Chapter 1: A Choice too Deadly

Max dribbled the ball up to the net, and slammed the ball in.
" Another dunk!" Spike hollered, slapping a high-five with Max. " You are maximum!"
" Show me what you can do then," Max grinned, and passed the ball to Spike.
With a coy smile, Spike sped up to the net, dodging invisible players on his way there. Then he slammed a backwards dunk.
" Show off!" Max sniggered.
Spike picked up the ball, and threw it at him.
" Let's get a drink," Max suggested.
Spike nodded, and the two of them headed for the vending machine situated outside the court. Soon, each of them was gulping down the contents of their own cans. Max wiped his sweaty brow with his shirt.
" It's getting late," Spike remarked. " The gates will be locked soon."
" We are crazy," Max answered. " Staying back to play basketball? I must have been influenced by you."
" Great minds think alike," Spike said simply. " With the two of us in the team, getting the championship won't be a far-fetched dream."
" You are brilliant," Max said sarcastically. " It's a pity you are always coming in last in our class."
Then he added, " Don't try to persuade me. Basketball is history to me."
" Yeah right," Spike sneered. " If not for your stubborn..."
Max sent him a warning look.
" Okay, okay!" Spike said defensively. "We better hurry."
Spike threw his empty can into the bin, and hurried inside. Max threw his empty can up into the air, and caught it in his hand again. He repeated this game over and over again.
" Come on!" Spike yelled from inside the court.
Max caught hold of his can, and sauntered into the court. Spike threw his backpack at him, and slung his own backpack over his shoulder. Max unzipped his backpack and dropped the can inside it. Spike eyed him skeptically.
" I can't believe you are still collecting that stuff," Spike remarked curtly.
Max slung his backpack over his shoulder, and started towards the exit.
" Hey, wait up!" Spike grumbled, and ran towards Max. " Change that attitude of yours! It sucks."
" Nobody ask you to put up with it," Max countered.
" You are so not cute at all," Spike hissed.
Max laughed and punched Spike playfully at the stomach. Spike turned to tackle Max down, but he dodged in time. They chased each other to the gate, and found to their utter dismay that the gate was locked. Spike kicked at the gate furiously. Max squatted down on the ground, feeling perplexed.
" How are we going to get out?" Spike shouted, giving the gate one last kick. " The caretaker leaves after locking the gates."
" Let's try the back gate," Max suggested, and stood up.
Upon their arrival, they realized that the back gate is locked up too.
" Dammit!" Spike swore. "At this rate, we'll have to wait till tomorrow morning."
" What's your height?" Max implored.
" This is so not the time!" Spike groaned. " 188 cm."
" Mine is 192 cm," Max said placidly. " With our height, climbing over the gate is easy."
Spike snapped his fingers with a smile on his face. " Let's do it!"
Max threw his backpack over the gate, and taking a cautious step on the gate to check if it could support his weight, he started climbing. The gate shook a little, as he climbed towards the top.
" God, please ensure that he does not fall," Spike prayed aloud. " Or else the one to be flattened will be your most loving child----me!"
" Oh, for goodness sake, shut up!" Max growled, as he crossed over the top to the other side.
Then with a sigh of relief, Max jumped down from the gate. He landed safely on the ground. Spike threw his backpack over the gate, and started climbing. Max held the gate steady for him, and only let go when he had crossed over the top of the gate. Max picked up the two backpacks, and slung his own over his shoulder. Once Spike had reached the ground, Max handed him his backpack.
" Thanks," Spike grinned.
Max dusted the dirt off his pants, and glanced at the dark alleyway.
" We should have climbed over the front gate," Max muttered.
" What? You're afraid of ghosts?" Spike sneered, and stood in front of him. "Don't worry. Big brother Spike will protect you."
Suddenly, he froze. There, standing a few feet ahead of them was a girl with long, silky hair. She was wearing a bright red dress, which reached her knees. Her face has fine features, full lips and a pair of big, silvery eyes. She was just standing there with the moon glowing its dull light upon her. Spike retreated behind Max, and whispered, " Let's go out by another path."
However, Max knew better that this alleyway was their only route to the street.
" Who are you?" Max asked.
The girl took a step forward. " The end is near," she said, and fell forwards.
Max hurried towards the girl, and saw that she was in a state of unconsciousness. Her dress was actually white in color, but it was stained with blood. Fearing that the girl was injured, Max ordered Spike to phone the police immediately.