"Rain, huh? Crap.." I mumbled to myself, chin in my palm, staring out the window of my classroom. A waterfall ran down the smooth glass, blurring my vision of practically everything that was outside. Students were fleeing indoors, using their binders as umbrellas. Nothing to ruin a Friday afternoon like a sudden down pour.
"Arthur. Arthur, are you listening?" Mr. Lindon called from the front of the class room. I locked eyes with the man, but I'm not quite sure how I managed it through those bug meshes he called glasses. There was so much dirt and dust on those things it was impossible to tell where exactly he was looking. The buttons on his shirt were straining to keep in the mound of fat that was his stomach. I could smell the grease from my seat.
"No, sir, I was not." Hey, why lie right? Math was already boring and Mr. Lindon just made it worse. His voice was too soft for his body and, whenever he spoke, it made my eyes feel droopy.
"I understand that children tend to be distracted when it rains, but please try and keep what little grey matter you have focused on my lesson."
The entire class was snickering at his little comment, but I didn't really care. People picked on me enough already, it wasn't like my math teacher calling me stupid would make that big of a difference. I was failing the class, so he wasn't hating on me for no reason.
Almost as soon as he turned around, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I didn't even have to look to know that it was Patrick. I read through the text quickly, sighing to myself again. He was asking if I had any smokes, as per usual. I responded with a quick, "no, and u kno i dont smoke" then tried my very best to pay attention to the rest of Mr. Lindon's horrible lesson.
Once class finally ended, I hurried to the washroom. The old fart had a stupid no leaving the classroom rule, so I would always go to pee before or after his class. It was the end of the day, so it didn't really matter how long I took.
Peeing was uneventful. I checked myself in the mirror quickly, still not very impressed with what I saw. Shaggy black hair, dull green eyes and a skinny-ass pale body, all hidden under a grey Metallica hoodie and blue jeans. No wonder people thought I was a druggie.
I walked down the stairs towards the back entrance, never taking the front. The people that beat me up always seemed to enjoy hanging out at the front of the school. The rain pelted me as soon as I stepped outside, a cold shiver shooting through me. From indoor heating to crisp November weather. No better way to wake up in the morning.
Taking the back path through the woods, I stopped halfway down the hill leading from the school. Standing at the bottom were the girls who were all part of the student council at my school. No guys had bothered to join up, so we were run by females.
With them was Thalia Newman. As soon as I saw her, my heart turned into a jackhammer. She was everything that I wouldn't be. She was athletic, had great friends, kicked the ass of every single test and, more than anything, had a smile that could turn rain into honey. She wore her auburn hair in a braid down her back, laughing at a joke one of her friends had just told. Her nose crinkled a bit as she laughed, the freckles decorating it moving closer together, bright blue eyes filled with joy.
After gawking for about five seconds I began to move again, instinctively pulling my hood closed tighter. None of the girls even threw me a glance as I walked passed them. It wasn't like I had been expecting anything different. I managed to get a whiff of her perfume as I walked by. Almonds and vanilla. It was intoxicating.
Shut up. I know I'm creepy.
While imagining what it would be like to kiss Thalia and inhale that aroma, I tripped over my own two feet. I gasped out as I fell to the floor and I would have faceplanted if my hands hadn't been in front of me. The gravel and rocks dug into my skin. One of my knees scraped against the ground and I didn't have to look to know I drew blood.
I stood up almost as quickly as I fell, bustling off. I could hear a few of the girls snickering at me, embarrassment flaring on my cheeks. Stupid, stupid me. Way to look like a total doofus.
I figured I was far enough away to check myself once I reached the nearby swing set. I sat on the rubber, the metal chains holding it up barely making a noise. I rolled my pant leg up, wincing slightly. Blood trickled from my knee, a scarlet river running down the pale skin.
"Great. Just fucking great," I grumbled to myself, reaching into my backpack. A few seconds later I had an Avengers band-aid over my knee with Loki's face on it, smiling like the sadistic jack ass that he was. I leaned back in the swing, grumbling to myself.
As I hung there, something in the bushes nearby caught my eye. The sun shone off of it, making me wince. What was it?
I climbed off the swing and walked to it, jamming my hand into the foliage. My fingers closed around what felt like a small cylinder. I pulled it from the bush, looking it over. It was a pure silver with no marks whatsoever. It felt warm and heavy in my hand, but there was nothing special about it. Bummer.
I turned to throw it away, only to come face to face with Thalia. Without thinking, I jammed the cylinder into my pocket.
"Hey, are you okay? You took a pretty nasty fall there.." She asked, her voice filled with worry. She was chewing on her bottom lip ever so slightly, eyes moving up and down my chest.
"U-Umm.. Y-yeah, I'm okay.." I managed to spit out, turning my eyes to her feet. Why was she talking to me? Someone like her shouldn't care about someone like me. She was ridiculously far out of my league. Like I was tee-ball and she was the MLB.
"Oh that's good, I was worried you had really hurt yourself!" She sounded.. Genuinely happy. Trap? Or was she just that nice?
"Y-yeah.. Well, I should really g-"
"Hey, do I know you? You look really familiar.." She asked, suddenly taking hold of my chin and lifting me up to look at her. Her eyes held gaze with mine. My breath quickened and my heart was thundering in my ears. Why was she so close?! There was less than a ruler's length of distance between us! She stared at me for a good minute before whatever realization she had been waiting for came to her, "Of course! You're Artie!"
"Arthur. Artie was a chubby four year old," I corrected, pulling away as quick as I could. Thalia's mom owned and ran a day care center and, for the better part of my childhood, took care of me. Thalia's older brother, Richard, used to shove my face into my cereal every morning. I cried every time.
"Right! God, how long has it been? Do you go to my school?" Thalia asked, acting utterly shocked.
"Uh.. Yeah.. We had English together in ninth grade." I told her, looking away as soon as I did. She would probably be creeped out as soon as she realized I remembered and then run home, letting me do the same.
"Holy crap, I never even realized! So, you were the kid who sat in the back with his hoodie up all the time!"
"Yeah. I tend to do a public service by not showing off my face to the world," I said, hoping she would take it as a joke.
"Hmm. Lemme see!" Her hands instantly flew for my hood and I jerked backwards, taking an extra step away. What the hell was with this girl?
"I'm good. Really." I mumbled, shifting my backpack a little. Thalia pouted before shrugging her resignation, turning away, the hem of her skirt flowing in the wind.
"Alright, well, I'll talk to you tomorrow okay?" And she ran back off to her friends, leaving me alone, trying to calm my beating heart. What the hell was all that about?! She never paid attention to me before, but now she wants to be buddies?
I stomped off in a very childish manner, thankfully not running into any further problems before reaching home. I lived in a small little two story house on a court. The garage was painted white, a few chips here and there, and our wooden door was a deep mahogany colour. Dad's car wasn't in the drive way. I unlocked the door and stepped inside, rejoicing as the warm air hit me. "Thank the Lord.."
I went straight for the kitchen, flipping my soggy hood down. The rain had wet my bangs, letting my cling to my head, but that was it. I probably looked like I pissed myself from falling over though. Great.
After changing into a white shirt and my Guitar Hero pajama pants I sat in front of the TV, turning on the news. A very attractive reporter in about her mid forties was delivering a story on suicides. They had spiked lately around the area I lived, thirteen in one week, all from hanging themselves. One of them had been a girl from my math class named Jenna. Everyone mourned for a few days but, as it so happens, life goes on.
"People committing suicide.. I don't see the point of it." I grumbled to myself, changing the channel quickly. Finding nothing else on TV I sighed, curling up to take a long nap instead. I had been feeling a bit tired since lunch anyway.
Before I was even half asleep my phone rang, jerking my head up. With a groan I answered it, soaking as much venom I could into my answer. "What."
"Whoa, someone sounds like they just woke up with a dude."
"What do you want, Patrick?"
"I want you to come and hang out! Alannah is here, along with a bunch of other people! Come on, come on, come on!"
"I really don't want to.. It's raining and I'm in my pajamas already.."
"Just get your lazy ass off your couch and come. We'll be waiting outside in five." And he hung up. Jackass.
After sliding back into my jeans, nearly falling down the stairs because of it, I was back outside. I didn't bother to throw on another hoodie. A blue Ford was waiting for me outside my house and I could see Patrick waving from the passenger's seat. A lot of people would question how Patrick and I were even friends. He was muscular, tanned with a winning smile and bright eyes. I was.. Me.
I opened the back door, scooting in next to the wonderfully breasted Alannah Williams. She had began to develop as soon as she hit twelve and hadn't shown any signs of slowing down since. Any button up shirt was fighting a losing battle against her. Sitting next to her were two girls I had never seen before. One had brown hair and glasses, looking as uncomfortable here as I was. Then there was a blonde who seemed to be extremely interested in her phone.
"So, where are we going?" I asked, keeping my eyes glued to the back of Patrick's head.
"The Farm," another voice answered. I only had to glance over to see the military style brown hair. Keith was in the driver's seat. Fucking fantastic. He beat the crap out of me on a daily basis and now I had to put up with him after school too?
"Because it's the best place in town to get high, retard." Whoa, whoa. Get high?!
"Pat, you know I don't smoke!" I shouted at him. Patrick just laughed and mumbled something along the lines of you won't be and then we were off.
"So.." Alannah began, pausing to try to remember my name.
"Right, Arthur! How do you know Patty?" Patty? Oh my God.
"We used to be neighbours. Sorta one of those childhood friendship things, I guess." I answered. The smile on her face dropped. I knew she had been expecting for a much more juicy back story but hey, since when was I a people pleaser?
No one said much for the rest of the ride, though me and Glasses did exchange a few worried glances. I was definitely right about her not wanting to be here.
"Sophie," She mouthed to me, smiling every so slightly, only turning up one corner of her mouth. She was kind of cute, in a nerdy, modest way. Still out of my league.
The car jerked back and forth once we hit the dirt road and Alannah was bouncing around like.. Well, a bouncy castle. She practically landed in my lap a few times.
"Alright Kiddies. We're here," Keith said in his usual gruff manner. We all climbed out of the car, stretching out sore limbs. Alannah mumbled a quick apology, to which I just waved a bit and told her not to worry about it.
The Farm was quite literally just an abandoned barn. It was big, red, and old. Planks of wood had fallen off the main house, leaving small moldy holes in the walls. The smell of rust and dead grass wafted from inside, and you can't forget the residual stench of horse feces. The place hadn't been used in years for anything other than teenagers needing a place to pop a pill. Needless to say, I had never been here.
"Should we really be here?" Sophie asked, fingers gripping her jean legs nervously. She was wearing a shirt with the letters ETF on it, which I took to mean Escape The Fate. Huh.
"Oh don't bother worrying! The cops never come this far out of town," the blonde spoke up, shoving her phone in to her cleavage. Well, at least she had finally joined the rest of the world.
"That's not what I'm worried about," Sophie frowned, but the others ignored her. They were already walking towards the barn house. I stood next to her, scratching the back of my head awkwardly until she mumbled, "They're all idiots."
"Preaching to the choir there. You wanna go somewhere and not get high?"
"Please." She was smiling again now. I smiled back, which probably looked like someone was strangling me. "Wanna walk in the woods?" She asked. I took a quick look up at the sky. The sun was setting, but it wasn't night yet. Probably about five o clock. Not much chance of an ax murderer finding us.
"Sure, why the hell not?" And we walked in the opposite direction of the barn. The woods near the Farm led straight back to town, if you didn't want to take the dirt road. All you had to do was combat nature and, seeing as it was almost Winter, nature wouldn't be putting up much of a fight.
"I'm guessing you go to Patrick's school." Sophie said, doing her best to make conversation as we climbed over roots and dirt.
"Yeah. You don't?"
"Nope. I'm Emily's cousin, the blonde bimbo. I'm staying with her for a while."
"Oh, how come?"
"My parents are in England. Dad had a business trip headed for London and took my mom with him." She was sitting on a log now, wiping a thin layer of sweat from her forehead.
"Oh, wow. That must suck."
"Nah. I didn't wanna go with them anyhow. They're.. Well, annoying." This girl was beginning to remind me a lot of me. She seemed to have the "I hate everything" attitude. Two people that were pissed off at the world and weren't druggies. How did this happen? I thought most people that wanted to see the world burn did some burning of their own. "So, what're your parents like?"
"Mom's gone and Dad's so drunk he's never really there," I said, sliding my hands into my jeans. Sophie raised an eyebrow and patted my shoulder as an apology or something. That conversation was over with. "You heard about all the suicides lately?"
"Oh yeah. Thirteen in one week. That's a bit of an unlucky number, don't you think?"
"Would any number be lucky considering what we're talking about?"
"Well, thirteen has always been a number used in rituals and stuff like that. I just think it's a bit creepy."
"Takes a creepy mind to think of something like that," I smirked. She just flipped me off and stretched herself out, yawning loud. Her back arched, pronouncing her chest a bit more. They weren't big, but they weren't small either. They were an average size. Definitely doable.
Then she fell. Her arms flailed and she dropped backwards, disappearing from view. I dashed over to the log, eyes widening when I saw a hole in the ground. The dirt behind the log had broken underneath her, obviously letting her fall through. "Hey! Are you okay?!"
"Yeah.. I think so.." She answered, though she did sound a little slurred. Oh please tell me she hadn't hit her head. I attached my phone to a belt loop, turning on the flashlight app. Most useless app in the world until now.
"I'm coming down!" I announced before dropping in to the hole. I fell for about six feet before hitting the floor. My ankle jerked a bit under me and I fell, smacking my elbow off the floor as well. "Ow.."
"Nice of you to join me." Sophie mumbled. I turned over to see her propped against the wall, a patch of brown hair dyed a shade darker than the rest. Damn it. I sat up and touched her head gently, pulling away with slick fingers. If only I had brought my backpack with me.
"Come on.. We should try and find a way out." I told her. With a gentle heave I lifted her up, letting her use me as a crutch. The chivalrous move seemed to offend her, seeing as she pushed herself off me, determined to walk on her own.
Shining the beam of light around, I could see a small tunnel leading off somewhere else. We just looked at each other and nodded, walking into the darkness. Each breath sent a frosty cloud in front of our faces.
We didn't speak as we walked, heading further and further in to the tunnel. It seemed to be never ending, soil crunching under our feet. I kept one hand on the wall, making sure not to take any unnecessary turns. There weren't any tunnels that branched off so far.
Soon enough, the tunnel opened into a large space. The room in front of us was empty, except for pillars all around, placed in a perfect circle. The pillars were plain other than a large, intimidating hook built into each one. The hooks all pointed towards the center of the room. I shone the light on the floor, my breath starting to quicken. There was a large circle on the floor, drawn out of some sorts of symbols. I had no idea what they meant or how to even describe them.
"I don't like this.." Sophie whispered. I nodded. I shone the light around the room, hoping to find some way out. There was nothing.
"I guess we just come back the way we came.." I told her, turning around. The look on Sophie's face stopped me though. Her brown eyes were wide, finger pointing towards the ceiling. Her hand was trembling, lower lip quivering. "What is it?"
I turned to see a man hanging upside down from it. His fingers and toes were dug into the dirt, coal black eyes staring at us. His head was twisted at an unnatural angle, almost a hundred and eighty degrees. He was bald, a large tattoo on his head matching the circle on the floor. Now that was creepy.
After staring at us for almost a minute he scuttled away like a spider, moving to the spaces above the pillars. He pushed through the dirt and something dropped through, landing straight on the hook with a sickening shunk. It was a body. Bile rose in my throat as Sophie grabbed onto my arm, shaking like a leaf in the wind. He repeated the process with the other pillars, until thirteen bodies had dropped, each hanging from their own hooks, the tip of the metal spiking through their chests.
"You just had to mention the number thirteen.." I whispered to her. Sophie didn't answer, only buried her head into the back of my shirt. The man crawled until he was directly above the circle. Every single fiber of my being was telling me to run, but my legs wouldn't move. No, that wasn't it. I didn't want them to move. I wanted to see what was going to happen.
The man gripped his right hand and, with a cry of absolute ecstasy, tore it off. Blood poured from his wrist, splashing down into the circle. The symbols began to shine as soon as the blood touched them, spinning around and around. I couldn't hold it in any longer. I turned and barfed, emptying whatever I had for lunch onto the floor. This was too messed up, even for me.
"Come on, let's go." I told Sophie, giving her a gentle nudge. She nodded and took off running straight back down the tunnel we had just came through. I followed, refusing to turn around. Then I heard it.
There was a loud, nails on a chalk board screech from behind me. The ground shook beneath my feet, dirt and rocks falling all around me. A blast of cold wind hit me from behind, lifting me off my feet and into the air. I landed hard on the ground, spitting God knows what from my mouth.
The man was standing above me, lips drawn back in a toothy grin. His teeth looked like they had been filed to look like fangs, but the blood on them was real. I just had no idea if it was his or someone else's. What the fuck had we gotten ourselves into?!
He grabbed me by my shoulders and threw me into the wall of the tunnel. Before I could fall again his hand was around my throat, pinning me to it. He drew his other hand back, long fingernails shining like knives from the light on my phone. I punched and kicked, but he wouldn't let go. I could feel the air slipping from my lungs, his nails digging into the skin on my neck.
"Arthur!" Sophie shouted out, but I couldn't tell from where. I had tunnel vision. All I could see was the man in front of me. He smirked again before thrusting his hand forward, a sharp pain shooting up from my stomach. I could feel where his fingers pierced the skin, the blood trickling down my abdomen. He tore his fingers out, a fountain of gore spraying his shirt and the side of his face. His fingers released my neck. I fell to the floor, crumpling up into a ball of pain. Then he was gone. Just.. Vanished.
"Arthur! Arthur, don't be dead, please!" Sophie shouted out, running over to me and cradling my head in her lap. I stared up at her, or rather the four of her. Any time I tried to speak all I would do was cough up blood. I couldn't move. It hurt to breathe.
Darkness seeped in to my vision, blocking off everything else. I felt cold, freezing actually, as my blood left me. It flowed out onto the ground, not to mention Sophie's jeans.
I began to feel numb instead of pain. My breath stopped.
Huh. I was really going to die here.
Light erupted from my pocket, washing over the two of us. A burning sensation swam through me, my entire body jerking. I felt like every atom of my being was on fire. Something clanged onto the ground next to me, the light obviously coming from it. The cylinder.
I felt a tugging on my stomach, so I lifted my head up just enough to see what was happening. The skin was stitching itself back together, the five puncture wounds from minutes before turning into pink scars. Seriously. What the hell was happening to me.
I screamed out as something began to carve into my chest, just below my neck. It felt like it took hours, but the whole process probably only lasted about a minute. Afterwards I was a throbbing mound of pain.
The light faded and Sophie uncovered her eyes, staring down at me now. "Arthur..?" The bloody patch was still in her hair but, from what I could tell, the actual cut was healed.
"Uh.. yeah. Hi." I whispered, sitting up slowly. I touched my chest gently, looking down at it. A large X was imprinted on my skin, sending a chill through me. Whatever that was, I was guessing it wasn't good. Looking over at Sophie, I could see a strange black band around her right wrist. What was THAT?
"You have one too.." She whispered, as if reading my mind. I looked at my right wrist. Nothing. My left? There was a black band there too.
"Check your chest.." I told her. Normally a girl would've blushed at that, but she knew what I was talking about. She tugged her neckline out, all colour draining from her face. That was all I needed to know.
Whatever had just happened, we were in it together.
Jesus kid, you okay?
I turned to my left, eyes widening. The metal cylinder had vanished completely. Where had it gone?
I'm in your head, kid. Name's Samael. You're welcome, by the way.
"For what?" I asked aloud, earning an eyebrow raise from Sophie.
Saving your life. Well, technically, I just split the girl's life between the two of you. You two are bound by fate now. If one dies, so shall the other.
What?! I stared at Sophie, my breath starting to quicken again. If one of us died, the other would too?! What the hell was that all about?!
Hey, you should be grateful! You're alive because of me! Wait, can the girl hear me? Guess not. Hold up... GOT IT!Sophie jumped as soon as she shouted, looking around quickly, trying to figure out where the voice came from.
Okay, listen up you two. What just attacked you was what we call a Hunter. They, well, they hunt. That's pretty much it. They're human beings who've been possessed by demons and turned into.. Well, what you just saw. They're horrible, evil things that only enjoy killing. Well, I'm a demon too but that's not the point. What IS the point is that you two are joined together. I explained this to the boy already but, girl, if one of you dies, so does the other. It was necessary to save his life."What?!" Sophie shouted, fear in her eyes.
It's not that bad! Anyways, since I'm kind of possessing.. Both of you.. You're both going to be doing my job."Your job?" I asked, knowing I wouldn't like the answer.
We've gotta find the Hunters and kill them, then devour their souls. If you don't, that number on your chest will run out and hit zero. Then you die anyway.