The clock ticked slowly. Gabe tapped his pen on his desk. The scrawny teen stared at the clock impatiently. He tried to will time faster even though he knew it to be futile.
Gabe glanced around. Everyone was intensely focused on their test. He ran a hand through his dark hair and looked down at his own test. Only one question had been answered. Gabe bit his lower lip. He couldn't concentrate. His mind was running wild with every sort of thing but what he needed. It was an annoying consequence of anxiety.
A shiver crept up Gabe's spine. The feeling of eyes burning into his back was prominent. His eyes wandered around. Gabe glanced over his shoulder.
The class rebel was staring at him. He had a mischievous smile on his lips. He gave an acknowledging nod to Gabe. The rebel put his feet on top of his desk. Gabe frowned. Walter Rock was known to get what he wanted. He was a bully.
“Walter! Eyes on your own paper!” The teacher smacked his book onto the surface of his own desk. “And get your boots off my desk.
All eyes turned to look at Walter. Walter scoffed but did as told. The clss returned their attention to their tests, all except for the goth girl sitting two seats over from Gabe. Her gaze focused on him.
Gabe lowered his eyes to his own paper and prayed he didn't look as flustered as he now felt. He answered the next question, stared at it, and erased it. Gabe could still feel Walter and the goth girl staring at him.
When the bell finally rang, Gabe turned in his incomplete test and bolted for the door. Whatever Walter had planned for him, it wouldn't be good.
Gabe hurried to his locker. His fingers stumbled while he entered the combination.
“Gabriel, my old friend.”
Gabe jumped. He held his chest as if it could still his racing heart. “Walter...”
Walter leaned against the locker next to Gabe's. “You left in such a rush. I was hoping to talk to you.”
“And I was hoping to avoid you.”
“That's rude, Gabe. Come on, we've got history together.”
Gabe faced Walter. “Nah. Pretty sure you aren't in my history class.”
“Look who grew up to be a smart-ass. I'm proud of you.”
“What do you want, Walter?”
Walter crossed his arms. “Your help.”
Gabe stifled a laugh. “My help? We're not friends anymore. Why would I help you?”
Walter wrapped his arm around Gabe. He squeezed just enough to make a point that he will get physical if needed. “Look, just meet me here tonight at midnight.”
“And if I refuse? Which is exactly what I'm going to do, by the way.”
Without breaking eye-contact, Walter grabbed one of the kids passing by. He slammed the kid into the lockers with one hand. “Then I'm going to make you my special little project out of all the guys I torment.”
“I'm terrified. You know I could just tell someone about your little plan.”
“Mr. Head-in-the-clouds? The loner?” Walter grinned. “You live in your own little world, Gabe. You have no friends. No one cares about you.”
Gabe's gaze fell. Walter belted into laughter. He walked off, leaving Gabe to dwell in his frustrations. “Ass.”
Gabe put his hands into his pockets. He watched passing students joke and horse around with their friends. Gabe's eyes fell to the floor. He pulled his hood up. Walter was definitely right about one thing. He was a loner. A melancholic sigh passed through his lips as he made his way through the crowded halls.
. . .
An eerie quiet loomed within the school halls. It was an unusually windy night for the end of summer. Gabe tried rubbing the goosebumps off his arm. The empty school was unsettling. Broken lockers creaked with each swing. Wind whistled. Shadows danced.
Gabe tried shaking off his nerves. “Why am I doing this?”
Another wave of wind picked up. The windows rattled. Gabe jumped. He took a steadying breath. He moved down the hall. His heart beat furiously against his chest.
Gabe froze. His heart jumped to his throat. Something lay ahead. His hands trembled.
He took a step forward. What am I doing, he thought. Why am I going toward it? Still he continued on. “God, I'm one of those fools who dies in a horror movie.”
A locker door was being slammed against another by the wind. Gabe took a breath of relief. As he got closer, he heard something squeak. He turned to see the classroom door slowly open. Something grabbed his ankle and pulled. He tried to grab onto one of the locks while he fell. His hand slipped. He was pulled into the classroom. Gabe screamed until he realized it was Walter.
“Hahahah! You loser! You got scared!” Walter was laying on the floor inside. He let go of Gabe's ankle and jumped to his feet. “Still the same scaredy-cat you always were.”
“Fuck you, man!” Gabe held his chest. “That wasn't cool!”
Walter wiped away a tear. He had trouble trying to catch his breath. When he finally found enough air to satisfy his lungs, he stood straight. “Whatever. Glad you made it. I actually thought you wouldn't.” The was slight acceptance in the smile he gave.
Gabe frowned. “I admit I was a bit curious. And I had nothing better to do anyway.”
Walter grinned. “Awww, did you want to try being friends again?”
“No. Why would I be friends with a bully?”
“You can be one of my henchman. I have a soft spot for you. You're like a good pet.”
“Shut up... Wally.”
Walter's smile faded. “You know I hate that nickname.”
Gabe got up. “Oh, did you” Oops.” Pain shot up his hand. He looked down at his palm. A shallow cut extended from his index to the middle of his hand. Blood trickled down his wrist. “Shit, man. Your stupid prank cut me.”
“Whatever. Come on.” Walter started walking down the hall.
“Thanks for the concern.” Gabe closed his hand and held it close to his chest. “What are we doing here, Walter?”
“We're going to perform a little spell.”
Gabe stopped. “What?”
Walter grabbed Gabe's arm and dragged him down the hall. “You heard me right.”
“I don't know if that's something we should be messing with, Walt.”
Walter slowed. “You haven't called me that in a long time.” He looked back at him. “Listen, I don't know if this will work, but I have to try.”
Gabe raised an eyebrow. “I don't get what it is you're trying to do.” His hand stung. “I should wrap this up.”
“Leave it. The spell requires a drop of blood anyway.”
“Not liking this idea even more.”
Walter dragged Gabe down into the basement. “Look, I really need your help with this. It's a two person job... and you're the only one I trust to help me with this.”
“Oh really? Is it because I have no friends?”
“You know why.” Walter stopped at a large sigil drawn on the ground. The area was surrounded by dozens of lit candles. “Despite no longer being friends, you know me the best. We know each other's history.” Walter met Gabe's eyes. “We're two of a kind.”
“I dunno about that. Kinda think you're a punk while I'm not.”
Walter punched Gabe's shoulder. “I'm serious, Gabe.”
Gabe sighed. “Yeah... I get it.”
“Please. Help me with this.”
“... What is the spell for?”
“I found a spell that will keep people from leaving.” Walter sat beside the sigil. He picked up a two-sided blade and a black candle. “I found a way to protect our hearts.”
Gabe shook his head. “You know that is all bull.”
“Even still, I want to believe.”
“What if this spell does work? Keeping people against their will is wrong.”
“And what of the pain they cause when they leave? What about the void left when they walk out of the house and leave you with a demon of a father?!”
Gabe sighed. He could still vividly remember the bruises over Walter's body soon after his mom left. “Not everyone is like your mom, Walt. Or your dad.”
“No. Sometimes, they're like yours. Dead. Leaving you here in this painful and depressing world to fend for yourself.”
“That's not fair.”
“Exactly. 'People always leave', isn't that your saying? But if this works, even people meant to die won't.”
A moment of silence passed between them. “Okay. What do I do?”
“Sit across from me and take this candle. Hold it with your bloodied hand so you are giving it direct access to your energy or something like that. It's supposed to keep me grounded as I perform the spell.” Walter held out the black candle and a lighter. “When I say, light it.”
Gabe reached for them. A drop of his blood fell onto the sigil.
Walter held the two-sided blade to his hand. He made a small slit. “Ready?”
“Too bad.” Walter closed his eyes. He held up his hands. Walter took five deep breaths. He began his chant.
Spirits around me, hear my plea.
Save this heart from those who part.
Bring to me that which I seek
Bring to me that which I speak.
No longer shall they leave
that I wish this eve.
No longer shall I cry,
my reason for this try.
Gabe tensed. A low howl echoed throughout the basement. A small subtle wind suddenly filled. “...Walt...?”
I summon thee
I bind to me
So mote it be!
Walther held out his hand over the sigil. A few drops of blood fell onto the lines. “Now, Gabe! Light the candle!”
Gabe flicked the lighter. He held the flame to the wick until it doubled in size. A strong wind rose from the sigil and blew out all of the candles except for the black candle in his hand. Gabe's heart was beating faster than it ever had before. He was terrified. It took all of his strength and courage to keep from trembling and keep the candle steady. It was their only source of light now.
“Did it work?” Gabe asked.
“How should I know?”
All sounds vanished. An eerie quiet held the room. Gabe looked down at the sigil. A teen-aged boy with long black hair and pure black eyes peeked out from the center. He smiled, showing razor-sharp teeth. “Hello.”
Gabe and Walter screamed. They scrambled to their feet. And raced out of the basement. “What the hell was that?!"
“Just keep running!”
The boys stumbled out through the school's entrance. They stopped at the street and looked back. The school remained still and quiet. Nothing followed them.
“Was that real?” Gabe looked at Walter. “That was too freaky to be real. It was another of your pranks, right?”
Walter shook his head. “I don't know what that was.”
“I'm going home. We shouldn't have messed with something we didn't understand.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Walter didn't take his eyes off the school. “Don't tell anyone about this. We could get in huge trouble.”
Gabe laughed hysterically. “No kidding? I didn't know that!”
Walter grabbed Gabe by his shirt. “I'm not joking, Gabe. I'm not just talking about breaking and entering. I'm talking about no one believing us about seeing some kind of monster and we end up in the loony bin.”
Gabe bit his lower lip. “Right... well... whatever. I'm going home now.” He started to walk down the street.
Gabe looked back. “What?”
“Thanks. Even if it didn't work... thanks for helping me try.”
“Yeah, man... we're friends.” Gabe turned and walked.
. . .
Gabe crept into his room through the window. His heart still beat hard against his chest. He couldn't get the horriyin face out of mind. No matter how many times he tried to calm himself, his anxiety remained strong. He swore he had been followed. But he was home now. He locked his window and dragged himself to the bathroom.
For five minutes, Gabe let running water wash away the dried blood on his hand. A small flow dripped into the sink but he didn't care. Gabe stared at his reflection in the mirror. “What did you do tonight, Gabe?”
He sighed. Gabe bandaged his hand and turned off the running water. He made his way to his bed and sat on the mattress. He thought of the face in the sigil again. He shivered. He started unlacing his shoes when he saw a trickle of blood slither from under the bed. Gabe jumped onto the bed. “Waht the hell?!”
The blood retreated back under. Gabe hyperventilated. Something's under the bed. That monster DID follow me home. His trembling hand reached for the edge of the sheet.
Gabe pulled the sheet up and peeked under. Nothing. With a sigh of relief, Gabe plopped onto his bed. He kicked his shoes off and stared at the ceiling. He was going insane. He felt like a child again, afraid of a monster under the bed was going to drag him under.
He closed his eyes. He had to calm down. The more he dwelled on his fear, the more paranoid he would become. Gabe concentrated on his breathing. He took deep breaths to slow his racing heart. Ten breaths to settle the heart. He could feel his heart slow and the blood coursing through. In moments, Gabe drifted off to sleep.
. . .
The monster from the ritual stood in the center of a velvety blackness. He assumed the form of a young teen boy, but Gabe knew he wasn't. His long dark hair fell gently to his bare shoulders. He was strikingly handsome. So much so that Gabe felt ugly in comparison. The monster extended a welcoming hand to Gabe.
Every instinct told his body to run but Gabe couldn't help but walk forward. Something compelled him to get closer. Gabe eyed a devil's tail sway side-to-side. Even this pleasing form couldn't hide the monstrosity of this being. Every fiber of Gabe's being screamed danger. Still, Gabe was drawn to the boy's dark eyes.
“We are friends now.”
“Wh-who are you?”
The teen boy smiled. Razor-sharp teeth flashed. Four black wing like a bat's extended from the monster's back. “Kaither, but you must call me Kai. No one else is allowed to know my name.”
. . .
The school was crowded like usual. Students traveled in packs. Barely any space was available to pass through. Gabe left his hood on while he maneuvered through. He squeezed between two groups and finally came to his destination.
“What?” Walter turned around from his locker. Dark bags had settled unser his eyes.
“Damn. You look like hell.”
“Walter punched Gabe's shoulder. It barely stung though. It was as if Walter had no strength. “Don't act like we're close. I still have a reputation to uphold.”
Gabe raised an eyebrow. “Are you feeling okay?”
“I'm fine. What do you want? Hurry up.”
Gabe bit his lower lip. “Um...” He stuffed his hands into his pockets. A habit he just noticed he did when he was nervous. “I... I think something happened with that spell.”
“The damn thing didn't even work.” Walter glanced past Gabe as the hall grew quiet. The crowds parted. They whispered and admired the beautiful devil heading toward them.
“It can't be...”
Kai stopped before Gabe. He gave him an acknowledged nod and continued on. Girls swooned and instantly flocked to talk about the handsome stranger.
“Oh shit. Walter... I had a dream about that guy last night.”
“You trying to tell me you're a psychic now or you bat for the same team. Either way, I really don't care.”
“Shut up, Walt. Be serious. I have this feeling that our spell last night brought that guy here.” Gabe inhaled. His hands were shaking. “And I don't think he's human.”
“Whatever.” Walter turned on his heel and walked away.
“Leave me be or I'll pummel you.”
Gabe balled a fist. A group of teens passed by and knocked Gabe into the lockers. They laughed while continuing down the hall.
“Strange animals, humans are. They torture that which they admire because they can't understand. Such darkness. Such a pity.”
Gabe jumped. He held his chest. “Can people stop sneaking up on me?!”
Kai leaned against the lockers. He smiled. Although it was meant to be friendly, his smile sent shivers down Gabe's spine. “You shine, though. There is... light... in your darkness. I am lucky to be your friend instead of another.”
“Friend? I don't know what you are, but we're not friends.”
“Already bonded, Gabe.” Kai chuckled. “You have summoned me.”
Gabe shook his head. “That was Walter's spell. Go bother him.”
Kai reached for Gabe's injured hand and smelled it. “But it is your blood I am bound to. Yours is the first to call me.”
When I reached for the candle... “It was a mistake. Go bother Walt. And stop terrorizing my dreams.
Kai smiled. “Proof that our bond is real.” He ran his hand over Gabe's. His touch was gentle. It was welcoming. “I know your loneliness. I know your wish for connection. Your wish for acceptance. Your entire being screams it. I have felt this cry. I know you wish for a friend who understands.”
A few passing students caught the tender moment and burst into laughter. Gabe jerked his hand away. “But it's not you.” Gabe froze. He glanced down. “My hand...”
“My gift to you.”
Gabe unwrapped the banage. The wound received from the night before disappeared. There was no pain or scar. There was no evidence of there ever being a wound. “H-how did... why did?”
“I thrive on your light, Gabe. I crave for your love... I need it.”
Gabe noted a majestic presence to Kai. For a moment, Gabe thought he found something long lost. A feeling he had forgotten.
“Accept my love and you too shall be loved. No one deserves to be alone in this empty life.
“Something about this seems wrong.”
Kai put his arm around Gabe's shoulder. His touch was warm but it didn't feel right. Still, part of him yearned for more. “Aren't you tired of struggling in this world alone?”
Gabe closed his eyes. His mother was dead. His father was never in the picture. He was alone. “Yes...”
Kai stood victorious. “Never again will you be alone.” He let his arm fall and he took a step back. “See you in class... friend.”
Gabe heard Kaither's footsteps fade. He gulped back the crushing fear forming in the pit of his stomach.
“We have a transfer student joining our class it appears.” The goth girl from Gabe's class walked up to him. She put a hand on her hip and watched Kai walk down the hall. His presence demanded everyone's attention. An ability of the monster, Gabe figured.
“Yeah. Seems like it.” Gabe blushed. He didn't know what else to say. He was nervous around her.
“He was real friendly with you. You know him?”
“Not really. Just met him.”
Goth girl pursed her lips. “I don't like the energy he gives off. It seems... monstrous.”
Gabe flicked his eyebrows up. “Here I thought I was the only one who felt that.”
“Well now it's two.”
Their eyes met and lingered for a long minute. Gabe looked away to hide his fluster. She was really cute and the dark make-up suited her aesthetics beautifully.
She extended her hand out to him. “The name's Rose, but my friends call me Blackrose 'cause all I wear is black.” She chuckled.
“Gabe.” He took her hand and shook it.
“I noticed Walter Rock staring at you in class yesterday.”
“He had a favor to ask me.”
“The school bully?” Blackrose looked him up. “Something tells me you're a magnet for the strange.”
Gabe shrugged. “It's my curse.” He noticed Blackrose fiddling with a necklace with an elegant rose. “Bit on the nose, isn't it?”
She brushed her dark hair behind her ear. “Better than a nameplate, I say. I'm surprised. Not many people notice it.”
“When you're alone all the time, you notice what others don't.”
“Odd.” Blackrose raise an eyebrow.
“What is? Noticing things?”
“You being alone. I don't get it.”
Gabe grew quiet.
“Anyway, I'd stay away from the new guy if I were you. He's dangerous.”
Gabe gave a little smirk. “You got inside info I don't?”
Blackrose gave a wink. “The perks of being psychic.” She headed toward the classroom.
His heart skipped a beat. A half-smile appeared on Gabe's lips. He watched her walk. He liked the way she dominated the space she was in. People moved aside for her. Her confidence was inspiring.
Lost in a daze, Gabe was pushed against the lockers. Some boys surrounded him. “Looks like we got a little fairy in our school, boys.”
Gabe straightened. He stared down the three bigger boys. “Finally got the courage to look in the mirror?”
The leader of the pack, the shortest of the bunch, stepped forward. He pushed Gabe again. “You've got a mouth on you. It won't save you.” He pinned Gabe against the lockers. “Your disgusting kind ain't wanted here. Get out.” The punk snapped his fingers. His goons turned to leave. “You've been warned.”
. . .
The bell rang. A group of girls surrounded Gabe's desk and blocked him in. Gabe groaned. He looked to his left. The girls doted their attention on Kai. To Gabe's dismay, Kai was assigned in the seat beside him. He wouldn't have cared but all attention was on Kai; and with Kai giving all of his attention to Gabe, all eyes were on him.
Kai politely declined the girls attention to Gabe, and wrapped his arm around Gabe's shoulder. “Thank you for the offers, ladies, but I will be spending the day with my friend here.” Both walked out of the classroom.
Gabe didn't think he looked half-bad. However, in comparison to Kai, the girls in the school looked at him like he was a monstrosity. Pitiably, he felt like it.
The punks Gabe encountered earlier blocked their way. “I thought you faeries to get out of my school.”
Kai cocked his head to the side. “I am no fairy. Can you not tell what is before you? Are you a half-wit? I thought half-wits disappeared with the medieval ages. I haven't seen one since.”
Gabe tensed. The way Kai had said that unsettled him. The punk leader's smile faded. He grabbed Kai, but neither budged. The leader made movement as if he was trying hard to push him. Kai yawned nonchalantly.
Kai stared into the leader's eyes. “What is your name, half-wit?”
Gabe noted the punk's expression turn blank. “...Mike.”
“Mike...” Silence settled between them. Kai remained unmoved. He didn't break eye-contact with Mike. Not once within two minutes did he blink.
Gabe tried to back away from the awkward tension. He couldn't. Kai had an immovable grip on him. Fear crept back in. The fear intensified when drool fell from Kai's lip. Gabe couldn't help but imagine Kai as a hungry animal watching his food.
Kai took a breath, but to Gabe, it sounded like a snarl. “And what of your friends? What are their names?”
Mike blinked. “Ken, Rob, and Chris.”
A devilish smile formed. He pulled his arm from around Gabe. “Let's sit down like civilized people and discuss what problems irk you. Then we can get closer to your deepest desires.”
Without breaking eye-contact, Kai spoke to Gabe. “Head on without me. I will catch up.” Kai signaled Mike and his friends to follow him. The four punks walked close behind Kai. Gabe noticed the stepped in time.
Gabe's heart was racing. It nearly burst out of his chest when a hand gripped his shoulder. Walter leaned into him.
“You look even worse than you did an hour ago,” Gabe said.
Walter's skin was pasty and pale. He was shaking and sweaty. “That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Help me out.”
“Needing my help a lot recently, I see. Maybe I should start charging you.”
“I don't even have the strength to banter. Help me home?”
Gabe nodded. He let Walter use him as support. Immediately, Walter put his full weight on Gabe and nearly pulled them both down. “Good god. If you're so sick, why did you even come to school?”
“I was fine this morning. I felt a bit ooky, but it was nothing. Ever since I got to the school, I've felt like my strength had been draining. I feel like... something is feeding on me.”
Gabe bit his bottom lip. He tightened his grip on Walter and started to walk. “Your car is out front, right?”
“Yeah. In the teacher's lot.”
Gabe rolled his eyes. “Walt... I know you don't believe me, or rather you don't want to believe me... but I think we summoned Kai.”
“The new guy.”
“Your gay friend?”
Gabe let Walter fall on his face. “Whoops. Lost my grip.”
“I'm serious though.” Gabe helped Walter back to his feet. “Kai isn't human.”
They came to a halt as Blackrose emerged from a corner. Her eyes lit up when she saw Gabe. “Hey! I was just looking for you.”
Gabe gave a little half-smile. “Hey, Blackrose.”
“I saw your friend... uh... Kai, walking with some guys toward the basement.”
Gabe's smile faded. “Then let's leave them be.”
“Don't you want to see what he's all about?”
“I'd rather not be involved with him at all.”
“Then this is your chance.” Blackrose rested her hand on his shoulder. “The more you know about him, the better chance you have at getting rid of him.”
“Why are you so concerned with the new guy?” Walter coughed.
Blackrose looked taken-aback, almost like she just noticed Walter. “I get bad vibes from him. The sooner he's out of here, the better we all will be.”
“I don't know...” Gabe turned glanced at Walter, who started to look like a corpse.
“Well, I'm going. Join me or don't.” Blackrose turned on her heel and headed to the basement.
Gabe turned his attention to Walter. “What should we do?”
Walter rolled his eyes. “Obviously you two have a thing for each other, for some weird reason. Your dumb butt won't get another chance like this. And we can get you to shut up about this new guy. Let's go.”
Gabe assisted Walter down. Blackrose sighed in relief when the two met her at the door.
“Okay, be as quiet as possible. We don't want him knowing we are here.” Blackrose opened the door.
The three crept through the basement. They could hear Kai's voice just ahead. The three ducked behind a pile of boxes.
Kai maintained his creepy smile. He caressed Mike's cheeks, he sniffed the air and exhaled, almost like he was in ecstasy.
“I don't understand,” Mike asked. “Why can't I move my body? Or do anything I want to do?”
“There is power in knowing someone's name. That's why no one knows my real name. It allows access to the heart.” Kai sniffed Mike. “It allows me to know all of your deepest desires... and fears.”
“What are you talking about?”
“There is nothing better than the smell of fear. That is, except for the filling weight of love. I want your love, Mike.” Kai shifted his attention to the other three. “I want all of your love.”
“You're a freak.”
“No.” Kai's grin grew wide. Drool poured from his lips. His teeth grew razor sharp. The four bat wings Gabe saw in his dream sprouted from his back. “I'm an Incubus.”
Blackrose gasped. She covered her mouth. Kai showed no sign of acknowledging the noise.
“I have the power to enter your dreams, your heart, and your mind. I hunger for love, Mike. I thrive on it.”
Kai's smile faded. He stared into Mike's eyes. Kai pounced on Mike and bit into his neck. He ripped the flesh clean off the bone and swallowed. Mike fell to the floor, dead. The poor lad didn't even have time to scream. The other three boys, however, did.
“But I can live off human flesh too.” The incubus's eyes fell on the panicking children. The boys screamed and cried, but their bodies didn't move. Kai released an otherworldly roar. It sounded much like a lion's roar melded with a crow's cry. The incubus tackled the boys and tore their hearts out to feast. Splattered blood consumed the room and a red pool gathered at the monster's feet.
Walter's gag reflex kicked in. He dry heaved and coughed up blood.
Kai snapped his head up. Gabe, Blackrose, and Walter's eyes widened like a deer in head lights. Gabe started to hyperventilate. Blackrose grabbed the boys and started to run. “Let's go, let's go, let's go!
Kai stepped out from a corner in front of them. His clothes were soaked in blood. “You weren't supposed to see that, Gabe.”
“You murdered them,” Gabe swatched the blood dripping from Kai's lips. “You ate them!”
“All for you, Gabe. I would do anything for you.”
“Why would I want that?!”
“For your happiness. They bullied you.”
“That's not the way to do it.”
Kai cocked his head, “But they will no longer bother you. This is proof that I am here for you.”
“I don't want a friend like you.” Gabe helped support Walter's weight. “I've got to help my real friend home.” Gabe surprised himself with how calmly he was talking. He glanced at Blackrose.
“I'm disappointed, Gabe. They aren't your real friends. I'm all you need.”
“I don't need a monster for a friend.”
“Look at the guts on you. When did you turn into such a badass?” Walter laughed until he started coughing and hacking blood.
“Not now, Walt,” Gabe whispered. He worried Walt was becoming hysterical.
Kai smiled. The creepy way his lips formed around his teeth made the three teens step back instinctively. “You summoned this monster, Gabe. You and that bag of bones you call a friend. We are bonded. You are mine.”
The pieces clicked. Gabe scoffed. “You're the one making him sick, aren't you?”
“What?” Walter tried to stand straight but stumbled back. “How is this bastard making me feel like this?”
“An incubus is not of this... physical world. We need an anchor to remain. To do that, I need energy. Life.” Kaither looked down at Walter. “I must have his life energy until I have eaten enough from human to stay materialized in this world.”
“What if you don't?”
“Then he will die while I live.”
The three froze. Gabe pushed Walter behind him. “I won't let that happen.”
A devil's tail appeared. Kai flipped his dark hair back and looked down at the three. “Such a pity. I dislike your resistance. We could be firm friends, Gabe.” He focused on Walter and Blackrose. “Perhaps these two are the problem. For some reason, you think they free you from your loneliness.”
Kai smirked. “But people always leave, right, Gabe?”
Gabe grew quiet. Blackrose came to his side. “But sometimes, they come back.”
Kai's smirk faded. “Is that so?”
“He's not alone anymore.”
A snarl escaped Kai's lips. “You're right. I'm here.” Kai lunged toward her. Gabe threw himself between. The two tumbled to the floor. “Blackrose! Run!”
Blackrose and Walter ran up the basement stairs.
“They won't escape.” Kai jumped to his feet.
Gabe grabbed Kai's ankle. “Leave them alone!”
“Let me go, Gabe.”
“Then you give me no choice.” Kai tapped Gabe's forehead. A blinding light filled Gabe's vision. He felt like he was thrown into a pool of water. His chest constricted like he was drowning. “Sleep.”
. . .
Cold air pricked Gabe's skin. He stood in the same velvety blackness as his dream last night. It felt different this time. He felt trapped.
Gabe held his hand out only to feel nothing. There was nothing but cold in this abyss; and emptiness.
His voice echoed in the abyss. No one was around. He knew that. He could feel it in his soul. He was alone.
“So dark. So alone.” Kai materialized out of the darkness. “This is your deepest fear, Gabe.”
“How are you able to do this?”
“I've told you. We are bonded. I know all of your fears. I can dive into your subconscious and I can force you to relive your darkest pains.
Kai snapped his fingers. An ebony-skinned hand ran down Kai's shoulder. A dark-toned woman stepped out from behind. Her curly hair gently fell onto her shoulders.
Kai stroked her cheek. “She is beautiful.”
“Don't touch her.”
“A shame she is not your real mother.” Kai looked past Gabe.
Gabe turned to see his real mother standing behind him. His breath caught in his throat. He reached out to touch her. He had only seen pictures of her.
“Your real mother died giving birth to you. She was the first one who knew that you were a plague among the humans. And so she escaped. She allowed herself to slip into that peaceful sleep because it meant not having to care for you.”
“Those are lies.” Gabe couldn't help the tears building up in his eyes.
“You are the reason your father is in prison too. You killed your mother and he was devastated. Taking care of you, dealing with his guilt, and living in this unforgiving world left him no choice. He became a thief to make ends meet.” Kai smiled. “But all thieves get caught eventually.”
“You blamed yourself for both of their misfortunes. And you were right. You're a curse. Even your adoptive father paid the price.”
“That was an accident. His car flipped.”
“Because you ran away and he went out to search for you.”
Tears ran down Gabe's cheeks. “Stop it.”
“You know people get hurt around you. It's why you always chose to stay alone. Anyone who gets close to you gets hurt. Your friendship with Walter ended because you caused his misfortune. And you knew it. He may have put up defensive barriers around you, but you went away because you knew he would only get hurt more if you stayed.”
“It's not true.”
“People always leave is really people always get hurt around me.” Kai slowly approached Gabe. “But I won't. I see the light in you. I will never leave. You can't hurt me.”
“I will. I want to.”
“There is nothing you can do.”
“None of this real.”
Kai put his hand on Gabe's shoulder. “I am here.”
Gabe covered his ears and closed his eyes. “No! I hate you! I reject you! Hear me, Kaither! I reject you!”
. . .
“Ready or not, here I come.”
Blackrose and Walter ran down the hall. They pushed through the crowded halls. “Everyone! Run!”
A girl screamed.
Blackrose looked back. Blood had splattered over a set of lockers. The hall turned into a stampede as kids ran from source. Blackrose met Kai's wild eyes. The incubus bit down on his victim. He threw the corpse aside and made his way toward them.
Kai grabbed another student and tore into him. “I will feed on you all and remain in this world.”
The herd of students knocked Blackrose and Walter onto the ground. They were kicked and stepped on. Kai stood over them.
“Please...” Walter begged, “Don't eat us.”
Kai picked Walter off the ground. “Don't worry. You're of no concern.” He tossed Walter aside.
Blackrose dragged herself a few feet away. “Gabe...”
“My only concern is to get this thorn out of Gabe's life.” Kai opened his mouth. Blackrose stared at the razor-sharp teeth.
Kai stopped. He spun around.
Gabe walked confidently toward them. “You will not harm her, Kai.”
Kai roared. His otherworldly scream echoed through the hall.
“I figured it out, Kai. You can no longer harm anyone.”
Walter tried to pick himself up. “What's going on?”
“Names have power, right? Every time you called someone's name, you seemed to have some kind of control over them. Knowing someone's name give you power over them. But the same is true to you. If someone knows your name, then they control you too.”
Kai chuckled. “Yet it has not worked for you.”
A smug smile came to Gabe's lips. “I never called you by your name. But you had to tell me. It's part of our bond. We must know each other's name. You told me last night.” Kai grew quiet. “So I banish you now. You will return to wherever you came from and you will never return.”
“Don't do this, Gabe.” Fear filled Kai's eyes. “I beg you, don't return me to the darkness.”
“But it's where you thrive. So return there. Starting right now, I banish you, Kaither, from this world!”
A blinding light flashed throughout the hall.
The light dissipated. Gabe walked over to Blackrose and helped her to her feet. “Hi.”
Blackrose smiled. “You really are a magnet for the strange.”
“A little help over here, lovebirds?” Walter groaned.
Gabe and Blackrose helped Walter up. They stared at the carnage left. The school now looked like a slaughterhouse.
“What's going to happen now,” Blackrose asked. “How do we explain this?”
Gabe smiled. “I think whatever happens, we'll be able to handle it. Together.”
“Nah, I think I'm going to go back to ignoring you,” Walter joked.
Gabe smacked his arm. “Seriously, I couldn't have done it without you two.”
Blackrose shrugged. “Seemed like you had it all handled.”
“No. Because with you two around I wasn't alone. I was stronger than I had ever been.”
“Well, this team happened to stop a monster. I think we all earned a well-deserved rest.”
I think after a good night's rest, I will be up and about in no time,” Walter said. “In other words, let's get the hell out of here and head home.” He looked at Gabe and Blackrose and smiled. “Together.”
Gabe scoffed. “Oh please, you just want us to help carry you home.”
“Damn straight. Let's go.”