the couch, he cursed and hoped that wasn't going to be his luck for the rest of the night. He wanted to succeed at this so badly – it was his only chance at true love. It was everyone's only chance at true love. He had waited for this moment for years now, and he didn't want to ruin it. He looked at the clock, which read 1:45 a.m. Closing his eyes and taking a huge, nervous and shaky breath, he concentrated on her room – he could almost see her bed, with her blue sheets with tiny pink hearts on them, and her checkered blanket she always had. He could almost see her computer, off in the corner of the room, emitting a tiny glow and her bookshelf absorbing it. When he opened his eyes, he saw her sleeping on her bed, her eyebrows furrowed.

Oh, she was beautiful. So much more beautiful that he had ever imagined. They knew what they were doing when they picked her – he knew that already, but now, he couldn't believe how lucky he was to get such a beautiful girl. Her face was like an angel's, soft and gentle. She wore a tiny nightgown, and he felt like blushing, realizing that if he wanted, he could see through it. Her breasts were perfect, and small. She wasn't tan, but she looked better pale than tan. Her lips were a perfect shade of pink, and oh-so-kissable. He reached out to touch her hair, and it was just as soft and silky to the touch as he thought it would be. She wasn't too skinny – not like those sticks that everyone admires nowadays. He let his hand run down her face, admiring her body, and touched her stomach. He glanced at her thighs, and felt his face grow hot, realizing that her gown had crept up in her sleep, and was now exposing her red underwear, and the black lace around the edges of it. Her thighs were not too large, but not too thin.

He edged his arms underneath her, and picked her up, enjoying the feel of her skin against his bare arms, and feeling warmth around his groin area. He blushed even more, realizing that he was enjoying the sight of her a little too much. He swallowed, hoping that he didn't wake her when she muttered something in her sleep, and shifted in his arms. He shut his eyes again, putting his other senses into overdrive. He felt like lying down next to her and just…enjoying her warmth. Pushing that thought aside with distaste, he forced himself to focus on his own room, picturing his bed and black sheets, and picturing his plain white walls. When he opened them, he set her down on his bed, after pulling the covers back for her. He bit the side of his lip in concentration, and compelled himself to walk to the living room, where he laid down on his soft tan couch, and willing himself to sleep.

"Get a good night's rest, love." A deep, soft voice emerged from Kander's dark room. "Tomorrow will be a big day for you."

Stepping out of the darkness, to touch Raina, stood a tall, dark man. His hair fell to his waist, such a light black that it almost looked navy. He looked at her with bright green eyes, and a wild smirk on his lips. He wore no shirt, but that was nothing horrid, as his body was a beautiful thing to look at. Like a Greek God, his chest was slightly muscular, but not so much so that his muscles were well defined. He had strong, broad shoulders, and a face that would make anyone – male or female – melt. He wore loose, dark pants around his waist that seemed to just barely hang onto him. He was beautiful in every sense of the word.

He bent over her, threateningly, and ran a finger across her neck, knowing that his hands could kill her if he so wished, with almost no effort. He chuckled quietly when she shuddered at his touch, even in her sleep. The sight of her was pleasing to him, and he almost thought it a shame to kill her soon. He let his hand trail down her side, down to her thighs, before straightening and letting his arms hang loose at his sides. He would have a pleasant time with her; he was sure. She looked weak and helpless. He would have no trouble with this one.

Glancing behind him, he heard her grumble, and smirked. He didn't mind her speaking in her sleep, like he did most others. She would make a wonderful photograph once he finished with her. He would enjoy his time with her almost as much as he enjoyed the model that he had killed two years ago. He never used the girls' bodies for sexual pleasure, as he knew most men would. He didn't need to – he did not want any kind of sexual contact with such horrible and nasty creatures. He only enjoyed the sounds of their screams, tears, and the way the begged for him to stop. Most people would call him demented. He preferred the term Conscience-Challenged.

Stepping back into the darkness, his presence in the room ceased to exist.