I'm awake, filtered sunlight pierces my eyelids and prompts my arrival to the living. Cold leather beneath me tells me I am not at home. I open my eyes. My eyes are met by deathly white sunlight. The haze clears, and I become aware of my surroundings. A bus. Why am I on a bus?

"You will be traveling by bus to Forest Villa. You will be met by your new family. And Azazel, try not to screw it up this time." the social worker explains, the chide of her voice as thick as blood. I look to the stitches that hold my wrist.


I look to my wrists, and slide the sleeves up, remembering everything. I look out the window and see an urban landscape. I thought I was going to a forest-

"Last stop, off the bus!" shouts the driver. The doors slide open, obviously under his command. Me and my fellow passengers exit the bus. I look about. What an odd city... is it named "Forest"

Maybe I took the wrong bus.

My panoramic of the city grows, and I see a sign. The sign reads "Azazel", my name. I hate my name. I am not burdened by the pack I carry, as I own nothing. I am greeted by a balding man.

"You Azazel?" the man asks.


"You don't got much."

"These hollows of mine are empty. I own nothing."

The man chews on my last words, and I send another barrage to knock out his defenses.

"Your abode... where lay the foundation?"

"Erm... a few minutes' drive from 'ere. I-we," he motions to a woman, presumably his wife, and a small girl, presumably his daughter, "live in an apartment jus' down the road."

I stare at the woman, examining her, and then switch to the girl. My eyes linger upon her black nails. The man follows my gaze.

"Olivia, how many times 'ave we got to tell you, no black nails!" he chides. She shrinks back from him. I notice my sleeves are still rolled up, and I begin to slide them down. The stitching is caught. Pain sears me, but I ignore it. The girl begins to look me up and down. I notice her eyes straying to my long jacket several times. The balding man leads me to their sedan. I enter the rear seat, as does the young girl. The man and woman claim their seats in the front.

"So, where you coming from?" the man asks me.

"I once took my post in State Washington. Those times are past. I was last abiding to the cottage of the Wilkerson's in Kansas. Now Forest is where I shall present my misdoings."

"Washinton, eh? That's perty far from here. You're going to find our weather is a lot hotter. You wont get to wear that fancy coat much." he expounds.

"Jacket." I correct him. He does not appear to appreciate it. He scoffs, and returns his focus to driving. The city flies by and we pull into a parking garage. The car shuts down, and we carry on to the elevator.

"What might one refer to thee as?" I ask.

"Well, eventually I will be mom, and old grumpy over there will be dad. But for now, just call us Mister and Misses Q." the woman answers my question. I nod my approval. I am led up several floors on the elevator, and then three more on the stairs. The apartment we arrive in happens to have a penthouse view, of smog.

"One might remark on the... distasteful air of 'Forest'." I say, not necessarily directed to anyone. I wonder who checks the emissions on the cars? Is it hard to pass the emissions in a town like this? It should be.

"Yeah... the air is... strangulating here." the young girl remarks.

"Scouring of one's memory brings forth the fact that we are not properly acquainted. I am called Azazel. Mostly by those I hate."

"My name is Olivia. You have an odd way with words... what do you prefer to be called?" the girl, Olivia, responds with genuine curiosity.

"The friends I never had called me Z. Although now I think Azazel is more fitting. Z is the end. Azazel is death. I am closer to death than a proper ending. My misbehavior has brought upon many problems, health is one of them." I instinctively feel my stitches. When will these nasty devices be removed from my arm? How long does it take for the effect to be done? I wonder if they squeak when being removed...

"What do you mean by 'misbehavior'?" Olivia questions. My response is the lifting of my sleeve. Odd throughout the entire conversation, I looked not upon my subject, but the smog. The smog seemed a fitting place to end my life. She murmurs something I do not catch.

"One may call me observant, but I seem to have missed your parents exit of the room. Where might they have dissipated to?" I feel my eye twitch. I don't need that.

"They're probably in the kitchen. Doing whatever they do in the kitchen." she responds.

"Where might I retire?"

"Follow." is her one word response. She leads me to a dimly lit bedroom. The room is furnished enough, enough for me anyways. I see a bed and a nightstand, as well as a small desk with a few writing utensils on it. I look about the walls, searching for anything remarking on how this room was previously used. I see no pinholes or bumps, it's as if this room has never been used.
"Does this dwelling have any paper under its roof?" I ask.

"Who doesn't have any paper? Here, I'll go get you some." Olivia responds, leaving the room. I move to the desk. I pick up one of the pencils, and search for a tip, finding a meager flat piece of graphite.

"Oh this simply shall not suffice. Where might one acquire an instrument to make the angles more acute? An Exacto knife would be ideal, but an apparatus designed for such endeavors shall suffice." I ask of my visitor, not knowing nor caring who he or she is. I turn to see Olivia plopping a stack of printer paper on the desk.

"I have a pencil sharpener you can use, but if you want a knife, you'll have to take that up with mom or dad." she tells me.

"A pencil sharpener shall do for the time being, your kindness is much appreciated." I answer. She leaves the room, and returns promptly with the pencil sharpener.
"So, how old are you?" she asks me.

"I am on my seventeenth year, so by your standards I am sixteen. May I ask why you inquire such of me?"

"I dunno, just wonderin'. I'm just thirteen, goin' into the eighth grade tomorrow. Oh, school starts tomorrow by the way, I hope you're ready." Olivia tells me of my impending doom.

"Fantastic... there wouldn't happen to be any of the social class... bullies would there?" I nervously ask.

"Well... I dunno about high school. I'm in middle school, and they aren't very nice there... probably the same in high school. I dunno." she stammers. I look to the desk again, and I grab a piece of paper. I begin writing on it.

"I believe to be able to handle this... school. Social interaction is not my specialty, but I shall endure. Nonetheless, 'bullies', as they are called, generally have a tendency to send their barrages of foul attitude towards me." I take the paper, and tear it.

"Why did you tear it?" Olivia asks me.

"If I write it down, I remember it."

"What did you write down?"

"That, young girl, is none of your business. Now excuse me, I have had a long day." I say, removing her from my room, and I proceed to lie down on the bed.

"What are you going to do now?" he asks me, looking to the bloody knife in my hand.

"I-I'm not sure... I assume I shall be arrested..." I look to the corpse below me. I bend over to its ear. "I'm glad your dead." I whisper as I stab the knife into its chest and wipe it of my fingerprints. I look to my companion. "We should get out of here."

I awake to a bead of sweat piercing its way through my eyelid. The room has not a ceiling fan... no wonder it is intensely hot in here. I move to the window of my room, and slide it open to reveal the dark outdoors. I look to the clock. Zero thirty... the dawn of a new day is impending... a day were I am cursed to be locked in the dwellings of demons. I lean out the window, and take a deep breath of air. It has been a while since that event has plagued me... I am surprised my conscience even cares anymore. I look to the shades below. The dive could spare me. I think not. The tree looks tempting though. I wonder if it produces fruit... I need rest. I walk to the bed, and throw myself atop it, and sleep shortly follows.

I'm not sure if I like it, but there is no going back now. Blood is flowing freely from my wrist, and I cannot stop it. The blow torch of pain is searing through my arm, and thick blood is dripping onto the carpet. My foster-mother is passed out on the couch from drinking one too many, for the umpteenth time since my arrival two weeks ago, and my foster-father is hopefully at work. It is now that I suddenly fear dying. Why? Why? Why now? Why could I have not felt this before? Maybe if I had felt this earlier, the incision on my arm wouldn't be so long... so deep... so narrow. I need help. I reach for the phone. I dial three numbers, a nine, a one, and another one. I struggle to keep consciousness as I hear the operator pick up.

"Nine-one-one dispatcher, what is your emergency?" I can clearly hear a woman's voice over the phone. Good, I can hear clearly, I still have some time left.

"I am in need of an ambulance... I-I slashed my wrists...please... help..." I stammer as the receiver slips from my blood masked hand. Consciousness begins to fade as I hear sirens squealing with delight as they are activated nearby.

I awake to the alarm next to the bed protesting its discontent with my early schedule. I slam my fist on its clicking top, and feel about it for the switch that makes it stay asleep. I find the switch, and flick it into place. I am pried out of bed by the smell of coffee. I toss on a black tee-shirt and a pair of faded black jeans, and make my way down the stairs, sliding my studded sneakers on during my descent. I check the first wall clock I come across. Seven-thirteen, I think I overslept. I make it to the table to find the family eating breakfast contently.

"Am I unfortunate enough to have surrendered my rights to the morning meal?" I ask.

"You mean breakfast? Nah, grab you some cereal, and there's coffee on the counter if you're a drinker."

"I prefer tea. I convey my deepest gratitude." I say, pouring cereal into a bowl. The meal is bland and not fulfilling, but it is enough. I am handed the school schedule with room numbers and all, and I am sent to the bus stop to await for my death.

As the bus pulls up, I rethink my decision to call the ambulance. The bus pulls up. The doors slide open, and make my way onto the bus, my long jacket scraping the stairs as I enter. The stares that are immediately plastered to me tells me that this is not the school for me. I take a seat in the far end of the bus, and hide my head in my hands. I swipe my hand across my forehead, moving the hair away from my face. The stench from the bus is not to be trifled with, nor are the passengers. The boy who takes a seat next to me does not seem to notice me. At all. I am OK with that, just so long as he doesn't change his mind halfway through the ride. We make several more stops on the way before he turns to me and offers his hand.

"Hey, I'm Calvin." he introduces himself. I allow my hand to take his in a firm shake.

"They call me Azazel. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." I respond.

"You would do your best not to speak like that at school, they don't like anyone who is different." he warns me.

"Define 'they'. It is my plague to be different. Change of speech patterns wouldn't stop that." I explain.

"By 'they' I mean the seniors, and really everybody else as well. This year's seniors are some mean sons of bitches. I suggest you steer clear of them. Anyways, what grade are you? I'm a sophomore."

"They dub me a junior this year. As for your seniors, I believe that this will not be an option. Many of the classes bestowed upon me this duration have been sanctioned as senior's classes."

"Well then... you are screwed. Nice knowing you for what? Five minutes? Good luck anyways. I'll be laying low, as always." he says with a sense of finality. I have no response, so I do not respond. I look to my wrist. The stitches are quite odd looking, as they have become relatively frayed. I pull my sleeve back down. The bus slides to a comfortable stop at the school, and the other passengers and I exit. I reach into my pocket and remove the folded piece of paper. I unfold it, and look to my schedule. My first class, which is homeroom, is in classroom number three-ten, which means it is on the third floor. I look up at the school. I have never seen a school this tall, I desire an elevator to unveil the path to the tenth floor. I make my way through the thriving crowds to attempt to secure a spot on the staircase; to no avail. There are much too many humans for me to make it. In the frenzy, I manage to bump into someone, pushing them over. I look down to find a small being, but I cannot see them hardly. I reach my hand down to help them up.

"My greatest apologies." I say as I help it up. I realize it is a female.

"I'm sorry, I should have been watching where I was going..." she apologizes.

"Contrary, it was my fault." I correct her. I get a good look at her as she is standing. She has dark brown locks, much like my own, and pale blue eyes. The combination is quite a rare one. It takes me by surprise. She sighs.

"I'm not arguing with you, but my opinion differs. Who are you? I haven't seen you around before. Nice coat, by the way." she asks me.

"I moved in yesterday. It came as quite a shock to be attending school on the successor to the day of my arrival. The name bestowed upon me is Azazel. Who might I be speaking to? And it is a jacket, not a coat, by the way." I correct her. She, like my new foster father, does not seem to appreciate the correction. What is it with the people in this city about not taking correction?

"Sorry, my name is Alanna. Wow, moved in yesterday? From where?"

"I arrive from Kansas, but before that I abode in Washington state, which is the closest mark to home. Would you happen to have knowledge as to where I can find the stairs?"

"Sounds rough... yeah, they're over here, follow me." Alanna says. I agree, and follow her through the thriving mass of humans. "So what floor are you headed to?"

"My destination is room three-ten, so I assume the third floor."

"Oh really? Same here. We must have the same home-room. The stairs are right over here." She says, leading me to the concrete upward spiraling apparatuses. We make it to the third floor with no further conversation, which as all fine with me. I can already tell this school is going to drain me; make my fuse several feet shorter. Which is not a good thing. I have the feeling my grand finale shall occur here. I make it to home-room. I enter the room and there is immediately a classroom full of eyes glaring at me and my dark attire. I take a seat in the back, as those are the only seats left. Odd. The teacher waits for Alanna to take her seat, which is two down from mine, and begins to talk. He talks and talks, but I catch none of it. A boy stands. The boy states his name, and his hometown, but I don't care. Another kid stands up, and looks the same as the first kid, and it keeps going like that. All the males look and act the same, as do all the females. The only different ones are me, as I have my general black attire on, and Alanna, who has dark hair instead of the stained blonde. The line finally reaches Alanna, who stands, and states her name and that she is from Tennessee. She is the only outsider, aside from me. It reaches me, and I don't even bother to stand.

"Those who dare speak to me call me Azazel. I belong in Washington state." I say. Everybody in the class looks to me. They all say, in unison:

"Azazel? What kind of a name is that?" I feel a chill run up my spine. I do not belong here. I feel my eye twitch. I don't need that. I blink, and something in my nerves crack. All of a sudden I am in a colorless world. Everything is gray scale. It is black and white. It is really quite marvelous, although I don't want it to last for long; I predict this to get really old really fast. I once again sense my grand finale is near. I don't respond the their question, as I sensed it rhetoric, but one speaks up, the leader, I presume.

"Hey, we asked you a question." he states. I hear many shouts of 'yeah' to back him up.

"Pardon me. I presumed your question to be rhetoric. Azazel is the name of the Egyptian god of death, therefore the name is Egyptian. Quite fitting, is it not?" I answer.

"Damn right, as you'll be dead quite soon." unison again. This startles me. They have confirmed my initial prediction: I shall make my finale here, and I pray it shall be grand. My vision quivers, and I watch ripples float through the gray-scale world. I'm really going to die...

All of the students turn back to the front of the room, and life carries on like nothing has happened. Several minutes later, the bell rings. I make my trek to the seventh floor where I have calculus. I make it into the room, and the same happens as did last period, although this time when I state my name, they don't turn and ask what kind of name it is. No, they do worse. Much worse. They all, and by all, I mean all stand, and walk towards me.

I fall to the older boy's push. They call me names and kick me. It hurts. I cry out in pain, and they kick more, laughing. I hate them. I hate all of them. They step back in a loud chortle and double over. I put this time to use to regain my composure. I stand, and my knee is carried by an unknown force into the largest one's face, crushing his nose. Before I know it, I am in an all out fight.

I am brought back to reality by a fist being thrown into my cheek. I fall to the ground, the only thing with color is the blood that I spit onto the ground. I really am going to die, aren't I? A foot flies into my stomach and I cough out more blood. I hear some shouts. I hear names being called, the most predominant one being 'faggot'. It is odd... just because I wear long hair and dark clothing, they assume I am a homosexual.

I see one boy grin with sharp teeth. This disturbs me. It disturbs me enough to the point where I can fling the one who is on me off, and punch this kid's teeth out. It feels great, the rush of another's blood spilling down my knuckles. They all fly back like I have hit them. The conformity is sickening. I stand, spit more red, and look to my red hand. I grin.

"Red... red... all I see is red! Isn't it magnificent!?" I shout as I begin to pummel more of them, knocking these worthless zombie-like beings down one by one.

"No." I hear behind me. I turn. A pistol is aiming at my head. This really is the end. Everything reverts to its original color as the bullet flies towards me, and everything is turned back to black, as it tears through my brain. My finale... it was grand.