How could they have not believed him?

Dalia was the worst of them, by far, and that was saying quite a lot considering that the rest of them were worse than the terrorists and rapists that lived next door combined, which was what must've happened in order to form her.

How could they, of all people, not believe him?

He pondered it while riding next to his sister on the school bus, they were the second last stop and had some time, and so Berta could write her assignments due yesterday and be finished by the time that they arrived at home. He liked the fact that they lived from a distance, he liked that convenience.

Vaguely, he felt someone kicking at his seat from the back. He ignored it, but Berta chose not to fallow suit, which was as usual.

"Berta! Wanna come to my house today?"

He didn't look up.

"…I dunno if my mom'll let me."

"It's fine, I can text her. I gotta do it quick, though, 'cause it's nearly out of battery."


He looked at Berta with an unspoken question that she wandered at why he hadn't asked sooner: Why are you going to Dalia Jenson's house? And, at that, Berta looked down.

Again, he felt a small kick at the seat, fallowed by an request that shook them both even more so than the bumps would in a back seat: "Does Joshua wanna come, too?"

His eyes widened, looking up from the book that he had been glossing through casually, and turned to look at a smiling Dalia just behind him, almost kindly, as if an older sister at a younger sibling. Almost like…

"It's alright, guys. I've already texted your mom that you two we're gonna come. I still have to wait for her to say yes," she flashed a smile, again, "but mine is the last stop, anyway."


Berta's mouth hung agape, as his internally did so. Both turned to her and he spoke, "I had something I had to do today, Dalia."

Berta's mouth shut tightly, only to open again to say, "No, he didn't. He always keeps himself busy doing nothing, right? Idiot." She slapped his arm lightly, laughing a bit.

Bitch. "Whatever."

"Awesome," said Dalia, and then she yelled up to the elderly driver, "skip the next stop, please! These guys are going straight to my place!"

He turned toward the window and contemplated how quickly and easily he could escape through it.

They arrived at the house fallowing a lengthy walk up a few hills. This was his first time to ever have come to Dalia's house, at which, thankfully, Dalia's mother was absent.

Dalia's mother, named only as "orange" due to the fact that, according to Berta, half of her pay check went toward toxic tanning beds. The other half went to new vibraters and a slither to the cable bills.

"Since you're a newcomer," Dalia said to him, "I'll give you a tour."

The tour revealed to him a very good looking home, and the windows leading to gorgeous balconies, state of the art kitchen wear and a swirling staircase forced him to reject the amusing speculations of his sister. The couch was long and clearly designed to entertain, the table was long and ready for refreshments, which were placed there as soon as the teenagers began to become hungry a few hours later. Coupled with a few issues of vogue and an episode of 1000 Ways to Die, it wasn't a bad evening.

… Well, expect for the vogue, maybe.

"The pieces that this guy gets chopped into are spectacular," said Berta, munching on Pringles as she said so. "It makes me wander what it would look like in real life. What would you do if you saw something like that?" She was asking them both, he assumed. He didn't want to answer, and so continued to eat.

"I wanna show you guys something," Dalia said, ignoring the question as well. "Well, actually, Berta's already seen it, but I wanna show you."

He sighed internally. "Okay. What is it?"

"Outside," she gestured toward the double doors. "Fallow me."

"Outside?" Berta asked, fallowing Dalia regardless of the hesitance in her voice. "It's the winter. It's cold and it's dark. You're gonna show him in the dark?"

"Yeah," she said, opening the doors and walking out. A chilled wind blew, then, and immediately he wanted to return to the house. "The cat still comes running… Bitch Cat! Bitch Cat!"

He stared.

Berta said, "It's what she calls the stray. He comes for food sometimes."

He blinked. "Right."

Dalia let out a huff of annoyance and shook her head. "That naughty boy! He knows that when mommy calls for him, he's gotta come." With another shake of the head, she said, "I just don't understand him, sometimes."

Without any response, Dalia sighed and said, "Come on, let's go inside."

Again, they fallowed, and saw that 1000 Ways to Die had ended. They had missed the final death. Dalia switched on the lights, seeming to be searching for something.

"Don't, Dalia," Berta said, calmly. "Why don't we order pizza or something?"

"I told you," she said, searching still. "The phone is dead."

"…All of them?"

"That's what I said. Help me find the… oh, well. Don't need it. I'll just get a knife."

His brows furrowed, "A knife? Do you need to cut something?"

"Yeah, but it isn't anything too major," Dalia went to the kitchen, and as she departed, Berta shot him a glare of urgency and ran quickly toward the winding staircase, which fell between the kitchen and the television room.

"Don't move!" Dalia said, running quickly toward her, pouncing and holding the knife to her throat. He shook, and said nothing. She tipped the knife upward, and Berta was still. "Don't," she gripped the blade tighter, "…move."

His body, it seemed, awoke after a few moments of silence, and ran outside and toward the double doors, which would take him outside.

Before shutting the door, he hared, faintly, "You'll be lucky if you even find that cat out there!"

As he ran in search of help, he thought of the window.

The hills of which they had climbed for what seemed an hour to him, it seemed, lead to absolutely… nowhere. Not so much as a fucking cat in sight.

Holy shit, holy shit, my fu…

A gust of wind blew, drawing him away from his disorganized train of thought.

After his run into a complete abyss endless road, he banged his head ageist a tree and realized that Berta was probably dead. Dead. Had he dreamed it? No, no, dead, dead, dead. He needed to return, he was physically stronger than Dalia, and if with a knife, he had a chance at fighting her off. Dead, dead, dead. Whoosh, the wind.

He reached the house and could see only darkness within it from the windows of the double doors. She had shut off the lights.

Slowly and shakily, he rose to his feet and breathed, reached the doors, opened the doors, didn't breath for a minute, dead, dead, breath, dead.

The bottom floor was completely vacant.

He could see no light with the exception of the television screen, and felt that he was completely alone on the floor when he as he could hear terrible rap music blasting from the second story. This was fantastic, he had the opportunity to get a weapon, and…


He screamed so loudly he at first thought that perhaps Dalia's nonexistent neighbours would hear. "Berta!"

"No, it's Dalia! You gotta help me, I took out her eye! She's on the floor!"

He shook as rage and fear created a dangerous mixture within him, "What the fuck!"

"We'll be in court next week, and I'll blame it on you if you don't help me here!"

He felt sick. "What!"

Quickly, Dalia ran to switch on the lights, which revealed, crept into the corner of the room, Berta, a hand on an eye and a head swaying back and fourth. Dalia walked toward her and patted her head while he was still.

"Hush, it'll be alright, darling…"

He stared. "…What?"

Dalia looked up at him, and they locked eyes for a moment. Then, Dalia released Berta's head from her lap and walked toward him, and taking his shaking hand into hers. "Let's go upstairs, 'kay?"

He was still, and fallowed. His brain turned to a brown slush, the sort which you find on roads in the middle of winter. That was his brain. Slush.

"I'll lock the door, and stuff you into a closet."


"Mmm," she said, and as she opened the door and lead him inside, she smiled. "I'll bring her up later."

He sat on her bed, and then she slapped him across the face. He was taken aback and shook his head, looking up. "What… are you doing?"

She flashed him a quick smile, and said, "I just get bored a lot," and left the bedroom, closing the door behind her. Without any sort of thought, he nestled his head into a pillow and attempted to fall asleep.