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!”
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
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
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
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
“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
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?”
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.
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-”
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.
seemed so perfect, though. She really liked me. For a week, it
was like Molly didn't matter.”
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
It got a
stifled chuckle out of Troy. It got a bigger response from the
row of bushes fifteen feet away from them.
turned to the hedges and raised an eyebrow. “What was that?”
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.”
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?”
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.
was sneering, his object of surveillance had advanced another
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.”
frowned, looking away so as not to break the 'carefree with an
almost constant smile' character that Troy saw him as.
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.
it, kid,” she said, despite the fact that they were the same
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.
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
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?”
and Troy have been best friends ever since.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
didn't even get to “R.”
Monroe, please report to the student council office
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Donovan grew more impatient, the door flew open. Donovan did not
bother reacting: he knew it was Blaine and Bryce returning with
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.
the Occult Club?” he asked, his face almost completely obscured
by the shadows.
leaned forward and leered at the stranger. He sensed a new
rival, and he had never met a rival he couldn't pretend to
wants to know?” he replied in his best gravelly voice.
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?”
dare insult us?”
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.”
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...”
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
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.”
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!”
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
say something, Donovan?” mumbled the first, more concerned with
running around a huge metropolis and trying to roll it up into a
him,” Donovan reiterated slowly, adding an evil smirk of his
said no killing,” huffed the cheerleader, now thinking about how
Molly ruined everybody's fun.
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.
a demonstration is in order,” Kendrick said, momentarily raising
a slender, black eyebrow.
Donovan could strike another dramatic pose, Kendrick was gone.
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
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,
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
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
“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
“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.”
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,
Kathryn's smile grew
brighter. “Meet me at the girls' locker room at 4:45. I've got a
“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,
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.
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.
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.
the door,” Donovan commanded.
sir.” Blaine picked himself up and closed the door before
collapsing on the table again.
late.” Donovan had no sympathy for the exhausted minion.
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...”
rolled his eyes. Excuses, excuses...
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...”
where is Bryce?”
parents should be signing him out of the police station right
about now,” Blaine said with a sigh, “Thankfully, I managed to
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.
of demon spirits, another intruder entered the dark room- Molly.
Dunmar, what have you been doing in here?” she yelled, darting
her head around the room for any signs of foul play.
the door,” Donovan commanded.
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.”
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.
a victor emerged as Donovan glanced to the side and responded,
“Our secretary kept the minutes. She is at soccer practice.”
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.
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.
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.”
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
“Blaine,” Donovan interrupted, attempting to look at the paper.
light so that I may read this.”
no light in here.” Blaine looked around and added, “It's the
raised his voice. “Give me light!”
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.
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.
raised an eyebrow, immediately forgetting about the notice. “How
did you do that?”
stumbled through his reply. “Uh... special talent?”
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.
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.
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.
Donovan raised his palms up, a brilliantly glowing ball emerged
eyes grew wide. Nervously, he replied, “Um... very good, sir.
You just... performed magic... lovely.”
was not lovely to Donovan as he examined the spheres. In a dark
tone, he said, “Your ball is bigger.”
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.
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
“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
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
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
“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
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
“Excellent... I've found
He held out a hand at
the hound, which sniffed it curiously before looking up at
“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.