"Kick it to Mary! Pass it now! NOW!"

"Over here! I'm open!"

"Kick it, kick it, kick it– GOAL! YES!"

There's something you must understand about me.

I'm not normal.

Not by a long shot.

But it's no big deal- most people I know aren't. We've all got odd quirks and things about us that the "normal" people look at us and stare and mouth 'can you BELIEVE that?' at their friends.

I wouldn't know what that's like- on the one hand, I would never make snide comments about someone because I've spent too much time being the cause of snide comments, and on the other, I don't have anyone to make snide comments to in the first place. But I don't want pity, if you're thinking 'oh that's so horrible...' and you feel like you need to make me feel better or some shit like that. I like the way I live. I MUCH prefer having my evenings to myself, thank you very much. The only team-related thing I do is soccer, and if I wasn't so good at it I would've quite long ago. I hate the team I'm on. Everybody on it is either a slut or a bitch or both. The only time I see them is at practice and games though, thank god.

So. Back to the subject of my abnormality. There's various reasons I say I'm not normal. Firstly there's the whole 'I play soccer on a team of morons' thing, despite my professed hatred of my teammates. You'd think I'd find another team, wouldn't you? Well, that'd make a LOT of sense. But no, I'd rather stay in a local team and torture myself than try out for another team a little further away. Call me masochistic, I don't care.

Then there's the fact that I'd much rather sit in my room and do little 'unimportant' things than go out and do 'important' things like, oh I dunno- shopping? Notice that I give quotes to important. Shit like makeup and shopping are only important to airheads like my teammates. To me, a well-spent day is one in which I finish a really kickass drawing, or sweat my skin off practicing soccer in the backyard, or finish another chapter of my 'book of the week.' Case closed, eh?

Then there's the fact that most of the books I read are field guides to demons and other nasty beings that lurk under our beds. I guess you could say I never truly gave up believing in the boogeyman. The underworld's spirits take up a lot of my time. When I'm not reading up on them, I'm usually drawing what I think they look like. I'm not the best artist ever mind you, but I'm a decent hand with a pencil, and my sketches aren't half bad, if I do say so myself. In particular, I'm rather proud of a drawing of what I think ol' Nessie looks like.

There's a few other reasons too.. and I'll get to them. All in good time.

---

I was in my backyard one sunny fall afternoon, practicing my penalty kick. It was a relatively normal day.

Unfortunately, it stayed a normal day.

Why couldn't anything interesting ever happen to me?

Well, that night something did... With the bizarre feeling of someone making up for lost time.

"OI!" Someone yelled.

At first, I assumed it was some bizarre dream. After all, it was one in the morning, through the slit of window I could see it was pitch black outside, and there was somebody in my bedroom shouting 'oi.' What am I supposed to believe?

"Five more minutes..." I mumbled.

"Sorry mate, ya used those up alre'dy."

"Eh?" I grumbled, waking up a little more by the moment.

"Ya haven' got five minutes. Ya need to git up. Like now."

Waving a hand in their direction I rolled over, burying my head in my pillow. "Come back in the morning."

"No time ma'am," the invader mumbled, yanking my sheets off of me. Now it was my turn to yell "OI!"

"What in god's name do you think you're doing?" I yelled, sitting up now and furious.

"Sorry ma'am, but we need to go."

"Fuck off 'mate,'" I snapped. "I'm not going ANYwhere at one in the morning except back to sleep!"

Good thing I had gone to sleep in my clothes that evening due to exhaustion, cuz next thing I knew he'd grabbed me by the front of my shirt. If I hadn't been wearing anything, what would he have grabbed me by anyway?

"Listen miss, ya don't have a choice. Yer comin' with me, NOW."

"Why should I take orders from you?"

He snapped his fingers, a little flamelet appearing in his upturned hand.

"Ah," I said. "That'd be why."

"Good to see you've got a brain, eh," he snarled, taking a hold of my wrist and dragging me toward the door, through it, down the hallway to the back door and through it too.

"I can walk you know."

"Tha's nice," he growled, not slowing his gait nor releasing my wrist.

In the streetlights I got a better idea of his appearance. Mostly a tiny sliver of his face since he was turned away and dragging me, but I found out he had really short hair and a ridiculous fedora perched on top of his head. Rather long nose and his back was a little hunched- though that may have been intentional on his part, I wasn't sure.

"Just where are you taking me anyway? I have to be back home by at least five AM you know- school tomorrow?" I prompted.

He said nothing.

Why is he ignoring me! I thought.

I heard a low muttering, and for a moment didn't realize it was him. "Where's the rendevous... north 38, west 110..."

"Rendevous?" I asked, interrupting him. "What rendevous? Where on earth are you taking me!"

"If you would SHUT UP for a minute I could take us there you annoying little girl!"

"'Little girl'?" I huffed, my hands on my hips. "I'm eighteen, I'll have you know!"

"Yah, sure, big fuckin' difference that makes miss."

I narrowed my eyes at him, but he missed it since he was still rummaging around in the brush looking for god-knows-what.

"FINALLY!" he shouted, practically exploding out of the bushes with a silver ball about the size of a baseball clutched in his hand.

"Just what is that?" I asked, pointing at it incredulously.

"All that matters is that it takes us where we need to go, a'right?"

I rolled my eyes but took his offered hand. "Fine," I snarled.

With a lurching feeling in my legs like I'd been shoved forward we disappeared from the street outside my house.