The man watched the bus barrel away down the road into the distance of the city and eventually out of sight. Sighing profoundly, he turned and begun to walk in the opposite direction, contemplating the time he'd been away. The streets had grown considerably dirtier, no doubt about that, most of the homes and apartments looked evicted too. Damn government'd never see an inch of his house, that was one thing he was sure about! The sun, though high set in the sky with elastic rays bearing down on the city, it was hard to feel anything due to the odd disappearance of humidity in the area, nonetheless, it still felt like shit out.

Approaching his home's door, he realized a pink eviction noticed was nailed to it: it had been longer than he thought. Ripping the paper off the door, he decided against his instincts and read it:
"Three months Sean, three goddamn months and not a word. We're finished with you, you have a week to get your shit out, and we'll taking this dump: with or without your consent. –R."
Richard was such a jackass. One of those generic political types who wanted nothing to do with the average person as long as the rich like him still got their soup served in a gold bowl. Sean crumbled the paper and tosses it into the dried out bushes by his stood, he was already thinking about leaving anyway.

"Honey, I'm home." He said methodically, a habit he couldn't quite rid himself of, ever since it appeared on some catchy show he used to watch. That was when he had cable, a nice home, and a living wife. Walking into his house was like stepping into a minefield, the wooden floors were worn beyond their times, and a wrongly places step meant a creak like a nuke. Careful trudging across the threshold he called a hallway (though it was more of a six by six square of nothing with a coat rack), Sean crossed his living room (passing a heavily stained coach, he was a messy eater) and a desk furnished with dust, he stopped at his back window and gazed out longingly. It was the only perk in his home, because only about a quarter of a mile away from his backyard (or alley really) was a beautiful little garden, kept healthy and clean by a kind old lady he never met.

Out of the corner of his eye he noticed an annoying red blinking. Confused by this, he turned to see his ancient relic of a phone sitting on yet another desk (next to a picture of what would appear to be a young boy and woman, but the faces were blurred from years of wear and tear). Next to the phone itself, a small red light flickered: on, then off, on, then off, on...then off. Raising an eyebrow, Sean clicked the button labeled Answering Machine. Surprised by its burst of life (probably the only electric utility not shut off by the city yet), Sean nearly fell backwards when he heard the rustic voice drone out the words, "146 new messages...message one...". And having nothing better to do with his time, Sean removed his green overcoat in favor of his white undershirt, and pulled up the nearby chair to listen to ever recording.

Sipping at a vending machine iced tea he bought a few hours back, the machine reached message 113 and his interest was peaked, "Sean, I know what you're searching for-" The voice was of a young mans, no more than twenty, "-I have it." Sean's eyebrows rose to an extreme, nearly jumping off his forehead, "It is imperative that you get out. Now. I cannot help you any further." The message ended and before the next one started, Sean quickly jabbed another button and that monotone voice with the sound of jagged glass stifled, "Messages deleted."

Taking the warning at more of a lackluster pace, Sean casually wandered into his bathroom to take care of some more immediate business. On the latter, he glanced warily into the grim stricken mirror above his infested sink, only to look away in shame. Opening his eyes and forcing himself to look in the mirror, he realized how old he really looked. His eyes hid behind the small lens glasses, ages old, barely working to correct his aging eyesight, his dirty blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, sideburns stretching down to his chain...and such a worn face, though he was only in his late thirties. With his signature sigh of such profoundness, you'd believe it capable of royalty, he made his way back to the living room.

Sean looked around with almost watering eyes. He had been here for years, so many memories, but that was all they were, memories. Was it futile to hold on to those memories? Or was it vital to hold on to them? But to forget such...such impressionable actions and events was damn near impossible, especially for one so well versed as he. Closing his eyes and smiling briefly for the first time in ages, Sean meandered up the stairs by his ancient phone, and into his bedroom.

The stale odor of life absent plagued the room like the roaches that fled as the door rocketed open. Sean stepped forward two paces and nearly broke down at the site of the decaying rose on his mantle, a prized possession of his from many years past. Kneeling down at the bed's right side, ignoring the scratchy feeling of the old blankets, he placed his head on the bed and squeezed the pillow on that side with his hand. Memories...so many memories...

"It's so beautiful!" She exclaimed. She was so beautiful herself, and I always told her that, and she'd always shake her head and smile in that angelic way. She was thrilled to find such a great home for so low a cost in the Tenki Sector, while it was thriving anyway. I'd sit with her for hours on the roof, just staring out into the distance, never questioning what was there, or anything. We were happy just being together. Just being together.

The war. Explosions. Gunshots. Airplanes. Screams. So much screaming. I watched as my home was barely spared as a dude missile hit the ground in front of my steps and ricocheted into someone's car, detonating it anyway. Bodies strewn the streets like litter, but that was before her time...was it?

Schoolwork. Erasers. Friends. I had no friends. They said at thirteen I became self-destructive. So I gave them self-destructive. I set myself on fire during Math Class. Last time that asshole ever does fractions in this town again. Nothing interesting ever happened besides me. I was a curse. I was a plague. I was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Hearts. I met her in high school. I was alone. I hated everyone. I wanted to be alone. But I fell in love against my instincts. Was it wrong? Should I never have agreed to meet her? Would she still be here if I never left my foster home that night? Why...

Sean's eyes snapped open. Moonlight was pouring through his window, he had been sleeping for hours. Yawning in an almost content way, he began to stand when all of a sudden he heard a thunderous creaking sound. Someone...was here...

The door to his bedroom flew off the hinges as the black figures swarmed the room. Silent lead filled the walls and the bed, feathers flew in every direction, wooden objects became shuriken, all life ceased. The barrage stopped when the figure in front rose his forearm and waved it for a short moment. Turning around, he motioned to another with his gun (it was some variation of a submachine gun) and pointed at the dresser in the far corner of the room. The black armored man crossed the room slowly and let out a few bullets into the dresser before kicking it over. He turned around and shrugged, but it was actually another signal. The man who was apparently the leader nodded and they backed out slowly.

Across from Sean's window, something stirred in that old woman's garden. The bushes began to shake, exotic flowers dropping petals like tears, and Sean's blonde-brown hair hovered into view. Sighing as he glanced over his window, he took off down a nearby alley into the night.

The night air was crisp, much different from the temperature of the day. The twilight hours always peaked his interest, he noticed, though he still had no idea why. Winding his way past garbage cans and cardboard boxes, piles of filth and trash, Sean made his way to the innards of the city, far from the fear of the Red Orchestra. Not having any place safe to go, Sean decided on one clear plan, a place where he could go and just blend. One would question where a place could be found at an hour such as this, and Sean held that answer: the Inferno.

He stopped his movements and turned. He arrived at last, the door to his salvation. Embedded in the back of what would appear to be a normal brick building (though this was the way most doors looked), you'd never know it was a door from the splotchy messes of spray paint and filth covering it and the wall. Unless, that is, you know what to look for like Sean did (which was a symbol in red in the center of the door, of which he still knew not it's meaning). Knocking in what seemed to be a particular order, Sean stepped back and waited for it's watch to appear. The door's hinges cried loudly as it swung up, slamming into the brick wall and stopping dead in it's tracks as a massive hand came out and held it open.

"It's been a long time." The voice beyond the hand said.

"Too long." Sean replied as the massive figure of what appeared to be a man made his presence known, stepping out into the alley. Even after all these years, Greger was still a giant, at nearly 6'4" and nearly 400 pounds no one would mess with him, and Sean always said he would become a bouncer (and he was right after all). Greger, though of incalculable strength and power, was probably one of the nicest people Sean ever knew; an innocent smile can hide a lot. "You're here for Rob?" He asked.

"Yeah." Sean responded, "I need some information."
"Well, you'd be out of luck, he ain't here. Went home early." Greger explained.

"Oh...alright..." Sean sighed with a nod, "Thanks Greger."
"Anytime." Greger replied with a sympathetic smile, waving him as he left.

What's Alchemy? I asked an overbearing, and for once, sober male parental. Scoffing at me as if I told a bad joke, he mumbled something incoherent and told me to grow up. Fairy tales and shenanigans he'd say. I think I would of rather had him drunk. My mother was no better, but at least she told me where I could find information, "Go to the fucking library." I went there and I researched it. For weeks I went to library, constantly searching and reading everything I could, for once, something had influenced me and gotten my life out of the drain. I learned of Nicholas Flamel and the Philosopher's Stone and I believed everything. I believed every story...until I came home that day. "Where the hell were you?" He'd scream, as if he actually cared. I went sailing across the living room and the last thing I remember was hitting something hard and feeling a sharp pain in my leg. I never went to the library again.

'Here it is.' Sean thought, looking up at the apartment complex in which Rob resided. Normally, the walk would of taken about three minutes, but needing to be careful Sean had to use stealth (which generally involved walking behind trash cans and such. Sighing deeply, he began up the steps and to the large doors that barricaded the front from intruders, however...it was open already. Shrugging and suggesting to himself that Greger had called ahead and informed Rob he was going to be there soon, he went in nonetheless.

The building's main room was a lobby, which was separated by a desk in the center and a pair of stairs on both sides. Scratching his head, Sean took the right pair on a whim, slowly making his way up them. This was the only thing Sean hated about the night: the quiet. When the sentient's sleep, having their sugar coated dreams of fantasies beyond their own reality, Sean was sneaking past their doors. Suddenly he stopped. A scream? A call of help? Sean pivoted on his heel just in time to watch a door he had recently past burst open, and the body of a man hit the wall. He froze as he looked at the bloody mess of a body that once resembled his good friend Rob. But this was all mechanics at work, it was systematically done by him in times like this. While his mind was at peace, his inner self was feared, while he felt nothing but apathy in times like this due to his past, he could feel the burning inside him, but could not see it.

He motioned to his dead friend, wanting him to rise, wanting it to be a trick, but no...it was too late. Backing away now, he realized there was only thing that could of done such a deed, and for only one reason. Faster he backed away, and almost sprinting no, caring for none of the obstacles that may hinder his path as the black skulled figure stepped into the hall. It took him a moment to spot Sean, but when he did, he made it known. Sean shot down the stairs faster than he ever thought he could, leaping flights two by two, three by eight, until he burst open out of the doors and into the streets outside.

Sean's heart raced, pounding and pounding, as he tore off across the road and down an alley. He was actually terrified that the tremendous thumping of his heart would give away his position, despite how calm and collected he looked, barely even sweating while running at full sprint. Desperately, Sean's head turned in all directions, looking for any way he could escape or hide. 'There!' He said to himself, seeing a fire escape on the side of a nearby building, they'd never suspect him going to such an obvious place. As he reached the roof, after pounding up the clanging metal stairs, Sean got the distinct feeling he was being watched. Or maybe it was just that the building he was on suddenly shook violently.

I came home early that day. We had an air raid drill and everyone took it seriously. Turns out that was a good idea. Mere hours later my school was blown into bits. The only thing I cared about was finding her and making sure she was safe. My parents, obviously, were drunk off their rockers and despite the impending doom we all faced, decided to fool around in the family car rather than drive me to her house. Idiots. Minutes later, as I made my way down my street, I heard a whistling and dove to the side as a reaction, and that also ended up good. A missile collided with the street where I previously stood, but unlike the others, it turned out to be a dud and bounced down the road harmlessly. That was, at least, until it connected with my parent's car and sent them to Hell. In one of the most majestic explosions I'd ever see, the car and my parents, erupted into a burning ball of flames and were lobbed across the city. Needless to say, I was a little shaken.

He stopped. Sean stood with a blank look on his face, "Dammit..." He whispered, it was over. The Red Orchestra scaled the sides of the building and now had a battalion of troops on each side of him. Sighing, Sean's arms began to raise, and he showed them he was unarmed. Like the times before, one of the men stepped forward, obviously being either their leader, someone of higher rank, or just the bravest of them all. After studying Sean for a second, he raised his arm in the air and Sean cringed as he heard the guns cocking. The man's arm lowered and the guns raised. He dropped his arm and Sean fell into a pool of darkness.

"You're lucky I showed up. Or else you'd be dead. Better be grateful." The voice was almost indistinct to Sean's pounding...pounding head. His eyes blinked open, but all he could see was darkness, even as his vision clarified. His breathing became heavy and his movements became rapid, he fell and got up, fell and went into the fetal position; losing a sense was never an easy thing. However, lucky for Sean, it was not permanent. "Stop going crazy. You're fine." The voice said again, and Sean heard a click, and a beam of light shot down atop of him. For a few moments Sean looked over himself, making sure he was still all there, but still could not find his voice. He heard another click, and about ten feet away, another beam of light shot down from the Heaven's, and there was his savior.

He looked to be a man in his twenties with his messy blonde hair under a black cylinder hat, eyes hidden behind black sunglasses, and lavish black suit: he was the definition of ludicrous. His lips curled into a smile and Sean rose to a knee, not able to stand up yet, and the man spoke yet again, "I'm glad you came Sean. We have things to talk on." He stated, his lips stretching for an even more devious grin, "I can give you what you want..." He whispered, "...I can bring her back."