PAYTON - graveyard boys.

I was almost worried about the damn kid, but it wasn't in my nature. Figuratively speaking…most recovered psychos wouldn't climb into a dirty well if a witch girl told them to. He was desperate. The second he agreed to doing it, I knew this was no joke. The kid had something really fucked up about him, and he sure wasn't enjoying it like the rest of us would. When he came to us, we thought he was a joke. A golden cross hung around his neck that probably reflected off of Hex's eyes and seared into his chest. It turned me on in some fucked up way. A Christian virgin boy crawling innocently into my kingdom was like a fucking fantasy or something. God, it sent me for a trip when he started talking in stern tones about the 'demons' inside him. I don't think he ever told the others what they did to him. That's when I knew I had to get him help. He just spilled everything, and it sounded far too familiar for me to let it slip by.

I was stupid to think my friends would help him out. Not after everything we'd been through together with a friend. They wouldn't consider it for a second time, even if we didn't know him.

But wait, because I swore he said my name. Again. Oh…Hell. Not this, after everything. I agreed I would stay with him through this shit, and I was going to. But the noises. Just like before. It started with the shouting, but then…the moaning. How was I to sit through it? Shifting on my side, I closed my eyes and tried not to wonder what the fuck was going on down there. My stomach knotted as he moaned and started screaming again. Vomit. I crawled to the wet side of the well and held my breath as I could hear the gurgling of blood in his throat, and the groaning that wasn't his. It was like someone else was there with him, but I didn't even want to think about it.

Salem…what was with her? She was the one who had insisted on all of this, and the only proof we had was her word, and her success in the past with this sort of crap. No one ever really asked how she knew so much about stuff like this. But…she was the only person we could go to. We didn't go to her last time, and it all came to disaster. That was one time we tried doing something a different way – our way – but we ended up hitting rock bottom. Whatever we had gotten into in the first place, it wasn't leaving us. It was there to stay and make us do everything their way.

My cell phone rang, of all times, so I pulled it out of my pocket and squinted at the bright display. It was Salem. It took a few rings for me to press that green button and recite an infamous reply to phones everywhere.


"It's Salem."

"Yeah, I fucking know it's you."



"Patience, mm?"


"How is he?" she asked in a concerned tone. As if she had any reason to be…

"You already know. That's why you called."

"Actually, not really. I threw up and assumed…you know, I assumed it was your fault." Bitch. She knew too much for her own good.

"So what? He's-"

"I know. But stick with him. Unless he can handle them…it's all over."

She was starting to sounds serious, not that she didn't always sound that way. I peeked over to the well. A flashlight may have been useful…or maybe not.

"He's been at it for a long time…" I explained, though I did expect Salem knew every word coming out of my mouth.

"It's okay," she assured. "I'll be over soon and we'll end this. Morning…will come soon, anyway. As long as it takes, we can wait."

She hung up, because she knew I would say no to her walking across town, for forty-five minutes, just to meet up with me at a well in the local graveyard. Fuck. If I didn't know Salem well enough, I would probably call her back…but she knew how to take care of herself, and she knew what she was doing. So I waited through his wails and screeching. The screams didn't end even when he seemed to enjoy it. There would be two seconds of giggling before he began to shout once again. And then Salem came with some feeling of grief dragging her legs across the dripping grass.

Her leggings didn't fit anymore. They dropped to her knees and she had to clip them to stay up. Her many charms dangled at her ears and neck, and hung down over her flat chest. She didn't look sixteen. She was far too thin, her frame was totally wrong, and she had a literally sunken in chest, even when wearing low-cut tops…which she didn't, unless you caught her in her underwear. That was an honest to God mistake. At least I didn't see anything.

"Hello, Payton," she quietly said, waving her hand in a light gesture before both dropped against the edge of the well.

Her pale skin glowed in against the little moonlight in the graveyard, and…was she wearing bloody PUMPS in the wet grass? She stared up above her, and I swore she smiled. I didn't understand how she was so sure about shit all the time. Must've been some female thing. Over-confidence, maybe. She glanced over to me and sat strangely close, her leg brushing against my thigh. Her dress snaked a little far up her leg, the withered, pale lace, dusting her skin like sparkles on rain. I bit my lip. How could I be focusing so much on her when Xander was hollering down below? She was doing this on purpose, either to calm me down or to entice me. Either one was fucking stupid.

"Hi…" I muttered, coming to after my eyes darted away from her thigh.

"Help me with this, okay?" she asked as she hoisted a burlap bag from behind her.

"Where the Hell did that come from?" I twisted my head to the bag.

She raised her brow and asked, "Didn't you see me carrying it?"

I wanted to say, 'No, I was too busy fawning over your scrawny sex,' but, one, she would hate me forever, and two, she would think I was a freak for being the only guy in the city who liked the way she looked. So I passed her a shrug, and she slapped the seemingly heavy bag down in front of us, loosening the rope at its top.

"Okay, freak. Now…help me board up the well," she ordered, handing me two large blocks of wood. I realized when she did it that while her arms were thin, they were firm. Maybe it was bones.

"But…wait, what? I know I'm supposed to do whatever the shit you say, but I mean, look what doing that has led him to," I pointed out, dropping the wood over the lawn.

"You ignored him. You're supposed to listen to the whole thing, Payton."

She gave me a very stern look before leaning over my waist and standing with the wood at tow. She knew too much, and I couldn't even figure a single thing about her. Pushing the wood over the top of the well, she turned back to me again. I couldn't read her expression, but she knew by one look that I was doubting her.

"By being as careless as you are over the situation, you might as well leave. It's a very good thing I'm even here," she noted, a hand over her hip. The maternal gene was kicking in.

"Hey, I'm doing what you told me to do. How do you expect me to handle THAT for twelve hours in a graveyard while YOU sit in your damn room with a smile wedged in your tight ass, SMOKING INCENSE!" I shouted, folding my arms as I lay back and let the cool grass break the sweat over my neck. Why the fuck did she make me act so weird? I could only hope it was this entire situation chilling up my nerves.

"He needs you right now. If you really were so worried, I think you would be using your mind to keep those demons away, even if a peon of a brain like yours would hardly afflict them. At least you would be lending your strength to him instead of complaining and making the negative energy even greater. Half of a strong mind is better than two weak ones, isn't it?" she shot back, bracing the well with even more planks. She was right, as much as I didn't want some witch freak to be, but there was nothing else I could do.

"You're leaving him all alone in there, though…and what about the sun?"

"What of it – do you really think those four would chicken out to a little bit of sunshine? Even if they would, I'd prevent that."

"Those…four? And why?" I paused. "Oh, fuck…he thinks they're just demons? How was that supposed to prepare him!?"

"Okay. Right now, I'm blocking him in there because he needs to stay in there and deal with them as long as he can. These demons have incredible endurance, so until he can tire them out, his body has to co-operate. In order to do that, he'll need a lot of focus on that mirror. He needs to be capable to break it, and when the time comes, he'll know what to do. I just hope he can take it, both emotionally and physically. If he wants them gone completely, he won't give into their temptation. The tiniest bit of him giving way to that same temptation can make him tired easily, and it can take a varying amount of time to pull him out of that."

I blinked discreetly. It was kind of starting to make sense…all of this. Xander came to us begging for help. He was strong enough to take this on in the first place, but now he was putting himself through the entire thing on his own. He wasn't giving up. He was fighting temptations fed straight from the original creators of sin themselves.

Lucifer. Satan. Leviathan. Belial.

Four against one. Throwing and tearing away the pain a human probably can't endure in the span of their life, all to be free of the evil and horror they were already putting him through. So then, the moaning, something so unlike him, was the temptation searing into his soul. The screaming was his strength; to wash away their hollering, their demands, and to be heard above their evil that yes, he is going to push them out, even if he dies trying. All other sounds were inhuman, and I didn't want to consider them to be coming from Xander. Those were the screams and laughter of Hell, trying to claim a mortal body.

Salem…so much stronger than us, and so much smarter. She held the keys to things much darker or brighter than any of us could think up. She could save fucking lives. She could save the dead. And the entire time, she would stay balanced. Not even I could sway her from what she knew was true. Unless there was someone with as much sense of self and determination as Salem, she couldn't be challenged even by elders. Her gift was pure.

"Tell me about the mirror, Salem," I suggested.

"If I can sit with you for a while right now, I'll tell you later. Xander needs us to work together. Believe in him," Salem directed.

I nodded and her arms sprawled across the grass beside my waist, her chin hanging over my right hip. Her legs dangled below the both of us, soaked. I knew she didn't mind it, either. Did she even have nerves in her body at all? She could've been really good it at covering it up, but she never complained. If something had to be done, she would do it herself.

"I want it to be over. You said it would only take tonight, and the sun is starting to come up. We can't stay with him," I guessed, lifting my eyes to the well.

"Be patient. I know you want it to be over for all of us, but the more time it takes, the better…unfortunately."

"Yeah, better, or incredibly worse…" I softly muttered.

"No doubting, remember? We're not here to think that way. You can trust my word. After all of us have gone through so much, we can only use Adrian as an example of where you guys went wrong."

I hated the way she was right about Adrian. He was fine until he kept going back to that house, and we all thought it was best to snap him out of it while he was in the act, but we were wrong. We killed him, because we were holding him back from fighting the evil inside his soul. Only he could've helped himself from his obsessions, but we didn't tell him that. We didn't show him the strength to look at what he was doing and find away to change it. It was our fault.

Into the morning, we had to stay quiet, and hidden. I was again stunned by Salem's patience. She sat for hours on end with a mere blink every once in a while, as I irritably rolled around on the wet grass and sneezed.

"He's…crying," I noticed. A sound that hadn't been made so soft was coming from him…not like the noisy wailing from earlier.

Salem's fingers curled over her knees and she frowned. For once she seemed a little concerned, but she fixed that by shoving the wood onto the ground in sudden bangs. She hesitated before swinging a leg over one side of the well, then stared back in my direction again.

"I'm wearing a skirt…so, you wouldn't mind going down, would you?" she pleaded. I nodded in reply and helped her down.

Inside the well was a strong scent that I couldn't name. Whatever it was, it was damn weird. Trying to ignore Xander's faint weeps, I stepped further down he ladder. What if he wasn't himself when I went down there? He could freaking attack me or something. But I had to trust Salem, and I had to trust Xander's strength, so I fell from the ladder when I reached the bottom and my feet splashed the thin puddle of the well's base.

"Payton…" he murmured very softly.

Huddled to his legs, the filthy boy's eyes slowly rose to mine. Blue…? Such a bright blue that I hadn't ever seen before in someone's eyes, but it was there. No mistake, his eyes were a different color. Crouching on the pavement beside him, I examined him further. His arms were bruised, there were cuts on his face and body, and all over were prints of blood and dirt. I assumed that was the smell I'd noticed while heading down. Though his bottom lip quivered, the rest of his figure didn't shake, but remained very still.

"…A-are…you ready to get out of here?" I stuttered, wiping his soaked hair away from his face.

"Payton. I couldn't break it."

And then it fucking dawned on me. My eyes widened, tears welling across the edges of my cheeks. I covered my mouth and placed a hand against the wall, hovering over his body. They weren't gone yet. They weren't finished with him. I was sitting in a pool of blood, not water, and the fucking four of them were straight behind me. Balling my fingers into a fist, I shook my head. There was no way out of this.

"They're still here, Xander?" I softly whispered, my hand glued to my mouth, muffling my speech even more.

"We've felt so…alone."

"Oh…my god. Oh my god. Oh m-" I gasped as Xander's lips began to move in their patterns. Was I facing them just by being with him?

"Shut up. You can't speak to us with that disgusting tongue of yours. Let us take care of it for you!"

"What are they DOING? XANDER!" I screamed, shoving my hands over my ears and slamming backwards into the wall of the depths.

The noise they made was anything but human. I couldn't even think over the sickness they spread into my ears. And everything they said was so much worse than it appeared. It wasn't a human voice, it was four voices, and they all came from Xander's lips. I wished I could call this all some joke and just go home, but they had me trapped.


Author's Note

/Takes giant breath. Well, you decide for yourself. Again, let me know if there are any mistakes...and I really really hope I didn't make the four seem really...cliche or anything. It's hard to live up to their evil, but I guess I'll have to get used to it. This story might be making me have nightmares, but I'm not sure if that's whatI'd call everything that happened last night. Anyway...I'm feeling bad because I have a couple of one-shots due for two very special friends of mine, and I haven't finished either because I'm too insecure about writing them on paper. Microsoft Word will help me right to the best of my ability, I I'll have to wait a couple of days. Which is fine, because I want to soak up my time with Kaley while I can. It's just hard to believe I'm already leaving...after so much.

So, to Dana and Alia, I'm sure you both know why I'm not finished, and hopefully, though I'm sure, you will be understanding. Here's to Chlorine 101 and Amagaari when I get back, okay? I love you both a lot, and miss you guys. I know you won't be able to read Amagaari right away, Alia, but I'll try to make it worthwhile for when you get back. Hope both of you are doing well!


Creepy to Kaley play Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, and Resident Evil: File #2 (I think, unless it's Outbreak?)...killing zombies and taking pictures of ghosts? I think it's easy to see where I got my inspiration. But other than that...the Unkle CD. Can't remember what it's called, but I don't care to wake Kaley up right now. My sweetie is sleeping soundly.