He walked more beside me than in front of me, somehow still guiding me forward with every careful step. The wisps of shadows surrounding him were swirling ever so softly, like a thin veil of smoke. I took a few extended glances at it, trying to peer through it, trying to understand what its make-up was. It wasn't anything like a fog or a fabric or a mask really. It was literally made of shadows. As though they rushed to conceal him the second he passed any dark section of the sidewalk. All you could see were the swirling colors of his eyes, and occassionally...a silhouette of his lips moving behind the darkness. It was eerie, in fact it was downright scary, the first few times you witnessed it for yourself. But now I think I was just filled with this curious fascination. It was something to 'figure out', and it kept one small part of my mind dedicated to doing just that.

"These are serious times, Justin." He said, his mellow voice warning me of bad things to come. "There's been quite a disturbance among us as of late." Comicality's voice lowered in pitch. Whatever it is he had to tell me, it must have been important. I could almost feel his concern through his words alone. "A series of rather 'tragic' incidents have taken place in the last few weeks. The elders are becoming agitated with such displays of random violence." He took a careful look at me, "The reports say that the attacker is a boy about your age, recently born into darkness...calling himself 'Rage'."

"I know." I said softly, and he looked over at me. "I mean...I heard."

"Then you know about the wounded and dying vampires now forced underground by this new threat?" He said calmly.

"Yeah...sort of." I mumbled, and there was a short silence between us. "Com...I swear to you, no matter what you might have heard or who told it to you...it WASN'T me!" I had to make it clear. I HAD to. "I've made some mistakes about keeping my identity a secret, but I would NEVER do anything like that! Not ever!" I was almost pleading at this point. "You've gotta believe me....I didn't do it. It wasn't me."

"No, Justin. I don't think it was you either." He stopped walking and turned towards me. I was a bit surprised that he actually took me at my word. "It takes a completely different 'kind' of person to do this." I should have been thankful that he didn't suspect me in these horrible crimes, but a huge part of me wanted to ask why. Even if it meant pushing the envelope and possibly causing a sense of doubt in his mind. "I went to examine the locations where the incidents took place, and the essence left behind matches a certain 'pattern'. Every time." He said.

"Essence? What essence?"

"Every act committed in this world and in humanity, leaves behind a piece of the person who did it. A certain personality trait, a calling card. It is as genuine and individual as a fingerprint. You can tell by the way the events happened." Com stood in front of me, and it took some concentration to ignore the swirling shadows around him. I had to look downward to avoid staring rudely. "The movements that this boy used against his victims...they were much different from the ones that I taught you. They were hostile, aggressive. The wounds inflicted on his victims were deep and brutally done. As though they were made in unrestricted anger. Judging from the footprints in the floor and the wreckage of the locations themselves, the fighting style seems erratic. Almost psychotic."

"But what I don't understand is...why does everybody suddenly assume that it was ME?" I asked.

"Unfortunately...while this vampire is causing a great amount of turbulence out here...he has managed to stay relatively invisible. Comfortably slipping underneath the extended radar of the Elders. He's been very careful about his activities up to this point, and he's enjoying staying hidden. At least...for now." "For NOW?" I said, looking back at him in question. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It 'means' that this is merely the beginning. There will be more...demonstrations soon."

"How can you be so sure?"

"The vampires he attacked...they had no relation to one another whatsoever. They weren't overly powerful, or dangerous, or even all that well known. They held no high ranking in the vampire order..." He looked up at the stars and paused for a moment. "...And yet....evidence shows that each attack was specifically selected, timed, and executed to perfection. No mistakes. This person chose them and chose wisely, slaughtering them with a level of brutality that was sure to make people take notice of his capabilities." He said. "This vampire wants to be noticed, Justin. It's the 'tornado' effect."

"The tornado effect?"

"Yes. You see an actual tornado itself cannot be seen by the naked eye. It's merely a swirling storm of wind. It only becomes visible...by the amount of damage it causes."

"You mean...."

"He's using these other vampires as 'debris'. He's announcing his 'arrival' into our world. And this will continue until he gets the particular attention that he is searching for." Com stared in my direction, and my eyes were forced back down to the ground. To look for too long was a dizzying experience. Possibly his intention. "I doubt he knows of your existence yet. However, there are many other vampires that do. Vampires that have seen you in action, and are drawing the only conclusions that they can as to your intentions."

"But I've been trying my HARDEST to keep it quiet."

"Quiet? The display at the fighting arena? The fight in a previously hidden sanctuary?..." He began, and I knew that I was caught. "...You were seen fighting outside of a local 'spice shack', and apparently you had a run in with the police....?"

"OK!" I said, cutting him off. "Maybe I had a......FEW unexpected outbursts lately. But they were ALL neccessary! Besides, that doesn't mean I've been purposely spreading it around town."

"Perhaps not. But you must understand that all reports, while fuzzy at best, tell of a 14 year old boy. Someone still young in his crossover, who has the uncanny ability to fight with 'unmatched' skill...and go toe to toe with even the most experienced fighters with little to no effort." He told me. "You......are the only 'visible' candidate fitting that description, Justin. And you will remain so until this entity decides to show himself. You've been seen performing feats that most vampires don't learn until much much later in their existence. And considering that there is a lot of bad blood between this phantom attacker and the friends of those he's injured...that makes things very dangerous for you indeed. Innocent or not...YOU have been recognized as the threat." His dark morphing cape wrapped tightly around him as he continued. "As far as the elders are concerned, they are still unsure if the rumors of the prophecy are valid just yet. They have sent seekers out into the streets to find the truth. I don't believe they have dispatched any Hunters yet to take care of the current threat...but that could change in a heartbeat if the wrong suggestion is whispered in their ear. That could be a problem for you and your friends."

Again, I was confronted with the awful concept of complete and total helplessness. People had seen me, they were talking about me. No matter what I did now, it was too late to take it back. "So...what do I do?" I asked.

Comicality's whole aura seemed to darken upon hearing that question. He paused slightly, as though allowing me time to prepare myself for the answer. "You prepare to defend yourself."

My heart nearly stopped. "DEFEND myself? But I didn't DO anything!" I said, feeling a panic begin to build inside of me.

"I'm sorry, Justin. But I'm afraid that the laws of this world aren't as specific as they are in daylight. As long as there is word out there that you may be the one who caused this, there is a danger that some irrational vampire will be out there looking to 'fix' things. I will do my best to dispel the rumors I've heard so far, but there are many people blinded with their own sense of justice...and they WILL be coming for you." He stopped us from walking and put his hands on either side of my head. "I will send you a protector. Someone to watch over you while I cannot. But in the meantime, you will need more skills to be able to fend for yourself until the protector arrives."

Why? I just didn't understand why. "This...this is all going so fast. What can I do...?"

"I want you to meet me 'here', tomorrow night as soon as you awake from your sleep." He handed me a small map with an old building specifically marked with an 'X'. "I will have two young men there waiting to aid you in some more advanced fighting techniques. Be ready to absorb as much as you possibly can. We're giving you the pure definition of a 'crash course' in combat." His thumbs then slid up to my neck, feeling the faint beat of my pulse. "And...you're going to have to feed, Justin. No delays this time. You're going to need your mind clear and focused, not lost in the fog of hunger. You don't have long until it begins to affect your thought process." My face dropped considerably, the fear and sadness combining into a swirling emotion of chaos. Everything was finally falling into place for me. I was finally learning who I am, beginning to understand what I can do...truly accept my new life in darkness. I had found a family who cared for me, and was learning more and more about them everyday. Now, all of the sudden, I'm feel myself being 'pushed' again. Harder and harder. Tossed around as my will gave way to unavoidable circumstance, again and again. Hurry up and hide, hurry up and learn, hurry up and fight, hurry up and feed...why was this happening to me? All I ever wanted was to be loved and accepted for who I am. I guess that's the dream that can't be reached. Not here, not anywhere. Com could see the look on my face and feel the fear in my heart. My head drooped downwards, but he lifted my eyes by putting his fingertips on my chin. "Justin...I realize that the sudden adjustment is difficult for you. Having the power you have inside you can be quite a burden for one person to carry. Especially someone your age. But the fact of the matter is...you possess the rare abilities needed to truly make a change in everything that you touch. Whether you are ready for that responsibility or not...may not be up to you."

"I just want to be left alone..." I said sadly. "I didn't ask for any of this." Thoughts of having to look over my shoulder everywhere I went, of having to murder someone else in cold blood while they scream for help...it made me weak in the knees, and I sank down to the ground. I sat there against the railing, feeling tears well up in my eyes. "I can't do this anymore."

Com stood in front of me, looking down at what must have been a pretty pathetic picture considering that I was supposed to be this great 'warrior' for our world. I'm no warrior. I'm no savior. I'm 14 years old, I can't even do long division without my brain freezing up on me. I was never taught to ba any kind of fighter. Deep down, I'm just a scared little kid who wants a little more time in his life to 'play'. I just...wanted time to be a kid. Comicality could feel my emotions dampening, and lifted my chin further in an attempt to keep me strong. "You know, Justin...they say that a good man isn't formed by his achievements and successes, but by what he learns in times of distress and confusion. Without hard times, there can be no growth."

"I'm NOT a man! I'm only fourteen for Christ sake!"

He stood up and reached out his other hand to me to offer me a chance to get up on my feet. "Growth and maturity don't happen with age. They happen with experience." He waited with his hand outstretched, and finally, after some hesitation, I took it. He lifted me to my feet again and brushed off my shoulders. "I understand your tears, Justin. We all had to go through it at one time or the other. But what you have to remember is that you have been through a lot in your life, and you're still standing. You're still here. You've survived thus far, and I have every confidence that you will continue to do so through this ordeal." With a gentle push, Comicality pointed me in the direction of home. "Go back to the lot. Look at what you have there. See who you are as reflected through the eyes of your friends. You'll see that in the end, your chances are much better than you think."

"But Com....what if I can't....?" I turned around, and he was already gone. The shadows, once again, went back to their stillness, and all was silent again. I hate it when he does that. I guess that was the end of the questions for tonight.

I took my time walking back to the lot that night. Spending some of those long minutes in despair, and others wondering why Comicality should have so much faith in me when I can barely muster up enough to sleep at night. But I suppose the best thing to do was to...appreciate the time I have left, and pray that I make it for as long as I can. That's all I can hope for at this point.

I had almost reached home, when I suddenly became aware of a presence somewhere around me. I can't say that it was a hostile presence or not...but it was there. I stopped walking and took a moment to look around me, wondering what it was that was watching me. It seemed to fade rather quickly once I stopped and started searching the area, but I know that I felt something. It was unmistakeable. I waited for a few moments in silence...and the feeling faded completely. Whatever it was that triggered that eerie feeling within me, it was gone. I had an uneasy sensation still lingering in the back of my senses, but whatever, or WHOever it was that was watching me...they had retreated into the distance. And that meant that I had missed my opportunity to find out. Very strange indeed. Maybe it was nothing, but I'd keep my eyes peeled from now on. Just in case.

Coming back in through the gate, I saw Doc still over by his little habitat, his blood samples packed away in a small brown briefcase that he must have gotten out of the dump from the looks of it. He had put them away, but the samples were waiting inside the bag in case I came back like I said I would. There were others in the yard as well, but I needed to see him first. Doc had always been nice to me, from day one. He didn't deserve to be treated so rudely. I at least owed him an apology. I walked over, and as expected, Doc greeted me with a big smile, his dimples standing out almost as much as the flare of his eyes. "Did ya have a good night out?"

I gave him a caring look, ignoring the grin and the comment completely. I knew he was just smiling for my benefit. I could feel it. Just to keep from confronting me for being a jerk. "Doc...I'm sorry."

"Sorry? Sorry for what? It's not like I asked you to bring dinner back. Hehehe!" He grinned. But I wouldn't let him cover it up. Not this time.

"I shouldn't have walked out on you like that. I just needed to get my head straight, ok?"

I think some of what I was saying was actually starting to seep in through his joyful defenses. But he attempted to smile anyway. "It's ok, Justin. Really. I understand. This stuff is boring anyway..."

"No...no it's not. You were trying to help me, and I appreciate it." I said. "I care a lot about you, and you more than deserved my attention tonight. I'm sorry, k?"

"Sure thing, dude."

"I mean it, Doc." I made sure to look him right in the eye, and it was then that he paused, and finally accepted the apology. For real this time.

"Um...th-th-thanks." He said, almost timidly. His face...his eyes...I'll never forget how he looked back at me. It was almost as if I was the first person to truthfully apologize to him and make sure he understood. His expression was undefineable. He then reached out to touch my arm, and smiled graciously at me. The thankfulness of his stare was enough to give me a slight chill of satisfaction in finally getting through to him. He then turned and rolled away from me. I don't know if he was quite sure how to handle it, but I felt good knowing that he actually felt better, instead of just 'pretending' that he did for my sake. The emotion I read from him was indescribable. I couldn't quite match it up with anything that I had ever felt before. Almost like shame and pride, bashfulness and admiration, all mixed in together. It was weird, but it must have made him feel good inside. And that meant everything to me at that moment.

I looked around and saw Kid snuggled up with his new teddy bear on the ground while leaning up against a stack of tires, hugging it tightly and leaning on Jenna's shoulder. Rain and Darren were off to the side, practically rubbing noses, and it was so damn...odd. Rain's face didn't even look the same when she was....'smiling'. Bryson, however, wasn't happy at all. He sat in his truck behind the steering wheel all night, staring over at Rain and her 'intruder'...then he looked away. Almost in disgust. Or maybe....it was heartbreak.

I saw Taryn come out of our makeshift 'home', and I sent him a smile. I put up a finger to let him know that I'd be there in a minute, and he blew me a kiss to return the greeting. I just wanted to make a quick trip over to Dion's before going inside for the night. With all that I had to face, and all that I had been through...I needed him and everyone else here know that I loved them. That I cared more for them than they'll ever know. And unfortunately....more than I've ever said to either one of them. I hope to change that in the days to come.

Dion was laid back, listening to soft music, and Napolean was curled up quietly at his side. When I came over, he had such a look of bliss on his face. It made me smile. "Hey Dion, I just wanted to say..."

"Shhhhh...." He whispered.


"SHHH!" He said a bit louder, cutting me off while he listened for a particular part of the song. He whispered, "It's Sarah Vaughan...absolutely incredible."

I listened to the song for a bit in silence, the smooth voice lifting Dion's eyes up to the sky. 'I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day and in everything that's light and gay. I'll always, always, always think of you that way...' I'll admit, it was beautiful. "It's nice..." I said. But he cut me off again.

"Shhh shhh shhh! Wait...this is it!" And his eyes closed as the last notes of the song spilled out of his little radio. 'I'll be looking at the moon.....but I'll be seeing....youuuuuu...' The last note was a high pitch that caused Dion to close his eyes in appreciation for its perfection. And he sighed to himself as the song came to an end. "She's absolute magic, you know that?" He said, sitting up.

"I don't remember you having that cd before."

"I stole it from the house boat on the lake tonight." He said, and got a sideways grin from me. "What?" I just shook my head. "Kid got a teddy bear!" That was his only defense, and I guess he didn't need anything more than that. He hopped down next to me and asked, "So what's up?"

I didn't say anything at first, I just walked over, and gave him a tight hug, with my arms wrapped lovingly around his neck. It caught him a bit off guard and he wasn't quite sure how to take it, but I told him, "I'm not letting you go until you hug me back."

I felt his arms wrap around my waist, and I grinned at his confusion over it all. "You know, Justin......I swear you get more and more screwy every night that I see you."

"I just...I needed to say...'thank you', Dion."

"Thank you for what?"

I loosened the hug, and looked him in the eye. "Just...'thank you'....k?" And I let him go, turning to walk away beore he got the chance to ask anymore questions. I almost had to giggle to myself at leaving him so confused, but he'd figure it out, and hopefully he'd understand. Com was right. I truly had to take a look at what I had in order to gain the faith I needed for what I had to go through. And what I had...was 'family'.

I made a quick stop to Bryson's truck, and saw him steadily looking forward, a pouty expression on his face. "Just wanted to say g'night, Bryson. And I'm sorry about tonight. I know my training is important to you and all..."

"Whatever." He said quietly. "We'll do it tomorrow."

It was the LAST thing I expected to hear come out of his mouth. If anything, I expected him to come up with some weird chore as punishment. "Bryson...?"

"What?" He mumbled. Seeming as if he just wanted to be alone with his misery for a while.

"I don't say it enough...but I'm glad you're here. I'm glad you're taking so much care with my crossover and all. I know you wouldn't be so hard on us if you didn't have to."

His eyes glanced over at me for a moment, before looking back over at Rain again. "If I'm 'hard' on you, it's because I care about you. A LOT. I don't understand why it's so difficult for you guys to realize that." He was definitely hurting inside. "Some people....they just don't appreciate anything." He said staring even harder at Rain as her and Darren exchanged a short, but sweet, kiss on the hood of her car. "I wasn't always like this, you know? There was a time when I wanted to have fun and play games too." I couldn't tell if he was more upset, or depressed. Maybe an even balance of both. "They grow up so fast, you know? I do my best to protect them and keep them all straight...I try to keep them out of trouble, and listen to their problems, and truly BE there for them. God knows there was no one there for me when I grew up. It just...it gets harder and harder to get them to listen to me." He said. "I'm not just some awful grump, Justin. I do what I do to keep some kind of structure here. Or at least I try."

"We know, Bryson. And you do an awesome job of watching over us. Really, you do. I don't know what I'd be doing if you weren't at least trying to help me learn something out here."

"Maybe. But I know one thing...I don't plan to ever lose anyone ever again. I'm gonna watch over them. I'm gonna keep them safe." He said with a quiver in his voice. "I'd give my life for any one of them. Even when it hurts."

"Did you...ever lose anybody?" I asked, but he looked over at me and didn't answer.

He simply let out a long sigh, and said, "What's the point of being a kid forever...when you have to grow up so fast?" He focused his eyes down at the steering wheel, his eyes beginning to glow faintly with the beginning of tears. And he gave me one last glance while he was able to keep up a strong front. "G'night, Justin."

With Bryson, there's a fine line between needing a nudge and needing some space. This was one of those times when I should just say, "G'night." And move on. He'd be back to normal the next evening. He never held a grudge for long. But there were times when I wonder what made him pull the reins so tight on the rest of us. Times when I wonder what nasty experience created that 'fatherly' part of him, and made him abandon the 'fun' he avoided so much. Exactly what did he lose that could have shut him down so completely?

I walked back to join Taryn, and gave him a kiss the moment I shut the door behind me. "Well, hello there." He smiled in response.

His hair was wet, and he was drying it off a bit with one of his shirts. He smelled sooo good. "You're wet."

"I took a shower at the old church. It's just taking my hair forever to dry..." He said, vigorously toweling it off. A few driplets of water slid down his neck, and I had to fight to keep from sucking it off for him. He really was amazing when you saw him up close. I wanted to kiss him all the time, and never let my lips leave his. Not even for a single moment to tell him how much I loved him.

"I love you." The words seemed to suddenly leave my mouth automatically, without thought or preparation. He inspired them with glow of his spirit alone. Taryn stopped drying his hair, and a gentle blush came to his face.

"Hehehe...okaaay." He grinned. "I love you too." Then he felt my forehead with his hand, asking, "You feeling alright?"

"I'm fine. I'm...better than fine. Just...had to be said. You know?" I hugged him close for another peck on the lips.

"You're so cute when you're being 'weird'." He smiled, and I tossed a pillow at him to keep him quiet.

I thought for a moment and said, "How long has Rain been here at the lot? I mean...has she been here the whole time?"

"Hmmm...not sure really. Not as long as I have though. It's hard to put a time frame on things when you're out here, you know?" He said. "But if I had to guess, I'd say it's been about six or seven years."

"Her and Bryson fight an awful lot. After so much time together, you'd think they'd either get along or go their seperate ways."

"They have a weird connection, those two. I can't explain it. I won't even try."

"Well...I know I might be jumping to conclusions or something, but...I think Bryson might...kinda...'like' her a little bit."

"Well DUH!" Taryn giggled.

"You knew that already?"

"Everybody here knows that, except for the two of them. I don't suggest you bring it up to either one of them though. You'll either end up with a month's worth of back breaking chores from Bryson, or possibly a BROKEN ARM from Rain."


"They'll figure it out someday. Hell, we're just a few steps away from taking bets on when it'll happen." Taryn said, standing up and kicking off his shoes. "I must admit though, this whole 'Darren' thing threw me for a loop. I didn't see that coming at ALL." He was just starting to get undressed, and all I could do was stare. Just having him barefoot in the trailer was enough to excite me. He caught me looking. "If I knew you were gonna watch, I would have put on a bit more of a 'show' for you. Hehehe!"

"Can't help it...you're gorgeous." I smiled.


"Mmm-hmm." I nodded.

"You wanna stand up here and be 'gorgeous' with me for a few minutes?" I rose to my feet, and our arms naturally snaked their way around each other. His eyes met mine, and we just gazed at one another for a moment. Sometimes, I swear....I could see all of life's beauty in the softness of his sensual smile, hear the world's most spectacular song in the beating of his heart. His eyes could melt away any pain, any fear, any doubt at all that you were worth the effort. He was the only one who could ever do that for me. The only one.

Standing next to him, I put my hand lightly on his arm. Up by the shoulder, and let it slide slowly down to his wrist. Then bringing his hand up to my lips, kissing it gently. Then, giving in to a mischevious urge, I gave his thumb a nibble. Barely enough to leave a mark, but Taryn playfull swatted me on the arm anyway. "Ah! No biting!" He giggled quietly.

"This, coming from you of all people."

"Hey now...be nice. Or you don't get dessert." He smiled, and I leaned in to kiss him tenderly on the lips. Eager to feel him close to me again. Aching for the opportunity for our souls to interlock once more.

"God, I love you, Taryn." I sighed. And although he had heard me say it a million times before...he began to softly blush in front of me.

It all began with an eye contact that would cause your heart to melt into jelly at first glance. The raw emotion that would well up in me when he looked at me like that...it made me want to cry tears of joy. To be so connected to someone through the gaze of their eyes alone, or the soft sensation of having their breath land politely on your lips from the decreased distance between you. I was compelled to drink in the pure magic captured in the mere sight of him. He was soooo beautiful. Too beautiful for words to describe. To even attempt to seemed to blaspheme the level of beauty he possessed. I stared into the apple green splendor of his eyes, alive with a desire for me and all that I am. Cascading on either side of his soft smooth cheeks were his silken locks of brown hair, tainted by the sweetest touch of reddish cherry wine coloring. A color that only nature could create. His lips called to me, and I answered as though I had no choice. His kiss was the only thing I hungered for at that moment. The only thing that mattered.

It was always a miraculous moment...those few split seconds right before our lips touched. When I was leaning forward to meet him, and I could see his eyes close tenderly as my own vision faded to black and we blindly reached out for a pleasure that would take us to heights unknown.


Just lips at first...followed by open mouthed kissing....and finally, our tongues began to make love to one another. Locked in the steamy embrace of a lover's kiss. It would last for an eternity, our hands rubbing small circles on each other's back...until our eagerness for more took over our everlasting enjoyment of the kiss. It was one of my favorite parts, undressing slowly with him, breaking our liplock only long enough to remove our shirts. Bare chested, and feeling the pulse of his beating heart as our warm skin wrapped itself around each other. A cute giggle and a sensual smile shared between us as our flesh touched for the first time. Shirtless, our skin covered in softened goosebumps. The pants would follow next, leaving us in our boxer shorts as we tried to kick them off to the side. Sometimes needing to hold onto one another's shoulders to stand on the pants leg and lift our other foot to get it untangled. My hands would travel downward, and gently slip under the elastic of his underwear, stretching it out and rubbing the soft melons underneath. I'd squeeze and knead the mounds inside, and Taryn's kiss would increase in its intensity, his breathing giving way to short gasps and whimpers. And I would lower his shorts from the back until I felt his stiffness spring out from the front, bouncing proudly and throbbing with every heart beat. It was the most erotic part of the whole encounter. Absolutely mindblowing.

Naked, we would both lay on the mattress, side by side, facing each other. Our kissing would continue, and our arms and legs would intertwine as tightly as possible. Letting not one breeze of air, not one beam of light, pass between us. We would be as close as our bodies would allow, and his warmth and mine would mingle together in the most comfortable heated embrace. I loved the way Taryn's body felt in my arms. His skin was like soft warm bread, my hands felt no resistance as they traveled up and down the smoothness of his back. His hair was still damp from his shower, and I let my fingers brush through it, feeling the moisture as his kiss slid down to the nape of my neck. Having Taryn suck at my neck was more exciting than I could express, and I would always have to stop him before I exploded from that sensation alone.

I let my lips and tongue slowly drag a trail down his chest, over the softness of his warm tummy, and then down to his thighs...licking the inside of each one. My nose would brush against his balls gently, and I could feel his legs twitch as my tongue's kitten licks and swipes came closer and closer to the center uderneath his sack. A few more licks would take me over their tender wrinkled surface, before sucking them into my mouth and letting the flavor of him fill me up inside. I knew Taryn felt weightless, I knew he loved it when I did that. His legs would spread wider and wider, as though there would be no limit to how far apart they could go. And when his hands would slide down to run small circles through my hair, when his moans turned into needy whimpers and lustful sighs, I knew that it was his signal for me to go further. So without a word, I licked upwards, inch by inch, until I reached the spongy head of his heated shaft, and I sucked him in. Ohhhh the taste of him. My mouth was always so wet when I sucked Taryn. I would be salivating at the thought of having him in me, the thought of being at the controls and making him feel so good.

My hand slid up Taryn's smooth chest, running my palm over his nipples and tweaking them gently. They were sooo hard, almost 'sharp' at the point. And everytime I passed over them, I could feel his length tighten up and spasm on the surface of my tongue. I inhaled deeply and used a harder suction to pull him further back to nearly touch my tonsils, my tongue holding him snugly against the soft roof of my mouth. Taryn gasped and his thighs trembled beneath me, his excitement surging through his body like lightning. My nose was buried in the wisps of his adolecent hair, still sparse enough to see the tender flesh at the base of his pubes, and I let it tickle the tip of my nose as I worked my tongue all around him. We were both in heaven. My fingers reached further up, feeling Taryn's neck, and brushing alongside his cheek. He turned his head slightly to suck my middle finger into his mouth, and I let it playfully rest on the waterbed softness of his tongue. We contnued this for as long as he could stand, and he used his hands to lift my head from his member.

I felt my finger slip from his mouth, and watched excitedly as Taryn grinned sexily at me, rolling over onto his belly, and craning his neck back to give me a sensuous stare. The sight of his ass...unimaginably soft, round, perfectly molded into shape. He slowly humped the mattress in anticipation, and his pale cheeks dimpled at the sides, giving a hint as to how tight it was going to be inside. I shook as though I was nervous, but I wasn't. My body simply reacted the only way it knew how, and the overload of sexual frenzy caused me to quake inside. Taryn reached beside the mattress for the small tube of vaseline we kept nearby. And as he put a helthy dip onto his hand, I leaned forward to lick the back of his thighs. From behind his knee, all the way up to the rise of his globes. He reached back to grab a handful of my hardness...a steel rod that was aching for him, praying for release before the strain snapped it like a rubber band. He greased me up, and I was so incredibly aroused that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to make it past the next stroke of his fingertips. I used my hands to feel around his cheeks, spreading the cleft apart to find that, as always, he was just as tight now as he was the first time we had sex. Almost tighter. Always reverting back to the pure untouched boy that he was when he first crossed over, always a virgin, always and forever. I bent down further to give it a gentle kiss before Taryn released me and laid back down, his chin resting on the pillow, his legs spread wide to accept me.

I always took a long look at him when I first crawled behind him to work my way in. From his slim shoulders, to his sleek back, to his small waist, to his supple ass, to his tender thighs. Every inch of him was as erotic as anyone could ever dream. At times like these, it's still hard to come to terms with the fact that he's mine. All mine.

Taryn would hold his cheeks apart while I aimed and tried my best to guide myself in slowly. It always took work and patience to get him adjusted to me again, but I'd never hurt him. I'd never want to take a moment of pleasure away from him while we were engaged in the art of making love. Long slow hours of making love. His entrance was so constricted, even for a boy his age. I felt huge in comparison, trying my best to go slow...even when it felt soooooo good. Once the head popped in and we took a moment to get used to the feeling, he'd let me know he was ready with a soft wiggle of his hips. Then I'd push inward, the warm gelatin mass of his insides opening up and surrounding me as I slipped into his heated tunnel. My God...my whole BODY was alive! I could feel every inch of me reacting seperately to the feel of him sucking me further into his body. And just when it came to the last inch or two, he would lift his hips slightly, and take me the rest of the way in while I gasped in ecstacy. Buried in to the hilt. His bubbled cheeks were like silk against the top of my thighs, his every breath making his opening constrict around me and sending another wave of pleasure shooting up my spine. I lowered myself down to my elbows, laying on Taryn's back and letting some of my body weight anchor him down to the mattress. His back and shoulders still had the faint smell of shampoo, especially around his neck, from when the soapy suds ran gently down from his shower. I leaned forward to lick the back of his neck as I let myself slip out of him a few inches. Then I very slowly pushed my way back in. His inner grip was pushing me over the edge of sanity, the tightness almost strangling me as I began moving in and out slowly. Taryn would whimper softly, and I could feel the vibrations of his boyish whines from the inside, tickling me from all angles. I rested all the way on Taryn's back and let my hands reach out to grab the tops of his. The rhythm began, pushing and pulling tenderly while we did our best to hold on to an inevitale orgasm that was sure to wreck havoc in us both when it was ready. My now sensitive nipples were gliding over the lovely texture of his back as we continued to intimately bring each other closer to climax. I'd kiss his cheek as his head turned to the side, and he would try to reach his head back far enough to tongue kiss me passionately. Sometimes my muscles would contract involuntarily, and he would get a slightly harder pump than before, causing him to moan outloud. The lips of his tender ass would clench around me and I'd almost scream with pleasure. It was too much...I was gonna lose it. I had to stop for a moment.

I'd discontinue my humping for a second and just try to calm my body down, hoping to go on for a little bit longer. But even when I lay motionless on his back, it felt like I was still going. His insides sucking, churning, and chewing at me. My hardness stiffening and tightening inside him as his warm walls surrounded me and pulsated with a continuous tremble that took my breath away. Then...when I was convinced that I could start again, I'd give Taryn another long push...and be at the very edge of orgasm all over again. Sighhh....I love him too much to hold back the emotion in my movements. My body was ready to blow.

We had gotten rather experienced since we've been together. Even with Bryson keeping us 'focused on other things', even with our previous inexperience, we were figuring sex out more and more everyday. It wasn't just experimenting anymore, we were trying new things, new motions, exploring every inch of one another. My movements were becoming more natural, and I knew what spots to hit. I knew how to make Taryn whimper out loud, and how to make him gasp with little nibbles and touches. Moving in and out of him, I knew how to use the most erotic circles with my hips now...grinding deeper into him and truly touching his pleasure centers in every way possible. He loved it when I rolled my hips against him. If I did it just right, he'd curse outloud in the cutest way and push back against me. Smashing those gorgeous butt cheeks against me and begging for more. When you're a virgin, you never think you're gonna actually be good at this...but with practice...you feel like a pro. We enjoyed each other so much.

I sped up as I felt myself reaching my limits, and Taryn couldn't hold on himself once he knew how close I was. My hands reached underneath him, holding onto his chest as I rested my chin on his shoulder. My hips humped into him faster, and as my hands cupped over Taryn's nipples, I felt a gentle tingling in my fingertips. Gyro's extra began to spontaneously pour out of me, and gave Taryn an orgasmic rush as the tingles washed over him. "Oh SHIT!...Oh God.....Ahhhhh!" He was overcome with the sensation, and his whole body began to wiggle and stretch beneath me. His violent squirming almost dislodged me from his tunnel, and I had to press my hips in harder to keep him still. I kissed the back of his neck madly as I pumped harder and harder. Taryn exploded, his juices seeping into the mattress as his ass clamped down like a vice on me. I couldn't hold it. I tried, but I just couldn't. I came violently into him and my body seemed to go numb for a moment before being so overwhelmingly sensitive that it was hard to breathe. We both continued to whimper and cry out as our bodies tried to ride out the intense explosion...and it was a full five minutes before my senses had come back to me and allowed me to roll off of his back. We were breathless, and I don't think my body was ever more satisfied.

Finally, after staring at the ceiling for what seemed like forever, I turned to see Taryn smiling at me. His eyes sparkling brightly. Then he popped up and rushed forward to kiss me hard on the lips! "Hehehe! What?" I giggled.

"Omigod...DAMN, I love you!" He said, kissing me again and hugging me close to him excitedly. "Shit..." He whispered to himself breathlessly with a grin. "...wow...."

"Hahaha! I take it you had fun!"

"Fuck you..." He mumbled, giving me a playful smack on the leg for teasing him. I saw him blush a bit for his outburst, but it only made him twice as cute as he was before. "I love you, Justin." The words escaped his lips as unintentionally as they had from mine not long ago. I was flattered by having that effect on him, to inspire even a fraction of the feelings I held inside for him.

"I love you too." And although we stayed awake for almost another hour, it was the last words passed between us until the sleep came to pull us in. Every night would be a holiday, as long as my baby was laying here by my side.

The next evening, I woke up early as usual. But not so early that I'd have to worry about the sun. In fact, Taryn might have woken up to join me if I had stuck around for another twenty minutes or so. I rolled over to place a few gentle kisses on the back of his head. I moved closer to spoon up behind him, but again, his body was so cold. I nearly caught a chill, and only held his naked body against me for a few minutes. He slept so peacefully, even with his body shut down completely he seemed to radiate this glow of life. I kissed him once more on his cheek, and then got out of bed to get dressed. I had an appointment to keep.

I made sure to leave the lot before Bryson and the others came to. No questions about where I was going meant no lies. Just a little bit longer...just long enough to learn what I've got to learn to defend myself...and then I'll tell them. One by one. They might hate me, reject me, maybe even disown me...but I had to tell them who I am. I had to be free of this mask and let them in. After all they've done for me, it's the least I could do to repay them.

I followed the directions Comicality gave me and it led to an old warehouse basement somewhere just outside of the Loop. It was dusty and dark, almost looked like it was ready to be torn down at any minute. I made my way down into the basement, and heard the faint sound of voices in the distance. I had to brush cobwebs aside to walk a straight line, and the dust in the air made it almost hard to breathe. I coughed a bit, covering my mouth so as not to make any noise. But I think I had been detected, because the voices stopped.

I went further around the corners of the basement, entering a large room wth high ceilings. I saw a man standing next to a table at the far end of the room, about 30 years old from the looks of it, with a dusty overcoat on and a pair of sunglasses. "Hello?" I said.

He spun around and a scowl appeared on his face. "Who are you?!?" He shouted. It caught me by surprise. "HUH?!?! ANSWER ME!" I froze up.

"I'm...I'm Justin. I'm supposed to meet..."

"What the hell do you think you're doing here? Do I know you?" He said, stomping his way closer. "Nah! I don't know you! I don't know YOU at all!"

"I'm sorry, I must have the wrong place..." I said, turning to walk out, but he put his hand on my shoulder, roughly gripping it and spinning me around.

"You're not going anywhere until you tell me what the fuck you're doing in my house!"

"Someone told me to meet them here. Maybe I got it wrong or something, that's all. It's just a mistake."

He shook me hard. "I'LL say it was a fucking mistake!" What the hell was going on here? What could I have possibly walked into. "You spying on me, boy?"

"NO! I already TOLD you..." But before I could finish, he pushed me!

"Who do you think you're talking to, kid? Think you can raise your voice up at ME? HUH? Punk ass little brat like you!" He pushed me again, and I took a step or two backwards.

"DON'T!" I said, my feet automatically digging into the floor. "I suggest you keep your hands off of me." It was the last warning I had planned to give him.

"Don't worry kid, I ain't gonna touch ya." The man said. "But HE is." By the time I had turned around, it was too late to react. I felt a kick hit me in the chest as I saw someone drop down from the ceiling. I went reeling back into the older man's arms, who spun me to the floor. I got up just in time to see a younger boy, about 16, come flying at me with fists swinging wildly. My mind switched off and my instincts took the playing field. I was able to block and dodge every blow, eventually catching his leg and spinning him around to the floor behind me. The other man attacked, he was much stronger, and blocking his punches was a lot more painful than dodging them, so I just did my best to stay out of his way. When the boy got up again, they both attacked me at once. My mind and body got confused with the amount of action going on around me. If I struck out at one of them, the other would hit me from behind. If I struck back at him, the other would sweep my legs out from under me. I was trapped between them, and they never once gave me time to think. But my body was adapting quickly.

I spun to the side and connected a punch to the man's side, grabbing his arm and swinging around him to kick the boy in his stomach! Then used the man's arm to spin him to face the other way and kicked him in the back, knocking him into the table. Another kick reached out behind me and hit the boy before I was even aware that he was up again, and I turned to roundhouse him to the floor. I took my stance and waited for the next rush...but the boy just held his jaw and started laughing to himself. I didn't move, wondering if this was a trick or not. You can never be too sure. "Hehehe! Holy shit." He said, standing up to his feet again, rubbing a sore spot on his stomach. "Hot DAMN, boy! You really are the real thing, aren't ya?" He said. He walked over and stuck out his hand, but I felt my body jump on instinct, still on defense. He pulled his hand back, and tried to calm me a bit. "Whoah there. Wind it down, buddy. Don't let the reflexes tell ya what to do. Ease down...ok?" He said, gently putting his hands on top of mine. I felt my fists loosen a little, and he softly pushed my arms down to my sides. "Ease it down. Just a little." I then felt the tension in my arms begin to release, my legs came next, and my defenses started to shut themselves down. "There we go. Good boy. You're gonna have to get a grip on that, you know? It's nothing to play with, believe me."

I looked behind me and saw the older man pick up his coat out of the dust and brush it off before putting it back on. "Who are you?" I asked the teenager.

"The name's Dizz. This here is Jazz. I understand you're in dire need of some speed training over the next week or so?"

Jazz gave me a dirty look, and basically thumbed his nose at me. "Hmph! I still say it's a fluke."

"A fluke? C'mon, Jazz! Dude, are you kidding me? You saw how the kid reacted, he's a NATURAL! I've never seen anything like that."

"Lucky shot. Anybody can learn a few moves." Jazz lit up a cigarette, halfway sitting on the table.

"I still say he's the one."

"And I still say that there's no way something that powerful could exist in the hands of a 'half-life'. No offense." He said to me.

"WATCH it!" Dizz said with a point of his finger.

"No offense taken...I don't think. What's a half-life?" I asked.

Dizz grinned and walked me away from Jazz's apparent bad mood. "It's a kid that crossed over before the age of 21. But don't worry..." Dizz spoke up loudly so Jazz could hear him. "...because it's just a STEREOTYPE created to make kids feel like they're STUPID!"

"I didn't say he was stupid. But look at him. He's a little BOY for crying outloud. What does HE know?"

"He knew how to knock the both of US on our backs."

Jazz walked over and blew his cigarette smoke in both of our faces. "We were playing a game, Dizz. He was supposed to win."

"Whatever...OLD man." A comment that got Jazz to give him the middle finger. "Listen, I hope we didn't shake you up too bad. I've always wanted to know what it would be like to fight a mimic, you know? I've gotta admit, I'm a bit of a fan when it comes to the mimic legend. I've read ALL about them! The history, the evolution, the myths versus the facts, vampire theory....you NAME it! It's truly an 'honor' to actually SEE one with my own eyes." He looked me up and down, a huge smile on his face, his short blond hair damp from the current scuffle. "Com will be here soon. We'll teach you a few things here and there, let you soak up some new moves, teach some basic stances and all..." He stopped talking, still staring at me. It made me a bit uncomfortable to be on 'display' like that. "...Wow. I'm sorry, but...wow. A real living, breathing, mimic. Say...do you mind if I test something out really quick?"

"Um...I guess so." I didn't expect to have a 'fan' afterall. It was kinda nice. STRANGE....but nice. "What do you want to..." But before I could even finish my sentence, I saw his fists ball up and he swung at me top speed! My hand lashed out and caught his wrist, but he broke free. He began kicking and spinning like a madman in front of me, his punches and kicks coming within inches of my face. But it took no effort at all to block them. Every blow. Until finally I caught both of his wrists and held his arms crossed in front of me. The grin that spread out on his face was priceless.

"SWEET!!! Wow....fuckin' A!!!" He shouted. "You are PERFECTION kid! I LOVE this guy!"

"Hopefully you are done playing games." Came a voice out of the shadows in the back of the room. And Comicality emerged from the darkness in front of us. "We have a lot of work to do."

"The big guy's here. Jazz?" He said, and Jazz put out the cigarette immediately. "You ready to work?" Dizz said to me.

That giant wicked smile of his was almost intimidating me into saying no. I didn't know what to expect, but considering the last few 'lessons' Comicality had taught me...I didn't expect it to be pleasant. "I...I....guess so." I stuttered. And Dizz and Jazz looked at each other with a smile.

"Alright playboy...it's SHOWTIME!"

To say that the rest of the night was an experience in exhaustion would be an understatement. Hours and HOURS of stretching, and flexing, and technique, and stance. Hours and HOURS of proper control, and balance, and power, and speed training. My arms and legs were like weak spaghetti noodles by the time the first four hours had passed. Breathing was near impossible, and they didn't give me much time to rest at all. Even my head felt full, absorbing ever fighting style they came at me with, every placement of my feet, every impossibly high kick. Jesus, I don't think I had ever sweat so much! Com mostly just watched my technique from the sidelines, trying to get me to do it right. To concentrate on doing it right myself. The one thing that he kept stressing was focusing on guiding my punches and kicks purposefully. Instead of just on instinct. I think that was the hardest part. My arms and legs, fists and feet, were already doing it FOR me. Why did I need to guide anything?

The first 'weakness' he found in me came from my inability to fight more than one opponent at a time. He saw me taking heavy damage when trying to concentrate on too much at once, and came over to guide me through it as I huffed in frustration.

He stood behind me and tried to get me to focus my energies in more than one direction. "You see two enemies, you can't deal with them one at a time. They won't come at you like that. Instead, focus on the space between them."

I sighed with aggrivation. "I'm not getting any better at this..."

"Yes you are, you just need to learn how to split your attack between multiple opponents. That's all." He said, and had Jazz and Dizz stand in front of me. "Now...instead of trying to take them on one at a time, try cutting your most potent strikes in half. Deliver a blow or two to Dizz, and while he's recovering, you strike out at Jazz. And then back again. Keep them on one side of you, if you can. Concentrate on the space 'between' them. Ok?" Com backed up, and I tried again. I did as he asked, attempting to fight two enemies at once, but my mind would easily get twisted up in how to deal with them, and my moves would get so jumbled up that I'd almost fall flat on my face. When he told them to stop the excercise again, I was embarrassed at my poor execution. "It's ok, Justin. It takes time, ok?" He said, but looking over at Dizz, I was kinda hoping to be as impressive as he expected me to be. I WAS the fabled 'mimic' afterall. I was kinda embarassed. "Keep at it, try again. Remember, disable and divide. It doesn't matter if it's two attackers or twenty. Your only focus is to keep them reeling until you've got a chance to deliver a finishing blow to the one closest to being unconscious. Got it?"

"I'm trying..."

"I know you are. Just keep your mind on the battle." He went back to the sidelines and watched as I tried again. And again. And AGAIN! I had taken more punches and kicks that night than I had my entire life. I can't believe how hard it was to do this. All the time, Com kept telling me to 'divide and disable', and 'kicks are stronger, punches are faster', and 'watch their footprints. Know their position at all times in relation to you.' It was SO much to take in all at once. But I tried my best. I just hope I didn't look too silly doing it.

For even longer hours, the sparring continued. I was able to adapt to a whole new armada of new moves and skills, but I was tiring out fast. The whole time, Comicality was criticising my movements. "Justin..." He'd say. "You HAVE to force yourself to use your mind to execute these moves. Stop relying entirely on your instincts."

"If I think too much, it doesn't work. My hands get all twisted up and I can't block anything." I told him.

"It WILL work, if you control it."

"They'll HIT me!"

"ONLY if you believe that they will." He said back. If only he knew how HARD it was to try to block 'on purpose'. Usually my body just kinda 'does it' all by itself. "Focus Justin. Guide your abilities, don't let them guide you."

I did as he said, and concentrated on making my arms and legs move as I commanded them to. Dizz and Jazz attacked again, pulling their punches, but making sure that they were skillful enough to challenge me. My hands blocked a few punches, but their kicks would get in almost everytime. Then, I felt Jazz kick me hard behind the knees to knock me to the ground! My breath blew up a small cloud of dust, and he laughed at me from above. Com shook his head, and my frustration set in. "WHY can't you just let me do this MY way?!?!?" I shouted.

"Your way lacks control, Justin. That's the missing link in you actually being able to fend for yourself. Your abilities are very strong and exact indeed, but all they have to feed off of right now are your emotions. That can be dangerous."

"It worked just fine before!" I said, brushing myself off. I saw Jazz still laughing at me, and exploded. "SHUT UP!!!"

"JUSTIN!!!" Comicality shouted out my name, and gave me a look to get me back in line. "This is the kind of display that will be your downfall in the end. Emotion clouds judgement. You CAN'T just lash out angrily at everyone who causes you stress." He walked over to look me in the eye. "A mimic has the power to do a LOT of damage. Do you understand? If you don't get it under control, you're going to make a mistake that you can't take back. You can really hurt people if you give in to temporary moments of anger. You NEED to learn that." He said. "Now try again."

He stepped to the side again, and I watched as Jazz and Dizz circled up around me. I took my stance, and let out a calm sigh as I tried to get my focus back. They rushed in from both sides, and we began to spar in a frenzy. I did my best to concentrate, trying to get a hold of my manuevers and planning my own strategy instead of being just as surprised as they were. I managed to hold my own for a bit, but it was HARDLY as effective as depending on my body to protect me was. That's when I felt Jazz give me a hard kick to the back of my legs again! While Dizz was sparring like he was supposed to, Jazz seemed to be taking little hateful shots at me whenever he got the chance. And it was seriously PISSING ME OFF!!! Finally, after feeling another punch knot up the muscles in my back, I exploded! I shut my mind down and let the instinct protect me like it was MEANT to do! I flipped out of Dizz's way and kicked Jazz as hard as I could in the throat! He fell back to the ground, spitting up a spatter of blood. And with another kick to his stomach, I sent him sliding across the floor to ram into the wall on the other side of the room!

"JUSTIN!!! That's ENOUGH!!!" Com yelled out, and rushed over to grab my shoulder. My abilities were as wound up as they possibly could be, and I struck out at him too! It was just like before, my temper tantrum spun throughout the room like a cyclone, and I'd take on anyone who put their hands on me! ANYONE!

"Ease it down, kid!" Dizz said, trying to get me calm again. "Don't let it get a hold of you." My arms were burning, my legs tensed tightly enough to kick a hole in a wall! Jazz was just now getting up from the attack, and held his stomach while wincing in pain. My anger stayed with me, the rage keeping my fists clenched and my eyes focused on the next person to move from their position. "C'mon, Justin...get control..." Dizz came over to put his hand on me again, and my arm reacted, grabbing his wrist and twisting it behind him. Jazz rushed forward and I kicked him over a table in the distance. It was then that Comicality rushed in to stop me. He broke my hold on Dizz instantly, and pushed him to the side. My arms began to flail all by themselves, striking out at Com as hard as I could! It felt like it wasn't even ME anymore. My body just reacted to years and years of pent up frustration! I wanted to rip into him with everything that I had, and my temper raged out of control.

My punches and kicks went everywhere, and Com blocked them all without even breaking a sweat. He caught my leg in mid kick, and held it under his arm. "Skill, without control...is a waste of talent." Angry, I flipped backwards to get away from his hold, and began attacking him low to the ground. But his legs could block just as fast as his arms could. I tried hitting him with all of my strength, my anger fueling me with explosive energy. But what he couldn't block or deflect to the side, he simply stepped back from, and let the punch swing aimlessly in the air. This time, he caught my fist in his hand, and squeezed it until I fell down to one knee. "Power, without focus...is a waste of energy." ARRRRGH!!!! I pulled my hand free, and attacked with a flurry of kicks, my legs becoming a blur as I tried to find an opening. ANY opening! If I could connect, just ONCE, I could take him! I KNEW I could! But again, while attacking, he easily side stepped my best movements. He spun around behind me, grabbing the collar of my shirt from behind, and spun me around by the neck until my feet nearly left the floor! Then he let me fall to the ground on my back and stepped down hard on my chest. "Speed, without direction....is a waste of time." That was IT!!! I kicked him in the back and sprung up to my feet! I came at him with everything I had to give! Tears of anger almost pouring out my eyes from the frustration of being beaten so easily. But he didn't waste any time putting me in my place this time. With a quick flick of his wrist, he used three fingers to hit a special spot on my collarbone....right in the center at the base of my neck...and then his palm hit me deep in the middle of my chest. I was knocked back a few steps, and gasped for air! Suddenly, with no warning at all, I felt both of my lungs collapse, and my heart stopped!!! I couldn't BREATHE! I stared ahead, and Com just stood in front of me, knowing exactly what he had done, but letting me suffer through it for just a little bit longer. No matter what I did, my lungs would not inflate themselves again, and with my heart stopped, I felt faint, cold...I was dying. Right there in front of them. "Anger, without caution.....will get you killed." Com said, and with another strike of his palm to my chest, my heart started beating again, and my lungs were released!

I took in a giant gulp of air, and fell back to the floor! "What the hell did you just DO to me?!?!" I shouted, still gasping for breath.

"There are vampires out there, trained KILLERS, with extras and abilities the likes of which you have never SEEN! What makes you think you have a chance against them when you're too emotional to do anything more than make an ass of yourself?" Com said, yanking me back up to my feet with one arm. "These aren't some bully's in high school, Justin. This is REAL. This is serious. And I'm goig to tell you right now that feeding off of your anger is NOT going to protect you when the truly dangerous vampires come calling." He scolded me outloud, and I looked down at the floor as I realized what a mess I've made of everything by getting out of control like that. An apology was out of the question at this point. "Go home." He said. "Dawn is approaching rapidly, and you need time to rest and reflect. This session is over."

Not knowing what to say or what to do, I brushed myself off, and began walking towards the door. Nodding a silent apology to Jazz and Dizz for my outburst. But before I was out of earshot, Comicality called out to me. "Same time. Tomorrow night. Meet here." He...he wanted me to come back? Com kept a serious face, but I could see Dizz break out into a grin. I take it that means I hadn't screwed up. Not TOO badly, anyway! Dizz gave me a thumbs up, and I couldn't help but smile back at him. Com was giving me another chance. And I hoped to take better advantage of it next time. That thought alone, kept me smiling all the way back to the lot. Despite all of my shortcomings...he actually believed in me. And something about that, helped me to believe a little bit more in myself.

It was drizzling outside, the kind of rain that warns of a storm on the horizon. It wasn't really enough to bother you....just enough to get you noticeably wet and inspire you to complain. I sped up my pace, not wanting to be caught out in a possible downpour if I could help it. It's not like we had a 'dryer' or anything back at the lot. Then...just before reaching home...I got that strange feeling again. This time...it was closer. Coming from the roof of the old abandoned building near to us. The one where we usually go to get some privacy and talk. It was the strangest sensation, like I could feel a pair of eyes on me and not see anything in the distance. I began to wonder if either Trevor or Michael had made it their mission to follow me. Or if may the Beast had found a new way to invade my thoughts. Whatever it was that was causing this weird paranoia, it was guiding me up to that rooftop. Maybe tomorrow night I'll creep up there and see just what's going on.

I got back to the lot and entered through the front gate as everyone else was getting ready to turn in for bed. Jun trotted over to meet me up front and said, "Dude...don't say anything to anybody. Just get to your trailer and go to sleep. Trust me on this. Bryson's on the rampage tonight about you not being here..." But Jun's warning came too late.

"Justin! Get over here!" He said, and Jun winced at me being discovered.

"Shit..." I whispered.

"Sorry. You're own your own, man." Jun told me, and went back to get in his car for the night.

"I'm sorry, Bry...." He interrupted me in mid sentence.

"You are NOT to miss ONE more training session! Do you understand me? Not ONE more!" He yelled.

"I just went out for a..."

"NO excuses, Justin! You've got a bad habit of cleverly ditching the rest of us and running the streets unaccounted for. I don't want to put you on lock down, but if I HAVE to, that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Do you understand me?" He was angry. Really angry, but there was a feeling of concern in his words that let me know that I really disappointed him this time.


"Go...go to bed. We'll discuss this tomorrow." He said sharply. "Go!" He put up his hand to let me know he didn't want to hear any more excuses, and just remained satisfied with the fact that I was home and safe. The strangest thing was...I don't think I ever had a real 'dad' before. Not one that I could claim as something comforting in my life, anyway. After all of the beatings and the cursings and the way my real dad used to abuse the shit out of me...I was almost relieved to have a father figure that cared about me. Bryson...in looks alone, wasn't much older than I was. But in wisdom and responsibility, he seemed like such an old soul. Who knows, maybe he was. Whatever it was, it was the first time I'd ever had anything even resembling a real 'father' in my life. This was as close as I was ever gonna get to it. And it felt good in an awkward way. Bryson took over where my dad couldn't hack it, and despite the yelling and the guidelines and the chores...a part of me really appreciated the margins he set for us. At least he gave a fuck about me and tried to guide me in the right direction.

I made my way back to the trailer where Taryn was already getting ready to crawl into bed. "Hey..." He said with a smile. He was laying on his stomach on the mattress, and looked like he was writing something in an old book. He sped up his hand a little bit to finish off his current thought before giving me his full attention.

"I missed the whole night tonight. Didn't I?" I wanted to at LEAST spend SOME time with him and the others.

"Yeah, you did. You jerk." He giggled.

"Bryson's pretty mad at me. Isn't he?"

"Yes...yes, he is." Taryn rolled over, closing his book all the way. "But I think it's more about Rain and Darren being so cozy than it is about you. I'm sure of it." He said. "In fact...hehehe...he was speaking rather highly of you up until a few hours ago when you didn't come back to let us know where you were."

"Highly of me? Well that's a change."

"I don't know what you said to him last night, but you must have made some kind of good impression. He almost loves you as much as I do." Taryn smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "Come here...I wanna show you something."

I sat down at his side while he brought the book he was writing in up to display for me. "What's this?" I asked.

"It's my diary." He grinned. "And it's almost finished. This will be the seventh one I've burned through, I believe. I'll need a new one soon."

"Any juicy tidbits in there?"

"Read for yourself." He said, and he handed me the book without a second thought.

"Wait...are you serious? I don't want to go through your diary, dude. It's private...isn't it?"

Taryn propped himself up on his elbows and gave me a loving look. "This diary...all of them really...was written for all the years that I've been here. Living in darkness. Believe it or not, it was Tiana that gave me my very first one. She signed it too." He smiled warmly at me, and leaned his head against my arm. "Every word was written with a part of my heart included. A part of my soul. And since half of my heart and soul belongs to you now....I suppose you're just as entitled to read it as I am." The sweet gesture flattered me to a point of almost having a lump in my throat. And when he handed me the book, I treated it like gold.

He turned to a certain page for me, and pointed towards a specific entry. "Check this one out." He said.

"This entry isn't from that long ago." I said.

"Nope." He grinned. "This was written the night I saw you for the first time. A few months back, on the Pier." I paused to look at him briefly. "Go ahead...read it."

My eyes followed the passage from beginning to end, finally getting an idea of what life must have been like for Taryn before he found me. What was shocking for me was the fact that it wasn't all that different from what life was like for me before I met HIM. I made sure to go over the entries, absorbing every word and doing my best to match it with a vivid image in my mind. Reading his words made me smile. A few passages stood out, and I was lost in his writing. "You still have wet dreams?" I giggled.

"I did." He answered. "I'm stuck in the body of a 14 year old boy, it happens all the time. Unless of course you've got a boyfriend to take care of it for you. Hehehe!"

I read further. And saw him talking about me in the most favorable way. I couldn't believe my eyes. "The cute charm and grace of the boy next door. Is that suppose to be me?"

"Yeah...that's you." He raised up a bit and kissed me on the cheek.

"It says here you like Trevor an awful lot too." I raised an eyebrow and he blushed.

"I didn't say I LIKED him, I said I wouldn't mind sleeping with him! There's a difference!"

"Yeah...well not for me. So you stay away from either action."

"Don't worry. I've got everything I need and more right here in front of me." He kissed my lips and then turned to lean back the other way in the bed. Slipping under the blanket as a yawn escaped his lips.

Reading those words..in his own handwriting...having him share such an intimate part of himself with me at that moment...I knew that I loved him more than I'd ever love anyone else ever again. The secrets I had been keeping from him had been boiling up inside me for too long. They needed to come out. I wasn't going to hold back from him any longer. It's time the truth be known. "Taryn...?"

I was trembling inside, knowing he'd be ok with the confession, but feeling the nervous jitter rise up inside me anyway. Fear of putting it in the right words I suppose. "Yeah?" He asked.

"I....I love you so much....and I don't want...that is..." Get it together, Justin. Just speak from the heart, and he'll understand. "I know that I've been keeping secrets from you. And.....I don't....wanna do that anymore." I looked back, and saw Taryn's face. I can't really say that it 'lit up' really. If anything, he seemed more concerned with why I was doing it.

"Justin...showing you the diary...I didn't mean for it to be a bribe or anything. I just..."

"No. No, I wanna do this. Because you mean more to me than anything in this world. And this can't wait." I said, and he laid back down to listen to me silently. I took a deep breath, and prepared to spill everything. "There's a reason that I've been sneaking around so much lately. Or why Comicality wanted to find me. Or why Tim needed to see me more than once. I'm...I'm not exactly...'normal'..."

Taryn yawned again, and said, "Yes you are, hon. You fit in just fine here."

"No...there's more than that." I told him. "Do you....know what a 'mimic' is, Taryn?"

"Um...yeah. A mimic, legendary vampire from ancient times, vampire scriptures, page 305 I think. Cool story by the way if you haven't read it."

"Taryn...." I paused for a second, and Taryn just waited in silence. "...According to what I've been told, and what's happened to me since I've crossed over...I think...I think I might be one." I didn't get an answer. No sound at all. I didn't dare turn around to look back at him. I'd chicken out for sure. Maybe it was shock, I don't know. But I had to keep going. "Tim was the first to tell me about it. Char and Becca confirmed it. They say it's because of the life I lived before being born into darkness. It's funny, you know? I live my whole life trying not to be different, then I crossover and end up being more different than ever." I let my eyes drop down to my shoes and sighed. "I should have told you, Taryn. I wanted to tell you ages ago, but...I was SCARED. The last thing I wanted was to be an outcast again. I didn't know what to do. If I told you I might be putting you in danger, I might be putting everyone here in danger. And it's not that I didn't trust you...I just....I didn't want to ruin the way you look at me. You know?" I said. "The way you seem so....'pleased' with me. I've never had anybody love me before like you do. And I don't want to wake up from the fantasy, Taryn. I can't. That would kill me. I have a family here, friends, people I can trust. And if it just wasn't for this ONE little secret spoiling everything and making my life harder...it would be paradise." At that moment I turned around and looked at his angelic face. "I want to live in paradise, Taryn. With you. I don't want my secrets to hold me back anymore." Looking closer...I saw that his eyes were already closed. "Taryn?" I put a hand on his cheek, and it was ice cold again. That peaceful slumber had come to carry him off from me, and I could only smile and shake my head. "Heh...well I guess it CAN wait for one more day, huh?" I doubt the bastard got past his last comment before drifting off. But to be honest, the confession wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. And he'd be sure to get a repeat performance when I woke up again the next evening. I kissed him softly on the cheek, and laid down next to him. Fully clothed, I didn't even bother to kick off my shoes. I just wanted to be there with him, listening to the extremely faint beating of his hibernating heart, and feeling his love surround me. Even in his sleep.

I passed out shortly after Taryn did, and slept on top of the covers. All the way through to the next evening...when I woke up to quite a surprise.

I could feel my awareness of my surroundings becoming crisp and clear before I even opened my eyes. No doubt, I was 'early' again in my sleep cycle. Hopefully not too early where I'd have to lay bored in my bed until the sun had set completely. Biding my time until the night hours without Taryn to keep me company could be maddening sometimes.

I felt my eyes flutter open as life returned to my body. My limbs began to loosen themselves from the ice cold sleep, and my vision was coming back into focus quickly. I looked over to see Taryn's angelic face laying next to me, his soft lips gently parted, the wisps of his silken hair laying tenderly across his forehead. Even though he was asleep...I was drawn in for a kiss. Ohhh, to taste those lips when you wake, there was no feeling like it in this world. But what struck me as odd, was the sudden sense of another person's presence in the room with us. It was faint at first, but was growing stronger as my senses returned to me. A familiar signiture...possibly the same one that I had been feeling just outside of the lot recently while coming home. The one from the roof. Yes...that's the one. It's unmistakable. My hearing became more acute, and there was definitely a rustling next to our bed. As though someone was hurriedly going through our things while we were asleep. But not just ANYONE...it was another vampire!

I quickly turned over in the bed, and saw someone in our van with a large brown sack, half full with our possessions. He was wearing a skin tight black suit underneath a long black overcoat, with tinted goggles and a scarf wrapped around his neck. I saw him digging through my drawer, so preoccupied with what he was doing, that he didn't even realize that I was awake. Maybe that was the point. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be awake yet! I didn't move, trying to think clearly about what was happening here. I saw him putting a lot of our personal belongings into the bag, and while I was still a bit groggy, it was obvious that this stranger was stealing our stuff! I remained still, not alerting him to the fact that I was wide awake and watching. I don't think he had any idea that I was on to him. Maybe that was his plan all along, to rob us while we were sleeping! He's taking our stuff! He's a RAIDER! And I decided to act before it was too late.

I quickly sat up in the bed. "WHO ARE YOU?!?!?!" I shouted out, startling him and almost causing him to drop the bag he was holding. "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!?!?"

The vampire didn't answer. The gig was up, and he knew he had been caught. There was only a split second pause before he chose his next course of action. And with a few quick moves of his hand, he pulled a 16 inch rapier out of his sleeve! My eyes widened instantly, and my instincts awakened themselves at the speed of light, prepared for defensive manuevers! He then pushed his blade forward towards my FACE! My first natural reaction was to grab the pillow behind me and put it in front of his weapon while dodging to the side! The rapier pierced straight through the pillow and nearly knicked me on the right ear! It was damn CLOSE! I felt my hands twist the pillow around the blade, but with a jerk of his hand, he cut right through it and pieces of the cotton filling went everywhere! He wasted no time in continuing his attack, the rapier stabbing and slashing at me as I did my best to lean left and right in the bed to avoid being cut to pieces!

He struck out at my eyes, and I leaned back to a laying down position JUST in time for him to miss me and stab the headboard just inches above me! He pulled it out of the wood, and I tried to kep my mind clear long enough to keep from becoming a shishkababob here! I kicked out to force his rapier hand up towards the ceiling of the trailer, but he brought it right back down to stab at my legs! I pulled them back as fast as I could, and spun a foot around to kick him against the wall as hard as I could. Taryn was still a hostage of the deep sleep, and despite the motion on the mattress, could not wake up! I got up on my knees to continue fighting, but there was hardly room for me to get to my feet! The thief's skill with his rapier was unlike anything I've ever SEEN! It was so swift while slicing through the air that everytime it whizzed by my face you could hear it cut the air in half! I didn't have time to THINK, I could only react, letting my body take over and HOPING that my mimic instincts would protect me! My hands concentrated on that blade and nothing else, blocking every possible blow, trying to grasp his wrist and keep it from running through me! My legs, on the other hand, were doing their best to come out from under me to strike back! But I couldn't MOVE! I didn't have ROOM to move! It was distracting to have my body trying to take control where my mind couldn't. Trying to execute moves that weren't possile in this confined space. My instincts didn't know any better...they only knew how they were supposed to react to an attack. No other factors, like limited space and ability, was a part of my body's strategy. I guess this is what Com meant by forcing my instncts to obey me.

It was then that he swiped to the side of me, taking a slash at the pillow right next to Taryn's HEAD! He saw my alarm at his actions, and knew he had a new target to distract me with! He stabbed downward at Taryn's chest, and I reached out with both hands to intercept it! He twisted his arms, trying to get loose and find a way to harm my boyfriend while he was sleeping, but I'll be DAMNED if I let him harm one HAIR on that boy's head!


My fighting techniques increased by an infinite number, and I connected a punch that dislocated his shoulder from the impact...knocking him back aginst the door of the vehicle! The raider was NOT so easily discouraged though. He put his hand down on the floor of the trailer, and with a vicious twist of his shoulders, he snapped his arm right back into place and came at us again! Reacting more on Taryn's behalf than my own safety, I grabbed a corner of the comforter on the bed, and wrapped it around Taryn as we both went rolling off the side of the bed and onto the floor! Taryn was rolled up, like in a carpet, hopefully giving him a bit of cushion from the fall. And on the way down, I kicked up the edge of the mattress at our attacker, watching as his rapier pierced right through it! Luckily the size of the mattress weighed his hand down for a second, and that gave me the opportunity to finally stand up on my feet! Alrighty...let's see how this son of a bitch handles himself in a FAIR FIGHT!

By the time he had freed his blade from the mattress, I was already on him! A flurry of punches landing in various places on his chest, and a side kick that pinned him up against the wall! His arm reached up to slice at the back of my calf, and when I moved it, he kicked me back against the opposite wall! The whole trailer tilted violently to the side, rocking back to get its balance again moments later. The two of us came to the middle of the confined space and began fighting blow for blow like angry pitbulls in the ring! I had to lean way back to avoid a slash to my face, and was trying to fight back, but my hands and feet would slam up against the walls or the ceiling in the process. It was too small a place for the kinds of moves my body was trying to pull off, and I was taking more damage than he was! I was able to finally catch one of his arms and turn it around behind him, pushing his face down on the floor and grinding it hard into the surface! I tried to break the arm! But he was much too fast, and somehow contorted his body to turn around and push me back off of him! He came at me with a kick that I dodged just in time to see it dent the wall next to my head! The raider then took advantage of the moment, turning to throw his rapier in Taryn's direction! He attempted to spear it right through him!!!

It only took an instant for Jun's extra to kick in for me, and I jumped towards his flying blade, the all enveloping focus concentrating on the handle of his rapier and catching it in mid air before it was able to reach it's target! I spun around in mid air and tossed it right BACK at him before even hitting the ground, slicing his shoulder with it! I don't think he expected this kind of challenge walking into our camp tonight, and the surprise was evident in the pauses he made in his fighting style with every counter maneuver that I gave him! We began heating up the room again with a display of punches and blocks that seemed endless, no matter how fast and hard we battled one another! The whole vehicle was rocking with the movements, and not a single person in the lot was awake to help me! I had to settle this once and for all! I needed space!

Spinning around him, I got him to stand in front of the door! I found an opening...and kicked out with ALL my strength at his chest! The blow connected, and he was knocked clear out of the trailer and outside onto the ground below! The sky was extra dark, and it was raining BUCKETS outside! The storm must have blown in full force while we were sleeping, and as the raider fell down into a huge puddle of muddy water, I heard thunder strike loudly all around me! Then....with a flash of lightning, I saw two MORE raiders elsewhere in the junkyard behind him! Three of them??? With bags??? We were being robbed! ALL of us!

I dove out of that trailer and rolled to my feet, taking my stance and waiting for their next move! The rain soaked me from head to toe almost instantly, the huge raindrops splashing down over my face as I tried to keep my eyes on the people in front of me. It was cold, windy, dark...my clothes already felt heavy with the excess water weight, and the flashes of lightning and thunder were even more distracting. But I was the only one standing between them and the others. I had to defend my HOME! Focus Justin.....this isn't an excercise here...this is the real thing! And they mean business!

All three of them rushed towards me, and I felt my adrenaline kick in to high gear. Get a hold on it....don't let it control me. They attacked with a fury, and I did my best to block them all. Think Justin....seperate them into individual thoughts. 'Disable ad divide'. You can DO this! Find the pattern. Find the pattern. THERE IT IS!!! Once I noticed it, my whole body seemed to come alive with a new awareness. My foothold on the wet ground below became strong, and my eyes focused crisply on each one of them. I found the pattern, now it's time to show them just how big of a mistake they made coming in here tonight. This is my HOME! My FAMILY! And I'd defend them with my life if I had to!

They attacked in unison, but I only had to deal with them a few blows at a time. My mind seperated them all by itself, and the sequence of my attacks suddenly became so clear. So EASY! Block one kick, and strike out at the one on the left. Block one punch, while knocking the one on the right off his feet. Then kick out at the one in the middle while the other two took a second to recover from the last two strikes. Everything that I couldn't block, I could easily dodge or move away from. And by weaving in and out between them, they had to hold back just to keep from hitting each other. The harder they fought, the more they fed my abilities, and I just got stronger, faster, and more aggressive with every blow. It was WORKING!

The thunder roared above us, and while tossing one of them to the ground, I saw two more raiders in the distance around Dylan's car! The short loss of focus allowed two of the attackers in front of me to kick me in my chest, and I fell back into the mud! It was ice cold, and the dirty water washed up over my face as it soaked me even worse than before. "You son of a BITCH!!!" I back sprung to my feet and charged at the three of them, delivering an angry jumping spin kick that sent ALL of them spinning to the ground simultaneously! The other two were coming to join the fight, and as confident as I was in my enhanced abilities, that might be too many for me to handle at once! I needed help, and I needed it NOW!

I flipped my way back towards Dion's truck and started banging on the door and window! "DION!!! WAKE UP!!! WE'VE GOT TROUBLE!!!" But there was no answer, and in no time, I had two raiders breathing down my neck! I dodged their kicks as best as I could, but he used his saber to cut me across the chest, and I felt a slow drip of warm blood bleed down from the wound. I twisted myself away from him to roll over the hood of the truck....only to meet up with another raider on the other side. He swung violently at me while I did my best to fend off his attacks. I got a few shots in, but felt a pair of hands grab me from under the truck and pull me down to the ground! I quickly rolled over onto my back to kick the hands away, spinning around to sweep the other raider's feet out from under him.

The storm was blinding me, and the cold water was almost causing my limbs to freeze up and cramp, my fingers already going numb. But I didn't have time to warm up, I had to keep fighting. I lashed out at the two men in front of me, taking time to block, strike, and counter the way Dizz and Jazz taught me to. I then became aware of another presence behind me...a raider standing on top of one of the empty wrecked vehicles in the lot. He was swinging a chain with a heavy weight at the end of it, and it shot out from his hip, trying to hit me in the back of the head! My head dodged to the side just enough for him to miss, and I grabbed the chain over my shoulder. With a hard tug, I pulled him off of the car and flipped him to the ground in front of me, his back splashing up a tidal wave of water in one of the many muddy puddles. It was then that I felt another cut scratch me in the back, and I swung out madly to keep him at a safe distance from me. They were surrounding me, striking from different positions, and getting wise to my tricks as the fight continued. I ran towards one of the masked men and kicked him hard in the stomach, causing him to bend over in pain. I rolled over his back and kicked the man standing behind him, twirling around to backhand him to the ground. I blocked kicks from two more as I tried to make my way out of their striking range, and ran over to Max and Kid's car to bang on the windshield without response. I ran over to Jun's place, Bryson's, Dylan's..."WAKE UP!!!! SOMEBODY!!!!" But they were still under the spell of the sleep. Nothing would wake them, not yet.

I felt a kick land directly in the center of my back, and I fell forward into the mud, sliding forward for a good five feet or so. I rolled over on my back to get up, but once I was on my feet, another kick connected with my face, and I felt myself being clotheslined back to the ground again. Feet began to stomp on me from all sides, kicking and bruising me with every blow. And something unexpected happened. My mind was brought back to that night when I was still alive, outside of my house again. It seemed like I was suddenly sucked into a dreamworld, feeling those kids kicking and hitting me with everything they had. And when my mind came back to reality again, my hands angrily grabbed handfulls of dirt and I braced myself for what was to happen. An electric charge built up to high uncontrollable levels inside of me, and with a clench of my teeth, I shouted outloud and released it into the air around me. Not my own extra, but something different. A huge shock as explosive as the storm's lightning itself. It shot out in every direction and knocked them all back a few feet! What the hell was that??? What happened??? I didn't have much time to think! I had to get help!

I ran over and started pounding my fists against Rain's car. But they were RIGHT behind me, and I had to jump up on the hood to avoid having my legs cut by the saber of my attacker! I kicked him in the face and flipped backwards off of the hood to hit the ground running! I tried Dion's truck again, but they were getting wise to my plan, doing what they could to cut me off from my persuits! I was dodging chains and knives, kicks and punches, from five different people at once, and barely contorting my body well enough to escape the damage they were trying to put on me. The rain had made the ground slippery and hard to move on, but we all were managing to keep the battle going anyway. Just then, as my limbs began to tire out...I heard a car door open in the distance!!!

"RAIN?!?!?!" I shouted out, but it wasn't her. It was Darren! Thank GOD for a 'human' with a normal sleep pattern!

"Dude...what's all the ruckus out here?" He said, groggy from being awaken by my sudden pounding. He rubbed his eyes, feeling the pouring rain on his shoulders. He focused on me and the five raiders duking it out with a fury, and didn't know what to make of it at first. "What the hell is going on???"

"DARREN!!! Wake the others! NOW!" I said, and ducked JUST in time to keep from having a crowbar slammed against my face! "HURRY!!!"

Still unsure of what was going on, but recognizing the urgency of the situation, Darren reacted by jumping back into the car and shaking Rain violently in her sleep. "RAIN!!! Rain, wake up babe! Justin's in trouble!" He shouted. "Rain???" He kept shaking her, but to no avail.

I dropkicked one of the men to the ground and felt myself fall back into the mud. One of them tried to grab me, but I was too slippery to hold onto. I slid my arm out of his lock, and spun around with a kick to his face hard enough to almost break his neck. I turned and saw a tire coming full speed at my head! I fell backwards to the ground to dodge it JUST in time, and sprug back up to strike out at the person who threw it! My instincts finally combined with my focus, and actually started to 'obey' my commands all of the sudden. I felt more in control, more balanced. And the second I though of an action, my body reacted. Not only that, but my body began to 'feed' me possible courses of action to read and translate into a display that could take down the BEST of them!

Darren was still yelling at Rain, discovering that she was 'more' than just asleep at this point. "She's not waking up! It's like...it's like she's DEAD or something!!!" He screamed.

"KEEP TRYING!!!" I shouted back! And went back to fighting! I opened one of the wrecked car doors to hit one of the raiders in the stomach, raising my foot up to kick him in the face over the top of it. The one in front of me, I twisted his arms around mine, and held him helpless as I head butt him on the bridge of his nose. Note to self....headbutts HURT!

I felt another presence behind me and kicked outwards to knock the crowbar from his hand. A few more advanced moves, and he was face down in the mud! I twisted my hips to keep from being stabbed from behind, and closed the already open car door on his hand...kicking him hard in the jaw! The rain was getting worse from the feel of it, and I couldn't keep going for much longer. My muscles were wearing down fast, and the dizziness of fatigue was starting to affect my balance. The Raiders, however, seemed to be having their hands full with my defenses, and they were getting their asses handed to them on a silver platter. They wouldn't be able to hold out for much longer either at this rate. I just hope they start dropping out before I do. And that's when I saw one of the raiders take his mask off, revealing the fresh face of young dark haired boy about 18 years old. He stared directly at me, as though he were concentrating on something. Even in the dark I could see it, and it meant trouble.

It happened so fast that I couldn't turn away fast enough. His eyes lit up...a dull golden glow at first, and then a HUGE flash! Like a nuclear explosion! I was staring right at him when he did it, and I instantly went blind!!! My eyes were wide open, and I couldn't see a thing! It was disorienting, and with the rain and thunder, I couldn't hear the raiders around me. I was scared, but took my stance anyway, trying to relax and focus as well as I could. I heard the sound of approaching footsteps splashing in the mud around me. I felt a slice of steel pass over my arm, and then a kick land on the side of my head! I fell to my knees and tried to get up quickly before they could surround me. I felt a punch hit me in the chest, another blow hitting me in the back. I moved quickly to the side, but felt my legs run into the side of a car, and I rolled off of the hood to the ground. I rubbed my eyes, but nothing could get my vision back! I heard more footsteps splash my way, and I was left to fight blind! I backed up swiftly, hoping to get a chance to fight back. But again, I felt kicks connect to me from out of nowhere, and I was unable to stop them. Everything was shrouded in a cloudy purple haze, and I was left swinging at nothing! I couldn't see them! I couldn't FIGHT them! I felt kicks and punches come from different sides of me, and I was helpless to stop them from doing it!

I tried to kick ad punch out into the air around me, but they obviously had the advantage. Their attacks were too much for me to handle. They were literally beating me to the ground! My desperation got the best of me, and I knew I had to do something fast! I cartwheeled away from them, my body swirling around in a confusing pattern in order to avoid any more pain. And that's when the 'halo' returned. It circled my head, and I didn't take the time to aim it this time! I just let loose! The brain geyser shot forward violently, but missed it's target! Instead, they dived out of the way and it dented one of the wrecks in the yard, almost ripping it in HALF with its power! The windows of the car all blew out at once, and the loud sound of the metal twisting up and cracking from the impact! You would have thought that it had been hit by a TRAIN! The car frantically flipped over and went rolling to the other end of the lot. It was the strongest blast that I had ever created before! I was almost weak from the burst of energy. The halo remained though, and I held it steady while I searched blindly for my opponents. I heard the footsteps beside me, and my leg kicked outwards to knock him back against Dion's truck! Another presence came from behind, and I flipped forward, catching his arm with my feet, and twisted around to send him spinning to the ground with his friend! I reached out to catch a third to hip toss him to the mud, and stepped down hard on his chest. I could sense the others getting to their feet, and did my best to aim towards the sound of their splashes to shoot out another blast in their direction. It knocked back two more raiders running at me from the front, lifting them off of their feet and causing their heads to throb in pain! Blind or not, they were NOT going to beat me! Not tonight!

My vision was finally beginning to return to me after the flash, and I could start making out fuzzy shapes and objects again. Good for me, bad for them. I used my legs to kick out at them wildly, and knocked them back two or three at a time. Even soaked through with rainwater, I was faster than they were able to block. And after knocking two of them to the ground, the third tried to stab me with his saber. I'm not sure if I 'summoned' it up or if it just happened on its own, but Chad's extra kicked in out of nowhere to protect me. With a blur that I could hardly control, I practically 'teleported' behind him with a speed that left an image of me still standing in front of him! He was confused, his saber still outstretched, piercing right through the heart of my 'image'. But before he could figure out what was happening, I grabbed him from behind, flipping him down into the dirt and stepping on the back of his head to nearly drown him in the puddle beneath us!

"She's coming to!!!" I heard Darren shout out, and my vision was almost back to normal. The others were waking up, and finally, I had some help! Thank God, because my arms were about to give out, and these guys just seemed to keep coming! Dion was the first to emerge from his truck, and dove into the battle without a second's hesitation! I saw him spin one of the raiders around by his arm and kick him hard to the ground! Napolean was right behind him, sharp canine teeth ripping into the arms and legs of any enemy that he could reach! He drew blood easily, barking aggressively as the raiders realized that they were losing their hold on their advantage! Car doors began to open all over the lot, and the whole FAMILY stood up to the threat! Max rushed at two of the intruders and tackled them to the ground from behind! And I watched as Trevor and Michael both double teamed one of them, biting deep into his arm and shoulder as though trying to devour him alive! The sudden flurry of resistance was so swift and savage, that I found myself standing back to stay out of their way. Despite all of my mimic abilities...they seemed to have it all under control in a matter of seconds. The vampires inhabiting this lot were NOT helpless! Not by any means!

I heard Jenna shout out, "Jun's still locked in his car from the outside!" Looking over, I could hear him pounding to get out. Since his sleepwalking habits made it necessary to lock him in, he had no way out.

Bryson used a right hook to nearly knock one of the raiders over the hood of the car, and then called out, "Dylan!"

"I'm on it!" Dylan said, and he 'blanked out' right in front of me, his extra taking effect faster than I had ever seen it before. He rushed over to Jun's car, invisible to us all, and unlocked it, freeing him from his confines. Dylan just stood back as Jun sprung from the car to fight alongside his companions.

"Justin???" Taryn's voice called from behind me, and he ran up to stand at my side. Like I said, I could only stand back and watch at this point. My body was so weak that I was surprised that I was able to stand at all, my muscles spasming and twitching as they tried to wind down. Everyone was beating the SHIT out of the intruders, and I was almost scared to get back into the battle for fear of getting in the way. I saw Rain stab someone in the leg with her pocket knife, and kick him between the legs hard enough to lift him almost a FOOT off of the ground! And Max looked as if he had a century's worth of aggression to let out on the guy he was pounding into the mud! They had no choice but to give in!!!

"We lost daylight! They're all awake!" One of the raiders shouted, "Fall back!!! MOVE IT, MOVE IT!!!" And they did their best to get away. Wounded and bruised, we chased the five of them out of the lot, watching as they headed for the streets! It was the LAST time they'd even THINK about fucking with us here!

"DAMMIT!!!" Max shouted, looking at the wet sacks of merchandise in the yard. "Sons of bitches! LOOK at this!" All of our stuff was getting soaked in the rain, pictures, radios, clothes...you name it. Whatever they could grab. The bags were soaked through, and a lot of our stuff was totally ruined.

Everyone took a moment to breathe, checking to make sure everyone was alright. And soon began to take inventory of what was stolen. Even in the pouring rain, we refused to go back in until we had found a majority of our stuff again. It was all we had, afterall. "Fucking raiders..." Jun said, finding some of his favorite books soaked through to the spine.

It was then that I hugged Taryn close to me, so happy to see that he was safe. And I saw Darren's face over his shoulder. He had basically helped to save us, and was hugging Rain close to him...but the illusion had pretty much been broken. I could see it in his eyes, he knew something was wrong. He knew that what had just happened...wasn't normal. And we had no explanation for him. None. Deep down, his exposure to who we are was no better than my own the night Trevor pushed Jun over the side of that overpass. He knew...and we'd have to tell him something once he started asking questions.

"I heard you." Taryn whispered in my ear.

"What?" I asked, not sure what he meant at first.

"Before I went to sleep last night...you were talking...about...you..." He looked up at me, the rain giving his green eyes even more of a sparkle than usual. "...I heard you." That was all he said, and he hugged me even tighter. We stood there together in the rain...knowing that even harder times were ahead. I knew it, Taryn knew it....and soon, the rest would know it too.

It's times like these that I wish the secret hadn't come this far.