Magical Security Taskforce




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Chapter 1: In the Dark Room

Session One

The circle on the floor, precisely appended with the proper symbols, began to glow as the summoning spell churned to life. The shadowy figure in the center, clad in ceremonial garb, slowly raised his arms as he continued his demonic chant. Within the candlelit chamber, an eerie wind began to blow. The wind picked up, gained strength as it whirled past the altars and extinguished the candles. No matter- the circle itself was now glowing a bright red, hindered only by the shadows of the chanting demoniac. In a flash, the candles re-ignited: they were now levitating safely above the foul cyclone. It was only a matter of time before a hellish beast would awaken and devour the world.

A screeching from outside almost drew the sorcerer away from his spell. 'Merely a harpy,' he thought to himself as he went about his business. He heard the screeching again, and his mind strayed to the thoughts of a dead harpy. He had never killed a harpy before, but his temptation grew. Harpies were not known for having particularly edible meat, although they did make a nice mantelpiece in the hands of a skilled taxidermist.

The screeching grew louder, now coming from right outside the chamber wall. Although speaking with its own tongue, the harpy's message was unmistakable, and even the powerful figure could not ignore it:

“Donovan! Your breakfast is getting cold!”

Wordlessly, Donovan shrugged off his blanket and threw it on the bed. Still in his pajamas, he left his room- careful not to mess up the chalk markings lining the area rug on the floor. He was not particularly hungry, but his mother made such a fuss whenever he missed breakfast.


Donovan Dunmar was, in every sense of the word, a poser. As the tallest freshman at L. B. Gould High School, he went out of his way to command a presence. Wearing his ink black hair down to his shoulders and dressing almost entirely in black (sometimes with a cape), he would walk down the hallways glaring at anyone who dared to make eye contact with him. Most of his classmates did not make eye contact with him.

He also had a flair for the dramatic. When he moved, he did so either sharply and decisively to startle people, or slowly enough to build suspense. In the rare event that he raised his hand in class, his arm would rise gradually, with his palm inevitably facing away from the teacher and his hand slumping lifelessly back towards himself. Once called on, he would stare at the floor as he began his answer (always preceded by some incomprehensible rhetoric), jerking his eyes at the teacher once he reached the climax of his statement. This habit was especially annoying in math class.

Donovan's reputation as a poser was best cemented through his purported knowledge of the dark arts. When trapped in a conversation with him, he could create the impression that he was either related to a demon or had one on speed-dial. Any low-ranking MST member who knew anything at all about demonkind would smile and nod, happy with the fact that the truth was still a secret. It didn't stop Donovan from elevating his aura around school. He was the president of the Occult Club, boasting a whole three other students as members (four during the two hours and twenty-two minutes that Renee had participated in), and other naďve students turned to him for advice on placing hexes on various peers and faculty members. The most popular target was, of course, Molly Pearson.

Everybody in school knew he was a poser. They gave him space because he was big and needed it. They avoided him because he wasn't all that great at parties. Even the goth kids would look at him and giggle behind his back. Rarely to his face, however, as there was no fun in teasing someone who didn't show emotion. Donovan, of course, was left with the impression that the entire student body was afraid of him. He liked it that way.

There were, however, a couple things Donovan had that most posers could only dream of- minions. Two minions- Blaine and Bryce. They were always ready to serve Donovan at a moment's notice. As Donovan walked to school on the first Monday after spring break, their moment had arrived.

“Blaine. Bryce.” Donovan's command for them to appear was low and firm.

“Sir!” The twin response came from behind. The short-statured, weak-willed redhead and the short-statured, weak-willed blond were ready for their orders.

“The final ingredient for tonight's ceremony is the blood of a goat. Find some.”

Bryce sighed, quietly enough to prevent Donovan from hearing. “Sir, how are we supposed to get it? You told us to avoid that shop in Huffington.”

This was a valid point; Donovan had sworn never to go to Joey's Occult Shop in Huffington ever since the goat blood he bought there turned out to be generic over-the-counter blood. Any demon would tell you the species of blood didn't matter (the secret was using the right herbs and spices- of which Donovan had neither), but Donovan was triumphantly immune to such truths.

“Obtain it yourself. The best blood is organic- freshly squeezed directly from the source.” A foul smile crept on Donovan's face as he reveled in the thought of a harmless animal in pain.

Both Bryce and Blaine took a step back. Blaine faced his fear and protested: “Sir, but you're talking about trespassing onto a farm and drawing it ourselves.” Donovan nodded, still not seeing the problem. Blaine continued, “The nearest farm that has goats is miles away, not to mention the fact that the whole thing is cruel, illegal and pretty time-consuming.”

Donovan turned around- slowly, so as to increase suspense. He glared at both Bryce and Blaine, who willingly fell into his trap. They stared back, helpless as he asked, “So why are you still here?”


Session Two

Troy also had two companions accompanying him to school that day. Only one was desired. Being a junior, and head of the motor club, Kurt had quickly become one of Troy's closest allies. One of his only allies, actually. Although a fairly new kid in town, Kurt was well-adjusted and seemed carefree with an almost-constant smile on his face.

Not here, however. Troy was busy announcing his resignation from the motor club. Keeping his eyes to the ground, Troy tried to explain: “I know it's strange that me going on a date with Renee could lead me to quit, but-”

Kurt put a hand on Troy's shoulder and calmly interrupted, “Actually, I was afraid of just that.” He knew all about the Pearson administration. He knew how Molly operated, and that forcing Troy to quit all extra-curricular activities over an innocent fling was well-within her standards.

“It all seemed so perfect, though. She really liked me. For a week, it was like Molly didn't matter.”

“Molly always matters,” Kurt replied with a mockingly militaristic face, “Molly is the law. Molly's law must always be obeyed. Molly's law must not be questioned. The answer to the universe is Molly.”

It got a stifled chuckle out of Troy. It got a bigger response from the row of bushes fifteen feet away from them.

Kurt turned to the hedges and raised an eyebrow. “What was that?”

Troy didn't bother to look. He merely sighed. “Claude. He's been trailing me ever since to make sure I don't step out of line.”

A cheeky grin formed on Kurt's face as he stared back at Claude's cover. “He probably says that every morning in the mirror,” he said, louder now to make sure Claude could hear him. “Molly's the alpha and the omega, right?”

Behind the bushes, Claude sneered. His daily oath of allegiance to Molly Pearson was much more eloquent and inspiring than Kurt's jingoistic nonsense... even if it did convey the same message.

While he was sneering, his object of surveillance had advanced another ten yards.

“You know, all I want is another chance to talk to her,” Troy said as he rested his hands on the back of his neck and stared up at the hazy morning sky. “If I knew she was still interested in me, it makes this all a little more tolerable.”

Kurt frowned, looking away so as not to break the 'carefree with an almost constant smile' character that Troy saw him as.

“I don't think anything could make this more tolerable. I mean, Renee's nice and all, but it just causes too many problems.” He wanted to play the reassuring upperclassman, but there was no way he could deny the facts- the best way to survive L. B. Gould High School was to avoid Molly Pearson and Troy wasn't doing that. Instead, Troy got irresponsible and cost Kurt the free labor that could leave his old ride forever unpimped.


Unfortunately for Troy, his elder's advice was quickly drowned out by the other half of his posse- Kathryn Santos.

“Go for it, kid,” she said, despite the fact that they were the same age.

“You don't understand what kind of forces we're dealing with, do you?” Troy replied, shaking his head as the two headed for their lockers at the end of a brisk, although amazingly uneventful, school day. Such was the norm at L. B. Gould, bearing in mind that routine high school drama and phony deference to authority figures were hardly considered eventful.

“Well, it's not like it can get any worse for you,” she replied, giving him an encouraging slap on the back. Troy almost fell over in pain.

One day back in elementary school, Troy was attacked by a stray animal. It was vicious- claws out, teeth bared, and ready to pounce. A tall, husky girl scared that cat away, helped Troy to his feet, brushed off some of the garbage he had fallen in and told him, “You're kind of a loser, aren't you?”

Kathryn and Troy have been best friends ever since.

As one of the most gifted athletes in her class, and one who filled out her gym shirt so well it almost became a fad, Kathryn had all the admirers in the world. She, like Renee, was also welcome in every club at L. B. Gould. Of course, Kathryn avoided the student council because of her quiet disdain for Molly and quit football after the coach wouldn't let her play quarterback because she was a freshman. Troy was her confidante (no gossip risks among his friends), her private tutor (no one else gave a damn about her academics), and her pet project (no comment). In return, she swore to give the boy some much-needed ambition. Renee appeared to be the answer.

Said answer appeared before them, not surprising since all freshman lockers were in the same crowded hallway. “There she is. Good luck,” Kathryn said as she pointed Renee out.

Troy took a moment to lose himself at the sight of Renee. Then he responded with a burst of logic: “I can't just walk up to her! Not with Claude tracking my every move.”

“Oh yeah... Claude...” Kathryn eyed the scenario: Claude was stationed above the row of lockers- one hand used the ceiling for support, the other held up a set of binoculars with its sights set on Troy. This was a common sight at school; the other students ignored him.

“I can handle Claude,” Kathryn boasted, pulling her arms back. Troy couldn't tell if she was trying to flex her muscles or show off her breasts, but either way the intended effect was achieved.

However Kathryn meant to handle Claude, Troy left her to handle him alone. He turned back to Renee, who was carefully arranging the books in her locker (which was actually a teeming mess, but Troy couldn't see that from his angle). For a moment, seeing her again made him feel at peace. Even if he was barred from associating with her, she still existed, and that meant hope was still alive.

His little love song was interrupted by the sound of Claude crashing to the floor. With him passed out at Kathryn's feet, she smiled and gave Troy the thumb's up. Troy was sure she had done something either completely awesome or completely indecent, but he didn't see it and at the moment he didn't care. Right now he had to make his move. He wasted no time in weaving his way through the other students (all very busily ignoring Kathryn and Claude) until he reached Renee. Troy extended a hand towards her as he began to call her name.

He didn't even get to “R.”

“Troy Monroe, please report to the student council office immediately!”

There was no doubt whose condescending voice blared over the loudspeaker. Unlike the antics of Claude and Kathryn, this announcement got everybody's attention. They froze in fear for a moment, then continued on down the hall, each silently praying for Troy Monroe.

Troy Monroe himself, on the other hand, turned to the loudspeaker in disbelief. He turned back to Renee, but she was gone. His hand, still reaching out, fell limply to his side as he trudged his way to Molly's office. Kathryn could only watch helplessly.

Situations like these were the reason Molly liked security cameras. They were just as reliable as Claude or any of the other lesser council members, only less bulky.


Session Three

Donovan's Occult Club, as stated before, had just three other members. Two of them, like Donovan, were posers. The third wasn't even feigning interest: she had only joined to boast about her “extra-curricular participation” on her college applications. She swore after the group's first meeting never again to pick clubs using a dartboard (she thought assigning triple-6 to the Occult Club was cute- until the dart landed there).

Whatever the reason, within the confines of the dark room where the club met, Donovan had the captive audience he needed for his ceremony. Unfortunately, Blaine and Bryce had not returned with the key ingredient.

The others grew impatient. One of the posers fixated on the red candle providing the room's only light, estimating the number of minutes before the flame dissipated in a puddle of wax. The second quietly considered sneaking off to cheerleading practice, while the other girl closed her eyes and pictured where she'd be had the dart instead chosen triple-13 (A/V Club) or triple-10 (Academic Decathlon). She decided to take her chances in the dark room.

As Donovan grew more impatient, the door flew open. Donovan did not bother reacting: he knew it was Blaine and Bryce returning with the blood.

Only it wasn't. It was a stranger- a tall, lanky stranger as evidenced by his silhouette against the offending light of the outside hallway. He stepped forward and slammed the door as the room returned to near-darkness.

“Is this the Occult Club?” he asked, his face almost completely obscured by the shadows.

Donovan leaned forward and leered at the stranger. He sensed a new rival, and he had never met a rival he couldn't pretend to defeat.

“Who wants to know?” he replied in his best gravelly voice.

Even in the shadows, the smirk on the stranger's face was apparent and it annoyed the bejesus out of Donovan. In a mockingly friendly tone, the stranger replied, “Now, now, is that any way to treat a potential new member of this pitiful organization?”

“You dare insult us?”

The stranger replied coolly, with perfect intonation and rhythm. His voice was proper, almost British: “I merely suggest that I can improve upon it. There are techniques I know that can summon the most fearsome creatures from the bowels of hell.”

Donovan leaned back in his chair, still glaring at the stranger. “We're working on it,” he replied, much less gravelly this time. It was his natural voice, which was thankfully still low, otherwise he would have sounded really pathetic. “If Bryce and Blaine had fetched the goat blood as I had commanded...”

At this point, to avoid abusing the words “the stranger” any longer, we will call the stranger Kendrick. That's his name, you see. In any event, Kendrick started laughing uproariously. Not one of those evil super-villain laughs that Donovan practiced late at night. The laugh was more gleeful, with a light sadistic flavor for extra kick. Whatever it sounded like, it agitated Donovan to no end.

“Goat blood?!” Kendrick cried in disbelief. “You truly are a sorry bunch of amateurs.” He shook his head at looked Donovan in the eye. “A mockery of the true powers of darkness.”

Donovan sneered. “I refuse to let you insult us further.” He stood up abruptly, pointed at Kendrick and called upon his faithful allies: “Rise, my army, and destroy this outsider!”

None of the three responded. None of the three were even paying attention. One of the three, in fact, was playing a portable video game. The second was quietly recalling the steps of her pom routine while the third contemplated giving up darts altogether.

“Did you say something, Donovan?” mumbled the first, more concerned with running around a huge metropolis and trying to roll it up into a ball.

“Kill him,” Donovan reiterated slowly, adding an evil smirk of his own.

“Molly said no killing,” huffed the cheerleader, now thinking about how Molly ruined everybody's fun.

Kendrick continued to shake his head. “Useless... completely useless.” He stepped forward until he was two feet in front of Donovan, his smirk now turning into a broad grin. Donovan's smirk had long since turned into a dreadful scowl.

“Perhaps a demonstration is in order,” Kendrick said, momentarily raising a slender, black eyebrow.

Before Donovan could strike another dramatic pose, Kendrick was gone.


Session Four

Troy was five feet and eight inches tall- average for a boy. Molly was also five feet and eight inches tall- above-average for a girl. Take out the heights and sexes and the descriptions would still be true: Troy was average, and Molly was much, much higher than average. That is important because the whole height comparison is quite unnecessary as both were sitting down in Molly's office.

“Renee is very comfortable at the top of your class. Yet you consistently try to jeopardize that by insinuating that you and she have some sort of social relation.” Her firm voice, combined with the proper spitefulness in her inflections were enough to make Troy squirm in his seat. And she hadn't even pulled out her greatest weapon.

He attempted to fight back, but only managed to squeak, “But we-”

“No you don't!” There it was- she leaned forward and glared at Troy. There was no other sign of expression on her compact face- no raised eyebrow, no snarl, no flared nostrils. Molly didn't need any other facial expression. Neither did Medusa.

“That week never happened,” she continued, leaning back and maintaining a calm and fatally scary demeanor. “To suggest that you and Renee were doing anything together over break invites the possibility of scandal that could dethrone her permanently.”

Molly brought her hands together and carefully raised her voice one level. “And any allegations against my sister are vicariously directed toward me, and threatens my position as class president.” She narrowed her eyes and, in a grim voice that would make Donovan jealous, concluded, “Understand?”

Troy, who had been paralyzed ever since “no you don't,” heard only an amalgamation of mumblings and vocabulary words, most of them sounding very angry. After gulping a few times, he finally remembered where his larynx was and replied, “Not really.”

Molly smiled and glanced out the window. She calmly responded, “Naturally, I need to spell it out for you...” Troy braced himself, waiting for her to lash out and chop his head off.

Which she did: “YOU ARE NOT TO TALK TO HER!”

Troy opened his eyes and saw a pair of breasts where Molly had been sitting. Wisely deciding to turn away from them, his eyes moved up to see Molly looking down on him. Now her nostrils were flaring, her mouth was in a snarl, and her right earlobe was wiggling tremendously.

Right after Troy realized that the whole head-chopping thing was just a figure of speech and he was unfortunately still alive, he remembered that an earlobe wiggling tremendously was not considered a normal expression of anger. In fact, it wasn't considered a normal expression at all.

Molly apparently knew this too, as her eyes widened. Suddenly, she turned around and pinched the offending earlobe.

“Can't you see I'm busy?” She still sounded pissed, however.

After three seconds of dead silence, she said, “I detected nothing.”

“Who are you...” Troy began to ask, but then decided he'd rather be baffled than berated. He looked out the window at the park across the street, already too confused to bother wondering why Molly's office had a window when it was not next to an outside wall. That particular park was also in a different direction than the window, but given Molly's spontaneous internal dialog, orientation was the last thing on Troy's mind.

“Yes, sir,” Molly concluded, throwing Troy off even further: she didn't call anybody 'sir.'

As she turned around and removed a sheet of paper from her desk drawer, she casually noticed Troy. “Are you still here?” she asked, more interested in the contents of the page she was reading. “I'm through with you.”

“Who were you-”

“LEAVE!” she shouted, not looking up to confirm that Troy was indeed scurrying away.

Scurry he did, though. Troy left the office but only got two feet out the door before someone grabbed him by the collar and pulled him aside.

“Did you survive?” Kathryn asked, letting go of him so he could rub his neck and wonder if there would be a mark there the next morning.

“Technically. Although I won't be going anywhere near Re-”

Before he could finish, Molly burst through the doorway, shoving Troy into Kathryn and breaking into a run down the hallway. For a moment, Kathryn saw a look of frightened concern on Molly's face. Before Kathryn could consider drawing any conclusions, she was distracted by the incoming Troy.

“What was that about?” Kathryn mumbled, staring at the vapor trail Molly had left behind.

“I don't care. I've had enough of Molly for one day,” Troy replied, seemingly content with his face in Kathryn's chest. Not hard to see why.

Kathryn set aside the image of the panicked president and separated herself from Troy. “Don't give up yet. I have one more trick in mind.”

Troy groaned. “Not today. Molly said I have ten minutes to be off of school grounds or I'll be arrested for trespassing.”

“Fine. Then leave and come back after softball practice.”

After shaking his head, Troy walked past her and toward the exit. Then he stopped and turned around. “I thought you were on the soccer team.”

“Our right-fielder's down with a bad leg, so for the next few weeks I'm on both,” she said with a smile, “You know who else is on the softball team for the next few weeks?”

Troy sighed and guessed, “Renee?”

Kathryn's smile grew brighter. “Meet me at the girls' locker room at 4:45. I've got a plan.”

“The girls' locker room?” Troy did not look particularly excited by this plan. “This is somehow supposed to improve my love life?”

Kathryn scratched her chin. “Wow, that does sound awfully dodgy, doesn't it?”

Turning back around and walking away, Troy had already dismissed the plan. There was no reason to seek something he could not possibly have.

He heard Kathryn from behind: “You're going to be there though, right? You have no idea how hard it was for me to set this up.”

In all honesty, it was a difficult decision- he wanted to at least talk to Renee again, and Kathryn was apparently trying very hard to give him the opportunity. At the same time, he refused to believe that it would improve his lot, especially after that scolding.

“Well?” Kathryn asked, growing impatient.


Of course, this is Troy we're talking about, so his personal thoughts on the situation didn't really matter.

As he limped out of the building, Claude came running in from the other direction. Kathryn folded her arms as he peered into Molly's office. He muttered some child-friendly substitute for a swear word and turned to Kathryn.

The personal assistant opened his mouth, unsuccessfully trying to find the right way to ask his question, but Kathryn merely pointed down the hallway and answered, “Troy went that way.”

“Thanks,” he replied as he bolted down the hall.

“See you tonight!” Kathryn said, smiling and waving.

Claude turned around, stumbling a bit in the process. “Yes!” he shouted back as he resumed his pursuit of Troy.

Kathryn had directed him down the wrong hallway, of course, but that was a moot point. He'd be back on Troy's tail eventually, and Kathryn already knew how to take him out of the picture when he did.


Session Five

Still within the black confines of the dark room, Donovan sulked alone. The other members were gone, the ceremony was a failure, and the candles had dissipated in a puddle of wax. Still, Donovan liked being alone in the dark room. It was his private chamber of solitude, for those times when he couldn't be spared walking back home and brooding in his bedroom.

The door flew open; this time it actually was Blaine, stumbling through with a half-filled Mason jar. Short of breath, Blaine made it four feet into the room before collapsing on the table.

“Close the door,” Donovan commanded.

“Yes, sir.” Blaine picked himself up and closed the door before collapsing on the table again.

“You're late.” Donovan had no sympathy for the exhausted minion.

Blaine moaned, then attempted to explain: “The farm was on one of the back roads. We got lost at first. Then when we found it there was an electric barbed wire fence we had to get over...”

Donovan rolled his eyes. Excuses, excuses...

“Turns out goats can be pretty fast little guys. By the time we caught one a farmer spotted us and called the cops. Didn't help that Bryce can't hit a vein to save his life...”

“And where is Bryce?”

“His parents should be signing him out of the police station right about now,” Blaine said with a sigh, “Thankfully, I managed to get away.”

Donovan noticed the jar next to Blaine's head. As Blaine settled down for a long winter's nap, Donovan picked the jar up and examined it. It was only half-full- hardly enough for a proper ceremony. He set the jar on a rack next to an identical jar, also half-full. Donovan reasoned that if the two were combined, the demon spirits probably wouldn't notice the difference.

Speaking of demon spirits, another intruder entered the dark room- Molly.

“Okay, Dunmar, what have you been doing in here?” she yelled, darting her head around the room for any signs of foul play.

“Close the door,” Donovan commanded.

Molly walked up to him, ignoring his request (especially since the doorway provided the only source of light in the room). “I have a report that you were up to something, so you better give me the details. Your club is already in hot water, and I am fully prepared to turn this room back into a storage closet if you don't give me information.”

Instead of responding, Donovan chose to glare at her. She glared back. These two optic titans could intimidate anybody at school, and the battle the two were waging would have made for some fine pay-per-view television. She would lean in, he would turn his head just slightly to the left, she would squint her right eye, he would blink and continue the struggle- had anybody else been in the room (and conscious), they would have been thoroughly engrossed by it all.

Finally, a victor emerged as Donovan glanced to the side and responded, “Our secretary kept the minutes. She is at soccer practice.”

It was definitely a win for Molly, as Donovan was telling the truth- the club secretary was a member of the soccer team. She didn't have much skill at the game, but her dartboard said otherwise.

Molly didn't have much reason to celebrate. She sighed and slammed a sheet of paper on the table. “Listen, this is an official notice. If you witness or engage in any demonic activity, you are to report it to me immediately. Failure to do so will not be pleasant for you.” She wanted to threaten to burn him at the stake, but the MST hadn't done that in decades.

The collision of table and Molly's hand woke up Blaine, who mumbled, “Tell Bryce he can have my DVD player if I don't live.”

Molly glanced at Blaine before turning around. “And for God's sake, get him to the nurse!” she shouted as she left, slamming the door behind her.

“Actually, I think I'll be all right,” Blaine replied, forcing himself to sit upright. He turned to the door. “Thanks for the concern, Molly.”

“Blaine,” Donovan interrupted, attempting to look at the paper.


“Give me light so that I may read this.”

“There's no light in here.” Blaine looked around and added, “It's the dark room.”

Donovan raised his voice. “Give me light!”

“Uh...” Blaine struggled with this one- there were no more candles, Donovan didn't want the door open, and that fence was still pulsing electricity through Blaine's brainwaves.

Out of options, and not quite thinking straight, Blaine created light- a bright sphere of light emerging from the palms of his hands, about the size of a billiard ball.

“How's this, sir?”

Donovan raised an eyebrow, immediately forgetting about the notice. “How did you do that?”

Blaine stumbled through his reply. “Uh... special talent?”

“Show me.”

Blaine sighed, set the light ball on the table, and went through the motions- palms face down, then swiftly and gracefully flipped around. As the palms turned up, he extended them forward, revealing a second ball of light.

“You can't duplicate it, sir. It takes incredible training just to do that.” That was mostly true: all magic users had a different gesture, with most learning them at the academy. Blaine counted on the fact that, if unable to do it, Donovan would certainly lose interest in such a simple trick.

“So you move your hands like so...” Donovan held his palms face down, then brought them around in a wide circle (not exactly what Blaine did, but good for dramatic effect). His hands moved closer together, palms now facing each other.

As Donovan raised his palms up, a brilliantly glowing ball emerged atop them.

Blaine's eyes grew wide. Nervously, he replied, “Um... very good, sir. You just... performed magic... lovely.”

But it was not lovely to Donovan as he examined the spheres. In a dark tone, he said, “Your ball is bigger.”

After one second of staring into Donovan's eyes, Blaine quickly cupped his palm around the ball and focused his energy. He revealed the light again, now the size of a golf ball.

“Is this better, sir?”



Session Six

As he waited outside the gymnasium, it was a little presumptuous to say Troy was excited about Kathryn's efforts. Of course, Troy was being a little presumptuous thinking a new set of clothes and a baseball cap would prevent Claude from noticing him. He would remain presumptuous, as Claude remained unseen.

Kathryn tapped Troy's shoulder. She was in her street clothes.

“Come on in. Everybody's decent,” she whispered, carefully eying her surroundings.

“But what if-”

She smiled, clutched his shoulder, and led him inside, “Don't worry... we'll handle it.”

Before he could ask who 'we' was, the two were in the locker room.

And Claude was on the move. He leaped down from the roof and rushed inside. Claude opened the door to the locker room and ended up face-to-face with Kathryn.

“Ms. Santos, I...” his voice trailed off as she cracked a very sadistic grin.

“Girls!” she called out, “We have an 809- lech attempting to infiltrate girls' locker room!”

Immediately, eight girls flanked Kathryn, all cracking their knuckles. Claude tried to backpedal, but he didn't have a prayer.

The ensuing beating in the hallway drew Renee's attention. She stepped away from her locker and into the entrance, coming face to face with Troy.

“Troy!” She stepped back, looking around frantically for evidence that this was either an illusion or a joke.

He took a step towards her, holding up a hand. “I just wanted to talk to you again.”

“In here?! Are you crazy?”

Actually, he wasn't crazy; the locker room was one of the few places in the school without security cameras. Molly wasn't into that sort of thing.

Either way, Troy began his pitch: “Renee, I really thought we connected that week and I'm not going to give it up just because Molly-”

“Well, I am,” Renee blurted. She sighed, shook her head, and added, “You're a nice guy, Troy, but you don't want to defy Molly like this. We had our fun; let's just drop it. It's better for your health.”

Troy stood there in shock, his dream suddenly shattered. That crock about only wanting to talk to her again didn't pan out as well as he had hoped.

“I'm going home,” she huffed, walking past Troy towards the door.

“Well... can I at least walk home with you?” he pleaded.


“Okay, can I follow you like a stray dog and plead my case from a distance?”

She considered the offer for a moment. As she did a smile erupted. She turned around and shook her head and replied, “Sure.”

They left, passing whatever was left of Claude on the way. After Renee exited the building, Troy gave her a five-yard head start before following. On the way out, he passed Kathryn. She smiled at him. He grinned back, knocked fists with her, and began chasing desperately after Renee.

Kathryn couldn't help but laugh, just a little, at Troy. But out of the corner of her eye, she saw trouble- Molly was approaching the Occult Club secretary, who was returning from soccer practice and bouncing a ball on her head. Kathryn frowned; Molly had a clear view of Renee and Troy making their escape. Apparently, Molly had just taken notice because she stopped- her eyes locked onto them.

“Hey!” Kathryn shouted, distracting the other girl just enough to make her lose control of the ball. It bounced forward in Kathryn's direction.

“FORE!” Kathryn shouted as she dove and headed the ball straight at Molly. It was only fair to give the class president proper warning; Molly turned just in time to see the ball drive into her face.

Kathryn resisted the urge to shout “GOAL!!” as Molly fell backwards onto the sidewalk. Instead, after dartboard girl helped her to her feet, Kathryn walked up to the now-unconscious president. Pouring on the insincerity, she said, “Oh my, Molly, are you all right?”

The other girl looked at the damage done by the errant soccer ball and wondered, aloud, “Maybe I'm better off in Donovan's club after all.”


Donovan was nowhere near the school when she had said that. Before he started for home, he spent another hour in the dark room sulking about the failed ceremony while repeatedly competing with Blaine over who had the biggest light ball. Donovan won every time; he knew he was well on his way to becoming a powerful sorcerer. He just needed to master a ball of pure darkness first.

Somewhere between the school and his house, he saw something in the street. It was a large, black something sitting perfectly still in the middle of the road. With no cars in the vicinity and no other pedestrians nearby, Donovan went in for a closer look. As he drew near, it became more recognizable. Donovan made out its thick, black skin with lengthy claws. He also noticed a long nose and a mouth, starting to bare teeth now that someone was nearby. Donovan identified the creature as some sort of hell hound. For once he was right, and the hound began to trot up to him.

Upon closer inspection, Donovan could see that the hound's teeth and claws were sharp. Both were exposed and seemingly ready to slice into Donovan's skin. In all, Donovan was quite impressed with the animal and grinned.

“Excellent... I've found a pet.”

He held out a hand at the hound, which sniffed it curiously before looking up at Donovan.

“Come to me, my beast,” he said with pride. A magical ability and a new pet all in one day- quite satisfactory, he thought.

Donovan continued to smile, even as the hound dug its teeth into his exposed arm.





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