Chapter 19: Max Missing in Action!

"We need not join the mad rush to purchase an earthly fallout shelter. God is our eternal fallout shelter."

~Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)

Author's Note: New poll question for Apple. Today I'd like to know where you fans stand on Toshiro and Anita becoming a couple someday. Also congratulations on this story for becoming the eleventh most reviewed story in the Spiritual category and the second most reviewed Spiritual story still running.

Thank you MasuruMeowNeko, midnightlily105, CRAZEDbySUGAR, Alisander Arbella, Raven Starhawk, cupcake98, DarknessesDownfall, Himawari No Hana, Rainbow Forever, ChibiJinchuuriki, Mylilblackpen, PureHeartsWait, Aditto, StarburstAwesomeness, jakbnimble, and all anonymous reviewers; please if anyone is reading this please review and help me bring this story to number one! :D

Max opened his eyes to find himself in a dark, empty room. A small amount of light emitted from a nearby window. This led the boy to believe that it was now morning and somehow time had moved on without his knowledge. It was weird though, Max did not remember going to sleep in this strange place.

This scene reminded him of a movie where the hero was tied up and locked in a basement. Even Max knew that the idea of someone kidnapping him was a little ridiculous, but it was practically the only thing that made sense.

Max stood up and without much thought walked over to try to open up a nearby door. Although the door was old and hard to open it was not locked. So thankfully whoever (if anyone) had kidnapped him did not expect to keep him tied up against his will.

As soon as Max was out he took the time to carefully survey the room. He was in an old fashioned, wooden-style cabin. Max wasn't sure, but he also thought he could smell the familiar scent of coffee; a smell the boy knew well because his mom never went without it. But this did not make much sense though. How did he even get here?

He crept through the room, trying his best to be as quiet as possible as not to wake anyone who still lived here. He made his way to a small room that appeared to be a kitchen.

He thought he was safe, but then out of the corner of his eye Max saw something that made him stop dead in his tracks. For beside him was a woman who appeared to be around the age of sixteen. She sat stone faced, with pasty-white skin, long blond hair, red lipstick, and large hazel eyes that had carefully followed Max's movement around the room.

"Hi." Max said timidly; his voice coming out just past a whisper. The girl did not respond so Max went on. "I'm just going to go now …" He muttered while making his way to the door.

"I can't let you leave." The girl finally said. "The others have been waiting all night to meet you. You don't want to disappoint them do you?"

"I – I guess not …" Max confessed.

"Then sit down. Tell me a little about yourself." The girl said and Max obeyed by pulling out a seat beside her. "What's your name?" She asked.

"I'm Max Boulregard. What's uh … your name?"

The girl gave a slight smirk; her eyes widening slightly at the sound of Max's name. "Wouldn't you like to know?"

"I would!" Max said cheerfully.

"Well I go by many names. You can call me Milena though." The girl, known as Milena explained.

"Is that your real name?" Max asked.

"Maybe it is. Maybe it's not. Why should it matter anyway?"

"It matters because I want to know." Max explained.

"True, but curiosity killed the cat."

Max's eyes widened in horror at that phrase. "Poor kitty!"

"It's just an expression." Milena explained. "Don't worry; no cats were actually harmed …. At least not by you being curious anyway …"

"When will the funeral be?" Max asked, completely ignoring the girl.

"There is no funeral." Melina replied coldly. Just then a muscular man with dark skin and short black hair walked into the room.

"Hey guys, what are you talking about?" He asked.

"Dead cats." Max explained with his arms crossed.

"All I said was that curiosity killed the cat!" Milena retorted.

The muscular man's eyes widened and he began to tear up a little. "Poor kitty ..." He muttered.

Milena sighed. "Curtis, you're such a moron … Look, I'm going to go shower. Please don't do anything stupid. And when you see Troy or Robert tell them that the boy they kidnapped is now awake."

"What boy?" Curtis asked. Milena did not speak. Instead she simply pointed at Max and walked away.

When Milena was out of sight Curtis looked to Max in confusion. "Do you know which boy was kidnapped?"

"Beats me." Max admitted. "I just feel bad for the cat."

Curtis nodded. "Yeah, poor cat …" They stayed like this for a long moment, just feeling bad for the inexistent cat, but then Curtis broke the silence with a new suggestion. "Wanna play Hide n' Seek?" He asked.

"Sure!" Max cheered. "But first we should find my friends Toshiro, Anita, and Teresa. I'm sure they'd like to play too!"

"I wonder where Max could be." Anita said, seeming worried.

"I don't know …" Toshiro confessed. "Maybe we're looking in the wrong place."

"Well he fell down around here. I mean where else could he have gone? Chances are one of us would have seen him walk off." Teresa explained.

"I'm right here guys!"

The three friends abruptly turned their heads to see Max and Curtis casually walk up from behind them.

"Where were you?" Teresa snapped.

"One second you were falling, the next you just vanished!" Toshiro added.

"Oh, I was just napping in a nice log house." Max said. "Curtis and I have to keep an eye on the boy someone named Robert kidnapped or else Milena will be very upset with us."

"But first we're going to play Hide n' Seek!" Curtis cheered.

"… Do I even ask?" Teresa muttered.

"It's better that you don't." Toshiro answered.

"So will you play?" Max questioned.

Toshiro shrugged. "I suppose that's fine with me, but just a quick game. I'd like to get home before sunset."

Teresa gave a long winded sigh. "I didn't even get ta sleep 'cause of you and now ya wanna play Hide n' Seek?"

"It may be kind of fun." Toshiro said. "Who knows, it may even give us enough energy for the walk home."

"Alright." Teresa said. "But before I give a clear answer please riddle me this Max. How'd you find that one boy out here in the middle of nowhere?"

"Toshiro? He came with us!" Max explained.

"No I mean 'da muscular boy. Ya' know, 'da really tall one."

"Toshiro?"

"No, I mean 'da one beside you!"

"Yeah, that's Toshiro."

"The person beside me is Max." Curtis said, jumping into the conversation.

Teresa rolled her eyes. "Ya' know what, forget it!"

"Don't worry; I already forgot." Max confessed. "Come on Curtis, let's hide. Teresa, you're it!" Curtis nodded in response and then the two ran off in different directions to hide.

"I think his name is Curtis." Toshiro explained.

"… Yeah … I think I get that now …" Teresa said. "Shouldn't ya' hide too?"

"If it's alright with you I don't really want to play." Anita confessed. "I saw a creek nearby and I'd like to visit by myself for a little bit."

"Uh … Sure." Teresa said. She hadn't known Anita long, but Teresa had already known her long enough to know that Anita was still upset over something.

"I'm going to join her." Toshiro added as soon as Anita was out of sight.

Teresa gave Toshiro a confused look. "What? But y'were 'da one ta convince me ta play Hide n' Seek in the first place! Why can't ya' play now?"

"Sorry." Toshiro confessed. "I just need to talk to her about something."

Teresa rolled her eyes. "Alright whatever ya' say." She said dryly. Teresa still had no idea what was going on between Toshiro and Anita, but she wasn't exactly pleased about having to play Hide n' Seek with only Max and Curtis either.

Toshiro cleared his way through the woods by snapping whatever tree branches that where in front of him. He wasn't sure where exactly Anita had headed, but his gut told him to keep moving forward.

He proceeded further, but when Toshiro came to an old, wooden house he knew he had gone the wrong way. Toshiro was about to change directions, but at that moment a blond woman stepped out.

Her cold, hazel eyes zoomed in on Toshiro. She studied him carefully, seeming to mentally debate whether or not this boy was worth talking to.

At last the girl said, "Hi."

"Um … hi …" Toshiro replied meekly. "Um … Have you seen a girl dressed in white, with long orangish-red hair?"

"Nope. Have you seen two idiotic boys? One is really short with dark brown, almost black hair and glasses; the other one is tall, muscular, and dark skinned, with black, curly hair."

Toshiro's eyes widened slightly. The woman's description fit Max and Curtis perfectly, but how could she know them? Or at least, how could she know Max? And where exactly had Max been all night? Could he have been hiding out in that log cabin? But if he were then how did he know about it? And how did Max even get to the cabin without his, Anita, or Teresa's knowledge?

"By chance is one of the boys named Max or Curtis?" Toshiro finally asked.

"That's both of their names actually." The girl replied.

Toshiro stuck out a hand for the girl to shake. "My name is Toshiro. I'm looking for my friend Anita right now, but after I find her I'll take you to the boys." Toshiro explained.

"Sure." The girl replied.

Toshiro took a few steps back, attempting to retrace his steps, but then he stopped and turned around to face the girl.

"I'm sorry, but I can't recall your name."

"That's because I didn't tell you it." The girl replied with a smug smile. "I go by many names, but you can call me Milena. Depending on how you treat me I could be your best friend or your worst enemy."

Toshiro paid no heed to Milena's warning; instead he gave a fake, friendly smile and replied by saying, "Don't worry. I'm the same way." Then Toshiro continued walking.

Milena gave a faked smile back. "Somehow I doubt we're the same." She replied menacingly. "But still I'll be sure to remember your face, even after we depart. It should be easy enough. You bare a strong resemblance to an old friend of mine, but I can tell that even though you're a little colder than he was you still harbor that value toward human life. That's why you could never be like me."

"Hmm …" Toshiro said. He wasn't really sure how to reply, especially to the last part so he just tried his best to fake an interest.

"Tell me, what made you like this?" Milena asked.

"What do you mean?" Toshiro asked.

"There's always a reason behind how we act. No one is simply born without the ability to trust others. Overtime they forget how to trust through betrayal. But your ability to trust is gone. Why is that?"

"It's a … long story." Toshiro replied casually, not even bothering to face Milena.

"Figured you wouldn't tell me. Oh well, just know that I'm the same. You mentioned trying to find Anita; do you trust her?"

Toshiro's face reddened slightly. "I – Uh … I guess so …"

"Would you trust her with your life?" Milena asked.

"Um … Of course …" Toshiro replied shyly. "W-what's with all these weird questions anyway?"

Milena snickered. "… Guess I'm just curious. It may lead to my demise someday, but you interest me Toshiro."

"Thanks … I guess …" Toshiro replied. "Anyways, have you seen a creek anywhere?"

Milena nodded. "Yeah, we're on the right track. Just keep moving forward."

"Thanks." Toshiro replied.

"But can you just explain one last thing?"

"What is it?"

"Anita; how come you find it so easy to trust her and not anyone else?"

Toshiro sighed and then gave a shrug. "I don't know … We're completely different people, but I guess I've always just found her easier to talk to. She's the complete opposite of my father …"

"Is your father the one who did you wrong?" Melina asked; her eyes gleaming with anticipation, seeming to enjoy Toshiro's pain.

Toshiro sighed. "… I suppose you can say that ... Anyways, I don't really want to talk about him."

Milena smiled. "That's alright. I've already figured out what I wanted to know."

-phantom130 5 (October 2012)