Hallelujah for Hallelujah

Chapter Three

I love the rain.

"Not now…"

I really do.

"Come on, work with me!"

I love the sound, the smell, everything.

"God damn it!"

The only problem is…

Smacking the ancient computer, the curses rolled off my tongue at the uncooperative machine.

it messes up my Internet.

"Having problems?" Sebastian hovered over my shoulder. "Modern technology is so unreliable."

"Shut up!" I cried. "You're not real!"

Raising an eyebrow, the cat yawned. "This again? Honestly, Lady Hallelujah, I thought we were past this stage."


"How childish," he muttered.

If truth be told, I was starting to get used to the not-real talking cat that only I could see or hear. If and only if truth be told. But it wasn't. Told, that is.

"Get off my bed," I snapped as the cat curled into a ball on my blue sheets and closed his eyes.

"I'm not real, remember?" Sebastian replied, cracking open an eye. "I am merely a pigment of your imagination that finds your procrastination to finish your English homework shameful."

Rising to my feet, I stood in front of the bed and stared down at him, mentally willing him to disappear.

"Go away."

"I'm afraid I can not do that," he yawned and showed his fang-like front teeth. I flinched. It was unnerving.

"Why not?"

He said nothing.

"Whatever," I muttered, snatching a jacket off my computer chair and a library card from the desk.

"Finally, something educational…"

He followed me out the door still complaining about America's failing education and how our founding fathers would turn in their graves if they so much as glanced at my science textbook.

I ignored him as best as I could, but the only other noise in the house was the TV. It's been a quiet week with Noah still gone, Judah locked in his room, and Eve hiding in the bathroom.

"Dad, I'm going out to…"

But my father was fast asleep in his chair. He looked fatter, too.

The smell of old books was over-powering and I couldn't help but notice the number of nerdy Asian people in the building.

Walking up to a computer, I debated whether or not I was racist.

I didn't think so.

"Joan of Arc?" Sebastian read off the screen. "An interesting choice."

I wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but knowing the cat, I wouldn't get a clear answer. Plus, there was always the chance of being seen talking to myself and then I'd look weirder than the Asians.

Maybe I am racist.

With as many books as I could carry, I claimed a desk far off to a deserted corner and sat.

I guess that's when I remembered I didn't like the library. It's too quiet. I hate silence. It lets me think too much.

"You are familiar with the story of The Maid, correct?"

"I'm writing an essay on her," I replied back in a whisper. "And it's due in less than 24 hours, so just go away."

But he pretended not to hear me.

"A peasant girl from 15th century France hearing voices of saints that guided her into saving her country," Sebastian continued. "But then of course she might have been insane rather than heavenly-sent. Interesting is it not?"

"Are you trying to say you're some kind of saint, Sebastian?" I glanced up at him cautiously while opening a book. "Or are you accusing me of being crazy?"

"Both," was his more confusing than helpful answer.

"Piss off, Sebastian," I spat causing several passing Asians to give me funny looks.

God, I hate them.

I guess I am racist after all.

"Hey, Halley?"

I looked up at Lena, who twirled her pasta with a dazed expression. A questioning and slightly curious look came over my face as I asked her what had happened.

"Last night I was invited to a party," she replied excitedly. "An American party."

"Good for you," I smiled, already looking around for my new lunch partner as give or take a few days, Lena would be flipping her hair at the cheerleader's table. She was certainly pretty enough, so it had only been a matter of time.

"I might not be the most all-knowing being in the universe, Hallelujah," Sebastian sighed. "But I believe she wants you to accompany her."

"I would like for you to accompany me."

"It would be best if you did not go, though," Sebastian continued. "I can already feel the trouble brewing in my soul."

"You have a soul?" I asked.

"I beg your pardon?" Lena stared at me.

"Ah," I began. "It's nothing. Sure, I'll go."

"Good," she nodded approvingly, but it sounded more like "gewt" with her accent. "It is tonight at eight o'clock. Would you be able to pick me up? You still remember where I live, correct?"

After assuring her I knew where her mansion-like home was located and making sure she understood it was a school night, lunch went on and I could feel the stare of Sebastian's yellow eyes burning a hole through the back of my head.

"There is a very good saying, Hallelujah," he finally spoke. "Do not cut off your nose to spite your face. You will come to regret this, I assure you."

The bell rang and for the first time in a week, Sebastian vanished.

I didn't give it a second thought.

So far I liked spite.

She resembled a whore that Joan of Arc broke her sword beating six hundred years ago. But of course I wasn't going to tell her that.

"You look nice, Lena," I smiled as I leaned up against my car and waited for her to teeter over in her three-inch heels and tight skirt. To keep from laughing, I turned away and scanned the area for any signs of hallucinations or saints, or in other words: Sebastian.

Six hours later and he was still no where in sight. And to be honest, I was getting a little scared.

"Hallelujah?" Lena called from inside the car. "Is something wrong? Are we not going to...how you say? Punch the street?"

"It's hit the road," I corrected her, brushing off my uneasiness and sliding into the diver's seat.

The ride was quick and painless even the ten minutes of a Russian CD Lena had brought along thinking I would actually enjoy it. I didn't. But again, I didn't tell her that.

Pulling up in front of a rich football player's huge house, I could already tell how this was going to end.

The second I stepped inside, I wanted to run out. It was crowded, hundreds of drunken teens pressed up against each other as they smoked and chugged beer and danced to awful music at a deafening volume.

"This looks enjoyable," was all Lena said before she disappeared into the masses. I tried to follow her, but kept being thrown and shoved around.

I would have just walked out the door right then, but said door had disappeared from my line of vision as I tried to fight my way through.

Not ten minutes in the stuffy house did a senior flash a group of girls including myself.

"I've seen bigger," was all I said as I moved on. And I had. Noah and Judah were—by no means—shy individuals, often walking around the house in the nude if they felt like.

But where was Noah? It wasn't the first time he had disappeared, but I couldn't help but imagine him dead in an alley.

Shaking the thoughts away, I wandered aimlessly before settling for an unoccupied corner.

Watching everyone, smoky colors seemed to float off their bodies while sounds faded and sharpened.

"So this is what it's like to be crazy," I said to myself. "I pictured it a little more exciting than this…"

A hand shot out of the crowd and snatched my wrist, pulling me in.

"Halley!" Lena cried over the music. "I have located a young man who has a very high-temperature!"

"You mean he's hot?"

"Yes!" She nodded vehemently. "He rivals fire!"

Nope, looks like she'd be sitting with me at lunch for a couple more weeks after all.

Leading me to a sofa where a prepy boy stood, Lena only uttered "Alex" before she took his beer, handed it to me and tackled him to the ground.

Averting my gaze, I took a seat on the couch, emptying the beer in a potted plant just before it was puked on by a girl.

That was it.

"I'm going home," I told Lena, but she was much too absorbed in Alex to hear me.

As I turned, fully prepared to shove people out of my way, I caught sight of Sam English.

Chugging what might have been at least his seventh beer, he was laughing like a mad man as his hand was down a tipsy girl's shirt. Disgusted, I spun around to leave only to have someone grab my arm.

Scott Marley from my fourth period English then offered me his hallelujah.

That did it.

Kneeing him, I bashed the empty can against his head.

Sebastian's laughter boomed in my head even louder than the screeching music that made my head hurt and the colors only I seemed to see were making me dizzy.

I wanted to scream and cry and leave this place, but with another look at Sam, I stopped.

His hands were by his side and he was staring right at me. Face pale, blank and numb. I couldn't hear what he said over the music, but his lips formed the words I knew too well before he turned and headed up the stairs.

Not even hesitating this time, I barreled into the crowd, shoving and fighting my way to the other side.

"What do you think you're doing, Hallelujah?" Sebastian hissed. "I thought we went over this."

"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" I screamed, pushing a staggering freshman out of my way. "Move! Move! Move!"

Taking the steps up the stairs two at a time, I smashed into a couple making out.

"Watch where the fuck you're going, bitch!"

Scrambling to my feet, I sprinted down the empty hall. Doing the only thing I could think of, I kicked open all the doors only to be screamed at to shut them.

After an eyeful of Kami Wilson and Ray Cromwell, followed by many others, I finally found a single fully-clothed body over a bed.

"Sam!" I gasped, slamming the door behind me.

He was chocking, but I didn't have time to figure out what. Pulling him up, vomit sprayed over the floor and my shoes. Sam coughed and choked as I proceeded to beat his back.

Finally, the muffled sound of rap and our heavy breathing was all we could hear.

"Bitch," Sam wheezed. "What…the hell…did you…do…to me?"

I was too exhausted to answer and just laid on the bed gasping for air.

He didn't ask again and staggered out the door.

"Yes," Sebastian appeared on the desk across the room. "What did you do, Hallelujah?"

The cat looked far from pleased, even angry, but I could only laugh.

"Oh, my God, Sebastian! Is this what I'm supposed to regret? I saved Sam English's life! Again!" I giggled, as if it were hilarious. "He was going to choke to death on puke! Oh my God, how freaking lame!" I buried my face into the blankets and laughed until tears streamed down my face.

"What the hell did you do to me?!" I screamed. "Stop it! Stop right now! I want Hershey! I want my dog back right now! Give me my dog!"

Sebastian said nothing as he watched my break down and I don't blame him. There's not much you can say to a girl screaming for a talking cat that doesn't exist to give their dead dog that she killed back. There just isn't.

Eventually I calmed down and became still.

And my phone rang.

"No," I begged. "No more parties. No more colors. No more vomit. Please, just leave me alone."

"What a stupid child," Sebastian sniffed.

Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the cellular device.

"Hello?" I croaked.

"I'm at the police station, come pick me up."

And the line went dead.

Closing the door to my house behind me, my puffy eyes met Dad's blue. After a second, he turned back to the television screen without a word.

He didn't bother asking why I had been crying and I didn't bother telling him.

Slowly I went up the stairs and into my room. Reaching under my bed, I pulled out my jar of money and counted out two hundred dollars.

Then I went to Judah and Noah's room and knocked on the door.

"Leave it outside."

He thought I had his dinner.

"Get out," I told him.

After a second he came out while tugging on some shoes and stuffing his driver's license in his back pocket.

He didn't bother asking what was wrong and I didn't bother telling him.

We passed Eve on the way to the car and she watched us leave quietly.

She didn't bother asking where we were going and I didn't bother telling her.

I drove us to Franklin Police Station, handed Judah the money, and waited patiently in my car.

"Unbelievable, Hallelujah," Sebastian sniffed from the passenger seat. "Paying for your brother's bail, that is something no sister should ever do. Why, if-."

"Please," I interrupted in a hoarse voice. "I'm really sad right now. Just let me be for a little bit."

He watched me for a second and he was gone just as Noah and Judah appeared walking out of the building.

They got in the car, both looking like identical messes. Noah sniffed the air, but said nothing and stared out the window as I turned the car on.

He didn't other asking why I smelled like vomit and I didn't bother telling him.

As soon as we arrived home, I went straight for the bathroom and took a long, hot shower.

My skin was raw and red by the time I exited an hour later in my mother's old, worn pajamas only to find Eve waiting for me. Without a word she took my hand and lead me downstairs to the living room, the TV off for the first time in a long time.

Gathered around the coffee table were Judah, Noah, and Dad shaved and clean, a game of Candy Land in front of them.

"I'll let you be pink," Eve said quietly pointing to the pink game piece.

I took a seat beside her and watched Dad toss the TV remote back to his chair.

No one bothered to say they were sorry so I didn't bother saying it either.

"Never," Sebastian chuckled from the sofa. "Have a seen a family with so much pride that they are incapable of even apologizing to each other."

"But I'm okay with that," I told him with a soft smile.

"Who the hell are you jawing to?" Judah and Noah demanded, struggling not to shout.

"Let her be," Dad waved them away. "Now who wants to go first?"

Everyone began to shout and bicker, but I only stared out the window.

One drop. Two drops. Three.

It was raining.

And I felt okay again.

Crazy or not.

There. Done.