Chapter One: Prologue

Jace wandered down the hallway, studying the map in his hands. If he was in the B hallway, he had to go up the east stairwell and make three right turns before he made it to Room F218. Or was he in the C hallway? Then it was up the north stairwell and two lefts and a right. Damn counselor, giving him his schedule but not waiting around to show him how to get to his first class. Glaring at the map, he sped up . . . and slammed right into a brick wall.

"Wha-" he sputtered, stepping back from the wall. And realizing it was wearing a shirt. A black bowling shirt that said DEATH on the pocket where the name should have been.

In horror movie slow motion, Jace looked up and met the furious eyes of the giant he had just run into. The guy towered over Jace's 5'10 and was covered in metal.

"Sorry, man!" Jace burst out, embarrassed. "I guess I wasn't watching where I was going."

The other guy didn't say anything. He didn't even move. He just stood there, scowling.

Jace tried again. "Hey, um, I'm new here. In case you couldn't tell," he quipped, holding up the map. "Do you think you could point me to the F Hall?"

The giant finally moved. He took the map, crumbled it in one fist, and threw it on the floor.


Picking up the crinkled piece of paper, Jace moved out of the way.

"Hey, thanks man!" he called as he continued down the hall. "Guess you're not a morning person."

For the second time in a matter of moments, Jace found himself slammed up against an immovable object. This time he was pressed into a locker, the giant's elbow in his throat.

"You say something?" it grunted.

Jace shook his head. "No," he replied softly.

"That's what I thought. Smartasses don't last long around here."

The pressure at his neck disappeared and the giant glared one last time before sauntering away.

Jace took a deep, shaky breath and worked the kinks out of his neck. This place was nothing like his old school. He leaned over to pick up his map. Again.

A foot appeared in his line of vision, stomping down on the paper.

Jace stood up, ready to give the giant a piece of his mind and damn the nice guy act. He was surprised to see a girl standing in front of him.

"Rule number one, get rid of the map. It's like wearing a fanny pack on the southside of Chicago at midnight. Looking lost is asking for trouble." She kicked the map away with a tennis shoe.

"Who was that guy?" Jace asked.



"Brick. B-R-I-C-K. Rule number two. Stay out of his way," she continued, nodding in the direction the giant had gone.


She rolled her eyes. "Boy, you have a lot to learn. Follow me."

Confused, he shrugged and followed the girl down the hallway. He hoped she was taking him to the F hallway.