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(Sorry for the uber long chapters, I'm too lazy to separate the, please don't bite my head off!)
What if everyone you loved turned against you, the whole world even? You'd have no one to turn to; you'd be running from everything. The people you trusted most are the first people to betray you in the end. At least, that's how it works in this story. Rose Hulayla figured this out the hard way, and she's been running ever since.
If Rose had known that today would be the day that changed her life, she probably would have stayed in bed. She was adventurous, but not danger loving. But, she did not know what the day would bring, so it was the same routine before she skated off to school.
Her blond hair was cut short so that it stayed out of her face and she listened to Five Finger Death Punch over her I-pod. She smiled as she remembered last night; she had snuck out to go to her best friend Jake Doyle's house for a nerdathon.
Her mother still hadn't found out about it, and Rose wasn't planning on her ever finding out. If she did, Rose knew exactly what she would say: "Rosemary Angelise Hulayla, how many times do I have to tell you not to sneak out to go meet your boyfriend? Especially in the middle of the night." And Rose would say: "at least once more mother as always, and second of all: he's not my boyfriend. We hang out and watch Star Trek. Nothing intimate." and her mother would reply: "I allow you to dress how you like, ride a skateboard, of all things, to school and stay up until midnight on school nights, what else do you want?" and Rose would reply, hand on hip: "some freedom for Chrissakes!"
Then she would 'peace out' her mom and walk up the stairs. She'd lock the door and call Jake. Whenever she was angry, or sad, she'd call Jake and tell him to get the nerdathon ready. He'd be happy to oblige, of course, everyone knew –including Rose- that Jake Doyle liked her, but she didn't really care.
She also didn't care about the weird looks people gave her in the halls at school. She'd usually ask, "What you lookin' at?" and they'd shrink off into the crowd. If there's one thing Rose had, it was respect. She had earned it after "accidently" setting the playground on fire in the sixth grade.
Luckily, she was good at lying, so she was able to get out of it with a ten day suspension. But that is another story.
Rose was surprised when she came up on the school to find half of it in smolders. For once, she nodded in approval at the burn marks and fire trucks still stationed around, although it was clear that the fire had been started and put out in the wee hours of the morning.
"Rose!" said Jake, pushing out of a crowd. Despite what you may think, Jake was quite attractive, but Rose was not interested. She was still trying to turn him into a nerdy bad boy, her dream guy. He was on his way, when they had first met, Jake didn't even want to ask his parents if Rose could hang out (despite the fact that Rose acted more like a boy than a girl) and she had to bribe him with a kiss on the cheek. As she looked back at the memory, she laughed at how weird she was.
"Rose, did you do this?" he asked, motioning.
"No, for once, this isn't my fault. I was at your house all last night, dummy." Jake shrugged.
"You know what this means?' Jake asked.
"Hell yeah, no school! Let's hit the town!"
She grabbed his hand and picked up her skateboard and ran down the street.
They had six hours of free time before she had to go home so that her mom wouldn't get suspicious.
Jake was riding his bike and Rose was riding her skateboard. They were making their way through downtown Spokane. Rose took out a permanent marker and went up to an empty restaurant window and wrote "Bad Wolf" in big bubble letters, grinning maliciously.
"Come on Rose," Jake said, glancing around, "let's get out of here."
"I'm almost done," Rose said.
"Hey!" a man said. Rose looked around. A cop was sprinting at her.
"Shit!" she shouted, "Run!" she grabbed his hand and he got on his bike and Rose got on her skateboard and they rode as fast as they could.
After about three minutes of fleeing, they finally managed to disappear down a side street and the cop ran past. Rose counted to one hundred before she spoke.
"Damn, that was fun!"
"Fun?" Jake asked, "If that was your opinion of 'fun' I don't want to know what you definition of a jolly good time is."
"Oh, Jake, come on."
That night Rose was sleeping in her messy, dark purple room, the bed sheets piled on her slim body messily, her short hair disheveled, her makeup still on. Rose was always a light sleeper, according to her mother, who said that when she was a baby, if she were to try and step into her room at night; Rose would wake up and start screaming bloody murder. That was why she was awake instantly when the hand touched her shoulder.
She was sitting up and pressing herself against the bedframe, shrinking away from the touch.
"Hey man, what the fuck do you think you're doing? I ought 'a kick your ass into next-" she didn't finish her sentence because she was shocked into silence -which was very hard to do- because standing next to her bed, was a Unti. Most people know Untis as lizard-people. At any rate, the creature standing next to her bed was red, scaly; its teeth were sharp and dripping with saliva that was revealed when it snarled. It had a flickering fork-like tongue that seemed to taste the air around it.
Rose's Doctor Who training automatically kicked in, and she knew just what to do.
"Hi. You should not scare me awake, I could have hurt you. What do you want then?"
"The darkness is falling, Rose Hulayla." Rose was surprised that she could understand it, and was frightened that it seemed to be threatening her, "soon, you will be all alone, no one to trust, nowhere to go. All you can do is run." And then the creature was gone in a wisp of smoke.
"What the fuck?" she asked the air. Assuming it was just some kind of delusion, Rose went back to sleep.
The next morning, her mother seemed a little withdrawn, it may have been because the police came to their door announcing that Rose had just had her second strike for vandalism of public property, or perhaps because she thought they were drifting apart –which they were- or perhaps even yet she was mourning the loss of her husband. No matter the reason, she wasn't talking and Rose didn't mind in the least. Whenever her mother spoke to her, she was always preaching about one thing or the other.
All the kids that went to Glover Middle School were going to be transferred temporarily to different schools around the city. Rose had been assigned Salk, of all schools. That would be the place where she was the biggest minority, even compared to Glover. Salk was a rich-kid school, simple as that. Bad girls were not welcome nor wanted.
As Rose stood at the bus stop heading for Salk, she caught a girl staring at her very oddly. Like scowling, mixed with confusion. Rose tried not to pay it any mind. But she noticed it later, a boy this time. And again, and again. Soon it seemed like half the school was staring at her, as if there was something gross crawling on her back or something. It may have been the sure as hell way she was strutting down the hall, or the large amount of make-up she was wearing.
Finally, by the end of the day, she confronted the girl ad said, "Okay, why the fuck do you keep staring at me?"
"Because you're so funny," she replied, "you have no idea…" Rose ignored it and shoved past her onto the bus.
Jake later called her and he seemed pretty desperate.
"Hey Rose," said his voice on the other end.
"Listen, you should come over today, we could have a nerdathon. Some Doctor Who, some Lord of the Rings, your pick."
"Uh, I can't right now, I've got homework."
"Since when have you ever cared about homework?"
"You're right. See ya."
Rose told her mom that she was going to take a nap, locked her door and climbed out the window, skateboard in hand, breaking the house arrest her mother had put her in. She began skating in the direction of Jake's house.
When she got there, Rose automatically noticed something was wrong. Notice everything, see every coincidence. And she did notice everything. Because everything was wrong; Jake was sitting out on his dirty old porch, which he never did. He was smiling odd, and his head was cocked to one side.
When Rose approached, Jake bear-hugged her, it actually hurt. He bit her neck.
"OW! What the fuck Jake?"
"What? Can I not kiss my lady?"
"First of all, I am not your lady; second of all, you're acting really weird. Third of all, I thought we already watched all the nerdathon worthy things like three times, you're acting a little odd."
"That's not why I invited you here. That was a persuasion effort."
"Then what did you invite me here for?" Rose was getting uneasy; a pit was growing in the bottom of her stomach.
"To help bring on the darkness."
There it was again: the darkness. Following her, and she didn't know why. Vaguely she felt déjà vu, and the pit grew bigger. If Rose was not adventurous, she probably would have run at that moment. But she was curious as to who exactly was stalking her, where they found an Unti, and what they wanted with her.
"Okay, but what is this darkness?" Rose was edging around Jake, working towards her skateboard. But she wouldn't escape until she was done with her interrogation.
"Who is this 'us'?"
"The whole world. Everyone will be searching for you. Nowhere is safe, and you can trust no one."
"Why? What's so special about a juvenile delinquent from Spokane? You have nothing to gain from killing me, my life is futile."
"That's where you're wrong."
"Fine, what's so special about me?"
"That's for me to know, and you to find out." Jake smiled, and Rose was surprised to see sharp teeth.
"Whoa, Jake, what the fuck happened to your teeth?" he did nothing but snarl and advance on her like a cat.
When Rose made a move for her skateboard, with a speed that was inhuman, Jake was barring her way, his smile turning savage. She snatched it up from between Jake's legs and he stepped towards her, his pupils turning cat-like and glowing yellow.
If Doctor Who taught Rose one thing it was this: talk first, fight –if at all- later. And if all else fails: RUN. And that is exactly what Rose did. She booked it down the street. After a moment, she jumped on her skateboard and pumped full speed down the road.
She saw Jake running after her, and she started screaming. People began to emerge from houses. They probably would have helped, if they had not been under the spell –whatever it was- as well. They smiled and drooled.
Rose pumped her legs harder –if that was possible- and almost rode into a busy intersection. At the moment, Rose was too terrified to respond to the many angry questions that the drivers asked her, she just kept skateboarding until she got home.
"Oh my god, Rose!" Her mother shouted as she walked in the front door after her "nap" covered in twigs, leaves, dirt, and a nasty hickie-like bruise blossoming on her neck.
"DON'T ASK," Rose said before storming up to the bathroom to shower.
At the moment, Rose was too scared, angry and dirty to care about any of the risks of being alone in a bathroom. But she didn't care enough.
If Jake wants me, she thought smugly to herself, realizing how good she sounded saying it, let him come.
And come he did.
It was later, after Rose had bathed and eaten. She was sitting in her room, on the bed, staring at the dark wall moodily. What had happened to Jake? Her nerd charming? Her partner in crime? He had never acted so… sleazily violent.
And the teeth… and the eyes. They definitely weren't Jake's. Something had taken him over, or was impersonating him. Whatever it was, Rose decided to find out just what this "darkness" wanted.
"It's what the Doctor would do," she told herself. She admired the bravery of the time-traveling alien, and whenever faced with danger, simply asked herself: what would the Doctor do?
And she needed the reckless bravery of the fictional character to beat the danger that was all too real. She needed a plan, a very, seemingly stupid plan.
The dawn came early. Four forty three in the morning. Rose knew it, she watched it. She hadn't slept at all that night; she was too afraid that Jake would come back. But finally, at five oh two, Rose's eyes closed and she drifted off into sleep.
It was eight when she woke. The sun was in the room, the window was open, and the two bodies at the bed were teenagers, sixteen at most. But one of them was an uninvited guest.
It was the breathing that woke Rose. Slow, at first. Light. Smooth. But then it got heavy, shaky, and hungry. Rose's subconscious could feel eyes boring into her, and when she finally got up the courage to look –even though she already knew who it was- she was afraid again. It was Jake, of course. Who else would it be?
Rose took a deep breath. She cleared her head of the fear. Only reason stayed.
"What do you want Jake?" she asked him. Only it wasn't Jake, his eyes were yellow, his teeth sharpened. His savage stare was unblinking as he stared down at her, like a beggar admiring a cake.
"You," he said very simply. Rose toggled her list of options. Finally, she settled on one. Jake was still standing next to her bed. Rose purposely changed her facial expression. She smiled, pretending not to notice the cruel spikes that were now Jake's teeth.
Rose gathered her courage and got off her bed. Her slinky nightgown only dropped to her thighs, and she rubbed her hands against it in an attempt to clear them of sweat.
"All right then, monster boy," she said, hoping her acting wasn't too bad, "come and get me." He made a move towards Rose, but she moved first. Hoping this would daze the real Jake out of… it, she put her hands on the back of anti-Jake's head and pulled it towards her. She mashed her face up against his in a sloppy, not really thought out kiss.
Anti-Jake's eyes were wide open, staring at her in surprise. Rose watched them. They were yellow, and then they turned sky blue, their normal color. Whether it was anti-Jake or real Jake, he put his hands on her hips, and repositioned his pale face so that the kiss wasn't so… awkward.
After about thirteen seconds, Rose remembered what she was doing this for, but she didn't care. Jake apparently did. He pushed her away, his eyes still normal.
"Oh my god Rose! Where am I? What am I doing? Last thing I remember is this weird ass dream and the next thing I know, we're making out. Is this still a dream?"
"I'll explain later. Right now we have to go." She began rushing about the room, tearing through her closet and pulling out clothes, grabbing money, phone, running shoes. Not even caring that Jake was still there looking dumbstruck, she pulled off the nightdress and got into a tank-top and sweats.
"Rose, what's happening?" he shouted, not even looking the other way.
"There's something after me. If I ever learned one thing from DW, it's run."
"But where?" he asked.
"Anywhere, anywhere that isn't here. Come on." She grabbed her skateboard and his hand and pulled him out of the house. Her mom was at work, and Rose was making her way to her ghetto yellow bug. Still scared out of her mind she said, "Get in now!"
They got in and Rose floored the gas and they peeled off in the screech of tires down the street.
"Okay Rose. First of all, slow down, second of all, what the fuck is this all about?" Rose suspected that the shock of all this would keep Jake real for a little while, and when he changed back to anti-Jake, she would have to shock him again.
"Okay, so this lizard came in the dead of night and told me the darkness is coming. Then you turned all demon and bite me," she showed him the bruise, "and then you show up at my house at eight o'clock in the morning, and I kissed you to shock the demon out of you, at least for a little while.
"We're running because that's the only thing to do. The darkness, the lizard, or whatever it is that is possessing people is everywhere. But I'm guessing that it takes energy to manipulate people like that, so I wouldn't be able to control the entire population at once. If we go where it can't find us, then we're safe. Sort of."
"Then why are you taking me, an actual demon, with you to go hide? I could be subconsciously sending brain signals of your entire plan to the bad guy right now! You're more reckless than Han Solo." Rose rolled her eyes, still keeping them on the road.
"So where are we going?" he asked.
"We're going to go to the edge of the forest, ditch the car and trek." Rose saw Jake's mouth drop open in shock.
"What?" he spluttered, "we'd never make it in the forest!"
"We'd make it better in there than out here, that's for sure."
After a minute, the gorge that led into the river could be seen. Rose parked a few blocks away and grabbed the bag out of the backseat. She stepped out of the car and jogged towards the ravine.
"Rose!" Jake shouted, jogging up beside her, "what are we going to do? Just camp in the forest?"
"Well, we can't go by the roads; it's safest to go through the woods, only crossing roads at night, until we reach a really small town." She stepped off the sidewalk onto the steep decline.
It was good thing that Rose had brought three weeks of food –most of it would last that long- until she got far enough away from Spokane to go to the store again.
"But Rose, what are we going to do about the river?" Jake asked, leaning on his knees, panting slightly.
"Duh, swim." Jake laughed.
"That's funny," he said, "you're funny. But seriously."
"I was being serious. We're going to cross the river."
"What? We can't! The current would kill us!"
"Believe me, the river is shallow this time of year, and the current isn't that bad. Come on."
"Have you crossed it before or something?" Jake asked as they sloshed towards the bank.
The water soaked through their shoes instantly, and it was cold. As the water came up to Rose's neck, she began to swim. Despite the fact that the current ran fairly quickly, Rose didn't get too far off course.
It only took about ten minutes to cross the river, and as they splashed up the opposite shore, they collapsed, panting and spluttering.
"You are fucking crazy," Jake said, turning over to face Rose. She turned her head.
"Why thank-you," she replied. They lie there catching their breath and looking into the clouds.