Gone From Daylight:
Nights Eternal


NOTE: Today is a special day for us on the website! Today (June 19th)...'Comicality's Shack Out Back' is officially celebrating it's 8th Anniversary!!! That's EIGHT YEARS since I first posted that first chapter of "New Kid In School" right here on the Nifty Archive! So thanks to you ALL for the CONSTANT love and support! And special thanks to Nifty for all that they've done for the many talented authors jam packed here on this site! Love and Hugs, always!

I had to chuckle a bit to myself at Gyro's reaction, and I felt Taryn's strong caress loosen up slightly around my neck. He noticed that the color of my shirt was different, and leaned back a bit to look at it. He read the message on the front, and a giant grin spread out on his sweet lips. "Hehehe...dude, I don't even wanna KNOW what that's about?" He giggled.

"Oh...yeah. Well, my last shirt got, kinda...'trashed'." I said, my glance moving back over to Bryson momentarily as I avoided going into more detail about it.

"So you've been walking around with no shirt on?" Taryn said with a smirk, and I looked at his glimmering eyes, a seductive charm radiating from him that he couldn't control if he wanted to. And I felt myself being pulled in for a small kiss on the lips.

"Nobody gets to stare at my chest, but you. Promise."

"That's my boy." He said, returning the sentiment with a kiss of his own.

"So where the heck did you GO to, anyway?" Gyro asked. "You've been missing for hours!"

"I got lost. There's no way to find ANYTHING in this place! If it wasn't for this concert performance, I'd still be wandering around in circles."

"Well didn't you use the pager they gave you?"

"I couldn't figure that stupid thing out. Besides, it got...lost." I answered.

"Lost?" Gyro asked.

"Um...'broken', actually." I took another look at Bryson, but made sure not to stare for too long, to avoid suspicion.

"You BROKE it? What the hell where you DOING? No WONDER you were lost!"

"Run into a bit of trouble, Justin?" Bryson approached me, and I attempted to smile in order to mask the guilt of fighting in public when I shouldn't be.

"Of course not. Just lost."

"You sure?"

"Yep. Definitely." I hugged Taryn around his slim hips for a distraction and felt his warm body melt into me. God, he felt good in my arms. "So when does this show start, Gyro? I've heard so much about this Maria that I'm anxious to see her in action." I changed the subject, not giving Bryson the chance to ask any more questions.

"SOON! She's only got one more show before dawn! We've got get CLOSER, come on!!!" Gyro jumped up and started to pull Taryn by his wrist, sucking him out of my embrace with a gentle yank. Taryn looked back at me with a grin and helplessly let himself get dragged along by Gyro's childlike enthusiasm.

I started to follow as well, when Bryson took a hold of my arm. "Don't stray too far! Jenna and Doc are coming back any minute." He said to the others. Gyro nodded, but never stopped pushing his way through the crowd to get to the stage. Then Bryson turned to me, and after a short moment, he gave me a hug around the neck. It was....um....unexpected to say the least.

"Uhh...are you ok?" I asked him, not even knowing if I should hug him back or not.

"I'm just having a good time tonight, that's all. It's been..." He paused to look me in the eye. "..It's been a long time since I did anything like this. So, I want to thank you. You know...for thinking about me."

I awkwardly patted him on the back a bit, and attempted to appear comfortable. "Oh...ok...sure thing. I guess you're welcome." I wasn't quite sure what to do with the moment. I wasn't sure if this dash of normalcy was a disruption in Bryson's father figure status, or if it was something that I should just shut up and enjoy before it was gone. I guess it was a barrier that I had never crossed with him before. He never struck me as being...well...affectionate. I think he could see the confusion in my eyes when he let go, because he giggled a bit in response. You know, when he smiles like that...Bryson was really cute. EXTREMELY cute, even! It was just something that had never occurred to me. Weird. He used his hand to playfully ruffle my blond mop, and put a hand on my shoulder.

"That's all I wanted. I'm not gonna get all freaky on you."

"NO! No.it wasn't freaky. Just..." I couldn't find the words, my voice trailing off into silence, so I simply told him, "...Thanks, Dad."

Hehehe, I'm don't think he's gonna allow me to call him THAT for much longer, but he seemed to appreciate the sentiment. "Go. Join your boyfriend before he gets anxious." He smiled. But then took a hold of my shoulder before I got out of arm's reach. "By the way...when you use Rain's extra to heal your wounds, you've got to remember to focus more, and give it enough time to catch everything. Otherwise, you miss a lot of spots." He turned my arm over a bit, and showed me some remaining dark spots on my skin. Faded bruises from blocking so many attacks. With a sly grin, he taunted my weak attempts to hide my actions from him. He had caught me...again.

"Bryson...I..I can explain..."

"Don't bother. You're here. You're safe. Have fun." He told me. I hesitated for a second before moving, a bit ashamed of looking so stupid. He didn't let me dwell on it for long though. "Just don't make it a habit, ok? You damn kids give me enough heart attacks as it is."

With a nod, I backed away a few steps, and went to join Taryn and Gyro in the crowd. The place was full, and it looked like the show was getting ready to start. I came up behind Taryn, and snaked my loving arms around him from behind, nuzzling my nose in the nape of his neck. I inhaled deeply, smelling the sweet aroma of his reddish brown hair as it cascaded down just below the line of his jaw. And as his hands moved up to cover mine in the front, his firm cheeks pushing back against the front of my lap, I kissed my way up his neck...the last smooch landing behind his right ear. A soft moan escaped his closed lips, and I might not have noticed it if I didn't feel the vibration. I hugged him tighter with a satisfied smile, and he turned to kiss me. I never wanted to be apart from him again. Never. My heart beat with such a magnificent rhythm when directly connected to his.

But as my mind, body, and soul, wrapped themselves around Taryn's physical beauty, his uninhibited love for me...I felt small 'icy' pockets of emotion in the crowd around us. It was clear as day in the back of my mind, and I actually began to get a chill from it. Jenna's extra seemed to sweep out through the entire mass of people around us at once, and I could pick out the few lost 'spirits' among them. Two...and then three...and then five. I straightened up a bit, still holding my boyfriend tight, but diverting some of my attention to the negative energies around me. I looked around, trying to get my vision and my sixth sense to match up somehow. And that's when I saw a man glaring at me from the crowd. Evidently not as happy as the partygoers around him. I noticed another woman behind us, just as angry from the looks of it. But they didn't approach. They had no intention of approaching. But they weren't happy to see me, that's for sure. Was I, once again, being preceeded by a reputation that didn't belong to me? It looked like it. But despite their mistake and their harsh feelings towards this 'Rage' vampire, I can say this for certain...

I'd murder every last ONE of them if they dared to put their hands on my love. Every last one.

"Hey there, cupcake?" I looked behind me and saw Jenna standing there, with Doc seated beside her. Smiling as always.

Doc grinned, "I was starting to think you had found yourself a better group of party people to hang with."

"Aww, no such thing. Besides, I believe I promised you a dance." I said, and Doc blushed a little. I looked up at Jenna and saw a few wiped away stains on her shirt. Not like the neat litle princess I was used to. "Let me guess...chili dogs?"

"Omigod, YES! They had this incredible buffet of junk food! Stuff I haven't had in over a decade! It tasted soooo good! I had to stop myself. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about watching my weight, because I really pigged out tonight." She said, tucking her blond locks behind her ear.

"What happened to Dion and Dylan?" I asked, and she rolled her eyes with a smile.

"Psh! Please. Can we say 'third wheel'? With the two of them making goo goo eyes at each other, Dylan blushing like crazy, Dion always trying to sneak in a tender kiss every few minutes...it was impossible to not feel in the way." She said. "Dion's like that, though. He'd cuddle and kiss that boy 24 hours a day if we let him. It got to the point where I just told them I'd meet up with them later in Resident Area G-3 around dawn."

"Where is that?"

"It's not all that far from here, actually. We're all gonna meet up there supposedly and regroup before the sleep takes hold of us." She leaned forward to whisper, "Bryson's orders, you know?"

"I heard that." Bryson said proudly.

"Anyway, I'm glad you found your way back. Otherwise we were gonna spend all of tomorrow night searching for ya."

"Listen, I'm already starting to feel a little sleepy. I don't want the dawn to catch me too far from the resident quarters." Doc told us. "Besides, I've got about 47 vampire museum brochures to read. And I can't WAIT to absorb every last one of them."

"Aww, you're not staying for the show, Doc?" Gyro asked.

"Nope, not tonight. Besides, in case you didn't notice...I'm a little 'short' to be trying to see over everyone's shoulders in here. So unless you expect me to 'crowd surf' for the whole show, I'm going to go back and expand my mind." He replied.

Bryson asked, "Are you SURE you don't wanna stick around, Doc. I know we could work something out."

"Nah, this stuff is too amazing for me to wait any longer to skim through it. But give me the details on the show later. K?" He grinned, backing his wheelchair up a bit. "Look, Justin...did you know that they had a vampire museum based on the mythology of Count Dracula alone? That's just insane! I've GOTTA see that one someday! Too bad it's underground New York."

"Hehehe, you and your 'educational field trips'." I teased.

"Hey, brain power has got to be fed just like everything else."

"Hey Doc, before you go...did you hear from any of the others?" Bryson asked, and Doc answered from memory.

"Yeah. Max took Kid to this place on a lower level made up to look like the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Of course...I don't think Kid is old enough to know who Willy Wonka IS, but he gets the idea from the Johnny Depp remake. And Trevor and Michael...well, they're basically working out some of their 'difficulties' over by the upstairs bar. Plus they were showing porn on the tvs over there, so I'm sure that between the drinks and the 'stimulation' they'll find a certain need for each other to kiss and make up pretty quickly. Until then, don't expect them to be too festive."

"What about Rain?"

Doc cringed a bit. "Well...you know Rain, boss. She never tells me anything. Unless her giving me the finger was some kind of hidden clue to tell me where she'd be." He told him. "But, like I said, that's just Rain. Don't ask, don't tell."

"Don't try, don't care, is more like it." Gyro huffed, and then his eyes brightened up as he saw the lights around us get dim. "IT'S TIME!!! IT'S TIME!!! He said, bouncing on his heels, and desperately trying to look over everyone else's shoulders.

I went back to embracing my sweetheart, and looked forward as the speakers on either side of us began to blast music, and a shower of bright red sparks shot up all around the stage. The crowd erupted into a symphony of cheers as the IceZone area went completely pitch black, and large video screens began to dance with a dizzying laser light display. The crowd began to ripple and surge with a new energy as the peope thickened around us. The stage remained dark, and Maria was nowhere in sight just yet. And then...a seductive female voice began to sweep through the room. It was subtle at first, and then it got louder. And louder. The sound of sensual moaning, as though somewhere behind that stage someone was having the sexual experience of their life. The vocals began to slowly roll over the audience, and as her passionate breathing reached a higher volume, something inside of me felt completely different. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but there was this gentle tickle deep inside of me, and it was quickly spreading like a surge of electricity beneath the thin layers of my flesh. Taryn could feel it too. So could Gyro. In fact..the whole crowd began to experience it in unison. The speakers broadcasted the female moans across the room, the soundwaves striking us repeatedly, sweeping over us like a tidal wave. With a change in her voice, a slightly different pitch, the sensation increased. SHE was doing this??? With her voice???

The music began to pump into the room, her moans falling directly into rhythm with the beat, and it began to feel so good that I felt like it was lifting me off of the floor. Everything tingled and excited me, and I squeezed Taryn even harder, both of us getting a shiver from the contact. Wow....just....wow! I think I can see why Maria's show is so popular!

Then, an explosion of fire burst out on the stage, and six strong vampires came out on stage, carrying a canopy on their shoulders. On that platform, was a girl about Bryson's age from the look of it. Maybe 16 or 17 years old. With a gentle Latino tan, and short dark hair that seemed to sowly sway with a life of its own. She was scantily clad in skin tight black leather that glimmered with the frenzy of the stage lights, and her eyes blazed with a swirling cyclone of crimson and gold. Something I had never witnessed in darkness before. It was hypnotic to look at, as where her seductive motions as she ground herself into the platform in time with the music. Her arms were slowly stretching and twisting in these mesmerizing serpentine movements...you couldn't take your eyes off of her. She had this dark beauty that refused to let you go, and the unavoidable rhythms of her voice were causing such a powerful stirring inside of me that I found myself getting weak in the knees. Jesus...what is happening to me?

The men put the platform closer to the floor by dropping to one knee, and she slid her way slow to the ground, spiked heels clicking slightly when coming into contact with the ground. She gradually moved her way to the edge of the stage, her hips and stomach grinding and swirling in erotic circles that no human body could ever reproduce, and it was then that I noticed....she didn't even need a microphone. The speakers picked up some of the sound from a receiver in the back of the stage, but her voice was captivating us all without any technological assistance at ALL. She must have been a rather powerful vampire to pull that off...and you could feel the essence of a deeper strength and courage just from looking at her. Her eyes looked out in the crowd as she gyrated for their entertainment, and for a brief moment, her eyes connected to mine. She looked directly AT me, and her stare fixated itself on me for a moment. It was a paralyzing sensation, having those swirling red eyes spot me among a crowd of hundreds. But there was no doubt about it, she noticed me, and after a second glance, she flawlessly went back to her show.

The drums kicked in, and the masses shouted as a troop of dancers flipped out onto the stage and began to stomp and slide to the music, Maria in front, guidig their every movement. The drums pounded so hard that you could feel it in your stomach, and yet, Maria never lost her ability to tantalize us all without losing her breath. And then...after the stage went black again, and a moment of silence passed...the song changed, the stage exploding with bright colors and a renewed energy, rock guitars and bass, nearly blowing us back a couple of steps! It was then that she really sang for us at long last!

"Don't make no difference if I'm out all night???
I've got the FEELING, and I'm willing tonight!
What can I SAY??? Well, I'm just that way!

I've got the STUFF that you want!!!
I got the THING that you need!!!
I've got MORE THAN ENOUGH, to make you DROP to your knees!!!
Cause I'm the QUEEN OF THE NIGHT!!!
Oh yeah! Oh yeah! OH YEEEEAAAHHH!!!"

Omigod...I had never experienced anything like it! It was beyond reality! Her voice was so powerful that it rattled right down to your marrow, and it brought out a certain adrenaline rush that couldn't be contained. Whatever barriers you learned to put up when it came to having a good time suddenly came crashing down around you, and suddenly, no level of outrageous behavior seemed even remotely innappropiate. It was almost frightening to be pulled along this way by her siren's song. All I could do was stare in utter amazement while holding onto Taryn for dear life. It's a similar feling to finally being dropped on that first terrifying dip of a roller coaster...fighting to raise your hands in the air and enjoy the ride.

Gyro was jumping around and screaming so HARD that I thought his vocal chords would burst! He was DEFINITELY a fan! And when I looked over to Bryson...I couldn't believe my eyes. He was...dancing! And cheering! And...acting like...like a teenager! Okaaay....NOW I've seen everything!

As Maria's voice thundered above us, the crowd of vampires became violently reactive! Practically a mosh pit of raw energy. And she only instigated their emotions to burn hotter as her voice split somehow...singing in two or three harmonizing tones at once. Her control was unreal, and she never ran out of breath, even when the rest of her dancers began to tire out. A vampire diva with enough skill to pull off a show like this...absolutely 'fascinated' me.

Then, as her voice seemed to increase in its potency, her eyes traveled over to me again. She was looking at me again! And she made no attempts to hide it either. Her eyes blazed even brighter, her glow almost bright enough to blind you up close. She made her way over to our side of the stage, and with an eye contact that sucked you helplessly forward, she sang directly TO me from the stage!

"You've got a PROBLEM with the way that I AM!!! But uh...
They say I'm trouble, and I don't give a DAMN!!!
But when I'm *BAD*, I *KNOW* I'm BETTER!!!
I just wanna get *LOOSE*...
And turn it UP for you!!!!"

She directed her extra RIGHT at me and Taryn, and with every lift and dip in her voice, she strummed a different emotion in me. It has to be 'felt' to be described. It was like she was beckoning me from the stage, her fingers calling out to my very spirit while she sang. It nearly doubled me over from the sensation, her speech and tones creating a heavenly chaos in the very center of my being. I felt my stomach tremble and my heart race as a serious fever broke out inside of me. Taryn, almost unable to stand from the pressure on his emotions, fell back into my chest, using me to help him stand as he spasmed gently in my arms. Maria hit another high note that nearly yanked me out of my shoes, and I had to fight to stand still as she teased me from the inside out. I saw a smile appear on her face, fully aware of what her tones were doing to me...and with a wink, she went back to the other side of the stage to continue her performance.

"DUDE!!! Did you fucking SEE that??? She just WINKED at you!!!" Gyro screamed! "OMIGOD!!! THAT'S SO WICKED!!!" He returned to jumping up as high as he could on the balls of his feet, and I noticed the rest of the vampires around us were going just as wild as he was if not worse.

Some were beginning to strip off their clothes, overcome with a lust that they could no longer control. Some were shouting, others crying, and soon, I noticed 'freshly fainted' bodies being carried out from the overload. This was too much. I'm surprised that I was still standing myself, my limbs quaking from her vocal effects on me. It was dazzling, euphoric...nearly orgasmic. And any attempts to fight it was like trying not to laugh while someone was tickling you mercilessly. It bubbled to the surface and stroked you on all sides, turning your resistance to jelly as it touched your deepest secrets and massaged them to life. The only way to keep control was to dive into the kaleidescope of emotional frenzy that she showered upon you. Hoping that she would lead you in the right direction.

By the time the song was over, I was quivering. Taryn had his back up against my chest, my nose and lips pressed lightly against his neck as his hair swept softly against my cheek. And as he succumbed to the rhythms as well, he turned around to kiss me passionately on the lips. His hands running frantic circles under my shirt, his animalistic urges causing him to grind himself into me. I could hardly breathe. The whole room seemed to lose it all at once, Maria's song carrying with it a message of pure bliss and wild abandon as the music got louder. I opened my eyes to look on stage again...she was still watching me. Every minute or two, her gaze would come back to me, and hold that eye contact, never letting go until I was even more shaken up than the rest. And it was like that for the rest of her hour long set. Gyro wasn't kidding when he said she was amazing! It was certainly something to behold.

"Thank you ladies and gentlemen! You've been a great audience...but then again, you didn't have much choice, did you?" She said. "Enjoy the rest of your stay at the IceZone...and don't do anything that I wouldn't do." The applause was nonstop, even after she had already left the stage, and I felt some of my self control returning. Slowly, but surely, those irresistible tingles began to fade...and I was able to catch my breath.

Taryn had the sexiest look in his eyes when he draped his arms loosely over my shoulders, a sensual grin on his lips. "That...was incredible." He said, and I leaned in to kiss him, his smile and mine transferred in our liplock.

"Yeah...it was." I said. I swear, that boy held my heart in his hand, and the whole world was dim when compared to the shine of his eyes. I kissed him once again, and we giggled softly as we tried to keep the rest of reality from fading away. "Gyro, she was awesome!"

"I TOLD ya she was badass! I think she plays again tomorrow, you wanna see her again???" He asked.

"I dunno..." I looked back at my boyfriend, who hugged me close and laid his head on my shoulder, his lips kissing my neck. "...I might have plans." I told him.

"Sighhh...whatever. You guys are so gay."

Then, at that moment, someone bumped me from behind as they walked past. "Sorry." They said, but that wasn't just a random accident. He looked back at me as he moved through the crowd around us, and I looked behind us. A few other vampires were watching us from the other end of the room. He was using that little bump of his to point me out. I could feel it. And the others made sure to remember what we looked like. Again, they made no move to approach us, but they were definitely watching. I was in danger. I was putting Taryn in danger, just by being seen with him in my arms! We shouldn't be here. We should be someplace a little less hostile. I'm going to have to keep my senses open to the emotions around me from now on. There's no telling when one of these pesky little brats is gonna jump.

"You ok, babe?" Taryn asked.

"Yeah, honey. I'm fine."

Bryson, his shirt damp from sweating and jumping around, tried to get his fatherly appearance back. "Why don't we get back to the resident area? We can meet up with the others and find a compartment to rest in before they all fill up. The other vampires will be looking for sanctuary soon." We kinda looked at him with a smirk on our faces. "What?" Gyro was the first to snicker outloud, and the rest of us followed.

Jenna grinned and asked him, "Did you have fun, Bryson?"

Gyro burst out into giggles. "You have to show me how to do that dance, Bryson! Was it like this?" He started to shake and wiggle, teasing our appointed 'leader' for showing a moment of boyish vulnerability.

"Sigh...dammit, you guys...." He grunted, and walked away from us.

"Hahaha, awww Bryson! We're kidding! Come on!" Jenna gleefully chased after him, and we had a few chuckles about it.

Taryn looked me in the eye, "So..."

"So..." I repeated.

"How much time do you think we have before dawn?"

"I don't know. Thirty minutes, maybe a bit more." I smiled, and he let his hands travel up to glide over my ears, and then tangle themselves in my hair.

"Mmmm...ok. Just wondering." He moaned softly.

"Just wondering, huh?"


"You sure?" I asked, and with a slight blush, he gave me a wicked smile. Biting his bottom lip gently to keep it from spreading out completely.

"No..." He said. "Actually, I want you so bad right now that it hurts."

"Well, I guess it's lucky that you can have me then, huh?" I said, and he nodded, giving me another angel's kiss on my lips. But then, I felt more cold stares from the dissipating crowd around us, and decided to loosen my grip on his sleek hips. "Come on, let's go." I said, and let Taryn go, following him through the crowd. I made sure to keep my eyes open, using Doc's memory to file away the faces of every single cold entity in that room. Once my eyes made contact, my mind took a 'photograph' of them. No more strangers sneaking up on me and playing the nice guy until it was too late to figure out what they were up to. If I see any of these vampires anywhere even CLOSE to me or Taryn, I'm ripping their hearts out myself.

"Excuse me..." Came a voice from the left. I turned to see who it was, simultaneously making sure that Taryn was safely behind me. Just in case.

"Who are you?" I asked, cautiously protecting my greatest treasure.

It was a young man, maybe 21 years old, in a black suit. Behind him were two others, dressed just like him. "We represent Ms. Maria, we were sent here to locate you." He looked over at Taryn. "Both of you, actually. She would very much like to meet you."

I wrinkled my brow a bit, confused as to why this big vampire celebrity would want to meet US. "She does? Why?"

"I'm afraid that time is a factor here, gentlemen. Dawn is rapidly approaching, and her quarters are in the upper VIP levels. It will just be a few moments of your time. Please, come this way." The man said politely. I looked over at Taryn, who shrugged his shoulders, just as surprised as I was. I tried to scan around for Gyro, Bryson, and the others, to see if they could join us. But they were nowhere in sight. Probably already on their way back to the sleeping areas. Shit...Gyro's gonna be SO pissed that he missed this!

"Um...ok!" I said with a smile, Taryn's eyes shining brightly in my direction, and the three men led us to a side door that took us backstage.

We had to step over large wires and duck under lights, but when we got back to Maria's dressing room, it was as luxurious as one would have expected. The entire room seemed draped in crimson silk, and fancy designed furniture, just as red. With a jet black floor, reflecting the lights in the ceiling. It was huge, but slightly crowded with members of her entourage. When we entered, Maria was sitting with her back to us, looking into a large lighted mirror, and removing some of her stage makeup...only to show an even more strikingly natural beauty underneath. "Well, come on in. Don't be shy." She said, looking at us in the mirror. "I'll be with you in a sec."

The other people in the room, dancers, a few promoters, publicists...they all seemed to be too preoccupied with their own stuff to really pay us any attention. Still, I couldn't believe that were actually backstage with her. I saw such a look of pride on Taryn's face just being there with me, his gentle hand rubbing my arm softly as he held me close with an affectionate lean of his head on my shoulder. That's when I happened to look up and saw a familiar face in the group of people standing in the left corner of the room. It had been a while, but I'd know that damn kid anywhere. "Son of a bitch..." I mumbled to myself.

"What?" Taryn asked.

He, naturally, looked the same. About 14 years old, with light blond hair, sweet hazel eyes, and a mischevious grin. Quite possibly the fastest blond on two legs. And to think, when Chad ditched me in that damn graveyard, I never thought I'd lay my eyes on him again.

"Nothing." I said to Taryn. As Chad's eyes glanced casualy around the room, he saw me, and his smile faded instantly. I nearly expected him to take off running like he always did whenever I came anywhere NEAR him...but he stayed still. I suppose that being there for Maria was more important than running away from me at the moment, but I had to imagine that our chase would have had a much more favorable turn out if I had the chance to do it again now. Chad's eyes connected with mine, and I knew that he recognized me. He let a playful little smirk appear on his face, and then he shrugged his shoulders. As if to say 'sorry that I cramped your legs up, nearly got you killed in traffic, avoided you, refused to talk to you, nearly threw you from a moving train, and then ditched you in a graveyard after I already promised to help you out'. All in one gesture. I almost had to laugh at its unburdened innocence.

"Chad, are you staying with us tonight?" Maria asked him from across the room.

"Definitely." He said, moving over to give her a kiss on the cheek. "Wouldn't wanna be anywhere else."

"And your boyfriend?"

"I'll see if I can find one on the way. It won't be hard." He grinned.

"Well, you'd better hurry. You don't have long."

"Oh...I'm pretty sure I'll make it in time." Chad leaned over to whisper something in Maria's ear, looking at me in the other corner, and they shared a sight giggle over it. Then he told her, "Excellent show as always, Maria. If I don't catch you before the sleep does, I'll see you tomorrow." He walked past Taryn and I on his way to the other side of the room with a grin. "Looks like you caught me 'easy' this time, huh?"

"Funny, I don't remember chasing you this time." I told him.

"Maybe that's just the right strategy for you to use from now on." He whispered, and patted me on the shoulder as he went to sit down. People joined him instantly, and I watched as they interacted with him on such a 'normal' level. Without the chasing, the running, the evasion tacticts, the fighting...it almost seemed unnatural to see him actually sit down and let them in. I guess some people don't have to literally break their necks to get close to him or keep his attention afterall. I take it I'm not one of them. Go figure.

"So..." Maria started, spinning around on her stool to look at us. "...Did you enjoy the show?" Her voice had an almost invisible Mexican tilt to it, her words, soft but definite.

Taryn took a hold of my hand. "That was one of the most mindblowing shows I've ever seen. You are incredible. How did you DO that with your voice?"

"I manipulate the vocal vibrations to different frequencies to touch certains parts of the brain. It's not hard once you get about ten years worth of practice." She had such a soft sensuaity about her. Subtle, effortless. Something you caught onto right away, but couldn't define until you were already entranced by it. "And you? I hope you enjoyed yourself?" She said, her eyes fixing themselves on me.

"Me? Yeah, I was totally blown away. I couldn't believe how it made me feel." I said, and she gave us a look, as though she were examining us with a smile. And after a moment of silence, she seemed to be just as impressed with us as we were with her.

"You know...he said that I would cross paths with the chosen one, but I never in my wildest dreams thought that it would be this soon. I kinda figured it wouldn't happen until decades from now." She said.

"What?" My eyes widened, and Taryn gripped my hand a bit tighter. "You mean us?"

"And in the form of a halflife as well. Interesting choice. Normally, someone would have to live an entire lifetime full of pain in order to create the emotional experience needed for a mimic to be born into darkness. You seem to have found your 'reality' at a rather young age." My jaw dropped open, and she giggled to herself. This professional sense of 'cool' maintained in her charm.

"She knows..." Taryn whispered.

"It was Comicality's essence, I can sense it all over you. Not only have you seen him, but you've been with him 'recently'...haven't you?" She added. "I would assume he's preparing you for the days ahead. He always was a bit of a stickler for 'vampire fairy tales' and the like."

"I'm not...I mean..."

"Hehehe! It's ok. I'm on your side, believe me." She lifted up her hair and showed me a mark embeded on her neck, up by her ear. A Comicality mark, similar to the one that he had slipped into my pocket at the club months ago. There were very few variations in its design. It was evidently made just for her. "Chad's got one too. As well as a few others. But when Com told me that the prophecy had crossed your path with my own...I thought he was crazy. You have to understand, the very idea of a mimic being born into darkness is as feasible as catching a Leprechaun by the ear. I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself."

"The prophecy? It said you would meet me?" I asked. Taryn looked up into my eyes, unaware that these supposed prophecies could be so exact.

"Indeed it did. Although it was never really explained to me why that was necessary."

"Com didn't tell you?"

She rolled her eyes. "Hehehe, getting Comicality to tell you much of ANYTHING is an excercise in futility. But I DO know one thing..."

"What's that?"

"You represent the end of his search."

I was confused. "The end of his search for what?"

"For everything." She replied. I looked back in the corner, and Chad seemed to be listening as well, understanding this better than I was.

"I don't understand..."

"His scriptures, his predictions, his very purpose...it ends with the discovery of the vampire mimic. The one to lead us into the Vampire Dawn. Everything stops after that. Rather abruptly, I might add." She stood up to walk over to us, a grin on her lips. "Funny, I thought we would all have more time with him."

"You make it sound like he's dying." I wasn't serious, but from the look in her eyes...I think she was.

"You must be his sire." She said, and gave Taryn a hug. "This is such an honor." Maria reached down to roll up his right sleeve a bit, and saw Taryn's mark. She looked over to my arm, and I rolled up my sleeve as well to show my matching design. Our love displayed proudly, engraved in our unchanging flesh for all eternity. Maria sighed softly, letting my boyfriends sleeve roll glide back down over his arm. She gave Taryn a long look in the eye, and then placed a kiss on his forehead. "You are a very special boy indeed."

I watched as she held the sides of his face, and if she knew the hidden parts of the prophecy like I did, then I knew what that look in her eyes meant. It was then that my once adoring smile began to met away, and the moment turned bitter in my mind. I knew that her kiss was almost her way of taking her last look at the prophecy's golden sacrifice. The chosen 'sheep' to be led to slaughter. And I nearly took offense to her seemingly lack of conflict about it. The total acceptance of such a horrific path of destiny. I took hold of Taryn's hand and pulled him close to me, away from her touch. Keeping him safe while she was practically already sending him off to die. She merely smiled warmly in response, as though my protection of Taryn was a sweet, albeit pointless, gesture at best.

"So how IS the old 'fuddy duddy', anyway?" She asked. "Is Com still hiding himself away with all of that shadow magic and darkness?"

"Um...I guess so." I said. "He's been trying to help me."

"I'm sure he has. He's pretty psychotic like that, to say the least." She grinned as one of her servants brought her a drink. "Thanks." She took a sip, and sat back down by the mirror. "Let me guess...he's training you to defend yourself. Am I right?"

"Yeah. How did you know?"

"It explains your recent contact with him, not to mention the 'amount' of contact you've had. His influence is very strong in you. You don't realize it yet...it's too soon for you to notice. But one day, you'll be sitting someplace quiet, having a moment of self awareness, and you'll think to yourself...wow, I still remember what he taught me...about being me." She took another sip.

"That's a good thing right?" I asked.

"It depends on what you learned, I suppose." She replied. "He taught me. Taught Chad over there too. But YOU? You, my young friend, are the big fish he's been waiting for his entire existence. You are the one who is going to set him free from his duty to all of this madness." Maria looked over my shoulder, and nodded to a few other vampires as they began to leave the room and thr crowd thinned out a bit more. "I suppose that our meeting has to have SOME significance, right? Otherwise, the scriptures wouldn't have made such a point of mentioning it. I suppose the pressure is on to say something 'wise' now, huh?" She smiled. Then she took another sip of her drink, and said. "You know...if I had just one piece of advice to give you, it would be to put that craziness behind you and get as much distance between you and Comicality as you possibly can."

"What?" I asked.

"You heard me. To hell with al this prophecy mumbo jumbo. You've got a 'life', kid. You've got a beautiful boyfriend, you've got the opportunity to stay young forever and live a happy existence in darkness. Enjoy what you have while it lasts. Cherish it, and keep it close to your heart. If you get yourself involved with all this vampire messiah crap, you're gonna find yourself losing out on everything you love." She told me. "As for Com...well...he means well, but I can promise you, he'll hurt you if you stay."

"What are you talking about???"

"He's quite insane, you know? As crazy as they come. And you're allowing yourself to get attached. I can already see the emotion in your eyes. DON'T! You can't hold onto him, you know? He won't stay. He's not even REAL." She told me. "You have to understand, his 'purpose' is always going to outweigh everything that you could ever want from him. Everything that you could ever need him to be for you. Ever. The sooner you figure that out, the better. It'll only hurt more later on."

"I can't believe this. I thought you were one of the 'chosen'? I thought you were his friend?" I said, looking at both Maria and Chad. But they only looked at me the same way Jazz and Dizz did in that abandoned warehouse. As if I was the insane one. As if I was the one who didn't get it.

Maria reached into her shirt, and pulled out a small silver ring that she wore on a necklace around her neck, and showed it to me. "He gave me this once. A symbol of love. A reminder that he would always be there for me, and that I could call on him anytime that I needed him. This was meant to bond us together forever." She tucked it back into her shirt. "It's been years since I've even heard his name mentioned in my presence, much less heard from him. The love is still there, it's not going anywhere. But to be honest, I doubt he'd even recognize me anymore. He has a prophecy to fulfill. Vampires to assist. Mimics to train. It's ridiculous to think that Chad or I could ever be anything more than an interruption to him. Either of us."

"That's not true. I KNOW that's not true. I've talked to him. I've been there. And..."

"And what? He's going to push you away and keep you at arm's length just like everybody else. Trust me on this. It's inevitable that you eventually leave him behind." She told me. "Listen, don't allow yourself to get wrapped up in the illusion that you mean more to him than his 'mission'. You're trying to balance your need for a friend against, what HE sees, as the welfare of the whole planet. He never learned to be selective enough to devote his time to just one person. Or even a group of people. It's a flaw he's going to live and die with, there's no escaping it."

"None of that matters. If you knew him...you'd know that he probably loves you just fine."

Maria giggled to herself again while taking another sip of her drink, and stood up. "Of course he loves me. He loves me with all his heart." She said. "He loves me, he loves Chad, he loves Char, he loves you...and in small doses, that love can be exhilirating. But if you really wanna know the truth, Comicaity loves EVERYBODY and NOBODY, all at once. He'd break his own neck trying to prove it to you too. But bottom line, there was a time when Chad and I needed to be 'special' to him...and he couldn't be there. He didn't even know how." She looked down for a moment, only a hint of sadness in her voice before it dissolved into a tainted smile. "When you're dealing with someone who wants to be there for everyone...having them say 'I love you' begins to lose its luster."

"Maria...12 minutes to dawn. We really should be going now." One of the men in the room said, and she nodded, standing up once again.

"You listen to me, ok? And you listen good..." She walked closer to me, looking me right in the eye, almost sympathetically. "...You learn what you can from him, and you take his teachings to heart. When you're done...you go. Go some place far away from him and don't let him back into your life. Not fully. Don't let those feelings linger. Just disappear and don't look back. The love....it will always be there, no matter what. But if you think that he will ever be able to give you the same attention that you give him...you're really in for a rude awakening. Especially now that he's engaged in his final masterpiece." Why does everyone keep telling me that? What the hell is so wrong with him that he wouldn't want me around anymore? "I've tried. A lot of people have. But I got tired of chipping away at his brick walls while he rushed to build more. It's not worth it, kid. It's just not worth it."

"Maria..." The man reminded her a bit more urgently.

"Yes, of course." She said, and grabbed her things as the few remaining vampires started to file out of the room. "You are both more than welcome to stay with us in our VIP quarters for the evening if you'd like."

"No...no thanks. We've got friends waiting on us."

"Then I suppose this is the moment when we part ways. Possibly for good." She said, and walked over to give Taryn another tight hug, and a kiss on the cheek. "Be strong, baby. Ok? Your boyfriend here is going to do great things. Remember that." And then, she gave me a hug as well. An even tighter one, that gave me a bit of a chill. "If you see Com....you tell him I miss him. Ok?"

"He might like to hear it from you personally..." I offered.

"No...I doubt he would. But, in the end...I'm proud of him for following his heart. He's going to make sure that the prophecy comes true, just as it was foreseen."

"Well...maybe not." I said. "I mean, maybe...the scriptures are wrong."

She smiled warmly ver my shoulder. "My dear sweet boy...." She whispered. "...The scriptures...are never wrong." And it was then that she squeezed me even tighter, as though it could somehow bring me comfort. It didn't.

"C'mon, Maria. Let's go already." Chad was already on his way out, sounding a bit impatient as the dawn approached.

She loosened her grip a little, and looked me in the eye. I think she could see my frustration. My subdued anger trying to understand what she was telling me. "Aww, don't be mad, hon. Com....he can be a good man. He really can. It's just a matter of....'good intentions, poor delivery'. That's all." After a brief pause, she told me, "Remember, when it's time to go. Just go. Make a clean break, and move on. You'll understand why someday. And you'll be glad that you left when you did."

She released me, and I sarcastically looked over at Chad by the door. He was basically anxious to go and not even discuss the issue any further. "Do YOU have any 'messages' for me that you'd like to pass along too?" I asked him.

He paused for a second, and then without blinking, plainly said, "No." And with that, he turned his back, took Maria by the arm, and the two of them walked out together. Maria's entourage following closely behind her.

"What was THAT all about?" Taryn asked me.

"I don't know. But somehow I get the feeling that Comicality is going to really need a true friend before this is all over, and he doesn't seem to have one. The problem is, I can never tell if it's because he can't find one...or because doesn't WANT one."

"Before all of what is over, Justin?" Taryn's eyes searched mine for an answer, and it crossed my mind that I should tell him. That...perhaps he would be safer, more cautious, if I told him what the prophecy had foretold. But can he live with that knowledge? Could he exist with a smile ever again if he knew that this growing storm cloud above his head was constantly lurking over him, casting a shadow on his life every single minute of the day? How do you handle the concept of an unavoidable death when you're aware of its inevitability? Maybe it would happen tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe ten or twenty YEARS from now. Who knows? But what would my Taryn be with the burden of knowing that I was destined to lose him forever? How could I possibly tell him that it is his tragic passing... that was supposed to be the catalyst that gives me strength, and opens the door for me to save us all? I can't. I just...I can't.

Besides, I don't even believe in this stupid prophecy. ANY of it. I believe in US. And we're gonna live together forever, just like we planned it.

Just like we promised.

Instead, I worked up a small grin, and walked closer to give Taryn a delicate kiss on his lips. "We should go, we don't have enough time."

"Does this mean you're avoiding the question?" He said, a bit concerned at first. But he was quick to mirror my smile as I gave him a slight tickle on his hip. "Hehehe! Don't go using my love for you as an escape from the truth, Justy!" He giggled.

"Dawn's coming, you know? If we don't leave, we're gonna end up spending the next 12 to 13 hours laying here on the floor of this dressing room." I told him, and he thought about for a second, looking at the dirty floor beneath our feet. Then he snuck in another quick kiss on my lips.

"I'm NOT gonna forget about this, you hear me? So if you're gonna make something up, make it good and prepare for me to ask you again later."

"Yes, dear." I grinned. He let his lip slide out a bit in a playful pout, and it took a few wiggles of my nose against his before he smiled fully again. He gave me a bit of a tug on my wrist, and I let him lead me to the resident area where we'd all be sleeping for the night. Thankfully, it wasn't far away from the stage.