Prologue

"Drive!" I screamed to Ben and he responded by slamming his foot down, the black car's wheels spun and then the car shot forward like a bullet from a gun. I sat in the back seat trying to trying to put my best friend back together, but I couldn't move. The situation was clear to me but I couldn't react to it, the bandages on my lap, the hole in the middle of my friend's chest, his broken body that lay in front of me on leather seats and the blood. The endless pouring of the red liquid out from his wound and his mouth, the liquid didn't concern me as much as the words that tumbled out with them. "Please, don't let me die." Cross said in a weak voice, his words chilled me to the bone and this only served to extend my hesitation in the face of my friend's potential second death.

"Alex, where do I go?" Ben said his voice urgent. I looked up but my mind was in an ice age, I opened my mouth but no words came out. It was like I was underwater; I could hear all of his words but they came to me blurred and slow. Suddenly I felt heat at my right cheek, a crimson painted hand. "I believe in you." Cross whispered, and his words melted my paralysis away. Suddenly I was in control of our fates again.

"Ben, drive to the closest safe house." I said calmly, the waves that had once washed me away hadn't changed but I had; I could surf on them now. I tore into the package of bandages on my lap and began to patch up Cross. He moaned as I wrapped the bandages round his chest, and then I glanced outside the window. We were on the highway; we were on the final stretch. I glanced down at cross's body, he the bleeding was slowing down, it looked like he would live. My heart leapt inside my black suit. And then at time everything looked good, it happened.

The combined feelings of spiralling and falling hit me, and it sounded like everything that could have been broken in the car broke at that exact moment. I didn't have to see who had caused the collision; I already knew its name, Blaine. He was the one who had caused this, and now he had followed us to finish the job. I suddenly remembered cross's injuries, I needed to return to Blaine the favour he had shown. I reached out my fists to knock aside the now broken car door but Ben had fought his way through the wreckage that was our car before me, he would go into battle first. And so I was left to tend to a knocked out Cross. I checked his pulse to find it weak, and worry like clouds began to swirl around my head; this battle had to be ended quickly.

Blaine stood in a pinstriped suit with a broad human like smile painted across his face; it was the only remotely human thing about him. His very manner emanated death. I began to watch the fight through the window; I could see that Ben had already put on his white gloves, his weapon against the dark, his artefact. He threw the first punch even though it was too fast for me to see Blaine must have seen the white fist because he dodged it, way to easily for anyone watching to have any thoughts about him being human. And then he retaliated and his hit was explosive, it soared through the air and struck Ben before either he or I could register any movement. I winced as I saw Ben drop onto one knee and spit out blood, the force of that hit would have killed a normal human, but we weren't normal.

Ben stood up and threw another punch but Blaine easily leaned to the side like a bamboo stick, and then his arm blurred again. Ben's head flew backwards as a spray of blood flew up into the air but he didn't fall, he took a step backwards to steady himself and then he retaliated with everything he had. It grew into an exchange with both of them throwing lightning fast punches that sent gusts of air flying but only one side were achieving hits, I wanted to step in but I knew it was wrong, Ben's pride would never allow it. And so I watched until the final blow, it shook Ben's blood streaked face like an earthquake and then he flew back onto the deserted highway.

This was the final straw; I took out my artefact, my revolver. I was prepared to blast open the jammed shut car door when I heard a voice come from within the darkness of the car. "He's here isn't he, let me fight him, let me finish it." Cross said feebly, I could hear him taking out his own artefact, a long katana. I ignored him and finished blasting open the door, he wouldn't die tonight, I wouldn't let it happen. And so I went out into the cold night air to face the murderer that stood waiting for me.

"So how many of your friends have I killed tonight," Blaine said in light tone, it was if he was talking about something ordinary like the weather "because by my count it's ten." A roar emerged from me like lava from a volcano and I drew my revolver and shot into the figure that had caused me so much pain tonight. And he vanished. Into the darkness that had spawned him. But I knew he would be back, I knew that in a few moments he would come out of the darkness to end it all. And in that moment I was scared.