CHAPTER ONE

"So, what do you say?" asked Jade, holding up an azure colored dress to her torso. She started moving around, twisting her body slightly and checking herself out in the thrift store mirror. "Don't you think it matches my eyes?"

"Sure," I said rather flatly. Shopping wasn't really my thing. In truth, I would much rather be back at home rolling in a mud puddle and splashing my mother with the wet dirt just to peeve her off. It was days like this when you needed mud. The atmosphere was hot, dry, and dusty. Rain hasn't visited this place in who knows how long. Quite often does my mouth get dry and dehydrated. Most people are sweating like pigs already, but Jade always seems to find something to take her mind off things, and eventually mine, too.

That's part of the reason why we're friends. Our friendship started out as total rivalry, until our mothers went on a camping trip together, dragging their daughters along with them. She caught talking to Drew, the hot guy that lives in my room. Jade couldn't see him, nor hear him though, because he was dead. She started to tease and make fun of me, but when I said her grandma was here too, she stopped. She started asking me these questions about her grandmother, testing me to see if I was serious, or joking. Of course, I wasn't. Right there started a little bud of friendship, but it had to take steps in order to let it grow. He didn't become friends until late last year. Up until then, I had no friends here in Ohio. Jade was the first. Therefore, we're best friends for life. We did have our differences. When we started to get to know each other better, I realized that she was a complete girly girl, and only pretended to be tough at school. She's had a tough life, and so have I, but I'm more of a tomboy than she is.

I turned my head over to the left. A young mother and her daughters were checking out the clothes on the clothing rack, making confused faces at the mordern wear for woman. Amused by this, since they were obviously from a previous time, I continued to watch them. The mother was checking out a low-cut V shirt, rambling on about how innapropriate it was to wear, and told her kids that she'd never want to see them in anything like it. I laughed, not noticing Jade sitting right next to me, peering over my shoulder to get a view. Of course she couldn't anyways, but she always did that.

"An old fashioned mother and her children, possibly from the 1800's, checking out modern day women's clothing with disgust." I laughed.

"Bah, I wouldn't blame them," Jade teased. "Women now adays look like sluts more than anything else."

I nodded my head in agreement, sighed, and stood up. I began to stretch, then Jade and I headed to the cash register so we can buy the dress. "You sure you don't want to buy anything? The school dance is coming up, ya know." I waved my hand in dismissal, and shook my head no. Dances weren't really something that I was good at, and wasn't really something I wanted to go to anyways. The last two sucked, and I ended up sitting down on the benches, watching everyone. Luckily some ole school ghosts came to chat. The only upside of it though.

"No," I replied. "I'm not going, and if I change my mind, I can just wear my violet one."

"Oh, that one's so pretty!"

We walked out of the store and down the street. I stared up at the blazing blue sky, wondering why there wasn't a single cloud up there. You'd think Ohio would get rain, with it having lake effects from Lake Erie and such. But no, no rain, no clouds. Just heat and dust. The air tasted fowl with the mixture of dust and exhaust from nearby trucks. I sighed. Oh well, at least it's better than Colombus, the state's capitol.

After walking down a few more blocks, Jade and I had to depart. She had gymnastics practice, and her mother said that she would meet her just down the street. After bidding our fare wells, I turned the corner and walked down the sidewalks to our apartment building. I scanned the parking lot and playground for any sign of kids playing, but it was too hot outside, and they were probably cooped up around the kitchen sink fighting for any drop they could get. At least that's what Jade's sibling would be doing. I had none.

Opening up the front door and walking through, I quickly shut it. I had left the air conditioning running so that it would be cool by the time I got back, but no such luck happened. It was still as hot and muggy as the outside. I grabbed a soda from the fridge and plopped down on the couch. I remember when the family room use to be buzzing with activity. Father use to be sitting on the couch, either reading the newspaper, watching TV with my mother, or laughing along with any friend he brought over. Mother use to do the same, along with cooking dinner and other motherly duties. My cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents use to come over often and play games with us and tell us jokes. It use to be so fun here, so lively, until Death came and took them all.

I wiped my eyes with my free hand, remembering how sick Cousin Judie was. Her death came shortyly after me and Grandpa's visit to Egypt, where Grandpa got attacked by a swarm of locusts. One flew into his throat and he began to choke, suffocate, and die. That was when I was six. Then, when Dad was invited to a dinner party with his friends, taking me along with him, there was a shooting, and him and quite a few of his friends got shot. I hid under the table in safety. Other family members died by disease, or shooting massacres, even by natural causes of the Earth and human body.

I leaned back against the couch in the dark, so happy that the government decided to ignore this place. The electricity got turned off, yes, as well as the heat. The referigerator is no longer cold, as well as the freezer -though it's still extremely freezing in there anyways; and there's no TV. I keep my food and drinks cool in a cooler filled with ice. I managed to tweak the air conditioner so that even if that gets taken away too, I would still be cool. My parents had died well more than a year ago. I wonder what the government is thinking of this apartment building. Even the manager ignores it. I shrug; it's probably because not many people want to live here; let alone this house. Rumors of haunting demons that lurk around in our shadows is well known. Demons that can tear you apart and eat your hearts, and once done they would cast you forver away to the darkest, most fiery pits of Hell.

I shook my head and took another drink of my soda. The only demon here is Drew, and he's no demon at all. not even close. Notta. Nope. Ziltch. Unless people painstakingly mistake hot ghostly guys as demons, than I guess I would actually be in a world of trouble. Drew hasn't harmed me though. He couldn't even harm a fly if he had to.

Drew is the ghost that haunts my room. He got murdered here a long time ago, possibly a decade ago or so. Maybe more. This was his house apartment back then, and he refuses to leave for some odd reason. He always lurks around the whole of the perimeter of the apartments, occasionally leaving to follow me around wherever I go. Not that I don't mind. He's really cute, with those sweeping blonde bangs over over his bright, amber brown eyes. He's really into fashion, but never really judges anybody if they wear the wrong things. His most favorite clothing which he most often wears is his black velvet vest jacket with a long white turtle neck underneath, and dark denim blue jeans. If his hair was a darker color, it would make him look emo/goth-ish. It didn't matter, because I knew underneath of that jacket and turtleneck, there was a set of four-packs hidden in his abs.

I got up off the couch and placed my can on the coffee table, and went into the bathroom. I wanted to wash. I felt filthy, gritty, and I needed to relax under a spray of nice, warm water. As I got undressed, I looked into the mirror at my reflexion. Long, thin blonde hair with glistening, icy blue eyes; my face was thin, my cheeks pink, and thin, dainty eye brows roosted above my eyelids. I looked just like my mom. I even match some of her facial expressions. Seeing myself, seeing her within myself, only made me want to cry. How I miss her, the last one that died.

I changed out of my clothes and took a quick hot shower, relaxing my tense muscles. Afterwards, I went into my room wrapped in a towel. Drew was never there when I took a shower. Instead, we goes outside. What a gentleman. I pick out a comfy tank top and gym shorts, and placed them on. The tank top was dark, and tie-dyed. The shorts were black and green: basketball shorts. I pulled my hair up into a ponytail, brushing it away from my shoulders. I went back downstairs again afterwards, where Drew was waiting for me on the couch.

He normally isn't in the living room much; mostly outside or in my room. I walked up and sat down next to him. I seemed tense, and anxious about something. I tried not to look into his eyes much, because if I do, I know what I would see. Images of his painful past. Images of his abusing family. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father starved him, and beaten him. Eventually his father fell ill, and was the cause of Drew's death when he came home drunk one night. There were worse images, worse pictures, but I dare not to name them. You would probably puke due to the horro and gore. I shook my head, trying to get rid of the memory of the last time I had looked into his eyes. It was when I was thirteen, two years ago, I was playing with Drew outside on the swings. I never looked into his eyes even then, because everytime I did, pain would engulf me in its arms. His history was so deep, so painful, that it had that emotional effect on me. When I looked up and accidently caught his eyes, a river of pain and blood ran pulsed through me, surged through me, like a water bursting out of a dam. It had hurt, and I had collapsed on the ground, gasping for breath. It felt as if someone was triny to pull my limbs apart from my body. I could feel thedirect punches his father gave him. I could feel the hot metal knife driving into his chest, killing him. I saw it, I felt it, and for weeks afterward, just like the last couple of times I looked, I fell extremely ill, almost to the point of death.

Trying to push out that memory, I tried to keep my voice calm, strong, and steady. "Drew, is something wrong?" I asked.

He looked up at me, I could see that out of the corner of my own eyes. I don't know if he is letting those emotions show or, those memories. Ghosts have options whether or not they want you to see their past, and if they do, it's always shown in their eyes. It plays like a movie in fast forward. You hear things, you see things, you feel things that you aren't suppose to feel. I don't know if others like me are like that: feeling the emotions and feeling the pain, but I know I do. I shook my head again, letting out a grunt, and risked at glance at Drew. His eyes were normal, amber brown color. No drive-in movie was showing, thank God. I let out a breath of relief that I didn't even know I was holding.

"Something's... different," he said. His voice was soft, and creamy. Everytime I heard it, it was like I was drowning in honey. "Something is not right. Something's gonna change, and I know it's going to be for the worse. We are being watched,"

"By who?" I asked. The way he was talking frightened me. I had never heard him speak so forward like this, so nervous and scared. Drew normally wasn't scared. He knew that nothing could hurt him because he was dead. The only thing he feared was the Eternal Place, where he says all ghosts who have done good will go. That was the only thing though, and right now, hearing fear in his voice, it made me afraid.

"Something evil. Something that lurks in the shadows. There's only two Spirata Emberlkas left. It's coming."

I knew very little of the spirit language. Drew says that the Afterlife speaks a new language, a language not known to man today. He says it's an language of the ancients, back when records weren't written down yet. Mostly descendants of gods, witches, oracles, and other people like those can speak the language, because their souls are linked to the Afterlife: the community of everything supernatural. Drew says the Afterlife is another realm holding many worlds, many different demensions in which most ghosts and spirits are located. I knew that spirata means spirit. Simple enough. Emberlka has two definitions: fire, or walk (also walking, walked, walker etc.).

"Spirit Walker?" I asked. Drew knew soemthing I didn't.

"You are in danger, Ever." Drew warned. "Seek the other Spirata Emberlka, before it is too late."

"You better not be messing with me!" I growled. I was not a girl to be messed with. I won multiple martial arts wrestling several times. I know that I won't be able to do much damage to Drew, but if I start lashing at him, showing him my taekwondo, then surely he'll get the idea.

But instead he shook his head, "You know I would never do harm to you, and I would never speak to you on a joking matter about this. Never."

My blood ran cold. I had no idea what he was talking about, and before I could ask him much of anything, he disappeared. "Drew!" I snapped. "Drew get back here!"

Now, I was really scared.