Luckily, a familiar smirk crossed his lips when he saw me. But somehow...I feel it was purely for my benefit and not his own.
"Look at you. You truly are becoming one hell of a vampire these days. Your crossover's complete...I can see it in your eyes."
"Am I glowing?" I asked, hoping that I wasn't looking...inhuman.
"It's not about a glow. It's a confidence...and a sorrow. A certain level of 'acceptance', if you will. It shows in every vampire's eyes once their humanity starts to become more of a memory than an experience." He walked closer to me, seeing the scars and scrapes on my arms and face. "You've been fighting."
"I haven't had much choice these days."
"You always have a choice. Even if it's a bad one." Dizz tried to keep things somewhat subtle with me, but I knew that something was seriously bothering him. And he wouldn't have come all this way for nothing. "Com wanted me to see you."
"How did he know I would be here?" Dizz gave me a look and raised an eyebrow. "Riiiight. He's Comicality. He knows everything."
"If only that were true." Dizz replied softly. "He's worried about you. He fears for your safety."
"Funny. I was pretty sure he had forgotten all about me. He seemed rather eager to detach himself from me as quickly as possible." I said. "He doesn't need any friends. Isn't that what you said?"
"Justin...I know it's difficult to have faith in his concern when you see him so little...but I assure you, he is far from absent."
"Far from absent? Give me a break, he ABANDONED me! He won't even TALK to me, I have no way to get in touch with him..."
"I've been out here fighting for my LIFE, people are running around thinking I'm some kind of prophet, half the city is trying to fucking KILL me.."
"I don't appreciate Com turning his back on me, and to be honest, I don't appreciate him sending his little 'helper' out here to calm me down instead of coming himself. I don't need him to just show up out of the blue every now and then...he's either gonna help me or he should just leave me the fuck alone. I can find somebody else who can be a bit more predictable..."
"Comicality can't be here tonight, Justin. He's been tagged." Dizz told me.
"Tagged?" I asked, feeling a wave of sadness wash over me as Dizz attempted to hide his eyes by looking at the ground. "What do you mean, tagged? What does tagged mean?"
He looked me in the eye, and it was becoming harder to maintain his smile "Com believed in you, Justin. He still does. He fought for you, tried to protect you...but what he did was in direct violation of the Elder's order. They know the vampire Mimic is real, Justin. No longer a rumor. And they know that Com was the one assisting you."
"What are you telling me?"
There was a pause, and Dizz said, "Com has been targeted for execution."
"For WHAT? They can't do that! He's...he's not some CRIMINAL! What about all of the scripture he's written? The vampires he's helped..."
"What he did was treason, Justin. The vampire order can't tolerate disobedience of their laws, especially with something so significant to our culture and our security." Dizz explained. "If a betrayal of this magnitude went unpunished, there would be anarchy."
"Where is Com now?" I asked, gritting my teeth.
"He's safe for the time being. He's been driven into hiding. He must finish his final scriptures before he is found. And those final scriptures...end with you."
Was it anger...or despair that I felt tightening up my stomach? Or was it something else? A spark. A lit fuse, leading to a detonation that could possibly make things right. As much as I hated being left out here to fend for myself by the one entity I trusted to guide me through this..the thought of him being EXECUTED just for trying to help someone was outrageous and wrong. I could stop this. I could...I could help him.
"Don't play games with me, Dizz. Please? Just tell me where he is."
"I can't do that, Justin."
"I can 'steal' it right out of your head if I want to. But I'm asking you nicely." I said with a determined grit of my teeth.
"Is that what we're doing now? Stealing thoughts?" Dizz asked me. "That's not why you were given this gift, Justin. That's not why you were chosen"
"I don't give a SHIT about being chosen! What happens if they find him? Will YOU be able to protect him?"
"He is only in hiding until the scriptures are finished. Then...he has agreed to give himself over to them willingly. It is an important part of his path, that is what he told me..."
"Are you HEARING yourself??? You're just gonna sit there and let him DIE over this?" I shouted. Dizz lowered his head again, but he assured me that nothing more could be done.
"Events have already been set into motion. The dominoes are falling and they can't be stopped now." He said. "What is most important is that you find your way to the Dawn, Justin. Comicality cannot complete the scriptures needed until you have found the answers for yourself. His testaments end where yours will begin."
I started to walk away, shaking my head. "I can't believe that you're talking about testaments and prophecies right now...this is somebody's LIFE were talking about! I thought he was your FRIEND!"
"He is. That's why I'm here. His work is all he has, Justin. Completing the texts have been his only salvation during the dark times he has seen. Nothing matters more to him now than finishing the scriptures and getting that message out to all who can hear it. He is the bridge towards you ushering in a whole new age of awareness, Justin, you HAVE to complete the circle."
I balled up my fists, trying to hold in the rage of it all. But no amount of pacing on tensed muscle would force the anger away. When it got to be too much, I lashed out and punched a giant dent into a nearby dumpster, kicking it up against the wall! "FUCK!!!!" I screamed, wishing that I had..SOMETHING...ANYTHING to hit that could absorb some of this hatred and get it out of my system! At this point, I was practically shaking, while Dizz watched in silence. "Tell me where he is, Dizz."
"And what do you plan to do, Justin? Huh? Find Com, hide out with him, and crush anybody who happens to come looking for him?"
"For starters, yes. Or maybe I'll take it to these faceless 'Elders' myself and leave them with a little warning." I growled.
Dizz was taken back by my comment. "My...we certainly ARE advanced, aren't we?" He said, and then looked down at my feet. And when I turned my gaze in the same direction, I saw a thick black swirl of shadows spinning around my feet, crawling up my legs slowly as my anger intensified. "Is that what you want? Is this the kind of person you want to become? Feeding off your anger until you lose control?"
"I'm NOT going to lose control. My 'control' is getting better every time I use my gifts..."
"At the expense of your soul? That's quite an uneven trade, don't you think?" He said, and I was too upset to answer. "You KNOW how this story ends if you go down this path, Justin. Don't you?"
"I'm not going own any 'path', Dizz. But I'm not going to sit here and let Com get murdered over some stupid vampire political bullshit! I won't let them make an example out of someone just because he tried to help."
"You can't just 'fight' everything that conflicts with what YOU want, Justin. It doesn't work like that. You think you're invincible but you're NOT. And the harder you push, the harder the world is going to push back."
"So I should stand back and do nothing?"
"No. You should do as Com asks you to do, and start finding your answers."
"I don't know HOW to find any answers!!!" I growled, and I saw wisps of steam begin to rise off of my body as my skin heated up. There was an electrical charge in the air around me, and small sparks could be seen jumping between my fingertips.
"You still haven't learned, have you? You're still being led into someone else's game and playing by their rules. Even if you end up standing victorious on a mountain of dead bodies you're STILL destined to lose. Don't you GET it? You've worked soooo hard to get this far. Everything that you've experienced, all the suffering and the struggle you had to go through...you're going to just throw it all away now?" Dizz asked me, making sure to keep his distance. You see? Even HE fears me!
"You're missing the point, Dizz." I said calmly, a maddening tone creeping into my voice until I almost didn't recognize it. A smirk spread across my lips as I felt the power building up all over again. The sensation of it flowing through my veins was becoming soooo addictive. "I spent my whole life in pain. Abuse, rejection, misery, suicide, loneliness, heartbreak...I've been beaten down so many times that I lost count. My childhood is 'gone'. My humanity...is 'gone'. And I'll never get either one of them back. Ever." I told him...but then my smile widened. "But I don't have to let them beat me down any more. They all tried their BEST to break me...but I just kept getting stronger. And now...it's MY turn!"
Dizz seemed almost hurt by my words. "I've heard words like this before. It's the first step...towards the end of your sanity." He said. "Com didn't want this for you. None of us did. You have to focus, Justin. Don't let your pain make a slave out of you, you're better than that."
"I'll never be a slave. Not to anybody. Not now that I can hold my own. I'll never be helpless again." I said, and felt myself levitate slowly off of the ground, only an inch, but enough to feel weightless as I floated closer to Dizz. "Do you know what it's like, Dizz? To have to come home every day after school...and be mercilessly beaten until your tears run out? Do you know what it's like to not be able to fight back? To hide bruises from your teachers? Do you know what it's like trying to maintain friendships when you are dealing with soooo much emotional baggage. My father, my best friend's sickness, my sexuality, my mother's drinking...how was I ever expected to be good enough to actually matter to anybody? They don't give a shit about me, they never did. I'm merely an after thought to them. A whisper in a forgotten dream. A faded freshman picture in a yearbook collecting dust. Nothing more." I told him as I floated a slow and steady circle around him. "But now? Now I finally have a group of people that I can call my 'family'. And I have a boy that actually loves me beyond all of my flaws and imperfections. I have a life, Dizz. Did you really think...after sooooo much suffering...that I wouldn't murder the whole fucking WORLD to protect it?"
He was quiet for a moment, a sheen of perspiration appearing on his skin from my heated presence. "I know what you think you're doing...but that's not what it is."
"You think that you can make all the bad things just go away. That you can keep getting stronger and stronger until everybody is too scared to ever bother you again." He said. "You're convinced that your enemies are all 'out there' somewhere, plotting against you....but they're not. The only adversary you seem to be too scared to face is you." He turned to look me in the eye, and I felt my feet lightly touch the ground again. "It's alright to be scared, Justin. It's ok to worry about losing what's important to you. In order to care about anything or anyone you have to be vulnerable to them. But this is not the answer. You can't erase your past, Justin, you just have to work on building your future. And the future you're building right now is one full of blood and carnage and revenge...and eventually you'll self destruct. Eventually, you'll be at war with yourself and what you've become...and that's when they'll come for you. That's when they'll exploit your weakest flaw, and you're going to lose it all, Justin. The Dawn, your friends, Taryn...everything. Please don't trick yourself into believing that you're in control. It's just not true."
I lowered myself to the ground completely again, and I felt some of the madness slip away from me. Instead, where I once felt an incredible build up of godlike power...I now felt the ache of misery. And a renewed feeling of helplessness. I didn't WANT this feeling anymore! Why is Dizz DOING this to me??? I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be complete. I wanted to be SAFE! Why is he trying to bring my frailties back? That rotting decay of an existence that I wanted to leave behind...it continued to chase me To haunt me. As much as I tried to hide myself from the pain of my past, it infected me in every possible way. It was always there, even when I was happy. Wondering when it was going to rear its ugly head again..like it did back in that alley tonight.
Those vampires paid a price for a crime that they didn't even commit. And instead of a beating...they caught the full impact of a life torn apart. Maybe...I'm not as stable as I want to believe.
"I don't...understand, Dizz." I said, almost feeling my eyes water up. "I'm just...trying to do the right thing. I...I have the POWER to do the right thing now. Isn't that what this was meant for?"
Dizz, now a bit more comfortable with my state of mind, came over and put a hand on my shoulder. "The Dawn isn't about 'power', Justin. It's about awareness. It's about choices. And the ability to embrace both the gifts AND the curses of our lives. Even when times are at their darkest" I felt weak, and leaned back against the wall, lost for a clue as to where to go from here. "I know you're powerful. I know that you're reaching a level of ability that no other vampire has ever seen. And I'm sure that it's only going to get stronger as time goes on. But you can't let it consume you. Once you step over the line, there's no coming back. Sure, you'll fool yourself into thinking that it's only an inch, and you'll draw another line in the sand in an attempt to set boundaries for yourself. But once you've crossed one line, the others become nonexistent. The harsh repercussions of your actions will cause the opposition to strike back even harder, causing you to cross another line. Then another. Then another. Until you can't even remember where you started from in the first place. The existence of a Mimic is a dangerous concept to all who hear it. That's why the hidden prophecies were buried to begin with. The only thing preventing you from total madness is your ability to maintain faith in your gift of choice. Without it...every enemy you have will force you into a downward spiral that no one, not even Taryn, can save you from." He said to me, his hand running through my blond hair as I tried not to look him in the eye. "Do you understand?"
I nodded, but I wasn't sure that I did. Not completely, anyway. More than anything, I just wanted the burden of this responsibility to vanish into thin air so that I could get back to my LIFE. I realize the importance of trying to help, of trying to be a voice in the darkness for so many others...but I never wanted to sacrifice my peace and joy for this...'duty' of mine. I never wanted to sacrifice love, and friendship, and the chance to be 'normal'...for the sake of a message. Maybe Comicality is willing to 'die' for the cause, but I can't make the same promise. I want a LIFE! And I've been given a chance. After sooooo much pain....I've finally been given a chance. And I'm being asked to let it go. And madness or not, I'm not sure that I can make that promise.
I'm not Jesus...I'm a lonely 14 year old boy who's working on his first gay relationship ever. I've been away from home for so long now that it's becoming difficult to even remember what it looks like anymore. Soon it'll be some distant image in the back of my mind...and I'm afraid that I won't remember it at all.
The problem is...
..I don't want to forget my mom. I don't want to forget 'home'. But holding onto it is only bringing me more pain. And if that's what is destroying me from the inside out...what can I do?
Maybe.....it's better to forget my old life.
"Will you make me a promise?" I asked quietly.
"Anything." Dizz answered.
"Will you tell Com to please talk to me, at least one more time...before.." I didn't finish the sentence. I don't think I could if I wanted to. Not that it was needed.
"Of course I will." He answered. "I'm sure he'll want to see you. Not to sound too jealous or anything...but I'm pretty sure that you're his greatest adventure. He may not say it to your face, Justin...but he's never been more proud of your progress. Don't disappoint him, by giving up now." He said, and he gave me a tight hug around the neck. "Hard times are coming, so be ready. And whatever you do...keep your heart. Always keep your heart."
"I'll try." I said. "When will I see him again?"
He shrugged. "Sooner, later...who knows with him. But it'll happen." Dizz told me while stepping back a bit. "All you've gotta do...is keep your focus."
The second he said it, he used his extra to throw my attention towards a different corner of the alley, and by the time I realized what was going on....he was gone. Sneaky.
I remember being out there, feeling the wind on my face that night, and thinking back to all the times Com told me to be careful. All the times he warned me about being exposed, about keeping my cool, about not letting someone else determine how I was going to react to a situation. And it made me wonder if I was the one that got him 'tagged'. If it was my stubbornness and my anger that put his life on the line. What if it's all my fault? What if...he's going to be executed...because of me?
It was the kind of monotonous thought process that refused to release me. It kept repeating itself over and over again, and it took all that I had to balance myself between punching another dumpster and breaking down into tears. I didn't mean to put him in that position, I just...I needed help. I needed someone who knew more about this stuff than I did. And as I pondered that thought, my mind wandered back to the Jeweler's offer. It was only for a second, and I got rid of it as fast as I could as it gave me a bad feeling inside. But...the idea was in there somewhere. And I didn't know if I was going to have much of an alternative if I waited for too much longer.
However...it was then that I felt a strange vibration pass right through me. I can't explain what it was or why it felt so strange but...I could tell that it wasn't 'me' doing it. I stood perfectly still, waiting to see if it would happen again, but it didn't. And yet, I could feel something..or someone...looking for me. A dark and hateful searchlight that was being broadcasted throughout the entire city somehow. Trying to pinpoint my location. Trying to figure out where I was. And I remembered that feeling. That ice cold sensation of almost infinite hatred.
And it's name was 'Rage'.
I moved up against the wall, doing all that I could to remain still, using Kid's extra to block him out with as much mental static as I could muster. But whether he could 'see' me or not...he was still searching. Scanning the invisible signatures that I left behind. It made me think about the vampires I had just crushed in the alley a few hours ago. Did I leave behind an imprint? Would he be able to see my influence there? It was MUCH too close to home for him to not be able to find us! And there's NO way that we'd be able to survive an attack at home! Not once they knew where to find us.
I'm not even sure how Alec found Jeremy's shack, but the last thing I wanted to do was give him any more clues. I waited for the sensation to pass Whatever Alec was doing to try to locate me, he must have burned himself out doing it. Either that, or he found himself another lead elsewhere. He knows that if he can get to me, he can get to Taryn, and I can't let that happen. I can't.
I made sure to retrace my footsteps back to the alley where I had been fighting. The bodies were gone. The survivors either limped off with someone to assist them, or local slag hunters came to clean up the mess. Was there anything here? A piece of me that I'm leaving behind? I remembered how Dash recognized my fighting in the sanctuary. The same way I recognized Alec's at Bernie's club.
I've gotta get rid of the footprints. He'll see my fighting style. But how do I get rid of them all? How do I put things back the way they were? Shit...I was all over the walls and the roof fighting those guys. It seemed like an impossibility at first, but I used what senses I could to see my own imprint, and erase it as best as I could. It took...well...hours.
Geez, I don't think I had ever been a part of such tedious work before in my life. My God, I hated it! But I did all I could to get rid of my presence in that alley. If that's what he's using to follow me, I've gotta keep any troubles as far away from the lot as humanly possible. It's the only place of security we've got left.
I almost needed another shower when I was done, but the dawn was rapidly approaching. A whole night wasted fighting and cleaning. Not my idea of a good time. I walked back to the lot, but made sure to sneak in the back way. Not that Bryson wouldn't be looking for me to so. He'd know that I was there, but hopefully I'd be able to hide my scars until tomorrow night I crept around a few dark corners and waited until I could find a safe opening and sneak back into my trailer without being questioned.
I saw Kid and Max in the middle of the lot, and that boy was practically 'sparkling', he was so clean. But he already had a smudge of dirt on the tip of his nose, as I'm sure he was working himself back into the dust ball he was before Taryn took him to the showers. Dion and Dylan were quietly kissing against his truck. Only for a few moments at a time. Then they'd stop, look into each other's eyes with a tender smile, and be drawn in for another one. It was the happiest that I've seen either one of them. Dylan blushed and giggled softly in his boyfriend's arms, and when Dion held him close...he knew it was right. They were two that were certainly meant to be together forever.
I could only catch a short glimpse of Rain and Taryn as they were further off to the side. Taryn seemed worried, and I saw him looking towards the front gate. So were Doc and Jun on the other side of the little clearing All probably wondering why I hadn't come home yet. With the sun on the rise, Bryson would be taking 'attendance' soon, and I'd never be able to sneak by then.
I took what I knew of Taryn's extra, and tried to send him a message. It took a try or two, but I finally got his attention. He looked up and around the lot until he caught sight of me. "Don't look. I don't want Bryson to see me." I told him silently.
He sent me a message back. "What happened to you? Where did you go?" He asked. "Doc said there was trouble."
"A little." I lied. "But...nothing I couldn't handle."
"They found you?"
"I think they just happened to get lucky. Or unlucky as the case may be." I said. God...you know, even in my head, Taryn had the voice of an angel. It felt soooo good to hear it again. "Are you ok?"
Taryn tried not to stare in my direction or let on that he was talking to me, but he did take a peek or two. Even from a distance, his green eyes were magic. "I'm ok." He said with a sad pause. "Justin...I'm sorry for what I said to you before. I know you wouldn't hurt my brother on purpose."
"It's ok. I just...I know you need space and all but...I need you to know that I love you, Taryn. And I'd do anything to keep you safe. Anything." I think I accidentally broadcasted some of Jenna's emotions along with the message, and Taryn felt the tingle as it nearly overwhelmed him with what was in my heart. "Everything is so dark without you."
Bryson came out and started looking for everybody to be in their appropriate places for the night. And Taryn wiped a stray tear from his eye as he sent me another message. "Bryson's doing bed checks. I'll try to distract him long enough for you to slip by. We'll talk tomorrow, ok?"
"Tell Jun and Doc that I made it home safe, ok?" He agreed, and just before he turned away, he told me the words that I had been longing to hear for days now.
"I love you, Justin. With all my heart. I always will." And he moved to keep Bryson's attention off of his duties long enough for me to skate right in.
"Past your 'curfew', isn't it?" Trevor asked me out of nowhere. I was startled, not even knowing that he and Michael were sitting there on the ground.
"Yeah...guess so. I needed a shower." I said, and kept walking.
"A shower. Right." Trevor smirked, but didn't make a big stink about it, thank goodness. Instead he let me pass without much of a hassle. Besides, since Jeremy showed up, Michael has been clinging so tight to Trevor's side that I doubt he'd be able to take much enjoyment out of torturing me any further.
I opened the trailer door, and Taryn gave me a nod as I snuck in and started to close the door behind me. But before I was home free, without even looking in my direction, Bryson called out, "Good night, Justin." Arrrgh! How the hell does he ALWAYS know???
"You've got laundry duty tomorrow. If you're gonna sneak around town, I'll see to it that you're doing something useful." He said.
Trevor looked over at me with a grin. "Busted."
"Whatever." I told him, and shut the door behind me. Shit. I hate doing my own laundry, much less everybody else's. I locked the door and turned around to see Jeremy spread out on the mattress, naked as the day he was born! "What the hell???"
"You sure do have some surprises left in you, kid." He said. He was...he was just...
"Dude! Clothes, you heard of 'em?"
"Sorry, I like to sleep with 'easy access' to everything." He smiled, spreading his legs a little wider.
"Yeah, well...I won't be needing it, so...can you at least throw a 'blanket' over that thing?" I said, shielding my eye with my hand. Not that it wasn't, you know...hot! But I just wasn't ready for it.
"Awww, you're no fun." He said, and slid his legs under the blanket. "So are you coming to bed, or are you gonna tell me what happened tonight to put those scars on your face and chest? Or...both?"
I did kick off my shoes, but decided to stay dressed as long as he was sleeping in the nude. It's weird, but I felt myself blushing as I sat down on the edge of the mattress. "I...really would rather not talk about it, you know?"
"Oooh, a secret. I like that." He grinned. "Did you know that you have a big HOLE in your mattress? Right here. It's like...somebody slashed it with a 'sword' or something..."
"Can we just...'sleep'? Ok? Seriously."
"You're not being a very festive roommate, you know?"
"I wasn't supposed to be anybody's roommate at all." I told him.
"Well, neither was I. But your nasty little 'killer doll' boy toy changed that for the both of us, now didn't he?" Jeremy yawned as the daylight began to take effect on his sleep cycle, and I saw his eyes begin to droop a little. "Looks like you're missing out on your chance to party, pretty boy."
"Aw gee...too bad for me." I said with a roll of my eyes, and laid back on the mattress as fatigue set in, and drowsiness began to take over. A minute or two passed, and Jeremy was completely silent. I looked at his face, and his eyes were closed. I don't know...call it a perverted little impulse but...well, I haven't seen many naked boys before. I've seen a FEW, sure, but...I mean who's gonna know if I take a peek, right?
I reached over, and I lifted the cover enough to see what he was packing. It was 'nice'! Kinda big, too. Neatly trimmed hair, but just in a patch over that one area. "Ahem..." I heard him clear his throat quietly, and I jumped as my hand dropped the blanket. He looked at me with a big smile and said, "It's a bit too late for that now. You're gonna have to pick that fruit in the morning, cutie pie." I quickly rolled over and faced the other way, blushing until my face was almost PURPLE! He giggled at my shame. "G'night, sweetie."
"GOOD NIGHT, already! Go to SLEEP!" I snapped back, and as I heard him snicker a bit to himself, I couldn't help but giggle a bit myself.
"Shut up!" I said, and covered my head with the pillow as we both started our sleep cycle for the day. Funny...just when you think your smile has gone away for good it shows up again. And often at the oddest times.