My stance found a strong, almost immovable, hold on the ground beneath me. And I could feel it empowering me...rejuvenating me. It was as if all the energy of the Earth itself was surging up through my feet and dispersing itself directly into every part of my very spirit. Was it an extra that I wasn't aware of? Something that I had never noticed before? No...that wasn't it. Not at all. I knew what this was. It was 'confidence'. Good old fashioned 'confidence'. And somehow, despite the fear that I had in my heart just moments ago, and the pain that I was going through...somehow, the idea of me actually being able to find a way to win this battle had provided me all the strength I needed. All the skill I needed. All the speed I needed. It was an endless supply of high octane fuel, and it was squeezed purely from the fruit of true belief. Belief in my abilities...and belief in the greatness that I was destined to achieve. That was all it took, and my emotions fed my extras all the nourishment they needed to respond in kind.

I didn't want to admit if before....but maybe there is more to this 'faith' concept than I thought.

As my energy levels continued to rise, I took a breath, and attempted to dig deep into my own mindset. I had to be somewhat aware of myself, as my emotions were building up an enormous reserve of unimaginable power, stockpiled and ready to be unleashed in a tantrum of rage and destruction. But beyond the supreme forces within, I could still feel that dark storm inside of me swelling with every breath. I could hear the thunder in the distance, and feel the ice cold wind blowing across my cheek. The gloom of it was pressuring me to strike. To take my revenge swiftly. Mercilessly. Without thinking at all. It was waiting for me to give in to it's seductive ambitions. It was trying to force me to give it complete control so it could rip this place apart without hesitation. And holding it back was going to take a lot concentration on my part. Otherwise, I fear that my mind would be lost in darkness....possibly forever.

I already gave up my humanity. I don't want to lose my rationality too.

Natpea twirled the silver spikes in his hands a few more times, but while he was so cocky about approaching me before, he now knew to keep his distance. He didn't let it show on his face, but he was quickly trying to push his way back into my thought patterns. Trying to find my hidden impulses and read them so that he could maintain the upper hand. But I didn't let him in. In fact, I increased Kid's extra to the point where the scream of the mental static nearly 'deafened' his attempts to peek in on me. He was locked out completely, and he knew it. No more magic tricks. No more rehearsed games to play. Let him use his skills to fight back...since he's so 'superior'.

I didn't move, not even when he circled around slowly to stand behind me. I had nothing to fear from him being out of my sight. Not anymore. I was ready, and he wouldn't be able to cheat me any longer. But he took a chance anyway, and the game began all over again. He stabbed forward with both shivs, and I swiftly spun sideways and sucked in my stomach to keep them from touching me on either side. My hand pushed out sideways, and with a single blow to his chest, I knocked Natpea clear off of his feet...and onto his back almost ten feet away! Too bad you didn't see THAT coming, punk ass!

Natpea was quick to roll back to his feet, but he hesitated before approaching me again. He was still probing, still trying to find a way in. ANY way in. But once he realized that his tricks wouldn't work anymore...he stood up, and he gave me a nod. Basically giving me a warrior's consent to do battle on these new terms. He seemed almost impressed...even if he still had every intention of killing me where I stand.

Our eyes connected for a moment, and he actually bowed towards me. It wasn't what I was expecting, but I figured the only 'honorable' thing to do would be to bow in return, I guess. However, the second I took my eyes off of him, he jumped forward with an attack! I was barely fast enough to block his lightning fast hands as they struck out at me with a ferocity that I had never witnessed before! He wasn't pulling any more punches, this was real....and the concept of losing was not an option for him. It's easy to see why this was his job, and he took it very seriously.

My arms flung out to all sides, the muscles refusing to cramp up on me as we dueled it out, blow for blow, neither one of us able to get through the other's defenses. He struck out at my legs, but my instincts had now learned to protect me down footwork avoiding his every attempt to trip me up. And when he returned to striking out at my face and chest...I was ready for him there as well. He fought even harder, and I had to increase my speed and power in order to keep up with him. But...the storm inside of me raged on. It got stronger the more effort I put into to defending myself, and there were a few times when I felt myself losing control of my punches. They would occassionally lash out all on their own, without my thoughts guiding them, and attempt to seriously damage the opponent standing before me. They were death blows. Crippling blows. The kind of strikes designed to completely render an enemy helpless in a matter of seconds. And, if used correctly, they might have helped me put an end to this once and for all.


The savagery of it all. The sickening strength...the cold strategy of it. It begged me to let loose. It craved the blood and torn flesh and broken bones with a hunger that was frightening to experience. What happens if I release my full fury? What happens if I give him one hundred percent of everything that I've got...and I can't pull it back? Can even Comicality's training save me from going overboard? I kept fighting Natpea, while still fighting with my own abilities, and it felt as though my mind was being torn into two separate halves.

Natpea's rapidly spinning blades took on a deceptive motion, and soon, I couldn't even follow his hand movements anymore. I felt the sharp ends scratching the surface of my skin, leaving warm trails of blood behind. I was able to move fast enough to keep the cuts from being too deep, but not fast enough to keep him from making contact. I backed away from him as he pressed forward, stabbing, slicing, slashing, at every possible target. I could hear a loud crash of thunder in my mind as my eyes darkened, and my hands reached out to grab a hold of his flailing limbs and stop him from spinning around me. He managed to get his hands free from my powerful grip, but it temporarily left him open. I bared my fangs, and slammed Natpea up against a wall, holding him up by his throat, and had to work to swallow the anger back down before it got any worse. He took the moment of hesitation, and wrapped his legs around my midsection, crushing me from both sides, and then spun me to he floor with a twist of his lithe frame. We both rolled to our feet, and he used his piercing weapons to try to damage my legs and disable my movement. But I blocked every strike with ease. My hands reacted all on their own, and my instincts protected me with a vengence. I flipped over and landed behind him, kicking him in the back. It didn't even slow him down.

The more he struck out at me, the harder it was to hold back. There was a killer inside of me, struggling to get out, and I didn't know how much longer I'd be able to hold him back! Finally, I felt my hand grab one of his wrists, and I snatched one of the sharp shivs from out of his grip! I stabbed forward with it, and he leaned to the side to prevent me from piercing his heart. He used his shoulder to bump my hand away, and attacked again, the both of us trading blows and clashing in the center with the shivs so hard and fast that sparks flew off of their metal surface. My mimic abilities absorbed his fighting style so fast that even I was surprised at how well I handled myself. That all ended when the angered roar of he Beast echoed in the back of my mind...and I felt the creature's dark presence take on a more defined shape. I was giving it strength. It was being reborn through my anger...and I couldn't stop it. Couldn't hold it in. My whole world seemed to be full of its hateful influence...and as it took form inside of me, I lost concentration on what I was doing.

Natpea connected a harsh kick to my ribs, and a rapid succession of punches to my face and stomach. I felt him kick me up against the wall, and then grab my arm to swing my had around to put me halfway through a nearby fishtank! The breaking glass and rush of cold water flowing over my backside woke me up from my hellish fantasy...and the pain settled in quickly. I pushed Natpea back, and my body heated up immediately to a temperature that was hot enough to evaporate the water right off of the surface of my skin. I charged forward, wisps of steam curling up into the air, and attacked with a frenzy of punches that hurt Natpea's arms just to block. The rage took over, and soon, sparks of electricity began to shoot out with every one of my punches! So even when he blocked it, he felt the pain of the shock! I heard a scream...a loud, frustrated scream...and realized that it was me. I was hitting him so hard that I was bruising my own arms and legs from the impact. And when I kicked forward to connect to Natpea's flat muscled stomach...he flew back into the wall, cracking the plaster and almost going through it!

I marched forward, unable to control my own footseps, and continued to pummel him with everything that I had to give. Stop it Justin! Slow it down! But my body refused to listen. My emotions refused to obey. The madness was too far into its circle to be restrained any longer. Natpea dodged and ducked many of my blows, but he was visibly shaken by the intensity of my attack. And that only made me strike out harder. The FURY inside of me boiled over with unprecedented anger! My wrath began to burn so far out of control that my unwillingness to participate in this bloodbath was a mere annoyance to the senses that had already taken center stage.

My mind began to instantly cloud over and bind itself with the murderous thoughts my extras had filled me with. It wasn't something that I could really fight off anymore. It happened all on its own, and I hungered for its evil guidance in this time of desperation. All I wanted to do was reach Taryn before they hurt him anymore! And this hatred....this destructive damnation of the soul...knew the way! I NEEDED it to help me! Just....just this once. I stood there, and watched Natpea come flying at me with another attack, I closed my eyes...and I let the darkness take me over. Completely.

Without even looking, I caught Natpea's ankle in midair, and sent a jarring shock of electic current crawling up his leg and thigh before violently swinging him around to crash his head through a nearby table! When my eyes opened, they were completely black, and my fangs grew three inches longer than they had ever been before. I walked over and kicked him across the floor, approaching fast to strike again. This time, Natpea's speed meant NOTHING to me! I could easily block his punches and kicks one handed, without any doubt in my mind that he was inferior to me in every way. I waited for him to exhaust himself trying to get a punch in, before grabbing him by the hair, and pulling him down to knee him in the chin. I dislodged two of his teeth, and he fell back on his shoulders. He got up again, though...and he kept fighting. I can respect that.

I blocked three punches, and delivered a blow to his ribs. I blocked two kicks, and delivered a blow to his windpipe. I blocked some of his best strategic movements, and when he was least expecting it, I hooked my ankle around his, and kicked his other leg out to the side....forcing us both down into the splits again. Except this time...I felt no pain at all. And I struck out to push him sliding across the floor before rising to my feet again. He had no more games to play. No more moves to show me. It was over...he was just too damn stubborn to admit it yet.

I could feel the 'justice' in every bonebreaking movement. The liberation was a joy that was almost too much to handle. It was as if I were back at that late night Kinko's all over again...feeding on my first victim. Or that high school classroom, ramming my fists against the flesh of that fucking bully who thought that he could get away with what he did to me. Or in the park that night, when Trevor brought me one of those despicable bastards that beat me up outside of my house, and laid him out at my feet as a gift. There were soooo many times that I had welcomed the loss of my senses...the loss of my control. And it was ONLY during those times that people actually took notice. It was ONLY during those times that they paid ATTENTION! And now? NOW I've got this fucker's ATTENTION, don't I???

Natpea sprung to his feet, and raced towards me. I countered his every move, even when he spun around to attack me from behind. He couldn't find a weak spot. I didn't have any left. I fought back, aggravated by his attempts to remain standing. My abilities began to flare up on their own, and drips of acid fell from my hands to the floor, burning holes in the surface. My eyes flared up, and as he slammed his fist into my chest, I felt it turn rock hard in that particular spot, nearly breaking his hand. He kicked at my legs, but they did not move. Flames rose from the shoulders of my shirt, and I had to use a hand to pat them out. Natpea continued to hit me all over, and I didn't even attempt to block, as Rain's extra kicked in instantaneously to protect me from the physical pain. But the 'emotional' pain that it was causing me with every translation was creating a heated disgust in me that gave the Beast even more power over me than before. And at one point, my hand seemed to grow in size, my fingers arched into a giant claw...long black fingernails extending from the tips...and I struck out at my enemy, slashing his shirt and ripping chunks out of his chest as he spun to the floor. I tried to hold some of the fury back, but the Beast's savage growl was already choking up at the back of my throat! The dam had already burst, the floodgates opened...and the current of energy was too strong to 'bottle up' now.

My rage had grown beyond my comprehension, and my abilities weren't going to take 'orders' from me any longer. All of my restrictions broke down at once, and my spirit let the anger win. GOD it felt good to let go! It was as exhilirating as resurfacing from an ice cold pool of water...finally taking that first lung full of air after holding your breath for oh so long. My pain disappeared, instead circling up into a dark halo above my eyes. And as Natpea staggered back to standing position, holding the bleeding wounds in his chest and stomach, he was barely able to catch a slight glimpse of a twisted smirk on my lips before the brain geyser shot forward at full blast and knocked him clean off of his feet! The force of the impact slammed him up against a wall over twenty five feet away, and he slid down to the floor, his body writhing in agony from the pain of having that unbelievable surge of emotional trauma pushed through him with such intensity.

I could feel the shadows creeping over me slowly...taking their position as the screams of others fed me with more fury than I could contain. My eyes, still black to the point of being almost invisible, were still able to radiate light outward somehow. It was a darkness that knew no boundaries, and sucked the surrounding light into them as though it never existed at all. My knuckles cracked as my fists clenched themselves....and the roar of the Beast began to vibrate through my limbs as I obeyed its monsterous call.

The POWER....the unimaginable PRESTIGE! I was a fucking leviathan among my own species! A TITAN! An act of God that they had no defense against! My very existence causes the heavens to tremble and quake for fear that they fall into my disfavor! I have dominion over everything and everyone in my line of sight...and all who oppose me are going to meet a fate worse than any demise their underdeveloped fears could ever provide them! I'm the only one worthy of their worship! The ONLY one worthy of their terror! How DARE they DEFY me!!!! Once I retrieve my beloved from the upstairs balcony...I intend to bring this whole building down in FLAMES! I'll burn my enemies into ASH and return them to the fucking DUST!!! NOTHING SHALL BE LEFT STANDING WHEN I AVENGE HIM!!! **NOTHING**!!!

The rubble and debris crackled under my heavy footsteps, and I climbed the staircase to the next level...where I knew that my Taryn would be waiting.

The dark staircase was only a short trip, with me skipping steps two at a time to reach the top. I had to see him. I just had to lay my eyes on my sweetheart again and see that he's alright. And yet, with the anxiety and worry inside...fueled by the love in my heart...the anger was still burning strong. The hatred keeping me unbalanced and unstable, my body steaming up from my own perspiration, sparks of electricity violently licking the walls around me, the concrete walls cracking from the vibrations and the pressure...the black glow of my eyes flared with rage...if Taryn were to see me now, would he even recognize me? Would I even recognize myself?

I burst through the doors, and found myself in a giant lounge area. And there, at the other end of the room, in a balcony....was Soren, surrounded by five other men. And my boyfriend...tied to a chair with rope, masking tape covering the lips I longed to kiss. He had been hurt. A small trickle of blood ran down his forehead and over his cheek. Bruises on his untouchably smooth skin. His reddish brown mop, disheveled and dirty. I took one look at him...and the wrath that swelled up inside of me screamed with a level of outrage that rattled them all to their very core. I had never seen fear in Soren's eyes before...but this time, there was no hiding it from me. It was there. And I was coming to rip him apart and show it to the world!

There was an ache in my back as it felt as though something were trying to push through from the inside. My fingers curled up, the nails growing almost six inches long. And when I couldn't contain it any longer, a giant pair of jet black wings BURST out from my shoulder blades, and spread out into an eight foot wingspan! A muscular tail snaked its way down to the floor, as Comicality's shadows covered me in an ice cold prison of pain and misery! And I released a monsterous roar that burned in the bottom of my throat, shaking the walls around me on all sides as the heat from my body burned the carpet beneath my feet into a blazing ring of fire!!!

They were absolutely horrified! Bearing witness to the full power of a true DEMON for the first time in their miserable existence! They were never prepared to deal with the likes of someone like me. And feeling the fear in their hearts was like candy to my darkened senses. I saw Taryn slowly lift his head, his bright green eyes meeting mine for the first time since he disappeared two days ago. He seemed slightly disoriented, but he saw a familiar gaze in the eyes of the creature standing in the room. As he recognized me, and saw the destruction behind me...a single tear fell from his already swollen eyes. And that was all I needed to charge forward.

The ground shook with my footsteps, and the energies within mentally pushed the furniture out of my way as I walked forward. My eyes focused on the only thing that mattered in this world to me at this point. Guards poured out from every open door in the room, and I didn't even look at them. They charged forward, and with a single breath, I blazed them all with a fire hot enough to cause charred flesh to fall off of them in large chunks! They cried out in agony, rolling around to put out the fire, and more jumped in to attack. I didn't stop moving. I never broke my stride. Not until I caught one fighter's ankle, and lifted him high into the air above my head with both hands, bringing him down to bite a large section of his stomach out! Covering my face in blood as his intestine nearly slipped out of its pouch! And I tossed him to the side, breaking a nearby table with his body! It was a truly horrific sight for the other guards to see, and they stopped for a moment, trying to get the courage to come forward again. Another soldier ended up wearing his head backwards, while another nearly had his jaw ripped off of his face. And yet, my eyes never looked in their direction. All I wanted was Taryn!

Four men jumped onto my back in a last desperate attempt to stop me...but after dragging them helplessly on my shoulders for a few paces, my wings flung them off in every direction with ease! And as I reached the bottom of the balcony, I flapped my extended wings and floated gracefully up to the balcony where Soren and his final five men were standing. I landed softly on the ledge, and a low guttural growl pulsated in the pit of my stomach. I took in deep heaving breaths, my body almost overwhelmed by the muscled shape of my new physique, and I gritted my teeth as I waited for any one of them to move. Even an inch. The rage was burning so hot that I could hardly contain myself. And as a large smile spread out across my lips, Soren's protectors turned tail, and all five of them ran past me to jump off of the balcony...not caring where or how they landed! They high tailed it out of there as fast as their feet could carry them, leaving Soren and I alone

I very carefully stepped down from the ledge of the balcony, my eyes locked onto Soren with a loathing that he could feel in the pit of his stomach...and I measured my every step until I was standing by Taryn's side. There were tracks on his angelic face where the salt from his dried tears had stained his porcelain white cheeks. And burn marks on his neck from where they had used a stun gun to hurt him. They had tainted the beauty of my most cherished possession...and for that....there was no excuse. My temper peaked, and my anger settled into an almost calm sense of psychosis...blocking out every rational thought as I imagined all that my lovely angel had been through for the past few hours. There would be no forgiveness for this blasphemy. No mercy for this defiance.

"Justin...I want you to know that what you did back there asbsolutely FANTASTIC!" Soren said with a fake look of confidence. He'd say anything to save his own life. "Do you have ANY idea how much people would pay to see you in action? Do you?"

I walked over to Taryn's chair, where he had been bound and gagged by force, and I let a long acid drip of liquid roll down the back of his restraints. It burned through the ropes, and set him free, the leftover twine falling to the floor at my feet.

"Justin...I guarantee a fighter in my arena, you will be rich beyond your wildest DREAMS! Just fighting opponents one night a week, at an arena of your choosing, would put you in the fighting ring history books forever! Do you hear what I'm saying? This could be GLOBAL! A 'undefeated' halflife...from the windy city, who can easily take on all challengers, no matter what their previous record! We'll be unstoppable, you and me!" Soren babbled, secretly stepping backwards and keeping certain pieces of furniture between me and him as I circled Taryn's chair, and gently helped him to his feet.

I didn't say a word. I stared at Soren in silence, my eyes burning with revenge. Taryn pulled the tape from his lips and hugged me tight around the neck. I had almost forgotten how soothing his embrace could be. It felt as though it had been an eternity since I had felt his warm arms around me. "I'm sorry, Justin! I'm so so sorry!" He sobbed, as though he could take responsibility for being kidnapped by this worthless son of a bitch!

I inhaled Taryn's scent, and thanked the stars for his safety. But...even with Taryn's arms contricted tightly around my shoulders, his tears wetting the collar of my shirt, I never once took my eyes off of Soren. Taryn's hands felt the wings on my back, and he was confused by their appearance. I folded them back behind me as his touch succeeded in erasing some of the rage inside. His love, his calmed the storm. He pulled back the turbulent winds and crashing thunder, and shined bright like a rainbow after a light drizzle. I felt the shadows begin to fade...the wings began to shrink and disappear...and my true form began to return to me. But the comfort was temporary...the peace....fleeting. It was only controlled long enough to hold my lover in my arms, and no more. Bottom line, the darkness had spread, the storm had already won, and after a few moments of him holding me close, I gently pulled away from Taryn's touch. I kissed him on the cheek, and used a hand to push him back behind me for a moment as I took a step forward. "Justin?" He asked. "What are you doing?"

"This isn't finished yet." I told him, and I moved closer to Soren, who was now sweating from the nervous jitter rushing through him.

"I know you're a little bit....upset, 'Renegade'. And who wouldn't be after such a misunderstanding? But you've got to put all that aside and look at the financial possibilities here, kid!" He said, still moving back. I slowly moved around a nearby table, which he was very careful to keep between us the entire time. "This isn't just about ME, you know? It's about the both of us. Taryn too! You don't have to live in some crappy old junkyard for the next one hundred years! You can buy an apartment! Heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, running water, television, you name it, you've got it. You could live better than ALL of us in just a couple of months! You can use your skills to build yourself a paradise!" I still didn't speak. Just kept walking around that table, my finger tips dragging across the surface, slowly 'chasing' Soren as he attempted desperately to stay away from my reach. "What you did back there.....what you did in a talent and a gift that vampires will PAY to see! Top dollar! Do you understand? You're a monster! You're a STAR! You, my friend, are an act of God! And with your skills and my business savvy, we can make a KILLING in this circuit!"

My mind was already lost. And it fell deeper and deeper into darkness as I watched him try to worm his way out of the situation. Taryn stood back, not knowing what to even think about what was taking place here. I couldn't let him leave. I couldn't. Soren crossed the line, and he has to be punished. Vengence must be taken for his actions. There's no stopping the chain of events now. It has to be done.

With one blow, I slammed my fist down on the table and it shattered to fragments of splintered wood right in front of us! Soren's only protection from me was gone, and he gasped in terror. Pathetic. I expected more. And then, just as I stepped forward...I sensed something flying in my direction at top speed. I swiftly swiveled my body to the left, and caught the flying object between my fingertips! It was a long metal spike. A shiv. Aimed at my head. When I turned to look towards the edge of the balcony, I saw a very worn out and injured Natpea crawl over the side. Still loyal to his employer, even after all he had endured from my pummeling. He took a deep breath, and then, without further hesitation, he attacked again. The shadows darkened, my wings returned, and they spread out to their full extension once again. A demon's roar leapt out of my throat as I DOVE towards him and our battle continued on!

But this wasn't an extended conflict this time. Not at all. He tried to strike out at me, but even when he landed a blow, it did no damage. My claws ripped into him, my fangs bit down into his shoulder, and rapidly drained some of his precious fluids for my own suffering supply! And even though he battled me with every last bit of strength that he had in him, he was simply no match for the vampire Mimic in full bloom. No one was. No one.

Our deadly dance lasted only a few minutes before I found my opening. And as I stood there, Jun's focus creating a prime opportunity to focus through its perfection...I delivered my final attack. With a flick of my wrist, I touched a certain spot on his collarbone with three of my fingers, there at the base of his neck....and then struck him in the chest with an open palm. Natpea staggered back helplessly, and I saw fear flood into his eyes as his lungs collapsed, and his heart came to a complete stop.

It was the same technique that Comicality had used on me during my training, and I had executed it flawlessly without even thinking about it. I allowed him to stand there, helpless, breathless, unable to move...and he suffered greatly as I stared him down. He gasped more, he wheezed, he pounded on his own chest to get his lungs to reinflate, but there was no hope. Only I had the key to unlock him from his airless prison. And I wasn't going to give it to him now.

Then....when I looked over his shoulder...Soren was gone. Gone. Crawled back into the shadows like the fucking cockroach that he is! I MISSED HIM!!! I lost my one opportunity to rip the bastard to SHREDS!!! He fucking got away from me....and that made me MAD AS HELL!!!! "AHHHHHH!!!!!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, the vibrations causing my whole body to quake with rage, and I ran forward to tackle Natpea to the ground! He DISTRACTED me!!! He helped him get away! You fucking ASSHOLE!!! I sat on his chest, and with my fists balled up tighter than they had ever been before, I slammed it into his face until I felt his jawbone crack! "You wanna play hero???" I shouted, and hit him again! "FINE WITH ME!!!" And I hit him again! "YOU CAN TAKE HIS PLACE....IN HELL!!!" And before I knew it, I was ramming my fists against him so hard that I could feel the impact all the way up in my shoulders! I just kept pounding away, again and again and again until he was almost unrecognizable! His neck had been broken, his jaw, his cheek bones, the bones around his eye sockets, his nose, his skull was cracked in more places than I could count, and blood was splashing up towards my face with every succeeding punch! But I still couldn't stop myself! I just kept going! The anger was so intense, the RAGE so severe!!!! I was screaming and shouting and pounding him to the point of exhaustion! Even when he ceased to move, except for the random twitching and muscle contractions that come with such a brutal beating, did I want to stop. I couldn't stop! I REFUSED! He has to be PUNISHED!!! He has to DIE! They ALL do! ALL OF THEM!!!

I kept crashing into his face until there was almost no head left to hit...and I thought that I heard screaming in the background, but I couldn't be sure. It was faint....distant. It couldn't have been Natpea. His face was no longer build for screaming, not even in pain. No...this was something else. And as my mind tried to pinpoint its source, my punches slowed down a bit. And my mind tried to recapture some of the control that it had so willingly given up in the last twenty minutes.

It sounded so muffled at first. So soft. wasn't the sound itself, it was my denial of it. My brain wouldn't accept it right away. Not until I struggled to receive its message. It was Taryn. My lovely Taryn. And he was calling out to me with tears in his eyes. It was only then, that my mind came back to the world, and I was aware of my surroundings again. Taryn's cries finally becoming audible to me.

"JUSTIN!!!! STOP IT!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? STOP!!!" He sobbed.

My senses came exploding back into a logical state of reality, and I suddenly looked down to see the battered slab of bleeding meat beneath me. The body still spasming from the trauma. Jesus....oh Jesus....what was I doing? I looked down at my hands...covered in blood and bruises...and they were shaking. They were trembling with a fired up blast of adrenaline that hadn't yet worked itself out of my system. It was a sobering moment that forced the shadows away from me with a quickness, and caused my wings and tail to vanish almost instantly. Those predatory hunter's drums ceased to ring in my ears, and my fangs attempted to retract back into my aching gums. I looked back to see Taryn's astonished expression, covered in tears of fear and confusion, as the angry fog lifted from my eyes. I was suddenly left to bear witness to the atrocities that I had just commited in the attempt to save my boyfriend from harm. I wasn't even aware. I wasn't even thinking. This wasn't just a case of me ripping Michael's shirt, or accidently giving Taryn a black eye. This was a complete and total butchery of everyone around me. I had hurt a lot of people in my temper tantrum. A LOT!

"Justin?" Taryn whispered from behind me, his hands trembling as he cautiously moved closer. "'s ok. Honey...?" He tried to calm me, but my mind was flooded with visions of what I had done. Vampires burned to a crisp. Necks broken, hearts punctured, stomachs bitten out, arms nearly torn off, bones shattered...I had caused enough pain and suffering to last me ten lifetimes. All in one fatal explosion. I lost control. All of my conrol. And it felt good. I liked it. I loved every moment of it. It was madness....and I had given into it completely. Oh my God....what have I done?

When I looked back at Taryn again, he was almost frightened of me, stopping dead in his tracks, afraid to approach me any further. His eyes gazed upon me with such sympathy. It was a heartbreaking experience that left me weak inside, and I tried to stand up again on shakey legs. "T-T-Taryn...I...I...was so scared that they would...that they had..." I began to breathe hard, as images of my actions finally took a firm hold in my mind, and the reality of what I had done settled into place among my most horrible memories. I was babbling incoherrently, my body numb from head to toe, and yet...still quivering with fright and anger combined. "I didn't know that I was....I didn't mean to..." My panting picked up until I almost couldn't breathe, and had almost fell over before Taryn rushed in to hold me up. "Oh God....oh GOD...."

He just held me tight. Holding me as though his love could somehow reverse the tragic events that had just taken place. As though it could provide me salvation from whatever terrible karma that comes with slaughtering an entire army of men without compassion or mercy of any kind. When I looked into the emerald green splendor of my angel's eyes...I was ashamed. Ashamed and humiliated for my recklessness. The blood on my hands from the deeds I had taken part in would never be washed clean. Not for all eternity. And once my brain realized that fact...the tears came easy. And we both wept on each other's shoulders...among the dead and dying vampires around us, and the wreckage of what was once seen as a virtual 'palace' underground. Now...only a ruin.

I don't know how long we stayed there, but it was Taryn that helped me to my feet when it was time for us to go home. My body was tingling from overexertion, but not a single muscle cramped up on me. I wiped as much blood off of me as a dry rag would allow, and we stumbled our way outside. I was afraid to let go of his hand. Even as the night air hit us, and the peaceful silence surrounded us...I was scared of letting him go. I would never let go. Not for any prophecy, or any other reason. He was my soulmate. My other half. And life would mean so little without his kiss. So little.

I vaguely remember traveling to the church for a brief moment or two, where Taryn and I took a shower together. I didn't say a word the whole time. I couldn't even bear to look him in the eye, really. But as he undressed down to nothing, and he assisted me in doing the same...I found the courage to stare at his beauty again. It hurt to look at him. It was a blessed sight mean for kings and poets alike. I hardly felt worthy of being in its presence. But Taryn tried to coax me out of my numbness and amazement. I felt him turn on the shower, the warm water cascading down the back of my neck, and was hardly able to move. Even after Taryn's soothing smile graced my vision, it was hard to stop trembling inside. How sick had I become? How far had my anger taken me? I didn't know. But when Taryn's soft fingers interlocked with mine, and our eyes connected under that shower almost felt as though everything was going to be ok. The sudden comfort in that caused my emotions to overflow, and I couldn't help but cry. Taryn hugged me tight, our naked bodies clutching onto one another for an answer...a purpose...and I prayed that the waters would cleanse me of my sins. If only for enough peaceful moments to allow me to sleep tonight.

Taryn raised his head silently, and his fingers softly brushed my blond hair out of my eyes...before he granted me the sweetest of kisses on my lips. A kiss to say thank you. A kiss to say I forgive you. A kiss to say I understand. Never had I known a love so pure. One that kept growing, impressing me more and more every day of my life. Thank God I didn't lose him. I could never lose him.

We had to put our same clothes on, but managed to make our way back to a familiar area before dawn. Bryson was pacng back and forth, agonizing over the approaching sunlight. Jenna was crying by herself on a nearby table, Rain had been cutting small slits o the back of her arm with a knife. Even Kid and Max had been looking sad and depressed in their little corner of the lot. The gloom that had washed over the lot was visible from a mile away, and it seemed to darken the very air around it. No one went to sleep. Not until we were all accounted for. And they were waiting for a sign. ny sign.


Gyro looked up...and he saw two dark figures approaching from the distance. Two boys. Exhausted. Drained. Almost limping, but still moving forward. His eyes widened to TRIPLE their size, and he was the first to jump up and alert the others!!! Justin and Taryn.....were home.

"HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!! HE DID IT!!!!" Gyro shouted out loud, almost crying from the burst of joy he felt! Everyone else looked up, and stood to see if it could possibly be true!

Dion approached the gate, Dylan under his shoulder with his ankle wrapped, and they looked at me with a certain level of....amazement. I don't think they really expected me to ever return. Even when they were desperately hoping that I would, they had their doubts. Everyone watched us as we hobbled our way through the front gate and into the center of he lot. Doc had to lift his glasses to wipe a stray tear rom his eye, and he patted me on the arm. "Good boy, Justin....sniffle...good boy..." He said, and rolled back to his habitat. The dawn was approaching fast, and none of us would be able to stay awake for much longer. We only had a few minutes to spare.

Bryson was probably happier to see us than anyone else...but as the emotion got choked up in the back of his throat...he simply gave me a proud nod, and silently thanked me for coming back in one piece. Our eyes connected for a moment, and I could feel his pride outgrowing his fear and concern for me running out on such a suicide mission. "We're not losing anyone else. Remember?" I said to him, and his eyes watered up as he nodded again.

"Ok, you guys..." Bryson said. "Let's get to bed. Tomorrow's another day."

I don't know if anyone knew what to say or not say to us...but I did feel Gyro give me a suffocating hug before he went to bed. "I knew you could do it, Superman. I just knew it." He mummured, and then let me go to get some sleep.

We saw Rain walking up fast, and Taryn half expected his good friend to give him a big hug for coming back home. Instead, she firmly punched him in the stomach. "Remind me to kick your ass tomorrow!" She said, and stormed off to bed.

Taryn wheezed a bit with a smile. "I think that means she's glad to see me."

The only ones left were Dion and Dylan, who hugged Taryn tightly and rubbed the sore spot on his stomach before looking over at me.

"Told ya I'd be back." I said.

" did." Dion gave me a kiss on the forehead, and looked me in the eye. "I'm never gonna get tired of hearing how you pulled THIS one off, dude! But for what it's worth...thank you." Dion saw Dylan fading fast, his eyes closing and a boyish yawn escaping those thin lips of his. So they said goodnight, and went of to bed too. Taryn and I were left alone. The dawn was already taking effect, and we'd have to hurry. I didn't do all of that fighting just to burn up in the approaching sunlight.

So off we went. To lie side by side once again. Two hearts connected as one. As it is. As it was. As it should be. Forever.