CHAPTER 4 OF NONAME

Jessica appeared out of nowhere. One minute she was gone. The next she was sitting in the front passenger seat. Kay blinked to make sure she was seeing things right.

“Jonathan…” Kay trailed off.

“It’s alright.” He said.

Jessica noticed Kay for the first time. “What’s she doing here?” She said to Jonathan.

“She wouldn’t go back…”

“You could have made her. She shouldn’t be here.” Jessica obviously wasn’t happy. And in Kay’s opinion, she was being a bit bratty.

“We’re saving time this way.”

“Whatever.” Jessica said, and stared out her window. There was an awkward silence.

Kay was about to ask what they were doing when Jonathan said, “I wonder where he is.” She bit back the urge to ask who “he” was. She just looked out the window, fingering her silver cross necklace. A present from her mother.

They sat in silence for a couple minutes (or what seemed like it. All the clocks had stopped working.) Then Jessica said, “Maybe Melissa was wrong…maybe she skipped over a few cities. Maybe she thought she sensed him but really didn’t. You know she was just learning how to mindcast over long distances. Maybe…” Jessica stopped when she saw a figure move in the bushes edging the parking lot. It could have been an animal. But it moved too…predatory for a suburban animal.
Kay and Jonathan had seen it, too.
“Darkling?” Jessica said, pulling her glowing hand out of her pocket. She flexed her fingers, ready to strike (literally). But then the creature stood up on two legs. Jessica lowered her hand a little, wondering if this was just the Midnighter after all. Then a dark sound rose up in the throat of whatever it was. It sounded like a cross between a growl and a howl. Then it made its way cautiously yet quickly towards the car.
Jessica didn’t know when she decided it wasn’t human. But the next thing she knew, her lightning had struck the figure, illuminating its features. She gasped when she saw it was a human. A guy, around 20 or so. She immediately stopped the lightning, wondering if he was dead. But he wasn’t even fazed by it. He looked down at the last charges of electricity in his body and howled. All three Midnighters froze at the horrible sound. His face was upturned toward the dark moon. He raised his arms up. They were covered in thick, black fur. His eyes were death as they flashed indigo. They were eyes that looked ready to kill.
Then he (or she, or it. Whatever.) charged toward the car. Jessica was startled into action. “God, Jonathan. Run!” She herself was opening the door, slamming it shut, and in the flash of an eye was standing next to Jonathan, then jumping off the ground into the safety of the sky.
She barely saw Kay make it out before the beast-human came down on it, scraping the doors with fingernails. It reached inside Jessica’s open window and ripped the seat fabric. Jessica shuddered and turned back around, focusing on flying.
What a nightmare.

Kay’s thoughts were pretty much the same. She had never seen anything like that before. She had gotten a closer view than Jonathan and Jessica. It looked like…a psycho dog-human. But it couldn’t be. Could it? Kay wasn’t sure she wouldn’t believe it. After all, two weeks ago, she wouldn’t have believed she would even be considering anything of the type. She pushed the thoughts aside for the moment and caught up with Jessica and Jonathan.
They all landed a safe distance away from the car. Jessica was obviously confused. And spooked. Jonathan’s expression was hard to read.
“What was that?” Kay asked. She hoped they knew.

“I don’t know. A new type of darkling?” Jonathan said, considering the possibility.

“What’s a darkling?” Kay asked. She obviously had a lot to learn.

“Ancient creatures that are trapped in the blue time – the hour at midnight. Most of the darklings were killed though, and I don’t see how one would have gotten this far out.” Jessica said, gazing at her shining hand.

“Then what is it?” Kay asked.

Jessica sighed. “If only I knew.”

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much fawesomeness…

 -Co-Prez OUT! 8)

CHAPTER 3 OF GRADUATION

“Haven’t seen a psychokitty in ages.” Dess commented to an awestruck Connor and Tech. 

“Dess, quit scaring the kids,” Rex warned, the kind of thing he’d never have said a year ago. A year alone with Dess and his darkling senses in Bixby had changed him, a little. Dess rolled her eyes. She hadn’t changed much.

“Connor. Tech. Everyone,” Melissa introduced, just to be sure.

“What talents we got?” Dess asked, interested.

“Seer,” Melissa said, pointing. “Polymath.”

Dess smiled like it was Supernumerary Mathematician Christmas again.

“Polymath. Fawesome,” Dess answered. The others looked blankly. She rolled her eyes agin, grinning. Losers.

“Come on. I want you to read some lore for me,” Rex said, gesturing Connor and the others inside.

The room was crappy as ever. Dust, junk, and boxes, all frozen in the blue time. In front of the TV, Rex’s dad sat, stiff, his mouth and eyes open and glassy. Connor and Tech watched it all like kids rushed through a carnival house of horrors. Dess just averted her eyes.

Rex’s room had gona from messy crashing-place to full size museum in the last year. Bookshelves, constructed and salvaged, rimmed the walls, covered in artifacts and lore and books and tridecagrams and metal.

“Alright. Read this for me,” Rex started, and Dess got bored already, wandering the edges of the room. Connor and Tech stayed huddled in the middle. Melissa fell back on the bed, running her hands through her short hair. It’d grown out of the buzz, a little, so now it was more fashionable crop than inmate shave.

There are few things on earth more boring than being a polymath sitting around watching two seers look at lore and scribble down symbols.

For Dess, this was usually the sort of thing she considered Hell.

Unless, say, you had another plymath to talk to. Even if he was, admittedly, looking a little shell-shocked and clinging to his brother.

“Never seen a psychokitty before, have you?” Dess asked the other polymath, this Tech. He was looking around, wide-eyed, shoulders hunched in his dark blue pullover sweatshirt. He shook his head.

“Don’t you guys have any weapons?”

Tech shook his head. Dess was outraged.

“No weapons at all? No clean steel? No tridecalogisms?”

He shook his head.

“What’s a tridecalogism?” Dess just about exploded as Tech asked that question. What had Melissa, Jess and Jonathan told these kids? Then she smiled, getting the glint in her eyes that scared people who knew her well enough. This was going to be fun.

“Tridecalogism…” she started pulling off both of her named steel thumb rings (Zombification and Electrocution, her two favorite means of death), “is a thirteen-letter word that means thirteen-letter word.”

The next day around noon, Rex Greene led Connor into the Clovis Museum, passing dusty cases full of lore-inscribed arrowheads. The open excavation wall loomed on one side, and directly in front of them was Rex’s Rosetta Stone, a giant slab of rock covered in lore symbols. If Connor really could see some other, secret lore, this was the place to test it.

Last midnight, he’d consistently come up with slightly different versions of the lore than Rex. They told the same stories, it seemed, but in different words, different points of view, different accounts, maybe like the books of the Bible.

Rex wanted to see what he could do at Lore 101. Already he was plotting taking the other seer down to the Snake Pit.

Rex surveyed the museum happily. After Jonathan and Melissa had left, he’d gotten a part-time job at the museum, and thrown himself into excavations, labeling, dusting and organizing. Without the curator’s knowledge, he’d slowly turned the place into Midnighter Lore 101.

Connor looked around disinterestedly.

“God, this place is lame,” he said. Rex glared. “Seriously.” Connor still wasn’t getting the hint. “About as pathetic and small-town as everything in Bixby.”

Rex might agree. That didn’t mean Connor could say it. Connor who’d been running around with Jonathan and Melissa while Rex took finals, who’d only been a seer for less than a year, who hadn’t studied the lore all his life, hadn’t gotten captured by darklings, didn’t know how hard it was to be a halfling.

Rex shoved Connor up against a wall, his hand to Connor’s throat.

“Think you’re big-time, don’t you, little seer? Pathetic. Little. Human.” He spat.

“I’m not afraid of you.” Connor choked. Bad move. Rex reached for him with the darkling senses he’d learned to control over the last year.

“But you’re afraid of Midnight. You’re afraid of all those little slithers and darklings and psychokitties coming to get you every night. You’re afraid they’re going to come in the blue time and snatch away your poor, innocent little brother.”

Rex bared his teeth. Connor shivered and choked, and Rex Greene the halfling let him down. Connor gasped as his Converse slid back on to the dusty linoleum floor.

“Trust me.” Rex said. “You should be afraid of me.”

And he kept walking, strolling over to the case that contained the flat slab of the giant lore stone. Reluctantly, slowly, warily, Connor followed.

“Top right corner, what do you see?” Rex asked after a minute.

“Flame-bringer symbol.” Connor answered quickly. Last midnight Rex had taught him some of the more basic symbols; the ones for most of the talents and a few others.

It went on like this for a while, Connor sketching symbols he didn’t know the names of into a notebook Rex’d brought.

At four o’clock, museum closing time, they looked over the pages, examining them fully for the first real time. Reading their meaning.

“We have to tell Jonathan.” Rex said, possibly the first time he’d ever thought or said such a thing.

As it happened, Jessica Day and Jonathan Martinez reached Bixby Oklahoma about halfway through the secret hour that night. they’d flown all through the blue time the previous night, covering a decent amount of ground, not stopping to sightsee, flying the entire hour, almost falling down as midnight ended.

The secret hour came again, and they flew less quickly, Jess full of reluctance about coming back to Bixby, knowing her family were just miles away but she’d never see them. The rip was completely closed up by now.

They flew over the Bixby junkyard on the way into town. In the blue hour, it was a city of metal, shining skeletons of buildings and machinery, the steel glinting in the light of the dark moon. A winged shape caught her eye.

“Look!” she said, gesturing with her and Jonathan’s intertwined hands. He panicked a little, from being knocked off balance, and suspecting darklings.

“Where?” he asked, whipping around and pulling them down to the ground so much as he could.

“Pegasus.” She said simply, and Jonathan looked down, the pair of them gently floating to the ground in the junkyard, separating.

The once-magnificent horse that had crowned the top of the Mobil Building during Jessica’s sophomore year was rusty and burned, blackened by the strike of lightning.

Blue-tinged rust turned red and flaked off under Jessica’s fingertips as she brushed them against the familiar curve of the wings. Her eyes filled with tears.

A lightness filled her. Jonathan had come up beside her, holding her hand securely with his.

“It’s going to be okay. We’ll find a way.” He reassured, and she tried to believe him, looking up into the eyes of her boyfriend, who was now two years older than her, not just one.

“I’m serious. This thing with Connor, it’ll be the breakthrough.” Jessica Day turned her head away, focusing blurry eyes on the metal wings of the Pegasus sign.

They made it to Dess’ house, the meeting place arranged when Jonathan had called from the small, no-name town he’d stayed in for the day, just before the secret hour ended. Melissa must have felt them coming, because she, Rex, Dess, Connor and Tech were waiting together on the lawn.

“We found something.” Rex said even before Jonathan and Jess landed. “In the lore.”

“What?” Jonathan asked just as the secret hour ended, color flooding Bixby, Oklahoma. He spun around to Jess just as her hands dissolved under his, and she was gone with a sweet smile.

“It’s about how the darklings first made the secret hour. They had to fold things into the blue time, one by one, the elders jumping in and out and bringing the others with them.”

“But if darklings could go in and out of the secret hour whenever they wanted, why all the stuff about the rips? Why wouldn’t they just come out and hunt whenever they wanted?”

“They used to. But even then they could only come out through places where the secret hour existed. And there were usually midnighters to fight them off. And somehow, eventually, there weren’t enough elders, and they lost the power, and got too cautious.”

“What’s your point, Rex?” Jonathan interjected into the rambling history lecture.

“His point,” Connor took over, “is that wehave the power. And that the darklings could go back and forth. They could bring stuff into midnight, but they could also bring it out.”

It felt like the secret hour again, except only Jonathan’s organs knew it, and they’d jumped up at midnight gravity without the approval of the rest of his body. Heart in his throat, stomach in his lungs.

“But…” Jonathan objected a second later. “We don’t have a darkling.”

“No.” Rex Greene answered. “But we have a halfling.”

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how freakishly fawesome is that?

-Co-Prez OUT! 😀

CHAPTER 3 OF NONAME: HIGHWAY

Jonathan was about to pull out the parking lot when Kay knocked on the window. Jonathan, startled, looked over to see her standing outside. He cursed under his breath as he rolled down the window.

“Why did you follow us?” Jonathan asked, mad at her. Again.

“I can’t stay there.” Kay said, standing firm.

“Yes you can. Go back before they realize you’re gone.”

“No! I can’t. I don’t belong there. I don’t even belong here anymore.” Kay felt more tears in her eyes, but she didn’t let them fall this time.

Jonathan sighed, but he understood. “Fine then. Get in the back.”

Kay said nothing as she opened the door and strapped herself in. Only after the seatbelt clicked did she remember the childhood warnings about getting in cars with strangers. But Jonathan seemed safe. Safe enough, anyway. Jonathan pulled out the parking place and then shifted gears into drive as he pulled out the parking lot. They turned onto familiar back roads out to highway. They drove farther and farther away from the city. Farther and farther away from Kay’s old life.

They were on the highway all day. They stopped once to eat at a McDonald’s (cheeseburgers from the dollar menu, and two sodas, grace of a broken drink machine). They were quiet the whole way, too. It seemed like a spell hung in the air, fragile as a spiderweb, and the slightest breath could break it. Jonathan tried turning the radio on once, but they were too far between cities to pick up any clear radio signal.

After hours on the road, Kay finally fell asleep. Well, half asleep. She was still kept in subtle consciousness by the movement of the car and the sound of wind whistling past the barely closed window. She didn’t notice when the car started to slow as they got off on an exit to a new city.
Kay woke when the car stopped. It was dark outside. Her vision was blurry. Kay blinked her eyes and the world jumped into focus. The green illuminated car clock read 11:23 PM. Kay had slept through the whole afternoon. Jonathan wasn’t in the car. Kay noticed they were in another grocery store parking lot. What was his obsession with grocery stores? Kay sat back in the tan leather seat, wondering what she was supposed to do now. She decided just to wait for Jonathan.

He came back at exactly 11:57. He was carrying a bag of groceries and threw it carelessly into the back. It almost hit Kay in the head before it hit the seat, its contents spilling out.

“Hey! That almost hit me!” Kay sat the bag up and put the food back in.

“What? Oh! sorry. forgot you were there.” Jonathan said as he got in the car and shut the door.

Kay rolled her eyes and dropped the bag over the seat. He looked sincere, though, so she didn’t complain further. mom never liked complaining. The sudden thought of her mother brought tears to Kay’s eyes.

She pushed the thoughts away and said, “So what now?”

Jonathan was eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. After her chewed the last bite, he said, “We wait.”

Then he made another sandwich.

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 i personally thought it was lovely…for the record, the other two chapters were called HOSPITAL and FLYING. just to let ya no.

 -Co-Prez OUT! 😀

NO NAME: THE REST OF CHAPTER 1 (BY ALLIE-WA)

           She saw the figures from a distance. They were flying, somehow, rising and falling with ease and in a distinct rhythm, like the beat of a song. She watched them as she sat down on the too-wide windowsill. Her feet were dangling over the side, dangerously high up. Then the figures reached her. it was a guy and a girl. They stood on the ground outside her window. “Kay?” The guy called up to her, “I’m Jonathan, and this is Jessica.” He gestured to the girl beside him. “We’re here to help you. Just hang on – I’ll be up there in a second…”
       But Kay didn’t need him. She inched her way to the very edge of the windowsill…
       …and pushed off the side of the building just as Jonathan flew into the air. To her delight, she shot up into the air, away from the hospital. Freedom. It had never seemed so good.
       “Hey!” Jonathan shouted, trying to redirect his path in mid-flight. But Kay watched as he slammed into the building in his efforts. He pushed off, heading straight toward her. He covered the distance quickly, and grabbed her hand as he passed by her. But when he made contact, he stopped. In midair. They were stuck. In midair.  They were in midair! It was as if they had turned into stone. Like everything else. Kay noticed for the first time the small dark shapes surrounding all the trees. They were leaves that had fallen off in the last gust of wind. But they hadn’t made it to the ground.
 Then Kay let go of Jonathan’s hand. They flew off in opposite directions. God – she would end up back in that dreaded hospital room if she hit anything at this speed. But the air in front of her was clear of obstacles and she slowed and dropped to the soft grass. Jonathan and Jessica were holding hands again, Kay noticed as she looked over at them. She could catch bits of what was being said. Something about acrobats. Then Jonathan jumped again, with Jessica, and landed right in front of Kay. “Are you crazy?” Jonathan shouted. He looked, and sounded, ticked. “Maybe so. That’s what the local news has been saying about me, right?” Kay kept her voice calm and level. “Yeah…but I didn’t believe it until you jumped out of your window!” “That was – never mind. I think I have a lot more questions than you do,” Kay said, “Starting with – what on earth is going on? Jonathan half-smiled at Jessica, as if sharing some private joke. “We’ll explain later.” Jessica said, speaking for the first time, “But I think we need to do something first…” she pulled her right hand out of her sweatshirt pocket. It sparkled a soft, blue color and the were sparks like static electricity coming from it. It reminded her of…”Lightning?” Kay said, puzzled. “Yes. I need you to touch it. Just grab my hand.” Jessica extended her hand toward Kay, who backed away. “No way. I’m not exactly all that enthusiastic about getting struck by lightning.”Jessica sighed. “It won’t hurt for long – I promise. We’ve done this before.”“And the sooner you do this the sooner we can explain what’s going on.” Jonathan added.Kay grabbed Jessica’s hand and closed her eyes, resisting the urge to pull away, to be rid of the pain that shot up her entire arm. The seconds seemed like hours. Eventually the pain subsided, as if being drained from her body. “Good.” Jessica said, and let go, “Darkling proof and ready to go. For now, at least.” She put her hand back in her sweatshirt pocket. Jonathan was bouncing on his feet, jumping only inches off the ground, and said, “Then let’s go.” Jessica grabbed Jonathan’s hand again. They were about to jump, but Kay stopped them. “Wait – what about me?” “We’ll see you tomorrow night, hopefully. You need to get back to your room.” Jessica said, sounding more than a little irritated. “Oh – and you’ll need this.” Jessica took a small chain out from her sweatshirt pocket and dropped it into Kay’s palm. “It’s name is Unprecedented Nonscientific Identicalness. Wear it in the blue time. and remember its name.” And without any further explaination, she grabbed Jonathan’s hand again, and they jumped, leaving Kay behind. There was no way Kay was going back into that hospital. She knew where she was going. She jumped. She followed the two of them, making sure to stay out of their sight.  It wasn’t before they slowed down. It took all of Kay’s concentration to keep up with them during their high jumps, so the change in speed came as a relief to her. They were walking now. Kay noticed they were heading in the general direction of the grocery store. She watched from a distance as they got in an old, beat-up car sitting alone in the parking lot. They didn’t start the engine. They were together. Talking and laughing, as if the world hadn’t just flipped completely upside down, as if this happened every night. Kay looked away when they started kissing. They deserved a little privacy, after all. And as she turned away, the world returned to its normal colors. When she looked back at the car, Jonathan was starting the car up. Alone. Jessica had disappeared. 

And Kay knew that these kids were no ordinary people.

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lovely isnt it? i personally LOVE it.

 -Co-Prez OUT! 😀

NO NAME: CHAPTER 1 (BY ALLIE-WA)

It happened in slow motion. The bullets slicing through the air, the target falling to the ground…it looked like something out of a movie. But it was all too real. Kay barely registered the fallen body on the ground before she turned and fled. She ran for her life. She ran until she collapsed onto the ground, breathing heavily, but not seeming to take in any oxygen…

 Kay had been having the same dream every night for weeks now, ever since her mother’s terrible death. And the nightmare didn’t end when she woke up. She couldn’t help but think that it was her fault. She could have stopped the gunman. Couldn’t she have died that night? It would have been better than just barely living in this stupid hospital bed. The stupid doctors just wouldn’t let her go.

In the hospital for a week now, Kay thought. Her apparent “suicide attempt” had left the doctors questioning her sanity. But it’s not like she tried to go into shock after the incident. It wasn’t her fault she had fallen onto a sharp rock jutting out of the ground. And it certainly wasn’t her fault that she was stuck in this stupid hospital!

She couldn’t keep her mind from the one thing that she felt was her fault. She could have – should have – done something. The guilt came again. And again and again. Just when the world seemed a little brighter, Kay collapsed back into darkness with a sick feeling – guilt. It was terrible, worse than the time she had flown to her aunt’s house in London by herself after a fight with her parents. The night before her dad died in a car crash. It was much worse . This must be what it feels like to be depressed, Kay thought grimly.

But suicide was a whole different level of depressed-ness. Even after what had happened, Kay wouldn’t commit suicide. The doctors probably knew that, which would explain why they put her on the 6th floor with the window unlocked. They just didn’t know what to do with her. “That emo girl on the news” is what everyone called her now. Everyone in the city knew her name. But no one knew what to do with her. Being 16, she was too old to be adopted but too young to be on her own. No one wanted her.

Kay tried to roll over and go back to sleep. But she didn’t want to have the dream again. Sleep was torture now. Life was torture. Lying in this hospital bed was torture. Kay was about to cry – again. Let everyone think she’s emo. They had no idea what she had been through. They couldn’t have any idea how she had felt that night, watching her mother die.

 It’s not fair, Kay thought. A single tear trailed off to the side of her head into her hair.

And then it happened.

Exactly what happened was a mystery. As far as Kay could tell, the whole world had just turned…blue. And she seemed lighter, as if the earth had lost its gravity. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and stood up. The window was iced over, but the ice shone a strange blue color, as if reflecting a giant pair of washed-out blue jeans. Kay slipped off her uncomfortable hospital gown and pulled on a pair of jeans, a shirt, a jacket, and forced her feet into her old sneakers. She felt more like herself now, in her own clothes. She pulled the window up, expecting a blast of cold wind. But it wasn’t cold outside. That was weird. And the wind wasn’t blowing, either. Things were way screwed. 

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thats the beginning of Allie-was first chapter of her verion of CHASING MIDNIGHT. only the biginning tho. ill post the rest sunday or monday. i personally think its fawesome. and she picked the cutoff. not me. very suspense-making dont ya think?

 -Co-Prez OUT! :mrgreen:

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! 😈

THE REST OF GRADUATION (BY SERAFINA-LA)

Dess was calculating the time left in the graduation ceremony based on the angle of the sun above and a complex formula based on the precise latitude of Bixby High and some base sixty divisions. There were exactly 923 seconds until the time they’d marked as the end of the ceremony, though the long-winded principal was pushing it now. Dess sighed impatiently. She could handle fifteen more minutes of Bixby High, at least.

Dess scanned the crowd for her parents, sitting near the back looking unbelievably proud.  She was graduating early, earlier even than most people who graduated early. It wasn’t even technically legal for her to graduate this young, but she’d simply run out of math and science classes to take, and Bixby High School was happy enough to get rid of her once her parents signed the stack of underage graduation forms.

In the last week she’d gotten a pile of acceptance letters, even scholarship offers from MIT and Ivy League and all those colleges that really smart people went to. No doubt they’d be as polluted with idiots as Bixby High was. But just the idea…

But before she went to any fancy college, she was finding Jonathan and Melissa and tracking down some polymath friends.

Speaking of Jonathan and Melissa…no way. No way. No way. NO. WAY.

Yes way.

In the back row, a few rows behind her parents, Jonathan Martinez was standing, scanning the crowd, Melissa was next to him, headphone-less at Bixby High School for what must be almost the first time. A little behind them stood two high-school age guys with a distinct familial resemblance, one a little taller with rough-cut black hair and the shorter one with closer cropped reddish hair. The red-haired one asked some sort of question to Jonathan and Jonathan made a gesture toward Dess and one across the bleachers (they were in height order) at Rex.

What are you doing here? Dess mouthed at them, but they ignored it. The taller, black-haired one was studying her, while Jonathan and the red-haired one pointed towards Rex, whispering. Melissa was scanning the audience.

Dess looked anxiously back at her parents, remembering that Jonathan and Melissa had been reported as running away from home, and her parents had gotten retroactively suspicious of her friends. Them showing up at graduation wouldn’t really help.

But Dess didn’t care. If they’d come back to Bixby, especially bringing two new friends, they had something interesting. And Dess could use something interesting.

The principal finally started calling out names to collect diplomas and Dess twirled the spiral of her newest darkling-proof necklace, Theoretically Cannibalistic Monstrosities.

Seeing everyone again was surreal to Jonathan Martinez. The crowd of people graduating were… strangers. He’d never been as close to the people at Bixby High as the ones back in Philadelphia, and a missed year had made them even farther away. While he’d been driving across the country, these people had just been waiting in Bixby and getting different haircuts.

Even in the crowd of strangers, he spotted Rex and Dess straight off, looking pretty much the same as they always had. Both were squinting against the strong Oklahoma sun.

“Which ones are they?” Connor asked Jonathan.

“That’s Dess, the polymath,” He said, pointing to her in the second row. “And that’s Rex, the seer.” He said, pointing again to Rex in the top row. Tech moved out from behind them to get a look at Dess, who was asking some kind of silent question and playing with her necklace.

“Rex Greene.” The principal announced, and Rex stepped forward in line. The morbidly obese school official handed him the cheap leather envelope with his diploma in it, fresh back from the Bixby Kinko’s.

Rex shook the man’s sweating hand, cringing inwardly, but grinning at Bixby High for maybe the first time. He could leave. He could leave.

Forget his father, forget everything. He was free. He didn’t have to do anything. He didn’t have any lame legally-required education hanging over his head. He could leave.  

Looking across the crowd, scanning disgustingly proud parents and pathetic students, he saw a sliver of a familiar face. Taking a deep breath, Rex blinked. For the first two weeks, he’d seen her everywhere.  Every time he spotted his shadow, he’d thought it was Melissa, silently following him just like she used to; with headphones blaring, sweatshirt hood pulled up, gloved hands in pockets, her sunglasses glinting in Bixby High School fluorescents.

Rex blinked again. Squinted. Melissa was still there. He looked again. Another familiar face beside her in the crowd—Martinez.

                Crap. This was real. Melissa was really here.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 so thats the end of Graduation. appraise her. she likes it. hehe.

 

and dont worry. im in my own house rite now. not in the closet and duct tape free. hehe.

 

-Co-Prez OUT! :mrgreen: