GRADUATION: CHAPTER 2

Unfortunately, while Rex was having the epiphany that Melissa was really truly here, the next for people in the alphabet had graduated, and they were now pressing up behind him, impatient to get on with the carefully rehearsed movements back to the bleachers. Good old Timmy Hudson was right behind him, gathering up just enough courage to roughly shove Rex into movement. Rex, on the other hand, whipped around and growled at him, baring his teeth, and Hudson backed off.Rex moved along anyway, rushing back to his carefully assigned bleacher spot, marked off on both sides with masking tape. And he’d thought he was impatient before.

Clenching and unclenching his fists, Rex Greene waited for graduation to be over.

Dess shuffled impatiently, in line behind the three people alphabetically right before her. Feeling about to jump out of her skin, she chipped away at the black nail polish of her thumb.

“Desdemona [insert last name].” Finally. Dess stepped forward, practically grabbing the diploma out of the principal’s meaty hands, lightly shaking his sweaty palm with the other.

Dashing back to her seat, she checked the time again. Her name was near the end of the alphabet—just a few more minutes of closing crap.

However, the second she got off those bleachers, when the closing crap ended, she was swarmed by her mother, her father, and both of her grandmothers, neither of whom she’d even known she was there.

Across the crowd, she saw Rex meet up with Melissa, Jonathan and the two strangers, Rex looking the happiest she’d seen, well, ever, as did Melissa. Dess bit her lip from within her tight net of relatives. Sadly, there was no escape right now.

She waved a little as they glanced over. Rex mouthed a single word at her.

Midnight.

A handful of excruciating minutes later, the ceremony was over. The graduating class threw their hats away, Dess just pulling hers thankfully off her head and ducking through the crowd, looking for Jonathan and Melissa without having to encounter her parents.

No luck; her proudly grinning mom and dad, complete with the toothless smile of the white-haired grandmother she hadn’t even known was coming.

Amid a crowd of praise and complements, Dess resigned herself to waiting until midnight.

Rex, on the other hand, dashed off the bleachers, pushing his way easily through the student body, using his height and bulked-up Halfling size.

As fast as he could, he ran toward Mellissa and Jonathan, slowing down as he emerged from the crowd, because running while wearing graduation robes looked extremely lame (as did pretty much everything else in those stupid robes).

Slowly, and grinning the widest he had in years, he approached Melissa, instinctively stopping just short of her. She closed the distance herself, jumping up to pull down his shoulders towards her, holding him close.

Jonathan and the two strangers exchanged awkward glances.

After a long moment, they finally broke apart.

“Who’re they?” Rex asked her, nodding to the twins.

“I’m Connor.” The red-haired one introduced, in a smug tone that tended Rex toward disliking him on first impression. “And this’ Tech.” he said, nodding to his darker-haired brother, who looked vaguely annoyed at being spoken for. Rex nodded grimly at both of them.

“What about talents?” Rex asked, seeing the strong Focus that clung to both of them, making their faces a blur through his glasses.

“Seer and polymath.” Melissa answered. Rex responded with dread. Seer? He could just guess which one that was. The annoying one, because Tech would be a pretty likely nickname for a polymath. God, that was just what Rex needed.

But what was the point of bringing them all the way to Bixby if they just had talents they’d already known about?

“But that’s not the weird part.” Martinez interrupted, pretty much anserwing Rex’s mental question.

“Yeah.” Melissa took over. “We had the samples we brought with us.” She said, pulling a bundle out of her pocket. Inside was a handful of generic grey gravel, but to Rex’s eyes two or three of the rocks glinted with Focus. They’d brought them in, some control and a few stolen from Darkling Central Apartment, to test kids for a seeing talent. “And he picked out all the right ones, every time.”

“Because he’s a seer. What’s weird about that?” Rex asked.

“Because then we went to the lore test.” She explained, referring to the flat rock they’d brought from the snake pit that was marked with a couple of lore symbols, which Rex had written down for them as a key to the test. “And he came up with totally different symbols than you.”

“What do you mean?” Rex asked suspiciously.

“I mean, you told us about a record of some darkling hunt, and he came up with something totally different.” She said.

“So…he’s making crap up.” Rex said in an obvious tone. He didn’t want to hear about this bogus little seer lying through some test.

“But he got the other test right, every time.” Martinez interjected.

“So, I don’t know, he was faking—those rocks were a different color or something. Or he’s got a weaker talent and can only see Focus, not lore.” Rex theorized wildly, watching his own argument get thinner and thinner like stretched-out chewing gum.

“Or…” Martinez offered. “Different seers can see the lore differently. Maybe there’re different types of seers or something, and you can only see what’s written by ones who’re they same type as you.”

“I was as suspicious as you.” Melissa said. “So we made him write all the symbols down with pen and paper, and we recognized some. Ones that he couldn’t have seen before. He’s definitely a seer.”

“So what’d he draw?” Rex asked, because it was obvious, not only from the fact that they’d come to Bixby, but from the way Martinez was biting his tongue and fidgeting more than usual.

“A lot of stuff.” Melissa started. “More than just talent symbols—I didn’t recognize him, which is part of why we wanted to show you. Something about how to trap darklings—how they made the secret hour in the first place, how they folded stuff into it.”

“And…” Martinez hinted angrily and impatiently.

“And,” Melissa continued. “he drew the flamebringer symbol.”

For the first time in almost a year, Dess waited for midnight.

She sat on her bed at eleven, fully dressed, with the lights out, the only light coming in through her window. For the eightieth time in the last half an hour, she glanced at the clock. Dess sighed. What she really needed was something to do with her hands.

Weapons.

Darkling activity had been incredibly, pre-Jessica low since the rips were closed. Slithers were all she saw anymore, and even they were rare. Rex had spent a few months being paranoid before even he loosened up and admitted that the darklings weren’t resting up for some huge plan.

So Dess had a stack of clean, unused, unnamed weapons in her closet.

Which is one of the reasons her parents were banned from her room. The cannibalized forks, hubcaps and curtain rods wouldn’t be the easiest things to explain if they found them.

Digging through the piles of dirty and unwanted clothes, Dess found what she wanted. A thin, relatively short curtain rod (or maybe it was for a shower, she didn’t really care) carved with symbols and wrapped with wire.

Grinning, she pulled it out, hefting it as a spear, and named it, just as a blue curtain of stillness descended over the world.

Tech waited with Connor on Rex Greene’s dead front lawn. In the blue hour, the twists of rippling weeds and grass were frozen at their un-mowed knee height. The two of them stood there, in the middle of the mini-field with the grass frozen in mid-breeze around them.

Connor looked impatient.

“Think we should go in?” he asked.

“Not really, unless you want to walk in on Melissa’s reunion with her boyfriend.” Tech answered with a little grimace, which Connor returned.

“Don’t want her to eat us.” Connor concluded. Melissa was scary enough when she wasn’t happy. Happy Melissa was downright serial killer-esque.

“So…” Tech started after a short pause. “Think we’re going to see that other polymath next?” his tone was casual, but holding disguised excitement. Connor rolled his eyes.

“Double math-geek. I’m afraid. I’m sure we’ll get to your little girlfriend next.” He teased, and Tech went a little red.

“Come on, I haven’t even really met her yet.” Tech countered.

“Yeah, we’ve just gotten a couple weeks’ worth of constant stories about her.” Connor replied, relenting with a chuckle and a knowing look.

“What’s up with Jessica and Jonathan though?” Tech asked, changing the subject rapidly.

“He left after graduation, probably won’t catch up for a couple days.” Connor explained.

Jessica had offered for them to go ahead, covering more ground by driving all day and not having to let her and Jonathan catch up and double back at midnight. Now that they’d reached Bixby, Jonathan and Jessica could just fly for the entire secret hour without having to do even more doubling back.

“Probably take them another week or so—about a hundred miles to go.” Connor calculated roughly. The exact number, a string of quick calculations of leaps and altitude and speed and minutes, jumped to Tech’s mind, but he bit his tongue. Connor got fed up with polymath stuff pretty quickly, so Tech picked his unnecessary fact battles wisely.

“Do you hear something?” Tech asked suddenly.

Slowly, comically they both turned around. A sleek, giant cat, like a panther, was strolling ominously toward them. It paced carefully, slowly, each muscular shoulder flexing under velvet-black fur with each step.

“Darkling!” Connor yelled a warning, just as the panther rose to its hind legs, leaping towards them.

In mid-leap, it collapsed spasming and then falling limp like a rag doll. Blue sparks danced over it, sinking into the frozen grass.

In the darkling’s place stood a teenage girl, with chin-length black hair that glinted indigo in the blue light, wearing a black leather jacket that glinted with silver buckles and ten different silver chains (a fact Tech’s polymath brain supplied automatically), all over a black skirt that ran to black-and-white striped tights, and chunky, steel-toed boots. She wielded a long silver pole with a round ball at the end. It was coiled with wire, lore symbols carved along it. She smiled.

“This’ Misunderstood Supernumerary Mathematician.” Dess announced. “Which describes me pretty well too.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

well, there ya have it. if anybody else wants to have there lovely works of literature displayed for all human kind to see, just tell me. *cough cough* like Allie-wa *cough*. hehe. go ahead. apraise her. AGAIN.

-Co-Prez OUT! 😈

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18 Comments

  1. ok, *once again* I already said some long ranting comment about how good this is on Scott’s blog.

    ok, so it wasn’t THAT long. But no need to repeat.

    hehe. yeah. i just finished like the first 2 chapters of my fanfic. If you posted them that would be just lovely*.

    *Word of the day. beware of use.

  2. wow. i luv the different lore symbols thing. like he come from another country or something… New Zealand?
    😆

  3. i have something for all of you. it’s a story about what happens when Midnight spreads to NZ.

    The world suddenly turned blue. The colour flooded the school, draining every other shade until everything was tinted with a bluish light. It was almost like being underwater. Neva leaned over and shook her friend’s arm. “Wow, this is something else, huh?” Amy didn’t reply, and as Neva prodded her, she realised her friend didn’t feel right either. Sort of cold and stiff. She looked around her, and realised everyone was completely motionless.
    “H-hello?” she called out shakily. Footsteps sounded behind her, and she whirled around to see who was there. Then she sighed with relief. “Oh, it’s only you” she said as Catrine Walker sat down beside her. “This is really weird” she replied. “It’s like an eclipse or something. And have you seen what’s in the sky?” Neva glanced upwards and gasped. Above them hung a black orb, like a moon but so black that it hurt to look at. The blue light was giving her a headache as well. “See?” Catrine said. “A huge blue moon”.
    “Are you kidding? It’s black!”
    “Actually it is blue” came a soft voice from behind them. Connor, Sean, Nia and Lotti stood there admiring the sight. As Lotti gazed at the moon, her eyes flashed violet. Neva swallowed. Catrine might at least act normal, but these four were complete outsiders. People she tried not to notice.

    Rex Greene stumbled to a halt. “Are you sure about this cowgirl?” he muttered.
    “Relax” whispered Melissa. “I didn’t expect the blue time to spread this far either. And it is pretty random that in the southern hemisphere, it comes at midday. Something for Dess to figure out”.
    “No way” he replied. “No way can there be so many in one school”.

    sorry about sticking my name in there at the end. couldn’t resist

  4. ha ha. good story, lotti. the sudden introduction of a lot of people with names was a little confusing, but was very cool, esp. the southern hemisphere thing.

    wierd. the letters on the post got black at the end—is that just me?

    and i would personally loves to see more fanfic.
    though it is nice to see mine up there. 🙂

  5. fawesomeness Lotti-la. hehe. you shood totally keep your name in there.

    yeah. im gonna post Allie-wa’s chapter ether today or tomorrow. probably tomorrow. you no. to give people time to appraise you. hehe.

    -Co-Prez OUT! 😀

  6. and yes. it did get black at the end. dont ask why. but isnt it hard to read?

    -Co-Prez OUT! 😕

  7. yes, very hard to read.

    and i want to see more fic! i’d like to see Allie-wa’s.

  8. ok. i’ll post it tonite. but not rite now.

    -Co-Prez OUT! 😯

  9. *waiting*
    *gets bored waiting and goes to eat mexican food*

  10. i love mexican food!!!!

    -Co-Prez OUT! 😀

  11. i luv any kind of spicy food!

  12. mexican food is fun. i loves it. spiceyness makes me happy.

  13. yeah. but i like spicy chinesian food better. considering im FROM chinesyland. hehe. it looks like disneyland.

    -Co-Prez OUT! :mrgreen:

  14. looks like disneyland. haha. funny

  15. Mexican food rocks.
    I sorta like Italian food.
    Chinese food is good, too.

    has anyone had Indian food? I’ve heard it’s really spicy but really good. i actually had some kind of Indian dessert last year. It was made by the moms the Hindu girls in my social studies class.

  16. i don really no…but have you ever had that chilli flavored mexican candy?! i swear. looking at that stuff makes me wanna YAKIMA all over the place.

    -Co-Prez OUT! 😛

  17. duh, italian food is awesome. best kind.
    chinese food also good. mexican food very cool.

    i’ve never really had indian food.

    ewww…candy sounds GROSS.

  18. hehe. it does.

    -Co-Prez OUT! 😀


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