Chapter One: How to Meet a God or How to be Killed by a God. Either Or
How does one meet a god? well dying is one way. Having one trying to kill you is how I did it. Not the best meet and greet in the world, but it does count.
It all started one day at midnight. I remember my watch beeping as it midnight. I looked down to turn it off and continued down the sidewalk to downtown Miami. My friends Hilary and Josh flanked me as we headed to one of the night clubs lining the street. Supposedly Halo Nights was one of the best clubs in Miami and I have ever intention of making a night I will struggle to remember.
"Man, I will get so wasted, even mom cant get as wasted as I will." Hilary said. I think she was already wasted and she only had one beer at the hotel. I grimaced, remembering the last time she go drunk. I did not like having sneak her out of the front porch of some millionaire's house after spending six hours looking for her.
"We will probably leave before then." I said, mentally kicking myself for being a caring bastard and ruining my own plans. I wanted to get wasted but remembering Hilary lack of alcohol control, i found disturbing.
Hilary made a poutty face at me, batting her big brown eyes at me. I just smiled, and my heart pumped a little faster inside. I may have blushed but I tried control it.
I have been in love with Hilary Borst since we meet in eighth grade. I stuck to her side since. Now it was senior year, on spring break from the small town of Ellsworth, Indiana, and still hadn't had the courage to ask her out yet. I mentally kicked myself again and bit my lip.
Hilary was only a few inches shorter than me, with long brown hair, piercing hazel eyes that seemed to look it your soul, and freckles that was the cutest thing on her even though she hated them. Tonight she wore short khaki, a short sleeve red flannel and a camo hat, not hiding her redneck heritage. It was one the things that I loved about it her, she was brave, willing to take on anything. I have never seen her back down from a fight, or lose for that matter. I swear I could see a fire glow in her eyes every time she got angry, her skin would grow red, like an inferno was blazing under her skin. She had to be a fighter. Like me, we both don't know who are fathers were, they disappeared before we were born. Where my mom would keep my father a vague memory to me, only hinting (which was infuriating), Hilary's mom tried to drink the memory of her father away. The result was Hilary lived in a trailer, that was rundown, had two jobs at the age of seventeen, and taken care of herself since five. She was determined, and wouldn't give up for anything. Which was trouble in some cases, but she seemed to rise to the top anyways.
I shook my head and laughed. We were nearing the club anyway and we got our fake IDs that some nerd back home made for money. It set me back a few hundred bucks too.
We have both lived since we were born. Even though we met when we were the eighth grade, we always seem drawn to each other.
My mom, Isabella Mooring, was probably the best single parent ever. She loved me no matter how angry I got, how stupid I could be. She held three jobs just so we could have a decent living. I had asked why my father never sent any money, and she would smile and said he couldn't if he wanted to. I asked her about my dad from time to time. She would always give small hints of him, like when I came home drunk one night.
"Keeping drinking like that and you will meet your father in a different way you will like." She would say.
I took this to mean he had drank himself to death, but apparently he was very much alive, and at the same time dead. Yeah confused me too.
Other than no father, Mom made up for it, sometimes I thought she was trying to hard. She had me sign up for three different martial arts that I am now proficient in, and made me a boy scout. She was very adamant that I learned ever survival type possible. Apparently my life depended on it. Other than the creepy spy style training, she took me to different amusements parks and sports events. Sometimes I thought she was trying to hard to make for the fact alive/dead Dad wasn't around.
For some reason, when she met Josh and Hilary, that I would stay friends with them as long as possible.
"I can spot certain things." she said "And you need to keep as close as you can to those two, especially Josh."
I looked over at Josh, who looked like he was trying to hide. He was dark skinned, Native American or Middle Eastern, he never said, with strange red eyes and a light rugged stubble coming in. He was medium built, but walked around like there was going to be a fight or some enemy around every corner. Sometimes he acted like some of our classmates older siblings who had deployed overseas and returned with PTSD. The paranoia the shaking, jumping at every sound, it had me worried about him. He never spoke of his past, no matter how hard we pressed. We couldn't even figure our his last name, all we got was Josh, that kid who shows up at school and is friends with Hilary Borst and Tod Moorings. We couldn't even find out where he lived. Like I said, Josh was strange. The only reason we had been friends cause he stuck to my side like glue.
But tonight was worse. It was Hilary's Birthday, he should be happy. But ever since last week when i mentioned Hilary was turning seventeen, he had been permanently pale, well paler, and his paranoia was off the charts. He tried to get us to stay back in Ellsworth, but we managed to convince him to go. Every once in while I would catch him say something like "Where are they? What are they waiting for?" or "Please tell me Kami, today is not the day." When I asked him about it, he would look at me like I was the crazy one.
I slapped him on the back, making him grunt. "Cheer up dude, its going to be great. May be we can find you a girl. Preferably a crazy one, like you."
Josh shoot me a glare "Dude, thats messed up."
"Well you're the one dressed like a Vigilante." I said as we walked into the line for the club. It was long, stretching around the corner, full of teens and young adults alike, wearing as little clothing as possible. Josh sneered and chuckled. He was though. In all black, Black jeans, combat boots, black shirt and black beanie for some strange reason. He looked like he was going to rob a store while Hilary and I were inside partying.
As we waited, Hilary and I talked about home, and Josh got more anxious. "Dude, I don't like this. We are out in the open."
Hilary rolled her eyes. As far as I knew, Hilary tolerated Josh. "Dude," She said, drawing out dude "This is Miami, in the middle of America. No one is going to hurt us."
Josh shot her the fieriest glare I have ever seen, it would put Hilary's to shame. It was crossed of how little you know with nice going, blondie. But something was off, my gut could feel that. It was like someone was staring at me. Had a bullseye on my head, also like something was watching from the shadows. It was weird, but I chalked it up to be slightly intoxicated before we left for the club.
"Hey you two, play nice." I said, playing the mediator again. "Let's not get this going again. Do you remember what happened with the toaster that one time. I don't think you can repair what you did that one."
Hilary and Josh both laughed at the memory of the ruined toaster that somehow made toast colder. How that happened, wasn't there for only heard about, but permanently they both touched it and well, another mystery of universe.
As the laughter died down, some guy ahead of us shouted at Hilary. "Hey Cowgirl, you can ride me all night long." His buddies laughed around him, giving him a high fives and fist bumps.
Anger burned in my chest, and I focused in on the intruder. It was some over tanned wedge shaped asshole wearing a yellow Miami tank top that was cut down the sides and shorts way to short for a guy. I buried my hands in my pockets and smiled slightly. I knew I didn't need to get involved.
Hilary turned around, eyes glowing orange again. Ok I swear I am not hallucinating. Anyways, Hilary glared at Mr. Beach Douchebag, grinning like a buffoon who just won a prize. Boy was he wrong.
"yeah, only in your left-alone dreams, cause no one in their right mind would go up with you just to get down." She sneered and there it was. Everyone oohed and ahhed, and Mr. Beach Douchebag looked stunned, defeated and very small all at the same time. Hilary was a master of puns, and could ever burn you with one, which was amazing. Mr. Douchebag turned back around, sulking like he was going to cry.
Hilary faced us again. We had the biggest grins on our faces. Everyone else cheered and gave her good girl and nice ones. She tried to keep a straight face but that lasted three seconds before she broke out into the biggest laugh. We probably laughed for about a good full minute before we took a breath and laughed again for another full minute.
"ooohh man. that made my night, and I am not even drunk yet." I said.
"Too bad this night will only get worse." He let slip.
I straightened up immediately, curiosity building in me. "What does that mean?"
Josh went dead serious in an instant, looking grim. "nothing just something else. Something that I pray that never happens."
"yeah, you will tell us everything one day, Master of Secrets." I retorted, getting really annoyed at the vague apocalyptic references he kept making. Why am I even friends with this guy? Oh that's right, I am a caring bastard and you cant get rid of him.
Josh smirked, which irked me more. "Hopefully not."
I rolled my eyes "Whatever."
After that Hilary and I went on talking, Josh still looking for that mysterious trouble. We chatted with some of the guys next to us, a Jamaican guy with a heavy accent and back long dreads wearing a green shirt, jeans and flip flops and some bald guy from Maine also on spring break. We even got Josh in the conversation when Maine started talking about guns. Guns were around Josh's favorite things along with explosions and cat videos. Told ya he was a weird dude.
We inched closer to the door with the pace of a snail. No, I take that back, I thought I saw snail beat us inside and already is wasted. Argh, this was maddening. An hour had already passed since we got in line and we were only two feet from where we started, which was a hundred people away.
Just as I turned to say something, Josh shoved me and Hilary to the ground. I landed with hard thunk, knocking the air out of my lungs. Hilary grunted. Josh held us down with surprising strength, I couldn't even move. Just as I was about to yell at him to get off, a flash of silver took out a good chunk of the wall above us. My eyes widened in terror at the realization, someone was shooting at us. Brick rained on to us and Josh let us up.
"Come on!" He yelled, and took off down the street. "Hurry!"
I glanced at Hilary, who looked as terrified as I was, and we followed Josh. All the others in line had cowered, ducking and running away. They saw it too. Then it hit me, there was no gunshot, it was still quiet except for traffic. Maybe the sniper had a silencer?
I shook my head, this was crazy! Someone shooting at us, and Josh saw it coming?! Maybe this was what he had been alluding to for the past week. This was still crazy.
Josh ran with inhuman speed, and Hilary and I barely kept up with him. Soon he had us out of breath and down an lonely residential street. As Hilary and I tried to catch our breath, Josh paced, looking around for something or someone. Then I noticed the shotgun in his hands. It was a Mossberg 500, except different, it was, I kid you not, glowing gold, and the ejection port, instead of a cover was three small pipes that spewed fire. Josh pumped the shotgun and the pipes spewed fire.
"Josh what is happening? What's going on? Where did you get that shotgun?" I fired off, half angry half scared. Hilary had that glow back in her eyes, except this time it was smaller, more like a candle.
Josh looked down at the shotgun. "Oh Bailey, she was in my jacket. As for the other two questions, I will explain that when we have time. Man, Kami was right! Why?!"
"Kami? who is Kami?" Hilary asked, her eyes glowing a bit brighter now.
Before Josh could answer, someone else did. "Tal? Is that you?"
We turned around to the owner of the voice walking down the street. When I thought of some wacko sniper, I thought of some lunatic with greasy messed up hair, bloodshot eyes, dressed in all dark clothing like Josh and a hood up with rifle cradled in his arms.
I was not expecting a girl our age, with silver hair in a ponytail, rifle slung between her shoulders. Her bright green eyes looked confused, like we weren't the people she was hunting. She wore a slim silver and black vest over a white shirt and grey pants with combat boots. Above her left eye was some sort of high tech monocle eye patch thingy and her belt was laced with bullets, silver ones. Was she hunting werewolves?
Josh stepped in front of us. "Vengel, I have been expecting you."
Who Josh called Vengel smiled sweetly. "Oh, that is you Tal! I recognized Bailey, but not you, you look good, Tal."
I looked at Josh. "Tal? Josh what is going on?"
Josh gulped. "Tod, Hilary, Meet Vengel, Goddess of the Moon and Murder."
I looked back at the silver sniper girl who was still smiling. Goddess, crazy yes, and she definitely had the air around her of superiority, but goddess, Josh, Tal, whatever his name was, was crazier.
"Tal! Long time no see." Vengel said cheerfully "Why are you messing with my contract? You know that is rude."
Tal smiled this time, only more smugly. "cause these Vicegods are under my protection."
Vengel shook her head. "Man, Tal, I could dropkick you. The Warden himself approved this contract, even Barralore didn't council against it."
"Why?" Tal said "This is needless."
Vengel just whistled. "Tal, you were always so gullible. They have set a wool of your eyes. You are trying to hard to make up for last time, but this time you just choose the wrong Vicegods."
"Ok what's going on?!" Hilary yelled out, her skin growing redder. "Why are you trying to kill us, you sicko?"
Vengel smile seemed to grow with even more evil creepy malice that made my skin crawl. "Cause its what I do, Daughter of Detrappen. And besides, this truly is for the good of everyone. With two deaths, we can save seven billion more."
My stomach dropped when she said that. Nervousness shook through my body. A sudden weight pulled down on my shoulders, like the Apocalypse was breathing down my neck.
But Hilary was even more furious. "What good will that do?! We didn't do anything!"
Vengel lowered her rifle off her shoulders, her expression grew grim. "Wrong, you were born. Your fathers knew better. As for as I am concerned, you did everything."
Fathers? what was she talking about? Did she know our fathers? Why weren't we supposed to be born? Questions bounced across my mind like ping pong balls.
Hilary was even more enraged. She growled "Fight me."
Tal stepped in front of her, the shotgun Bailey ready. "Its no use, you can't take her on. not quite yet."
Vengel raised her rifle and Tal raised his shotgun. Tal briefly turned to us. "Get out of here, Find the others, and beware of the robot."
With that we sprinted and Tal and Vengel fired, shotgun versus sniper.