The wind blowing fiercely, pushing her forward as she ran through the woods. She continuously looked back to check if she was still being chased. Her shirt was tainted with blood and mud. The crows screeching as they soared above her. She tripped over a tree root and landed flat on her stomach. The leaves rustled and the sound of voices came closer. She attempted to stand but her foot was caught. The voices were so close. She knew she'd never be able to get out before they reached her. That wasn't the case though. The rustling leaves came closer and she closed her eyes tightly, not wanting to witness whatever was going to happen. She opened them when she felt her foot no longer in the grasp of the tree root. She was free, but the voices were returning. She quickly stumbled to her feet and took off at full speed. The trees becoming blurs as she ran past them in a hurry. Running as fast and as far as her feet would carry her. She needed to escape before they caught her.
She knows she'll never be able to run from her past but she sure wants to try. Anyone who lived her life would try to do the same. Her parents had died in a car crash and she had been sent off to a foster home. She adjusted quickly and made a large amount of friends. The owner lost it though. At the last minute, he lost all sanity and killed all the children in the house. She had managed to escape though. However, not fast enough. She still witnessed all her friends getting shot. That's how her clothes ended up being stained red. She had to keep running or they'd find her. She needed to find a safe place. She'd have to find her older brother, Kyle. Kyle had went off to college the year before the accident. It was some college in New York and he had lost his phone. The last letter she had received was the day before the accident.
Kyle, told of how he's happier without his phone. He prefers writing letters instead of talking on the phone or over the computer. Kyle wanted to be a lawyer and was in search of a good law school during that time. He said it was never too early to start looking. He also said that he knew he'd have to get a phone and computer for work but he didn't mind. He said he would give them the number after he got the phone. They never got the letter though because the accident happened and then she was shipped to the foster home. Kyle was never told about the accident. They were the only members of the family still alive and she couldn't write to him.
She heard a gunshot farther into the heart of the woods but went faster just to be safe. The faster and farther away from there she got, the safer she'd be. She'd have to find a way to track her brother. At least as best as a seventeen year old can without drawing too much attention to herself. If people realized that she was on her own, they'd send her back to the foster house and she couldn't go back there. She heard a twig snap behind her and went to scream but someone put their hand over her mouth, muffling it.
She was spun around and facing a boy. Her chocolate brown eyes met dark brown eyes. He was her height but seemed to be at least a year older than her. He had a dangerous look in his eyes. A look that says 'don't mess with me'. She looked him up and down. Taking in his black shirt and black basketball shorts, causing him to blend with the darkening forest. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here to help," his deep, melodious voice said in a quite whisper. He loosens his grip on her mouth and says "I'll let go, only if you don't scream. I'm not going to hurt you. You won't scream, right?" She nodded her head slowly and he slowly removed his hand.
"Who are you? Why are you here? How did you know where to find me," she asked with a panic. Her eyes flashing with fear as her heart thumped harder and faster with every passing second. He took a step closer to her but she stepped back at the same moment. "Please, keep your distance. I don't know you."
He took another step toward her but once again, she stepped back. He sighs and says "You can either trust me and leave with me or be stubborn and stay here waiting to die."
She crossed her arms over her chest and stood her ground. He groans in frustration. "I don't have time for this," he said as he threw her over his shoulder. Her dirty blonde hair falling to her left shoulder.
"Put me down! Stop! Put me down right now," she said as he just continued to walk.
She rammed his fists into his back but his didn't even flinch. It was almost like he was made of stone. She just wouldn't give up though.
"You done yet," he asked with frustration. She sighed and crossed her arms. "Finally. You are probably the most annoying person I've ever met. We're here."
He placed her back on her feet and she looked at the building before them. It was brick and looked abandoned, but the sounds coming from inside told her otherwise.
She turned to him with a glare and says "Where exactly are we?" He just rolled his eyes and opened the door for her. He gestured her inside but she crosses her arms in disapproval. "If you think I'm going in there with you, you're delusional."
He groans and says "Are you always this stubborn? I just helped you. I'm bringing you inside because its going to rain. If I tell you that 'you can trust me' will you get inside?"
"What nuthouse did you escape from? Ever heard the term: stranger danger? 'Cause that's certainly one you should learn. No, person with a brain would trust someone they just met in the woods," she said with an eye roll back.
He steps forward and says "My names James. James Masterson." He extends his hand for her to shake and she hesitantly grabs it.
"Rebecca Riverton," she said with a confused look.
"There, we're not strangers anymore. Now, get in the stupid building," he shouted at her as he gently shoved her into the dark building.
There was darkness in every corner. Rebecca turned to go back through the door but James quickly slammed the door shut. He shook his head and pointed ahead of her. She glared at him but he quickly did the same. His dark brown eyes piercing into hers and making her submit.
"Fine. Be a jerk. That's just means I have one more reason to hate you," Rebecca said with a scoff.
James rolls his eyes and says "God, what did I do to deserve this hell!"
"I can hear you, you idiot," Rebecca says with sarcasm.
James laughs harshly and says "Oh good, it can hear."
"Haha. You're hilarious," she said as she rolled her eyes at him. "No wonder you have so many friends."
James then says "Look who's talking. You don't seem to have a posse worshipping your every move."
Rebecca felt tears sting her eyes as they threated to escape. She looked up at the ceiling to fight them but they pushed through. She was full blown sobbing. She grabbed onto the first solid thing she could find, which just so happened to be James. She cried into his chest and he hesitantly hugged her.
"I'm sorry. Did I say something to upset you," James asked with sorrow filling his eyes.
Rebecca pushed him back by his chest and punched him in the stomach. He didn't move at all though. She however, was clenching her hand in pain.
"What's behind that? Bricks," she asked rhetorically.
James lifted his shirt just enough to show his perfectly chiseled six pack. "It's called muscle. Something you seem to lack. You punch like a girl."
"I am a girl, you moron," Rebecca shouted.
That confirmed James thoughts. She's doing this out of grief. Better she takes it out on me than some stranger she meets on the street. Rebecca wiped her tears and groans in frustration at what she has to say now.
"I'm sorry I called you a moron," she said with a frown.
James crosses his arms over his chest and says "You also called me an idiot."
"Yeah, but I meant that," she said with a joking smile
James laughs and says "Come. I have a feeling you and Katherine will get along perfectly."
"Woah, that your girlfriend," she asked in a teasing voice. Deep down, she felt slightly jealous but she didn't know why.
A girl with brown hair and a red streak in her hair stepped into the light. She had on a black tank and black shorts. "Ew, I'm insulted. Me, date him, I think I might throw up. He's like a brother to me!"
Rebecca smiles and says "You're right. I do like her. You must be Katherine."
Katherine smiles with a slight nod and says "You must be the pain in the butt I heard him complaining about from the fifth floor. Why are you so difficult? He saved your ass."
James then says "Ok, before Katherine decides to throw one of us out the window, how about a tour of the place?"
"I'll willingly go deeper into this dark building when hell freezes over."
Katherine chuckles harshly and says "This ones got an attitude. I'm gonna take her to get her hair dyed when she's passes the test."
Rebecca gets a worried look and says "Test? What test? Can I study for it?"
Katherine face palms herself and says "Oh my God, you brought a wimp. Don't worry sweetheart, I'll have you eating nails for breakfast in no time."
"Yeah, its official. I'm leaving. See ya nutjob," she says as she turns to walk away.
Katherine flips over her and stops her in her tracks. Rebecca was immediately in a choke hold.
"One move, and your neck snaps. So you still wanna leave or you think you could put up with us for a day or two?"
Rebecca then says "You know, now that I think about it, a tour sounds great."
Katherine releases her and gives her a friendly smile. "Great. I'll be your guide." Katherine throws her arm over her shoulder, holding Rebecca tightly so she can't run to the door.
James then says "Good luck," as he walks in the opposite direction. "You're gonna need it."
Rebecca then shouts "Wait, can't you give me a tour? Please? I don't wanna be stuck with this wall of muscle."
"Aw, I'm flattered. You think I'm a wall of muscle. I'm never letting you out of my sight."
Rebecca then says "Oh the joy. James, can you please save me?"
James walks backwards so he was facing her and says "Sorry, I have a policy of only saving one person from one situation a night. If you survive the night, I'll help you tomorrow. Katherine, try not to break any of her bones."
"Wait, what! Break bones? What kinda people are you? I wanna go," Rebecca shouted, the fear evident in her voice.
Katherine then says "Oh relax, the worst I ever did was snap a neck, but she totally deserved it. She called me crazy. Do I seem crazy to you," she asked in a threatening tone.
"Of course you do!" Rebecca glares at her and Katherine cracks her knuckles. "I mean of course you don't. You're a bundle of joy. Totally not crazy. Don't kill me."
Katherine then says "Relax, I was joking. The worst I ever did was break an arm and it was his."
Rebecca smiles and says "Why?"
"He ticked me off. I got angry and next thing I know is his arm is bent the wrong way," she says with a shrug as if it was a scratch instead of a broken bone. Katherine smiled at the memory. "The other time he got me angry, I hit him where it really hurts. He fell to his knees and I was dying of laughter. I apologized. It was an accident."
James then says "You picked up a metal pipe and swung. What accident? You screamed 'I hate you' and then you hit me eight times! How is that an accident?!"
Katherine picked up a rusty old metal pipe and says "Accidents happen all the time. Would you like one to happen now? I could trip and accidently have this metal pipe fly into your chest. Your up to date on all your shots right?"
James puts his hands up in surrender and backs away slowly. "Katherine, have I mentioned how great you look today? Did you do something to your hair?"
"I did. Instead of having the streak fall on my left shoulder, I had it fall to the right," Katherine says as she smiles sweetly.
"It totally works for you. You should do it more often. Can I leave now, without any injuries? Please?"
Katherine sighs and says "Oh fine, but only because I'm in a good mood today."
Rebecca then shouts "This is you in a good mood? I don't even wanna imagine how you act when your in a bad mood!"
Katherine then says "Anything you could imagine, is twenty times worse in real life. I'm the reason James and I aren't allowed back for graduation.
Rebecca then says "What did you do?"
Katherine then says "It wasn't that bad. I just set the principles office on fire when he told me something that made me mad."
"How does James fit into this picture," Rebecca asked.
Katherine then says "The idiot supplied the gasoline and matches. He got detention the day before and was still peeved. He forgot the water to stop the fire though. I just wanted to burn his files. I didn't mean to torch the place."
James then says "Just be happy no one got hurt."
"Except for you pushing me into the stupid window. I got ten cuts on my arms from those stupid pieces of glass."
"Katherine, I saved you from burning alive. So we missed graduation, so what," James asked as he continued to walk backwards.
Katherine then says "We were co-valedictorians. I had a speech prepared. I was gonna tell all the teachers to rot in hell."
James rolls his eyes and turns so he was walking straight again. "You did that the week before," he said as he disappeared into a dark corner.
"It still would've been fun though." Katherine then turns to Rebecca. "Lets begin the tour.
Katherine pulled Rebecca along a straight path and smiles at her. The building had lights the farther they walked inside. They finally reached a fire escape.
"Newbies first," Katherine says as she gestures to the ladder. Rebecca looked at the fire escape with horror. The ladder was red but you could see tints of white. The ladder was creaking as the slight breeze flowed into it. Rebecca turns to Katherine. "I'll help you. Don't worry. That's why you're going first. I'll go behind you and I can help you if you get scared or something."
Rebecca looks deep into Katherine's light brown eyes and says "Promise?"
"I promise. I'm not letting my new friend get hurt. You tell me if anyone messes with you," Katherine says smiling gently.
Rebecca takes in a deep breath. She climbs out onto the fire escape and bites her tongue to stop from screaming as it shook slightly. Katherine climbs on and when Rebecca's foot slips, grabs her ankle to steady her. Rebecca sighs in relief.
She looks down at Katherine and says "Thank you."
Katherine shrugs and says "Don't mention it. I was just keeping my promise. Keep climbing and when you see broke windows, climb through. We'll start the tour there."
Rebecca continues to climb but freezes up every time the wind causes the ladder to shake. They finally make it through the windows and the moon is the only source of light. The ceiling had a dome window that was the only glass window not broken. It was gigantic. It had chains hanging from then ceiling so long that they touched the floor. There were cut outs of people laying on the floor but they'd pop up every thirty seconds. One of a man in grey popped up and appeared to have both arms missing. A red bell rung and the room was quickly filled with teens all dressed in black. They grabbed swords, archery equipment, and a few even grabbed double bladed knives.
Katherine nudges Rebecca's shoulder and says "This is our training center. We're all like a family here. You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. Go ahead. Give it a try."
Rebecca shakes her head and Katherine says "A different time. We'll just continue the tour."
Katherine leads the way to a hole in the floor. Rebecca looks down and sees fire light down there. Katherine grabs onto a chain and jumps down. A sound like thunder occurs and the other teens all grab the chain and jump down. Rebecca just stood there completely shocked. These people are crazy. They just jumped down a freaking hole in the floor! Their trying to kill me! The next thing she knows, a hand grabs onto her ankle and yanks her through the hole. She stretches her hand to grab the chain but misses it and continued to plummet to the bottom. That is until a hand grabs hers and pulls her towards the chain.
"God, you're slow," says the girl holding her hand. "Here, let me help you to the ground."
The girl tilts her head back so her blonde hair falls behind her back instead of on her right shoulder. She climbs down and releases Rebecca once her feet touch the floor. Rebecca looks into her greyish-blue eyes and smiles.
"Thanks for the save. I'm Rebecca. I'm new," she says smiling.
The girl rolls her eyes and says "I can tell. You almost died being here for two minutes. I'm Skylar."
"What's that supposed to mean? I was pulled down," Rebecca says with a frown.
Skylar laughs and says "That's our training system. You don't jump, it yanks you down. Then, you have five seconds to grab the chain or your dead. Simple as that."
Rebecca then says "Who's stupid idea was that?"
Skylar then says "I designed it but Katherine and James built it."
"You're insane," Rebecca says with disbelief.
"I know, but it's fun when you see the newbies having trouble. They usually catch it though, unlike you. We'll have to work on that. You've met Katherine right?"
"Sadly, I have," Rebecca says with a sigh.
"You must have a death wish. That's my best friend your insulting," Skylar says as she glares daggers at Rebecca.
Rebecca puts her hands up in surrender and says "Sorry, but she's kinda psychotic."
"True, but I still love her to death. Now, lets find Katherine."
Skylar leads the way as they walk down this stone path, torches were the only source of light. Rebecca shivered as her breath became visible. Creaking hinges were heard from all around, the sound echoing with each step. Skylar seemed unfazed by the change in temperature. She opened a steel door and we immediately appeared into a stone room. The stones were completely black and had some flat tops. The teens were using them as tables as if it was a cafeteria for a high school. They chatted away until Katherine stood up on the highest wall over their heads.
"Shadow Knights, we've improved greatly in our training and I'm proud to say that soon we'll be up against the Reapers. We can finally put an end to all this arguing and killing. We've had to grow up much faster but it's the cost we must pay for standing our ground. They've pushed our family around for too long and now, we're taking a stand." The crowd of teens cheered and banged on the stones with their fists. Katherine held up her right hand and they immediately fell silent. "We aim not to kill them but to make them understand that we will not back down easily. Anyone not wanting to fight, please feel free to leave. We will not force you to fight for us but those of you who wish to stay, we'll be doubling training so get a good nights rest. We've acquired some new recruits and I see potential in every single one. Shadow Knights forever!"
the crowd raised out of their seats and shouted "Shadow Knights forever!"
Rebecca jumped at their enthusiasm. Skylar had waved to Katherine with a warm smile. None of the other teens seemed to be cold even though she felt as though the place was a freezer. Katherine ran over and quickly embraced Skylar with a smile.
"I've missed you so much. How are the newbies doing in training," Katherine asked happily.
Skylar then says "Fast learners and can certainly pack a punch. This one however, fell victim to our training system and missed the chain entirely. Almost died within two minutes. I got her though."
Rebecca frowns and says "I'm free to leave right? You said to feel free to leave."
Katherine then says "You can leave first thing in the morning if that's what you really want. We only restrain people from leaving when the weather is not at it's best. Tomorrow will be sunny with clear skies so you can leave then. Us Shadow Knights will personally lead you to your destination. You need to find someone, we're the people to come to."
Rebecca smiles and says "Would you guys be able to track my brother? I need his help."
Skylar grins and says "We can do anything. Now, it'll take time to track him so you might have to stay with us for a while. You won't count as a recruit unless you wish to be. You'd just be another one of our guests."
"What about your leader? You guys do have a leader right," Rebecca asked with curiosity.
Katherine smiles and says "I don't mind. Stay as long as you want."
Rebecca was slightly frozen in shock but is snapped back into reality by a sharp pain in her ankle.
"Your training system gave me a bruise," Rebecca says with a groan of frustration. She was looking at her ankle that was red and slightly swollen.
Skylar then says "It gives everyone a bruise. Katherine loves when it yanks her down. She loves the rush it gives her. The experience of falling and when you've saved yourself, it just gives you an even bigger rush. She and I we've been best friends since we were born. We do everything together."
"Sky'll be training the new recruits with me and eventually, she'll be my partner out on the field. She's an amazing fighter. You don't wanna be up against her in a fight," Katherine says in a joking tone but maintained a serious face.
Rebecca nods and Skylar says "If you do decide to train, I'd be happy to help you with the chain so you won't get hurt coming here every day. We'll show you to your room. You'll be down the recruit hall."
"Thanks Skylar. I really appreciate the offer. Katherine, would you come with us? Please," Rebecca asked sweetly.
Katherine smiles and says "Sure. Let's get you settled. I heard about what happened. I saw it happen. James and I were jogging and I lost my trail. I saw what happened, everything. I chased after you but heard the gun shots and assumed you were dead. I came back here and thankfully James reached you before anything could have happened. If you ever need to talk about what happened, you can come to me, we're family now."
Rebecca immediately hardened her facial expressions to keep from crying again. "I'm not one of you," she said harshly.
Skylar then says "Hate to break it to you sweetheart but you became one of us the minute you entered that door. You might end up leaving us but that doesn't mean that we're not gonna help protect you while you're here. Your rooms the first to the left. You seem like you could use some alone time so call us when you're ready to let us help you."
Skylar hooked her arm through Katherine's and they joined James at the largest table all the way in the back. Rebecca sighed to herself and quickly went to the room. It was made of the black stone and slightly less chilly in the room. The closet was made of the same stone but the closet door was glass so you could see straight through it. It was filled with black and red clothing. There were only two white t-shirts, the shorts and pants were all black, and the rest of the t-shirts and tanks were either black, red, or combination of the two. The bed was queen sized and surprising was the perfect level of hardness and softness. In the drawer to the right of it was a folded black leather jacket with a single red streak down each arm to the end of the jacket so it was like an outline. She quickly changed into a white t-shirt and black shorts. For the first time since before the car accident, she felt safe and protected laying in bed in this building with these people she hardly knew. She quickly fell asleep and relived the events that had happened earlier that day.
"Don't worry Katherine. You didn't say anything to deserve the reaction you got. She'll come around. She just doesn't trust us yet," Skylar said sweetly to Katherine with a sad smile.
Katherine was frowning down at the stone table but nods with a smile. "Thanks Sky. You always know what to say to make me feel better."
"It's my job as your best friend," Skylar said in a joking tone.
James wraps his arm around Katherine's shoulders and smiles as he says "If it helps, she's super stubborn so it's definitely not you."
Katherine laughs at the comment and says "I don't know what I'd do without you two by my side. I don't think I'd survive without the two of you."
The three hugged tightly with Katherine in the middle. James accompanied them to their rooms since the three of them were in a separate section from the others. It was a hallway with only three doors. One of the doors was to the right and one door to the left so it was positioned straight across from the one to the right. The last door was at the end of the hall. Katherine went to the room that was at the dead end. Skylar took the room to the right and James took the room to the left. Katherine and Skylar changed into the white tank and black shorts before going to sleep. James changed into the black shorts but remained shirtless and fell asleep soon after.